Saturday, June 30, 2012

Need a long Saturday? Tonight, timekeepers add a second to clock

International timekeepers are adding a second to the clock at midnight universal time Saturday, June 30, 2012.

Need a long Saturday? And really, who doesn't?

As reported in the LA Times, tonight, timekeepers add a second to clock.

Thanks, International Timekeepers! I already have BIG plans for that free second

1. Reset the clocks after last night's storm
2. Switch out my winter and summer linen
3. Finish my 2011 taxes (wait, that's not funny)

What will you do with the extra time on this extra LONG Saturday?

Weather: Welcome to Earth!

Back on line after a wicked storm passed through the DC area last night at about 10:30 pm. The heat index got to 110 yesterday, which is fairly dramatic in-and-of itself. Then last night: 80 mph winds, lightning, thunder, and driving rain for 45 minutes.


I admit, I find storms thrilling in the same way that huge waterfalls and twisty roads on a motorcycle are thrilling. You can put yourself on the edge of danger and feel the raw power. I tried to set up an observation post in the breezeway after > the electricity went out, and before < I realized just how strong the west wind was blowing. The wind covering me in rain spray and doused my candle.

Fortunately, my garage faces east. So I relocated, opened the garage door, set up a table and chair, lit some candles, popped open a bomber bottle of Dogfish Head Noble Rot, and settled in for the show. My little rescued barn swallows were with me, huddled tightly in their nest. My cats were safely inside, Mira on the window ledge in wide-eyed wonder and Chessie under the couch in wide-eyed terror. I commenced a-textin' to share the experience virtually, vicariously. 

Imagine the scene: 
  • Flickering candle light illuminating the door frame and the overhang, where the young birds are weathering their first storm.
  • The streets are completely dark, illuminated only by the frequent flashes of lightning. Several bright flashes per minute, each followed instantly by booming thunder. 
  • Winds were howling at 60 and gusting to 80, driving the wind nearly horizontally and bending the young trees in our new neighborhood.
  • While the battery slowly drains out of my cell, my tablet, my UPS, my VOIP base station, and my wireless land-line base station, the delicious beer slowly drains out of the bottle, the candles slowly burn down to the wick, and the violent storm slowly subsides. Eventually, the show was over, and I am blissfully off the grid.... 

Meanwhile, all around me:

  • Over a million people in DC, MD, and VA lost electrical power. 
  • The Metro was stalled, stranding thousands. 
  • At least 7 people in this area died from falling trees or power lines. 
  • Cell phones went out, which is to be expected, but even 911 service was knocked out. 
  • Sirens blared all night long, responding to traffic accidents on dark streets. 
  • The storm apparently took down Amazon’s cloud in Northern VA. The cloud there serves Netflix, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as other popular services. Didn't matter to me since my tablet battery was drained. 
  • Don Giovanni survived the night at Wolf Trap, our outdoor music venue. In the middle of Act II, as Donna Elvira was gearing up for her big aria, the lights began flickering, mirroring the storm, and then they abruptly died, leaving the young singer -- Olivia Vote -- and the audience in darkness. 

Some media coverage

Power was out in my area for 16 hours, just long enough for condensation under my ice bin to drip down into my half-empty tray of half frozen chicken stock cubes, which I dumped. I also poured water out of the bottom of my ice bin into a bucket to use on the basil and bamboo plants. We are conserving water because power is still out at the water treatment plant. By the way, when flushing the toilet during water conservation, the mantra is "If it's yellow, let it mellow."

All in all, I fared rather well.

It's just weather. Welcome to earth. Adapt and overcome.

Or not. 

  • You should have seen the hundred yard long line at the closest McDonald's with power!
  • Some of my neighbors actually moved to hotel rooms.
  • Several neighbors sat in their cars with the AC on to listen to news on the radio and recharge phones.
  • I showed one of my neighbors how to light his gas stove without electricity. Trust me, it CAN be done! Through the magic of matches... 

