Virgin Limited Edition...You can't afford it, but you just have to look around.


Seriously. I clicked over there to check out the newest toy - the Necker Nymph - posted by Gizmodo. You see, the Nymph is a 3 person sub that 'flies'. It is related to the sort of boats that http://www.virginoceanic.com/ will be using.

Oh, and it docks with the Necker Belle, Sir Branson's catamaran yacht.

Which ports at Necker Island - private, mind you.

And that is one of several resorts in Morocco, Verbier (The Swiss Alps...just go there now and look...you just have to), and on and on and on.

Look, the man is a billionaire and these sites are at this point money-makers for him I imagine, renting out at upwards of $100-200K a week. (They sleep a lot of people and staffed and food is included because there isn't a Wawa at 3,000m in Switzerland...and you are filthy stinking rich, so you have no use for such trifles).

Anyway, enjoy.


DSK Prosecution dropped...but if this was a strike, did it succeed?

So, first off, I understand that I should 'think horse, not zebra' on this one. But I cannot help it. The head of the IMF is captured on his way out of the hotel and to the airport. He's alleged to have raped a maid at the hotel. Big international scandal, DSK steps down, France gets to head the IMF, and then the case completely unravels. DSK's accuser lied to prosecutors, she lied to immigration officials, and the lies are about being raped - gang raped, actually. Prosecutors call the issues 'devastating' to their witness's credibility. They don't think she's lying, they just think they can't convince a jury of that.

So...if you're trying to oust DSK and install your own head of he IMF without having it land DSK in jail unjustly, congrats. You found just the right plant to do it. I'd if this was all being driven by some shady conspiracy, I just ought to know enough to realize it wasn't.

(For those not familiar with the phrase...doctors tell their students that when you hear hooves, think horse, not zebra. That is, when the evidence shows a cold or some rare disease, treat a cold.)


Nationwide Series is awesome Montreal. Keep it!


Just check out the action in that post.

First, I know. Another post about racing.

Second, at least it is not a review of the Vuelta a Espana or the even less interesting US Cycling Challenge, or whatever they have concocted out in CO.

Third, here we go:

Ambrose won his second road race in as many weeks. The Aussie rocks.

The relatively huge NASCAR cars look really awkward on this narrow road course generally the home of open wheel racers or 24-Le Mans style events. Still, watching these guys bounce over curbs and clang into each other...well, isn't that exactly what people tune in for? And because the corners are lower speed here, the 'crashes' aren't day ending, meaning time for more crashes. I'm all for it and thing that Montreal should re-up. Montreal is a great racing town and needs more high profile races.


Sometimes, the People of Walmart come through in a positive way. FTW

This was on People of Walmart. It is not a site I spend time on because it feels bad. Call me strange, but cringe humor that has more of the former than the latter is not my cuppa.

Anyhoo, this baby shows up there. It's awesome. Hats off. Isn't it nice to find a gem?

Happy Friday.


You know your eyeglass shop sends them to a lab, right? Do it yourself & save @eyeglasses.com

Sounds like an ad for www.eyeglasses.com, I know, but I just put lenses on a pair of rimless glasses AND a pair of rec specs (laugh if you must) for $230 ... shipped. Both require high impact poly-carbonate lenses for which I would normally pay $230/ea.

I was skeptical initially. I entered my full prescription data into the site, selected the lenses, asked their customer service people for advice, packaged up my glasses and sent them. To this point, I am doing exactly what your optometrist does, except I wasn't paying them as a middle man with a retail storefront.

If I sound exasperated, it is because I wandered into an eyewear store last month for a checkup. On the way out I stopped to get my first replacement pair. Cheap place. I thought, why not. 30 minutes later, I knew too well why not. My saleslady didn't understand lens materials, thicknesses, tint vs. polarization. Nothing. Just "These are thinner." Really? How much thinner for my prescription (modest)? "Dunno, but they are better." Ugh.

