Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Medium Chill

This article (via Matt Yglesias) provides a blueprint I think I see my generation adopting, and something I think is admirable.

We now have a smallish house in a nondescript working class Seattle neighborhood with no sidewalks. We have one car, a battered old minivan with a large dent on one side where you have to bang it with your hip to make the door shut. Our boys go to public schools. Our jobs pay enough to support our lifestyle, mostly anyway. If we wanted, we could both do the "next thing" on our respective career paths. She could move to a bigger company. I could freelance more, angle to write for a bigger publications, write a book, hire a publicist, whatever. We could try to make more money. Then we could fix the water pressure in our shower, redo the back patio, get a second car, or hell, buy a bigger house closer in to town. Maybe get the kids in private schools. All that stuff people with more money than us do.

But ... meh. It's not that we don't think about those things. The water pressure thing drives me batty. Fact is, we just don't want to work that hard! We already work harder than we feel like working. We enjoy having time to lay around in the living room with the kids, reading. We like to watch a little TV after the kids are in bed. We like going to the park and visits with friends and low-key vacations and generally relaxing. Going further down our respective career paths would likely mean more work, greater responsibilities, higher stress, and less time to lay around the living room with the kids.
The point of the article is that it is social connections that make us happy, and tend to provide a more lasting happiness. I can say that it truly is my wife, family, and friends that provide 95% of the satisfaction in my life. Great events in your life are only great if you get to share them with important people. I hope I always remember that.

Loving the Game

Another reason why Kevin Durant has become my favorite athlete:

Rawls words would prove to be on point later in the evening, as the late-arriving Durant eagerly accepted the challenge of being the lone all-star for the Goodman League against the all-star trio of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul that led the Melo League.

“Playing against those guys was a lot of fun for me. I’m excited I got that opportunity playing against some great players, playing with some great players as well,” Durant said after his team lost, 149-141, in a game that was lopsided until the final five minutes.
And another:

Durant lost the game, but continued to add to his burgeoning street ball reputation, after earlier scoring 66 points at Rucker Park, then having 44 in the Goodman League’s win over the Drew League on Aug. 20. His cross-country exploits have caught the attention of players all over the league. “Durant’s gone on a rampage this summer,” Anthony said. “I told him to ‘Slow down.’ Because every other night I see him in a different city playing. But that’s just the love of the game that he’s got, and I respect that. I’m glad he actually showed up and played in this game, too.”
The guy just loves to play basketball. Another part of the article talks about him trying to get Kobe to play for the opposing team in one of his upcoming games. He challenges himself, and works, and works, and just plays. Easy to be a fan of that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Question About America

What does it say about America that the double digit presidential poll leader for one of its two political parties is a guy that wrote a book six months ago and now says you shouldn't assume that book contained his actual views on anything?

Basketball Never Stops

Apparently, the words in the title of this post have become the motto for many NBA players this summer. There are NBA players playing all over the place this summer. L.A. and D.C. recently did battle in a game that featured Kevin Durant, John Wall, Brandon Jennings, James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, and others.

The L.A. team traveled to play in this game on their own dime, and didn't get paid for being there. They just wanted to play basketball. I think this sort of thing is worth remembering the next time someone starts talking to you about how great the college game is because the players aren't just playing for the money like those greedy good-for-nuthin pros.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Grease Makes 'Em Slippery

Funny and slightly disturbing photo set on the Daily Beast featuring politicians connecting with real Americans by eating fair food. Unfortunately, I believe none of them are trying the newly created deep-fried stick of butter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Thank God the GOP race is heating up so I can remember why I like Obama.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

School Board Karma

This is what I get.

When I heard that the Republic, MO school board had banned Slaughterhouse Five and another book I couldn't help it. I felt superior. Couldn't have been helped. Republic was home to our mortal enemies as I grew up after all. So, I certainly took no pleasure that books were being banned. If it was going to happen, however, I supposed there was no better community to play the fools than the Republicans.

Then a column appeared in the Springfield News-Leader defending the school board on the grounds that the book wasn't really banned because you could get it elsewhere and that colleges are full of liberals. At least, I think this was the point. It was a profoundly useless piece of claptrap, and under normal circumstances I could simply have filed it in my conservative idiocy mental file. But this column concluded with a devastating final paragraph:

I have two disclaimers. One, I have not read any of the three books in question. Two, I am a member of the Willard R-II Board of Education. The opinions expressed in this column are solely mine and not necessarily the position of the organizations of which I am a member. It's a sad commentary on our society when I have to state the obvious.
If you think the devastating part is that this man has never read Slaughterhouse Five, well you have a point. But it was the next line that was the knife to my heart. Willard R-II Board of Education?


Now my hometown is caught up in this mess as well. And its demonstrated opinion is apparently that book banning and poor logic are both perfectly acceptable behaviors out of school board members.

And in case you fear that this man's column is just a momentary lapse in judgement, I point you to his very own website. One the the nuggets of knowledge you will find there:

"Plight of the homeless -- People who are victims of their own poor choices with the exception of the mentally incompetent"
The man also has many of his own Powerpoint presentations explaining various conservative tropes, but never providing any evidence they are true.

I couldn't be more proud.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Forces of Economics

Via Andrew Sullivan, the top 5 on the UK Amazon Movers and Shakers list after three days of rioting are:

1. Nightstick
2. Aluminum Baseball Bat
3. Wood Baseball Bat
4. Wood Baseball Bat
5. Aluminum Baseball Bat


Is the road to hell still paved with good intentions, or has a more efficient surfacing material been developed?

Was the Bridge to Nowhere constructed from high ideals?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

That Which Is Bad

Is probably getting worse. Planned layoffs just hit a 16-month high. Consultant John Challenger put it pretty well.

"A casual observer certainly might conclude that the wheels just fell off the recovery wagon," said Challenger.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kevin Durant - Good at Basketball

This lockout thing is actually turning out to be pretty entertaining. Most summers a guy like Durant wouldn't be showing up at Rucker Park to make a bunch of people lose their minds.


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