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Update Menagerie March 24, 2010

Posted by Amir Roth in family, politics, society, sustainability.
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Just a few updates on some previous. Some are new events, some are new thoughts, and some are feedback from others too lazy or shy to use the official comment feature, but neither too lazy nor shy to use email. Hey guys, email is forever, just like blog comments! Just ask the University of East Anglia Climate Science group.

Regarding the taxation of vices to raise revenue and change consumer behavior, it appears that new health insurance bill includes exactly such a vice tax: a tax on indoor tanning! Perfect! Actually, indoor tanning is both a vice and a vanity. And the possibilities for vanity taxes are nearly endless. Elective cosmetic surgery. Fur coats. Tattoos. Piercings and other bod-mods. Jewelry. By the way, did you know that the environmental impact of gold mining is a significant fraction of the environmental impact of all mining because of the low concentration of gold in ore (high yield gold ore has one ton of gold for 200,000 tons for ore, in constrast high yield iron ore has one ton of iron for 2 tons of ore) and because of the use of cyanide leaching to extract the gold. But back to the list: Haircuts. Deodorant. Twitter. The mind reels.

Regarding super-sized refrigerators, my friend Ani, formerly of Bulgaria, informs me that “during communism, refrigerators were small and at the grocery store, you were not allowed to pick fruits and vegetables.” See? Communism wasn’t all bad! We should embrace the good aspects of communism (small refrigerators) rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Of course, there are some in this country that think we are adopting the baby, the bathwater, the bathtub, and the healthcare. But, hey, if it comes with smaller refrigerators and less food waste, I’m in. As for not being allowed to pick fruits and vegetables, I assumed what Ani means is that you were allowed to pick what kind of fruits and vegetables you wanted, but weren’t allowed to hand-pick the precise instances of the kinds of fruits and vegetables you wanted. Now that I think of it, markets in Israel were this way also when I was growing up. And not that I am advocating a return of top-down vegetable allocation policies, but really what is the marginal difference between allocated vegetables and hand-picked vegetables? 10%? 15%? And wouldn’t this margin be lower when you factor in that disallowing hand-picking not only disallows you from hand picking but also disallows all the other people that came before you and their unique blends of microbes from hand-picking? Sometimes increased freedom is not such a good thing. Anyways, I will have to fact check this with my father, also formerly of Bulgaria and Israel.

Regarding the corporate “school bus,” my mother (hi mom!) says that back in the day (it was a Wednesday), many Israeli companies operated their own shuttle service because few people owned their own cars and only one out of every three households had their own camel. Ah, the wisdom of the ageds! What goes around comes around! What once was lost now is found! Old is new! Corporate camels coming to a neighborhood near you!

Regarding my personal inspiration, Donna Simpson has been bumped by that bozo from Alabama who claims to lead an army of 1 milllion gun owners who are cleaning their guns right now and whose name I can’t seem to be able to Google or Bing for the life of me.

Finally, according to my daughter, one of the Seven Dwarfs of Snow White fame is Sleazy. Not Sleepy. Not Sneezy. Sleazy! How spot on. And really, aren’t all seven dwarfs sleazy? How else would you characterize a bunch of old men cohabitating with the fairest one of all? Speaking of the Seven Dwarfs, it used to bother me to no end that the story is officially called “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs“, even though the plural of “dwarf” is “dwarves.” Well, guess what? “Dwarves” is the plural of the mythical creature “dwarf” whereas “dwarfs” is the proper plural form of the real-life short-person “dwarf.” I guess that can mean only one thing, the Seven Dwarfs were actual people! Who knew? Now my rage at the mis-spelling of Dwarfs has been replaced by rage at the term “dwarf” itself. Real dwarfs don’t like to be called “dwarfs,” they prefer little people or LPs (a la Little People, Big World of TLC fame). If the Seven Dwarfs were indeed real people, shouldn’t the story be called “Snow White and the Seven LPs?”

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