Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On Government Pricing

I am in the retail business. If sales are not what I need them to be, I have a few options. I can improve the quality of my offerings, or I can lower the price. It is true that there are other things a retailer can do, but by and large, customers want low prices, good quality or a combination of the two. Or to be brief, customers want value.

It is no different when we buy a home. We factor in everything when buying a home. What is the neighborhood like? Is it safe? Are there jobs? How many square feet are there in the home? Is the roof leaking? How much are taxes? Is the yard too small? Etc...

If, after all the comparisons are made, my customer decides to shop elsewhere, I have a problem. Likewise, if after all the comparisons are made in the housing market, home buyers don't choose Racine, home sellers also have a problem. And there is a reliable measure, the census, to detirmine if home buyers are, as they say, voting with their feet. They are. Racine is losing population.

Home sellers can improve quality by painting, adding a deck, or planting flowers etc... or lower the price, or both.

What can government do? Same thing. They can try to improve quality via bike trails, train service, taxi service, school referenda, better planning, ice arenas, high speed ferries, facade grants, artist recruitment initiatives, and on and on. These things have not prevented the decline in population. Do you think they will ever lower the price?

Self Hatred?

Condoleezza Rice is self-hating black woman. She was the worst National Security Adviser in modern times. She is incompetent. She may secretly harbor a fantasy that President Bush is her husband. She was put on a pedastal by her parents and "she can't see down from there." She was not allowed to associate with underclass blacks and she once chided a friend for acting "niggerish."

No, I don't hate Condoleezza Rice and I am not on the KKK's mailing list. I got this info from a publication that aims to serve the African American community.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Taxing Problem

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Racine County section) has a comparison of area property tax rates. As it happens, I own property in both the highest taxed area, Racine, and the lowest taxed area, Wind Point. The difference is quite dramatic.

According to the MJS article, a property in Racine with a $150,000 fair market value will be taxed $3,166 while the same property in Wind Point will be taxed $2,077. Or, to put it another way, property taxes in Racine are 52% higher than Wind Point. Yes, 52% higher.

As my condo in Wind Point is worth in the neighborhood of $150,000, I save over a $1,000 year after year by living in Wind Point rather than Racine. Surely this will increase the value of my condo relative to a similar unit in Racine.

I have spoken to many elected officials in Racine over the years and the prevailing sentiment is that taxes make little or no difference when it comes to selecting a place to live or to open a business. This is pure nonsense. High taxes decrease the value of your investments, whether in homes or businesses. Over time, people grow tired of the high taxes, diminishing returns etc... and they move on. This is one of the factors in Racine's declining population.

It is sad that our elected leaders fail to understand that high taxes hurt Racine in general and property owners in particular.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Selective Vision?

I want to preface my simple and very unscientific observation with a few words. I have no idea whether the Racine Police delivered an unjust beating to Racine resident Bilal Gilleylen the other day. And there is such a thing as a just beating in my opinion, especially if the suspect was trying to take an officers gun. So I will withhold judgement on the issue until the facts are in.

Now my observations. It seems as if eyewitnesses are quite scarce when someone is shot or killed in Racine, but there appear to be no shortage of eyewitnesses when the police are accused of a crime. Or is my observation mistaken?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Progressive Thoughts

"In a perfect world, every pregnancy would be celebrated and each infant would be welcomed healthy and hearty into a community dedicated to the unlimited potential of every individual. It is a world worth having, but one we are unlikely to achieve with the current impasse of opinion on women’s reproductive rights..." This statement was issued by the newly formed Women's Progressive Network of Racine County.

So let me see if I have this right. According to the Women's Progressive Network of Racine County, all women will celebrate their pregnancies and deliver babies so long as we all first agree that women can freely abort their babies, if they wanted to, not that they would of course, because what kind of celebration would that be, I mean, we want to have the babies, and the celebration wouldn't be the same if we terminated the pregnancy, not that they would because a terminated pregnancy wouldn't result in a child, its just that, well, we really don't want to terminate the pregnancy, we just want to, you know, have the right to terminate the pregnancy, even though we never would do such a thing, not that there is anything wrong with the idea mind you, its just that we wouldn't do it because we want to live in a perfect world where all pregnancies are celebrated and all children are born and we can have that world if you would just agree with us that, if we wanted to terminate a pregnancy, we could, not that we would. Got that?

