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Ray Discovers Frank Ocean

25 May
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Forget the iPad, I’ll take one of these!

8 Jun

Look at what one German company is on the prowl trying to make:

President Obama’s Commencement Speech – Hampton University

7 Jun

Seth: President Obama touches on a variety of important issues in this speech to the graduates of Hampton University. Education is emancipation.

How to Fail a Test with Dignity.

13 May

Ray: My friends know that I’m studying for the LSAT right now and I’m not afraid to do horrible. To that degree, I have been given the following images as inspiration on how to go down in flames, the right way.

Two Years, 200 Posts: A Retrospective

16 Mar

Seth: Now that we’ve hit the 200-post mark, and passed out two-year anniversary, I thought about doing a retrospective on some memorable Seth and Ray moments. Here goes:

In the midst of the Democratic primary Ray said this about Hilary Clinton:  Her experience as the First Lady is in fact, more similar to that of being a much older Miss America. He also said if she were the President, working with Republicans to pass legislation would be harder than trying to light a match under water. For the record, I have it on good authority that Ray recently said if Hilary was President, health care reform would have been passed by now. #1: President Obama doesn’t have it any easier than she would have, and #2: it seems the Democrats are the real problem.

In the post titled “Restroom Etiquette in the Workplace,” I wrote: I feel like people should be very discreet in using the lavatories at their places of employment to ensure maximum comfort of all who might enter said facility. If you are on the toilet, it is necessary for you to alert those coming in to your presence by rustling softly, or clearing your throat.

In reference to the Economic Stimulus Package passed by Congress in 2008, I wrote:

Congress passed a tax cut for 2008, but are giving you the money now. Sounds great, right?

Not so fast. Imagine you buy a $20,000 car for your kid. Let’s assume you can’t pay for it all at once so you take out a loan. Now imagine you die next week. So the kid gets the car and the bill… imagine instead of buying 1 car you bought 20. Now your kid has 20 cars and 20 car notes. It’s clear that you knew you wouldn’t be able to afford 20 cars, but now it’s no longer your problem and your kid has to deal with it.

That’s pretty much the federal government. Getting tax refunds and having to pay less taxes it great, but it comes with a cost. IN FACT, they exacerbate the problem by spending more money than they have AND cutting taxes (less revenue). Then they pass the bill to the next guy (our kids). Unlike you and I, the government is able to borrow money on top of money and put off dealing with the consequences. So although we’re going to get a few hundred dollars now, the bill we get later, might make us regret taking it. But at least it’s going to prevent the recession…right?

Ray commented: In the case of our federal government, they have decided to pull over and feed the country more junk food in order to silence the cries of hunger (during an election year) even though they have done nothing to correct the habits that have contributed to our current economic condition. The serious ramifications of this conduct are that the US dollar becomes inherently weaker, the means of getting financing for major purchases are disappearing, debt per individual is at an all time high ($8,000 in credit card debt alone per person), and people still go on looking to spend far more than they save. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

We had a great debate on here about the Second Amendment, I won’t do it the injustice of copying and pasting bits and pieces, please go here to read the whole post, and the comments.

Ray, on dreaming big (a recurring theme on the blog)

There are millions of people throughout history who have had big dreams and made them come true. Those people created new forms of governments, designed irrigation systems, built pyramids, studied the laws of the universe, invented automobiles, flew around the world in single engine airplanes, walked on the moon, led revolutions against injustice, and accomplished so many other things. It’s enough to say that our everyday lives are shaped by the dreams of those who dared to achieve greatness.

As a dreamer, you will deal with pessimism on a daily basis. Someone will always have a reason of why you can’t make your dreams a reality. But as Seth would say, “Their words are not the words of God.” Let them talk, but don’t ever lose focus of your dreams.

