3.17.2020 – c’est si bon, si bon

c’est si bon, si bon
Des petits rien du tout
c’est si bon, si bon

It is so good. So good.

But its the little nothings at all.

It is so good. So good.

I’ll have to check with my beloved niece, the beloved french teacher in Kansas City, about my translation and grasp of syllables.

The thought I am going for is how the current crisis has re-emphasized the little things.

If, last month, you had asked to me list the things that matter most to Americans, I would have listed a lot things.

Will Rogers said that all an American needs is a hamburger and $5 dollars of gasoline to be happy.

Hank Williams opted for a hot rod car and a $2 dollar bill.

But toilet paper?

Last month, I knew March Madness was coming.

Never would have dared imagine that madness in March would cancel March Madness.

On all of this.

Social Distancing.

Hand Sanitizer.

Groups of 10 or less.

I have nothing to say when Eartha Kitt sang it so well.

c’est si bon, si bon.

Of course I know its not.

I have a job I can do at home.

I have a paycheck coming.

It is easy for me to say c’est si bon, si bon.

Have to wait and see what I am saying in 2 weeks.

Meet you all back on the 24th.

Until then, c’est si bon, si bon.

2.10.2020 – blank, empty plaques

blank, empty plaques
reminder to remember
the why, the reason

In the Old Chapel at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, there are granite shields on the wall.

Each shield displays the name and rank of each of the Generals that served in the United States War of Independence.

One those shields is blank.

Its is blank on purpose.

It is a shield in remembrance of Major General Benedict Arnold.

A man who served and fought on our side in the Revolution.

A man who played a major role in the fighting in the American victory over the Red Coats at the Battle of Saratoga.

A man promoted to Major General by George Washington.

A man whose name now is used to describe another as a traitor and turncoat.

Arnold sold out.

For his rank and efforts before he switched sides, Arnold still gets a plaque in the Old Chapel.

For his acts and deeds, Arnold’s name has been removed from the plaque.

When anyone asks why the plaque is blank, Arnold’s story is told.

Where am I going with this?

Once again Pete Rose is trying to get into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Above almost any player, based on what any player did on the playing field, Pete Rose has earned a place in the Hall of Fame.

Because of what he did off the field, well, check that as he it appears Pete was BETTING on GAMES from the playing field or at least the dug out.

Anyway, Pete sold out.

For me, it isn’t so much that Pete was banned for the rest of life from Major League Baseball for betting.

It is because of WHO delivered this judgement.

I always liked A. Bartlett Giamatti.

When I discovered his essay, short book, Take Time for Paradise, I liked him even more.

Giamatti wrote. “If we have known freedom, then we love it; it we love freedom, then we fear, at some level (individually or collectively) its loss. And then we cherish sport. As our forbears did, we remind ourselves through sport of what, here on earth, is our noblest hope. Through sport, we create our daily portion of freedom.”

And about baseball, he wrote, “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

It was as Baseball Commissioner that Giamatti banned Pete Rose from baseball.

Banned from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

At the time, Rose agreed with the judgement as it stopped the investigation.

Times passes.

Point of view changes.

Memory fades.

As Rose himself said once, “How you going to keep all those hits out of the hall?”

Is it time to forgive and forget and put Rose in the Hall?

And Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and all the 1919 Chicago White Sox?

I do think Rose deserves a plaque in the hall.

Maybe all these guys.

A nice blank, empty plaque.

Let people see the plaque.

Let people ask who the plaque is for.

Let people hear the story of why the plaque is blank.

A blank, empty plaque.

A reminder to remember.

May 12 – isms

race and sex isms
confront inevitable
tough to be a Mom

When I ran out of the house and off to the school at the top of the hill, I don’t know how much my Mom thought about the problems of racism, sexism or any number of other isms that confront today’s Moms.

Maybe I just wasn’t aware.

Today, to me, it seems there is so much outside the door of your home that HAS to be dealt with.

That confrontation for a Mom with racism, sexism and other isms is inevitable.

With that in mind, our children have no greater champion than my wife Leslie.

She was BORN with the idea that injustice anywhere is injustice anywhere.

She might have issues with our kids over any number of sins BUT if any one of them was ever held back or limited in anyway by their race, by their sex by their beliefs, by our family structure, then confrontation with Leslie was inevitable.

And I pity the fool on the other side of this confrontation because they never knew what hit them.

