Categories
Miscellaneous

Re: Doubling Down on Double Standards

Responding to “Doubling Down on Double Standards” by Jonah Goldberg at The Dispatch.

It’s rare that I disagree with Jonah; happens about once every 12-18 months. This, I guess, is one of those instances. Although, oddly, I think I agree with nearly every point made in the piece; the way the Biden allegations have been handled is the much nearer way all allegations should be handled, imperfectly applied due process is better than no due process, team Trump using this as a cudgel against Biden is the height of hypocrisy, etc.

Yet, I don’t think the conclusions quite make sense. I’m sure some cranks on twitter and some paid Trump flacks offer some support to the otherwise straw man Jonah so ably dismembers. But it seems to me, that the bulk of the criticism (and at minimum my own position) is simply that the Biden saga highlights the double-standard displayed in the political media’s crusade against Kavanaugh. And while I agree that the ‘Biden standard’ ought to obtain in these cases, I’m going to need someone to show me where any serious journalistic consensus is emerging to that effect. We certainly didn’t see any contrition or introspection from Dean Baquet. So while I agree that the political media’s behavior vis-a-vis Biden was better, it doesn’t seem that the political media has much intention of hewing to that standard as a rule.

An additional nit I feel I must pick. On the issue of ‘imperfectly applied due process,’ I agree with the statement in it’s purest form. However, I think it misstates the situation. While in the abstract due process in, say, 50% of cases is better than due process in 0% of cases, if the population being denied due process are all (or nearly all) of one class, moreover if they are being denied due process because the are of that class, it’s an entirely different discussion. If on Earth 2, we were to discover that the political media afforded due process in the case of such allegations to everyone except Presbyterians, we would both agree on the intolerability of that standard.

Categories
Miscellaneous

The Best Car Commercial Ever?

“Here’s a couple of things America got right: cars and freedom.”

Just shy of a decade later, I still think about this commercial from time to time. 🇺🇸

Categories
Miscellaneous

Sports Illustrated Praise for Gandy-Golden

I’ve been enjoying the coverage of Antonio Gandy-Golden this off season. Naturally, I hope the Cowboys draft him, but that seems doubtful. Either way, it’ll be fun watching him play on Sunday.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, Liberty (6-4, 220): Gandy-Golden finished his senior year ranked No. 4 in the country in receiving yards (1,396) and No. 5 in receiving yards per game (107.4). As a senior, he had 79 receptions for 1,396 yards (17.7 average) and 10 touchdowns to earn a place in the Senior Bowl. He became the first player in program history to record 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons (1,396 yards as a senior, 1,037 as a junior and 1,066 as a sophomore). He is the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards (3,814), receptions (240) and receiving touchdowns (33).

Gandy-Golden didn’t begin playing football until his freshman year of high school. The big guy’s balance and flexibility comes from his gymnastics background. That’s the sport he competed in as a youth in Chicago as a way to keep him out of trouble. “My balance is definitely better because of the tumbling,” Gandy-Golden told the Daily Orange. “I’ve always been strong for my size but I have a better idea of how to jump and use my body.” He put himself on the map with 13 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns vs. Baylor in 2017. “It just shows because he has unbelievable balance. He can do all types of frontflips and backflips and all that type of stuff,” Liberty receivers coach Kyle DeArmon told the News and Advance. “All of that stuff transitions over to the football field mainly because of the balance that he has. He’s able to stay on his feet, he’s able to control his body to go up and make those type of catches.”

H/t Sports Illustrated

Categories
Miscellaneous

Talent on Loan from God

Seeing Rush get the Medal of Freedom brought tears to my eyes. I grew up listening to Rush on long car rides with my grandpa to Little Rock or Gonzales or God knows where. His bumper music is seared into my brain and brings a smile to my face even today. Love him or hate him, few people have done more to promote freedom and America than Rush Limbaugh. Well deserved.

Categories
Miscellaneous

XKCD: “Reionization Plays a Lot of Selena Gomez.”

H/t XKCD.

Categories
Media Miscellaneous Technology

Best of 2018

It’s that time of year. The time when everybody makes a whole big thing out of one number changing on the calendar. By my count, the number 8 has been replaced by the number 9 thirty-six times this year. But we’re all supposed to act like the thirty-seventh time is some big deal. Once you’ve seen the new millennium, its hard to get excited about 2019. 

Nevertheless, I am given to understand that year-end-best-of posts are like catnip to you people so I would be falling down on my job as a Semi-Professional Blogger™if didn’t crank one out for the driveling masses. Here goes…

*note: I will not be limiting myself to things released in 2018. For me, it is enough if I have consumed the thing in 2018.

