Wednesday, March 31, 2021


I know I wrote about how knowledge has been devalued because information is unlimited now.

I have to admit, though, that unlimited information, and the way it combines, can be pretty fantastic. 

This morning, I needed to know if "one seventeen" should have a hyphen. So I put "one seventeen" into Google. On the first page, there was a link to Isaiah 1:17:
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Those are solid sentiments, and I would never have seen them. 

Also on the first page, there was a link to the song "One Seventeen" by Transplants, and here's the first verse:
I'm not taken no chance tonight
I'm gonna pack me a gat tonight
I'm gonna sell me some sacks tonight
And if it all goes well and I'm stacked tonight...

Juxtaposition. It rules.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021


If you're getting an MRI on your wrist, you'll be laying on your stomach and putting your arm over your head into a constraint that holds it in place. Your other arm will be tightly around a pillow that you hug to your chest, because the MRI machine is very narrow, so there's almost no room. 

You may want to get it over with, so when you feel minor discomfort with the positioning of your arms, you'll say it's fine and move on. 

If you do this, both of your arms will be numb within ten minutes, and the MRI will be very unpleasant, indeed. 

So make sure that you are absolutely, 100% comfortable with the position your body is in before starting the MRI.

Not that I know any dumbasses this happened to or anything. And I didn't have an MRI on my wrist Friday night. Definitely not.


I've lived a long time. It doesn't always feel like it, but it's true. 

I saw an advertisement today for an 18 terabyte drive for $260. 

When I was in my formative computing years (around 1989), I remember buying a 20MB hard drive for my Amiga 500 for $599. 

It may have been $699.

What struck me is that terabytes are cheaper today than megabytes were 22 years ago. 

Sadly, I have not advanced as quickly as storage technology, much to my dismay.

Monday, March 29, 2021

A Sailor's Dream

A really big boat got stuck in the Suez Canal last week. 

Really big. 400 meters long and 59 meters wide. It weighs 200,000 tons and can carry 20,000 shipping containers. 

We all know, by now, what happened. Supposedly. But no one has asked the critical question: what was the captain doing at the time?

I have a dream. 

The captain is in the control room and he's on his laptop, playing a sailing simulator. Just him and a blue and white sailboat, its sail whipping in the wind as he travels around the world. So beautiful. So peaceful.

"Captain, we've run aground."

Dear Autocorrect

I feel like when I'm typing in "How big are 4.9 million acres?", you should not change it to "How big are 4.9 million actresses?"

I do, however, appreciate the philosophical implications.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, and it's outstanding: A Maya ambassador’s grave reveals his surprisingly difficult life.

This is absolutely searing: Philip Roth’s Revenge Fantasy.

From Meg McReynolds, and this is an excellent way to get people to stop talking to you: How to Talk to People About Their Outdoor Activities. Also, derps: Ministry Of Silly Naps: Dogs are Weird.

From Wally, and I'm okay with it if they're okay with it: Why Rhinos Fly Upside Down Over Namibia. FUBAR: Artists report discovering their work is being stolen and sold as NFTs. I feel like it's disappointing unless you can play all of them at once: Today In Life Choices That Are Either Questionable or Awesome or Both

From Scott Gould, and it seems accurate: That Scene in a Christopher Nolan Film When You Give Up Trying to Follow the Story

From C. Lee, and it's fascinating: Holding heavy objects makes us see things as more important. This is a terrific read: Post-Covid America Isn’t Going to Be Anything Like the Roaring ’20s. Well, I guess they don't have to like each other: America’s Covid Swab Supply Depends on Two Cousins Who Hate Each Other. This is potentially stunning: Kathleen Folbigg: Could science free Australian jailed for killing babies?  A remarkable story: Asia's richest man, a bomb scare and a murder in India. Farewell to a badass: Ken Kelly, a Black space engineer and L.A. housing advocate, dies at 92. This is a fantastic podcast episode: La Brega: Basketball Warriors (the Puerto Rican national basketball team).


 I never recommend games in Early Access, but, I mean, look at this:

Here's a one-word review: soothing.

You have tiles pieces, and you place them anywhere you want. More aesthetically pleasing combinations get more points and can unlock various biomes and items. 

