Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Good Blog Post

Joe Posnanski's "Roses and Bosses."

Yeah, he is talking about Pete and Springsteen.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Again With Pat Jordan

"The end of innnocence" or what Major League Baseball is really about.

Being Here Versus Being There

Life requires focus. Well, the good life requires focus.

Life can only be lived now. The past does not matter. Past futures tell us that everything ends up alright. It gives us information, but that does not matter either. All we have is now. Every future depends on now, right now, the next second of your life. The next second is all that I control.

This is certainly not new information. It has been with us since the beginning. In fact, Jeff and GGM have said it better on this blog.

But it is the hardest lesson I have ever tried to learn. It is a lesson that I continuously forget. A lesson I have to relearn over and over again.

But everything ends up alright. That has to be good enough for me.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Cuba Is No Utopia

My dad is proven wrong.

When Texiera leaves next year, will Pena or McCann take over at first base?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Things I Learned This Afternoon

1. Shooting basketball, not playing, but just shooting does wonders for me. I start focusing on putting the ball just over the rim. I forget about how many I make. I just shoot. I have noticed younger guys (and maybe older guys too) do not feel this way. They want to play. They want to compete. They cannot see the value in focusing on putting the ball just over the rim.

2. A shower in the middle of the day especially warm days also does wonders for me. Feeling clean and refreshed is important to mental well-being. Some times morning showers just do not "take." Also, especially on warm days, a luke-warm to mildly cool shower makes you feel better than a hot shower because they "take" much better. It is hard at first to accept the cold water, but afterwards it does feel better.

Some More Good Sports Writing

Ray Allen is obsessive (via Bill Simmons).

The article reminded me of this post. The guys who are really good are different. As Coach Spencer used to say "They march to the beat of their own fucking drummer."

There is nothing wrong with being different.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


A: I don't trust non-parametric econometrics.

B: You mean you don't understand non-parametric econometrics.

A: No...I don't trust econometricians.

B: What do you mean? You don't trust people in general?

A: I don't trust anyone who analyzes data that they did not have any hand in creating. It just seems foolish. Why would anyone attempt to answer a question or understand a problem through someone else's eyes? There seems to be a step missing to me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Arnold Kling discusses academia.

One has to define success before he can achieve it.

Bitterness has destroyed many men. I have to do what I care about, what I am passionate about. There is no other way.

Now I have to discover what I care and am passionate about. Working on my resume has helped me realize this.

I am starting to understand that a resume is just as much about the future as it is the past.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bottled Water

I do not enjoy drinking water. I prefer diet soda.

I have tried. Sometimes I compromise with tea, coffee, and sugar-free drink mixes. But I always go back to diet soda.

Yesterday I bought a 24 pack of half-liter bottles of watter. I have done this before and will probably do it again. I usually use the bottles for the sugar-free drink mixes. It usually takes me three months to finish the 24 pack.

I am dehydrated. Dehydration leads to fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps. I consume too much caffeine. This worsens my acid reflux which rots my esophagus.

What do I do?

The answer is to drink water. No matter if it is from a bottle or the fountain. Just do it.

This post has no point but represents me recognizing a problem and attempting to correct it.

Postive Thoughts

Over The Rhine's "We’re Gonna Pull Through"

You take your own sweet time
Order us a glass of wine
And wink at all the rich folks in the room
We’re gonna pull through

We’ve been careful, we’ve been good
Doing most of the things we should
But the picture is much bigger than we knew
We’re gonna pull through

There’s no such thing as cool
And we’re gonna pull through

I’d rather feel your heat
On a wicked winter day
Than watch a holiday parade

With dancers and balloons
We’re gonna pull through

You hold me just the same way
Levon would play
And The Weight is my favorite song
We’re gonna pull through

Breaking our own rules
We’re gonna pull through

Maybe, sorta, kinda
If I really had to say
Something good is on its way
And we’re gonna pull through

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Football Story

Spence was a chiseled fullback. Two inches taller and he would have been Division I.

Stew was a sinewy cornerback. He was an all-conference long jumper, an above average Division III athlete.

I was an un-athletic center. A senior who had broke his leg as a junior. Now I could barely move to my left. I was always a step slow even for an offensive lineman. The leg made things worse.

