Archive for August, 2020


August 31, 2020

Today I was reminded of the story I once heard about the monk who was apparently struck and killed by an errant meteorite. (This was recorded to have happened at Tortona, Italy in 1677.)

Being prone to gallows humor as I am, I also remember my first thought when I heard that story: “I don’t know what he prayed for, but I’m pretty sure the answer was no!”

In Good Ways And Bad

August 28, 2020

There are lots of important stories in the world, but the most important story to you personally is always the one that you tell yourself. Be it good or bad, true or false, or some mix of any or all those things, the story you tell yourself about yourself and about the world around you will influence you every day of your life.

What A Concept!

August 27, 2020

Today I learned the secret of how Flinders Petrie discovered so many small artifacts at his archeological digs when many of his contemporaries were only finding large statues and the like.

Petrie actually paid his workers a fair market value for what they found if they brought it to him.

Full Disclosure

August 26, 2020

I know it’s silly to say this, but I wanted to make it clear that what I posted yesterday, while containing the important essence of what I said to L’s Mother, were not my exact words to her. When you’ve spent as many years together as she and I have, you develop a lot of private linguistic shortcuts that would mean something very different if said to anyone else.

So, yeah, not my exact words, but that was the message that was conveyed.

The Art Of Self-Awareness And People Management

August 25, 2020

Last night L’s mother made a valiant effort in clearing the aftermath of her efforts in the kitchen yesterday, but she eventually (and understandably) reached the point where she said, “That’s all I’m doing tonight. I’m sorry for leaving such a mess for you, but I’m done.”

I thought about this for a moment. “You know . . .” I said slowly. “If you ask respectful of my time for me to finish it up for you, and thank me nicely afterwards, I’ll happily do the rest. If you don’t do that, I’ll still do the rest; I’ll just do it unhappily.”

When Algorithms Go Awry

August 24, 2020

“Registering to vote can make a HUGE difference,” a social media site told me the other day. “So register to vote in Colorado today!”

“They’re right,” I mused to myself. “It would make a huge difference, particularly because I don’t live anywhere near there!”

Something To Keep In Mind

August 21, 2020

Normally, son, I don’t like referencing a lesson here when we covered it in person only yesterday, but this one is important enough I thought it warranted the exception:

Remember, whatever mess you make when you’re upset is the same mess you’re going to have to deal with when you’re no longer upset.

If He’d Actually SAID Something On Any Of Them, He Might Have Had A Bit Of A Point

August 20, 2020

Now that the elections here are over, I want to make note of one candidate (whom I shall allow to remain anonymous), who, judging by the number of flyers of his I found in my mailbox over the course of the election, apparently believed that he just had to kill the right number of trees to make his election a certainty.

This Is An Amalgam Of A Couple Of True Stories I Know

August 19, 2020

One story that came out of the conversation with my son that I referenced yesterday was the following:

A proper and God-fearing Southern woman is told by her doctor that she needs to start drinking a glass of wine in the evening for her health.

“I can’t do that!” the woman protested. “Drinking is a sin!”

Sighing, the doctor explained that while she could write her a prescription for something else, the side-effects would be serious, and she strongly recommended the evening glass of wine, and suggested the woman discuss the matter with her minister before making her decision.

So the woman explains the situation to her minister, and when she’s done, the minister nods. “So, if I understand correctly,” he said slowly, “a glass of wine in the evening would help you, but you’re concerned about the consequences.”

“Exactly!” the woman replied. “I’m a proper, God-fearing woman! What would people think if I started drinking, particularly at my age?”

The minister nodded again. “I understand. I’m a God-fearing man myself. I grew up in this town and in this church, same as you; I consider the well-being of my flock, physical and spiritual, as one of my highest concerns, and I believe the same is true of God. So as His representative and as a shepherd of your soul, I’m advising you to drink the damn wine and to Hell with what people think.”

So In This Case For Me It Was A Matter Of Linguistic Precision

August 18, 2020

Over the weekend I came damn near to kicking something with the same toe I injured a while back, and I said as much out loud. This prompted L’s Mother to stage whisper to our son that, “Your Dad said ‘damn,'” to which I responded, “You’re damn right I did.”

While we were just being playful, this still prompted a fresh conversation with L. about when it is and is not appropriate to use certain language, how cultural mores can vary, and how that can impact the message you’re trying to convey. “For instance,” I said, “while this isn’t true for everyone, but among my people if you say that you ‘nearly’ kicked something, you came close, but if you say you came ‘damn near’ to kicking something, you came REALLY close.”