Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On Citizening--

     A lot of people seem to think being a citizen is just something that happens to you.  Oh, sure if you moved here from Elsewhere there's an oath, and some classes and a test, but hey, it's just...there.   Like a mole or a tattoo.  Right?


     Maybe not.  To be an active citizen, a good citizen, that takes some effort.  No, I'm not just talking about voting.  I'm not even talking about being well-informed, though that's certainly a part of it.

     Being a good citizen includes being a good neighbor.  It includes understanding that that person down the block or on F@cebook with the absolutely crazy political notions has probably done exactly what you did: applied their knowledge and feelings to the issues of the day and come to their best conclusion.   If you disagree, what you disagree about are those issues, and they are no more likely to be an evil plotter or a mouth-breathing idiot than you are.  Elections and government actions are not an excuse to treat one another as badly as you can.  They may indeed be a reason to go marching with signs, or writing your Congresscritters, or ringing up the President, but your neighbor isn't too likely to be a denizen of Congress or napping at the White House.  He or she is just another face in the crowd like you.  Why not treat them in the manner you would like to be treated?

     And for pity's sake, no matter what side of today's contentious politics you find yourself on, fact-check!  You can look up the number of Executive Orders per President per month online, for example.  Find and share sources of factual information; they will serve you better and more faithfully than any collection of opinion, no matter how well-written.

     Treat other people decently.  Prefer fact over speculation, rumor and opinion.  Check for "confirmation bias" when  reading or listening to news-like material.  Be a good citizen.

Monday, January 30, 2017

On Presidenting--

     There is no training for the job, you know.  Oh, sure, running for office takes the same set of skills from dogcatcher to Congressthing to the Oval Office, but doing the job?  There's really nothing.

     Being a governor helps and so does being a military officer, or at least some Service experience -- nine Generals have held the job and 26 U. S. Presidents have served in uniform.  17 Governors and like numbers of U.S. Senators and Representatives have moved into the house at 1600 Penna.  It helps, at least a little, if you're a real wheeler-dealer in Congress, like LBJ and Ford. 14 Presidents had been Vice-President, but over half of them became President due to a sudden vacancy, and only five of them went on to win re-election.

     --But not a one of them worked his way up from, say, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, with stops along the way running Cuba and Australia; it's not that kind of a job.

     The men* who wrote the Constitution knew that; in their day, the kind of Chief Executive they were dreaming up didn't even exist.  The other two branches of government, those roles were a different matter; legislative bodies were well-established in the young nation, judges even more so; therefore a number of the most worrisome powers were reserved to Congress where they could be dragged out and argued over in detail, and they gave Congress the power and a process to remove a President.  When it comes to the Federal judiciary, matters are a bit more subtle, but what it boils down to is, the President is not above the law.  And with just that, we get a kind of ongoing review of any sufficiently-questionable Presidential actions.†  Or sufficiently headline-grabbing, and you have to wonder how Buchanan or Harding might've fared in modern times.

     This constitutes the harshest sort of on-the-job training and as you might expect, most Presidents -- no, Mr. Nixon, you are not excused, not until Mr. Ford says so -- most Presidents catch on fairly rapidly.  A few have not.  Things generally do not go well for them and their Administrations.

     So, ask me, am I cheering for Mr. Trump?  Am I scared by him?  No and no.  I'm watching.  All Presidents bear watching.  There's an entire system set up to keep them roughly on track and while the last several decades show a wildly veering course, there hasn't been a coup, the country is still here, we haven't been shelling our own cities, and we're not eating fried rat.  If your party is on the outs, that probably won't last for long, and likewise if they're on top.  Try to bear that in mind, even if the politicians cannot.  Go to the supermarket and look around in wonder at a civilization stable enough to provide such wonders, much of it out-of-season and preposterously fresh.  Parlous times?  We don't even begin to know from "parlous."
* They were also white, largely elderly, and well-to-do.  Some of them owned slaves.  I wouldn't be surprised if one or two were kind of evil.  But they weren't stupid, they weren't in favor of chaos, and by a huge majority, they were not in favor of an oppressive Federal government with king-like powers vested in the Executive for reasons varying from noble to venial.  Oh, I see Mr. Hamilton has a comment?  Sorry, out of time.  You'll get your chance in the papers, sir.

† This notion has been questioned by various Presidents from time to time, most infamously Andrew Jackson; but the years have served to strengthen it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


A vignette for three voices:

    "Alexa, what is the current outdoor temperature?"

     "Right now in Indianapolis, it's twenty-seven degrees with intermittent snow flurries.  Expect more of the same overnight, with a low of eighteen degrees."

     "Alexa, thank you."

     "You're welcome."

     "Ha-HAH! Skynet will eat you last!"


     I don't even have to indicate who said what.  She's right, you know.  Well, probably.

Don't Want To Tempt The Fates

     ...Proclaimng, "I'm all better!" would surely draw the shared and implacable gaze of the Three Sisters my way, and I don't want that.  And my sinuses are still uncooperative, my throat ticklish* and muscles aching.  Nevertheless, I woke up actually hungry (I've been making myself eat -- managed two small meals a day and light snacks of tea or 7-Up and crackers) and the sneezing seems to have slowed.  Spent the first part of last night waking up to cough every hour or two, then finally found the door to dreamland and stumbled through and down, down into the warm and welcoming, oblivious dark.  I needed it badly; my sleep was so disrupted the last two days that I was flickering over into a dream state and back out, waking up with memories draining away like ink spilled in water, dissipating, unreachable, leaving strange scraps of mood and reaction.

     This being-sick stuff is too much work for anyone as lazy as me!
* Though mistaking a small can of Tamara's Spicy Hot V-8 for my own plain stuff is bidding fair to beat my throat into submission, or at least force a relining.  My, oh my, the "leaded" version certainly carries an edge -- like a street kid with a straight razor.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Not Everyone Gets It...

     But, of course, Tam does.  I needed to grab a couple of bottled of water from the garage and I'm running warm enough that a quick trip in whatever it is out there, 32°F  more or less, wasn't going to make things worse.

     So I grabbed a key and headed out, remarking loudly, "I'm just going outside, and may be some time."

     She replied, "Don't say that!"

     Ah, we're a dark-minded lot, here at Roseholme Cottage!

