130: Home Schooling Pods

We want our kids to have social lives but also for them safe, and we can’t imagine an in-person school experience really being that. That means we’re probably keeping our kids at our house for the next year. Ideally, we have them at a house with a few other kids so they can socialize. A few kids is a lot different than the hundreds they’d interact with at the elementary school.

How we’re doing it:

  • We found a former teacher who doesn‘t want to go back to work at an in-person school. We’ll pay her monthly.
  • We have a family we’re close with who has similar social-distancing values as we do who wants to join. They’ll bring their kids over to our house every day.
  • We set up a dedicated space as a schoolhouse – our garage – and we will have the kids and teacher use it to teach the Zoom classes or whatever the curriculum is.

This “pod” system seems to be catching on. If you go to NextDoor you can see teachers looking for pods and parents looking for teachers. Others:

  • Myra Margolin, who created a Facebook page to help connect families in the D.C. region interested in “microschooling,” found more than 1,000 people join the group.
  • Andrea MacRae is trying to organize “bubbles” for children and families in the East Bay area. She has interested families fill out detailed surveys about their values and risk comfort, and then matches those families with other like-minded families — including those who won’t be able to pay and those that include essential workers.

If we get this working it seems like a great way to get everyone through this pandemic safely. While this is working for us, I could see how it could be tough for kids of essential workers, those who can’t find teachers, or families who afford it. I feel very fortunate we can do it. Continue reading “130: Home Schooling Pods”

2018 British Arrow Awards

It’s becoming a tradition now for me and my family to go to the Walker Art Museum to watch the 2018 British Awards. It’s really pretty great to sit for an hour and watch the best commercials of the year.

This year it was noticeable about how many of them were about female empowerment (including the winner of Best Ad of the Year), which makes sense as it’s a topic capturing everyone’s mind share, everywhere.

My favorites of the year were these 5. They are pretty hilarious, cool, strong and, to use the British term, brilliant.

My favorite of the year was strange, ackward and just so funny. I have no idea what the ad is for but it’s still fantastic:

This next one is probably one of the funniest of the bunch, and I never even knew what Marmite was or that it could be so divisive:

This next one is really cute and captured our entire group. Even though it was the first ad we say, we all remembered it at the end

This one is just really cute and in the world we different it’s a great message of how kids don’t see color, race, etc.. Really well done

This one is just so epic. A move (the “tornado”) in a FIFA video game goes viral such that Ronaldo actually does it himself in a game and then goes even more viral to get other athletes to do it also. Really cool idea.

This final one is about the women’s Euro cup. The girl in the video just does a great job and is shows some great skill. Really liked this one

Knee Surgery

Last year, on December 1, I decided to run, every day Mon-Friday for at least 3 months. It was part of a not-be-fat program that I needed to go on. It worked out really well and I hit new heights of running enjoyment.  The miles also started increasing. I hit over 80 miles run in Jan, Feb, and March.  All was good.

Then, disaster struck. A few weeks ago, I injured my left knee in a soccer match. I couldn’t walk at all and definitely couldn’t run. t went to the doctor about a week after the event and after an MRI, we had this conversation: 

Me: What are my options, doc?

Doc: You don’t have to do anything or your can have surgery

Me: What happens if I don’t do anything?

Doc: Well, it’ll just hurt like it does now and you probably won’t be able to run

Me: For how long?

Doc: Forever

Me: When can I schedule surgery? 

I had my knee operated on yesterday. On my way to the hospital, I was pretty nervous. I’ve never has surgery before and I know of people who have had some bad problems from routine knee operations. Being active is a huge part of how I live my life. I basically played soccer every day of my life for over a decade until I was 22 and since then have been working out at least 3 times a week. The thought of not being able to run or be active is very scary.

Here I am a day after the surgery and it seems to have gone well. I’m still on painkillers, so I don’t really know for sure, but I’m optimistic. I should be back up and running soon.  

The next steps is to do some rehab and get back on the road.  

 My goal is 80 more miles in the month of August. Looking forward to it 


2014 Sport Video Roundup

The videos and advertisements for sports flowing through the internets these days have been great.  Wanted to capture and share a few for y’all: 


Recently, there was a great new ad lauding Derek Jeter in the final year of his career (although it should be noted that Joe Mauer has posted better stats at age 31 than Jeter did at at 31)

Related to that, there’s a send-up of the above ad by Funny Or Die, not lauding Alex Rodriguez:

For the Timberwolves, I’m all in favor of trading Kevin Love for Wiggins to the Cavaliers.  Speaking of the Cavs, there’s a great mock video of Lebron and his “Coming Home” campaign mashed up with Dumb and Dumber.

Finally, this is over a month old, but the Beats ad for the World Cup was definitely the best one of the summer.  It came out right before the Cup started and got me incredibly pumped for it.  A great ad.

(thanks to Kesner and Matt for sharing these first)

USA vs. Ghana

What a great game yesterday.  After Jozy went down, the US was bad.  Really bad, but escaped with 3 points.  Without the 3 points, the tournament is basically over for them.  

John Brooks scored, soccer fans roared, and minutes later, US 2, Ghana 1 was in the books as a great win. I was sure that Brooks was going to be a disaster, but instead, Brooks, only 21, is a hero.  Nicely done.

