7.21.2022 – target of yourself

target of yourself
someone’s dubious morals
and your home address

From the article, Porch pirates have been stealing my online shopping, but now I have a secret weapon – and her name is Norma, by Arwa Mahdawi.

Ms. Mahdawi writes:

Another extremely bad idea for dealing with package thieves is trying to outwit them with fake packages containing dog poo or glitter. Mark Rober, a former Nasa engineer, has achieved mild internet fame with YouTube videos of booby-trapped packages loaded full of glitter that explode on the porch pirate. The videos are satisfying to watch but I wouldn’t try it at home unless you want to make yourself a target for someone with dubious morals and your address.

The videos are satisfying to watch but I wouldn’t try it at home unless you want to make yourself a target for someone with dubious morals and your address.

Boy HOWDY!

7.20.2022 – defying logic

defying logic
designed without plans obeying
only space, poetry

The romance, the magic, as it where, of the randomness of the thoughts and concepts expressed wonderfully is a single string of words is breath taking in a way.

Today’s haiku is adapted from the article, Folly or art? Catalonian town to buy labyrinthine Espai Corberó for €3m.

The article is about the house of Xavier Espai Corberó near Barcelona has a series of 12 patios linked by 300 arches and more.

Like a three-dimensional De Chirico painting or an Escher staircase to nowhere, the labyrinthine Espai Corberó near Barcelona defies architectural logic, being designed “without plans, obeying only space and poetry”.

Asked by a visitor what the point of it all was, Corberó replied: “I carry on making. It’s enough to imagine something and feel the need to make it visible. That’s how art should be, or something very like that.”

I love that.

I carry on making.

It’s enough to imagine something and feel the need to make it visible.

That’s how art should be, or something very like that.

Mr. Corberó then said, “This staircase goes somewhere and it does a good job of going there,” he added. “Who cares where it goes?

Somehow some way this really made my day.

This staircase goes somewhere and it does a good job of going there.

Who cares where it goes?

That’s enough.

That is good enough.

That is good enough for any day.

Go forward today.

Defy logic.

Design without plans.

Obey only space and poetry.

7.19.2022 – rain starts today at

rain starts today at
one p.m. partly cloudy
expect thunderstorms

Woke up this morning in the traditional sense of the word to deep blue sky and sunshine here in the Low Country of South Carolina.

For new readers, its called the Low Country because itssssssssssssss low.

While I am in 3rd floor room, the ground floor is about 8 feet above sea level and the sea is less than a mile away.

My office is about 5 blocks from the ocean and a recent disaster assessment came back with the recommendation that having the corporate servers located in a basement room below sea level might not be the best idea.

The last two or three weeks, the Low Country has been stuck in a dismal weather pattern of overcast gray skies, 95% humidity and temps in the 90’s with thunderstorms possible at any time of day on short notice.

Understanding that living in the south and along the ocean, there are prices to pay.

But day after day after of this gray dismal swamp is starting to get to me.

SO it was with a ray of sunshine in my heart that my day was started by a ray of sunshine in my eyes.

Than I ruined it by picking up my dumb smart phone and checking the weather.

Rain by 1PM.

Hot.

Humid.

Expect thunderstorms.

CNBC’s annual ‘America’s Top States for Business’ study, which pays particular attention to quality of life, has recently ranked South Carolina as the fourth worst state in the nation to live in.

The report stated:

The ranking points to generalized, statewide issues bringing down the Palmetto State’s ranking regarding topics such as health care and resources, crime and voting rights.

With 2.19 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, South Carolina finished near the bottom for health care resources.

For the 2022 ‘Life, Health & Inclusion Score’, the state pulled in only 83 out of 325 points, scoring an “F” grade.

The study does provide some relief by listing air quality as a livability strength.

Weather otherwise was not included.

I haven’t lived here long enough to know if this is the norm or if this weather pattern is part of the world wide weather/climate patterns.

Problem is no one has lived here very long.

Population here is up to near 50,000 folks.

30 years ago, it was 900.

And those folks who you happen to meet who did grew up here don’t seem to be very much weather aware as you know, it’s just something that happens everyday.

I will say this is a resort community and has been for the last 50 years or so.

I find it difficult to accept that thousands upon thousands of folks would make the effort to spend a week here in July and August if, traditionally, it was all in an effort to spend a week under gloomy gray skies in hot humid conditions while waiting for it rain.

