Is it Too Dangerous to Speak Politically in 2020?

We’re less than two months away from the Presidential election. I’ve been a moderate all of my life, so while I’ve been interested in Nov 3 in the past, I’ve never been hell bent to support one candidate over the other. Sure I’ve had people I favor, but it’s never been something where I think the fate of the Union depends on my vote.

Welcome to 2020. I won’t share my presidential opinions here. Because that would distract from the main question of this piece – Are we even able to ask each other about their political opinions?

In my Seattle Covid-19 bubble, conversation about candidates would center around topics such as a failed pandemic response, failure to be honest, failure to grasp difficult subjects, failure to listen experts, failure to believe in science, well you get the point.

But there are areas of the country where giant percentages of people would say the Democratic candidate is a career politician, old, senile, and a China lover who won’t leave his his basement.

(We will save the argument of whether people should be leaving their homes for a political rally for another day.)

But my question is whether we can even discuss it together? I have multiple friends and colleagues who are deleting and unfollowing family and friends for their political posts. People seem to be not just entrenched in their decision, but ready to hate people who have an alternative point of view.

So a simple blog like this… Can I share some opinions?

No way.

I hope we all can get together soon. Maybe it will require a national disaster…. oh never mind we already have that.

So look, if you support the other candidate than I do, I may think you are kind of nuts, but I’m ready to listen to your point of view. And if I’ve played soccer or softball with you for the last 10-20 years, I won’t think less of you, just be bummed that we can’t play sports with each other. And maybe one day we’ll have a national plan to fight the pandemic that actually seems like it was written by competent people and we will be able to hang out with each other again.

In the meantime, I’ll stay neutral. I don’t want to inflame anyone with a discussion about science or facts. Be safe everyone.

Happy NFL 2020!

This is why I don’t bet on sports.

If someone had been willing to wager me on whether the NFL would kick off the season on time, I’d have felt very comfortable taking the side that there would be a significant delay.

In fact, I predicted that the day the NFL has to suspend the season is the day the stock market will finally tank from its summer of love.

But here we are – the season begins on time, and the market still kind of tanked. Go figure.

But remember one thing for this unique 2020 NFL season – Even though we can’t go to games, watch at bars with friends, or talk Seahawks at the office, no matter how bad you feel like you need to talk about it, your spouse/partner still DOES NOT want to hear about your Fantasy team.

The 2020 Presidential Race, in an Alternate Universe

So, imagine for a moment, that you are the leader of the free world. You have made some mistakes, but you also have fervent supporters. As you enter your re-election year, an alien spaceship materializes out of nowhere and begins to attack the entire world, your country included.

This is clearly unexpected. One might even say unprecedented. You would have to carefully consider what to do next.

Now, as the leader of the free world, you have some advantages on your side. For example, if you wanted to, you could assemble the smartest collection of individuals on the planet to be your closest advisors. On a daily basis, you could be interfacing with intellectuals from around the world, who collectively are focusing on the most advanced technologies known to man. On top of that group, you could also assemble a “tiger team” of people whose single role is to disagree with your first-team’s initial analyses, creating a dialogue of debate based on facts and science. And then, after all of the math and logic has been debated, you might have a cadre of close advisors – long-time allies and confidants who you have shared success with. A group of people you trust to help you understand the words the intellectuals have thrown at you.

So knowing that you have this all-star team of brainpower and creative ideas at your full disposal, and staring in the eyes of a global catastrophe, one might think to themselves, “Hmm. Well, this is going to take a while to solve. I probably should have my people pull together an 18-36 month plan. In fact, I should probably call all the leaders of other large nations, and coordinate how we want to work together. And then, I should probably assemble all the governors, and implement a national organization that will address the issues over the next 1-3 years.

At this point, your campaign manager may come up to you and say, “Well do you realize that if you implement an 18-36 month plan to address a global crisis during an election year, you’ll basically be forcing voters to abandon a war-time plan if they vote for your opponent? The other candidate will literally have no chance of beating you. That doesn’t seem fair at all.”

You might look at your adviser and say, “Politics be damned. I care about the American people. Let’s show our world leadership, and then unite the country so we all fight this battle together. If history says I didn’t fight a fair campaign because I united a nation during a campaign year to fight a common enemy, then well, I’ll just have to deal with those ramifications down the road.”