I went to Costco a week later and got better service and ended up with glasses at half the price. I am done with retail eyewear. So when it came to replacing lenses (Costco won't do these two), I needed a better option. Eyeglasses.com was recommended (Thanks Matt), and I am not looking back.

Ever see a German Wheel? This is harder...TRACES!

This is known as 'Ring Dance' by acrobatic troupe TRACES, currently in NYC. It's a single ring, permitting looser, faster tricks than the German Wheel. What is a German Wheel, you ask? Why this:


NPR's Reaction to is it's top 100 SciFi/Fant Book List...priceless.

So NPR ran a contest to see the most popular 100 Sci Fi and Fantasy books. 60K voters later, they had a list. Then they handed the reigns to Glen Weldon on their Monkey See blog for a reaction. Result...a splendid dissection of the content. That includes the first and obvious comment: Why are we even lumping Sci Fi and Fantasy together?

The one questions I still need answered: Cryptonomicon is Sci Fi/Fantasy? Really? Ever heard of historical fiction?


I think the guys who designed the front and back of the Olympic medals aren't on speaking terms....

These are the medals of the 2012 summer games. The left shows the front. The right shows the back. One of these things is not like the other - to the point that I find myself not liking the medals.

Now it is traditional for the front of the summer games medals to have the goddess on the front and the logo on the back, but medals like Beijing weren't so dischordant.

In contrast, the winter game medals are a free-f0r-all. Here are Turin and Vancouver:


I'll admit that the world might have needed Dirty Dancing, but I won't admit we need a remake...

News out of Lionsgate is that they are making the perfect dose of semi-serious camp that is Dirty Dancing over again. I think the best we can hope for is a scrubbing of all the class/ethnic separation themes and a complete ignorance of the abortion scene that were the only things to give the original any gravitas.

Oh, and if you've never heard, it, you must queue up Peter Segal's (host of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me) story of how his serious screenplay about love in post-revolution Cuba turned into 'Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights'. Find it in Act 3 of this 'This American Life' Show.


Forget the FOP, you now need a 'Thin Blue Line' Sticker.

So I have been seeing this sticker over and over and over all over the place. Turns out it is called the 'Thin Blue Line' and represents the 'thin blue line' of police protection that separates the public from, um, itself(?).

Anyway, if you're one of the cynical types that has a 'Fraternal Order of Police' sticker on your car so the po po choose to ding the guy next to you for speeding as you zoom past, you'll want to be adding this to your vehicular plumage.


There is a wave of positive story-writing coming out...are we ready for happy to be popular again?

Check out these two 'most popular' stories in the NYTimes yesterday:

Friedman imagines what the debt ceiling deal could have looked like. Seriously, it will make you wistful if there is a reasonable bone in your jaded body.

And then there's Rachel. She isn't a new story, but in her untimely death, she motivated adults to donate almost a million to charity:water. Again, for the story to get this kind of play indicates that perhaps we're ready to turn a corner on the acrimony.

Am I hoping against hope?

Want to hear jaded? If hope gets popular, guess who benefits?


First 787 delivered by Boeing, 4 years late. Ouch.

Boeing delivered (not tested, flew, etc.) the first of its new aircraft, the 787 this week to Japanese carrier All Nippon Air, or ANA. Here's a history of the craft to this point.

One could scoff at the delays given that the plane looks like, well, a plane. The shape masks some pretty big changes. First, the shape is not a classic Boeing shape. Rather, it looks like the Cessna Citation with a downturned nose that is more prevalent in newer designs.

Second, you can see in the photo above that the wings don't have winglets- the upturned bits at the end. Actually, that's not so much a lack of appendages that reduce wind disturbance at the tip, but a complete redesign of the wing from a basically flat slab to an arched design that more closely resembles the organic shape of a bird's wing in flight.

Third, see the squiggly back end of the engines? That feature reduces noise and eases airflow on a set of engines that were redesigned (twice actually) from the ground up to be 30% more efficient.