I have no idea what I'm doing, but it really doesn't matter. It's so pleasing to rotate the pieces and look at your little world. 

Here's another one:

You eventually run out of tiles, but you get bonus tiles for various successful combinations, and earning another five or ten tiles to finish a little section of forests or housing is very satisfying. I also unlocked another biome, so my next little village should look substantially different from these two.

Like I said, I'm not good at it, but it's just enormously fun. Lovely images and music, lots of options, and even on the first day of Early Access, I feel like I'm getting a bargain. 

On Steam: Dorfromantik.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Spring Golf and Vaccine Limbo

Playing golf at Indian Trails in the middle of March up here felt like I was robbing a bank and walking out scot-free.

[diversion: "scot-free" actually refers to not paying taxes, as "scot" refers to various taxes and was originally used in the 11th century.]

Eli 19.7 was hitting bombs, as expected, but all the work I did on my swing (one-handed) last fall while my wrist was recovering has apparently paid off, because I also hit pretty well. 

The eighth hole borders a cemetery, and all that separates them is a low wooden fence. Eli asked me if I thought anyone chose a plot closer to the fence because they wanted to be closer to the course. 

I told him I didn't know about the cemetery plot, but if I was the kind of person who wanted my ashes scattered, I might choose to have them scattered on this course, because I had so many wonderful memories of walking the course with him and just being together. 

I have been really, really fortunate.

I'm in a strange kind of limbo right now, because I've been been vaccinated (first dose), but not enough time has elapsed for me to build up any real immunity. So I still really can't do anything that I couldn't do before, but the temptation has been added. 

April 19. That will be two weeks after the second dose. Then I can open up a little. 

Monday, March 22, 2021


Believe it or not, I'm making myself take a day off. I'm very happy and totally exhausted, both from recent events and the continuing amount of work on the book. Eli 19.7 is coming into town, and we're going to play golf and do as much else as we can.

In the meantime, if you want to do something that is absolutely excellent, watch this film: Promising Young Woman.

I'll see you on Wednesday!

This Happened

Eli 19.7 was supposed to find out about Oxford on Monday. He didn't.

Nothing on Tuesday or Wednesday, either. 

He had also applied to the Ford School of Public Policy, which is a school at the University of Michigan. That decision was supposed to come this week as well. 

As the week wore on, I started getting a bad feeling. It reminded me of his applications to colleges, when he applied to Ivy League schools and was only accepted by Michigan.

Ironically, that turned out to be the absolute best thing that could have possibly happened. At the time, though, it really hurt that the other schools didn't want him. 

I was getting echoes of that. I'm usually optimistic, but that sinking feeling was tough to fight off. 

I gave him the consolation speech. I told him that I loved him and was proud of him, and how much I respected that he always peed high. He took big swings, which is something I didn't have the courage to do for a long, long time.

"I know," he said. "I just wish I connected on more of those big swings."

"You do," I said. "It's just that as soon as you connect, it doesn't feel like a big swing anymore. The big swings you remember are the ones you miss."

I didn't tell him this, but one of the hallmarks of exceptionally high-achieving people is they often remember the failures more than the successes, and that drives them forward.

It was a good speech, but I don't think it helped much.

On Thursday morning, I got a text that was an image of the email the Ford School had sent him:
       YOU'RE IN

My heart jumped.

I called him right away, and we were both talking at the same time, both so happy. It completely sets him up for the last two years of his undergraduate work, and the Ford School is generally regarded as the best public policy school in the country.

I had a huge smile on my face for the next four hours. Then the phone rang again.

"Dad, two things," Eli said. "The first thing is I got an email from Oxford. The second thing is it looks like I'm going to Oxford!"

I've had a smile on my face every minute since then.

Oh, and if you're wondering, he can do both. It just couldn't get any better.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Friday Links!

This is fascinating: How does the brain interpret computer languages? And so is this: Scientists solve another piece of the puzzling Antikythera mechanism. One more, and it's quite the story: The bizarre tale of the world's last lost tourist, who thought Maine was San Francisco.

From Jonathon W., and I definitely remember these: Photographs of Cheap Motels in 1970s America.

