Monday, September 30, 2019

I regret that this actually happened

I was getting my hair cut today, and two chairs down, I heard a twenty-something customer say this to their barber: "This is my catchphrase."

I leaned over, of course, willing my right ear, for just a few seconds, to have unprecedented listening ability.

"You missed it!" he said.

"Wait, what?" said the female barber. "You didn't say anything."

"No, that's my catchphrase," he said. "You missed it!"

I just want to know if he has a sidekick.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Friday Links!

I saw some very good stories this week, and there are a ton of links.
Wels Catfish (there's a Planet Earth II episode--I think that's it--where these catfish are attacking pigeons on the bank. It's insane)
Good: The Man Who Would Kill Horse Racing.
Such excellent writing: Did WWE Star Grandmaster Sexay Have to Die?
This is an incredible story: She Won Athletes' Hearts. And Robbed Them Blind.
A fantastic read: My father had a lifelong ticket to fly anywhere. Then they took it away.

From Ken Piper, and this is a big deal: Paper leaks showing a quantum computer doing something a supercomputer can’t. Not good: This Company Built a Private Surveillance Network. We Tracked Someone With It. Come on: Nerf unveils "DRM for darts". This is very cool (but make it available to everyone): Ubisoft put an official video game design course inside a video game.

From Wally, and this is fantastic: Engineering Student Builds Exoskeleton Dinosaur Costume. This is very, very cool: This chainless bike's a gear closer to revolutionizing the cycling world. This is terrific: How Pencils are Made. This is very interesting: ‘Letters From Hollywood’ opens mail from Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford and more. Insert your dice joke [here]: Truck Carrying Gaming Dice Spills Onto Highway, Rolls A Perfect 756,000.

From Meg McReynolds, and this is surprisingly fascinating: The Weirdo’s Guide to Bruce Hornsby, Reigning King of Soft Rock Strangeness.

From David Gloier, and it's one of the greatest marketing coups of the decade: Social-media battles, massive crowds, and overworked employees: Inside the rise and fall of Popeyes' chicken sandwich.

From C. Lee, and this is utterly fantastic: Atsuko Yukawa Creates Homopolar Motor Sculptures Using Wire and a Battery. Next, and this is a terrific read, it's How Rick Ocasek and the Cars shaped the sound of pop. This is excellent: How your language reflects the senses you use. This is brilliant: Student Discovers Secret Acrostic in Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost'. Hopefully you'll never need this: How to Jump from a Moving Train Using Science. I would really like to visit: The New Vonnegut Museum Could Only Have Ever Been in Indianapolis.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


G-League to experiment with “one foul shot for all points” system this season

The most logical chain of events:
--I suggest this months ago
--the G League, carefully monitoring this blog, forwards my idea to the Rules Committee
--by acclamation, the Rules Committee adopts

Sure. That's exactly what happened.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

One Little Extra Detail

A friend from my hometown emailed me and reminded me of something I'd forgotten about Mrs. Poling.

When she told you a story, her bright eyes would catch you first, which immediately commanded your attention. Then, she'd lean in a little and lower her voice, like you were her co-conspirator. Every story, no matter how small, felt like the greatest secret in the world that only you would know.

It was absolutely charming and utterly wonderful, and she had that effect on everyone.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Mrs. Poling

Mrs. Poling passed away Sunday.

You say "passed away" because you don't want to say the word. You can't. You just want to walk around the edges. It feels like that's all you can take.

Four people shaped my life, and only four. My mom taught me to be strong and resolute. Larry Kalich, my high school geometry teacher, taught me to be honorable. Eli 18.1, my beloved son, taught me to be happy.

Mrs. Poling taught me that I was special, even if I didn't feel like it.

I walked into first grade and there she was, standing beside her desk. She was tiny in stature, strawberry blonde hair in tight curls on her head. She also had an impish grin that hinted at trouble.

She had excellent posture and impeccable penmanship. I had neither. We did have one thing in common, though. She was a bolt of energy. I was a bolt of energy.

It was love at first sight.