It was Friday. Practice consisted of getting your uniform for Saturday’s game, screwing around, walking through tomorrow’s plans, screwing around, running when your special team was called, and screwing around some more. We then got in a circle, yelled “Win!” in unison, and went back to the locker room.

I had my cleats off. I stood up to take my shorts and jock off. My locker was next to Stew’s. He was 49. I was 50.

“You motherfucker!” Stew crashed into me, Spence on top of him shouting at the top of his lungs. My surgically repaired leg buckled. I barely scooted away in time.

Some other guys stepped into to break it up. I had no idea what the whole thing was about. It was not important.

Spence solidified his reputation as a truly crazy motherfucker. Stew remained a nice guy who had trouble knowing when to stop trying to be funny, a guy who won more accolades than Spence, but never earned the respect or fear from teammates that Spence did.

All I could think about was what if? What if my surgically repaired leg had snapped? What if I had been hurt? What if one of them had been seriously hurt?

I guess none of those things mattered after we won Saturday.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sometimes You Just Have To Win

When I was a senior in high school, I was the bench press king of the weight lifting class.

In February, I put up 300 pounds to put myself well-ahead of the offensive guard I played beside's 275. He played baseball, so he was not a threat for the rest of the year. The old coach rang a bell when someone put up 300. It was a nice moment.

(Our football program was going through a down period at the time. That is why these weights are a little low. We also had a very anti-supplement coach. I did not learn how to lift intelligently until college. I did not learn about nutrition until after college. Also many seniors quit lifting after football season and concentrated on curls and the things curls can bring a horny mannish-boy.)

But then in April, out of nowhere, a big ol' boy from the holler who was in the other class put up 300. I failed at 315.

The last max out was during the exam period. I maxed 315 on my second try. But the big ol' boy still had a chance to beat me the next day.

His class (and himself) decided to play basketball instead of maxing. I won by default.

A future Division I track prospect who did not lose in high school let me know of my championship. He said something to me like "You didn't want to win like that."

We had won only three football games total in my junior and senior years. I choked at the regional track meet and failed to make states. I replied "Sometimes you just have to fucking win."

I was a wise eighteen-year old.

Another Pat Jordan Story

Here it is.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What I See

I walk to the bus. I see people talking and texting on cell phones. I see different brands and features. I see cars. I see different brands, sizes, fuel requirements and social signals.

I do not see one kind of anything. I do not see optimality. I see opinions, some foolish, some intelligent.

Some people minimize risk. Some people do not give a damn about risk. Some people consider risk a "spice of life." Some people buy lottery tickets. Some people buy insurance. Some people buy both.

When there is no optimality, when there is no "best" answer, when we just do not know, what do we do?

I better do something.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Laziness Or Discpline

I fix turkey breakfast sausage for breakfast. I burn it. It is not enough for lunch.

Instead of spending money, I eat four inches of the cold turkey smoked sausage that I left in the office. I eat a couple raw almonds.

Come 6:00PM, I am starving. I miss the Kroger bus. I catch the 7:15PM "go home" bus. I cook some freezer burned chicken tenders and eat a salad. I have a chocolate ricotta Splenda dessert.

I feel fat, full, and content. I guess that is all one can ask out life.

Pat Jordan

I have to read A False Spring.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I Am Slowly Learning To Deal With Life

I woke up this morning. I didn't know what to do.

I have things to do. I have things to mourn.

I get to the office after 9:00AM. I check my Email. I have more things to do.

More things to do doesn't make the things to mourn disappear.

"Rockin' In The Free World by Neil Young
There's colors on the street
Red, white and blue
People shufflin' their feet
People sleepin' in their shoes
But there's a warnin' sign on the road ahead
There's a lot of people sayin' we'd be better off dead
Don't feel like Satan, but I am to them
So I try to forget it, any way I can.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

I see a woman in the night
With a baby in her hand
Under an old street light
Near a garbage can
Now she puts the kid away, and she's gone to get a hit
She hates her life, and what she's done to it
There's one more kid that will never go to school
Never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world.

We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler,
Machine gun hand
We got department stores and toilet paper
Got styrofoam boxes for the ozone layer
Got a man of the people, says keep hope alive
Got fuel to burn, got roads to drive.

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world
Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Keep on rockin' in the free world."