From Wally, and I have no words: First NFT artwork at auction sells for staggering $69 million. I still don't understand these: Monster Truck MADNESS - Guinness World Records. Well, here's something I always wondered about: Why Are There Black Lines on the Side of a School Bus? This is just amazing: Gauss Cannon in Slow Motion.

From C. Lee, and this is terrific: “A Solemn and an Awful Thing”: Dining with Americans Sickens Dickens. This is thoughtful: The Great Gatsby: The world's most misunderstood novel. An interesting idea: Could plastic roads make for a smoother ride? I would totally agree: How Survival Themes Save the Management Games from Themselves. This is both very interesting and a phenomenal band name: The Distinguished Medieval Penis Investigators. This is fantastic work: ‘Underwater Roombas’ Scan Southern California Coast for DDT Barrels.

From Meg McReynolds, and it is both information and funny: The 2021 March Madness Cinderella Guide.


The game can be quite well summarized by breaking down its name: in West Frisian, “fier”means “far”, and “ljeppen” means “leaping”. In essence, it is a bit like the Pole Vault, but instead of jumping over a bar and on to a large crash mat, you jump over waterways in Friesland.

Oh, well, that makes perfect--wait, what?

This is a sport, with championships and world records. 

The pole is between 26 and 43 feet in length. You don't sprint with it. Instead, it's already in the canal, and you run and grab it and climb like hell as it moves forward, trying to get as high as possible before it comes down on the other side, where you land on a mat or in a sand pit. 

Well, if you got high enough on the pole. Otherwise, welcome to the waterway.

Video? Of course there's a video: Fierljeppen.

If you're wondering where this takes place, it's the Netherlands. 

I feel like this could be combined with another sport, like archery, to provide hours of entertainment for everyone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021


I was thinking about knowledge today.

Specifically, why it's been so devalued. Through much of human history, knowledge had weight. 

When I was a kid, if I wanted to know something and it wasn't in our encyclopedia set, I had to call the library and ask the information desk. A wizened gnome would lay the phone on her desk and I would hold while she shuffled around for ten or fifteen minutes, and then she would come back and give me the answer. 

In other words, knowledge had scarcity, and the more you knew, the more you had. It was a personal holding.

Now? Knowledge is worth almost nothing. You can look up anything in Google. Maybe you won't understand it, but it's all there. As long as you have a phone and a data connection, you don't need to remember anything. 

Entertainment is now valued so much more highly than knowledge, because entertainment has a value that learning things just doesn't have anymore, which is sad. 

It's also entirely changed our perception of the process of knowledge. 

My broker is a very, very smart guy. At the start of the pandemic, though, he was complaining about how "bad" the science was, like science was commodity instead of a process.

At first, I was really annoyed, because science is a process that relies heavily on data, and early on, there was very little to work with. His expectations were unrealistic.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that he was so used to prepackaged knowledge that he had almost forgotten the process by which it's acquired. 

I wonder what it's like for kids who have never experienced a time when knowledge wasn't immediately available. For them, knowledge is so commoditized that it must be almost meaningless.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Helpful Vaccine Information

 This is solid: How to find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in your area.

It Seems To Be Needed

I feel like after the last year, the entire world just wants a few days where we can all be dogs with our heads out the window.

Curiously Specific

We were watching Wheel of Fortune a while back. 

When the first contestant was asked about her job, she said "I am a local country employee supervisor who is currently assigned to a training unit."


The next contestant said "I am a financial analyst for a massage chair company." I think he felt that he was cornered into specificity by the previous example.

There was one contestant left, and I was desperately hoping she would say something like "I design and manufacture a wide range of diving bells for use in industrial applications," but alas, it was not to be.

Monday, March 15, 2021

One Of These Two Things Happened Today

1. I was attacked by a medical scale in a doctor's office. 
2. I was vaccinated for COVID-19.

Please consider your answer carefully, then continue. 

It was a trick question. Both of these things happened to me today. 

Let's discuss them in order. 

First, allow me to present my assailant:

In repose, the medical scale is a harmless, pleasant creature. However, when unfolded to its full height, those who step off its surface before it is fully satisfied will be attacked so viciously that their glasses will fly off. 

