Monday, October 29, 2007

Fun Amazon Tool

Scroll down through an Amazon listing for a book, and under "Inside this book" you can find a link for 'text stats'. It's got all sorts of fun stuff for a numbers geek like me, like percentage of words that are complex (e.g. three syllables or more), words per sentence, and words per dollar. A few famous selections:

War and Peace: 11% complex - 19.2 words per sentence (wps) - 52,888 words per dollar (wpd)
Oliver Twist: 9%, 19.3 wps, 25,204 wpd
Huck Finn: 3%, 19.1 wps, 22,006 wpd
Old Man and the Sea: 3%, 14.3 wps, 2,845 wpd
Billy Bathgate: 7%, 25.5 wps, 10,830 wpd
To Kill a Mockingbird: 8%, 12.6 wps, 3,405 wpd

This just confirms my conclusion that Billy Bathgate rambled endlessly. It's got sentences twice the length of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. For further comparison, take Hegel's 'Phenomenology of Spirit' (the densest book of arcane Germanic philoso-babble I could think of), which has 18% complex words and 25.1 words per sentence. If your sentences are just as long as Hegel's, you should look into hiring a good editor. I should also note that you get a much better deal on Hegel than on Billy Bathgate (16,470 words per dollar as compared to 10,830).

Of course, these are all pretty smarty-farty books. So I looked up a couple of books that Kir and I have read recently. 'Eat, Pray, Love' has 10% complex words and 16.9 words per sentence. 'Ender's Shadow' has 8% complex words and 11.6 words per sentence.

So here's a good question. Do books written primarily for guys (like Ender's Shadow, a science fiction novel) normally have less complexity in structure than books for women (like Eat, Pray, Love)?

Chad Vader

I'm not sure I can do justice to the genius that is "Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager". ("Yes, my master." "Dude, just call me Randy.") Leave it to some kids in Madison to come up with this. Thanks to Sig for putting me onto this.

Let's Go Blue

I'm not sure whether to be very frustrated or very excited by Michigan's 7 game win streak. I love that we are peaking towards the OSU game, I'd love to knock them off their unwarranted #1 perch. We're up to #12 in the BCS, ahead of Texas, Auburn, USC, and Florida. (If we played those 4 teams, though, I think 1-3 is as likely as 3-1. ) But this win streak just makes the Appalachian State and Oregon losses look that much worse. Where was this team two months ago?

On hockey, I know Boston U. is down a little, but any time you can beat that school 4-2 and 6-2 in a weekend, that's a solid accomplishment. More freshman kicking in. Matt Rust with 2G and 1A for the weekend, and Caporusso handed out an assist this weekend as well. It's time now for the CCHA to get rolling, so we'll see if this rolls over to conference success. Does Billy Sauer get a day off ever? Or does Red want to continue to have his goalies set records for minutes, games, and wins in a season?

I watched the end of the Patriots/Redskins game. My boy Brady is fantastic, but have you every seen a professional team run up the score like that before? Throwing on fourth down while you are up 49-0? I think right now it would be an upset for them to not actually cover a spread, much less lose a game. I think the Pats should change their logo back to the hiking patriot guy giving everyone the finger.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The US Weekly Pool is back!

I'm opening up a new season of fantasy celebrity watching. There are new rules this year in order to make this easier for a) you to enter and play and b) me to manage. So here goes:

1. Each player has to pick a list of 15 celebrities that they think will show up in US Weekly pictures most often over the course of the new "season". You will keep your 15 celebrities for the whole season - there is no changing of your lineup week to week (Eck!). There is no draft, you just pick 15 celebrities you think will be popular/drunk/knocked-up enough over the next few months to show up repeatedly in US Weekly. Yes, it is possible that we all could pick the same person for our team (hello, Britney) except for rule #2.

2. You may NOT pick any of the "big five": Britney, Paris, Angelina, Aniston, or Jessica Simpson.

3. There are two "seasons" a year. The winter season runs from the Emmy's (middle of Sept) to the Oscar's (March-ish). The summer season runs from the Oscar's to the Emmy's. So if you join now, we are in the middle of the winter season, and your list of 15 celebrities will collect points up until the first US Weekly issue following the 2008 Oscars. At that point you can completely rearrange your lineup for the new season.

