Donald Sterling and the Consequences of Disallowed Opinions

Posted on 4 May 2014 | No responses

Oh, Donald Sterling. You are a first-class case study in what’s amiss in today’s public square.

Let’s recap. Sterling, part owner of a professional basketball team, recently came under fire for some not-exactly-subtle racist comments he made. And apparently he has a long and unhappy history of such comments.

The Universe of Right-Thinking Individuals, in characteristic fashion, decided Sterling is not one of us and therefore should be forced to sell his ownership in the L.A. Clippers, and presumably to slink under a rock until he dies in disgrace.

Here’s the catch, though. Although I personally believe Sterling’s comments are idiotic, I have yet to see evidence* that he engaged in illegal activity that warrants such strong financial sanctions.

Did he engage in behavior, motivated by racial animus, that adversely affected the players, staff or fans of the Clippers? Did he engage in unlawful discrimination? Did he do anything that would be a valid cause of civil or criminal action before a state or federal judge?

Yes? Cool. Let’s collect the evidence and take it to a jury.

No? Then what’s the problem, really?

Many people would argue that the problem is the racist sentiments themselves — that the very possibility that someone, somewhere, could hold such a disallowed opinion is justification for radical public intervention. Although I firmly believe that racism is the last refuge of ignorant buffoons, I’m wary of inflicting economic harm against anyone who holds an unpopular opinion. If it’s OK to publicly browbeat racists — obviously an easy target that garners little sympathy – who else is it OK to browbeat and financially penalize in the court of public opinion? How about people who are iffy on gay marriage? (Hello, Brendan Eich.) How about people business owners who oppose abortion? (Hello, Hobby Lobby.) What about people who use words correctly that others misunderstand? (Hello, David Howard.) Should people who are skeptical of some policy positions of climate-change activists be tossed in jail because they’re “deniers?” I’m sure most of us have an opinion about something that doesn’t represent correct thinking. Would you want to be sanctioned or face financial harm not because of what you did, but because of what you thought?

As I said: Sterling makes a great case study, because no one but a Klansman can excuse his language. I certainly can’t. I think the man is a bloody fool and that his comments are indefensibly reprehensible. If ever there were a scenario where a near-majority of the public would agree on something, it’s that Sterling is an unrepentant racist. This case is black-and-white, open-and-shut, book ‘em Danno.

But — isn’t it better to engage bad opinions than to dehumanize the people who hold them? Isn’t it better to let a jury, following due-process rules, decide whether a person ought to suffer financial penalty for committing an actual harm, rather than to let the justice of the mob inflict whatever sanctions it sees fit?

There’s an increasingly virulent strain of moral absolutism afoot in contemporary political discourse. It’s not isolated to the Left or the Right. Rather, it infests the entire debate. This absolutism casts people with whom we disagree not just as errant, but as inferior — as not deserving of basic human dignity and to whom no quarter shall be offered. The Left’s treatment of folks like Sterling and Eich and Howard is lamentable, but it’s no different in its way from the Right’s treatment of Bart Stupak or Alec Baldwin or Al Sharpton. ‘Tis easier to demean than to debate.

I abhor racism. I’m quite happy to condemn Sterling, or to debate him in order to persuade him to a more enlightened view of race relations. I am not happy, though, to acquiesce to mob justice. If Sterling is to lose his assets involuntarily, it should be the result of a court order, not a full-court press in the media. I felt the same thing about Eich.

Because eventually, the justice of the mob will move away from the black-and-white cases, like Sterling’s, and move to the grey cases for which most of us, in some way, serve as unindicted co-conspirators.

*I have been tracking the story, but not obsessing over it, so if such evidence exists, I’d welcome a hat tip.

