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."
I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist
E-mail me: pmurray [at] despammed.com
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
My brother and I were watching the quiz show Jeopardy! on January 18, when this was the Final Jeopardy question:
A: The middle initial E. of this character introduced in 1949 stands for Ethelbert.This was news to me. While I am by no means an expert on Warner Bros. cartoons, I am of a generation that grew up watching them, and I recall them vividly. I own several DVD collections, plus books by Mel Blanc and Chuck Jones. And I'd never heard this before. I filed it away in my memory, no doubt in space that that should be occupied by more useful information, and that was that.
But some people didn't let it go at that. A guy named Jon Cooke unearthed the only time this information ever appeared: not in an animated cartoon, but in a 1973 comic book. Impressive, huh? Jon was rather skeptical:
I really doubt this was ever intended to be the character's "official" middle name but thanks to Jeopardy, I am sure this "fact" will be popping up for years to come.
It gets better.
Once this was pointed out to him, today Mark Evanier had some very interesting observations and additional information on the subject. I don't want to spoil it ... but I'll just say that Mark appears to be the most qualified person in the entire world to address this issue. And Mark is skeptical too.
I wonder where Jeopardy! found this "fact."
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
How good is that free real estate estimate? Lots of people have swarmed to Zillow, a website that allows you to look up estimated property values. Today's Wall Street Journal asks How Good Are Zillow's Estimates?
The Journal looked at transaction prices recorded for 1,000 recent home sales in seven states, using data from First American Real Estate Solutions, a data provider in Santa Ana, Calif., and compared those prices with Zillow estimates, which didn't yet reflect the sales. The median difference between the Zillow estimate and the actual price was 7.8%. (That was close to the 7.2% median "margin of error" reported by Zillow itself on all transactions involving homes whose value it has estimated.)
I tried Zillow a few times. I looked up the home of someone close to me in a suburb of Detroit, and thought their estimate was preposterously low.