Beneath the Shorties

LOL: Enjoy this meme while you can, I figure it’s dead in 3 weeks.

They just keep coming: Remember, the plot to kill Big Bird is still in play. There’s a Million Muppet March planned.

Twelve! Meeeeelion! Jobs!!!: Yeah, so?

Get it off me! Get it get it get it….: Is it just me, or does Mr. Romney look uncomfortable in this picture? You don’t suppose it could be that he’s being touched by a black man, do you?

Beating the dead dressage horse: What Romney’s tax “plan” could do to housing.

If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it: Scientists found a planet twice the size of Earth, largely made of diamond. Good thing it’s far enough away that DeBeers can’t get hold of it!

Like you needed an economist to tell you that: Your paycheck is being outstripped by inflation. So if low interest rates are supposedly the cure for inflation, what the heck is the Fed going to do now??

But apparently some people do need an economist to tell you this: Here’s why cutting taxes never has and never will create jobs.

Gee, maybe saying “no” wasn’t such a good strategy: Failing to pass a Big Agriculture Giveaway  Farm Bill before leaving Washington gave some Democrats an upper hand.

Judges judge things: An Appeals Court has ruled part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Unexpected Excitement: Passengers on a Canadian airliner helped save a boater’s life. That beats most in-flight movies.

Wheat Ain’t What It Was: On modern wheat.

Not sure how to get out of this mess: Two out of three new college grads has college loan debt, and the average amount is $26,600. The scary part is that many of them won’t be getting jobs anytime soon. Just a reminder, it would take 3668 hours at minimum wage to pay that off. That’s 152 days of nonstop 24/7 labor. And it won’t be wiped out by bankruptcy.

Newsweek: will stop printing a paper edition.

But what about the economy?: Here’s an outline of the risks.

“The other 1%”: 2/3 of the bottom 1% of Americans are in prison.

Turns out it won’t turn good girls into sluts: Girls who get the HPV vaccine are not more likely to have sex.

Carbs: “People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired, the study found.”

And it turns out that Doing Good might Make More Money: At least that’s Coca-Cola’s theory.

Music Monday: Something Borrowed

Today I’ve got a little “music theory” lesson for you. I’m going to explain that chord that’s driving you crazy. You know the one, the second one.

Most of the “happy sounding” songs you know are in what are called “Major keys.” That includes everything from Happy Birthday and Yellow Submarine to Pomp and Circumstance and the Star Spangled Banner. In fact, I can’t think of a single American “patriotic” song that is not in a Major key.

There’s another kind of key called a “Minor” key. You can express a lot of different emotions using it. Gloria Gaynor used it in “I Will Survive” to show determination and frustration. The Beatles used it in “Eleanor Rigby” where it echoed the loneliness and insignificance of the characters in the song. Anger, sadness, and a host of other things can be implied simply with a Minor key.

Chords can be Major or Minor too. Usually we capitalize Major chords. When a musician analyzes a piece of music, he or she will usually use Roman numerals. So if we build a chord on each step of a Major scale, we get this:

I  ii  iii  IV  V  vi  vii°

That last one is a third type of chord called “diminished.” Don’t worry about it right now, since it’s not important to this song. All of these chords are perfectly normal in a Major key, although there are some arcane rules about what order you can use them. An alarming number of songs use the chord progression I  V  vi  IV.

On the other hand, if we build chords on a Minor scale, these are the chords you will most frequently see (this bit is slightly simplified from what you’d be taught in a music class):

i  ii  III  iv  V  VI  vii°

So back to our song. The first chord is a nice big Major chord, I. The next chord is built on the 4th note of the scale, so it should be IV. However, they’ve fooled us with a jarring minor chord, iv! What are you supposed to be feeling? Happiness of being loved? Or fear of being rejected?

This is called a “borrowed chord.” Even though most young composers discover the neat, unexpected sound before High School, the fancy term is usually not taught until well into a college music theory curriculum. Now you’ve got a fun trivia item.

