Saturday, January 31, 2015


A cousin's wife once remarked that if you have seen one water fall you have seen them all and she would sooner go shopping.  She is now an ex wife.  It is easy to say if you have seen one ocean you have seen them all.  Then I saw the north Shore of Oahu.  OMG

Friday, January 30, 2015

Post Cards from the Edge

It is a long was here - I don't think we are on the end of the world, but you can likely see it from here.  I did a whale watching cruise this morning, and we saw a whale and a lot of wonderful coastline.  It was a great fun, well worth the trip.  Then I went to lunch with the local fixer, and she took me on a tour of some of her favorite parts of the island, for three hours.  Now I am back watching the sun set, and relaxing.  Saturday I am renting a car, to see more of the off the beaten path parts of the island.  


Flightless Waterfowl Updates

Well I have made it to the 50th state, my 48th, but the nations 50th. It was a long, almost 7 hour flight from Phoenix against strong head winds.  The 190 passenger plane, had about 75 people on board, I scored a row to my self, gathered up extra blankets and did my best to be comfy for the very long flight.  This is the view from my nest for the next five nights, on the 34 floor with a view over the marina and the beach. Every person on this island must own three cars and only have one parking space, the traffic and car alarms are as present as the warm tropical breeze.  

The pilot said to look out this side for a wonderful view of downtown LA from 38,000 feet. It must have clouded in between the front of the plane and the back of the plane.   

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Breaking the Cultural Norm

So the back cabin of the plane was virtually empty. So I asked and they moved me to an empty row. Along comes an Asian couple who somehow got assigned the two empty seats in my row. It took a couple of minutes to convince them to move to an empty row. When the flight attendant came by they profusely apologized and said I forced them to move.  The flight attendant was very sweet, pick any empty row and make yourself comfortable. 

Blog of the day

I am trying to write something every day.  It can be a challenge.  I had a slow WiFi connection for a few hours on Wednesday.  Surprising how fast we have become dependant on such services. 

I am in Spo-ville for three hours.  There is a golf tournament and a football game here this weekend.  Makes for a fun flight.  Two guys recognized one another,  one asked the other if he was ready for the weekend and the reply was, I am but not so sure about my liver.

Word has it TSA is searching for deflated balls.  Glad I cleared security easily. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Morning on the Left Coast

"Does anyone really know what time it is, does anyone really care? " 
My computer says it is 2:18 PM - the meeting says it is 11:18 AM.  I slept about 11 hours last night - that helps.  I had a decent nights sleep before leaving on this adventure. I frequently have sleepless nights before the start of an adventure. Tomorrow I move a couple of time zones farther west.   All together this year I will spend time half way around the world, 12 times zones. Lots of traveling for a little flightless bird.  

Things are different out here.  I heard a little of the local news last night, when people had committed crimes, they all said, we made bad choices.  No assumption that they are bad people, who are doing evil things.  The menu at breakfast offered a choice of sheep or cows milk yogurt (no goat or camel?) My breakfast burrito  had wonderful fresh spinach in it, try to find that on the east coast.  

So far so good, another time zone tomorrow, actually two, I am changing planes in Spo-Ville. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Semi Empty Planes

A super snow storm,  thousands of cancelled flights and mine goes on time and 1/3rd empty. Blessed is the empty middle seat,  as rare as hens teeth these days.

A Little Peace and Quiet

Oh can that child make a noise. I am on a cross country flight, someplace over Over Land, you know the states  between the east coast and west coast of the United States that are best seen from 35, 000 feet I grew bored with the book I was reading,  exhausted by the article I am trying to craft and decided to nap. That is when she started to babble.  I am not an expert on early childhood development,  but she is early verbal.  There are a few short simple words mixed in with the noise that only parents and grandparents can appreciate.  She roused me from a fairly deep sleep.  Deep enough that my listening had shut down.  Of course I thought of ear plugs about 3 am when I rolled over and went back to sleep. 

