18 Feb. 2009
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The Pengaton Papers


I am only a ripper.  A compulsive clipper reads his newspaper with scissors in hand, carefully removing items to paste them in scrap books.  I am far more moderate; most of my Wall Street Journal issues make it from hand to trash undisturbed save for folds that remind me that I have finished a section.  But some issues take tiny detours.  For whatever reason, I have developed into a compulsive proofreader, and occasionally I find either a solecism on which I must remark, or an item sufficiently entertaining that I feel a blogitem is called for.  You have seen the results of the latter and those around me usually hear the bark of laughter when I detect a misspelling, infelicity, unintended double entendre, or striking example of innumeracy.  (Their response:  "Richard, have you never made a mistake?" is ignored.  Your response upon reading the resulting blogitems is, fortunately, unknown.)  When I encounter a noteworthy item, I will rip it from the paper, put it next to the computer, and comment on it somewhen between immediately and never.  (If you are a ripper, I bet you've noticed that vertical rips are much cleaner than horizontal.  Yet I maintain my scissors-free reading style, and cope with the jagged edges.)

"Next to the computer" is a horizontal surface, a rare commodity.  Today, overcome by Indburishness, I resolved to dispose of the clippings I hadn't used in blogitems previous.  These are less interesting, less significant, less timely, or just plain irrelevant, than those that have gone before.  Although I did manage to find one that mentioned cucumbers.

Evil Airline Scum

WSJ Article - Airlines Revive Minimum Stay You know what a big fan of the airlines' business practices I am.  But perhaps I was just too lazy or insufficiently exercised to comment on these two articles from last summer.  One is about the airlines reviving one of their most odious practices, requiring people to stay at their destination for a certain duration.  The other is about taxes collected and not refunded when tickets or facilities remain unused.  WSJ Article - Another Reason Fliers May Feel Like Victims

Pragmatic Chief of Staff

Rahm Emanuel:  "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste." Here we have President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, making an observation that we could all take to heart.

I didn't (and don't) think I have any wisdom to add to this.

Validated By A Cartoonist

NY Times - Chip Bok Cartoon:  Israeli retaliation for rocket attacks. As is often the case, I can say something without knowing whether or not I'm serious.  I was curious as to what some friends thought of the notion of the Israelis retaliating against Hamas in precise proportion.  I.e., every time a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza, a similar rocket would be fired on a reciprocal course from Israel into Gaza. 

I "proposed" this after the cartoon was printed in the New York Times, but before I saw it.  At least the idea is worthy of a cartoon.  Do you think it would "work," whatever that means?

Free Food No More

WSJ Article - McDonald's Prices Irk Franchisees I've written several times about just how fantastic a deal I consider the $1.00 McDonalds cheeseburger to be.  Apparently it's too good a deal.  I may or may not have mentioned this article previously, but on my most recent seasonal trip to McDonalds I noticed they were charging extra for cheese.

Of Course it's Organic

Crop Vodka Advertisement - It's "organic" One of my favorites.  If you click on this full-page ad for Crop Organic Vodka you will find out that it's not only certified organic as only essentially pure ethyl alcohol can be, but it also tastes "clean."  I'm not just easily amused, I'm also easily bewildered.  What does "clean" taste like?  Carbolic acid?  Nothing?  Scented towels? 

Perhaps competing brands of vodka are somehow not organic.  Perhaps instead of being distilled, they're dug up from mines.

Social-Security Mulligan

16 August 2008 Wall Street Journal:  Social Security do-over I don't play golf, but I thought I'd try out "Mulligan," meaning "do-over," just because I read it and I like the term.  Golf, retirement, and Social Security, the subject of this article, all seem to go together.  I was stunned to read this piece in the Journal last August.  It says that you can collect your Social Security and then change your mind!  Simply by paying back all you've received, you can re-start your benefits at a new, later age.

This is such an interesting concept that I think it will enjoy a multi-part contemplation in the future.

I know this isn't an especially good blogitem.  But it's arguably better than nothing, and from it I have gained several square feet of horizontal surface and exposed some long-lost dust.  It's a sacrifice you're willing to make.

1990 Corvette ZR1 - FOR SALE

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Please buy this lovely blue Corvette ZR1


Corvette ZR1 1990 Quasar Blue FOR SALE

NP:  "Star Collector" - The Monkees

Richard Factor

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