A Competent Dad? I Don’t Understand

General Mills recently released a video promoting their new Peanut Butter Cheerios.

Here’s what I like about it:

  1. Dad is portrayed as something other than a bumbling buffoon.
  2. It shows dad playing a role in the morning routine.
  3. Without saying it, General Mills acknowledges dads are making more and more of the buying decisions in the household.

What I don’t like about it:

  1. The blatant product placement (about 1:45 in the video). I already knew it was a Cheerios commercial. Their iconic box had been shown a few times without it having to be explicitly mentioned. The callout wasn’t necessary.
  2. “The Official Cereal of Dadhood”; inventing nouns just so you can be the official sponsor of them isn’t endearing*.

Overall, though, decent ad.

*Brought to you by the Official Blog of Scotthood.

net neutrality

Why Everyone Else is Wrong About Net Neutrality but Me

The most common analogy I’ve seen discussing net neutrality is a highway — and it’s a more appropriate comparison than you may realize.

Net neutrality currently requires ISPs to treat all Internet highway travel equally; they can’t charge you extra based on where you’re going. They can charge you more to use their 75 MPH highway — as opposed to their standard 55 MPH one — but if you’ve paid for it, you’re allowed to go 75 MPH whether you’re headed to Netflix or Wikipedia.

Eliminating net neutrality would allow ISPs to restrict your speed based on your digital destination.

Most of your average Internet-using citizens support net neutrality, while ISPs — who are clearly colluding with the government on this one, with lobbyists becoming FCC chairs and FCC chairs becoming lobbyists — want to be able to do what they want with their highway.

Did you catch that? Their highway. They built the infrastructure. They spent the millions of dollars to physically lay copper wire or fiber or whatever other information pathway they decided to use.

This is why the-Internet-is-a-highway analogy is so great. Citizens paid to have our current highways built (the ones we drive our actual cars on) through taxes, the government built them, and citizens can petition the government to make rules about those highways — like speed limits, HOV lanes, and whether big trucks can use the left-hand lane.

Private roads don’t have to follow those rules. They’re private. And when an ISP builds infrastructure, they’re not providing a public service; they’re building private roads.

Now, these companies usually do get a kickback or incentive to build in the first place through subsidies or tax breaks — the same way a state or city would incentivize any companies to bring their business to the area.

And we could force a private company to share their infrastructure; that’s what we did with the telephone companies. It didn’t matter whether it was MCI’s or AT&T’s wire (highway); they had to allow any telephone company to use it. While this does help spread access and drive down cost, it kills innovation. How many huge advancements in telephone-wire technology did we see last century? What incentive does a phone company have to improve infrastructure if they’re going to have to share it with everyone?

That’s why the Internet wasn’t initially classified as a common carrier — to encourage innovation. Why do you think we have Google Fiber? Google can go into a new city, spend the money to improve (or maintain existing) infrastructure, provide a better service, and they don’t have to share their highway or their money with anyone. The ISP that makes the most money, ultimately, will be the one who is able to provide the best, fastest Internet — which requires, among other things, the best infrastructure.

Now, I’m all for saying Internet access is a legal right — just like any public utility. You meet the criteria (e.g. live in the area) and pay for it, you get government-protected Internet access. But if that’s what we want, then the government should be building the infrastructure with our tax dollars. We shouldn’t expect companies to build our roads and then get mad at them for wanting some say in what those roads are used for.

If you want net neutrality, treat the Internet like any public utility — like water, gas, sewage, garbage, electricity, police, fire, school, etc. — have the local government pay for it, build it, and manage it.


12 Language Lessons from “Weird Al” Yankovic

I dabbled in the fandom of “Weird Al” Yankovic as a child. I even had one of his cassette tapes. But I don’t think at the time I fully appreciated his genius.

Then he released this video:

And it’s beautiful.

So here’s a summary of the language, grammar, and orthology lessons from Mr. Yankovic:

  1. Less vs. Fewer You have less time, but fewer hours. You have less money, but fewer coins. You have less water, but fewer bottles. If you can count it (3 hours, 5 coins, 7 bottles) it’s fewer. If you can’t count it (2 times? 4 monies? 6 waters?) then it’s less — unless you were talking about the number of times you did something, in which case you would say I’ve been there two fewer times.
  2. I could care less This means you care a little bit because you could care less. The proper phrase is I couldn’t care less — unless you were talking about the number of times you were caring, in which case you would say I couldn’t care fewer.
  3. It’s vs. Its It’s is always, always, always a conjunction for it is. Its is a possessive, meaning something belongs to something else. To check if you got it right, reread the sentence, un-contracting it’s, to see if it still makes sense. If it does, you’re good to go. Also, don’t make up words like un-contracting.
  4. Espresso Not eXpresso.
  5. Oxford Comma Sometimes referred to as the serial comma, is the comma that immediately precedes the word and in a list of three or more. There is no definitively right or wrong answer for whether to use the Oxford Comma. This is a style choice; and different style guides (AP Style, Chicago Style, Gangnam Style) decide their own usage rules. The only real rule is to make sure including or excluding the comma doesn’t result in confusion.
  6. Spelling B, C, R, and are letters; they are not words. They are also not acceptable abbreviations for Be, See, Are, and You. Also, there are 26 letters in the English alphabet — not 36 just because you like using numbers in your words. e.g. b4, h8
  7. Homonyms Lightening and lightning are two different words that mean two different things, even though they sound the same. The same is true for accept and except.
  8. Who vs. Whom If you can’t figure out which to use, don’t default to whom just to sound smarter. Replace the word in the sentence with either he or him. If the sentence makes sense with he, then use who. If it makes sense with him, use whom.
  9. Quotation Marks Never use quotation marks for emphasis. Use them to quote someone or something.
  10. Good vs. Well Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb. Someone who swims well is a good swimmer.
  11. Irony If you aren’t absolutely sure what you’re writing or saying is ironic, don’t claim or think it is — because you’re probably wrong.
  12. Literally vs. Figuratively I was talking to a friend once about a popular TV series. She said she literally crapped her pants during a certain scene. I asked her if she meant she figuratively crapped her pants. She assured me it was figurative.

There you have it. If, for whatever reason, you can’t or don’t want to follow these rules, that’s fine; it’s job security for me.


The Joys of Netflixhood

The first Facebook post below comes from an old high school friend of mine. The second comes from an old college friend. They don’t know each other, but they’re similar people. They’re about the same age. Both are from the east coast. Both are passionate about music (more so, maybe, than any other two people I know). And, as you’ll see below, both were excited about some new content on Netflix.

But I want you to guess the main difference between these two gentlemen:


Can you guess the difference?

Friend #2 has children.

You see, friend #1 is a child at heart and loves the visuals, the stories, and the characters of anime — and is excited to get into a new series.

Friend #2 has a child at home who, I imagine, has been watching the same 10 episodes of Daniel the Tiger* and his child refuses to watch any other show — and he’s excited at the reprieve (if it can even be called that) of some new episodes.

And I honestly don’t know if friend #1 or friend #2 is more excited. Sure, it’s great to binge on a new TV series, especially in a genre you’re passionate about, but to be stuck watching the same stupid episodes of the same stupid show every stupid day — anything is a victory.

*The show is actually called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and it's the bastard creation of Fred Rogers' intellectual property.


A Sluice, Obviously

Here’s the gist of this article I came across.

There was a news report that used the word clyse. The question that obviously comes to mind is: what’s a clyse?

Well, the author explains:

… it is a local/regional word that means the same as clow.

Um. Okay. What’s a clow? Luckily, the author explains:

… would appear to be just a regional Somerset word for a sluice, basically.

A sluice. Obviously.

In summary: if you think you have a robust vocabulary, you probably don’t.


Grand Teton Relay Race 2014

What’s the point in pushing through the blisters,

the shin splints,

and the fatigue,

if all you get to see is your neighbor’s front yard

or your home town’s main street?

Why bother running on city roads and on level ground, by yourself?

The Grand Teton Relay is for those who would rather run through the rain than a sprinkler,

who would rather be in the shadows of mountains than of buildings.

From Targhee Road, to Teton Pass,

to the green grass and pretty girls of Paradise City.

You don’t just want a race.

You want an adventure.


Define Your Prime

Do you know how many stories there are

of people who work hard every day,

who never give up,

and still don’t accomplish anything?


Good things come to those who go out and earn it.

Don’t be limited by your past,

satisfied with your present,

or uncertain about your future.

Define your prime.


Make It Home

Your journey is different than anyone else’s.

It has its own sunrise,

its own storms.

It has stretches of manicured paths and miles of untamed wilderness.

But while the journey is different,

everyone’s destination is the same.

You want to make it home.

You’re driven to create a place of confidence,



You want to know you’re in the right spot,

surrounded by the right people,

living the right life.

You want the steadiness of ocean waves

and the permanence of steadfast mountains.

When you find yourself surrounded by those who matter most,

in that moment,

you’ll know you’ve made it home.


Your Vision Becomes Inevitable

At first, it seems absurd.



You tell yourself “I can’t”

or “I won’t”

or “I’m not good enough.”

But then, once you’re done with doubts and have exhausted excuses

your vision begins to pull you.

It whispers to you.

It challenges you.

It inspires you.

Your vision shifts from unrealistic to possible.

And then, once you cross that finish line

when your energy is drained, but not your spirit

your vision becomes inevitable.