I wanted to learn everything at once, everything, and that was okay with her. "You're special," she said. "You're not like anyone else. I won't ever teach anyone like you again."

I sat in the front row, closest to her desk. She would pass out tests, and by the time she finished passing them out, I would be done with mine. She would pick it up on the way back to her desk, giving me a little smile when she did.

I adored her.

After about a month, I started staying after class, helping her grade papers and do whatever little task she gave me. I stayed every day, and it was so calm and peaceful. Steady.

One day, in the fall, we asked her how old she was, because she seemed ancient compared to us. She explained that she wouldn't tell us directly, but she'd give the answer to us in a problem, if only we could solve it. No one ever had, she said. She showed us the problem, and thirty seconds later I said, "Thirty-seven." She burst out laughing like a long, happy song.

It didn't take long for Mrs. Poling to set up what was essentially a separate lesson plan for me. I didn't know how to read when I walked into her class. By Christmas, I was reading at a sixth grade level. In a tiny public school in the middle of nowhere, she was an educational bullet train.

I loved her, and I loved school because of her, and along with my mom's steady influence, that translated into a lifetime love of learning.

She did another thing, too, and it was just as important. She convinced me I was special. She so absolutely believed in me that I was carried along.

There was a day in spring where I had a sudden impulse to be bad. I'm not sure I'd ever had this impulse before, but there it was, and it was strong.

There was a connecting bathroom between our classroom and the one beside us, and I asked for permission to go to the bathroom. I then proceeded to unroll toilet paper and string it all over the stall and the sink.

Then I sweetly walked out and sat down.

A few minutes later, a kid from the other classroom went to the bathroom, and when she found the mess, she told the teacher. Her teacher came over to our class and started talking with Mrs. Poling.

I wasn't much of a criminal.

Mrs. Poling called me up and asked if I'd noticed a mess in the bathroom. I said I hadn't. Then she asked me if I'd made the mess.

Of course I made the mess! There was literally no other person on earth who could have made the mess, because there was no outside entrance to the bathroom. It was the most open and shut case in the history of first grade jurisprudence.

Mrs. Poling asked me if I had done it. I said no.

She asked me a second time. I said no again.

Then she turned to the other teacher. "He didn't do it," she said. She never brought it up again.

It wasn't that I was innocent. She knew that. But she knew it would have a much longer-lasting effect if I felt bad because of my own moral code, not hers.

And I did. It's one thing, to tell a lie, but it's another thing entirely to have someone you idolize lie to someone else because of your lie. She believed in me, and I had a responsibility that came with her belief.

My life of crime was over.

After I left first grade, it always seemed like there was a thread between us. I would visit after school. Her daughters were national-class twirlers, and she told me that they only used half the gym to practice, and I could come and play basketball any time I wanted.

They practiced for hours, and I shot hoops for hours, and Mrs. Poling always had that little grin, that sneaky grin.

She never stopped believing in me.

There are so many times in my life when I didn't measure up. With her, though, I always did. There was never even a measurement. It was an article of faith.

She met Eli when he was around version 4.0, and she said how much he reminded her of me. He had a quality, she said. That meant more to me than I could say.

I never thought she wouldn't be here. She was 94, still living in her own home, still had a driver's license, still went to casinos. She loved casinos, which was both wildly improbable and perfectly fitting, if you knew her.

I don't know what I'll do without her. I love you, dear.

Too Much, Too Soon

We have a three-level corner shelf built into the shower. The soap is always on the bottom, and water sprays off anyone showering and pools on that shelf. The soap, then, is always wet and a  little slimy.

"Hey, do you mind if I move the soap to the top shelf?" I asked.


"It gets slimy from the shower, but the top level is above where the water sprays. The soap would be pretty dry that way."

"Okay, no problem."

A few days later, the soap had been moved down to the middle shelf.

Today, it was on the lower shelf again.

"Hey, I'm really sorry about that soap," I said.

"Why?" she asked.

"Reckless decisions like that just can't happen," I said. "I should have commissioned a feasibility study." She laughed. "We're lucky that decision didn't plunge us into a recession. It was just too much change at once. Somebody could have gotten hurt."