I got out of Saturday morning chores like vacuuming. I couldn't even wash my bike because of the water restriction. So, I took a nap and had a dream so incredible that I promise to write it down in my journal, which you will not be able to read until after I am dead. It was that good. I played with the cats, read some, and took another nap. 

It's predicted to hit 102 today, and more storms are forecast for tonight. Bring it, Mother Nature! The storm which does not kill us makes us stronger. 

Stoopid Stuff

We all get frustrated with the moron who cuts in line, or the idiot who carts 30 things into the express line, or the doofus who honks for no reason. Reading is Fundamental, but please to not text and drive, people! Sure, accidents happen, but how many times must a competent adult be reminded to set his cell phone to stun in an auditorium

Yes, sometimes we try one another's patience, or worse. Here is my perspective on the stoopid stuff people do. If you are interested in playing along, notice that no weapons are needed.

1. There are 7 B people sharing this lovely planet of ours.

2. Intelligence is distributed on a normal curve and by definition, an IQ of 100 is the mean.

3. Two-thirds of humanity have an IQ within one standard deviation of the mean, so half of the remaining third is above average and the other half has an IQ of between 0 and about 80.

4. On the low end of the IQ scale there are about 7B / 6 = 1.2B souls.That's a whole lot of stoopid stuff just waiting to happen. 

5. What we are really talking about is stoopid stuff, not people who are prone to doing stoopid stuff. High IQ people are not exempt from doing stoopid stuff. I just like to think they are less likely. 

6. Either way, there is a lot of stoopid stuff going on out there, and with the population on the rise, the raw count of stoopid incidents is only going to get worse! 

7. I don't get too surprised by stoopid stuff. Frustrated? Sure, but not surprised. I just pray for patience and I try to let stoopidity roll off me without sticking. I watch where I walk. And above all, I try not to add to the problem! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

So You Thought Italians Just Drank Wine?

Teo Musso

Craft beer is catching on around the globe, even in (gasp!) Italy. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this article, "You thought Italians Just Drunk Wine?" from Sabotage Times. Read and learn about Teo Musso, the Jim Morrison of Beer. 

I give an even higher recommendation to the products of the creative genius behind Birrificio Le Baladin (%abv and rating on a 1-5 scale are shown):

Baladin / del Borgo Cu+ Crismas American Barleywine 11%, 3.100
Baladin Al-Iksir (Elixir) Belgian Strong Pale Ale 10.00%, 3.9
Baladin Isaac Witbier 4.8%, 3.360
Baladin Mama Kriek Fruit Lambic 5.8%, 3.160
Baladin Nazionale Belgian Pale Ale 6.50%, 3.5
Baladin Noël Baladin Belgian Strong Dark Ale 9.00%, 3.93
Baladin Noël Chocolat Belgian Strong Dark Ale 9.00%, 4.15
Baladin Nora Sour Edition 2005 Wild Ale 6.8%, 3.483
Baladin Nora Herbed / Spiced Beer 6.80%, 4.08
Baladin Open Baladin Belgian Pale Ale 7.50%, 3.67
Baladin Super Baladin Belgian Strong Pale Ale 8.00%, 3.91
Baladin Terre - Riserva Teo Musso 2010 English Barleywine 12.00%, 3.82
Baladin Wayan Saison 5.8%, 3.525
Baladin Xfume English Barleywine 14.00%, 4.35
Baladin Xyauyù Etichetta Argento (Silver) English Barleywine 13.50%, 4.24
Baladin Xyauyù Etichetta Oro (Gold) English Barleywine 13.50%, 4.46
Baladin Xyauyù Etichetta Rame (Copper) English Barleywine 12.00%, 4.39

As long as we are visiting the Big Boot Country, have a look at Birra del Borgo as well. Their collaborations with Baladin and American avant garde brewer Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head have drawn attention and rave reviews.