I'm Up. But

     ...Not happy about it.  Tried to turn out steak & eggs and hash browns, which turned into a huge exercise in frustration.  The little steaks are good -- with what Tam bought, you'd have to work very hard to ruin it -- and the eggs, despite heir best efforts, will do.  But the hash browns?  Gray.  With a brown-gold crust.  Edible, but no more than edible.  Didn't drain enough?  Too much oil? Should have rinsed them after grating? I annoyed the Potato Sidhe?  (Oh, no, no no no, not that last: I love spuds.  I can't be gettin' on the wrong side of the Folk who look after their best interests!)

     On the other hand, Tam just called out from the kitchen, "You want the rest of these hash browns?"  So not a total failure; she says they're "...in some weird hybrid zone between a hash brown, a potato pancake and a potato chip."  Great, I have created Taterzilla!  Be of good heart; the mutant is falling rapidly to our war-forks, so fear not, fellow-humans: you are saved.

     I am, you will have gathered, still sick.  Less so than I was, I think, but not so well that a simple two-skillet breakfast doesn't play out like cosmological atomic rocket surgery on pain pills in a snowstorm.  Underwater.  While doing my taxes.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cold, Dammit

     Got up and made breakfast and found I was running out of air.  If I stay pretty much still, I'm okay, but the process of feeding cats, making coffee and cooking up a pan of corned beef hash and eggs, eating and cleaning up afterward caught up with me.  I had to go lay down.  Still thinking there is light at the end of the tunnel, just not as close as I want it to be.

     Task for mid-day: find a doc-in-the-box my insurance likes.  The one I was going to is out-of-network now.

     (By the way, the trick of putting a thin layer of flour and some seasonings in the skillet before making corned beef hash totally works.  I still blot grease from around the edges while cooking but a little of it meets up with the flour and forms a nice crunchy crust.)

Old News Or Old Me?

     Am I the only person who remembers the warm, friendly relationship between the Nixon Administration and the Press?  So much love!

The Cold, Day Two

     Or possibly Day 2.5.  Whatever.  Yesterday, I scurried around and loaded up on supplies and nostrums (facial tissue, cough drops and zinc pills but alas, no donuts) and headed off to work.  Four and a half hours later, dizzy, nose constantly running, I realized I was panting and gasping if I did anything but sit in place.  I checked in with my boss and knocked off for the day.

     On the way home, I made the slowest five-and-dime trip of my life to pick up some more palliatives: Zycam and Vick's Vap-O-Rub.  Vick's is just an anti-stuffiness aid but it's comforting -- it was the cold treatment of my childhood.  Zycam may or may not  be all that effective but for me, it seems to help more than half the time.

     I got home mostly on instinct, nearly all of it on streets where 30 mph is perfectly acceptable, seeing as it is the speed limit.  I had a bite to eat and went to bed by 3:45 p.m., and stayed there until six this morning.  Didn't heve much trouble getting back to sleep each time stuffiness woke me, either.  I drifted between chills and feeling overheated.  Kept up with the various OTC treatments and this morning--

     The fountains of my sinuses have slowed but not stopped.  The back of my throat itches; the backs of my eardrums itch (!), or at least it feels as if they do.  My temperature is still a little up and down -- but I feel much better.  Or I did until I ate; now my temperature is climbing.  But that's usual for me and I'll ride it out.

Thursday, January 26, 2017


     Posting in advance because I have a cold.  Hoping to head out early tomorrow and get lotion-bearing facial tissue, zinc pills (and/or Zycam) and fresh donuts. 'Cos it might not help but it can't hurt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Tambirthday!

     Yesterday was Tam's birthday.  As none of her young men had asked her out (well, it was a school night!), we headed off to Marco's when I got home from work.

     Marco's is a local institution, an updated but not trendy version of the kind of place my parent's generation went for "dinner out:" nice dining room, a nice big bar, a nice patio during patio season, with a pleasant, unpretentious atmosphere and friendly help.  The menu features steaks, prime rib and an array of Italian dishes.  Dinner entrees include warm bread, soup, salad and choice of potato (in a half-dozen different forms!) or rice.

     We settled in and I let myself get talked into trying Sun King's Sunlight cream ale.*  Oh, boy!  I'm not a beer drinker but years ago (when you could get the stuff), I liked Little Kings Cream Ale† with steaks and grilled burgers.  The Sun King cream ale is smooth and tasty, and went wonderfully with my little filet.

     Tam enjoyed her dinner -- a very rare steak with the usual sides -- and, at least for two old maids who aren't much fond of parties, it was a fine way to celebrate.
     She'd rather take pictures than be in them.
* Sun King is the big local brewer, emerging from among talented competition with a consistently good range of products (including a dizzying array of seasonal/monthly ones), clever marketing and a positive attitude; I know I'm on schedule to work in the morning when I meet a Sun King van headed the other way, delivering fresh beer from their downtown brewery to Broad Ripple's restaurants, bars and nightclubs.  There are other local or regional brewers and while some of them are good-sized (Three Floyds in northern Indiana is justifiably famous), Sun King is a modern-day version of the pre-Prohibition big-city brewer.  I'm happy to see this sort of thing returning; Sun King is particularly outstanding.

Little King's was and is a regional treat, brewed in Cincinnati or thereabouts; 35-some years ago, one its salient virtues was that it was about half the price of soda pop.  It's been around almost exactly as long as I have. While not an exotic or high-end beer in those long-ago, pre-microbrewery days, it was consistent and smooth.  I'm not a big fan of hops and it had only enough bitterness to work splendidly with red meat. Cincinnati's local breweries (Schoenling Brewing Company, who made Little Kings, and crosstown rival Hudepohl) changed hands, merged and went through multiple sales, with the facilities closing down and production being moved out of state until a recent sale returned at least some production to Cincinnati.  Though all that, Little Kings got very difficult to find around here, at least for awhile.  The funny little seven-ounce bottles are back, and one of these days I'll hunt up a local supply for hot summer weekends.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Another Morning, Another Blank Screen

     Don't know what I will write about.

     I'm giving thought to writing less.  Despite the lack of new stuff there, I have been writing in the "Hidden Frontier" universe and I'm not happy with my work.  While I'd like to get the crew of the Lupine out of the jam I left them in, I'm no longer sure that I'm up to it.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Geekery Old And New

     "...Friends, look around you and see how many young people prefer to follow vocations where they can be pseudo-genteel at starvation wages rather than throw their energy into [mechanical] shop work."

