Thursday, April 30, 2020


I took two days off. And I can’t think of anything good to say. I want to keep blogging, but if there is nothing to say then why bother?

. . . 

The voice to text was not working either. So everything is against me. I came outside to sit on the front porch and get some fresh air. And it’s chilly and it’s not sunny and I’m tired of everything. Can you relate?

Hannah is working on schoolwork all the time--as often as I can force her to. (She’s got a project due tomorrow that I’ve been hounding her to complete for two weeks.) Sarah is working on her finals. Her semester ends next week. She’s tired and stressed out and can’t sleep. Grace is always up in a room working. Lynda is up in her room working. I’m downstairs at the table working. Life is just an endless series of home days, home days, home days. 

Will it ever warm up outside? 

Will THIS ever end? 

There’s got to be something to look forward to, 

But what?!


Today is the last day of the primary round of the #OfficialHat2020 voting. Starting tomorrow, there will only be two remaining #HatofSummer choices.

Monday, April 27, 2020


Good God. It's been almost fifty days.
. . .

. . .


. . .


First things first tonight. As you may know we've been fostering a mother cat and her four kittens during this shelter-at-home time. I've posted videos about them as they have grown. And I'm doing it again today. Not because I need filler content, but because I need you to see how cute these cats are so that you will fall in love with them.


I need you to fall in love with these kittens (and someone needs to take the Momma cat as well) because they are getting old enough to live on their own. And I CANNOT be a household with five cats in it. So people who love pets and want pets and cannot stand the cuteness of these pets need to let me know. (And obviously, this only truly counts for local Columbus-area people. I can't be driving several states to deliver a cat. I can't even be bothered to drive to the Wendys two miles from my house, no matter how badly I want to eat a Frosty. So, yeah . . . locals only please.)


In other, equally important news, the primary cut off point for the #HatofSummer approaches at the end of this month (that is this Thursday, so that is only a few days away). This means that starting on Friday, May 1--THIS FRIDAY--the potential choices for #OfficialHat2020 is permanently cut to only TWO CHOICES.

So, if you have opinions, you NEED to act.

Here are the results as of Monday evening:

Go here to keep casting your votes:

Sunday, April 26, 2020


As I believe I've mentioned, Hannah and I are watching Star Wars: Rebels (an animated series on Disney+).
A few weeks back, Lynda was watching the show with us and she asked, while watching a space dogfight between Star Wars fighter ships, what happened to laser bolts that were always being fired from ships but then missed the TIE fighter or the lasers shot from Imperial Star Destroyers that didn't intersect with a trusty X-Wing or Cpt. Syndulla's ship, The Ghost.

At the time, my immediate thought was the laser bolt (blast?) eventually dissipated, even though there was no friction in space to cause a loss of velocity. Because the alternative result gave me concerns.

Think about it.

Without inertia to cause a reduction in speed, things in space will continue moving forward, or at least their direction will change due to an external action--maybe gravity, maybe solar wind, maybe the chance random strike from a micro-meteoroid. But once set in motion, an object in space will keep on moving. I assume this is even more true of laser weapons that are firing light-based weapons. Without any "object" to possibly be inertially altered . . . does that mean that laser bolts that miss its target in space just keep on going and going and going--until a target is actually found?

I dismissed this theoretical experiment.

But THEN . . . weeks later Hannah and I were watching the episodes at the end of season 3.

During the climactic events of those episodes, the Empire's Grand Admiral Thrawn's begins an "orbital bombardment" of Chopper Base. In doing so, he orders the Star Destroyers to begin firing its laser cannons from orbit down to pepper the planetside with impacts. And this made me fear that Lynda had been right all along. I had dismissed her suggestion largely based on some unknown "range" of distance that a fired laser blast could travel. And because of what I have seen from Star Wars battles in the past--and because I didn't want to confront the awful possibilities--I assumed this range was maybe thousands of meters but nothing more.

And then, seeing those self-same lasers pepper a planet's surface from orbit . . . I knew the truth at last.

Do you understand the danger here? 

If the limit of these laser blasts is much farther (perhaps limitless if Newton and Einstein are correct), then the truth is . . . these laser bolts just keep on traveling. If a gunner is not accurate enough to hit its target that blasted bolt just keeps on going, outside the orbit of the planet*, out into the void between planets, and out into wider space. And that means that space travel is truly dangerous--at least if you choose to do it during a time of galactic conflict. Because there are space battles happening in systems across the Star Wars galaxy at any given time. And judging by what I see in the movies, there are PLENTY of missed shots. And so those laser bolts are just mindlessly cruising out into space. One is not such a danger. But hundreds of them? Thousands of them? Crisscrossing every which way? Upon every axis? In all directions? It's an ever-expanding laser cage of creeping destruction!

