Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Anti-Social Media Rant

Warning - I am about to go on a minor rant, to get a little negative in my world of tranquility.  If you might find this upsetting in what is usually a no drama zone, I am sorry, sometimes things just need to be said. 

I am tired of the stupidity, stupidity that starts with the twittler at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,  the denial of science, the ignorance of ingrained racism, sexism, hetrosexism.  

BLACK LIVES MATTER, until the police stop murdering people of color, we need to focus on this simple matter.  It is about the disproportionate policing of people based on the color of their skin. Even black police officers report being stopped for no real reason when out of uniform.   

I am disgusted with the lack of backbone and leadership by social media,  how they can allow and endless string of lies and denials of basic science to be posted, and never consider suspending the idiot that posts them.  I don't hate Zuck for the billions he has made, I despise the lack of backbone, Scalia made more sense.  Twitter, well that platform has never made sense to me, and enabling the moron in chief has proven how worthless it is.  

This morning I unfriended two people on Facebook, I am done reading the crap they repost without thinking about the truth of the matter asserted.  I put a family member on a 30 day vacation on FB.  I should drop her for constantly reposting moronic political propaganda and racist garbage. She is family, without her connection I might not know that a small branch of my family is still alive.  

The people I know on FB with the most fragile health, seem to be the ones most in denial that there is a killer virus out there. The number of infections is real, and likely under counted, the number of deaths is real - some idiot posted this morning that the death numbers are made up.  How stupid can people be? By the way, we need science, and medicine, not faith healers.  You can't pray away a virus.  

There are handful of people that keep posting things on FB that confirm their lack of education.  I have promised myself to be a better person, a couple of them are testing my resolve (including an ex.) 

Image may contain: 2 people, text that says 'Seltzer In Place @VernorsHerzog Fox News has done to our parents what they thought gangsta rap would do to us'

Then this appeared on FB, there was a Black Lives Matter protest going down the street in front of a very large home owned by this couple in St Louis and they came out in the driveway brandishing weapons. 

When I see this my brain echos with the scream of the firearms instructor or range safety officer "FINGER!"
Rule #1 is never point a firearm at anything you are not ready to destroy. 
Rule #2, is NEVER put your FINGER on the trigger until you are ready to kill the target 
Rule #3, is treat every gun as though it were loaded.  

She isn't even looking at what she has it point at.  If a range safety officer saw this they would shout FINGER, signalling for everyone to look for the danger, duck if you have to.  At most ranges, it is two warnings, and you are out, banished.  

When I was in my early 40's my father gave me a revolver that he had owned since I was about 4 years old.  I decided if I was going to have it, I needed to learn how to handle it safely and I hired a private instructor.  We started in a classroom with how to handle a gun safely, how to take it apart, clean it, put it back together. Then we moved to the range. I was only there for about five minutes when I heard the scream - FINGER.  It leaves an impression.  

Someone should take this away from her before she hurts someone, or herself.  She is an idiot, a danger to herself and others.  I don't care if she owns a million dollar home and feels insecure. If I were the prosecutor I would charge her with reckless endangerment.   

Oh well, rant over, I feel better.  

Take care of yourself.  Remember you deserve the best, and having the best starts with taking care of yourself.  You need to be good to yourself, so you can be good to others.  Stay safe, common sense of wearing a facemask when around others, protects others, and their wearing a facemask protects you.  We are in this together.  Stay well.    

Monday, June 29, 2020

My Music Monday -Be Political Not Polite

Pride Month, Black Lives Matter and everything that is happening in the world, this song seems particularly timely.  I try to stay away from politics and the challenges of the world on my blog.  This is a no drama zone.  Yet we are all a part of this.  Stand up, speak up, speak out, do the right thing. VOTE like you life depended on it, it does.  

