My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Jim Kiick


Jim Kiick was a running back, primarily with the Miami Dolphins, from 1968 to 1977. He played in three Super Bowls, winning two, and scored the decisive touchdown in Super Bowl VII, a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins that capped off an undefeated 17-0 swason.

He is the Dolphins’ fourth all-time leading rusher.

Kiick had been suffering from dementia and living in an assisted care center for several years prior to his death.

RIP Jim Kiick

Jim Kiick

People I Thought Were Dead


Do You Want a Programmer or a Pizza?


I teach programming classes for a living. The school has a Slack account and one of the things we use it for is to post relevant job openings.

These postings come from the hiring companies and most of them unfortunately simply consist of a copy of the job description: Responsibilities, Requirements, Technical Skills. Bullet points. Trying to hire programmers like ordering a pizza.

When I was a hiring manager, HR would try to run job postings like that. The problem was that I wanted to hire good programmers and good programmers have a lot of options regarding where they work. So just as a candidate needs to sell themselves to a company, a company needs to sell itself to candidates. One way of doing this is through job postings. So I rewrote the job postings to make them more enticing.

To give you an example of what I mean, here’s a short excerpt from an Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) job posting:

Three years from now, we will look back and you will be a key hero who led us to new heights. At IPSF, you will have a blast coming to work every day and you will be respected and valued for your contribution to our community. We are looking for the top person and have allocated the resources necessary to recruit him or her.

You will be a key hero, respected by your community. They want the best person and they have the resources to make it happen.

Now here’s a short excerpt from our most recent Slack job posting:

PHYSICAL DEMANDS: While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls; reach with hands and arms; and talk or hear. The employee frequently is required to walk and sit.

You see the difference, right?

There’s not one person in the world who, if asked what they’re looking for in their dream job, would say “I’m looking for a job where I can regularly use my hands to finger, handle, or feel objects, tools, or controls. And I would really love to have frequent opportunities to walk and sit.”

Also when you see this kind of legalese mumbo-jumbo, it tips you off that anything you try to do will be stymied by a series of legal and other compliance hurdles.

If you’re looking for a new job, I can’t tell you how selective to be about job postings. Lots of factors are involved. But if a company makes no effort to sell itself or the job offered, and treats you like a commodity before they hire you, be assured they will treat you like a commodity after they hire you.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

We Need a Better Coronavirus Metric


The U.S. reports a record day of cases: 36,880 new coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, which is the largest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas reported their highest single-day totals. — Medium

This is misleading, isn’t it? We’re doing more testing. It’s a lot easier to get tested than it used to be. You don’t need to have symptoms. You don’t need a doctor’s order.

Pharmacies are now doing drive-thru testing. The CVS in my neighborhood takes testing appointments at 10-minute intervals from 9am to 5pm. And they’re not easy to get. People are booking them up. I just got my test yesterday (results next week).

It sounds like from that 36,880 number that more people are being infected. It sounds like that is what’s being implied. But there’s really no way to know that from the data provided. Obviously if we’re doing more testing, we’re going to have more detected cases. Or to flip it around, we’ll have fewer undetected cases. But we don’t know what we really want to know, which is if we have more cases.

It seems like a more useful number would be the percentage of tests that come back positive. If it goes up, that’s bad; if it goes down, that’s good. But it’s unaffected by the number of tests performed.

Now Here’s a Guy Who Gets Me


I teach programming classes for a living. The classes are 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks. I put a lot of preparation into it because I want students to have the best, most up-to-date and relevant instruction.

It’s a good job for me. Programming seems to me like an important, valuable skill . . . it’s allowed me to make a living doing (for the most part) things I like and things I’m good at.

It gives you a lot of options. You don’t have to work for a tech company. Almost any field of endeavor now uses software and data and they hire programmers. You can work in education, healthcare, finance, sports, whatever energizes you.

So it’s good to have a job where I feel like I’m helping people. The downside is that the students can’t really tell good instruction from bad instruction.

Yes, they can assess whether I’m articulate and a pleasant person to spend the day with, but they really can’t assess the prep that goes into organizing the material, keeping it current, making it comprehensible and breaking it into 8-hour chunks of valuable educational activities.

The only person who can appreciate that is my teaching assistant, my TA. Today was his last day. He’s leaving to take a new job (which he should . . . he’s a talented guy and being a TA is not a long-term career).

As part of a note he wrote me, he said

Honestly i think you’re a savage and you provide the students with so much and you don’t take shit from the back office. Thank you for everything. I’m going to miss working with you.

Now here’s a guy who gets me. (By “back office,” he means the sales and marketing guys who want to tell me how to teach the classes.) The single most underappreciated quality of my career — and by “underappreciated” I mean it’s embroiled me in a great deal of conflict — is my unwillingness to take advice on how to do my job from people who don’t know how to do my job.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

We Giveth But We Also Taketh Away, Just Like God

Car crash

“As driving behaviors evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic, XYZ Insurance Company is working to reduce auto rates in every state. The national average for those rate reductions is 11%, saving customers a total of approximately $2.2 billion.

“‘Current driving data and claims experience show a considerable decline in miles driven and fewer accidents,’ said XYZ Senior Vice President Kristyn Cook-Turner. ‘As a result, we’re looking for ways to continue supporting our customers while we monitor and adjust to trends.’

“‘On the flip side, we’ve also noticed that a lot more of our customers are getting sick and dying,’ Cook-Turner continued, ‘so we’ll be correspondingly increasing premiums for health and life insurance.’

