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Unisex human names getting worse

SEATTLE, Washington - Just Jared reports on Gossip Girl stars Blake Lively and Penn Badgley strolling around New York City.

Which one's Blake and which one's Penn?

UPDATE: Two of the other stars of Gossip Girl are Chace Crawford and Leighton Meester.


XM/Sirius merger and the "public interest"

SEATTLE, Washington - The seventeen-month hostage crisis otherwise known as the XM/Sirius merger approval is finally over. Piles and piles of silly rhetoric were spilled by opponents of the merger over that time, the most annoying of which involved assertions that the merger was not in the "public interest". Anytime you saw someone raise the specter of the "public interest", you knew one thing for sure: their complaint had nothing to to with the "public interest". Bryan Caplan at EconLog captured the spirit of this when discussing the price freeze and 24-noncommercial-channels mandate:

Yes, that's right. A price freeze for firms that are losing so much money they still might go bankrupt. And a legal requirement to carry a bunch of stations hardly anyone wants. It's a classic case of Orwellian "pro-consumer" regs that discourage innovation and equate "the public interest" with "that which does not interest the public."

One of the most odious "public interest" hucksters was Georgetown Partners, a minority-owned equity firm with broadcasting interests that viciously lobbied that a condition of the merger should be (brace yourself) a requirement that 20% of SIRI/XM's spectrum be forcibly leased to a minority broadcaster. All in the public interest, of course.

Georgetown Partners: Launch your own fucking satellites.


How bicycle pedals financed Nazi pseudoscholarship

SEATTLE, Washington - I'm currently reading The Master Plan by Heather Pringle, a book about the Ahnenerbe, a racial-studies institute founded by Himmler in 1935 that was eventually folded into the SS.

The Ahnenerbe did a lot of archaeological digging and rune-studying to attempt to prove that Aryans/Nordics performed much of the civilization-founding around the world. Hitler was not too gung-ho on this stuff and Himmler needed to scratch about for some additional funding.

He found a nice source of revenue for the Ahnenerbe - selling reflective bicycle pedals. Himmler got word that Anton Loibl, a former chauffeur for Hitler, had recently developed a reflective pedal. Some other guy had recently developed a similar pedal and applied for a patent. Himmler acted quickly: he buried the other guy's patent application, greased the skids for a patent application by Loibl, and got a traffic law passed that required the pedal on all new bicycles.

Well-financed expeditions around the world soon followed.


On the "crosswalk flags" in West Seattle

SEATTLE, Washington - I don't have much of an opinion on whether the little yellow crosswalk flags in West Seattle have merit, but I do know this: the containers holding the flags are not trash bins. Feel free to stop throwing your trash in them.


Do not break the momentum at WS Whole Foods site

SEATTLE, Washington - The heavy equipment has started the beneficial destruction at the Whole Foods site in West Seattle. Good.

To the person driving the equipment: if some neighborhood type comes up to you, and expresses concern over whether the apartment building to be built will have a catenary arch or a lancet arch at its entrance, and that this issue is of great importance to the character of the neighborhood, and suggests you should stop working until some community meetings are held to discuss this... just ignore them and keep working. You're doing the right thing.


West Seattle - excitement every weekend

SEATTLE, Washington - We had a street fair all last weekend, and now a PARADE this weekend? Wow, the party never stops. I was going to go to the Sequim Lavender Festival this weekend to add some spice to my life, but hey, don't have to.


My alarm clock turns 10 years old

SEATTLE, Washington - As best I can tell, my cat turns 10 years old this month. (Or last month, or next month). She's achieved so much in that time, like eating any flower or plant I attempt to display in the house, and waking me up right at the crack of dawn every day, without fail, for a hit of canned food.

Probably, many more years of this await me - besides a broken leg suffered on Christmas morning 1999 she's been perfectly healthy. She's lived in 6 states with me, she's flown more in her life than my mother, she's in it for the long haul.


Zoning Junta appeasement whack-a-mole for West Seattle Whole Foods

SEATTLE, Washington - In a freer world, I'd have a shiny new Whole Foods a block from my house today. As it stands, the developer, BlueStar, is receiving another round of bludgeoning from the dozen or so community activists who've realized they can have fun designing every last detail of a $65M construction project without investing a penny.