There was a time when I would have been rude to the parents.  But that changed for me one day about 25 years ago.  I had a young couple with a toddler in my office trying to get some business done. The child woke from a nap and went on for what seemed like an hour.  After a couple of minutes the father said to me, " sorry we forget how disturbing that can be." He went on to explain that the child had been born profoundly ill. For months he had been to weak to cry and delayed in becoming verbal.  To them it was the sound of a healthy person,  the most glorious sound on earth.  I will nap later. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Will it or Won't it

Okay, there is a blizzard hitting New England, but what will the impact be here in the Mid-Atlantic?  Today we had a mix of rain and snow showers, with more rain then snow.  Nothing much staid on the ground.  I have an 8:30 AM flight.  I checked in online this morning and pre-paid my checked bag.  One the way home I received a text message from United Airlines that a storm might impact flights.  I checked online when I got home and my flight is still showing on schedule.  The plane I am going out on is scheduled to leave Houston in a few minutes and spend the night in DC, it is showing on time out of Houston.  Unless the storm comes further south then expected, it should be able to leave in the morning.  Will it, or Won't it.  I try to update tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Rambles

  • Busy and productive week at the office.  I have a short of list of must do items for Monday. 
  • Making progress on planning a trip for next summer, Air is booked, three nights hotel are booked, I have about 10 more nights hotels to figure out.  The Euro is very low against the dollar.  We were in Italy in February 2000, just 6 weeks after the roll out of the Euro and the Euro was about 98-cents.  It is about $1.12 today, it was up around $1.50 the last time I traveled in the Euro zone.  
  • I have a business trip coming up.  I have a meeting in Huntington Beach, California and then I am doing five days of training.  The training agenda is challenging, we present from 9-4 on Monday, 9-noon on Tuesday and catch a 2:00 flight to the next venue, Wednesday we train from 8:00 am to 3:00 PM and catch a 5:00 flight to the next venue.  The Thursday we train from 8:30 to 3:30 and catch a 6:00 PM flight to the next venue, that includes a change of planes, Friday we train from 9 - 4 and catch a 7PM flight, I spend the night and fly home on and overnight flight.  Yea lots of work, a grueling schedule.  That is the bad news, the good news is the first two days are in Honolulu, then Kauai, then Maui, then Hilo and fly home from Honolulu.  I have three days in Hawaii between the meeting in California and the training in Hawaii.  
  • With the upcoming trip I will be down to two states I have not been to, Idaho and Wyoming.  
  • I saw some political action this week, there is an issue I have been following for six years, through a couple of Congresses, and we have a bill in the new Congress, that is a good bill.  
  • I am ready for spring. Enough winter. 
  • Edited at 4:54 to add:
    • I am anxious about getting done what needs to be done in the office, so I drove into the office mid-day on Sunday to work for a couple of hours.  I parked, got out of car, looked a the door and realized I had left my building access fob at home.  I took this as a sign from the universe that I shouldn't work today, and headed home.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Still Working

Unusual for me, but I had work that I had to do this weekend or it would not get done.  Most of this is a result of last minute up against a deadline demands from others on projects that have been ongoing for months or years.  I am hopeful that when I ship this chapter this time it does not come back again, it is not about boomerangs. I need to get this stuff done, there is much to do over the next two weeks and I can't take it with me. Trying to live up to my name over the next two weeks with lots of adventures and lots of work.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Exhausted and Speechless

A very long and grinding week.  Not much to say until my brain rewinds.  

I wonder if Billibo found love on the floor of the metro station.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Busy Days

If you want something done, find someone busy; I can recall when I use to say that.  Some days I am too busy to get it all done.  And people keep sending me projects.  A couple of weeks ago the proof a book being written by an old friend appeared on my desk.  I thought nothing of it, I had read a companion volume she wrote a couple of years ago and I know the new book will be great.  On the way home I get an email from my boss saying he put the book on my desk and forgot to ask me to write a blurb / endorsement to go on the back cover - and he needs it tomorrow.  Nice - I can do that.  It has been a crazy week. 

If you ever get a chance, read the first chapter of "The Old Man and The Sea."  I think it is the best thing Hemingway wrote.  Just read the first chapter - the entire book is one long narrative - one chapter.  I am working on what seems like an endless chapter for a text book.  I have finished it, shipped it, approved the edits, and this afternoon it came back for more edits and additions.  I rarely work on weekends, I will have to do so to get this done. Will it ever end? 

