Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Always Timely . . .

Well, now Libya has decided to do the revolution rock, and we are all left in a quandary that we haven't faced in years. What is the dude's name who runs the country (or parts at this point)? I know. Who is on first. What is on second. Apparently the Colonel of Libya is playing short-center field.

Anyway, the Christian Science Monitor,  a blogger at ABC News, and the Straight Dope have all weighed in on it at various times. Of course, back in the 1980s Saturday Night Live did a great news piece in which they showed various spellings, including "Atari." With Libya in the news until the "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Arab Libyan Popular and Socialist Jamahirya" (his official title, I shit you not) either flees into exile (I hear Italy is nice . . .) or is killed, I hereby declare that his official WAYLA name shall be:

Mo' Money Mo' Problems Qhadddafffiey.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

My Other Other Blog

I recently started another new blog. It is here, and we'll see how it goes. WAYLA is not dead, just focused a little more, perhaps.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Law as Less of an Ass

Everyone knows anecdotes about the law not working. Hot coffee is perhaps the most common example people like to cite. Still, sometimes the law does work. At least if we use it.

For instance, the Sun-Times reported that for years the City of Chicago had taken the position that it did not want to go to trial where Chicago police officers were accused of brutality. This meant that millions were paid out based on allegations, and internal investigations. In 2008 about $9 million was paid out for "small cases," defined as settlement amounts below $100,000. The same amount was paid out in 2007 for such cases. At the end of 2008 the city decided that it was going to start litigating cases (and said so publicly). In 2009 allegations of brutality fell 50% and the city expects to pay out $1.7 million for small cases. Since I am guessing that people making allegations of brutality did not read the papers when the city made this change, it makes me think that the lawyers who make 30% of every $100,000 "small" case suddenly found those cases uneconomical. Glad the city finally wised up to the nature of these "small" cases. If the only reason to report "brutality" is to get a free $100,000, maybe that wasn't brutality.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reported on people using adverse possession to resolve the housing crisis in Florida. The person they focused on found houses that had been labeled public nuisances. He entered, took possession, sent letters to the owners and banks saying he was taking the house, and renovated them. In some cases he leased them to people asking that they renovate in lieu of rent payments. He included an addendum in the leases stating that he did not own the houses. While this approach has been criticized as mere trespassing, the fact is that it would have been easy to prevent this at a property you owned. You respond to the letter. You show up before anyone moves in and assert your ownership. All you have to do is assert your ownership and the strategy doesn't work. But the "owners" didn't. They didn't pay the taxes, and they didn't respond to the letters. In that case, as messy as it will be clearing title and everything else, the taxes will be paid for seven years, houses will not stand empty, and at least some responsible people will get houses. I am not sure that the law should intervene until and unless an "owner" asserted their right.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Twitter Experiment

I have been tweeting for a few months now. I had a specific plan when I started tweeting, but I now see the problem. See, I was going to post quotes from public transportation ads. Why? I dunno. It reads well. Sort of fun. The problem? They don't change the ads on the el or bus very often. See, I have posted essentially all of the ads I see.

Who would have thought that would happen? I mean, it seems like there a millions of ads on public transportation, doesn't it? It turns out that there are really like 150 ads. Grand total. Done.

Now what do I do? My tweeting career is in serious jeopardy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things I Think I Think

I was just watching the Yankees and Rangers. In the top of the 9th inning the Rangers played death by a thousand cuts. I think they hit one ball hard, but scored four runs. A few things. First, is there some reason that ARod did not dive for Nelson Cruz's single in the ninth? Because keeping that ball in the infield would have kept the runner on second. Why didn't Jeter try to knock Molina's ball down? I think it would have been nice to see some Yankees get their uniforms dirty.

I am watching two new Paranormal States from Sunday. The thing they understand on this show is that the viewing audience does not want skeptical investigation that neither proves nor disproves the paranormal. That is Ghost Hunters. A fine show, but at some point you want to see something happen. Paranormal State starts with mediums and psychics. These are people with a vested interest in . . . paranormality. See, we're off on the right track already. The "sensitive" just said she thinks we might be dealing with a goblin. A goblin? That's awesome. I think the entertainment value of actually having ghosts on ghost shows is tremendous.

Finally, I think that it would be very funny that one of the candidates for governor in Illinois just said that as governor he would veto a bill that HE SPONSORED if the alternative were any better. The bill in question allowed veterinarians to euthanize multiple animals simultaneously. I HATE being stuck killing cats one at a time! To bad Pat Quinn is an assclown as well.

And that's what I think I think.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Deutschland 2010

October 3 was German (re)unification day. It has been 20 years since the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany went from being two countries that never existed before World War II to being one "reunified" country that never existed before 1990. I am not sure what the state of mind in Germany was for this anniversary (they don't tend to exhibit 4th of July-style bombast), but it is clear that changes are afoot in Germany.

First, the Christian Science Monitor reports that Germany finally paid off that Visa it got in college. No wait, Germany actually made the final payment on the reparations from World War I. No need to occupy the Ruhr, France and Belgium, nothing to see here. This actually does at least symbolically close an era (as if the intervening events of Hitler, the Holocaust, the Cold War, and Wiedervereinigung did not). The end of reparations is another step in Germany being a fully "normal" country again.

While almost certainly unrelated to the end of reparations, the New York Times reported on the resurgence of German identity. One thing striking to a Midwesterner in Germany was that there were no German flags in public. In the Midwest they are everywhere. Every gas station, government facility (including rest stops on the highway), and plenty of houses have American flags in front of them. It was really striking. Now it appears that Germans are starting to express pride in aspects of their history and culture. Frankly, this strikes me as appropriate. Those Europeans who are "concerned" that Germany is not "committed" to Europe are mostly countries that provide less material benefit to their European partners. In other words, countries with an interest in guilty Germans paying the bills. As long as German national pride does not spill over into Antisemitism or other negative behavior, there is nothing wrong with celebrating the national team's World Cup wins, or using German on train signs instead of English. Everyone else does it too.

The New "Wayne"

There are people who have compiled lists of criminals with "Wayne" in their name. The lists do not even include Lil Wayne, Pauline Wayne, or Taylor Wane.

In the Chicagoland area in looks as if we there is a different trend. On October 4, 2010 the Chicago Tribune reported that 53 year old Ruben Rodriguez was arrested for weapon and drug violations after police were called because Mr. Rodriguez allegedly threatened his wife with an air rifle. Mr. Rodriguez lives in Hegewisch. Then on October 5, 2010 the Northwest Herald reported that 42 year old Ruben Rodriguez was arrested for "driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a suspended license, four counts of endangering the life of a child, improper lane use, speeding, and using an electronic communication device while driving." This Mr. Rodriguez lives in Lake in the Hills.

Hhhhmmmm . . .

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So, I have started tweeting, and I kind of enjoy the poetry inherent in my tweets. I also found several people that I am following. That being said, I am still not sure why people are so enthusiastic about Twitter.

As a general matter, the people I follow mostly just tell me when they have posted something on the Internet. Kind of the reverse of this post. That's fine, but isn't that just an RSS feed? If that is all you use Twitter for isn't Google Reader a more effective, efficient way to do this?

So, while I do enjoy my own tweets, they are utterly pointless, which may not be any worse than most tweets I see. You can follow me @DavidAnvil.