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Archive for August, 2011

Hey-yo. Check out my birthday present from Little Lizzie Sheld:


It tasted the way it looks.

Anyway, the rational brain I carry around that is dominant (sometimes) has noticed something and it was articulated by Liz at lunch. Here recently, more times than make me comfortable, I’ve noticed that there’s a tendency for kids younger than I (20 somethings) to behave in the virtual world the way I remember people behaving in the halls of high school or at the bars in college. When people get desperate — over whatever it is they consider a scarce commodity — most will behave in a desperate way. And that can include jungle behavior that is, at the very least, not at all subtle nor generally productive. Remember that scene from Mean Girls?:

Yeah, like that. But not just over boys and not just between girls. Although, as a woman, I notice that kind of thing more I think. Liz says it’s because these kids were raised in the virtual world. Whereas we had to temper our behavior in person for fear of going too far and getting punched in the lip (and trust me I saw it happen and, ahem, might even have been involved once or twice), these kids had the freedom to go to any extreme in the long-distance, virtual world of marking territory or one-upping competition or power grabbing for status or any number of other ways that people socially assert themselves. It’s something I’m just now becoming aware of and I’m certain that’s laughable and I should be ashamed of myself for being behind the curve. But there’s an element about it that makes me a little sad because it seems — and I’m not sure this is the right word — a little cowardly. And I tend to ignore the stuff that makes me sad unless I can do something to affect a change. There is, however, the possibility of flipping how I see it and finding the abject absurdity in it. And then, it just becomes a joke. And God Bless laughter without cynicism. One of the purest and greatest things on earth.

Digressing…

So, the whole “Republicans hate Science!” meme that is — I’m pretty sure — the next theater of the partisan war leading up to the election, is cracking me up. I mean, I can accept that the fundamentalism of a Michelle Bachmann might not be everyone’s cup of tea (it’s not, for example, mine) but Krugman is just so transparent in his attempt to malign Rick Perry for his statements that evolution, as a theory, has gaps. Um, as a theory, it most certainly does. Theories, because they are not proven, have, by definition, gaps. Intelligent Design also has them. I know Perry is frightening to the left side of the political machine. But if they’re honest they’ll admit that what scares them is not so much what he believes (or, more to the point, what he doesn’t believe) but that he doesn’t think the way they do and he might win. I’ve recently been reminded of something my dad used to always say about why those who call themselves liberals hated — viscerally, unabashedly and without conscience HATED — George W. Bush. “He has a standard,” Pops said. “He thinks there are proper ways to do things and proper ways of behaving. Not everything is okay. Not everything is relative. That scares the shit out of some people.” I’d say it’s the same with Perry. Doesn’t bother me a bit, although I’m certain Perry is more conservative than I in many ways. Where I get hazy is WHY doesn’t it bother me? Is it because I don’t need everyone around me to think exactly the way I think? That I’m comfortable with differences of opinion and, in fact, welcome them because I accept that I don’t know everything and have no problem being shown a better way if one exists. Yes. I think that’s exactly why. It feels good to live in that place. I feel sorry for those that live elsewhere.

Speaking of religion, The Coach recently undertook the task of answering some questions on the subject posed by Krugman’s own NYT. I thought his answers were brilliant. So I give them to you as one man’s thoughts on the subject. Enjoy.

1. Is it fair to question presidential candidates about details of their faith?
To the extent that the candidate makes faith an issue in their campaign, and to the extent that faith is a major factor in their decision making, yes. Is it fair to ask them questions about their faith for the purposes of dividing the electorate? No.

2. Is it fair to question candidates about controversial remarks made by their pastors, mentors, close associates or thinkers whose books they recommend?
See above.

3. (a) Do you agree with those religious leaders who say that America is a “Christian nation” or “Judeo-Christian nation?” (b) What does that mean in practice?
(a). Yes. The vast majority of the citizenry in Christian, or I suppose, Judeo-Christian. That’s just a demographic fact. (b) “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That doesn’t mean, however, that government property must be devoid of religious symbols. If a court house wants to have a copy of the 10 Commandments, or a city hall wants to have a Christmas Tree (or Menorah, for that matter) they are free to do so.