4. Scoring. Each week your celebrities gain points based on the pictures (you don't really think I'm going to read this crap) contained in US Weekly. Here's the basic breakdown:
  • Main cover shot: 5 points
  • Inset cover shot: 3 points
  • All interior pictures: 1 point
  • A "Fashion Police" picture: -1 point
In addition to the standard scoring, this year I'm instituting bonus points for special circumstances. Note that these do not require an actual picture, but must be recorded somewhere in US Weekly (this is Kirstin's job):
  • Enter rehab: 3 points
  • Give birth: 3 points
  • If the baby is illegitimate: 4 points
  • Get divorced: 2 points
  • Get married: 1 point
  • Arrest: 1 point
  • Jail time: 2 points (must be in the clink for MORE than 24 hours)
5. I'll keep track of points for everyone on a weekly, monthly, season, and lifetime basis. The current standings will be posted on this blog each week. The prizes for each time period are as follows:
  • Weekly: A smug smile
  • Monthly: The ability to sneer at your lesser competitors
  • Season: You will be allowed to possess the illustrious gold spray-painted Barbie on a stick that is the official US Weekly Championship Trophy (at least until the next season's winner gets to have it - it's kind of like the Stanley Cup)
  • Lifetime: Dominion over all that you survey and power over both life and death
6. No pansies. That is, you can't sign up as a couple. It's a low maintenance league, so man up and pick your own list (that means you Alex and Bryan).

7. Team names. This year I'm requiring a team name. Your points don't count unless you have a - preferably tacky or offensive - name for your collection of pimps, ho's, and addicts. My team, for example, is going to be called "The Boob Jobs".

8. Signing up. Either 1) leave a comment on this blog post with your name, your team name, and your list of 15 celebrities or 2) e-mail me at dietz.vollrath AT with your team name and your 15 celebrities.

9. We've got a real hippie vibe this year. Invite your friends and enemies, the more the merrier.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spam, spam, spam, spam. spammity spam!

Yes, that's a map made of spam. This is art I can understand. Full link here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I am shocked!

Kid Rock jailed in Georgia waffle house brawl, released

Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthday Cute

I know that all you care about is cute pictures of the kids - so here goes. Maddie's birthday party was this weekend. I'll stick a few choice photos here. Just imagine a sugar-induced bout of hyperactivity, combined with some form of Ebola that caused a continual runny nose. Good times!

Prom Night

Kirstin and I went to prom. Or a grown-up, much fancier, drinking-is-allowed, quality steak dinner, flaunt-it-if-you've-got-it version of prom. We attended the Children's Museum gala on Friday, thanks to an invite from a colleague of mine. As this colleague is married to someone whose family is a pretty big mover and shaker in Houston, we were at a good table. When I say a good table, I mean we were sitting in front of the guy who bid $62,000 on a weekend getaway trip to the Kentucky Derby for four people (I think they let you pick up horse turds for free).

We did enter the silent auction, bidding for a box at a polo match for eight (probably more horse turds) followed by dinner for the same at this nice local restaurant. We were the only ones to bid up until the last few minutes when some other woman upped the bid (in the words of K, "She can't steal our polo match. And seriously, who wears that dress to a gala?") So we rebid a little higher, and thought we had it nailed down until the polo-stealing tramp cracked the whip on her husband to come and re-up again.

The guy saved us spending the money, and probably kept me from stepping in horse turds for an entire Sunday afternoon, but when that adrenaline was flowing I was pissed. That jack off stole polo from me! So his little harlot could see the cute widdle ponies? (Let's leave aside for the moment that I have never once in my life wished to watch polo.) I hope he gets turd in his tea and crumpets. Bastard.

Other than that, we had a splendid time. If you haven't been to a gala, here's how to picture it. Think of a nice wedding you've been to. Now replace all the cheap well liqour with good stuff. Scale up (yes up) the percentage of women who are wearing things that I'll kindly refer to as "fashion risks". Finally, remove "that table" (you know, your nose-picking cousin Eddy, the podiatrist that lives next door to your grandma, and your alcoholic uncle who likes to goose waitresses), and replace it with "that table" (essentially, the nose-picking heir to the Chevron fortune, the head of proctology at Memorial Hermann Hospital, and 6 other alcoholic waitress-goosers who happen to own energy-trading companies that are in the black on their positions in oil futures).