Here and There and Everywhere

Posted on 27 April 2014 | No responses

Sundry items of note …

Viva Lost Wages! Last month I spent three nights in Las Vegas for a little trip to celebrate the 35th birthday of Tony’s brother in law. I was comped three nights at Main Street Station and the four of us (Tony, his wife, his B-I-L and I) were occasionally joined by our friend Alasdair, a jolly chap from London. Tony and I also, finally, had the chance to enjoy a lovely aged cigar and microbrews with our friend Ted, a denizen of Sin City. The trip was a lot of fun. I flew Delta via Minneapolis and had better-than-average luck … with the airport shuttles. Gambling was a disappointment; I didn’t lose terribly much, but that’s because we spent more time playing blackjack and craps than video poker. Which, for the record: Not once the entire trip did I hit quads at VP, despite probably a dozen total hours of play and Tony’s wife hitting a royal flush and enough quads to put the Duggars to shame. Balls! But we did enjoy tasty food (Andiamo’s, Le Thai), scrumptious drinks (Laundry Room, Park on Fremont) and enjoyable sights (Mob Museum, Container Park). Most of our gaming was done at Main Street Station (3:2 pitch blackjack) or El Cortez (craps) or The D (video poker), but Tony’s coupon run meant we dropped into pretty much every casino in the vicinity of the Fremont Street Experience, including the just-closed Gold Spike and the newly opened Downtown Grand. That said, as much as downtown Las Vegas has its charms, I’m itching to return to the Strip on my next trek to The Happiest Place on Earth.

Jimmy Swap.  Three weeks ago, I had a bit of rough riding with my 1998 GMC Jimmy. Slight vibration, especially on braking. Then — bam! It suddenly started clunking like a jackhammer. The pinion in the rear differential shattered, and repairs would clock in above $1,600, which was more than I wanted to pay given I just put $900 into it in January for a starter and full inspection. Anyway, last weekend, I bought a 2000 Jimmy — black, 4WD — from a young lady and sold the old Jimmy for $450 to a mechanic. I need to get the new vehicle checked out (there’s what seems like a fuel-sensor problem that needs to be fixed) but otherwise it’s a better-than-fair trade for the net price.

On the Bus! For three days, while Old Jimmy was in the shop being diagnosed, I took the bus to work. It wasn’t a bad trek; I live close enough to the bus line that runs near my office building that I could hoof it a tiny bit and not mess around with transfers. A few co-workers saw me walking the quarter-mile stretch between work and the bus stop and asked me if I walk to work. When I mentioned that I took the bus, they reacted as if I told them I have Ebola and would like to French kiss. Granted, I’m not the kind of guy who lionizes public transportation: It takes four times longer to get anywhere and you’re at the mercy of bus schedules and you must adapt to an ever-unpredictable mix of folks who happen to be on any given coach. But still, the snobbery that disdains the occasional use of public transportation did disappoint. Everyone should know the basics of the local bus or train system within their community, even if you only need to use it once every year or so. The $3 round-trip from home to office each day was a heck of a lot more prudent than a $60 round-trip cab ride (which is what I did in January when the starter got replaced) or the daily expense of a rental car.

Publishing House. My local tribe of fellow writers is exploring whether we want to establish a micropublishing house. We got the idea from a presentation at last month’s writer’s conference. The proposal I drafted goes before the gang this Friday, so we’ll see what happens.

Isle Royale. I’m now questioning whether I’ll do the Memorial Day trip back to the island. The U.P. is still covered in dense blankets of snow and Lake Superior between Houghton and the park is pretty much solid ice; National Weather Service says “wetter and colder than normal for the foreseeable future.” That gives a northern latitude a mere month to warm up enough to make a four-night backpacking trip enjoyable. Magic Eight Ball says: Not Gonna Happen, Wouldn’t Be Prudent. I’ve been invited to Louisville for a birthday casino trip with Tony and his wife. Might do that, instead, and consider an IRNP trip later in June. They promised to take me to Churchill Downs as long as I bring my “man satchel” so Jen can fill it with empty Stella chalices. Hmm.

Easter. The Easter Vigil at St. Robert went well. Fr. Len had the whole thing wrapped up in 1:47. Rob did well — he was nervous, but he had a lot of friends and family cheering him on. I didn’t even let him fall into the baptismal font! Now that Rob’s one of Us, we’ll work on getting his voting patterns into alignment. Fascinating to see the cultural difference between St. Robert and St. Anthony; the former church is very laid back while the latter spends a lot of time on prep and rehearsal.

Cats.  The boy cat, as of last week, decided he wants to sleep on my lap, too, just like his sister. In addition to being a parrot who gets pony rides around the house while balancing on my shoulders. Silly beast.

Illness. Two weeks ago, I had the Death Flu. Not fun. I think it’s the first time I had the flu since the 1990s — thank you, mandatory healthcare-worker vaccination.

Bonaire? On Tuesday I had tasty BBQ with Jen, Dave and Tawnya. It looks like we’ve got a week in October slated for a trek to Bonaire for a diving vacation. Looking forward to it! I think we’re going to rent a condo for a week and split the rooms accordingly.

Flights and duck nachos at Brewery Vivant. Mmm.