Baladin / del Borgo Cu+ Crismas Italy American Barleywine 11%, 3.100
del Borgo / Dogfish Head My Antonia Imperial Pilsener 7.5%, 3.200
del Borgo 25 Dodici Belgian Strong Ale 9.5%, 3.300
del Borgo Castanha Spiced Ale 4.2% 2.850
del Borgo Duc Ale Belgian Strong Ale 8% 3.150
del Borgo Duchessa Saison 6.2% 3.000
del Borgo Duchessic Saison 5.9% 3.325
del Borgo Genziana Spiced Ale 6.2%, 3.271
del Borgo ImperiAle Spiced Ale 6.1%, 3.040
del Borgo Keto Reporter Spiced Ale 5.2%, 3.200
del Borgo LEquilibrista Wild Ale 10.9%, 3.125
del Borgo Re Ale IPA 6.4%, 3.125
del Borgo Re Ale Extra American Pale Ale 6.4%, 3.120
del Borgo Re Porter Porter 4.2%
del Borgo Rubus Fruit Beer 5.6%, 3.250
del Borgo Tè Spiced Ale 4.2%, 3.000
del Borgo Trentatre Bruna Belgian Strong Ale 9%, 2.900

Try something different from Italy tonight!

The Newsroom – What Makes America The Greatest Country In The World

After hearing the buzz about HBO's new series, The Newsroom, I tuned in to creator Aaron Sorkin's recent interview on The Late, Late Show with Jimmy Fallon. That interview was mildly interesting, but not enough to make me want to add HBO to my cable bill.

Then I stumbled upon this clip.

Of course, many other folks have also discovered this clip, and the range of reactions is fascinating. 

Some complain about the language. Personally, this old Soldier has heard it all before and while I may not use that vocabulary in casual conversation, I totally understand the impassioned manner in which Will McAvoy expressed his frustration in this clip. I also understand the decision to air on HBO, to preserve the option of dropping a well-timed f-bomb now and then.

Some complain that Will was too hard on the young co-ed. Well! The world can be rough. Do we send our kids off to college to fill their heads with platitudes, such as diversity, opportunity, and freedom? I hope instead we send them off to college to learn how to think for themselves and to survive in a knock-around world.

Despite these concerns, generally the feedback to the arresting clip is positive.

I did find one glaring exception. This Breitbart post takes the position that America is still the greatest country and the clip is all wrong. The left wing media elite (Hollywood's Sorkin, et al) are trying to destroy America by running her down. Anyone who complains about America should feel free to move away. Jeff Daniels, star of The Newsroom, said in an interview that he "Agrees America's Not The Greatest Country In The World Anymore." Therefore, he (Daniels) is part of the problem.

I seriously doubt that either Sorkin's Will McAvoy or Jeff Daniels are out to destroy America. Let's take a closer look at what Sorkin's dialog and Daniels' delivery is really saying. You can find the accurate transcript of the clip HERE.

Now, let's set up our exploration of the clip in the form of an experiment. We write our Action Hypothesis, H(a) based on the assumption underlying the young co-ed's question, "Why is America the greatest country in the world?" Then, we write a statement diametrically opposed to the Action Hypothesis, H(0) such that one and only one of the statements can be true.

Hypothesis, H(a): America is the Greatest Country in the World

Null Hypothesis, H(0): There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. Therefore, America is not the greatest country in the world. 

We cannot prove anything here, but if we can reject the Null Hypothesis, then we can be fairly certain that H(a), which is diametrically opposed. is a valid statement. Obviously, failing to reject the Null means that we have very little confidence in the validity of H(a). So let's look at the evidence and see if we can reject H(0).

We are NOT good at the stuff that matters
We’re seventh in literacy. Twenty-seventh in math. Twenty-second in science. Forty-ninth in life expectancy. A hundred and seventy-eighth in infant mortality. Third in median household income. Number four in labor force and number four in exports.
What we ARE good at is not great
We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.
We were great, once
We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. We cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars. Acted like men. We aspired to intelligence. We didn't belittle it—it didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn't identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election, and we didn't scare so easy. 
What thing, which we apparently now lack, enabled this former greatness?
We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered. 

America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. 

First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. 
 Fade to black...