Capitalism and the Poor

According to an article in todays Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates will be delivering a major speech, calling for kinder capitalism. What form that kinder capitalism would take is not entirely clear.

Gates "was emphatic that he's not calling for fundamental change in how capitalism works. " Instead, he would prod businesses to "take their innovative thinkers and think about the most needy." Adam Smith's ideas expressed in "The Wealth of Nations" shouldn't change "one iota."

Yet Gates also thinks that "governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives to improve the lives of the poor." This policy suggestion would seem to contradict the support for Adam Smith's free markets.

Gates goes on to note that Adam Smith argues in "The theory of Moral Sentiments" that "humans gain pleasure from taking an interest in the fortunes of others."

I hope Bill Gates derives much pleasure from taking an interest in the worlds poor. I also hope he does not lose sight of the fact that capitalism and freedom has done far more to help the poor than government incentives ever will.

Free people from oppressive governments and wealth will follow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Divide and Unify

In a recent speech, Barrack Obama pitted CEO's against workers, mortgage holders against lenders, mothers against the health care system, he took swipes at drug companies and insurance companies while talking about the differences between "Jena" justice and "Scooter Libby" justice. And then, with no apparent embarrassment, he called for unity.

JT Encourages Tax Cheating

Yesterday, the Journal Times endorsed the idea of a one week tax holiday on energy saving merchandise. Among the reasons why the JT considered this a good idea was that Illinois customers would "drive north, buy a whole bunch of stuff, and not pay a penny in taxes."

Perhaps so, but they would be breaking the law. Illinois buyers of Wisconsin merchandise are required to pay sales tax to the State of Illinois on those purchases. This tax is almost never collected, unless you buy a car in Wisconsin, at which point the State of Illinois will require tax payment before registering the vehicle.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Boycott Economics

Being Dr. Martin Luther King Day, I began to reflect upon the Montgomery bus boycotts and todays busing system. If you have ever seen one of Racine's buses, you know that we have our own boycott well under way. Hypothetical riders can sit anywhere they want so segregation is not the problem. From whom would you segregate the lone rider anyway? The Racine boycott has been years in the making and has had absolutely no impact politically. The reason is quite simple. The purpose of the bus system is no longer to transport people from one location to another but rather to employ bus drivers. And technically speaking, bus drivers don't really need passengers. They do need to get paid though. That's where you, the non bus passenger comes in. Anyway, I was wondering whether Dr. Martin Luther Kings boycott would work today in Racine and I suspect not. The few passengers that ride obviously do not fund the bus system. As such, they would be unable to bring the system to its knees via a boycott. Only paying customers can boycott.

Where Are the Fathers?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel community columnist Regina Yvette Cooper asks yesterday: Where are the fathers? I will assume that hers was not a rhetorical question and I will take a stab at answering.

Who needs em Regina? The state will take care of the women and children. Need money? See the state. Need food? The state will provide. Housing? The state has you covered. Health care? Check. Education. It's free! What else is there? What do you need a man for? The state is daddy now.

The state provides, it is true, but there is a downside greater than the upside. Men are relieved of their parenting responsibilities. The state is fostering irresponsibility among young men. The state robs them of dignity and purpose. They gradually slink away, and some can be found, as you say, "standing on the corner addicted to everything."

And what of the children? Well, their material needs have been met, but we now know that much more is needed. The state can't replace the love, nurturing, role modelling, or the discipline that children need from a father. Boys will stay boys. The cycle will continue.

Sadly, too few people see the connection between big government and the disappearing man.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Taking Sides

Yesterday I was in City Hall with a bit of time to kill. I wandered over to a bulletin board that had official county notices, forclosures, job openings and such, as well as notices not to remove anything on the board. On the same board were union notices with the same notice not to remove anything. So I read one of the union notices concerning a business in Burlington. According to the notice, the business changed owners recently and the new owner more or less fired everyone and rehired many but with fewer benefits. The new owner met with the union as proscribed by law but did not budge on the issue. The notice calls on people to boycott the business.

