25 March 2013

Smarter Every Day

I thought this was rad.
Science disguised as entertainment - gets me every time. 

21 March 2013

Work it Out

Not much to report. I go to the gym (shirts optional), do the yoga (no shirt, sweating all over everything, repping the handstands in the middle of the room because handstands = enlightenment are awesome even if you suck at yoga like I do), push paper at the job (shirts required, unless I'm working late at the crib, in which case: no shirt, PANTS OPTIONAL). You care.

The crossfit gym peeps give me a hard time because I never wear a shirt with sleeves when I work out. Ever. Comments include: Do you own a shirt with sleeves? (Me: No.)
And: Suns out guns out in the dead of winter, Case? (Me: Fuckin' A!)

So my workout clothes are an ugly mashup of shirts with the sleeves cut off and boardshorts designed by an artistic savant with inconsistent pattern recognition. They're so bad/good that my last girlfriend*, who I came to know at yoga and had never seen me in street clothes, thought I was color blind. True story.

Unrelated news: The following was on Grantland and described as if Coldplay and Toto had a love child, which they didn't think was good. I disagreed. Toto is rad! The video sucks but whatever. Hit play and then Ctrl + T, bitches. You know you want to.


* We haven't talked about it in this space, but for the handful of family members that care: Ambra and I broke up in January. It was her decision. I didn't mention it because losing her and Reese is not an easy thing to talk about. It still isn't. I can't say I have good days and bad days - none of the days are good, but some are less bad than others Long-time readers will recognize a shift in tone over the past couple months. That's why. Okay let's get back to what I'm good at (anonymous and judgmental negative bitching, mostly).

18 March 2013

Back to Back Videos (This one is nice)

Best part isn't the dancing, it's that the kid was so pumped all he could do was give his boss a hug at the end. I dare you not to smile.

15 March 2013

Street Justice

This has 7,503 views as of this writing (at least 100 of them are mine). It will probably have a million by tomorrow. (Originally saw the video on deadspin.)

If you're going to be a bullying douche then sometimes you get what you deserve. Not nearly often enough, but sometimes.

North Korean Military Capability, Analyzed

North Korea is the short, belligerent drunkest guy at the party: makes a lot of noise but not really a threat as long as you keep him where you can see him. 

The article below digs into the North Korean rhetoric vs. the facts of their military capability. What could have been dry and boring is actually quite interesting. It's sufficiently funny that the author has to remind us, several times, that we're reading about the possible deaths of real people (about 80,000 if North Korea decides to attack Seoul and do as much damage as possible instead of wage a protracted, strategic war). The economic costs would be much higher, since the war would destabilize the region and displace many millions in a densely populated area. In terms of actual lives lost the bulk of the damage would be done in the first week. After that North Korea wouldn't have any heavy weapons left. But they would have something to eat after the UN clowns showed up. So that's something.

Read the whole thing for the details. It's fascinating.


The good news is that your US Military Industrial complex isn't going to let this not-really-a-challenge go unchallenged. They are spending another billion dollars on a missile defense system that almost, sort of works (kind of). From Military Times:

The missile defense system was first fielded by the administration of President George W. Bush in late 2004. It has a spotty test record and has never been used in actual combat. In addition to the 26 interceptors at Greely, the system includes four interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

So that's a comfort. Hey, it's only money. 

11 March 2013

The Universe is a Cruel and Unforgiving Place

Brandon Knight is probably a good guy, nice to his friends and family. He didn't deserve this. But it happened, and to ignore that it happened would be silly.

To be fair, Knight is 6' 3" and DeAndre Jordan is 6' 11". But still: oof.

There can be only one

Grantland is holding a tournament to determine the most despised college basketball player ever.

When I read the headline the first word that popped into my head was LAETTNER. There can't possibly be any other winner. I haven't been to their fbook page to vote it but I may do later in the day. It'll be Laettner in a runaway. The rest of the players are only a mild irritant compared to Laettner, except for maybe (re)Dick. And even then (re)Dick is a vague, distant satellite orbiting the Jupiter-sized ball of enmity that is Laettner.

The problem with their bracket setup is that there are several Duke players that are easy number 1 seeds. I'll allow that Tyler Hans-Bro is a legit number 1, but he's still the fourth-ranked guy out of the 1 seeds. (re)dick is an easy #1, and you could make a case for any of the other Dook players for the third #1, even Paulus, who would probably win his bracket if he were in the 80's or 90's.


