They Must Have Been Taking a Knee in the Pit  

As per Adam Stern of Sports Business Journal, the 14 regular races on Fox and FS1 (excluding rain-delayed races at Martinsville and Bristol) averaged 3,983,000 viewers this year, down 19 percent (and almost a million viewers) from last year’s 4,898,000 average for Fox/FS1 races and down 29 percent from the high-water mark of 5,578,000 they averaged in 2016.

I bet that’s because all those viewers are turning out when the NASCAR drivers started taking a knee.

End Family Separation  

It’s hard to have the energy to react to every single thing the Trump administration does. Cut taxes on the top 1%; offer to recognize Crimea as part of Russia; invent a city where ICE liberated them from MS-13; criticize the press as an enemy of the state and then don’t respond when someone goes and actually shoots them.

My wife has been much more responsive to this ongoing attack on human decency (not American values, but simply). I have fallen into the trap of just mentally tallying the people in and around my life for whom I have lost respect.

But, now having kids of my own, I simply don’t know how it’s conscionable to separate young children from their parents.

Say what you want about (illegal) immigration. It’s just not as big an issue as people want to believe it is, but, whatever, I’ll concede it’s illegal. But taking babies away from their parents, isolating them, and having no plan on how to reunite them?

That’s fucking evil. That’s “go down in history” evil.

The people who work for the administration, from the top down to the officers enforcing this policy, are complicit. The fact that there is still no plan how to bring these families back together is heartbreaking. I get weepy when I think about someone taking my kids away from me and putting them somewhere that they might not get back to me.

This is the line that I don’t think you can come back from. You’re either a human being with feelings and empathy, or you’re not.

We all know Stephen Miller and Donald Trump fall in the latter category. I’d hope everyone else isn’t quite so evil.

And, remember, this is a President who’s expressed a belief in authoritarian rule, the end of due process, and maybe that being President for life isn’t such a bad idea. Today, it’s somebody else’s kid. Who is to say that it’s not your kid tomorrow?

Watch These and Make the World Better  

My wife and I watched a couple of Netflix comedy specials. In today’s environment, I think understanding (or at least being able to have empathy for) people who aren’t like you is super important. Both of these specials bring a different perspective that I think everyone can benefit from.

Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette is funny, but it’s far more than that. It’s a straight up gut punch. More than anything right now, more people need to watch this.

Tig Notaro’s Happy to Be Here is also very funny, with a very dry, understated view of her life, celebrity, parenting, and a whole host of other topics. And it ends with one of the funniest, joyful fifteen minutes of comedy you’ll see. Sort of.

10 Months  

I tend to be a digital completionist. I keep a set of shows, movies, podcasts, books, video games that I’m working through, and I tend not to move on until I finish the ones I have. I’m one of those people who gets DVR anxiety when too many shows have backed up. I get stressed when I have too many unlisted podcasts.

Or I used to.

It was, coincidentally, on my boys’ 10 month birthday that I caught up on my podcasts for the first time in, well, 10 months.

Top 10 of 2017: #1 Fast Romantics - Why We Fight  

#1 Fast Romantics - Why We Fight

Sure, it’s a little derivative of Springsteen, or maybe The National, or even some Neon Bible era Arcade Fire. But, in a shitty year where bad things keep happening, you need something to keep your head up and keep you going.

Whether it was written intentionally as a response to the election of President Trump or not, it’s a great song to keep your energy (and anger) pointed in the right direction.1And sometimes that matters the most.

  1. Taking back Congress in 2018, and the Presidency in 2020. 

Top 10 of 2017: #2 Benjamin Booker - Witness  

#2 Benjamin Booker - Witness

On it’s face, it’s a good song. A little gospel, some R&B, a little nod to hip-hop. Without even diving into the lyrics, it’s catchy, with that little lilting piano riff repeating over and over through the intro.

Then you dive into the lyrics, and think about where we were in 2017, and where we are in 2018, and where we will continue to be for the foreseeable future, and the song takes on a whole lot more weight.

(Also, hand claps.)

Top 10 of 2017: #3 The New Pornographers - This is the World of the Theater  

#3 The New Pornographers - This is the World of the Theater

Look, I love The New Pornographers. This might be my favorite album of theirs since Challengers. I think this is the best track off it. It’s got awesome Neko Case and Kathryn Calder vocals. It’s a perfect bookend for “Colour of Water”. It’s great.

Top 10 of 2017: #4 Colour of Water - Rose Elinor Dougall  

#4 Rose Elinor Dougall - Colour of Water

I heard this song and immediately knew it was for me. I love these little repetitive, layered rock gems. It’s hypnotic and danceable, but somehow it’s got the feel of an honest to goodness rock song. You’d hear this song come out of the opener for a band you liked, and you’d immediately head to the merch table and buy it (or, today, add it to your Spotify or Apple Music library).

Top 10 of 2017: #5 The Wild Reeds - Only Songs  

#5 The Wild Reeds - Only Songs

This is one of those songs that didn’t work for me initially. I liked it, but I didn’t find it to be anything particularly noteworthy. Then I heard a live version (I think from NPR’s coverage of Newport Folk) and I really dug it.

It takes about a minute to kick in, but the harmonies kick in, and they power through the great chorus, and you start singing along.

Top 10 of 2017: #6 Sylvan Esso - The Glow  

#6 Sylvan Esso - The Glow

I wasn’t sure how Sylvan Esso would follow up their debut album. The “vocals over a Moog” act could get pretty tired if they didn’t push their sound.

Thankfully, What Now takes their sound and pushes it in a bunch of new directions. “The Glow” is a 3 minute amazingly catchy pop song that makes the great use of Amelia Meath’s vocals.