Now, allow me to be quite clear on what the subject is that I hope to discuss. It is NOT which side is right, union or ownership. It IS whether it is right, proper, wise, ethical for city and county government to appear to be taking sides in an internal business dispute. Feel free to weigh in.

Friday, January 18, 2008

On Crime

I had a meeting today with a person who works in Uptown. Their business was broken into three times in the last month. Their are plenty of jokes I could insert here about how artists will save the day, but for businesses, crime is no laughing matter. Crime is one of the biggest deterents for businesses and their customers. A few heavily subsidized artists will not change that basic truth.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's for the Children

The Ozaukee Ice Association got $300,000 in site improvements, and a 38 year interest free "loan" from Ozaukee county taxpayers to fund their ice arena. Now the association wants to add a second sheet of ice in order to "keep the operation viable." To keep this operation viable, the association is asking for debt forgiveness on the $500,000.

"It's a moral issue" associate vice president Gary Wickert told supervisors. "You're not just saying no to a second sheet of ice... you're saying no to all these children."

I love this response from Ozaukee County Supervisor Joe Dean: "It is a moral issue... You have a moral obligation to pay back to $500,000 the county loaned to you."

We could use a Joe Dean in Racine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Judge Ziegler Molested by JT Editorialists

I have not followed the Annette Zeigler saga with any particular zeal, and I am sure that I will be corrected if mistaken, but Zeigler has not been accused of or convicted of a crime. That bit of information might come as a surprise to anyone who read the Journal Times editorial this morning. Read it here for yourself: http://www.journaltimes.com/articles/2008/01/16/opinion/doc478d47c13070c861078884.txt

From the editorial: "It is true that Ziegler did not commit a major crime..." and "While not a violent crime..." and "Fifteen days' suspension would be innapropriate because her crime was not violent." Gee, might the reader conclude that Judge Ziegler has committed a crime?

Now it is true that the molestation of Zeigler by the Journal Times was not a major crime, and while the molestation was not of a sexual nature, I believe that the Journal Times should nonetheless discontinue the practice of molesting women.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I wonder how the unions-can-do-no-wrong folks will react to this post. We will soon find out.

The Union Grove High School teachers union is battling with the administration over their next contract. According to the teachers union, there was a tenative agreement that "called for paying each teacher $1,000 in return for eliminating three years of retirement health insurance for future teachers hires." The union is now upset that the board wishes to reduce the payoff to $500, and this is one of the contentious issues. This info can be found in today's Racine Journal Times.

OK, now let us be clear about what is NOT in dispute. Union Grove Teachers ARE willing to reduce the benefits of future teachers. No, they will not reduce their own benefits. Those are secure. But they don't mind sacrificing the benefits of future teachers. Of course they won't screw their future coworkers because of a sense of fiscal or civic responsibility. No, they are screwing them for the money. And to think that future teachers will have to pay for this "representation."

Deleting Comments

Starting today, I will be deleting pointless comments. The decisions will be entirely mine as this is my blog. Thankfully, this blog has not been plagued by profanity. But pointless, off the subject comments are detracting from the quality of this blog. I just deleted a comment from my most recent thread. To satisfy anyones curiousity, I will reprint it here and explain why it is the type of comment that I may delete. Here it is in its entirety:

From anonymous, "I guess he could be a hedge fund manager, a Telco, or a failing CEO, those who merely STEAL hundreds of millions of $$$ from the mass of people, and have Denis defend them.This vilifying the poor is exactly why the 'right' look like the Pharisees of the Bible that Jesus warned regarding Hell and Eternal Damnation.But, be self-righteous..."

My post was about a man who showed up at my business looking not for a job, but for a signiture making it seem to someone else that he was looking for a job.

Now the deleted poster did not dispute my narrative, nor did he defend the ststem that inspired a man to pretend to look for a job. Instead, he insinuated, without any evidence, that I would defend people who steal millions from others. Not only is this off subject, it is also needlessly mean-spirited, and untrue. The comment merely detracts from the conversation that I had hoped to have on the subject.

