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« More Male Fashions | Main | Glassy NYC »

September 23, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* They know how to do these things right down south. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin.)

* Bedbugs are back.

* Why don't more short-film makers have fun with stop motion?

* We all have our talents, I guess.

* "xgobobeanx" wonders if she should make her own Beautiful Agony video. Then she expresses her indignation that one of her videos was flagged.

* Finally, a documentary film about typography and design.

* Have living standards been going up faster than official figures suggest? Dean Baker gives the question a wrestle or two.

* While 2Blowhards fields responses from visitors who don't enjoy Brian De Palma, Neil Kramer is receiving photos of his lady visitors' beds. What are we doing wrong?

* Alicatte attends a gallery exhibit of Gap photography. She's almost buyin' it.

* Are fruits and veggies fresher and tastier in Japan?

* Yahmdallah isn't sure about the work of the quirky short story specialist Amy Hempel, but he's certain that the recently upgraded "Star Wars" is no improvement.

* Swatstuff's short AfterEffects extravaganza may be a little one-note, but it casts a spooky spell.

* Courageman confesses to a severe case of Internet porn addiction.

* Steeler guy Squub goes shopping for a TV worthy of his beloved team. Steeler guy Razib gives some evo-bio thought to team loyalties.



posted by Michael at September 23, 2006


All right. I think the Beautiful Agony thing has finally gone too far.

Posted by: Brian on September 23, 2006 7:03 PM

The stop motion film was amazing! So creative - really well done - thanks for sharing!

Posted by: jenny on September 23, 2006 10:34 PM

The stop-motion piece isn't bad for a student-y thing, but I think the peak to date of those methods is Mike Jittlov's Wizard of Speed and Time. Not on DVD, unfortunately.

Posted by: Hal O'Brien on September 24, 2006 2:11 PM

Random thoughts:

Japan and fresh vegetables: it’s odd to see an argument for socialist anti-globalization here. In order to emulate Japan, we would have to allow massive farm subsidies and anti-free market tax policies specially designed to benefit small and local farmers. Oh, wait, we already have this, but it benefits large agri-business concerns. I do find the aesthetic angle related to Japanese agriculture interesting, but this is antithetical to American culture. Washington, D.C. does not come to a halt while politicians go out to watch the cherry blossoms in the Spring.

An interesting article on the economic costs of Japan’s agricultural subsidies (for example, “The average Japanese tariff rate on agricultural imports is 20.1%, and the effective tariff rate on rice imports is the equivalent of 406%):

A good background article by Japanese economics professor Masayoshi Honma, explaining how overly bureaucratic manipulations of the economy are required to maintain Japan’s family farms:

Ironically, Japan is the world’s largest net food importer, and must also contend with agricultural product piracy of stuff like kidney beans and those tasty strawberries re-imported from China and South Korea without government permission:

The links on living standards was kinda interesting. One thing that has been clear from dealing with accounting and taxes is that people always measure their prosperity by how much money they have in their pockets, not by relative purchasing power. This works both on an abstruse level (e.g. computation of accounting income for trust returns) and a common sense level. People with more income have more room to breathe, to invest, to set aside more for education or retirement, to deal with emergencies, etc. Stagnating wages are a problem no matter how cheap cell phones or DVD players are, and even if inflation is officially zero.

By the way, all other things being equal, an increase in life expectancy might see upward pressure on wages. Rational workers realize that they must spend their money over a longer period of time in order to stay alive.

Comedian Bill Hicks on pornography addiction: One of my big fears in life is that I'm gonna die, you know, and my parents are gonna come to clean out my apartment, find that porno wing I've been adding onto.

Razib’s take on team loyalties is very provocative. There is clearly something to be investigated in the persistent human need to create teams (or tribes) that clearly are not based on any ethnic affiliations, but which use costumes, markings, etc. to denote who is “in” and who is” out,” from adolescents who must dress outrageously in some way to distinguish themselves from their parents, to football fans (Raider Nation), to even the contestants on a TV show like “Survivor,” who often show remarkable loyalty to an obviously artificial and deliberately short-lived tribe.

Posted by: Alec on September 25, 2006 6:06 AM

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