18 f’ing holes

Another hot-ass day in Socal, so no outdoor activities. Ninety five degrees most of the day. Spent the day binge-watching Jack Ryan series and rearranging/cleaning a couple of rooms in between episodes. I’d say lifting furniture qualifies as working out.


The tracker(s) we have on my Turo car alerted me and my partner today that the renter was speeding down I-65 south at over a hundred miles per hour. I don’t think people understand what the vehicle trackers do – we see pretty much *everything* that happens with a vehicle while driving. So my partner sent the driver a note on the Turo app explaining that (a) we see you, and (b) if the reckless driving continues, you will be fined and unable to rent via Turo. Hope that does the trick.


God help us, we have so many eucalyptus on the property. Relationship of eucalyptus to wildfire across the globe. Thanks, Australia!


This old thing is making the rounds again. Robin Williams explains the Scots’ invention of golf. He was the absolute best.

Have a lizard

We’re back to hot days in Socal – 96 degrees so far today. Looks to be the same for a few days. Too hot to do much outside.

But not too hot for a chameleon, apparently. We watched this afternoon as a chameleon made its way across our pool deck. Very weird to see, it has to be someone’s escaped pet. He looked a lot like the picture below, only bigger. 12-18 inches long, a reptile large enough to get your attention. It’s now hiding somewhere deep in our landscaping around the pool. Hope it survives.

Just another Thursday

SpaceX’s Starship next test launch is getting closer. Full stack achieved yesterday, but there are still a lot of steps before launch. From Everyday Astronaut.


My friend Robert over at Blue Heron Blast is having a bad day. He’s had a lot of health problems, serious ones, so I’m sure that is affecting his disposition. Though I have to say, I’ve made the same observations. When disappointed in people, remember that about half of them have an IQ (a troublesome metric involving some combination of education and native intelligence) below the national average, and that average itself is falling. Yeah, it’s an arrogant, elitist POV, but it’s unfortunately true. Idiocracy may be prophetic.

And I totally agree with his furniture comments. Furniture used to be purchased with generations in mind. Now it’s mostly throwaway.


As long as we’re on the subject of intelligence, this Scientific American article is thought-provoking.

The good news for older adults is that not only can we continue to acquire domain-specific knowledge into older age, but purpose in life is also modifiable. It seems that the question “When does intelligence peak?” is actually a rather meaningless question. Not only do our various cognitive functions peak at different times, but past a certain age it might make more sense to view adult intelligence not through the lens of youthful general processing speed and reasoning, but through the lens of expertise, wisdom and purpose.

Makes sense to me. Having a purpose at this stage of life is hugely important. I’m still struggling with what that might be for me, and I need to get on with it. Clock is ticking.


Looks like China has reached some kind of tipping point with respect to communications technology. They’re apparently tired of contributing to Apple, the world’s largest company. Huawei just released a 5G phone, and China just ordered all government employees to give up their iPhones. China accounts for 18% of Apple’s iPhone revenue, so…that’s a big deal. My Apple stock is likely to take a big hit.

I don’t blame China. It’s what they should do, though it’s likely that Huawei has broken some laws in acquiring the 5G technology.


For you political wonks, this presentation by Ron Messina, the campaign manager behind Obama’s 2012 re-election, is really interesting. Messina also has good data on the swing states I wrote about a few days ago. His basic message – relax, we’re right where we need to be.

What he doesn’t address is the other (not Trump) elephant in the room – that a vote for the Biden-Harris ticket in 2024 is a shadow vote for Harris as President when Biden doesn’t make it through his second term. I predict that Republicans will hit that message *hard*, and it will make a difference with a lot of folks.

Biden will be 82 at the end of 2024. I just don’t think the odds of him being able to do one of the world’s more stressful jobs for four more years, ages 82-86, are good. And I don’t think America should ask him to do so. But that’s where things are heading.


