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Author: Alan

How NOT to have a conversation

How NOT to have a conversation

Conversations involve TWO parties. Ideally they should contribute equally. Unfortunately, that’s not how many go and most people probably won’t recognize themselves in this post.

Nicholas Cole describes it best in his Medium article Relationships Fail Because Most People Have Conversations Like This (PDF)

In Summary:

It’s so simple. When you’re with someone, ask them questions and actually listen

Supporting your kids’ choice of college.

Supporting your kids’ choice of college.

Four years ago, I blogged: I Don’t Care Where My Children Go To College. I was making the point that we should support our children’s choices even if we feel they fall short of their potential, or what WE think they should reach for.

Today, I update my stance by adding, I WOULD care where they went to college, if I felt it was an unnecessary extravagance. MELODY WARNICK makes a great point about the choice to attend a prestigious and expensive college, when more affordable and worthy options exist, in her Slate article I Killed My Teenager’s Fancy College Dreams. You Should, Too. Some excerpts:

Why are we parents so loath to set financial limits on our kids’ college ambitions? Maybe because it seems crass to bring money into their reach-for-the-stars dreams. Maybe because we cling to the hope of generous scholarships and lavish financial aid packages that will make our money worries moot. Maybe because we deeply believe the destiny of smart teenagers is to attend their dream school, and ours is to finance it. To do otherwise is to fail at middle-class parenting.

On the other hand, saying no is part of my job as a parent. Hasn’t it been my role all along to steer my kid toward smarter but seemingly less desirable choices? Carrots instead of Kit Kats, an early bedtime instead of an all-night YouTube binge? Children naturally hate those kinds of limits. They may temporarily hate us. But they’re too young and myopic to see how this one decision could make their lives harder for a long, long time. We can.

Eventually, our prolonged brainwashing attempts seemed to succeed with Ella. She started talking about how reluctant she was to go into debt for college, like it had been her idea all along. She even thanked us for being upfront about the financial consequences of college. This fall she applied to exactly two universities, in the Venn diagram overlap between “schools we can pay for” and “schools where she actually wants to go.” They’re not art schools, but both have stellar art programs. Her guidance counselor, whose only focus is getting in and not paying up, thinks she’s crazy to limit her options like that, but we’re thrilled that the highest tuition at either is around $16,000. Not chump change, but probably doable.


David’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee

David’s 2019 Jeep Cherokee

Last one to get a new car. We traded in David’s 2011 Nissan Altima (117k miles) for a new 2019 Jeep Cherokee. That makes 3 white cars and 2 black cars in the family. Jane and I wanted to give all of our kids a head start in life with no school debt and not worrying about their car when they start out their lives after college.

First born

First born

Technically, Jane and I are empty nesters. All three of our kids are in college. But they are still dependent on us and not that far away at Texas A&M and Houston Baptist University.

Starting in 2020, Cassidy, our first born will be starting her career as a Labor & Delivery nurse at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Houston Medical Center. After getting her Bachelor of Science in Allied Health at Texas A&M, and graduating this December from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, she will be moving to Houston for her much anticipated first job.

All three of our kids have given us much to be proud of, but this is definitely the biggest milestone for one of them and we could not be prouder! Every decision she has made to prepare for this day, every accomplishment she has received, she has worked so hard for. We are beaming with pride. The cartoon above does not reflect our joy of having our life back, it represents the joy we feel thinking about Cassidy starting her adult life having accomplished exactly what she set out to do after graduating from Lake Travis High School.

You rock Cassidy!

America Is Living James Madison’s Nightmare

America Is Living James Madison’s Nightmare

The Founders designed a government that would resist mob rule. They didn’t anticipate how strong the mob could become.

…To prevent factions from distorting public policy and threatening liberty, Madison resolved to exclude the people from a direct role in government. “A pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction,” Madison wrote in “Federalist ?10.” The Framers designed the American constitutional system not as a direct democracy but as a representative republic, where enlightened delegates of the people would serve the public good. They also built into the Constitution a series of cooling mechanisms intended to inhibit the formulation of passionate factions, to ensure that reasonable majorities would prevail.

