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Archive for November, 2013

Looking forward to seeing these nerds tomorrow.

Looking forward to seeing these nerds tomorrow.

Hi everybody. Hope you’re all gearing up for a great Thanksgiving. It’s always a little tough for me because I can’t justify going home twice in 2 months so I stick close to DC. And that’s a little prick to the heart. But I’ll shop with the cousin and watch a little football with the uncle down Maryland way and it’ll be okay. I don’t have too much to say — I’m just coming from a meeting down in DuPont and I had to stop and eat since I haven’t actually done that at all today and, since it’s the day before Thanksgiving, I decided to have a few beers and write a little. It calms me down.

Since I have to cook tonight — nothing too involved but baking tends to be time consuming — I’m hoping to find a good holiday movie to pass the time. One of my favorites this time of year is Home for the Holidays, but I’m sort of feeling Just Friends, which is totally underrated and hilarious. Of course, given all the freaking out over a sequel, I could always go ahead and do the annual viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. I keep waiting for that movie to stop being awesome. But it never does. In any event, looking forward to my sweatpants.

I’ve been thinking about the CNN lady who was all upset that people were profiling groups of black kids to avoid being victims of the knockout game and something occurred to me: we have evil rednecks in the South. White trash, racist wastes of perfectly good flesh who are just hateful and angry and run around perpetrating violence on people just for fun. They look a lot like some of my relatives who are not white trash, or racist, or violent, or hateful. But sometimes people ascribe those qualities to my people because they have seen the variant of Southerner that has those qualities and they have things in common with some of my loved ones. Is that an unfortunate circumstance? Absolutely. But you know who creates it? The redneck who gives life to the stereotype. Sure, it’s tempting to be angry at the people who mistake the two. But, honestly, if those people were fearful of leaving their homes because the rednecks were on a tear, I can’t say I’d blame them for being cautious around upstanding folks with the same accents and interests (except for the whole predilection for violence). And trust me, I know a little bit about being maligned unfairly and treated with little to no respect, so I get where the discomfort comes from. But sometimes you have to be honest about why people react the way they do and address what you can to fix it. And pointing the finger of blame in the wrong direction doesn’t help.

Does everybody still have to read this in high school? One of the best…

Gorgeous. Gives me a lot of hope.

As does this. The editor Pye told me today that he wanted Murray to succeed even more than he wanted Stafford to succeed, because there was just something about the kid that makes you pull for him. I want good people to win, too.


“Enrichment is our red line.”
Great. We suck at foreign policy at the moment.

In the spirit of the holiday, thank you for being there, in whatever way you are. I’m sorry if I let you down.

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What's the first word you see? **

What’s the first word you see?

Hey ya’ll. I have but a few minutes to talk but did want to throw some things at you. I have to get ready for a work-related outing with one of my favorite professional contacts who has also become a pretty good friend. I absolutely adore when that happens. He’s only sporadically in town so when he makes it up this way and wants to catch up, I miss dance class to do it. Also, we’re going to the Gibson and I’ve never been so looking forward to all that. And the chance to talk about work with someone who knows what I do and which way I’m heading. So, want to make sure the day’s tasks are complete to I can be free to be chipper and chatty, hence the limited time. But here’s some stuff:

First, my sister sent something along re: the deal we just cut with Iran that appears to do absolutely nothing EXCEPT allow Iran a little nicey-nicey cover to continue along with their nuclear ambitions. I’m not sure what card Rouhani threatened to use but why did we agree to this again? This guy thinks it’s just to put a little Mid-East negotiating feather in a few caps. God help us when an administration’s tendency to endanger our national security interests to play politics is actually preferable to any other goal they may have in mind cutting a deal like this one. Because if there is a goal here besides politics, it’s only bad. In short, all we really did was ease some economic pressure on Iran without asking them to really do, well, anything as regards their nuclear ambition. Just a lot of half-formed requests for promises they won’t do anything bad or dangerous with no real outlines for following up to ensure they’re in compliance. And here’s the problem with freeing them economically according to Mark Dubowitz of FDD:

The Geneva deal, however, promises Iran potential sanctions relief of much more than $7 billion. Members of Congress, the Israeli government and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies have valued the potential sanctions relief over a six-month period at up to $20 billion. These calculations factor in how Iran could fully exploit the loopholes opened by the Geneva deal, and how an environment of sanctions relief and de-escalating sanctions could change the market psychology from fear to greed.