All good. If you want to be a cynic though, I have to permit it. After all, Boeing managed to roll out its newest 747, the 8F between the start and end of the 787 project, borrowing a lot of the tech. And, of course, the 747 project was in part Boeing's response to the Airbus A380 megajumbo (it's 2 stories). I saw an A380 land at LAX. I just stood there and watched. It's so big it looks a little impossible. That airframe also has curved wings, composite body components, and upgraded engines. It took less time than the 787 even though it required airport retrofits to accommodate the number passengers getting on and off.

Oh well. Enjoy!

Diana Nyad, Godspeed and may we see you in Key West in 2 days' time.

Diana Nyad is attempting the 103 mile swim from Havana to Key West. The waters are calm and she's in the water. She actually has to swim quite a bit farther than 103 miles to handle currents.

You can see a lot more detail in this video: http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/25925304


S&P Downgrade of the U.S. 4 days after debt ceiling deadline. Really? Are you dumb or cowardly?

Standard and Poor's - they of the eponymous 500 - downgraded U.S. debt from AAA to AA+ on Friday. That means that U.S. borrowing could need to pay higher interest to offset the new risk.

S&P has been criticized for this, probably by many who have seen the move as 'unpatriotic.' Let's forget that and ask two simple questions:

1. Why did it take until Friday?

The debt ceiling deadline was Tuesday. The deal got done Tuesday. S&P claims it is concerned about the politicization of the debt ceiling process. Fair enough. I have concerns too. But those concerns were, if nothing else, lessened by Friday. If S&P really believed that the process created risk, why did it leave investors to twist in the roiling winds of the market this week before making its assessment?

2. Did S&P pay any attention to the market this week?

The DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average) gave away all the value it gained this year, tanking 500 points Wednesday and barely bouncing back by Friday. Where did investors go as stocks (equity) dove? They went to bonds, specifically Treasuries. So the market players are still saying that U.S. Treasuries are the low-risk investment of choice. They clearly don't see the risk S&P sees.

And, again, if S&P throughout this months-long process thought the U.S. was riskier, didn't it have an obligation to speak up before the market tanked and investors would predictably head to Treasuries?

Instead, S&P downgraded Friday, after the market reaction to the resolution of the debt ceiling fight played out. That way, their downgrade would have little to no effect on the market. If so, what is the point of the rating at all now that market participants have shown their preferences? S&P, if you are to have any value at all, how about a rating when it matters?


The Keen Newport - Ode to the Greatest Shoe I Have Ever Owned

The Keen Newport sandal.

I bought the Keen Newport at Hudson Trail Outfitters just days before setting out on my honeymoon in the summer of 2005. While spending 13 hours a day, 6 days a week in the library studying for the bar, I had planned a month-long journey to southeast Asia including hiking, scuba diving, and lots and lots and lots of walking. Why southeast Asia? Well, there were literally no seats to Europe at the end of July. None. In fact, we had to fly back to NY instead of DC because those were the last 2 seats left from Tokyo.

When I got home from the bar (it was in Roanoke, VA, 3.5 hours south of D.C.), we had a week to pack. The wife and I needed shoes that could do hot, wet, cold, dirty, salty, and muddy, while staying comfortable and putting up with the miles. We hit on Keens. And we paid full price. And I didn't like it, but I needed shoes.

A month later, I would have paid triple happily. Some reasons why:

Crossing the street on the way to Chumpon - Chinatown in Ho Chi Minh city - yes, they have a Chinatown, I was looking up at a health clinic and kicked a bag of offal. It burst and sent whatever the hell its contents were all over the street. If you've never been to a third-world city, you don't really get what modern plumbing, street cleaning, and smog reduction do for a place. Needless to say, the bag contained the diametric opposite of that. In an open sandal, I would have veered into the nearest god-knows-what-I'd-find and scrub down thoroughly for around 30 minutes to insure I didn't get an infection. Instead, we both exclaimed that it was gross, thanked the Keen gods, and went on our way.

A week and half later, we were hiking into the mountains to the Hmong village. I've blogged about this recently in regard to the game we saw played there. Everyone else on the trip packed socks and hiking boots + sandals for heading into waterfalls. We packed 1 light pair of shoes and never changed. They dry up real quick in 100 degree heat.