Now just to be very clear, I don't mind criticism or strong disagreement. In fact, I rather enjoy the challenge, which is one of the reasons that I have a blog. Anon is welcome to try again.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Will Pretend for Cash

A man entered my business this morning asking if I would sign a paper for him. He was pretty vague about what he wanted me to sign but I soon gathered it had something to do with looking for a job. Now this fellow never actually asked if I was hiring, nor did he present a resume to me, but he wanted me to sign his paper indicating that he was looking for a job. I signed the paper as I thought it would be the quickest way to get him to leave.

After he left I began to wonder what kind of perverse system was in place that encouraged a man to not really look for a job. I figured that he received some sort of financial assistance if he went through the motions of looking for a job. I figured the social service agency that dispensed with the money was operating under the same perverse system. Perhaps they have a contract that pays them per individual that they serve, or pretend to serve.

I asked around a bit and was told that some people are let out of the county jail in order to work, and that some are let out to look for work. So perhaps pretending to look for a job is preferable to a day in the county jail. I called my county supervisor to verify or refute this theory.

Unless I have overlooked something obvious, I suspect the average citizen is getting the shaft here. Either this man is getting cash or undeserved freedom at our expense. Why else would a man pretend to look for a job?

Road to Serfdom

There is an interesting debate brewing over a plan by Governor Doyle to offer tax breaks for business start-ups and research and development. According to an article in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Republicans "tripped over themselves praising Doyle's proposals" while some Democrats had their doubts. Democratic Senator Bob Jouch said that "Wisconsin already handed out too many tax breaks to 'specific groups or well-connected individuals.'"

Doyle spokesman Matt Canter defended the plan. "For Wisconsin to be a forward looking state, we have to incentivize the kind of economy we want."

Well herein lies the problem. When government incentivizes the economy it wants, it disencentives the economy that free individuals would otherwise create. When government favors one type of economic activity, it harms all other types of economic activity that are put in a disadvantaged position.

When government incentivizes the kind of economy it wants, it is taking one more step towards controlling the economy and controlling you.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The JT and Leadership

State Representative Robin Vos has offered a plan to fund KRM. In a nutshell, the plan would put the decision in the hands of voters, via referendum.

The Journal Times editorial board suggests that Vos' move "hardly qualifies as leadership."

Now suppose that Robin Vos, elected as a fiscal conservative, decided to ignore the constituents who elected him, abandon his convictions, cozy up to special interests, and more or less disenfranchise those folks who believe that KRM will be a big mistake? Now would that make him a leader in the eyes of the JT? You bet it would.

Let's face it. If you are a fiscal conservative, the JT will never consider you a leader.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Polite Upstanding Conservatives Crush Baby Killing Commies

Well I thought we could have a nice vitriol free social gathering tonight, and it was shaping up that way until the extremely left wing socialist "Pete" declared that I have a political perspective. So I figured I would show him some straight up, down the middle reporting, something a Marxist like him wouldn't know a damn thing about. So here goes. The evening started with the conservatives offering their seats to the ladies and the ladylike liberal men, buying drinks and engaging in polite conversation. Well that came to a screeching halt when Concrete Katie decided to abort a child, citing the positive affects the act would have on the environment. An argument ensued, and fisticuffs were narrowly avoided when the commies offered to appease the conservatives by sacrificing Michael Gibson, who's bloodied corpse can be found under the pool table. Now, if anyone has any other recollections from the evening, please chime in.

Imagine That

Sorry about my previous, long winded post. This one will be short and sweet. Yesterday I received a phone solicitation. The caller wanted to know if I would offer money or, I think, a raffle item for their fund raiser. It seems that the Walden School is wanting to raise funds for some solar panels to put on their building. I will leave my response to your imagination.

Development Idea

Alderman Helding had this to say in a recent post on this site:

"I am not saying the uptown artist plan is perfect or the only answer. It is, however, a plan. It is an attempt to make things better. I would love to talk with anyone about an alternative or a plan that could be tried in another area. I am especially interested in ideas that go beyond "add more cops" and get into how we can make the area better instead of just dealing with the fact it is bad."