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Five - Life's big little questions

  1. So what do you really think of adulthood? 
  2. If you didn't know how old you are, how old do you think you would be? 
  3. What sage advice would you give to your 12 year old self? 
  4. What do you wish you had more of in your life? 
  5. What would you like to try for the first time this summer? 
My answers:
  1. So what do you really think of adulthood?  It is vastly overrated. 
  2. If you didn't know how old you are, how old do you think you would be? About 30- but I am happier now than I was then. 
  3. What sage advice would you give to your 12 year old self? Never worry about what others think of you, those who love you will love you for who you are, those who don't love who you are, never did. 
  4. What do you wish you had more of in your life? Intelligent people 
  5. What would you like to try for the first time this summer? A hot air balloon ride - still need to do that. 
Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Zoom, Teams and Green Screens

It is hard to believe that six months ago was the first time I heard of Zoom, my office announced that we were replacing our conference call service with it.  Reading into the details, I realized that it was not only conference calls but also video conferencing.  Jay and I used Google video for a decade until he retired for a daily virtual visits when he was teaching.  Back in March, while I was traveling in Ireland I received an office email saying that the office was deploying Microsoft Teams - I had no idea what that was.  The reaction from my boss, is we are not going to use it until they tell us what it is.  Teams combines video conferencing, calendar, instant messaging and a bunch of other crap into one clunky interface.  Charlie was right, without training it is confusing to use, but we are using it.  

Today I organize Zoom meetings, as easily as I send an email message (there is a plug in on my office email for Zoom that I have not tried to use yet.) It is the quickest, easiest way for me to meet with anyone, nearly anywhere.  Last Friday I has a planning call with a collaborator in Hawaii, we just needed to find a time that was not before breakfast for her, and not after bedtime for me.  

My desk at home is in my bedroom.  Which is also my studio, and my archive.  It is a little disorganized - just the way I like it, but not necessarily pretty.  Hence the green screens.  Both Zoom and Teams have a virtual green screen option, that allows you to appear in virtually any location.  They offer some standard ones, but there is also a "+" sign where you can upload your personal backgrounds.  I uploaded the library at Trinity College in Dublin.  About the third weekly staff meeting, Charlie remarked that I likely had other fun places I could appear in.  So I started changing the location weekly.  A couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of the colosseum in Rome brining multiple remarks about not being eaten by the lions.  On the call with Jody in Hawaii, she showed me how to improve the green screen effect, by clamping a "green screen" to the back of desk chair.  The screen is on order. 

Perhaps I should go to the shore next week. 

Where would you go?  

Friday, June 26, 2020

Tiny Bubbles

The condo community I live in, started holding a 4th of July parade a few years ago.  Kind of fun, and we have a prime viewing location with all of the comforts of home.  I am hoping that they decide to do a socially distanced version this year.  

The first year the parade was held, someone had a bubble machine. Jay thought it was fun, a quick search on Amazon and I discovered that bubble machines are cheap and easy (unlike my men.) So far we only bring it out for the parade, it is fun and whimsical and why not? I'd like to try it on a freezing cold day, I have seen frozen bubbles on YouTube, gotta try that.

Are you humming a silly tune? 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Main Street USA

To start with, sorry Walt, but there was never a fairytale castle at the end of Main Street USA.  A castle inspired by a wacky German King.  My ugly home town in rural Michigan, still had a main street when I was a child.  The kind of a main street with three small grocery stores, a 5 and dime, a drug store with a soda fountain and counter, a clothing store, the town library, a hardware store (that is still there - run by someone I went to high school with), a Ford dealer and a couple of gas stations.  The hardware store is about all that is left today.  The "supermarket" built on the edge of town in the early 70's rapidly ran the small local stores out of business, then it in turn closed as towns nearby opened larger stores, that were part of larger brands with more efficient supply chains and consumers who would sooner spent an hour driving than pay 10-cents more for a can of beans.  While we long for the simplicity of main street, with everything you need (maybe not everything you want) being within walking distance, we let small town America die.  In the 60's and 70's we flocked to the malls, marking the near end of small local clothing retailers.  Now the malls are closing, replaced by mega markets, who are in turn now being threatened by online retail.  Why should I drive to the mall or the big box store when I can shop from home, viewing all of the options and prices, and have it delivered to my door?   I can't remember the last time I was in a shopping mall, I have been to Target once in the past three months, but ordered from them online three times.  My monthly visit, has largely been replaced by my monthly online order.  Free shipping from Prime, means I don't have to have a minimum order to avoid a shipping fee and I don't have to mask up, glove up and put gas in the car.  