Tomorrow, I have a quarterly meeting, that we hold three times a year.  Only lawyers can call it a quarterly meeting and hold it three times a year.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Time to Panic

It SNOWED in DC, time to panic.  The mere mention of snow sends the city into widespread panic.  Stores are packed with people stocking up for the inevitable Armageddon. The nice specialty market can be relied on to hold a storm sale, not milk and toilet paper, they will offer 20% off on wine by case, you don't want to run low on Cab-Sav when snowed in for 20 minutes.  The Federal government now offers widespread tele-work, then snow is in the forecast they offer unauthorized tele-work meaning that feds can stay home, check their office email and get paid.  So it did snow, but it was 36 degrees and snowing, meaning that as soon as it stopped falling it all melted away.  

Seriously we do get real snow from time to time.  Five years ago when I moved into the condo, we had 24 inches of snow, and two days later another 24 inches on top of that.  48 inches is way too much of any good thing.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

State of the Blog Address

It is my pleasure and duty to report on the state of the Blog.  I am happy to report that the Blog is strong, growing and stable.  The Blog gives me an outlet for my occasionally creative, often boring and sometimes fussy ramblings.  On occasion I have something to say, sometimes I don't, but I can ramble on and post anytime I want.  The Blog is my personal corner of cyberspace. The Blog reflects what I am thinking, well not entirely, I edit and there are things I just won't say - mom raised one nicely repressed kid, look up anal retentive on Wikipedia - and you may find my picture there.  

Some postings draw readers, other postings comments, many - draw yawns. I LOVE comments, good, bad or simply "Hi I Was Here" I delight in knowing that someone noticed that I had created and posted.  The more creative the headline, the funnier and more sarcastic the text, the more popular the postings seem to be.  I really need to learn to let down the defenses and be funny more often, for the world needs more laughter.  Any day you can brighten the life of another with a smile, a complement or a sincere recognition, is a good day.  We all need more good days.

The Blog is coming up on 10 years this summer, some have been good active years, some barely in existence, but this past year I have made a strong effort to write more, read more and comment more.  The Blog meeting last spring was great fun, I met some wonderful Bloggers.  From that I have met a couple of them outside of bloggerpaloza, Great fun, great people.

Despite challenges by Facebook and Twitter, we continue to Blog.  With the Blog I can write more then 144 characters (what can you really say in 144 character?) With the Blog I can control what shows up  - unlike FB where you have no idea who sees what.

The State of the Blog is good, I predict another good year of Blogging.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

What where they thinking

I ran out to the Springfield Town Center this afternoon to pick up a couple of things.  There are rental baby strollers available for rent in the Mall, I was stopped in my tracks by the notice on the bag hanging on the back of the stroller.  You know it is there, because some idiot put the child in there and the kid got hurt.  I feel sorry for the kid, having a moron for a parent is a real disadvantage.  If it would only hurt the parents, I'd say take off the warnings and let natural selection thin the herd.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Viking Horns Optional

I am planning a major trip for later this year, 12,000 miles, 6 countries, about a dozen hotels, planes trains, and cars.
Last week I booked airline tickets, a free-be frequent flyer ticket going over and Iceland Air coming home.

This weekend I started working on hotels.  I am flying into Frankfort on an overnight flight, and wanted a place to crash and sleep.  I looked at options near the airport, and in the city.  Google maps street view is wonderful, you can see what the neighborhood looks like before you book.  I picked a comfy, American chain, 2-3 blocks from the train station in the city.  It will be predictable and comfortable, what I need after an overnight flight, with lots of restaurants nearby and walk able.  The next day I will take a train from Frankfort to Stuttgart, I will start looking at hotels in Stuttgart soon.

All Iceland Air flight to and from the US have a stop in Reykjavik, in my case a change of planes.  They offer up to a seven day gap between one flight and the other.  I opted for 25 hours.  So this morning I went looking for hotels in Iceland.  The Reykjavik airport is not in Reykjavik.  Well there is an airport there, but the international airport is 20 miles west of Reykjavik. I looked out near the airport, at the airport, in the business district of Reykjavik, and in between.  I seriously looked at a Viking Resort, kind of eclectic.  We may have to try their restaurant, they have whale and foal on the menu.  Be warned avoid the sheep head entree - I have seen the pictures - not for the faint of heart.  I ended up booking a modern, business hotel in the outer burbs of Reykjavik and a rental car.  The rental car was less then the two of us on the airport bus service. The hotel was about $100 less then the business district and about $75 less then the Viking Resort.

