• I never heard of Damon Bruce until last week and I don’t really care about what he said. Terrible radio rants are just that, and they happen every day, and I just tend to ignore them. For some reason the Internet decided to cling to this one and not let go until a consequence was meted to him.
• I have heard of Rob Neyer (and come to think of it I still owe him a column I promised about three months ago) and I think I kinda maybe understand his point here?
• I am ambivalent toward Amy K. Nelson but this article made very much sense.
• I left no regrets when leaving Hustle Belt as site manager, but one of the things I wish I had done there was bring on women writers. Anytime I put out a call-to-arms to contribute, I never specifically asked for women, but everyone was of course welcome to apply. Maybe this needed to be implied? Maybe I had to actually say, “hey, women, come write for us?” Perhaps this is too niche of an anecdote to count, but there’s the situation, judge for yourselves.
Well, lots of things. But I found a new thing! This one is verb theft.
Somehow we got to a point where if you say “drinking,” the implication is alcohol. Why do you guys get to usurp that verb? I drink all the time. Diet soda, water, Frosted Flakes-flavored milk, and more diet soda. I even drink at work, usually all day, because it makes the day go by easier.
You don’t get to reserve that phrase around alcohol. Say what you mean: you’re drinking poisoned bread water. So I’m just gonna take it back right now.
[pulls on phrase]
[it won’t budge]
Give me a few minutes here.
To those who voluntarily chose a career in law … haha, you fool.
About two months ago I received a summons for jury duty in downtown Detroit. I had received them before but never had to report. Two weeks ago when I called in, however, I had to go down there for who the heck knows how long. I think when you report for jury duty you always have this impression you’re never be picked and it’s just kind of a waste of time, all the while getting a few bucks from the government for your troubles.
So of course this was going to be the time I was picked for a federal case. The trial lasted six days — we broke for the Fourth of July weekend — and we finished our deliberation on Wednesday.
If you’re interested in the details of the case, it was a weird blend of excessively boring and a little fascinating, as much as civil litigation can be. Here’s the quick version: the plaintiff was trying to import cars into the US from China but it never happened, so they were asking for over $30 million in damages because they claimed the defendant, a company whose CEO was a former employee, helped sabotage the deal when he communicated with the Chinese car company’s management through a Yahoo mail account. They threw a ton of legal terms at us — false representation, silent fraud, civil conspiracy, tortious interference, unjust enrichment to name a few — and it was validation that I went into the right line of work (anything but law). We agreed to some of the charges in favor of the plaintiff and awarded them a total of $2 million.
For some of you car buffs, you may have heard of the plaintiff’s CEO (I had not), who was responsible for bringing the Yugo to the United States. He was a very entertaining individual who had a lot of facial expression throughout the entire trial in a room where everyone was mostly stone-faced. He wasn’t present at the verdict, so I couldn’t see his reaction, which was a shame.
So no, there were no suspicious murders or magnificent diamond heists. And at times the whole thing felt like two rich old men arguing over money and blame, but what made that so sweet is because they couldn’t agree on the terms, they let eight strangers figure it out for them. And that was more pressure than I imagined, actually being responsible for potentially eight figures worth of money. It’s probably safe to say I’ll never hold power over that type of money again, unless I can work out the kinks on my alchemy gun that converts puns (comedic gold) into fuel (black gold).
The hardest part during the two weeks was not being able to look up ANYTHING on these people or companies during the evenings, because we knew that there had to be evidence and information that deemed inadmissible for this trial. Actually no the hardest part was not live-tweeting it from the jury box.
Looking back I remember the voir dire process, when they sifted through a group of about 20 of us to select a good jury, and they asked us about specific topics, such as Chinese politics or China in general. When they teased that this was going to involve an automotive company … well, it’s Detroit, so there were several people who worked in the industry. They asked about that. About five people said outright that they would never drive a foreign car. So if I wanted to escape this trial, there was my out. But I’m glad I did it, and I hope that others in the future embrace the challenge as well.
But I did learn two things:
1. If you work for someone, don’t do business for them on the side with a Yahoo! email address.
2. If you’re rich and get in a money dispute with somebody, a group of people who are combined less than your net worth will figure it out for you.
Top: Trader Joe’s Pretzel Slims. Bottom: Legend of Zelda’s Level 9 (first quest)
When Justin Verlander signed his lucrative extension yesterday … yeah, that money was ridiculous, but to be honest I was more interested and transfixed toward the number years. I don’t know where I’ll be in 2019 but I know that Verlander will be still pitching for Detroit, provided they still want him then. That’s what I cared about more than the money.
It could be de-sensitization to the high payroll, but I had to stop and think the other day: why do we care so much about what other people make?
To that effect, when a “low-paid” veteran pro athlete does well, I don’t think we ever say “wow, he should be paid more.” But when a pro athlete breaks the bank and contributes nothing, or gets injured, we point to hoist up their salary as a mistake. I’m thinking of Raul Ibañez and Alex Rodriguez as examples, respectively.
Athletes are paid exorbitantly because sports teams make a ton of money, and yet we’re constantly amazed by this. Maybe it’s better if we stopped caring so much about their salaries, and by what multiplier their annual salary is over the average household. I’m starting to lose sight of the point. With less and less spare time to allot toward caring about sports, I never started following them to care deeply about the business side of it.
Bill Simmons was suspended from using Twitter for three days, which is something I wish someone would to do me, that way I could get stuff done around the house. The reason his bosses told him to get off Twitter was because he used it to criticize his own company, plain and simple.
Good for ESPN.
I don’t watch First Take, because who the heck is watching television during a weekday afternoon? So maybe Simmons is entirely right in his criticism, but here’s the kicker: you don’t criticize your own company publicly. Keep it in-house. And this is splendid advice for everyone out there. Whether it’s your full-time company or even a website you freelance for, there is nothing to be gained from publicly shaming a company that hands you paychecks for services.
Maybe it’s just when a blogger sees the phrase “ESPN suspends,” the brain microchip disables all logic. No, ESPN was not siding with Skip Bayless over Bill Simmons. It was siding with themselves. Any other smart company would do the same thing.
Simmons may be right, but he should have known better. If he’s the big media personality we thought he was, he could have put this criticism through the proper internal channels. I can’t believe this is even something up for discussion.
It’s not as tantalizing a story as you would have hoped, but here we are.
My wife had breast reduction surgery when she was 18. They took before/after photos of this operation, presumably for a book of testimonials. This week she was trying to look something up related to her surgery, found the website of the place she had it done, clicked on “before/after” and there was a boob gallery of former patients, cropped at the neck. Fourth from the left, there she was. The freckles matched up and everything.
Even though we were the only ones to know who it was, she was beyond mortified, because I am imagine if you’re not expecting your boobs to show up on the Internet, and then you’re wrong, that’s a bit jarring. She called the doctor today and asked to have them taken down, which they graciously did quickly.
Of course, last night I downloaded the pictures, because how often do you get to see your wife’s teenage boobs well after the fact?
I discovered last week that The Weather Channel is naming snowstorms now, because they’re in need of a hobby, ratings and — with names like Gandolf and Khan — a girlfriend.
I see their logic: it’s more helpful to remember Winter Storm Draco over “That Blizzard That Happened on December 22, 2012,” although who the hell wants to remember snowstorms and for what reason? They happen constantly, causing minimal damage and naming them in the vein of hurricanes, I think, can cause undue panic among citizens who already know what the hell to do in snow. Well, most of them. But giving them names won’t help them anyway.
Unless, of course, they’re named after elements from Dragon Warrior. So feel free to use this system:
Illyth (or IceSpears, recommended by @Sigafous)