Yet there are still times, when strolling through small shops is great fun.  You know the kind of place where you don't know what you need, until you see it and then can't live without it.  

Will the changes of this year, create opportunities for a rebirth of main street? 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The Way We Wednesday - Mom and my brothers

This was taken in the middle 1950's after my parents moved out to the farm and before my sister and I were born.  My middle brother in the black, looks happy and relaxed.  My older brother is shading his eyes, or trying to hide.  Mom has that questioning look on her face, a look we all came to know well.   

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Water the Elixir of Life

I remember ignoring this advice at the Grand Canyon, and regretting it.  I was in my mid 20's, the weather was mild, the walk was wonderful, until I started to think I might not survive it.  A few years later, on a warm Florida day, I learned the hard way why serious bikes have bottle holders when I headed out for 20 miles ride, in an isolated area, without water.  I never made that mistake again.  

There is usually a glass of water within my reach.  For years it was diet coke, or coke-zero.  I cut back on those, and then this year between traveling the first couple of weeks in March and being home, well I have had one coke zero since March 16th.  Just one.  I have broken that addiction.  Water is likely healthier.  It is lower in cost.  At home it is in a glass, so there are no single use plastic bottles to clutter up the earth for a decade or more.  Better for me, better for the earth.  

I start off the morning with a very large iced coffee, the stronger the better.  You shouldn't be able to see through coffee.  From there on it is water for the rest of the day.  

What drink is within arms reach for you? 

Monday, June 22, 2020

My Music Monday Simon & Garfunkel - Kodachrome

I was thinking of this one recently, but I was twisting the lyrics a bit:
When I think back on all the Crap I read on Facebook
It's a wonder I can think at all 

Where would you go from there? 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Five - Simple Questions

1: Name one thing you like about yourself? 
2: Name one thing you like about where you live? 
3: What was your all time favorite trip? 
4: Who was the most famous person you ever met? 
5: What is the farthest you have ever been from home? 

My answers: 
1: Name one thing you like about yourself?  My curiosity 
2: Name one thing you like about where you live? Closeness to history - George Washington had dinner with friends on this hilltop a week before he died. 
3: What was your all time favorite trip? A tough choice, my first visit to Normandy.  
4: Who was the most famous person you ever met? Ronald Reagan in 1976. 
5: What is the farthest you have ever been from home? Greece,  about 5,500 miles from where I was living at the time.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

New York!

I enjoyed a Zoom happy hour with an old friend recently.  Back in March she and a couple of mutual friends went to New York for three days.  She was talking about a mutual friend "L" who is very well traveled, she is a multi-million-miler on a major airline, the kind of customer that gets access to the first class lounge and upgrade to business class for life.  L had worked for a legal software company for a few years and traveled for work on a daily basis as part of that work. Apparent L had only been to New York City once, to a trade show and had been so busy she never left the hotel.  Her first trip to Times Square found her messmerized, standing the middle of the street taking pictures as the light turn and the traffic all honked.  Then there was FAO Schwarz, now I though they were gone, but apparently there is a new store, L had never seen anything like it, they thought they would never get her out of the store. Then Tiffany's.  

It would have been fun to be there to watch her reaction to it all.  

What place around the world leaves you dumbstruck?    

Friday, June 19, 2020

Deep Connections

I have never owned a Ford, remarkable in that I have owned so many cars I have to stop and count - carefully to list them all- 16 of them - 4 Hondas, 3 Oldsmobiles, 2 Toyotas, 2 Mazdas, 2 VWs, 1 Renault, 1 Saturn, 1 Cadillac. My grandfather worked for Ford for 35 years.  In fact Ford paying an astonishing $4 or $5 a day, was the reason my grandfather's family moved from a farm in south west Illinois to the Detroit area.  My great-grandfather worked in the power-house, the generating station built by Thomas Edison at the Ford Family Estate for many years.  My grandfather was a machine setter, he installed and adjusted the cutting tools in a machine that made gears, mostly for differentials, some transmission parts.  Some of his most dramatic stories were the conversion to war production in the early 1940's. He described how in a matter of just a few days all of the machines were cut lose, moved around, retooled from car parts to heavy trucks, tanks, even aircraft parts.  History shows us that Henry was wrong on the War, he thought the US should stay out, he had a long history of anti-semitism. His son, took the lead on war production, promising that Ford would do it's part.  