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two Discoveries And Academic Writing

I listened to Rudy Ray Moore last night. I assure you it was an enlightening experience. I am laughing as I write this post.

I linked to some articles written by Pat Jordan after reading about him here. He is a "pull no punches" writer that knows and has played sports.

I read and enjoyed two Pat Jordan articles this morning. I labored through three academic articles this afternoon. I just do not understand the purpose of much academic writing. All of the important (if there are any important) things are listed in the abstract. The rest is just excruciating details about nothing, nothing whatsoever.

I bet the average readership (introduction to conclusion) of any academic article is less than twenty-five.

Could a popular writer make a living with this kind of readership?


1. I am in a graduate macroeconomics class. Our department head is teaching it. We get our first exam back. Like most of my classmates, I get less than 25% of the possible points. One student gets a very high percentage of the points. The department head is going over the test and made every thing seem simple. All the answers were based on straightforward game theory.

Except for the department head and the simplicity, this was a whole lot like my graduate macroeconomics class.

2. I am back in my 12th grade English class taking a test. I am with students I currently know. They keep talking to me. They won't shut up. I can't finish the test. Time is running out, and there is no way I am going to finish. People keep talking to me. I am freaking out.

I wake up and remember I do not have anymore classes to take. But this is a reoccurring dream.

3. The Virginia Tech basketball team makes the Final Four as a 10 seed. I keep saying they are no good. They only made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT. They are a 10 seed. But they make it to the Final Four.

Maybe this was a premonition about next year.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Some Things I Have Learned

1. Cheap jeans are cheap. Cheap jeans cover your ass. They help with cash flow. But they are cheap. No one will ever make the cover of GQ wearing Wal-Mart jeans. I do not care about making the cover of GQ. I like cheap jeans for most purposes, but they are cheap.

2. My home computer works 3/4 of the time. My office computer works 5/6 of the time. That other 1/4 and 1/6 of the time has taken years off my life.

3. I have bought four generic phone chargers. Over the same time I have had one original Motorola charger. Motorola chargers are twice as expensive as generic chargers. My phone battery works 1/2 the time. The generic chargers have the tendency to constantly switch from charging to not charging when they begin to fail. I am sure this has not had a good effect on my battery. Again it is a cash flow issue.

4. To put these cash flow issues behind me, I have to work harder. Move forward. Move forward. Move forward.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Day

Most of my day consists of bullshit. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. And it really does not matter as long as I continue to subsist.

"What's Your Favorite Color?"* Or The Subjective Theory Of Value

Living Colour's "Open Letter"

(v. reid, additional lyrics by t. morris)

Now you can tear a building down
But you can’t erase a memory
These houses may look all run down
But they have a value you can’t see...

This is my neighborhood
This is where I come from
I call this place my home
You call this place a slum
You wanna run all the people out
This what you’re all about
Treat poor people just like trash
Turn around and make big cash

Chorus: now you can tear a building down
But you can’t erase a memory
These houses may look all run down
But they have a value you can’t see

Last month there was a fire
I saw seven children die
You sent flowers to their family
But your sympathy’s a lie
Cause every building that you burn
Is more blood money that you earn
We are forced to relocate
from the pain that you create


We lived here for so many years
Now this house is full of fear
For a profit you will take control
Where will all the older people go?
There used to be when kids could play
Without the scourge of drug’s decay
Now our kids are living dead
They crack and blow their lives away


You’ve got to fight
You’ve got a right
To fight for your neighborhood!

*Living Colour's "What's Your Favorite Color"

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Almost Bought A Honda Fit

But I am going to think about it some more. The sales person assures me it will be gone tomorrow, but we will see.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Two Other Thoughts

1. One of my first sports memories is Danny Manning and Kansas winning the NCAA Championship. I remember wanting to be like Danny Manning. He was a stud during that tournament. I was indifferent about the game last night, but as a kid with my first name, the Jayhawks was the coolest nickname I had ever heard when I was six.

2. All the President's Men is getting good. It is starting to mess with my sleep pattern as I race to finish it. I am beginning to understand why Nixon was so hated. I also do not understand why Bob Dole ever had any political success after 1973. There is no integrity in politics or reporting. It reminds me a whole lot of academia.

