The end of the early season, mercifully; can we be nice to each other again?

Today marks the final big day of primary season. We still have the Washington, DC, primary coming up next week, but with primaries in New Jersey, California, and several smaller states today, we're getting ready to move into conventions.

It's been a month since Donald Trump became the only candidate running on the Republican side. He's had a contentious ride, and GOP leadership isn't going to make it any easier on him heading into the convention; presumably into the election.

Hillary Clinton will come out the Democratic nominee. The Dems' super-delegate system was put in place to ensure that party brass got to weigh in to the tune of about 30%. And why not? The US was chartered as a republic, not as a democracy. And Bernie Sanders isn't really a Democrat — he lost that party's Senatorial primary in Vermont and serves his constituents as an independent. I can only assume he's chosen to run as a Democrat because it gives him a bigger platform.

That's also why we have the electoral college — in case the voters went weird, there would be some people with some political insider status who could make sure the person elected is suitable to serve.

Fun fact: Members of the electoral college aren't bound. We want to think they are, but what happens is each party picks a slate of electors, and the party that wins the popular vote in a state has its electors cast their electoral votes. If, in November, Massachusetts votes for Clinton, the Democratic Party's slate of 11 electoral college members will cast their ballots. Typically, we assume they'd vote for Clinton and typically they would. But if someone decides he's a Martin O'Malley fan, Clinton would get 10 electoral votes in Massachusetts and O'Malley would get one.

I don't know if it's that Facebook and Twitter have become more popular since 2012; they certainly have expanded their reach since 2008. I don't remember us being this bad to each other. There are people on Facebook I haven't "unfriended," but their use of insult as a debate tactic is so bad that I'll never see their posts about anything awesome they do in the future; they're gone from my timeline and it's too exhausting to weed through and put them back in.

This race has certainly brought out the worst in a lot of people. At some point in the not-too-distant future, I think we're going to need something in the way of more radical change. At the rate it's going, the middle class will be a vast minority by the 2024 election. Inasmuch as "40 acres and a mule" was an actual dream for several days (look it up), it was supposed to represent a status to which we could all rise.

Among Trump's supporters are dangerous people who make death threats. Some of Sanders' supporters have been violent at times. We forget that, at the beginning, when there were 16 Republican candidates and three Democratic candidates, a lot of people couldn't decide which way to register so that they'd vote for Sanders or Trump — despite Sanders' decades in national politics, they were the "outsider" candidates on either side. Outsider enough that if Sanders runs on a third-party ticket, he might take enough votes from both Trump and Clinton that no one gets the necessary majority of electoral votes.

If we don't stop treating politics like sports in the U.S. — hating the other team for the jersey they wear — we're headed down a long, dark road.

More: The presidential race and the problem with politics in the US »

Josh: The Podcast, Episode 8: Books, the media do their job and how you can help the show

Links to stuff I talk about:
1 Million Cups
TipToepia
The Scout Guide Savannah
Trump blasts media for questioning where fundraiser money went
I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas by Lewis Black
Georgia Download Destination
Astonishing Legends podcast
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach

Bonus material for patrons is about stairs, and the type of person you are.

Don't forget to visit the Patreon page and subscribe at one of these great places:

iTunes
Player.fm
Google Play
Stitcher
Libsyn (RSS)

See more episodes on the podcasts page.

Support the podcast:
Patreon
Shop at Amazon
Shop at Onnit
Join Dollar Shave Club

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Happy Memorial Day


Veterans section at Bonaventure Cemetery. See more photos from Bonaventure.

Memorial Day, formerly called Decoration Day, has been around since during the Civil War. In fact, the first celebration was exactly 154 years, ago, on May 30 of 1862.

To all those who have served and we've lost, we promise not to forget. To all those who have served and are still with us, we thank you.

Josh: The Podcast, Episode 7: On gun control and summer beers


Note: I'm having some SoundCloud issues (OK, maybe I'm having some Josh-is-too-cheap-to-pay-for-SoundCloud-at-this-time issues). You can listen right here anyway.

Links to stuff I talk about:
1 Million Cups
Jordan Riles Ogden of J. Enterprises and the Impressum School of Social Graces
The Great Takeover
5-year-old shoots, kills self while playing with handgun
Patriot movement grows
Jekyll Brewing's seasonal releases, including Pineapple Habañero Hop Dang Diggity, and don't miss Keith's review at Brew / Drink / Run
Westbrook Gose
The Color Run
Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice
Joe Rogan talks to Alex and Allyson Grey


The bit I talk about starts around 27 minutes in.

Bonus material for patrons is about remembering what's really important.

Don't forget to visit the Patreon page and subscribe at one of these great places:

iTunes
Player.fm
Google Play
Stitcher
SoundCloud
Libsyn (RSS)

See more episodes on the podcasts page.

Support the podcast:
Patreon
Shop at Amazon
Shop at Onnit
Join Dollar Shave Club

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On using existing wheels


Bet that's not a real smooth ride. [credit]

"How long would it take to create a simple website?" someone asked me recently.

"Depends on the website," I replied, "but really simple would be an hour or two."

