Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pawleys Island

Just got back from a semi-relaxing week at Pawleys Island with my dad's side of the fam. Before I dig back in too deeply to cramming for my partnership tax exam, I wanted to put up a few pics to the ol' weblog.

There were 19 of us total, including the 4 most recent additions to the Jupe Shaw clan - Jack, Sid, Caroline and Audrey. Just like the family, these kids are growing like crazy and super cute.

We didn't take a lot of posed pictures, but I think we managed to get everyone in this shot:

Until next time, Pawleys - hope you stay arrogantly shabby.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Made in America

I was driving home tonight and heard Toby Keith's new song come on the radio - Made in America. Moments later I was slapping the steering wheel, singing at the top of my lungs in the liberating way you can only do in the shower or alone in a car, and starting to get choked up by the second stanza.

he's got the red, white, and blue flyin' high on the farm / semper fi tattooed on his left arm
spends a little more at the store for a tag in the back that says u.s.a.
won't buy nothin' that he can't fix, / with wd40 and a craftsman wrench

I was flooded with thoughts I had collected over the last two weeks, but had made no effort to curate. How the Fourth of July is by far my favorite holiday; how amazing my children are turning out to be; how lucky I am to have married far better than I deserve - she's hot, she's smarter than a fox, and she puts up with all of my idiosyncrasies.

There is also this piece I found a few days ago by Mark Suster, renowned entrepreneur and venture capital investor - someone that probably knows alot more about the realization of the promise of America than a lot of the folks in charge. The grandson of a Romanian Jew that fled oppression to South America, married a old-world Colombian girl, and whose father immigrated to America from Medellin to raise his family. Mark has started two companies and invested in dozens more:
America is a place that has always welcomed the best from around the world. We have become a great nation through embracing those that seek religious freedom, tolerance, acceptance and economic opportunities for anybody who is hard working, industrious and who hustles. 
My dad talked about coming to this country. He talked about it as the land of opportunity for those around the world who sought to make a better life. While we couldn’t have totally open border there had to be some way to bring in more talented people to this country to help grow our base of the world’s smart people. 
Tears filled his eyes as he thought about those that couldn’t come to America. He spoke about the things that we still take for granted in our cozy living rooms. He thought about the plight of his long-time partner and her desire to spend time with her family. 
Freedom. It’s such an easy thing to take for granted when you have it. When you grew up with it. I know that I’m spoiled because I grew up taking it for granted. I stand on the shoulders of my grandfather’s hard work and accomplishments. I stand on the shoulders of my dad and his hard work in school and his desire to build a better life for us.
I really don't know what to make of my nationalistic fervor. But I love this damn country, despite how many people would have you believe it is all effed up. Yes, we have issues brewing that together could be considered an existential crisis. But the minutiae that fill the airwaves don't get to those fundamental risks, but only touch the patina of rust that colors the surface. And like any good old American-made car bumper, that shine polishes up nice if you put in the elbow grease. While I am concerned to some extent about our collective willingness to suffer the effort to fix our fundamental issues, I also realize that we've been through far more challenging times, and America is remarkably able to respond in exigent circumstances. So the chatter about the latest issues doesn't really faze me, and I am confident that whatever deep crises we face will be weathered at least as well as any other country. And when that bear's chasing you, you really only have to outrun all the other hikers.


Enough of the diatribe - we had a fabulous Fourth of July, full of family and sunshine and pooltime and BBQ and music and fireworks and parades. The kids rode their Radio Flyer wagon in the Converse Heights parade, Harold Jennings smoked up some quality 'cue, and a good time was had by all.

My heart stirs at the sight of the stars and stripes in the hands of my children and the promise they hold in their eyes. Long may you wave, America.

Monday, July 4, 2011