Monthly Archives: September 2021
Kids On Race
And The ESPN Scoreboard
Paragraph To Ponder
“Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was first elected to political office in 1958, midway through the second term of President Dwight Eisenhower. I learned this fact earlier this year and have thought about it every day since. At 88, he is the oldest Republican senator, and second-oldest overall by a few months (to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein), in the oldest Senate in American history. He will turn 89 shortly before the 2022 midterms, in which, as he announced on Friday morning, he will seek reelection yet again. If he wins, which he probably will, his six-year term will end when he is 95.”
Who will be the first centenarian member of Congress?
Monday Required Reading and Listening
The semester is in full swing. Time to raise your game.
- Our high-speed transport future. Doubt I’ll live long enough to find out if it’s 670 (Branson) or 760 (Musk) miles per hour.
- And the future of weight-loss.
- How to help kids struggling with their mental health.
- The best young adult author going explains how to connect with kids through the written word.
- China’s Hot New Rental Service: Men Who Actually Listen. Groovy, we’re trending.
- Astute Ryder Cup analysis you’ve been clamoring for. I hope the U.S. hasn’t “ushered in a new era”. I prefer my Ryder Cups like I do the Good Wife, close.
Are You ‘Misliving’?
William Irvine’s The Guide To The Good Life is an attempt to reinvent Stoicism for the 21st Century. Irvine argues that everyone should have a philosophy of life that includes specific strategies for achieving their primary objective(s) in life. Absent an intentional plan, at the end of life, people will regret that they have “mislived”.
Put differently, one should live intentionally, not spontaneously. He acknowledges few people do so mostly because of the “endless stream of distractions” that keeps them from clarifying what’s most important. And he made that point before social media and streaming television both exploded.
If pressed though, I’m guessing Irvine would acknowledge rewarding times in his life when he acted spontaneously, when he said yes to an unexpected invitation or adventure.
I wonder if the answer to the dilemma of just how intentional to be in planning one’s life lies in the tides, meaning there should be some sort of natural ebb and flow between intentionality and spontaneity.
The older other people and I get, the more set we become in our daily routines. Losing some of our youthful spontaneity, we should carefully consider the improvisors’ dictum of always saying YES. Okay, “always” is unrealistic, but what about “more often”?
A LOT of my acquaintances and friends have died lately, almost all of them from cancer, a scourge we may be sleeping on amidst the endemic. Being my age, their deaths have got me thinking about my own.
Despite not having an explicit philosophy of life, if I die sometime soon, and have time to reflect on my six decades*, I wouldn’t at all think I had mislived. Quite the opposite. I would be grateful for all the meaningful friendships; all the socially redeeming work; and all the fond memories of things including athletics, traveling, and especially family.
Lately, I’ve felt a deep and profound sense of contentment for most everything including my new and improved health, our home, and the natural environment in which it sits.
That very spiritual sense of contentment doesn’t have to conspire against saying YES to new invitations and adventures does it? To continual growth?
Presently, I’m most interested in personal growth. Professionally there’s nothing I feel a need to accomplish. My plan is to spend my remaining days learning to listen more patiently and empathetically to others—whether the Good Wife, my daughters, you, my students, everyone. That could easily take several more decades. Guess I should keep exercising and eating healthily.
*meaning not on my bike :)
Monday Required Reading
Since school is back in session, let’s ease in with an especially good Tish Harrison Warren essay, “How Silence Became a Luxury Product.” Find a quiet place to read it.
How The Center For Disease Control And Prevention Failed Us
From Alex Taborrok’s review of Scott Gottlieb’s new book, Uncontrolled Spread: Why Covid-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic.
“If there’s one overarching theme of “Uncontrolled Spread,” it’s that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed utterly. It’s now well known that the CDC didn’t follow standard operating procedures in its own labs, resulting in contamination and a complete botch of its original SARS-CoV-2 test. The agency’s failure put us weeks behind and took the South Korea option of suppressing the virus off the table. But the blunder was much deeper and more systematic than a botched test. The CDC never had a plan for widespread testing, which in any scenario could only be achieved by bringing in the big, private labs.
Instead of working with the commercial labs, the CDC went out of its way to impede them from developing and deploying their own tests. The CDC wouldn’t share its virus samples with commercial labs, slowing down test development. ‘The agency didn’t view it as a part of its mission to assist these labs.’ Dr. Gottlieb writes. As a result, ‘It would be weeks before commercial manufacturers could get access to the samples they needed, and they’d mostly have to go around the CDC. One large commercial lab would obtain samples from a subsidiary in South Korea.’
In the early months of the pandemic the CDC impeded private firms from developing their own tests and demanded that all testing be run through its labs even as its own test failed miserably and its own labs had no hope of scaling up to deal with the levels of testing needed. Moreover, the author notes, because its own labs couldn’t scale, the CDC played down the necessity of widespread testing and took ‘deliberate steps to enforce guidelines that would make sure it didn’t receive more samples than its single lab could handle.'”
The solution has to be a more decentralized public health apparatus, doesn’t it?
A Billionaire Here, A Billionaire There
A blogger I read is asking his readers for questions for an interview he’s going to do for his podcast with David Mark Rubenstein. Here’s the first sentence of Rubenstein’s wikipedia entry.
“David Mark Rubenstein (born August 11, 1949) is an American billionaire businessman.”
Anyone with 1,000 or more million dollars is routinely introduced as a billionaire.
Given that bizarre phenomenon, I’m going to stop increasing my wealth when I get to around $950m. I would hate to be reduced down to a “billionaire educator”.
Until then, don’t forget to upgrade your iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches.
Kharma’s A Bitch (E)
In case you don’t listen to hip-hop, (E) signifies “explicit” so if profanity offends you, move on to your next favorite blog. You’ve been warned.
Wednesday night broke perfect for a shortish ride before the ever earlier sunset. No sunscreen required, a tinge of fall in the air, I decided to weave my way around North Olympia with its blessed absence of stop lights. Twenty five miles, zero stoplights, put that in your pipe and smoke it you sad sack urbanities.
To the guy on East Bay Drive with the big ass battery pack who passed me like I was standing still, fuck you and your cheater bike. I’m sure it felt good to whizz pass my sad sack human powered self, just like it feels good to cheat on your tax return. Electric bikes are fine for the elderly, the impaired, anyone with swollen balls, but you looked like a perfectly able middle aged dude, so fuck you.
Fast forward five miles. Starting to pick up speed on Lemon Rd thanks to what’s now a tailwind, when lo and behold, I notice someone on my wheel. I nod hello and Eric pulls aside me in his vintage 1992 Lemond “steel is real” steed. And like two testosterone addled MAMILS (middle aged men in lycra) we hit Lemon street HARD. Eric no doubt thinking about my carbon fiber frame and electronic shifting exactly like I thought about Mr. Battery’s bike. “Fuck you Mr. Modern Technology,” he seemed to say with each pedal stroke.
Which, of course, I wholeheartedly deserved. At least I pay all of my taxes.