BlueStar sent an operative to a recent neighborhood meeting to beg for mercy regarding some recent design changes. I won't re-hash it all here, but it's the usual stuff - what happened to the roofline, what happened to the storefront, what happened to the plants, what color is the roof, what material is the roof, where are the balconies, there's too much parking, there's not enough parking, let's study the shading some more, on and on.

Regarding "what happened to the towers", BlueStar noted that the towers were removed per their last meeting with the Zoning Junta. The desire for towers waxes and wanes with the moon.

Even though they're already digging away at the site, another Zoning Junta meeting is set for August 14 to further ponder the roof resins and street buffers. BlueStar has even hired Vlad Oustimovitch, who appears to be the Winston Wolf of West Seattle design issues, to help get the developer and the "community" on the same page.

As I've said before, I don't think subjective design aesthetic issues should be subject to community review. Check for safety, check for compliance with regard to building height, etc., and that's that. I'll be able to see the thing from my living room window, and I still don't think the "community" should be dictating aesthetics to the developer. Surprise me.

I mentioned all of this to the operative at the BlueStar booth at the street fair this weekend, and I shan't say what he said to me but he didn't say I was crazy.


Blue Man Group can't wear saggy pants in Flint, MI

SEATTLE, Washington - Relevant-in-another-era Flint, Michigan is putting a fresh interpretation on their disorderly conduct and indecent exposure statutes that will allow them to wage war on saggy pants. This should put Flint back on the map.

Best of all (as several Reason commenters noted), the Detroit Free Press graphic explaining the new interpretations has put the saggy pants and exposed buttcracks on shiny blue humanoids, presumably to steer clear of any racial prejudgment regarding who might be more likely to be "sagging".


I'm bringing down a whole stock sector

SEATTLE, Washington - If I make it to the end of the month at my house it will be 24 months living at the same address - the longest such streak for me since 1992.

See the stock chart below - U-Haul was expecting me to move around June 1st. I'm surprised they didn't just send a van over without me even calling them.

I'll have to start peeking at the real estate listings.


iPhone/Apple myopians

SEATTLE, Washington - In New York one of my co-workers whipped out his iPhone. "You have one of these?" I was asked. No, I don't. "Oh, you're waiting for the 3G, huh?"

To these myopians there are two kinds of people, those that have an iPhone and those for whom the purchase of an iPhone is imminent. I'm not buying an iPhone. I have no interest in general in Apple's overpriced gear. I have a years-old, crappy iRiver mp3 player on which I put talk shows.

Different perspectives of "nearness"

SEATTLE, Washington - I golfed at the Bellevue Muni the other day, and one of the guys I got paired up with lived right across the street from the course. As he was talking to another Bellevue guy about their housing situations he noted that one of the things he liked about his location was that it was "near everything".

Not only is the Bellevue Muni not "near everything", but I'm having trouble thinking of even one thing that is "near" it.


Looks like Anne Hathaway snitched on her boyfriend

SEATTLE, Washington - Anne Hathaway's very-recently-ex-boyfriend Raffaello Follieri is in the hoosegow, and one of his friends is speculating that Hathaway snitched on him. It would figure, a chick living high on the hog on her boyfriend's dirty money then selling him out as soon as things sour.

"It makes sense," the friend said. "She's referred to as his former girlfriend in the indictment even though her spokesman never confirmed they broke up."

Hathaway, who is not identified by name in the criminal complaint, split with Follieri shortly before his arrest last week. He is charged with posing as an agent of the Vatican to fleece investors out of millions.

Shady Vatican-related investment schemes - wasn't this the plot of The Godfather Part III?

Found at I Don't Like You in That Way

Will Charbucks get the chop in West Seattle?

SEATTLE, Washington - Charbucks has announced plans to close 600 U.S. market stores - good to see that Howard Schultz is willing to rattle the cage above and beyond getting rid of the warm breakfast sandwiches.

The press release notes that 70 percent of the closures will be stores opened since the beginning of FY 2006 (which is October 2005 for Starbucks) and well well, we have two Charbucks (at least!) right in the neighborhood that have opened since then - the "Rainier Roaster" Charbucks on Fauntleroy and the former Infinity Espresso location.

The "Rainier Roaster" location was allegedly a Kenny Rogers Roasters previously - perhaps if Charbucks folds up that store a Boston Market or Krispy Kreme will open there to continue the tradition of bloated, overexpanded chains at that location.