I’m seeing a lot more support for my idea (I don’t know if I was first, probably not, but I wrote about it before I read about it elsewhere) for KY Gov Beshear to use Mitch McConnell’s do-nothing strategy against him.

Slow cool day

Another cool, cloudy day here in Socal. I got started early and played 18 holes of golf at 630am, finished at 830. Easy to play in two hours when no one is in your way.

Aside from that, prepped and cooked dinner – my not-famous-but-damn-good take on beef short ribs, slow cooked in a clay pot. Did some writing. Rearranged my office. Corresponded with some friends in other states. Started reading Yet Another Book. And took a couple of short naps.

All in, a good day. And it’s not even 4pm.

Politics on Labor Day

I can’t tell you how much I hate this. CNN reports that the 2024 Presidential election results will be decided by only a few voters in a few key states, thanks to the stupid, anachronistic, outdated, slavery-based Electoral College system. The Electoral College, which uses statehood and land mass (area) as a proxy for votes. So Democrats will once again win the per-person vote by 3-8 million votes, but that doesn’t matter. Good analysis of Electoral College pros and cons here.

The swing states – those that might go one way or another in 2024 – are:

  • Arizona, 11 votes, 7.4 million people
  • Nevada, 8 votes, 3.2 million people
  • Pennsylvania, 19 votes, 13 million people
  • Wisconsin, 10 votes, 6 million people
  • Georgia, 16 votes, 11 million people
  • North Carolina, 15 votes, 10.7 million people
  • Michigan, 15 votes, 10 million people

Just seven states out of 50 are really in play – the other 43, we already know the answer. Or we think we do. By states, that’s 14% of the country. By Electoral College votes, that’s 94/538 = 17.5%. By population, that’s 61.3M/332M = 18.5%. So depending on your metric, somewhere between 14 and 19 percent of the country will decide who our next President is. And some pollsters put the true swing states as only four, in bold above – Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin. What a travesty.

Don’t even try to watch TV in those states during 2024 – you will see nothing but political ads, as both parties spend all their time and money in those states.

I hope (and yes, I know, hope is not a strategy) that one of the larger states surprises us. Maybe the populations of Ohio or Indiana will wake up and realize that the Republican Nihilist party is not their friend. Or even better, Texas. Maybe the women in those states will wake up and all vote against the rush to Gilead. Maybe.

This wouldn’t be quite so frustrating if the choice wasn’t going to be an existential threat. The Republican nominee will be Trump, unless his criminal habits and legal woes take him down. The Democratic nominee will be…who cares, it just doesn’t matter. Literally any human on the planet other than Trump would be my choice (OK, maybe not Marjorie Taylor Greene. She’s just Trump with a longer expected lifespan). But I would gladly vote for George W or Richard Nixon against Trump.

Yeah, the 2024 election year is going to be something.

Start of the holiday weekend

Another musical icon of my youth died yesterday – Jimmy Buffet. Parrotheads everywhere are in mourning. JB lived a great life, but at 76 he’s gone too soon. Rolling Stone was quick to publish a wonderful piece on JB’s discography, complete with pictures. I can’t say what my favorite Buffet song is; there are so many. I’m pretty sad knowing that he’s gone.


My new car rental business is going great. Since handing over my new vehicle to my business partner (a weird feeling – while I vetted the shit out of the guy, it still felt a little naive to just hand over the keys and leave), the car has been rented nonstop. And that’s what you want. It’s called “sweating the asset”. If you have a capital asset making money for you, you want it in service making money for you 24×7. Turo just sent me my third notice of rental, and it’s only been a week. Consider the asset sweated.


Political news is full of what-ifs thinking that Mitch McConnell might have to be replaced as KY Senator. Gov Beshear has his hands tied pretty tightly on this one, as KY law now says that the Gov must replace a Senator from a short list of three candidates, supplied by the party of the departing Senator, within 21 days. And that person serves until the next general election.