Books

This year, I set a goal to read 26 books. Then I hit that goal. So I increased it to 35. Then I hit it again. After repeating the aforementioned cycle a few more times, I landed at my current goal of 52 books (see all the books I have read this year). Here are some of the highlights: 

Movies

There have been a lot more disappointments in the film industry than hits this year, at least for me. A Star is Born was 2/3 of a good movie. Avengers: Infinity War was solid, but not exceptional. Black Panther was great, but everyone already knows that. So here are the best movies I saw this year that didn’t get enough buzz:

TV Shows

Something, something Golden-Age-of-TelevisonÂŽ:

Apps

There are a lot of apps out there. It’s kind of a big deal. I regularly make app recommendations to people, here are some of my favorite apps I started using in the last year: 

Stuff

This is America, dammit. And in America we love stuff. New stuff, old stuff, shiny stuff… you get the idea. These are some of my favorite things I bought this year:

There you have it. Go buy some stuff. It will make you happy for at least a few minutes.

Categories
Miscellaneous

On Barbecue

Being from Texas, I have strong opinions regarding the smoking of meat. Barbecue is the sacred tradition of my people. From the cattle ranchers perfecting brisket to the Germanic, Polish, and Czech infusion of sausage, Texas is barbecue and vice versa. When you live your life in the holy land of smoke rings and pits, you grow accustomed to a certain level of quality; a quality not easily found in other parts of the country. A fact which I quickly discovered when I moved to Virginia in 2015.

The ‘best’ barbecue in Lynchburg—where I moved in 2015—was from Dickey’s. This was the consensus of everyone I spoke to in the area. Including my fellow texpatriots (people who has left their native country of Texas), much to our disappointment. It seems that the great state of Virginia has not been informed of the Gospel of Smoke. Thus, I have set about to rectify this cruel trick of fate.

1. There is only one true style of barbecue.

Pipe down Kansas City, Memphis, and Carolina. Texas barbecue is the one and only true style of barbecue. (Oh, and while we’re talking about states, Arkansas, ‘side’ means it goes beside the barbecue. Get that coleslaw off your sandwiches. You’re embarrassing yourself.) K.C., no one likes that spicy ketchup you call barbecue sauce. Memphis, see my side-note directed at Arkansas. Carolina, Vinegar? Why? The fact that theses pretenders to the crown of smoky glory are chiefly differentiated by the bases of their sauces, proves that they are, in fact, pale imitations of the one true barbecue. Which brings me to the second law of barbecue.

2. Sauce is a crutch.

Barbecue sauce is the autotune of the smoking process. Its purpose is to cover up shoddy craftsmanship and sub-par flavor with a sugary sweet syrup that takes your mind away from the bland nothingness in your mouth. Sauced barbecue is to real barbecue, as Miley Cyrus is to the Eagles: a pale imitation and a miserable successor. True barbecue should be imbued with enough flavor from the smoking process that to smother it in sauce would be, rightly, considered laughable.

3. Pork is not barbecue. Period.

Nor is chicken, lamb, turkey, or—god forbid—fish (looking at you K.C.). With the exception of fish, these are acceptable sides for real barbecue but contemptible substitutes. What, then, is real barbecue? Beef brisket. End of discussion. In its purest form, barbecue is sliced or chopped brisket; nothing else. Ideally, served with a half-loaf of thinly sliced white bread and coleslaw, potato salad, green beans, and onions as sides.

You should now be wondering where you have to go to get this mouthwatering barbecue I have described. The answer is simple: Texas. It’s not hard to find good barbecue in Texas but if you want the best, you will need to venture off the beaten path. Kruez Market in Lockhart, Texas is the best barbecue you will taste this side of heaven (it is universally accepted that the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will, in fact, be beef brisket). But, if you can’t make it to this beef oasis between Austin and San Antonio, here are some other options that will suffice:

  • Pecan Lodge (Dallas)
  • Franklin’s (Austin)
  • Black’s (Lockhart)
  • Cooper’s (Llano)
  • Smitty’s Market (Lockhart)
  • Gatlin’s (Houston)

Try any of these and your life will be forever changed.

Categories
Miscellaneous

I know most of you don’t understand what it’s like to ask “is dad coming home?” instead of “when is dad coming home?” That’s ok. I don’t expect you to. I know most of you have never had comfort your sister because she’s afraid her dad won’t come home. That’s ok. Not everyone could do what my dad does. 

But here is what I do ask, next time you decide to take to Facebook and bash the police, take a minute and think about it. Remember today. Today the sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters of four Dallas Police Department Officers are weeping because their police officer went on shift and isn’t coming home. The loved ones of 7 others will have nightmares for years, as some of them will put the uniform back on because when duty calls, the police answer. And think about the families of the thousands of officers around this country who want just one thing in this life: for their police officer to come home. 

