Thursday, August 27, 2009

Amazing Things

  1. I woke up this morning in Blacksburg, Virginia at 5:00AM(EST). By 1:30PM(EST), I will be in San Antonio, Texas.
  2. I am typing this post on the flight.
  3. I could upload this post for $9.95.
  4. Since 5:00AM, I have checked my Email four times, once at my apartment, once on the bus to the Roanoke airport, once at the Roanoke airport, and once again at the Atlanta airport.
  5. I talked to both my dad and my wife while in Atlanta. My dad was in Crozet, Virginia. My wife was in San Antonio. The marginal cost of these calls was $0.
  6. I just typed "The marginal cost of these were $0." The computer corrected me.
  7. I am now publishing this post from our apartment in San Antonio. (By the way, I am in the shitter.)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Morning Thoughts

1. I like Google Chrome. But lately it has been giving me "unsafe site" messages for Google sites. This kind of crap makes me wonder.

2. I keep hearing commercials telling people not to say "this is so gay." I don't know what to think about this. Part of me thinks it is the evolution of language. Gay for me has come to mean feminine or girlish. I don't think it is as insulting as the commercials make it out to be, but other derogatory words have evolved out of the language. So maybe I'm wrong, and these commercials are part of our societal progression.

3. I have a lot of baseball cards at home. I have no idea what to do with them. Part of me wants to liquidate them. Another part of me wants to keep them. They will probably stay at my parents' house for another five or ten years until my mom makes me take them.

4. I just listened to Dan Patrick interview Peyton Manning. All I can say is "smooth." I have always liked "edge," but "edge" quickly turns into a disaster. "Edge" usually leads to inconsistency.

5. Anxiety, fear, excitement, worry are all complex emotions.

6. I don't like chicken. It used to be my favorite meat as a kid. (I think I used to like the skin more than anything else.) I fried some skinless chicken in olive oil, seasoned the hell out of it, mixed it with lima beans (which I thoroughly enjoy), and made a decent honey and Dijon mustard sauce. It wasn't bad, but I would rather have a dry hamburger.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I Have Always Enjoyed This Song

Talent And Honesty

My college head coach was a brutally honest evaluator of talent. He didn't sugarcoat things. If you were slow and your hips didn't bend, he told you. He didn't always tell you directly, but he told you.

I didn't realize this for a while. I and many others always thought of him as the master of the "backhanded slap" or the "backhanded compliment." Then he wrote a letter asking for donations to the school from football alumni. There are also a couple of videos out on the web of him talking about the current team. At first this letter and videos reiterated my opinion, but then I realized that in reality, he was just brutally honest. He had lost enough and been fired enough to know: Talent wins football games. Sugarcoated heart makes for good newspaper stories.

I have always thought that economics and good economists describe trade-offs. Every time one makes a decision he gives up something. This blog has trade-offs. This sentence has trade-offs. Giving a donation has trade-offs. What economics has taught me is that there are no free lunches, everything costs, every gain requires some sacrifice, some pain.

But economics doesn't say much about how to deal with the pain. Cost-benefit analysis assumes one knows the cost and the benefits. But in reality we're always guessing. It isn't about probability or expected values; it is guessing and facing the consequences of decisions, accepting pain, accepting brutal honesty concerning our lack of talent.

Sometimes I avoid decisions, because I am scared of the pain. I have never believed in "something beats nothing." There is value in waiting. There is value in agonizing. But economics says very little about when to make a decision or what to do when agonizing starts to adversely affect your life.

But knowing the trade-offs has to help, right?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Wanted To Say Something About Vick

But Phil Taylor already did.

Vick is just another man captured by the vending machine honey bun. The two P's (power being the other one) has destroyed many men.

All I hope is that Vick doesn't screw up again.

Lighting Strikes

1. When there was lighting, we had to practice in the gym. At first we thought this was great. But we soon found that the conditioning was harder because of the stale air. We also found that hitting the floor because of tennis shoes or unexpected contact was painful and attention grabbing. If you get knocked down outside rarely would the whole team see it. Inside, everyone saw and laughed.

2. I just finished this recent book on business in Russia. I don't have the title or author with me, but it didn't provide any information you couldn't find on the Internet anyway. I took away that Russia provided opportunities for investors, but Russia is much more unpredictable than the U.S. I guess I knew that before I read the book. But it surprised me that the book and Russia in general had so much centralized power in both the public and private fronts. I don't imagine many American C.E.O.s being profiled like the Russians C.E.O.s were. It seemed like they were more important than the business. It was like they were proprietors not C.E.O.s of giant corporations. I know this happens in the U.S. too, and Russia's capitalism is still young. But it concerned me.

3. I am writing boring technical stuff. It is boring. I can say everything in tables, but people need paragraphs. And I am not saying much anyway. It is boring. But I have to do it. And the best way to do anything is to dive in, and let whatever happens happen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Statements

1. My umbrella broke. This is very frustrating on rainy days especially when your rain coats are in Texas. I would buy an indestructible umbrella if it was less than $25.

2. It is still hot. But not as hot as it is in Texas.

3. My sophomore year in high school we went 9-1 and lost in the first round of the playoffs to a team quarterbacked by Kelley Washington. I didn't play much, and I don't remember much about two-a-days except it was hot. Not as hot as it is and was in Texas, but hot nevertheless.