Analysis and Implications 
for further Thought and Discussion

1. The conclusion does not follow from the evidence presented. Perhaps America is still the greatest country, just not as great as it once was. The evidence makes the claim of a fall from past greatness fairly convincingly. What would really nail it is a trendline on all the measures cited. Was there a time when America was #1 or #2 in all the measures?

2. In order to reject the Null Hypothesis, there must be evidence of a country greater than America. America may not be a great country country anymore, but is there a country better than America? There is no counter-claim to satisfy the "if you don't like it, move out crowd." Since we cannot reject the Null, odds are that the Hypothesis is false.

3. Perhaps greatness, especially in the comparative "-est" sense, is not the right question to ask. The right question might be, are we as great as we could or should be? If not, what do we do about it? Pursuing this kind of question is what "the art and science of betterness" is all about! Maybe I should make a Qualitative Value Map!

4. What then are the measures of a great country? Following the dialog, a great country is one which: (a) does well in good things (math and science, literacy, life expectancy); (b) avoids bad things (crime, irrational beliefs, wasteful spending); and (c) has certain positive traits that are harder to count (morals, compassion, humility, curiosity, courage).

5. To the stated measures, heavy on health and prosperity issues, I would add, "happiness." The people of a great country are not only pursuing happiness, but achieving it.

6. I do agree with the recommendation and its implications. There is a problem. America is not as great as it could be. If we care about this, then we should do something to engage each other and move the country toward the goal of greatness. Action follows from knowledge and motivation. We need trusted leadership and informed, empowered citizenry.

7. I found this clip unsettling--in a good way. It really made me think. Sorkin made working in the West Wing cool. Maybe he can inspire a new generation of journalists. 

We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered. 
As you watched the clip, did you notice the portrait of Edward R. Murrow on the screen behind the stage?  

Bottom Line
If we aspire to greatness as a Nation, then elevating the level of discourse is a good start! Are you now thinking of adding HBO to your cable service?

Health, happiness, and prosperity!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Remaining Clear and True to the Pulse of Life

Photo: Simone Lupson-Cook via

In Pali, the ancient source language of Buddhism and Hinduism, the word for mental means “wrong view.”  We must be careful not to interpret this righteously, as in, if you see things differently than I, you are wrong.  The wisdom here lies in the revelation that our wellness of mind hinges on how clear and true we remain to the pulse of life itself.
--Mark Nepo, in the July 2d entry, "Wrong View," 
from The Book of Awakening, emphasis added   

Our mental well-being depends, Nepo says, on " clear and true we remain to the pulse of life...". What is meant by this "pulse of life" notion? Assuming we arrive at a shared understanding of this "pulse," how do we remain clear and true to it? 

I love Nepo. Sometimes his poetry is a bit hard to apply to my life, yet it's always worth the struggle. Something about this day's lesson really grabbed me and propelled me into reflection and action mode. In celebration of the 500th post on PhilosFXI would like to put forward a couple takes on what may be meant by the Pulse of Life. 

Is the Pulse of Life another name for the Biological Imperative?

We all eat food and breathe air. We all have a biological urge to pass the best of ourselves on to future generations. Is this so-called biological imperative what Nepo means by the pulse of life? No, not exactly. There is more to life than the biological imperative. All life as we know it occurs in an environment. In the dance of change that is life, our genes interact with their environment, changing it, and being changed by it. More than the urge to survive, the Pulse of Life seems to imply the urge to get better. We are compelled to survive as a means to achieving "betterness." There are short-term needs, which, if satisfied, allow the pursuit of long-term betterness. The Pulse of Life is a yearning for a better future for our children.

Is the Pulse of Life reflected in Technology ?

We live in a technological age. Technology and progress go hand in glove. But I feel that technology is an application of the Pulse of Life, not a direct reflection of it. In fact, technology in some sense could be seen as working against the pulse of life. Modern living is putting more strain on mental--and even physical--health. Can we keep both our health and our modern, technology-oriented way of life? If so, fine, but if not, which is more important? What must change to preserve at least our mental health and as much of our way of life as it makes sense to keep? What does it mean to be clear and true to the pulse of life in this technological age? To what extent does technology aid or hinder the Pulse of Life?

