« The Music Tax | Main | Faster, Health Care Reformers! Kill! Kill! »

24 Blogging

No, no, I stopped watching the TV show. But today is my 24th birthday, which raises the question of how old one needs to get before people stop calling you things like a "youthful prodigy" and you get to be one of the old men who run everything. Perhaps readers can clue me in. When I started this site up, I was 20 -- now that was young -- and it struck me as vaguely scandalous that anybody bothered to read. Nowadays it seems more normal, but I still thank you all. If for some reason you're seized with a burning desire to buy me birthday presents, here's a PayPal button. Or else visit the fine, fine advertisers to you right.

But the world goes on. Villaraigosa will be mayor of Los Angeles and perhaps Harold Meyerson's long envisioned Labor-Latino alliance will now sweep to power nationwide after all. For no discernable reason, the Air Force wants to weaponize space. Or, rather, they want to weaponize space because that would result in a very large Air Force budget. Back in the real world, it's the Army and Marines who seemed overstretched and the military needs more unsexy stuff like guys who drive trucks and walk around carrying guns all while being adequately paid and supplied. I understand why energy prices are unusually unstable and therefore excluded from the "core" CPI, but why is food treated the same way?

May 18, 2005 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 24 Blogging:

» Lessons from Jonathan Goodwin
Any reader of Lem's Fiasco will know both why you would want to weaponize space and the disastrous consequences (and be a better speller). Missile defense, particularly in space, should of course be called "missile offense." It is designed to eli... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 11:47:50 AM

» Happy BoldDay from BoldPrint
It’s BP’s 24th today. Other notable B-days include Reggie Jackson, Bertrand Russell, Pope John Paul II, and prodigy Matt Yglesias. For old time's sake, I'm bringing back "This Day in Progressive History" today. I'm sorry to have stopped-- it was... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 3:37:49 PM

» Happy BoldDay from BoldPrint
It’s BP’s 24th today. Other notable B-days include Reggie Jackson, Bertrand Russell, Pope John Paul II, and prodigy Matt Yglesias. For old time's sake, I'm bringing back "This Day in Progressive History" today. I'm sorry to have stopped-- it was... [Read More]

Tracked on May 18, 2005 3:39:53 PM



Posted by: The Bobs | May 18, 2005 10:29:04 AM


Posted by: The Bobs | May 18, 2005 10:29:40 AM

Happy Birthday!

You are officially "old" when you miss out on winning one of those young scientist/journalist/artist awards and then realize that was your last chance at eligibility!

Posted by: dan F. | May 18, 2005 10:40:50 AM

Isn't the price of food fairly dependent on the price of fuel, fertilizer and electricity? I really don't know how stable the price of food is, but the two categories are non-trivially related, I think.

Posted by: TJ | May 18, 2005 10:47:49 AM

i don't know the mechanics of it, but yes, food is regarded as equally unstable from a month-to-month perspective in the CPI. iirc, one of the reasons is the easy substitutability (if beef is up, i can eat chicken; if oranges are expensive, i can eat grapefruit).

As for youthful success and suchlike: it was on my 25th birthday that i realized that i would not be a youthful success, so i think, matthew, you have one more year.

Posted by: howard | May 18, 2005 10:52:15 AM

Happy birthday!

Money, however, is not a good gift.

If you provided a snail mail address, your loyal readers could deluge you, via Amazon, with books on the filibuster, media bias, Irish politics, etc etc.

Posted by: otto | May 18, 2005 11:01:12 AM

24 years old? Oh, my lord. I have sweaters older than you.

Happy birthday. You'll be amazed at how soon your knees start to go and your gums start to recede, so enjoy your youth while you have it!

Posted by: cmac | May 18, 2005 11:01:45 AM

Keep in mind John Ewards is considered to young to be president and he has a daughter your age.

Posted by: Rob | May 18, 2005 11:04:12 AM

Happy Birthday! Although it's better than a scary round number, 24 is kind of intimidating. While not exactly a line between youth and adult, it's kind of the line between "young" and "respectable". It came with kind of a dread like "Does this mean people are going to expect me to have my shit together now?" (And if it makes you feel better, at 27 I still haven't found the line between respectable and real adult. I'm guessing that's 30-ish?)

