Archive for 2013

December 28th, 2013

Thank You, Scott Scudamore

Posted in Cycling, DC, Personal, Society, Virginia by MB

Reading through Scott Scudamore‘s Facebook wall right now is an exercise in deep swings of emotion. Until you’ve experienced Scud in person, it’s not only hard to grasp just how outgoing and friendly he was, but to truly understand  how genuine his connections with other people were. The evidence, though, is in each and every one of those posts.

The first time I met Scott (2004?), I think he started off with a “Hey, I don’t mean to be a busybody, but . . . ” (and he totally did). It was at Wakefield, and he was coming over to dissuade me from riding the muddy trails. Since I’d actually just loaded my bike on the car because I’d *seen* the muddy trails, I was a little irritated at first. But Scott was waving me off of riding in such a friendly and positive way, I couldn’t help but finishing the encounter liking him.

Fast forward from there. Over the years the friendship developed, from chatting with him at MORE work days, to riding with him in Stokesville most Memorial Days, and – in the last couple of years – enjoying much longer conversations about community, aging, and making the time for important things.

While I (very much) regret not seeing him since his crash, I couldn’t ask for a better last conversation than the one we had over (many) beers at Stokesville this year. We talked about giving back instead of trying to take it with you, providing for those close to you, and the importance of making the best connections we can with other people while we’re alive.

Scud managed all of that in ways we should all aspire to, and he inspires me to live up to that.

He did that for me and many many many other people.  Well done, Scud.  Well done.


More about Scott Scudamore here.  Scott’s influence ranged well beyond his home in Virginia.  Since his injury I’ve seen heartfelt testimony about and appreciation of the man from the East Coast to Hawai’i.  From lifelong friends to people who he really connected with in the span of a race.

September 18th, 2013

Midweek Makeover: Kicking Off Teenage Covers

Posted in Music by MB

So, a couple/few years ago?  The Undertones knocked out a nice little ditty:

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A little bit of pure rock fun, right?  So of course, it had to be covered.  And so Snow Patrol took the slow roll approach to it:

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And that wasn’t bad at all.  But Nouvelle Vague?  Sure, it’s kinda bossa nova lazy, but what they bring, it works:

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September 4th, 2013

Midweek Makeover: Your Edition

Posted in Music by MB

So recently I revealed a not-so-secret-secret to a friend.  I actually enjoyed Moulin Rouge!.  I know, I know.  Shut up.  Anyway, one of the (many) great tracks from it was a cover of Elton John’s Your Song.  Which has to be, on its own, one of the best love songs of all time.  I know you’ve heard it, but seriously, press play:

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I’d normally put something that good on a shelf labeled “Do Not Cover.”  But then Ewan McGregor (!) did this:

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Knocked it out of the park.  (According to Nicole Kidman, too.)  So really, you’d think that it was done.  I mean, loads of covers out there, but no one’s going to top the original, and McGregor’s take staked out something so different that anything else would necessarily fall short.  But then:

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Not sure what it is about this one that works so well.  Obviously Goulding’s voice is something special.  But it’s more than that.  The arrangement, the voice, the pauses.  It’s a worthy addition.

July 15th, 2013

The City (Take Eleventy)

Posted in Personal, Travel by MB

I’ve always been quite partial to this view of Manhattan (taken on a flight back from Ireland, IIRC):

View of Manhattan, New York City, NYC

But this is kind of working its way into my head:




Manhattan from the south, LGA approach

June 24th, 2013

Trying to Understand the Liberal v. Conservative Approaches

Posted in Politics, Society by MB

The title alone invites mockery (from people like me, among others), but for now I’ll just put this here with the very genuine explanation that I heard this on CSPAN radio on Sunday, and I’ve been thinking about it since.

Yuval Levin, of National Affairs Journal, being interviewed by Brian Lamb:

LAMB: I want to ask you to help define the nuances of conservatism. We’re going to go back to 2005; eight years ago. Paul Weyrich, the late Paul Weyrich was in that chair there and he said this and see what you think of this.


