Journal Entry

“A man of virtue ought to solve problems - not simply use them to attack his adversary.”

- Christine Emba

Well, there you have it. That describes where we are as a body politic. It seems to have started with one man, and spread like a disease.

Bad Poetry

Journal Entry

So I wrote a poem in Go this morning. It’s a calculator that tells me when I will achieve my poetic voice based on the experience of e. e. cummings. I’m making a lame attempt to learn the Go programming language. What else is a retired person supposed to do besides write bad poetry? I probably should go delete my modules on CPAN, but that would be way to much work for a retired person…

Which prompts me to ask myself, do I miss my work now that I have put that behind me. The answer without hesitancy is “no.” Well not really. I don’t miss going to work, but I do miss the intellectual challenge. I make up for that now by reading a lot, and for the most part, that is an excellent stand-in, but there are times when I just want to sit down and write some code.

What’s Going Down

Journal Entry

I can’t think of an “old” song more relevant to today than this one…

There’s something happening here,
what it is ain’t exactly clear.
There’s a man with a gun over there,
telling me I got to beware.

There’s battle lines being drawn.
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.
Young people speaking their minds,
gettin’ so much resistance from behind.

What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street.
Singing songs and carryin’ signs,
mostly say, “Hooray for our side.”

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your life, it will creep.
It starts when you’re always afraid,
step out of line, the man come and take you away.

We better stop
hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look what’s going down.

My sister used to listen to “Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66,” they were not a great band, but their cover of “For What It’s Worth” is “worth” listening to, so is the cover by Tab Benoit, from the album “Power Of The Pontchartrain.”

What To Do Before I Die

Journal Entry

First of all, I don’t intend to answer the question, I just want to consider it for a moment. There was a time not long ago when I was completely focused on riding my bicycle across the country. That was 2019, then, shortly after completing that goal in November, things changed dramatically. You have all lived through what I’m talking about now. When the Pandemic hit us, I threw myself into a remodeling project. That kept me busy and focused outside of myself. It feels like I have reached a point in my recovery where I can start thinking about other things, let’s just call them self-actualization goals for want of a better term. I enjoyed the remodeling project, and there was a good bit of satisfaction gained from the effort, I will probably even look back on it as a significant accomplishment, but it feels like it was more of a coping mechanism than a self-actualization goal.

I do like to set goals for myself. I currently have a goal to write a poem a day for one year. That will be 365 poems (I can still count). That goal will be completed (if I am successful) in early October of next year… I can only think of two epic goals I have set for myself and accomplished in my life: building a house (I pounded every nail) and cycling across the country. (Once the Poetry Challenge is completed, it may also become epic, it’s too soon to tell.) These don’t feel like enough to me.

Of course I have some long standing interests that might be considered goals: cycling, skiing, overland travel… but no plans currently to make any of these epic in nature. My struggle appears to be with the word epic. Perhaps I should look at goals in a less dramatic way. I think the real problem here is my struggle with the need to define goals for myself. That may have also been more influenced by the Pandemic than I realize. Are we finally entering the aftermath? What will it be like a year from now, if indeed we are going through the aftermath right now? Will I look at my life in a less “goal oriented” manner once the Pandemic is behind us? I don’t know.

I think the real message here is, I don’t have the feeling that I have attempted enough at this point in my life. Perhaps I should be more satisfied with the accomplishments that I can point to, but that doesn’t feel like the right answer. The answer may be that having goals is a peculiarly human characteristic, one that provides us with the answer to the question, “have I accomplished enough with this life?”

Here is what I know: I’m happy, I have found love, and I’m still ambulatory, so take that Father Time! (I just can’t figure out how to ski with my knees apart.)


Journal Entry

I’m now experimenting with writing my “daily journal” in the Ulysses app. I never really understood why I wasn’t completely satisfied writing in a notebook. Oh, I liked the experience of writing with pen on paper, I found that very satisfying esthetically speaking, but it always left me feeling just a bit unsatisfied in other ways. I guess partly because thoughts don’t flow as evenly or as quickly as they do when I’m typing. It’s also a pain in the ass to make additions and corrections. Perhaps 40 years of typing on a keyboard just has me overly committed to thinking with my fingers… I don’t really know. What I am realizing is that in the short period of time that I have gone back to the keyboard (two days) I’m satisfied. I’m going to continue with this approach for now. After all, my shit needs to be typed in order for it to show up here anyway…

Wilkerson, Isabel. "Caste." Random House; 2021.