Go Blue

Fine weekend for Michigan. The hockey team took two from Northern Michigan. My new favorite Wolverine Louie Caporusso had two assists for the weekend, and is tied for second on the team in scoring at 4 points. In a nice sign for the future, 5 of the 10 leading scorers on the team are freshmen (Caporusso, Hagelin, Rust, Pulashaj, and Winnett). Next weekend, BU comes to town for two games. Love to be at Yost for that one.

27-17 at Illinois is a nice way to keep the ball rolling for the football team. I really have never, ever, wanted to beat OSU so bad. They've completely backed into the #1 ranking and will get embarrassed (again) in a national title game. After next weekend, BC will be out of the #2 spot (losing to VT), and LSU will be right back in line for the title game. Do you think OSU has any chance of moving the ball against the LSU defense? Honestly?

Tom Brady is a god.

More random sports:
Not a big fan of the Houston Texans, but since I'm forced to watch all their games I have come to feel some sympathy for them. And Sunday's game against Tennessee was just gut-wrenching. To come back all the way from down by like 28 to take the lead - and then to BLOW it in the end is just sick. They'd be better off having been blown out. It would have been less painful.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Some Interesting Articles

1. Is The Onion one of the best newspapers in America?
2. Robert Kaplan on the long-term implications of focusing on counter-terrorism versus traditional military strength.
3. In praise of Leonhard Euler, mathematician and all-around groovy guy. Yes, I'm a geek.
4. Smart people might be close to finding a vaccine for malaria.
5. Stephen Pinker gives you the low-down on the F word.
6. Bill Gates' mug shot from 1977 for a traffic violation. Seriously, this guy is the richest man in America?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Top Five

Top five songs I've downloaded on iTunes recently
1. I Got a Woman - Ray Charles
2. Spirit in the Night - Bruce Springsteen
3. Bottom of the Barrel - Amos Lee
4. Hallelujah, I Love Her So - Ray Charles
5. A Deeper Shade of Soul - Ray Berretto

More Ankle

So some people wanted to know how I broke my ankle. The above picture shows you essentially how it happened. Except, of course, that I'm not black. Or a professional soccer player. Or a multi-millionaire. Nor did I score on the play where I got hurt. Oh, there were about 30,000 less people watching. And I was in Texas, not England.

But it was during a soccer game, on grass, outside, and other people were around. So the picture is pretty accurate.

Focused Blogging

I don't feel so bad anymore about mentioning my broken ankle on my blog. This guy started a blog solely to discuss his broken ankle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

To my single male friends

Move to New Zealand now!

New Zealand women have the most sexual partners in the world, according to a global sex survey reported on Saturday.

They have an average of 20.4 sexual partners, according to a survey by condom-maker Durex - well above the global average of 7.3.

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling can kiss my...

Too much stupidity in one place to go unmentioned. Today in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank has an article about the first baby boomer to actually sign up for Social Security - Kathleen Casey-Kirschling. Let's take a quote from dear Kathleen and parse out the ignorance:

"Why should boomers who have earned it and who may need that extra support in their retirement -- for medicine, for food, for whatever -- why should they wait if they really don't have to?"

1. No one "earns" anything by paying FICA taxes during their working years. The whole premise of SS is that the current generation makes payments to the retired generation. Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, your FICA taxes from back when you worked went to pay your parents SS. You do not have an "account", nor do you have any kind of lien on the government for your SS payments. What you have is a number of people like me who are currently paying FICA. Because there are so many of you baby boomers, Kathleen, and relatively few of us, we're going to have some issues coming up with the money you are expecting. But don't think that we "owe" you this money. The only reason we pay today is because 1) it's the law and 2) we have an implicit promise that our kids will pay us when we retire.

2. Why should you wait to take it, Kathleen? Because by waiting one or two more years, and by getting all the rest of your baby boomer friends to wait one or two more years, you can remove the financial issues facing Social Security. In other words, if you and your cohort could show an ounce of moderation and respect for other generations, you wouldn't have to worry about your grandkids getting Social Security. The fact is, Kathleen, that you really do have to wait. It's the responsible thing to do. But God forbid we acknowledge that the SS solvency issue (and Medicare even more so) is precisely your generation's "fault". There are lots of you. There are few of us working people. Either we pay more in taxes, or you retire later. Show we what impels us to have to choose higher taxation?