Here is the other thing I ask: take a few minutes today, go on YouTube, and search “police officer attacked by suspect.” If you think that cops just are out there preying on black men then you need a wake up call. Are there abuses? Yes. Are there bad actors? Yes. However, they are few and far between. But you need to understand that at any moment in a police officer’s interaction with a suspect, things can, and often do, go sideways. Police are a target. The nature of their job places them in harms way. Until you understand that, until you’ve seen cops shot, beaten, run over, and killed in the line of duty, I’m sorry, but your criticism carries no weight with me. 

A lot of people say their dad is their hero, but mine really is a hero. David Griesinger is the most caring and compassionate man I know. He spends most nights in a squad car protecting the people of Grand Prairie, Texas. Grand Prairie is about 20 minute from downtown Dallas. My dad will put the uniform on for his next shift and he will continue to do his job despite the shadow of four fallen and seven wounded officers. Why? Because my dad is a hero. When everyone else is running out, you can find him running in, along side his fellow officers. When duty calls, the police answer.

So send up a prayer for my dad and for all the police officers who’s only wish is to come home to their family tonight. Send up a prayer for the spouses who can’t help but worry. Send up a prayer for the kids who have to ask the question no kid ever should–is daddy coming home? And send up a special prayer for the ones who got their answer late last night.

Categories
Miscellaneous

Downtown Lynchburg, VA Photography

I decided to do a little exploring in Downtown Lynchburg, VA. It is a beautiful old town whose architecture just drips with history. The city was settled in the mid-1700s and experienced industrialization in the 1880s. The age of the city is apparent in its construction; you regularly find modern buildings right next to turn of the century factories and shops. Lynchburg is a beautiful mosaic of modernity and antiquity.

Categories
Miscellaneous

5 Things You Should Do When It Seems Like Your Life Is Falling Apart

Originally written for Inside Out Magazine and published in Feb. 2015.

At times in life it seems like nothing is going according to plan.

The path, ever so carefully laid, seems to be crumbling at every turn.

Your “Five Year Plan” is starting to look more like a pipe dream than anything else and you just don’t know what to do. On days like that it’s easy to sit around and wonder what you did wrong and why nothing seems to be going your way. That has been my life recently.

The last few months have a merry-go-round of disappointment, unmet expectations, and hopes dashed.

So what do you do when it seems like nothing is going your way?

I don’t know. I am trying to figure it out, but I just don’t know. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step guide to turn your life around I am sorry to disappoint. I am just like you, a normal guy trying to figure out this sometimes beautiful, often baffling, always complex thing called life. But I have found a few things that can help keep the melancholy at bay.

1. Set Goals And Reach Them

I am talking about the kind of goals that you can reach in a day or a week. Don’t get me wrong, long term goals are important but what you need right now is a shot in the arm of accomplishment not the seemingly far flung hope of a long term goal. So set a goal you can reach today. Maybe it’s to go for a run, or to write a blog post, or something else entirely, just accomplish something. Then set a goal for the week. Maybe it’s to finish something you’ve been putting off, or it could be just to read a book. It really doesn’t matter what your goals are, just so long as you are accomplishing them.

2. Revel In The Small Victories

When you accomplish something, even something small, take note. when something good happens, take note. And celebrate the little wins. I got a 28 on the ACT, one point better then my long-shot goal. That is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life but when it seems like nothing else is going your way even little things need to be celebrated. One of my new years resolutions is to get a jar and whenever something good happens to write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar so that at times like this when I am feeling down I can open up the jar and see all the good things happening in my life.

3. Reach Out To Friends

This can be especially hard for guys, when we’re down our natural instinct is to isolate and muscle through our problems. The problem is that that isn’t healthy. One of the first things God said about human beings is that it is not good for us to be alone. Isolation is no way to live. We were meant to have fellowship with other people and sometimes you just need to talk about your problems with someone.

4. Unplug

Maybe it’s time to log off Facebook for a while. If you find yourself wallowing in self pity after you get read social media it’s probably time to give it a rest. When you compare your life to other people’s Facebook timeline it’s like comparing their highlight real to your behind the scenes. Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the virtual connections and connect to real people in real life.

5. Pray

Don’t think I am just tacking this on at the end to earn Jesus Points. I want it to by the thing you walk away from the post with, so I want it to be the last thing you read. God doesn’t want us to come to him just when things are good, and when things are going according to plan. Pour your heart out to God, tell him how you’re feeling, tell him what’s wrong, tell him your fears, after all he’s the only one who really knows whats going to happen tomorrow, or next year for that matter.