Libraries Can’t Be Obsolete

Eric Klinenberg writes in the New York Times:

Libraries are an example of what I call “social infrastructure”: the physical spaces and organizations that shape the way people interact. Libraries don’t just provide free access to books and other cultural materials, they also offer things like companionship for older adults, de facto child care for busy parents, language instruction for immigrants and welcoming public spaces for the poor, the homeless and young people.

These days, I am using our wonderful public libraries more than ever. Most books, Vietnamese in particular, I have read were checked out from Fairfax libraries. Libraries cannot be obsolete. They provide crucial resources for our mind and spirit. I would do anything to save them.

Money Talk

Tim Herrera writes in the New York Times:

Open discussion of salaries among peers and co-workers, experts said, is a powerful tool to fight pay inequity. Not only does it serve both selfish and altruistic means — it simultaneously puts you and your co-workers in a better position during salary negotiations — but pay transparency can even protect companies by “minimizing the risk of disparate treatment claims and increasing job satisfaction for workers,” Ms. Cornell said.

I recent asked a former colleague his salary while we were having lunch. In reciprocal, I told him mine. The openness let us know where we are at in the industry. If we make around the same amount then we are good. If one is way more than the other, the lower one should think about his current position. I was so glad we were honest about it. I have no problem telling people my salary if they ask. I have nothing to hide. Besides, I work for a public university, my salary is public. If you are curious, you can search for it.

The FIRE Movement

Steven Kurutz write in the New York Times:

Millennials especially have embraced this so-called FIRE movement — the acronym stands for financial independence, retire early — seeing it as a way out of soul-sucking, time-stealing work and an economy fueled by consumerism.

Followers of FIRE tend to be male and work in the tech industry, left-brained engineer-types who geek out on calculating compound interest over 40 years, or the return on investment (R.O.I.) on low-fee index funds versus real estate rentals.

Fascinating piece on retiring in your 30s.

Its Priority, Not Yours

After dealing with Priority Toyota in Springfield, I have understood its brand. Priority puts its own priority over customers.

In our negotiation for a brand new 2018 Toyota Sienna, a sales manager accused me of milking the dealer. Sure, a small-time customer is milking a multi-million dollar dealership. I walked out, but a sale consultant ran after me and settled the price. He was a nice guy.

After driving the car home, I could not find any of the paper work a finance manager provided me. I called him to request another copy. I had to call five times to finally reached him. He told me to come to the dealer and he would print me everything. When I came in, a receptionist said he was with a customer. I left my name, phone number, and address so he could send me a copy. A couple days later, I emailed him and copied the general manager to follow up on the paperwork. I received no reply. Nothing. Fortunately, Đạo found the paperwork I left inside of the car.

The temporary license plates will expire tomorrow. The sale guy told me, they will be ready to be picked up within three weeks. On Monday, my wife got nervous and told me to call the dealer. I called about 20 times and left at least 4 messages. I heard nothing back. Yesterday, I drove to the dealer and requested the plates in person.

True to is name, Priority serves its own priority first, especially after it takes your money. Priority even attach its brand on my license plates and the back of my minivan. I obviously took them all off. Part of the deal with Priority is free oil change for life. I don’t know if I can put up with its service department. We’ll see.

If you live in Virginia and interested in purchasing a Toyota at a dealership, you might want to avoid Priority. It does not put your priority over its own.

Her Real Name is Loan

Star Wars’ actress Loan Trần speaks on race and sexism:

I want to live in a world where children of color don’t spend their entire adolescence wishing to be white. I want to live in a world where women are not subjected to scrutiny for their appearance, or their actions, or their general existence. I want to live in a world where people of all races, religions, socioeconomic classes, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are seen as what they have always been: human beings.

This is the world I want to live in. And this is the world that I will continue to work toward.

Saving Barnes & Noble

Alexandra Alter and Tiffany Hsu reports in the New York Times:

In the last decade, the chain has closed more than 150 stores and now operates 633.

I have not set my foot in Barnes & Noble for a long time, but I hope it won’t go away. Bookstores are so essential for the mind.

Boxers vs. Briefs

Alan Burdick writes in the New Yorker:

This week, a team of researchers at Harvard published the largest and most definitive study of the subject to date, and the findings are compelling. “Men who wore non-boxers”—that is, briefs and their confining kin—“have significantly lower concentrations of sperm and lower sperm counts,” Jorge Chavarro, a fertility researcher at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and a member of the research team, told me. “It’s a numbers issue.”

I believe the study is accurate because I only wear boxers and I have four kids. I never liked my package to be tight. It just feels good letting it loose. The only downside is that you can get horny easily and it will show. In any rate, I have been telling my wife to get rid of all of the kids’ briefs and get them to boxers. This study provides a good reason to switch.

Argentina Made It

Argentina fought with sweat and blood to get that one goal to advance to the next round and it damn deserved it. Argentina had come so close in the last two World Cups. It will be its turn this time to bring home the World Cup. Keep it up, Argentina.