Archives for April 2013

Grow Up: There’s No Conspiracy In Boston

In the immediate aftermath of the bombings in Boston last week, once initial shock wore off, and after my wife confirmed that her mother, who lives three blocks from the finish line, was okay (as it turned out, she was 100 yards from the first explosion but was unharmed), I joined the rest of America in wondering who could have done such a terrible thing, and why.

I admit, my first instinct was that it was some far-right gun nut, mainly because of the timing: the toothless background check bill had just been voted down, and the attack happened on Tax Day and Patriots’ Day — three different things freighted with great meaning to libertarians all coming together at once.

I was not the only one to jump to that conclusion, but it was hardly the only theory out there. Some people thought it obviously another Al Qaeda attack, and started combing photos from the blast site for brown faces. Alex Jones and the InfoWars crowd immediately — like immediately, the day of the bombing — confidently predicted that The Government had done the bombing and would frame a right-winger for the crime in an effort to gin up support for giving the TSA dominion over sporting events, or something.

Now that one of the perpetrators is in custody and the other is in the morgue, it seems increasingly clear that their uncle’s application of Occam’s Razor — the simplest explanation is usually the truest — to the puzzle was correct: they were just a couple of losers. Or at least, the older brother, Tamerlan, was a loser, and he dragged his baby brother, seven highly impressionable years younger, into a pointless act of violence that ended one of their lives and has ruined the other (to say nothing of the 250+ innocent people killed or maimed by their actions).

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Super Hi-Fi: “Washingtonian”

From the album “Dub To The Bone” on Electric Cowbell Records. superhifimusic.com

The Prime Directive Of Parenting

There is something of a baby boom happening in my circle of friends right now, and since I am a mile or two farther down the bumpy road of parenthood — my son is six years old, divorced, and has a couple of arrests on his rap sheet — a few of those friends (by which I mean none of them) have asked me if I have any parenting advice. I am in no way a perfect parent, and my ongoing failure to get my boy to eat anything that’s not a bread product makes me suspect that I am a bad one, but I do nonetheless have one thing I would share with new parents looking for guidance.

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In Defense of LL Cool J and "Accidental Racist"

This week everyone’s all a-flutter about this terrible song by country artist Brad Paisley, “Accidental Racist,” in which Paisley tries to explain that even though he wears the Rebel flag, he’s got no problem with black people, and that to assume otherwise is a prejudice that he feels is unjust. Like most contemporary country music, it’s terrible, syrupy, overproduced, lyrically insipid, creatively bankrupt, and politically clueless.

But what’s really got people buzzing is the involvement of LL Cool J, who comes in at the end to rap a little. Unsurprisingly, LL’s contribution does little to elevate the material:

LinkedIn Works So Well It Doesn’t Work At All

It has been my experience that in terms of professional life, networking is everything. I don’t necessarily mean networking like aggressively slipping a business card into the hands of everyone you meet everywhere you go, although I’m sure that helps too.  “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is a little too simple to be true — you’re not going to get a job you’re not qualified for just because you know someone — but if someone is trying to choose between hiring a qualified friend (or acquaintance, or friend of a friend) and a qualified stranger, the stranger is going to lose every time.

I have been almost continuously employed since I was 13, and of the (as best as I can remember) 20 gigs I’ve held in that time, I never had a single job, ever, that I didn’t get at least in part because I knew someone who put a word in or came through with a bribe or had incriminating photos of the right person.

By contrast, when I have looked for jobs through non-nepotistic channels like classified ads, craigslist, Monster.com, things like that, I have sent out countless resumes to countless companies and never, not even once, zero out of a million times have I ever gotten so much as an acknowledgement that they received my query, much less an interview or a job.

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