The weapon, as it was, is the beak of the beast, which rested upon my head until suddenly sliding down and slapping me in the face. 

Much, much laughter ensued. 

Second, a COVID-19 vaccine. 

I was scheduled (50+, no comorbidities) to become eligible for a vaccine on May 22, which was great news, as I had estimated mid-summer, at the earliest, only a few weeks ago. 

Months ago, Meijer (the regional grocery store here that is much beloved by all) sent out an email to their customers asking them to sign up for a vaccine notification and scheduling list, because they were planning to give vaccinations. 

I signed up immediately upon receiving the email, because I smelled a queue, and I wanted to be as close to the front as possible.

I also called DQ Reader Gloria and told her to sign up as well. She did, and only a short while after I did. 

On Friday, I was at the house visiting both her and Gracie, and my phone made the text chime. I saw a message from Meijer telling me I had a 15-minute window to sign up for a vaccination appointment. 

Great, I thought. They're already scheduling for the week of the 22nd. 

I start working through the scheduling process, and they're not scheduling for the 22nd. They're scheduling for the 15th (today). 

It was impossible to describe the sense of elation I felt when my appointment was confirmed. It was like a giant weight had been lifted from my shoulders. 

I expected something to go wrong, to be told that the appointment was in error, but no text came, and I showed up today and went through the process in twenty minutes and had the enormous pleasure of having someone stick a needle in my arm. I had the biggest smile on my face. 

Gloria was vaccinated ten minutes later. She'd received the text on Friday only a few minutes after I did.

Pfizer, in case you're wondering. And my second dose is April 5, which is the day after my birthday (the dreaded Easter birthday, immortalized in 2010 in the post "Jesus Ruined My Birthday").

This year, it will be much better.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Friday Links!

Very, very good stuff this week.

Leading off, and it rules: Super Mario Bros. on Marimba (with 4 Mallets) by Aaron Grooves.

Here's a second lead, and it's from Renaissance Man John Harwood. This video is what life is like on expert mode: Jazz Drummer Hears METALLICA's "Enter Sandman" Once, Plays It Perfectly.

This is a terrific article: Can’t Knock the Hustle: Earl Strickland, Scooter Goodman, and the struggle for the soul of pool. An excellent read: Blue Origin’s massive New Glenn rocket is delayed for years. What went wrong? This is fantastic: Meet Maxwell’s gambling demon—smart enough to quit while it’s ahead.

From Wally, and it's next-level penguin: Incredible moment penguin escapes a pod of killer whales by leaping into a dinghy full of tourists. This is unfortunate: Trader gets painted stones instead of $36m of copper. This is an interesting read: Turns Out Hunting Down a Story Can Be Very Satisfying: On the Rise of Lore.

From Jonathon, and it's thoughtful: Three Life Lessons From a Dying Man. These are spectacular: Fast Cars, Wide Roads, Blue Skies: Vintage Postcards From Across America

From Bob H., and this is an utterly brilliant video: Right Up Our Alley.

From C. Lee, and it's long, long overdue: Twin Sisters Score Japan’s Hottest IPO by Making Games for Women. Cuttlefish, worthy of respect: Cuttlefish can pass the marshmallow test. I had no idea: I Finally Looked Up Why Gas Pumps Sometimes Run Slow And It's Not What I Thought. This is intriguing: Scientists Find Link Between Bipolar Disorder and Neuroinflammation. Every interview Murakami is wonderful: Hello, Haruki.

This Certainly Came Out of Nowhere


One of the things that's happened after being in therapy and realizing I'm writing a book about myself, not a character I created, is that my emotions are opening up. 

As an introvert, this is a difficult thing. 

Being Eli's father started all this. I felt things I'd never felt for another person before, emotions that weren't filtered. That was a wonderful experience, and I still feel all those things when we talk, even though he's almost a man now. 

I'd never been able to have those kinds of genuine feelings outside of being a father. 

That doesn't mean that I didn't feel love for other people. I have felt much love, particularly for Gloria. But without realizing it, my introversion was a filter that made it hard for me to know what genuine really meant. There was always the slightest distance between me and what I felt, even in the best times.