Some interesting tidbits from the game:

  1. Here’s a video of a collection of videos from around the world of soccer fans celebrating the Brooks header off the foot of Graham Zusi. 
  2. A cool video fo the tweet volume before and after the goal
  3. John Brooks found his wikipedia entry edited last night right after the game.  Seems a big more accurate now: 
  4. Updated Soccer Power Index odds to advance: Germany 98%, 63% (33% pre-Ghana), Portugal 27%, Ghana 12%.
  5. Some notes i learned about Ghana during the game: 
    1. They were rationing electricity so that everyone in the country could watch the game vs. the US.  (link)
    2. Women in Ghana get 84 days of paid maternity leave (US get zero)
    3. The official language of Ghana is English although the country is divided into small groups that together speak more than 50 languages.
    4. Gold and cocoa are considered a mainstay of their economy

That’s it.  Really looking forward to Sunday’s match against Portugal. 

(thanks to Kesner for some interwebs stuff)



Open Letter To Bill Simmons – Lebron Can’t Play Soccer

Bill –

Love the column and the podcast – read/listen religiously.

I used to play soccer in college. I’m just stating so you can see i have some credibility to what i’m about to say.

I had to write because one thing is driving me crazy. You and others keep claiming that Lebron James and other NBA stars like Dwight Howard would be amazing on the soccer field. See your recent podcast with Chris Collinsworth (here). These players are incredible athletes but this is just not the case, and anyone who has played soccer would know that if you see a 6′ 8″ guy playing against you, you would be psyched. There is no way, no matter how athletically talented they are, that would be good players. This is due to 2 main reasons: (1) foot size and (2) quickness.

To shoot or hit a long ball well, you need to hit the soccer ball with your instep, which is the top of your foot. People with big feet are notoriously bad at kicking a ball far and accurately. It’s possible, but if you’re huge (over 6’5″) it would be super tough. Quickness is another issue. Being fast on your first 3 steps is so crucial to a soccer player. You see it all the time at the top of the box, where a player is trying to get just a little bit of space to get a shot off. The bigger you are, the less quick you are. Think of Lebron trying to guard the quickest point guards all day. It wouldn’t go that well.

For both of these reasons, if you’re super small and really quick you can be the best player in the world. See Messi and Maradona (both 5’5″-ish). If you’re gigantic, you probably won’t be.

BUT, i do agree with your general idea that if the best players in America played soccer, we’d dominate. In fact, in 2006 i made up the US starting 11 if we had our pick of the best players and they were super fast, strong and quick dudes (Barry Sanders would have been ideal). That post is here

Anyway, please don’t say anymore how good of a soccer player Lebron would be. It drives me nuts.

Thanks and keep on kicking ass –

Mike Lewis

Big Day for US Soccer

The score was 0-0.  The ref raised the sign indicating 4 min of extra time.  The US team has wasted chances all day and all tournament. They played both sloppy defense and potent attacking.  But it was all over.  The US had blown its chance.  It was the easiest group in its history.  I could hear all the naysayers talking on ESPN’s PTI  and other radio shows.  We just suck at soccer.  You couldn’t advance ahead of Slovenia – it’s the size of New Jersey!? You couldn’t beat Algeria?.  The ref system is stupid, when’s the NFL start?.  Tim Howard recalls his though when the 90th minute came, saying:

I just thought the crazy thing is we could be on a plane tomorrow. It didn’t mean anything in the game, but I didn’t want to go home. I was kind of apprehensive about losing.

All the progress US Soccer had made over the past 8 to 20 years with the introduction of an MLS team, a quarterfinal finish in 2002 and the beginning of players playing successfully in Europe would all be for naught with a loss and elimination.  It would be the ultimate disappointment and I could tell the American public would once again sour on the sport.  I would dredding hearing Chuck Klosterman and Tony Kornheiser talk about how we suck and will forever suck at the world’s game.

But then the exact opposite happens.  Three minutes from going home, we score.  A fraction from elimination and we become champions setting a record for the fewest total minutes that a World Cup group winner had been leading in its first three games: a grand total of two minutes.

Not only am i happy to watch the US play this Saturday in the 2nd round but i’m happy for soccer in America.  For the first time since i can remember am i hearing people talk about what an exciting and fun sport it is.  People are beginning to understand why the rest of the world loves it.  This game will directly lead to future successes on the pitch in future World Cups.  There’s an 8 year old right now who wants to score the next huge goal in 2032 and because of today’s victory he’s much more likely to stick with soccer than go to football or basketball.  I couldn’t happier about all of it.  As Landon Donvan said after the game,

I used to see this game we play as just a game,” said Donovan, “and I think I’ve realized particularly during this tournament that it’s more than that. It’s an opportunity to inspire. And not only inspire other people but inspire yourself and your teammates. I think tonight is going to do a lot more for me and other people than maybe we’ll realize.

I completely agree.  Congrats guys.  Good luck on Saturday

I’m SO ready for World Cup

Only 3 weeks away from The World Cup and the excitement inside my brain is building. If you’re not feeling it, watch the following video which is Nike’s three-minute World Cup short film which follows a match featuring the brand’s top footballers and shows how one play can lead to a future of success or failure.

The video, called “Write the Future,” premieres on TV in 32 countries during the UEFA Champions League final on Saturday, but was posted early by Nike on NikeFootball.com. The ad features Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney, Landon Donovan, Thiago Silva and Ronaldinho (even though he didn’t make Brazil’s World Cup roster), plus cameos by Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant and Homer Simpson.

Alejandro González Iñárritu directed the Nike short and cast his “Amores perros” star Gael García Bernal as Ronaldo. Incredible work overall by the swoosh.

In case that video didn’t get you excited, here’s another short little commercial:

Only 21 days till kick off!