Posted on 26 April 2014 | No responses

Flights and duck nachos at Brewery Vivant. Mmm.

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The Nature of Faith

Posted on 15 April 2014 | No responses

Last Sunday, we had a closing four-hour retreat for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Robert of Newminster. The session was pleasant and the people at that parish are really quite delightful. The experience, at the time when Palm Sunday opens Holy Week, reinforced for me a concept I don’t take seriously enough — that is, the role of religiosity in the lives of ordinary people.

The social scientists tell us that formal religious profession is on the wane. Only one in five Americans visits a place of worship in any given week. Although three-quarters of us confess Christianity, demographers project that Christianity will be a minority faith tradition by 2030 given that one-third of people under age 30 claim no religious affiliation whatsoever.

Yet the religious impulse, as a human phenomenon, is quite different from religious practice. For the unchurched or the atheistic, their religious impulses tend to find expression in other pursuits — sexual licentiousness, radical environmentalism, unfocused spiritualism, unfettered egoism, etc.

Look at the pseudo-messianic undertones of the climate-change True Believers. Some of them suggest that people who disagree with their interpretation of climate models aren’t just mistaken — they’re morally defective and ought to be silenced – or even put in jail. Look, too, at the furor over the departure of newly appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich. Some representative supporters of same-sex marriage have argued, loudly, that one man’s private donation six years ago is a public matter because he’s a public face of a company. Think what you will about climate change and same-sex marriage: The zeal to persecute non-believers is a religious impulse that goes beyond mere disagreement about facts, theories or policies.

The phenomenon is simple, really. Human nature is what it is, and that nature prompts us to seek to belong to a tribe. The evolutionary biology and developmental psychology of humankind is fairly well understood on the matter, thanks to pioneering work by researchers like Jared Diamond. Our tribes both fuel and channel our passions and inspire emotional bonds that transcend abstract, dispassionate reason.

Tribes are funny things. In simplest form, they’re society’s little platoons, the places where we discern meaning and level-set sociocultural expectations and find refuge in a like-minded community. In years past, tribes in the United States looked like ethnic bars, churches, fraternal clubs and neighborhood associations. Yet these mediating institutions, across the board, are failing. Gentrification is leading to the erosion ethnic identity for most white Americans; church attendance is on the wane; fraternal organizations are a shell of their former glory; neighborhood civic groups have been superseded by online communities.

So how do we find our tribe? How do we belong? We do it the same way we always have — we find people who “look like us” and share our worldview. Except now, we’re not finding communal solace in religion or civic virtue but rather in political and public-policy forums, and our potential fellow travelers don’t need to hail from our neighborhood but rather can come from anywhere there’s broadband access. Hence the polarization of the electorate: We’re sorting ideologically across party lines because we have fewer purely local social ties to bind us.

Religiosity, when channeled through institutions that have had millennia to develop, is mostly benign. Religiosity, divorced of anchor institutions and self-directed through political channels, is harder to manage. Harder to mediate. Without a diversity of those “little platoons” to provide a broad-based context, we fall into the solipsism of a single-issue messiah. Political activism sourced from a wholly self-contained belief system cannot be reasoned with; it can only be confronted or accommodated.

Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Faith compels us; even people who profess atheism nevertheless need faith in something. It’s hard-wired into us as humans. As the rich tapestry of competing loyalties — a diversity that helped to check the excesses of any single constituent part — fades for many of our fellow citizens into a single-issue monochromatic print, our faith loses its grounding.

Some may argue that religious conservatives are ignorant. Or superstitious. Some probably are. But their faith in something bigger than themselves offers their religiosity a more humble, more humane path. Those whose faith hails from their own privileged beliefs, answerable to no higher authority than their own egos, have a tougher struggle to maintain a similar humble, humane demeanor. And, in this poisoned climate, it shows.

As a Catholic, then, I must confess: I have not really appreciated the gift of faith until I finally understood people whose faith is little more than a megaphone for their own psyches.

Thwarted from writing by my arch-nemesis, Sleeping Cat.

Posted on 9 April 2014 | No responses

Thwarted from writing by my arch-nemesis, Sleeping Cat.

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What Does a Well-Educated Person Really Need to Know?

Posted on 9 April 2014 | No responses

I’m working on a white paper about the basic skillset for practitioners of health care quality. The exercise, in addition to some of the discussion at a recent writer’s conference I attended, prompted reflection on what a “high performer” needs to know for a specific domain of excellence.