Douglas Adams gets a very excellent Google doodle today; it would have been his 61st birthday. He died of a heart attack in 2001.


08 March 2013

Cynicism abated (for now)

This is from Dirty Tackle, and it's video of a blind kid visiting with his heroes on the Barcelona squad.
They spend a few minutes with him before training and he gets a chance to try and identify them. Note that Puyol is an easy one, but Messi is tougher: He has to check his haircut and then put his hand on his shoulder  (Messi is famously short) for additional information. And then he guesses correctly. The goalie with braids is not a fist-team regular (and doesn't always wear braids) and the kid doesn't get it right away so he gives him a hint.

I confess that it made me smile.

05 March 2013

The People Have Spoken (part n+1)

Sweet Katie says (in re: my previous post about books):

I haven't added any books to my permanent bookshelf for awhile (instead I read and pass them on), but when I try to get rid of any of my favorites, I just can't do it. Favorite books are like old friends. They're always there for you when you need them : )

Looking at my bookshelf since I posted the photo and it could use quite a lot of paring down. I donated roughly half as many as are shown on the shelf already but on review I think it should have been more. Something to work on.

All this talk of books motivated me to finish The Yellow Birds, which is very good if you like things that are depressing in the extreme. Superb storytelling, highly recommended. I would totally send you my copy except I read it on my ipad.

If you want to punish yourself a little you can browse the one star reviews for the book. It was featured on many 2012 Best Books lists, which isn't always a guarantee of relative 'good' but still: this was a book that a lot of people agreed was excellent. It is dense, and the writing is challenging in that it tries to explain in words things that you must feel in order to fully know. Translating that is difficult. The prose is rich and stylized. Not inaccessible (it's not Melville), but not People magazine.

Too much heavy lifting for 17 people (as of this writing), which I find hilarious. Who gets to the end of a book which the NYT calls, "brilliantly observed and deeply affecting" and says, "this is bullshit, ONE STAR!" I need to start doing that.

04 March 2013

Life Skills

Red Ryder BB Gun = Win
In conversation the other day I explained to a friend that he should know how to operate a firearm: know how to use it in the event that someone handed it to him, or, more likely, how to unload and make it safe. It's an essential life skill, like knowing how to use a cellphone, drive a stick shift car or perform the Heimlich maneuver. And the knowledge, once acquired, lasts more or less forever.

Another friend questioned this basic philosophy. Why, he asked, does someone need to know how to use a firearm? He argued that it was extremely unlikely either of the scenarios I described would ever unfold (use or make safe), and he is right. So why bother?

I found the question vexing, not least because his argument is sound in that, practically speaking, it will never happen: there are almost no circumstances where the knowledge is required.

So: Why is knowing how to operate a firearm an essential life skill?

1. Knowledge is power. Knowing is half the battle. Whatever cliche you want to use, it's all the same. Empower yourself.

2. Self-reliance is important. If you don't know how to do something you have to ask someone else to help you. They may or may not be able to give you aid, but you will be at their mercy. That is not acceptable. Again: Empower yourself.

By way of example, I know how to change a flat tire. I wouldn't (I have AAA), but I do (and have done), and so should you. 

3. Safety is important. If you teach your kids to brush their teeth, learn to swim, wear a seatbelt, or look both ways before crossing the street then you should teach them what to do if they see a gun. You have a responsibility to them and, by extension, to yourself. Lead by example.

So that's why. As a bonus, the time investment is small. You can learn basic principles in 15 minutes and enough to make safe almost any gun in about an hour, including practice time. The knowledge lasts a lifetime.

See you out there.

Anchors Weigh

Bear Prefers an Overwatch Position
Friend of the blog once told me 'the things you own, own you'. It's a truism. I haven't gotten a new paper book since I started reading them on my ipad. After a lifetime of reading words on the printed page it's been a difficult adjustment.

There are elements related to reading a printed book vs. the ipad that you take for granted, not least of which is the tactile feel of the pages and knowing how close you are the the end without having to think about it.

Another issue is how easy it is to watch netflix or cat videos instead of read. A book has to be very compelling to keep me from wasting time on the internet. I very much enjoy long form magazine pieces on the ipad ($5.99 Longform app is great value for money), but I'm still not all in on books.

The things you own, own you. I always thought that was a warning to avoid dead weight in material goods (and immaterial, because if you are angry then you own that, too). And it is. But in dusting off these books for the first time since unpacking them (an overdue chore) I realized that the things you own can also be an anchor when you're feeling adrift. It was unexpected.

See you out there.