An economically empowered and greedy Iran sounds like a nightmare to me.

This was simply fascinating. I get that the lady is uncomfortable that the knockout game is being played by black kids and that it sucks beyond the telling of it that the cop’s advice to cross the street when you see a group of young black kids approaching you is GOOD advice. But lady, perhaps that’s a situation that the black youth of America playing this ridiculous game are foisting upon upstanding black youth who are being profiled because of it. In other words, be pissed about it. Can’t blame you for that. It sucks. But the cop and society at large who are trying to stay safe ARE NOT DESERVING OF YOUR DISMAY AND DISCOMFORT. You know who is? The dumbass kids that are making it suck for the rest of us, all colors, all ages, both genders, etc and et al. You want to be pissed about profiling? Be pissed at them. Also on this subject, Mark Steyn has one of the best pieces I’ve read and, as is his way he loops it into talk of the Senate rule change. Genius.

I love that the standard now is to depict dinosaurs with feathers. Because 1) it is a reminder that we really don’t know much and our science is forever evolving (heh); and 2) it makes me look at birds differently.

Speaking of natural selection:

Also speaking of natural selection, this fox is amazing. Totally honing in on magnetic fields people, which I think we are more prone to than we realize as humans. I hate that we’ve gotten so far away from instinct…I seriously make it a point every day to consciously pay attention to my instincts. It really does make one feel more alive.

It was heartbreaking. I can’t even talk about it. But it does remind me why calling for people to sweep the leg (yes, I know it’s a Karate Kid reference. Indulge me.) while watching football because your team is losing is horrible.

Definitely lean toward the student.

I agree, despite the best efforts of a great many left-leaning writers of late to deny that it’s happening. Progressivism, at least as it’s been tried over the years, doesn’t work very well because it fails to acknowledge that collectivism runs counter to human nature at it’s most granular level. Sure, we can be persuaded to move as a group in some ways. But when you get down to the smallest ways humans relate to each other — families, lovers, parents and children — individualism rules. It’s innate. You cannot breed it out of us. So knock it off already.

I’ve never had a Chicago dog but it looks REALLY good. A slaw dog, on the other hand, I’ve had 8 million times. And I can confirm it is REALLY good.

One of the reasons I don’t carry my bad ass Nikon around is because of how big it is. I’m salivating…

**mine was humour

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I’m not exactly procrastinating doing the things that must be done today, I’m just saving them till I’m REALLY READY so they’ll be as good as they can be. So, while I eat this pizza, here’s some stuff that’s been cooking in the noggin…