     Who do you suppose wrote that, Mike Rowe, perhaps? And not too long ago?

     Nope; it's small-shop machinist/supervisor W. Osbone in 1902, having just encountered a magazine article praising the Art & Crafts handmade esthetic. While a very much in favor of fine hand work, he points out, "Take away the mechanics, and the advancement caused by the low costs made possible by the very machinery here so slightingly spoken of, and the world's progress is stopped, and we are at best in a state of semi-civilization."

      This is one of his articles for American Machinist Magazine, mostly a collection of interesting real-world machine-shop incidents from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries; for all the that he and his men are installing and repairing steam engines, oil pumps and the like, it's remarkably similar to my work -- and co-workers -- as an electronics technician. Reprinted as "Echoes From The Oil Country," Vols 1 through at least 5, you can buy them (at a deep discount) from Your Old Time Bookstore, but act with alacrity: they're liquidating stock.

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho

     ...It's off to shrug we go!

     I'm gettin' pretty old for this.  Somehow I've got to eke out another fourteen years of it.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

In Which Bobbi Eats A Big Dish Of Crow

     Awhile back -- not too long ago -- I predicted the Women's March would be lost in the noise of Inauguration Day, that between more-obnoxious protesters and happy celebrations, they'd be lucky to get any screen time at all.

     Was I ever wrong!  They read the media waters correctly and I did not.  I'm still not a fan of the hats and as for the issues-- There's a lot of specious stuff thrown about.  Nevertheless, problems persist; I still sit in engineering meetings at work, make the same suggestion three times and find it ignored until one of the boys makes the exact same suggestion, at which point it is suddenly worthy of consideration!  But I've never seen how marching with a sign, or even more fancy laws, was going to fix that.  Having a seat at the table, speaking up, getting the lads used to seeing a woman there doing the same kind and level of work does help move things and I have high hopes for the next generation of women.  In fact, there's a woman thirty years younger than me bossing a major construction project at work.  She works for the general contractor, but even my bosses have to take her seriously, and they do.  She doesn't seem to find it remarkable. 

     You don't sink any but the smallest nail with a single hammerblow, and then only if it doesn't matter how the finished product looks.  Nope, you take a heavy swing or two to send it nearly down -- voting rights, property rights, etc. -- and then you take up a nail set and tap, tap, tap, sink the thing home.  Then it looks as if it was always there, and passes without adverse notice.

     We're gettin' there.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thermodymanics:We All Lose

     I was eating a nice slice of apple pie -- ala mode, in this case vanilla gelato -- and the crust was okay, better than okay, but as I thought back to my childhood, thinking of sugar cream pie, vinegar cream pie and other delights, I muttered, "I've had better."  And then I added, "...But I never will again."

     I won't.  The women who baked those pies are gone.  Home-made pie crust is a very individual thing, something that takes a knack, experience and the right kind of working area.  No one's pie crust turns out quite like anyone else's.

     Sometime the sadness at these little, inconsequential things can be overwhelming.  Pie crust!   And yet I'm moved to tears.

     All but one of my Mother's sisters are gone (and there was a passel of them).  All of my Dad's siblings and their spouses are gone.  My sister is quite a skilled baker but we're not close.  We're not friends and, for many reasons, we're not going to be; this is no reflection on her, we just can't get along.  It's best we don't try.

     And so it goes.  Most of my friends and co-workers are gone.  Many of them are dead now.  I miss them.  I don't make friends easily and as I have gotten older, my emotional distance has increased.  My hearing has become worse, which doesn't help. I have never been really relaxed around others -- I was the odd child, the one who used too many long words, who struggled to be neat and tidy, always askew, out of step.  I grew out of it but I'm always wary, waiting to be called out.  Any more, the social anxiety occasioned by most restaurants or a crowded theater is too much to face alone; if it weren't for Tam, her friends and my pal the Data Viking, I'd never eat out.  I can manage the market, the bank and the five and dime, as long as they're places I have already been to or chain-stores with similar layouts: it's pretty formulaic.

     It's not going to get any better.  We all face it to a greater or lesser extent: friends and relations thin, the popular figures of our youth and early adulthood fade away and many are largely forgotten.  As time goes by, there's less and less familiar, more and more alien, and eventually, you're all alone even in a crowd.

     The Greeks had it right: immortality would be a curse.

Things I Have Learned On F*cebook

     It's the most social of social-media sites!  It plans to take over the world!  The Zuck rules with an iron...keyboard?

     One of the things it is, is a collection of echo chambers.  Sometimes the booming reverberations overwhelm the least vestige of good sense, and then I happen by and learn interesting things:

     - My blog -- this blog -- is "sorry graffiti with some punctuation."  Personally, I never thought it was that colorful or artistic, but hey, at least the guy granted "punctuation," which would please my elementary-school teachers.  I CAN HAZ SEMICOLON?

     - In spirited discussion with a woman, a man supporting either party (but especially the Left) is always justified in telling her, "mind yourself, girl," even if he has no idea of her age or knowledge of the subject.

     - Likewise, those men can use childishly scatological language -- the most recent example was "ASS-ume" -- and when called on it, edit or delete it rather than apologizing.

     - From the other side of the aisle, I found out that Sec. Clinton and Rep. Peolosi are responsible for anarchist protesters spray-painting a circled-A on the side of a limo, smashing the windows and setting it on fire during the Inauguration.  (Odd, they were sitting right there in the VIP stands at the time with rather pained-looking smiles, and while no doubt they're up to all manner of no-good shenanigans the same as any other politician, both of them have a deep, abiding, personal interest in discouraging attacks on limousines, especially in Washington, D.C.)

     - The Electoral College was a horrible, racist anachronism that must be fixed in 2016 and 2000, but not in 2008 and 2012, when it worked fine.  (2004 apparently doesn't rate comment; readers, can you guess who won the popular vote as well as the EC, and what his party affiliation is?)

     - In 2000, the Electoral College -- not the Supreme Court! -- put George W. Bush in office over the clear will of the people, where he proceeded to commit WAR CRIMES.*  (And yet there he sat yesterday, smiling and talking to the other former Presidents, saying "Howdy" to the Carters and Clintons just like they were all equals.)