If you're an introvert, you might understand what I mean. 

Now that filter seems to have lifted, in a way I can't explain. And I have feelings that aren't distanced. They're not selfish or frightened or limited. 

That was my stock in trade, and now it's gone. 

I want to say I like it, but it's scary. I don't want to go back, though. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021


Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said that consumers are ready for $70 games:
"In terms of pricing, we announced a $70 price point for NBA 2K21. Our view was that we're offering an extraordinary array of experiences and lots of replayability. The last time there was a frontline price increase in the U.S. was in 2005-2006. So we think consumers were ready for it," Zelnick said.

"We haven't said anything about pricing other titles so far. We tend to make announcements on a title-by-title basis. Our view is to always deliver more value than what we charge, to make sure both the experience and paying for the experience are positive for the consumer."

If you just look at the words, and how they combine to form sentences, then that seems perfectly reasonable. If this was the truth, then it would be reasonable.

It's not the truth. 

I wouldn't mind paying $70 for a game that I really valued. No problem whatsoever. But the title Zenick highlights as the model is exactly the opposite; it's the perfect example of doing it wrong. 

NBA2K is a huge game. It's really multiple games in one. That seems like it should be worth $70. On paper, you can make that case. 

Here's the problem: whenever a game is monetized beyond the purchase price, the game will focus almost entirely on that monetization. 

NBA2K is stuffed with microtransactions. Stuffed. And they don't care that you care. So you're not paying $70 for a game, you're paying $70 to enter the free-to-play experience, where you are constantly reminded that you have to spend more money for the best experience. 

That's painful. I'm not "ready for it." That phrase makes it sound like I'm bracing for a beating or something, which is what it feels like. 

Madden and the EA Sports titles are another good example. Madden is huge now. It's a battleship, and it is incredibly ponderous to play, because EA has stopped pretending that you should be able to define how you play. Features that players have wanted for literally decades will never be added because they can't be monetized. But Ultimate Team mode? That's going to get endless amounts of attention, because it's an opportunity to produce more revenue. 

It doesn't seem like anyone can escape this trap. As soon as games add microtransactions, the focus of the developers becomes the microtransactions.

Let's say I went to the mall one day, and I bought a shirt for $20. That shirt is somehow customizable, though, and I can pay $2 each time I want to add something. 

If I'm the shirt manufacturer, what am I going to spend my time on? The base shirt? Or am I going to spent 90% of the time on figuring out ways to entice buyers into spending more money on the customization?

We both know the answer. 

In effect, that's what some of these games do. Franchise mode in big sports games never gets as much attention as the monetization modes, because the entire job of the game is to funnel you into the monetization modes. Developers never want to make the non-monetized modes too attractive, because then fewer users would migrate to the monetized modes. 

It's nasty, and it's never going to stop as long as there's only one major franchise for each team sport (with soccer being the only exception, even though FIFA is much bigger than PES). 

There's no reason to stop doing shitty things if no one else is competing with you. 

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Apparently, This is Short Post Tuesday

 DQ Reader Gloria took this picture a few days. What a sunrise!

Meanwhile, Five Days Ago

I guess five days ago isn't "meanwhile." Point taken. 

Eli was snowboarding last Friday. He sent me this picture going up on the lift: 


Um, This is Strange

It was 64F today. On March 9. In western Michigan, which as we all know is basically Canada. 

Strange days, indeed. 

Not that I'm complaining. I went to the range and hit golf balls a full six weeks before I'm usually able to. I could get used to this.  

Monday, March 08, 2021

Fraud Resources and Course of Action

I've learned quite a bit in the last few days about online fraud, so here's a data dump in case it's useful to you. 

The scenario: my Mom's credit card number and the last four digits of her social security number were compromised. What do you do?

Steps (in rough order):
1. Call your bank and have the credit card cancelled.
Every bank has a specific fraud department for this, and cards get reissued all the time because of various data leaks, hacks, etc. They should be able to issue you a new card in only a few days. 

This is what needs to be done first, because a credit card number is much more immediately useful to criminals than a partial SS#.

2. Freeze your credit report at the major credit agencies. 
This needs to be done so that no one can try to use your credit information to take out loans or accounts in your name. 