The Penguin likes to plan travel almost as much as he likes to travel.  There will be updates on planning.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Soundtrack Of My Brain

If you met me in the last 10 years, you probably wouldn't know, that I was a dedicated gym bunny for 10 years, from the mid-80's through the mid 90's.  I ran 750-1,000 miles a year, rode a bike 4-5,000 miles a year and swam 100+ miles a year - my knees remind me of this everyday.  I was in the gym 5-6 mornings a week for 15 years. This was also the era of music based aerobic classes.  My favorite aerobics instructor had wonderful taste in rhythmic music, he would go to New York a couple of times a year in search of hard to find disco mixes.  This is one that stuck in my brain; it still makes me want to stand up and move.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Fun With the Routine Things in Life

I wonder if they had a vegan lunch option? 

The routine things in life need not be boring.  Life is to short to be bored or boring.  Early on I discovered colorful socks, why wear boring black, or navy blue or black socks?  Spice it up a little with color and pattern.  I don't understand why men wear boring underwear. Simple white briefs bore me to death, and frankly they don't look good on most men. As a teenager I discovered variety in style and color and fabric.  Probably the first time my parents started to wonder how many grandchildren they might have.  I have gotten boring in the past few years on color - black - the last time I went shopping for undies I mixed that up again on colors.  

A few years ago I read a book on stimulating artistic creativity.  I am not artistically gifted, I told Professor Ron Learned at Rollins that he could teach art to the artistically handicapped, he proved that when he had me as a student - I learned so much about myself from his classes. Back to the book, one of the exercises suggested in the book was to do something new, at least once a week.  Stop in a gallery you have never seen, listen to a new radio station, shop in a store you have never been in, drive home on a different route, do something.  It wards off boredom and stimulates your mind.  

Another suggestion was to read something different. I am a non-fiction reader, frequently business, aging, communications, or travel narrative.  I try to mix this up with fiction, right now I am reading several books on social media (part of a project for a board I am serving on.) 

Writing forces me to think outside the box. In daily conversation we use a fraction of our vocabulary, when I write it gives me a chance to use words that I know, but don't use on a daily basis.  Coming up with ideas to write about, challenges me.  Blogging encourages me to take pictures of life around me and find ways of incorporating the images into the monologue.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Metro Normal

"Do not board train if on fire" some transit system posted this sign.  This begs the question, don't board if the train is on fire, or if I am on fire?  I need to know.  I wouldn't want to break the rule, and I might not know if the train is on fire, I have little control over the train being on fire - well let's hope no one on the train has any control over the train being on fire.  I am more likely to be aware if I am on fire, maybe even more control over it, generally if I am on fire I will try to put it out.  I guess I have to put out the fire before I can board the train.  

When Metro trains are stopped in the tunnels, with no one nearby outside, and are ready to start moving, the train operator announces, "Stand Clear - Train Moving."  Why? No one is near it on the outside?  I can understand this when the train is on the platform, but in a tunnel, or on a bridge with no one outside and lot's of people inside wouldn't it be better to say, "Hang On- Train Moving"? 

Metro has had a rough week, they disproved the old adage, "where there is smoke there is fire."  There was enough smoke to be fatal, and yet the operator didn't order an evacuation because the train was not on fire. It took three rush hours for service to return to semi-normal, well Metro normal.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Making Penguin Plans

Yesterday I cashed in Delta frequent flyer miles for a ticket to Germany this year, then I needed to figure out how to get home, or learn to speak German.  German is not an easy language for me.  US-Air has decided to price frequent flyer tickets as one ways, but won't let you buy a one way using miles - well you can if you pay for a round trip.  Funk that. I didn't have enough miles on one airline for the round trip. Iceland Air offers a free stop over, as in does not charge extra for airfare if you stop over, so I am spending 24 hours around the icy waters of the North Atlantic on the way back. I can smell the pickled fish from here.  The beginning and end of the trip are in place, now I get to fill in the cities and countries in between.  I should be able to add five countries to the list this summer.  Bottom line is round trip to Europe in prime season for about $600 and frequent flyer miles that are mostly from business trips (that someone else paid for.)