You could be a peaceful family. Or a neutral trader? Or anyone at all, moving through the hyperlanes of the galaxy, completely unaware that at any moment a stray laser bolt will intersect your ship! You'll at the very least face damage. But you might very likely face your doom! All because the Imperial academy didn't train its Stormtrooper pilots better. Or because the Rebellion will take on any untrained bush pilot who owns his own ship and has a grudge--but precious little in the way of target practice.

*And you might say I"m wrong about this--or that a planet's own particular gravity well is strong enough to prevent misguided blasts from escaping into the outreaches of non-battle space. But then, Star Wars dog fights should, in fact, turn into a game of Angry Birds Star Wars, where you are purposefully bending bolts around orbital paths to catch a ship unawares on the flip side of your shot. (If you've got the time to pull off such a shot, I applaud your skill.)

Saturday, April 25, 2020


These last two narrative lenses were especially evident in the most recent two episodes that I watched on barbecue and fried chicken. There were discussions on why there are arguments about different types of barbecue, different types of sauce and seasoning, different meats of choice. And then there was a careful examination of the fraught history of fried chicken in America and the stereotypical weight that this food has for African Americans--and Chang's own lack of understanding of that history from his own cultural background and childhood.

Such a discussion made me examine my own problems with this question.

So often, the people making excellent examples of this food are doing so outside of my cultural experience and my neighborhoods. My connection to the style of Nashville hot chicken is a suburbanized version of it in Columbus (Hot Chicken Takeover). But according to Chang and other articles I have read on the food, the original version can be claimed by Nashville's Boyland's Chicken. It started becoming mainstream (i.e. gentrified and suburbanized and consumed by whites) thanks to Nashville's Hattie B's. And then it spread beyond Nashville and across the country.

Fried chicken, as with barbecue, can be found everywhere--from KFC to City Barbecue, from Ray Rays to Popeyes. But these mass-produced foods are templatized and popularized so that I can eat a simulacrum of the food without going outside of my own comfort zone. I know there are delicious barbecue places in Columbus where wonderful meats being smoked in rundown cinderblock buildings in neighborhoods I don't frequent. I know there is great fried chicken being made in soul food restaurants I've never heard of. And the reason I don't seek them out and the reason that I don't visit them is because I am scared.

I'm not physically scared. I'm emotionally scared. I'm hesitant to be there because I can only imagine--and I am only imagining--what it would be like. I presuppose what the usually minority visitors to such restaurants would think of me. 

And that is 1000 percent MY FAULT. 

Who am I to assume anything about any of them? But I carry that hesitancy with me even if I never test it out in reality. And it prevents me from fully experiencing the world. And it denies me the chance to be better. And I don't have a real point here except to put it down in public and to try and be slightly honest about what I thought when I watched it. And maybe start the process of challenging myself to change.

That's it.

Friday, April 24, 2020


I don't have lots of thoughts today, so here is a quick one--a Warhol-esque photo of a banana that I took on the second floor of my work office at least a year ago.

Thursday, April 23, 2020


If you have about an hour to yourself today, you could do so much worse than watch this excellent 1982 video of R.E.M. playing live in North Carolina. 

Oh boy . . .

Some thoughts:

1. If you can understand and decipher more than 30 percent of Stipe's lyrics, congratulations! There is something so wonderfully nostalgic about the Mumbles-era of R.E.M.

2. I very much love Michael's outfit of Greek t-shirt under suit coat with an unnecessarily floppy pocket square.

3. This is proof and a reminder that Michael has been dancing this way forever. It was not created for the Out of Time tour when people started paying attention to their videos on M-TV.

4. I miss Bill Berry's drumming.

5. A very random thought . . . but this makes me think that Robert Downey, Jr. could have performed Michael Stipe in a biopic.

6. Chronic Town is absolutely one of my Top 5--maybe Top 3 R.E.M. albums.

7. Thanks--among many OTHER reasons--to my brother Mike for introducing me to R.E.M. when he was fresh out of college student at Georgia Tech and I was starting high school.

8. Also thanks to Kevin Orr for pointing me in the direction of this wonderful video. I almost feel 20 again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020


Finally! Something fun and diverting to blog about that isn't being stuck in my house day after day or something about the worries of the future!
Let's get back to the nonsense that has defined WWYG?! for almost 1.5 proud decades. (Can you believe I've been periodically trying to waste your time like this for SO LONG?)

