Musings from George

It’s been a long time
October 23, 2010, 5:07 pm
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So much has happened since I last sat down to write something for myself, under the guise that it is for others. Most people who know me don’t read this, and many who read this don’t know me, so it really is just for me. Perhaps some day my kids will read parts of my blog and laugh (“gee, remember when people had to type and they sometimes typed it wrong!”)
What prompts me to figure out my login all over again, and to spend some cycles typing? A telemarketing call with an “Unknown” caller ID — a hot button for me. I have started handing all 877- or 800- numbers to my four-year-old daughter, as she enjoys those conversations more than I do and she is oddly more thoughtful about participating in political surveys (“Why yes, yes we do…”)
The number to avoid is 415-835-5534, which is a telemarketing research firm somewhere in the Bay Area (San Francisco or Marin). Unfortunately I do answer calls from that area, since some of my family lives there. I would like to propose a national amendment that some low threshold of complaints about calls from a particular firm would result in an injunction against that firm from making phone calls. I would also like to pass an amendment that political robo-calls be banned. Just because they have the right to free speech does not entitle a political campaign to put it on my answering machine. So when you get that phone call from James Research, just put the phone down and let them blather for $0.08 or so… it’s their dime, so to speak. If you have a four-year-old handy, that’s even better because it confuses the caller and amuses the child.
Okay, real topics. Poor Obama has been beaten like a pinata for doing the best he could with the hand he was dealt when Bush departed like an eight-year-old dead fish. Yes, he did get huge majorities in both houses of Congress and a large popular mandate so he should have been able to make big change. But he also inherited a cratered economy with several of the country’s biggest companies in bankruptcy and a financial system teetering worldwide. He inherited a unified Republican obstructionism that I hope some day is punished for doing stupid things like voting against bills that help everyone, and voting as a bloc because they are afraid to stand up to “leadership”. Leadership by obstruction is not leadership, it is the absence of leadership — cowardice.
I’m helping to coach a bunch of six-year-old boys, and it has been instructive for me. Just as it took me four weeks to figure out that I could not get five-year-olds to focus on T-ball, it took me four weeks to accept the fact that some kids have more fun when they are NOT focused on the ball, and that many kids are there to play with their friends rather than to improve their game. Signing up for a league where equal time for all kids, and anyone can sign up, is different from coaching a high school team where everyone wants to win and the score matters. We do not record the score when six-year-olds play, and the snack after the game or practice is just as important as the actual skills that are built. For this brief period in life, it doesn’t matter who wins and there is no reward for being better so having fun is a fine metric to focus on.
My son enjoyed the game last week more than any other he has played in. Yes he scored, but he also passed the ball to his friends. He knew players on the other team, and was just as happy to see them as he was to see his own team-mates. He’s good, but it was more important last weekend that he was happy. So I need to learn that lesson myself, and enjoy the game rather than caring about the score. It’s a start.
I’d say more soon, but I have 18 months of silence to belie that. I hope everyone is doing well, and also would love to hear from anyone who actually reads this.
Remember, tele-research is for four-year-olds. Voting is a right and a privilege, and I hope everyone votes. I like if you are in California.
Be good!


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