Random bits

I’m about the millionth person to write about this, but it’s a weirdly fascinating subject. Trump’s mug shot.

Stanley Kubrick knew that this pose somehow indicated derangement and danger, and trained his actors to use it as a method to instill fear in his audience.

I doubt that Trump is a student of Kubrick’s technique. He’s just a naturally deranged animal.


I don’t drink much beer anymore, but I had a couple yesterday at a company going-away party for a friend. We met at Ballast Point’s brewing HQ just off Miramar Road, and I had an old favorite, their Sculpin Habanero IPA. I had forgotten how good it is – crisp, refreshing, and with a definite habanero kick. Pretty much a perfect beer, IMHO. May have to go back for another one soon


For a guy who tends to hold on to stereo speakers waaaaay too long (I have about four sets tucked away at the moment – a pair of classic Vandersteen 2ce’s, my beloved Spatial Audio M3’s, a nice pair of PSB 6’s, and an ancient pair of 1990s bookshelf speakers), this little device has some promise. It’s a good idea, but I can’t find out what codecs it uses for the Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is, in theory, capable of transporting pretty decent audio across the wireless channel, but in most implementations it is dumbed down to use highly compressed and lossy audio formats. So listening to good music stored on your iPhone as ALAC (a lossless format) might still sound crummy due to codec compression by Bluetooth. More research required. Though at $199 I might just buy a pair to try them with the PSB’s.


The Socal heat wave I arrived in is scheduled to end today – we should get back to mid and even low 80s for a while. That’ll be nice. I’m tired of being stuck indoors in the AC. Yeah, I know, a first world problem.


After reading this article about the UK Wildcats 2024 football team, I might as well not even watch the games. All the experts say the Cats will have a record of 8-4, and they even agree on which games they’ll lose. That takes all the drama out of the season, dontcha think?


This is some hard-core irony. A 2016 Faux News talking head ranting that “We cannot have a country led by a President who is subject to ongoing criminal investigations.”, in reference to the never-indicted Hilary Clinton in 2016. My, how times have changed.


Two hours until departing for the airport and I’m still running through the list of things that should be done. Good news, I’ve finished all the “must be done” items and now am working through the “should be done” list. Having a second home isn’t as easy as one might think.

It’s likely to be a while before I’m back in Louisville. The kids are coming west in late Sept, and October is filled with previous commitments. So my Turo car will have plenty of time to make money for us.

After an active day yesterday – bike ride and nine holes of golf, plus lots of chores – my body feels like shit. Part of it is the not-enough-sleep syndrome. That I have to get fixed when I reach the Left Coast.

I *am* looking forward to the cool (I hope) and absolutely quiet nights at the Los Campos house. Frogs, owls, and coyotes are all one can hear at night. I love that stillness. I’ve pretty much stopped hearing the train at Galt, but…it’s still there. It probably adds to the poor sleep.

I have good books to read, and I should be able to get an exit row seat. That’ll give me a chance to rest or even sleep on the journey west. The worst part of the trip will probably be the drive home – landing at 3pm in Orange County means I’ll hit some serious traffic driving south. ETA is maybe 530pm at Los Campos.

It’s been an eventful 2-3 months, and I’m still processing everything. Lots to think about, and about three weeks ahead with no travel, no guests, no commitments. That sounds nice.

Sunday wrapup

Yesterday’s little birthday cookout for brother Mike was a good event. Saw cousins, nephews, brothers, and neighbors. Good burgers and great side dishes. Cooked outside and ate inside, a reasonable approach given the heat.

Speaking of heat, good news, the oppressive Louisville heat wave has broken. Temps will be a reasonable low 80s this afternoon and downright pleasant for the coming week.

Bad news, I Ieave for the west coast tomorrow, and the temps there are heading into the mid-to-high 90s for Tuesday onward. Supposed to be a solid 100F on Tuesday. I can’t catch a break, weather wise.


My new Turo mini-business has launched, and my just-purchased vehicle is now gainfully employed. It will be here making money for me anytime I’m away, on the west coast or elsewhere. That’s cool – I love it when a plan comes together. I call it a mini-business because even best case, it’s not a lot of money. But it does change a growing expense (car rentals while I’m in Louisville) into an income stream, more than offsetting the expense. Not life changing, but it feels smart.


Lots of cleanup, button up, and shut down tasks today as I get ready to leave town for a while. Maybe quite a while, as both Sept and Oct are really busy with scheduled events. The kids come to CA for a while, I have my annual golf outing in NOLA and another in Hawaii, and a company event over a long weekend. So just not sure when I’ll make the trek back to Frankfort Ave.

Even with the heat and not seeing the kids much, it’s been good being here. Peaceful. I’ve had plenty of time to think and make some sense of the weirdness of the summer. Let’s all vote for a Fall with a lot less weird.

Thanks Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse

Been outside running errands and doing some light cleanup around the house today. 103 degrees F at the peak this afternoon. Just a little time outside, and then back into cool air.