She was still laughing.

"Clearly, what I should have done was build an intermediate shelf between the first and second shelf that could have been used for iterative testing."

Monday, September 23, 2019

A Visit

I saw my boy on Saturday.

All of the following things are true.

I'm so happy for Eli 18.1, because he loves Michigan.
I am doing many fulfilling and difficult things, now that I have more time.
The rewrite, the last one, of the novella is going very well.
I enjoy practicing golf.
I now know 583 words in Spanish, if someone walks up to me and asks a multiple choice question.
I miss him terribly.

Eli walked on to the rock climbing team (remember all those camps when he was a kid? Yeah, he's still really good, and now he's got a 6'4" wingspan and huge hands)). It's perfect for him, because it's four hours of workouts a week, so he still has time for everything else, which is everything, because he's doing it all.

He ordered some rock climbing essentials, but forgot and had it sent to the house instead of to school. I volunteered to drive it down.

Sometimes it's hard to understand how much you miss someone until you see them.

We hung out on Saturday morning, had breakfast, talked nonstop for an hour and a half, both smiling the whole time. It was just like it's always been, and I hope it never changes.

Do you know how happy someone can be when they're 100% engaged with every minute of their day? That's Eli right now. He's the Enthusiasm Engine to a degree beyond normal humans.

Of course, he never was normal. Ever.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, from Rob Swaringen, and it's a magnificent read: The Quest to Break America’s Most Mysterious Code—And Find $60 Million in Buried Treasure.

This is a tremendous piece of writing and what a story: How Two Kentucky Farmers Became Kings Of Croquet, The Sport That Never Wanted Them.

This is excellent: A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked. Also, for entertainment purposes, go to The Atlantic and search on "free will."

This is a fantastic read: What it was like to fly the baddest airplane the world has ever known.

On a side note, Malcom Gladwell has the intellectual rigor of a snow pea: Malcolm Gladwell Goes On Bill Simmons's Podcast To Dust Off The Oldest, Dumbest Defense Of Joe Paterno.

From C. Lee, and this is theoretically simple: A space elevator is possible with today’s technology, researchers say (we just need to dangle it off the moon). This is fascinating: Who Gets Emily Dickinson? This is absolutely amazing: MIT’s color-changing ink could let you customize your shoes. This is a terrific read: What wartime ‘munitionettes’ can teach us about burnout BURNOUT. Incredible: When the Pianos Went to War. Quite possibly, the friendliest creatures in existence: When you’re chill with everyone.

From Wally, and this is both repetitive and mesmerizing: Formula Offroad Norway, Skien 2019! Day 2. These are quite amazing: 3D latte art. Hope for some: Vanilla Boom Is Making People Crazy Rich — And Jittery — In Madagascar. Linked entirely for the social media comment with "gibbet" in it: 'Grim reaper' stolen from Russian street.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Literal to a Fault

We were driving home and passed an interesting shop.

"'The Cheese Lady,'" I said. "I wonder if they have sandwiches with cheese."

"It's all cheese," Gloria said. "No sandwiches. I've been in there. Many different kinds of cheese."

"How was the lady?" I asked.


"The lady," I said. "With the cheese."

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

That Seed From Monday

Two possibilities, both advocated for strongly via email.

The first is a sycamore tree (Andrew Rawnsley):
It's a sycamore seed.  Where I grew up in England, they were extremely common.  I'm not a tree person (at all), but when I saw it, some deep-seated 40 year old memory burbled up, "sycamore!" and google confirmed.  I guess we must have looked at them at primary school or something, although I have no recollection of that.  Funny how the mind works.

The second is a maple tree (from John Brown):
Those seeds are another distinctive characteristic of maple trees along with leaf shape (as seen on the Canadian flag).  The wind catches the seed and (hopefully) pushes it some distance from the parent tree.   I grew up calling them whirlybirds. 