     - Yet in 2008, Mr. Obama taking over and continuing to prosecute what by then were two not-especially-declared wars, stepping up drone strikes that kill non-combatants, etc. "had to be done."  So, if you took a job in which your predecessor was, with his other duties, committing arson, would you take that on, too?  (Look, I doubted the justification for the war in Iraq, but "war crimes" is over the top; however, if it's a crime when one man does it, it's still a crime when another continues to do it, and their political party doesn't matter a whit.)

     - If I defend the Constitution and Electoral College, explaining the compromise between choosing on the sole basis of the election results in each state and a general election that is behind the apportioning of Electors by the number of Congresscreatures each state has, and the existence of the EC itself as a hedge against a bad choice, I am a "Trump troll."

     - Every modern democracy other than the United States selects their Chief Executive by direct election.  (Except for the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland [doubly decoupled from direct election!], Italy, Belgium and Spain.  France and Austria directly elect their Chief Executive, but two out of ten is not "every.")

     - If I point out that I supported and voted for Gary Johnson, I am "weaseling," "evading" or "spinning;" I am clearly a Trump supporter, or at best a kind of "...lazy Republican... who proclaim[s] to want less federal government."

     - And if I provide a link to my blog to show who I supported throughout this Presidential election, why, they'll not "give up the New York Times to read my 'Adventures,'"† and it is, ahem, see the first point above, "graffiti with punctuation." 

     I admit it, I am just real damn proud of my punctuation.

* Nearly always in all caps, for reasons unknown.  Perhaps that's how they picture him authorizing the Iraq War? I'm thinking it's the font of unreasoning, derp-based outrage, but I'm harsh like that.

† I had no idea this was zero-sum, or that my little blog rated near high enough to even be considered as a trade-off with the NYT.  My goodness, if their reading schedule is so packed, you'd think the fellows would give up reading matchbooks or the backs of cereal boxes long enough to check for evidence that I'm some sort of covert Trump voter, out to subvert their natural coolth; but no.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Same Dance, Different Key

     Look, maybe he is the best thing after sliced beer and canned bread; maybe he's a fascist megalomanic.  Probably neither, but whatever.  Man hasn't wet his feet in the Potomac yet, nor stood in the secret sub-sub-subbasement of the Washington Monument and swallowed a live mouse while the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stands beside him and does the same,* and yet I am already hearing much the same tiresome crap I heard about Barack Obama, with the blue paint scraped off and hastily oversprayed in red:

     - "The incoming President's pastor is a scary, scary person!"  Yeah, yeah, well...preachers thunder from the pulpit.  That's kind of their job.  Mr. Obama's pastor was a firebrand, remember?  This trend will likely continue, so get used to it.

     - "The incoming President plans to make himself a King!"  This spooky canard dates back to a fellow name of Washington.  It is a perpetual and valid concern in U.S, politics, and I wish people paid more attention to it in the years between Presidential elections and Inaugurations, 'cos that's when Presidential power creeps up -- as it has been doing since that nice, frustrated Mr. Washington signed his first Executive Order.

     - "He'll wreck the economy!"  Maybe.  The reality is the economy usually wrecks itself, sometimes with an assist from Congress.  A careless Presidential remark will indeed affect the stock market; our best hedge here is that it's harder for the rich to get richer in a recession or depression -- sure, some do, but it's not as easy.  Tell me, do you suppose Presidents and Congresspersons (and more importantly, the well-off people who lobby and bankroll them) would be more interested in hard money† or easy money?

     - Then we have the calls for assassination.  Hey, idiots, do you know how you get an Imperial Presidency?  That way.  One of the wonderful, distinguishing characteristics of the U. S. federal government is that we have an effective mechanism for the peaceful transfer of power, to which no less an experienced, partisan figure than President Obama has recently alluded.  Do you suppose he's thrilled with his replacement?  I'll tell you one thing, he does know how the system is supposed to work, and why.  And if an incumbent President turns out badly, there are mechanisms for dealing with that, too, like impeachment (a process started against multiple Presidents and often resulting in significant change even without actually removing them) and the more-obscure process of removing an ailing or insane Chief Executive.  But with every change of the party in power, the more tinfoil-hatted among the opposition, usually the very same people who have been glowing in their praises for Working Within The System, are suddenly shouting "Off with his head!"  I think they're already off their heads, but it's not quite the same thing.

     -"He'll turn the country [fascist/communist]!"  Yeah, no.  This is a symptom of Not Reading Much History.  Those changes always occur in a power vacuum (or at least extremely low pressure); in the West, the best known are Russia, with a weak government, ineffectual Czar, the aftermath of a horrific war and a long history of civil unrest; Italy, with a weak monarch and government, and a highly-visible popular movement‡ -- and Russia as an instructive example! -- and, of course, Germany, in the grip of a depression, in the aftermath of losing a terrible war, with a weak government.  See a pattern?  Now, tell me, have you, Left, Right or Center, ever thought the U. S. federal government was particularly weak?  The other thing all examples share is the usurping group had a remarkable degree of Party discipline, ruthlessly enforced, something neither the Dems nor the GOP have ever managed. Unlike the Bolsheviks, Nazis or Fascisti, they haven't even got an organized body of enforcers.  (Remember what Will Rogers said about the Democrats?  True of their opposition, too.)

     - "He'll save us all!"  Nonsense.  The job is "President," not "Messiah," and the powers are accordingly less.  The seas will not commence to recede, those good old $30-an-hour assembly-line jobs with full paid benefits and three weeks off every summer will not return and things will, in general, muddle along in the same direction they were going.  Sure, things will get better or worse and the President at the time will be praised or blamed for it, but unless it's concluding a really great treaty with Hateusistan (and convincing Congress to go along) or applying military force, a study of it will reveal low correlation between Executive action and whatever happened.

     Gads, I miss Mencken.  He had his faults but he mostly lived in the real world and wrote of what he saw there, instead of in his nightmares and dreams.  More people need to consider trying that, at least the first part.  Maybe an ad campaign?  "Reality, it's what's for dinner!"  --Fat chance; most people won't even eat their greens.
* I may be a little hazy on the detail of the Inaugural ceremony.  Tellya what, you make those suckers swallow a live mouse to get the job (or, in the case of CJ of SCOTUS, keep the job) and you'll find out real quick who's motivated.

