Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs

Stepped down as CEO of Apple today. We must suppose, now, that it is only a matter of time. Poor man, he's younger than I.

If I were some day to assemble a pantheon of heroes who died during my lifetime, even if I were to limit their number to ten, Steve Jobs would undoubtedly be among them. Mad genius, insanely great, an adopted child, a self-made man and a gentle soul, he would make a near-perfect role model for any of my children. That, in my opinion, is the very definition of hero.

Others in the pantheon would include Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan, and in some future time Margaret Thatcher, although she is still very much alive, last I heard.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gaining Strength By Ceding Power

He has succeeded in large part because he had a more modest view of the post than his recent predecessors. In a private dinner last year in Texas, I was struck by his complaint that only a handful of people mattered in the Democrat-run House—namely, the Speaker and four or five other members. This wasn't the way the Founders intended the House to operate, Mr. Boehner said, with more than a little passion in his voice.

Accordingly, he has ceded power to congressional committees so more of the House's work is done there. He has widened the theaters of operation for younger ambitious House Republican leaders. Mr. Boehner excels at persuading members rather than bribing them with earmarks or threatening them with retaliation. He has long opposed the former; the second is not his nature. All this has paradoxically strengthened his hand.
Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not Now You’re Not

not_now_youre_not.gifAnd I'll tell you what: After next year's high school reunion, you're all headed for the feed lot.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Silver Standard

The weight of the Washington quarter is exactly two and one half Roosevelt dimes. The Kennedy half dollar weighs the same as two quarters, and the Eisenhower dollar weighs the same as two half dollars. Their weights are exactly proportional to their values.

There's a reason for that. They used to be real money. Prior to the Coinage Act of 1965 they were 90% silver and 10% copper. They had value in and of themselves.

Our coins still have value — you could still melt them down and sell them for scrap — but you wouldn't, except for nickels, get anywhere near their face value. At current prices, the 2011 Kennedy half dollar is worth about 11 cents. A 1964 Kennedy half dollar is worth fifteen bucks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Friday the 13th, August 1971

People blame the great inflation of the late 1970s on Jimmy Carter. Fair enough; he presided over it. But Lewis E. Lehrman traces it back to Nixon, and a secret meeting at Camp David.
In the past, Nixon had expressed economic views that tended toward "conservative" platitudes about free enterprise and free markets. But the president loved histrionic gestures that grabbed the public's attention. He and Connally were determined to present a comprehensive package of dramatic measures to deal with the nation's huge balance of payments deficit, its anemic economic growth, and inflation.

Dramatic indeed: They decided to break up the postwar Bretton Woods monetary system, to devalue the dollar, to raise tariffs, and to impose the first peacetime wage and price controls in American history. And they were going to do it on the weekend — heralding this astonishing news with a Nixon speech before the markets opened on Monday.
He was a foreign policy genius and an economic policy idiot.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Radioactive Mushrooms in Japan

Drudge has the link.

One naturally wonders: Do they grow in the dark?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shellfish and Tomato Stew

raymond_horn_shellfish_stew.jpgLeslie already makes one of the best seafood soups I've ever tasted, and she begins with a roux of almost incredible savoriness. That sort of cooking can't be taught; but you can learn. Cooking shellfish in the shell is the other secret.

Interesting the way this fellow cooks the clams first, reserves the liquid, and then removes 3/4 of them from the shell — leaving the rest, shells and all, in the soup.

This recipe appeared in last weekend's WSJ Weekend. I didn't bother to check whether it's behind the paywall. If you find it so, email me and I'll send you a free link.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rafting the Santiam

They put in at the McDowell Creek Bridge on the Santiam and floated down to Waterloo County Park, about an hour and forty minutes, thence to a deep fried campout dinner (see below, if you're one of the elect; otherwise you'll have to imagine — I'm double posting this).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Jim Sollisch is drinking his way to health.
I'm on my sixth cup of coffee. It's part of my cancer-fighting health regimen. Prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men over 50. But thankfully, you can do something about it. Drink up. More French Roast, please. Add another shot of espresso to that....

I'm also drinking 64 ounces of water a day. That seems to be the one thing everyone can agree on: Drink lots of water. Your yoga instructor will tell you that. So will your dermatologist and your orthopedist...

Besides the water and the coffee, I'm trying to drink pure, unsweetened cranberry juice. It's great for preventing tooth decay and kidney stones. Of course, it's pretty bitter, so I have to mix it with plenty of pomegranate juice—which, thankfully, helps reduce plaque build-up on the arteries and may help delay that onset of Alzheimer's.

And I always try to drink several cups of green tea each day. I wouldn't want to deprive my body of its powerful anti-oxidants. Which is why I also imbibe as much pure blueberry juice as I can afford. Ah, the wonderful world of beverages. I salute you.

In fact, I propose a toast to you. Raise high your wine glasses, comrades-in-preventive-health. Just make sure they're filled with a nice Cab or Merlot, even a Zinfandel will do. As long as it's red. Studies have found that red wine can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure.