12/28/16 (19:53)
  • i believe the science on global warming, but when it comes to the predictions i have to admit to being skeptical. to put it as quickly as possible: they don't take into account a wide variety of things from global dimming, population growth, economic factors, deforestation, not to mention the numerous technologies that might come along to reverse the current trajectory. a couple recent examples of things that could have a big impact: turning co2 into ethanol and reducing methane from cows. it's an insanely complex system and they don't take into account so much stuff that i just don't see the models as as predictive as people claim. with any science i think it's important to know the limitations of what's being described. with climate science the models are valuable at showing us what we've captured so far and what will happen assuming nothing changes. of course, things always change so, for that reason alone, the models aren't showing us what many people think they're showing us.
  • went on four dates in a row courtesy of meryl's mom. watched four movies in the theater which probably doubles the number we've seen in the 12 months. 3 of them were really good. pretty nice to watch some movies again. we used to watch 80-100/year so it's definitely something we miss.
  • this whole drain the swamp thing turns out to have a life of its own and it seems like a lose lose in the eyes of the media. scenario 1. trump "drains the swamp" (which i guess means hiring non-d.c. people) and gets a bunch of people from the private sector. jfk did this. the media spins it as him hiring wildly unprepared and inexperienced people who are only in it for the profit motive. 2. trump hires a bunch of politicians. media says he's breaking a campaign promise. 3. (reality) trump does a mix of 1 and 2 and gets shit for it.
  • now, don't take this as my approving of his picks...i don't overall. it's more an indictment of the media which tries to find the salacious, the sensational and the controversial with everything they do. lastly, i should point out that when he talks about draining the swamp it's in the context of getting rid of d.c. corruption. so, to hire a career politician doesn't mean to break that pledge unless that career politician is corrupt. if he hires corey booker then all is good. if he hires charles rangel then he's breaking his promise.
  • what's clear in the media coverage of trump is that they are extremely anti-trump on the whole. and as someone who is more pro-truth than anti-trump, i find this very disturbing. we need to apply consistent and fair standards for all presidents. let's have some intellectual honesty in the debate. so, if next june we have stories about all the negative things in the economy and they blame trump then it's going to be pretty hard to explain how the whole "america's economy is a big ship and it takes a while to turn it around" argument is all of a sudden null when it's a president we don't like. if trump starts using the executive order like obama and expanding executive powers like just about every president in history then it's going to be tough to explain why you're all of a sudden outraged about that, but not when obama did it. if he decides to lock up muslims or syrians or some such nonsense then you're going to have answer why FDR is your favorite president when he did the same with Japanese.
  • i used to think FDR was the best. in some ways he was, but i just can't put the guy on a pedestal any longer. at some point your principles have to be more important than love of these individuals who owned slaves, expanded executive power unconstitutionally, killed american civilians without trial, interred the Japanese, etc.
  • zoe is really interested in ages now. when will i be able to drive, when am i a big girl, etc. pretty cute. love that kid.
  • universal basic income has been getting a lot of attention lately. i think it could work if you get rid of basically all the other programs we have. it's one of those things, though, that requires a couple other things to fall in line. you can't just add that program and not change anything else. we'll go completely bankrupt (even more). you'd have to essentially get rid of TANF and food stamps and social security and all the other little aid programs outside of healthcare for it to have a chance. you'd also have to lock down immigration or else you'd have a flood of people trying to get their hands on the free money. i don't see it happening any time soon, but it could be an easy way of consolidating the "welfare" programs if you make the math work (unlikely).
  • the biggest problem with the debt is that people basically want more than they want to pay for. this is a fundamental truth and it's a big reason why we're 18T in debt. plummeting labor participation rate is another.
  • one of my big things is the idea of self-determination. america is supposed to be all about self-determination and i think that if you have a few fundamental characteristics (work ethic, integrity, good attitude) you will do well in this country. no, not everyone starts in the same place or can end up super rich, but everyone gets some opportunities in life and if you take advantage of those (work ethic and good attitude) then you will succeed. that said, the idea of self-determination needs to exist in a system that doesn't punish disproportionately for small errors in integrity. if a petty theft or minor drug offense has the power to derail a young person's life then we live in an unjust system. rand paul has addressed this, but he seems to be the only one in the republican party who cares and the democrats are outnumbered so criminal justice reform must wait.
  • a lot of talk lately about the electoral college vs. popular vote and how the electoral college doesn't make any sense in a democracy. (i've written before about my disdain for the electoral college, but that's not what i'm getting at here) the daily show has jumped the shark for me and their discussion on this illustrates why. i get that noah isn't from the u.s. so he doesn't know this stuff, but one of his many writers should have clued him in. WE DON'T LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY. it seems like everyone talking about the popular vote is saying that it's not democratic and we should have more say because we live in a democracy, etc., but we don't have a direct democracy like most people think of it. if you don't understand this then you didn't pay attention in your government class (i didn't pay attention in biology, so we're even). we live in a republic. originally the founders made the country even less directly democratic than it currently is. senators weren't originally elected by the people. remember that? 17th amendment changed that. they didn't trust the people. they didn't trust blacks or women or men without property. they didn't trust the people to elect their senators or their president. so, one of those is still standing and i wish it wasn't the case, but it is and part of that is because we don't have a true democracy, we have a representative democracy.
  • obama on foreign policy...has he been a failure? i started off as a no to that question, but changed to yes. i think he basically did some repair with our western allies, though he spied on germany and i can't imagine that went over well. he also went backwards with israel, though maybe that's a good thing. syria was a fail. russia was a fail. china was neutral. iran may have been a win. cuba was good. libya was bad. overall not a glowing endorsement and part of that is an inability to define an obama doctrine.
  • in today's world i think you really need to actively seek out alternative media and differing points of view. your neighbor probably has the same political views as you. your friends probably have the same views. the news is tailored to your views. it's very easy to find alternate viewpoints, but you have to seek them out, otherwise you're living in a bubble.
  • impossible to implement, but perhaps people should know something about a topic before they talk about it or make judgments. so, maybe bible thumpers should know what an abortion entails and know someone who has gone through it before judging it. maybe liberals should know how a gun works or what a semi-automatic rifle is before wanting to ban them. maybe communists should earn a median wage before wanting to take money from those who are richer than they are. nah.
  • speaking of which, there was a brief time when liberals were talking about voter fraud and the abnormalities in the midwest. apparently there were advantages to trump in machine ballots, but not in paper ones. this was enough to talk about the possibility of vote tampering. according to 538, though, when you look at the counties that had paper ballots vs. machine ballots, the advantages line up just as you would expect given previous voting patterns. this is the kind of thing that, in ignorant hands, can look sinister. conservatives did the same thing when they saw that podesta wanted to oversample hispanics in internal polling. they pointed to this as an example of the democrats rigging the polling (which they tend not to trust). but they were ignorant of two things: internal polling by podesta has nothing to do with the polls you see in the news everyday. oversampling hispanics was done to better understand that demographic. oversampling in general happens all the time which is why they need to correct for it afterwards. it's impossible to get a perfect sample with every polls so they put their finger on the scale to compensate for things like demographics. anyway, one piece of information, taken out of context, becomes sinister and, shocker, both sides did it.
  • this idea of the system being rigged seems tied to a feeling of powerlessness. i think it's true socio-politically and also personally. when you feel down then you think everyone's out to get you and the world is rigged to keep you down. conversely, when you feel empowered then god is on your side.
  • one thing that's been getting under my skin about npr lately is that every story about people responding to trump seems to be told from the point of view that it's the end of days. there is a general sense that we should be worried, things are falling apart, etc. there's a lot of "in these trying times" type rhetoric that indicates a clear bias against trump. now, on the one hand, i totally get this and sympathize with it to some extent. but when 40+ percent of the country has the opposite feeling about things then perhaps that should get some coverage as well. to be clear, I'm not talking about the real journalism stories about policy or what's happening during the transition or whatever. i'm talking about responses to and feelings about society and politics. so, they had a story today about a woman who was all depressed and her dad told her after 9/11 to listen to Bach. she talked about how Bach is great to listen to in these politically uncertain times...there's a lot of that soft journalism, personal interest story type stuff that leans heavily in an anti-trump, things are going to fall apart direction.

  • 12/3/16 (07:35)

  • one of the many podcasts i listen to is from slate and it's called "working." they look into different jobs and what it's like to do them. so they've had everything from appliance repairman to makeup artist. they had a week long series on the white house that was good as well. this latest series is on "jobs imperiled by the trump administration." this stuff is getting to be too much. one of the most frustrating and dangerous things about trump is that he says contradictory things and we have no idea what he'll actually do. so, speculating about the jobs that will be imperiled by his administration is kinda pointless and clearly partisan. and whenever i see stuff like this i'm forced to think about what the other side of it is. so, i can easily imagine a coal miner or someone in the energy sector who would want to do a podcast about jobs imperiled by obama.
  • all this doom and gloom about trump before he actually has any power makes me think of all the gun rights nuts who thought obama was going to take away their guns. i told them they were nuts. "look, he hasn't even said anything about gun restrictions. and when he does mention guns, he says he supports the second amendment." they weren't exactly proven right, but after sandy hook, he did try to push for gun control (something that he never mentioned before and something that they feared since day one). so, maybe slate and others are right to speak in such dire terms about trump before he's done anything and even if there are contradictory statements out there from him on the same topic. and if so, maybe we should retroactively apologize to the guns rights people for calling them paranoid or to the energy sector folks who were acting like chicken little after obama was elected (twice). yeah, i don't see anyone doing that any time soon.
  • another sky is falling moment came with the passage of obamacare. obama brashly pointed out afterwards that the republicans were calling for the end of the world, "but the sun came up this morning..." guess what, if trump replaces obamacare with some shitty system, you could say the exact same thing after his version passes. there were times when obama spiked the football that i think the republicans won't forget and that may be one of them. as a non-partisan, it's really fun to see all the roles reversed. republicans crying about the sky falling because of death panels and big government health care. now democrats crying about every appointment and the impeding cronyism.

  • 12/1/16 (19:38)

  • it's kinda sad and kinda funny and kinda understandable how everyone in liberal cities was basically shell shocked after trump won. people walking around like zombies the next day, everyone talking like it's the end of days, everyone depressed and sullen. obama writes a speech called "the sun will rise in the morning." most of my podcasts (which tend to be left-leaning) were all depressed and surprised and it sounded like they had the wind knocked out of them. i mean, it was surprising and a bit worrisome, but it's not the end of the fucking world, people. i remember after obama won the second time how many conservatives i knew were saying it was going to be the end of the country and "we're so phucked" and the rest of it. funny stuff, actually.
  • marketplace had a story on credit collections and part of it talked about small time loans and bill collectors. funny because planet money had a rerun recently about a guy in buffalo (apparently the center of the bill collection market) who bought debt and tried to collect on it for a living. the gist of these stories tends to be that the secondary debt market is a thing and that it might be predatory because the loan may have already been forgiven (the original lender sells to a secondary debt collector to then third and fourth level people who buy the debt to hopefully collect on it). basically there's very little recourse for the debt collectors. after six months the law says that the original bank needs to write off the loan. after that they may send it to a debt collector for a fee or they may just sell a bunch of them (for 4% of their original value!) to the secondary debt market and from there it may go to guys like the guy in the planet money podcast. what kills me about this is that ultimately the person who is getting hassled by the debt collectors doesn't have to pay. the debt collector has no legal ability to lien property or garnish wages or anything else. for the original lender it's a 96% loss. they effectively just gave money to someone. i don't believe in debtors prisons or anything, but i do believe in commitments and honoring your word. if you borrowed the money of your own free will, then you should pay it back. i'm not sure why this is allowed to go on this way.
  • meanwhile, you have to wonder how the entity giving the loan stays solvent with all these bad loans out there. well, that's where the suckers who care about their word come in. the people like me who racked up $9k in debt of my own free will to travel around the country. people like that pay high interest rates on their loans and credit cards and pay it off over the course of years because it's the right thing to do. the banks are going to make their money one way or another. so, if some percentage of the loans they give out just walk away from their homes and get foreclosed upon (different issue, but you see where i'm going...) or if people just stop making payments on their credit cards then that means the banks have to make up that money somewhere else. it's yet another example of a few people who game the system ruining it for everyone else. and resist the urge to feel sorry for someone who is getting phone calls on a daily basis from bill collectors. resist the urge to feel bad when a former bill collector talks about a woman writing a check for everything she supposedly had in her savings in order to pay off her debt. it's sad that someone with very little money has to give it up, but it's also her choice. in my experience, and from everything i've ever heard, debtors are generally very willing to work with you on making payments. if you're proactive, especially, they are willing to take a small amount on a monthly basis until you can pay off your loan. cathy hughes (who started radio one and was the first african american woman to head a publicly traded company) recalled a story on the how i built this podcast where she talked about being seriously in debt to get her company started. she was constantly worried about making payroll and making payments on the debt. before the creditors called her, she called them and told them the situation. they said that people never call them first and that they'd be fine with working out a payment plan. so long as the debts are willfully entered into, there aren't ridiculous interest rates, and everything is clear and above board...i just don't see a way to feel bad for the people who owe money.
  • another group of people i don't feel especially sorry for are the 820k or so of illegal immigrants who have broken the law while living here and are going to be first on the list of people to get deported. i know illegal immigrants. i count some of them as my friends. i do business with them. i'd trade a few of them for many of the americans who won the lottery by being born here. that said, if you're here illegally then you need to be on your best behavior. i see it as similar to being on probation or staying at a friend's house. you don't go to another country and act like a jackass and break their laws (looking at you ryan lochte). if you're in a place illegally and then you break more laws while there then i really don't see any reason for them to want to keep you around. in my head that seems like a very straight forward and ethical thing to say and yet i feel like liberals would generally have a problem with that. maybe i'm wrong. the caveats being - i'm not talking about parking tickets. felonies definitely. most misdemeanors as well. anything violent. anything potentially deadly (DUI). if you're stealing diapers for your kid i'd lean toward letting that kind of thing slide. but, in general, if you're here illegally and you're guilty of committing a crime then maybe you should have to leave.
  • as i've said before, the election was troubling for me personally in large part because i felt i couldn't trust the pundits who i had relied on in the past. i think that 538 has basically maxed out what can be done with polling data. they're great at taking that particular thing and getting largely accurate results from it. unfortunately, i don't know that polling is the best metric, going forward, for prognostication of the presidential election. allan lichtman has 13 keys that he looks at to determine the winner and he's basically been right for the last 30 years. he picked gore, but he lost, but won the popular vote. he picked trump, but trump lost the popular vote, but you can argue that the popular vote matters less now because NY and CA rack up such big leads for the dems, but don't matter in the electoral so it's a little fuzzy, but he's basically gotten in right for 30 years. his sort of method, though, i think is a better way of prognostication. determine the things that matter most, establish a simple way of determining which candidate they benefit on a given cycle, and then out comes the winner.
  • i agree with trump about one aspect of NATO - they don't pay their fair share. much has been made about how dangerous it is that he's saying he won't necessarily support everyone in the event that they're attacked. i agree that that's dangerous talk, but what i think he tends to do is make an outrageous statement, then walk it back to the point where the other side is a little mollified. it's a crude technique that actually seems to work with him because he's a bit crazy. it's the equivalent of negotiating a pay raise and telling your boss that you want a million bucks a year or you're going to delete all their sensitive data. they know you're crazy enough to do it, but you currently only make $50k/year so a million bucks is never happening. then you come back to them and say "i'll take $75k a year" and they ok. it only works if you're crazy.
  • NATO leans too heavily on the u.s. we pay 70% of the cost, from what i've heard on NPR. germany is a great example. they have something like 35k american troops there. they know we have their back. as a result they spend just 1.2% of the gdp on the military. many countries have effectively outsourced their military functions to the U.S. because we're the world police. this is infuriating for a variety of reasons. 1) we take on their costs and allow them to spend more of their money on social programs, etc. meanwhile we don't have as much money as we otherwise would 2) we get mocked and ridiculed for being the world police, yet that's exactly what much of the western world (through their actions) seems to actually want. 3) if it were up to me, we wouldn't be the world police. the u.s. gets into too many fucking wars as it is (thanks obama and hillary for syria, by the way). i'm tired of our military spending sucking away so much money and (more importantly) lives and good will in the parts of the world that don't want us there. so, i'm actually hopeful that trump will get something done here to have the other countries start pulling their weight. the free lunch is over.
  • obama had two years to get shit done with a democratic congress. he chose to shoot his wad on obamacare. we'll see how that works out. but i'm guessing that a lot of people right now would have liked to see him push has hard for electoral college reforms. what about representation in D.C.? if you care about disenfranchisement, why not push for that? that would be near the top of my list because it's fundamentally wrong and indefensible to allow d.c. to go on without real (voting) representation in congress. how about addressing the house representation being all out of whack? a congressman in WY is roughly 3 times more powerful than some representatives in CA. just doesn't make sense. he could have fought for some sort of federal laws protecting voting access. but, once these guys get into power, they're not too eager to do anything about the process because it benefited them well enough to get there. kinda like when trump talked about a rigged primary system and then after he was nominated he literally said he wasn't going to do anything about it because he won so he doesn't care anymore. what a piece of shit.
  • hypocrisy means nothing to those who are guilty of it. i could call out instances of hypocrisy left and right and people just deflect it. you can never win an argument by pointing out the hypocrisy of a person's position. i've done it before and been right about it and it doesn't get you anywhere. consistency of logic doesn't matter either. you can say to a republican that it's inconsistent or hypocritical to back romney or trump because they flip flopped like crazy, while just a couple elections ago you were all over kerry for being a flip flopper and...nothing. it doesn't matter. people always find some way to deflect or wiggle away or justify their stance. cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.
  • we need to have some sort of better pathway to citizenship. reagan did the amnesty thing and then we got another 11+million illegal immigrants after that. if it were up to obama and liberals (including me) we'd allow the majority of them to become citizens. but we can't just keep doing that. it becomes meaningless to say we have a border and we have a system to enter the country legally and then wink wink while millions of people pour in. it's not fair to the low wage workers here (mostly people of color, by the way), it's not fair to the people who go through the system properly and wait their turn. we need to figure out a comprehensive system that doesn't let people overstay their visa. a system that doesn't allow people to cross the border so easily. a system that allows more people in legally. a system that allows in refugees and people from poor countries, while also making room for immigrants with high levels of education who can immediately help our economy. and we need to figure this out soon because it's honestly one of the better ways to solve the population bomb we have with the baby boomers. we need more people paying into the system in order to keep our entitlements solvent.
  • local initiatives were kind of annoying this time around. a lot of bond measures. i voted for most of them...things like giving money to programs for education, roads and transportation for the poor. but i sorta regret it. this is the sort of thing that comes from lazy leadership. the way a city should be run is that all the programs for maintaining the roads and providing social benefits to the poor should be part of the overall budget. unfortunately they've done a shit job of running the city and so all these things aren't covered adequately under the current budget and so they need these supplemental bond measures to cover the basics (and not so basic in the case of free transportation for poor, students, etc.) of running a city. so, instead of paying for these things with the yearly budget they pile on extra debt (in the form of a bond) and pay for it that way. it's irresponsible and we voted for them by a wide margin. next time i won't be doing that. fiscal responsibility is really a forgotten part of running the government. it's something that liberals almost don't consider at all and conservatives use as a bludgeon to get rid of anything they don't like. wish there was some common sense middle on this because we can't run a country like this forever.
  • now we're looking at recounts coming. i think it's good to recount any time things are very close. this is something obama could have done and didn't. mandatory paper trail. mandatory recounts when within .2% or whatever. that said, i don't think anything will come from it.
  • i might hate being told what to do more than anything else in life. i just hate it. i really want to do what i want to do.
  • we got really lucky with our two girls. zoe is just such a good soul and merritt is so happy and funny. they can be tiresome at times, but they're great kids.
  • the longest study ever conducted (harvard) found that the best indicator of success later in life is whether you did chores as a kid. i don't give much weight to one study, but this definitely seems plausible to me.
  • bill maher said he didn't care of hillary had jon benet buried in her basement, he'd still vote for her. i had a note about that lying around. funny shit how much partisanship can blind people.
  • there's been a bit of data coming out from airbnb and uber and lyft and basically they've found that we're kinda racist. if you are black or have a black sounding name you're more likely to have your reservation/ride canceled. that's the short version. i wouldn't doubt it if they also found that women were more likely to cancel rides from men late at night. this is a problem, but what seems to be happening, and i hope this happens more, is that private industry is coming up with a solution instead of the government. i really don't want to legislate this stuff to death like we do in so many other places. tech, in particular, seems to be responsive when it comes to this sort of thing. rather than waiting for the government to respond, they code their way out of the problem. not every problem requires government intervention. the current incarnation of government is so inept and steeped in cronyism that it may be better in some instances that they're gridlocked.

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    11/18/16 (19:47)

  • well we're in the trump era now and things are interesting to say the least. predictably the media is in full-tilt against trump now. his being elected, and their bad predictions, has caused them to pick at seemingly every little thing. if you look at a lot of headlines, as i do, you get a consistent theme that trump is a hypocrite, an idiot, and a racist who is going to radically change the country. he hasn't actually done much yet, but i can't say that i'm entirely optimistic that they're wrong about all this. the larger issue goes beyond trump, though.
  • for some reason we get very fixated on individuals in this country. everyone on the left was all about hating bush and then the right was all about hating obama and now the left is all about hating trump. meanwhile, some of the ideas and policies are likely to stay the same and there are only a few outlets that call out the larger issues instead of engaging in ad hominem attacks. i'm reminded of a quote that i think is from eleanor roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people." trump will come and go as all presidents before him have. the real thing we should focus on is policy and ideas like basic human rights, true equality (not just restorative justice), the role of government overall, etc. instead, what happens is that some fall in love with obama and look the other way when he says he's going to have the most transparent administration in history (it's actually almost the opposite), or when he says he's going to help whistleblowers and reneged on that, or when he kills american citizens without a trial. the problem with this is that some people go light on these actions when it's one of their guys, but as soon as the guy has an "R" next to their name...well, that guy's really bad. what i'm getting at is pretty simple, but seems mostly forgotten by about 75% of the people out there. we should judge actions and ideas, not people.
  • the other issue with the trump presidency, and i'm beating a dead horse here, is that we need to really be careful about how we think about those who voted for him. at the very least i think we should all apply the same logic and test to them as we would to ourselves. so, is a trump supporter a racist because they voted for a racist? is a clinton supporter a liar and criminal because they supported a liar? is there blood on the hands of all the obama supporters because he engaged in military actions? you must apply the same logic to yourself as you do to trump supporters.
  • one issue that's been getting some play in the media lately is the fake news stories stuff. this goes along with what i've talked about before with narrowcasting, living in a bubble and generally getting information that only confirms your bias. there should be a test or something when you talk with someone on the other side. i've said before that there should almost be a set of stipulations you agree to before talking to someone with a differing opinion on some issues. for example, if you're a white person talking to a black person about BLM both sides should need to start with a few stipulations like: not all cops are bad, blacks have been unfairly targeted in a number of ways in our country's history, everyone deserves equal justice under the law, yes all lives matter but that's not what we're talking about now, etc. the same should go for trump vs. hillary supporters or liberals vs. conservatives. if you're a liberal talking to a conservative and you haven't read an article on the blaze or you don't know who milo yiannopoulos is or you don't understand that tax cuts aren't taking money from the government (it's actually just not giving your money to the government in the first place) then maybe you need to do some oppo research before judging. same goes for conservatives who have never heard a pro publica story, think that welfare and foreign aid make up huge parts of our budget, and don't know who bob garfield is. without understanding there can't be any real discussion, much less judgment.
  • in this vein, we need to drop the "not my president" bullshit. trump said it on the campaign trail and was excoriated about it by some in the media. meanwhile, thousands of protesters are currently saying the same shit about trump because their side lost. again...logic must be consistently and evenly applied regardless of who is in charge or acting the way you may not like. this is elementary stuff that many seem unable or unwilling to grasp.
  • went down to LA for the weekend two weeks ago to watch USC beat OR. good game. i was surprised that OR was so bad. bad year for them. USC has looked a million times better after two tough losses to stanford and AL with their other QB. the new kid is looking a lot better. thinks on his feet and can move around much better. then last weekend i went to WA to see USC beat them on the road. WA was #4 so that was a big win. first time i've felt good about USC since the sanctions. hopeful. pac-12 is looking weak this year, though. big ten (14?) is looking as good as pac-12 did 10ish years ago.
  • got into "how i built that" podcast recently. all about entrepreneurs who built big companies like spanx or instagram. supposedly instagram is worth more than alaska ($50b). i think they must have mean the yearly gdp of alaska, because that's horse shit otherwise.
  • anyway, sara blakeley's story about how she built the spanx product and brand is pretty awesome. she's a big time hustler. she's smart and she did all the right things and is a billionaire now. great story. er, i mean, she's part of the 1% so i hate her.
  • the whole juanita broderick story is an interesting one because, from what i can tell, she's never really wavered. while danney williams comes off as a conspiracy theory (he claims to be clinton's son), broderick comes off as much more believable and her story never really got front page news. hillary had on her page that every rape victim deserves to be believed and after the broderick story resurfaced she changed that to every rape victim deserves to be heard. again, shouldn't we apply the same logic to all the alleged victims of rape? some say they were raped by trump, others by bill clinton, others by bill cosby and others by nate parker. i wonder what it would take to get the average clinton supporter to believe that bill raped broderick. probably wouldn't take much to get them to believe that creepy trump raped someone, but bill...? he's a serial adulterer, but rapist? maybe that's too much for some to believe. they're all pieces of shit to me.
  • planet money had a couple good episodes (#387 and #413) about economic policy and how good economic policy would play in the real world. it's no big revelation, but still a great listen. basically what it comes down to is that we should get rid of certain tax write-offs and tax policies, but they'll probably never go anywhere because people are selfish. personally, i'd gladly give up my write offs (which i use to the full extent of the law and benefit from greatly) if it meant that others also gave up theirs and we all had a simpler, better tax code in the end. this kind of big and intractable reform is actually one of the very few ways in which i think trump may be a good candidate. he's the kind of guy who is so out of the box that he may be willing to take on big, unpopular reforms because they need to get done. there's an absolute zero chance that clinton or any other mainstream candidate would seriously take on write offs like the mortgage interest deduction, but it seriously needs to be undone.

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    11/09/16 (16:23)

  • well, first day of a new world and i think i'm sick. meryl and the kids were sick and i think i got it after i thoughtlessly took a sip from meryl's water bottle. blah.
  • been thinking a lot about the election of course and can't shake the notion idea that i've been working on here lately...the idea that we need to find a way to bring the trump voter and the clinton voter, the blue and the red together more. it's pretty simple stuff. unfortunately it's just getting worse. 58% of clinton voters and 40% of trump voters say they would have a hard time respecting someone who supports the opponent. this is classic hypocrisy. democrats are the party of acceptance and peace, love and understanding...meanwhile 58% of them won't respect you for checking the wrong box. i know a lot of these people. they're otherwise good people, but this is a glaring flaw in their character; quite frankly.
  • i heard that stat on the pollsters podcast after i had been thinking about this issue for a while and it just served to solidify what i was seeing and thinking. it's a liberal idea floated by lots of liberals that life experience results in increased understanding, acceptance and flexibility on issues. they (and i) have often cited as examples: john mccain's stance on torture as breaking from the normal republican line because he has experienced actual torture as a POW. cheney's relative flexibility on the gay rights issue because his daughter is a lesbian. there are several examples of times when republicans are willing to move away from the hard party line because of a specific life experience they have. it makes perfect sense and it makes liberals feel good. "if only we can provide these life experiences to more conservatives...maybe they'll come to our way of thinking." some even make up studies and falsify evidence in furtherence of this idea.
  • unfortunately liberals tend to have very little experience with real life conservatives (and vice versa, obviously) and yet they judge them harshly all the time. calling them idiots, rednecks, racists, mysogonists, etc. i, too, have done this in some ways when talking about my travels to the south or rural america. i do think they are behind urban america in some ways, but i also think i tamp that down a bit with reverence. unlike a lot of liberals who want nothing to do with the deliverance bunch they see as republican voters or the hedge fund managers they see as romney supporters, i have a soft spot in my heart for the folksy, no nonsense, kind hearted rural people i've interacted with in my life. frankly, i wish i had more of these interactions as they're some of the best people and because i really do believe in seeking out new points of view. some people literally can't imagine why someone would vote for trump. or why someone would vote for hillary. if you can't understand the position of the other side then how can you judge them at all?
  • understanding. that's what all this stuff should be about. listen to the #wethepeople podcst with sam harris and hannibal burress, it's two parts and it's only 3 hours. haha. but it's really worth it. sam harris really gets it, but it's very telling to see hannibal react to him. harris is a white guy and he's talking to burress about violence in the black community and basically can't ever get his argument off the ground because burress responds with something like "you're coming at me like some smart guy with all these stats, but you don't know how it is. you didn't grow up in chicago like me..." it's an instance where both sides are right in their own way, but the relevant portion here is that burress, a liberal guy, is in the conservative guy's position in a way. it's usually the conservative who is on the defensive...who feels like a liberal is telling him he's a country bumkin who doesn't understand facts and data and science. burress doesn't respond well to this feeling and the conversation gets seriously derailed.
  • harris, i believe, points out that while he could probably articulate burress' point of view very accurately to the point where burress would sign off on it, he doesn't think that burress could do the same thing because he basically stopped listening to him. i think he's completely right and that, in a microcosm, is what we have with our society on a range of issues. blacks probably couldn't accurately articulate the position of the average white guy and the average white guy couldn't articulate the life experience of a woman who hasn't even thought of any downside to being a guy. conservatives can't imagine being in the head of a liberal and vice versa.
  • i remember being in college and one of the professors saying that in grad school you need to be able to effectively argue both sides of an issue. i never wanted to be a grad student, but that stuck out for some reason. it's something my dad put in me in a big (and often annoying to those around me) way. i'm always the devil's advocate. as a result, though, i have a ton of experience thinking about how others might perceive the world.
  • so, understanding the position of people, especially those outside of your usual social circle is extremely important and i think the first step in mending this country. some countries like south africa have had a truth and reconciliation commission to really grapple with their history. we never had that. we had a civil war and then 100 years later a civil rights era and then we assumed everything was fine racially. there's a lot that we need to talk about when it comes to race, gender, the role of government, etc.
  • conservatives i talk with feel like they're the butt of the jokes, they're all considered racist for not liking obama, they're not taken seriously, etc. some of this is earned, and i get that. i don't think a lof of them get that or are willing to admit it. but, i think that's human nature - not exclusive to conservatives. as an example i submit the harris/burress conversation. if you go to a black person and talk about blacks committing a disproportionate amount of crime and so maybe that would make some cops more likely to give you a second look during a traffic stop...this may be logical, but it's not going to fly. their defenses go up, everyone goes to their corner and nothing gets accomplished. if you tell a conservative, hey look at all these pictures of trump supporters or tea party supporters who have racist signs, don't you think that makes you look like a racist because you support the same guy? it's going to be a short and stupid conversation. case in point here. two people who dominate the conversation, don't really understand each other, and are actually very bad debaters. it was probably the worst episode of that podcast.

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    11/08/16 (21:00)

  • looks like all the "experts" were wrong. i originally had trump at a 40% chance of winning. after a poorly run campaign and listening to a dozens of podcasts with the experts saying that hillary basically had it locked up in NC, FL, PA, and most of the other swing states as well as possibly even GA, TX and AK...i revised my number down to a 25% chance of winning.
  • what have i learned? find new experts. NPR was wrong, 538 was wrong. the pollsters were wrong. the LA times/USC poll was the only "reputable" poll that seemed to call this correctly. i like the many podcasts that i listen to and i'd like to believe in the pollsters, but they were wrong on the brexit and they were very wrong here. it's not within the margin of error. wiz kid harry enten was just plain wrong, again. he didn't see the rise of trump in the primaries and he didn't see him winning the presidency, and yet here we are.
  • as it stands it's not called yet, but hillary needs to win AZ or NH as well as WI, MI, PA, and MN. not likely. 538 has him at a 80% chance now....a little late for that, but thanks guys.
  • honestly, it hurts to not have experts you can rely on. i think very highly of nate silver, harry enten, john dickerson, etc. and they're just plain wrong here.
  • so, let's say he won. why did he win? part of it is anti-incumbent, anti-washington. i think that's the biggest part. people want real change and they want someone who isn't afraid to shake things up. it's also been noted that whites may be voting like minorities now. what that means is that blacks vote as a bloc. gays vote as a bloc. whites, feeling that the world is changing and the country is turning against them, may be voting as a bloc.
  • women voted for hillary, but college educated white women only voted for hillary at 51%. non college educated women voted for her at 34%. non-scientific initial exit polls, so grain of salt with those numbers.
  • she couldn't keep the obama coalition together. obama won PA, OH, WI, MI...it looks like she may only win one of those. we also are seeing that turnout was big in rural areas. people turnout when they are voting FOR someone, not against someone. so, people in the midwest are voting FOR trump and his message. i think that NAFTA is weighing heavily on this race. that message resonated with those people. NAFTA was gutted before and after NAFTA and clinton didn't have a good response to her husband's policy. you can preach all you want about how NAFTA has been good for the US according to most economists, but if everyone you know lost their manufacturing job to mexican labor then that message doesn't do much.
  • the elite and the media really didn't take this shit seriously. honestly, i shouldn't have listened to them and i should have stuck with my 40% prediction. i talk with republicans and trump supporters more than anyone i know and i think i need to do that more again because i had gotten away from it the last month or two. when all these experts talk about trump like he's a joke and don't take seriously his message, his support, or his chances then we get a night like we got tonight. everyone on the news is looking around like "WTF just happened? i don't know anyone who voted for this guy, it's impossible." we're so out of touch with how the other half of the country lives/thinks.
  • speaking of this...the pundits are constantly talking about how the republican party can't win without changing their message and appealing to a broader base. they can't win without people of color. the party isn't going to win the presidency because of shifting demographics. republicans are out of touch, etc. all that means is that they're out of touch with the media elites who are saying this stuff. i hate even typing "media elites" because it makes me sound like newt gingrich, but this is where we are. the media has consistently dropped the ball. they're wrong, they're out of touch, they don't serve their purpose any longer.
  • with trump as president this is only going to get worse. they're going to line up against him and go after him every chance they get. he'll probably deserve it, too, which makes it a catch-22 for them, but i think they've earned it at this point.
  • i'm actually more upset by the experts and the media than i am by trump right now. i said before that i highly value the ability to predict the future accurately. i wrote that anyone can write an interesting story about why things happened AFTER they've actually happened. what's far more compelling for me is the person who can read the tea leaves and separate the signal from the noise and say "x, y and z are what matter and because of this the outcome will be such and such."
  • it's clearly a difficult thing to do, but 538 has been good at this in the past so i respect them a lot. i think they did a better job than most on this one, but they were still plenty wrong. all this is disappointing stuff. i've followed nate silver closely and he tries to give a fair overview of this stuff and i know he reads pretty much everything out there in the media, but the problem with these guys is that they don't talk to real people who aren't in their circle. these people aren't in touch with the working class, the rural citizens, etc.
  • this is increasingly a problem in our society and it manifests itself in a variety of ways. one example...i've debated gun control with people before and heard things like "no one needs guns" or "guns are only used to kill." it's an understandable position for someone living in urban NY or CA. but it's completely ignorant of the people who live in rural MO. i've talked with people there and people like this. many of them hunt for subsistence. it's not just fun for them to blow away a buck...it's a major source of cheap protein and there's no good reason to deprive them of this. just a simple example on a misunderstood topic (gun control) that is polarizing and largely misunderstood by, in this case, liberals.

  • you know, liberals want understanding when it comes to knowing how blacks live being stopped on the street corner by cops a couple dozen times a year, for example. but when it comes to guns, they put their fingers in their ears and think they're above it all. conservatives want liberals to understand their rights when it comes to gun control, but are sanctimonious and clueless about the realities of a teenage girl who needs to get an early term abortion to undo a horrible mistake. until we can truly listen and understand the other side, we're just going to continue to be fucked.
     

    10/30/16 (19:35)

  • been working in SF a lot lately trying to finish up this project we have with meryl's brother's company.
  • shoulder continues to bother me. rolled my foot the other day, reaggravating an old injury. also, having back problems this week. my body isn't loving me lately. this kind of work takes its toll slowly. it's weird because you'd think it would just mean i'd be in good shape because i'm always moving and lifting and that sort of thing, but it's like i get all the wear and tear, but none of the benefits. in talking with a lot of tradesmen, this seems to be the norm.
  • van jones was on bill mahrer's show the other day. never been a big fan. he mentioned that people would call trump a thug if he were a black guy. my first thought is that they probably wouldn't because he's a billionaire. and then i remembered that a lot of people doubt that he's a billionaire. and then i realized that if he were black it would be racist to doubt his net worth, and thus off limits. weird little circle of counterfactual race-based conjecture that i went through there. we're so fucked up.
  • one of the hot issues these days seems to be the opium epidemic. people get hooked on prescription drugs and then switch to heroin because it's cheaper than the prescription drugs. in one of the many documentaries about this some guys recalled the best feeling they've ever had being when they were on drugs. what a sad life to have that be the happiest you've been. you're doing something wrong if your best moment(s) are when you were on drugs.
  • i'm a libertarian in a lot of ways and getting away from the war on drugs is one of them, but i'm not one of those who thinks everything under the sun should be legal. this heroin epidemic is case in point. libertarians have often claimed that legalizing harder drugs wouldn't necessarily raise the usage rate. they also deny the idea of gateway drugs. i disagree with them on both counts. drug use is like anything else...you don't go straight to heroin or crack. you usually stop along the way with pot or pills or something else.
  • new email stuff coming out with hillary this week. could be nothing, probably isn't anything. one thing that the podesta leak revealed was that they're fairly secretive and smart about talking about some things offline. this is the thing that's always weird when emails come out...people always ask "why would you talk about this on email?" well, it looks like the hillary folks got that memo. absence of proof isn't proof of absence. anyway, comey was stuck in a tough spot and probably had to say something given the circumstances. one person on real time asked what this had to do with anthony weiner, which is an amateur hour question. weiner was married to huma abedin who is clinton's closest advisor. pretty simple.
  • some health insurance companies cover sex change operations and transitions. you gotta wonder what the point of health insurance is at this point. to me, health insurance should be about keeping you reasonably healthy and avoiding bankruptcy should you get hit by a truck or cancer or something. elective surgeries shouldn't be part of it, in my opinion. after my second cancer surgery there was a bump of extra skin left behind on my forehead. the doctor called it a "dog's ear" and said he could remove it if i wanted. i assume this would be covered at the same copay level of the other surgery, yet this would have been entirely cosmetic. it seems silly to me that my insurance should cover this. i opted against the surgery. as it turns out, i had more cancer in that area anyway so plenty more of that skin was removed later on and now my eyebrow is permanently raised as if i am doubting what you're saying at all times. fitting, actually.
  • anyway, back to the trans surgery. does this mean that it's an elective surgery that they happen to cover or does it mean they think there's something wrong with you that needs fixing? DSM-5 has gender dysphoria listed as a diagnosis, and i guess they could claim it requires surgery and hormones, etc. to fix it. but that seems the opposite of what the trans community wants - there's nothing wrong with us. this stuff is beyond my pay grade. i just don't understand life anymore.
  • it seems like a lot people these days in the SJW movement are of the thinking that it's more appropriate to try to change the world than to change yourself. i've been of the thinking for a while now that i'm never going to change the world. if there's something about people, society, etc. that i don't like i need to focus on myself and my reaction instead of worrying about everyone else. i'm never going to get every shitty driver off the road. the social justice warriors are never going to get rid of every trigger there is in the world. perhaps they should consider changing their reaction, instead of trying to change the world. i apply this thinking to all sorts of things. it's a much more healthy way of working your way through the world, i think.
  • there was a good podcast from 538 about the perot "spoiler" effect in 1992. if you like politics you should check it out. i'll cut to the chase - just as in 2000, perot didn't steal the election from bush anymore than nader stole it from gore. that's the long and short of it. god, that whole idea that someone is "stealing" "my" votes is so deplorable to me. in the minds of some perot stole the election from bush. i guess the flip side of that is he stole the mandate from clinton. both times clinton was elected he got less than a majority of the electorate. hillary could potentially repeat that "feat" this time around. really wish that there was a solid third party candidate this time around.
  • stein had an AMA on reddit the other day. ken bone made a cameo and that was the highlight of the thread. she's pretty wacky and a science denier in the usual nutty left wing ways. it's funny how some on the left try to monopolize science and claim that the right are the only ones who selectively deny science (global warming, age of the planet, etc). but as neil degrasse tyson rightly has pointed out, the left is full of science deniers as well. anti-vaccine folks, wi-fi is giving us cancer, GMOs are bad for you, etc. there's no real science supporting these positions but berkeley leftists support them because they want to. bill mahrer and other rabid partisans try to make out like conservatives are the only ones who selectively discard science (they may be worse, but that's another story). funny thing is that mahrer has had the loony AIDS-curing "doctor" on his show before and gave him nothing but praise for "curing" charlie sheen. people want to believe what they want to believe. they search out the things that confirm their bias and then stop looking.
  • don't think i've talked about ken bone yet. he's the sweater wearing guy asking a question at the town hall debate. i actually didn't notice him much at the time and was more inspired by the final question where the guy asked each candidate to say something nice about their opponent. ken bone, though, is the one who blew up on social media and became a media darling for some reason. then he did an AMA on reddit and things went downhill for his image. several outlets called him an awful guy and one took quotes out of context to make him look like he was piling on a rape victim by calling her disgusting. in fact, though, he said that about her rapist and said nothing but nice and supportive things about her. i looked at a bunch of his comments and they were all very tame. he said that the trayvon martin shooting was justified and, legally, it was. he also commented on jennifer lawrence nude pics being leaked "Maybe she should have been more careful with her pics, but the bad guys are still the ones who sought them out and looked at them. By which I mean guys like me. I saw her butt hole. I liked it." that's probably the most tame comment on a naked picture i've seen on the internet. it takes full responsibility for being a "bad guy" while also admitting that he liked seeing her naked. he also admitted to committing felony insurance fraud. basically he didn't have auto insurance while he was a pizza delivery guy for two months while he saved up to afford it. he forged the fake cards on MS paint a pixel at a time. dude, this is actually kind of awesome of him; i have to be honest. he did what it took to get the job and then got the insurance once he could afford it. he used a shitty program to get it done, too. personally, i think he should be rewarded for his resourcefulness and hard work.
  • we have such a fucked up society that we can build a guy up like this for no reason at the time, other than he was cute in his retro mustache and fluffy sweater, and then tear him down for basically trumped up reasons. fortunately, most people get it. all the in person interactions he's received have been positive. and because of his rise to fame people like me have looked into him and found him to be a good and thoughtful person. the media is so fucking broken in his culture.
  • anyway, the moral of the story is that the media sucks and that ken bone is a great person. i wrote him a note giving my full support and he said he was actually happy that he stupidly used his real reddit username so people could know that he's just a normal guy. good for him.
  • been trying to get some help with work, but hiring is proving very difficult. lots of flakes so far. the simple things like responding to correspondence, showing up on time, showing up at all...these are apparently very difficult for people. i'm not even talking about getting the actual job done well or done cleanly in a timely manner. the more business i do with people and the more i try to  get help, the more conservative i become because i realize how lazy and entitled people are. whether it's that they want something for free or that they can't be bothered to show up to work. there's that scene in the big one by michael moore. he asks phil knight to bring a factory to flint because the people there would be happy to make shoes. phil knight says he doesn't believe they would want to do the work. i used to think he was an evil rich capitalist. now, i kinda believe him. making shoes (and the garment industry in general) isn't fun work. it's low skill, low wage work and not entirely fulfilling. moore got 50-ish people to show up in the next scene, but who knows how many would actually show up for 40 hours a week for years on end. same goes for the united farm workers union. they have a "take our jobs" challenged. in 2010 they told americans to apply to take their jobs. only a few dozen were actually serious about doing the work. there are about 8 million unemployed people in the country right now. you'd think it would be easier to find help with that many people looking to get into the workforce (remember, the u3 unemployment rate doesn't include a lot of people who have been looking for work for a long time or who are discouraged. you have to look at u6 for that), but it's not.
  • in my experience there are about 20% of people who want to work, will work hard, and will work as much as it takes to get the job done or get food on the table and the things that they want. those are the people you want to find. everyone else needs coaching, has some drama in their life, always has some excuse about why things didn't get done or why they're late or whatever. it's really remarkable how many people are just barely floating along in life barely unable to get themselves clothed and at a job on time consistently. i just don't know what people are doing during the first 20+ years of their lives that they can't have these few simple things mastered in time to enter the work force.
  • on the one hand it's tragic that people can't manage the most simple things in life consistently enough to hold a steady job. on the other hand, it's fantastic news for anyone who is willing to work hard, be on time, and do all those basic things that don't require any special talent.
  • lori on shark tank had a good one the other day. "entrepreneurs are the only people i know who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40."


  • 10/26/16 (20:38)
  • usc is finally done with their sanctions because they allowed reggie bush to get paid. pretty funny that it's taken this long to be back in the good graces of the ncaa which is probably more corrupt than FIFA. penn state, meanwhile, allowed a child rapist to run free and they got a slap on the wrist and then a reduction of the penalty upon appeal. great system. if i could kick these fuckers in the nuts i'd do it every day of my life. fuck the ncaa, not just because of usc or even penn state, but because of everything they are. fucking pathetic whores. am i a piece of shit for going to college football games still in spite of all this? i think i kinda am.
  • they had one of those "put a mic in front of a dumb person" bits on the daily show recently at a trump rally. this kind of thing has finally worn thin with me. i used to love this because it made me feel all superior to all the idiots on "jaywalking" when jay leno did it or any other iteration of the same setup done by all manner of people. it's simplistic and idiotic, but it achieves humorous results especially with the cognitive dissonance and ignorance rampant at a trump rally (note, it can be true that both things are stupid: the subjects being interviewed AND the act of exposing this stupidity in this cliche way). anyway, they asked the trump voters what trump would have to say for them to not support him. of course everyone gave a blank stare and couldn't really come up with anything. WOW! how fucking stupid and desperate those idiots are! hahaha. funny thing is that they didn't turn the mic on any hillary supporters. so ask a hillary supporter near you: what would she need to say for you to not vote for her? yeah, same blank look and lack of response. know why? because 1) both sides can't think outside of the two party system. 2) both sides hate the opponent so much that their candidate could say nearly anything and it would be shrugged off. or, at best, maybe if hillary said that abortions shouldn't be legal anymore and that she believes we should engage in nuclear war with russia, the average hillary supporter would say "really? i don't agree with that and i'm guessing she's just saying that because of politics." point being, that supporters of each candidate would find a way to justify or explain it away so they could still punch the ticket for their dingbat.
  • moving forward the larger issue is this: you can kill a revolutionary, but you can't kill a revolution. trump may fade away or he may start a media company like glenn beck or whatever, but his followers aren't going to disappear. we can go on with this nonsense about rural vs. urban or white vs. black or men vs. women or whatever other narrative is your cause du jour or we can find a way to bring these people in. for example, we can say to the white men who are the majority of trump's support and the majority of the alt-right "hey, fuck you guys. you've had a good 200 years, time for the women and the people of color to take over. we don't care about your opinions, you've been in charge a long time so you have nothing at all to complain about, etc." the problem with that is that people don't like to feel like they don't have power. people don't want to feel marginalized. some of those things that this group has done to others for the first 100+ years of our country is now happening to them and they don't like it. trouble is, it's not the same people. maybe if it were the same people you could say, hey, you fucked me so now i'm going to fuck you. but that's not how it works.
  • what i'm trying to get at here is pretty simple, but it really seems lost in all the bashing of trump supporters. we need to treat people equally and we need to bring everyone together under the same tent. because if we continue to alienate people, it doesn't end well. i don't know how we do it, but come next january we're going to have 40%+ of the country that is going to be really unhappy and feeling really hopeless and that's a recipe for disaster.
  • the media really has been shamelessly in the corner of hillary during this election. you can tell how they'll reluctently bring up the deleted email stuff and take days to talk about a couple things from the podesta email hack. how they will report on how trump COULD HAVE avoided taxes for 18 years. "Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show." and then that becomes "Joe Biden 'angry' that Donald Trump doesn't pay taxes" it goes from a possibility to a fact. this exposes the media's support for hillary, but more importantly, it shows their lack of discipline concerning facts and intellectual honesty. because, let's face it, being in the tank for hillary is pretty much expected. journalists lean left and are pretty smart people and hillary is clearly the more viable of the two candidates who have a shot. some of them give fairness a shot (though their true feelings usually come through), but the bigger problem is the laziness in reporting on the reporting of others which is usually when this kind of thing happens. it also happens all the time where they lead with a claim like: Donald Trump is Child Rapist, says some guy. i've pointed this out before as a pet peeve. what it essentially does is, in big bold letters, state as fact the assertion made by someone or some agency. here's one done properly: "Pollster Frank Luntz: The Trump campaign Ďis an absolute jokeí" the improper version would read: "Trump campaign is and absolute joke, says pollster Frank Luntz.
  • another reason i don't see myself voting for a D or R for president any time soon is that i like not having a dog in the fight. when you have a dog in the fight it's really easy to make excuses for that person when they order drone strikes on american citizens or deport more people than bush or keep gitmo open or decide to bomb a new country (looking at you obama). i prefer being truly impartial.

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    10/19/16 (18:31)

  • another debate tonight. i'm recording it now, but first a couple thoughts.
  • trump is getting slammed big time over the comments about grabbing pussy. this is pretty funny stuff. it's not shocking or surprising to me at all...i'm not sure why anyone is surprised by this considering what he's said before about all sorts of people. he's right, by the way, about the power of fame. some women love that shit and fall over each other to get close to athletes or whatever. part of our sexist culture is that we think of women as the fairer sex and part of that is that we are reluctant to call out the small minority of them who are gold diggers. somehow it takes kanye west to call them out. anyway, trump is and always has been a piece of shit so it's really odd to me that this is the thing that finally gets his poll numbers down. calling mexicans rapists didn't disgust enough people, i guess. not everyone came out of a mexican vagina or has a mexican best friend so maybe that's why being a dirtbag with women was worse...it's just more relatable. weird culture we live in.
  • the other quick note starts in 1992 when bill clinton mopped the floor with gw bush. it's widely acknowledged now about the more saavy political pundits that, among other things, he had a better grasp of the optics of the debate. so, while gw bush was unaware of the camera angles and that he'd be on tv while clinton was making a point, clinton was very aware that when he stood in certain spots on the stage he would have gw bush in the background. according to a few people i've heard from, this is purposeful and used to great effect in the town hall style debate.
  • fast forward to 2016 when hillary i think did the same thing. in this case, though, none of the media seemed to understand that it was planned out, which is unfortunately since some of these very same people had just talked about 1992 in the lead up to debate #2. in this go round, it was clear that trump wasn't well versed in the camera angle or the optics. hillary, meanwhile, walked over to his side of the stage and it looked really bad with the camera angles they used. if you find the unedited footage or the wider shots it's clear in the instances that i found that she's on his side of the stage or that they're not actually that close. he's pacing, sure, but he's not sidling up behind her or following around her as twitter and the mainstream media are saying. to me, this is a clear example of the saavy inside politics that the clintons have used in the past and are using again now. they are quite simply much better at this stuff than trump and his amateur campaign.
  • it's pretty brilliant stuff, too, because it takes saavy to discover, but it's very easy to snap a picture and have sarah silverman tweet about it. it's understandable and it easily fits into the narrative (and truth) that trump is a creepy guy who probably doesn't respect women.
  • so, kudos to the clinton campaign for manufacturing this stuff. and fuck the media for biting onto it hook, line, and sinker.
  • one last thing. if trump stands any chance he needs to do the following tonight: "look, i know i'm a brash guy and i say some offensive things sometimes...i'm not a professional politician, and it shows. i understand that and i understand how it looks. i'm truly sorry for what i said on that bus, but believe me when i say i would never take advantage of a woman. the real issue in this campaign is that washington is broken. we're in debt, we're not respected around the world anymore, we make bad deals, and rich guys like me have gamed the system for too long. but i'm at the stage in my life where i want to give back to this wonderful country that's done so much for me and my lovely family. i want to make america great again and i can do it because i know what it takes to clean up an organization. i know what it takes to make money. i'm not a corrupt career politician. i'm a leader and a deal maker. i'll work with both parties and i'll work for the american people."

  • of course, that would be mostly bullshit and even then it probably wouldn't work...but that's his best shot.
     

    9/28/16 (20:08)

  • kids have been doing pretty well overall. zoe is more self-sufficient than ever and that's great. merritt is walking and learning to talk. she definitely doesn't talk as much as zoe did, but she knows about a dozen words and seems to understand things beyond her vocabulary. she's definitely more coordinated than zoe, though.
  • back to the third party stuff...probably the biggest issue with no one ever voting third party and not having them in the debates is that we don't get the benefit of their great ideas and their historical success in shaping pretty large portions of the debate. some examples of things you can thank third parties for bringing to the forefront...women's suffrage, government debt as a major issue, labor laws, 40 hour work week, environment, etc. it can be argued that this is the primary purpose of a viable third party in the american electoral system. and i wouldn't have a problem with that. even if they only elected a few representatives in congress and never made a serious run for the presidency, a viable third party (or a few of them that ebb and flow in popularity) is great for the country. i've spoken with many people who are fiscal conservatives who speak about perot as a missed opportunity seeing as we are now 18+ trillion in debt and he rang the warning bell on this issue when we were just a few trillion in the hole. the truth, though, is that i think his calling out this issue got clinton and the congress to act to the point where we actually ran a (theoretical) surplus under clinton. so, i see that as a perot success.
  • we've seen this even more recently and it came from within the democratic party. sanders moved hillary on some issues to the point where now she's talking about free college and folding his ideas into her platform. perhaps this is path to third party style success in the future...third parties from within the two parties. of course the problem with this is that you are fairly constrained (platform-wise) and the RNC or DNC holds power over you with their money and infrastructure so you better kiss the ring of debbie wasserman-schultz or whomever.
  • what is the purpose of a presidential debate? is it to hear the two most likely people talk about what they would do in office? or, perhaps it should be about discussing the most important ideas that should be brought to the most powerful office in the country. if it's the latter then surely a third party has something to offer.
  • interesting, and i think accurate, idea about how krugman and the liberal media cried wolf so many times that trump was possible as a result. this is the problem with partisan journalism. this is why so many have so little faith in the media at large. you cry wolf enough and eventually people stop trusting you. worse, even, they start snapping back in the opposite direction. "not only do i no longer trust the media when they say trump is awful, i actually think he must be doing something right since they hate him so much."
  • hillary's health became a bit issue for a couple weeks. the alt-right types were harping on this for weeks prior to her collapse and that incident just fed their fire and gave them legitimate cause to be more suspicious than ever. you can look at it one of two ways - they throw a lot of b.s. conspiracies at the wall and they got lucky with this one. or, they were right all along and we should apologize for making fun of them and their online videos showing hillary falling down, looking ill, etc. either way, i think it's a legitimate issue and bill saying that she faints frequently and then getting that edited out later, only adds fuel to the fire. the unedited version.
  • saw some protesters asking passersby to honk for peace. i honked. i did my part for the day. god it feels good to be part of the solution. ha.
  • pew and gallup (gold standard of polls, AFAIK) both have polls apparently showing that a majority of international muslims are for death for a variety of versions of blasphemy or being an apostate, etc. i think it simply comes down to the fact that muslim countries are about 150 years behind the u.s. and western world. kinda like the south is 50 years behind the rest of the u.s. in some ways.
  • heard a podcast the other day where kmele foster mentioned a zora neale hurston quote about not taking pride in things you haven't earned. i agree with that completely and wish more people thought about that from time to time. why would you be proud to be born skinny and hot or to be born rich? most of us will happily cheer on that idea. what about being proud to be american or jewish? what about being proud to be born black? in those cases it's harder to say because you're proud to be part of a group and in some of those instances your group is one that maybe has endured great tribulations and shown perseverance. still, though, i don't think there should be pride for having been born into a group or being born a certain way. you've done nothing to be proud of. we should take pride in our accomplishments, not our birth into a group or set of circumstances.
  • heard on the radio a phd candidate at cal say that he might die because a cop pulls up behind him on the road (he's black). this struck me as a very sad way to think about the world. on the one hand it is maybe somewhat understandable for someone to have a fleeting thought like this, but really it's highly illogical considering the number of blacks actually killed by cops on a yearly basis. if you're an unarmed black man you're very unlikely to be killed by a police officer. it's just a fact, regardless of what they try to tell you. but, just as we have way overreacted to terrorism, the thought of being killed by police is so anathema that we blow it entirely out of proportion. so, 24 unarmed blacks being killed in the last 16-ish months becomes a national epidemic. btw, that number increases to almost 200 if you include armed black men. so, it's easy to see that if you have an interaction with a police officer and you're any color man then you are much better off not being armed. that said, armed or not, 300 or so a year is a very low number when you think about 700k paranoid ex-football players (er, cops) interacting millions of times a year with criminals, crazies and citizens.
  • just a quick note about something no one talks about because the media doesn't cover majorities as much as minorities these days. note that no one is talking about all the men who are are being killed by cops. unarmed women just don't get killed by cops very often. i guess there are advantages to not being seen as threatening. who woulda thunk? probably the same reason that men get 63% more time in prison for doing the same crime as a woman. oh, and women are twice as likely to avoid conviction for the same crime as well. so, when a black man is accused of something the media paints it as a race issue when he gets the book thrown at him. in reality, though, the biggest influencer of his sentencing/guilt is the fact that he's a man.
  • but that kind of thing just isn't the narrative...nader ruined the election for gore, not the 15 other things that clearly and verifiably had a bigger influence on his losing. it's like saying that when a woman is raped it's not because a man thought of her as a piece of meat, it's because she was wearing a short skirt. sure, wearing a short skirt brought attention to her, but that's not anywhere near the primary reason she was raped. some people understand that example, but will never even consider or humor the notion of the other because it's not on their radar than men or whites or rich people or any other person in a perceived position of power could ever be at a disadvantage....again, i must bring it back to obama's speech at Howard: "You got to get in his head, too."
  • kaepernick is getting a lot of press lately. he's always struck me as brain dead, at least from a football perspective. his blank look on the sidelines after a bad play has always annoyed me. it seems like he's ben awoken lately, though, and i heard it's because of his girlfriend. he still sucks.
  • some people have strangely thought of the kaep stuff as a first amendment issue. this is strange. first of all, yeah, people should have the right to stand or sit during the national anthem and say what they want to say. however, i don't think he has a first amendment right in this instance since he's at work. i've always been taught that the first amendment doesn't apply on the job. otherwise a 7/11 employee could claim 1st amendment rights when telling customers to fuck off or refuse to wear the uniform or whatever. same issue here. legally, i believe that the NFL could require he stand or fine/ban him if they really wanted. with the powerful union, however, that's a very slim possibility. so, good for the players' union and it shows the power workers can have when they have great skills to bring to the table and a powerful union to represent them.
  • honestly, the kaepernick thing doesn't mean much to me. it's a harmless protest. i get his side. i get the side that says the national anthem deserves to be respected. for most of the teenage years and 20s i didn't stand during the anthem because i didn't think all that much of the country. in my older years i've come around on the issue. i now stand. i have more respect for the country overall and occasional hope and i feel lucky to live here...maybe even pride...just for being born here. what a hypocrite!
  • another note about the BLM movement and cops v. citizens. the issue shouldn't get mired too much in the deaths. it's the everyday us vs. them attitude. it's the amount of stuff we pile on the cops. it's the lack of mental health help. the deaths are what drive the movement, but the real goal should be about changing the interaction that the public has with the police. we need to respect them and help them and they need to approach situations with de-escalation in mind.
  • so the supreme court ruled on the wedding cakes for gays case. pretty bizarre in a way. as a small business owner i find it crazy that i'd be forced to do work for someone i didn't want to work for (regardless of my reason). as a citizen i find it crazy that a business could deny me the ability to buy groceries just because they don't like me. this is where these two worlds collide and the government has to do something pretty tough. they have to thread that needle to not make someone do something that they find abhorrent or morally reprehensible, but also keep society equal under the law and keep things moving forward. so, they say that legally you have to serve blacks and gays and yada yada yada. but then then don't go crazy with enforcement. this allows them to theoretically prosecute people for denying service, while also allowing people to deny service on a small level. it's like plausible deniability or something. it's like obama's stance on long time illegal immigrants. yeah, you're here illegally, but you've been here a long time and you're not doing any actual harm, so i'll just deport you last (never).
  • been busy lately. turning away work all the time. working in SF for a big project for meryl's brother. got a good bonus on the last project we did with him so hopefully we can do more of these.

  • 9/27/16 (20:09)

  • pretty ho hum debate actually. a bit of a disappointment. hopefully trump takes the gloves off next time.
  • hillary clearly won using the traditional metrics. but i don't think she won so much that she gained a bunch of ground. probably get a bump in the polls by about 2-4 points and by the time the election comes along that bump will have been replaced by whatever happens (good or bad) between now and then.
  • this is why the elections in this country are just far too long. the argument for a long process is: free speech and it allows for vetting. i don't know that the long period actually increases the amount of vetting. it may appear that way, but i think the opposition research is done pretty early and then it's leaked gradually to keep the negativity in the news. there's strategy being employed here, in other words, not an actual ongoing investigation into a person. the free speech argument is tougher because it's hard to legislate. same way that jeb hid all his fundraising early on by not officially declaring that he was running, you can't stop a person from going on a book tour or putting out ads about how great they are (outside of the context of any potential candidacy). not sure how the UK deals with this, but they limit the campaign period.
  • worked at the alumni house today and everyone there is a hillary supporter. they don't consider third party at all and they weren't able to list even one accomplishment of hillary's. 2 of 3 of these people went to cal. they're bright people. nevertheless they are "low information voters" and reflect that in every way. all this is very depressing to me as someone who follows politics a lot and thinks it matters on the whole. you're electing the person who is likely the most powerful person in the world and you know very little about them and can only regurgitate a few things that you've been fed by the mainstream media. it's frightening.
  • one thing that came up was that it wasn't a good time for voting third party. "look what happened with ralph nader." this makes my blood boil, as you may know. it's a common canard that has traveled throughout the world while the truth is still busy getting its shoes on. once more let me briefly lay out just how silly an argument this is (ugh):
  • the votes that were cast for nader weren't gore's to have. the common claim is that nader "took votes from gore." no. the votes are out there and they go to whoever earns them. those weren't gore's votes. they were votes and nader earned them. to this point, studies have found that many of the people who voted for nader wouldn't have voted if they only had two choices.
  • gore didn't win his own state. how about you win your home state of tennessee before you blame others? if he had won TN then FL wouldn't have mattered.
  • butterfly ballot was confusing and problematic.
  • voter purges in FL were a major issue.
  • gore ran away from clinton. if clinton kept his dick where it belonged then that would have made more of a difference than nader.
  • nader didn't campaign in the swing states any more aggressively than he did in the other states.
  • on the media did a bit about this a few weeks back and i found it to be mostly fair. it also gives the best argument for sacrificing your principles and voting for the lesser of two evils that i think i've heard. almost sorta maybe got me thinking about voting for hillary at one point, actually.
  • i'm a very strong proponent for a third party. it's a bonafide fact that the problems we have today are because of the two parties that we have to live with. unlike some who just say it for american lip service, i think real competition is a great thing that makes all parties better. unfortunately there's not much competition between the parties right now.
  • a common refrain that you'll hear from people who know very little and think even less about the issue is that "this isn't the year for a protest vote." it's a common argument and one that's been used ever since 9/11. "this is the most important election" or "this election is too important" are common bullshit expressions that are used. "trump is too dangerous" is this year's version of that, though the others are still in frequent use if you bother to read. bullshit. bullshit. bullshit. the same people who spew this are all but absent two years from now when the democrats lose in the house/senate. it's also such a tired cliché at this point. every election is important...saying each election is the most important doesn't make it any more true. honestly, at this point, i'd rather sit it out than vote for shillary or drump. so, it's not a protest vote, it's a vote.
  • another argument that is common amongst the anti-third party crew is that third party voters are high and mighty or too idealistic. that's a fair enough critique. i'd rather vote for my ideals than compromise them and be a part of a corrupt system, though. mussolini vs. hitler..."oh, i guess i'll vote for the guy with the "D" next to his name because of the supreme court. ho hum. maybe sanders will win next time." yeah, not happening. the democrats have been revealed with the email leaks - we know they were in the tank for hillary from the start and were going to do whatever they had to do to make sure sanders didn't win....and that's the "good" team according to just about everyone i talk to irl.
  • the flip side to the third party voters being too idealistic is that the two party drones claim to be so practical and adult. "look at me make big kid decisions and voting for hillary because trump could be hitler in america, aren't i so mature." the funny thing is that they make this ostensibly logical choice to pick hillary over trump because of the supreme court or what trump would do to foreign relations or whatever rationalization they come up with, but they don't take this rational thought and logic to the next level. most of these people i've talked with live in CA. CA is going to go for clinton. if it doesn't go for clinton then trump would win in a landslide. so, your one vote can actually go for whomever you actually want to vote for. the electoral college is an awful and deeply flawed system, but it does allow this luxury for the few people with independent brains to vote for whomever they want. if you want to vote for a pro-war, pro-death penalty, lying and corrupt career politician with little to no accomplishments in 25+ years then go ahead. if you prefer to vote for someone else, then you have that luxury. same goes for someone who lives in OK or TX or CT or any number of states that are solidly blue or red.
  • why is is that the practicality of these voters goes as far as justifying voting for hillary over trump, but doesn't extend to an understanding of the electoral college? most of the people i know who i talk with about this stuff actually line up more with jill stein than they do hillary and they live in CA and yet they can't wrap their minds around voting for something other than the two deeply flawed choices they think they have. this is nothing short of mental enslavement.
  • the japanese have a saying "the nail that sticks up gets knocked down." it also reminds me of something i heard once, but i'm not sure is true. that if you train certain livestock to know the fence boundaries eventually you can just remove the fence and they will stay within the boundaries even though the fencing is gone. the common voter is the same way. they dare not vote outside the two party system. even though it never comes down to a single vote. even though they live in MA and no matter what they do the democrat will win. even though they much prefer jill stein or gary johnson to hillary or trump. they respect their master and wouldn't dare cross them. after all, they're adults and adults make tough decisions.
  • most people don't like talking about politics, unfortunately. i can't really talk with almost anyone about it the way i like to. you can talk politely about how awful trump and the republicans are, but you can't say much bad about the democrats around here and you can't ask questions, you can't doubt common misconceptions, you can't debate ideas. it's actually pretty depressing.
  • these are not new conclusions, but they have been reaffirmed lately: most people are not skeptical. they just accept the story whatever it is. most people don't question things.
  • yahoo revealed lately that they had a major hack a while back. the timing of the release of this implies to me one of two things: a high level of incompetence or strategic timing. i think it's the latter. they're in the middle of being purchased by verizon. they knew they had to get this information out before the paperwork was completed otherwise they'd be in trouble. they knew that the price would go down if they revealed that over half a billion people had their accounts hacked. so, they wait until the price has been settled and then release the damning information to get it out there. verizon now has to make the choice whether to pull out, adjust their offer, or bite the bullet. i suspect they'll move forward.
  • meyer was touted as a savior and big shot in silicon valley who was going to turn around yahoo. yeah, that didn't happen. yahoo is a joke and their only decent move under her was to acquire part of alibaba. she'll probably make off like a bandit after the acquisition, though. love how things always work out for the guys on top.
  • heard a story the other day about a young woman in college complaining about being a first generation college student and not knowing about office hours or all the minutiae in college. she claimed that all her friends knew how college worked because their parents were in college. she had a mentor on campus, but they didn't know what things she didn't know so they couldn't fill her in. basically it came off as a lot of whiny bellyaching for no good reason. i honestly think people are having to dig deeper and deeper to find some way to feel slighted or disadvantaged in society. she said that she needed the college to provide a mentor who was also a first generation college student so they knew what to tell her. really? how about you use fucking google, phone a friend or ask someone on campus? what in the serious fuck is wrong with people that this is literally a big enough issue that they took up time on the radio to complain about it?
  • the larger issues are: 1. people increasingly think that the world should revolve around their experiences. i've got radical news for everyone - you live in the world which means that the world doesn't revolve around you and your needs or weaknesses. it's your fucking job as an adult person to navigate through the mean people, your own worldly ignorance, etc. people aren't going to issue trigger warnings when talking to you in real life. people aren't going to know that you're a first generation college student and cater to your every specific need as a result.
  • 2. i no longer feel sorry for about 90% of the american population (the % that has internet access). the internet is truly a great equalizer. if you have any intellectual curiosity at all and you have access to google then you have knowledge that can help you. ignorance may have been a legitimate excuse for some things in the past...that's no longer true. google is an amazing resource...it's the equivalent of teaching a man to fish in modern society. have questions about buying a house, how to save up money, how to make a budget, what's this blood coming out of my vagina, what office hours are in college, why does it burn when i pee, how much is trump worth, etc.? type it into google and read. the answers are there. join a forum and you can get a conversation going like this person did. it's good, it's easy, it's free.
  • ignorance is no longer an excuse. buck the fuck up.
  • motorcyclists are kind of a pain sometimes. they all split lanes in traffic which is fine and their prerogative, but what annoys me is the feeling of entitlement that some of them have. some will come up behind you and rev up their engine loudly to make you move to the side. gimme an effing break. i actually move aside when i see them in my mirrors and just as many who rev their engines at others will give me a thumbs up, but something about the attitude that the engine revvers have gets under my skin. it's not a lane for you. if there happens to be space between the lanes, then go for it, but don't get mad at people if you can't get your fatboy harley between them.
  • i was talking to a berkeley student today. she told me about modern day slavery of blacks in america. she was learning about this in class...how blacks are shipped to prison and are modern day slaves. she agreed with the argument, but couldn't do a very good job of making it. i got her to agree that slavery was the wrong word - they're not doing free work and they're not there completely without any choice of their own. so, yeah it's a provocative idea being peddled as fact, but let's look past that. the fact is that a high percentage of black men (if it's compulsory slavery why does it happen so much more with men?) have been in prison/jail at some point. some of them end up working for corporations or doing civil service for very little money or as part of their punishment for doing something wrong. i asked why this was the case and she said she thought the government wanted money from them...money from court costs, etc. while it's true that some states are now getting criminals to pay for their own court costs (a bad practice that just perpetuates the problem and leads to de facto debtors prisons), it makes no logical sense that the government is doing this because they want more money. if they wanted more money it would make a lot more sense to get these people jobs so they could tax them. i also asked why things have gotten so much worse since the civil rights era and she didn't have an answer.
  • so, i agree that there is a bad situation in lower income neighborhoods that makes it a lot easier to end up in prison. but ultimately the vast majority of the time you're in prison/jail because of something you did...not because of where you were born or your race. and while i agree that our prisons are abhorrent and don't do much to rehabilitate and that privatization of prisons is a bad trend (something that she brought up), the fact is that private prisons are only 6% on the state level and 16% on the federal level (i actually told her it was about 20%, so i was overestimating a bit)...in other words an overrated problem. rehabilitation is basically a forgotten issue among prisons and that's awful. lastly, people with mental health issues shouldn't be funneled to prisons. i also am somewhat mixed on the issue of cheap labor. it definitely benefits the corporations that use inmates as call center operators or labor and i'm wary of that for sure. on the other hand you could make a reasonable argument that it has the benefit of giving the inmate something to do, a skill, and work experience. not sure what the laws are, but this type of work shouldn't be compulsory in my opinion. the conversation left me thinking again that people basically just soak up whatever they're told with very little critical filter.
  • i think i'd get a lot more out of a college education now than i did 18 years ago.
  • the number of stories you hear about privatized prisons would have you believe that the majority of prisons are run for profit by corporations. that's why it's so surprising and embarrassing when you bring this point up for years and then find out, as i did just a few months ago, that it's actually a fairly small percentage that are privately run.
  • we live in a post modern age now. perception is reality now more than any time i'm aware of (maybe not saying much). something you hear a lot from the social justice warriors is that you shouldn't deny their experience or their reality. what happens is that their perception and interpretation of their experience becomes Reality with a capital R. trump is the natural extension of this. reality is whatever he says it is. he's taken this to an outrageous level, but i see it as just another in a long line of people who see the world through their own lenses only.
  • the challenge we have these days is seeing the world in the eyes of another person. cops need to do a better job of seeing themselves through the eyes of blacks and vice versa. i think what we have right now, though, is a reluctance for some to say anything about seeing things through the eyes of the perceived oppressor. as a result we don't see progressives talking much about seeing the world through the eyes of a white person or a man or a cop. their argument tends to be that that's the status quo so it's unnecessary. i'd disagree. i think obama actually gets this and talked about it during his speech at Howard: "And that means we have to not only question the world as it is, and stand up for those African Americans who havenít been so lucky -- because, yes, you've worked hard, but you've also been lucky.  That's a pet peeve of mine:  People who have been successful and donít realize they've been lucky.  That God may have blessed them; it wasn't nothing you did.  So donít have an attitude.  But we must expand our moral imaginations to understand and empathize with all people who are struggling, not just black folks who are struggling -- the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender person, and yes, the middle-aged white guy who you may think has all the advantages, but over the last several decades has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change, and feels powerless to stop it.  You got to get in his head, too."
  • besides the double negative, which was clearly meant to appeal to the audience (kind of offensive in my opinion), he makes a great point here and i didn't see anyone write about it. it's about empathy...try to understand where other people are coming from instead of being so wrapped up in your own ego and your own struggle.


  • 9/26/16 (1928)
  • damn, i haven't written in a long time. lots of material saved up though. wanted to write before the debate. biggest tv event in a while as far as i'm concerned. will the giant douche come out looking better than the turd sandwich? tough to say.
  • a lot of pundits have talked about trump bullying hillary and how it would come off badly because she's a woman and how he has to watch out for that. this is coming from people i respect in the punditry, but i have to disagree. people know who trump is and it's not going to be a surprise if he bulldozes over her in the debate or doesn't let her talk or whatever. it just feeds the idea that he's tough. he'll be tough against china and tough against the unions or the entrenched interests in washington or whatever boogeyman you have if you're considering voting for him.
  • there is, imo, a fundamental inability for the elite punditry to understand trump and the trump voter. i've engaged in many a conversation with these people for a few years now so i understand quite well how they think about politics and the world. to us he's a half-cocked crazy guy who has done and said about 100 things that are disqualifying, but to them every one of those things points to one fundamental fact - he's not a politician - and that, alone, is good enough for them. the republicans have made a number of concessions recently and especially with trump and only a few people seem to have noticed this. when i was becoming politically aware there was a perception of a republican checklist that included things like: must have served in the military, must be deeply religious, must be firm on guns rights, must be firm on abortion, etc. trump has been wishy-washy on many of these to say the least. but the fact that he's so anti-washington is enough for them to overlook a number of things that they would normally consider reprehensible or disqualifying. it's an extremely interesting dynamic and race.
  • i think he needs to come off like carly fiorina did in her best performance. she talked specifically and confidently about the military and abortion. of course just about everything she said was utter bullshit, but it sounded so good when she talked about specific numbers of marine corps battalions, etc. it was as if she knew what she was talking about. in fact, she knew a few vocab words and some numbers...these have very little to do with reality or actual policy, but it projected the notion that she knew what she was talking about and this is a highly important attribute for getting by in upper management. it's probably how she got to be a CEO. it reminded me a lot of the guy who used to be the executive director at the alumni house. he talked very eloquently and didn't actually say anything of substance. he seemed to have a plan and knew a lot of buzzwords and it got him a job that he did extremely poorly. but people eat this shit up. it's trump's job to talk as if he knows more than people think and it's hillary's job to call him out on it. because even though hillary has almost no major accomplishments in her many years in d.c., she does know how things work and she should know far more about the specifics of programs and departments than trump.

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    8/28/16 (15:19)

  • talked the other day about the myriad solutions there are to our political problems, but ultimately that it's the lack of political will to solve them that is our undoing. this is human nature. we have solutions all around us and instead we choose the familiar, even if it's uncomfortable. we stick with the status quo. inertia takes over and changing ourselves becomes theoretical. sometimes thought is the enemy of action.

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    8/25/16 (20:54)

  • sometimes i feel like i'm living in the twilight zone. the aca (obamacare) was a Republican idea that romney was behind and implemented in MA. as soon as obama starts with it, though, everyone flips their allegiance. democrats suddenly think it's a good idea and a "pretty fucking big deal" as biden called it, meanwhile republicans think it's cancer and want nothing to do with it. it barely passes and, because it's toxic and the republicans won in 2010, no one has done anything to fix it since. as a result of the flawed original idea, poor execution, and lack of political will to tweak it for the better, we have a piece of shit law that has only a few redeeming qualities. no life long limits, young adults on parents' healthcare until 26, pre-existing conditions limits removed, mandatory cost reporting (theoretically)...maybe a few more. pathetic overall. this is the same country that built the panama canal, did the new deal, beat the nazis...and a fucking epi pen costs $300 (but you have to buy at least 2). go u.s.a.
  • speaking of the epi pen....i'm against concentrated centers of power such as the government and powerful corporations, but it's the job of a corporation to make money. we stipulate that in society. it's law. so when hillary says "it's wrong when companies put profits above the health of patients" it's pretty fucking ignorant and idiotic. it sounds nice, but that's what they do. they care about profits above all. if it's going to hurt their bottom line to get bad press then they will lower the price to buy an end to the bad press (they just did this today, btw), but it's not because of a shift in their morality or priorities. it's a cost benefit analysis. same goes for a car company choosing whether or not to recall a vehicle. same goes for a lot of things.
  • clinton foundation. hillary put trump's feet to the fire on the tax returns (rightfully) and now she's getting grilled on the clinton foundation. pretty rich that they decided that if she wins (likely) they'll stop getting foreign investments and bill will step down from the board (but not chelsea). huh? how does any of that make sense? shouldn't she have done the same thing when she was secretary of state? can't foreign investors give money to the foundation right now? or the day before she wins? can't chelsea have as much say/influence on her mom as bill could? logic hurts.
  • pretty funny hearing trump talk about blacks in america. funny on the one hand because he thinks they're all the same and clearly has limited interaction with them. it's also funny to hear the responses. he talks about blacks voting democrat and asking what they've gotten in return. he has a point there. in some areas, like chicago and detroit, much of the local representation are democrats. he said the same thing in milwaukee, but there republicans are more in charge (walker being the one with the most name recognition). you do have to wonder at what point people will wise up to when one party or another isn't following through on their promises. republicans finally did that and the tea party and alt-conservatives are the result. getting "primaried" is a legit concern for republicans and it's because conservatives finally realized they were getting a lot of promises of smaller government from guys like bush who then increased spending by $1.5 trillion (a 75% increase) per year over an 8 year period. so, props to them for that. unfortunately it means that the representatives have been pushed into super crazy-obstructionist land and we're as stuck as we've been in a long time.
  • instant run off voting is one major move in the right direction.
  • eliminate the electoral college is another (not happening). proportional electoral college allocation is plausible, though.
  • mandatory 3rd party presence at the debates (not happening so long as the dems and reps run the debates).
  • there are a lot of solutions and very little political will to do anything about it.
  • i can't decide if monogamy is a construct of men or women. one could argue that men came up with the idea because women are their property and they don't want their property going around with other guys so they made up this system to slut shame. one could also argue that it's made by women because they want men to stick around to help raise the kids and clearly men would rather stick it in every hole imaginable so they would never create a system that would limit that freedom.
  • heaven, to me, would be having all the answers to all the questions i've ever thought up.
  • the olympics were pretty good this year.
  • centrowitz winning the 1500m was a highlight for me. i've watched him before and been impressed. he has a very solid kick and positioned himself perfectly for the race they ran. his move on the inside to get back into position is what won it for him. mid distance running is very exciting and tactical if you know what to watch for. i also think the commentators did a good job.
  • mo farah is probably the best distance runner of this latest crop of runners. doubled in the 5 and 10k again. haile gebrselassie is the best of all-time in my opinion. legitimately great at everything from 1500m-marathon. lasse viren was amazing in his time as well, but gebrselassie was more dynamic. that said, farah is now in that same category so it's great to watch.
  • we also had medals in the steeplechase and 5k. rupp (in only his second marathon ever) got a bronze and competed for a silver. we had more runners in the top 10 in the marathon than any other country. that's amazing to me as someone who grew up watching ethiopia and kenya dominate. same for the steeplechase. there was a time 20 years ago when the top 5-7 steeplechasers were all kenyan.
  • it's the best we've done in distance/mid distance running in over 100 years. great stuff. one major reason cited is training at altitude that was emphasized this time around. all but one of the u.s. medalists live or train at altitude. this has been known for a long time, of course. we did a running camp for a week in the mammoth lakes area in high school. a week of running twice a day (usually 8-12 miles a day). that got me into shape real fast.
  • bolt is officially one of the 10 best athletes of my generation. better than carl lewis or michael johnson, which is borderline sacrilegious for me to say. he's the best sprinter ever. period.
  • phelps is also one of the 10 best athletes of my generation. he's probably top 10 ever, though, i haven't written out that list before. ruth, jordan, phelps, ali, thorpe, montana...i don't know. i think he's on there at this point. pretty tough to argue against 28 olympic medals, 23 of which are gold. many world records. he's one of a few people in sports history where you're just dead if he's on that day. the best of all-time just wouldn't be beat. you go against them and you lose.
  • another great podcast is revisionist history which is by malcolm gladwell. each episode he revisits something from the past to see what we learned from it or look at it from a new perspective. one episode is about the toyota stuck accelerator problem. long story short - it was just dumb ass people thinking they were pressing on the brake pedal. they replaced the floor mats and that may have been a part of it, but it almost always happened to people in unfamiliar cars. they thought they were pressing on the brakes, but the episode proves that brakes always beat the accelerator. so, even with a souped up mustang if the accelerator is floored and the brakes are also floored then the car will stop. fact. so, toyota lost a billion bucks because of bad press, bad luck and dumb people. fucked up. great podcast.
  • also started listening to the 538 podcast. i love nate silver and think what they do is great, even if they're not always right. but silver said that stein and johnson will get about 8%. ha. fat chance. i'd be $100 against that even though negative feelings towards the other two clowns is at an all-time high. i fell for the third party has a chance in america thing once before (2000)...bottom line is that the system is rigged against 3rd parties. i'll still happily vote for them, though.
  • flossing is no longer recommended by the government. turns out that they need scientific proof in order to make a recommendation and a reporter found that they didn't have any to point to that found benefits of flossing, even after months of him asking, so now they're not recommending it anymore. this is both very right and very wrong. everyone pretty much knows that it's beneficial to not have food stuck between your teeth because it breeds bacteria and that causes gum disease, etc. at the same time, it's good to have a rule saying that you need actual science in order to make a recommendation. this kind of shit undermines faith in science, though, and that's the bigger problem. the media does a shitty enough job with the conflicting studies issue already, but then you add something like this and it's just more fuel for the fire. "if we can't even figure out if flossing is good, how can we figure out something as complicated as global climate change?" that kind of thing becomes a legitimate question.
  • speaking of global warming. i place a strong premium on the ability to predict things. this is why i like the folks at 538. there are a million scientists and scholars who can analyze things after the fact and tell a plausible or interesting story about why something happened they way it did....and those types are important for understanding the past and potentially the future. but the real genius and skill is in seeing the future. so, when the club of rome gets so many predictions wrong, or when some scientists say there's global cooling, or when they say the seas will rise to the point that we'll have 50 million refugees in 2010 as a result of global warming...well, it just doesn't give you much confidence. i actually think that global warming is real and i believe the majority of scientists who study this for a living when they say that it's mostly because of humans. what i don't have confidence in, though, is their predictions about how out of control it will get. i also don't buy the rhetoric about it being the most important issue of our lifetime. the global ecosystem is just so amazingly complex that it's impossible to map this stuff. everything from the science of the sun to the atmosphere to human behavior needs to be taken into account and i frankly think it's impossible to get a very reasonable range for all those factors and how all those factors will interact over the next 50-100 years (sea level rise of 2.5-6.5ft by 2100, they say). i think it's something to keep an eye on. i think we should continue to study it. i think that if we have two reasonably similar options and one will emit more co2 and the other will emit less then we should go with the latter. but i don't think it's the most important issue of our time as michael krasny and bill maher and many others have said. empowering women in 3rd world and developing nations would probably do a lot more for humanity than worrying about sea level rise or other climate change issues.


  • 8/20/16 (08:10)

  • listened to season one of the uncertain hour podcast. it's great stuff. produced by the Marketplace people it looks at what welfare is like 20 years after clinton and the republicans "reformed" it. illuminating stuff and interesting to see where the money actually goes. i love those deep dives into topics, especially ones like welfare where people have an idea of what it is, but actually know very little about it.
  • john mclaughlin died the other day. as i wrote a month or so ago, this comes as no surprise. he looked like a zombie on the last episode i watched. pretty decent show that spawned a bunch of knockoffs. pbs has been at the forefront of tv, actually. mclaughlin spawned imitators (not for the better, unfortunately), this old house spawned a couple networks, sesame street is probably the best of all-time. good stuff.
  • germany is looking to ban the head scarf. they say it's about encouraging assimilation in an open minded society, which is a pretty funny and clueless way of putting it. it sounds like it's just one party that's pushing it so we'll see if it happens, but it's pretty clear that an open minded society shouldn't ban people from wearing extra clothes just so they can fit in. sure, it would help you assimilate if you didn't wear different stuff and call attention to yourself, but that hardly seems like a good enough reason to take away a freedom. then again, it seems that governments often don't have very good reasons for taking away freedoms. they almost seem to do it out of compulsion or habit.
  • heard a story on npr about trying to attract people of color to the national parks. apparently they've been trying for a while and it hasn't worked. it's a priority because as time goes on the proportion of white to non-white is going to decrease so non-white will be determining the funding and survival of the national parks, in a sense. heard another story a week later about a black woman in oakland who is an urban farmer and when she told and older black woman what she did the woman was aghast and said essentially that she shouldn't call herself a farmer and that it was a bad thing to be doing. apparently there's a stigma or aversion among black people when it comes to going to the outdoors or doing that kind of work because of the legacy of slavery. never heard of that one.
  • in a perfect world i wonder what marriage and alimony laws would look like. as they currently are, i've heard a good deal of stories where one person doesn't earn much of anything and when they get divorced the person who earned the money has to take care of the other person for the rest of their lives. usually this is man taking care of woman, but the trend is reversing. on the one hand, if they have an agreement that one person takes care of things domestically and supports the other person so that they can maximize their earning then it makes sense that they should be taken care of afterwards, should they get a divorce. i think this is particularly true if the person instigating the divorce is the richer of the two. i know personally of situations like this where a guy makes most of the money while the woman goes to nursing school. then, once she becomes a nurse and starts making real money, she left him. my sister is an a similar situation where she's taken care of things around the house and the guy has then been allowed to focus on making money.
  • malcolm gladwell is famous in part for making famous the idea that a person needs to spend 10,000 hours doing a certain thing in order to become a master at it. there's a bit of a caveat to that in that it needs to be concentrated practice, but the larger point he was making was about the fact that for that time (about 4 years) they need to have a support system in place that allows them to focus on this one task. it helps, of course, to have someone else taking care of money if the training for those 10k hours doesn't make you much. it helps to have someone taking care of the annoying facts of life like bills or food prep, so you can focus on bettering yourself at the task of becoming the master level performer at whatever it is that you're doing. with that in mind, it makes sense that whoever supports you during this time should get some payment. but should it be a life long payment? the idea of maintaining the lifestyle that i've grown accustomed to seems a bit of stretch in the case of kevin federline or anna nicole smith or something. a complicated proposition all around. not cut and dried. can't make a formula for it.

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    8/18/16 (17:10)

  • zoe seems afraid of just about everything these days. she's also especially whiny. this has made for a particularly annoying last couple weeks.
  • merritt has pretty bad eczema and still refuses to talk or walk with any regularity so that is also high on my list of annoyances lately.
  • too many irons in the fire right now and it's getting to me.
  • had a blockage on the north end of the house's plumbing the other day. spent a while that night trying to free it up with lye, a snake, a plunger...but it was in there good so we needed to hire someone with a powered snake to do the trick. i have no desire to buy one of those, but it's a lucrative job. so are water heaters.



  • 8/12/16 (19:21)
  • i'm not the biggest fan of cops. i think a lot of them are bullies whose best days were when they made a great tackle coming off the bench in high school football. that said, they also deal with a lot of bullshit and are under more scrutiny than ever. this is the kind of shit i'm talking about. hopefully body cams are mandatory everywhere soon. can't turn them off until you clock out, footage is stored for a minimum of 30 days, etc. if done right i think it'll go a long way to understanding what kind of madness they deal with on a daily basis. another example. this one, unfortunately later ended up in her (korryn gaines) committing suicide by cop. the media, though, in, as big a stretch as i've seen, is blaming her death on lead poisoning. she's clearly crazy and in need of help. unfortunately she was brainwashing her child and had it in her head that the cops are out to get her. so a while after that video she had a stand off with them and was shot. nothing good here. cops didn't deal with it very well (why are they responsible for dealing with the mentally ill anyway?) and she pushed it as much as she could. some are calling her a martyr, but thankfully they're not in the majority on this one.

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    8/10/16 (19:39)

  • i get a lot of this kind of thing:
  • "Hello,

  • I was wondering if you were available to install 30 sq ft of glass tile for a kitchen backsplash?
    I'd ideally like it done this week.
    Thanks!"
  • this particular instance was from someone who attended Harvard. i don't know them and have never been to their house or anything. no pictures were included...nothing. but i saw from their google+ profile that they attended harvard and it reinforced in me that people can be very smart and clueless at the same time. that's a two day job most likely and they sent that email wednesday night.
  • shoulder still bugging me.

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    8/2/16 (17:02)

  • the jesse williams speech happened a while ago, but didn't have time to comment. he talks about a lot and i don't have time to parse the whole thing. he talks about being better to black women. he's definitely right about that. black women have been doing better than black men by basically all objective standards for a long time. i agree that it's time for black men to step up.
  • he also talks about the hereafter that is promised to people and i agree with him on that as well. religion is a cruel joke usually sold to the downtrodden, poor, stupid, and abused to give them some way of dealing with their horrible lives. blacks don't seem particularly well served by the churches. i see them all over east oakland and maybe they serve some community function, but i can't help but think that it would be time better spent with tutors or at the ymca or something else. studying the bible doesn't seem to do much for people in the real world. it's a false hope peddled to the most desperate among us.
  • the thing i don't agree with is when he started talking about "whiteness" and what eventually became a conversation on twitter and elsewhere about cultural appropriation. this is an argument i've heard before from some who say that black culture is stolen by whites and they point to people like elvis. chuck d has a famous lyric about this "elvis was a hero to most but he never meant shit to me. the mother fucker was straight up racist and plain - mother fuck him and john wayne." (i think flavor flav says that last part). chuck d later said that elvis was actually a great artist who understood the music and culture, but he still hates john wayne. nevertheless, it's a substantially stupid argument that really shows a lack of thought and critical thinking, though it's borne of a sense of understandable victim hood. to put it simply - we all steal from each other. adam smith is the father of free market capitalism. the greeks invented democracy. arabians invented algebra. in art and philosophy, as in society, everyone takes from each other and builds on it. some say that in philosophy everyone is a footnote to plato. so, no one can be a philosopher without culturally appropriating the greeks? no one can use any of the words that shakespeare created without culturally appropriating the English? no one can use parallel editing without stealing from d.w. griffith? what the fuck ever.
  • something that has been getting more and more discussion lately is banning hate speech on campuses. behind this is the concept that the campus is supposed to be a safe space. college is for learning, expanding your mind, and preparing you for the real world. college, arguably, doesn't do this very well anymore. it being a "safe space" certainly doesn't help matters. the real world doesn't have safe spaces where your precious ideas are coddled and your every sensitivity is catered to. this is a fantasy world and not in the utopian sense, either. shutting down free exchange of ideas, refusing to let certain people come to campus because you disagree with them, etc. those are decidedly anti-intellectual. not only are they ideas that are detrimental to the whole, i think they are detrimental to the individual. if the first time you experience a real challenge to your way of thinking is outside of college, then that institution has completely failed you. if colleges don't allow republicans, communists, racists, etc. on campus to enter in the free exchange of ideas then everything the college student encounters there is very narrow and curated. the only way to expel idiotic ideas is through the free exchange of better ideas alongside these stupid ideas, otherwise we create a breeding ground for sensitive idiots who are unaware of the larger world and unable to challenge these reprehensible ideas when they are finally faced with them.
  • according to democrats, including america ferrera on real time with bill mahrer, it's difficult to vote in this country. huh? it's about as easy as it gets and yet we get about half the country voting in the most important elections, less than that in non-presidential years. in the majority of states it's possible to vote before election date and/or by mail. it doesn't get much easier. by my count there are 13 states that don't allow early voting or absentee voting so maybe you can make a case in those states. funny thing is, though, that those states include democrat strongholds like NY, PA, MI, and CT. the three battleground states of those 13 are MO, KY, and VA. in other words, it's not that big a deal. outside of those 13 states...not to be elitist, but if you can't be bothered to vote by mail or in early voting then maybe you shouldn't bother to vote. source.
  • went to alaska a few weeks ago. we did the cruise thing which wasn't our first choice, but for the time and money it made the most sense. with kids it's just impossible to do an extended vacation like we'd want. plus, with the business, we just can't take very much time off. it's crazy how much things back up without anyone to cover for you.
  • so, now i've been to all 50 states. pretty happy about that.
  • getting on the cruise ship was interesting. we cut that a bit close. i told meryl not to worry about figuring out what to do about getting from seattle to vancouver. i figured there had to be a way to make that trip. and there are a few ways, but none that really worked with our schedule other than to rent a car. so we did that and i drove 90 most of the time and we got there 45 minutes before they disembarked. it was stressful in a funny way.
  • alaska was pretty cool. it was just the inside passage so we saw a very small part of it, but we got a hint of what it's about. what we saw as analogous to most of what i've seen in british columbia. a zillion trees and glaciers.
  • we visited ketchikan, juneau, skagway and anchorage. saw denali from a distance. the towns are pretty dominated by tourism and they're pretty temperate since they're on the coast. ketchikan gets about 12 feet of rain a year which is close to what the hoh rainforest in WA gets.
  • saw a guy who had to use a breathalyzer to start his truck. that was very alaskan as they drink a ton up there. they also engage in a lot of sexual assault and suicide.
  • the crab was freaking great. had an all you can eat dungeness crab meal in ketchikan and then went on a plane ride to see the town and surrounding area. all the towns were very touristy, as i said, but all were very scenic and nestled near mountains that would be great to wake up next to every day.
  • a lot of the tourism support employees were from outside of alaska. the girls were all pretty confident, tough chicks. pretty much everyone who goes to alaska to live, as far as we saw, seemed to really like it. alaska isn't the kind of place that you just end up living by accident. it's a choice you make, even if you're born there. alaska has a major brain drain in part because of the lack of quality colleges, but also because a lot of people just choose to leave.
  • we did a zip line in skagway. skagway is very small and we ran into some real good people there.
  • we also went kayaking and went on a long train ride that taught us about the rail construction and gold rush history of the area. a lot of the area was developed because of gold rushes. of course i couldn't help but think of charlie chaplin as a result of all this.
  • while on the trip we saw, live, as the police in dallas were gunned down. we just happened to be in our room watching the news when shots were fired and the cameraman ran towards the noise and all that followed. pretty crazy what's happening these days. sides pitted against each other. everyone goes to their corners when this shit happens. awful stuff. obama's speech afterwards was good and spot on, but it doesn't seem like a lot of people hear him anymore.
  • while on the trip i read a bit of grit: power of passion and perseverance. pretty much makes the argument that sticking things out is more important than any other single attribute when it comes to economic success. pretty simplistic, probably close to true.
  • the return trip home was funny because we saw a fire and a police action that shut down 98th ave just while getting a ride from the airport to home. welcome to oakland.
  • it's funny how voters can be like a controlling 3 year old sometimes. liberals want to control what people do with their guns and conservatives want to control what people do with their sex life.

  • 8/1/16 (19:43)

  • doing a crappy job of updating here. hopefully i'll be back on the horse soon.
  • shoulder has been hurting lately. this sucks.
  • went to the berkeley kite festival the other day with mom, kids and meryl. it was a good time.
  • politics are crazy right now. may you live in interesting times.

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    7/20/16 (18:39)

  • lots of stuff happened recently, not really in the mood to update at this point.

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    6/19/16 (10:53)

  • went to la for a few hours for my grandma's 80th birthday. then drove back up and was in bed by 3a.
  • next day was zoe's birthday celebration so it was a busy time.
  • the week before we went to SF so the girls could go on the trolley for the first time. it was a success.
  • fisherman's wharf is a tourist trap.
  • the warriors have put themselves in an interesting situation. i've long maintained that lebron is the best player in the world, but this series was looking pretty bad for him until the last two games. basically the warriors fans started in on the crybaby stuff and his back was up against the wall and he's had two great games in a row. it's amazing how legacies are made or not. but if they win game 7 then he's a hero in cleveland and he's among the very best of all-time. if they lose then he's a second tier all-time best. so, he goes from russell and jordan to kareem and robertson. the top tier is for guys who had great numbers and could carry teams to championships multiple times. the second tier is for guys who had great numbers and maybe won a couple championships, but weren't extremely dominant.
  • a lot of people locally are talking about the series being fixed. i don't really buy it. green put himself in a bad position with all the flagrants and technicals, but that's really the biggest thing you can point to as far as the nba trying to put its finger on the scale. curry fouling out was earned and his reaction was childish. warriors fans are just like those anywhere else, it turns out: homers. it's amazing how this tribalism mindset is so prevalent in humans. politics, sports, etc. people pick a side and see what they want in order to bolster their opinion. everything else gets discarded.
  • i actually had the cavs winning games 5 and 6, but i have them losing game 7. i no longer think that the warriors are as good as the early 2000s' lakers teams. they don't dominate like those teams did. to go to 7 games in two consecutive playoff series is a knock against them. the great teams that go up 3-1 would get the job finished in game 5 or 6. and great teams don't go down 1-3. of course if they win then all is forgotten and it's an amazing regular season with a championship to cap it all off.
  • not sure if i wrote about this already, but i was thinking about the best basketball coaches of all-time and came up with the following top five: john wooden, phil jackson, red auerbach, coach K, geno auriemma. the last one is the one that gets eyebrow raises, but i think he belongs. women's college basketball isn't nearly as competitive as men's basketball at any level, but his teams have been so dominant for so long and he has so many championships and streaks at this point that to leave him off would be a major oversight. and who goes in his place? bob knight? gregg popovich? nah...knight is a bad guy with not nearly the hardware. popovich is boringly good and hasn't had to do it with multiple stars. let's see how he does without tim duncan. auerbach was with russell the whole time, but you can't discount 10 rings. jackson did it with two separate sets of stars. wooden and coach k won with a variety of players and are class acts with integrity. so, that's my list.
  • mclaughlin of the mclaughlin group is looking like he belongs in a halloween coffin. i swear they dust this guy off every week and give him an adrenaline injection just so he can stay awake.
  • the stanford rapist case is getting a lot of press. he's not a rapist, by the legal definition, but some are trying to change that. obviously a few months is not nearly enough to be getting when you do what he did. i'm actually pro-discretion when it comes to judges because the alternative is mandatory minimums and we've seen the myriad problems with that system. so, people who complain about the judge having the discretion to reduce the sentence are really missing the larger picture. the real issue is that judges are human and if the judge were a black woman the sentence would have been much different. if the perp was a black man then the judge's sentencing would have been much different. in the perp, the judge saw himself, and so he cut him a big break. pretty simple and pretty fucked up. but, you know what, judges are elected so he'll be accountable for this and i highly suspect that he won't be around next term....if he makes it that far.
  • people are real quick to grab the torches and march in the proverbial streets (twitter), but they're also quick to be distracted by the next squirrel that runs in front of them.
  • orlando. the gun issue is interesting because it seems that very few people actually have considered all the facets. liberals tend to know very little about guns yet they want to get rid of them all. samantha bee talked about how the AR-15 is awful for home defense (completely and utterly wrong), for example. meanwhile, the NRA lives in a fantasy world wherein everyone carries a gun and therefore there are fewer gun deaths because a good guy with a gun kills a bad guy with a gun. okayyyy.
  • first things first: on the federal level there are only a couple options: nibble at the edges as obama has with executive orders. pass an amendment overturning the 2nd amendment (not happening in my lifetime). change the supreme court and get them a case that can reinterpret the 2nd amendment. currently the interpretation is from scalia: the 2nd amendment refers to an individual's right to bear arms. if you can get a liberal court to interpret it to mean that it's about a standing army or general right to bear arms for groups then you can take a chunk out of it.
  • immediately, the more likely solution for restricting gun rights is through the states. california, ct, and others are already doing this and have been for a while.
  • ultimately it depends what your goal is, i suppose. if it's about minimizing the loss of life then handguns are more to blame than the assault weapons. so called assault weapons are scary looking, but they just don't kill as many people overall as handguns do on a yearly basis. the incidents we see like orlando or san bernadino are awful, but not indicative of the everyday violence that kills the most people. speaking of gun deaths that kill most people...most people don't realize that about 60% of the gun deaths that we talk about when we say "1 person dies every x number of minutes because of a gun" are actually suicides. it's strange how we go from 30k+ people dying a year because of guns to talking about a few hundred who die from the type of mass shootings that the media covers. a recent trend is in talking about mass shootings as anything involving 3+ people, but most of those are incidents of local disputes, gang violence, stray bullets, etc. they're not the type of rampage killing that we think about when we think about columbine or similar. those incidents are actually an extension of suicide, from what i've heard. these are people who are suicidal and who want to make an impact so they choose the rampage shooting as their method of suicide.
  • lastly, i'm not one of those people who sees guns as only for killing. i think it's a legitimate tool for self defense or entertainment or hunting. i know of many people who hunt to supplement their food source. people who have only lived in cities tend to not understand this just like people who have only lived in the country don't understand many issues that go along with living in the city from crime and poverty and diversity to trying to find places to park. so, i don't think it's proper to take guns from everyone just because some people abuse them. i think it makes sense to limit gun ownership to people who can prove competency and who aren't repeat criminals or wife beaters.

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    6/8/16 (07:10)

  • haven't been super busy with work lately. also haven't been very motivated. the really small jobs have become tiresome to me at this point because they're either not challenging or too annoying because of having to hunt down the right replacement parts, etc. sometimes a small job can be a big pain in the ass.
  • zoe's birthday was the other day. to celebrate we went on a trolley ride in SF and hung out a bit. she had a great time and we great waiting in line. we also finally took away her pacifier and she's been great about that as well. we told her it was going to another baby and she's done well without it. she never used it at day care so it wasn't like she always had it, so i think that helped as well.
  • merritt seems really fascinated by the way things work and she likes to watch people work on things so that's very cute.
  • still no word on that BayREN rebate for the energy efficiency upgrades we did on the house.
  • sometimes it amazes me that anything gets done in the world.

  • no internet right now...two days ago juan was painting near the internet cable and it got moved around so that could be culprit. it's also possible that i cut the cable, but i don't see how that would work. i cut what i'm almost certain is the at&t wire, but i suppose it could have been for comcast.
     

    5/30/16 (19:34)

  • big warriors game tonight. that last game just about gave me a heart attack. i thought for sure they were done after coming back to within one and then going down by 8 late in the 3rd quarter. then they were down by 5 i think going into the 4th and went on a run to end the game. andre iguodala was great during one stretch to close it out - right hand to left hand layup, steal and assist to thompson for 3 all in consecutive plays. thompson was obviously great with 11 3s and 41 points. i expect them to win tonight. they've only been underdogs in one game this series and it was game 6.
  • green was killing me in game 6 with his constant desire to bring the ball down the floor himself. they were also running the offense through him and i just didn't understand that decision, but it ended up working so i guess i can't complain. he's definitely struggled this series against the length and athleticism of durant.

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    5/27/16 (22:00)

  • as i get older i'm less judgmental about some things. musical purity is one of them. i used to think nu metal was maybe a step or two above pedophilia, but i've evolved on that. i'm not going to say i like limp bizkit, but there is a value to some of their songs - for some people. korn is actually pretty good from the songs i've heard. it's kind of a white guy's version of gangsta rap with simple themes and plenty of anger. the hybrid of metal and hip-hop makes it sonically more interesting than pure metal and more palatable than rap to a whiter audience. what i think happened is that nu metal basically became anything that was mainstream and metal with maybe some hip-hop influence...but also kinda sucked. so, rage against the machine never got that moniker and neither did anthrax or half of mos def's album "new danger" or any number of metal/hip-hop acts that were well received. oh well.
  • probably not news to anyone here, but rage against the machine is actually an amazingly good band. every time i revisit them...it doesn't get old.
  • warriors are in a surprising situation to say the least. i would have bet the farm on them winning it all, but then they went down 3-1 against OKC. i still think they have a good chance of winning it. they did what they needed to do in winning game 5 at home. the big test is on the road in game 6. if they win that game on sunday then i think the pressure is on OKC at that point. OKC is possibly the most athletic and longest teams in the league. they're really tough to score on inside and the warriors have been having trouble with their outside shooting so...contested layups get missed, jumpers aren't falling, turnovers are higher than usual and you have what we have here. green has been a big zero. before the series started i told meryl that OKC may actually have a better big two than the warriors. durant and curry are about equal and i think westbrook is better than thompson. the difference, i said, was that green was a big difference maker and even thought ibaka is a very good player...he's no draymond green. well, in this serious, that hasn't been the case. a few years ago i was into OKC...they were a fun team to watch, but then the warriors got my attention and OKC hired that prick coach from florida so they're dead to me.

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    5/22/16 (20:13)

  • every once in a while the comments on youtube can be downright great. original video.

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    5/19/16 (16:53)

  • kind of impossible to get anything done these days. i work and more people need shit done. not much gets done around the house most days. no one is very good about doing their job or doing what they say so my plans go to shit. pretty much annoyed all around when it comes to that stuff.
  • allergies are as bad as ever. getting tested tomorrow, i'm not holding out much hope for a cure. they'll probably just shuffle me from one pharmaceutical to the next for as long as they can.
  • if people just listened and did what they said they were going to do i think my life would be 2 times better. probably a better chance of winning the lottery. how do you permanently reset your expectations to a much lower level? that would make life a lot better.
  • warriors had a bad loss the other day. usually they win the close ones, and if they lose, they lose big. this one was close and i think it was mostly because of sloppy turnovers. curry had 7. last night they won big and they'll probably win in 5. this is the best team to win the championship (foregone conclusion) since the lakers in 02 when only iverson was able to beat them (once).