† Pun intended.

‡ Not just fascism but Futurism, at the intersection of Art Deco and bloody-handed thuggery.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's A Medical Miracle!

     Awhile back, my feet were giving me trouble, a lot of pain, especially dead center in the ball of each foot.  So I went to see a medical specialist, who looked and suggested maybe an orthotic, a kind of custom insole -- but then asked, "Are you completely sure you're wearing the right size shoes?"

     I'd been that shoe size since High School. so I assured him I was.

     Orthotics are expensive and take time; I kept putting it off.  My feet kept hurting.  One fine day, I asked myself, "Am I entirely sure this is the right shoe size?"

     It doesn't cost anything to find out, so I did.  Then I bought a new pair of shoes.

     My feet are half a size bigger than they were when I graduated High School!  Well, that was an easy fix.

     When I told my Mom this amazing, remarkable news, she just smiled and remarked that she found her feet got a half-size larger after every child.  Oh

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tam Falls At SHOT

     She's finally owned up to it on her blog: a few days ago, Tam took a fall at SHOT and hurt her knee.  How hurt, she doesn't know yet; a day of keeping off it followed by using a wheelchair consistently has produced remarkable relief, and she's covering SHOT Show, albeit from a lower perspective than she'd like: there's work to be done!

     If you are reading my blog and if you're at SHOT -- an unlikely but not impossible combination -- please keep an eye open for her.  Tamara Keel is about as happy to be in a wheelchair as a barn cat dressed up in doll clothes is to be at a child's tea party, and she's not too fond of relying on crutches or a cane, either.  Having been in that position myself, I sympathize.  So please, lend her hand, try to reduce the amount of derp she encounters, clear a path and be advised: an injured knee can only increase her level of snark.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


     The older I get, the more I put my faith in the gear-jamming, contentious nature of political institutions and the less I like any notion of "efficiency" in government.

     Governments are inherently inefficient, and the ones that make the greatest claims to "efficiency" are also the ones the most likely to squander the resources, fortunes and lives of their own citizens.

     We're better off with small governments; given that all governments are wasteful at approximately the same rate, a small one costs less than a large one.  And a small, inefficient government is a lot less likely to infringe on your liberty than a large one: they can't afford it, and besides, they've misplaced the paperwork.

     All this musing comes from a quick morning's study of the 20th Century's great experiment in multilayered governmental screw-ups, the Soviet Union.  I was looking into autocrats, trying to find even one that lacked an overarching political philosophy, and I'm not finding it.  From Mussolini to Stalin, they all had some damnable Idea that drove their thoughts and actions, and generally wrote of it, often at significant length  and depth, quite frequently in the blood of innocents.  If you want to find a Great Leader lacking in a Great Plan, you've got to dig way, way back, and even then you end up with the likes of Julius Caesar, who certainly knew his way to the end of a paragraph.

     The muddy legislative waters of Washington, D.C. and the sound-bite culture that infests it, wafting its way into the nightly news and onto front pages, may be more of a bulwark than we realize: our would-be leaders never quite manage to get their flapping jaws around a really Big Idea, the kind that kills people wholesale for the supposed greater good.  And I'm happy about that; we're better off stuck with penny-ante pissants than genuine Men On Horseback.  Sure, it's kind of embarrassing, but it beats the alternative.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Because You Don't Have Nightmares Enough

     Here's a golden oldie from 2003, in which the Brookings Institute hypothetically nukes D.C. on Inauguration Day and then examines the consequences and alternatives.  It makes for chilling reading

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Good Morning?

    I'm up.  I have a world-class headache.  I've been up since 4:00 a.m., which I do not recommend.

     Meanwhile, ijits are still yapping about "disqualifying" Donald Trump from holding the Presidency.  Look, kids, unless he's secretly under 35, hasn't lived in this country for at least 14 years or is a furriner (why does that one seem so familiar?  Oh, yeah) or served two terms in the office already,  all you've got is impeachement, which starts in the House of Representatives.  Good luck with that!

     This is not to say I think the man is totally wonderful or unimpeachable (no President is immune!), but there's five days left: he will be sworn in.

     At least one yammerhead has suggested that, once they push him out, there will be a "special rerun election."  Yeah, not finding that in my copy of the Constitution.  No, what you get is former Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who Trump opponents seem to hate more, for all that he is a quiet-spoken, non-grabby fellow: RIFRA was a Mark of Cain for the Left, and they don't care at all that he felt very bad about it afterwards.  Understandable, really. But the order of succession is quite clear; after Pence you get the Speaker of the House (Paul Ryan), the President Pro Tem of the Senate (Orrin Hatch) and then it's the Cabinet, in order of creation of the position.  Not too sure where the party-line critics of Mr. Trump would like to stop on that list; I'm not seeing anyone of whom they would approve.

     Golly, the fun never stops.  Nor the headaches.  I'm just getting a head start.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How To Loathe Politicians

     There's something that really gets up my nose: people don't appear to have the least idea how to loathe politicians properly.  In my lifetime, it got a good head of steam up under President Nixon; there was a bit of a respite with Presidents Ford and Carter (Billy was great distraction!), then modern President-hating really got underway with Mr. Clinton and it hasn't stopped since; it only switches sides as the office does.

     So it's not that the public is lovin' 'em, oh, far from it; Americans have a long and marvelous history of deep disgust for the public officials we elect.  Most of them only have to be found acceptable by 51% of the voters, and even with, say, 80% turnout, that leaves a tick over 60% of the possible voters who didn't vote for the winner.

     If, then, you don't like J. Random Wheelhorse, whattaya do?  Do you snatch eagerly at every scurrilous rumor and every fantastical projection of what he or she might do, or you do you identify those of her or his policies, attitudes or elements of personal style that irk or offend you?

     Online evidence suggests most people pick the first option and that, pardon my language, is just lazy bullshit.

     Look, it's perfectly fine to dislike politicians over anything from published official policy to trivia of personal behavior.  Birch Bayh had a smirk that many voters could not stand (though rarely enough of them to keep him out of office).  It's not okay to imagine things (or borrow other people's imaginings) and fret, rage or recoil over that.  I didn't like Mr. Obama's attitude towards law-abiding gun-owners, which was patronizing at best and the laws he favored anent firearms struck me as dreadful; I was not at all in favor of the Affordable Care Act he helped usher into law -- that doesn't mean I thought he was foreign-born, or a secret Muslim.  I'm not a fan of Mr. Trump's vague and handwaving style, either, nor his careless approach to public policy -- but I don't think he's out to bring back Jim Crow laws.

