Archive for the 'Dave K.' Category

If you build it…

Our very first bout, regarding the book Collapse, spawned a pipe dream for a utopian, self-sustaining ranch in rural MN, that would effectively pull the inhabitants off the grid and out of harm’s way. In subsequent bouts that notion has resurfaced several times, each time with some new crazy twist or addition recommended as a solution for the issue du jour. Just give us another year or two and we’ll have imagined an entire city-state!

But if we’re ever motivated enough to actually follow through with creating such a place, one resource may end up being Becky’s Homestead. The tagline for her blog is:

… how to go from a consumer lifestyle, into the Self-Sufficient, Community Driven, Eco-Friendly, Homesteading Lifestyle.

Some of the gems of knowledge Becky offers up: building a light-weight chicken coup, how to sharpen an axe, and heating your home with kerosene.

I discovered this blog after listening to the most recent episode of This Week in Media. One of the hosts, John Flowers, had performed a video tour of his “Life Zero” studio apartment in San Francisco and submitted it to Becky for her blog as an example of how to live a minimalist lifestyle.


The Essential Man’s Library

While we hope the books we read and their subsequent reviews and discussions serve as valuable filter for interesting readings, the reality is we barely scratch the surface when it comes to important writings. In addition, our parameters of non-fiction and 300 pp or less restrict even further the range of potential books. Thankfully, a few guys over at The Art of Manliness have compiled their list of the 100 must-read books for men.

Granted, about 80% of the recommendations are fiction, but I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that for our Fight Club we have read exactly zero of these…

Blind Sided?

The next bout is scheduled for early June… right about the time the whole world forgets about football for a few weeks. The draft will be a month and a half old, the myriad mini-camps will be winding down, and training camp and the pre-season will still be a month or two away. Even one of my favorite and devoted football columnists, Peter King of SI, turns his attention to other things every June.

Not us. Not this Fight Club. We’re going to dive in and dissect the game while the rest of the world sleeps. Our guideline? The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis.

There are really two stories in this one book. One is an examination of the evolution of the game of football from about the time of the NFL-AFL merger to present with special attention paid to the position of left tackle. The other is a personal story of a young, prospective, immensely talented and naturally gifted athlete, Michael Oher, who hopes to play the position of left tackle in the NFL someday.

The timing for reading this book is nearly perfect, IMHO. We’ll get Oher’s back-story just prior to his last season of college football and his subsequent entry into the 2009 NFL draft. And, with this year’s draft just past us, the pundits are already looking forward to next year. So, where does Michael Oher project to go, or, in other words, how many millions of dollars can he expect to have in his bank account in one year? A few projections:

Just to get an idea for what his bank account might look like in a year, the top ten picks from the 2007 NFL Draft averaged $18.7 million in guaranteed money.

Michael Oher will very likely live comfortably for the rest of his life, thanks in large part to his hard work, determination, the love and support of his adopted family and… Lawrence Taylor. To understand this reference, read the book. But, suffice it to say that this man is nearly solely responsible for the position of left tackle becoming the second-highest paid position in football after QB. For the last twenty years, teams have been adapting and investing in protection for their most prized position, and Oher will reap the benefits.

But, for how long?

The very fact that the game has evolved like it has over the last 20 years suggests that evolution will continue. And where will the LTs (left tackles… or the Lawrence Taylor’s for that matter ) of the game fall in this process? One very unique and innovative approach to the game that is starting to gain some traction suggests that left tackles, in fact offensive linemen altogether, may become nearly unnecessary!

Introducing, the A 11 Offense:

Talk about evolution of a game! Though only time will tell how it truly does evolve.

In the meantime, Oher will prep for his last unpaid season, America will enjoy a football-free June, and we will discuss and prognosticate the evolution of America’s game.

Thinking Outside the Turbine

With the recent upswing in ‘green awareness’, alternative renewable energy sources are being touted as the saving grace- and they likely are. But, they are not without their flaws.

For instance, as of April 2007 wind farms in the US were producing nearly 12,000 MW. But, at what cost? For many, the sight of a few wind turbines can be an awe-inspiring experience. But, you start to amass these monoliths across our sweeping plains and awe can quickly turn to disgust.

Enter Shawn Frayne, and his tragedy-inspired approach to harnessing the power of the wind. In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State collapsed just months after it was completed. The cause? Mechanical resonance. The wind swept across the bridge like a bow on violin strings causing it to vibrate wildly until it disintegrated.

Shawn has applied this same concept to his next-generation wind-harnessing design, which can be seen here. If he’s able to scale this design out, the results would be dramatically less obtrusive and more cost efficient!

Shawn also received Popular Mechanics’ 2007 Breakthrough Award for his design.

Senator On-line

In a bold move that would make The Wisdom of Crowds author proud, Australia is introducing an internet-based political party, Senator Online, whose votes are completely determined by the votes of the people.

From the site:

SOL is a not-for-profit Organisation.

SOL is Australia’s first internet based political party so the website will be crucial to SOL delivering on its promises. The current website is a pre-election site. The post-election site will be developed if a SOL candidate wins a seat in the Senate at the upcoming federal election. Senators elected at this time will first sit in the federal Parliament in July 2008. The post-election SOL website will be up and running before July 2008.

The SOL post-election website will provide:

  • Accurate information and balanced argument on each bill and important issues;
  • All those registered on the Australian Electoral roll and who have access to the Internet have the chance to have their say by voting on these bills and issues;
  • A tally of all on-line votes;
  • An easy and effective way to be directly involved in the political process.

It will certainly be interesting and enlightening to watch how this develops. Democracy may yet be saved!

Show Me The Money!

Thanks to CNet’s Buzz Out Loud podcast (episode 578) for calling attention to In addition to being able to compare candidates on issues and participate in conversations, this party-neutral site also allows us to watch in real-time the results of the political fund-raising efforts of each candidate!

Here is a live graph showing the fund-raising for the top candidates in the 2008 Presidential election. And, State-by-State fund-raising leaders here.

Unfortunately, does not allow their blogs to embed the graphs offered by the site.

He’s gone but not forotten…

Thank you all for your letters of concern but we are hopeful that Dave K. has not passed away, gone missing in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, or been abducted by aliens!  We have received a coded message from him and believe that he is alive “Thought you might find this helpful…”  We have heard word through Halo 3 Xbox Live back channels that Dave K. has been spotted in Seasoned Gamers deathmatches.  Our source is sketchy so we’re hopeful but not certain.  Dave K. if you can hear us please send us another sign that you’re ok… remember your wife and child… come back to the “light” Dave K.


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