Category Archives: General Foolishness

It’s Not What it Looks Like

According to Google, I was recently cited in an article on sandhillsexpress.com. It isn’t nearly as saucy as the URL implies.

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There’s a Metaphor in There Somewhere

DCist: The National Zoo’s Naked Mole-Rats Still Have Not Chosen Their Queen

Even Steve Jobs Hated Comcast’s Service

Not everyone can call up a company’s CEO to bring up a complaint. But if you can, more power to you. Kudos to the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for doing what so many of us wish we could:

During his recuperation, he signed up for Comcast’s high-definition cable service, and one day he called Brian Roberts, who ran the company. ‘I thought he was calling to say something nice about it,’ Roberts recalled. ‘Instead, he told me “It sucks.”

-Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs, p. 489.

Quality Insults in History

Gibbon lobs a lot of quality insults in the Decline and Fall. Some of the best are hidden in his footnotes. Here is one from note 44 of Chapter XLVI, on p. 1534 of the edition I have:

[S]ee the Annals of Eutychius and the lamentations of the monk Antiochus, whose one hundred and twenty-nine homilies are still extant, if what no one reads may be said to be extant.

A Bit Drastic, But at Least They Correctly Identified the Problem

A barbarous solution to the barbarous problem of over-legislation:

A Locrian who proposed any new law stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and, if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled.

-Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, p. 1435.

I personally prefer peaceful solutions that reform the institutional rules that make over-legislating and over-regulation possible in the first place. But before the days of Douglass North and James Buchanan, this was apparently what people had to work with.

How to Change Trump’s Mind on Tariffs

It turns out the word “tariff” is of Arabic origin, according to Henri Pirenne, Economic and Social History of Medieval Europe, p. 145.

Dad Jokes in Economics

Even trade economists are not immune to making the occasional awful pun.

“Poland’s exports of golf carts to the United States were challenged on anti-dumping grounds… the Poles did not even play golf, so there were no domestic prices to work with: the Poles had put the cart before the course.”

-Jagdish Bhagwati, Protectionism (1988), p.51.