Journal Entry

I simply can not recommend this book any more highly. Reading this book will give you an entirely new perspective on the history of our nation. It is researched, thoughtful, but more importantly, it opens doors to perspectives that I would not have discovered in a lifetime of ordinary exposure to our country’s established cultural thought and tradition.

Monterey 12.0.1

Allow me to digress momentarily into a realm of trivia likely of interest only to people that post to this blogging service…

Yesterday Apple released Monterey 12.0.1. Ulysses released their companion version to all users. One of the new features made available to Ulysses users is the ability to update posts. This was not previously available and for me at least this is… life changing.

I did not expect this to happen. I’m used to wanting features that never seem to become reality. This time I was pleasantly surprised!

The Burl

Sitting in a tree house
looking out
surrounded by nothing but leaves
I am suspended by the handiwork of man
and the cooperation of Mother Nature.

A rare experience
as joyful as it is inspiring
it makes one pause
shouldn’t this be how we live
supported and uplifted by the
work of our own hands.

Much seems to be lost in today’s world
staying here and enjoying this experience
is grounding
even while the thought of being suspended
is ever present on my mind.

Daughter's Day

Yes it’s Father’s Day, but since I’m a Father myself it would presumptuous to write about me, so, I’m going to write about my daughters. Let’s call them “A”, “B”, and “C.” (Any correspondence to first initials is completely unintended.) I am so lucky to have three wonderful daughters. When I look at all three of them I see a bit of myself, but that is really not the best part. I believe all three of them would say they got the best parts of me and avoided the worst parts of me. Of course that doesn’t make them perfect. The rest of the equation they had to add themselves, and add they did. As a parent, the best thing we can hope for is that our children disinherit our bad qualities. Inheriting our good qualities is icing on the cake.

If I could say just one thing to each of them, it would be to tell them how proud they make me feel.

We never spend as much time with our daughters as we should. Perhaps that is better than too much time. When it comes to the right amount, there is no real way to know the answer to that. One thing we can control is our attention. I’ve always tried to be present with them when we are together, I think that is just as important as the amount of time itself. Kids need room to grow. Adults need space to be themselves. Even with that, they need to know they are in your thoughts, even when you are not there with them. I hope they do. I think they do. Happy Daughter’s Day!


This morning I started to set up my new router. I purchased this from a reseller that customizes routers so they will support VPN out of the box, no flashing required. I figured this is the safest approach since flashing a router yourself can result in a decorative brick that may or may not complement the decor in your living room. I will explain shortly my reason for doing this, but as I unplugged the old router and unplugged the Internet provider’s gateway, it occurred to me that there was no WiFi in the house. Imagine that. Silence, of a sort. I decided at this point to put on my coat and go outside and read for a bit, primarily so I can say, if I ever have to, that when the WiFi goes down I simply read a book…

The book I chose was “The Bomber Mafia” by Malcolm Gladwell. I love tech subjects (almost as much as Science Fiction) the subject that Gladwell deals with in this book is particularly fascinating. The invention of the Nordon Bomb Sight, the man that invented it and the men of the Army Air Corp that put it to good use. Without this particular invention the Second World War would have been a much different affair. After a couple of chapters it was time to get back to the task at hand, particularly because someone that still chooses to work for a living would be coming home in a matter of a couple of hours and it would not be good to have her greeted by a WiFi vacuum.

Back to the original task, first though, as I was reading about the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Gladwell’s book, I recalled my bicycle trip across the country. Yes, it’s a bit strange how these connections come up, I hadn’t thought about this incident in some time. While I was making my way through Pensacola Florida I decided to visit the Air Force Museum. The museum is located on the Air Force Base, when I rolled up to the guard booth the (mostly) friendly M.P. informed me that no bicycles were allowed on base. I thought that peculiar, but I assumed it was a liability thing so I turned around and looked for a good place to have some lunch. It turned out all right, I ended up having lunch and chatting with a pilot from the base, that was a real treat, the BBQ was good too.

