Dragons

Thought for the day: “I thought growing older would take longer.”

Reading the news this morning, it’s pretty much all “same bad things happening as yesterday”. War, political crimes, people being jerks and criminals, stories about celebrities that no one should care about. Nothing inspirational. And it’s a gray, gloomy day outside, mirroring my internal state.

I have some technical writing I need to do today that should distract me from the negative vibe. I woke up in the middle of the night, composing some of the text that I previously thought was difficult. I love it when the sleeping, subconscious mind solves problems for me. It happens often.

Meanwhile, here’s a dragon from last week’s nighttime Louisville Zoo outing.

Is it really the end of March?

Daily chuckle: My doctor asked if anyone in my family suffered from mental illness.. I said, “No, we all seem to enjoy it.”

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After years of buying shoes somewhat randomly (buying when in the mood and/or at a mall; buying the first thing that mostly fits because I hate trying on clothes or shoes), I’ve discovered two things that make shoe buying an excellent experience. First, buy for quality. For me that’s shoes like Ecco and Rockport. High quality and high comfort. Second, buy via Amazon. Great selection, don’t have to sit in a shoe store and struggle with my shoes and socks in public, and can easily return anything I don’t like or that doesn’t quite fit. Little by little I’m using this approach to replace my decades-old collection of almost-never-worn, don’t-quite-like-them shoes. Old dog, new tricks.

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I don’t understand the arguments over who was more justified, Chris Rock or Will Smith. Rock is a comedian and there’s a long tradition of celebrities making jokes about each other. And this wasn’t a particularly rough or crude joke. Smith just lost his mind and committed assault in public. Smith was in the wrong, end of story.

Restaurant review

My OpenTable review of Repeal:

I was probably a little generous on the food rating. I expected a lot more for the price – Repeal is *pricey*. My steak was good but not great, and the whipped potato side dish was just bad. Runny and oily. I’m a tough steak critic – I’ve pretty much perfected Costco prime steaks cooked at home, so that’s always a thing when I pay for a steak somewhere. High hurdle.

On the good side we had a real nice evening. Great service, good ambiance, good people watching, and Monday night turned out to be half price wine bottle night. We had a killer Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape that I normally wouldn’t spring for, but at half price, why not? It was the star of the meal. And overall, their wine list was first class.

Dessert was a mixed bag. The key lime pie was excellent, but the bourbon-caramel bread pudding…don’t bother.

Louisville has soooo many good food destinations, and many of them great values. Mussel and Burger comes to mind. Con Huevos. Fork and Barrel. Ciao. Etc. So it may be a while before I visit Repeal again. Unless I want a great bottle of wine on a Monday night.

Adios

I really like this. Every person should have a user manual. I’m too tired this morning to write my own manual, but that’s a good project for the near future.

Today we fly west, back to a rainy Socal. These one week trips are getting tougher and tougher, so time for a change in strategy. Longer trips, maybe a bit farther apart. Ten days in one city should be a noticeable difference than 6-7. The point is to reduce the airplane time as a percentage of total travel time. I can’t quite travel at the same pace as I did 20 years ago.

The next month I’ll be very focused on my new gig, doing a lot of team building and laying the foundation for whoever comes after me. And on getting some exercise.

Finally today, everyone should read Heather Cox Richardson’s latest essay. A federal judge has looked at the facts and spoken plainly about Trump’s treason. It’s a damning recital of the events leading up to the Jan 6 insurrection. We came so close to disaster…

Judge Carter concluded that Trump’s actions “more likely than not constitute attempts to obstruct an official proceeding.” He also concluded that “Trump likely knew the electoral count plan had no factual justification.” The plan, Carter wrote, “was a last-ditch attempt to secure the Presidency by any means.” He also found that “it is more likely than not that President Trump and Dr. Eastman dishonestly conspired to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.” 

Eastman and Trump “launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” Carter wrote. “Their campaign was…a coup in search of a legal theory….  If [the] plan had worked, it would have permanently ended the peaceful transition of power, undermining American democracy and the Constitution. If the country does not commit to investigating and pursuing accountability for those responsible, the Court fears January 6 will repeat itself.” 

Monday musings

For the first time in memory I won’t be watching the Final Four next weekend. It’s an absolute worst case scenario for Kentucky fans. IMHO there are four teams that are considered elite in college hoops – Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and Kansas. Guess who’s missing from the party next weekend? I’ll go play golf instead.

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I didn’t see it live, but apparently Will Smith lost his mind at the Oscars last night. And then won an Oscar. Go figure.

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Today’s Wordle was awful. One of those words with a dozen replacements for one letter, all making valid words. I was lucky that I found the answer quickly.

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We’re missing a big rainstorm in Socal today, and I’m sorry to miss it. I enjoy seeing the parched vegetation get a good soaking. We’ll see the aftermath tomorrow, though.

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Here’s the trip to take immediately if you get a really bad test result from your oncologist. Go big before you go home.

Lazy Sunday

Everyone but me got up late today, so just hanging around the house. Reading a lot, did some online work to get a head start on next week. Made dinner plans for tomorrow at Repeal. Hope it lives up to its reputation.

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The light show at the Louisville Zoo last night was great – the kids loved it, so the adults were able to enjoy it too. Here’s some old guy with the grandsons on the carousel.

And the title picture above shows the grandsons plus Eva, my cousin Donnie’s daughter. The weather here has been unseasonably cold – got down to 29F last night! The zoo walk required a little pioneer spirit.