4. If you encounter a conflict between your faith and the Constitution and laws of the United States, how would you resolve it? Has that happened, in your experience?
I can’t think of any circumstance where that would occur. There’s nothing in the Constitution that is against my religion, and there’s nothing in my religion that violates the Constitution as currently written. I’d need a plausible hypothetical to really make a decision.

5. (a) Would you have any hesitation about appointing a Muslim to the federal bench? (b) What about an atheist?
(a) Provided that they have a Constructionist/originalist view of the Constitution, a judge’s religion is of no concern to me. (b) Provided that they have a Constructionist/originalist view of the Constitution, a judge’s lack of religion is of no concern to me.

6. Are Mormons Christians, in your view? Should the fact that Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are Mormons influence how we think of them as candidates?
What else do you call people who accept Jesus of Nazereth as their savior? And no, Romney and Huntsman should be viewed no differently than anyone else because of their mormonism. Some of the nicest, most trustworthy people I’ve ever known have been Mormons. So if anything, it’s a net positive.

7. What do you think of the evangelical Christian movement known as Dominionism and the idea that Christians, and only Christians, should hold dominion over the secular institutions of the earth?
I hadn’t heard of this “movement” until I read about it on a liberal blog, so it seems to me that the concern over it exists almost exclusively on the left. I don’t think it’s nearly as much of a problem as the aforementioned liberal bloggers seem to.

8. (a) What is your attitude toward the theory of evolution? (b) Do you believe it should be taught in public schools?
I honestly haven’t studied it enough to have a truly informed opinion on it. But anyone who knows anything about basic animal breeding knows that species can, and do, change over time. I’m more skeptical of the idea that natural selection and random mutation can explain the sheer diversity of life on this planet. It seems implausible, or at least unlikely, to me that all plant, animal, microbial, etc., life evolved from the same batch of primordial goo.

I also resent that the theory of evolution has become a blunt object with which to bash people of faith, or some sort of litmus test for seriousness. Plenty of stupid people believe in evolution, so I don’t see how it’s intellectually superior.

As for teaching it in public schools, of course it’s valid. But only in the context of “this is our best guess at the moment, and is subject to change based on new data.” There seems to be quite a bit of “epistemic closure” (and in some cases outright hostility) on the part of evolution advocates, which I think is counter productive.

9. Do you believe it is proper for teachers to lead students in prayer in public schools?
Not really, but it has nothing to do with it being a public school. In any non-religious school, it’s impractical for a teacher to lead a class in prayer because they would either have to gear it to the lowest common denominator, or alienate various students. Both of which I think undermine the purpose of prayer in the first place. That said, if the class is religiously similar and the parents agree, they can pray all day for all I care. Most importantly, it’s not the concern of federal policy.

Finally, I’ve been listening to this album a lot lately again. This song ranks as one of my top 10 favorite songs. Not sure what that means except that I really dig the low-tuned guitar.

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Hi. How are you? I’m fine. Hung over. My birthday was yesterday and I’m pretty sure I got an impromptu lap dance from Strok. I’m only partially here. But something occurred to me: if G+ wants to actually compete with Facebook, they’re going to have to figure out the birthday thing. Because you get to have the following conversations on Facebook that haven’t, from what I’ve seen, developed in the uber-nerdy, tech-heavy world (and I dig this about it) of G+:

Zimmer: I think you need to go on a celebratory crime spree. Did you know that you can’t be arrested on your birthday? It’s true. I saw it in a movie.

me: your word is all i need. after the earthquake and the coming hurricane AND my birthday, i’d say a little looting is pretty much required. also, your profile pic is disturbing and fantastic. also, also, thanks man! hope Zod is well.

Zimmer: I think the key here is to start small, with an appetizer of crime. May I suggest Tippin’ Over Shit? I hear it’s excellent this time of year.

On to other business:

First-person shooter games, WoW pale in comparison. So many pre-movie wins at the arcade in grade school. It’s like an old friend.

Partial to Fitzy personally.

Oh come on.

Thank God. You can track her here (h/t Johnmire). Also, from someone in NY who’s stocking up on necessities. Justincase.

Huge fan of Kinky because he’s just weird. And I so love the endorsement.