If, and it’s a big if, MM’s condition deteriorates and he’s forced to step down, the new law (passed in 2021) means the KY Republican party doesn’t have much to worry about. But if Beshear had some real guts, he’d do what Mitch would do. What Mitch did with Supreme Court appointees. Beshear would simply slow-roll the required appointment, refusing to appoint anyone until 2024. Republicans would scream and threaten, and eventually the matter would be taken to court. That could get interesting, because the KY Constitution is clear and unambiguous that the Gov has the sole authority to replace a Senator – the new law is in conflict with the KY Constitution. So it would likely take a while, and then the end of 2024 scheduled election would make the whole thing moot.

Mitch is an unmitigated piece of shit who deserves no sympathy. He stole two US Supreme Court seats and gave them to Republicans, and for that he can never be forgiven. He’s the most craven of politicians. I feel sad for him anyway, as no one deserves to have their mind slip away from them.

But back to Beshear, a genuinely good person and politician. It’s unlikely he will play hardball with this issue, but it sure would be great to watch. The fact that he’s dodging questions about whether or not he would comply with the KY law is encouraging, but not conclusive. Stay tuned and pass the popcorn.


More insomnia, same every night. Last night I spent my time coming up with a potentially-patentable approach to automating a large-scale document tagging problem with generative AI and RPA (robotics process automation) tools. That’s how bad it has gotten. I’ll write up the idea this weekend, but damn, I’d sure like to get some sleep.


Here’s a great article on writing versus editing. Turns out I’m a much better editor than writer. Mistakes on the page just jump out at me, identifying themselves with no apparent effort on my part. I just see them. One of my writing challenges is that I drop into editing mode way too quickly. I should just write, let the first draft suck, and then go back and edit.


Finally, I watched one of my all-time favorite movies last night – Bulworth. Bulworth is my favorite movie about politics. Warren Beatty and Halle Berry are brilliant in it, along with a huge cast of all-star actors. It’s crude, a satire, but just as relevant today as when it was made in 1998. The dance scenes with Beatty and Berry – wow. Travolta’s got nothing on them. And the core messages of the film are direct, honest and true. Really enjoyed watching it from start to finish again.

And it’s September already

I was willing to give Vivek Ramaswamy a chance to prove he’d be a good leader, but after digging into how he made his personal fortune, it’s a nope. Hard no. He’s an ethically-bankrupt, smart con man, the last thing we need (again) in the Oval Office.

I’m a realist – most anyone running for high public office has ethical problems in their past. Successful politicians have all compromised their integrity in one way or another. But this kind of high stakes, calculated stock pump and dump is impossible to ignore. Some people will say it just makes him smart. I say it makes him a big-time crook.


John Scalzi, irritatingly successful science fiction author, is living his best life in Ohio. Dude bought a small town church and refurbed it. Now that’s an interesting hobby.


I have become 100% in favor of not only term limits for public servants, but age limits too. It’s not age-ism, it’s a practical and caring point of view. Mitch McConnell, Diane Feinstein, and dozens of other 80+ US politicians just can’t let go of their positions and power, to the detriment of their constituents and their own legacies. Once you hit the age of 80, I say you should pass the torch onward and enjoy the short time you have left with family and friends. McConnell and Feinstein are the prime examples of hanging on way, way too long and doing no one any favors. Term limits, ten years in most public offices. Age limits, call it 80. These two changes would do a lot to shift the balance of power in our country away from the 1% and toward the actual middle class.


University of KY football season starts tomorrow and I’ll be watching. The football team has great prospects, and in my house it’ll be a nice warmup for the real sporting event – UK basketball. But for now, let the pigskin fly.


You might want to think twice before taking those handfuls of vitamins and supplements you’ve been told will keep you healthy. Dammit!


I really, really need this website. I’m good at some things, but tying knots isn’t one of them. There’s some kind of broken circuit between my brain and my hands – the motions needed to tie knots just elude me. And as quick as I might learn one, I’ll forget how to do it in a few days. Another reason I wouldn’t make a good sailor.

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.