Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Brightest Hope

After two weeks at my new job, with Predictify, I'm once again experiencing the thrill of the entrepreneurial spirit. This feels to me like a raw version of true Americanism.

Except for our resilient natives, we are all the children of immigrants here. Today, I spoke with a man from India, visiting his son and family for two months. He and I had just watched our girls (my daughter and his granddaughter) play their final game for SF United, the coed soccer team that henceforth will split into a boys team and a girls team.

He told me he is so excited to be here witnessing Barack Obama's candidacy. I've heard similar sentiments from visitors from many countries from around the world. I told him what I believe very deeply, that the best thing about this society is our diversity. We are well on our way to becoming the most diverse society on earth.

He nodded and said that Obama is the "face" of that diversity. All American voters would be well-advised to consider the way this man feels. We have an opportunity to inspire people around the world by demonstrating that this truly is a democracy; that any child can indeed become president -- not just white men who look like me. (I say that because I've actually been mistaken for Bill Clinton, which I do not feel is a compliment. His hair is far whiter than mine, for one thing.)

Anyway, what a blessing this is, after a President who sells democracy only by pointing our guns at Iraqis, Afghans, Koreans, Iranians -- anyone who he perceives as unappreciative of our supposed superiority -- that we have a candidate who could actually improve America's standing in the world.

The irony is that none of those societies Bush invades and / or threatens have established an enduring ability to tolerate diversity, but all of them are capable of fiercely resisting our foolish military opportunism. Therefore, in this post-modern moment, Obama represents our golden chance to undo Bush's damage.

Think about it.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

1-Boys Night In. 2- Home Alone.

So, last night around here was one of those relatively rare times when my two youngest sons and I spent the night alone. The whole mood of the place changes on these occasions, whether for better or worse I am not qualified to say.

We ordered pizza for dinner, and once their homework had been dispatched, it was all ESPN, video games, and treats from the corner store.

Speaking of the corner store, I recently looked at my change to discover a gem. A penny dated 1950!

This morning, we had a breakfast of sausages and hash browns. You get the idea.


Fast forward to tonight. After my eighth day in my new job, as editor in chief at, I'm back home, watching the Giants on TV and thinking about whether to warm up (1) leftover pizza or (2) leftover sausage and hash browns.

Now, our kitchen is a scary mess, even though it seems like I'm washing dishes 24-7, but the video games, TV monitors, chips and salsa all are maintaining their positions of appropriate prominence.

And I've just made up my mind. I'm going to heat up both options.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


We're all familiar with the idea that children, as they grow, reach various stages of development, where they are suddenly able to make quantum leaps -- standing, walking, talking, reading, and so on.

We are less accustomed to thinking that adults may continue along this development trajectory, albeit incrementally as opposed to exponentially, but there's plenty of science that says we do.

In this context, do older people become wiser?

Not always. But sometimes. Do I have a theory? (Does a hurricane have wind?)

Many adults are so busy maintaining their hegemony over children that they essentially revert to a childish state themselves. I see parents all the time fighting battles with their kids, asserting power over them, using their size advantage to frighten and even physically intimidate children.

In order to keep developing, I suspect, humans need to transcend this kind of behavioral error and adopt smarter methods of raising our young. I'm not talking about turning into the kind of parent who negotiates with their kids or tries to become their best friend.

To place an exclamation point behind this issue, I trust that any of my kids will attest I am an authoritarian Dad. They know the lines that must not be crossed. Beyond that, I try to never sweat the small stuff.

Now, lest a careless reader misconstrue my argument here, I am not asserting that I am a wiser adult than any other person my age. I don't think I am. Rather, I'm trying to figure out how to continue developing at an age when I see others fighting change at all costs. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I can apply my prodigious experience as a father to promote the emotional and intellectual growth to reach the next stages of development appropriate for a man my age.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

To be a David and a Weir

As it turns out, there are thirteen of us David Weirs living in California, according to a fascinating service via Google/White Pages I recently discovered.

"David" is the fourth most common first name in California, trailing #3, which is "Maria."

Nationally, "David" is also the fourth most common first name, trailing "James," but ahead of "William." There are over 1.3 million Davids in the U.S. Anecdotally, whenever I join a new company, it seems like there already is another David or two, no matter how small the firm might be.

California alone has over 97,000 Davids.

"Weir" is another story: There are only 493 Weirs in California, and we are ranked as the 1,777th most common surname, just ahead of "Cherry."

Nationwide, there are about 158 Americans named David Weir, only one of whom (yours truly) is listed in Wikipedia. My home state of Michigan is tied with California for the most David Weirs(13), with Texas, Florida, and New York close behind.

Overall, we apparently have 6,343 Weirs in America, which ranks 1,585 among last names, tucked in between Hirsch and Trejo.

