Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A couple throw-away jokes

These are the things I think of when I am studying furiously for my international finance, monetary theory, and public finance midterms next week:

In olden times there was a position known as "Groom of the Stool", who was in charge of wiping the king's ass. That is the definition of a shitty job.

Top three names for a band made up of economists (with the IO guy on drums):
3. We Do It With Models
2. The E-Motion of Capital
1. Sexy by Assumption

Top three t-shirts that economists own:
3. The OLG model doesn't account for trophy wives!
2. Beer maximizes my utility
1. Economists do it with the invisible hand

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Should probably eat more fiber...

Best headline of the day, from ESPN's MLB page:

Angel's Colon unlikely to be ready by Opening Day.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Rough Rider indeed

So this is pretty sick.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A. Sean Feddish checks in

Our old friend, A. Sean Feddish, checks in with a travelogue of his current excurrsions and experiences. The following is his mass email (sans pictures) with the following email exchange between himself and Fletcher:

The rural town of Yaviza in southern Panama is the end of the road – literally. Although the Inter-American Highway runs virtually unbroken from California to Chile, the road disappears into the jungles south of Yaviza, only to re-emerge across the border in Colombia. The space between is the infamous Darien Gap, a virtual no-go zone of Colombian guerillas, paramilitary and narcotraffickers. According to Robert Young Pelton, the famous adventurer who dubbed the Darien the most dangerous place in the Western Hemisphere, "If the bullets don't get you, the snakes will."

The US State department has drawn imaginary line from Puerto Obaldia in the north to Bahia Pina in the south with Yaviza in the center. Travel south of this line is strongly unadvised.
South of this line is where my travels started.

Lonely Planet open doors, which is why I suddenly found myself in the company of tropical biologists and professional adventurers. As I watched my companions sharpening their machetes, lacing their combat boots and filling up their camelbacks, I couldn't help but shake the feeling that I was on the wrong helicopter. Needless to say, my fledgling Swiss army knife, broken Tevas and cracked Nalgene garnered some unamused looks.

After landing in Punta Patino on the Pacific Coast, we travelled upriver to the Embera village of Mogue. Compared to neighboring Costa Rica, which sees tourists by the hundreds of thousands, our well-equipped party was met by equal parts excitement and surprise. We were the first white people to come here in a long time, though that didn't stop the cassava wine from flowing.

Originally from the Choco region in Colombia, the Embera are the original inhabitants of the Darien, and some of the last remaining inhabitants of the neo-tropical rainforests. They are the guardians of countless generations of botanical wisdom that is virtually unknown to the west. With Asiatic features, distinctive dress and muscled bodies painted with jet blue jagua dye, the Embera are truly a sight to behold.

Heart of Darkness metaphors aside, our party set out from Mogue by dug-out canoe, and continued upriver to the frontier town of Boca de Cupe. Our arrival was met by two platoons of Panama Defense Forces, who were clad from head to toe in the latest digital camouflage, brandishing shiny M-16s and driving around in armor-plated hummers – ladies and gentlemen, your US tax dollars at work.

Since the FARC guerillas at war with Colombia's government are rather fond of raiding Panamanian villages for supplies, the Panama Defense Forces patrol the border and maintain order in an otherwise lawless province. Amused and mortified by the proposition that our group was planning to hike into Colombia, the regional commander took down our names and passport numbers, and politely informed us that his only responsibility from this point onward was to collect our bodies should trouble arise.

Fortunately for us, the Embera have been the eyes and ears of the forests long before Colombia's civil war spilled into Panama. Although modern GPS units and US Department of Defense maps depict the Darien as an impenetrable jungle, the Embera navigate the region by exploiting the dozens of trails that were laid down in the colonial era by Spanish gold miners. With precision senses that can only be honed after a lifetime in the rain forest, an Embera can smell a herd of peccaries a mile away, and can pinpoint the location of a FARC regiment without so much as a compass and a map.

