SYSBYRT

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lizlemon

"You need to dress like you have a job and parents who raised you in some kind of shame based American religious tradition." - Liz Lemon

Pine Tar Game

From Filip Bondy's book about the Pine Tar Game:

And then Martin made a move that led to one of my favorite baseball moments: At the start of the game, Martin had reliever George Frazier appeal the play at first, claiming Brett had missed the bag during his home-run trot. When that was denied, Frazier appealed that Brett had missed second base and then appealed that Brett had missed third base. After all that, Martin stormed out of the dugout to shout there was no possible way the umpiring crew — a new umpiring crew — could know whether Brett had touched all the bases. Ha! Martin had them!

Only he didn’t. Home-plate umpire Dave Phillips pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to Martin.

It was a notarized affidavit from the previous umpiring crew stating unequivocally that Brett had touched all the bases.

Great Lines: The Show Me I'm Making A Mistake Edition

I have a mixed relationship with what people would call self-help. I think most of it is bogus nonsense. But there are some people who make sense. The point here is that there aren't any absolutes. There is usually at least a modicum of value in most things.

First, a quote about failing to achieve goals. This goes with my feelings when I hear some version of "They're so smart, if they'd only apply themselves." To me, those are the stupidest people: you possess the ability but don't have the drive:

In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process. The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will.


Second, another quote about how true creativity can be brought to the world:

“[Great creative minds] think like artists but work like accountants...


Third, I think that Marcus Aurelius is one of the most impactful thinkers who ever lived. I've linked the translation of Meditations that I think is the best:

If anyone can refute me—show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone.

Happy World Lion Day

An image by 16th-century Swiss scholar Konrad Gesner, featured in Edward Topsell’s wonderful History of Four-footed Beasts (1607)

lion

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How Bad Should We Feel When the Willfully Unvaccinated Die?

How Bad Should We Feel When the Willfully Unvaccinated Die?:

So when your cousin/high school friend/neighbor and people like them who choose not to get vaccinated contract COVID and die, while the temptation is to be all, welp, what did you expect, you fucked around and found out, entertain the notion that, alongside anything else about the situation, they have been victimized by people who largely knew better. There are people who know that a virus doesn’t care about politics, but decided to frame it as a political issue because doing so ultimately allows them to sell pillows and nutritional powders and reverse mortgages and gold coins and whatnot to the people they terrified and made angry and ignorant, and because they think that in the authoritarian future they are working so hard to bring about, somehow they will be the ones wearing the boots instead of being crushed under a heel like everyone else.

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Obama talking trash

At the core, the Republicans hate anyone with swag. They don't have any, so they're jealous of anyone who does.

Lies

Men lie, women lie, buckets don’t.- Dion Waiters

dion

Words to live by

Coach Finstock from the movie Teen Wolf said the following wise words:

There are 3 rules that I live by: never get less than 12 hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body.

Vital public health information

I love Mike Birbiglia's comedy. His book had gems like the following:

The closest I had come to seeing a woman naked was in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Since my parents never gave me a sex talk, all I knew was that sex had something to do with swimming.

Great Lines: The Don't Want to Be Enlightened Edition

I'm worried that we've got an impassable gulf between the Trump faction and the rest of America. In times like this, I read history and it shows that there were times in the past when were similarly divided. America made it through. But can we keep on repeating history? I don't know.

This is an old article, but it shows how little things have changed over the years.

the most obvious question no one has the guts to ask: “What if Americans don’t want to be enlightened? What if they’re a bunch of mean, miserable hicks as hostile to enlightened thinking as they are to the possibility of free, quality health care?”


You’d rather fuck things up on your own, something you’re quite good at, and bring others down with you—than live with the shame of having been helped by someone more decent and talented than you.


Kerry’s war heroism secretly pissed off untold millions of American males, especially middle-aged white American males, who identified with the cowardice and loud-mouthed hypocrisy of the Republican war deserters, because most white middle-class American males were war deserters too.

One More Chance Translation

This is the granddaddy of rap song translations. I think this was the first thing that was viral that I ever encountered.

What a life! I'll return you to LaGuardia in time to catch your 8 o'clock flight. The timing is perfect because I have scheduled a date with a second woman who arrives at the same gate at 9 o'clock. I'll seduce her in the same way that I seduced you. I rap well and I am a positive reflection of my home town. Not only am I a sexually deviant, misogynistic, immoral, wealthy, male prostitute, but I also sit on the board of directors of the organization that governs others of my kind.

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Grit isn't always a plus

From Eric Barker's book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree:

I know plenty of people for whom grit is a liability because it allows them to stick with something that makes them or others miserable and towards no long-term good aim.

Kenny Rogers also put it well:

You got to know when to hold 'em,
Know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to run.