What, you say?


So, let's really get into it. What sort of Avenger team would I put together with $15?

1. Obviously, I want to just buy three Captain Americas and move on. Or maybe one Cap and two Spidermen and just buy nuggets with my change. But that is shortsighted and not the mark of a quality leader or a smart General Manager.

2. The complete disrespect shown for Falcon and Winter Soldier here is hard to forgive. (And if you think that is based on their proximity to Cap . . . well, then, you are right.)

3. Also--what are the rules? (Other than the dollar limit?) How many people should be on a team? Is three too few? Is there an expected number? My gut reaction landed on five members. But that is--of course--based on the money I spent and not solely on the fact that I think five is optimal. But anything less than four seems too risky. If you can explain the psychology behind that assumption, please do fill me in.

4. But enough complaints. Who would my team actually be? Let's break it down.

First, my most important pick is Spiderman for $4.

Anyone who knows me can't be surprised by this pick. I've loved Spiderman for years. And I've seriously debated in my head ways to tattoo something Spidey related on my own ordinary body. I've even recently stated that I would willingly inject myself with possible genetics-altering serum in the minuscule chance that I might become Spiderman! Even if it went horribly wrong and I had to then amputate the injected arm! Why? 

Because a slight chance to be Spiderman is better than absolutely no chance. 

I've never had great body coordination, so his agility is extremely tempting. His confidence and his otherwise "ordinariness" is also great. But as much as ANY of that, his superhero costume is unbeatably the best costume design ever. Comic book artists make a living redesigning great ideas . . . but even the changes they've made over the years doesn't diminish the essential power of Spiderman's look.

Spiderman isn't Captain America. And I'm sad to lose Steve. But . . . Spiderman--as presented by Tom Holland in the MCU--is Tony Stark lite. So, I feel that I'm getting $0.50 of Iron Man with this pick as well. So I think its a strategic move that matches my interests.

For my second pick, I'm spending $2 on Rocket Raccoon.

Surprised? Here's why this is a bargain.

He's very, very smart. Incredibly strategic and craft. He's a weapons genius. AND he gives me access to space. To field a decent Avengers team, there has to be some connection to space. (Plus . . . Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper, who played the excellent Will Tippin on Alias alongside Jennifer Garner. So--yeah.)

Pick #3--I'm grabbing Falcon for an insulting $1 price. Sam Wilson is a trained soldier, an expert at exosuit flight, is unequivocally trusted by Steve Rogers the most honest man on Earth, AND he inherits the mantle of Captain America when Steve "retires" into the past. And you're telling me that he is only worth a measly buck?! Thank you very much!

Pick #4--War Machine. Another insult at only $1.

Can you see how I'm maximizing value here? Spiderman has all of the technical gadgetry of Stark Enterprises with his Iron Spider suit. And War Machine is essentially a less headstrong Tony Stark as well. He isn't genius-level like Tony is, but please don't forget how smart Peter Parker is--or how smart Rocket is for that matter.

Pick #5--and I've barely spent half of my $15 to this point so I'm doing just great . . . so let's splurge a bit and grab Hawkeye for $4. All the Renner-heads know what I'm up to here. And anyone who has ever heard of the comics artist Matt Fraction is also nodding their head like that Jack Nicholson gif. But beyond those things, Hawkeye is an incredibly talented archer who is also incredibly brave. He faces unimaginable foes of all types armed with no superpowers at all, precious little in the way of body protection, and keeps coming back. Plus I identify that he's a family man who has a solid relationship with his wife and kids. He's seen lots of war and conflict, so he's seasoned. He and War Machine have the gravitas needed to keep everyone focused when things get tight and they can command respect to shut Rocket up as needed.* 


Originally I had planned to just leave it there with these excellent five choices. But why leave $3 on the table? There are good $3 choices available, but I wasn't sure which way to jump between my immediate first two options--Loki or Wasp.

Loki is good because he brings disruptive, unpredictable qualities to the team similar to Rocket. But both of them can be real softies if the right buttons are pushed. Loki has good thief skills and he can definitely throw a good party when we are done with successful missions. And he also strengthens that crucial Space connection.

Wasp, on the other hand, brings some necessary feminity to the team (though young Peter helps with that . . . as would Loki.) Wasp has the power to get small. (And every Steve Martin fan wants that.) Her Pym Tech technology can give the team incredible abilities to work in and through all environments and problems. Plus . . . I really like Evangeline Lilly who was a six-year lead on LOST--one of my other favorite TV shows. She might be able to bring in some help from Ant-Man from time to time. 

