Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Apparently the apparel company has apologized. How about the team apologizing? Oh, that's right. Bad franchises make bad decisions; an apology might be a step in the right direction.

Monday, April 13, 2009

There are some things that Facebook does well

How else could I witness this?

Does this look like the face of a guy who is glad he was traded?

Welcome to Chicago; the NFL is business. (By the way, Cutler did ask to be traded. Maybe he was really bluffing? Or he thought he was...)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I've never watched The Wire

so I can't comment about it, but this last post in a series of 9 on "real thugs" watching a show about "real thugs" is overwhelmingly interesting.

Someday Sudhir Venkatesh will win a Nobel, I think, though maybe this is a long shot as his field doesn't seem to fit the prize fields.

So maybe he won't, but I do think that he has both an unusual eye for the story and an unusual perspective (these may be the same) on what it means to be white or black in America today. I'm currently enjoying his Off the Books, though at times it reads a bit like thesis research.

What does the man on the street think about the bonuses to AIG executives?

You might be surprised, at least depending on which man on the street you ask.

You have to be real careful when you mess with folks at the top, because when the war is over, you’ll need these guys real quick. Ninety-nine percent of people just doing what they’re told — you couldn’t find half a brain among all of them. But the ones with the brains — don’t let them go.

What's wrong with the picture? Here is what The Thugz see that the public so often misses. Doesn't look like we're doing anything that is going to help the struggling banks.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I was able to use the word incontrovertible in conversation yesterday

and that was a pretty fun moment, but I'm not sure that the word is properly used in its most common context: as incontrovertible evidence. I'm not sure evidence should be disputed as easily as conclusions; at least, if evidence is factual and conclusions are logical, you should be discussing the logic and not the fact. The latter seems to make conclusions de facto.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flight 1549

I'm sure there will be more information to come in the future weeks regarding US Airways Flight 1549 and I'm sure I will have other reflections, but a few things stick out and are worth reading at present.

First, make sure you take a look at this visualization of the flight path based on the ATC reports available:

The path taken by the aircraft is quite remarkable--as is the entire incident--but the captains choice to not head back to LaGuardia and head for the Hudson (and the ability to miss all bridges, towers, transmission lines, helicopters, boats, and--not to mention additional geese--any other substantial traffic) is something that we may not see easily replicated.

Some of the events that occurred are the result of good training and planning (when able) as well as good engineering of the aircraft. [Read this great Wall Street Journal article for more background on the events from the perspective of aircraft systems and engineering.]

But not every result in this event came so because of skill or planning or even the right amount of decision-making. Even if you don't agree with John Piper's proclamation of God's planning amidst our lack of circumstantial control, it is worth pondering that our last President's tenure was marked and will be remembered by the unfortunate events related to 4 aircraft that were uncontrolled and unplanned by him. Will this President's tenure be marked and remembered by an omen of fortune involving an aircraft that was likewise outside the scope of his planning and control?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A white man's perspective on the celebration of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr

(I wrote this yesterday, for yesterday, but post a day late, on the day of the inauguration of America's first black President)

Last night Jen and I were discussing where Martin Luther King, Jr falls in the scope of America’s most important historical figures. Without a doubt he is easily within the top-50. Most of our discussion was actually about what “historically important” means; while I maintain that Elvis’ contributions to American history are significant in scope, she maintains that they are by no means significant contributions. Nevertheless, Dr King fits all such criteria and we decided that the conversation is whether he is a top-10 or top-25 American historical figure.

I’m not sure where he fits and I won’t propose such (though suggestions are welcome), but what interests me most is how often this day is maligned. I understand that historically there has been much opposition to this day being an official American holiday (marked as a paid holiday for federal employees); many prominent politicians have opposed the holiday. Also, it is unique among holidays in that it celebrates someone who has never held political office and is the most recent of the national holidays.

I am young, so I've missed the historical arguments. In my memory, it has always been a holiday, though really the day began to be officially recognized in 1986. I know that the past discussions are not dismissed simply because this observation has been official for now over 20 years, but what confounds me is how people speak about the holiday. Just last week I heard in conversation, “If you only understood how much it means to them.” This morning I overheard someone joking on the phone with a client, “aren’t you taking the day off?” (as though there is hidden merit to working on this day).

Maybe I misunderstand the historical record, but I take Dr King’s work as that of uniting people across and despite of differences. His work was to represent and profit the rights of the oppressed and marginalized black society, but not for the purpose of nationalizing these communities into national prominence. To me, Dr King represents freedom and good will towards all men, not just black men, and his primary goal was that black men--and all men--would have a common standing among one another.

Certainly, his efforts have not yet been fully rewarded. After the recent Presidential election, in which America elected her first black President, many people reacted in what seems to me a very un-King-ly way. “We won!” or “we lost” or "what are they going to do to this country" may have been words spoken or heard depending on whether you are black or conservative; such Us-Them speech abounds today despite Dr King's efforts.

“We” too often speak poorly of “them”, whoever “they” may be, speaking with contempt or disdain or disgust but mostly I think with ignorance and bias. “We” too often don’t want to be reconciled with “them”. “We” don’t want “them” to have what “we” have. Or "we" want what "they" have and had and want to lord it over "them" just as "they" have for so long. “We” don’t want “them” to live near or threaten “our” kids. "We" don't want to be like "them" or "them" like "us".

This is what Dr King wanted us (all) to be rid of. I’m glad (and hope to grow in my appreciation) of what he did to unite the black communities in America against the injustices they’ve faced. More so I’m glad that his goal was not to unite “them” in order to gain the position of “us”, but to unite them with us so that we may be together a better and more responsible community.

We still have a long way to go. Yesterday I worked on the observation of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr, not out of disrespect or because it wasn't a holiday for my organization, because the people in my office work (my company has 2 employees split into different offices). I worked as a sign of solidarity towards them.

But I look forward to the time when we all observe this day for the purpose of working towards and celebrating many of the same goals that this man sought after. I think these are good goals and I’m glad they’re goals for all of us and not just some of them.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sometimes altruism is supplanted by the all-true-isms

Me: You should take those cookies to your grandmother when you go to visit her tonight. She'll enjoy that.
Jen: I ate the last two...
Me: The last two? Then Vicki must have had two today... because I took the other four to work this morning.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Challenge

During 2008 I challenged myself to read 30 books during the year. This number was somewhat arbitrary, but since I was turning 30 and wanted a significant challenge to myself, I chose the relatively difficult rate of 2.5 books per month.

I didn’t make it, but I enjoyed the experience. And I don’t think it’s inappropriate to knowingly set the bar high. When I was 26 I challenged myself to get in shape by committing to run a marathon. Granted, I was a runner previously, but at that time I was not in shape and had never run that far. And it worked out, though I was 27 by the time I raced the 26 miles.

So, last year I failed my resolution, though not too miserably. I didn’t actually commit to this at New Year’s, though it was early enough to count for the year. And I have enjoyed reading much more, though my discipline of reading regularly is not yet transformed. But I completed 12 books and started but have not finished another 11. I expect to finish these and more during the current year, with a slight twist on last year's pledge.

Without creating a challenge to myself this year, except to continue learning and enjoy the learning, I look forward to completing 12 new books this year (1 per month) while completing or re-reading 12 books (owned and unread also may count here, 1 per month), and listening to 12 new albums of music as well. For the latter, I have some ideas (as I intend to rely heavily upon un-sampled portions of Rolling Stone’s Top lists) but am very open to recommendations for any new item, book or music. If you have any suggestions, please provide them.

(So I guess, having set specific goals above, that this is a sort of challenge for 2009... )