Kathleen continued:
Casey-Kirschling, speaking for the boomers, counseled confidence. "I have great hope," she said, that Social Security will be repaired for "my children's generation and certainly my grandchildren's."

Oh really, Kathleen? And is that because you are prepared to sacrifice either some of your benefits or your retirement age? No, you already said that you "earned" the right to go on SS right away. Make up your mind. Either you deserve your benefits and screw the rest of us, or you DO care about the future generations and you are prepared to act. Pick one.

Improve your vocabulary

A few quality entries from Urban Dictionary:

ignoranus: A person who is not only ignorant, but is also an asshole.

Designated drunk: Responsible partiers choose a Designated Driver to drive during a night of debauchery. The Designated Drunk is chosen by the Driver. The Designated Drunk assumes responsibility for all drink offers given to the Driver. The Designated Drunk will take all offers of toasts, shots, and drinking competitions in place of the Driver.

typeractive: Someone who is overly talkative on emails or text messages.

Man Stand: The act of a man standing outside a shop while his wife/girlfriend/partner shops inside. Man Standing involves looking into space, at other women, or in the case of multi story shopping centers, leaning on the railings of an upper floor watching the people below.

nillionaire: Person without any money of their own.

conswervative: A conservative politician or other public figure caught doing things that he has denounced on record. (see Larry Craig)

brodeo: A get-together or a party where the attendance is prodominantly male.

remasculate: The opposite of emasculate. To grow one's balls back after they have been shrunken by an especially effeminate activity. God, the girlfriend dragged me to go see License to Wed... it was terrible. I had to remasculate afterwards by watching Die Hard: The Bloody Retribution.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monkey Cute

Abby got to monkey-sit for Curious George this weekend - he's the class "pet" at school. So here are all three monkey's out for breakfast on Sunday morning. Not sure if George is tired or if he's about to participate in some sort of medical procedure. (Don't worry, no stuffed monkey's were actually harmed)

Random Sports Reactions

Lots happened over the weekend:
1. My dream matchup of BC and South Florida for the college football national championship is one step closer to reality. Thanks to LSU for spitting the bit. Now if only Michigan can hold up their end of the bargain and beat OSU. Go Blue!

2. Michigan hockey dropped their game 4-3 to Minnesota on Saturday. Disappointing, but they hung tough. We get them again later this year at Yost. Time for revenge. No points from Louie Caporusso, but Matt Rust (another freshman) put two in the net.

3. It looks like the Rockies will get to the World Series - will they officially be the worst-dressed World Series team ever? Those uniforms are putrid. They look like a bad softball team.

4. Packers eek out a win - nice bounceback from the Bears debacle. We go to Denver and to Kansas City now. Neither team is good, but two tough places to play. Have a feeling we're looking at splitting those. But I'll take 6-2 at the half-way mark.

Useful Economics

So you can't say economics isn't good for anything. A new paper out develops an answer to the question: "when should I refinance my mortgage?". One of the authors, John Driscoll, was one of my first-year macroeconomics professors at Brown.

They have a website that you can plug in some values to to find out when you should refinance. The answer you get is in terms of an interest rate. That is, if you can get a mortgage rate of X or less, you should refinance.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Hockey Season

Michigan opened the hockey season by beating BC 4-3 in overtime - Louie Caporusso with the unassisted winner at 2:31 of the extra period. How great a name is Louie Caporusso?

Tomorrow night they face the winner of the Minnesota/RPI game tonight. So barring hell freezing over, its Michigan/Minnesota Saturday night. Go Blue!

Interesting Study

I'm looking online for the actual published study, but the NY Times had an interesting article on a recent WHO article on abortion rates across countries. Essentially, abortion rates were uncorrelated with the legality of abortion. Anecdotal evidence from the article:

In Uganda, where abortion is illegal and sex education programs focus only on abstinence, the estimated abortion rate was 54 per 1,000 women in 2003, more than twice the rate in the United States, 21 per 1,000 in that year. The lowest rate, 12 per 1,000, was in Western Europe, with legal abortion and widely available contraception.

A correlation that did arise in the data was that places where abortion was illegal had much higher mortality rates for women who did get abortions - presumably because of sub-standard conditions. However, without seeing the whole study it's hard to say if this is really meaningful because countries in which abortion is illegal may be, on average, poorer in the first place and have fewer quality hospital facilities.