There are three major credit reporting agencies: ExperianEquifax, and Transunion. With each one, you can register for an account online and freeze your credit report. Note: if you don't answer the credit history questions correctly (which can happen if your credit report has errors), you won't be able to set up an account online and you'll then have to descend into phone hell (which I had to do with Equifax--it was bad). 

If you can't set up an account online, you'll have to fax a cover letter and proof of address and identification directly to the credit agency. 

3. The FTC has an excellent online resource about identify fraud, and it's here: FTC.

Once you get credit cards cancelled and credit reports frozen, there's not much these losers can do with your information. 

This is never a great situation, but you can quickly shut down the possible damage that can be done.

Friday, March 05, 2021

Fraud Update

Mom's situation is managed now, and I'll put up all the information I used on Monday because it might come in handy for some of you guys.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

Friday Links!

I have no words: The Dark Legacy Of The CIA’s Bungled Plot To Have Famous Climbers Plant Nuclear-Powered Sensors In The Himalayas (also, Curtis LeMay was the inspiration for General Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove). 

Also, a more in-depth article from David Gloier: Did nuclear spy devices in the Himalayas trigger India floods?

This is an unforgettable piece of great writing: The Way We Live Now; 11-11-01; Lost and Found.

I'd take two, if I could (back in the day). Still a legend, even after all these years.: Video Cards 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 quad-GPU reverse engineered and working

One of the greatest Twitter threads of all-time: Lots of us learned classical music from watching old cartoons, so I’m going to identify the pieces that frequently popped up.

From C. Lee, and this is astonishing: The Ancient Art of Painting on Water. And this is Starry Night, painted with the same technique: Van Gogh on Dark Water. This is a terrific read: The Efficiency Dilemma. The Digital Antiquarian with brilliance again: Ultima VIII (or, How to Destroy a Gaming Franchise in One Easy Step). Remarkable: The Curious Strength of a Sea Sponge’s Glass Skeleton. This is both poignant and brilliant: Am I a Conditional American?

From Wally, and he clearly deserved it: Rooster with blade kills man during cockfight in Telangana. This is the ultimate Star Trek nerd post: Trek-Lit Reading Order Flow Chart. I don't know what this is called, but it's handheld and it cuts up cars: SAVETOOL - 4. I don't know how the lockpicking lawyer has any time to be a lawyer: Pocket EMP Generator Opens Timer Padlock.

Fraud Question

Mom 90.9 got tricked by a Windows pop-up screen into calling a number that seemed like her bank and she gave them the last four digits of her SS# and the last four digits of her bank credit card number.

I know she needs to cancel the credit card, but how vulnerable is she from disclosing the last 4 digits of her SS#? And who does she need to contact?

I'm researching this now and I'll post an update myself if I find any information. Thanks.

More Musical Moments

Here are a few more musical moments. 

This is from Dave:
While reading your post about shared music moments, I had an immediate recollection of a moment in my life that I fear might never happen again for anyone, but it is ingrained in my mind.

It was late 1991, and I would have been a sophomore in high school.  One of my friends had a New Year's Eve party every year where we all went to his house, stayed up all night, playing D&D, basketball, etc. (it was a very wholesome party).

While in the car with my mom on the way to the party, I was listening to the rock station here in Dallas, and this magical, entrancing song came on the radio. I was transfixed. Nothing had ever quite grabbed me in my life up to that moment.  I didn't even really understand what was happening, but I HAD to talk to someone about it.  I arrived at the party moments after it ended, and ran into the house ready to proclaim that I had just heard the greatest thing ever.

Everyone in the house was just sitting there.  They had the same radio station on in the house, and had just experienced the same thing I did.  

"Did you guys just hear that??"

We were all stunned...that collective moment that we all shared together, thanks to terrestrial radio, was a game changer for all of us.  

That was our introduction to "Smells Like Teen Spirit.

These next memories are from Ian:
Regarding your post about music, I find that it is far more disposable to people in this day and age.  

My son is not dedicated to bands for life.  He listens to a group for a few months, and then they are old news.  The songs on his phone are disposable because he has no skin in the game.  He doesn't have to buy his music one album at a time.