How about specifying a shipping address for your Amazon wishlist? Somebody might just buy you The Woods by Sleater-Kinney. Because everybody needs The Woods.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 18, 2005 11:04:35 AM

Oh, yeah- happy birthday. From the ripe old age of 25, 24 looks so long ago.

I think I was on the way to success in my very early 20s, but I burned out at 21. Avoid the burnout- it ruined my motivation to do basically anything but coast.

Posted by: TJ | May 18, 2005 11:04:47 AM

This may be confidential, but how do the blog ads work? Do you get paid just because someone clicks? Do they have to stay at the site for a period of time?

Posted by: Jeff | May 18, 2005 11:17:41 AM

Or food and energy might not be included because if they were (considering that everyone uses them) you might get the wrong answer.

Posted by: Tim H. | May 18, 2005 11:18:07 AM

Very good point about the burnout, TJ. It can sneak up on you very quickly.

And speaking of 24-the-TV-show-blogging, random story: I ran into Joe Lieberman at the checkin counter for the US Airways Shuttle last Friday at LGA. You will be happy to know that we have a new, highly effective security system in place to protect our government leaders: really hot Secret Service agents. As long as the terrorists are female or gay, this country is safe.

My internal monologue literally went like this: "That's Joe Lieberman. If I had one thing to say to him, what would I say? I don't want to be really annoying but if I can come up with one good sentence, I'll say just that to him....oooh...his Secret Service agents are really hot...It's a good thing that this is the real world and not 24 because the cute black Secret Service agents on 24 always get shot...Did I really just think that?......Where was I?......Oh yeah - Joe Lieberman!" and then the opportunity had passed.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 18, 2005 11:24:27 AM

"how old one needs to get before people stop calling you things like a "youthful prodigy" and you get to be one of the old men who run everything."

Well, Kennedy and T. Roosevelt were both regarded as "youthful prodigies" even as late as when they became president, at 42 or so . . .

Posted by: rea | May 18, 2005 11:25:07 AM

My guess is that food costs are significantly affected by government farm ouput price supports, and so, are not indicative of the state of prices.

Happy 24th. At 23 I gave my first invited talk at a major conference. I was considered a young prodigy. At 26 I was considered a disappointing underachiever. You got 2 years left Matt.

Posted by: Njorl | May 18, 2005 11:25:29 AM

Happy birthday from a fellow Taurean... as I recall, twenty-four was a very good year overall. The fast metabolism started to go at around age 27, though .

Posted by: latts | May 18, 2005 11:29:29 AM

But today is my 24th birthday,

May 18th, 1981? Huh! No wonder we got this whole opposite but not exactly dis-similar rap thing going.

which raises the question of how old one needs to get before people stop calling you things like a "youthful prodigy" and

Dude, enjoy while it lasts. You got like, potential and shit. While you have potential and shit, people beam upon thee kindly and help out. Well, often enough. It's when you ain't got no potential anymore and you're like supposed to be actualized that you're in trouble. So keep on actualizing, man.

you get to be one of the old men who run everything.

Well, you get to be older when you're thirty and old when you're thirty-five. Technically, of course, you're middle-aged at 35 (half of three and ten, ignoring bonus doddering about years). What actually happens, in this culture, is that around thirty, the toilet handle starts to move and around 35 you can hear actual flushing noises. This doesn't mean that you're screwed for life in most senses, but as far as youth culture (you'll know what it is when you ain't part of it no more; basically, big-titted teeny-boppers or college girls in really short skirts look at you warily and hide the joint or whatever, which means you can't make friends with single people because there usually aren't any, thus the age of the married woman and don't ask me nothin' about that; learn to wear a baseball cap and shorts and don't tell anybody how old you are and you can't get by without any squinky moments) goes, you're fucked. Then, the bitter years of savage competition with other old people for whatever dwindling fruits are left over after the pie is divided amoungst people with 'potential' (not having potential is here equivalent to being dead; also, easily exploited by older people). Of course, this occurs around the point in life where most of the elites have babies so they can have friends who won't argue back. On the other hand, as long as they're paying you to write, yer fine, since writers do not become wealthy and famous until after they can't enjoy it, that is, really old.