First, let’s get the political stuff out of the way, because it’s always the least inspiring. Can we just talk about the fact that Elizabeth Warren wants to expand Social Security? And she has a two-pronged approach apparently, driven by the maths: tax the wealthy more, and bring more people into the system, which this piece (probably rightly) assesses as a nod to immigration reform. But here’s the problem: this cabal of the “wealthy” is getting poorer every day in an economy that doesn’t favor them and taxes and regulates them to the point that they may not make their remaining wealth available to be taxed in the various ways that can be done. And adding more people into a system like social security — where people have been paying their fair share for years in the hopes of getting something back in the end — just means those new people, very likely pretty low earners, are not going to be adding to the system as much as they will be burdening the system. But that extra tax on the still-maybe-kinda wealthy should make up the difference? This is an absurd notion. Think of it this way. Let’s say you’re a farmer and, for whatever reason, you lose one of the 5 people you sell to (maybe they went out of business because you overcharged them so much for your yield, and they were forced to pay because there was no other supplier of your product in town, that they ultimately couldn’t pay their bills with what they were making selling your product) so that revenue is no longer coming to help you sustain the farm. So you decide to do two things: charge the remaining stores more for your yield (and they see from the example of the store that went out of business that your product doesn’t give much back to them in terms of real dollars so that’s not all that appealing for them) AND have a few more kids to help work the farm so that you can increase your crop size a little to produce more of your product (that’s still not lucrative) that you can then sell more of to the stores at that same higher price to make up for the lost revenue of the out-of-business store. But guess what? Babies cant work just yet. They’re just going to eat and consume for the first several years and maybe, given enough time, they’ll give back to your farm system enough to grow the size of your crop, but some of that revenue you plan on bringing in will go to feeding them — and now their kids. And you still haven’t made the purchase of your product all that appealing to the stores because you haven’t lowered the price for them — because you want YOUR lost revenue, dammit! It’s a wonky example, but all that is to point out that if you try to make people poorer by taxing and regulating them to death (or overcharging them for a product they can’t recoup the cost of), it is logically inconsistent — and dare I say crazy? — to rely on them to be a source of revenue to you in the long run. For one, they’re poorer. And for another, they’re going to stop doing business with you if they can. And adding more people into a system to help grow it, unless they are immediately putting in enough to develop a one-to-one ratio of putting in what they will eventually use, you’re going under pal. Collectivism, along with dehumanizing the individual, is also really bad business. And this is the lady that there’s already rumbling might be a Presidential contender. Geesh.

Speaking of bad business, and not to sound like a traitor because this isn’t terrible for me personally, but the bureaucracy doesn’t produce anything…except more bureaucracy. So I’m not sure throwing the entire economy at it is the wisest investment. But this one’s on you people of America…it’s all about how you vote. We can talk more about that later.

Yeah, I’m not so harsh with Winfrey on this one because I (think) I know what she meant by this, but the racism thing is out of control. Everybody needs to watch this scene from the hilarious and underrated movie Boomerang:

And I’m leaving it there.

My friend/editor wrote a nice piece on the weird old guard conservative dislike of libertarians thing. It’s a good piece and, I think, an important one, because if we keep on mean girl bitching about each other and not letting the Rand Pauls sit with us because he’s wearing sweatpants, we don’t have a chance conservatives. Especially when some of the complaints are, read the piece, not exactly true.

And we have to get on the same page people because it’s really, really bad. This article made me really angry. And, progressive children who sang and danced behind all this pied piper nonsense, I’m trying really hard to forgive you. I have to watch this frequently and remind myself why that’s a good thing.

This guy is set as a google reminder so I know never to read his trash. Was that what you were after Politico?

Okay, now the fun —

The black jaguar is my spirit animal:

Because I decided it is, that's why.

Because I decided it is, that’s why.

So I nearly fell out when I saw this sweatshirt. Cheesy? Probably. But I would wear the hell out of to dance class and maybe even out because I can see it with a pair of dark jeans and a black blazer. I don’t need you to like my style.

So y’all know I have a thing for magic shows, right? Well, David Blaine is a genius. I don’t care what anyone says. Although he pushes up on that uncomfortable Prestige border and I worry about him…

Whoa. Thank God for centripetal force I guess.

As usual, something good for the Southerners. All about how we self-identify the way we do. And it is a weird thing — I’ll be Southern till the day I die, no matter where I live or for how long, no matter what some old book — probably written by a Northerner — says.

Now this looks more like the Muppet movies I remember as a kid. Can ya picture that? (You win if you get that reference)

Oh dear God but I love a good sandwich.

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Read this. And remember the simple, eloquent, beautiful words of a man dedicated.

