Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Great Quote from Jay Cutler

First part of the quote - I'm not making this up:
I roomed with Tony during the preseason...

Ahh, that's nice. Good friends, Jay and Tony. Second part:
...and he has great hands.

??? I'm not entirely sure that those two things go together.
A tight end like that can stretch the field.

Football terminology is great, n'est'ce pas?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What should we expect of people?

I like this blog, so I'm going to answer its author's question with a post of my own. I thought about things like this when I was her age (all of five years ago), and I suppose I came to a happy conclusion. The young lady's question:

Would it be better to expect a lot from people and occasionally be disappointed? Or to not expect much and occasionally be pleasantly surprised?

I think we have to expect the most from ourselves, a lot from whom we've chosen to be close, and a very little from everyone else. Our own families we can either choose to be close to them or not, and it very much determines how much we expect from them. For those we chose as friends, we expect a certain level of goodness - including good judgment, camaraderie, and an attentive ear. We demand it, in a sense, because that's why we became friends.

Why do we take it so personally when a friend does something stupid, like date a girl that's clearly wrong for him? It's because it runs contrary to our expectations of who that friend is, and we're disappointed and sad by it. Does that mean that we can't be surprised by our friends? Of course not - we take as a good sign of things to come and hope for a stronger friendship.

To those we don't know or choose not to, we can really make few demands and must act with some distrust. I have no problem distrusting the panhandler - I certainly think that his having so few social bonds on earth as to be a panhandler means that he's betrayed the trust of others more than once. The e-mail spammer is the same way. That sounds very mean, I know, but distance requires distrust in order to survive.

Most importantly, however, we must demand the highest standards in ourselves. To expect anything from another human being is to require, at minimum, our gratitude in return. And as we grow closer to others, the more that will be expected of us by them. It is both the price and the return of social bonds, in which we all must invest to enjoy our lives.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Me vs. the Smoking Ban

While banning cigarette smoking in most indoor places has become de rigeur around U.S. cities recently, the decision to do so constitutes an unnecessary restriction on personal liberty. The leaders of Nashville and Davidson County should reject calls to do so.

Let's get one fact out of the way - heavy, prolonged cigarette smoking has major personal health implications that cannot be disputed. The long-term health effects of light, or "social", smoking are, however, unclear. In fact, some studies have correlated light smoking with positive mental health benefits like sociability, happiness, and temperament. That is mainly to say that not all - or even most - smokers are addicted to cigarettes, but simply enjoy smoking in moderation from time to time. By and large, this smoking occurs in a social environment, like a bar or restaurant.

The current law favors personal liberty. An individual may choose to smoke in a restaurant that allows it. A non-smoker may choose to avoid a smoky bar. A restaurant may choose to be non-smoking to attract both kinds of customers. A ban does little to change the behavior of addict smokers - their venues remain the same. Increasing cigarette taxes has been proven a much better way to curb frequent smoking, or youth smoking for that matter, since it increases the incentive to quit.

Therefore, Nashville should pursue alternative solutions to an outright ban. There are other means besides an increased excise tax. For instance, if a bar or restaurant is to allow smoking and win/keep its liquor license, Metro could mandate that it have proper ventilation to minimize second-hand smoke. Incentives always work better than bans - and the establishments could choose for themselves whether to comply or just go non-smoking. Reducing smoking may very well be the right thing to do, but a ban is the wrong way to do it.


Sound like a letter to the editor? It is - I sent in it today. Perhaps blogging the letter before a potential publication disqualifies it - I hope not. Mr. Fact Checker, I'm the same guy.