     Sort out the reality from the nonsense.  Hate them, if you will, but hate them for who they are, what they propose and what they do, not for something some troller at an online forum or third-string tabloid news site made up.  Hate them for the bills they put forward and the laws they enact, not because some halfwit in Hollywood urged them to impose martial law, or you heard from your third cousin's ex-boyfriend that they once ran over a baby squirrel and laughed about it.

     Most of them (possibly all, who'd'a thunk?) are regular, fallible, flawed human beings with plenty of stupid, crazy or downright mean ideas; there are lots of real things to dislike them over.  Don't buy into the hype and panic, don't pick up cheap. ugly second-hand loathing at retail prices when you can easily look up the facts and hate the weasels-in-office accurately, in the cold clear light of day.  Watch them like hawks on a limping gopher!  Suspect them of all manner of gracelessness, malfeasance and misbehavior!  --But act only on what you can prove.  There's plenty of it, always.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Busy, Busy

    I must scurry off for an early meeting at work.  So, no big thoughts this morning. Maybe later.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Pot, Meet Kettle -- Wait, Have You Two Met?

     I guess not.  A writer in (at?) Vox muses plaintively, "The problem here is that the Republican Party [...] somehow ram through a quickly-crafted replacement that would massively restructure the health care sector with hardly any deliberation, with potentially catastrophic consequences."

     Gosh, do you suppose he was this upset the last time one party held the Presidency, dominated both houses of Congress, and "massively restructre[d] the health care sector" via legislation they hadn't even read?  Was he worried about a bill Congress was told they had to pass in order to find out what was in it?

     Or was it okay-fine as long as the Right People were in charge?

     Me, I'm still wondering what in the name of Hippocrates the Fed.Gov is doing in the health care business at all, other than Congressthings and Presidents showing up at charity efforts to raise money for those unable to care for themselves. 

     Somebody's going to call me out on that, huffing that I'm suggesting Big Business ought to be running healthcare.  (Like they're not?  Who do you think my Congressbeings are most likely to take calls from, me or Eli Lilly?  Me, or United Healthcare?)  Nope; there was a time when healthcare was mostly run by doctors and it worked pretty well.  In part, that was because they couldn't do a whole lot to keep you alive, for $$$$$ levels of "keeping."  But it was also because administrative overhead was low and medical decisions were made by (hang on, this is far-out stuff) working physicians.  Health insurance, in the form of "catastrophic" coverage, mostly for hospitalization, didn't start showing up as a workplace perk until wage-frozen WW II: if an employer couldn't pay more than the competing blivet works, they could offer other incentives, and employers did so.  It has grown from there. especially with the 1990s realization that there were a number of aliments for which prevention was much cheaper than treatment, and thus we came to where we were before the Affordable Care Act.

     At the time, Congressional Democrats chortled that ACA was "unrepealable."  Now, maybe not so much.

     We have a mess now.  Maybe there's a bigger mess coming.  Maybe it will be a huge, terrific* improvement.  Whatever happens, don't expect there to be any less paperwork or any shortage of spatting in the press and in Washington, D.C. -- and how, exactly, does the filling out of forms or spirited debate set your broken leg, treat your infection or get you on a program of exercise to squeeze a few more years from your ill-treated heart?  --And why can't I get an appointment with my doctor any sooner than the middle of next month?
* "Terrific" and "Terrible" share the same root, of course.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"Leaving A Loaded Gun In The White House"

     Reason magazine, on the growth in Presidential power during Mr. Obama's two terms.  Remember when the media was telling us what a crime it was, the way the most recent President Bush had expanded the powers of his office?  Well, surprise, the reporting might've slackened but the trend never did.

     Thus, this article.

     I dislike the extent to which both sides bend discussion about the Presidency toward discussion of the man holding the office.  On the big things ("Am I gonna be able to afford lunch, or will my money be worthless by noon?" "Will WW III break out this year?" "Can I call our Congressman a ninny?" "Is my place of worship going to be shut down?"  "Hey, is that a drone, and is it shooting at me?"), it really shouldn't ever be about the man; the President's power is supposed to be strictly limited.

     Supposed to be -- ask the Cherokees how well that worked out under Andrew Jackson, look at Woodrow Wilson's re-segregation of a merit-based Federal civil service, and those are just the easy examples.  But even at that, even while the worrying edge cases were canaries in our national coal mine, Joe and Jane Average were safe from Presidential whim.  I'm doubting that's true any more. 

     And it's not the man, it's the office; each president picks up what his predecessor has left in the way of power and authority and, being human, looks to find new ways to wield it, clever ways to expand it, to do the things he truly thinks will be Right and Good, or at least Expedient.  If you don't want a chimp with a hammer roaming the halls, they only way to prevent it is to keep hammers and chimps strictly separated, with a system of checks and balances to ensure they remain so, and we didn't.  Our Federal government didn't.  War Powers Act, Patriot Act -- remember them?  These are the kind of bricks that build a king.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oh, How They Hates Him

     I'm enjoying the amount of outrage, narrow scrutiny, foaming at the mouth and sheer, often addled, boggling on the part of not only the Press but the bulk of people famous for being famous over the Trump Presidency -- and before it has even begun!

     Mr. Trump is not one of my favoritest of people, no more than his predecessor, and while many of the reasons for looking askance at the two are different, one is the same -- and it's a big one: the ever-increasing scope and depth of Presidential power.  All of them grab for more, if only because it is convenient; see the venerated George Washington on the matter of "Executive Orders," for instance. But when a Republican is in the White House (or about to be), oversight is easy: everyone from the Nightly News to washed-up Hollywood stars scry out the slightest misstep and shout the dire news from the rooftops, leaving pinpointing the tiny fire under the towering column of smoke as my only effort.

     Consider an example Tam pointed out: Mr. Trump wants his son-in-law as an advisor and there's no end of cries of nepotism, but when Ms. Clinton's husband put her in charge of an effort to nationalize healthcare, the press hailed it as the very best medicine for this county's ills.  (Congress disagreed and the push was, for a while, deader'n Elvis.  Like zombie Elvis, it lurched back to life later and made a mess.)