To understand the intrinsic value of the rain forest, one need only acquaint themselves with the diversity of wildlife found within this unique ecosystem. A line of army ants can stretch unbroken for miles, devouring anything foolish enough to interrupt their march. A harpy eagle has roughly the same size claws as a grizzly bear, and will feast on dozens of primates in a single month. A jaguar, which has the most powerful feline jaws in the world, is the only cat that kills its prey by biting through the cranium.

Of course, some of the rain forest's inhabitants are better left alone. As I discovered upon entering a mine shaft that had been abandoned since the early 20 th century, a bite from an eyelash viper can deliver enough poison to kill a full grown man in hours. Fortunately, leather hiking boots are difficult to puncture, and although a dry bite from a viper is extremely painful, it's a great way of reminding yourself of the fragility of human life.

Teetering on the brink of death is good for the soul, and it reminds you that your time here on Earth is limited. With that said, it's been awhile since I've touched based with most of you, though I wanted to let everyone know that I am alive, and doing what I love. At this point, I am getting ready to embark on 6-month around the world trip that will bring me to Japan, Hong Kong, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Toronto, St. Lucia and New York. There will be more e-mails to come.

Take care, and I hope all of you are doing what you love.

A. Sean Feddish

Here is one of the attached pictures:

To which Fletcher responded:

Sure, that's all good and impressive, but have you ever walked along H street through Chinatown at 11 at night on a sunday, buzzed and listening to an iPod? I'd say we are even.

No, I'd say that puts you one-up on me. I mean sure - I get to drink with bare-breasted natives all the time, but you found a means of being surrounding by beautiful college co-eds for the next 5-8 years. Damn you Spartacus!

Actually, this year's crop is not particularly attractive. In fact, when you get right down to it, some of them are rather unpleasant looking. And they are all morons, right down the line. I don't think I was that dumb in my day, was I? Am I becoming cynical and unsympathetic, or is the quality of student really that different from when we were Freshman? Anyway, I digress.
Don't get shot,


I can forgive ugly, but stupid and ugly - isn't that why god invented Darwinism?

You were definintely dumb in your day in the sense that you thought drinking half a handle of bourbon in one sitting was a good idea.

Don't get shot (parts of DC are worse than Colombia),

A. Sean Feddish

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Strangely cute

Birds with extra feet are pretty damn awesome:

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I just got the news that I passed my Econometrics Field Exam. So just a public finance qualifying exam in May, a couple semesters of class, and a nobel prize winning thesis and I'll have my doctorate! Who wants bourbon?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tempering the tampering

In regards to Steady B's comment in the last post:

While it is very conceivable that the Sox tampered with Drew, I think he would have excercised that option regardless. When your agent is Scott Boras and the insane money that Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano are getting, I don't care if Drew said he had leprosy and beat up a hooker, he'd get at least that $33 million back in this market. He was the best outfielder on the market in a year that will hurt a lot of franchises moving forward, so I'm convinced he would have opted out even if the Sox and Yanks had their outfields set.

I more was making the comment about the owner being dumb. If Henry or Steinbrenner started saying "Yeah, we're thinking of trading for Pujols and Santana in a deal", even if there is truth to the negotiations it still screws with the mentality of a player on another team (and that was just a hypothetical comment). If Lowell or Tavarez suddenly get upset because they were included, not just talked about but already set to be traded, well, that is kind of shitty (though may or may not be tampering). If making players on another team aware of the fact that they were not enough to get a deal done but were already put in another uniform by management, there might be some fallout with guys that you were to have gone to war with for the next six months.

Whether it is tampering or not, it is just bad policy. It is one thing to hear your name bandied around associated with a trade rumor that is ultimately speculation. It is another for an owner to come out and say, "Yeah, we had this guy, that guy, and the other guy agreed on, it was just that last piece that didn't fit."

Bah. Now I'm worked up.