So its hot.

So its humid.

So its going to rain.

It isn’t snow.

And as I say to my friends who live in the land of Devil’s Dandruff, no one says you to live here.

7.18.2022 – our limited minds

our limited minds
cannot grasp mysterious
forces that sway stars

Adapted from a statement made by Albert Einstein in the interview, What Life Means to Einstein, for the book, Glimpses of the Great (Macauley, New York, 1930) by G. S. Viereck.

Mr. Einstein said: We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations.

As much as this should focus on Einstein and God, I am not so sure that Mr. Einstein did not play to the media of his day with statements like this.

More, today, I was struck by the imagery.

The imagery of the child in the library, the huge library.

Focus on that child for a moment.

What kind of child?

There no other descriptors.

There are no limits.

Not a small child.

Not a smart child.

Not a child of any race, age, religion or any thing else.

A child.

And that’s us.

And BOY Howdy, our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations, we can’t even grasp, by how much.

7.17.2022 – July Seventeenth

July Seventeenth
has been my birthday since
the day I was born

1962 maybe??

I was born 62 years ago today.

Hard to believe that I have made through 62 years, but I have always accepted that my guardian angels rack up a lot of overtime.

Like that moment I talk about when, standing behind a parked van waiting to cross a street, I didn’t bother to look and started walking out into the street.

My brain gave the command to start but for some reason my legs refused to move.

It was as if, I felt at the time, someone had a hold of my coat and I was frozen for a second.

Then a car went zooming past inches in front of me.

A car I had never seen coming.

I had never bothered to peek around the corner of that van.

Had my legs worked, I would have been a greasy spot on Lyon Street with no one to blame but myself.

I don’t go all Maradona-hand of God here but something, someone held me back.

BUT I DIGRESS.

I know the story of the day of birth.

I know it because it was told so often.

Not sure why, but in a family of 11 kids, it was my birthday that got talked about.

It was a Sunday in July and earlier that weekend, my Mom felt good enough to decide to have a big Sunday dinner.

Even with me on the way at any minute and seven kids already there, she also invited my Uncle Bud’s family to come over as well.

It was so exciting that I decided I wanted to show up but before my Mom and Dad went off to Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, my Mom called my Aunt Marion and told to her please still to come over after church that morning and could she get dinner on the table?

So it was that a little bit later that afternoon my Dad came home to see all his kids and guests around the Sunday Dinner table and announced, “It’s a boy!”

Many is the time my Aunt Marion would sit with me in our kitchen and point down the back hallway and say, ‘I can still see your Dad coming in, one hand raised in kind of a salute, saying, it’s a boy!’

My four brothers, now with a clear majority, cheered.

My three sisters, hoping for a fifty-fifty split all cried.

At least that is the story that was told as long as I can remember.

As for name, Mike, that had been picked out for years.

When my brother Tim had been born in 1956, he had been named Mike for a couple days.

Family history has it that when my Dad went down to fill out the paper work, he had one more look at the new baby and said, “Nope, he’s not a Mike.” and filled out the birth certificate for Timothy John Hoffman.

‘We will save Mike for the next one,’ Dad told Mom.

What Mom was thinking about ‘the next one’ at that moment has not been recorded.

And the next one was a girl, my sister Lisa.

But four years later, I showed up on that Sunday and my Dad took one look and said, ‘That’s a Mike.’

Since that day I have learned that there is something to that.

Think about it and I am sure there is in your life ‘a Mike.’

When folks tell me they chose the name Mike for a new baby, I shake my head and say, ‘You’ll be sorry.’

Mike Mike Mike, there is just something about the name and what can I say as it seems to be more of a label for what’s in the jar rather than just a name on the jar.

So July 17, 1960, to quote, Mr. Dickens’, I am born.

Born to cheers and tears and a used first name that would not have fit with anyone else in my family.

What a long strange trip it’s been … so far.

Mr. Dickens’ writes in his book David Copperfield:

In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was declared by the nurse, and by some sage women in the neighbourhood who had taken a lively interest in me several months before there was any possibility of our becoming personally acquainted, first, that I was destined to be unlucky in life; and secondly, that I was privileged to see ghosts and spirits; both these gifts inevitably attaching, as they believed, to all unlucky infants of either gender, born towards the small hours on a Friday night.