But what about the domain of life in general? Are there certain skills, knowledge or experience that an ordinary person ought to possess, to increase his odds of success over the long haul?

I think there are, and these bits of knowledge can usefully be presented in six increasingly broad categories. Let’s explore them, one by one.

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

What will you do when the fecal material hits the fan blades? The first and most basic category of knowledge is survival skills. I like the metaphor of a zombie apocalypse because one will never happen, but the metaphor really signifies any situation of a non-trivial period where a person’s life or health are at elevated risk and there’s little or no recourse to public authority for assistance. So Hurricane Katrina, for example, was a zombie apocalypse for the folks in southern Louisiana. So is sliding off a rural road in the middle of a blizzard, in a cellular dead zone. So is a solo hike in Denali National Park.

In a First World setting where we never really worry about the basics, we ought to know what to do in case those basics fail us. I think everyone needs to know how to start a fire, build a primitive shelter, forage for food on land and water, safely cook that food, collect and purify drinking water, and navigate by trail. You should know basic first aid and visual weather forecasting and campsite selection criteria. You need to know how to prioritize food, water, shelter and fire depending on the circumstances you’re dealing with.

I’m not suggesting that everyone ought to impersonate Les Straud or live a prepper lifestyle. I am suggesting you should be able to operate at Boy Scout level in the forest, without a support team to assist you.

For that matter: You should possess the basic skills to resolve routine inconveniences in a pinch, without relying on others – little things, like swapping a flat tire or unclogging a slow drain or repairing a broken kitchen drawer or controlling a major bleed. Instead of dialing 1-800-HELP-4ME, just take care of it.

Being able to survive a “zombie apocalypse” is less about specific skills and more about a specific state of mind. Ample evidence says that the people most likely to survive a catastrophe are the ones who feel prepared and in control of their own destiny. Backcountry and crisis-management skills build the confidence to weather the storm psychologically. A well-educated person will not simply curl up and die during a disaster.

The Social Graces

So, you’ve survived the zombie apocalypse. Congratulations. More difficult is taming that most wild of beasts, man.

The social graces include those skills you need to thrive in a community setting. Chief among these are communication techniques intended to defuse conflict, coupled with the self-defense skills to protect yourself from aggression when the situation cannot be resolved amicably.

Think of self-defense as managing three zones of risk. The first zone is situational awareness — of being competent at identifying potential threats, so you can avoid conflict in the first place. The second zone is conflict management. When you’re being confronted, responding appropriately with a mix of words and non-verbal cues can reduce the risk of an altercation — classic “how to deal with bullies” techniques. The third zone is combat. Even a little bit of self-defense training can help you hold your own in a bar fight or during a back-alley mugging attempt.

Cultivate a high level of emotional intelligence. Learn the basics of psychology, including paradigms like Maslow’s Hierarchy and the core psychological self-defense mechanisms. When you understand what motivates people, and what sorts of behaviors are learned versus instinctive, you can predict and perchance mold a tense situation to your benefit.

Being aware of the context in which others live is useful, too. If Siri misdirects you into the burned-out ruins of inner-city Detroit, then you hit a pothole and lose a tire, being aware of the particulars of urban culture can reduce your risk of victimization. Likewise, mastering the basics of cross-cultural communication could turn a blah dining experience at an ethnic restaurant into something magical.

Oh, and one more thing: A well-educated person is a master of civility, no matter the situation. Stiff upper lip, chap.

Life, the Universe & Everything

After you’ve made peace with your fellow humans, you need to make peace with your place in the cosmos — that is, by having a well-defined sense of the supernatural and how you plug into the universe’s grand design.

No one can ignore the God question. We may each come to different conclusions, but we cannot pretend like the question doesn’t exist. A coherent theology — even a negative theology like atheism — sets an existential framework for building a personal teleology. Agnosticism, embraced by some as a putative enlightened path, is intellectually indefensible: The Law of the Excluded Middle tells us that a binary question like the existence of God cannot admit to an I-don’t-know box on the ballot. So you have to pick a side, and live with both that choice and its real-world implications.

That word teleology is significant. Not only does a well-educated person grapple with the God question, but she also grapples with the big questions about the meaning of life. Teleology is the theory of being as understood in the context of a thing’s essential purpose. Humans largely write their own destiny. A well-educated person understands the things that contribute to human flourishing and what ingredients people need to thrive. And then she’ll live a life of self-actualization in line with her teleology of human excellence.

