Rhythm of the days

It’s Monday but it doesn’t feel like Monday. I’ve lost the rhythm of the days since retiring from full-time employment. For 40 years Monday was the day that I shook off the weekend’s fun, got up early, cleaned up and got dressed, and then trundled off to an office somewhere. I don’t miss that at all, quite the contrary. But it’s hard to get over the change – every day is now pretty much the same. Hard to believe I spent that long in the workweek-weekend oscillation. And now…there’s no reason to hate Monday.

I *am* closing in on a new normal. This time the oscillation is between time spent in Socal and time spent in Louisville. My goal for 2023 is at least 50% in KY, and maybe a bit more. That may also lead to changing our IRS declaration of permanent residence, leading to favorable tax treatment (I’ll take any tax benefit I can legally get). Last year I spent 13 weeks in KY (including the unplanned week between Xmas and New Year’s), exactly half of what I’m planning for 2023. So this *is* a big change. But it’s all part of a plan.


Update, a few hours later. It’s said no plan survives first contact with the enemy. In this case, the enemy is air travel. I’m not sure why, but checking travel dates for the next month or so, airfares between Left Coast and Louisville have become much more expensive. Maybe 50% more. Round trips I’ve gotten used to buying for $500-600 are now $900+. I checked Southwest and United. United was the worst, with fares at $2000+ round trip.

It helps that I’m planning on fewer, longer trips, but geez! I imagine Southwest is trying to recover some of its losses after the holiday debacle, so it’s no surprise that their prices are up. But the timing sucks. I’m trying to be a responsible retired guy, spending less than I did when fully employed. This doesn’t help.

The absolute best strategy looks like taking a low cost airline to Las Vegas, and then doing a SW round trip between Vegas and Louisville. There is one nonstop from Louisville to LV, so at least the return is only a single stop. Or just drive to Las Vegas. That’s kind of extreme, but it’s only 2.5 more hours than driving to any of my usual airports. And it cuts out one layover each way. Still…kinda sucks.

When you get down to root causes of this, it all goes back to Covid. Covid broke the workforce and the travel industry, and here we are in 2023 trying to get used to a system with not enough employees, flights, or competition. The survivors get stronger by charging more.

Gonna have to think about this before deciding how to proceed. I knew I should have bought that private jet <sarcasm>.


An otherwise respectable website today had an article featuring one of my absolutely favorite weird musical acts, Mojo Nixon. I haven’t thought of or listened to Mojo for a while, but he always brings a big smile to my face. He’s completely unique – no one else has his crazed, manic, rockabilly musical talent and his flair for hilarious lyrics. Here’s a sample from one of my faves, “Don Henley Must Die”.

“This is the sound of my brain…

Then I said, this is the sound of my brain on Don Henley!

Then I said, 1 2 3 4…

He’s a tortured artist
Used to be in the Eagles
Now he whines
Like a wounded beagle
Poet of despair!
Pumped up with hot air!
He’s serious, pretentious
And I just don’t care
Don Henley must die!
Don’t let him get back together
With Glenn Frey!
Don Henley must die!”

You have to see it performed to really appreciate how Mojo commits to a song.

And then there’s the eternally great “Elvis Is Everywhere”.

The lyrics to this song are just…demented. Fun. Crazed. “Elvis needs boats” as the explanation for the Bermuda Triangle. “Elvislution”. I could go on…Mojo was a helluva lot of fun.

Man, there’s a lot of unexplained phenomenon
Out there in the world.
Lot of things people say
What the heck’s going on?
Let me tell ya!
Who built the pyramids?
Who built Stonehenge?

Yeah, man you see guys
Walking down the street
Pushing shopping carts
And you think they’re talking to allah,
They’re talking to themself.
Man, no they’re talking to ELVIS!
You know what’s going on in that Bermuda Triangle?
Down in the Bermuda Triangle
Elvis needs boats.
Elvis needs boats.
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis Elvis Elvis
Elvis needs boats.
Aahh! The Sailing Elvis!
Captain Elvis!
Commodore Elvis it is.