You Tube

So what would the You Tube video of my day look like?  If it was in chronological order, it would start with me rolling out of bed about 6:00 AM, an inhumane hour.  It takes me a couple of hours to get through my morning routine, including reading and commenting on a dozen blogs.  I have gotten into a habit of getting up at that hour - bad habits are hard to break.  Breakfast and a shower - no one would want to see the shower - unless they have a Pillsbury Dough Boy fetish.

I headed out a few minutes early today, Metro was reporting being Fubar, as it has been since the deadly smoke but no fire incident on Monday evening.  I squeezed onto a train, getting a feel for what sardines feel like.  A funny things happen on overcrowded standing room only trains, people pass out. Some of them are people who are unable to stand for 30 minutes, others, and actually the more common, are people who are claustrophobic and panic and pass out in the crowd.  I have watched them drop a couple of times over the year. Any suggestions on how to calm them so they don't drop. It takes half an hour to scrape them off the floor, meaning that everyone has to get off the train.  This morning at National Airport, where it was colder then frozen parts of a witch's anatomy.  10 minutes later I was able to wedge my ample behind onto another train, for the long way around to the office.  Well close, I ended up three blocks from the office, but at least I was still breathing.

I was at the desk about three minutes, when my student announced that she couldn't get onto the network.  She is bright, very bright, but capitalizes on acting like a ditz.  It took a while, but they finally sent over the cute new IT assistant to help her.  If she weren't engaged, I would expect her to have computer trouble every week - when he bent over you could hear the oh-mys! I had two conference calls back to back, someone kept adding people to the agenda for the first one, dear Fred got squeezed to five minutes for his quarterly update.  That was followed by a call to argue about funding four proposals, and something strange happened, we all agreed that one of the proposals was great, two of them stunk, and one of them was good.  We all agreed on all of them.  That 90 minute call was done in 20 minutes, it helps when we all get along.  Something strange on one of the grant proposals, it was not bad until they got to the project leadership - there was none - they wanted to add this full time job to the work plan of someone who already works 60 hours a week, and the budget made no sense, they didn't explain what they were doing with 84.5% of the budget - they said who they were going to give it to - but not what they were going to do.  Moral of the story - the budget does matter.  I participated in a marketing webinar = played solitaire on my phone while the speakers droned on about nothing I didn't already know.  I wedged myself onto another over crowded train and came home.  Definitely a boring You Tube Video.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Can We All Just Get Along?

It is easy for me to take pot shots at religion, politics, bigots and idiots.  But I realize that I have to be careful when I am getting close to strongly held personal beliefs. I try to moderate what I say, even things that I like or share on Facebook that others might find offensives. And I do find what others post offensive from time to time.  Someone I know recently posted on Facebook a college athletic rivalry image depicting hanging the opposing team's mascot.  I was offended.  I have seen some pretty ugly parts of history and most of them I try to learn from without becoming emotional, but a couple of years ago I read a report, with very graphic photos describing the practice of lynching as a form of social and political intimidation.  A practice that continued in this country into the 1960's - and beyond. Lynching is not a joking matter, it is a terrible form of murder and intimidation that is still a very real fear in the minds of people we know, like, love, respect and work with.  Last year, I posted comments on my brother's FB page about his endorsement of the Duck Dynasty nutters, he hasn't replied to my emails since.  My comments were that the DD guy had said some hurtful things and that by supporting him, it sounded like he was adopting those views, and I didn't really think that was who my brother was.  Maybe I was wrong.  I still don't think he is that bigoted.  If we all try, and are a little careful, we can all get along.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Days Like This

Facebook was a bearer of sad news today, the mother of one of my high school classmates died and my favorite high school teacher died.  Dave Snoffer taught for about 10 years.  He arrived in a small farm town in the thumb area of Michigan from Toledo, full of enthusiasm and ideas.  He was remarkably human, not afraid to be direct, not afraid to show emotion.  I was one of his TAs my senior year in High School.  He touched my life and the lives of thousands of others.  Also was news that a high school classmate has been in intensive care in California for two weeks.  He had lung cancer a few years ago, lost a long, the cancer is back and has metastasized into his spine.  He has lost movement in his hand and legs.  Not good.

J returned to Lexington today to teach for the spring semester.