So, either Loki or Wasp would be a wonderful addition to the team. Which of those two should I spend my last $3 on?

*And now that I'm taking a look at my team, I'm realizing that they are all quite sarcastic as well--a quality that I enjoy immensely.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020



1. . . .

2. I swear I had some thoughts yesterday when my brain served up this "idea". But facing the blank screen, nothing is rising up to the front of my memory. (Can something rise to the front, though? Shouldn't it either be move to the front or rise to the top? And why do I insist on using movement metaphors for the imperfect firing of my neurons?

3. There . . . maybe that will shake something loose?

*** Many, many work-related hours later ***

4. Turns out . . . that didn't really being anything particularly exciting to mind. Which is just as well because I had lots of other things to occupy my mind today with work.

5. One thing that I am thinking about right now as I type this is the ongoing struggle (relative term) to maintain digital schooling for these last weeks of the 2020 academic year. Yesterday, Gov. DeWine announced that schools would not reconvene before the scheduled end of the year. Classes and assignments and education will only proceed through the digital channels that we have started using during the first 38 days of this state quarantine.

6. Grace--God bless her, is doing her own thing and is handling her school independently as she always has. Sarah is in a different category, being a college student and in charge of her own process--unless she wants help? But Hannah is still getting the ropes of Middle School in her routine and needs some more targeted oversight. (But here is where I must say that Hannah--for all the supposed negativity that you might detect from me--is largely doing extremely well in school and when you press her on it, you can tell that she truly cares.) But for all of that, she is still young and if given the choice will choose NOT to set aside hours of her at-home time to attend school in a manner that can appear more theoretical than actual.

So, all of that word salad means that I had some school-related realizations today due to the fact that interim grade reports started coming in on the Powerschool app while I sat and worked throughout the day. And I realized that while I have found a good footing with Hannah on her core classwork in the last few weeks--Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, Science--the elective/special classes have been overlooked by me. For instance, how do you evaluate Physical Education in this online setting? I can get Hannah active and prevent her from being sedentary every day. But what are the criteria? Is there any assignments from the school? I haven't seen them, so that likely means Hannah doesn't have them in the forefront of her mind. The same goes for her "Career Literacy" class. What are the expectations for the rest of this year? Darned if I know.

Band is less confusing than these other two, because her teacher has been sending emails regularly with assignment prompts. And because Hannah takes a private weekly lesson I feel good about her continued learning in that vein. 

But . . . well, we've got almost another scheduled month of this to go before the year officially ends. I am confident that Hannah won't lose ground in any meaningful academic sense. But it is a reminder to me that I need to stay vigilant on the bureaucracy and the management side of the modern educational system to ensure that her paper trail matches up with the expectations.

7. Whatever else, I'll be happy to see this year of schooling officially done in four-ish weeks.


9. Go cast your continuing votes here: We officially narrow the field down to only TWO CHOICES in about 10 days.

Sunday, April 19, 2020


I've written earlier in this quarantine streak about how Zoom came out of nowhere to become the online digital platform of this moment. And I've also speculated about how this stay-at-home experience may teach the culture at large about what is important and how we may change as a result of these times and these experiences. Of course, I don't have any way of truly knowing what the future holds. But I am wondering what changes I myself may carry into the eventual post-COVID days.
One is a stronger appreciation of family. Of course, long-time WWYG?! readers know that family is very important to me--both my own Westerville group and my larger family out there in the rest of the U.S. But living several hundred miles away from most of them as I do has created separation and distance. And my adult life has pushed other priorities to the front of daily/weekly living. 

But one that I resolved to do this year--call if an actual New Years Resolution, if you like--, was to reach out more to family on a much more regular basis. That meant calling more often, reaching out for intentionally, and lately actual letter writing. The letter writing part is still in its early days (and isn't only confined to family members). But I was beginning to get into a habit of sitting down on Sunday afternoons and handwriting a letter to someone new each week. For no decent reason, the quarantine disrupted that pattern.

But in its place, my family has instituted a Sunday afternoon Zoom call, where as many of us as can get on the computer and chat for a while. We discuss whatever comes along--haircuts or lack thereof, what we've been watching on Netflix, how the jobs are proceeding, and anything and everything else. It is similar to the catch-up sessions that I've experienced in Christmas family trips, where the first hour of my home arrival ends up with everyone sitting around in mom and dad's living room for an extended chat. But this one happens every week now and not once a year.

I hope that something similar to this will continue in the normal future we all look forward to. Zoom won't disappear when we have good testing and people are able to resume their routine. So I hope that we as a people--family, friends, and loved ones--can keep reaching out to one another and remembering to say: You are important to me. Let's be familiar with each other more. Let's say connected in the good times as well as during the unusual times. 