Leslie always did her best to raise our kids but when came to being their CHAMPION, there was no one better to be on their side.

May 11 – music, emotions

music, emotions
sounds that you hear what you feel
quiet city plays

I am in awe of the concept of music.

I was up early this morning. It was quiet. Gray outside, slowly getting brighter.

Quiet City by Aaron Copland was playing as I had my morning coffed.

The bond between the music, my emotions and my physical surroundings was surreal.

I do not understand how music like this is even thought up let alone written down.

How do Copland, Mozart and Ellington do that?

I was taken out of myself and this world for a few minutes of something beyond words.

Are there words? Maybe I don’t know them yet.

After almost 60 years maybe this is the best explanation for reading and wanting to read I have ever come up with.

My search for words.

As for the music. I can’t write it. I can’t play an instrument. I can enjoy it. Isn’t that enough.

As for moments like this, I don’t they can be planned, they can only happen.

This was came to end when my youngest son got up.

He can’t go through a doorway without slamming it.

He cannot take a shower without singing and whistling.

He cannot have breakfast with making a fruit smoothie with his rocket blender.

So much for quiet. But for a short time I was in my civilized world.

Clarence Day wrote, ” The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to be a civilized man. After all, I had had a very light lunch, and I was tired and hungry. What with fingernails and improving books and dancing school, and sermons on Sundays, the few chocolate éclairs that a civilized man got to eat were not worth it.”

Maybe not chocolate éclairs but the moment of this morning was worth it.

April 30 – ring topology

concerns network wise
ring topology spanning
the calamari

Based on an actual email I got while working out the problems adding a new machine to the corporate network.

Of the many concentrations in the Information Technology field, Network Architecture is truly the dark side.

So a programmer is on his way home from work and his wife asked to stop at a grocery store.

“Get a loaf a bread”, she said, “and if they have eggs, get a dozen.”

Programmer gets home, gets inside and says to his wife, “They had eggs”, and sets down 12 loaves of bread. (or is it 13?)

April 5 – Stomach Flu

Winter Vomiting,

Stomach Flu, my Grand Daughter says,

Spilled my stomach.

Wrapping up a bad head cold, record pollen, headache and something like the stomach flu hits.

What a way to end vacation. Haven’t had it like this in years.

Brits call it ‘Winter Vomiting’ which maybe too close to reality.

Still remembering how my grand daughter, Azaria, describes it, made me laugh.

April 1 – Spring Break

Hope Springs Eternal!
58 and on Spring Break!
Still like snow days, too!

Just to hear to school is off, on break or canceled and I get a jolt of joy in my heart.

I guess that isn’t so odd, but I enjoy hearing it about the Grand Rapids Public School system and I haven’t lived in Grand Rapids in 10 years and 2 of the three schools that I attended, Crestview Elementary and Creston High School, are no longer there.

March 30 – Sin to kill a mockingbird

Morning sounds, birdsong
Sin to kill a mockingbird?
thoughts over actions …

Deep thoughts over the morning coffee with the sounds of birds outside,

Let me start by telling you I have never read the book, To Kill a Mockingbird.

As I think back, I am not sure that I have ever sat down, on purpose, and watched the movie from start to finish.

But I seen the movie many many many times, in bits and pieces so that I can say I have seen it.

It is a great movie. Gregory Peck may have made the finest film recording of an actor ever.

But has any movie raised the level of wide discussion and personal discovery with less result.

How can you watch this film and not mentally sign up with Lawyer Finch and NOT have it impact your life?

Yet, where are the results?

I want to stay away from the political if I can, but I have to admit that I was dismayed watching the reports of a President Trump rally from my home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I felt I might know a lot of the people at that rally.

I feel like I could make the claim, that if asked, EVERYONE AT THE RALLY would have responded that the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird, was a great movie, a favorite movie, a movie that changed their lives, a movie they made sure their children watched.

Somehow, I also feel, that Atticus Finch, the man portrayed in the movie anyway, would not have gone to a rally for President Trump.

If you know the movie, in the scene where Finch stares down the crowd, where do you picture President Trump standing?

I don’t know if I can say for sure that I would be on the porch with Finch, but I hope I would. I hope I have that type of courage.

I don’t have answers. I do try to think that I would never really understand a person until I consider things from their point of view … until you climb into their skin and walk around in it. Which goes for those folks and friends at the rally.

But I still don’t get it.