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November 2008
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March 2009

Screaming for a Joke

Sometimes you trip over a story, and it just screams out to get a joke written about it.

Like this one:

Prehistoric fish pioneered sex

Sex has been a fact of life for at least 380 million years, longer than previously thought. Internal fertilization was widespread among prehistoric fish living on ancient tropical coral reefs in the Devonian period, research published in the journal Nature on Wednesday showed.

So, if I was Conan O'Lenoman, I think I might use this:

Scientists today announced that all jawed vertebrates had sex much earlier than previously believed. That's right, it was 380 million years ago that animals with mouths were having sex. They found the key piece of evidence in the back of Larry King's dressing room.

DPS Has Been Driving Me Crazy for Decades and Still Is!

The DPS board waited an eternity to do two things it should have done long, long ago.

First, the board finally dropped the racist symbol of South High School, the Rebels. I suppose given that the Klan essentially ran Denver in the early 1900s, it shouldn't be a surprise that the school board back then would ever allow the not-at-all subtle mascot of a soldier fighting to protect slavery -- but it's shocking how long it took to get rid of it.

As a student there in the latter half of the last century, I remember that we had petitions, discussion, requests and official letters written to try to dump the mascot. In further proof that the students really have no say over what happens in the school, the effort went nowhere.

Well, a new group of students has come along and asked for a change. Good for them. And now that the administration is made up of people, well, around my age, those students actually got somewhere.

The new superintendent said he could hear this dog whistle. "I grew up on the Mason-Dixon Line," he said. "I understand the power and the meaning of these symbols."

(Those of us who grew up far from the Mason-Dixon Line understood it, too, but it was still good of him to recognize it for what it is.)

I wonder what the administration is denying now that will be granted decades from now.

The second thing that the board waited until way too late to approve was next year's school calendar. Admittedly this is a much more parochial concern, but many summer camps require deposits and a commitment in January, but the board waited until February 19th to decide on the first day of school for next year.  

And the proposed calendars were different by a huge swing; there was three weeks difference in the first day of school!

Well, at least I can do something about my other, related, complaint: The undecipherable format they publish the DPS calendar in. I went and made one for myself, and then -- using technology that is just not that hard -- made the calendar available to all.

Here you are: the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Calendar in several handy formats. Enjoy.

Back on the Tee Vee

Well, the interview is done, and now it is on the air, so you can see this story about me and Mark Cuban here. (Unfortunately I can't embed it here, but click the link. It's short.

It was a fine story, and I'm probably the only one who will look at it and say, "Gee, why does he move his head around so much????"

By the way, the Second Saturday Science idea is getting some traction, and we'll have more about that here soon. I was interviewed by a national newspaper today, I'll have a link to that when it comes out.

So, I was feeling rotten about my interview, well, I was until I watched this:

Mark and Me

I created the category of "Fantasy Business League" so that I could comment about big business decisions in the way that others like to talk about sports. That is, I could comment and dable in the world that I follow, but not have any real interaction with those who actually play in the big leagues.

Well, today the fantasy business league got to go into the dugout for a visit.

I’ve followed Mark Cuban’s blog for years. This is a guy who is in the big leagues for sure. He started and sold it to Yahoo back when that was a good thing. He’s gone on to other huge successes, including buying the Dallas Mavericks and appearing as himself on the Simpsons. It doesn’t get much better than that, unless he buys the Cubs, which would be just fine with me.

So today he decided in what is his classic style to get into the whole “stimulus” thing by trying a completely open source method of soliciting business ideas and then giving the criteria to fund them. The ideas were to be submitted right on his blog.

Many people reacted, as so often happens, with fear, saying that they didn’t want their precious idea to be distributed to the public. I’ve been there, but then I learned the reality is that there are plenty of great ideas out there, and unless it involves some kind of hard science, it is exceedingly rare that the idea on it’s own is worth 10 cents. Actually doing the work -- usually called “executing” in today’s parlance -- is the only way to succeed.

So I took an idea that I’ve had for more than a year and posted it. I worked hard to follow the rules that he put out there, something that very few of the others did.

And he responded. In length. Twice. So far.

His response to my idea (Second Saturday Science is what it’s called, more on that in another post) was so genuine, so engaged, and so, well, out there, that a reporter was inspired to do a story.

The stories about the crappy economy have moved way past depressing and are now downright annoying. It is, however, the biggest story going on right now, so this reporter, Craig Civale, to his credit wanted to do a story about a stimulus plan that might actually pay off, you know, this year.

His station, WFAA, is in Cuban’s town of Dallas, so it was a natural for him to do the story. He called me, and I actually answered the phone -- something that doesn’t seem to happen much these days. He asked a few questions, and then called back a few minutes later and asked if I’d go down to the ABC station in Denver to tape an interview.

No problem! If Second Saturday Science is going to take off, it’s going to need some publicity, so I hustled my arse down there and answered some questions. I understand it’s already been on the air in Dallas, and should be on the interwebs soon enough.

So, will this be my new “job”? I don’t know. If Cuban signs on to be a part of it, than for sure yes. He will be able to help me draw attention to it and open doors in ways few others could.

If not, well... stay tuned!

I'm baaaaaack

I consider myself a data-driven person. If something is working, do more of that. If not, then stop.

I was not having luck finding a job, and I was blogging a lot.

I had an inkling that my blog posts were a part of me not finding a job. I knew the economy had a lot more to do with it, but I couldn't control the economy. I could control my blog, so I basically just stopped.

And then, well, I STILL didn't get a job.

So I was going to, this month, switch over to a different blogging platform, Wordpress, which I used in my volunteer fight against the expansion of gambling in Colorado. I liked it a lot, so I thought I would switch before I started blogging again.

But as Rick says, destiny has taken a hand.

Later today I'll be blogging about me and Mark Cuban. Yes, that Mark Cuban.