It won't' need to be weekly. But I think it is beneficial to me.

Friday, April 17, 2020


I hope that you successfully made it through another week of whatever it is that you are dealing with. 

Maybe today feels like every other day. 

Or maybe you are SO happy to be seeing a weekend?

However you are right now, I hope it is happy. And if so, I hope that you can hold onto that happiness through the next few days and heck, as long as possible. Why put limits on things?

But, oddly enough, I just realized . . . the point of this post is to introduce a limit of sorts. Something not tried before. Something new.

And yes, it's a #HatofSummer thing.

(If somehow, you are stumbling along to this blog for the very first time and you have no idea what the #HatofSummer is, I recommend that you do a few things. First, click the #HatofSummer label cloud over to the right of your screen--unless you're reading on Mobile--which . . . who are we kidding, you probably are. In that case, um . . . I don't know. Do you have a Twitter account? If so, you could search #HatofSummer and you'd likely pull up several tweets with my big fat face on them. Click through those and see what you can learn. Or, just follow the links below the video--after please watching the video, okay? I did spend about ten TOTAL minutes on it. But then follow the links below to the playlists to go back through the past. And if you do I'm confident you'll figure it all out.)

Okay--hopefully they are off getting oriented to everything. Now, for the Old Faithfuls out there, get ready for something that you might like or maybe you won't. But it's different.

Watch and act! GO VOTE!

Vote for your #HatofSummer choice here: Link to the Google Voting page

Hats of Summer 2020 playlist: Link to the 2020 #HatofSummer video playlist

Official Hats of Summer (full) playlist: Link to the full list of all #HatofSummer videos

Thursday, April 16, 2020


I started typing "34" today and then had to sadly verify that it is actually day 35.

Today was much like yesterday, however, so I can be forgiven for getting them mixed up--work, keeping Hannah busy with her work, finding time to stop work, relaxing.

Now Jemma the mom cat is up on the main floor and crying and whining a lot--expecting water or something. She is not drinking well from her water dish because she gets her paws in it all the time and spills the water everywhere. So we have been trying to teach her how to drink from a hanging water dispenser--but it is slow going. She stays in the basement mostly and cries a lot to come up and get more water to waste. So we occasionally let her up and now everyone is just following her around and (honestly!) making a vocal response EVERY TIME she meows. It's about to drive me nuts.

So--fostering the cats is . . . going well.

Here is a cute video of the kittens being cute kittens.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


I didn't post yesterday because I just didn't have much of interest to write about. (Some may say That's never stopped you before! And I try to ignore those people.) I did briefly consider on Monday night writing yesterday a fictionalized short story of sorts. Most likely it wouldn't have been long enough to even be considered a short story. So it might have been for the best that I never tried it. The idea was a way of expressing some Monday thoughts I had about the cats we are fostering. And I'm not clever enough to pull that off without being annoying and obvious.
(Boy, my writing lately has been full of vague passive aggression hasn't it? I guess I've either got to learn to be more direct or to get over things more quickly.)

As for today? Laptop computer work for several hours ahead of me (as I jot down these thoughts in the morning while drinking coffee and preparing to dive it). Then helping with dinner/cleanup. And then facing the evening hours. We'll probably watch some LOST--or at least some of us will. Last night Grace, Hannah, and I watched "Everybody Hates Hugo." as well as ". . . And Found."


In other news, I quickly checked the mid-week results of the #HatofSummer voting and it looks like we are finding some early favorites.

The Martin's BBQ hat is getting some family love. But there is still lots of weeks ahead. So you can cast multiple votes for your favorite any time, all the time. Follow this link to make your voice heard.


Finally, a random thought as I sit here later in the day to close out this post and move on to a different phase of the day. What do I dislike the most about life? Probably the need to be partially responsible for the food-related needs of others. If I could just come and go as I needed to and get the food I wanted when I wanted, that would be optimal. But I joined myself with others and the two of us are now responsible for even more people. And so, the daily struggle for food and nourishment looms. Sometimes I wish we just had basic things like the protein cakes in Snowpiercer or stuff like that. But no! Once again capitalism confused and complicates everything. We are prosperous and so variety is built-in and expected!

It's tiresome.

What bothers you most on a reoccurring basis?

Monday, April 13, 2020


As I alluded to in the previous post . . . yesterday was hard. Holidays can always be hard, because they are filled with rituals and expectations. Under normal circumstances, those rituals can get people tense. When all of that happens in an environment such as this . . . the problems can be worse. 
What it boils down to is that we are all tired of being stuck with each other--with very little chance of release.