Then it was back to the south of Thailand for a week on the beach and in and out of boats learning to scuba. No stubbed toes against air tanks, no splinters from the deck, no problems period.

Since then, I have put about 1000 miles on these shoes heading on 5-12 mile walks to the zoo, to work, to museums. On trips, I've worn them as I got muddied up to my knees in a hike to the top of dormant volcano that is Saba and then spent the next 3 days washing them in sea water off the back of a diving boat. I've slipped them on a hundred times to head out with my daughter.

And I think this is finally it for them. I've worn nearly all the rubber off the ball and heel of the shoes. The straps have pulled at the foam footbed so often that they've created wiggle space. These shoes, in a word, have lasted much longer and held up much better in that time than any shoe I have ever owned.

So this week, their replacements are coming. A new pair of Keen Venice sandals. Here's hoping for another 6 great years. Heck, I'll take 3.

Is Danica Patrick Just a Pretty Face?

Danica Patrick could make the move full-time to the NASCAR Nationwide Series (this is the AAA ball of NASCAR, usually run the day before the Sprint Cup). She is, of course, well known in and out of the sport as the GoDaddy.com girl. For me, two questions loom:

(A) Is she any good?
(B) Does it matter?

Is She Any Good?
Kinda. There are a lot of people racing in Indy Car and the NASCAR Nationwide series - the two places she races today. She races a full Indy Car schedule, so lets look there first.

Danica's Indy Car Stats. She had a great year in 2005 and has come down from that a bit in recent years, but this year is on pace to match 2010, when she ranked 10th overall. She is currently 11th. In perspective, there are 43 drivers, but only about 20 of them run the full schedule, so she's in the middle of the pack. That puts her above everyone you've never heard of and below everyone you have (or might have...Dario Franchiti, Scott Dixon, Sam Hornish, etc.). So she ain't bad, but she's bringing up the middle of the pack.

The story is the same in Nationwide. She's 27th overall, but she has run just a 1/3 of the races - 6 in total. In points, she well outclasses other drivers with 6 races, and, in fact, drivers with 7,8, and 9 races, except Sam Hornish - her Indy Car rival. If we 'annualized' her points (i.e. assumed she'd have the same proportion of points if she'd run 21 races), she'd have 623 points, putting her in 7th place. That's not bad, but I should note that it is again just over 1/2 way up the list of 16 drivers that have run a full Nationwide schedule.

So Does It Matter That Danica Be Good?
This is fuzzier. NASCAR wants a good woman driver. Second, being a popular NASCAR driver is arguably just as important as being good. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had several poor seasons. Tony Stewart is not at the top of the points standings. Carl Edwards has only again become a contender this year. Jeff Gordon, again spotty for a few years. All are more popular than Jimmie Johnson, who has won the points standings in NASCAR 5 years running. So personality and marketability, coupled with a respectable race record might be enough.

If I may, I would like to point out that great women drivers exist already. Ashley Force Hood - daughter of John Force, placed second overall in the NHRA Funny Car standings in 2009 on her father's team. No girls' division, no minor league ball. This was the big show and she killed it week after week on the line and the shifter. Then again, that was a small media market, so she hasn't gotten her due.

So I think Danica could become a popular NASCAR driver and is good enough to make a respectable showing and that might be all it takes.

When under pressure, soccer goalies dive right 75% of the time; shots still 50/50


I don't know that I buy the explanation of why they dive right. It appears to be pure conjecture in the piece, but I'd love to understand it better.


Baca, Hinchey, and Moore didn't vote on the debt ceiling bill. Really? Didn't have anything to add to this one?

Representatives Baca (CA 43), Hinchey (NY 22), and (WI 4) didn't vote on the Debt Ceiling bill. Just didn't vote. I mean, I am kinda sick of the whole thing, but seriously, you're a representative. There is no more national a conversation than the debt ceiling for the last month. Vote YEA or NAY, but for the love of god do some representing!

Am I missing an angle here?