Archive for April, 2011

April 30, 2011

What’s worth $1,000 an inch?

by Me

A portion of the funds needed to build a planned $600 million busway between Hartford and New Britain was approved by the state bonding commission, reports, though it did meet some opposition.

According to The Connecticut Mirror, Sen. Andrew Roraback voiced some concerns over the project, the cost for which the state will foot $113 million.

Though he professed to be “not very good at math,” Roraback, the Mirror reports, said the project would cost $952 per inch of busway.

That, dear readers, is as dumb as it gets. Is the busway to be made out of gold? Will there be wait service and champagne cocktails?

Roraback’s point is well taken, and he wins the award for least dumb legislator (should such an award be created). Just for fun, let’s do the math on some other projects, and see how much they cost on an incremental basis.

Empire State of Inches

– At 1,454 feet, or 17,448 inches from base to lightening rod tip, The Empire State Building cost $40,948,900 to build in 1931. That’s $2,347 per inch in 1931 dollars, or $31,480 per inch by today’s standards.

Big Heads

– Mount Rushmore (the monument, not the 1960s band) features the heads of four U.S. presidents, each head a whopping 60 feet in height. The project cost $989,992 to build, or $4,125 per foot, per head, by 1941 standards, when the monument was completed. Today, each head would have cost $63,176.57 per foot.

Cost per bullet

– According to one blog, the United States fires about 100 million bullets in Iraq in each year, at least as of 2004. The (reverse) Roraback Math Method: A 50-round box of 9mm bullets costs about $9 at Wal-Mart. That’s 18 cents per bullet, or $18,000,000 worth of bullets fired each year in Iraq.

Conclusion? A bit less than $1,000 per inch for a busway seems a steal.

April 28, 2011

Yo, I’m the Mayor of Danbury and I’m here to say …

by Me

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton thinks he’s cool, or he wants the kids to think he’s cool, but like all older people trying to navigate the world of youthful slang, he doesn’t come off looking cool, he comes off looking dumb.

Apparently Boughton, who says he’s been using Twitter since 2008, likes to refer to himself as the Notorious B.I.G.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, when announcing a new app for the iPhone that will allow city residents to share their municpal concerns, he used the hashtag #BigPoppagotanewtoy. Seriously. Check it out by CLICKING HERE.

Are there any similarities between Boughton and B.I.G.? You be the judge.

“I goof around and talk about American Idol, but then I can also use it to communicate with residents in real time about important issues,” is what Boughton told The Journal, which means he looks pretty lame to all those hep cats and cool chicks (words he’d probably use) he’s trying to attract.

Boughton, by all accounts, is pretty smart, but using rap terminology makes him look, well, the opposite.

Boughton’s not the only one who uses modern entertainers as vehicles on his Twitter feed. U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, tweeted the following on Feb. 17:

“Oh wait…just heard what Biebs said about abortion. Ugh. #timetobequietagainjustin #bieberfevercured”

Earlier that month, apparently attempting to garner the votes of residents 5-years-old and younger, he Tweeted this:

You know, these two do look somewhat alike.

“Every episode of Thomas the Train has a major accident. DOT needs to shut this shoddy RR down ASAP.”

Before that, he showed his knowledge of hip-hop with the following tweet:

“Is it me, or is the new Diddy song a total @kanyewest ripoff? #questionsforlongcarrides”

So, Boughton, apparently, has nothing on Murphy.

April 28, 2011

Battle royale: Fishermen vs. hair dressers

by Me

It should be a core rule for life: If Kesha does it, don’t.

But millions aren’t taking that seemingly basic piece of advice, and fly fishermen are suffering as a result.

NPR’s Marketplace reported recently that the trend of putting rooster feathers in your hair  — made popular by Kesha and others — is giving fly fishermen a hard time.

You see, the same rooster tail feathers that go in your hair are used to make the lures fly fishermen use. And so many are heading off to salons that there aren’t enough left for the fishermen.

Now, I grant you, as problems of the world go, this ranks pretty low, but at least we have something else with which to blame celebrities: The degradation of morality, lower artistic standards and no brook trout on the table.

April 27, 2011

The first ever basketball game played on an aircraft carrier

by Me

Talk about dumb.

Michigan State and the University of North Carolina will play, on Nov. 11, the first-ever NCAA basketball game on an aircraft carrier.

And this makes sense how?

Though no ship has been confirmed, it looks like the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan will pay host to the game, intended to honor servicemen and women.

And this isn’t a new idea — the “Carrier Classic,” as the game is being called, has been mulled around since 2009. And in all that time, nobody, not one person woke up one morning and said to themselves, “Wait a minute, Why are we doing this?”

Of all the ways to honor those in the military — oh, I don’t know, like giving them the training, tools and support they need to succeed in their jobs, providing adequate medical care after their tours of duty are completed or (just a shot in the dark here) putting a sensible limit on the number tours of duty one can serve — where does this idea really make it onto the list?

April 26, 2011

Altoona changes its name

by Me

It was reported today that the Pennsylvania city of Altoona will change its name — officially — to “POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.”

Morgan Spurlock, as he is best known.


It’s the title of Morgan Spurlock’s latest film, it’s a commentary on shameless advertising practices and it will only last 60 days, but it’s also the dumbest thing I’ve heard yet today.

If you need to actually change the name of a freaking town to get your point across, maybe it’s not a point that needs to be made.

It’s not the first time a town has changed its name to make a bit of scratch — Hot Springs, New Mexico changed its name to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico a while back, but look how well it worked out for them. Now nobody remembers what the heck Truth or Consequences was (a game show) and nobody’s heading to the town for the pleasant hot springs.

Granted, “Altoona” is a pretty dumb name, too.

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