The Adrenaline Jimmies

The Adrenaline Jimmies are not to be confused with the Jimmy Legs described here by Jon Stewart:

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Stay with me here.

I have a hypothesis that strength training does something to an individual’s capacity to produce adrenaline. This is an excellent perk when you regularly attempt maximum effort barbell movements, but when you’re drinking your morning coffee and the front door slowly opens (ghost?! robber?!), a similar response is elicited.

Pupils dilate, heart rate spikes, respiration increases, and the _real_ fight or flight response takes place.

The moral of this story, I guess, is don’t leave the front door unlatched on a windy morning. The whole-body Jimmies have been going strong for a good twenty minutes now.

January 31, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

Sundog Sports

With or without the dog, International Rules Football appears to be the most exciting sport ever conceived.

[via the Daily What]

January 30, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Video. 4 comments.

Caturday Crunchies

[via the Daily What]

January 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Video. 2 comments.

Top Secret Durham Neighborhood Listserv Map

This post is about my top secret project that I’ve been working on for a few weekends.  It was partly inspired by an eight year-old girl who went missing about a block from my house on January 7th.  It was also inspired by my friend Gwen McCarter’s blog post about boldness that she published two days prior:

If there’s one sure thing about boldness, it’s that no one will know you’re a bold thinker if you aren’t a bold actor, too.  To illustrate the point, we need only think about noise.  Chatter.  A veritable din.  We live in a society where more people are free to voice their opinions than ever, and everyone with Internet access also has a soapbox within reach.  In many ways, this democratization via technology is empowering.  And as Malcolm Gladwell wrote last October, it’s not our imagination that social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and various blogging platforms are “making it easier for the powerless to collaborate.”

But Gladwell also warns against mistaking online activity for real-world action.  The digital setting is often confusing because boldness online can feel both satisfying and effortlessly productive.  If we want use the example of activism, social movements that grow online can amass a follower base of millions.  All the same, the palpable impact of those virtual efforts can be an entirely different story.  Gladwell happens to cite the Save Darfur Coalition’s Facebook page as one place where participation is high but commitment and investment are relatively low (he puts group membership at nearly 1.3 million and the average donation at 9 cents).  But the same could be said of a number of other initiatives — social media-based or otherwise —  that don’t or can’t place enough emphasis on backing their bold online campaigns up with tangible follow-through.

So, for most everyone, it wouldn’t hurt to spend a little more time in action.  At the same time, a single bold act cannot be your end game; it needs to be well conceived as part of a larger strategy, supported by other, more sustained initiatives.

As for the missing girl, I got the following message from an adjacent neighborhood listserv I happened to be a member of:

Hi, Neighbors.  A woman who lives down the street just came to our door asking if we saw a little girl get off the bus stop near our house (corner of Shawnee and Lynch).  Unfortunately, we didn’t see anything, but I told her I would send out an e-mail to the listserve to see if anyone else had information or had seen her (or anything suspicious that may be related) throughout the neighborhood this afternoon/evening.  They are looking for a little girl who is 8 years old.  She is African American and was last seen wearing black pants, a black shirt with purple underneath and has 2 ponytails.  She said if anyone saw anything they should call the police.

Now despite being about 50 yards away from the neighborhood’s northern border, the author of this email didn’t know to send her message to Duke Park, (although to her credit, she did make sure the police were involved).  Ideally, when something happens one road over, both listservs should be communicative with each other due to significant membership overlap.  Obviously, not everyone is a member of more than one listserv, despite proximity.  In many instances, this is OK since other members are gregarious and cross-post between adjacent hoods and Partners Against Crime (PAC) lists when appropriate.

The little girl was found at a neighbor’s house about 50 minutes after the original post.  Like magic, two distinct ad hoc search parties sprang into action and someone found the girl at a neighbor’s house.

This was a huge success story, but had the child gone missing along any other neighborhood border, I wouldn’t have known who to contact.  So, that day, out of frustration, I started working on a map which is meant to facilitate communication between adjacent listservs in emergency and crime-related scenarios.