The Queen of the Sciences

Philosophy: Long may she reign supreme over the merely material sciences!

The benefit to studying philosophy is that the discipline teaches you how to think, and especially how to think objectively about difficult things that others ignorantly dismiss as being too highfalutin. Philosophy is the home of such valuable subjects as ethics, aesthetics, taxonomy, logic and epistemology. Philosophy teaches right and wrong, true and false, beautiful and ugly, reasonable and unreasonable. You learn how to examine an argument from any side and how to spot errors in reasoning that can lead to bad outcomes.

The other academic pursuits provide ample raw materials in the form of facts and figures and rules. But philosophy is the place where the application of those facts and figures and rules actually originates.

A well-educated person will be familiar with at least entry-level philosophy, such as that presented in Roger Scruton’s excellent Modern Philosophy.

This. Is. Jeopardy!

The broadest category of knowledge is that of standard academic learning. Although no one can know everything, everyone ought to know a little bit about a lot.

  • Humanities. Introduction to visual and performing arts. Ability to read music and at least poorly play an instrument. Study of a foreign language to at least the collegiate 202 level. Knowledge of the contents of the Western Canon and acquaintance with many of the titles therein. Deeper knowledge of world history (e.g., through a careful read of J.M. Roberts’s History of the World) and U.S. history.
  • Social Sciences.  Econ 101. Introductions to anthropology and sociology. Deeper understanding of psychology, with an emphasis on abnormal psych. Functional geographical literacy. Solid understanding of basic political theory and the structure of different forms of government.
  • Natural Sciences. Equivalents of a college seminar in each of astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology and physics.
  • Mathematics. Algebra and systems of equations. Set theory. Statistics, to include central tendency, dispersion, correlation, sampling, regression and visualization. Basic geometry and trigonometry.
  • Applied Sciences. Basics of agricultural practice. Business systems. Computer science, including at least an introduction to programming in any given language. Basics of mechanical and electrical engineering. Introduction to the fields of health care, law and journalism.

The Ephemera

Layer on top of all of the above, a smattering of knowledge about human health — fitness, diet, and the diagnosis and treatment of common ailments — and a wholesome acquaintanceship with one’s local environment, and you have a good start.

Lest we forget, a well-educated person should be acquainted, too, with pop culture. A shared vocabulary of pop music, TV shows, movie references and celebrity gossip helps to grease the wheels of interpersonal communication. Plus, sometimes pop-culture watching is a guilty pleasure.

Few people really fully possess what I’ve laid out here. The great thing, though, is that we’re all life-long learners, and there’s no sell-by date on a person’s ability to grow.

Besides, I hear the zombies don’t like rich, healthy brains — they go after the brains of the stupid, because they’re thinner and easier to digest. So there’s that.

Thoughts

Posted on 16 March 2014 | No responses

The laundry is done. The cats are sleeping. The kitchen is immaculate. Five of my six inboxes are devoid of pending emails. And I recline at my desk, feet propped on the sill, sipping some Johnnie Walker Swing, thinking.

Friends Moving On
Sad as it is, you can only do the heavy lifting in a friendship for so long before you realize that proximity and utility mean more to others than keeping a friendship well-tended. And that's OK. Lamentable, but OK.

Ukraine
The American with the best understanding of the Ukraine crisis is probably Jared Leto.

Just Show Up
Having just returned from a 1.5-day conference in Chicago, for the leaders of state healthcare-quality associations, I realize more than ever just how true the saying is: Eighty percent of success really is just showing up. Well, engaging, too — but strolling through the wide-open door is usually a good beginning. The rest is often gravy.

Las Vegas
I'm off soon to Las Vegas for another mini-vacation. The trip will be fun, as it always is — I think this will be my eighth or ninth excursion to Sin City in the last six years — and we shall see whether the Gamblin' Gods will be ever in my favor.

Complexification
Is it human nature to take simple things and make them unnecessarily complex? For the last six months or so, I've been wrestling with a problem that, at first blush, seems trivial. Yet I'm not "there" yet with a solution. Every possible answer merely suggests a different set of permutations. Meanwhile, the problem remains unresolved. Perhaps I don't want to solve it?

Faith
Faith without doubt is meaningless. Faith that boasts of its truthfulness is dangerous. No system of belief — religious, political, scientific — should demand unnecessary dogmas or subvert necessary caveats.

Blowin’ in the Wind …

Posted on 4 March 2014 | No responses

Behold the whirlwind.