It turns out that the website the person had in mind wasn't a simple website; it was a large secure database with multiple client types repurposed for a single client.

"You wouldn't do that," I said. "You'd just buy a subscription to" the existing site. And, I didn't add, if it's not worth the money to buy into that subscription, it's certainly not worth recreating it.

There have been some improvements on the wheel throughout the ages, but most of those are just modifications for more efficient use — the incremental innovations we've built much of our world on. We've also done a fair bit of repurposing the wheel throughout the ages. I think that's a more nifty sort of innovation. "Oh! It does that, too!"

I admire true innovators — the Elon Musks and Peter Thiels of the world. Maybe I should just say Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. It's not like there are many people enough like them to put them into some box loosely labeled with their names. I admire them because I don't know anything about the stuff they do. I see what comes of it, but I don't understand what goes into it.

But the kind of idea synthesis that makes me smile and say, "Damn! I should have thought of that!" is what James Altucher calls idea sex. Take two existing good ideas and combine them to make a great idea. Think peanut butter cup ice cream. Ice cream? Great idea. Peanut butter cups? Awesome idea. But peanut butter cup ice cream?! Obviously that's a simple version, but it's a clear illustration, I think.

What if we took Wheel A and Wheel B and made a really awesome Wheel C? We don't need a new Wheel A, but people are going to love Wheel C!

Onward.

Josh: The Podcast, Episode 6: American Cockroach Awareness Week

Links to stuff I talk about:
Orpheus Atalanta
1 Million Cups
Tails of the Lowcountry
Urban Savannah Chamber of Commerce
Barnes Restaurant
Get out of your own rut
Is this Donald Trump's VP shortlist?
Does Facebook hide conservative news from trending topics? An ex-employee says yes, the site says no.
#WeThePeople Live, and specifically, Ep. 40
Bernie Sanders supporters proffer death threats over delegates in Nevada
Backpack Buddies
Palmetto bugs
My thoughts on transgender bathroom bills
Why you shouldn't take selfies with bison; and recently, a buffalo gored a woman in South Dakota
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on Joe Rogan's podcast

Bonus material for patrons is about religion and being a better human, and in which order those things happen.

Don't forget to visit the Patreon page and subscribe at one of these great places:

iTunes
Player.fm
Google Play
Stitcher
SoundCloud
Libsyn (RSS)

See more episodes on the podcasts page.

Support the podcast:
Patreon
Shop at Amazon
Shop at Onnit
Join Dollar Shave Club

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Get out of your own rut: Everything in moderation, even Wednesdays


[credit]

This is not a hump day post. There are no camels here.

Wednesday is the last day of my workweek. It is also the only day I wake up to an alarm.

Many of you know I work 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. I do so from home (or wherever I happen to be). I typically am asleep within 15 minutes of the end of my shift. Most mornings I get out of bed about 8:30 without an alarm, take an hour or so to check my email/Facebook/Twitter, have some coffee, get my body moving and throw some workout clothes on. I go out for a run and/or lift something. I come home, eat something, grab the dog and do whatever.

Wednesdays, I wake up to an alarm a little before 8. I take the dog for a walk, and I go to 1 Million Cups. It gets the creative juices flowing, and they hand out coffee.

After that, I head over to the United Way. My synagogue participates in a Backpack Buddies program. Around 9:30 or so Wednesday mornings, a few people head over to the local food bank and load their cars with about 2,000 pounds of food. Around 10:15, we all get to the United Way at the same time. We have a little cage with shelving and a long table in the basement.

We carry the food downstairs, sort it, and we carry up bags of food volunteers the previous Thursday have put together. The bags go to local schools, where they're distributed to children who are likely to miss meals that week.

Then, I go do something for me. It might be a trip to the beach, or a jump. Then I go home, walk the dog, and take a nap. I don't turn on the computer until a half hour before I go to work. When I wake up on Thursday, I have a weekend.

Here's why I'm telling you about my Wednesdays. By far the most popular post on my blog is called 6 tips for just getting on with your miserable fucking life. Every month since I wrote it, it's accounted for between 10 and 15 percent of my website traffic. People read it for four times longer than they read other posts. They're on that page long enough to read it five times at least (I've timed it to see if I could figure out why people are staying there so long).

That post is about how you get yourself out of a rut. I wrote it in anger. I was out of my rut and sick of hearing about other people's ruts. I wanted to give people a way to get out of their ruts. Or six ways, really.

Wednesdays are how I get out of my rut and transition into actual life, rather than the work-life cycle.

But everything in moderation, right? We get into ruts because we're not doing the things we do in moderation: we do them too much.

Here are a couple of more tips for getting out of your rut.

Take your vacation time. I found out last November I had to use or lose four vacation days before the end of the year, and on top of that I was carrying 16 days into 2016, in addition to the time I would accrue this year. That's FOUR WEEKS my company would have paid me for not working, but I chose to work instead. I vowed to have no use-or-lose days in 2016. I'm on track for that, I think. I'll have to revisit in September.

