From a recent instant message chat with my father. I don’t know why I find this amusing. I think it’s how it ends. The only background you need to know, to protect the innocent, is that my father is a life long Democrat. He tried to raise me right, so don’t hold him accountable for me.
In the absence of anything interesting I can think of to write about the few things I understand, and an inability to write intelligently about the interesting things that are actually happening (e.g. the present collapse of our financial system), I am not above just jangling a shiny object that I found on the internet. In the previous issue of Wired magazine, there is a fascinating story about the people you call when your multimillion dollar ship full of 100 million of dollars worth of brand new cars nearly capsizes and is drifting helplessly into the coast of Alaska. I was deeply disappointed to find out that applied physics computational modeling is not the most manly occupation out there, as I’d been heretofore led to believe.
A brief excerpt:
In the crew’s quarters below the bridge, Saw “Lucky” Kyin, the ship’s 41-year-old Burmese steward, rinses off in the common shower. The ship rolls underneath his feet. He’s been at sea for long stretches of the past six years. In his experience, when a ship rolls to one side, it generally rolls right back the other way.
This time it doesn’t. Instead, the tilt increases. For some reason, the starboard ballast tanks have failed to refill properly, and the ship has abruptly lost its balance. At the worst possible moment, a large swell hits the Cougar Ace and rolls the ship even farther to port. Objects begin to slide across the deck. They pick up momentum and crash against the port-side walls as the ship dips farther. Wedged naked in the shower stall, Kyin is confronted by an undeniable fact: The Cougar Ace is capsizing.
Alligator skin boots for her: $600,
Playstation 3 with Call of Duty 4 for him: $550,
Having your unborn grandchildren foot the bill: Priceless.
Today I got the same letter from the IRS that some 120 million other Americans received, informing me that in the not-so-distant future my wife and I will be honored with a check for $1200 from the US treasury. Apparently we’re going to avoid the recession caused by us borrowing too much money by borrowing more money. Given that this is a done deal, there’s no point in opining on the criminal irresponsibility of our pandering politicians adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt to buy us bread and circus in an impotent attempt to stave off the well-deserved economic hangover we all should have known was coming after decades of partying on credit. So I won’t mention that.
But given that we’re going to be getting this de facto tax break, I think we all should do our best to actually help the American economy with it. This is harder than it seems. You can’t just go out and buy an iPod. Sure, Apple will get some of the money, but all the components and the manufacturing are done overseas. I don’t think taking our tax money and using it to worsen the current account deficit is the idea here. What does America still make? Mostly lattes, lawyers, pills, software and movies. So, it’s not going to be easy to spend your money on the American economy. Thus, I’ve decided to provide a few ideas, some of them even feasible, for fun things to spend your money on that will maximize the impact on the American economy and won’t require you to sue anybody:
- Pay off debt. It may not give an immediate jump to the GDP, but it has long term benefits that will accrue to it.
- Patronize those locally owned restaurants you’ve been meaning to try. Tip heavily.
- Go to the theater. Buy lots of candy and popcorn. (But stay away from the NestlÃ© products.)
- Rent a Harley and take a trip somewhere. No going into Canada!
- Take flying lessons. You won’t be able to get your license with $1200, but you’ll have a lot of fun and will probably get to the point of soloing. No going into Canada!
- Get 20 friends together at work and buy a car to raffle off. I suggest the new Charger, but just make sure it’s American.
- Finally buy legal copies of all that software you’ve been pirating. Yes, I know about that copy of Photoshop!
- By some really good California wine. I recommend Coturri.
- Purchase a custom made bag by Timbuk2, built by hand in San Francisco.
- Take a class or two at the local community college.
- Get a weekly massage and get a happy ending for the American economy.
More as I think of stuff. Suggestions always welcome.