Per diem of a baseball player

Bruce Arthur: “For every day on the road, whether you are superstar Jason Giambi or his lesser-paid brother, Jeremy, you get a US$73.50 per diem. So, for a 10-day road trip, in addition to the standard two meals per day, each player gets US$730. It is enough for breakfast.”

Wow. That is some per diem.

Right Wing Envy

Jack Shafer: “A Nation writer who, say, wants to use humor or wit to make his point mustn't abuse gays, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, Ralph Nader, foreigners, women, the infirm, working stiffs, Indians, Mohammed (but Jesus is fair game), whales, or any cultural stereotype. This leaves him just one angle from which to compose his point: Stupid White Men. Such is the state of left journalism that Michael Moore has made a career out of painting and repainting this mono-mural.”

Right-wing journalism is so fun because it's in your face. Right-wingers are unafraid to call people idiotic because of their beliefs, rather than their intelligence. (Left-wingers, on the other hand, are unafraid to call people idiotic because of their lack of intelligence; right-wingers don't use intelligence of people as the basis of their opinions.) Left-wing journalism is boring because it is basically the same doom and gloom story we've heard since the 1970s.

I have right-wing envy. But then again, it could be the America-envy I've had since my first visit to Portland 2 years ago, which is now almost to the stage of jealousy after returning from my third visit.

Pension Plans in the Red

Financial Post: Most pension plans in the red, study says

This (old?) accountability study [PDF] says that "Auditor negligence is much more widespread than is reported in the Canadian media" (emphasis in original).

I wonder, referring to the Financial Post article, how much of the 'most pension plans' that have lost money in dollars compare to the pension fund dollars in total, rather than just number of pension funds. If most of the dollars-invested are losing money (or even if the proportion is significant), then alarm is waranted. But just saying that most pension funds lose money is not enough information to make a judgement.

And the reference to "losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars" is irrelevant. We need to compare that to the total amount the pension funds in question represent. Same as with the stock market: percentage increases/decreases are what's relevant here, not dollar-amounts.

Irregular Verbs irregular verbs

Being a big fan of the "trilogy" of five books, I need to explore the H2G2 site more.

My favourite character in Yes, Minister/Yes, Prime Minister is Bernard, who often was pedantic about figures of speech, and would annoy his colleagues with "another one of those irregular verbs".

P.S. "Irregular Verbs" would make a great blog title/domain name.

Kissy kissy

the kiss project

Against my better judgement, I'm probably going to submit my story. Don't worry. I'll let you know when (if?) it appears.

Related: Kisses Per Year (or 'KiPY')

My KiPY, it's sad and alarming, is above zero but below one. That's all I'm willing to admit.

Quannum Discriminating

I guess my favourite crew/record label, Quannum, is hiring an intern in the bay area. Don't know the duties (the email didn't say), but this struck me as funny:

"Quannum is a mostly equal opportunity employer, excluding losers/assholes, who we discriminate against all the time."

Dating since college

Why, oh why, have I had so much trouble finding a decent date since I left college?

“The real reason that you've had trouble dating since you left college is that you're fucked -- and not in good way either.”

  1. Yes, I'm totally fucked demographically (my current job is not dating-friendly, considering it's a small work-place with primarily older, and I mean older, women).
  2. I didn't have a fucked childhood. Sheltered, maybe. But not fucked.
  3. Yeah, I have unrealistic expectations originating from the media. Not like like the ones talked about there, but still.
  4. My friends are assholes for not introducing me to nice, single women in the way described there. It's mostly "hey, this is my friend Sue" with no enthusiasm or intent on saying why they think we'd get along. P.S. I'm talking about my friends who (I'm hoping) don't read this site.

I found this when I was looking for this in Google. Silly me, I had already linked it.

ICT Casualties Database

ICT Casualties Database

In the National Post June 22, 2002, on p. A20, Robert Fulford wrote a column explaining why the numbers of Palestinian and Israeli dead in the conflict mean little without context. Using Canadian NewsDisc (your local library might have a link to it, where all you have to do is type in your library card, and yes, you can access it from home), I found the article, and searching around I found the above-linked database.

It's a little too bad that there are no percentages listed on the database page, but simple calculation can get you the results you need.

At this writing: 78% of Israelis killed were non-combattants, whereas 39% of Palestinians killed were non-combatants; a very similar percentage of people aged 12-29 were killed (20.1% of Israeli dead, 21.4% of Palestinian dead); a way bigger percentage of Israeli dead were women (19.4% compared to 3.2%). A comparatively efficient 43.3% of Palestinian dead were combatants, compared to 19.4% on the Israeli side (I know that efficiency is a pretty clinical term to be describing this, and that defining combatant is a lot harder than defining non-combatant).

So, keeping in mind that this is a biased source of numbers (it would probably not define much of what the Israeli army is doing as terrorism, for example), which side are you on? Are you on the side of people who have, among the people the've killed, a larger percentage of them being non-combatants, a lower percentage of combatants killed (a surprising number and resulting percentage is the people killed by their own side), and a larger percentage of them being women? (The percentages of the relatively-young among the dead are both the same, and therefore no side can be taken in that respect). Or are you on Israel's side?

To be honest, the fact that I have to choose between terrorists and Ariel Sharon makes me a little queasy, so I'll do safe thing and side with Canada. I am a Canadian citizen after all.