A follow-up email from John:
A few new facts I learned later yesterday:

1) Technically, those are a fruit as the seed is in a nutlet with the wing attached.  The fruit is called a samara.  
2) Several varieties of tree produce samara.  The other possibility for that configuration of samara is an ash tree.  Both can be found throughout Michigan so you might have to check the leaf structure to see if it matches a maple or an ash.
3) A few other varieties of tree produce a samara with a different configuration where the seed is in the middle instead of to one side.

A fruit! Well, everything's a fruit, nowadays. Avocados. Tomatoes. Ham.

Seeing dozens of those whirling from a tree in 30 MPH winds was a wondrous moment.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Gloria went to Chicago for two days last weekend.

When she got home on Monday night, she started telling me about her trip, particularly her visit to The Art Institute of Chicago. We went through many painters and dozens of photographs, then she offhandedly said, "Oh, we saw an Amazon Go store, but we didn't have time to go in."

"Wait, what?" I asked. "Look, Cezanne and Monet are fine, really amazing, but walking into a convenience store and not having to check out is huge! Are you telling me you didn't stop and experience that?"

"Well, you had to download an app--"

"Which would take you sixty seconds," I said.

"We really couldn't do everything we wanted to do," she said.

"Again, let me explain that you walk into a store, gather your items, and walk out. You pay automatically. That is cutting-edge, futuristic technology. Available time is not relevant."

Monday, September 16, 2019

Nature Monday

First off, check out this fuzzball:

Here he is in a different form:

Those were both sent to me from a friend in Austin (her backyard), where he frequently stops by. And look at those claws in the second picture!

Okay, now look at this little guy:

That's a seed from this tree:

What tree? Gee, I don't know. That's for the so-called experts to argue about.

What's absolutely amazing about that seed is that it has that little blade. The seed doesn't detach until it's windy, and when it does, that blade spins like a helicopter blade. The seed then flies with the wind, up to over a hundred feet away (I stepped it off).

It was unbelievably beautiful, watching those little seeds fly away.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, from Frank Regan, and it's huge (at least to me): Unearthed Audio Reveals Beatles Discussed ‘Abbey Road’ Follow-Up.

This is a difficult story to read, but it's phenomenal: An Unbelievable Story of Rape.

Just boxing with horses: Report: Triple Crown Winner Justify Failed Drug Test Ahead Of Kentucky Derby.

From Ken Piper, and this is excellent: Practical game writing insight from No Man's Sky: Atlas Rises' Greg Buchanan. This is mesmerizing: Human speech may have a universal transmission rate: 39 bits per second. An excellent read: Ultimate Review: How Could mRNA Overtake all other Biologicals in Medicine?

From C. Lee, and this is amazing: How to 3D Print Some of the Smithsonian's Artifacts at Home. This is a fascinating perspective: How Prohibition Tossed a Wet Blanket on America’s Inventors. This is wild: 'You’re Not a Person if You Don’t Drink.' How This Tiny European Country Developed the World's Worst Drinking Problem. What a story: They were CIA-backed Chinese rebels. Now you’re invited to their once-secret hideaway. Big surprise: Blow to 10,000-hour rule as study finds practice doesn't always make perfect.

From Wally, and it's an interesting bit of history: How a Chinatown-by-the-Sea Popped Up on the Jersey Shore. Very entertaining: Fandom under fire: how fanzines helped sci-fi survive the Blitz and beyond. Be careful out there: What happened to the guys who invested their life savings in cryptocurrency? This is very slick: When A Racing Drone Pilot Gives You A Tour Of His New Home.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nintendo Ring

There's another teaser video out today, including footage of the adventure game included with the Ring.

It's a pilates ring, basically, and you put in the Joy-Cons into the ring and it detects your upper body movement. There's also a sensor you strap to your upper leg to track your lower body.

Both of these statements are true: this is going to fail badly, and I am going to love it.

Why is it going to fail? Because Nintendo isn't a video game company, or a fitness company. They're a toy company. They make toys that happen to be video games, Like Wii Sports. Mario games are toys. It's obvious with Labo, but it's always there beneath the surface.

