Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray63 [at] (Be patient, I don't check it often.)

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Friday, December 28, 2012
“Who sent Obama here to destroy America?”
The National Review magazine sponsored a 2012 Post Election Cruise for the week after last November's election. Their readers no doubt anticipated celebrating the results of that election with the magazine's columnists. But things didn't work out as planned, so what was it like? New York magazine's Joe Hagan has the story in "Blues Cruise." Come for the schadenfreude over the grief and finger-pointing, stay for a glimpse into the self-delusional thinking of some dyed-in-the-wool conservatives.

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After all the discussion about guns lately, "The Simple Truth About Gun Control" is one of the best (and well-documented) articles I've seen.  

See also: Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States

(both via The Big Picture)

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2012 in charts and graphs.
As someone who appreciates good charts and graphs and finds politics and economics interesting, I enjoyed this Washington Post Wonkblog post:
As 2012 draws to a close, Wonkblog asked our favorite professional wonks — economists, political scientist, politicians and more — to see what graphs and charts they felt did the best job explaining the past year. Here are their nominees.
Mind you, they're not all equally impressive, but most of them make excellent points.

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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Today's trivia.
John Tyler (1790-1862), the tenth President of the United States (1841-1845), has two grandsons alive today.

As 83-year-old Harrison Ruffin Tyler explained to New York magazine:
Both my grandfather — the president — and my father, were married twice. And they had children by their first wives. And their first wives died, and they married again and had more children. And my father was 75 when I was born, his father was 63 when he was born. John Tyler had fifteen children — eight by his first wife, seven by his second wife — so it does get very confusing. I really do not know — it’s amazing how families drift apart. When I was a child, I did know most of the descendents, but as you get more generations down the line, it’s hard to keep track of everybody.
As I'm sure you recall from history class, Tyler was William Henry Harrison's running mate ("Tippecanoe and Tyler too!"), who succeeded him upon his death from pneumonia only a month after being sworn in. Tyler is not highly regarded by historians; as Wikipedia notes, "A survey of 65 historians, conducted by C-SPAN in 2009, ranked Tyler as 35th of 42 men to hold the office." (Tyler was preceded by Herbert Hoover and followed by George W. Bush in that ranking, as you can see from the list here.)

But I digress. It's the sheer length of time that's amazing. The next president with one or more surviving grandchildren is James Garfield, who served 40 years later (again, according to Wikipedia).

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Monday, December 17, 2012
The man who never returned.
One of my small joys in life occurs when I make an obscure reference and someone gets it.

Today at work I got an elevator that had descended, in order to go up from the 4th floor, where my cubicle is, to the 10th floor, where I needed to return something. There was one guy already on when I got in, and we started going up.

"Wait a minute," he said, "I was going down to 3."

I looked at the buttons and they appeared to confirm what he said -- 3 was lit, yet we had gone back up from 4.

By this point we were reaching 10. I said something like, "Well, good luck, I hope you don't end up riding this elevator forever."

"It's okay," he said. "I have a nickel."

How many people (not in Boston) would catch the reference to a 53-year-old hit song by the Kingston Trio? (Lyrics and origin)

"Hey, very good!" I said, or something to that effect.

I was in a better mood for the rest of the day.

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