Links of the Week (3/23/2020)

Climbing will be in the Olympics…you pumped?!

The inclusion of climbing in the Olympics is new, but the topic itself has been around for decades

Over 10 years ago I knew this would eventually happen. Glad to see it here.

Climbing in the 2020 and 2024 Olympics: How We Got Here and What the Future Holds


Climbing will premier in the Olympics on August 4 at the Aomi Urban Sports Park in Tokyo, Japan. Prep for the venue is well underway.

First Look: The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Climbing Walls


There will be a total of 40 climbers (20 men and 20 women) competing at the Tokyo Olympics, and each country attending the games has been given a maximum quota of two competitors per gender. The climbers who have already qualified for the Olympics were selected through a series of Olympic qualification events, including the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World Championships this past summer in Hachioji, Japan, and a more recent combined contest in Toulouse, France.

Meet the Athletes Climbing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics


The sport of climbing and cinema go back a long way and there are dozens of great films to see, both from Hollywood and from climbers themselves.

The Hollywood climbing films range from sorta realistic to the absurd to downright cheesy. And the library of classic real climbing films is big.

​Lists like these are always fun. I think I’ve seen about half of these and my two favorite are probably Return to Sender and Cliffhanger. 🤣

25 Must-Watch Real and Hollywood Climbing Movies – Gripped Magazine

Black Rifle Coffee

Veteran owned and operated…

This was actually another Christmas present I received this year. I looked the company up and then got drawn in to their over the top YouTube videos.

Black Rifle Coffee Company is a premium, small-batch, roast-to-order, veteran-owned coffee company. We develop our explosive roast profiles with the same mission focus we learned as military members serving this great country and are committed to supporting veterans, law enforcement, and first responders. With every purchase you make, we give back.

Another good batch of coffee if you want to try something different. Pretty cool that they support Veterans too.

I’m pretty easy to shop for at Christmas time. 🤣

Here’s their YouTube Channel.

Teach Your Kids to be Scientists

Youthful curiosity is a good thing…

Kids are curious…we should foster that. I do my best to encourage my kiddos in things they are interested in. My oldest seems to want to be a scientist…so this day we built an elevator out of a cereal box.

Worried About Toilet Paper? Take a Breath and Look at The Big Picture

Did I ever tell you about my time in Pakistan and the guy whose job it was to scoop shit out of a port-a-john?

In 2005, I was on deployment in the western pacific and I got to be part of a multi-national military effort providing disaster relief to Pakistan. Devastating earthquakes had rocked the country, and the US was tasked with leading the relief effort. As a very junior officer at the time, this was quite an opportunity for me not only to travel to another country, but to spend about four months living with a group of people who hadn’t had Americans in their country for a few decades.

People who lived a very different way of life than my cushy American upbringing.

Not only did the joint efforts help with food, supplies, temporary housing (many homes in northern Pakistan were built in to the hillsides and thus destroyed), but we also brought out and deployed Army and Marine hospital units. We even had one or two full-blown MASH units that provided surgical care, trauma centers, dental care, and more.

I remember at one point people bringing reports and commentary back from those field hospitals. Many of the people they were seeing and treating said they had NEVER received care like this. Nor even had the option for care like this.

Before these MASH hospitals…before the world’s disaster relief efforts came to town…before the earthquake, many of these Pakistanis had never even seen a dentist, a pediatrician, or a doctor period.

This earthquake was estimated to have killed over 70,000 people and left close to 4 million homeless.

Think about that. And we have these MASH units ready to go in our backyard.

The Big Picture

image via wikipedia

Step back and take a look at your house, community, city, state, country…compared to other parts of the world. Don’t just look at other “advanced” countries. Remember there are “emerging” and “developing” countries as well.

For this report we grouped countries into three economic categories: “advanced,” “emerging” and “developing.” These categories are fairly common in specialized and popular discussions and are helpful for analyzing how public attitudes vary with economic circumstances. However, no single, agreed upon scheme exists for placing countries into these three categories. For example, even the World Bank and International Monetary Fund do not always agree on how to categorize economies.

—Pew Research

Take a quick look at this 2019 report from the United Nations. It lists the various country classifications with slightly different terms but the same concepts. There are large parts of this world that aren’t worried about the local store running out of toilet paper.