Is the Pulse of Life the Quest to Commune in Oneness?

The expression, "Life finds a way" rings true because we understand it as if it were in our DNA. It was true before anyone ever wrote it down. All living things operate under the biological imperative, but life is more than that. We humans have additional burdens, gifts, and responsibilities: awareness of mortality; written language; the ability to make tools. Is the pulse of life an unwritten, primordial quest to evolve into a being at one with all living things? I am not talking about uniformity or sameness. I am talking instead about an intense awareness of the inter-connectedness of all living things. This idea of communing in oneness may be the closest I can come to grasping Nepo's intended meaning. 

So there you have it: Communing in Oneness is about balance and harmony. Not uniformity, but tolerance, diversity, forgiveness, positivity, respect, and dignity. Ultimately, "oneness" entails communing with the Divine.

Do birds go to heaven? I can't answer that, but I can tell you this. Rather than destroy the barn swallow nest in the overhang above my garage, I chose to hose bird droppings off my driveway. To live and let live. To let life find a way. The parents of those 4 hatchlings want to survive and have kids and a nice mud-daubed nest. 

Hatchling barn swallows in the garage overhang nest

But beyond the biology and the technology, there is an urge, innate in all living things, for something bigger and better, something beyond all explanation. I get that. That inexplicable destination? That's what heaven's all about.   

In Part II, I will build on this concept of the Pulse of Life as I have defined it, and describe how to remain clear and true to the Pulse of Life it in our current age. 

Part III will be some thoughts on how to make the world a better place by applying these thoughts toward a future age of increased Oneness. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

24 Season Two

This post is part of a continuing series on the TV drama, 24. I am writing about the parallels between this innovative and powerful drama, and life in DC during the same period.

Season 2: Oct 2002—May 2003. Terrorists threaten to explode a bomb on US soil. President Palmer is attacked and collapses.

Season 2 aired beginning in October 2002, the same month that the Beltway snipers Muhammed and Malvo shot 13 victims in the DC area, killing 10 of them.  Terrorism at home and abroad seemed very real, forming a scary backdrop to the TV drama. 

By the time the season ended in May, US Forces had invaded Baghdad and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein. 

Forces on the ground in Baghdad included then-Major Robert T. with 3d Infantry Division. Robert would later come to work for me in the Pentagon and eventually succeed me as Chief of the Concepts Integration Branch. 

After Sadam's Army crumbled and Baghdad fell, President Hussein went into hiding. Soon, then-MG Odierno's 4th Infantry Division found the former President hiding in an underground "spider hole."

Many of us watched the war on CNN, then caught news about the Beltway snipers on NBC, and then tuned to 24 on Fox for entertainment. Many of us were thus exposed to a continual stream of counter-terror drama on TV. 

People like my colleague Robert, the current Army Chief of Staff GEN Odierno, and the men and women of America's Army lived that counter-terror drama in real life.

Other Posts in This Series

Three: A reflection on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity

The Shield of the Trinity

I have made no secret of my belief in a creator God. Moreover, I am a Christian. Not to put too fine a point on it, but within all Christendom I align with the United Church of Christ (UCC). I have an open mind about other religious traditions. I am beyond tolerant of agnostics and atheists--in fact, I count many among my closest friends. So this post is not a dogmatic piece, but more of a commentary on the Christian concept of the Trinity: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Among the monotheistic religions of the world, only Christianity entertains the notion of God actually having three distinct, yet unified, personalities, as illustrated in the diagram above. Muslims and Jews both reject this concept. Jews do recognize Jesus as an historical figure, and Muslims further acknowledge Him as a prophet, like Moses and Mohammed. Only Christians view Christ as God in human form. This concept of the Trinity is based in part on Jesus' claim that he was One with the Father--that He was in the Father, and the Father was in Him.

I believe (there's that word!) everyone should be able to explain their choices. Of course, not everyone is inclined to be as rational as I am, and not everyone would appreciate my willingness to publicly and continually submit my beliefs to scrutiny. To each his or her own.... That's the point! Don't force me into your beliefs, and I will not attempt to force you into mine. However, a good, rational discussion is always welcome!