OK, I will take a shot at this. For the sake of this discussion, I will exclude the "add more cops" solution, though crime and or the perception of danger can devastate neighborhoods. Leaving aside beefed up law enforcement, I think the answer is economic development. As I see it, there are but two ways that government can stimulate economic development. The first way is to provide subsidies, tax breaks, or other advantages on some members of the community, say artists. The second way would be to provide stimulus to all members of society simultaneously in the form of tax breaks or other advantages, allowing all to keep more of their own money and make their own decisions.

It is easier to make a quick splash the first way. It probably is not too difficult to round up a million bucks or so and get something done. Politicians can then point to this million dollar building and say "see what we have done for you." And this may well help them get reelected. But the downside is that it makes smaller, seemingly inconsequential developments less likely, because those would be developers are also paying for the splashy new building and have less money to spend on their own projects.

The second way is far less sexy. Even if people have more freedom and more money after taxes, most will not have the resources to build a fancy million dollar building. But they just might fix their roof or repave their driveway or paint the garage. The problem is that a tax reducing politician can not easily point to the freshly painted garage and say "see what I did for you."

Now I have written about this before, but it would be a wonderful experiment to allow people in certain wards, or better yet, all the people in Racine, to make improvements to their properties that would not be subject to tax increases for some specified number of years. So say you add a deck to the back of your house that increases the value of your property by $10,000. Your house would be taxed as though the improvement never happened, say, for the next five years.

Unfortunately, this idea may well be illegal. I am looking into this and would hope you might as well Alderman Helding. There is something called the uniformity clause in the Wisconsin Constitution that calls for uniformity in property tax rates, though there may be exceptions permitted.

So we have uniformity in tax rates and I have to admit this sounds fair. But we most certainly do not have uniformity when it comes to cash or other advantages that are handed out to politically savvy developers. They get the handouts, you don't.

So perhaps the city of Racine could try such a program while offering the best legal justification that in house counsel is able to muster. The worst that can happen is someone challenges it and it gets shot down in court. The best that can happen is that the city would have at its disposal a development tool that might actually spur private sector development that can improve our neighborhoods.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Don't Forget

See you all tommorrow, Thursday, 7 pm at the Ivanhoe.

Random Thoughts

I watched a bit of the New Hampshire primary coverage last night and thought I would share some random thoughts.

If I had some change for every time a candidate mentioned change....

Adults look silly when they chant and wave for a politician.

Unity (Obama) is a more popular concept than disunity (Edwards two Americas.)

If you want to be a big time politician, learn to fake authenticity.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stopping Violence

How do we stop violence in Racine? One person at a time, by force if necessary.

Vigils, peace rallies, doves on a stick, or giant human peace signs will not work, unfortunately. If they did, we would have conquered the problem by now.

Still, I understand the temptation to resort to symbolic, feel good gestures. It probably feels better to do something than to do nothing. Perhaps this is what is motivating a Park High School senior Jamel Garrett to try to form a huge peace symbol. You can read about it here: http://racinepost.blogspot.com/2008/01/human-peace-sign-to-be-stand-against.html.

I don't wish to be critical of the young man. He is grieving the loss of a friend. I am glad that he wants to do something. But there are other things that this youth could do that would be arguably more effective in actually combatting violence.

People inclined towards violence must either stop themselves or be stopped by others. Parents, friends, the police, the justice system etc... can all help stop violent people. As such, Garrett could try to foster an attitude of cooperation with law enforcement that seems lacking among some of our youth. This would not be an easy task if the prevailing sentiment is "$%#@*& the cops."

But trying to stop violent people can only get you so far. It would be far more effective to help violent people begin to stop themselves. Being a young man at Park, Garrett may be in a unique position to do so. Perhaps he could reach out to some young people that he knows are inclined towards violence and try to challenge the attitudes and mindsets that support the violence.

Perhaps Garrett is already doing these things and more. If so, they will likely garner more results, if less applause, than will a giant human peace symbol.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Observations on Race and Politics

Nobody seems to dislike Barrack Obama. The conservative pundits that I read have questioned his experience and rejected his liberalism, but find him to be a likeable person.

Now, how do liberals treat black conservatives?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

How to Eliminate Violence

There is a basketball game upcoming between two RUSD schools, Park vs. Horlick, I think. Because of violence during and after a recent intracity game, RUSD has initiated a new policy. They will not allow entry into the game unless the ticket has been purchased in advance. If you just show up like most people do if they want to go to a high school game, you will be turned away. There will be no profiling here, oh no. Go on home with your bad self granny!