I will have to look up what being born on a Sunday at Noon means.

I have been a lot of things in life, but I can’t call unlucky one of them.

I hope I am smart enough to both enjoy the sunshine of God’s benevolence in my life as well as smart enough to not question my good fortune.

Because, you see George, I really have had a wonderful life.

The grands

BEAT THAT!

7.16.2022 – this establishment

this establishment –
conservative progressives?
this isn’t normal

Reading this week in the New York Times, two opinion pieces caught my eye.

The first was by David Brooks in his piece, “A 2024 Presidential Candidate Who Meets the Moment” where he commented that:

I’d like you to consider the possibility that the political changes that have rocked this country over the past six years will be nothing compared with the changes that will rock it over the next six. I’d like you to consider the possibility that we’re in some sort of prerevolutionary period — the kind of moment that often gives birth to something shocking and new.

And …

If ever there was a moment ripe for a Ross Perot-like third candidate in the 2024 general election, this is that moment. There are efforts underway to prepare the way for a third candidate, and in this environment an outsider, with no ties to the status quo, who runs against the establishment and on the idea that we need to fundamentally fix the system — well, that person could wind up winning the presidency.

He commented that:

Democrats had a larger share of support among white college graduates than among nonwhite voters. These white voters are often motivated by social policy issues like abortion rights and gun regulation.

The Republicans used to be the party of business, but now they are emerging as a multiracial working-class party.

In other words, we now have an establishment progressive party and an anti-establishment conservative party. This isn’t normal.

So I gots to ask, what is normal.

When the Founding Fathers set all this out, they went to great lengths to protect the rights of the minority.

They did this, in my humble opinion, because they thought THERE would be a minority and a very generous MAJORITY.

I feel that what they thought would be normal would be a strong Executive of one Party and a strong Legislative of another party that would serve as a check and a balance on either (with an impartial Judicial keeping an eye on both.

Oh those Founding Fathers!

You silly fellows.

You have to admit that their plan worked out rather well when Mr. Nixon mis-behaved and a Congress of another party called him on it and a court with 4 Nixon appointee’s held to the law.

But in a time with hair splitting differences between leaders and losers in the Executive and the Legislative, normal does not seem to be working out too well.

One vote can control the Senate and that is because they messed with the 60 votes that used to be needed to approve stuff or nothing ever would have happened in the Senate.

In the house, political scientists can point to just 20 congressional districts out of 435 where the fate of the country will be decided.

This isn’t normal.

Is it?

The other piece that caught my eye was Only Saudi Arabia and Israeli Arabs Can Save Israel as a Jewish Democracy by the ever popular, Thomas l. Friedman.

It is a very thoughtful account of the current state of affairs in Israel.

Mr. Friedman points out that Israel is going into their 5th leadership election in 4 years.

Israel has a Parliament style government where which party can put together a majority coalition gets to be in charge.

With 120 seats, you need 61 to set up a goverment.

Mr. Friedman writes, “Neither the Israeli center-left coalition nor the Israeli right-wing religious nationalist coalition has enough votes alone to create a stable governing majority anymore. That’s why Israel keeps having elections.

So if the Israeli center-left coalition or the Israeli right-wing religious nationalist coalition wants to be in charge they have to make a deal.

There is another party with 12 seats.

If either the Israeli center-left coalition or the Israeli right-wing religious nationalist coalition makes a deal with this group, they win.

And who, you ask, is this group?

Those 12 seats belong the members of parliament elected by registered to vote, Israeli citizen, Arabs that currently make up 21% of the population of Israel.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

If you think it sounds simple say outloud:

The ruling Israeli center-left / Arab coalition.

Or,

The ruling Israeli right-wing religious nationalist / Arab coalition.

Maybe making a deal with that Joe Manchin doesn’t look so hard.

BTW, Mr. Brooks did find that person he thought might be the best candidate for 2024.

Theodore Roosevelt.

7.15.2022 – subject to ruthless

subject to ruthless
pseudo-efficient logic
of acquisition

I liked yesterday’s essay so much I created another haiku from the same line in the same piece.

The haiku is different but my thoughts, a day later, are still the same.

Today’s haiku is adapted from the line, These teams in their ancient configurations, which emerged through years of slow, organic development, should be the objects of harmlessly fideistic devotion by fans, not subject to the ruthless pseudo-efficient corporate logic of endless acquisition, in the opinion piece, The Big Ten Is Growing, But All I See Is Decline, by Matthew Walther in the New York Times.