It is a natural outcome. And I am as much a part of the problem, to be clear. We all need to spend some time apart now and then. And we have done so. But the world keeps spinning and responsibilities remain. And there are times in life when you just don't want to be stuck with your family. But this is where we are. This all sounds negative. And it is. But I am not blaming anyone. I can only blame myself for responding to the world I'm in. I control me. 

So . . . gotten off chest. Let me (hopefully) learn from this and do my best to move on.


Today's office work was frustrating in different ways. I did things, definitely . . . but about half of it were items on my list for today and the other half didn't get started. And the stuff that didn't get started were the longer, more complicated bits. (And that probably contributed somewhat to the fact that they were the last to get tackled.) But tomorrow is another day and I'll get it done.


And now I'm watching Phantom Thread with Sarah--as she has to write a movie review of it for some class that she is taking. As the credits start and as I get ready to watch for the second time, I wonder. Is this movie based on a real person? Was it simply an inspiration to tell a story of a driven, demanding artist? If it was simply a story concocted from nothing, then what motivated the idea?

Does anyone know? Does anyone want to fill me in?

And well, I guess that is it for today. As Peter Buck would say, this one is "A little bit of Uh huh. A whole lot of Oh Yeah."

Sunday, April 12, 2020


It's been a stressful day today because not all days are great. But maybe the rest of it will be alright.

I don't have much to say today, except Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this day. It has been an unusual one. In many ways it has been the most unusual Easter Day of my life. And in some other ways, it is just like every Easter. 

So, since I don't have much to add, I'm going to leave you today with a video of the five cats that we have been fostering for two weeks. The kittens are still only weeks old and extremely tiny. But they are--as you can see--finally becoming more mobile and interesting.

Saturday, April 11, 2020


If you have been a regular reader of this blog over its almost sixteen-year run, you know that I frequently talk about my preference for routine. I'm a middle-aged man living in the suburbs, with growing kids and a job. My life is eminently predictable. And I've liked it that way. Predictability is security.
But I've gotta say that when we are let loose from this shelter-in-place quarantine, I may bit down really hard on my promised mid-life crisis and get a bit nuts. I'll bungee jump off a dam with my hair on fire. Because . . . well, BECAUSE! I've known people that skydived for reasons.

So--how can I break myself out of a full month (and more to come!) of routine and rut? How will I be different because of this experience and what will I do to cement its lessons into the rest of my life?

(If you've got suggestions, why not leave me a comment?)

Thursday, April 09, 2020


 It's another quick update today to remind you that the #OfficialHat2020 voting remains open now and will remain open through the rest of April and May--until Memorial Day weekend.

There are many unknowns for all of us in the coming weeks and even into the coming months. But one thing that you can be confident about is that the #HatofSummer will continue. This coronavirus may drive us into our homes. It may weaken our economy. It may expose the weakness of our president. It may change our priorities. 

What I will not let it do is derail the #HatofSummer. 

Luckily you can practice perfect social distancing every time you vote--as I have helpfully created an online voting platform. (If only the rest of the country was so considerate, right?)

And best of all, you can vote MULTIPLE TIMES!

Are you upset that the primaries are effectively on hold right now? Do you have a democracy itch that you just want to scratch? (Even though the #HatofSummer voting is more of a popularity contest than a strict democratic contest.) But it is still voting, voting, and lots of voting. PLEASE take some of your in-house sheltering time and spam that voting link with your hat preference. And then, when we are all back breathing fresh air again, you can take such pleasure in seeing me out on the town wearing the #OfficialHat2020.

So--do you remember what the hat choices are? If not, that's okay because I'm dropping the playlist of hat videos here: 

So . . . first--go and refresh your memories on the choices. Then follow this link ( to go and cast your vote many, many, many times.

Finally, here is a report on the first couple of weeks of voting so far. (If you don't like what you see, then go vote and make that number change!)

Wednesday, April 08, 2020


Maybe it's a coping mechanism, but I've been watching a lot of Buddy v. Duff cake competitions on Food Network.
In season 1, which I watched  On Demand, the show really played up the disagreement and personality differences between the two bakers. And I was fine with that since I prefer Duff's graffiti artist sensibilities and his cool. Buddy, on the other hand, is all NY/New Jersey bluster and braggadocio. He's not my cup of tea and his bigger-than-life cartoonish cakes didn't seem as striking as Duff's detailed and precise recreations.

In season 2, things are a bit different.