Yeah man, you know people from outer space,
People from outer space they come up to me.
They don’t look like like Doctor Spock.
They don’t look like Klingons,
All that Star Trek jive.
They look like Elvis.
Everybody in outer space looks like Elvis.
Cause Elvis is a perfect being.
We are all moving in perfect peace and harmony towards Elvisness
Soon all will become Elvis.
Everything everywhere will be Elvis.
Why do you think they call it evolution anyway?
It’s really Elvislution!

Elvis is everywhere
Elvis is everything
Elvis is everybody
Elvis is still the king

Gathering of ghouls

Lots of news this weekend from CPAC, that gathering of ghouls from what’s left of the Republican party. Foremost among the news:

  • Herr Trump is still their authoritarian leader
  • Kari Lake (!!) polled as the favorite running mate for Trump
  • Trump said he will run even if he is under indictment (likely)

A Trump-Lake ticket would be the ultimate reality-denier team. Both are pathological liars capable of saying pretty much anything. They would be loved by the 30% forever-Trump cult, so they would start the election with that as a voter base.

The Democrats need a practical, votable candidate – not an 80-something success story. I love what Biden’s done the last two years, but we need to take his age, stamina and cognition off the table for voters. Who can take on the Reality Denial team? That’s the biggest question for 2024, and we’re running out of time for the answer.

In a rut

This is alarming. The H5N1 bird flu virus has gone species hopping in Peru, killing loads of sea lions. Species hopping indicates mutation, and H5N1 has already proven its ability to infect Homo Sapiens.

While there have been 135 humans who have died from H5N1 since January 2003, all of these cases are thought to have been the result of direct transmission from human contact with infected birds. If we begin to see human-to-human transmission, and if the high death rate we’ve seen so far in human cases holds (WHO puts that rate currently at 56%), we’ll be in for a situation that’s almost too dire to comprehend.

56%! Covid had a mortality rate of 2-3% – 56% would be apocalyptic. Let’s hope that H5N1 decides not to bother with human-human infection.


Kentucky plays their final regular-season hoops game today against Arkansas. Fingers crossed for a final W in a weird season. Oddsmakers have UK losing to Ark in a close game. Hope they’re wrong.


Another great musician dies – David Lindley. His work on Jackson Browne songs were and are perfection.


I’m in a book rut – reading, not writing. (Actually, kinda both, but this is about reading). I keep selecting Kindle books to read that suck. I don’t know if it’s my own bad choices or Amazon’s recommendation engine, but half of the last 10-12 books have been just awful. I gave the last one 1-star, something I almost never do just due to empathy for the author. I think I have to start selecting books at random to (a) explore new authors/genres, and (b) to reset Amazon’s recommendation algorithm. Wish me luck as I wander off the reservation.

Friday roundup

An actual winter is hanging on here in Socal. Three nights in a row we’ve set a new all-time record for the low temperature on that date – 39, 36, and 40 degrees. Not exactly Arctic, but cold enough to get your attention. We’re burning a lot of firewood at night and then relying on our solar panels to offset the carbon we just freed into the world <sarcasm>.


In political news, national treasure Heather Cox Richardson explains why Ron Desantis is worse than the election deniers and IMHO worse than Trump. The deniers are like shrill children, repeating what they want to be true over and over, ignoring reality. Irritating, but not that smart. Desantis is a stone cold calculated editor of history, attacking books, education, language, and culture with every tool he’s got. Any mention of equality of sexes or races; any mention of the wrongs our ancestors committed to build America; any mention of non-Christian values – those are being systematically eradicated by Desantis’ new history police. It’s Orwellian, and happening right before our eyes. Desantis is destroying Florida, and he can’t be allowed to do the same to all 50 states.

And just today, a FL bill was introduced that would require bloggers who write anything about Desantis to register with the state. This is some hard-core Soviet era shit.

Maybe it’s time to move on to a new home address and do this.


Finally today, BMW engineering is always impressive. Here’s their new EV motor (I want one).


True winter weather in Socal today. Cold, driving rain, high winds. Temps in the low 40s, but cold Pacific storms somehow feel much frostier than a snowstorm back east.