You can read it here –

Mr. Walther as might be guessed, was writing about college sports in general and the Big 10 and Pac 12 announcement of either a gain or a loss of two teams.

But it was this statement that expressed my feelings exactly about college sports except for the conclusion.

Like so many of history’s great tragedies — the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the French Revolution, the end of ashtrays in cars — the decline of college football began with reasonable calls for reform. There really was something odd about the fact that Michigan and Nebraska, two undefeated football teams that had never played each other, were both able to call themselves the 1997 national champions. Surely, fans thought, it should be possible to come up with a system that determines who the real champion is. But it was precisely this uncertainty that once gave college football something of its idiosyncratic charm. To this day, in any dive bar in Michigan or Nebraska you can meet fans who will offer lovingly detailed arguments for why their team would have won 25 years ago if the two schools had faced off. (In 1998, a group of dedicated Nebraska fans went so far as to script and record a mock radio broadcast featuring the hypothetical matchup.)

These conversations were part of the sport’s appeal. They also belonged to a world in which college football was, in ways that are scarcely imaginable today, a regional and somewhat parochial affair. Who cared if a bunch of newspapermen decided (as they did in 1985) that Oklahoma was No. 1 and that a Michigan team with an identical record and its own victory in a major bowl game was No. 2? What mattered was winning rivalry games and conference championships.

Rivalries often involved implicit, class-based rooting interests: urban versus rural, research versus land grant, upper-middle-class professionals and the exurban working classes versus middle-class suburbia. These games were played for ancient, often absurd trophies such as the Old Brass Spittoon, which goes to the winner of the annual Indiana-Michigan State game.

When Mr. Walther wrote, … the decline of college football began with reasonable calls for reform. There really was something odd about the fact that Michigan and Nebraska … I saw this as the silver in the lining, not the sliver in the eye of college sports.

Mr. Walther states that ever since 1997, that season is still a daily presence in the lives of fans just because there was no clear winner.

When the Cubs finally one a World Series, I felt the price, that they won, was too high to give up the 100 years plus memories of trying.

How many teams have won ONE World Series since 1908?

So many dumb teams I tell you.

And how many teams had not won any?

JUST ONE.

But not anymore.

I can’t even name the year that it was that the Cubs won.

The price was too high

But that 1997 year when Scotty Frost apologized for not being able to pose with a rose in his teeth but please please please vote for my team.

Never ever ever forget.

I have a harmless fideistic devotion to a certain team.

That will not be changed by wins or losses or coaches or player commitments.

That will not change.

That there are folks that do change strikes me as too bad.

That those in charge of the game know there is enough of those people that all the ruthless pseudo-efficient corporate logic of endless acquisition is what makes the changes strikes also as too bad.

But I ain’t going change.

Go Blue!

7.14.2022 – configurations

configurations
fideistic fan devotion
emerged harmlessly

Fideistic got thrown out by spell check and that is sure sign that the word is worthy of being in a haiku.

Today’s haiku is adapted from the line, These teams in their ancient configurations, which emerged through years of slow, organic development, should be the objects of harmlessly fideistic devotion by fans, not subject to the ruthless pseudo-efficient corporate logic of endless acquisition, in the opinion piece, The Big Ten Is Growing, But All I See Is Decline, by Matthew Walther in the New York Times.

You can read it here –

Mr. Walther as might be guessed, was writing about college sports in general and the Big 10 and Pac 12 announcement of either a gain or a loss of two teams.

But it was this statement that expressed my feelings exactly about college sports except for the conclusion.

Like so many of history’s great tragedies — the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, the French Revolution, the end of ashtrays in cars — the decline of college football began with reasonable calls for reform. There really was something odd about the fact that Michigan and Nebraska, two undefeated football teams that had never played each other, were both able to call themselves the 1997 national champions. Surely, fans thought, it should be possible to come up with a system that determines who the real champion is. But it was precisely this uncertainty that once gave college football something of its idiosyncratic charm. To this day, in any dive bar in Michigan or Nebraska you can meet fans who will offer lovingly detailed arguments for why their team would have won 25 years ago if the two schools had faced off. (In 1998, a group of dedicated Nebraska fans went so far as to script and record a mock radio broadcast featuring the hypothetical matchup.)