     All modern Presidents have been a bit like a butcher who tends to lay his thumb on the scales if you're not watching closely.  With a Republican in the office, there is no shortage of watchers, and no shortage of megaphones.  My centrist-to-liberal friends and co-workers ask, "Aren't you worried about (dunh dunh DAH!) Trump?"  I don't have to worry; the Press will do that for me and the €ntertainment media will cheer them on while booing him, with an occasional sidebar from fretting, condescending high-tech metrosexuals in Manhattan and the California megalopoli.

     There is something in humanity, or perhaps in our politics in the widest sense, that presses Caesarwards.  Opposition to it, even of the the most partisan and befuddled sort, is not at all bad -- and often entertaining.  I believe the die has already been cast, the rollercoaster released to gravity's rule decades back.

     Nothing much left for me to do except to pop popcorn -- and load magazines.  You always load magazines when Congress is in session, or about to be, and stock up on stamps and envelopes.  "Dear Senator, I am writing from my secure redoubt under the front porch...."  Ah, politics.  It was never really safe to ignore it completely, darn it.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Shh! We're 'Nauguratin'!

     Indiana's Gubernatorial Inauguration will be held today, along with the swearing-in of other statewide office-holders -- but not in the usual place, which is on the steps of the Statehouse.

     Mind you, the steps-of-the-Statehouse thing is a fine old 19th-Century ceremony in front of a beautifully-restored fine old 19th-Century capitol building, but you need a fine old 19th-Century attitude and a fine old 19th-Century overcoat, hat, gloves and boots to fully appreciate it from the standing-room-only space in front of the steps.  Last time, Mike Pence drew two thousand shivering spectators and this year, in the wake of a cold snap that saw single-digit temperatures in the city, incoming Governor Eric Holcomb moved it to Indiana Farmer's Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds.

     I admit, my initial reaction was to wonder if we were inaugurating a State Cow and State Chickens as a part of the festivities, but on reflection, it's not a bad idea: among other things, the present outside temperature is 17°F and it will barely break freezing today.  The Coliseum --  a beautifully-restored fine old 20th-Century Art Deco building -- has a 21st-Century heating system, a readily-secured perimeter, a first-rate PA system and comfortably seats over six thousand, including, I hope, a fair number of schoolchildren for this event. There are even camera platforms for media coverage.

     Eric Holcomb seems to have a smattering of common sense; at least, saying "No" to communal frostbite strikes me as a good sign.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Bad And/Or Crazy People With Guns

     Had another one the other day, apparently both a madman and a would-be jihadi, and as usual, everyone retreated to their favorite corners and they're still in them: you've got the nervous-Nellie gun banners, who are horrified he had a gun at all, and even more horrified that it's okay to carry a (declared and unloaded*) gun in (checked, locked, hard-sided) aircraft luggage; you've got the guy who grumps there were too few guns at the scene and hey, if I ran the world, people who attempt such violence would indeed be stopped rapidly by those around them, but I don't and the State of Florida takes a dim (for chargeable values of dim) view of carrying loaded firearms anywhere in an airport; there's the crazed-veteran-with-PTSD narrative and it may even be true, but the Pentagon is more worried about it than we are (can you say "stop-loss?" It doesn't work if soldiers are broken), and has been for longer; and so on and on.

     There's a lot of heat and a lot of posturing, but no more light than we ever had, and then--

     Then some clever type expressed the wistful hope that an impulsive President Trump wouldn't have to deal with something like this, or, worse, a Sandy Hook-type incident.

     He almost certainly will.  While it's still a rare kind of crime on a per-unit-time or per-capita basis, they keep happening and unlike nearly every other category of violent crime, the trend is not downward.  Granting a certain steady rate of murderous, reality-deficient losers who aren't detected, deflected or stopped before their first hit, civilization also has an ongoing problem with Islamoid mass-killers† -- and an even bigger problem with a flavor of Islam that keys only too well into the thoughts of aggrieved men in the "MRA" mold, aggrieved men of color feeling locked out, would-be barbarians and those who long for a "return to traditional values."  --A little something for every loser, and the price of admission is just religious conversion, if they don't happen to have been raised in the faith already.  It's showing a definite growth rate and as it grows, so do the mostly-amateur killings.  I don't think Mr. Trump has a magic wand to stop it before it happens; I doubt anyone does.

     So, what next?  I don't know.  Over the long term, I do know that Western Civilization does, eventually, turn very ugly when threatened.  I think we may have a chance to see that, up close and at full steam.  We may not like it much.
* Yes, "unloaded."  The FAA and airlines aren't much minded to debate the Four Rules: they want the chamber and  magazine, if in place, e-m-p-t-y and the cartridges securely stored.

† We lack an in-between word, and so mass killings in the Holocaust, Gulags and the fields of Pol Pot's Cambodia, firebombing cities and dropping H-bombs get the same tag as some horrible loser shooting a half-dozen innocents at a mall.  The death of the undeserving is indeed not scalar: it is as evil to kill one as a thousand, but we really need terms to distinguish between nation-state-sized activity and small numbers of murderers with small-arms or petty-ante death-dealing machinery.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Is Hibernation An Option?

     It was two below this morning, -2°F.  For my metric friends, that's like -40°C or -408 millidarcys or -768 kiloKatal or something.*  Too cold!

     I stayed in bed as long as I could, then got up briefly -- and went right back to bed.  Hunger finally drove me out, to a plate of sausage hash with an egg cooked atop it and some nice Manchego cheese as a buffer. I tried a trick this time that worked out well: sprinkled a generous pinch or two of flour in the skillet before adding the hash.  It browns up nicely in the grease left after my blotting-up of as much as I could from the decanned block of hash and it moderates the slightly-harsh spiciness.

     Trying to decide what next.  "Back to bed" has a certain appeal but it lacks panache.
* Oh, all right, okay, it's -19°C as near as matters, actually -18.888888888... until you run out of eights.  So, you're so clever, what's the special thing about forty below that got it included in my bogus list of conversions?