“‘You win a few, you lose a few.'”

You’re Not Gonna Like the Way You Look


I went for what I thought would be a quick stop at Men’s Wearhouse to buy a tie. The salesman informed me that they were selling ties on a “buy one, get one free” basis.

The selection wasn’t very good in my opinion. I picked out one tie I liked and spent another 30 minutes trying to find a second tie that I wouldn’t feel bad being seen in. Several times I was on the verge of checking out with just the one tie but it just didn’t feel right to pass up a free tie.

Ain’t That Peculiar?


Mayor Says Seattle Will Move to Dismantle Protest Zone, After Second Shooting in Less Than 48 HoursTIME

It’s peculiar how leftist radicals get hold of a piece of ground and all of a sudden they love guns and border walls . . .

Seattle CHOP

Orwell: “You Can’t Say I Didn’t Warn You F*ckers”


Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building had been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

— George Orwell, 1984

According to KMOX radio in St. Louis, a petition has been started with hopes of changing the city’s name and — wait for it — taking down a statue of Saint Louis IX in Forest Park. The petition creators say the city’s name is “outright disrespect” to Jewish and Muslim residents.

A statue of Christopher Columbus in Tower Grove Park was taken away last week.

King louis statue tonemapped.jpg

A Couple Observations

  1. Police officers sure went from heroic first responders to satanic killers in a big hurry.
  2. If there are essential workers, what are the rest of us? Non-essential workers?

Joe Biden: 50 Million Americans Are “Not Very Good People”


Robots Read News

Planet Berkeley: Strawberry Creek


Thomas Jefferson: Unity!

Thomas Jefferson

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.

— Former Defense Secretary James Mattis

My fellow Americans –

That is the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever read about politics. The Democratic party platform, as I understand it, is:

  1. If you’re not white, you can’t make it in America because of racism.
  2. If you are white, you can’t make it because of One Percenters and Wall Street fat cats.
  3. If you’re a woman, you can’t make it because of sexism and misogyny.
  4. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

They’ve got race wars, class wars, culture wars, gender wars, all going on at the same time. It’s everybody against everybody.

Unite us, indeed!

Thomas Jefferson

My Boyhood Sports Icons Are Dying: Wes Unseld


Wes Unseld was the second overall pick by the Baltimore Bullets in 1968. He was the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same year. At 6-foot-7, he played center and averaged 14 rebounds a game for his career. He played in four NBA finals with the Bullets, winning one, in which he was voted MVP, in 1978.

He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

RIP Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld

Milwaukee Police Chief Accused of Being Inattentive. His Response May Surprise You!


Protests Considered Harmful?


I saw multiple people on TV this weekend looting stores, running out with a “Black Lives Matter” sign in one hand and stolen merchandise in the other.

Maybe we should stop having these Black Lives Matter protests. The majority of the TV coverage is black citizens stealing things and setting things on fire, which doesn’t improve anyone’s lives and probably, in terms of prejudice and race relations, makes things worse.

In this case, the George Floyd case, I haven’t heard one person say that kneeling on someone’s neck and killing them is good police work. So it’s really a protest against no one, except the one guy who did it and he’s already been fired, arrested, charged with murder and condemned by everyone from the president of the United States on down. There’s no opposing viewpoint to protest against.

The mayor of Atlanta, who is a black woman and therefore allowed to say things like this, said at a press conference a couple of nights ago:

You’re not honoring a legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. You are not protesting anything running out with brown liquor in your hands, breaking windows in this city. T.I., Killer Mike owned half the West side, so when you burn down this city, you’re burning down our community.

If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9th. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country.

You are disgracing our city, you are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We are better than this as a city, we are better than this as a country. Go home. Go home.

What Does a Man Really Need?


Little Richard, 1932-2020

[Trigger warning for language :o]
Little Richard

It’s very easy for people to forget what rock and roll really is. Look man, I’m forty-seven years old, and I grew up in Wyoming, and I stole cars and drove five hundred miles to watch Little Richard, and I wanna tell you somethin’ — when I saw this nigger come out in a gold suit, fuckin’ hair flyin’, and leap up onstage and come down on his piano bangin’ and goin’ fuckin’ nuts in Salt Lake City, I went, “Hey man, I wanna be like him. This is what I want.”

David Briggs, quoted by Neil Young in Waging Heavy Peace

RIP “Little Richard” Penniman

Happy Mothers Day


I have so many dreams of my own, and I remember things from my childhood, from when I was a girl and a young woman, and I haven’t forgotten a thing. So why did we think of Mom as a mom from the very beginning? She didn’t have the opportunity to pursue her dreams, and all by herself, faced everything the era dealt her, poverty and sadness, and she couldn’t do anything about her very bad lot in life other than suffer through it and get beyond it and live her life to the very best of her ability, giving her body and her heart to it completely. Why did I never give a thought to Mom’s dreams?

— Kyung-sook Shin, Please Look After Mom

Souplantation, 1978-2020

Souplantation store front. La Cañada, California.

Souplantation is closing all of its restaurants permanently, a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

I was probably one of their last customers . . . we had dinner at the Irvine location a few days before restaurants had to close for in-person dining. The place was at least 70 percent empty at that time. It is hard to believe we’ll never be able to go there again.

Souplantation was one of our favorite family restaurants, maybe the number one favorite. This feels like the death of a family member . . . so many Souplantation memories . . .

RIP Souplantation