Subtlety is not one of my strengths

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Friday, December 15 2017

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Bar Mitzvah Stuff

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My son became bar mitzvah a couple of weeks ago.  A few people asked questions about his d'var Torah.  With his permission, then, here it is:

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What Kind of Dog is Lamborghini?

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I've sent in the DNA Swabs to help identify Lambo's breed.  And I'm turning into a contest for folks who want to take a guess.  Because right now, this is how walking the dog goes for me.

Here's the deal: on February 10th (or as soon, thereafter, as I have them), I will reveal the test results.

  • I make no claims about the accuracy of the tests.
  • For $5 (delivered to me before the reveal), you can submit one guess about Lambo's breed.
  • You can choose to post your guess here, or tell me privately.  (And you can post a guess here, even if you didn't pay $5.)
  • Any breed that Wisdom Panel claims comprises >= 25% of Lambo's ancestry is a "winner".
  • Total collected $$$ will be divided evenly among the winning breeds.
  • The pot for each winning breed will be distributed equally to the people who guessed that breed and paid $5.

(So, you can see that there are bigger winnings to pick a breed that fewer other players guess, but which comprises at least 1/4 of Lambo's tested heredity.)

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Ferguson, Wilson, Brown, and Grand Juries

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Oh, but I've got some reading to do.

Unlike many of you, I wasn't certain I knew what happened when Officer Wilson shot Brown, what happened prior, what the motives were.  Honestly, I wasn't.  It seems like people were confident of Wilson's guilt or innocence.

That is the first reason I figured he'd be indicted...to give the appearance of a full, unsealed investigation, and the arguments made on either side.

I don't really understand the role of a grand jury (as opposed to, say, a government attorney's office) in determining whether to bring charges.

And I don't understand how Officer Wilson's sworn testimony can be so obviously tinged with racism (seriously, read how he describes Brown, all of the connotations in his language in describing the neighborhood...read how he refers to Brown as "it", rather than "he"), and so consistent with the b.s. story the Chief of Police first told and later recanted because it chronologically didn't hold up.

I don't know if this was convictible, but I can't imagine how it's not incredibly indictable.

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What's wrong with kids today?

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Glossy news magazines like to characterize generations of kids, as though members have so much in common:

  • Generation X (birthdates from the 1960s to early 1980s) - the MTV generation, doesn't respect authority, is well educated, and is more socially liberal
  • Generation Y (birthdates from early 1980s to early 2000s) - Civic-minded, money-obssessed, and with a narcissistic sense of entitlement
  • Generation Z (birthdates from early 2000s to present) - The "connected" generation grew up with mobile phones, the Internet, and likely unconcerned with ethnicity

While these are fun, I believe there are other characteristics to group people together by.  For example, I propose that we group them by the way in which they get on my nerves.

Today?  I'd like to describe people that annoy me by simultaneously being unable to think for themselves, and beliving they are "the bright ones".  I'll do this by repeating the conversation I heard at the next table at a smoothie stop, in the middle of the last school year after picking my sonl.

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Lessons

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 I considered making this a "Top n" list, or possibly "Politics".  It's about one of the most important rules you can teach your kids.  Those rules are:

  1. Treat everyone well, even those who don't deserve it.
  2. Life's not fair.
  3. Don't be afraid to lose.

And, on Facebook walls, recently, #2 doesn't appear widely understood...

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New Directions (and Cleanin' Up)

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  1.  I like the idea of the "One of these things" game, so much, that I've created a new topic for it.  "Small.to Games" is where this and any other, similar games can be offered up. Have an idea for a challenge you want to pose to the Small.to collective?  Post it to Small.to Games.
  2. I think that some of the topics over there (Fantasy Sports, LUSA for those who care) are ready for full-time mothballing.  Unfortunately, I didn't build an archival function for "topics".  What I plan to do: export all of the stories in each topic, into a single HTML or text file, and then delete the topic outright.  Authors (mostly norcalfella) who've posted in those topics, let me know if you have a better idea.
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Throwin' Fingers

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 When I see people on FB showing gang hand signs, I wonder lots of things:

  • Why is this person (obviously not a gang member) doing this?
  • What is that hand sign supposed to indicate?  (Yeah, there are some indices of gang hand signs on the internet, but none that are comprehensive or easily searched)
  • Why am I so old and nerdy?
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Martial Arts Studio Endorsement

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 My son's martial arts studio (Z-Ultimate), which teaches shaolin kempo, used to be around the corner from our house in Dublin, CA.  They've recently relocated to San Ramon.

His instructor was looking to have the studio's website come up in response to a query for Martial Arts San Ramon.  It's not that he wants it to improve in the rankings...he wants it listed, at all.  I figured one link from my website might accomplish that.

But if you're looking for self-defense or martial arts instruction, I think they're pretty good, and can recommend them.

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Oh, but when they wake up...

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I maintain that, while I seem immune to the "babies are cute" bug, and while I used to cringe at the uselessness of being told my  kid's cute [I get it...he looks like his mother...], it is a scientifically-verifiable fact that, when sleeping, babies are cute.

 

(At the very least, when sleeping *on* someone, babies are adorable)

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NFL Predictions 2011: Divisional Round

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 It's nice to be perfect. Well, almost perfect. I was 3-1 straight up (172-81 overall) while going 4-0 against the spread (128-127-5 overall) and 4-0 on the over/under (151-104-4 overall). I don't recall ever going 8-0 versus Vegas in any playoff weekend so that was cool. 

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