The new Bronco is due out this summer.  Time to see if Ford can do retro and a successful product launch.  I hope so, my retirement owns a chunk of Ford stock.  

Do you have any family connections to car companies? 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Size Queen

Okay, I will admit it, I am a size queen.  Many gay men are. There a millions of jokes about men, gay and straight, lying about size, but I like them large. 

A couple of years ago, I got desperate on a Sunday when I was let down yet again, went to the mall looked at the young man and said, "I want the biggest thing you have." Recently, after three months of working at home and being frustrated by either having to use my own, making some things hard to do, or deal with the tiny portable from the office, I decided to upgrade.  It looks we are going to be doing it at home for a while. I wanted the biggest I could handle. 

For a couple of years I have had 27-inches at home, my office issued one is only 15 inches, and after using 27 inches, 15 inches just doesn't cut it.  

Now get your minds out of the gutter, I am not talking about that, I am talking about computer monitors.  I went online to uncle Jeff's and ordered a 27 inch external monitor, plugged in an external keyboard and a real mouse into the office laptop.  Yep, I have two 27 inch computer screens sitting side by side on my tiny desk at home.   

I am in hog heaven.  

How big is yours? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - June 1973

Here I am all dressed up in 1973.  Middle School graduation.  A navy blazer, with those super wide lapels, I fell in love with it, and bought it myself.  I still have the pin, it was a school pin, the chain connects the school initials with my graduation year.  The velvet bow tie is long gone.  To much hair on top. The sun in my eyes.  I grew into the nose.  If I had known then, what I know now. 

What have you had since you were in school? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Brave Steps Out

I took a brave step out the other day, not coming out of the closet, I blew the door off the closet years ago.  On Saturday morning, I was up early, the weather was heavenly, 66 degrees, blue skies, I masked and gloved up and headed off to the farmers market in Old Town Alexandria.  It claims to be one of the oldest continuously operating markets in the country.  I love going, I had not been since last fall.  It is a little changed from the past, the market vendors handle the produce, you can point at what you want, but not touch.  There were city employees at the entrances checking to make sure those entering were wearing masks, and counting the number of people in and out, to limit the number of people.  There are arrows on the pavement directing people in one direction.  If you miss something and double back, people stare at you (I only did this once, went back 20 feet to the most glorious local tomatoes.) 

Most of my favorite vendors were there, the local organic farmer dude, the egg man, a couple of larger scale veggies direct to the public farmers. The market resellers where there, those are vendors that don't grow anything, they buy from farmers, or more likely wholesale markets.  I will buy from them, but prefer to buy from the small farmers. 

It was strange to be spending cash.  I have drawn cash from the bank just once since the end of February.  Most of the vendors prefer cash.  I bought a new pocket change wallet in Ireland, a wonderful piece of leather work, but kind of bulky.  

The crowd was thin, and well behaved.  It felt good to be there, I felt reasonably safe.  Slowly I am learning to be comfortable in public.  As I say, take care, stay safe, stay well.  

Are you venturing out yet?  

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Sunday Five - Artistic Endeavors

I read an article recently that said that people who engaged in an artistic activity, even if they are really bad at, experience better mental health, than those who do not.  Music, drawing, painting, photography, creative writing, sculpture, jewelry making, sewing, needle arts - all appear to help us maintain better mental health.  

Hence this weeks Sunday Five - Artistic Endeavors 

1: When was the last time you created something for the joy of creating it? 
2: Have you taken any formal classes?
3: What art would you like to start doing again? 
4: Are there original creations of yours, hanging in your home or office? 
5: Have you ever created something so terrible, that you trashed it? 