The sun will come up tomorrow.

Friday, January 09, 2015

The World at Your Fingertips

What did we do before we had the world at our fingertips?  We carry more computing power in our pockets, then the lunar lander had to land on the moon.  My phone has 40 times as much memory as my first desk-top computer.  The internet connects me to incredible resources.  I can search and find obscure facts and common knowledge.

Thursday, January 08, 2015


Thinking warm thoughts on a cold day.  How cold was it, 10 degrees when I left home this morning, it warmed up to 21 when I came home.  Every winter I question my sanity.  I spent 23 winters in Florida - you know the place where they complain if they have to ditch the flip-flops for shoes.  I moved back north almost 20 years ago, and every 10 degree January day I ask myself "WHY?"  Every hurricane season I am reminded of one of the reasons.  Changing careers was another, I was trapped in a vicious cycle that was hard to escape in Orlando, moving away I was able to make real changes, changes I needed at that point in my life.  Moving made it easier for me to be more open about who I am.  I was nervous in Orlando that employers or family would find out I was gay - if they opened their eyes they would easily see it - but they didn't ask and I didn't say.  With the geographic move I was able to be open and not worry.  I haven't had a closeted job since I left Orlando - life is so much better.  I was surprised when I moved north, that for a little more in taxes, how much more I get.  I can drive on most of the expressways here without paying tolls.  We have real libraries and parks that are open and maintained.  I like it here, but I look forward to the guys in shorts and T-shirts on the metro.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Seeing Red

Myth Busters tested the myth that red excites bulls, what they found is that movement excites bulls, it does not matter the color, the movement is what they react to.  So here I am seeing red.  Nice red pants, he made a fashionable choice.  His sweater was to long, it hangs down below his back pockets, but nice pants, well worn.  Then there is the guy (yes it is a man) in the red coat.  I imagine it looked good in the store, but in that size, over the ample physic, it looked silly.  Really, what was he thinking.  It might work for the doorman at the Dorchester, or if the wearer was 6"3" and weighed 140 pounds.  Maybe Santa is late going home from the holidays, he was headed to the airport.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Monday, January 05, 2015


Metro rail is the Washington DC subway system.  The system opened in the late 1970's, has been expanded over the years and neglected for decades.  It is the pleasure of my day, and the bane of my existence.  DC would be unlivable without Metro.  It takes 500,000 to 750,000 commuters out of the daily traffic.  Without Metro, my commute to work would be hours in each direction, instead of about an hour (11 miles.)

Metro can be frustrating.  When I came home on Wednesday, the balance on my Metro card was a lot of money, $504 to be exact.  When I tapped my card to enter the system this morning it said I had 70-cents.  WTF? I went over to the vending machine to double check, and sure enough, 70-cents.  I added $20 and went to the office and calmly called Metro customer service.  Only 20 minutes on hold and I was telling someone my dead grandfather's name so he could look up my balance history.  Sure enough, Wednesday I had $504, when I tapped in this morning, it removed the balance to reload the updated balance and the computer burped and didn't reload the balance.  He assured me that the money was there, just not on my card.  He assured me that four to five hours the system would update, and the next time I tap into the system, my balance would be restored to my card.  He said this has happened the past couple of months.  They don't have a fix for it.  I mentioned that this could make getting to work on the first of the month a challenge, he agreed.  He was right the money was back on the card this afternoon.

Then there was the change of trains at Gallery Place this morning.  Someone had sneezed someplace along the line and they were recovering from the delays.  It took four trains for me to squeeze through the doors and onto a train.

Where would we be without Metro.  

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Plane Spotting

We needed to get out of the house for a couple of hours, we drove out to Mr. Washington's estate, and back up the Parkway to watch the planes taking off and landing at National Airport.  Technically it is Reagan National Airport. I found it strange when I moved here to find an airport named after the guy who fired the air traffic controllers.  National airport is in a unique location, 1/2 mile from the Pentagon and a minute away from the Capital for planes taking off and landing.  For decades there was an argument about keeping it open, likely still is. A lot of Congress people like having an airport a ten minute drive (without traffic) from their offices. Several times Congress tried to pass laws saying the airport could not be closed without an act of Congress, and Presidents either threatened to veto the bill, or actually vetoed it. Reagan signed it into law, that is why the airport is named after him. It is an amazingly convenient location.  I pass through the subway station at the airport everyday as part of my daily commute.  I love airports. My father was a pilot, I grew up around airplanes and in and out of small airports. He had a commercial pilots license, and never flew for money.  It was a hobby.  He would fly people as a favor, but not for money.  If you paid the cost of the airplane, we would fly you to the moon, but didn't want to be paid for his time. Every man needs a hobby.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Friends,and food