Remedies: a roaring fire in the main fireplace, some excellent Mexican food delivered to the house, and a UK basketball game about to start. Oh yeah, and some Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon. Whatever it takes to stay warm…

Here’s an idea

Back in Socal with plenty of time to read this morning as I woke up on eastern time. Article after article, it’s all about politicians fighting divisive culture wars, fighting each other and wallowing in corruption. It’s become clear that the political class is completely lost – they no longer care about representing us, the electorate. They care about getting re-elected and gaining personal wealth and power. With very few exceptions, they represent corporations, not private citizens.

So here’s an idea. Rather than deal with the miles-wide political divide of red versus blue, let’s start an organization dedicated to refocusing all politicians, red and blue, on what really matters. Governance. Budgets. Health and safety of citizens. Education. Infrastructure projects to improve living conditions everywhere. The stuff that can make US citizen’s lives better.

We could borrow Woody Harrelson’s SNL term and call it the Purple Party (don’t love it, but I’ll have to think for a while to come up with something better). The party’s platform would be:

  • Term limits for all political offices, elected or appointed
  • Repeal of SCOTUS’s Citizen’s United decision – corporations are NOT people, and shouldn’t have the same rights
  • Legislation blocking Congress from stock trading while in office
  • Legislation to restructure or get rid of political action committees (PACs), the endless piggy bank of career politicians

Those four actions would go a long way towards reversing the course we’re on. The Purple Party will stay away from cultural trigger issues like abortion and gun control. It will focus on the single goal of making our “representatives” accountable and replaceable. Today they are neither.


Adios Louisville, for a few weeks. I was expecting bitter cold and maybe snow this trip – it’s February, after all – but what I got was a warmish, very early Spring.

The daffodils are up, redbud is blooming in town, magnolia trees are flowered. I think that’s all good, but…who knows. It’s not the February I remember.

Now back to the weirdly rainy Left Coast.

Very fine day

Yesterday was a very fine day. Time with the boys in the morning, then took a trip to Simpsonville to reconcile with some relatives I haven’t seen in a while. There was a falling out over social media (not involving me) 3-4 years ago, and we didn’t see each other for a few months. Then a year. Then…a few years. It adds up. But I gave warning and then showed up with gift treats from Blue Dog. We had a great day, a nice no-fault reconciliation, and I pitched in and helped build a new horse corral. Just proves again how toxic social media can be. And the power of forgiving.

After the corral work, we watched an amazing UK game versus Auburn. Kentucky won by 30, and could have won by 50 if they had kept the starters in. This team is a mystery – often they are hapless, and occasionally they look like national champs. Yesterday was one of those “looked like champs” days. I should stop analyzing them and just enjoy the wins.

Right after the UK game we saw a replay of the incredible AZ-AZ St game finish, in which an AZ St player hit a 60 foot shot with no time left to win the game. One of the best shots I’ve ever seen – it was pure.

For the icing on the cake, I woke up yesterday with a good idea for a novel. The basic theme is “consciousness”, that hard to define thing that gives us volition and agency, but it will go a lot of places from there. I’m excited enough about it to start outlining it immediately.

So all in all, a very fine day.

Tough times

Have to say, I’m not loving the way things are shaping up in global geopolitics and war.

After Biden’s visit, the US and NATO are all in supporting Ukraine against Russia. Now China has decided to back Russia with weapons, drones, and who knows what else. So instead of the US fighting Russia by proxy, we’re now fighting both Russia and China by proxy.

That sounds a bit like WW3.

I don’t understand why China would support Russia, but then I’m not a geopolitics expert. If China would just stay neutral, or even better join the US and NATO in this conflict (unlikely), Russia could be taken off the table as a world power and China would have free run over western Asia. But they apparently don’t see it like that.

So while the US Republican party is busy fighting culture wars against diversity, public education, science, woke-ism and gender pronouns, WW3 is beginning. May be beginning. This is something I would prefer not to see in my lifetime, or even my grandkids’ lifetime. Unleashing the destructive military power of US and China on each other would be a disaster. And if the war were brought to our respective shores…tough times. Tough times that the US population isn’t ready for.

Colored animal day

It’s a colored animal day. Breakfast quiche at Blue Dog this morning. Then a great bowl of burgoo at Red Hog for lunch.

The temperature dropped 40 degrees overnight. All the Louisville flowering trees that have bloomed early – some redbud, magnolia trees, flowering crab apples – are in for a shock. Not to mention the people. Shorts yesterday, heavy coats today.