Man I tell ya, between the Knockout Game and creepy, borderline stalker-y neighbors, I’m to the point where I just want to hide under the covers and have someone call me when it’s time to head South for Christmas. I continue to think being raised the way I was did not prepare me for the fact that a great portion of the world behaves at any given time in a really poor fashion. And I attract the worst of them. Watching the Dawgs lose their heartbreaker of game to Auburn — I mean miracle-style loss — some random drunk guy decides he wants to stand directly in front of me in the closing, nail-biting seconds. And when he turned to look at me, and I smiled and gestured with my hand to move a little to the right, he gave me the finger. And then the neighbor, who thinks I’m into lending him money even though I don’t know him, texted me at midnight last night to see how I was doing. In his defense a little, I was snarky in my reply, but don’t ask me for money and then booty call me GUY I DON’T KNOW. My snark led to some pretty nasty namecalling on his part — pretty much my fault — but man there’s just only so much I can take sometimes. Which reminds me…

I have nothing to give anyone. Perhaps that will change but that’s the situation right now, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t find it here. There are whole people who pretty much told me I was worthless for not having more things, influence, standing, what-the-eff-ever, when I moved here and, while I have no intention of quitting, thus far my ship hasn’t come in. I can give you that dude’s number though. Maybe he can plug you into the same channels he eventually found. I think it’s probably more your vibe. And your assumption, creeper, that I COULD supply you with a little cash is only running a close second to your assumption that I WOULD. And, to my friends, if I’ve busted your chops lately about being disrespectful, it’s because of this stuff. Because I’m frustrated and I’m pretty sure if I don’t get a little harder, it’s not going to change. Oh, and one other thing, it’s related but that’s maybe not totally obvious at first blush, but the folks who play everything really close to the vest and give the appearance of discretion are, in my experience, the least trustworthy. Creeper neighbor pulled some cagey business like that this morning and that’s what made me think of it. But it’s a broader truth, especially as I negotiate the political corners of this city. Discretion is really knowing what things to be discreet about, not being discreet about everything. That just looks like you use, as my sister is fond of saying, “subtlety without piety”, which just means your discretion is really about knowing when to dig up one of the bodies and use it to your advantage rather than exercising discretion out of a sense of loyalty or for national security interests as it were. Reminds me of that Eddie Murphy bit where he says he doesn’t trust the quiet women because they’re afraid to open their mouths because they know a bone might fall out. There’s something to be said for the drunk Henry Gondorff approach (h/t Bay). Or didn’t you think I thought about these things?

Anyway, let me just close out that vent. It just needed to come out…

My buddy Eugene has some photography you need to check out, the best of which, in my opinion, is this one:

Utter desperation...

Utter desperation…

The story behind it is even better: apparently this is a New Orleans street kitten and, obviously strays, they were given a can of food, and all the kittens ran around the fence but little dumb kitten here. Apparently he eventually figured it out but it took him a while.

Which is a nice segue to this. Useful information.

This is pretty cool. I wouldn’t use it as a quotable reference, but it’s nice place to start a little research.

Pretty sure this will become a source of calm when I feel like slapping someone for being cheeky and Northern. (h/t Ali)

I really need to get down to Charleston and visit the dancer friends (but not the ex, because that would be weird), and when I go, I plan on going here. Or…I could just make them…

Hmmm…it’s interesting. But my Pops said, “One thing no one’s talking about is that the Braves had been fighting with the city of Atlanta over parking revenue for the last several years. I think the city finally agreed, last year, to give them 8%. 8%…that’s all…”

Here’s what I love about this:
the admission that you really can’t predict weather more than a week or two out. Hear that climate scientists?