You'd think with how many times I've reproduced, we could move up in the standings, but alas, there is one more Hirsch than there are Weirs. (Note to older kids: Get going. After all, both of our family names got shortened at the border!)


Rookie on the Court

Little James visited yesterday, and was mesmerized by his child uncles and aunt's ability to shoot the basketball. He repeatedly got a hold of the ball, waddled over to get under the basket and look up -- but for some reason the ball wouldn't fly up there.

He looked a bit puzzled. Luckily, teachers were all around.

The little guy kept trying.

Eventually, he got into the gravity thing, picking the ball up and letting it fall.

But, he never quite got over the idea that the ball couldn't jump out of his hands the way it with everyone else. Or maybe he did. (It's hard to be sure when they are pre-verbal.) Because, once he found a baseball, he definitely started slinging it around like a miniature Matt Cain.

This was the first time this year I got to see my older daughters. James has a cousin on the way -- Grandson #2 is due in July. It was also an opportunity to celebrate a special birthday coming up this Friday.

The nice lady in the store where we bought this cake tried to write "Happy 32nd, Laila!"

She got it almost right.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Carnival! (Carnaval!)

Seven years after I moved here, the Latino population launched a new festival in the Mission.

Now, 30 years later, Carnival on Memorial Day Weekend is unique.

Many countries have Carnivals, of course, none more famous than Brazil's.

But here in the Mission, we have 30 different national traditions represented in our Carnival.

The mixing pot in America comes in many flavors.

Every kind of European is here, and African. But we also have every Asian nation represented right here in the Bay Area, from East Asia to South Asia to Central Asia.

From Little Kabul in Fremont, to the Asian Rainbow that is Mountainview, to the large groups of Filipinos, Burmese, and Pacific Islanders, there's no country whose population is not represented from here west across the vast Pacific.

Carnival mainly celebrates the cultures to our South. Cubans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Brazilians, Chileans, Panamanians, Dominicans, and many others are dancing in our streets today.

My own roots include the Scots. If you've ever been to Appalachia, you're aware of the people who still live back in the Hollows, speak their own language, and make their own music, which includes what we now call Bluegrass and Country.

Their language may sound funny to our ears, but linguists say it is an accurate rendition of how English was spoken in the British Isles of Scotland, Ireland and Wales hundreds of years ago, when the Appalachians were first settled by the Scots.

In my neighborhood today, I didn't hear much English being spoken, in any accent, but I did hear many different flavors of Spanish, as well as Portuguese, and the remnants of many Central American Native tongues.

By far the best part of this society is its melting pot. Difference is nice; it's interesting, attractive, and cool. Come to the Mission and you'll see exactly what I mean.


Siete años después me mudé aquí, los latinos población puesto en marcha un nuevo festival aquí en el Misión.

Ahora, 30 años más tarde, Carnaval en Memorial Day Fin de semana es única. Muchos países han Carnavales, por supuesto, ninguno más famoso de Brasil.

Pero aquí en la Misión, tenemos 30 diferentes las tradiciones nacionales representados en nuestro Carnaval. El bote de mezcla en los Estados Unidos viene en muchos sabores.

Cada tipo de aquí es europeo y africano. Sin embargo, también tienen cada nación asiática representada aquí en el Área de la Bahía, desde el Asia oriental al sur de Asia a Asia central.

Desde Little Kabul en Fremont, a la de Asia de Rainbow que es Mountainview, a los grandes grupos de Filipinos, birmano, y las islas del Pacífico, hay ningún país cuya población no está representada de aquí oeste a través de la gran Pacífico.

Carnaval principalmente celebra las culturas de nuestro Sur. Los cubanos, guatemaltecos, mexicanos, brasileños, Chilenos, panameños, dominicanos, y muchos otros
están bailando en nuestras calles hoy en día.

Mis propias raíces incluyen el escocés. Si alguna vez has sido a los Apalaches, que está consciente de las personas que todavía viven en la huecos, hablar su propio idioma, y hacer su propia música, que incluye lo que ahora llamada Bluegrass y Country.

Existe lenguaje puede sonar divertido para nuestros oídos, pero lingüistas dicen que es una versión más precisa de cómoInglés se habla en las islas británicas de Escocia,
Irlanda y Gales hace cientos de años, cuando la Apalaches fueron resueltos.

En mi barrio hoy, no he oído mucho Inglés se habla, pero me hizo conocer muchos sabores distintosde español, así como portugués, y los restos Nativo de muchas lenguas.

Con mucho, la mejor parte de esta sociedad es su fusiónpot. La diferencia es agradable, es interesante, es atractiva, está de moda. Ven a la Misión y
verás exactamente a qué me refiero.