Then there is Quinn G. Caldwell, a UCC pastor who opines that nobody gets the Trinity, and that's OK, because if the Trinity were comprehensible, it wouldn't be God. 

"Some things are meant to be understood in terms of Facts, while others are meant to be experienced as articles of Faith. Is there anybody else out there who doesn't get the Trinity? Is there anybody else out there for whom 3 = 1 just doesn't compute? Anybody who fears they're the only one in church that doesn't have the triune God figured out? 

If Rev. Caldwell's approach is appealing to you, here’s good news: you can affirm the validity of the mysteries too big to sort out HERE. On the other hand, if you are interested in coming to grips with this puzzling doctrine, read on. I suppose if a person really wanted to delve into the unknowable they could study Perichoresis. Even I have my limits!

Faith and Facts

Throughout human history, Faith has been used to answer phenomenon that cannot be explained by available Facts. Picture a three-column ledger, with a list of phenomena on the left side of a vertical dividing line, a list of articles of Faith which explained these phenomena in the middle, and a list of indisputable Facts on the right side. No one need resort to Faith to explain generally accepted Facts. We don't need Apollo to carry the Sun across the sky for us anymore. Move the heliocentric model of the solar system over to the Facts column.

I think we have figured out how to explain many things that were mysterious to our forefathers: the movement of the sun across the sky, violent weather storms, volcanoes, birth and death, gravity, optics, fluid dynamics, particle physics, etc.

As time has rolled forward, there are fewer and fewer unsolved mysteries. Or maybe the quantity hasn't changed, but the quality of the remaining mysteries has certainly changed becoming more specific and intericate. We still know very little about the human brain, or whether life of any kind exists elsewhere in the vast universe. We know very little about what happens to whatever it is that animates our bodies after mortal death. We can be pretty sure of the age of the universe and how it is moving outward from some Big Bang moment, but we know very little about the original source of the materials present at that moment, or of the force behind the explosion that launched everything outward.

Mysteries can be explained by Faith until Facts are available. The Mystery of the Trinity is no different. What inexplicable  phenomenon does the Trinity explain? Why is Christianity the only faith that has this doctrine? Jews and Muslims believe in the same God as do Christians, but some go so far as to say that Christians are not true monotheists since we worship God as Father, Son, and Spirit.

Here is my take. The God of the Old Testament, the part of the Bible common to all three Abrahamic faiths, is somewhat remote and detached. In the New Testament, we are introduced to a very different vision of God, less remote and detached, and more desirous of a relationship. The doctrine of the Trinity helps explain this difference. God the Father wants a relationship with His creation. God  provided His Spirit and His Son as the means for fostering that relationship with the Father. His Son was an example and a sacrifice. His Spirit is a present guide and companion. While dispatching Son and Spirit for Father, God simultaneously retains the properties of omnipotence and omni-presence.

Through the doctrine of Trinity, and only through the doctrine of Trinity, Jesus is more than a mortal prophet. He is actually God in human form. The Holy Spirit is not a figment of our imagination. He is alive and real, an indwelling presence. Finally, God's love is like a Father's love, a metaphor I can relate to. I have no need to believe that the Ultimate Being is actually a male. I prefer to think of God as beyond gender. (That's based on Faith, not Fact!) But I simply cannot imagine a Mother watching the crucifixion of her Son and not intervening. As a career soldier I understand the value of life and the meaning of sacrifice. I know some soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and I at least understand the idea of sacrifice for a greater good. Why didn't God the Father rescue His only begotten Son? Why didn't God the Son call down 10,000 angels to set Him free? Why is the Holy Spirit filling me with these questions?  The answer to all three questions is the same. Without the Father's love, the Son's obedience, and the Spirit's assurance, I could not possibly have a personal relationship with God.  