The new router is set up. I had a bit of a hard time because the router’s configuration app was not responding when I tried to configure my VPN service. I could not figure out why, but I should have. I had a chat with the router support folks and I was simply told to use a different browser. About all I can say is not all browsers are created equal. I recently switched to the Brave browser, as soon as I tried the configuration steps in Firefox everything worked perfectly. I was using Brave for privacy, but now that I have router level VPN up and running, my security concerns have been greatly reduced. That said, I don’t use anything Google because they track you as soon as you log in to their platform. So there you go, the whole point of this exercise is to provide enhanced security, but there is one other reason, I want to watch Mariner’s baseball games on MLB TV. I’m looking forward to the first pitch tonight…


Danger: political commentary ahead. Before we go any further, let’s talk about that. Just because I say that I like someone that you might not does not make me a bad person. Nor are you bad if you disagree with me. I do believe however that we have an obligation to listen to each other with open minds and a willingness to understand our differences in the light of facts, preferably not “alternate facts.” The tradegy of our time in my mind is that we are less willing to listen to each other than at any point in my lifetime, perhaps even in our history. It would be foolish (in my opinion) to see our current time as anything less than an existential threat to our Democracy…

There is no doubt that Dr. Anthony Fauci is a hero. After all, he has thrown out the first pitch at a Yankees/Nationals game. I can’t imagine the pressure that experience would create, nor can I imagine the professional pressure he has been under for the last 15 months. In a recent interview he was asked to explain why vaccinated people should continue to mask and distance. The interview did not seem to go very well. Essentially he said that vaccinated people could unknowingly transmit the virus. OK. But it’s what he didn’t explain that seems to me to be even more important. He should have explained that until the population (and here we are really talking about the world’s population) reaches the point where the virus can no long spread, i.e., the so called “Herd Immunity” threshold, the virus can’t be considered exterminated. In the mean time, the virus can mutate into different forms that could further prolong the pandemic and could even reach the point where the current vaccines are no longer effective against mutations (we really don’t know). Scary stuff indeed, which could be why he frequently appears to be dumbing down his answers. Another reason for taking that approach could be because there are a lot of Americans out there that really have trouble processing new knowledge that is developing on a daily basis.

There is a large percentage of our population that just wants simple black and white answers to all the hard questions. Why is that? I’m sure the answer is complex and will take someone a lot smarter than I am to explain, not to mention years of sociological study. But, here is my short answer anyway. Those people looking for simple answers aren’t necessarily uneducated, but they have been conditioned to think in simplistic terms. Social media and cable news have found the magic formula to motivate people. Instill hate and make the “other” guy your enemy and you can control peoples thoughts, as well as their votes. As an alt-right YouTuber recently explained, “Focus on conflict, serve the algorithm and feed the hate. Don’t worry about the truth.” If you can do those things, you can build a following. As recently demonstrated, even a following that can be pushed to attack the very institutions that our Democracy is founded on. All in the name of political correctness, and baseless lies.

How To Be A Writer

I’m the last person that should be attempting to answer that question. But there are a few things I do know but haven’t yet been able to apply to my own situation. The first is that you have to rewrite. I’m certainly not in the habit of doing that, as evidenced by the fact that as soon as I put the last period on this post it will be sent to, and probably never touched again. The author David Sedaris says that you should rewrite your work at least 30 times before submitting anything to your editor. This is probably good advice, although he admits that he only rewrites 10 to 12 times before he submits to his editor. (That must be the difference between amateur and professional I suppose.) In my case, I just make sure I haven’t mixed my “your”s with my “you’re”s and I’m good to go…

The author Dan Brown says you must discipline yourself to write daily for at least two hours. Get up at 5 in the morning, sit down and force yourself to write whether you feel like it or not. This makes a lot of sense. I’ve found that it is difficult to start writing, however, once I do words find a way to come out. The words might not be worth a damn - frequently they aren’t - but at least they come out. I don’t think there is a huge mystery here. For me, starting anything is the hardest part of “doing.” Case in point, I’ve started blogging before, this is at least the third time I’ve gone down this road. This time feels different to me. I like the tools I’m using. I like the hosting service ( and most importantly, I’m enjoying the process.