Great Lines: The Rented Family Edition

By the time you read this, I will have had some eye surgery. So this newsletter may or may not be getting sent to you from a blind man. :)

First, John Scalzi accurately captures my feelings about people who refuse to wear masks:

...at this point if you are choosing to be unvaccinated because of a political position or because “you don’t trust the science” or whatever dimwit rationale you have, you’re being an asshole, and if you get sick, I’m not going to waste any sympathy on you. My sympathy at this point is for the people the willfully unvaccinated are going out of their way to endanger, namely, the people who genuinely can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons, whose lives will still be curtailed because some of us have decided being a shitty person about COVID is a legitimate social and political stance. Hey! Stop being an asshole about this. Get vaccinated.


Second, you can apparently rent families in Japan to help avoid socially awkward situations:

Terai searched YouTube for tear-inducing videos, and found a Thai life-insurance commercial about a girl who didn’t appreciate the love of her deaf-mute father. Terai cried, and felt that a burden had been lifted.


Third, it's very easy to fall prey to conspiracy theories and faulty thinking:

all it takes to enter an echo chamber is a momentary lapse of intellectual vigilance. Once you’re in, the echo chamber’s belief systems function as a trap, making future acts of intellectual vigilance only reinforce the echo chamber’s worldview.


Totalitarianism

These are the types of people who are the greatest threats to our system:

...the ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (ie. the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (ie. the standards of thought) no longer exist.

Great Lines: The Hillbilly Elegy Edition

J.D. Vance is now one of the people he talks about it in this book. People say that it was plain to anyone that he would make his current heel turn into a die-hard Trumper. For me, this raises a larger question: if someone turns out to be a terrible person, can you still enjoy the art that they made? I don't actively listen to R. Kelly or Michael Jackson anymore, but I won't change the song if they come on. At the end of the day, I don't have the answer. If you have thoughts, please reply to this email.

Anyways, the following quotes are from J.D. Vance's book, Hillbilly Elegy.

There is a cultural movement in the white working class to blame problems on society or the government, and that movement gains adherents by the day.

First,

According to Middletown High School legend, a student called in a bomb threat during one of Selby’s exams, hiding the explosive device in a bag in his locker. With the entire school evacuated outside, Selby marched into the school, retrieved the contents of the kid’s locker, marched outside, and threw those contents into a trash can. “I’ve had that kid in class; he’s not smart enough to make a functioning bomb,” Selby told the police officers gathered at the school. “Now let my students go back to class to finish their exams.”


Second,

Or there was that day when Uncle Teaberry overheard a young man state a desire to “eat her panties,” a reference to his sister’s (my Mamaw’s) undergarments. Uncle Teaberry drove home, retrieved a pair of Mamaw’s underwear, and forced the young man—at knifepoint—to consume the clothing.


Third,

I once ran into an old acquaintance at a Middletown bar who told me that he had recently quit his job because he was sick of waking up early. I later saw him complaining on Facebook about the “Obama economy” and how it had affected his life.


Fourth,

One guy, I’ll call him Bob, joined the tile warehouse just a few months before I did. Bob was nineteen with a pregnant girlfriend. The manager kindly offered the girlfriend a clerical position answering phones. Both of them were terrible workers. The girlfriend missed about every third day of work and never gave advance notice. Though warned to change her habits repeatedly, the girlfriend lasted no more than a few months. Bob missed work about once a week, and he was chronically late. On top of that, he often took three or four daily bathroom breaks, each over half an hour. It became so bad that, by the end of my tenure, another employee and I made a game of it: We’d set a timer when he went to the bathroom and shout the major milestones through the warehouse—“Thirty-five minutes!” “Forty-five minutes!” “One hour!” Eventually, Bob, too, was fired. When it happened, he lashed out at his manager: “How could you do this to me? Don’t you know I’ve got a pregnant girlfriend?” And he was not alone: At least two other people, including Bob’s cousin, lost their jobs or quit during my short time at the tile warehouse.

The Internet, as we know it

This is a very accurate reflection of my feelings about the Internet at large:

This is all exacerbated by the fact that the current state of the Internet and social media essentially renders it an emotional outlet plugged directly into each person’s id. It rewards extreme behavior, and people crave to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so of course they get pulled into taking part in a mob of like-minded individuals who are all saying similar things. It's easy to get swept up in a sea of validation. I found myself there so many times, and only later, once the storm dissipated, did I sit back and consider the consequences of my own actions in that situation.

A defense of being widely read

Gen. Mark Milley Delivers Powerful Defense of Studying Critical Race Theory:

What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. I want to maintain an open mind. I do want to analyze it. It’s important that we understand it. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians — they come from the American people. It’s important that the leaders, now and in the future, understand it.

I wish more people had this view today.

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Trust No One

A true gentleman knows his likes:

Sir Stewart Menzies, who, we are told, "rode to hounds, mixed with royalty, never missed a day at Ascot, drank a great deal, and kept his secrets buttoned up behind a small, fierce mustache. He preferred women to men and horses to both.


According to Macintyre, the elder Elliott "loathed music, which gave him indigestion, despised all forms of heating as 'effete,' and believed that 'when dealing with foreigners the best plan was to shout at them in English.' "

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