Currently it features 35 neighborhoods with active listservs and 14 neighborhoods that don’t have listservs (but should).  Each border was meticulously hand-drawn, yet they’re probably wholly inaccurate.

So click the image above to be taken to the map.  If you’re not a member of your neighborhood’s listserv, you should join it.  Today.  The relevant links are embedded within each neighborhood’s shape.  If your neighborhood doesn’t yet have a listserv, why not follow Gwen’s advice?  Be bold.  Take action.  Create one.

And shoot me an email when you do, so I can update my our map.

*Update – The map now includes 57 outlines of active neighborhood listservs. The color of these outlines also correlate with which police district they are associated with.

January 26, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Reading. 7 comments.

Be More Like Pittsburgh

This post has nothing to do with the NFL or sports.  I don’t really even like sports.  Only athletes.  See the right hand column for my very favorites.

Moving on to why Durham (or any place) should be more like Pittsburgh:

Iron City looks out for its bicyclists.

[via Zachary Slobig @ GOOD]

January 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Sundog – Ass Charles

January 23, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Caturday – Saddest Bath

[via the Daily What]

January 22, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Video. 2 comments.

Robot Apocalypse Comic

[via Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal]

January 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Comics. Leave a comment.

You Tryna Get Real Depressed?

David Simon believes the children are our future.  Thing is, David Simon hates children.

Wait, that’s not true at all, but check out what dude says about their future.

[image via Big Think]

If you want details about our great nation’s inevitable crumble, watch the amazing Bill Moyers interview below.  It’s plenty long, so bookmark it if you have to.  You’ll be better for it.

[videos and original commentary via Fixing the Economists]

January 20, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Video. Leave a comment.

Gore’s Presidency: A Retrospective

Let’s keep this presidential train rolling with some juicy fan fiction.  Five writers for New York Magazine take turns wrapping 2-year ribbons around the maypole, imagining what it would’ve been like if Gore had won in 2000 and 2004.

Two of the contributors weren’t great. Glenn Beck (yes, that Glenn Beck) fails at humor/imagination/writing while Walter Kirn’s kumbaya years are pretty unbelievable. It’s a fun read though, assuming you’ve got the time and interest.

A particularly solid passage from Kevin Baker:

Well, tough titty, the president thought as he strode to the helicopter. Some people were going to have to get used to the idea that life in the new millennium wasn’t about tearing the tops off mountains just so you could grub some more lung polish. Besides, hadn’t he given the locals the Robert C. Byrd Clean Coal Research Institute as part of his omnibus energy package? Clean coal—riiight.

Meanwhile, his relocation had become the biggest jobs program West Virginia had ever seen. It was the logical choice, once Flight 93 had demolished the White House. All they’d had to do was spruce up the Bunker under the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, built there for Congress back in the Cold War days. The Secret Service loved it. Everything you could ask, all behind twenty-ton blast doors: dormitories, cafeterias, a state-of-the-art communications system, even a weight room. Everything, that is, except for the Congress. Capitol Hill was untouched; no need for them to come. He had the run of the place, and could call in anyone he wanted, whenever he wanted. Amtrak was running twenty trains a day in from D.C., and the town had doubled in size from all the media crews alone. He and Tipper took the presidential suite upstairs in the Greenbrier. They stuck Hadassah and Joe Leave-Me-Alone down in the Bunker itself, where he could keep an eye on them.

Coulda been a mistake, the president thought, frowning. Maybe that’s when he started to go all squirrelly on me—

He paused on the top step of the chopper, sucking in the sweet Allegheny air. God, it was intoxicating! Air like that, well, it gave a man an appetite. He smiled as he thought of Tipper, left back in the presidential bedroom just now in a state of flattering befuddlement.

Gave him other appetites as well, as the press had begun to notice. He looked over at the trim stomach of his body double. Would that guy have to start eating more, too? Maybe growing a beard would help …

[New York Magazine via the Browser]

January 19, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Smarts. Leave a comment.

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