Monthly Archive for July, 2012

My Dogs Were Smart

That’s why I have never replaced them. I fear that I’ll never have dogs as smart as the last two. They were quite special.

I have to admit, my dogs couldn’t text:

Go check out the site. Really funny stuff.

It’s my Brother-In-Law’s Birthday

He’s not really my brother-in-law, he’s my sister-in-law’s husband.

A recent photo:

You better copy that photo fast as I think I’ll be asked to take this post down later tonight. Although I’m pretty sure I can get another shot much along these same lines later this evening. Right?

The Advantage Stamp

It’s not my idea, but it is definitely one worth thinking about.
Being the sort of guy that I am, I’ve been following what I find to be an interesting discussion on higher education at EconLog on the various models of higher education. Others, including Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, weigh in on the debate. As usual, the comments to these posts are worth reading too. Bryan Caplan at EconLog has been beating the drum for the signaling model of higher education. I like this argument a lot. But I’ll also admit that it agrees with many of my priors.
But then there is always someone that is capable of reframing the debate. Commenter asdf at the Marginal Revolution post, pointed to this post by Sonic Charmer at Rhymes With Cars & Girls. A quote:
If college didn’t have at least some signaling component the middle-and-above classes would just demand some other wasteful service or credential which did. They will go out and purchase some Thing that differentiates their kids from the others. It doesn’t have to be college but if it’s not they’re going to waste their money on something else.
He’s talking about what he has named the “Advantage Stamp.” As always, go read the whole thing. It is very much worth your time if you think about the coming changes to higher education. This is especially the case if, like me, you have college age or younger children. It is clear to me that I’m over paying for the education my kids receive but I’m not yet confident about the worth of the possible alternatives. Very few of us have children that will obviously make it on their own. Very few of us have children that won’t gain some advantage through an alumni network, fraternity brothers, college team mates, what have you…
I’ve written at length about the coming changes to higher education and have speculated freely with friends and higher ed co-workers on how to make money from these coming changes. This is hard because there are so many possibilities as to what the changes will be, how long it will take for them to manifest themselves, and who might be the winners.
Sonic Charmer has thrown another variable into the mix. It might be better to develop and market a new Advantage Stamp. If I could do so, I wouldn’t become a rent seeker as Sonic seems to think will be the case with anyone that might develop a new Advantage Stamp. Honest, I wouldn’t. But he’s probably right, since our government can’t seem to keep from instituting another violation of Reynold’s Law, that someone else will get their Advantage Stamp subsidized by the government. Thereby once again driving the private market solutions from the arena.

Officer Candidate School

I spent the summer of ’81 in Quantico at Officer Candidate School (OCS).

While I know I hated it at the time, all I can remember are the funny things. So I remember it as a pretty good time. I remember laughing all the time. Not all the time, as there was no better way to get in trouble than to be seen or heard laughing at some other candidate’s misfortune. I generally waited until lights out and then while laying in my bunk, I would start laughing at all of the day’s events until I started to cry.

The day before I left Minneapolis for Quantico, my parents had some friends over for a BBQ. Along with my Dad, there was one other guy there that had been in the Marines. After a few beers they started to tell stories about their time at Parris Island. They managed to get me pretty scared about what I was about to confront. But they did give me one piece of good advice: “Keep your mouth shut at all times. Don’t say a damn thing unless you are required to by the Drill Instructor!”

The advice came in handy. I kept my mouth shut so well the first few days that my platoon mates probably thought I was a mute. They might have thought I was an asshole. Take your pick.

My platoon started the with 66 candidates. Thirty three of us managed to finish the program. Continue reading ‘Officer Candidate School’

I Shouldn’t Show This to the Deuce

He’s going to burn down the house this afternoon if he sees this.

This is what I do

But I probably should not post this to the internet. It might cause unwelcome changes to the system that has been working so well for me the last 21 years.

HT: Maggie’s Farm.

Two Guys Walk Into a Bar…

About 30 years ago, when I was in the Marines, another Marine and I were to meet a group of people for dinner on a Saturday night. Our chosen restaurant was Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse. We left the BOQ (Bachelor Office Quarters) at what was then known as MCAS(H) Tustin to drive to the restaurant. As we got close to the restaurant, we realized we were running quite early. We decided to stop for a drink at a little bar that we came upon. Like the Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse, the bar, Cook’s Corner, is still in business.

Keep in mind that we were two Marine officers. We were dressed in civilian clothes. We were probably wearing khakis and golf shirts. We most likely had on what would pass as dress shoes today. But this was also 1984 or so. The military was not as highly regarded then as it is today. We were still suffering from a somewhat low level of prestige due to the hangover of the Vietnam war. While the Reagan administration was changing the profile of the military and things were improving, Gulf 1 had not happened yet, let alone 9-11 and the “Global War on Terror” that has been beneficial to the status of the military in certain social circles. Also, most civilians had a hard time telling enlisted Marines apart from officers when were were dressed in civilian clothes. It was obvious to all of us Marines, but others really had a hard time noticing, or in some cases, understanding the difference.

The parking lot was pretty empty as it was still early on Saturday night. We walked in and sat down at the bar. We had the bar to ourselves. Down at one end of the room were several bikers. Really rough looking characters. There were maybe six or seven of them. When we walked in they all stopped talking and just watched us take our seats at the bar. We were somewhat amused by their behavior. We weren’t looking for any trouble, we were just looking to kill a little time before going down the road to dinner. The bartender approached us and asked what we would like. We told him we would each like a draft beer. His response was, “Draft beers are $5 each. A six pack to go is $3.”

My friend and I looked at each other, we both looked down the room toward the pool table and the bikers, we started laughing as we turned to the bartender and said, “We’ll take a six pack to go.”

It would never have crossed our minds to start trouble with the guys in the bar. It is not clear that whether the bartender thought we were there to start something, or if he was attempting to protect us from the bikers at the pool table. It didn’t really matter, we just scored a cheap six pack and were on our way to meet some girls for dinner.

The Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse looks much the same as it did 30 years ago. In the 28 years since my time in the Marines, Orange County has grown in population and wealth. The restaurant and the bar used to be out in the country. Looking at maps, I can see that they are now on the edge of the wealthy exhurbs of the area.

I implore you to go spend some time on the Cook’s Corner web site. Look at how gentrified that place has become since my trip there. They have become a haven for wannabe bikers. Going through the photos you can see that it’s full of dentists, lawyers, small business owners, etc. that put on their weekend biker costumes and go out for showing off. The fake boob seems to be a big player with the current clientele at Cook’s. Back when we visited, I doubt the women had enough money to buy the big boob.

I imagine if two Marine officers walked into that place on a Saturday night these days they would have trouble even buying a drink. The other patrons would probably take care of them.

I think I prefer it the way it was.