My answers: 
1: When was the last time you created something for the joy of creating it? The last painting was a couple of weeks ago, it is unfinished, and simply terrible.  
2: Have you taken any formal classes? I took two art classes in college, a photography class and a silversmithing class.  
3: What art would you like to start doing again? I want to start doing silver and metal work again. 
4: Are there original creations of yours, hanging in your home or office?  Yes, several. 
5: Have you ever created something so terrible, that you trashed it? Yes, and a few are hidden in a dark corner where no one can see them.  

Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

People Person?

I have an ongoing debate with myself, about being a people person, or not a people person.  In many ways I am a loner, a soloist.  Generally I prefer to work alone, I have had to work hard to not insist on doing things myself, that really others can do better than I can. Still I prefer to have my office door closed.  I ran a help-hotline for a decade.  I have answered the phone over 11,000 times and said, "Thank you for calling the helpline, my name is David, how can I help you?"  I still cringe at the sound of a ringing phone.  (To say I was burned out on that job is a massive understatement.) I generally avoid crowds, and when I am in them, I tend to navigate myself through them with efficiency, always looking for the path around the edge. (That has made social distancing a breeze.) I have a relatively small family, some of whom I would sooner avoid, so family time is not a big thing for me.  There are some massive differences in political views in my family, I will never change their views, they will never change mine, we just simply avoid it.  

I enjoy an intelligent conversation. I love listening to the adventures of people's lives.  I like a good listener.  But one or two people is enough, I loath herd meals, you know there 10 or 15 people go out to eat at once.  The service is always dreadful, and I can only hear the person next to me or across the table, I feel left out of the laughter three people down the table.  I much prefer going out to dinner (or breakfast or lunch) with just a couple of people, in someplace quiet where we can hear one another without shouting.  

I can understand those who need a lot of interpersonal contact, and interaction.  But that is just not me.  It is not that I dislike people, I just enjoy time alone. I read a couple of books years ago on the difference between being alone and being lonely.  At times in my life I have felt alone - felt out of sorts because of not having anyone around.  More often I am simply alone, and happy.  

Are you a people person? 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Commencement Address

It is graduation season, High School, College and Graduate schools all have students finishing their formal education.  A common feature of graduations, is a commencement speaker.  I am unlikely to ever be invited as a commencement speaker, if I was here is some of what I would have to say: 

You came here via a variety of paths.  For some of you, your families started planning for this day, before you were conceived,  some of you are following the footsteps of older sibling, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  Some of you are the first in your family to stand where you stand today.  For some, this was given to you, others have earned and paid for every book, every class, every page of printer paper.  Some of you will finish debt free, others will be paying for this for years to come.  And that is okay.  None of my grandparents finished high school, my mother did, my father earned his GED after his youngest finished high school.  

I was the first in my family to earn a college degree, working full time and going to school half time I earned it and paid for it.  I went on to earn a doctorate in my field, for that I took on enough in student loans to buy a new Mercedes, I sacrificed and paid off my loans in less than 8 years.  

How you got here, and how this was paid for no longer matters, you have earned the degree, it is yours and no one can ever take that away from you.  You are among the most highly educated people on earth.  

Your education is not ending today, it is just beginning.  If your high school, college or graduate program has succeeded, you have learned how to learn, how to form questions, seek information, develop understanding and connections, express and back up an informed opinion.  You have learned how to communicate in a complex world.  You have learned from the past, so that you understand the present and shape the future.  You have learned about science, real science based on verifiable facts.  You have learned to understand interactions between people and beings.  You have developed an understanding of numbers, mathematics, and economics.  

Never stop learning.  Let a healthy curiosity about the world take you to places and understanding you have never dreamed of.  Like a tomato, as long as you are growing you are healthy, the moment you are ripe, you start to rot.  Never let your quest for knowledge end, read, listen, travel, explore, experiment, experience the world and beyond.  Do it because you can.  Break free of your past and create the future, and please take us along for the ride. 
What one piece of advice do you have for this years graduates? 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Pride Month

I participated in my first couple of Pride Parades in Orlando in the early 1990s, as part of the Orlando Front Runners, (it is good to see the group is still active.)  It was a fun group.  On Saturdays we ran, then went out to breakfast, a breakfast club with a running problem.  One year the parade was being heckled by robed KKK members. One of the runners snatched the hood off of a klansman.  I helped bail him out of jail.  The charges were dropped when the POS declined to come to court as a witness.  Not so brave with his hood off. 

