Friday, November 30, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Out Of Town

The FLGs are heading out of town for the Thanksgiving Holiday, so posting, intermittent as it is, will definitely not occur of the next week.  A few things though...

First, Dance recently sent FLG a link to this article about how Indochino fits people for their suits.  The online custom suit business is really booming.  Besides Indochino, there's Alton Lane, Black Lapel, myTailor, Modern Tailor, and a bunch of others.  After a ton of research, FLG became a customer of Proper Suit, which he highly recommends.  While he's at it, he also recommends DeoVeritas for custom shirts in no small part because they offer the option to have sewn, rather than fused interlinings.

But men's fashion aside, Dance's email got FLG thinking about something that has long a topic of debate in the business world -- the shift from mass production to mass customization.  Basically, the idea that the computerization of the production line makes it possible for each unit produced to be different than the previous unit, but at a marginal cost similar to producing the exact same item each time.  Computer companies, especially Dell, were probably the first real success story, but over the last few years, a bunch of products have begun to offer mass customization options, for example, Converse, Nike, and even M & Ms.

The thing that is interesting to FLG about these online suit companies is that it's not so much the back-end production that is computerized (sure, they store pattens in the cloud and send them via the Internet for production in China), which really could have been done via telegraph by simply sending a message to a tailor in Shanghai.    It's that 1) the Internet allows for customers to input their own customizations without involvement from any company employees and 2) the existence of global logistics networks that facilitate cheap, efficient, and timely international delivery. 

For the longest time, FLG thought the key to mass customization was the ability of the production line to shift for each production unit, but that's not the real problem.  Robots can easily be designed to take a new set of instructions for each person's order.  And sure there's the additional inventory issues associated with maintaining a large selection of materials at any one time.  But the real issue that prevented mass customization sooner, and in FLG's mind slows its adoption more generally, is the ability for individuals to easily and quickly make transmit their preferences.  Modern internet websites help greatly with this.

All in all, not a huge insight, but it was one for FLG.

Second, inspired by Flavia, FLG has begun alumni interviewing this year.  He's only done one interview so far.  The DC area is littered with Georgetown alumni, so he guesses they've pretty much got the region covered block by block.  His interview was with an applicant from about half a mile away. 

Lastly, Miss FLG Maior and even Miss FLG Minor are growing up way too fast:

Here's hoping you all have a happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Conversation

Miss FLG Maior:  Is that Santa?

FLG:  No, that's Dean Martin.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

It should come every day, not just once a year, but thank you to all who have served to protect this great nation.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


FLG is fine with the results in the Presidential election.  While he wishes Romney had won, he is okay with President Obama.  Sure, Obama's instincts are a little too far left for FLG's taste, but he believes the President is trying to do the right thing.  FLG is surprised that virtually all the swing states went Obama's way.  

HOWEVER, FLG is beside himself, apoplectic even, over the Massachusetts Senate race.  Fucking Elizabeth Warren?  There is no politician in America that FLG cannot stand more than Elizabeth Warren.  Okay, maybe Harry Reid.  But Warren will undoubtedly overtake him shortly. 

Hopefully, somebody decides the best thing to do is to put her on some Fish and Wildlife committee or something. Somewhere where she can't do too much damage.  Anything but the Finance, Banking, or Agriculture committees.   (For those of you who don't know, derivatives originated to manage agriculture price fluctuations.  Thus, the main market for them is based in Chicago and the Agriculture committee has jurisdiction over them.  Well, at least the ag related ones.)

Of course, because the people of Massachusetts have decided to torture FLG, Warren will inevitably be appointed to the Consumer Protection subcommittee.  And for the next six years, FLG will have to keep all sharp objects away from himself whenever CSPAN is on.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quote of the day

Bill Clinton:
who wants a president who will knowingly, repeatedly tell you something he knows is not true?

FLG must say, he loves the moxie that comes with Clinton's complete lack of shame.

Voting And Helicopters

FLG was at his local polling place when they opened at 6 this morning.  There was already a long line.  Took him about 45 minutes to vote.

On a completely unrelated note, every once and while FLG recognizes one things that makes the DC area different -- helicopters.  FLG will be driving across the Key Bridge and see tourists gawk at helicopters flying very low overhead.  At this point, FLG barely even notices.  Military helicopters fly up and down the Potomac so often it's no big deal.   It's like a helicopter freeway.

One doesn't really see or notice helicopters all that much in other places.  FLG guesses that there are probably a goodly mount in NYC, and perhaps the buildings are so high that it's difficult to notice. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why FLG Is Voting For Romney

Withywindle and Andrew both asked why FLG switched his position and decided to vote for Romney, whom FLG has referred to on numerous occasions as the Plastic Presidential Superhero.

Obama lost FLG's vote back when Obamacare / The Affordable Care Act was passed.  For FLG the actual content of the law, although he has problems with that too, is almost irrelevant; instead, it is the manner in which it got slammed through with parliamentary shenanigans in the face of widespread public skepticism.

 So, the choice facing FLG was to abstain from voting in the presidential election, vote third party, or go with Romney.   Right up until the first debate, FLG was solidly in the abstain category.   He's got problems with Obama, but on the other hand he doesn't think the man is a complete and utter disaster.

Something happened in that first debate that changed FLG's mind.  As Jay-Z might say, Romney got his swagger back.  But it's not so much Romney doing well as FLG saw in Obama a sort of presidential ennui combined with a glaring assumption that his policies aren't just correct, but self-evidently so.   It a couple more debates for FLG to determine that first one wasn't just some one-off.  FLG gave Obama a chance with his 2008 vote, but after really thinking about it, FLG decided that his Obama vote was a mistake.  FLG had hoped that Obama would be a reasonable and pragmatic leader, and in the president's mind he probably is, the trouble is that his default, gut reaction to things is, unsurprisingly, a liberal one.  As FLG was thinking about all this, he realized that his perception of Obama as seeing his administration's policies as self-evidently correct dovetails with a post FLG wrote a few years ago in response to a comment by Ezra Klein.

A lot of conservatives believe, I think, that their philosophical preference for small government is counterbalanced by other people's philosophical preference for big government. But that's not true: Their philosophical preference for small government is counterbalanced by other people's practical preference for larger government in certain areas where it seems to make sense.
Ultimately, FLG realized he may never be able to convince himself to vote for a Democratic presidential candidate again.  The logic of -- There is a current problem. The government has the ability to address the problem presently.  Therefore, the government should address the problem (and stop wasting time talking about potential unintended and long-term consequences with abstract sounding names like moral hazard.) -- is just too powerful.  Moreover, the self-conception of liberals as being rational, logical, scientific, and, most of all, practical only exacerbates the issue because objections based upon potential, longer-term consequences are often dismissed as irrational, illogical, unscientific, and ideological.

In the end, FLG's Romney vote is about 25% for Romney and 75% against Obama.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

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