This seems to me to be an important point in the whole abortion debate. Those who would like a full ban, it seems fair to assume, are hoping to lower the number of abortions. However, evidence suggests that numbers are not likely to decrease. And this makes some sense. If you actually want to limit the number of abortions, you're best bet would be to outlaw hormones, because they, not Roe v. Wade, are the cause of most abortions today.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thinking about Social Security

Obviously some sort of adjustment to Social Security is necessary to ensure its long term survival. There are three options: raise the retirement age, lower the benefits, or raise taxes. (No, privately invested accounts won't solve the problem.) Most people have an aversion to all three, but to me the clear winner would be to raise the retirement age. When Social Security began, the retirement age was 65, and this was higher than life expectancy in 1940. So a baby born in 1940 was expected to die before going on SS. That lucky fraction who did make it to 65 could collect SS, and this helped keep costs down. As time went on and life expectancy rose, so did the percentage of your life that you could expect to spend receiving SS. By 2000, nearly 16% of your life (in expectation) will be spent on the program.

Even if we allow for the increase in retirement age to 67 (which only really hits in 2027), we're still looking at over 15% of your life on SS if life expectancy stays at 78 years. If we were to enforce a rule that the retirement age has to be set so that 12% of your expected life is spent on SS (much like it would have been in 1980, and much greater than it would have been in 1970, 1960, 1950, or 1940), we'd need to raise the retirement age to 68.6. This one and a half year increase would, from what I understand, solve almost the entire problem with SS.

Implementing this increase isn't problematic. We don't have to tell people who are 64 that all of the sudden they have to work an extra 4 years. You phase in this increase (much as the 1983 changes to SS are phasing in the increase to 67 even now) over time. The people affected would only be in the 20's or 30's now.

More Overwhelming Cuteness

Shots from Abby's last soccer game. In the interest of equal coverage, Madeline gets a cute shot too. Abby's team won, and fewer kids on her team collapsed into tears this week when no one "shared the ball" with them. There were also only about 3 blatant episodes of kids actually picking up the ball. Slowly but surely kids on all the teams are starting to understand the purpose of the game is to kick the ball in the net. In a few weeks they might realize that it has to be the other net.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lego Can Blow Your Mind

Very cool. You can see more at

Too True

Finally a newspaper telling it like it is (from the FT):

Corporate America racked by uncertainty
Executives unable to make strategic choices

Your Zip Code

This website is great. Gives you the basic Census data on your Zip code. Median income, racial profile, age profile, etc.. Fun to compare where you've lived.

Billy Bathgate

I'm reading E.L. Doctorow's Billy Bathgate. I'm confused, unimpressed, and frankly pretty bored. His writing is very much a stream of consciousness, and I find this style tedious because the thoughts tend not to be resolved. I understand that this is how my mind, your mind, and Billy Bathgate's mind actually works, but if I'm reading something I'm specifically looking for coherent, complete thoughts. To me, a good book is good because it is able to overcome the stream of consciousness and express complex thoughts in a finite set of words or sentences.

That problem aside, the book suffers from the "wildly improbable and gratuitous sexual encounter" syndrome. I get that Billy is infatuated with Drew Preston, and that Ms. Preston might find something innocently attractive about the younger Billy. Yet their mud-encrusted naked romp through a scummy upstate New York pond is frankly just silly. I actually laughed when I read this, it was so ludicrous. My opinion is that the relationship between the two of them would have been much more engaging and heartbreaking if it was unrequited, two people who could be in love but for circumstances.

I'm nearly done with the book, and thankfully so. I'm not sure how much longer I can maintain my attention to sentences that run to 40 or 50 words at a time. Here's a quick rule of thumb: no more than 3 commas in a sentence.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Is the Mortgage Mess a Big Deal?

There is low level of anxiety surrounding the mortgage market and the ramifications this might have for the economy in the U.S. as a whole (and to a lesser extent, on the economies of other countries). People seem concerned that we will experience some kind of dramatic recession, slamming the brakes on the growth of the U.S. I just thought of providing a little perspective on how bad things could get.