Jay in VA, was Jay in DC for a weekend. Easily enough, staying in a hotel near my office.  It is always fun to connect with friends, increasingly our friends are virtual, existing online only, kind of like the imaginary friends some-people had when they were children (and hopefully quit happening as adults.) I love that I have met so many wonderful people online - people I never would have gotten to know in person. But it is even better to put real people with the virtual existence.  If you are in DC, let me know and I will try to say Hi!  If I am in your town, I will try to let you know I am nearby.

We had breakfast at a very nice hotel in DC.  The food was good, the company better.  Interesting how friends and food go together.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Should I Be Political

As I occasionally write, idiots rile me up.  I just responded to a stupid political posting on Facebook.

It amazes me how few people understand politics, even a lot of politicians seem to lack a basic understanding of what government does and why it is important to the functioning of a civil society. I generally stay away from politics on the blog and on Facebook.  It is so easy to piss people off, but the lack of basic understanding of how and why government is essential to having a civil society is hard to ignore.

I can understand if someone dislikes the policies and practices of a President.  I have not always agreed with the person in office, but I have always tried to be respectful in disagreeing with their policies, and not insulting to the person. In my opinion, we have elected a demented old man and an idiot in the decades that I have been voting (and I voted for one of the two,) What I see lacking in the discourse, is the ability to dislike the actions or lack of actions of the President, instead of being disrespectful of the person.  Let me offer an example, I thought W was an idiot, but what I objected to was his waging war, skirting around the Constitution and approving the violation of basic human rights while waging war.  Holding prisoners for decades without charge, or opportunity to be heard, while creating the fiction that they are not prisoners of war subject to the Geneva Convention - violates the core values of a civilized society.  It is polite for me to say that, impolite for me to say that only a moron would allow such a policy to be implemented.  It has taken a decade to figure out how to undue, what was done under W, and we are releasing people into the world, who are going to go home and tell the world, how terribly they were treated by the USA. Our government has committed war crimes.  Karma!

When people live together, they tacitly agree to be nice to one another.  We don't steal, because if we do we are implying that it is okay for other's to steal from us. We consent, that when someone breaks this basic tenant of a civilized society they will be punished. That is really the core of criminal law, and centuries of experience has shown that the fairest way of enforcing this is for government to do so (there is a lot of history to learn from on this.) There are things that we can do better collectively as a governmental function then we can alone. If we each had to build our own roads, few of us would ever leave home, let alone travel around the world. A society functions better when it does not have people dying on the streets, the most efficient way of assuring that this does not happen is for government to provide a safety net of basic services and supports. A lot of basic research, to improve the future of all of us, is hard to fund on a one-on-one basis.  Few people can provide $300,000.000 for cancer research next year, but most people can provide their $1 - to collectively fund this essential research (assuming that fighting cancer is a worthy cause - I am not entirely convinced that prolonging lives is in the long term best interest of the global picture.)  Apply that to hunger, housing, education - the model works.

I see so many people objecting to this basic model of a civilized society.  The history that shaped our government was based on trying to improve on systems, that failed.  If we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

Maybe I should rant about politics and government more.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

Every morning, when the run rises, I remind myself that I have a chance today to do it right. My days are frequently populated with things that carry over from yesterday, but yesterday is history.  I can't go back and change what I did yesterday, I can only live today. If I spend the day, trying to re-live yesterday, it will interfere with today. Each day I need to move life and projects down the road as far as I can, and try to set the stage for tomorrow.  I can plan for tomorrow, I am a big planner, especially when it comes to things like travel, but I can't live tomorrow, until tomorrow.  If I spend today trying to live tomorrow, I don't have time to live today.

The best made plans, sometimes go astray and bad things happen in life.  But each morning, I can try to do my best to live well today.

2014 was a good year, it is history, onto live in 2015.