Thursday, November 27, 2008

Notes of no particular relevance

Hopefully your Thanksgivings were wonderfully gluttonous. Now, random stuff the internet told me.

I am currently out of the country and have not been able to check out the new 35W bridge. But I hear it's pretty bad far as bridges can be "bad ass."

Indian pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel have signed professional baseball contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. I feel like I should make a joke correlating the pirates of the Indian Ocean and these Indians that signed with the Pirates, but I got nothing. More importantly, they have a very entertaining blog.

Speaking of nontraditional pitchers....BOOM! Eri Yoshida in your face! She's the first female to sign a professional baseball contract in Japan. This 16 year old throws a side-arm knuckle ball. You think Randy Johnson is intimidating on the mound? Wait til this five foot, 114 pound Japanese teenager stares you down.


During this season of giving thanks, lets give thanks for the nectar of life that has allowed those of us with European ancestry to exist on this planet: beer. Thank you beer! No beer, no civilization.

If for whatever reason you want to predict what the economy is going to do, I have found new privately own housing starts to be a really accurate leading indicator. It comes out monthly and is measured in the thousands.

The White Sox signed Dayan Viciedo from Cuba for $11 million. He's a 19 year old right handed third baseman with a lot of power, which sounds a lot like what the Twins are looking for. Why weren't the Twins going after him? I know the White Sox have Cubans on their team and we don't, but come on. The Twins should be more aggressive in pursuing high level talent from Latin America, or just hire all Cuban bull pen catchers or something. Is it just because its a risky use of money? There are probably a lot of easy explanations for this, but can somebody explain this to me?

What do you want for Christmas?


haasertime said...

Yes, I'm curious about the process of signing a Cuban baseball player as well. They have to defect, right? Do the white sox have undercover scouts in Cuba looking at these players and convincing them to defect from their homeland? I heard no other teams even mentioned when that guys name was brought up.

Nice international edition of AH!

bizmarkie507 said...

I hope that girl does really well.

and I found that onion article about having to see all those assholes from highschool at the bar on thanksgiving

Thats honestly the best article I've ever read from the onion.

haasertime said...

I just emailed LaVelle and asked about cuban signing process.

Speaking of economics. Soup I'd like your thoughts on this.

I've never taken an econ class, but with Black Friday yesterday, I thought to myself..'why are people doing this? waking up at 4am to stand in line just to get a good deal'

Seems like consumerism run amuck. I thought of our grandparents generation. Seems like they view money and physical possessions differently than we do. They would never trample a walmart clerk to buy stuff they don't need. I'm sure it happened in the depression, but it was probably to get food or work.

But buying stuff is supposed to be good for our economy. There are huge industries devoted to manufacturing junk (mostly outside the U.S.) and industries to convince us that we need it, and industries to sell it.

But with such a large part of our economy based on stuff that isn't necessary to life, what happens when people don't or can't buy anymore. Seems like one of those glass ceilings or domes or whatever.

So that's my anti-consumerism rant. Not very well thought out. Just thought of it after that ridiculous wal-mart episode.

soup said...

'why are people doing this? waking up at 4am to stand in line just to get a good deal'

Yeah, I don't know. I suspect that it's more than just good deals. I think to many people it's some kind of tradition or ritual. I once woke up at 5am to be the first person to enter the Cub Foods in Arden Hills.

Our grandparents, and even our parents, view possessions very differently than we do. For much of our grandparents' lives they didn't have much stuff. Rationing for two world wars with the Great Depression in between made it impossible for most people to spend stuff they didn't need until the 1950s. War spending boosted our economy out of the depression and people took advantage of it. Spending increase tremendously. People bought many things they "didn't need" like dishwashers, TVs, and cars. So, our grandparents and parents did spend and consume. But each generation in America has more than the last, so we can find more useless things to spend our money on. Also our generation sucks at using credit.

"But buying stuff is supposed to be good for our economy."

Unfortunately only in the sort term. Our economy needs investment expenditures for long term economic growth. So, if people spend all of their discretionary income and don't save or invest any - that's good in the sort term, but bad in the long term. When congress gave people rebates last spring, people spent money and we had economic growth (barely). But that didn't solve the problem. It just delayed the recession.

The problem with our economy right now is the lack of investment or credit. Obama has hinted that he will delay his tax increases. This makes sense, especially with the increase of the capital gains tax. It doesn't make sense to punish investment when there is a lack of credit available (or ever in my opinion). But it's going to take time to fix this thing. Our best hope is that taxes and interest rates stay low so people invest again.

long story longer, I don't think consumerism is bad for our country, but it's not something our economy should rely on for long term economic growth.

bizmarkie507 said...

In Feudal and Anchient China and Japan, merchants where considered lower than the peasants, because peasants at least farmed and produced neccessaties, while the merchants just sold things that people didnt need.