The running group was reaffirming.  A place where I could be me, and not worry about being the strange one in the group.  People who are out of the mainstream, need that safe place to let their guard down.  It was a place I didn't need to try to fit in.  I fit in.  

The parades were a public affirmation, of identity, and of unity with others, showing ourselves and not being intimidated by the haters. They were an act of bravery in a sometimes hostile world.  

Being out has not always been easy, I lost a good job, a job I really needed after being outed by a coworker to a nut case of a boss.  I have been the target of a homophobic rants by men who thought I looked at them too long.  I have had the occasional epitaph hurled at me.  I have walked out of business that didn't want my business. 

I didn't come out until my early 30's.  I have lived life deep in the closet, deep in self hatred.   I was an unpleasant person.  Maybe it is doubling my age, maybe it is being comfortable in my own skin, but I am happier and I think more pleasant to be around as an out gay man. 

Every person needs a place that they feel comfortable, being around people like themself.  Every person needs to be comfortable in their own skin.  We have to love ourselves, before we can truly love someone else.  

Debra over at She Who Seeks, is doing a virtual pride parade this year. Will you join her?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - I have No Idea

That is me, in the front row, kind of casually leaning on the table, my oldest brother in the back on the left in the red shirt, my mother is second from the right in the light blue dress, and early 60's glasses.  I have no idea who the rest of the group is.  My guess is some of my father's family, but that is only a guess.  This was probably taken about 1966 - or 1967.  

Do I look cool and relaxed there? 

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Travel Penguin Home Tour

A few weeks ago John Gray did a quick video tour of his home in Wales, more recently Sixpence Notthewiser offered to show us his, if we would show him ours. The Mistress and Mitchell are periodically showing us glimpses of their domestic bliss. I mentioned recently that I am trying to learn to edit video, and now audio, so this made the perfect simple project, complete with mostly voice over audio.  Not quite like MTV Cribs, but then no one on there ever had penguins and sheep in their living room.  

Will you show us yours? 

Monday, June 08, 2020

My Music Monday - Come Monday - Jimmy Buffett

This song is about being back home, being burned out by being on the road.  I have been there, 2017 and 2018 were a bit much.  It was nice to be home.  2019 I did less travel, it looks like this year is going to be just one or two trips.  That will bring back the desire to travel again.  It is nice to be back home, for a while.  

Have you ever become burned out from too much travel?

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Sunday Five - Moving on Down the Line

It is June already, my how the year flies by. Time just keeps moving on down the line, oh, there is this weeks Sunday five. 

  1. What is the best thing that has happened in your world so far this year? 
  2. What are you hoping to do in the remainder of the year? 
  3. What have learned to do this year? 
  4. What holiday are you looking forward to in the remainder of this year? 
  5. Is there anyone you are hoping to see later this year? 
My answers:
  1. What is the best thing that has happened in your world so far this year? The trip it Ireland was a real treat.  
  2. What are you hoping to do in the remainder of the year? Stay safe, venture out into the world. 
  3. What have learned to do this year? I am learning to edit video files. 
  4. What holiday are you looking forward to in the remainder of this year? July 4th, US Independence Day. 
  5. Is there anyone you are hoping to see later this year? My sister and my dear friend Jen. 
Please share your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Good Morning

Time for the muses to wake up and inspire me.  wakey-wakey inspiration! When all else fails, I dig deep into the collection of photos, when that fails I pull out an image of a rude t-shirt, sign, or coffee mug.  That gets me talking. 

A search of YouTube failed to turn up a good, and properly accredited video of Robin Williams incredible opening scene in Good Morning Vietnam. 