In some parallel universe, this logic occurred. Unfortunately, in ours, these paragraphs are a work of collective fiction.

Book Recommendation: Front Row at the Trump Show

My politics don’t swing wide left or wide right. When there is a political event, I appreciate any media that provides a true and accurate statement of the facts. I also love the media in general, especially now. It’s a fascinating time for the broadcasting industry since ratings mean revenue and controversy brings ratings.

That’s why I am enjoying “Front Row at the Trump Show” so much, and recommend it to everyone I talk to. It’s a fascinating, non-partisan perspective from a member of the White House Press Corps through four Presidents. It’s a great listen on Audible as well.

Two Minute Exercises To Keep You In Shape During COVID

The gym is closed, you don’t want to run at Greenlake, and your soccer season is canceled. How are we all going to stay in shape?

For some people, a routine and discipline are the keys to exercise. So when every day is Tuesday and every hour is 1:00pm, how do you accomplish that discipline? How do you make that routine happen?

I surveyed a few friends, and here are some ideas we’ve come up with. All of them take two minutes or less, and by the end of the day, you’ll have completed a decent amount of calorie burning.

  1. TV Pushups: We’re going to be streaming more shows, especially until the weather turns around. So before every show, throw down 10-20 pushups. The more TV you watch, the more pushups you do.
  2. Old school Jumping Jacks: Yeah, it’s cheesy. But two minutes of jumping jacks will make you feel like you earned that episode of Ozarks.
  3. The Jump Rope: It was your favorite exercise toy as an eight-year-old. 2:00 as an adult will have you breathing hard.
  4. Walking Stairs: We may not own Stairmasters, but we do have staircases in our house. Take two minutes a few times a day and walk up and down the stairs 10 times. See if you can get to 50 flights a day.
  5. Sprinting Streets: Greenlake and Burke-Gilman can get crowded. But we don’t need long trails for sprints. Measure out 100 yards in front of your house and do a few sprints a day. Sprint up, walk back. It’ll take mere minutes and get your heart rate up.
  6. Chin-up bars: Cheap, easy to set up, and super effective. Don’t be discouraged the first time you try it.
  7. YouTube Yoga: You can find a lot of exercise content online – even short stretching and yoga exercises. Stay flexible my friends.
  8. The Massage Gun: Not everyone agrees in their benefits, but for a relatively small price (especially considering we don’t have gym membership dues), we like Massage Guns for loosening up muscles. I don’t have an Amazon Affiliate account or anything, so you can read about them on CNN.

You probably have your own ideas. Send me an email and share them, or just ping me on Twitter. Stay healthy everyone.

Can Legalized Sports Gambling Save Baseball

On one hand, you could say baseball is thriving.  Revenues are over Gross revenues are $10 billion, National TV ratings are up, and many teams have lucrative local or regional TV deals that help pay the bills and then some. Plus, every time an NBA or NFL team gets sold for a new record, each team sees its valuation go up as well.

But then there’s that pesky issue of attendance and fan interest. From Forbes, “The 2017 regular season saw a total of 72,670,423 in paid attendance across the league. This was the first time since 2010 that attendance dipped below the 73 million mark, which was surprising.”

People will argue why attendance is down, but most ideas fall around a central theme. The games are too long for today’s environment, often too boring, and the reliance on stats and analysis to make the smartest decisions possible takes the fun and unpredictability out of the game. Heck, even former players think the game is boring now. Jim Kaat says they should only play seven innings.

I made a comment earlier this week that I thought baseball was at its “Kodak Moment.” By that I meant, there was a time in the 1990’s when Kodak was making heaps of cash with a near monopoly on film and film development. Digital cameras kind of existed, but Kodak didn’t want to believe that people would prefer digital over film, so they just to keep looking at their stacks of cash, half-heartedly built some bad digital cameras, and ignored the direction the market was going. It’s easy to forget that in the mid-90’s, Eastman Kodak was a $90 stock. Today it’s barely above $5.00.

Compare that to Major League Baseball today. Heaps of cash, a storied history and a plethora of purists who want to make sure the game never changes. And the new entrants to their market are eSports and a growth in soccer, where people can get in and out of a match in a guaranteed 105 minutes. The market is shifting, and 10 years from now, you might be able to make an argument that the 2017 World Series may have been baseball’s apex.