PAUL WEYRICH, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Our culture is continuing to decline. Here we are, working on a marriage amendment you know something that I thought was self-evident that marriage was between a man and a woman, but now we’re having difficulty trying to get this passed. You know we are not succeeding in changing the culture to return to a time when values mattered. They’re becoming less and less important in the society. And you know when all is said and done, it doesn’t matter whether you have a minimum wage or not. And it doesn’t matter you know what kind of trade policy you have, if in fact the moral fabric of the society has disintegrated.


LAMB: What about the morals; the values?


LAMB: I mean his definition of values might be different than today’s.

LEVIN: Well, let me – let me start in a general way. I think conservatism is – the difference between conservatives and liberals; a very profound difference is that conservatives begin from a constrained and limited notion of – limited set of expectations about what human beings can achieve, what human knowledge can achieve, what human power can achieve. And because of those low expectations, they value very highly the achievements we have in our society; the things that work and they want to preserve them. They want to save the preconditions for those things continuing to work. Liberals tend to begin from higher expectations; from a notion of greater perfectibility in the human being, from higher expectations about human knowledge, about human power. And for that reason, they start out with a sense of outrage about what’s failing because they think we can do a lot better. They don’t begin by appreciating what is best; they begin by trying to undo and root out what is worse.

Both of these things are very valuable, very important and very necessary, but they’re quite different. You start looking at a world that has both good things and bad things and your first instinct is to be grateful for the good and build on it to address the bad or you start looking at a world that’s both good and bad and your first instinct is to be outraged and to root out what is – what is worse based on an idea of what could be best; an idea of perfectibility, you approach politics very differently.

And what you see from Paul Weyrich there, in part, is a sense that what works about our society has to be protected, because it’s rare, because it’s enormously valuable, and because it could be lost very easily. Conservatives care a lot about culture, because culture’s the way we sustain those things that work about our society. Any human society is always under constant barrage by new members, by people who were born without all the great progressive notions of what we can do. We’re all born barbarians and we have to be trained to become civilized people. And the culture is what does that. It’s what makes it possible to turn a newborn human being into a civilized American citizen. And so conservatives think that’s not easy. That doesn’t happen by itself. And one of the most important things that any society has to do at any given time is to preserve that; to worry about the culture, the way in which it can train the next generation to continue in the footsteps of past ones. And so culture matters an enormous amount to conservatives. It’s not taken for granted as just being there and we can build on it. It has to constantly be nourished.

This is worth thinking about.

June 12th, 2013

Midweek Makeover: 30th Edition

Posted in Music by MB

Weird year, full of round anniversaries.  I first heard Cyndi Lauper’s When You Were Mine the day I bought my first cassette tape – her So Unusual album.*

 Astounded as to how she’s stood the test of time, both in her early work and her present.  Speaking of standing the test of time, I’m not sure when I first learned of the fact that Prince was the original writer of When You Were Mine.  But I do remember being blown away by it.  No embed, because Prince apparently pays an army of monkey lawyers to do takedowns of his work, no matter how obscure the corner of the internet.

*In fact, the original recording always surprises me when I don’t hear the warble of my tape.

May 21st, 2013


Posted in Personal, Society by MB

Every once in a while, you should watch this:

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May 15th, 2013

Midweek Makeover: Harder, Better, Faster, Cover

Posted in Music by MB

Daft Punk:

Brassft Punk:

March 31st, 2013

Send Me Your Money

Posted in Music, Personal by MB

Fell down a rabbit hole of music, this afternoon.  Landed here, most recently:

March 24th, 2013

In a Blow to VA Conservatives, Hate Fades on the National Scene

Posted in Politics, Society, Virginia by MB

The guy who happily used hate as a campaign tactic backs off a bit:

GOP strategist Karl Rove says he can imagine a Republican candidate in the next presidential campaign supporting gay marriage.

The statement from the former adviser to President George W. Bush appears to acknowledge that opposition to gay marriage has waned in some conservative circles.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, announced last week that he now supports gay marriage after learning one of his sons was gay.

Rove’s comment was part of a panel discussion on ABC’s “This Week.” He did not elaborate.

While the rapid pace of change has surprised even the most optimistic among us, the long game has never really been in question.  Alas, I’m pretty comfortable betting that, Virginia – a bastion of backwardness – will be among the last places to come around, when it comes to the law.  Remember, this is the place that fought interracial marriage all the way to the Supreme Court.

(And lost.)