This makes me deeply love Nintendo.

It alsomeans that Nintendo is deeply vulnerable when they make a product or game that isn't a toy. Wii Music? That was the WTF moment for the Wii, because Wii Music wasn't really a toy, and it bombed hard. Wii Fitness? Same thing.

Well, that train is coming down the tracks again.

Here's the new video: A closer look at the new experience for Nintendo Switch.

There was quite a bit of new information, including a decent amount of footage from the pack-in game, which is Ring Fit Adventure. It looks like it has endless runner elements with battles and stat upgrades, allegedly taking you months to complete at an hour a day. Seems reasonable, and I'm sure Nintendo will make it fun.

There's trouble ahead, though.

Here's a screenshot from the video of something that is literally never going to happen:

Look at our high-waisted champion, his furrowed brow, straining with concentration. That could happen. Those four friends watching him? Never. No one is going to sit around and watch someone working out with an adventure game.

Wii Sports had competitive games that kept score. People actually did sit around and watch each other play, because it was like watching a sport. This isn't a competitive game--it's a fitness trainer.

Also nope:

Still nope:

There is no scenario in which this actually happens.

THIS scenario, though, is 100% plausible:

That's my guy. He wants to work out, but he doesn't have time, and workouts are boring. So he works out playing a game. That's me, right there, and that's going to be 90% of the people who use this product.

Which is why it's going to fail, in a commercial sense.

However, overall failures can be joyful successes for a few, and in this case, I'm one of the few. This will be fantastic for me, particularly when polar bears are rustling against our porch screens in winter. I won't have to drive through ice and snow to get to the YMCA on low motivation days, but I can still get some kind of workout.

For me, that's great!

Dear Nintendo,
Thank you very much for making a product just for me. I hope the charge you will need to take against future earnings will not be too severe. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

This just got very interesting

Lookie here: California Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing College Athletes To Profit From Endorsements.

The California State Assembly on Monday passed a bill that would allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals. SB 206, the Fair Pay To Play Act, cleared the Assembly by a vote of 72-0. A version of the bill passed the Senate by a similarly decisive vote in May.

The bill, if it becomes law, would go into effect January 1, 2023. Though none of the bill’s provisions involve schools paying athletes directly, it would prohibit schools in California from revoking scholarships or scholarship eligibility from athletes who profit off their own name, image and likeness.

That is totally reasonable and long overdue. Being a D-1 athlete is a job. Particularly in the big team sports, players generate unfathomable amounts of revenue for universities. Allowing them to receive compensation (not even coming from the schools) is a no-brainer.

Oh, wait:
“We’re firmly against anything that would lead to a pay-for-play system,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the New York Times.

Yeah, see, that's a lie. It's not a "pay-for-play" system that's being proposed. It's a "pay for work" system.

Being a high-level athlete is not play. In absolutely no sense is it play. The fact that it's a sport does not make it play, not when the players involved generate millions and millions of dollars for schools.

If universities didn't charge admission to sporting events, they'd be totally right! But they don't.

The present system is just a vast, unpaid labor market. Which is shitty.

In a June letter, NCAA President Mark Emmert had urged California lawmakers to postpone consideration of the bill while an NCAA working group study of amateurism policies is ongoing. 

In the letter, Emmert suggested that colleges in California could be prohibited from competing for NCAA championships, because the bill might give those schools unfair advantages in recruiting athletes:
"We recognize all of the efforts that have been undertaken to develop this bill in the context of complex issues related to the current collegiate model that have been the subject of litigation and much national debate. Nonetheless, when contrasted with current NCAA rules, as drafted the bill threatens to alter materially the principles of intercollegiate athletics and create local differences that would make it impossible to host fair national championships. As a result, it would likely have a negative impact on the exact student-athletes it indents to assist."

Those issues aren't "complex" at all. You have a captive labor force that generates hundreds of millions of dollars, and they are not compensated. They are not "student-athletes." They are "employee-students." The next time you hear the phrase "student-athlete," substitute "employee-students" and see how different that feels. 

