Good Luck to Harold Pollack, and Welcome to Larry Kudlow

Big changes are coming with RBC’s bligging lineup

The New Harold Pollack
The New Harold Pollack
I should have seen this coming, but still it makes me sad. Harold Pollack’s 4 x 6 index card of financial advice was perhaps the most read, cited and tweeted RBC post in history. It drew coverage from Washington Post, Money Magazine, Vanguard and Motley Fool among many, many others. It is now a book that is getting tremendous press everywhere.

I thus understand Harold’s decision to move on from RBC to take up a regular investment advice column at Wall Street Journal and a “Pollack’s Mad Money” television show on CNBC, which fired Jim Cramer today to make room for Harold. Congratulations my friend, you will be missed.

However, with every ending comes a new beginning, so it is therefore time to welcome Larry Kudlow to RBC. Larry will have big shoes to fill, but is strongly committed to writing here about poverty, inequality and the need to expand the social welfare net and raise taxes on the wealthy. The only thing holding him back so far has been that he doesn’t know any poor people, but Harold, gracious in transition, has agreed to introduce to him to one very soon.

Swallow that coffee before reading further.

An enterprising Harvard University student found an outlet for that creative energy that comes from intense focus on a teeny subject, a phenomenon well familiar to anyone who made it through graduate school. She started a website, which seems to be mostly Twitter fodder, called LOL My Thesis. Authors sum it up in one (two, max) pithy sentences. I cannot choose a favorite. If I had done this for my law school paper, I think it would have been: “When a homeless woman called the ACLU after the DSS took her kid away, it did not end well for anyone except me, since I really needed a topic.”

But reading these, I conclude that scientists have the comedic edge. Ready? Swallow first! Continue reading “Swallow that coffee before reading further.”

May all your Christmases be stereotypes

Why Santa’s reindeer must be female.

Santa Claus may be white or not, according to taste, prejudice or marketing strategy. But here’s bad news for Megyn Kelly. The exploited reindeer that have drawn Santa’s sleigh through the busy Christmas night are necessarily reinhind, that is if they have proper antlers.
From an unnamed correspondent of Victor Mair at Language Log:

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female deer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

Female reindeer retain their antlers until after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should have known … ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost!

Keystone Kop

George W. Bush sees no problem with the Keystone pipeline.

Former President George W. Bush Jr, to an oil industry conference on 14 November:

I think the goal of the country ought to be “how do we grow the private sector?” That ought to be the laser-focus of any administration. And therefore, once that’s the goal, an issue like [the] Keystone pipeline becomes a no-brainer.

He should know.

What Are Your Favorite Split Metaphors?

Stanford University President Gerhard Casper once gave a speech in which he commented on his tendency to mix metaphors, which amused and at times bemused those around him. My favorite of the ones he quoted was:

“Let’s not drop anchor when we aren’t out of the woods yet”

My best friend, my wife and I got into the habit of calling such things “split metaphors” and keeping track of ones that made us laugh. Here are a few:

“I don’t think she’s shooting straight off the bottom of the deck”

“You really hit the nose on the face”

“He’s so good at chess that every time we play, he cleans my butt”

What are your favorite split metaphors?

One of Richard Nixon’s Many Faults

Nixon even cheated at bowling

Megan McArdle related a funny Richard Nixon story last week, concerning his creation of a White House Palace Guard. The palace guard episode is silly at any level and also reveals something of Nixon’s character. Let me start off your August weekend with a similar anecdote.

BowlingIf you tunnel deep down under The West Wing, you will find a maze of poorly lit, unpainted hallways with exposed pipes and wires (no OSHA rules apply underneath The White House, apparently). If you stumble about the labyrinth for awhile you will come to a nondescript door that, quite surprisingly, opens onto a two-lane bowling alley which was built for President Truman.

Here I am showing fantastic form therein. I bowled 300. It took me about 50 frames, but I did it. I can’t bowl at all really. But I am very good at looking like I know what I am doing when in fact I don’t — an essential Washington D.C. survival skill.

Anyhoo, almost every President since Truman has gone down at least once to the White House bowling alley and posed for a photo, bowling ball in hand. Most never return. But Richard Nixon actually liked to bowl and did so frequently. Study his left foot in the photo below and ask yourself: “Was there anything at which this guy wouldn’t cheat?”

BowlingNixon

Christopher Buckley Integrates The Works of Three Philosophers

2013-07-18 003The walls of the green room at KQED in San Francisco are made of white board, upon which guests are invited to scribble with dry erase markets. It’s fun to read the autographs, jokes, quotes and cartoons of prior guests. This one, scribbled by Christopher Buckley was my favorite (though he did not originate it — I think it’s from a Vonnegut novel).