This looks good. Want.

Aw. Jobs are hard.

Stolen from a very arrogant person that I like in spite of that quality.

Just keep your eye on their leadership. Because the world’s getting kinda weird…

My friend Will O gave this to me as a birthday present. Good man.

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I’m alive. Just thought I’d post that. It just puts your personal thoughts of control over your fate into enormous perspective when the ground below your feet flips up and down in front of you (outside having lunch with Little Lizzy Sheld who, having many years’ experience living on the West Coast, knew immediately what was happening and kinda laughed at the look on my face). Takeaway quote from The Coach, also a Georgia native where the ground tends to stay in it’s freakin’ place: “Not gonna lie. I peed a little.”

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Aw snap. Someone posted this online after Saturday’s dance class. We learned this same piece Friday night (except for the last 8 count) and let me just say that before this class I thought I was a decent dancer, generally picked up choreography fairly well and quickly, and could hang at least in terms of movement and keeping time with the other kids. Heh. Let’s just say I was very humble driving home Friday. Can’t wait to go back. Shiznit.

Know what movie is awesome and I forgot about until I was going through a box I hadn’t looked in for a few years? Drop Dead Fred. Very silly and very deep. One of my favorite combinations. Here’s a clip so you can get a taste. Then go find it online somewhere and give it a watch. It’s lovely.

So, I don’t have much today. My whole body hurts after 5 softball games this weekend. We came in 3rd and it was disappointing to barely scrape the championship game only to take a loss. But we were heroic in our effort and I just gained so much respect for these crazy people on my team that I count as friends. See, there’s something wonderful about playing a team sport at a level of play that is physically demanding. It’s a bonding thing over blood and sweat and tears and laughter and beer and fights and cheers and highs and lows that’s difficult to explain. My right leg is mess of bruises, Mack is wearing a sling for a sprained shoulder, Bailey and Johnmire had some bloody knees, Johnmire is also recovering from a dislocated finger, Cassidy has a new scrape down her sliding leg, Strok is hungover, and none of us will be properly hydrated again for at least a week. It was freakin’ fantastic. Anyone who’s ever played a competitive sport knows what I’m talking about. And maybe it seems silly to feel that way about a rec league softball team/tournament. Again, difficult to explain. But do we ever have a good time. Coach’s recap follows. Since I’m “general manager” of our flag football team that’s gearing up to start in a few weeks, maybe I’ll have some more fun sporty posts in the future. For now, though, here’s the final 2011 take away. You shoulda been there.

Dawgs,

For those of you not in attendance, here’s a tournament recap: After moving through the first three rounds with relative ease (we won our first three games with an average score of 14-5), we then took on much tougher foes — namely, Mother Nature and scheduling conflicts.

The motto of the tournament quickly became “Mother Nature is a raging whore.” After our third round victory, the skies opened up and rained out the rest of the weekend — which pushed all games back to the following weekend. When the next weekend rolled around, the skies promptly opened up again, raining out the rest of THAT weekend by Saturday morning. We didn’t even get to play.

Fast forward to the following weekend (which was this past weekend), and it finally looked like we were going to get this thing wrapped up. We started our Elite 8 game against a scrappy Bucknell team, who had just knocked off #6 Georgetown. We were missing some important players due to some scheduling issues, and after a rather inauspicious start, we found ourselves down 8-0 in the bottom of the first. All seemed to be lost when our bats got off to a slow start, but after going to the bullpen and playing tighter defense, we began to chip away at the deficit. The game also featured not one, but TWO Walters-to-Mackenzie put outs at the plate. Mackenzie speared two laser beams that would’ve had most catchers in the league diving behind the backstop in fear.

We managed to tie the game at 15 in the bottom of the 7th, with the winning run trucking around third base in the person of Bailey Gaither. After a heroic slide between the legs of the covering pitcher, the umpire looked at Bailey’s out-stretched hand touching the plate, with the tag being applied to Bailey’s hat, and called him — out? OUT?! But we were all ready to mob him Sid-Bream-style and everything! Alas.

So we went into one-pitch extra innings, and after holding Bucknell to a 1-2-3 inning — including a strikeout on a nasty curveball thrown by Will “Big Willy” Perkins — we came up to bat needing just one run to advance to the Final Four.

