Know Where You Stand

Yesterday, the President came to Baltimore to visit Fort McHenry as part of the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem.  War of 1812 and all that.

He, as one would expect, arrived via the Marine One helicopter… there’s plenty of space at Fort McHenry to land a helicopter.

This is, I think we would all agree, a normal and acceptable function of the head of state.  He visited a major celebration of an important time in the history of the United States, got to tour a historical site, and hobnob with the people there.  I’m cool with that.

At about 3-3:30PM, however, I95 southbound was closed at the Ft McHenry tunnel.  All access routes out of Baltimore to I95 Southbound were closed.  I695 Westbound from I95 (the West side inner loop) was also closed, so there was no access to I695 to go West or North from I95 all the way around to past I70.

It remained closed until after 5PM.

That’s on a Friday.  During rush hour.  As an Orioles game ended.  During a huge historic celebration bringing tourists into and around Baltimore.

The road closures were not announced until they were happening, and no ETAs for reopening were provided.

Why?

Because the President needed to attend a fundraiser for Democratic Senators, held at a private residence in Northwest Baltimore.  A house owned by a wealthy hedge fund manager, and a fundraiser that cost tens of thousands of dollars to attend.  (I’m thinking everyone there was probably in the 1%).

The result?  Tens of thousands of commuters were stuck.  Downtown Baltimore was absolutely gridlocked for hours.  Since there were no alternate routes, and overpasses along His travel route were also closed, there was no where to go, and no one knew what time it would end.

I understand the security needs of the President.  While I think it’s overkill to shut down an interstate so He can use it, I get it.  I understand why the closures aren’t announced, and why the timing isn’t shared with the public  What I don’t understand is how we got to the point that we simply accept the President can shut down a city for a couple of hours during rush hour to go to a fundraiser.  How much did that fundraiser cost the area in lost productivity?  Frustration?  Parents getting home to their kids?  I would argue it’s thousands of hours, and in the millions of dollars.

Here’s what it cost me, just as an example: Continue reading


Just curious

Is directly ordering the drone assassination of a child more, less, or the same level of murder as beheading a journalist?

 


Personality Test

Upon awakening, you discover you are out of clean underwear.  Do you:

a) go through your dirty clothes and find a pair previously worn, trying to remember which ones you wore to the gym

b) hop in the shower, and just go commando  (“I feel like a naked innocent boy roaming the countryside“)

c) go back to bed and wait for your wife to do some laundry?

Asking, of course, for a friend.


Satire or Real?

I don’t pay much attention to diet/nutrition/lifting stuff on the web any more.  It’s all been said, and nearly everyone talking either doesn’t know what they are saying, or they are just trying to separate people from their money.

So I heard about something called bulletproof coffee, and I just ignored it as junk science used to sell something.  But for some reason, this week I visited the website.

And I have to say, I think it may be one of the most brilliant pieces of satire I’ve seen since Prancersise.

The website features the character Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive.  His bio snippet (which is brilliant), includes this:

Dave Asprey, founder of The Bulletproof Executive, is a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur who spent 15 years and over $300,000 to hack his own biology. Dave lost 100 pounds without counting calories or excessive exercise, used techniques to upgrade his brain by more than 20 IQ points, and lowered his biological age while learning to sleep more efficiently in less time. Learning to do these seemingly impossible things transformed him into a better entrepreneur, a better husband, and a better father.

From private brain EEG facilities hidden in a Canadian forest to remote monasteries in Tibet, from Silicon Valley to the Andes, Dave used hacking techniques and tried everything on himself, obsessively focused on discovering the answers to this one persistent question:

What are the simplest things you can do to be better at everything?

It hits on just about everything – no effort, less sleep, higher IQ, Tibetan monks.  Here’s the video on the magic coffee.

Just fantastic.  Of course, the character has all the social media pages, a blog, training and diet advice (foods to fear!  Tim Ferris 4 hour body!) and they even set up a store where you can buy his special non-toxic coffee.

I just wish I were creative enough to create something this spectacular.

 

 


Brilliant Marketing

I was listening to the Motley Fool podcast for last week, and they interviewed Wharton Professor David Robertson, author of Brick by Brick:  How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry.

Lego got y’all to take your kids and pay to watch a commercial.

He talked about the timing of the release of the movie.  The producers wanted to release it at Christmas; and Lego management said no.  They don’t need help selling Legos at Christmas.  They need help selling them in February.  So that’s when the movie was released.

That is some powerful brand marketing, right there.   It’s all about storytelling.

 


Clintons and Money

I don’t begrudge anyone success, and I don’t begrudge anyone their wealth (unless it was amassed via theft or fraud, and while I think there might be a little of that in any politicians’ past, there’s no real evidence the Clintons are rich because they stole money from someone.)  I also don’t begrudge the children of wealthy people.

Via the New York Daily News, Chelsea Clinton carries on her parents’ tradition of being completely out of touch and incredibly arrogant.

“I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” she told Fast Company in an interview that ran in the magazine’s May edition, explaining why she gave up lucrative gigs to join her family’s philanthropic foundation.

Comparing her experience to the average millennial, the 34-year-old former first daughter defended jumping around to different careers — from consulting to a hedge fund to academia to journalism — before finding her true calling working with her parents.