For me, the bottom line is simple: When Faith and Fact conflict, go with Fact. That said, Facts have been known to change, so keep an open mind and remain skeptical. Look for ulterior motives that drive people to reach out to Faith or latch on to Facts. What problems do these purported answers solve? How do these answers aid or hinder our quest to become one with the Divine? Many false doctrines have been created by religious institutions to manipulate people. This is sad but true.

I do not understand the Trinity. I do not have to understand the Trinity to accept and believe in it. If this Christian article of Faith is ever proven Factual, I will have been on the right side of destiny. If it is false, I will at least have done no harm to myself or others.  In the meantime, what I gain from the Trinity is well worth the risk, and well worth contemplating and sharing.

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: Three in One.

What's Hot in Your Recent Documents?

Here is a periodic review of my most recently used files. I am looking for some evidence-based insights into how I spend my time.

DO try this at home! (Publishing the results: completely optional!) Are you surprised by what you see, and what you do NOT see? Do you have customers lined up for your work? If not, do you at least have sufficient internal rewards?

We only have so much time....

These are files that were created or modified in the last 7 days. Obviously this does not include all programs that I used, only the ones which generated data file output. For example, I did a lot of work editing photos, reading docs in Adobe, working within email editors, this blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Still, it's not hard to see how 40 hours could fly by with 5 or 6 files open on the desktop at any given moment during the past week. 

Here are 25 files sorted by type and arranged chronologically within type with the most recently changed on the top.

Excel (10)

  • Tasting Grid v2
  • Blog Stats
  • Contact
  • GK20
  • Student Loans
  • Tab Benoit
  • IBA Trial Run
  • Retailers
  • Carbs
  • Photo Captions

PowerPoint (9)

  • bloggable
  • Craft Beer Personality Types
  • Allison HS Graduation
  • 24K
  • Military Installations in the NCR
  • 23K
  • 5D Figures
  • 5A Figures
  • RGB Yin Yang logo idea

Word (6)

  • GKMMC Tri-Fold  Standard  v5
  • You make a good point
  • GKMMC Tri-Fold  Standard  v4
  • Walden Withdrawal
  • Colonoscopy Journal
  • GKMMC Tri-Fold  Standard  v3

My big question? Where are all the investment-related files? Where is the Resume? I do not see the All About Harley file in there. And Nepo?  Where's the notes from Mark Nepo's book?

Nothing in the list surprises or particularly disturbs me, but I am still baffled. I see evidence of a LOT of effort over a wide range of topics, and yet little that generates income. It's clear that i love Excel, but I am not too sure I would invite a prospective employer to use this week's production as evidence of my gravitas.

As I said earlier, we only have so much time. Am I getting the best possible return from how I spend mine? Does this exercise inspire you to look in YOUR Recent Docs bin?

To Health,
           Happiness, &

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Tail of the Dragon

This is going on my W.I.S.H. List.

My version of a Bucket List, the W.I.S.H. List is a list of things to do While I'm Still Here.

Who's with me? Maybe in the fall when the leaves are turning?

The Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap is a famous twisty road that crosses the Tennessee and North Carolina border. Folks promoting motorcycle and sport car two lane tourism have marketed this stretch of road into a destination for daredevils and cruisers alike.

Besides Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, other attractions include Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner28, Devils Triangle, and Six Gap North Georgia.

I think the idea is to keep the shiny side up.

More information, including photos of riders and downloadable .pdf maps is available HERE

Beer and Food Matching Chart

The Brewers' Association had published a handy Beer and Food Matching Chart. It is concise, accurate, and helpful. I recommend it.

If you want more information, there are many books which go into great detail. On my shelf are tomes by Michael Jackson, Garrett Oliver, and Randy Mosher. But if you want a pocket guide, this (Beer and Food Matching Chartis it! 

Five deadly terms used by a woman

You thought you were listening? Here's what these five innocent looking words really mean!

This funny-but-true quip is sometimes attributed to Whoopi Goldberg but I am not sure of the attribution. It sounds like something she would say! But then again, it's also one of those things that seems universally true, as if it existed before it was written down.

By the time this finally makes sense to a guy, he's probably already learned the hard way!