…The people would directly elect the members of the House of Representatives, but the popular passions of the House would cool in the “Senatorial saucer,” as George Washington purportedly called it: The Senate would comprise natural aristocrats chosen by state legislators rather than elected by the people. And rather than directly electing the chief executive, the people would vote for wise electors — that is, propertied white men — who would ultimately choose a president of the highest character and most discerning judgment. The separation of powers, meanwhile, would prevent any one branch of government from acquiring too much authority. The further division of power between the federal and state governments would ensure that none of the three branches of government could claim that it alone represented the people.

…Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms have accelerated public discourse to warp speed, creating virtual versions of the mob. Inflammatory posts based on passion travel farther and faster than arguments based on reason. Rather than encouraging deliberation, mass media undermine it by creating bubbles and echo chambers in which citizens see only those opinions they already embrace.

…More recently, geographical and political self-sorting has produced voters and representatives who are willing to support the party line at all costs. After the Republicans took both chambers of Congress in 1994, the House of Representatives, under Speaker Newt Gingrich, adjusted its rules to enforce party discipline, taking power away from committee chairs and making it easier for leadership to push bills into law with little debate or support from across the aisle. The defining congressional achievements of Barack Obama’s presidency and, thus far, Donald Trump’s presidency — the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, respectively — were passed with no votes from members of the minority party.

…Madison feared that Congress would be the most dangerous branch of the federal government, sucking power into its “impetuous vortex.” But today he would shudder at the power of the executive branch. The rise of what the presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called the “imperial presidency” has unbalanced the equilibrium among the three branches. Modern presidents rule by executive order rather than consulting with Congress. They direct a massive administrative state, with jurisdiction over everything from environmental policy to the regulation of the airwaves. Trump’s populist promise — “I alone can fix it” — is only the most dramatic in a long history of hyperbolic promises, made by presidents from Wilson to Obama, in order to mobilize their most ideologically extreme voters.

…During the 20th century, the Supreme Court also became both more powerful and more divided. The Court struck down federal laws two times in the first 70 years of American history, just over 50 times in the next 75 years, and more than 125 times since 1934. Beginning with the appointment of Anthony Kennedy, in 1987, the Court became increasingly polarized between justices appointed by Republican presidents and justices appointed by Democratic presidents. Kennedy’s retirement raises the likelihood of more constitutional rulings split between five Republican appointees and four Democratic ones.

For the full article go HERE (PDF)

Google Sheets Tips

Google Sheets Tips

To sort a row of columns:
Define the following formula on a blank row:
=transpose(sort(transpose(C3:H4)))
Then just copy the sorted row and copy...special..values only
Delete all but the copied row
Trying to Reboot Baseball

Trying to Reboot Baseball

Kristen Pitching 12u

Devin Gordon posted an article on Medium titled The Off-the-Radar Baseball League That’s Trying to Reboot the Game. It describes how too many home runs and strikeouts (“true outcomes,” in baseball vernacular) is taking the fun out of the game. Major League Baseball, is in a three-year partnership with the independent Atlantic League to test out numerous experimental rules designed to enliven the game.

Baseball was my primary sport growing up, and of course I enjoyed immensely coaching David and Kristen in youth baseball. When it comes to watching, however, it’s one of my least favorite sports to watch for all the reasons stated in the article.

Here is my radicle idea: Any ball hit over the fence is an out. It’s not original. I played in a coed softball team that had that rule in place.

PDF

grep tips

grep tips

The following will create a new file with lines removed containing given pattern:

cat file.txt | grep -v "pattern" >filtered.txt

Match two words:
grep -E -i -w 'word1|word2' sourcefile.txt
grep -rl "string" /path // -r recurse, -l output filenames only


Kristen’s 2020 Sportage

Kristen’s 2020 Sportage

Kristen’s heading to Houston Baptist University in 2 months. We decided to finally retire the 2006 Sportage in our family (thank you Mom) and get her a new Kia Sportage with the latest collision avoidance safety features standard in the Sportage 2020. Doesn’t look too bad either!

2020 Kia Sportage