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    5/11/16 (14:57)

  • looking into hiring our first employee and here's how it breaks down:
  • workers comp $3,300/year. assumes no work on the roof or tall ladders, with estimated salary of $25k/year (20 hours a week)
  • payroll taxes (roughly 12%) $3,000
  • payroll service $61/biweekly ($1,586)
  • so, $7,886 in addition to the wage paid. in my case that adds about 31% to the cost of having an employee and keeping everything legal.
  • the other way to do it would be to 1099 him as an independent contractor. if he invoices me and brings his own tools then legally i'm clear to do that. so, since i'd rather keep the $7,886 to myself i'm leaning towards giving him a 1099 every year. he also won't be on payroll year round since he has another job. unfortunately for him that means he'll have to pay a self-employment tax so maybe i'll pay him a bit more to make up for that.
  • overall it's not as bad as i thought it was going to be. workers comp. rates should go down if i don't have any claims and the payroll services make it fairly easy (for a fee) to deal with all the paperwork and whatnot.
  • bottom line: i'm trying to pay a higher than usual wage ($25/hr) for someone who is just starting hoping that it will pay off in the long run. when he starts doing jobs solo then that's when he'll really pay for himself. if i pay him for 1,000 hours a year then the total cost to me comes to about $33/hr which means i have to charge him out at something higher than that for it to make sense at all. a rule of thumb is that you have to bill your employee out at twice what you pay them, so that would be $50/hr and that sounds about right.
  • in other economic news, i don't think i ever really laid out what happened with the old house. in 2008 we bought it for $290k. we put in about $110k of borrowed money so we were all in at 400k (plus several thousand out of pocket that didn't get figured into). we listed at $589 and the comps make it look like we were going to get 625-640. which would have meant about $240k profit to be split between us and meryl's dad. well, it ended up going for $799k which was ridiculous. we got 25 offers, all were over asking and many were above $700k. the top two offers were for 805k and 790k. the higher offer was contingent upon loan approval and we really didn't think that the house would appraise for as much as it would need in order to get the loan so we countered the lower offer and they accepted. so, we smashed the street/local records and were pretty happy about that. so, 799k sale price - 400k invested divided by two should be about 200k profit, right? not so much. 28% goes to uncle sam since it was never really our house. then there were closing costs and transfer fees. then we had to pay off the second mortgage on our new house and that was $91k. so, all said and done we paid off our second mortgage, great news, and got $30k in cash.
  • when we sold the house for that much money meryl and i both started thinking about what we could do with 200k...we're going to be frickin rich...we could replenish our savings, get a new driveway, pay for the back deck...but then reality set in and instead of being rich we're able to afford a new sewer lateral, exterior paint and second quarter income taxes. kinda hurts to have crushed that sale price so much and feel like we ended up with so little.
  • house buying math is just so crazy. our new house actually cost less than our old house (705k vs. 799k sale price on picardy). 705 -108k down = 597k then we paid off an additional 91k with the picardy sale which should mean our mortgage is down to 506k, but somehow with title fees and transfer costs and that b.s. our mortgage is 528k...22k more than you'd think if you didn't know anything about how it the government and private enterprise figure out ways to get money from you. and that's just what you pay in theory because then there's the interest. in our case that means our final pay off will actually be $907k. so, for a 705k house we'll pay 998k without taking into account home improvement, electricity, etc.
  • now there's a somewhat new ordinance here that you have to prove that your sewer lateral is leak free and that'll cost you $800 minimum for the test...in our case it was $7200 to get one part of it replaced. $7200 for the drain, which feels like it's going down the drain.
  • and here's another one. we wanted to get a new furnace so we shop around and find one with installation, etc. it'll be $12k for all new ducting, high efficiency furnace, etc. that's not counting the cost for asbestos abatement, but we'll forget that for now. there's a rebate program run through bayren, which is a network for local governments getting together to help encourage efficiency in the home. so, we're eligible for a rebate for the new insulated ducting, the new high efficiency furnace and sealed ducting. that should equal $1600. but it's not so simple.
  • they come in a do some tests beforehand and in our case they found that the water heater vent wasn't pitched properly so they want that fixed. contractor will do it for $350, but it'll require putting another hole in the house. the other option is to get a new water heater outside the house ($3700-6500) or move the existing water heater (pain in the ass, probably about $1500 or several hours of my labor). i ask pg&e to take a look and the guy says there's very minor leakage in an area that is well vented so he gives me a service card saying everything is fine. i send that to bayren and they say they don't care. they say " Code requires that the rise for a water heater is 1/4" per foot length. I am guessing this run is about 12 feet. That means that from the water heater to the wall you should have a rise of about one foot. It looks like it is only about six inches. The code requirement here is not met, and one of the results is fumes spillage when the water heater is running."
  • obviously they can't do math so i reply: "I'm a bit confused... You said it's a 12' run and it has a 6" rise, which comes out to twice the code requirement (3" rise, not the 12" you cited). PG&E is the AHJ and tested the water heater and said it's all good." they reply back saying that it needs to be fixed because it failed their test regardless of anything else. so, codes don't matter and neither does the expert opinion of the AHJ. so, i look at their website and a new high efficiency on demand water heater gets you a $900 rebate so i figure i'll install one of those and it'll help offset the cost ($1700 + plumbing supplies)) of the new water heater....well, they won't give a rebate on the water heater unless one of their contractors installs it....doesn't make any sense to me, but whatever. i went ahead and installed it myself anyway. long story short, they're in charge so you do whatever they want. they'll move the goalposts all day long. i could bring god in to tell them that the water heater is just fine and it wouldn't have mattered.
  • then bayren comes back to test everything again after the new water heater and furnace are installed and make sure everything is up to snuff. they see the gas valve for the new dryer isn't hooked up to the dryer yet and give me a hard time about it. they tested it - no leak (yeah, no shit, i tested it already), but they said someone could kick it and turn it on accidentally so they want me to cap it off while they're there. luckily i have just about every fucking plumbing pipe and cap in the world inside my truck so i was able to cap a 3/8 flare fitting without too much issue. then they give me a bill for $350. so, now a $2500 rebate is effectively a $1250 rebate because they won't rebate the water heater install and they charge to test your house for unrelated problems. great fucking program. i highly recommend it. $1250 rebate (which i haven't received yet) cost at least $2k to get, not to mention the time spent installing the water heater and corresponding with them. this is the kind of shit that drives me nuts.

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    5/5/16 (14:24)

  • trump could actually win this thing. it's totally crazy. i would have given him like a 1% chance at the start and now it's probably like 35%. i think that if turnout is high then he'll win. hillary is an awful candidate and totally uninspiring unless you're into the first woman president thing. if turnout is high it'll probably be because trump got a bunch of formerly apathetic blue collar, white people off the couch to vote for change. if turnout is low then he hasn't energized a new group of voters and hillary wins because at that point the election goes to the status quo.
  • pretty amazing stuff and it's fun to watch. now that i truly couldn't care less who wins, it's quite fun to watch. i'm so disillusioned and jaded that the thought of trump winning isn't all that scary to me. i actually think he'd be better than bush.
  • re: turnout. if it's high and sanders were up against trump then i think sanders could win. i think this is part of the reason you see sanders winning in head to head polls against trump.
  • got a bunch of training the last couple months including all day courses on lead and asbestos. i feel like a cliché sometimes because the more i learn, and the older i get, the more i dislike what the government has become. i also find that the saying "if you're not a liberal at 25, you have no heart and if you're not a conservative at 35, you have no brain" applies to me more and more. when you're young you just don't get how one thing relates to another. how, sad as it may be, the world revolves on an economic axis so people need to get paid for their time and effort. how there's truly no such thing as a free lunch. and, how even though the government may have good intentions (best case scenario) it often gets things wrong and makes life more difficult. which brings me back to the classes i took on dealing with asbestos and lead in construction.
  • the long and short of it is that, in california, basically every contractor you've ever seen or dealt with is probably breaking the law when working on your house. that's totally absurd, but 100% true according to both instructors i spoke to at ACC environmental here in oakland. according to them: regardless of the amount of material to be disturbed (1 sq. in. or 1,000 sq. ft) and regardless of when the house was built (1920 or 2015), in california you must either 1) have an asbestos survey done of all surfaces to be disturbed and get a negative result before doing work or 2) assume that everything contains asbestos and undergo the proper protocol. in order to comply with point number 2 you must 1) be at least class 3 certified to disturb asbestos containing material (ACM) 2) put up signs in the area that asbestos work is being done 3) since you don't know the ACM level of the material you must also wear a respirator (more on that later), put the area under negative air, plastic off the area, etc. anyone who wears a respirator must undergo a physical examination to ensure that they can safely do so. yes, a simple half mask respirator that they sell at home depot requires a physical examination. further, if you disturb more than 100 sq. ft. of material you must notify calOSHA and yada yada yada. you get the point. i stopped taking fucking notes on this bullshit at some point because i realized there was no way i, or almost anyone i ever encounter, is ever going to go through all this crap.
  • misconceptions around asbestos are that it's banned. not true. still used in a lot of countries, including our own. that it's not used in any building materials since 1978. not true. it's still used in roofing shingles, for example. henry's 208 (which i have and have used before) contained asbestos until about 10 years ago. they told us about a story just the other day where a contractor did the test on a building built in 1999 and they found panel adhesive with a 20% asbestos level.
  • one girl at the lead class asked the instructor why he said one bid to paint a house could be $10k and another could be $15k just because of the federal RRP law (which regulates lead paint removal). it took her a while to get it in her head, but by the end of the class she understood. the amount of stuff that you have to do to be 100% in compliance with the law is basically insane.
  • so, and i passed this exact example by one of the instructors, if i go into a house built in 2015 and they have a piece of broken pine baseboard that they want replaced i, by california law, must have that area tested prior to doing the work. why? it's pine and pine doesn't have asbestos and the house was built last year and it's just one 4' piece of baseboard...well, because the joint compound on the wall will be disturbed by my taking that piece of baseboard off the wall and joint compound might have asbestos in it.
  • so, we either live in a ridiculous state in ridiculous times or these guys, who do environmental consulting for a living, were totally wrong.
  • here's another one along those lines.
  • if we have dumb laws like this i wish someone would make it their job to do some pruning. every once in a while you hear of a law on the books that doesn't allow people in san jose to have more than 3 dogs or 5 cats and you're just like wtf? it should be someone's job to comb through all this stuff and recommend reevaluation. some of these laws are just left behind from the 19th century and some are just stupid government overreach.
  • in this way i feel like maybe we should enforce the laws we already have instead of making new ones all the time. maybe we should properly fund the programs we have instead of starting new ones. maybe we should fix the fucked up roads we have before starting a new program to give away money to some special interest.
  • i was listening to the radio today and they were talking about the bark beetle that's killing a bunch of pines in CA. one measure to reduce the beetle population is to cull the dead trees so the live ones have a better chance of fending off the beetles before their population increases too much. one caller called up and said they should help landowners pay for cutting down the dead trees which may fall on people and it'll also help keep the beetle population down. yeah, sounds like a win-win, but maybe you should have the money or resources to deal with your own land instead of asking for a handout. i have pine trees and if they need to be taken down then i better come up with the money to do it. jesus fucking christ.
  • this reminds me of a customer of mine who wanted the exterior of her rental home painted. she has her primary residence where she rents out the bottom floor and lives upstairs. she also has a rental home that she rents out for income. both are in bad need of exterior paint so i had juan give her a quote. she thought the price was fair, but she's living on SS and doesn't have the money so mentioned she was going to look into getting a local program to help her pay for it. wtf? it's your second house. pay for it yourself or sell it if you can't keep it from becoming a piece of shit. jesus christ.
  • why do people ask "i wonder how the government can help me pay for this?" instead of asking themselves "i wonder what i can do to afford this myself." it's the JFK quote of "ask not what your country..." and he was a democrat so i don't feel like too much of an asshole here. but some people immediately ask why others aren't helping them more. they blame others for their situation first. funny because some of these same people are the kind who would have a bumper sticker that reads "begin within." i get the spiritual part of that, but what about the self-sufficiency part of it?
  • if you don't like what's going on in your life look in the mirror first. why? because it's the easiest thing to change. you can yell at bush for your plight and see where that gets you. or you can do everything that you can to help yourself. you are almost always the biggest reason for where you are in life. on the other hand, don't get cocky because if it wasn't for your parents or those people who helped you along the way or the lucky breaks you got, you wouldn't be the millionaire you are today.

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    4/24/16 (19:18)

  • the women's soccer thing is pretty ridiculous. as far as i can tell them make more money for the national team and they are better at what they do so it stands to reason that they should make more money, yet they make less. who thought that was okay?
  • there's a gun club nearby and recently there was a move to close them down. they did it under the pretense of getting rid of the lead pollution caused by the bullets, but even if the club vowed to move to all copper bullets the opponents of the club still wanted them gone. the gun club also put together a plan to remediate the lead pollution, but i guess it wasn't good enough. i don't have any guns and i don't love hearing the noise from my house, but at what point do we stop using the government to impede on the freedoms of others just because we don't like what they're doing? this is just nuts and it's the leftist version of whatever conservative b.s. you see like ted cruz arguing to ban sex toys.
  • it used to be that you would say that something wasn't all that hard by saying it wasn't rocket science or it's not brain surgery. but after seeing ben carson on the national stage for a few months, i have to rethink that second one.
  • funny how the immigration debate is similar to the gentrification debate. one for the conservatives and the other for the liberals. they both basically boil down to a resistance to change, specifically people not wanting their neighborhoods/communities to change because of outsiders.
  • when you're decidedly anti-partisan, as i am, it's very easy to see the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of each side.
  • after the berkeley deck collapse they reactionaries jumped into action and enacted a law to mandate inspections of decks for all (or most, i'm not sure of the wording) property owners. it turns out that they actually did a good thing this time around because one property management person i heard from said they've found a bunch of problems on many of their properties. looks like they got it right this time and maybe saved some property damage or even lives.
  • there's an idea that some liberals have that all cultures are equal. i remember very clearly having this debate with vern and scott while in college. scott and i argued that not all cultures are equal and vern was taking the relativistic point of view. we pointed out things like female circumcision, but he stood his ground. i think we have to fight this idea that all cultures are equal, because they clearly aren't. unfortunately as soon as i say that american culture, in this way, is better than an african culture that promotes female circumcision or a muslim culture that subjugates women, then people hear me talking like a nazi. those red flags go up too quickly for people. clearly we're right on those points and they're wrong. we also work too hard and don't value spirituality and relaxation enough, so they have us beat there. americans consume far too much and liberals are keen to point that out (rightly), but they shy away from pointing out that muslims might have some backwards ways. weird world we live in.
  • we need to stop with the flags at half staff madness. it seems like every tom dick and harry gets the flag lowered for them now. ugh.
  • apparently when our reservoirs reach a certain level during the rainy season we're obligated by law to dump the water down to a lower level in case we get a big rain that could cause a flood. this kind of thing drives me nuts. change the law, mitigate flood possibilities in other ways, or increase storage capacity. we have a five year cycle in this state we can either plan for it with better capture and storage infrastructure or we can pretend we're in a huge drought every few years. b.s. manufactured problem.
  • ethan helped out five days last week so that was a good test of what the future could hold. it worked out well for a bathroom remodel. this week i have a couple smaller jobs while the bathroom remodel continues. we'll see how it goes. bottom line is that i'm going to need to maintain a steady flow of work or else it won't work out.
  • allergies are killing me lately. nothing working very well either.
  • the podcast selection is crazy insane right now. i feel like there has to be a bubble there because it seems like everyone is doing it.
  • serial season two was very marginal. season one was good, though overrated, but season two just didn't do it for me at all.

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    4/17/16 (14:04)

  • finally got the water heater up and running. next is the washer and dryer.
  • dishwasher hose sprung a leak last night.
  • got tvs downstairs working so updates should happen a bit more frequently now.

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    4/12/16 (20:05)

  • offers on picardy were due last week. not really supposed to talk about it until the money is in the bank, but it looks like it's going to be huge. we make great deals and this one is huge. we're making oakland great again.
  • next week i have a big job starting. bathroom facelift. i'm hoping my tile guy can knock out the shower while i do everything else.
  • been working on getting an employee started with meryl and miller. the middle son (ethan) of my old boss (donna) has a natural aptitude for this stuff, but lacks the knowledge and experience. he could be perfect and i've been training him a bit here and there. biggest hurdle in making that work long term is getting enough work to keep us both busy. some weeks/months i could easily do it. other times i can't.
  • one element of my being able to retire is to pass the work on to employees who can do the actual work while i do the work of getting jobs, invoicing, training, etc. would probably need three employees to realistically pay for me to not do any field work...assuming very small jobs. if the jobs get larger then the calculus changes. ideally i get my license (no clear path for this still), get larger jobs and ethan gets trained to the point where he gets a helper and i'm not as needed on a daily basis.
  • the other possibility for retirement is in getting passive revenue streams. buy an apartment complex and rent it out, work on it when necessary, etc. the landlord environment in the bay area, however, is very difficult right now. rent freezes and a general antipathy towards landlords definitely makes me hesitant to dip my toes in that.
  • the other possibility for passive income is to work for meryl's brother on projects for some percentage of income on the deal. so far there have been a few opportunities there, but nothing has panned out.
  • i figure i have about 10 years to have this really well lined up. if i hit 45-50 and i'm not well on my way towards these goals, then i might be screwed. my body is on the weak end of the spectrum. i have a back that can be problematic, a shoulder that's started acting up, and i'm just waiting for knee problems. it's a tough racket so i definitely feel like the clock is ticking.
  • zoe has been very sensitive lately and missing meryl, who has been working nights. merritt is basically back on track sleeping wise. both of them had trouble with the move at first. hopefully zoe snaps back to her old self.


  • 4/4/16 (18:20)
  • new carpet went in today. jon was over and helped pour new self-levelling around the perimeter of the master bedroom so that the slab wasn't all crazy out of level. after the pad and carpet, you can't really notice unless you know to look for it.
  • picardy is getting all offers on wednesday. our agent is very optimistic so that's good news. we listed for $589. given the comps we thought ours would be in the 625-640 range. i always thought our house should go in the top of the range because the finishes are among the best you'll find in our area, but our house is really only a 2/2 even though you could technically call it a 3/2. nothing on our street has ever gone for over 600 apparently so we should set a record.
  • bought a new on demand water heater and hope to get that installed within the next week. hopefully we'll get the laundry up and running by then as well.

  • 4/2/16 (15:08)
    ah, what a wonderful world.
     

    3/22/16 (19:59)

  • all moved in and the old house is going on the market shortly. lots of stuff to move around and things to do. still no laundry. internet works, but only in one spot in the house so the business computer isn't up yet.
  • zoe and merritt are having trouble with the move.
  • basically out of money already. after taxes and a bunch of moving costs and work we've done, we're just about tapped out. blah. after we get settled we'll get the exterior paint done. if money allows we'll do the deck this summer. after that i don't see us having any large projects any time soon. if the old house sells for a lot then we'll have funds for the deck, etc. a lot rides on that.
  • they left us with 20 yards worth of trash we needed to take care of. they also stole the refrigerator and oven. nothing we can do about that, though, apparently. we bought a new refrigerator and are going to buy a used stove to hold us over until we get what we really want when we do the kitchen.
  • there's a lot of shit that comes up when you buy a house. you basically give your checkbook away and bend over. closing costs, moving costs, new furnace, dumpster fees, new garage slab, new electrical subpanel, taxes, car insurance, health insurance, asbestos remediation...all hit us within the last 4 weeks. kinda depressing to work on saving money so much and have it all disappear. of course, it's gone to a great house so it's a trade, but still hurts.
  • the downstairs utility room required 4 cleanings before we could get the soy oil residue off the concrete. they use that stuff to get the asbestos mastic off instead of the harsh stuff they used to use. i would have preferred the shit that would burn up your lungs if it hadn't required cleaning the floor 4 times in order to prep for the paint. ah the tradeoffs of a clean environment and living in california.
  • so, the utility room is sorta set up now. the floor is painted which is a temporary measure until we get real flooring in there. the electrical is a lot better than it was. the dishwasher is almost fixed (they couldn't get it out so we got to keep that); just waiting for one part to come in the mail. the garage is ready for electrical and sheathing, but that's a lower priority. the place is relatively clean after they left it a nasty mess. tv and internet are up and running, but phone isn't. going to get rid of at&t and use comcast instead.
  • probably another month of living in a state of clutter before i can get things working and livable.

