Five Blogs and a Book

Disney

 

 

 

I’m still in sunny Florida standing on line with the kids at Disney.  So no combing the frugalosphere for tips this week.  Instead, here are some largely pointless but weirdly amusing links you might enjoy.

 

 

Cheaper and easier than college:  Smugopedia

A place I could have put my last four posts, but didn’t: Halfbakery

Laugh at missing limbs: PhotoshopDisasters

One the most famous books nobody has actually read: All Work

A blog about stuff that could be called neat, but is mostly weird: Neatorama

And winner of this month’s WTF prize, blog division:  Scanwiches

 

Feel free to add a link to your own favorite dark corner of the web in the comments.

I’ll be back to my old tricks Monday.

King Francis: Marriage

FrancisI I’m on vacation this week, taking the little Curmudgeons to Disney World.   So I am lightening the blog load by posting some somewhat off-topic items that I wrote in advance.   Since I may literally be in Fantasyland when you read this, I am taking as my theme one of my favorite fantasies, that I am King of America and can rearrange things as I see fit.  Today, the topic is government recognition of marriage.

When I am king, there shall be no government sanctioned marriages.  Adults may have whatever domestic arrangements they like, blessed or not by the religious organization of their choice, but this will have no impact on their legal rights, the taxes they pay, or the benefits they receive from any government program.

Every time I see or read some impassioned friend or foe of same-sex marriage make their case I keep asking myself why so much energy goes into  something so entirely symbolic.   It is as if the concept of a marriage license was invented just so we could have something to fight over.  So I say  enough.  Do what you like.  It’s a free country.  (Except that it is ruled my me, your king.)

King Francis: Our Currency

FranceofFrance I’m on vacation this week, taking the little Curmudgeons to Disney World.   So I am lightening the blog load by posting some somewhat off-topic items that I wrote in advance.   Since I may literally be in Fantasyland when you read this, I am taking as my theme one of my favorite fantasies, that I am King of America and can rearrange things as I see fit.  Today, the topic is our paper money and coins.

I hereby decree that soon as possible, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will revert  to the paper money designs in use in 1990.  The current designs are embarrassing and lack gravitas.  How can we get people to take saving and the value of a dollar seriously when the five has a giant purple “5” on the back?

This multi-colored atrocity was put into place because it was thought to be much harder to counterfeit.  That may have been a legitimate goal twenty years ago when this nonsense started, but today anybody with a $500 scanner/printer and some expensive paper can make a passable copy of any bill.  It won’t be perfect, but it will be plenty good enough to buy lunch at McDonalds.

And if we are serious about getting rid of the $1 bill, possibly the least valuable paper bill currently produced in the developed world, we need to stop printing them.  People will get used to dollar coins pretty quickly if the alternative is getting a pocketful of quarters in change.  We can reuse the iconic portrait of Washington on the twenty or the fifty, as neither Jackson nor Grant really deserve that much adulation.

We also need to stop making pennies.  The fact that it costs the mint more than one cent to make something they then sell for one cent isn’t as funny as it once was.  (Okay, so it’s still a little funny.)  At the height of the commodity price bubble it actually made good business sense to melt pennies down for their copper and zinc.  (Which is illegal, by the way.)  We stopped minting half cent coins in 1857.  They were then worth about 12 cents in today’s money.

King Francis: Spam

FrancisII’m on vacation this week, taking the little Curmudgeons to Disney World.   So I am lightening the blog load by posting some somewhat off-topic items that I wrote in advance.   Since I may literally be in Fantasyland when you read this, I am taking as my theme one of my favorite fantasies, that I am King of America and can rearrange things as I see fit.  Today, the topic is email spam.

Henceforth, there will be a federal tax of 1/100 of a cent on every email sent to a US email address. Each citizen will receive an annual $1 credit, meaning that the first 10,000 emails they send in a year will be free.

Poof.  No more spam.

Well, at least no more ads for male enhancement pills and desperate entreaties from relatives of deposed African dictators.  Legitimate businesses may find that sending emails to a relatively focused list of recipients is worth the $100 per million cost.  We can live with that.

King Francis: Airline Security

FranceofFrance I’m on vacation this week, taking the little Curmudgeons to Disney World.   So I am lightening the blog load by posting some somewhat off-topic items that I wrote in advance.   Since I may literally be in Fantasyland when you read this, I am taking as my theme one of my favorite fantasies, that I am King of America and can rearrange things as I see fit.  Today, the topic is airline security.

I hereby decree that for the next six months all airlines will divide their flights randomly into two types, safe and unsafe.  All airports will be similarly divided.  Passengers will have the option of booking travel on either side, the half with long lines to have your toothpaste confiscated and socks inspected, or the dangerous side, which will recreate the security precautions of the late 1970s.

After the six month period, the security regime with more business will become the new standard going forward.  I don’t think there is much question as to which level of security will win.   I am sure we can find something useful for the unemployed TSA inspectors to do.

If you missed it, there was a great article in The Atlantic last year about the “security theatre” going on at our airports, to great expense and inconvenience.  (I even used it as an analogy in this clever post.)  What we are doing now is both largely ineffectual and yet still hugely disproportionate to the threat of terrorism.  Why do we do it?  I think that’s a complicated bit of group psychology, but part of it is that a lot of us assume that although we personally would prefer not to have this level of security, everybody else is happier with it.

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