I have to be a morning person, I drift off to sleep at 9:00 PM, I can't be a night person.  With the shift to working at home, I find myself being very productive in the morning, some mornings starting as early as 7:00 AM.  There is always a flurry of incoming emails late in the day, between 4:00 and 6:00 PM, I am learning to ignore them until the next day.  

I was starting to get fussed about working remotely, and then I talked with a friend, who is legal counsel for a health care facility. She was classified as essential and required to be her office.  Concerned about the safety of her family, she went 36 days without seeing her children.  With the schools closed, and her children's father being asked to return to his office, she is now trying to figure out child care.  Our call was delayed by a few minutes, while she went for her mandatory weekly nasal swab. The good news is her facility has the ability to test all staff weekly, the bad news is she needs to be tested weekly.  She said the worst part, was the endless stream of emails notifying her of deaths in the facility.  

My life is not so bad.  Rise and Shine, another day is upon us, Good Morning World! 

How is life with you this morning?    

Friday, June 05, 2020

Blogger and Other Ramblings

So yes, you may have read it elsewhere, Blogger has a new drafting interface.  I have yet to figure out how to make the image larger. (If you have figured this out, please share how.) The text sizes seem less precise, but a with wider variety typefaces.  Beyond that I seem to be able to do whatever I want it to do.  Change is a pain, but it is also good.  I had read some concerns online that Google had not updated Blogger in several years, and that might be a sign that Google might abandon the platform.  I see the update as a sign that Google is committed to keeping Blogger alive.  For me that is a good thing. It is a simple platform, it is free of cost, it is where I have been for nearly 15 years. 

The sign above is in a parking lot, near where I live.  I doubt, that is "that CIA," in this town one never knows what is hiding in what unmarked office building.  A world capital, can be a strange place, there a lot of people who really can't tell you what they really do for a living.  I avoid talking about my work on my blog, because if I do, my employer claims ownership of the content on my blog.  And this is mine.  

Are there things you won't talk about on your blog?


Thursday, June 04, 2020

Downhill from There

I have owned a mountain bike once, it was not terribly practical for around town riding and I parted with it. These are serious downhill machines, full hydraulically dampened suspension, reinforced frames, heavy duty disk brakes, these machines are build for riding down a mountain side. In this case trails and slopes at a ski resort.  They go to the top in a ski lift, and ride back down.  I think I could do that, I'd have to take it slow, ride the brakes, pick the less bumpy trail.  Then do it again and again.  The bike school provides tips on how to lesson the chance of dying on the way down.  I'd want to go to school. And you have to sign a waiver that starts out in bold print YOU MAY DIE!  

Would you try it once? 

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

The Way We Were Wednesday - New York City

I have a handful of slides from a trip my parents took to New York in the mid 1950's.  This is one.  I suspect the colors have shifted over the decades,  but to some extent this captures the essence of New York in the industrial heyday of the post war era. Smoky, golden, vast.  Slightly before my time.  

I was in my 50's before I went to New York for the first time. I had to be there to understand the essence and attraction of the place.  

Have you been there? 

Tuesday, June 02, 2020


My mother returned to work outside the home, when I was about 9 or 10.  She enjoyed working, it also meant that my slightly older sister and I were home unsupervised for the summer. One day we picked apples from the tree behind the honey house, and made an Apple Pie.  The pie was good, making the pastry was well shall I say messy.  Rather than being pleased with the pie, my mother was furious about the mess that the pastry left behind in the kitchen, flour on the floor.  I have to say, I was emotionally scared by the experience.  I had an irrational fear of making pastry, that I have worked diligently over the past few years to overcome.  I have gotten pretty good at it. 

I like pie. Fruit pies, cream pies, custard pies, savory pies, and tarts.  I don't often make them, with the two of us, and some responsibility to watch our diets (we try to limit carbs) pastry, like anything is okay in moderation.  It is hard to practice moderation when a whole pie is in the house with just two people. We wouldn't want it to go to waste.  

I seldom order dessert in a restaurant, then I will see something like the chocolate cream pie above,  and order it instead of lunch.  I don't know how the pickle ended up on the side, but it looks yummy.  

What is your favorite pie?