I suppose that brings me around to the question of what I hope to achieve from this effort. Honestly (stupid word, of course I’m being honest, at least trying to be honest) I’m not sure. At this point in time it just feels good, so I’m doing it. It satisfies some internal need that I’m not even sure I can put a finger on. I suspect there is a deep seated need somewhere in me to write, but I don’t have the creative skills or imagination to do it well, so this is what is left. I wouldn’t say my goal is to become a writer, I don’t even expect this to be read by more than a few - if any. But here I am anyway. It feels good so I’m doing it. I’ll keep doing it until it doesn’t feel good any more.

Bottle of Water

There is a part of me that really hates to comment on politics. It seems like right now there isn’t anything anyone can agree on. I’m afraid as a nation we are slipping into a state where people argue and complain, sometimes rudely, but no one is listening. Sadly this extends beyond politics. Yesterday I posted a comment on Instagram of a ski video promoting Jackson Hole. All hell broke loose. I was probably wrong in being critical (I know better). The fire storm that ensued was surprising. Everything from “don’t look at it if it bothers you,” to “you’re too old to be looking at stuff like that.” Even though I hate commenting on politics (and now I have to be careful about commenting on skiing) I’m going to go ahead and make the following political observation.

I wonder what it would be like to be standing in line one day and have someone hand me a bottle of water. That would certainly be a nice gesture, but If that were to happen I would not want her to get arrested for it. This could be the new normal in the state of Georgia at election time. If any evidence were ever needed to demonstrate how far Republicans will go to get elected to office, look no further. I wonder what our forefathers would have thought about this. I can’t imagine a single one of them passing a law to deny water to a thirsty citizen. Yes I am aware of the conflict over race and voting that our early leaders dealt with. It is regrettable and sad, but even in those early years of our nation when the right to vote was only held by a few, laws like this would have been considered disgraceful by almost everyone. It is not enough to call this anti-democratic, or racist, or even anti-American, this is inhuman. This is a disgrace upon Republicans that they will never be able to expunge, even if they get around to repealing it. I never thought I would see such discrimination work it’s way back into the laws of our country. This feels like more than one step backwards. This feels like a step back to a time when only white men in this country were allowed to vote. Is that were we are heading again? I like to try and end my posts on a positive note. In this case it’s hard, I’ll admit. If there is a good side to this it is my hope, no, my fervent expectation, that this will do more to motivate people to vote than it will do to discourage them. It feels like we are on the cusp of a new awakening. It feels like the old guard is about to be pushed out of power. Wouldn’t that be wonderful.


This was written in March of 2020, one week into the stay at home order in Washington State. It is an interesting look back on my feelings at the time.

I’m not sure that reading “Station Eleven,” by Emily St. John Mandel is the best thing I could be doing right now. “Station Eleven” is a novel about a dystopian society living after a world-wide virus pandemic has killed 99% of Earth’s population. The novel explores what a post-apocalyptic world would look like. It’s a wholly believable tale of how people cope, and how some people don’t cope, with the pressures of living in a collapsed society. The novel also explores the state of mind of people trapped in an apocalyptic world.

One of characters, Miranda, is constantly feeling like she has contracted the virus. When you are living through a pandemic yourself and trying to make the best of things under a stay at home order (this is the end of week one and it looks like we could be facing four more weeks) occasionally thoughts like Miranda’s will creep into your head. It’s hard not to worry. Most of the time I find the novel to be consoling rather than depressing. The scary part of the novel is of course the 99% mortality rate. Today we are looking at possibly a 1% mortality rate in the worst projections, no one really has any idea if that will be the case or not. Frankly I suspect not. What I do suspect is that this will be a defining event in my lifetime, like the Vietnam War, and the crash of 2008. Once this event has passed, I have a feeling we will look at public spaces differently. There could be fewer tables per square foot in restaurants, we may even be more reserved in our public gestures towards one-another. I hope that does not become the new normal. I also believe that science needs a better understanding of viruses in general. As a nation and as a world, we need to dedicate more resources, a lot more, to understanding viruses and learning to combat them. Our health care system also needs to be able to respond to a pandemic effectively and in a humane fashion. It really is rather sad that we live in a time when so many people are so willing to listen and follow others that have such little regard for science.

We now know, as of April 2021, that the U.S. mortality rate is 1.8 percent, almost double what was initially projected by health experts. We have lost over 500 thousand souls, and the number continues to climb. There are countries that have higher mortality rates but the U.S. is currently the fourth highest in deaths per 100,000 population. That fact alone is hard to fathom considering this is the richest country in the world.