In Closing: it was worth a try; Samurai; interesting thing about the workforce; another reason we don’t need police drones; these guys think the Affordable Care Act is here to stay; no kidding; Montanans elected this person; high speed rail (I would worry about how they hold up in an earthquake, but Japan has it); Casablanca at 70; wanna buy a couple skyscrapers, cheap?; and Happy Wedding Day to Barney Frank and James Ready.

The Economy is Depressing.

So the poverty level is at its highest level in decades. Think about that a minute. Most people didn’t know what the internet was the last time poverty was this bad. Household income is down 7% since the Bush Administration began. In fact, income hasn’t been this low since 1996. And plans to slash the federal budget to the bone — the heart of the current GOP platform — only make poverty worse. It’s worse for kids: 22% of kids under 18 live in poverty. Remember that. Walk into a typical classroom of 30 kids, and 6 or 7 of them live in poverty (more at someplace like Vegas’s Whitney Elementary, of course).

Since poverty and school performance are directly correlated — that means that poor kids always on average do worse than rich kids, even when you account for how well educated their parents are and how good their local schools are — that says some very, very bad things for our future as a nation.

Heaven forbid we should put people to work building things we need, like better roads, bridges, and school buildings. I mean, that sounds like kind of an FDR sort of idea.

In Closing: Salem was governed by “Christian Values” (and that explains the First Amendment); E-Verify is even more flawed than the Do Not Fly list; more than half of Americans support gay marriage; why is it that Republicans keep forgetting that the Post Office is one of the few government functions explicitly required by the Constitution — you remember, that document that they and the quasi-Libertarians claim to so revere?; turns out the sheep don’t like it when you molest the lambs; or, we could just disband the whole corrupt system.


OK, Maybe CNN wasn’t terribly subtle when they said “Washington could take down a mega-bank” and then immediately below showed a row of Bank of America ATMs. And don’t get me wrong, everything I have read about B of A lately indicates that they are skating on thin ice.

But don’t lose track of the prize. Fannie Mae just was forced to buy bought $500,000,000 in crappy loans from B of A — despite having plenty of foreclosures and pre-foreclosures of their own — in what Fortune calls a “back-door TARP.”

Gee, this couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the motivation behind a proposed program to help get rid of Fannie, Freddie, and HUD’s foreclosed properties, now could it? By the way, the headline is just a tweak misleading. They aren’t talking about slapping a “For Rent” sign in the lawns of these houses; they are talking about finding some sucker investor to buy them in bulk (that means with limited ability to pick and choose) under the condition of renting them out. Never mind that these homes are in conditions that vary from pristine to bulldozer-ready. Never mind that investors are already cherry-picking the best of them. Never mind that Fannie, Freddie, and HUD all have systems in place to favor owner-occupants when selling foreclosed properties.

Not gonna work.

In closing: I hope he’s still open for civil damages; She-Ra; Clavell did this as a novel, but with helicopters; If I Had $1000 Dollars; it hasn’t worked yet so let’s keep doing it; S&P and 63% of Americans agree about one thing; I know things are bad when Ron Paul starts to make sense; check your LinkedIn prefs; and Bert and Ernie are puppets, they have no sexual orientation.

Happy Rapture Day!

How’s that working out for you? I feel fine.

So I haven’t said anything about the brouhaha surrounding now-former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn.  Let me remedy that right now:
Matt Bors

But by far, the best actual headline has to be IMF Aborted Internal Investigation of Strauss-Kahn in 2008. Thank you, Businessweek!

In closing: the truth; if even joking about having a bomb is enough to get you arrested, then why weren’t TSA officers arrested?; most Americans don’t give a **** what gender your spouse is; Disagree with me? And you’re a woman? Or an underage female? You deserve to be killed and raped! (*ahem* at least according to some animals who consider themselves conservatives — just a friendly reminder, you don’t know whether I’ve got a concealed carry license, now do you); For pity sake, Mr. President, just freaking appoint Elizabeth Warren already!; The People want more regulation of Wall Street (are we mad enough to “vote all the bums out?”); the environmental case for legalizing marijuana; are your children at the park?; and Mark Zuckerberg is a freaking idiot.