The NCAA is on the edge of panic here, because this isn't the only state where legislation is happening. So they can either get out in front of this, or they can get steamrolled, because it's going to happen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Arbitrage, of Humans

Here's an article from Bloomberg: Former MLB Pitcher Backs Betting Software With $10K Refund.

Betting software, of course.

The front man for this product is ex-MLB pitcher Michael Schwimer, and (of course) there's a breathless origin story about a guy just being smarter and more savvy than everyone else, with "analytics" thrown in (also of course) and how this model is the real deal.

Then, there's this:
Schwimer, who is a contributor to ESPN’s gambling show “Daily Wager,” is ready for criticism. He faced it recently with his baseball investing -- Big League Advance was briefly sued by a player who claimed he was deceived -- and he knows that a lot of touts make similar promises about breaking from the industry norms.

That’s why he’s heavily promoting his refund policy. The discounts vary depending on how long you subscribe, but the full 17-week plan, which costs $3,000, carries a $10,000 refund if the picks don’t make money overall.

“We’re actually giving people that are skeptical the opportunity to short,” he said. “If you think, ‘There’s no way they can do this,’ then you’re the No. 1 person that should buy our package. If you’re right, you win $10,000. If you’re wrong, you only lose $3,000.”

Now THAT is some delicious stuff.

I mean, this guy must be 100%, gold-plated legit to do this, right?

And now we hit the moment where Michael Schwimer is indeed revealed as a genius, although not, perhaps, in the way that you were expecting.

Absolutely no one who is a legitimate tout would ever offer a 3X refund if their picks are below 52.5% (the break-even point, including the bet fee) for a season. Even the best system is subject to variability and just plain bad luck. Picking sports games is not entirely unlike playing poker--you can make the right play, every time, and still lose money due to randomness.

This is what he's actually doing: attracting a ton of attention. Lots of money coming in, and if his picks don't work and he's below the threshold for refunds? Just declare bankruptcy!

Zero risk for him, 100% reward.

Like I said, he's a genius. In an evil genius kind of way.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Ninendo Ring

Have a look at the trailer: Nintendo reveals flexible ring accessory for the Switch.

Yup, it's a ring, all right.

A few more details:
The clip shows how the Switch’s Joy-Con controller slots into the ring, which is used to control the action on screen. There’s also a strap that lets users attach a Joy-Con to their leg and track body movements, allowing players to perform different activities including sit-ups, squats and, as the cowboy at the end demonstrates, what looks like Kegel exercises.

You can also squeeze the ring or flex it, although it's firm enough that it's not easy.

From the video, it appears that this is almost entirely a fitness device, given that there were no children in the video. Seemingly, most of the people in the video were the proper age to have had Wii's as children, which is clever marketing.

The problem, though, is that the Wii wasn't about fitness (Wii Fitness was executed very poorly). It was about Wii Sports, and that program alone kept the system sold out in the U.S. for over TWO YEARS from launch.

Even now, that's incredible.

What made Wii Sports wonderful was co-op. It was ridiculously fun to compete against each other.

The Ring video, though, doesn't show any co-op play. It shows adults sitting around watching one other adult "play" (hint: that doesn't happen in real life).

Still, I'd really enjoy a device that made working out more fun, especially something I could do at home. EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp was one of my all-time favorite workouts (when I went to the Amazon page to retrieve the link, it said at the top: "purchased 3 times." Yeah, that sounds about right).

The chances of launching big and dying quickly seem high, but I'd also be happy to be wrong.

More information coming on September 12, and I'll post an update.

A National Treasure

Chrissy Teigen has always been awesome, but today she leveled up.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, a very, very touching story: Car Talk's Long Goodbye.

This is a towering read: The Secret Story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s Last Tango.

Wait, we needed a study to tell us this? Study: South reinforcing segregation; dividing students.