Just For Fun

This post is rated for language

Just got an email from Microsoft. They are in the process of shutting down an email account of mine (didn’t know that I had one, but not outside the realm of possibility). The email looks very authentic, and frankly, is well done. (No reference to a Prince anywhere.)

Just for fun I clicked on the link in the email, ostensibly to allow me to “recover” my mail box and preserve it for future use. The link took me to a Google Doc page. This is problem #1. A Microsoft email recovery process would not use a Google Doc page! The doc asked me to enter an email address and a password. Obviously, this is problem #2. The ironic bit is the fact that at the bottom of the Google Doc page was the warning: “Never enter your password in a Google Doc.” …No kidding.

Well, this kind of shit catches a lot of people I’m sure. There are a lot of sucky people out there. It’s a shame they can’t put their skills to better use.

It leaves me wondering why now? I rarely get scams like this. We are starting to come out (we hope) of the worst phase of the Pandemic. Do scammers think we will have a natural tendency now that we are starting to feel “optimistic”, to fall for this sort of shit?.

So, naturally, I filled out the form! For email I put in “” For password I put in “FuckOffBastard”. I even had to write in my country! You can’t even call that problem #3. Anyone that gets this far is doomed in the gene pool, presumably natural selection will be running its course very soon. Next step, hit “Submit”.

Guess what. Nothing to see here! I got a nice message saying “Your response has been recorded.” I hope so! I hope someone reads it too!

The Worst Roads

There is no state with narrower roads, narrower shoulders, and more voter suppression than Louisiana, except maybe Georgia.

That’s not a fair statement, I’ve never cycled the roads in Georgia, but it is safe to say (as of today) Georgia leads America in voter suppression. I’ll have to go cycle the roads there to make an accurate comparison.

In defense of Louisiana (this is where I make James Carvel proud, even though he was born in Georgia…) the nicest people I’ve met in the South were in Louisiana. Mississippi came in a close second.

I haven’t seriously considered returning to the South for another epic ride, but I have to admit, the Natchez Trace Parkway is calling my name…

Natchez Trace Parkway

Why This

I’m finally getting around to (self) publishing the journal from my Southern Tier bicycle trip. If you click on the “Archive” Menu and select “Southern Tier 2019” you can read all the entries without distraction.

That was then. As far as the future goes, I plan to use this site to share my thoughts with you. Thoughts on cycling, skiing, hiking, politics (but mostly cycling, skiing, and hiking).

I have spent almost my entire adult life developing infrastructure for the delivery of information to corporate employees. (Specifically Database and ETL systems.) Here I am now, retired, and a consumer of the internet-at-large. I’ve never been a big consumer of that because I was too busy building my small corner of it. My current status will occasionally force me to reflect on all of my past experience, but I’ll try keeping that to a minimum.

To the previous point: I’m concluding that the Internet has lost itself. Ask Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf or Robert Kahn. The Internet was intended to be a medium that would connect people of all nations and races. Today, it is mostly a medium designed by corporate America to divide, classify, and distinguish us by our ethnic, social, economic, and political “potential.”

What do we do about that? I suggest we publish. Publish independently. Publish in our own voices. Don’t be lazy. Don’t give Facebook, Twitter, 4-Chan and all the other echo chambers, the ability to tell you what to think (or buy). Publish your thoughts and views in an independent manner on sites like Let your voice be heard independently. Don’t be a megaphone in the echo chambers of narcissism. Say something meaningful, say something that comes from you.

Does it matter if people listen to you?


Does it matter if you are “followed” by hundreds, even thousands? As a matter of fact…


Here’s why:

It will make you a better person. The power of real persuasion, the sort of persuasion that leads to positive outcomes, lies in personal communication. When you put your thoughts in writing instead of re-posting other peoples’ thoughts, you have taken the first step towards independent thinking. Ancient Greek thinkers believed people should observe the world carefully and draw their own conclusions from what they saw. I don’t think those same thinkers would endorse listening to “opinion shapers” and “influencers” (or Autocratic leaders, or Sociopathic leaders for that matter).

The future of our country — as it has always been — is in our own hands. What you are reading here is not pushed into your “feed” by a Troll Farm operating out of some foreign nation-state. What you read here is authentic and personal. It is from me.

Cheers! I hope you enjoy.