These conversations were part of the sport’s appeal. They also belonged to a world in which college football was, in ways that are scarcely imaginable today, a regional and somewhat parochial affair. Who cared if a bunch of newspapermen decided (as they did in 1985) that Oklahoma was No. 1 and that a Michigan team with an identical record and its own victory in a major bowl game was No. 2? What mattered was winning rivalry games and conference championships.

Rivalries often involved implicit, class-based rooting interests: urban versus rural, research versus land grant, upper-middle-class professionals and the exurban working classes versus middle-class suburbia. These games were played for ancient, often absurd trophies such as the Old Brass Spittoon, which goes to the winner of the annual Indiana-Michigan State game.

When Mr. Walther wrote, … the decline of college football began with reasonable calls for reform. There really was something odd about the fact that Michigan and Nebraska … I saw this as the silver in the lining, not the sliver in the eye of college sports.

Mr. Walther states that ever since 1997, that season is still a daily presence in the lives of fans just because there was no clear winner.

When the Cubs finally one a World Series, I felt the price, that they won, was too high to give up the 100 years plus memories of trying.

How many teams have won ONE World Series since 1908?

So many dumb teams I tell you.

And how many teams had not won any?

JUST ONE.

But not anymore.

I can’t even name the year that it was that the Cubs won.

The price was too high

But that 1997 year when Scotty Frost apologized for not being able to pose with a rose in his teeth but please please please vote for my team.

Never ever ever forget.

I have a harmless fideistic devotion to a certain team.

That will not be changed by wins or losses or coaches or player commitments.

That will not change.

That there are folks that do change strikes me as too bad.

That those in charge of the game know there is enough of those people that all the ruthless pseudo-efficient corporate logic of endless acquisition is what makes the changes strikes also as too bad.

But I ain’t going change.

Go Blue!

7.13.2022 – pick and choose numbers

pick and choose numbers
that tell you what you want and
glue them together

Adapted from the last paragraph of the article, The Humbug Economy, by Paul Krugman in the New York Times.

Writing about the current economic climate, Mr. Krugamn stated:

Overall, the picture appears consistent with a “soft landing” — a slowdown that falls short of a full-on recession, or involves a mild recession at worst, together with stabilizing inflation.

But, of course, we don’t know that. In fact, given the wide discrepancies in economic data, economic pundits (including me) have unusual freedom to believe whatever they want to believe. Just pick and choose the numbers that tell you what you want to hear and glue them together.

He also stated:

Are you confused? You should be. I’ve been in this business a long time, and I can’t remember any period when economic numbers were telling such different stories. On the other hand, we’ve never before faced the kind of shocks we’ve gone through in the past few years: Both the pandemic-induced recession and the recovery from that recession were, to use the technical term, weird, and maybe we shouldn’t be surprised the measures we normally use to track the economy aren’t working too well.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Both the pandemic-induced recession and the recovery from that recession were, to use the technical term, weird, and maybe we shouldn’t be surprised the measures we normally use to track the economy aren’t working too well.

Got to love the use of the technical term, weird!

And the warning that we shouldn’t be surprised the measures we normally use to track the economy aren’t working too well?

NO KIDDING!

7.12.2022 – but can see in me

but can see in me
things which I don’t see myself
a kind of paradox

Adapted from the line, It’s a kind of paradox. He’s very self-involved, but also very able to see the subtle character of others. He can see in me things which I don’t see myself” in an article in a recent New Yorker Magazine, titled, The First Rule Is Not to Lie: Emmanuel Carrere’s bracingly personal reportage confounds France’s literary establishment by Ian Parker.

I am not sure what it means.

Who has a truly accurate image of how they appear to other people.

Who doesn’t listen to a recording of their voice and not say, that’s not me.

When I worked in TV, occasionally I found myself on TV.

I thought, that is not how I look.

Not how I look in a mirror.

And I was right.

What I saw, what anyone sees in a mirror is reveresered.

What I saw on TV was the way people saw me.

And they probably saw things in me that I don’t see myself.

Where is the paradox?

Or is the paradox that the person doing the see was self absorbed and so self absorbed so that their ability to see anything in anybody other than themselves, let alone things they other person didn’t see, is paradoxical.

To paraphrase Robert Kennedy, some folks look at things and ask why while some folks dream great dreams and ask, why not?