And if you're self-employed and haven't accounted for any vacation time for yourself, start. Start NOW if you can. Make your quarterly budgets 12-week earnings instead of 13. Make your annual earnings goal a 46-week goal. You're not self-employed because you wanted to slave away. You wanted some freedom. Take it.

Do one thing a month you've never done before. Even if it's trying a new restaurant or reversing the route you typically walk or run, just changing up your habits a tiny bit will give you new perspective. It's OK to stick to your guns on some things: I don't care what you say, I'm not putting ketchup on my hot dogs. That's a mustard meat, even if you're adding chili. Go stand on top of something. Run into a toy store and press all the "try me" buttons, then leave. You'll only annoy people for 45 seconds. Look at the stars. Just try one slightly new thing a month.

That's it. Just mix it up, and take some time for you.

Josh: The Podcast, Episode 5: Kelvin Ringold stops by

The great Kelvin Ringold, a friend, motivational speaker, photographer and all-around awesome human is in Savannah and we get to talking.

Kelvin's links:
Twitter: @kelvinringold
Vitamin K Daily
Intensely Positive
YouTube: WKPRinCNY
Kelvin Ringold, PUMU speaker

Links to stuff we talk about:
1 Million Cups
ZZ Systems
Distillery Ale House
Leopold's Ice Cream
Green Truck Pub
Forsyth Park
River Street
Ancient Olive
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Savannah Bee Company
The Salt Table
Byrd Cookie Company
Your Pie
Chocolat by Adam Turoni
Bonaventure Cemetery
Yia Yia's Kitchen
PERC Asproguate
Forsyth Farmers Market
Lulu's Chocolate Bar
Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
Moon River Brewing Company

Bonus material for patrons is about authenticity and the outlined by unscripted life. I reference Mike Rowe on Tim Ferriss's podcast and the work of Gary Vaynerchuk.

Don't forget to visit the Patreon page and subscribe at one of these great places:

iTunes
Player.fm
Google Play
Stitcher
SoundCloud
Libsyn (RSS)

See more episodes on the podcasts page.

Support the podcast:
Patreon
Shop at Amazon
Shop at Onnit
Join Dollar Shave Club

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Conversation: Remembering a time before social media and cell phones


[credit]

I'm among the youngest of the old-fogey community — pretty much nobody had Internet when I graduated high school. Only the well-to-do had giant phones in their cars, and nobody had them in their pockets. Kids were allowed to be kids — on Saturday morning, I could tell my mother I was going to Jay's house, and a bunch of us would gather, go to a parking lot, play street hockey, go to the market to get some lunch, go to another parking lot to play baseball, go to a convenience store and get a candy bar, then go chill in the woods and talk about things of importance to 9-year-olds. Then we'd go home.

Later, in high school, friends would go get some ice cream and French fries (I grew up in the next town over from where Friendly's was founded), and we'd talk. Nobody had phones. Sometimes we'd have a camera, but developing film was expensive, so the server would take a group photo and that was that — no taking self-portraits (that's what "selfie" is short for) until we were happy with them.

I've certainly benefitted from the advent of social media, of the Internet and of cell phones. I think technology is amazing. But I also think conversation is important. Uninterrupted, honest, face-to-face conversation. Share ideas, listen, learn. Set aside your opinions and prejudices, and enjoy.

5 Dos and Don'ts for good conversations »

We have a restaurant here in Savannah called Mrs. Wilkes. They have a couple of 10-seater tables. They're open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. A line will start forming around 10:15. Everything is served family style. There are no menus. Whatever's on the table is what they have. They fill the table, everybody eats, passing the food to strangers. Sometimes you've met the strangers already — if you've stood in line for two hours, you know you're going to eat with either the people in front of you or the people behind you. Or maybe both. It's a wonderful experience.

I'm just going to leave a bunch of links here about conversation from only a few sources; really, I just want you to read or watch a couple then go out and meet someone for coffee (or tea or soda or ice cream or cake or a walk or to climb trees).

John O'Leary: Big conversations lead to big undertakings
On interviewing and conversations
C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien: A lesson in the power of conversation
Rules for conversation, circa 1875
Joe Rogan and Lewis talk conversation around an hour, 20 minutes in
• There was a poet at an open mic I used to frequent, who didn't often talk to people. We had a conversation on a server's pad one night.
How to avoid conversational narcissism
Bringing conversation back into our lives

Josh: The Podcast, Episode 4: On running, neighborhood improvement and Trump’s army of bullies

Links to stuff I talk about:
1 Million Cups
TEDxSavannah
Better Block
Savannah Development & Renewal Authority's Better Block initiative (formerly block parties)
Floyd Mayweather un-retiring?
• Julia Ioffe profiled Melania Trump in GQ and people threatened her life. Also: Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out of the race, leaving the nomination path clear for Donald Trump.
6 tips for just getting on with your miserable fucking life
Get Air
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (affiliate link)

Bonus material for patrons is about planning and efficiency.

Don't forget to visit the Patreon page and subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud or wherever else you usually get your podcasts. Reviews in those spots will help people find the show! You can also get the RSS feed here.

See more episodes on the podcasts page.

Support the podcast:
Patreon
Shop at Amazon
Shop at Onnit

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