Now this may actually work, I don't know. Maybe the thinking is that anyone inclined to stir up trouble at a basketball game is too impulsive and in the moment to actually plan ahead and buy a ticket in advance. Perhaps so, but I have my doubts.

But there is no doubt that this policy unfairly inconveniences law abiding citizens, lumping them in with the thugs who are terrorizing our city. Rather than do that, there should be a strong police presence ready to round up the troublemakers.

However, if the only objective is to reduce the violence, I have a better suggestion. Play the game at 8:00 am in Manitowoc, and don't sell any tickets. That ought to put a stop to the violence problem.

Conversation with Mayor Becker #2

OK, it was actually the same conversation but I forgot to include a good point that the mayor made. He said that even if the tax burden was cut in half in uptown, very little development would occur there. And he may well be right. So then what?

This is a complicated question. We should first consider what got us to this point. Crime, poor schools, welfare dependency, government failures, private sector greed, or George Bush? All of the above? If you ask me, all of the above, excepting GB, is probably correct. Yes, the private sector has fled, taken there money to safer areas. Deterioration follows.

Mayor Becker is of the view that government stimulus and (my words) micromanaging of the economy is the answer. His methods may differ from previous administrations, but the general philosophy, that more government is the answer, has prevailed for several decades in Racine. What do we have to show for it?

There is a competing philosophy not tried in Racine for the last several decades. Individuals and private businesses, not government, will pull us out of this mess.

But there is no quick fix, not by artists, and not by the change in government philosophy that I am advocating. We are now a few generations into this government-created dependency problem. Many in Racine have lost or never had much in the way of drive or initiative.

The answer is to gradually wean the citizenry off their government dependency. But this would not happen without a fight. But Racine is worth fighting for in my view.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Conversation with Mayor Becker

I got through to Mayor Becker today and had an interesting conversation. I wanted to know how much the uptown rehab project will cost. The project is part of a larger initiative intended to spur development by enticing artists to the area. The mayor did not have the info that I sought- he will by next week- but he assured me that the project will lose money.

It is quite apparent that I have a different philosophy on development than does the mayor. The mayor obviously believes that government must provide the stimulus to encourage development. And while I have no doubt that government stimulus can stimulate growth, I suspect that the flip side is that this stimulus, taken from taxing profitable economic activity, will ultimately reduce the amount of taxable activity. It will do more harm than good, only the good will be visible while the bad will be less immediately apparent.

A property on Martin Luther King Drive has been purchased by the city. It will soon be demolished and cleared for redevelopment. The city has created a TIF district for this property only. A microTIF, if you will. I advanced this idea some time ago- not that I am taking credit for this particular TIF- I oppose the idea. But the idea of stimulating development among ANY citizen is attractive to me. Rather than providing money to John Doe to fix his roof, I suggested that there should be some fixed period of time wherein the improvements would not be taxed. The mayor assures me that this would be unconstitutional and I will assume that he is correct. So the system is rigged in favor of big developers and against John Doe. A big developer can get government money to reduce the cost of his project while it would be unconstitutional to simply defer tax increases to John Doe. Is this fair? I think we should change the constitution. I will get right on that.

Racine Depression

I just finished reading "The Forgotten Man" by Amity Shlaes. Basically, the book challenges the generally accepted notion that Roosevelts New Deal helped lift the US out of the great depression. Shlaes argues the opposite: the New Deal prolonged the depression, and she offers a convincing case.

Anyway, Racine, or at least large portions of it, is arguably in a decades long depression. Are the various government led efforts to solve the problems helping any, or are they simply prolonging and or exacerbating the problems? I am pretty sure you know what I think.

Quick Movie Reviews

I saw the Great Debaters. Liked it well enough but was disturbed by the simple and stereotypical portrayals of whites. It was not until the debaters got to Harvard that any white people were portayed as anything but nasty, stupid racists.

Juno. Loved it. Very funny. Great sound track. Touching. Pro life but not preachy. Go see it.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Write Something Interesting

I will be taking a blogging holiday for a few days. Please write something interesting in my absence.