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And tonight we get to see if St Pete’s makes their way into the Final Four. I’m rooting for them against NC, big time. Might as well.

Saturday news

FDA approves CRISPR cows for beef. Yikes! And CRISPR doesn’t mean crispy beef, it means “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats“, which is science-speak for genetic editing. Somehow I think this will end very badly, somewhere down the line. Genetic editing of our food sources, plant or animal, has so many potential unintended consequences…

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Dave Winer has the correct take on the real damage Republicans are doing to us these days:

So here we are.#

Can you imagine how the rest of the world sees the January 6 attack on the US Capitol?#

Spoiler: It scares the shit out of them. Because the main product the US sells is safety. Our financial system is where the world stores their money for safe keeping.#

What scares them even more? We haven’t done anything about it. Trump and all the people who organized the coup are free. No prospect of any punishment. The can do it again and again.#

If you’re smart you’re looking for the next safe place to put your savings.#

I want to know this — why isn’t journalism running constant articles, reports and panels on this topic:#

When will Trump be charged?#

We failed to learn the lesson from Nixon it seems. #

The damage is that the world realizes that America isn’t stable, and isn’t the place they can count on when things go to shit. So who might they turn to?

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St. Peters (there, I said their name) is thankfully no one-hit wonder. This makes our loss to them a tiny bit more bearable. Now they need to beat North Carolina and then Duke. At that point we’ll know that we were rolled over by manifest destiny, not just a bad night on the court.

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Yesterday, religion once again disappointed me. I was driving east on I-64 when I felt The Call. I resisted, but The Call was insistent, subtle but strong. I had not been to church in a while, so I gave in and made my way to that holiest of holys (holies?), St. Spauldings of Lexington. There I stood in line, mumbled the words that would allow the acolytes to serve me, then gave my cash-only offering in return for a bag of Most Perfect Fried Perfection. I returned to my car, carefully opened the bag and extracted one of the sacred treats. I closed my eyes, took a bite, and…something was wrong. The bite wasn’t a warm, sweet, chewy transcendental experience. It was ordinary. This wasn’t a holy Spaulding’s doughnut, it was just like any other cakey bland fat pill.

Thinking I had just gotten a mutant or an outlier, I frantically sampled a couple of others, and they were the same. Ordinary. Not worth the calories or the effort of leaving the highway. I tossed the bag into the back seat, fought back the tears and made my sad way back to the interstate.

Needless to say, the entire experience has left me shaken, my faith challenged as never before. St. Spauldings has never before disappointed me. Perhaps this was a test. If so, it just proves that the universe is cruel and capricious, when even innocent doughnuts can be corrupted. It may be a while before I can try again.

Expert

My friend Robert over at Blue Heron Blast is an expert bird photographer. Here’s a shot that shows I can hold my own in that field. Was tough to catch this bird holding still and in the open.

I make the trek to Ashland and back later this morning. I hope to see some redbud peeking out from the deep woods along the way. Didn’t sleep that well last night, so it may be a tough day staying alert. Miles and miles of open road and greenery – actually, brownery this time of year.

Both

Perhaps it’s time to lighten things up a bit. Here’s a happy person in a beautiful place. Or is it a beautiful person in a happy place? I’ll go with both…

Big Sur, 2014

What might have been

Forty years ago today my Mom died. Some of it feels like a long time ago, and some of it as if it happened yesterday. I remember being at the hospital that day, and breaking down and sobbing at a pay phone in the hall. Maybe it was just a public phone, and I don’t remember who I had called. My family never really got over her being taken away from us so soon; the echoes of her departure are apparent to anyone who is close to us.

To everyone who has ever lost a parent, I get it. I think of her often and think of what might have been, what should have been, these last forty years.

Helen Susan Bates Nichols, who was taken from us in 1982 at the age of 46. She would have enjoyed and enriched the time between then and now.

I don’t know where my brother Don was, but here she is with the rest of us, circa 1976.

More freeway fun

I took the picture below while stuck in freeway traffic this morning. I don’t understand people like this. I know that millions of people voted for DT for President, but I don’t hate them or demonize them because of their vote. I wonder why their decision making process and/or world view is so different from mine, and I wonder why they voted for someone I consider completely unsuitable to be a leader. But I don’t say F*** them.

Freeway driving is stressful enough without wondering why someone drives around with an aggressive insult painted on his vehicle. I’m glad I don’t have to explain this to a ten year old sitting in my back seat. But that’s where we are these days.

I’ll be watching you

Another wonderful US history lesson yesterday from Heather Cox Richardson. My paraphrase of the theme: All men people are created equal and have specific inalienable rights. Not a bad idea; maybe we should base our nation on an idea like that. Hmmmm.

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I have to admit, without my team in the NCAA tourney, the whole March Madness thing is underwhelming. Yes, I’ll watch a game or two here and there, but it’s just not the same.

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I’m a more at-peace, thoughtful person than I was when I semi-retired three years ago. A big part of that is not being in Socal’s crazy traffic 2+ hours every day. I was reminded of that yesterday when a tiny Ford driven by a slacker leaning way back smoking a cigarette lane-changed three feet in front of me at 80 mph, no signal and no response to my honk and slamming on the brakes. It’s those frequent and casual brushes with death that make me want a stiff drink when I get home.

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One of my favorite SD Zoo pictures from last year – “I’ll Be Watching You”.