For an old guy like me (49), I still cling to that permanence of music.  It means something.  I still buy cd's of my favorite bands.   I look at the liner art.  I try to make that first listen a dedicated listen, where I'm not working, or playing video games, or doing the dishes.  I've got special headphones that are for the dedicated listens. You have to give the music a chance to connect with you, or to hear lyrics that might mean something.  

Of course, I am a musician (a lapsed one at least), so I put tremendous value on music and what it does for our lives.  

Music is so powerful. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard a certain song.  

I still remember being in my friend's bedroom, as we tried to figure out how to play Led Zeppelin's Black Dog on his guitar.  

I was in the car, driving to see my mom in the hospital who was dying of cancer, when I heard Fade In/ Fade Out by Nothing More.  It's a song about a parent who recalls watching their kids fade into life, and now the kids are watching the parent fade out.  I bawled my eyes out.  

Listening to the album "The Incurable Tragedy" by Into Eternity, which is about the guitar player losing 3 people in his family in a few months to cancer.  It's one of the most depressing albums I've ever listened to, but also one of the most personal.  I had my headphones on and listened to it the first time, not having a clue what it was about.  When it ended, I was into the ugly cry, because I wasn't ready for how hard it hit me.  At the time I didn't know anybody in my life that was sick, but I felt all the emotions though every song.  Now that I actually have lost my mom and grandmother to cancer, I can't listen to that album at all.  I tried and it was too intense for me.

I was just about to enter a Limp Bizkit concert, and a group of girls started yelling "System of a Down!" and ran into the arena.  System of a Down was one of the opening bands at the time.  I walked in and was transfixed.  One of most different bands I had ever heard.   I remember being entranced by them, how could such a fantastic band have been completely unknown to me?  They ended up becoming one of my favorite bands after that, I still remember waking up in the morning and I went to the HMV and bought the CD before doing anything else.  

I was at a King's X concert and they played one of their main hits "Over My Head", it's about feeling the music around you.  "Music, music, I hear music/ Music, over my head."  It was almost a religious experience, I would turn around and look around at the crowd and they were all singing, soaking up the energy and sharing it.  Something like that is a unifying moment.

One of my friends once asked me if it was okay to go to a concert alone.  I said of course, because you're going somewhere where there hundreds (or thousands) of other people that have shared experiences with you and are potential friends.  I've gone to many concerts on my own, and it's easy to make friends, because you just need to turn around and talk about the band, and then you're all the same.  

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Here's a Blast From the Past

Eli 9.3 or so. Look at that form. Frickin' athlete.  

This May Apply to Donkeys as Well

I have a preview function with the Post Office where they send me scanned images of my incoming mail (envelopes only, of course). 

Today, my image preview included an additional message:

Kids, don't be a mule. 

Overnight Sensation

 Sometimes you just strike gold on the sixteenth edit of a chapter since last Thursday. 

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Festival du Voyageur

The Festival du Voyageur is an annual 10-day winter festival that takes place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The event is held during each February in Winnipeg's French Quarter, Saint-Boniface, and is Western Canada's largest winter festival. 

Thanks, Wikipedia. 

Garret sent me these images. They were taken by Taras Maluzynsky, and they are absolutely magnificent.

When we first moved to Michigan, there was a 4" snowfall and Eli 15.4 ran out into the yard to make a snowman. 

I mean, it seems reasonable. Snow = Snowman, right?

This is when we learned that dry snow does not a snowman make. It was the first of many lessons.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Artisans (1530--2021)

Sunshine go away today, I don't feel much like dancing

Until I heard an ad for "small-batch pork rinds."

How much does it cost? I'll buy it!

Artisans died today. 

I thought they died with artisan bagels, but I was wrong. A tiny flame still flickered for weavers and carpenters, for glassblowers and blacksmiths. 

Even, for a time, the humble cheesemaker. Or a chocolatier.

That tiny artisan flame lived in my heart, and I fed it scraps of locally sourced wood chips and farm to table salad greens, and I thought that someday, it would burn brightly again. 

Then the small-batch pork rinds came, and the flame extinguished. 

It burns in me no more.

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