Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Here are a few greats to get you started.

Kerry Christensen

Franzl Lang, The Bavarian Yodelking

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Recently, I’ve had this crazy idea that the only way to get a job is to apply for jobs. As a result of this misconception, I’ve been spending all kinds of time crafting a résumé and cover letters. I know, it’s crazy. Anyway, I don’t see myself being able to come down off of this new obsession for the next little while.

And for some reason, I’m focusing on finance companies. I’ve applied to Goldman Sachs, with Deloitte Consulting on deck, J. P. Morgan (responsible for advising in 38% of all mergers and acquisitions done last year, which is a significant share of the market) in the hole. And a slew of others still in the dugout. (That’s for all you Cub fans out there.)

PS I don’t know how I know figures like J. P. Morgan’s market share of M&As off the top of my head.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shiva, God of War

This past weekend was drill for me. On Sunday afternoon we decided to do combatives, the Army’s program for hand-to-hand fighting, based closely on Brazilian Jujutsu. In the middle of the class, I asked the sergeant teaching, “At the end can we have some time to go at it?”

“Oh, so you wanna roll? Hey, who wants to roll with Buck?”

A private who is three or four inches taller than me and a bit bigger said he would, but he was standing in a group of soldiers.

“Great!” I said. “Which one is it?”

At that point, a guy about an inch taller than me and weighing 200-ish pounds (a muscley 200 pounds), said, “Me, I’ll do it.”

So we got down on our knees (I didn’t want us to seriously injure each other in trying to throw the other down) and began. Because he is so much stronger than me, he got on top fairly quickly and stayed there. In wrestling this is the worst thing possible. It means you just lost. Not so if you’re trying to kill someone. While not ideal, I knew it was not bad. Instead of wasting energy trying to get him off of me, I reached my left hand up and grabbed his left collar as far back as I could. Then I got my right hand on his right collar. At this point, he had his forearm across my neck, putting all his weight into choking me between his arm and the ground. It was kind of working. But then he moved his chin up a little bit, which had been preventing me from really getting him. So I stuck my wrist under his chin next to his neck, locked my left arm out, and proceeded to try to pull my right hand back to me (with my arms in an X in front of his neck, that did two things: first, it tightened his collar on the sides and cut off blood flow to his brain; second, it put my forearm where the space for his windpipe used to be). He didn’t tap out (which is how you say, “Uncle,” while unable to breathe), so I kept tightening. Then his face changed and he really gritted his teeth.

“Not giving up?” I thought. “That’s fine. You’ll just have to pass out.” Then I realized that the change in facial expression meant he already had passed out. The bulging eyes that I took for determination were just bulging eyes, apparently. I let go, laid him out on the ground, he started breathing deeply, his exhalations flapping his completely relaxed lips like horses do, and then he woke up.

No brain damage was apparent. (He wasn’t exactly a high-performance model in the first place, but we didn’t notice him saying anything particularly unusual.) All’s well that ends well, right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Celebrate Atlas Shrugged Day, Part II

(Photo to accompany the entry Jenny Beckman)

The Silver Spoon

A few years ago I purchased The Silver Spoon, a fantastic Italian cookbook. I did so for a few reasons: first, it was attractive; second, it looked high-class; third, Dwell magazine recommended it; and fourth, I bought into the cultural dictum that if your life is feeling unfulfilling, you can identify a wonderful activity that will enrich the day-to-day, purchase the equipment associated with said activity, and do nothing else; the sheer act of ownership is enough to sweeten things.

As it turns out, the last few years have validated the dictum. I have not used this book for anything. True to form, however, since the purchase of this inspired work, my life has been on a steadily upward rise (admittedly, this has not been strictly monotonic—more like loosely monotonic). Since realizing the effect The Silver Spoon has had, I have decided to celebrate by actually using it.

For dinner the other night I made broiled chicken with a Russian garlic sauce and zucchini with a mint sauce. It was fantastic. The most spectacular part of the cooking process was learning that you can broil chicken at five hundred degrees without drying it out. It actually makes fantastic meat. And it takes ten minutes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Jenny Beckman

Yesterday, Zannah and I went on a Celebrate Atlas Shrugged Adventure. That included riding a train, eating at a diner, and talking about career things.

We went to the Blue Plate Diner in Salt Lake for dinner. Zannah ordered a salad that was filled with boring vegetables (the sort you will find in a cafeteria salad). Also, some bacon and cheese. She was not impressed. I ordered the fish ‘n chips. The chips weren’t spectacular, but they tasted like potatoes that had been deep fried. The fish, however, was excellent. It was definitely a step above Skipper’s, as the Blue Plate’s were filets instead of pre-formed patties. The tartar sauce took a bit of getting used to. It was freshly made, and the textured showed that: the vegetables that go into the sauce were firm little chunks, which combined with the high percentage of vegetables in the sauce to give it a very stiff, crunchy texture. Once I got over the surprise of it not being like Skipper’s tartar sauce (or any tartar sauce I’ve had at sit-down restaurants), I decided I quite liked it. In addition to the fish ‘n chips, there were steamed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, yellow squash, and green squash) in a butter sauce.

After dinner we decided to go see 500 Days of Summer, which is the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. I will be buying it. At the beginning there is a disclaimer:

Author’s Note: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Especially you Jenny Beckman.


The movie is incredibly funny. It lives up to its Indie credentials. Zannah and I were the annoying couple who laughed loudly at everything. After a bit, the rest of the audience loosened up and realized they were supposed to be laughing at a lot of the heartbreaking stuff.