4. I have always enjoyed Oingo Boingo's "Just Another Day" and "Wild Sex in the Working Class," but I have changed computers so much I can't find my MP3 copies. This is the digital age.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Hot Day

In the ninth grade, we were supposed to start two-a-days at 8:30AM and end at 3:30PM. Everyone was supposed to pack a lunch and get a air-conditioned break between 11:30AM-1:00PM. The first day all of the senior linemen were throwing up. It was hot at 10:30-11:00AM, and they had enough time in the morning to eat breakfast. You could see their cereal and milk coming back out. Five or six junior and senior linemen could not practice during the afternoon session. If you puked, the trainers made you sit out the next session.

The coach decided to make the sessions 6:00AM to 11:30AM with a fifteen minute break. This seemed to work better. All I really think it did was keep the linemen from eating breakfast.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why Generations Progress Or Why My Son Will Have A Leg-up on Me

I started playing football in the 8th grade. My dad told me I'd better get in shape. So I started running. No, I started jogging. By the time the season started I was doing 2-2.5 miles over a hilly course every day.

After the first day of practice, I was dead. My recovery was better than most of my teammates, but I was exhausted. Those 2-2.5 miles did very little for me. My limits as an athlete were agility, speed, and flexibility. Jogging does nothing to improve these three things. As I progressed through high school, I started to do sprints and other things (including hydrating) to prepare. In college, they gave us a summer workout plan to prepare. But that first day when I was in the 8th grade was hell.

(Nothing really helps with two-a-days. You can't simulate five hours of activity on studded cleats in the August heat. The August heat was what sparked this post.)

The Time To Start Is Today

Some sports' thoughts:

1. NASCAR has to consider rain tires or something. Watkins Glen would have been a fun race to run in the rain. The best drivers and teams would have risen to the top. Running at Daytona or Talladega or Pocono would be tough, but too many races Monday at noon will kill the sport. Once the NFL starts, NASCAR doesn't have much pull. It has to take advantage of the opportunities it gets.

2. I don't give a damn about the Red Sox and Yankees. It is like Goliath versus Goliath. But after I accept that they both cannot lose, I enjoy watching them play each other occasionally. The Yankees have a hell of a lineup.

3. The Braves beat the Dodgers three out of four, and I don't care. They are a .500 team. Look at their statistics compared to the rest of the National League. I think they are 7 to 9 in every category.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I Don't Do This Often

I agree with Herbert's point that most men are misogynists. Most heterosexual men have a little "women hate" in them. Just like most heterosexual women have a little "men hate" in them. "Hate" is a bad thing.

I even agree that society and media perpetuates "women hate" probably a little more than they do "men hate." The reasons why and the innateness of these reasons would make a more interesting commentary. But to blame "women hate" for mass murders and use this as evidence for gun control is elephant shit. It is a complete misrepresentation of scope. The opportunity for mass murder is high. A man can go into a gym or school and kill females at any time. But more than 99% of the time, mass murder does not happen. It is tragic when it happens, and I am not trying to be callous to the situation or the victims. I am trying to be honest about the situation. We live in a relatively safe society even though there is a lot of "hate' in it.
Mass murderers are crazy people. They are psychotic. They have deep issues that they cannot solve by themselves. They need help. But they are crazy and evil and not normal. They are the extreme exception not the rule. If you want to argue for tighter gun control or a change of the way women are represented in the media, then do not use mass murderers as examples supporting your argument. It just doesn't make sense.

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Computer Crash (And A Post) That Means Nothing

A few weeks ago, my RAM went bad. I called Dell. I had two weeks left on my warranty. They would fix it.

But I was going to be gone for two and half weeks. I needed a computer to travel with. I went to Wal-Mart and bought a $300 netbook. I am happy with it, and it served me well on my travels.

My Dell was repaired ten days before I got back, and now it seems to be working well. I did not renew my warranty even though Dell's service (and FedEx) impressed me.

This post had no point but to acknowledge that it isn't the shocks that happen to us day-to-day. It is how we handle those shocks.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

So I Went To This Conference...

I went to this presentation about a health experiment conducted with mothers and their children. The female researcher started to tear up when she started to talk about some of the inconsistent mothers she observed. She said something like "I don't know what these kids go through at home."

I have to say the moment was a little awkward. But it was the most memorable thing from the conference. I walked away knowing that the woman cared about her research and genuinely cared about people, and that is more than I can say about most of the other presentations.

David Allen Podcast

Allen speaking about previous commitments: "You can't walk away from this stuff by going numb to it."

This podcast was definitely worth listening to.

I enjoyed this one too.

Modern Agriculture

Tyler Cowen at linked to this essay. It is worth reading.

I was going to write an essay for a contest that asked (I am paraphrasing) what will U.S. agriculture look like and what does it look like now. I was going to build the essay around the view from the back parking lot of a church: On the right was a cow pasture with big electricity towers running through it. The pasture ended with a forest. On the left was a the preacher's garden, further left was his house and his neighborhood. Separating left and right was a creek, and in the distance was Interstate 81.

The idea was that agriculture is complicated and ever-changing, and agriculture tomorrow won't look like agriculture today or twenty years ago. It was and is this mix of conventional and new and organic and inorganic.

In other words, agriculture is kind of like everything else.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The (Un)Fairness Of It All

The problem with Keynesian stimulus is that it has to go to someone or some group. My Blazer blew up last year before the "Cash for Clunkers" program. I don't know anyone who works for GM or Chrysler. I am not planning on buying a house for a few years, and I have kept up the payments on my condo. I might get a job with the federal government, but I am worried their hiring will slow down before I can move to Washington.

Stimulus and government programs are always selective. Some people get selected. Some people don't.