In the bottom of the inning, Bucknell’s pitcher came down with a case of Steve Blass disease and walked the bases loaded with no outs. The aforementioned Will Perkins then slapped a game-winning single to the right side.

We then played a tough Villanova team in our first-ever Final Four appearance. And I’m not gonna sugar coat it: They took out one of those Catholic school paddles and turned our collective ass a rosy shade of pink. After the emotional roller coaster of the Bucknell game, we came out flat against a hard-hitting team and just couldn’t find a rhythm on offense.

But good news came out of it. During the game, the red secure phone I keep in the bat bag started ringing. Marieo had wrapped up his tournament in Richmond and was making the 150 mile trip in hopes of making our next game. As Dan noted at the time: “He left his cape at home, so he has to drive, but he’s on his way.” And he was just in time.

We took on #6 Georgetown in the last game of the day. We’d held a solid lead over them for most of the game, thanks to some solid defense and great pitching. But they managed to hang a five spot on us in the top of the 7th to take the lead.

We had the top of our order up in the bottom of the 7th, however, and that was all we needed. After two quick singles by Walters and Longmire, Marieo tee’d off and launched the ball into the neighboring county for our second walk-off win of the day.

It was an early call time the next morning, with our first game starting at 9:00 against Richmond. The Spiders had played seven games in a row the previous day, including a knock off of previous champion and #1 seed JMU. So we probably held a slight advantage just in terms of fatigue and soreness.

Our bats got off to a sluggish start, but thanks to more stellar defense and more great pitching, we held a lead over Richmond for most of the game until — once again — we gave it up in the top of the 7th.

We found ourselves down two in the bottom of the 7th, but thanks to a defensive miscue by the Spiders, we were able to tie the game. After a single by Longmire, Marieo was intentionally walked to put runners on second and third with one out. Sarah Lee then poked a single through the hole on the left side for the game-winning run and our third walk-off of the tournament (and 7th of the season).

We then got another shot at Villanova, but it just wasn’t meant to be. They hit the ball just a little better than we did, and advanced to the finals — which they came within a homerun of winning.

So all in all, it was a great tournament performance. It’s hard to be upset that our only losses came at the hands of a team that nearly won the whole damn thing.

Our goal for next year is to make the finals and be the ones hoisting the trophy at the end. Here’s hoping that Mother Nature cooperates.

Go Dawgs!

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Hola! We’re attempting to close out our softball season tomorrow but this is making the traveling there tomorrow morning just a joy to anticipate. I think this is justification for leaving early since I take the GW Parkway home…Also, cool idea. Nice way to remember.

Oh joy! I played fast pitch for 11, almost 12 years and was a catcher for 7 of those and man, I can attest to the creaky knee thing. I can’t squat without everyone hearing it.

Looking forward to this.

Cool. I hope there’s a chance they can get their lives back together. Remind me never to feel sorry for myself again.

Man, I love variants on the golden spiral. Heh. Obviously. You go kiddo.

This guy has a career in marketing for sure.

And now, just some great videos. I have to go write about campaign finance violations. Thrilling, right?

I love him. Dirty kitty.

H/t Little Lizzie Sheld. Oh man. This is wonderful. The art of public pr bs. This is why I’ll take someone honestly answering — slick or not — over the used car salesman every day of the week and twice on Sunday. “I was high and I thought it was a monster.”

Best for last:

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Hello my pretties. So, there are a few things tumbling around I feel like introducing but I’m pressed for time so I’ll make this short and sweet:

I have a friend who told me some time ago that I was going to have to be nice. I won’t go into what prompted the discussion but he was kind enough to try to give me some insight into what — with enough patience — might make the difference. But here’s the thing: apparently my Pops recognized that I had a tendency toward cleverness when I was quite young — and that I liked to push the envelope. I never thought of myself as mean, but I do remember thinking that I was pretty good at getting away with things. So, I guess the decision was made early on that I needed to be handled in a certain way due to this tendency. I wasn’t given much room for meanness growing up. So, as a result, it’s hard sometimes for me to know the difference between taking a righteous stand and just being kind of a b*tch. But I’m trying Walters. I really am.

