Twenty Things I Learned on My Trip to Florida…

1. Pickle flavored sunflower seeds are very good.

2. BBQ flavored sunflower seeds are eh. Not bad.

3. My wife is like the recalcitrant whatever it is in Green Eggs and Ham. She would not try a single, pickle-flavored sunflower seed despite high praise for them from everyone else in the car.

4. I’m watching Fox News in the hotel breakfast area. In the exact same breath that they say we need to put aside our differences and unite behind Trump, they condemn President’s Obama’s actions toward Israel as being completely and uniformly wrong — when at most he’s issuing a long overdue, mild rebuke for some of Israel’s worst actions. You must think like a trained monkey if you can’t see through this.

5. My daughter Grace observes her environment, thinks ahead, and does her best to be helpful. She’s amazing.

6. I have been in the habit of buying everyone the same kind of gift every Christmas. One year it was watches. Another year it was pocket knives. This year it was fountain pens. My daughter Beka got everyone in the Mississippi contingent bobbleheads. Grace got Bernie Sanders. Penn got a Pokémon. Etc.

7. I got Cthulhu.

8. I-10 should be renamed “The Franz Kafka Memorial Highway.” I will start a White House petition for this when I get back.

9. Except that the Suawnee River sign has a little bar of music along the bottom edge of it, which is great for a state road sign.

10. It was hilarious watching my wife and youngest daughter do Yoga in bed together. I wish I had video.

11. But listening to the voice of the breathy, female yoga instructor without seeing the video was disturbingly like listening to a director’s voice-over for a porn video: “Now shake your head back and forth. It won’t hurt.” Or for a space-horror film like Alien: “Now breathe your legs into your chest.”

12. The Saga graphic novel is really very good, thank you, Steven.

13. To the exact extent that Extended Stay America’s “Continental Breakfast” is lame, Holiday Inn’s is very good.

14. If you’re traveling with five people, you may still save money by paying a bit more daily for a place with a good breakfast. We stayed at an Extended Stay so that we could make at least breakfast in the morning, but that didn’t work out too often, and you still need to buy groceries. I think we would have saved money or broke even staying at a better hotel that actually had a good breakfast.

15. Best of all, there is now a 3-D printer for pancakes at the breakfast bar. A Facebook friend of mine also called it a “Pancake Keurig.” That works too.

16. ALABAMA!

17. My friend Julian told me about this great record shop in Mobile in which the guy tells stories about the rock stars he knew. I shall have to visit when I’m not driving through.

18. It’s amazing how big a mess three kids can make in a car with sunflower seeds. Buy the kind without shells.

19. I have never looked forward to getting my car detailed until now.

20. When I told my wife that I was writing a list of everything I learned on my trip, she said, quietly and rapidly, “Oh God.”

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Jordan Klepper: Good Guy with a Gun

Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah produced a two-part video designed to test the theory that “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” In the first segment, he went through a gun training workshop in Florida to become eligible for a concealed carry permit that is valid in more than thirty states. In the second, he received training in active shooter situations.

These videos are very funny, mainly because he brings a Hollywood mindset into his gun training and the responsible, intelligent, and professional gun trainers and officers don’t play with that at all: “I’m a rule breaker.” “Don’t break the rules.” “But…” “Don’t break the rules.”

It’s not about swagger. It’s about knowing how dangerous guns really are, and people trained to handle them every day know that.

If we had average people with guns on the street during an active shooter situation, odds are one of two things would happen:

  1. The active shooter would just shoot the armed people first.
  2. The “good guys with guns” would probably shoot each other or innocent bystanders (or both) before the active shooter was killed.

No clear-thinking police officer wants untrained people walking around on the streets with guns, even if they’re good guys. The only thing more dangerous than a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun who doesn’t know what he’s doing.

According to the officer in the second video who co-wrote an FBI study about the subject, about 3% of active shooter cases were stopped by armed civilians. 25% were stopped by unarmed people on the scene.

Not one of these professionals believe that there’s such a thing as too much training.

The videos follow:

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/xqleli/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-jordan-klepper–good-guy-with-a-gun-pt–1

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/w2bq3a/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-jordan-klepper–good-guy-with-a-gun-pt–2

But, for some reason, the officers in the second video didn’t think gun control would work in the US even though it works well everywhere else.

What I would like to see is training, licensure, registration, and insurance for gun ownership — just like car ownership.

Training reduces gun owners’ risk to themselves or to others.

Licensure is proof of training.

Registration associates every gun with a legally identified owner. Ideally, there would be a ballistic fingerprint associated with every gun registration, just like we have photo IDs on our driver’s licenses. That fingerprinting allows us to identify guns by their bullets fired.

Insurance is perhaps the most important of them all and where the real gun regulation would take place.  We already have theft insurance. I would like to see added to that liability insurance, so that if you shoot someone else wrongfully or mistakenly, your insurance company pays out damages. The higher a risk you are, the more your insurance will cost, and if you engage in illegal activities, you can lose the right to insurance — just like you can lose your driver’s license.

Insurance companies make their money by collecting data and calculating risk.

Anyone who can’t get gun insurance can’t own a gun, and if you’re found carrying one without it, you can lose your gun and be fined.

This proposed regulatory scheme is still not a violation of the Second Amendment, as guns themselves aren’t illegal, and they cannot be made illegal without the passage of a new Constitutional amendment. So no, you don’t have to worry about the government taking your guns away so long as you follow the same laws that are already in place for your cars, which are in fact more important to your everyday life.

 

Best Episode of Dharma and Greg

I just finished watching Dharma and Greg season 3, episode 4. If you’re unfamiliar with the series, it’s by Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre. It ran from 1997 to 2002, and it explores many of the same kinds of relationships explored in Big Bang Theory, particularly that of the free-spirited woman in a relationship with an uptight man. You might think of Big Bang Theory as Dharma and Greg combined with Friends. There’s a subplot in this particular episode in which Dharma joins a garage band run by teenage boys just to get away from her husband, who as an out of work lawyer starts arguing with anyone and everyone because he has no other outlet for his skills. She gets fired from the garage band and then goes to audition for another one — which happens to be Bob Dylan’s band featuring T. Bone Burnett, Joe Walsh and others, really. Jenna Elfman, who plays Dharma, plays the drums, so jams with them. Check it out.

If the video doesn’t queue directly to episode 4, just click on the drop-down menu in the upper left hand corner of the YouTube window and select episode 4, “Play Lady Play.”

Funniest Sitcom Episodes of All Time?

Here are my top votes. Any other suggestions? I feel like an episode of All in the Family belongs here, but I can’t pick just one.

WKRP in Cincinnati: Thanksgiving Episode

The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Funeral for Chuckles the Clown

Friends: Eye Exam episode

Seinfeld: Parking Garage episode

Friends: Thanksgiving Confessions

Seinfeld: Every “Soup Nazi” episode ever made

Fawlty Towers: Bad German Jokes

Night Court: The Mel Torme episode

Cheers: Woody Gets an Election

Red Dwarf: Wilma is totally hot!