A dream isn’t about the world you live in today, it’s about the possibilities of your world tomorrow. Everyone has dreams, but only a few actually believe that those dreams can come true. Of those people, only a few will possess the work ethic and determination to make those dreams a reality. If you’re one of those people, then the world is yours for the taking. If not, then don’t discourage the person who dares to dream. Our future depends on them.

On Marriage:

Seth: And while I think marriage has lost its meaning, I don’t think it’s lost its importance. Successful marriages is the bedrock of family, from which many good things in society grow.

Ray: Marriage isn’t just a longer-term relationship, it’s a permanent commitment between two soul-mates who vow to love and support each other until death. It’s a uniting of two lives and all that comes with them. It’s accepting and loving a person’s complete package, not just the aspects that you find attractive. Marriage is a “thank-you” gesture to God for creating the perfect mate to experience the rest of your adult life with. At least that’s what it means to me.

This will speak for itself. Ray wrote: Barack Obama received a major endorsement today in the form of former Presidential Candidate John Edwards. Since Edwards dropped out of the race back in January, his support has been highly sought after by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because of the amount of supporters he was able to capture as a candidate himself.

From Seth (Post titled Stewardship: The Key to Wealth): We’re all given something, and some more skill, wisdom, drive, and means than others. But we are all called to value whatever it is we have, and to produce of it. The key is finding your gift. How can you increase that which you don’t know you have?

Some advice I once got from Ray and published on the blog: “Don’t eat cheese at all on the same day that you’re supposed to fly. You will accidentally cause a terrorist attack via biological weapon.”

I’ve been working at this for a while now, and maybe I will continue it another day. But until then, I encourage you to peruse our archives. Lots of gold over these last two years and 200 posts to be found! Than ks for being a part of us!

Be Happy

16 Mar

Seth: Ray probably doesn’t know this, but his last post, Musée du Louvre, was our 199th post. That makes this our 200th! We are a celebratory people, and I thought we should celebrate this symbol of longevity with a special post of some sort. I looked at current events and thought about writing about the U.S. Congress’ healthcare reform efforts, the new National Broadband Plan proposed yesterday by the FCC that will take the U.S. out of the dark ages of internet (people are still selling dial-up in 2010!!! – how ridiculous!!!) or about something else significant and impactful. While perusing the web, I ran across an article in The New Yorker (read whole article here) about happiness research. Yes, that’s research into what makes people happy. What’s interesting about the research is it never suggests that what we think makes people happy (money, possessions, standards of living) actually does.

In 1978, one of the earliest and most significant contributions to that body of research  was begun. The study was centered on a group of lottery jackpot winners and those who recently suffered traumatic accidents that significantly downgraded their quality of life. There was a control group who experienced neither of the aforementioned incidents, and researchers were surprised that the lottery winners were no more happy with their lives than anyone else. This is surprising to me as well, as I’d assume myself to be happier if I had a few extra million dollars in my bank account – and that’s just the problem.

If I won a jackpot of say $50,000 I might go on a nice trip, pay down my mortgage, put some in savings and give to good causes, but I wouldn’t drastically change my lifestyle. The amount of money needed to drastically change my lifestyle – and sustain that change – is quite high, especially considering my young age. Research even shows that more realistic changes in one’s life (the article’s examples are having kids, moving to California and getting  raise) don’t have an effect on one’s happiness. This line from the researchers is key: “People routinely mispredict how much pleasure or displeasure future events will bring.

The focus of that phrase for people needs to be on the displeasure side. It seems that generally, we think we will suffer more displeasure from life events than we actually will. That said: live a little. Take some risks, go out on a limb, do something new. It turns out that you really don’t know what’s best for you after all.

I think this is the perfect way to celebrate Seth and Ray’s 200th. We could all be a little more happy.

Pheonix – 1901: The Song From the Commercial

4 Mar

Ray: I dunno. After seeing the commercial so many times, I wanted to hear the actual song. It’s called “1901” by a band named Pheonix:

This is the song from the Cadillac commercial!