Duff is still making very detail-oriented cakes with lots of real-as-life elements. But he has also enlarged his scale to batch up with Buddy's normal output. And the show has done a better job of reinforcing the respect that must exist between these two professional artists. And I appreciate that aspect of the new show especially.

Still, I know its a scripted show with predetermined story beats. It's no surprise that even with a 3-1 win total this season, there is only a one point lead separating the two competing teams.

It's not important. But its fun to watch.

What sort of TV are you watching to keep your mind off of the problems of the world?

Tuesday, April 07, 2020


It's approaching a full MONTH of working from home. It honestly doesn't feel like I've been away from the office that long. It doesn't feel like its been that long since the kids all came home and we hunkered down to ride this out. It is remarkable what your brain can accept. Or maybe that is just MY brain . . . filtering out the stuff that I don't want to think about. (And I've had little in the way of crisis through all of this. A few bad days here and there, but my lucky streak continues, compared to so many others out there--some whom I know and other hundreds and thousands I'll never know.)

Good luck to us all. And may our democratic experiment continue through all of this and may we have time in the summer and fall months to reset the national conversation back to the EXTREMELY important question of what leader and what people and what goals will guide the United States, and your state, and your town beyond COVID-19 and into the rest of this decade. Who makes the decisions that direct your days is vital--as I hope you have seen through all of this. The way decisions are made. The people who make them. The motivations they bring to those decisions. The way that they communicate those decisions. And (God help us . . . ) but the slim chance that they might inspire us and motivate us . . . ALL OF IT IS IMPORTANT.

**steps off of soapbox**

I don't know about you--because, well, obviously . . . I'm not you. And I can't get inside of your head. Nor can you get in mine--beyond what I choose to write here on my blog. And it is only an imperfect representation of what is in my head--either by conscious choice (whereby I selectively edit what I think in written form to protect my true inner self) or through the imperfections of my skills as a writer (whereby both you and I struggle to convey information in the most efficient, clearest way possible . . . and this last paragraph is most definitely NOT an example of THAT, amirite?

ANYWAY . . .

I don't know about you, but one of the first and hardest decisions of my day during these shelter-in-place days is footwear.

Do I put on shoes during the day? Or do I simply put some slippers over my socks and get to shufflin' through the day.

Either choice has merits and consequences.

Slippers is obvious, as I'm definitely NOT going anywhere and so why put my feet through the uncomfortableness of strapping on shoes? But slippers don't promote proper walking technique--something that I need to be aware of for personal/medical reasons. And even beyond those considerations, which matches my clothing choice for the day? Because hey, maybe no one will see me, but I've got mirrors don't' I? If you don't try to impress yourself, then why even get out of bed and shower every day? (And if you're not doing that . . .. then we've got to increase that six-foot distance between you and I.)

What mundane problems plague you these days?

Monday, April 06, 2020


I took yesterday off from blogging about this mess. And today I was very engaged with lots of work tasks and lots of meetings. I've only just now finished things up enough to even think if there is anything worth writing about. 
And right now? No, not really.

Once Lynda got done working, she and the girls spent the last half-hour or so playing with the mother cat and her kittens. The kittens, by the way are maybe two weeks old? Still quite small and barely moving much on their own. Only yesterday did they start venturing out of the crate and trying to explore--and that is still pretty occasional. The mother cat nurses them pretty well and seems to like hiding them (when they aren't in the crate) alongside the unfinished wall of the basement where I propped up two old wall-sized mirrors. It gives a narrow channel of tight space that I assume she finds comforting. But who knows? Maybe she is trying to get rid of them. Not all animals are good parents, I guess. But Lynda, Sarah, Grace, and Hannah won't let anything bad happen to these kittens. They will intervene whatever the price to be paid

Maybe it is my cold, black heart, my black-painted fingernails, or maybe it is the fact that I spent several days last week reading manuscript about Social Darwinism, twisted evolutionary theories of nineteenth-century urban America . . . but I think they intervene too much. They are letting these kittens imprint on them and I'll never be able to get rid of them when this foster situation "comes to an end." I knew the second I let these animals into the house I was doomed.

Oh well. I guess I'd better create some PowerPoint presentations about the Prime Directive, so the rest of my family will gain a better understanding of when it is appropriate to intervene in the lives of lesser species.

Saturday, April 04, 2020


Today was better because I spent good portions of it outside. 

