Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can Someone Explain This To Me?

So in today's version of, "Can someone explain this to me," I present to you a road sign from St. Paul, Minnesota. Any idea what the hell it means?

Between "creepy-man-in-black-watches-you-here" and "pedophile-lives-in-this-house", I'm really at a loss. Is it a modern anthropocentric bus stop sign? Could it be a warning of local sex offenders? Maybe it's a way for singles to advertise: "What's missing in my life? A man, that's what!" But lastly...look where that bolt holds the sign to the post--OUCH!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Message from Barack Obama.

Will Someone Please Explain This To Me?

Top Cities for Business.

The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch released it's annual report of the Best and Worst Cities to do business in. The number one spot? Oh, come on guys, you should know this by now...Minneapolis!

Other top cities include Boston, Denver, Columbus and Washington D.C.. A mixed economy will always thrive in a city over a concentrated one. Look at Detriot (and no, that's not a misspelling): the entire city is based on cars, and it's facing 10% unemployment even with the possibility of a bailout. On the flip side, Columbus' main industries are healthcare, education, Government and insurance, four staples that aren't going anywhere. The same can be said for Minneapolis:

The [Twin Cities] area has managed to attract enough talent to support [UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), the country's biggest health insurer], as well as such legacy companies as industrial conglomerate 3M Co. (MMM) , food heavyweight General Mills Inc. (GIS) , insurer Travelers Cos. (TRV) and financial powerhouse U.S. Bancorp. (USB)

The Twin Cities are also home to retail giants Target Corp. (TGT) and Best Buy Co. (BBY), medical-device makers Medtronic Inc. (MDT) and St. Jude Medical (STJ), and big private firms Cargill and CHS. Cargill has replaced Kansas chemical maker Koch Industries at the very top of Forbes' rankings of the nation's biggest private firms.

Many of the region's companies are home-grown and have thrived in the environment. UnitedHealth, for example, was started in 1974 and now boasts $80 billion in annual sales.

Other companies have deeper roots, such as Traveler's in St. Paul, which got its start in 1853. It's been sustained in part by a highly ranked school system and the network of higher-education providers in the region.

"It's a very educated workforce," said Andy Bessette, Traveler's chief administrative officer. "The people here, the school systems, are very good."

Much like Columbus, Minneapolis has a wide array of industries that aren't going anywhere (unless people stop eating.)

Thoughts on Gay Marriage.

A friend of mine wrote this and I thought I would share.
I am not gay. I have never been gay. I likely never will be gay.

I'm also not married. Never have been, never expect to be. It's not my thing.

The truth is, I find marriage to be an archaic construct set in place long ago by organized religion in order to create fear of sex and sexuality so that said organized religions could then swoop in and say 'but if you have this ceremony, under our auspices,of course, then it's okay for you to have sex; otheriwse it's sinful and you'll burn in Hell'.

MY opinion and I don't demand that anyone agree with me. It's just what I think.

Does this mean I'm anti-marriage? Hell no. I think people should find joy and happiness wherever they can, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone on purpose. If marriage floats someone's boat, then I say go for it.

Does this apply to 'gay' marriage, as well?


I never have and never will understand any person, religion or political structure trying to administrate what 'kind' of love is acceptable and deserves to be recognized.

Should two men who've been together for years and who have built a loving, stable and permanent relationship have the same right to marry as a straight couple who met during a drunken night in Vegas and headed to a chapel ten minutes after that fateful meeting?

Hell, yes. In fact, a case could be made that straight people should have to prove their willingness to be committed and devoted to each other before they're ever granted a marriage license.

Now, let's consider that for a moment. Marriage License.

A document issued by a representative of a State's Government which declares that Joe Blow Straightguy and Jane Doe Straightgirl are legally entitled to enter into a binding contract which joins their lives forever... or until it gets 'too haaaaard' and they divorce. The only requirement for this license is that the people applying pay the fees, sign the paperwork and be of opposite genders.

There is no stipulation that the people thus applying even know each other, in some places.

