wander project

I am a huge fan of writing and writers. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that I connect to the writing of certain writers. Heinlein and Asimov, Ben Bova, Tolkein, CS Lewis, Orwell, Bradbury, the list continue for a long time. I struggled at first with Ulysees by Joyce, but I stopped reading and thought about the story; now, it is one of my favorite books. The same is true the first time I read Faulkner. The ability of some writers to create something beyond what was there and what is there makes them hard at times to read.

Chasing Dory ROVBut the concept and the ideas are so important. Fiction is the ability to create something out of something that is and isn’t there. The best fiction blends the possible with the impossible to allow us to step away from where we are and view what is in front of us. That artistic distance is what writers do. That ability does not translate to politics often. The art of political rhetoric now seems lost. The reality of the rhetoric now is that it is empty and doesn’t allow us to step aside and look at where we were.

Books still do that; there will be a great novel written about our times. As there were many great historical events (, All Quiet on the Western Front is a book that haunts to this day. The Diary of Anne Frank is a book that moves me to tears every time I read bits of it. I can’t read the whole thing anymore; it makes me too sad). Books are a guide, they are information shared, but they are also a one-way conversation. Where the writer shares their beliefs with us so we can unpack them, try them on, and see if they work for us.


Wander Project

I was at a meeting yesterday, so I had to drive to Virginia. I have to say taking the back way is 12 miles longer and nearly a ½ hour shorter in time each way. I saved an hour (total time in car 2 hours instead of 3). So the back way is the only way I am going to drive to Virginia now. As I’ve shared before, we are planning on selling our house next summer. In that process, we will move north 30 miles (Frederick, Maryland) or south 200 miles (Durham, North Carolina), depending on various things out of my control.

2This will be potentially (if we go to North Carolina) our 3rd inter-state move in the last 20 years. We moved from Ohio to Indiana (ok, that isn’t very far, I know). We also moved from Indiana to Ohio before that. We started our journey in Indiana. I miss the Red Chair bakery. Our bigger and hardest move overall was going from Indiana to Maryland. It put us out of the running down to my folk’s house for holidays mode. That is one thing that was a lot harder to take overall. I miss hanging out with my dad on the back deck.

IMG_0101Moving to North Carolina would add an hour getting back to Indiana, and moving to Frederick would remove an hour getting back to Indiana (the way the highways go, you have to go North to go West). Either way, it will reduce my commute time, no matter where we move. I would be about 10 miles from the office, give or take, in NC. In Frederick, MD, I would be 12 miles closer. Funny, 10-15 miles in NC would take less time by far than the 12 fewer miles that would save Frederick to Virginia. Traffic in DC is horrible.


wander project

I was born just outside the city of Chicago, Illinois. I worked in downtown Chicago for three years and had a blast visiting the sites I visited as a kid. We brought the kids out for a weekend in Chicago and went to the shed aquarium, the Museum of science and industry, and the Field Museum. We had taken one of the kids out of the Field Museum as he gets a little upset when he sees dead animals. The funny thing is he still does it all these years later, but at the time, we had a good time going through that museum. I have a picture of Sue the dinosaur, Taranto source Rex that was on display at the Field Museum, with the dinosaurs head leaning down on my wife and the kids underneath with the caption I put on the picture that says dinosaur eats family.

desolation 1One of the reasons was that, at that time, my daughter was entranced by dolphins. She had done a report the year before, and we had gone to the Indianapolis zoo to the new dolphin exhibit, and she had just become enamored with dolphins. So the shed aquarium was a great experience for her. For me, I mean I love dolphins and always have, a big fan of water and seeing the things that live underwater. The one thing that, at that particular time, I was astounded by was the long hallway that was dedicated to seeing horses. While I always understood there were a lot of seahorses in the sea, I did not understand that there were so many species of seahorses.

breaking glassI bring this up because I was reminded of a trauma that occurred on that particular trip. At that point in their lives, the twins were attached to two stuffed bears. One was called Honey bear. And the other was called Ma bear. Fortunately, while we had remembered to bring one of my mother’s handmade quilts, the twins haven’t slept in a bed without one of their grandmother’s quotes very often in their lives. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring Ma Bear and Honey Bear. So we went to the downtown Chicago F O Schwartz toy store. All three kids got a stuffed animal to sleep with that night, and the crisis was averted, barely. As long as they had one of grandma’s quilts, they were okay sleeping without their bears.


wander project

IMG_0134I am not the baseball fan I was when I was younger, but you have to stop and recognize excellence ooccasionally The 3rd Yankees player (Aaron Judge) hit 60 home runs. No other team has more than one player that hits 60 home runs in a year. The other and probably even more amazing feat was Albert Pujos. He joined a very rare club; only he and Hank Aaron have hit 700 home runs and 3000 hits. That shows not only longevity but also consistency. So with the end of the baseball season coming very soon, kudos to Albert and the Yankees.