Thoughts While Working On My Resume

I couldn't write this post without being overly pessimistic or optimistic, so I will copy something from Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Almost Home":

"I saw my life this morning
Lyin' at the bottom of a drawer
All this stuff I'm savin'
God knows what this junk is for
And whatever I believed in
This is all I have to show
What the hell were all the reasons
For holding on for such dear life

Here's where I let go"

That is just the right mix of optimism and pessimism.

I also like her "Stones in the Road."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Einstein Quote Of The Day

"The health of society thus depends quite as much on the independence of the individuals composing it as on their close political cohesion. "

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I Almost Had A Sunday Night Freakout

But then I ate some dark chocolate.

Move forward. Move forward. Move forward.

And for the record, I am a bitter person. I do not like seeing other people happy. Sometimes I say I do not like seeing people delude themselves. But it really comes down to not wanting them to be happy.

I have become so self-loathsome that I cannot stand seeing other people happy.

In many respects this has been a good week for me, but this realization has kind of slapped me in the face.

Move forward. Move forward. Move forward.

Something To Say Or Nothing To Say But I Write Anyway

The other morning I set three alarm clocks. I usually do not set any. But the other morning was important. I spaced the alarm times just to make sure I did not hit snooze and forget.

My atomic alarm clock reset itself to pacific time in the middle of night. (I might have hit an incorrect button, but it is atomic time, it should know what time zone without me programming it.) This was my first alarm.

My phone had no signal, so it couldn't connect to the network or register a time. This was my second alarm.

Now my 20 year old AM clock radio saved the day.

I am certainly not some nut who says we depend too much on technology, but the whole thing made me wonder.

Paul Simon says it well.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Just Seems Appropriate

Pride (In The Name Of Love)
One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One come he to justify
One man to overthrow

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach.
One man betrayed with a kiss

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love

(nobody like you...)

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love...

Sleep tonight
And may your dreams
Be realized
If the thunder cloud
Passes rain
So let it rain
Rain down him
So let it be
So let it be

Sleep tonight
And may your dreams
Be realized
If the thundercloud
Passes rain
So let it rain
Let it rain
Rain on him

From this site.

"You Don't Need Those Last Few Lessons"* Or Thoughts As The Weekend Approaches

1. Acid reflux cannot be a new disease. People must have dealt with it in the past. They must have found ways to live with it. I think my Grandfather had it, and he lived to be 85. Yes, I have stopped taking Prilosec, and I feel fine.

2. I want to wake up in the middle of night worried about making Friday's payroll. They say Bill Gates still does this. I want responsibility. I want to care. I want to create wealth. I want to create a happy family. These are the things that make getting up in the morning worth it.

3. Economists see individuals and incentives. Health-care providers see sick people. The reconciliation of these two views will not occur over-night. It might never occur. But good economists see sick people, and good health-care providers see individuals and incentives.

4. Voluntary forbearance and appreciating voluntary forbearance separates adults from children.

5. Sometimes I don't know if I am starting or finishing. But I do know it doesn't matter either way.

6. When the Yankees came to Virginia Tech they rationed tickets off by a lottery. Students who were not even here last year got to go to the game. The lottery as a rationing device is foolish. But I do not have the energy or time to rant against it.

*Jackson Browne

I Wanted To Rant About Mike Hampton

But instead I took a deep breath, reminded myself that it is a long season, and remembered my expectations were only 80 wins.

Move forward. Move forward. Move forward.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Jason Whitlock

This article is the funniest good piece of advice I have ever seen.

"I Lost Track Of The Score Long Ago"*

The other night I was playing basketball with a couple of friends and a couple of twelve year olds. We were playing on a gravel court with a cheap rubber basketball. The twelve year olds had home-court advantage. I was playing in boots that blistered my feet and restricting jeans. My friends had a couple of beers in them. It kept getting darker and darker. As the game continued it kept getting more intense. We were shoving each other for rebounds. We were scrapping for loose balls. The older guys were feeding off the fearlessness of the twelve year olds.

But we lost track of the score. The game became about scoring the next point. It was like playing "next point wins" for a hundred consecutive points. It was wonderful.

It was the greatest thing I have been a part of in a long time.

*Jackson Browne

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

0 and 2 With Losses To The Nationals And Pirates

Hell of a way to start the season. Same old problems different year.