Monday, August 30, 2010

smart politics

Here is a post by Connor Friesdorf that echoes something I'd written about previoiusly. The money quote is here:

It is to our collective benefit that the competing ideological factions in the United States operate as the best versions of themselves... on the whole our ideological opponents are more help than hindrances compared to a world where they didn't exist.

The problem today is that the Republicans (not Conservatives, as there are still Conservatives in the world who are no longer part of the Republican Party) have completely abandoned their responsability to be a useful and informed opposition party. This is why the problems, the bad ideas, of the Democrats have been unopposed by those in position to stop them. Ideological opposition to EVERYTHING Democrats have proposed has allowed EVERYTHING they have proposed to pass. Instead of picking their battles, they (R's) have chosen instead to opt to lose the war and hope to win the next.

This is bad in the long run, but will yield electoral dividends, further pushing us to a system where election is simply a process to determine who gets re-elected next time, not who legistlates now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

anonymous comment

Someone posted an anonymous comment on my Mosque post that he/she was an "old friend". If so, please let me know who you are...I'm intrigued.

cool way to rate colleges

This is really interesting. A ranking of colleges by: how many under-privileged students go (based on Pell Grants), graduation rate, and how many go into service oriented jobs upon graduation. Seems a much better way to rank colleges than other routes. At quick glance, I think Swarthmore is the only on on the top of this AND Forbes. I could be wrong though.

See the rankings here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

class quote of the day

CPT G to a class of Captains: Man, you all are jaded. It could be worse...
CPT T: We could be on fire.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I thought I died this morning...

I had a heart attack this morning. Or, at least, I thought I did.

I went for a run, just two miles, but pushed myself pretty hard. Unbeknownst to me, I pulled a muscle in my chest. I got into my truck and drove home and, since that's an easy task, didn't notice that I'd pulled a muscle.

I was thinking of my Cousin, so I called her to say hello and began making some eggs. Mid-conversation my chest tightened, my breathing restricted and it felt like I'd gotten hit right in the center of my chest. I had to put the phone down and hold onto the counter. I quite literally thought I was having a heart attack.

I stumbled over to the living room where my computer was and fell on the floor chest first, barely able to breathe and googled "chest pain short breath symptoms" and heart attack came really, I did that. I worried.

I lay there, face down, in a dirty PT uniform and you know what I thought? I remembered growing up my mom telling me to always wear clean underwear in case I had to go to the hospital. I wouldn't want the doctor to see I had on dirty underwear.

I suddenly thought...I'm going to my living dirty underwear. My mom will be so upset.

Luckily, it was just a pulled muscle. Now I change out of my dirty clothes as soon as I get home.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Since I was a child, I have said things with utter sincerity that garner laughter from people and the response, "you're so funny." or similar reactions.

I've never taken this personally. Generally, I listen, laugh along and think to myself, "Hmm...I wonder what I said that was funny." I wonder that, generally, because whatever it is/was that I said or did was done genuinely and meant as such--not as a joke. But, I was talking to a friend today and realized that there are two options. Either I have an unnatural sense of what's normal, or a normal sense of the absurd.

It happens at work, or with friends or in class. For example, the other day, I rose my hand to participate in a class discussion at work (a rare occurrence as I speak Army very poorly). The teacher asked what a counter-attack was and I said, with enthusiasm that I was finally contributing something worthwhile, and said it was like stepping into a punch to take the force out of it. It wasn't exactly a parallel example, but I though it got the point across.

Instead, there was laughter, a confused look on the teacher's face and, after a brief pause, a move to have someone else provide an answer.

I've grown used to this phenomenon. But I think I notice it more now than I did as a child. It's like standing on one side of a chasm I didn't realize existed before. On one side is everyone else in the world, and on my side is me. That's too emo and melancholy an example...but I can't think of a better one. We all exist in our own minds, to be sure, but I think most people are confident that their minds are at least similar to others. I'm beginning to feel like I might be more "unique" than I had thought before.

This is neither good nor bad, just...true.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

AIDS fundraiser

My friend Ian is doing a walk to raise money for people living with AIDS in Seattle (near where he lives).

Ian was at basic training with me many, many years ago and is now doing all kinds of things and has had more, varied experience in life than I could fit into this description. But, if you have four or five or six dollars or more to donate to a good cause, please donate it here. Think about it...a cup of coffee costs that much at the Starbucks and doesn't help anyone but Mr. Starbucks money-bags (I think he's a real person...who looks like the Monopoly man, but drinking a latte instead of smoking a cigar).

That, and if you donate, I'll personally sign a copy of my autobiography when I write one. Think about it...

For serious though, it's a good cause, and it's being organized by a good person, so give if you can and spread the word. Click on the above banner to donate.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

compliments...I think

So, lately I've had a slew of semi-awkward/back-handed or otherwise interesting and unsolicited compliments. I thought I would list them here because they made me laugh to read them, and I hope they'll do the same for you:
1. From one of my climbing friends (who, it must be noted to see why it's funny, is a lesbian):
We did deep water soloing today. It kind of sucked.
Climbing shit wet, with prune fingers, start holds all slime for your feet and things for your hands being ouchy (since the prune fingers).
Also boats going by making waves that push you into the walls and shit.
I thought of you and how well you fill out your bathing suit and it made me miss you a lot. Plus with your good personality it would have made the suck more enjoyable.
2. From an old roommate recounting a conversation she had with someone who asked, "so you lived with Adam?"
I was like yes, he was a good roommate but he used to cook with his shirt off include when he was cooking things like bacon.
3. From a friend I met at a bar the night before, upon friending me on Facebook and seeing I was (nearly) thirty:
Oh, now it makes sense! That's why you were different. You're a grown up.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I noticed two things online today which made me "think". The first was this photo below. I kept thinking that it seemed ridiculous that the Huffingtonpost would post something so obviously sexist. Calling the three female jurists on the Supreme Court "the Supremes" is akin to a heading that reads, "isn't it cute? girls playing judges! LOL"
The second, below, speaks for itself.