They just want to be able to eat with a roof over their head.

Or get paid to scoop shit out of a port-a-john.

Back to that Deployment

I wasn’t exaggerating about that. The local contractors that were hired when I first showed up outside of Islamabad, helped with some basic facility support. We were essentially camping out for a few months next to an ad hoc airport. We had the military tents, gear, and people…and they provided things like port-a-johns, water supply, some transportation, etc.

One day I was sitting, eating an MRE, and saw a gentlemen with a large ladle looking thing…almost like a shovel but the end was larger, flatter, rounder. Then I saw him start scooping shit…out of the portable outhouses we had been using.

This contractor didn’t have large trucks that could suck all that stuff up in to the back to later dispose of it at a treatment facility. These guys had to scoop the shit out before they got all the rest of the blackwater out!

Needless to say I lost my appetite for that MRE.

That give you a different outlook on your toilet paper tensions?

Values

Photo by Clark Tibbs on Unsplash

I have always appreciated the perspective that being in the military gives me. For some reason, I don’t talk much about my work here. Most likely because I normally see this site (and my past websites) as an avenue for me to express myself and my interests outside of work.

However, I would be doing a disservice to those who read this to pretend that my work is not a big part of who I am. I got to college, met my wife, and have a career…all because of the US Navy.

I have taken courses on leadership, ethics, thermodynamics (unfortunately), constitutional law, engineering, joint military operations, and national security. Leaders throughout my career have taught me humility, selfless service, hard work, sacrifice, harder work, and core values of “honor, courage, and commitment”.

Take Comfort in Your Leadership

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I am writing to my fellow Americans, but I hope that this can speak to those beyond our nation’s boarders. Yesterday I wrote about companies that are closing up but still paying employees, three days ago there was an Italian opera singer who serenaded his neighbors, professional photographers are giving away their paid courses for free, and so much more!

I can only assume that if you a re reading this, you probably don’t have it that bad.

YES – doing what you can to prevent further COVID 19 spread is important.

YES – take your local authorities seriously

YES – do your part

But please, step back….look at the big picture….and know that you are ok.

I trust our leaders have our best interests at heart and I know (for a fact) that they are working around the clock to make sure that people are taken care of. Those leaders that taught me how to lead, to serve, to be a man of honor…many of them are retired and work in government now. As a collective, our representatives and leaders will help us through this and we will be ok.

And please, don’t sweat the toilet paper.

At least you’re not scooping shit out of a port-a-john.

This was first posted over on Medium. If you like these longer form posts, you can get early access to them by becoming a Patron for $1 a month.

Apple and Patagonia Close but Continue to Pay Employees During COVID-19 Pandemic

Companies with a clear ‘why’ shine during crisis…

My Dad works at an Apple store back in my home state. He actually told me about this before it hit the news.

Apple Closes Retail Stores Outside Greater China Until March 27th and Outlines Steps It Is Taking to Protect Employees

We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27. We are committed to providing exceptional service to our customers. Our online stores are open at http://www.apple.com, or you can download the Apple Store app on the App Store. For service and support, customers can visit support.apple.com. I want to thank our extraordinary Retail teams for their dedication to enriching our customers’ lives. We are all so grateful to you.

Tim Cook

I am a self admitted fan of both of these companies.

When I saw that Apple and Patagonia were both doing this, I was reminded that there is a reason these companies have “fans” like me. As Simon Sinek says, they have a why at their core that is about more than the bottom line.

PATAGONIA CLOSES WEBSITE AND STORES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS, WILL CONTINUE TO PAY WORKERS

It is actions like this that help keep me and many others faithful to brands like Apple and Patagonia.

We should remember that, even when starting a blog, a vlog, or any endeavor.

Giving Away Free How-To Photography Booklet to Families and Colleg Students

Seeing these kinds of Good Samaritan actions warms my heart…

Jared Polin is a photographer I follow on YouTube. He is giving away (for free) a photography booklet to (first) those whose kids’ schools closed for a few weeks and (second) college students whose college closed.

Please share with anyone you think might be interested. (he’s a really good photographer)