And yet, take a gay couple-- male or female-- who have been together through thick and thin for decades. Maybe they even have kids, through whatever means. They CAN NOT marry because it's 'wrong' in the eyes of people who have likely been married more than once and sometimes don't want to take responsibility for the kids they have themselves.

Yes, that is an incredibly broad generalization. I'm aware of that. But it's still true, in some cases.

Now, some people say 'it's an abomination; it says so in the BIBLE! Marriage is between one man and one woman'.

Okay, this is a point. However, having read the Bible, it actually says marriage is between one man and however many women he can support. Homosexuality is an abomination, according to God, they say... but so is eating shrimp. And wearing linen and wool at the same time.

Call me crazy if you must, but linen and wool? A fashion nightmare, possibly, but an abomination? God says YES.

Enjoying a plate of Scampi? Well, clearly any Christian who's done that is going to Hell.

MY point is, if someone is going to fling about Bible passages in order to support their homophobic stance and determination to keep something like marriage 'theirs-theirs-theirs', it might carry a bit more weight to me and people like me if they actually followed ALL the rules set out in God's very own Handbook of Right and Wrong.

These people don't like gay marriage. Well, it isn't for them. It's for gay people, and it's not a threat to the 'sanctity' of straight marriages that rarely last in the first place.

But maybe that's the truth underlying all the overly dramatic outrage. The fear that if gay people are allowed to marry, they just might prove to be better at it than their straight counterparts.

Let's face it. Gay people aren't trying to REPLACE straight marriage with gay marriage. They're not saying 'oh, you cute little straight folks... now you have to marry people of your own gender even though you're not attracted to them'. If they did, the entire country--and maybe the world--would be up in arms and fighting a much more open and honest war than the one going on right now, which is composed of sly digs and proudly displayed ignorance on the parts of many people, both in the private and public sectors.

And yet, that's what we-- the Goverment as well as private and loud citizens-- are saying to gay people. We're basically saying 'well, you can get married, but not to anyone who isn't of the opposite gender, so nyah-nyah-nyah. Now, off with you. Shoo!'.

Gay people aren't telling the rest of us to turn gay. They're merely asking for the same rights as straight people to live and love and be happy while having the same RIGHTS.

This country, the United States, was founded upon the principle of SEPARATION of church and state. This says to me that making legal decisions, on a Federal or State level, based upon religious beliefs, is outside the charter of what this country is supposed to be all about.

Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. That's in the Declaration of Independence, right?

I don't remember any part of that document that says 'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal... unless, of course, they happen to be gay, in which case we can treat them like idiot children or maybe pets, and throw them crumbs from the table but never share the full meal'.

It DOES say that all men are 'endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights'.

It seems-- again, to me-- that if ALL men have certain UNALIENABLE rights and straight people can marry while gay people can't...?

Somebody's rights are definitely being denied.
Well said, Tistoo. :-)

Where Am I?

Ugh. My Google Reader has 326 unread updates from various bloggers. Gosh, I go into study mode for a few days and my internet life falls apart!

Anyway, I'll come back and update once finals are over. :-P

Thursday, December 4, 2008

History of Columbus' North Market.

So do you feel like reading 25 pages on the History of Columbus' North Market? I doubt it, but at this point I'm too lazy for substantial updates so I'm just posting my group's Planning Paper for our History of City Planning Class. If you're interested in the everything there is to know about The North Market, click on this link right here!

(This paper is the sole work of myself and my team members. No use, publication or reprinting of the paper can be used without written permission from the authors. It was written and submitted on November 26th, 2008 for Maria M. Conroy's CRP 643 Class at The Ohio State University.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How To Be Cool and Thrifty in Columbus!

So the economy's in the shitter yet you still want to have a good time. You're kind of screwed, huh? Well, luckily the little Jew that lives on my shoulder knows all the good spots throughout town where you can have a good time and still not break your wallet! So, tonight I present How to be Cool and Thrifty in Columbus! (Cool part not guaranteed, but the thriftiness is a sure thing!)

