Friday, May 3, 2013

a comment

1. An NBA player recently came out as gay, and I'm repeatedly reading that he is the first player in American major team sports to do so.

I have a firm recollection, however, of an NFL player doing the same some years ago. I cannot remember his name, or anything else about it, except that the interview with him discussed life among the naked men in the locker room. About which I believe he just said it was cool, not a big deal.

Perhaps this player was retired already at the time of the announcement? Would that excuse him from the uniquenesses claimed for Jason Collins?

2. Yglesias says there's no housing boom in Silicon Valley.

Indeed there is not; the person he's responding to means a price boom, which there certainly is. The cause, however, is not an influx of new workers, but a reduction of the housing stock because rich foreigners are coming in and buying houses at higher-than-asked prices as investments. I don't think they're renting them out much, either. The result is that it's even harder than it was before to find a place to live here, and even harder to buy one.

Why there is no boom in housing stock is the more interesting question, and I think the answer is 3-fold. a) Because the shortage is artificially engineered, it's hard to take seriously over the long-term process that urban planning requires. b) Most of the available land for housing is already built up, and authorities are deeply reluctant to use eminent domain to condemn existing, non-decrepit housing in a suburban region with little past history of urban redevelopment (though there has been some in commercial areas, notably in downtown San Jose and at "Whiskey Gulch" in Palo Alto). c) Transportation infrastructure. Our roads are at about full carrying capacity, and we can't afford to build denser housing without tearing all the roads up for rebuilding too, which is beyond economic imagination at this point.

3. A few days ago I posted my first-ever comment on The Comics Curmudgeon, because it was the first time I thought of something to say that it didn't turn out that somebody else had thought of it first.

And I got a couple replies in the same tongue-in-cheek "let's see what happens if we take this goofy strip seriously" mode I'd written in.

That was fun.

How different from a site I used to hang out at, where, if you said something unobjectionable they'd just ignore the opportunity for conversation, and if there was anything to disagree with they'd all gang up and abuse you. And to think I used to admire those people, or consider their company in any way desirable.

4. Our vacuum cleaner, which was seven years old, has given up the ghost. (I guess they don't make them like they used to.) B. went out and bought a Dyson machine, expensive but on sale. This particular model is the smallest floor vacuum they make, and probably designed for smaller places than ours, but B. likes the idea of one she can easily carry up and down stairs. It needs a lot of maintenance, but it's highly modular, and so easy to put together than even the instructions from the Ikea School of Cryptic User Manuals did not entirely defeat my efforts to do so.

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