But a savior has arrived, and its name is Legalized Gambling.

Today betting on a baseball game is dumb. Choose odds on a game or a point spread and hope for the best. It’s unpredictable at best, a monkey throwing darts at worst. Plus, why watch the game? All you need to do is check the score in the morning.

But the 2020 version of Legalized Sports Betting is intriguing. Be in the park or on your couch. Open your mobile phone app. Bet a tiny micro amount on each inning or each at bat. 2.5 to 1 he gets a hit. 2 to 1 they score a run. 10 to 1 there’s a home run in the inning. 1 to 1 there’s a strikeout. You could make 50-100 bets at $.25 to $2.00 per bet and the game would be awesome every pitch. And realistically, you’re probably only going to win or lose $10 to $20 per game unless you are exceedingly good or bad. A small price to pay for three hours of entertainment.

Baseball needs to get behind this. Having people actively involved on a batter by batter basis is akin to Fantasy Football players watching the 4th quarter of a 34-7 blowout to see if their receiver can pick up 60 cheap yards in garbage time. It would be great for the game, and engage a whole new set of fans who need instantaneous entertainment on their mobile devices. This generation of fans wouldn’t even need to watch the whole game – they could log in for an hour, play 20-30 bets, and then move on with their day.

Baseball need to embrace this.  Don’t listen to the people who want to make fancier film. Go where the market wants to go.

 

 

Almost Twitter Famous

I tweet for fun and emotional humor release, not to develop an audience. And my typical tweet generates somewhere between 0 and 5 responses. Who knew that I could generate a larger audience by making fun of anarchists? Maybe I should present this strategy in my next client meeting.

What I Learned – The Bird Scooter

For weeks now, I’ve read articles blaming The Bird Scooter for everything from congested sidewalks to world hunger.

But last weekend I was down in San Diego where hundreds of thse things can be found along the Boardwalk in Pacific and Mission Beach.

Source: Thomas Melville, SDNews.com

The concept behind the scooter is simple. Like Car2Go, you download an app and look for a nearby scooter. When you see a scooter close to you, you walk to it, then “Unlock it” using a QR code. Then you ride it where you need and “Lock it” so someone else can use it. Locked scooters are almost impossible to roll anywhere and make a beeping noise that alerts that someone is trying to steal it.

The boardwalk along Pacific Beach and Mission Beach is pretty long. It could take you 40 minutes or more to walk from a bar to your hotel. But with The Bird, you just hop on, and cruise at a nice safe 8-12 MPH, cutting your time by about 66-75%. It costs $1.00 to start it and $0.15 a minute. So it’s roughly the cost of a short Uber ride, but way more fun.

After using it for a weekend, I think the haters in San Francisco are ridiculous. I was able to navigate the scooter through pedestrians, bikers, unicyclists, skateboarders, roller bladers, and other scooter riders. My only near accident was caused by a 5 year old on his non-motorized scooter who decided to come at me head on while in my lane. But it was easy for me to stop the scooter and dodge the kid at the last minute.

Source: Thomas Melville, SDNews.com

Also, you can ride remarkably slow and still keep your balance. In fact, you can literally slow to walking speed if you see someone you know and want to travel at their pace, or see a group of pedestrians going 5-wide and blocking the entire path.

The downside: Even on a small hill, I was pretty uncomfortable, and my repressed teenage memory of crashing into a tree while trying to ride a skateboard down a hill in Bellevue suddenly re-surfaced. So, I don’t know if I’d come down from 6th to 2nd downtown. But for getting around Wallingford, Greenlake or Capitol Hill, these things would be great.

Bikers will yell and scream that you should just ride a bike instead. But really, if you are going out to dinner, do you want to get sweaty riding a bike? No, a scooter is effortless. And a bike is actually much larger than The Bird. You take up way more room on a road or bike lane.

So, what I learned is that the scooter is an effective form of short-form travel in flat areas. I’d like to see it become more prevalent up here. Ignore what the haters in San Francisco say. If they are so worried about being a pedestrian and getting hit by a scooter, then they should jump on a scooter.