Peak Public Sector—The SLO Swim Center

I’m going to assume a few things. First, you’re unfamiliar with the San Luis Obispo Swim Center. Second, the next time you’re passing through the Central California coast, you’re gonna want to get your swim on at the Center.

I can’t quite explain how infatuated I am with the Center, an outdoor Olympic sized pool that has three generous lap swimming shifts a day, year round. Owned by the city, it single handedly proves the public sector works. Built in 1979, it’s “Exhibit A” of substance over style. The “locker room” doesn’t have lockers, people just leave their post swim accessories—shampoo, soap, shaving cream—splayed on wood benches and on their towels near the showers. It’s the epitome of rustic minimalism. And it works beautifully at keeping all the classist dilettantes away.

Thursday pre-dawn, the Center’s Sinsheimer pool was set up long course meters. I split my lane with another dude. Air temp in the mid-30s, I couldn’t see from one end to the other because of the steam rising from surface. Just like the old days when the mighty Cypress High Centurions water polo team practiced before first period. Saturday noon, I had one of the twenty 25-yard lanes spread across the beautiful behemoth to myself.

The only negative, besides the Pacific Northwest winter weather, was the cashier who charged me the senior rate, $3.75, without any questions. Dammit, I wanted to pay the $4.25.

After Saturday’s swim, I chatted up an eight-year old swimming stud* and then read the Center’s rules and policies while waiting for the GalPal. Allow me to highlight the most important rules and policies to help you avoid an embarrassing infraction.

Proceeding from “fairly easy” to “impossibly hard”.

1st. And I quote, “Guests currently suffering from active diarrhea or who have had diarrhea within the previous 14 days shall not be allowed to enter the pool water.”

2nd. Horseplay, sitting on shoulders, or throwing of guests is not allowed.

3rd. Animals are not allowed to enter the water at any time.

4th. Excessive displays of public affection are not allowed.

The Good Wife struggles mightily with the last. To reduce the odds of an infraction, I purposely pick a lane a safe distance away.

You are welcome.I hope you enjoy your swim(s) half as much I enjoy mine. Long live the Center.

*My new eight-year old friend swims, plays soccer, and baseball. “Yeah, I always make the All-Star team,” he said matter-of-factly, “but I don’t get to play because I have to visit my family in Greece.” “Always?!” What, has he been named to eight All-Star teams in a row?! I spared him a “family privilege” talk.

North Dakota is Anti-Gay

North Dakota’s lovely weather is, of course, a powerful magnet. Not to mention the affordable real estate. But Taylor Brorby paints a depressing picture. “The Real Reason North Dakota Is Going After Books and Librarians”.

He writes:

“The summer after graduating from college, when I was outed by my aunt, and my home was no longer a safe space, I searched the stacks of the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library for stories of gay people disowned by family members to help me find my own way to stable ground. During those evenings, I would settle into a plush armchair with a pile of books and magazines and read. I read authors like Kent Haruf and Amy Tan and Mary Karr. I would listen to classical music CDs to try and calm myself. I was free to roam, peruse, and free to be myself, at least privately.

North Dakota is a part of a growing national trend. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of last year, the American Library Association recorded 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources. . . . According to PEN America, 41 percent of books banned throughout the 2021-22 school year contained L.G.B.T.Q. themes, protagonists or prominent secondary characters. Bills similar to North Dakota’s have also been introduced or passed into law in states like West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Missouri and Indiana.

Under Missouri’s new law banning the provision of “explicit sexual material” to students, school districts removed works about Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo; comics, such as “Batman” and “X-Men”; visual depictions of Shakespeare’s works; and “Maus,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust.

But let’s be honest: It’s not the Venus de Milo these laws are going to come for first. It’s books with L.G.B.T.Q. stories, or books by L.G.B.T.Q. authors — the kind of books that have provided so many queer young people with a lifeline when they needed it most. I don’t know where I would have ended up if I couldn’t read my way out of despair. My heart breaks to think of all the kids now who won’t have that option.”

One large step backwards.

Your Gullibility Knows No Bounds

Mine too.

The Gal Pal and I have migrated south. As a result, we’ve exchanged snow and ice for rain. Last night we dined at a “craft eatery”. What a bullshit phrase! That type of wording thrives on our anemic marketing immune systems. The whole menu was a case study in descriptive gobbledygook. As it turned out, the grub was very ordinary, but the place was packed. As I scanned the packed “craft eatery”, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would’ve been as crowded if it was just a mere “restaurant”.

Then I thought about the steady stream of public figures who market themselves one way in public and act completely different in private. Take NFL quarterback Russell Wilson for example. He’s la ultima “craft eatery” athlete. Among other signs of hypocrisy, he’s a committed Christian who runs an (allegedly) bullshit charitable foundation that mostly pads the employees’ pockets.

We fall for “craft eatery” bullshit all the time without realizing it. Marketing has seeped into our collective subconscious.

Maybe resistance is futile and I should stop complaining and just lean into the incessant upselling of style over substance. That’s probably a saner path forward.

Thus, from this point forward, I cast off my identity as a “blogger”. From now on, please refer to me as a “craft writer” and the humble blog as an “organic platform for advanced cognition”. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

The Southern Baptists Say ‘No Way, No How’ To Saddleback Church

From the New York Times:

“The Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday decided to expel one of its largest and most prominent churches, Saddleback Church in Southern California, over the church’s installment of a woman as pastor.”

Good move to nip that whole gender equality thing in the bud. If you let women be pastors, they’ll probably want to pick the music, weigh in on the budget, shape long-range planning, and chip away at the rest of men’s work.

The Southern Baptists are like some Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian states that somehow think they’ll be perfectly fine operating at 50% capacity.

Everything Is Going To Change

People don’t resist change per se, they struggle with the pace of it. Tom Scott’s perspective on artificial intelligence reminds me of the winter weekend ski trips my Southern California friends and I took to the San Bernardino Mountains. The ones where my older high school friends drove way too fast. That scared me kind of like A.I. scares Scott.

Speaking of Economic Classes

This year, a 30 second Super Bowl commercial cost $7m. How much airtime could you have bought? If you have saved $1m, you could’ve aired your own 4.3 second commercial. What would you have said and how would you have said it?

I would’ve projected the world’s most important url on the screen without any audio . . .

Alas, I suspect the network was only selling advertising spots in 30 second increments, so you and I would have had to partner with six other people willing to pitch in $1m. And I don’t know if my friends are rich enough. Because we don’t talk about money.