Moving on…

They actually did a “prisoner’s dilemma” study on this. I’m not trying to sound snarky but I just thought this was pretty much accepted as fact.

From the coach. Jesus Christ tap dancing on a cracker. Really.

Go Hugh! Also, my birthday’s coming up. Just sayin’.

And this is where Wired loses me again. Because look, continued deregulation is not going to endanger internet access. Read this piece here if you don’t believe. Please note the discussion of ISP caps being well above what anyone ever actually needed and the essential monopoly that regulated and hampered service. I always have such a hard time understanding how the tech-heads over at Wired could possibly advocate for net neutrality.

This seems like a fantastic idea to me. Waste of money because of the probability numbers? Not to my mind. This is the kind of thing you like to know you can do if you ever need to.

Yeah, i can’t resist — especially because I’m getting ready to write an op-ed of my own on some data that doesn’t have an analysis attached yet but I definitely want to make sure the information that’s available is actually, ya know, available. So, where’s the data Ezra? The NYT piece doesn’t even mention the name of the report much less where to find it if someone should want to analyze their findings independently. Irresponsible journalism is irritating. Especially because once the report is public, if their analysis is found lacking, this meme is already out there, bought and sold. Leveraging claims as serious as borderline bigotry should come with easy access to the numbers. Sigh.

Alright, I have mad respect for Anne Hathaway now.

Finally, watched this last night and fell in love. My favorite part was when they’re talking about the vast number of Southern dialects (the lower part of Georgia sounds more like High English while the Appalachian of Tennessee and North Carolina has the more Gaelic hard ‘r’) and Southern idioms. Butchering this quote but one guy was like: “My favorite Southern expression is ‘bless his heart’, which is a nice way of saying, ‘you’re stupid’. Like, “look at old Cletus over there, carrying that big log and it has spiders all over it. Bless his heart.”

I’ll be attending a dance class Friday instead of tonight so I can go to happy hour out in Clarendon with some new lady friends. It’s worth it. It gives me a chance to take some street jazz and figure out if it’s something I need to be doing all the time.

Finally, here. Have some music.

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So, George Soros is an ass. I suppose there are some who will read this and say, “Dude’s awesome.” But to me, this is the kind of narcissism that leads to problems. Observe:

“In June the couple got back together and later that summer, while lying in bed, Mr. Soros dropped a bombshell on Ms. Ferreyr about the apartment. ‘I gave it to my girlfriend and she is flourishing,’ he said, according to the complaint.”

Nice. Now, it’s reasonable to assume the sweet little flower filing the complaint might have her own set of narcissistic tendencies — I’m pretty sure you’d have to in order to share a bed with Soros. But these are just nasty people doing nasty things. And, as my pops taught me early on when it comes to politics and ideology, people tend to gravitate toward, support and vote for the folks who are like them. I’m becoming more aware of that with each passing day. It’s how I let it affect me that remains unclear.

Speaking of, what is with the newest meme about Dominionism? I thought spreading fear and paranoia was a no-no? But yes, I suppose it could be true that Perry and Bachmann are Christian fanatics set to conquer the world via, well I guess imperialism? Wait, now that I write it…yeah, pretty sure that’s the most ridiculous supposition I’ve heard yet in an attempt to denigrate whoever ends up being the GOP candidate. As the coach put it so very wisely:

“It’s curious to me that she’s more worried about Rick Perry’s ‘strain’ of Christianity than Barack Obama’s strain of ‘Christianity.’ Unless I missed her mutli-part series on Rev. Wright.”

Yeah, pretty much.

Not totally comfortable with this.

Want.

Oui! I look forward to going back overseas someday. I have a feeling now that I’ve expressed that I may be the recipient of some news about how so-and-so just traveled overseas and it was so awesome! Sorry you can’t afford it right now…Erp, sorry. That was personal. Just working it out.

Awesome! The Magneto one appeals to me, except he’s a bad guy…

Finally, I re-watched this movie last night. I hadn’t seen it in a while and it always reaffirms some things for me. Namely, that this is a sin and leads to a hell of one’s own creation and that George Soros can go eff himself.

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