March 25th, 2013

Recent Activities Include: Playdate, Buildabear, In Which I Discover Ticket to Ride on the iPad

T. had a playdate, this time at his friend's house which is on a base. So that was not very exciting: the playdate was fun, and the friend's mother had the pass all prepped and ready to go at the gate for me. The friend's older and younger brothers hung out with us, and we had a ton of fun, altho the little guy conked out partway through.

Meanwhile, back at home, I asked R. and his mother to take A. to the mall to get her a Buildabear, since I had ordered one for T. and of course once he had his, it didn't seem fair for her not to have one also. I feel very mildly bad about not having the full experience for T., however, I wasn't sure how that would go. A. enjoyed it; C. even captured some of it with pictures and video on her phone.

At some point, I discovered that there was an iPad adaptation of Ticket to Ride, complete with 4 AI characters with distinctly different and internally consistent strategies. Unbelievable. I sometimes pretend that I am no longer the kind of person who thinks it's fun to go a party at some guy's house where we then all sit around and play European/German board games for 6-12 hours, fueled only by soda, terrible snack choices and the pizza that I wind up ordering because no one else in the room is prepared to actually make a phone call. I was never a regular at any of these parties. I swear. But I sure didn't ever have any trouble finding one when I wanted one, and I always knew more people there than the person I arrived with. My attempts to pretend I'm no longer like that went down like so many paper dolls in the face of high quality AI opponents; I don't remember much of the weekend, beyond feeling a lot of frustration associated with the tunnels coming out of Lugano.

ETA: C. came for a visit and it was very nice to have her. The kids had a ton of fun and were very sad when she left. I told them I'd try to arrange a visit in May (and we already have), but I think T. is still hoping she'll come back next Friday. And the kids actually ate burgers on Sunday evening. Food repertoire is expanding! (<-- Don't ask.)

This Needs a Drinking Game

I hesitate to give a specific example, because the problem is rampant.

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/thetell/2013/03/25/dijsselbloem-reversal-on-cyprus-shows-why-bank-run-fears-wont-go-away/

The idea of the game would be every time you could legitimately ask, "Compared to what?" you should, well, take a drink. I won't say that you need alcohol to make this stuff tolerable, just that it creates the temptation. Very, very effectively.

The first drink would be the idea that the Cyprus bail-in strategy could be repeated in other Eurozone member countries if appropriate, which was a gaffe ("truth told inadvertently where the wrong people would hear it") perpetrated by Dijsselbloem (every time this guy opens his mouth I like him more, and I'm actually not being sarcastic). What he said isn't drink-worthy -- the idea that that is a "verbal bomb", however, is.

What _isn't_ a verbal bomb if this is a verbal bomb? Compared to what?

The idea that the troika was "clumsy" -- compared to what? -- handling of Cyprus is definitely drinkworthy.

The idea that Dijsselbloem, whose leadership by all accounts has been consensus oriented, constraints based and protective of a very difficult decision making process, should be fired for that -- compared to what?

"needlessly raised the odds of bank runs across the periphery of the euro zone." compared to what?

"amplifying the potential for deposit flight the next time trouble flares up in a bigger euro-zone economy, such as Italy or Spain." compared to what?

"not least given that euro area policymakers appear to be making up the resolution processes as they go along" Because we've been down this path before with such great outcomes! COMPARED TO WHAT!?!

Every article about central banking, bailouts, financial shenanigans, etc. which attempts to make things scarier and worse than they are, and which criticizes needlessly the people who are doing the difficult work of trying to keep things working should be subjected to a relentless chorus of Compared to What.

With Drinks.

Mystery Redbook Subscription

A week or so ago, an issue of Redbook -- addressed to me -- showed up in my mailbox. This did not make me happy. I'm doing everything in my power to put a stop to paper. But whatever. I threw it in the recycling.

Today, _another_ issue of Redbook showed up. So I figured out how to cancel my subscription using their website and the account number on the mailing label. They say they've already mailed me the May issue, which means at least one more is likely to show up before this craziness ends.

I _hope_ the May issue is the end of it. But I'm honestly a little appalled by this. They seem to think that someone paid for this subscription (said I should contact whichever agent sold it to me) for a refund. But I did not. And I've noticed before when someone wanted to send me something similar for free, and really regretted agreeing to it (I think it was Parenting), so I know better than to put up with that.

If a friend of mine bought this for me as a gift, well, Thanks but No Thanks and please don't do that again. It isn't funny. Anyone else get this? Is Hearst desperate enough to juice their subscriber numbers this way?