Friday, January 06, 2017

A Friday Off

     I slept in.  Just finishing up cooking Swedish pancakes -- I used "shelf milk," the UHT-processed processed stuff that's long-term-storable at room temperature and you know what?  You can't tell.  I've now got my plate of non-rising pancakes in a stack with butter and sugar between each layer, and it's just as good as the pancakes made with milk I'm rarely able to use up before it turns.  (Purists put lingonberry jam between the layers and it's good, a nicely balanced sweet/tart, but I grew up eating them with butter and sugar.)

     There's a small repertoire of pastry-type things which I rarely make because I don't keep milk around.  This may make it easier.  Still probably won't do popovers until I replace the stove -- 450 degrees is something of an adventure with an old gas stove, and not one I'm eager to try.  Though damn, they're good, and a cold winter's day is exactly the right time for using the oven.

     (Why popovers, you ask?  I think of them now because the batter is almost the same as for Swedish pancakes, just add some melted butter and perhaps a pinch of salt.  The result is different indeed, glorious hollow explosions of tastiness waiting to be filled with butter and jelly, or scrambled eggs, cheese and breakfast meat, or whatever else strikes your fancy.  I was addicted at my first exposure, at the age of nine or ten at the Jordan Pond Tea House in Acadia National Park in Maine.  You will be too, if you try 'em.  The closest recipe to the one I use is here, from good old King Arthur Flour, but even they don't fully emphasize that you must grease, grease, grease the muffin pan or custard cups, a good coating with no gaps.  Crisco works perfectly well for this, though don't substitute it for the melted butter in batter!  The popovers must pop up, you see, and they've only got chemical energy for the task.  Smooth the way and they will reward you richly.)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Triple Pun!

Did you realize that in shallower waters, H. P. Lovecraft's Deep Ones would be littoral green men?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

[Fill In The Blank], Arise! --If You Have Free Time

     You can say this about change-of-party elections: they get people involved in the political process.  Adherents of the party in power* tend to become complacent, and to stay that way even as it fades, while fans of the party on the outs are more motivated, more likely to show up.  The cyclic nature of recent elections reflects this, at least in part.

     So this time 'round, it's Mr. Trump and the supposed existential threat he poses to a lot of the traditional Democrat constituencies; minorities (as defined) are to Dems what gun-owners are to the GOP: taken for granted and often fobbed off with cheap promises.  Mr. Trump is at least a good a scarecrow in that garden as Mr. Obama was to the NRA, and the undetermined nature of whatever actual threat a Trump Administration might pose to specific groups is all the better for the purpose of rabble-rousing.

     The rabble du jour (or is is de jure?  There does seem to be rather a lot of rushing to judgement going around) is the Women's March On Washington.  Formerly the "Million Woman March," except A) it had already been done B) by African-American women, leaving the paler organizers of the present March all Culturally Appropriative and thus in a renaming frame of mind, and C) there ain't exactly a million women going to be there; the hopes are for a hundred thousand, an (engineering!) order of magnitude less.  But whatever, 100K wimmenfolk, even 10K, that'd show up on the ol' D. C. radar, right?  --Except they'll be doing this at Mr. Trump's Inauguration, where the signal-to-other-signal ratio may be just a little bit...unfavorable.  In fact, between celebrators and protesters, they are likely to be less than ten percent of the crowd† -- and nowhere near the TV cameras.

     Still, even if they're crowded off screens by the Chief Justice's ceremonial reading of predictions in the entrails of a slaughtered duck,‡ they are involved; they're doin' the American thing of making noise, waving signs, dressing up funny and dumping tea in the harbor, attempting to levitate the Pentagon, Corresponding in Committee, living free and Bohemian in their parents basement -- and wearing hats.

     Remarkably unfortunate hats, pink hats that kind of have "cat ears" and look like a knit version of an old military side cap or garrison cap (yes, with that nickname) worn sideways.  Worn, as well, entirely without irony.

     I keep telling myself, "politics is rarely pretty."  More like rarely sensible; but hey, they're out there doing their thing and not at home posting goofy, bitter Internet memes, and that's something.  --But, still--

     Hooray, dissent is suddenly patriotic again!  It's going to be an interesting four years.
* I question the extent to which officeholders of the two are all that distinguishable other than their posturing on a small number of key issues; what they actually do in office is more alike than different: work for re-election or an even higher office, while spending money the country doesn't have.

† For comparison, Mr. Obama's first inauguration had a live audience of some 1.8 million and his second is said to have gathered "at least a million." That puts the Marchers 20 dB down at best. 

‡ Oh, I know what an "augury" is, and I can well picture the metonymy involved in referring to the outgoing President as a "lame duck."  They're not fooling me a bit!  I'm surprised, though -- you'd think they'd just use one of the turkeys ritually granted a Presidential pardon each November.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Dissonantive Cognizance

     Wait, wait, explain me this: the very party that just spent most of a campaign season as a Terrifying Example of what happens when older folks try to be "hip" or "with it" and make with the e-mail like kids these days--

     --Has a huge overlap with the people sneering at Mr. Trump for being skeptical about using computers in the White House 'cos he thinks they're inherently insecure?*

     Okay, then.

     This is one of the few things Mr. Trump has talked about that I agree with wholeheartedly: if you want something to be secure, keep it off the 'Net.  The Internet is, by design, the very opposite of secure.

     Just ask Ms. Clinton.
* You what I love most? None of the people talking about this -- not either side -- actually know a damned thing about it, and would refuse informed advice if offered. It's to the point where you could use a random-number generator to pick opinions and do as well.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Good Morning?

     It is now New year's Day (observed).  Observed receding in the rear-view mirror, I'd say -- but we do need our day off, don't we?

     Wouldn't know.  It's not a day off for me.  It will, however, be a short day, and that's good, for I have much to do.  And so do you, but have you done any of it?  Yeah, me neither.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The New Year Is Here

     And this message is a recording, as I'm on the early-early shift.  It should be the last one for awhile.

     The early shift meant an early bedtime, long before midnight.  I did wake up briefly around 10:45 p.m., to the sound of fireworks and possibly small-arms fire: people may have been in a hurry to see the last of 2016.  Me, I'm not so sure -- years bring what they bring; the wheel turns and the world spins on.

     By the time you read this, I will have - knock wood! -- made my way though a sleeping city to work, in the dark before the dawn of a whole new year. 

     Welcome to 2017.