I use my brain equally apparently. Not surprising, really. I was pretty ambidextrous as a kid, approaching gymnastics and dancing as a lefty, softball, writing, etc as a righty. I lead with my left hand quite a bit…

I dedicate this song to my friend Lord Somber (yes, I’m planning on responding to your email, congrats on the job, miss you, love you, just haven’t gotten around to writing yet…) because he made fun of me once for loving it. Because I really, really do. And there are some references in there to old Jack Kennedy (may he rest in peace), whose death we remember this time of year. And, on that note, this is a good piece…

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Hey kids and crazies. Sorry for not updating for a little bit. Busyness overtook me, other priorities, other concerns. But new thoughts for the offering below…

Only one thing’s been really compelling on the domestic front, and that is the possible death of progressivism in this country, at least for the foreseeable future, with the hemorrhaging of Obamacare. It’s too early, of course, to declare anything definitively but, after a meeting I had this week, something occurred to me that was so fundamental and so telling about this administration and possibly about the typical progressive mindset: the details and the grunt work are just all so beneath them aren’t they? I had a meeting this week with a group that is in the early planning stages of designing and rolling out a new website and, in the course of discussing that effort, I was reminded just how important it is to have a clear idea of what you want, and to be able to communicate that idea to the people that will actually be doing the developing. And what that means is: collaboration. It means you have to do some work, thinking about how you want your system to function and look, and what you want it to offer, because programmers are going to give you what they want barring that information. And, if they’re contractors, their priorities aren’t going to be the same as yours. And it seems to me that this administration didn’t want to do the work of engagement, preferring just to hand off the work and take the glory later. It further seems to me that this culture of victimization, to which progressivism in this country has always been tied, operates under the same philosophy. There are some things the elite shouldn’t have to worry about, so make everything the same so I don’t have to entertain the varied desires of the individual while I’m engaged in the activities befitting someone of my station in life.

Combine intellectual laziness with hubris and you get Obamacare. And my guess is, even though that formula is appealing to the wannabe elite who can’t stand the thought of dirty hands, it’s too expensive, isn’t kids? Awwww, you’ll figure out how to feel good about working. I think you’re going to have to…As an aside, one of the people I know who best represents that wannabe elite mindset told me once that as a very young child, he quite literally couldn’t stand to have dirty hands. Hahahaha! How’s that for a perfect metaphor. Anyway, I think it’s hilarious, as well. Because it’s funny when jerks are forced to face their own massive egos. Sorry not sorry. And my God, if this is your base, you’re bound to fail. What made you think that people who think like this could be relied upon?

On the international front, just keeping an eye on oil. Oh, and this. Because when the French think you’re selling out, you have a problem friends.

UGA plays Auburn Saturday. I’m sure we’ll be biting fingernails at Public if you get bored. You should really, really come by. It’s a good time and we need to talk. Then there’s Fake Friendsgiving Sunday (Bless you Corey, for that title) and I get to cook for people. One of my most favorite things…

Aw, opportunity costs are hard. Here’s the thing: it’s better when you don’t lie about it. About it, and everything else…

This is true. What people do in online arguing really does say a great deal about them.

Love them all. Fat Bastard is not good wine, but it’s worth the novelty of the label. Which is a good business model when you think about it.

I mean I guess better late than never but how did he not already know this?

“We have achieved pew pew”

This makes me feel the hockey.

Um, the winner is always Krispy Kreme.

Hahaha, underwear in space.

Finally watched Super 8. Loved it. A great deal. Here’s a song from the film, one I remember from my childhood, that’s good to start the weekend. Be safe over the next few days friends.

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Attitude is everything

veteran

Moving slow but hoping this bowl of cereal gives me a little energy. It’s cold out for this Southerner. It’s not so much that the winter is colder here in DC than it was in Atlanta, or that it lasts slightly longer (which it does), it’s just that the cold here seems to bite a little harder — goes straight to my bones — and be pervasive throughout the day. In the South, it can be bitterly cold in the morning but the sun tends to warm things up as the day goes on. Here it just feels like the sun is less…strong? Dang if that isn’t a metaphor right there…

Anyway, I think I might go out to Arlington National Cemetery today rather than drive out of town. I’ve only been there one other time, and I wasn’t really there. I was waiting for someone to get off work and I think I need to stop doing that, waiting on people instead of just being in the moment. And I like a good cemetery. They are among my favorite places. There’s a letter I need to write and I have a feeling Arlington Cemetery might facilitate the right frame of mind.