From C. Lee, and this is quite a blunder: Gene-edited cattle have a major screwup in their DNA. Come on, you have to be watching the British version of "The Office": The age of comfort TV: why people are secretly watching Friends and The Office on a loop. +10 INT: Automatic cat feeder is no match for this clever kitty. This is a fascinating read: Unix at 50: How the OS that powered smartphones started from failure. Kind of a terrifying flavor profile: How a Banana-Chicken Casserole Defined Swedish Cuisine. These are amazing: Ishida’s works of despair in Japan drawing big crowds in Spain.

From Wally, and my god, rhinos are enormous: Rhino Flips Out. This is striking: The Block Tower // By Toby Harriman. This is fascinating: Meet The Man Who Guards America's Ketchup. So, so bizarre: Inside the Intense, Insular World of AOL Disc Collecting.

Thursday, September 05, 2019


I mostly stopped working on The Man You Trust this summer, because I wanted to spend that time with Eli 18.1.

I did make about thirty pages of notes, though, and I'm in the process of incorporating them, although it will probably take until roughly Thanksgiving.

At that point, or soon after, I think it will be done.

I'd like to have Fredrik do a few more images (although, at this point, I'm not sure what they'd be), but beyond that, I think it will be time to let it go.

This is theoretically part of a three novella arc, and I have a good portion of the plot done for the first story. The Man You Trust is the middle story of the three.

I now have a Spanish vocabulary of 250+ words, although that is probably only accurate in a multiple choice or flashcard setting. I'm almost certain that people don't talk in multiple choice, although I'm hopeful.


Eli called me yesterday and said that his Spanish class had him and 21 upperclassmen. Well, upperclasswomen, I guess, because they're all girls. He was not displeased.


Here are a few very brief notes about the upcoming NFL season.
1. The Cardinals will be terrible.
That ultra-high speed offense has a foundation, which is the offensive line, and the offensive line of the Cardinals is maybe the worst in the league. Plus, Kliff Kingsbury was not even a good head coach at Texas Tech, so he can be The Quarterback Whisperer all he wants, but it's going to be very, very ugly.
2. The Raiders are a dumpster fire.
The Raiders wanted "all character guys," but that's not what they mean. What they mean is 'entirely obedient guys', which is not character at all. Jon Gruden is a big bag of gas, and that organization is a real train wreck. They appear to be far, far out of their league.
3. Here's the obligatory Tom Brady Demise mention. He's not in the first tier of quarterbacks at this point, but he's still in the upper half of tier two, which is pretty impressive for someone his age. But his arm strength isn't there anymore, because any time he throws more than 20 yards downfield it looks like a punt. That's what happens to guys as they age, and he's not immune. He was lousy in the Super Bowl, but they still won, so kudos. I think he's going to drop off significantly this year, but I said that the last two years, too.
4. Kansas City will be more fun to watch than the rest of the NFL combined.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

A Toast to Toast

"Okay, I'm going to have a piece of toast for lunch," I said. "I really like this new multi-grain bread."

I put a slice in the toaster. Seriously, this bread is terrific.

"Ooh, you can't do that,"Gloria said, holding up the bag. "There's mold."

"Well, no toast for lunch, then," I said.

"Wait," she said. "I can slice this loaf of French bread and you can use that."

"That seems like a lot of work," I said. "I can just put it in the microwave."

"Don't do that." She sliced. "Here, try this piece," she said.

"That won't fit," I said. "It's too wide."

"You're very negative about this," she said.

"Toast is very geometric to me," I said. "You have a product specifically made to fit precisely inside a toasting device. There is no reason not to use that product."

"You just put it in the toaster diagonally," she said. "Then, halfway through, you reverse it."

"I feel like I went to the beach with a lawn chair and it turned into D-Day," I said.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

A Stern Warning

Wavy Lays are very, very big in our house.

"Hey, I saw that there's a new Wavy Lays version that's low sodium," I said.

"Oh, that's interesting,"Gloria said.

"Only half the sodium of regular Wavy Lays," I said.

"That's much healthier," she said.

"Under absolutely no circumstances should you buy these," I said.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Happy Labor Day

Here's a view from Eli 18.1s seat at the Michigan game on Saturday:

I am taking an almost day off and will see you tomorrow. I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend in the U.S.

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