Where to begin? I’ve posted photos of the drama related to my dining-room window. The broken pane is from a century-old window, so the glass repair is taking some time. The storm window is in place — the A/C unit is now in front of my bedroom fireplace — so it’s not terrible, but I do occasionally feel a draft. Ugh.

Two weeks ago, I went on a casino trip to Detroit (MGM Grand, Motor City and Greektown) as well as Caesar’s Windsor and Hollywood Casino Toledo. Tony and Roux attended. It was a great time — we covered it in a podcast last week — but regrettably expensive.

Last Friday, a six-hour board meeting of the Michigan Association for Healthcare Quality. In Mount Pleasant. The board accepted my proposal, endorsed by the MAHQ education committee, to hold our annual conference in early October in Traverse City. Can you say “wine tour?” Lots of good planning, though — I think we have a real opportunity to coordinate more with leaders in Lansing about state health policy, and the board endorsed my fuzzy proposal to deliberately cultivate contacts in state government.

This coming weekend, I’ll be in Chicago for a state-leaders conference sponsored by the National Association for Healthcare Quality. Should be a good networking opportunity. The folks at NAHQ asked me to help moderate a speed-networking event on Saturday morning.

Life has been busy, but good. My normal routine still hasn’t recovered from NaNoWriMo, though. I’ve done a bit of writing, mostly Saturday mornings with Brittany. Caught the Lego Movie with Duane on Sunday.

I’m really excited about some upcoming scuba trips. I had dinner two weeks ago with Jen, Dave and Tawnya. T is my new dive buddy; she just got certified and just bought her gear. Woohoo. We’re planning a weekend trip to Gilboa, Ohio, for late June. Of course, we’ll have to do some local lake diving in late May and early June to get Tawnya some logged dives. I’ve already paid for a advanced cert course through the dive shop. I think I’m going to target “Level 4″ status in SSI by the end of the season. That’s basically 50 dives and four additional courses, plus Stress and Rescue training. If I can get that nailed, then next year I can work toward Divemaster in 2015. I’m thinking maybe I’ll do deep diving, Nitrox, navigation and wreck diving. We’ll see.

The feline overlords are doing well. One of them has decided that I make a great elevator, so when I’m crouched over or kneeling down, he sometimes hops on my back/shoulders and expects a pony ride to whatever shelf or cabinet he cannot otherwise access. It’s cute.

I have officially loved this winter. We have the second-snowiest winter in Grand Rapids history this year, and we’re like #2 nationally for snow cover. Yay. I have 4WD and my landlord shovels/snowblows, so for me, it’s just been fun. I grow weary of everyone bitching about how much they hate the winter.

Although, come to think of it, drivers do piss me off. I’m glad you treehuggers out there buy your Priuses and Civics, but in Michigan, those vehicles aren’t exactly prudent between Nov. 1 and April 1. Sheesh. And since so few people are shoveling their on-street parking curbs, I’m having fun counting how many cars have a smashed driver-side mirror. In some stretches of road, every fourth or fifth car has a missing or damaged mirror.

Writing has been slow. I’m still pleased with my novel, but I’m hung up on Chapter 4. To me, it’s obviously an addition that stuffs in material that counterbalances content in the second half of the novel. I think I need to remove it and find other ways of addressing plot continuity deficiencies.

I’m woefully behind on a bunch of chores, though. All the travel and events I’ve been doing in January and February have conspired to deprive me of time to get stuff done at home. I’m behind on routine paperwork, and the re-launch of some of my business properties is delayed thanks to some tax/legal considerations. Oh, and I need to pay Abbi for her excellent design work so far.

I might have some time in late March. I’ve got a long-planned return trek to Las Vegas scheduled. I’ll do three nights in Sin City. Knowing my travel companions as I do, I figure my mornings will be free to work on stuff. Since I’m the only person who seems to arise before the sun begins to set.

Lent begins tomorrow. Interesting perspective on the Lent/Easter cycle given my time this year as an RCIA sponsor. I think I will, for the first time ever, attend a Chrism Mass at the Cathedral. Maybe I’ll get to meet the new bishop.

All for now.

Last week’s icicle of doom decided to kiss the living-room…

Posted on 19 February 2014 | No responses

Last week’s icicle of doom decided to kiss the living-room window. At 6:45 a.m.

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Note to self: Don’t use the side door.

Posted on 10 February 2014 | No responses

Note to self: Don’t use the side door.

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