“It is frustrating, because who wants to grow up and follow their parents? I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents … it’s a funny thing to realize I feel called to this work, both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make,” she continued about her reluctant status as a boomerang kid.

The Clinton name likely opened doors for the political heiress, including an eye-popping $600,000 annual salary for an irregular stint as an NBC special correspondent, but Chelsea insists her work speaks for itself.

“I will just always work harder (than anybody else) and hopefully perform better,” said Clinton, who along with former banker husband Marc Mezvinsky, purchased a $10.5-million Gramercy Park apartment in 2013. “And hopefully, over time, I preempt and erase whatever expectations people have of me not having a good work ethic, or not being smart, or not being motivated.”

Again – I don’t begrudge her success, and I don’t doubt she’s talented, hard working, and ambitious.  Frankly, good for her that she can land a big salary at NBC.  What gets me is she seems to think she needs to apologize for being successful, and then try to get us to believe she’s going to live like some pauper…  trust me, it gets a lot easier to not care about the money the more of it you have.

So be proud of your success, Chelsea.  Own it.  And quit pandering.

Hat tip:  Against Crony Capitalism


Things that should scare you

And, frankly, things that should eliminate someone from serious contention as a Presidential candidate.  Via Huffpost:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about her views on gun control Tuesday, saying she was “disappointed” Congress did not pass a universal background checks bill after “the horrors” of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

“I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation, we cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” Clinton said during a CNN town hall.

I want you to read that again, carefully.  This is a professional politician.  She does not make mistakes with her language.  I think she believes what she says.  And she says we ‘cannot let a minority of people… hold a viewpoint…’  So with a third Clinton administration, your viewpoints will be policed if you are in the minority.

Although I guess they are, already.

 

 


Training, 6/3/14, ME Squat

Chain Suspended Good Mornings

45×10

95×3

135×3

185×3

205×1

225×1

245×1

255×1

265xmiss

I’ve never done these before, because I never had a gym with an EliteFTS rack with a chain hook, and never had chains that would hold a bar.

Leg Press

1ppsx20

2ppsx15

3ppsx15

4ppsx15

5ppsx8

I had my feed 3/4 of an inch from the edges of the foot plate, and 3 inches from the top, angled at 14.8 degrees, so I would hit the lower inner vastus medialis.  Bro.

45 degree hyper

3×12

Side bends

2×12

Prowler Dragging

 


Training, 5/12/14 DE Bench

Bench Press

2×15 @ 45

45+chains x 3

95+chains x 3

135+chains x 3

8×3 @ 155+chains  (3 grips, less than 1 minute rest)

4 Board press

185+chains x 5

225+chains x 5

235+chains x 5

DB Row

4×10 @ 60

1 Arm Press

20×10

2×8 @ 40

Band pressdown

light band, 2×10

 


Wit and Wisdom Review

My non professional opinion of my experience at Wit and Wisdom was fair.  I lean towards disappointment, only because I had heard so many good things.  Perhaps we caught them on an off night.  Perhaps people are raving about the happy hour (which did look good).  Perhaps people who rave about it haven’t experienced some of the really good places around Baltimore.

This isn’t to say it’s bad – it’s not.  It’s good.

Ambiance:

The space is really cool, modern, properly lit, and it seems every seat in the restaurant and bar has a great view of the inner harbor.  The hotel itself (lobby, valet) is also very nice, and hotel service is outstanding.

Service:

Outstanding.  Our waiter and the sommelier were attentive, intelligent, and engaging, without being pretentious or overbearing.  Our waiter knew when he was over his head on a wine recommendation (which is a really good trait in a waiter – far too many think they know all things.)  He gave the wine recommendation a shot, missed, then went and not only found the expert, but prepared her, so she came to the table already carrying other wine options for us.  The sommelier was very knowledgeable (while I’m not a wine expert, you can’t fool me that you are if you aren’t), communicated well, and clearly enjoyed getting it right, giving us options, giving just the right amount of education, and enhancing our experience.  Very well done.  These folks have the front of the house right, and lots of restaurants should be spending time here watching how it should be done.

Food:

Here’s the rub:  I really wanted to love it.  But I didn’t.  We had lobster corn dogs and caesar salads (that they split without some stupid up charge), J had monkfish poached in duck fat, I had a rib eye.  Everything was fine.  But that’s it – fine.  We were expecting to be blown away by something, and we just weren’t.  Nothing was bad, and certainly everything was prepared as we expected.  It’s just that you can get better, more creative food without paying rent to the Four Seasons.  Much better.  If you want a steak, Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s, Sullivan’s, even Flemming’s are all going to do it as well or better, and they aren’t going to charge you that much more, if at all.  (And they aren’t slouches when it comes to service, either).  For creative dishes, Alchemy, The Food Market, Jack’s Bistro, Fork and Wrench are all doing interesting things with excellent results for much lower prices.  And to make sure I don’t leave out some comparably priced places that are in the same area, given a choice I’ll give Chingale, Pazo, even Roy’s higher food marks.

Baltimore is a competitive food town, I’m not mentioning a lot of places that Wit and Wisdom needs to equal or best to get us to return over and over again.  We’ll probably give it another go and give the chef’s tasting menu a shot, or perhaps for happy hour tapas.  But for now, I wouldn’t recommend them when there are so many other choices.

 


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