Hey Braves fans — not the end of the world, okay? It was a sound business decision that may force some infrastructure improvements on that section of 285 and with public transportation, both of which Atlanta needs in a pretty significant way. What is this tendency to just decide something is stupid without examining all the factors and discussions that went into the decision? Get a grip armchair civil engineers. Also, there’s something to be said for making the most of a decision you have no ability to influence. And punishing the team for the franchise decision by swearing off going to games is weak. I’ll be disappointed in you Atlanta, if you roll that way.

Okay, other stuffs:

When I was younger, I put up with people who thought this way. I listened to their thoughts and spent time trying to give them a counter argument. I dated a guy pretty seriously who loved him some Salon, even though it has always been full of this kind of nonsense. As I get older, I’ve stopped listening to these people and have very little desire to hear them or make a counter argument. As a believer in free speech, I support and defend their right to be this ridiculous, but don’t have the desire to argue with people that I’m reasonably certain can’t express their opinions openly without getting punched in the face. Having a measured opinion and expressing your dissent eloquently is becoming very, very attractive to me.

That is unless you are 98 and a female Nazi hunter. What an absolute hero.

And I think that Doolittle dude should remember that in this country, our troops are trained to fight to keep the peace. That’s not the case elsewhere in the world. And it’s not a subtle distinction. But is a very, very important one.

Also, Doolittle, you should read this and stop being so myopic.

Great. Can’t imagine why he wouldn’t go but whatever. Find your own priorities I guess.

Oh thank God!

Filed under “not shocking and ripe for regulation”.

A friend just told me about this game. Let’s play!

Wonder if anyone wants to go to this…Duck says it’s a good time.

Thanks for this Caleb. Nice to be reminded that it’s not all about immediate dissatisfaction.

Rock stars are out of control.

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In my mind mom

Hey yo. Taking a break and wanted to share a piece of nerdy political hilarity from Facebook. A friend of mine posted her concern that her health insurance premiums were going up by 7% and was curious about all the rhetoric about healthcare being more affordable going forward. After the obligatory “oh but you’ll be covered by blah blah blah things you weren’t covered for before”, there was still some consternation on the part of even those folks, hoping that the increase was worth the extra coverage. Then one brave guy pipes up with a “Where were all of you last year during the election? Did everyone here vote for Romney?”

Oh I laughed and laughed. Because my guess is the answer is no. Welcome to that funny phrase you’ve heard: “elections have consequences.” Thank you Dude Who Cuts to the Chase. We need to be friends.

Okay, I got nothing else today but some links and things and one of my all-time favorite songs. I can’t listen to it without jumping around the living room. Also, I think since Monday’s Veteran’s Day, I may try to drive to a not-too-far out of town battlefield and just walk around. I know it’s more appropriate for Memorial Day but still seems like a good thing to do. Not as glamorous as whatever it is I’m sure the cool kids are humblebragging about as we speak, but it works for me. And my soul. And maybe, by extension, the greater good because one person humbled has an effect. Anyway…

Aziz Ansari cracks me up with his Southern accent and tendency to think everything — EVERYTHING — is funny.

Dan Savage jumped his shark a long time ago (and yes, feel free to consider that a sexual euphemism. I guarantee Savage already has.), but this guy’s take on it is so revealing since he’s looking at it as an Englishman. The ugly American is alive and well.

A friend’s band is playing tonight at the best BBQ place in town. When he asked if I wanted to go I think I gave him the verbal equivalent of “What is ya, ignorant?” Looking forward to it.

Oh, the man. Faulkner changed my life people. The Sound and The Fury was like stumbling around half-asleep and being jolted almost to tears when turning on the bathroom light. And I hear he knew how to drink…

Speaking of drinking, every time I read fiction set during this time period in the Deep South, they’re always drinking their madeira. I need to go to a tasting…

It’s a day late but I give you Justin Bartha, especially the first picture. In the water. Yeah. All of that.

Now here. I guarantee you can’t listen to this without wanting to move around.

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