When I came inside I decided that AC was the best invention in human history. After some thought, it actually has to be distributed electricity. Your electric service give you light, heat, AC, entertainment, communications, cooking…pretty much all the things that separate us from prehistoric people. I’m all in as electric service being the #1 invention in human history.

Try living a week without it…


Happy Friday? Let’s take stock:

  • The stock market is down for the day and the week.
  • Trump’s Sauron’s Inmate P01135809’s mug shot is really creepy.
  • MAGA world still supports the soon-to-be felon.
  • It’s weirdly, extremely hot here in Louisville. 100ish and very humid.
  • My family here is still sick.
  • My sleep cycles are still shit.
  • COVID is on the rise and the latest booster isn’t yet available.
  • There’s still no new Tame Impala album.

So no, maybe not a happy Friday. But it’s what we’ve got. I’ll stop whining.

Learn something every day

You learn something new every day. Well, at least most days.

Last night I learned what “bottled in bond” really means for whiskey. This was a subject at Louisville’s own BIG Bourbon Club (BIG = “bourbon is good”) tasting event over at Joe’s Older Than Dirt. A good time was had by all, even with the history lesson.

Turns out it’s an 1897 law intended to regulate whiskey production. In the late 1800s a lot of people died due to tainted whiskey made by greedy fake distillers. A Kentuckian, John G. Carlisle, fixed that problem with the Bottled in Bond Act. Well done, Kentucky!

Take that, you anti-government-regulation types. Clean air, clean water, safe food, and pure whiskey. Government is definitely good for a few things.

Bad luck

People who cross Vladimir Putin have a remarkable habit of dying by “accident”. Some of them are poisoned. Many of them fall out of upper story windows – Putin’s enemies are a clumsy bunch. And now one of his greatest enemies, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner Group mercenaries, has died in an unfortunate plane crash. Such terrible luck – what are the odds?

This is another one of those “you couldn’t make this shit up” situations. A Russian dictator kills everyone who crosses him using a variety of somewhat creative methods. That movie script would get rejected as too obvious, not enough drama. But here it happens right in front of us.

And today is the day our wannabe-dictator Trump gets arrested (again, for the fourth time!) in Atlanta. The GA prosecutor Fani Willis is kicking ass and taking names, namely Trump and 18 co-conspirators who tried to wreck the Georgia 2020 presidential election.

If Putin was one of the co-conspirators, I’d be very worried for Willis’ well being. With MAGA-types getting riled up over this there’s still cause for worry, but she’s not at Putin-level risk.

One year ago

A year ago today Dad died, with no family present at the moment he passed. I regret that a lot, though several of us had done a good job of staying close to him in the final weeks as he moved from assisted living to hospital to rehab facility, then back to hospital and then to hospice. My brothers and I made sure he was in a good place with good care before I returned to Socal for a few days, and I had a reasonable expectation that he would be OK while I was away. It didn’t turn out that way; within a few days of my departure he had some kind of cardiac or stroke event and died within minutes. Here’s the last picture I have of him in his last room/facility, just days before he died. He had books to read and TV to watch, and he seemed happy, given the circumstances.

Congestive heart failure was his underlying problem, the thing that led to his almost-constant acute care in his final year. It wore him down. But catching Covid while in Kings Daughters Hospital a year ago was the final straw. He just wasn’t strong enough to fight off the effects of the virus.

And now Covid is again a factor in our family, with about four cases of it affecting people very close to me. It’s a contentious topic – some folks want to wave it off and dismiss it as just another disease like the common cold or flu that we all have to live with, but I can’t do that. I’ve seen first hand how the virus can kill someone who was otherwise going to live a bit longer, maybe a lot longer. And with my recent health issues, the thought of contracting Covid at this point is pretty damn scary. Sure, it might just manifest as a cold or flu, but it might not.

My MD cousin says hospital docs have pretty much given up wearing masks all the time, and have become comfortable with brief unmasked exposure to Covid patients to provide routine care. The days of extreme environmental controls around Covid patients are over – health care providers have just moved on.

But I can’t do it. For me Covid is still a thing to be feared, a thing that altered the course of history, globally and personally. There’s so much we don’t know about it – long term effects, the impact of genetics on who gets sick and how sick you get, the actual infectiousness of current strains. And of course in the back of my mind there’s the nightmare scenario of a newly-evolved strain that’s both very transmissable and very deadly. The virus might not be through with us.

All that aside, today I’m taking time to remember Dad.

It’s hard to sleep in August

Sleep has become a thing lately. An issue. Tonight was a great example. I fell asleep quickly after a long day, only to wake three hours later and wrestle with thoughts for 2-3 hours. Somewhere after 3am I managed to re-enter somnia, but was jarred awake again at 545 by the weekly mobile Sturm and Drang production on my street, courtesy of Louisville’s garbage collection team. They start with a ponderous, slow and loud backup of the infernal machine down my dead end street, engines revved and backup warning beeping like some nightmare alarm clock. Then they work their way back toward my place with as much shouting and banging as one can imagine, creeping closer and closer to my doorstep until they seem right in the room with me. The auditory violence is impressive. There’s just no going back to sleep after that.

