The meaning of the Confederate Flag

June 21, 2015 By: erik Category: USA 1,254 views

The following post is an essay written by my high school World History teacher, Kevin McCloy, whom I rank as one of my all time best teachers and one of my better friends. It was originally written in a private response to someone on Facebook, but he executed it so beautifully that he shared it, and has graciously given me permission to share it here. This is McCloy’s second appearance on this blog; his first was a heart-rending tribute to his friend, Chris Hondros.

Settle down, class! Everyone please take your seat. It’s time for a history lesson…
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Sports is a socially acceptable outlet for xenophobia

June 19, 2015 By: erik Category: Musings, Soccer 80 views

Your Team SucksToday I heard one of the best explanations for sports fandom that I’ve ever heard. The team sports as war tribalism metaphor has been obvious to me for a while. What I want to discuss today is not how it feels to be a player, but more about the sports fan culture that is built up around different teams. As someone who doesn’t really participate in that – although I try every four years – it can be confusing seeing photos of my peers dressing their children in team colors and making really derogatory hateful comments about other teams and fans of other teams. But it has finally clicked for me as to why sports is so important.
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Telecaress: v. to touch someone across a long distance

June 12, 2015 By: erik Category: Geeky, Science 89 views

TelecaressMy eldest child, born in 2009, does not remember a time before she could instantly summon a video call with her grandparents on the other side of the planet. It took science fiction writers no time at all to predict such technology as soon as they saw a black-and-white television broadcast back in the early twentieth century. Obviously we’d be able to hold “face to face” conversations over long distances as if the other person were just on the other side of a pane of glass.
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Paella in the Woods – Parque Natural de Saja-Besaya

June 11, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 110 views

Picnic in RuenteLast Sunday we were invited out for a paella picnic with @bnanno. She and her husband know many more places around Cantabria to visit, and they took us to a special place just past Cabezón de la Sal, near a town called Ruente. We met up at a place that was easy to get to – she actually sent me GPS coordinates – and then we followed them in our car to the park. Several times we wondered how much further it could be, as we wound through small villages and around mountains. We ended up in an enchanting green forest wonderland.
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Barcelona – If you’re going to see only one Spanish city…

June 08, 2015 By: erik Category: Spain, Travel 116 views

BarcelonaWhen people ask me what city they should visit in Spain, the first answer is always the same. Madrid is great and all, and has it’s charm – however, name me another important city on the globe with no bodies of water, not even a river! – Barcelona really should be prioritized over its political and fútbol rival.
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Potes – Bridges and Mountains

June 06, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 95 views

PotesLiterally for years my wife has been saying, “Hey, maybe this weekend we can go to Potes!” It’s almost become a running household joke, like an unobtainable holy grail of family activity. Potes is a little mountain village in western Cantabria in the mountain range known as the Picos de Europa (European Peaks). At almost 300 meters of elevation, it regularly gets snowfall that we don’t get down here at 1 meter of elevation. For reasons explained above, it’s been one of the towns loaded into my phone’s weather app for years because I’m always asked what the weather’s like there this weekend. Normally it’s a handful of degrees colder than where we live, and often rainier.
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The 15th Annual Laredo Beach Golf Tournament

June 02, 2015 By: erik Category: Beach, Golf, Photos, Spain 55 views

Laredo Beach Golf Tournament 2015I was very excited to play in this year’s beach golf tournament last Saturday. It is most likely the only one of its kind in the world, made possible by the unique geography of the beach in Laredo, which has a wide tidal area, where low tide reveals at least a hundred meters of beach that high tide covers. That, combined with the finest sand I’ve ever seen, makes for a flat, hard surface on which a golf ball rolls as straight and true as on the best golf greens of the world.
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State of the Offspring Address – May 2015

May 31, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos 68 views

Saturday morning with DaddyThe highlight of this month was an eleven day visit from my parents. As always, they got along splendidly with their two grandchildren. Just as expected, Ian’s English improved considerably. A skeptic would still consider a lot of what he says to be little more than parroting back the last few syllables he’s heard, but he does an increasingly better job of pronouncing those syllables. At dinner with my parents, he concocted sentence constructions as long as “More tomato please, Grandpa!” The boy can’t get enough tomatoes.
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Porto Branco – White Port

May 26, 2015 By: erik Category: Travel, Wine 49 views

White PortFor some years my wife has, often as a Christmas present from her employer, received wooden boxes or cylindrical containers with port wine in them. We have never been very keen on this type of wine; on the rare occasions that we have opened a bottle it has been forgotten, and then used for special recipes that call for port, usually to make rich red sauces.

Port, as you may know is a kind of sweet, fortified wine from Portugal. Much like how alcohol snobs will tell you that you can only call a sparkling white wine “champagne” if it came from the Champagne region of France – and the same for whiskey from Bourbon County, Kentucky – a fortified wine can only be “port” if it was produced in the Douro Valley in Portugal.
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Wild Tales – Relatos Salvajes

May 23, 2015 By: erik Category: Reviews, Spanish 67 views

Relatos Salvajes TitleAlmost fortnight ago, my friend, @bnanno and her husband, recommended a movie to me. I know very little of Argentine cinema, but it was sold to me as “a series of situations in which every step the character takes makes some sense at the time, but that spirals into catastrophe”. Personally, I adore fiction, books or movies, in which the protagonist slowly goes mad. I first realized this whilst reading, as a school assignment, Doris Lessing’s To Room Nineteen, the plot of which I have since forgotten. But movies like The Others, Moon, and 1408 are similarly interesting, and the only kind of “horror” movie I can stand.
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