Our microwave died about three weeks ago now (they called a week ago saying we were 10-14 days on the part minimum yet). It’s funny how you come to depend on a Microwave. I remember the first one my parents got many years ago. It was Litton (are they still in business). Microwaves are interesting because they came out at the end of WWII. What do we do with all these leftover Radar arrays we don’t need anymore? One of those happy accidents that happen in labs from time to time. History is full of many such moments!

IMG_0613I got a Flu shot on Friday. They always say there are side effects to vaccines, there are, but normally they are minor. I didn’t think about the shot, got it, and then, as per my normal routine, I walked nine miles Saturday morning. But late in the day Saturday, I was feeling the vaccine. Oh well, it passed, and I am fine now. Better a ½ day of uncomfortable than a week of being sick. Vaccines are amazing; My mother has an interesting theory on vaccines. She feels like if you had a lot of them when you were younger, you aren’t impacted as much by them later.


wander project

One of the things that I have done for years is watching communication patterns. I share them from time to time; they are often very interesting. But there is one thing that, no matter what, always makes me stop. The one communication anti-pattern causes me to walk away from what I am doing and saying. It is the I lack Decorum anti-pattern. What is that anti-pattern? Well, it is one of the worst in the workplace or your personal life. Because no matter what you do or say, that person doesn’t have to live within the rules of decorum.

  1. They can say anything because everything they say comes from their position of power. Alexander Haig demonstrated this in the press conference when Ronald Reagan was shot (as Secretary of State, he was not in charge)
  2. They can say anything because everyone else is wrong. Plus, the quality of the statements made by the other person in the conversation is much lower than the anti-pattern speaker’s position and information. Regardless of the impact, they can say anything. Because they are right and you, you are wrong by speaking or disagreeing with them (I don’t ever do that).
  3. You can’t get information out of them because you are not worthy of them sharing.
  4. Did I mention that regardless of the rules of polite conversation and discourse, they are empowered to say anything?

desolation 1So one thing I’ve learned over the years about this anti-pattern is that you can say nothing to people in it or who have it. Because when you disagree with them, they remember it and blow you up every chance they can get after that. It is a really hard pattern to deal with, so I’ve learned to add it to my avoid list.

drumI encountered one at work the other day. Honestly, I knew there was a chance that was the native communication pattern of the person (when a person applies an anti-partner without having a pattern, then the anti-pattern, while negative, is still their native pattern).

There was a time in my life when I titled at those windmills, but like Quixote, I grew weary of the windmills. The energy in that fight is better spent on people that might change.


wander project

I was wandering down to Northern Virginia in the morning for a meeting. Of course, it rained for the third time (in the last 30 days) in a row. This time it waited until I was on the busiest stretch of road in my trip to start raining hard. Sometimes you can’t win, regardless.

From a technology side, I have been playing with Android Auto and Apple Carplay lately. Most cars support both, and you can switch back and forth between them. The two are very similar, and when you do a lot of calls in the car, it is nice to switch back and forth.

Chasing Dory ROVAs it gets dark now at the end of my end-of-day walk, it will soon be time to start wearing my headlamp again. Most people relax when they get to the normal part of the drive. We all know where that is, those last few minutes right before you are home. As a walker, you must be ten times more careful this time of year. I have a headlamp that has both front and back lights. The front light is so that I can see as it gets dark at night. The back lamp is red, so people behind me in cars see something ahead of them. I don’t walk on the road, but I do have to, on occasion, on my various routes have to cross roads.

fishing rod holderGoing to Northern Virginia now, I rarely go the route others go. I like the backway from our house. It is 9 miles longer but averages between 25 and 40 minutes faster. There is significantly less traffic the back way. Plus, there are only one or two places where traffic slows down. So that is my route to Virginia!

PS in Virginia, unplug your radar detector!


wander project

I lived through the Steroid period of baseball. Before that, I loved baseball and watched it all the time. Now, I will watch an occasional Chicago Cubs game, but my loyalty and love end there because the steroid crew denied over and over that they used steroids. Then, suddenly proof came out, and they disappeared. I thought then that the “I am innocent” defense was best left as a silent response. The minute you respond publicly to charges against you, you ultimately cannot be found guilty because you lose the court case and your credibility forever.

IMG_0132Or, to quote the Bard, “Me thinks he doth protect too much.” At some point, everyone isn’t out to get you. If they were, they would have gotten you a long time ago. No one is that smart or that lucky. It just isn’t possible, and frankly, if any of it is true, shame on you for denying it. I shouldn’t worry or care about this any longer. It isn’t something that matters. It is the last thrashing of a dying beast. I hope that death doesn’t take the entire country with it. That, in the end, wouldn’t justify the behavior. It would just make things worse.