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    3/13/16 (19:01)

  • moving tomorrow.
  • the company who did the garage were real pros who brought in a full crew and knocked it out in two days. pretty awesome. one flaw in the finish, but it's a million times better than it was before and it's done in time to lightly move some things in there tomorrow.
  • with all the electrical problems we were having i felt it necessary to install a new subpanel. the main panel looks pretty good so we're keeping the main service. i installed a new subpanel today in about 4 hours. would have cost $1000, so we saved about $700 right there. now we have a nice big 200A subpanel for future upgrades and getting rid of other subpanel and abandoned main panel, which was a federal noark (known to have problems) so i'm glad we don't have to deal with that.
  • zoe's room is kind of a mess and the downstairs is still not great. meryl's stepdad came over with his gf today and they cleaned that so the oily residue is gone. hopefully i'll have time to paint the concrete this week so we can move stuff into that space.
  • tonight's going to be a long one. may not update for a while. internet should be moved over as of tomorrow, but who knows how that will go.

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    3/10/16 (16:54)

  • rained out of a job today. too sick to work yesterday. glad i'm feeling mostly back in it today because yesterday sucked and i felt the weight of a million things that need to be done in the next week weighing down on me. it sucks sometimes trying to stick to a schedule and please as many people as possible.
  • asbestos work is going to take another day which pushes the furnace work back a day.
  • good news is that the garage slab work should start tomorrow which is much sooner than i thought.
  • typo aside, this is funny. probably has some brain issue. still funny.


  • 3/9/16 (17:42)
  • getting ready to move...four days left. lots to be done at the new place and we're going to be living in a state of flux for a while. we decided to get the asbestos floor tile removed along with the ducting that was originally on the plan. that means, though, that we'll have a bare concrete slab to deal with so we'll probably carpet in one area and just paint over it in the other for the time being.
  • meanwhile i have a big project this week and last night i got sick. blah. really feeling out of it. headache is probably the worst of it, actually.
  • having to move everything from the garage to the new one will be a pain. the new garage needs to be torn out and replaced so it won't be ready to accept things for storage for a while and i certainly won't have it setup any time soon. had considered doing the garage myself and then paying for someone to finish the concrete, but we'll end up only saving $800 that way because one guy was able to come down on his price so i think we're going to go with that.
  • also discovered that one of the subpanels in the garage needs replacement. it was a likely job in the future, but i had hoped we could ride with what we have for a while. unfortunately i don't consider it safe right now because of some poor connections.
  • no huge surprises so far.

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    3/3/16 (17:27)

  • been at the new place for the last two days. lots of work to be done. wiring is mostly fine and not worth touching, though most of it isn't grounded. plumbing is mostly copper. in the first year the big projects will be the back deck which is a tear down and rebuild on the second story. we'll probably do ipe with stairs leading down to the backyard (currently there aren't stairs). exterior paint (juan). furnace (someone else). garage slab needs to be torn out and replaced. i've considered doing the demo myself and then paying for the installation of the new. we'll see where the prices come in. no gutters on the house so we will probably get that done soon-ish too. then we have to pay for a new sewer lateral by law as well. we're going to get the asbestos floor tile and ducting removed as well which means we'll probably get some flooring installed where the tile currently is. i want to get the garage up and running asap so i can work from there. same goes for the laundry area so we can do that without having to go to parents.
  • the last couple days i've been working on getting acquainted with the place and installing shelving in the basement. most of the basement is full height which is really nice for us. that means a lot of extra supplies like paint and nails and seldom used tools will be stored there. of course we can put xmas lights and that sort of stuff down there as well. eventually i'd like to put in a rat slab to cover the portion of the basement that is just dirt.
  • longer term we'll have to redo the kitchen and bathrooms.

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    3/1/16 (21:10)
    some people live differently, that's for sure. close of escrow was monday and there's still shit around the house. there was a dump trailer full of crap until this afternoon. all of this has been a long time coming so i'm not sure why they couldn't pull it together in time. i think most of it is the listing agent not communicating or doing his job properly. they also took the appliances which they weren't supposed to do. some people are just assholes. that's the long story condensed. no reason to spell out the intricacies.
     

    2/28/16 (16:28)

  • went to santa cruz to see johnny and the crew. first time he's seen the kids which is surprising. always good to go down there.
  • apparently luke snuck into the super bowl...which, of course he did. he went there with a plan to buy tickets for a ridiculously low sum (not a real plan) and then ended up getting in there on the coattails of stephen curry. you can't make this shit up.
  • speaking of curry. that guy is just ridiculous. he has no range. most guys max out at 25' or so, but curry can make a decent percentage basically anywhere from 3/4 court on up. it's crazy. yesterday's game was an indication of this as he won it in OT with an all-time best 12 3s in a game and it was a 32 footer. of the 10 times in nba history that someone has made 11 or more 3s in a game, he's done it 3 times.
  • on our way back from sc, we drove by the house and saw a moving truck and a few people so that's a very good sign that we'll get the keys tomorrow as planned.

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    2/23/16 (18:16)

  • seller's have signed all the paperwork for the house. we'll go in tomorrow to sign the paperwork and then it should be ours on the 29th. this assumes that she gets it together and is able to move everything out on the 28th as is her plan. we just got a move out date from them today so that's another good sign. hopefully everything goes according to plan.

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    2/20/16 (21:31)

  • back in october i shazamed a track called wild horses. then i did it again in november and finally downloaded it in december. now i'm finally listening to it on a regular basis. pretty great track. i'm criminally out of touch with good music these days, but i do pick up on a few winners from time to time.
  • another one i've been loving for a few months is beggin' for thread.

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    2/17/16 (14:41)

  • been pretty slow with work lately. last february was slow also, though, so i'm not overly concerned yet.
  • been using the down time to catch up on stuff around the house to get it ready to sell. lots of painting and finishing up little projects that have been on the back burner.
  • new house is supposed to close next week, but the woman seller (it's a divorce and the guy is moved out) isn't talking with the listing agent right now. so things aren't looking too positive right now. the banks and title company are all lined up as are all our things, but she could just refuse to sign one addendum and mess the whole thing up. this is a good opportunity to talk about personal responsibility and society.
  • this whole thing could just be a ploy to drag out the foreclosure process. no skin off her nose to let the agent go through the trouble of trying to sell the place, etc. and then pull out at the last minute. it has so far delayed things 3 months during which time she's been living rent free. nice setup. worst case scenario we close and she's still living there and then we need to go through some squater's rights eviction or something. we don't plan on paying a lawyer to consult or anything; that shit is just a black hole. meryl's brother has had to deal with that with this piece of shit guy to the tune of tens of thousands in legal fees. #lawyersalwayswin. if it gets to that point we'll pull out. it's a great sign of where our society has come if this is how some people choose to live their lives, and regardless of what's going on with her, some people definitely do play the system in this way. there have been a couple in detroit that have gotten national recognition, but it happens pretty regularly probably everywhere.
  • best case scenario she's just going through some rough times and she doesn't understand how important signing this last thing is and wants to avoid the inevitable move and what it represents. this entire process is pretty stupid because everything we get is, by design, 3rd hand. from her or her ex-husband to the listing agent to our agent to us. why has so much of society moved towards this type of format? have a problem with your neighbor? call the cops. have a problem with an employee? talk to the manager. people are cowards. people are worried about being sued all the time. interpersonal communication is increasingly rare. the longer i live the more i just want to blow the world up. this is why i actually couldn't care less if trump were president anymore. ted cruz still scares the shit out of me so i guess i'm not completely gone, but our society really needs a reset from top to bottom and sometimes you only get creation or new growth through destruction. i think it's safe to say that trump would destroy a lot of shit so maybe that's what we need. can't believe i'm saying that.
  • long story short...it's been 3 months and we still may or may not get this place. half our shit is in boxes and we've spent a not insignificant amount of time and money on this process.

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    2/12/16 (19:19)

  • been a busy time and i guess i just haven't taken time away to get here...
  • super bowl was a surprise. i had carolina by 12 and was way wrong. i also thought aloud that it was time for peyton to prove whether he was a champ or a chump. if he wins, i thought, he'd prove me wrong and show he's a great qb. if he loses then he'd be a postseason chump. somehow he won, but didn't prove me wrong. he had probably the worst qb performance in winning super bowl history. two fumbles, an int and zero tds (he did have a 2pt conversion, though). i honestly think that any qb in the league would have won that game. so, sorry peyton, you still stink in my book.
  • elections this cycle are super fun. ia was predictable as was nh for the winners, but what was interesting was looking at the #2 in nh. kasich pinned his entire campaign on the state (as did christie) and did surprisingly well. clinton got second as everyone knew she would, but she lost every demographic except the 200k+ earners. interesting that she lost women by so much.
  • sanders is awful on foreign policy and he's an ideologue who won't get much pushed through congress because he's too far to the left. how much does that matter compared to clinton who is a scandal machine who can't be trusted and will always look out for herself and her rich friends above everyone else? i actually think sanders being weak on foreign policy could be a good thing. everyone else thinks they know how to solve problems abroad so they engage in these silly antics and get nowhere fast. maybe sanders knows that he doesn't know anything and he'll stay out of trouble. his voting record seems to indicate that he would err on the side of staying out of foreign entanglements so that's good. then again, obama seemed to have the same record and his foreign policy has been mixed at best.
  • honestly if trump and sanders are the final two then it would be great to watch. and at this point i couldn't care less who wins. trump is a demagogue, but he's also a pragmatist underneath it all and would probably not be the loose cannon many (including me) initially expected. i expect he'd be better than bush...low bar, i know.
  • tampon sales tax is the new issue of the moment. this is so silly.
  • i could see a feminist being both pro prostitution and anti-prostitution. pro would say that no male government official should ever tell me what i can/can't do with my body. anti would say that the commodification of a woman's body is just further proof that the patriarchy is alive and well.
  • "anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." kierkegaard. oh shit, that's a great quote. and, it says in six words what i tried saying in probably 200 a few months ago (actually 2 years ago, 1/26/14) when i wrote about how anxiety and depression are often manifestations of the idle rich. basically i said it was a rich white person's problem and that there aren't any kids in the congo who have anxiety for no good reason because they're too fucking busy with real shit to worry about. i probably sounded like a dick, but here's a fancy philosopher who said the same thing much more eloquently. so there you go.
  • this could be a much longer point, and should be, but i don't have time...but i'm basically to the point where i don't trust many "scientific" studies anymore. basically it goes like this - 1. studies are rewarded for being new or interesting in some ways. the way you get published isn't to have the 4th study confirming that red wine several times a week increases heart disease. it's far more interesting and publish-worthy if you find that consumption of red wine is correlated with threesome frequency. 2. there's something called regression to the norm. basically they're finding that the more they try to replicate these studies the more likely they are to find that it was just a fluke and everything regresses to the average correlation that we might expect. these one or two off studies are just random things that happen. even when you design a study well there's a good chance you're going to get weird shit. so, unless there are 25 studies conducted over the long term that prove x, y or z i'm basically going to be skeptical of it. this is doubly true for the soft sciences like economics and political science. i truly feel like we don't know how these things work with a great deal of certainty. we have some broad strokes and there may be a few things we can be reasonably confident about, but we're mostly guessing.
  • heard a story on the radio about seniors who don't want to be called seniors. basically it came down to the fact that they don't want to be considered old and want to still be attractive. omg. how can you be old and still care about such silly shit? hopefully this is a one off study and they just found a bunch of nutjobs who were clinging to the days whey the opposite sex wanted to fuck them and they were part of the working class of society. getting old happens if you're lucky. live with it and stfu.
  • i saw a bumper sticker that said "i brake for beavers." next to it was another bumper sticker of a rainbow flag. so that's funny. but if it was the same bumper sticker on a truck with truck nutz hanging off the back it would be offensive. right? funny society we live in.
  • for the record, truck nutz are retarded.
  • heard a blurb about a new water bill being proposed in california that would fine big water users. so much so that the biggest water users would have a bill of $200k. it was only a blurb so maybe i missed something, but this is just getting silly. i can't help but think all of this is way overblown. water falls from the sky, collect it and store it and be done with it. for fuck's sake how much water do we flush into the bay during these big rainfalls? this is california climate. it goes up and down. there have always been 3 year periods of low rainfall. this time is worse because it's gone into a fourth year. okay, i get that. the solution isn't public shaming of billy beane and others, although i'm not totally against that. the solution isn't high fines. agriculture, capture, storage...fix those things and we won't have these problems anymore.


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    1/23/16 (19:25)

  • went to the disney movie theater last weekend to watch a movie with meryl and zoe. it was zoe's first movie on the big screen and it was mary poppins, which she has seen many times before. she did really well overall, especially since it's about 2 hours 20 minutes. half way through meryl had to take her out to reset, but she was good other than that. whispering is hard for her, but she's better than about 90% of the teens i encounter. when the music started i welled up a bit. going to the movies with my kid is something i've looked forward to since i entertained the idea of having one and it was pretty awesome to finally do it.
  • had a good carpentry job today working to stabilize a failing patio structure. had help and it went pretty quickly and profitably. those are fun jobs. make good money, have help, get shit done. i had help in this case because it was my old boss' son who is living in a place rent free while he fixes it up. i've been liking carpentry more than electrical lately. little decks and structural stuff are fun.
  • the academy award #sowhite thing is utter crap. the liberals are starting to eat each other now and it's pretty sad. i'm not sure who, specifically, was supposed to be nominated and wasn't, but i've heard will smith and idris elba come up. elba was in a netflix movie and i think that hurts his chances. will smith has been nominated twice before so i guess the academy wasn't racist before, but is now? this stuff is just crazy. blacks are about 12% of the population, but fat people are probably 30%+ of the nation...where are all the fat people being nominated? asians? hispanics? when "hollywood liberals" turn on each other for not being PC enough...well, the onion story just writes itself at that point.
  • it's looking pretty good for us getting the house now, but nothing is official yet. i think we still have a couple weeks before we know for sure. if it happens it'll be pretty awesome. we'll finally be real homeowners and since the plan is to live there until we die it'll be a pretty crazy feeling to know that everything we do there will be forever. crazy to think about putting down roots to that extent.
  • not sure if i've brought it up here before, but it's a two story place (i think that's our only compromise from what we really wanted) on .6 acres, over 2k square feet with a 21x21 garage (a bit bigger than i currently have), and it has a good storage space under the first floor where we can put a lot of building materials and less often used tools. that'll be a huge plus since the garage is busting at the seams right now with everything that i have from old jobs. i should be better about throwing stuff away, but i hate throwing it away knowing that i may need it for a job at another time. always a delicate balance. pretty sure i already mentioned that it's ready for us, but also needs a lot of updating, cleaning, and a couple immediate projects that we're going to tackle the first year.
  • price-wise it's a definite stretch which will kinda suck for our savings for a while, but we're theoretically entering the most profitable time of our lives so we should be able to grow into this without having to draw down the savings too much. the kids will be eating whatever they can grow and the adults will be eating ramen. no one will be allowed to turn on the new furnace we plan to have installed until it reaches 45 degrees inside.

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    1/15/16 (16:18)

  • i feel like there are some lessons that i need to relearn every couple months/years, whatever. one of those is just how deeply dishonest politicians are. this applies to basically all of them as far as i can tell and the higher up the chain they go, the more likely they are to be professional liars. even though i didn't vote for the guy, i kinda hoped that obama would be a bit different, but he really isn't.
  • good piece on the truth about the gender pay gap from freakonomics. to cut to the chase, yeah it's another lie. the factual feminist, atlantic, plenty of conservatives and others have been on top of this for a while, but freakonomics is the most recent and i like their style. as a liberal leaning person it's depressing when these so called facts that make up the cornerstones of your education are found out to be b.s. i think it does a disservice to the ideals when you tell lies like that, but this is what happens at the extremes of both ideologies.

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    1/7/16 (17:48)

  • had a big organization job the last two days. meryl and i work together on those and it went well. had to bust ass to get all four closets done, but it was worth it. it's not a cheap job, but it seems like it's always satisfying for the customers and for us.
  • well, we lowered our offer on the house again and so now we have to wait for the owners to sign off on it before it goes to the bank again. i definitely want it for a lower price (duh), but wish we hadn't lowered it and then lowered it again after the second set of inspections. makes me worried that the owners will back out or that dragging things along will be bad in some way.
  • stock market is taking a shit. murmurs of this have been around for a few months and i've stuck around because we're in it for the long haul, but with the house thing now i worry that we'll have to pull out a hefty chunk during a lull and that would suck. lulls don't bother me otherwise.


  • 1/4/16 (20:41)
  • things definitely have been trying around here lately. zoe is a terror almost every day and merritt is all of a sudden much more grabby and active and not sleeping well. probably a growth spurt and she's getting real food introduced so that probably is playing a role as well. jesus, this shit is annoying.
  • still no word on the house. it's in the hands of the bank now. pest report came back and it said there was about 55k worth of work that needed to be done. some of that is b.s., some can wait, and some will need to be done, but at less cost because i'll be providing the labor. two kids, a new house, and two self-employed, stressed out parents. i wonder if we like torturing ourselves or what.
  • niners sucked worse than i thought this year. firing the coach would be fucked up, but it looks like he won't be around long. i guess that's the business.
  • think i've settled into the new computer now. seems to be working out fine and i've got my programs all set up.
  • rain has been complicating jobs lately.
  • truck has come in handy this weekend. had crazy amounts of stuff we were shuffling from grandparents', home depot, ikea, etc. big organization job coming up this week and christmas and some hand me downs.
  • fight on.

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    1/2/16 (08:54)

  • being a parent is definitely the toughest thing i've had to do. it tries your patience and resolve. it tests your will and makes you constantly question yourself. it makes you think about your own upbringing and society and all sorts of things. the payoff is so weird, too. on a daily basis you get cuteness. in the long run you potentially get satisfaction of having raised a good person. but it's not like most things that provide a payback after an hour or a day or a year. and it's not clear what success is, either. you could raise a perfect kid for 20 years and then they snap for some reason and become a mass shooter and now you're an asshole who raised a murderer...20 years of success seemingly down the drain. when i first decided to do it i thought about the enormity of what we were doing...the generations of people we were deciding to unleash on the world. our kids have kids who have kids...it could have never happened if we decided not to do it. what happens to the world when those extra 2-1000 people inhabit the earth. it's impossible to say if it will be good or bad or what, but it's a big impact. i also thought about being forgotten/unknown by all but maybe 2-6 or so of those potential hundreds of people who would be created and affected by that one decision. it had me thanking, in a way, the ancestors of mine from the caves up to the present day for making a similar decision which caused me to be here. americans tend not to think about that as much as some other cultures.
  • stanford actually surprised me this year. they didn't look good early on, but they peaked at the right time and that mccaffrey kid is pretty legit.

  • good to know that oklahoma will always be reliably overrated. same goes for notre dame. i like it when some things in life are highly predictable.