Mondays. So what if the week just started? You're hungry and you want a beer. The best place to hit? Swing by The High Beck in German Village. They offer free pizza on Monday! Heck, you don't even need to order the beer. Just stroll in and eat it up! However, if you're thirsting after a good pitcher of beer, they're pretty darn cheap. A Miller Lite Pitcher runs $6.75, and the rest of their draft--ranging from Blue Moon to Killians--are all available for $9.00. Cheap!

Tuesdays. Can it get much better than $1 Burgers? Not that I'm aware of! Over in the Park Street/Arena District, Bar Louie offers $1 Burgers starting at 10 and going until close. The crowd is casual yet the ambiance is relaxing. I'm not aware of any drink specials, but I'll forewarn you that they have a ridiculous amount of Beer. I'm sure you'll be quite satisfied!

Wednesdays. Call me prissy, but I hate eating wings. It's so much work! I'm far too lazy to have to eat around a bone. (Oh, wow, I can think of so many innuendos...anyway!). However, if your thing is wings, on Wednesday's Brothers has 10 Cent Wing night! Only requirement is that you have a student ID. Snag your friends, and order up a ton of wings! You'll be full for less than $2.00. And since domestics are only $1.00, you could walk out full, fat and drunk for less than $10.00! Nothing could be more American. Show your country pride and go to Brothers!

Thursdays. If you're a lady who loves to be surrounded by men who will shower you with praises, then Thursday is your best night to go out. Union Station in The Short North has $3 Long Islands all night and thus the place is packed. Gays for days! However, if you want to start the evening off with a little class, dress yourself up and head to Martini Modern Italian. From 4 -6 they offer incredible cocktails at only $3 a pop, plus they have half-price appetizers. The interior is gorgeous, so dress to impress. And ladies, if your self-esteem still hasn't peaked, finish the night off at Skully's for Ladies 80's! I personally don't care for the place, but then again I can't dance and I'm probably doing everyone a favor from abstaining. But still! Ladies get in free, and I'm sure with the crowd you'll continue to be fawned upon by men who will never want you. Success!

Fridays. Hyde Park and Eleven . Two of the most beautiful restaurants in town, both which offer a great happy hour. On Friday the gays invade Hyde Park and it's full 'til close. They offer $4 martinis and half-price appetizers, which is exactly what Eleven offers as well. And luckily the two restaurants are right next to each other, so in this cold weather you won't have much of a walk! These two happy hours runs from 4:30 - 6:30, but luckily Bristol Bar's goes from 6 - 8! Stop on in for $2 cocktails, drinks and shots.

This is barely scratching the surface of what Columbus offers as far as dining and drinking. However, if you're trying to keep within a budget, on this schedule you're bound to be happy. But if this list isn't enough to fulfill your boozing habits, here is a program that essentially lists every happy hour in town. While it doesn't tell which place has the best deals, you would have to be drunk for months in order to hit up every single one of these places.

Oh, and before I go, if you're going to drink--DO NOT DRIVE! Seriously. It's just not worth it.

Pizza, Carriages and Weddings.

I'm sure if there were a sanity test, none of them would pass.

"Tom Cruise is to merge his family with Victoria and David Beckham’s in a special ceremony. The ‘Valkyrie’ actor will hold the bizarre service – during which the families vow to be brothers and sisters and exchange heartfelt speeches - at his wife Katie Holmes’ New York town house. The gesture serves as a Thanksgiving present from Tom - who has two adopted teenage children, Isabella and Connor, with ex-wife Nicole Kidman and a two-year-old daughter, Suri, with Katie - to the showbiz couple. A source said: 'Tom and David have been friends for years and they and their families spend a lot of time together. This year Tom wanted to make a special gesture that would show how much he appreciates their friendship and he thought this would be the perfect way.'"
And just like any good celebrity living a life of luxury, the soon-to-be-family were spotted over the weekend eating pizza on a horse carriage. Gosh, I'm so jealous.

(Via TowleRoad)

Art Laffer is a Laugher!