IMG_0053In the end, lying about the value of something doesn’t help anyone but you. The amount it helps you is suspect. Effectively there is no value in the imagined value. It is simply a made-up number. As I said, starting the Steroid days of baseball ruined baseball for me. I love the Cubs. I root for them all year long. I have a second favorite team, but I don’t watch their games; I just read the standings and root for them. Baseball lost me as a full-time fan. The reason was all the denial, which was later found to be dishonest at best. I hope that is not the case now.


wander project

GIQY2628I think three things should be on the minds of US voters going forward. The first is an easier way to impeach Supreme Court Justices. I suspect there is one that probably should recuse himself from virtually everything, which ultimately means he should resign from the court. He likely won’t, but that is another issue. If not impeached, there must be a way to remove a justice. The second thing is the electoral college has to go. Yes, there was a stolen election. There have been 4 in the last 250 years, and all four were stolen from the people.

IMG_01682000 and 2016, a candidate lost the popular vote and was still elected president in a democracy that isn’t possible. In a federation of states, it is. Time for us to move to Democracy. Did I say that there is a fine line between freedom of speech? We have sent people to war to protect that right of free speech. But, when someone using political rhetoric can say anything without repercussions, that isn’t free speech. Free speech has boundaries. That we continue to have to define those boundaries is sad.

Hate speech applies to political rhetoric. Hate speech is not acceptable under the law of the land. Free Speech does not mean the right to say anything. It means the right for you to speak is protected. You can be arrested and charged with hate speech if you violate that boundary. But like the 2nd amendment, we need to have a national conversation. I suspect my last thing will not resonate with most. But here goes, we need a national referendum on congresspeople. Any US district can elect anyone they want to the national office of congress. But if that person violates the rules of decorum or worse, that person should not only be stripped of committee members but also of the right to submit bills or articles, vote on laws, etc. You can elect anyone you want, but your congressperson doesn’t get to do anything if most people are offended.

A congressperson or senator presents people in a specific state. They do not represent our nation.


Wander project

I was out on my morning walk yesterday and saw the red fox again in the greenway behind our neighborhood. The fox was moving quickly but was visible for 30 seconds or so. I spent a lot of time in the woods in Indiana and honestly never saw a fox. I know; it shouldn’t be something that makes me stop and well bounce! But in fairness, my father once almost capsized a canoe when he saw a Bald Eagle in the Turtle-Flambeau flowage in Wisconsin. By nearly, if mom hadn’t grabbed the gunnels, the canoe would have flipped.

P6080013The other thing, of course, is it was so fast that I couldn’t grab my phone out of my pocket. That is an advertisement for a camera that is always on (you can find several versions of such), but the other side is, are you living the Truman Show in real life? Where life becomes a movie, or is the movie life? Anyway, it was fun to see the fox. Normally I am more likely to see the herd of deer that lives in that same greenway. They cross the road behind our neighborhood to enjoy the unmowed grasses in the field there.

P6080010I love walking between the various greenways. We have one in front of our neighborhood, one to the north, and one behind our neighborhood. Directly next to us is a big road and another set of townhouses on the south. But overall, three sides of green are a lot of greenways to walk! Growing up in Southern Indiana, we were always a 2-5 minute walk from the forest or open spaces. Maryland is a little more densely populated overall, but it is nice that we have some green between all the houses. The only thing missing would be drivers that pay attention to walkers and runners!


wander project between two polar extremes

In the constitution of the US, there is a distinct and written separation of church and state. I am just saying.

A wise man once said, as you work your way up the ladder of success, be careful who you step on, for they are the ones that will not catch you when you fall. And no matter what and how good you are, you will fall.

clouds1Look, I don’t care anymore. The reality of the extremes is dangerous. It doesn’t matter which extreme. The Extremes are dangerous (what a great band name on a lighter note. Now appearing the Extremes). Disord is never a good thing in rhetoric unless you’re using the application Discord to have rhetoric with someone. I think Plato and Socrates would and probably are turning over in their graves now with the separation of reality and political rhetoric. I listened to a historical talk about the fact that while our nation is divided, it is nowhere near as galvanizing as the decade leading up to the Civil War. So we have seen worse in our democracy. We will survive this bump in the road, but sadly, like what resulted in the Civil War, it will be painful.

GIQY2628I would like to, for a moment, call to mind the speech JFK gave. In his inauguration, he said, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.” I think all of us can put down the tablets, cellphones, guns, and television remotes for a moment and remember what we are. The law of the land applies to all. The rules of polite discourse could apply to all if we let them. The extremes on both sides are not the answer. They are the loudest, there is no question, but extremes are always loud. They are never right. Well, never is a harsh word. They are mostly not right.