H/T: Julie

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Words of Wit and Wisdom: Optimism

WWW #6: Who cares if the glass is half empty or half full? Either way, there is room for more beer!

H/T: Karen

Words of Wit and Wisdom: Wasabi

WWW #5. Note to self. The wasabi in spicy wasabi dry roasted edamame is not evenly distributed on all the soy beans. So, even if the first few beans are mild, tossing a handful in your mouth is a bad idea.

A monumentally bad idea.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meet the Newest Member of the Tab Benoit Fan Club

Newest member? That would be me!

OK, you are hip and savvy, so you already know all about Tab Benoit, the bluesy Cajun who calls himself a drummer--even though he is currently featured in Guitarist magazine.

Sure he's from Louisiana, but he gets around. Maybe you caught his performances in Wolf Trap or Rams Head. Either way, you probably have Medicine in your iPod rotation. And really, who wouldn't?

But as for me, I am a new arrival into the "Tab Club."

Beer brother Lou, a great friend and Blues and barbecue aficianado, tipped me off that his favorite artist, Tab Benoit (pronounced, ben waa, but then you knew that, too) was playing at The Hamilton in DC. Lou has never led me astray in all these many years, so I jumped up and snatched a ticket before they sold out.

Lucky me: Standing Room Only. Barely made it!

The Hamilton is a "DC" place, the kind of place a person from out of town pictures when they think of DC. The young, well-dressed, highly educated lobbyists, lawyers, and staffers fill the bar and restaurant for a nice time in a trendy place just a block from the White House. The basement is a live music venue that seats I dunno, 200? There's not a bad seat, even standing in the back I had a great view and access to the downstairs bar.

I parked my Harley right in front, and strolled in wearing my jeans, t-shirt, and biker jacket. The suits parted and made way as I moved to the stairs heading to the underground lair.

More about the venue: Eat * Drink * Listen at The Hamilton

The opening act, DC's own Anthony "Swamp Dog" Clark rocked the house and  set an awesome stage! He's a master with the Blues harmonica. I will definitely look for another opportunity to catch Swamp Dog and the band live again soon. Meanwhile, I will enjoy this Video of Hoochie Coochie Man

From the moment Tab took the stage, he was in entertainment mode. His banter with the audience was extraordinary. Loyal fans were expecting this, and prompting him. If you have 8 or 9 minutes to invest, this video of his Bowling Monkey story will give you a good idea.

The entire time I was at the concert, I was texting friends, especially Lou. I sent snippets of lyric and little notes about the music. Lou gave me some ideas for songs and stories to request. Tab heard lots of suggestions but was highly selective in his responses.

"My fever's high, my nights are long, bring me my medicine, baby!"

I am not as familiar with Tab's repertoire as you must be, dear reader, so I had to take video notes with my tablet. Then I used my notes and the web to construct a play list. There were 14 songs plus an encore.

1. It's alright. Bluesy version
2. Fishin' on the Bayou. Cajun
3. Travelin' South. Blues cover.
4. Slow R&B number, "Turn on the Love lights, before I go blind."
5. Fast rockabilly tune "Why people like that?"
6. "Can't wait to get back home." Slow dance tune. He bends notes with voice and guitar.
7. Fuel for my Fire, a ZZ-Top-esque rock tune
8. Louisiana Woman. Cajun. One foot in NYC, the other in the bayou.
9. Medicine. LOVE IT
10. Fast and Hard instrumental.
11. I watch the sunrise. Slow dance. 
12. Find my girl. Slow R&B. Searching from Bourbon Street to the Esplanade
13. Make a Good Gumbo. Fast and Fun
14. It's alright / bayou girl / Hot Tamale baby reprise. Fast version
15. (Encore) Melissia

He broke three strings during the set, sipped Courvoisier to soothe his vocal chords, and obviously had a good--no, GREAT--time with the crowd and his band. So glad Lou tipped me to this talented artist. Tab is All That! 

And I am in the Tab Club!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Shoes of SAVOR

Random goodness from a night well spent.






Dogfish Head

Odd Sides
Devil's Backbone