And it’s not really a surprise that I’m wrestling with thoughts late at night right now. August is an auspicious month for my family, a month to be reckoned with. All three of my brothers were born in August, and I’m thankful they’re all still around to celebrate birthdays. August 1st, 9th and 26th – all great days with something to celebrate. And grandson Hudson was born on August 17th, a wonderful event, but his actual birthday ushered in a whole set of events that still haunt me.

The night of August 16th 2017 we got a frantic, scared call from Emily to get to KY ASAP. Her pregnancy led to late-stage complications and she was calling either from the hospital or on the way. I remember bouncing out of bed *fast* and calling airlines as we rushed out the door for a middle of night drive down to San Diego. We boarded the first flight out – I was as frightened and nervous ever in my life, and I remember vividly when we got the text somewhere over Colorado that Em was OK and Hudson had been born. The folks around me had to put up with me sobbing for a bit and then it was just mentally urging the plane forward, minute by minute. We made it to Louisville early afternoon on the 17th during a world-class downpour of rain and drove to see Em and meet Hudson at the hospital. Those two days were marked by terror and joy.

August 18th 2018 was the end of my full-time employment, my sort-of retirement date. It was a bittersweet ending. I was happy to stop working for other people, and really happy to stop the daily commute to and from the office. But my new asshole boss, part of the reason for my earlier-than-planned departure, put a dark cloud on the events. Hearing about him being frog-marched out of the building nine months later for corruption/ethics reasons was some small satisfaction.

The following week, the week we’re in right now though six years later, has become just as memorable. On August 21st we got to see a total solar eclipse in Kentucky, my first ever in the umbra, the zone of full eclipse. It was eerie and memorable – we drove almost to the KY-TN border to see it.

But that same day, August 21st, the man I considered my second father died. Jim Moore died in a hospital in Mt. Sterling the day of the eclipse. I had visited him and his wife Mattie, my second Mom, just two days before. We knew Jim didn’t have long, as chronic kidney disease and failure overtook him. Jim and Mattie have been a part of my life since I was a little guy. So it was fitting that I made my way to Mt. Sterling yesterday on the anniversary of Jim’s death to spend some time with her. She lives there alone now, and I’m glad I was in town and able to go see her on a tough day.

And Mattie’s birthday is August 6th. More August auguries.

Same week but five years after that, on August 23rd a year ago, my Dad died. I got the word during a business meeting in San Diego, and once again I left for an unplanned emotional flight across country. There was no joy of any type in that transaction, though. Just the thankfulness that Dad’s long illness was over. Covid took him out, though congestive heart failure weakened him so that Covid could strike the final blow. It’s been a year but it feels like yesterday.

August is also the month in which I’ve had my two life-changing surgeries. August 31, 2020 I had my right knee replaced. And August 8th this year a final surgery marked the blessed end of my two-month long struggle with kidney stones and infection.

So August is a month of births and deaths, some weirdness and some illness, way too many clustered in the month for my mental health. There’s a lot on my mind in this month, which likely leads to the aforementioned sleep dysfunction. When I list all the auspicious days – August 1, 6, 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 26, and 31 – it’s quite a lot going on in one month. You’d think all that terror and joy would be spread out among the 12 months, but there it is, clustered in August.

I think I’ll skip the rest of the month and go straight into September. Maybe get some sleep then.

Goodbye Hilary

Big day in Socal yesterday. Rained almost three inches and had a 5.1 earthquake. The locusts must’ve gotten lost somewhere along the way. Biblical punishment for liberal CA.

Here’s a video K took showing the main part of the storm as it hit. Came down hard. But the high winds predicted never showed up. Normally you can see for miles from that deck, but in this case it’s just white fog/rain and the nearby trees.

But after all was said and done, it was just a big rainstorm in Socal. Not worthy of the hysterical, apocalyptic coverage it got on the news.

Right on track

And it has begun, 4am Socal time. Rain during August in Socal. Not heavy yet, just a tenth of an inch per hour. But it looks like rain there for the next 48 hours or so. The storm center is still 400 miles from Fallbrook.

The latest storm track has the now-Cat 1 hurricane moving exactly up I-15, which will take the storm center within a mile or two of our place. That should be interesting.

CA becomes the new FL, weather-wise. Wouldn’t that be something (awful)?

Not a big day in KY today. Running some errands in advance of the kids party for Hudson’s birthday – I’ll be the delivery guy, but won’t attend. Having become aware of COVID clusters among family and friends lately, a gathering of dozens of frenzied kids is just a bad idea for me. The below-30 generation has no choice but to assume they’re going to get COVID many times over their lives, just like flus and the common cold, so might as well get on with it while you’re young and strong. I’m in a different category, so some discretion is wise, IMHO.

Maybe some healthy outdoor activity later today – some golf with cousin Chris. All the while keeping track of the H2O shitshow happening out west. All in all, a good relaxed Sunday.