22 August 2007

High comedy

From Edes' column on yesterday's Sox win:

Ortiz was still light on his feet after the game, dancing in the buff
back and forth in the shower room while singing over and over at the
top of his lungs the theme from "Monday Night Football."
"Dah-dah-dah-DAH, dah-dah-dah-DAH," sang Ortiz, apparently jacked up
that the team's fantasy football draft was about to commence as soon as
he could find a towel.

12 August 2007


Orioles colour guy as Aubrey Huff steps in against Schill:

Huff has faced Schilling innumerable times. [pause] 39 at-bats coming into this game.



I've just read Freakonomics (which is awesome, by the way) and it has left me thinking about incentives in every day lives. Steve Levitt (the economist half of the authorship duo) likes thinking about social incentives in addition to the traditional concept of money. I saw an example today of how a monetary disincentive counteracted a social incentive.

In most coffeeshops in the UK you are charged an extra 20 or 30 pence to "eat in" as opposed to "take away".  Presumably this is to pay for occupying the space and for somebody to clear your dishes when you're done. In the US, on the other hand, you pay the same price to get your Starbuck's in a paper cup and leave the store as you do to get it in a mug and sit down to enjoy it. In the latter circumstance I usually bring my dirty dishes to the counter or the bin, whereas in the former I (in a sense, deliberately) leave my dishes at the table. There's obviously a social incentive to clean up after yourself in public, but it's completely abrogated by the fact that I've now paid somebody else to do it.

So who cares? Well probably nobody: the coffeeshop makes more than enough in "eat in" surcharges to pay for somebody to bus the tables, and the customers feel that they're paying for a reasonable service.

02 August 2007

Does anyone speak Australian?

Nico received the following email from his Aussie cousin when he invited him down to the coast for the weekend. With five of us on the case we managed to eventually decode it:

Pretty banged up today, dropped 200 pounds last night. Ouch. [Interpretation A: had a substantial amount of body-mass carved off and is left in serious physical pain. Interpretation B: Had an expensive night out and is left without much cash.]

Surf sounds promising, I might have to make an appearance. [pretty straightforward]

I'll just need to find a lazy hunge to make it. Got a spare steamer?

This last, of course, is where it went into the woods. Turns out a hunge is £100, so he needs to scratch together some dough to make it down the coast. Finally, a steamer is a wetsuit. Fair enough when you have the internet at your disposal, but how the hell are you meant to carry on a conversation?