Besides poor performance, what do Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley all have in common? Well, FOX news recommended them as "astonishingly well-run companies". That was just a year ago when Merrill Lynch was trading at $98 a share; today, at the time of this writing, it's at $11.56 a share. In that same broadcast they recommended Goldman Sachs at $175.00 per share, calling it the "Dolce-Gabana" and the "Creme de la Creme" of Wall Street. Today, it is at $65.00 per share. They said homeprices would be up 10% and they even said that 2008 would be the perfect storm for investing, calling the subprime crisis a "tiny problem". These nutcases were even stupid enough to recommend Washington Mutual as the best stock of 2008. To add to the hilarity (and insanity), they even had the gall to place an image of Champagne besides this proclamation!

(For some point of reference, Washington Mutual's failing is considered the largest bank failure in the history of the world. This bank failure is so astronomical in scope that the previous ten bank failures combined are not as big as WaMu going under.)

Peter Schiff is the only person among this group of clowns that realized the coming crisis. He is literally laughed at by Art Laffer, the idiot who convinced Reagan to cut taxes only for the rich and screw the rest of the country. They call Schiff off base, yet turns out, he was right. Schiff says it perfectly: "The basic problem with the US economy is we have too much consumption and borrowing and not enough production and savings. And what's going to happen is the American consumer is basically going to stop consuming...and when you have the economy at 70% consumption, you can't address those imbalances without a recession."

Watch the video, if you can do it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Simply Beautiful.


I don't want to admit it, I really don't. But, well...Britney Spears' new CD is...

...wait for it...

...actually...good. Seriously. Does this mean...she's "back"?

Bike Sharing Program in The US.

Remember when I lamented that bike sharing programs could never come to America? Well, I was wrong. And take a guess where it's coming...?
The mayor of Minneapolis is looking to join [European] cities' ranks and embrace [Minneapolis'] rising status as a bike-commuting town by dropping 1,000 bicycles into Downtown, Uptown and the University of Minnesota campus next spring.

Industry experts say technological advances have paved the way to make bike-sharing programs a reality. In Minneapolis, bikes would be secured in solar-powered docks, and bikes would be unlocked by a subscriber's key card.

The bikes Minneapolis would use were designed by Stationnement de Montréal, which, oddly enough, is Montreal's parking authority. The agency manages Montreal's paid on-street parking and public parking lots, and the company designed a bike-sharing program inspired by European programs already in place. Time magazine ranked Montreal's "Bixi" bike one of the 50 best inventions of 2008, and Montreal's program will also roll out next spring.

The Minneapolis bikes would have covered chains and gears internal to the hubs, so it's less easy for bikers to damage the three-speed mechanics. The broad frame is designed to be easy to clean and it has a large adjustable seat, a basket and a unisex design. Electric generation powered by movement of the front wheel would automatically light up rear lights on the bike.

Riders could take out the bikes for a half-hour at no extra charge. Annual subscriptions would cost $50–$75. The bike program is designed for quick one-way trips that are about one to three miles. Riders could check online to make sure bikes are available at the nearest dock, and when they arrive at their destinations, 1,500 more dock points than bikes should ensure there is space for bike returns. (In Barcelona, trucks redistribute bikes throughout the day to ensure adequate supplies.) Stations would be positioned about 400–500 meters apart so people theoretically wouldn't walk too far to reach their destinations.

The cost to install 1,000 bikes at 75 docks is estimated to be $3 million, and city officials have applied for a series of grants to pay startup costs. The City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation, the organization that runs the annual Loppet skiing event around the Minneapolis lakes, developed a nonprofit model that Minneapolis could use for its bike-sharing program.

Exact locations for bike docks aren't yet determined, but they would be movable. Consultants on the project say that will make our bike-sharing system a lot less expensive than the one in Paris, which has bike stations permanently entrenched in the ground. Minneapolis' bike stations would be removed during the winter.
I don't think I've ever been so happy to have been wrong.

Slumdog Millionaire Trailer.

Next Wednesday I will celebrate the end of the quarter by seeing this movie. I simply cannot wait.

Giant Spider Invades Liverpool!

You'd think it's a headline from Weekly World News...but it's the truth!

(Thanks Stacy for the link!)

Commercial Fail.

Last night I saw a commercial for "LovLube" which featured a Santa seducing a girl with a bottle of lube. LovLube's slogan?

"It's not just lube...it's love in a tube."

Classy, America. Real classy.