This morning Lynda and I cleared out the side area of the yard that has been blocked off for years by a simple picket fence (which we removed last week). Now that the fence is gone, we had to clear out the accumulated leaves and sticks and detritus that gets wind-blown there every season. And I also cut down lots of little sucker trees and trash stumps and generally got the area ready for something sometime in the future. Maybe it will just be grass. Maybe we'll plant some small shrubs there to be a different kind of blocking. Or maybe just put in some flowers. Whatever it ends up being it will be more intentional and hopefully neater. (I bet our neighbors are happy to see us doing something nicer over there.)

Once that was done, I spent time reading on the front porch. And after dinner was finished just a bit ago, I came back out to type this up. The trees are blooming, the flowers are out, and families are taking advantage of the nice weather and walking up and down the street--like they've done in the past* and such that you might momentarily forget that we are still living through a very odd time of isolation and worry. But it didn't really feel like that today. It just felt like a nice Saturday in Springtime. I hope I have more days like this to come. And I hope that our country can enter into its own Springtime soon.

*The only oddity of families out and about today was that kids were walking up and down through the middle of the street with no concern of cars driving. That is a bit on the unusual side. But if you don't think too much about why that is, you can go on telling yourself that everything is normal.

Friday, April 03, 2020


  I don't have anything illuminating to say today. I guess I could wait until this evening and see if anything interesting happens . . . but really what are the chances of that? I can't go farther than my driveway, so what exactly might happen? Sure, the Internet is full of stuff. But I can't be sitting and watching it all day. I can't dream and imagine. I've got actual work to do. (Thank God that I do, to be sure.) I can't go down into the basement because it currently smells of cat food and litter box.

So I'll likely sit at the dining room table, staring at my laptop screen. Flipping between programs. Thinking, planning. Trying to be as productive as possible. Getting up and stretching every who knows how many minutes. Seeing the sunlight creep across my table and into the corner of my eyes. Putting on headphones and taking them off. Wanting ANYTHING to be different.

But it's not different. It's week three and moving into week four. It's almost Holy Week. But there is no church to attend. There are no Livestream Eucharists to watch. There IS daily Morning Prayer to participate in (and thank you ASEC for that). It's strange. It's disheartening. But it is reality. 

I guess I need to fight through today's disappointment and try to find a positive. It's too early and my coffee cup is too full for me to be thinking straight yet. I can't know what today will bring. Maybe it will be unexpectedly good. It is up to me to make it so.

Thursday, April 02, 2020


I must really, really be getting nuts because of this stay-at-home quarantine nonsense. Because I can't believe what I agreed to yesterday.

We're fostering a kitten.

And not just a kitten. It seems that we agreed to foster a mother cat and several kittens: four kittens, apparently. When this was first brought to my attention, I was only told about one kitten. But I guess they are so small, they can't be separated. Or whatever.

So, after years--literal YEARS--of not letting the kids get pets, we are getting about ten years of pets in one day. I KNOW I'm going to simultaneously regret this and enjoy it. But right now I can only experience the regret. 

And you know what is even better? The cat family is going to be set up in the basement--the very part of the house that I worked hard to make nice and livable for Lynda to work in two weeks ago. I know Lynda and the girls are moving stuff around down there and getting an area set up for the cats to stay in. And part of me just doesn't want to find out what is happening and how my nice space is being completely rearranged.

Of course, up until now, NO ONE wanted to go down in the basement for any reason. And just as soon as I set it up in a semi-decent fashion. (And really it's NOT so great anyway. I just rearranged some furniture and hung a few pictures on the walls to make it seem more human.) But anyway, it's going to become a cat den now. And who knows for how long?

This is only a foster situation. I am NOT intending for these cats to be here long term. But I'm sure that is probably wishful thinking on my part. I guess we'll see what happens.

But the shelter-in-place situation has just been cranked up to a whole new level here in my house. We'll see who survives it best NOW. I just know that the kids have no more reason to complain about being bored.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020


(Aww nuts. My numbers are out of balance again--and the imbalance is just gonna get worse.)

During a brief breakfast discussion this morning, I had a great idea . . . a LOST themed marching band halftime show!

Think of it:

  • The trombone part would be insane. (Those of you who have seen the show know what I'm talking about.)
  • The backdrop art could either be a tropic island or just a banner showing the Numbers
  • The middle, slow-it-down ballad song of the halftime show would be my absolute favorite piece of LOST-related music: Michael Giacchino's "Life & Death" 

  • Which lucky band member gets to play Desmond? How are you going to hide him in a hatch for the first three minutes of the show?
  • The guard could all be dressed in Dharma Initiative jumpsuits
  • The flags would all show the Swan logo
  • The first sound of the show could be a pre-recorded Previously on LOST . . .

What ideas do you have about a LOST-themed show? How would you do it?