Routers Woot!

I started cleaning the house back in March. Amazingly, I’m still on a roll. These moods don’t happen very often, so I’m just going with it. I now have new artwork in the living room. We’ve got the beginning stages of a binder-system for all the special education paperwork. The blog and the lesser websites are 90% in order. The boys are up-to-date for doctors’ appointments. I need to deal with some horrible, unspeakable test of the intestinal tract. I’m checking things off the checklist, baby!

Today’s job was dealing with the rickety WiFi system in the house. I knew that our system wasn’t working properly, but things finally crapped out two days ago when an extender died. The only place that the WiFi worked was in the tiny basement office. Ian started racking up huge data overage charges. Without access to his beloved Netflix in bedroom, Jonah was super sad.

I finally set up an appointment with the cable guys to put the router in a sensible place. The router is currently hiding in the farthest corner of the house behind the original cement foundation for the house. Moving it wasn’t going to solve the problem on its own, so I went shopping today. The nerdest salesman in Best Buy gave me Router 101 lessons. He explained that routers need to be replaced every year or so. Our household demands required a much better router (5 cell phones, 2 lap tops, 2 desktops, 3 tablets, streaming TV, gaming). The older N600 models don’ t work anymore.

The router is installed. Sensible passwords are in place. There’s two or three bars everywhere in the house. We’ll see if Wednesday’s cable guy can get up three bars throughout the house. So, another chore that I have completed by 90%. (Yes, this is the biggest first world problem evah.)

Next up — Our jerry-rigged sound system is 15 years old. I need something that will be old school enough to play CDs and connect to the turntable. I also want to connect to Spotify and wireless speakers. I need it to be cute. Still, doing my research on that.

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Helicopter parents make their college kids depressed says Slate. Or maybe it’s that depressed/sensitive kids cause parents to be involved. The article doesn’t even bother to throw that out as a possibility. Writers, please entertain all alternative theories.

College should do more for first generation students.

Syracuse has a whole lotta administrators.

Rich kids major in English.

My son accuses me of overusing the eyeroll. I’m eyerolling in the general direction of Greece right now.

How can I be so safe in my little suburban house with a Subaru out front, when there’s stuff like this is going on in the world?

Sean Parker was depicted as being a slimy dude in the move, “Social Network”. In real life, he just sounds like an asshole.

The Banality of Good

In December 1938, Nicholas Winton canceled his ski vacation and, instead, took a trip to the Sudetenland and rescued 669 Jewish children from certain death in a concentration camp. He bribed officials. He found foster parents. He arranged for travel and paperwork. (His New York Times‘s obituary has all the details.)

And then he didn’t talk about it. He just went about his life without telling anyone. His wife, who he married several years later, only learned of his actions after finding a scrapbook in the attic in the 1980s. She told others, and his story got around. Later, a TV show surprised Winton by surrounding him by the children, now adults, that he saved. (Warning — this is a three tissue video.)

In Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt described an unusual villain — Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann was a seemingly ordinary guy, a bureaucrat who made the trains run on time. Yes, the trains took Jewish to concentration camp and gas chambers, but Eichmann didn’t really think about all that. He was concentrating on efficiency, on making his quotas, on doing his job. He even had a Jewish girlfriend on the side. He wasn’t pounding Jewish people on the back with the barrel of his rifle. He was pushing paperwork.

Because of Eichmann’s ordinary appearance and his bureaucratic job, Arendt said that Eichmann was an example of the “banality of evil.” Of course, she didn’t mean that the evil itself was banal. It was the mode of its delivery – the paper-stamping bureaucrat – that was banal.

But Arent had it wrong. Eichmann wasn’t banal. He was a psychopath, who compartmentalized and rationalized away his evil actions. It takes a seriously damaged brain to be in denial about the destination of those trains. No, the history of the Holocaust really shows us that evil isn’t banal, but good is.

Winton was also ordinary — he didn’t have the pecs of a Marvel superhero or Bill Gates’ bank account. He was just a stockbroker, an average educated, middle class guy. His bravery wasn’t the stuff of an action movie. It wasn’t about strength and power. Winton took the tools and the talents that he honed at his bank job and used them to arrange this transport of children. He made connections, filled out paperwork, schmoozed with German officials, shook down rich friends for money. What if every hedge fund manager in this country turned their talents towards good?

And then Winton did the unimaginable. He kept his good deeds to himself. He didn’t write an essay about it for the New Yorker. He didn’t ask for a prize or a plaque outside his home. He just went back to his job and his ordinary life.

How banal! How amazing!

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Fascinating story of Clarence King, who was a renown white scientist by day and a black porter in Brooklyn with five kids by night.

Reformers say that it’s cruel to keep smart and social elephants in zoos.

Misty Copeland is pretty amazing.

Hold the presses! The Playboy mansion is dirty, and if you hang out with Hef, he kinda expects that you’ll sleep with him. Who knew?

Jason Schwartzman and Adam Scott on a playdate in New York City.

Pit Stop

photo-9Sometimes it is necessary for a boy to take a pit stop in the woods during long car trips. Sometimes it is necessary for a mom to jump out of the car and take a picture of the pit stop.

Good Week for Obama. Long Term Impact?

We did a quickie roadtrip to Cleveland last weekend. We left a day early, on Thursday morning, so we could visit a state college in upstate New York for Jonah’s first college tour. Later, we roamed around the Southern Tier for the day. We found some nice wings and microbrews in Corning. Sunday, we did the eight hour drive from Cleveland to Jersey in one shot.

In short, lots of time in the car during a huge weekend for the news. For most of the trip, we only had access to God radio shows. So, I squinted at my iPhone for the news and retweeted as much as I could. Hardly satisfying for a mostly former blogger.

In one week, there was the confederate flag showdown and the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.  Obama gave a stunning eulogy for Clementa Pinckney. It was a good week for progressives.

Let’s make some predictions.

Will these victories have any impact on the 2016 election? Will it make conservatives more conservative in the primaries? Will this hurt Jeb? How about Hillary? Obama is going to leave office with some nice popularity numbers for an outgoing president. Is this going to make it hard for her to create distance between her and Obama?

Make predictions. They are fun, and they’re free.

UPDATE: So, Dan also says that Obama had a good week, but he’s a realistic about the obstacles that he faces during the rest of his term.