As for running things, well, most people are in denial about how much control they have over the rest of the world (for example: George Bush), and the rest are really cranky about how little control they actually have and are trying to get more control, also known as control-freakdom (for example: Donald Rumsfeld). Your pretty much fucked in any instance, so when you wind up in charge, mostly you'll be scrambling not to make a mess of things and eventually saying things like, 'we'll I hope I made a difference' blah blah blah. Basically, you'll get to be in charge of something right around the time you don't want to do it.

Happy Birthday! (I'll send money when I get some later next week)

I understand why energy prices are unusually unstable and therefore excluded from the "core" CPI, but why is food treated the same way?

In both cases, it keeps inflation down.

['No. Really. Yes, I know what I just said. Exactly.']

Posted by: ash | May 18, 2005 11:30:02 AM

Happy birthday. I'd say 27 is the age at which you'll no longer be remarkable ;)

Posted by: ogged | May 18, 2005 11:30:54 AM

Happy Birthday


There are no shortcuts. You'll have to suck it up and pay your dues like everyone else. The people who don't fall fast and hard, at twice the speed they rose.

Posted by: Roxanne | May 18, 2005 11:33:19 AM

Once your over the the shock of being called "sir" by a teenager, that's when you're officially no longer a youthful prodigy.

Posted by: Will | May 18, 2005 11:36:43 AM

Happy Birthday... Roxanne contradicts herself above.

Posted by: washerdreyer | May 18, 2005 11:44:35 AM

Food and energy are excluded from the core CPI because temporary deviations in their prices are large but don't feed back into the rest of the economy. I know it seems like they do, but empirically they don't in a big diversified economy like the U.S. For example, tomatoes are much more expensive than they were a year ago, but ketchup is not. The same is true with gasoline and, say, the price of rental cars. You can't exclude them in poorer countries where they are a bigger chunk of what people spend their money on.

If you construct an index just of food and energy prices in the US, its level on average rises as fast as other prices, but there is much more fluctuation. Keeping them out doesn't show lower or higher inflation on average, it just shows changes with lower variance.

Posted by: JPW | May 18, 2005 11:46:14 AM

Happy Birthday!

I'd predict that people will generally stop referring to you as a "youthful prodigy" sometime a few months after TAP publishes Ezra Klein's first big, splashy, attention-getting piece. Youthful prodigy is a pretty small niche, so I'm guessing once Ezra cements those credentials, you'll move on to being a smart young writer who's established himself in his own right without needing "prodigy" to justify the attention. So, relatively soon. But you'll still be young, and you won't run anything.

When i moved to DC right after college, everyone I knew here and all my friends were in their late 20's or 30s, so it took me about until I was 25 to realize that I wasn't a horrible underachiever because I didn't own a house and run my own organization yet. So now I actually feel much younger than I did at 24. Of course, my family is slightly horrified that I've reached the ripe old age of 26 without inspiring the sort of male attention that results in marriage (just lots of hooking up, though they don't know that) but in a few years they'll just give up on me as a hopeless spinster so that's ok, too.

Posted by: flip | May 18, 2005 11:48:17 AM

Food prices are volatile, sometimes by design. Grocery chains will sometimes engage in price wars. Back when I worked in the grocery industry, Kroger launched a milk war in my region. Prices bottomed out at $0.69 a gallon. The cost of producing milk hovered around $2.00 per gallon. Different grocery stores will also engage in different pricing tactics. Wal-Mart generally tries to be the low-price leader and relies on volume for profits. Kroger, Albertson's, or Safeway will vary the margins on their merchandise from week-to-week and try to "sell the mix" of high-margin and low-margin goods. This leads to substantial price volatility largely unrelated to inflation.

Posted by: Texas Brian | May 18, 2005 11:52:22 AM

Happy Birthday, Matt.

Posted by: you Kant Re-Write History | May 18, 2005 11:55:07 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.