Let's assume that this mortgage crisis really is a debilitating financial event. Let's assume that financial markets seize up, credit becomes non-existent, and the Fed does exactly the wrong things at exactly the wrong time (whatever that is). Let's assume, in other words, that we experience another Great Depression. Over the worst four years of the GD (1930-1933), output fell by 8.6%, 6.4%, 13.0%, and 1.3% before starting to grow again in 1934. GDP per worker in these four years fell to only about 73% of its level in 1929. So in four years, one quarter of your income disappeared.

So if income fell to 73% of its 2006 level over the next 4 years, where would that leave us? About as rich as Japan or France. Did we lose a lot of money? Yes. Are we staring at a cultural and economic disaster of epic proportions? No. Even if we re-live the worst four years of our economic history, we'd still be drinking Starbucks and buying Halo III.

How about if we had back to back four year episodes like the GD? Now income would only be 73% x 73% = 53% of our current income. We'd be as poor as those desperate souls in --- Greece. Or Portugal. Or South Korea. Again, catastrophic losses in income, but the world is not coming to the end. We'd still have cars, phones, computers, movies, etc. The country wouldn't dissolve into some state of nature where we hunted our own food and had to defend our caves with stone implements.

If we go on and consider a string of N straight four year periods matching the Great Depression, this is how we'd move down the list of income per capita:
1 GD: Japan, France
2 GD: South Korea, Greece, Portugal
3 GD: Estonia, Hungary
4 GD: Botswana
5 GD: Turkey, Thailand
6 GD: Algeria, Venezuela
7 GD: Paraguay, Gabon
8 GD: India, Honduras
12 GD: Nigeria, Congo, Zambia

In other words, we'd have to live through 48 years of continual economic disaster to reach the state of Nigeria, Congo, or Zambia. The chances of ONE Great Depression happening again have to be extremely low, so the chances of 12 happening in succession is just ludicrous. So when contemplating the possible economic ramifications of the mortgage mess, or any other recession/panic/crisis that arises in the macroeconomy, let's keep our heads about us and recall that we'll still be fantastically rich (on average - of course there would be distributional issues, but that's for another post).

Sunday, October 7, 2007


So the new AP poll is out after USC's incredible choke job against Stanford (thank you to the Trojans for taking the spotlight off of Michigan). Do we really think BC and South Florida are the #4 and #5 teams in the entire country? But don't they both have a shot at going undefeated, and then won't one of them have to be in the title game?

BC's schedule for the rest of the season:
Oct 13: at Notre Dame
Oct 25: at Virginia Tech
Nov 3: Florida State
Nov 10: at Maryland
Nov 17: at Clemson
Nov 24: Miami
So it seems like a good chance BC could drop one (at VT?), but given Clemson is spitting the bit, Miami just lost to NC, and Florida State looks mediocre again, couldn't BC turn out a 12-0 season? Does anyone really think that LSU/BC is a title game worth having?

How about South Florida. Their remaining schedule is:
Oct 13: U Central Florida
Oct 18: at Rutgers
Oct 27: at Connecticut
Nov 3: Cincinnati
Nov 10: at Syracuse
Nov 17: Louisville
Nov 24: at Pittsburgh
They've got to get through Rutgers (and who would have worried about that game 2 years ago?), at an overrated Cincinnati, and then Central Florida (who did almost punk Texas) is at home. What happens if we end up with South Florida knocking on the door of the BCS title game?

Why oh why can we not have some kind of legitimate playoff?

Weekly Cuteness Allocation

This will be a lot more attractive than a picture of my foot, that's for sure. Here's something to make you feel warm and fuzzy. This was from their first day of pre-school this fall.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Boot

So this is a strange way to begin a blog, especially one that is intended for the use of my macroeconomics classes. But today I was lucky enough to learn that my broken ankle is mild enough that I only need to wear one of those big boots, and I can ditch the crutches. This will save my shoulders and back a lot of wear and tear.

To provide some enlightenment, I have an avulsion fracture on my ankle. "An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone in a place where a tendon or ligament attaches to the bone. When an avulsion fracture occurs, the tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of the bone." Sounds nasty, doesn't it?

To be more specific, my anterior talofibular ligament tore away from my fibula, creating a little fracture. There's a neat picture to the left. It sounds like I'll be in the boot for another few weeks, and then we'll reassess. But the boot means I can a) shower normally and b) use stairs like a normal person, so things are looking up.