Wednesday, January 31, 2024


The Trike


Here we have an old old picture of me and my brother Bill (resuscitated by my sister Kathy) back in the day. I'm 21 months older, but it looks like we are twinning, right down to the matching socks and shoes. 
And boy do I remember that tricycle! It must have come to our family used, because it was kind of rusty and dented up, but much beloved. It had a bar/ledge by the back wheels, so that a second kid could ride back there standing up. I realize that probably that wasn't totally "safe," but it sure was fun!
Bill rode the trike at breakneck speed down the sidewalk on Harvard Road in Detroit. In the summer, when the sun stayed up late and the moon came up, he was convinced the moon was following him, and tried to outrun it...

Tuesday, January 30, 2024


Biden's Dilemna


The nation of Jordan in is in a precarious location, wedged between Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, all of which deal with their own complicated security concerns. It was there that three US Army reservists were killed and over 40 injured by a drone launched by an Iranian-backed group last week.
Now, President Biden needs to make a hard decision. Many are calling on him to retaliate against Iran itself, which would be a very real escalation of the conflicts in the area. Others seek a more restrained response, directed at the Iranian-backed groups in Iraq. Even that, however, will make things more difficult with Iraq, where we also have troops stationed.
It's a messy world right now.... 

Monday, January 29, 2024


Stuff in trees!

 Wow! I wasn't expecting a lot from the theme of "things in trees," but you all delivered.

We had this from IPLawGuy:
Ski tree underwear
No one was wearing that bra
When they got on lift.

The Medievalist chimed in with a Texas viewpoint:
Ancient pecan trees,
Homes for squirrels and birds,
Wooden sentinels.

Jill Scoggins graced us again:
Friend Ted says his dog
calls squirrels "nut grabbers." Doggo
hasn't yet caught one.

Desiree knows about trees:
Uncle Gene counted the
figs in his tree so my dad
couldn’t steal any.

And Christine... shotguns?:

Against winter skies
Mistletoe clings, shotguns - pow
It kisses the earth.

Sunday, January 28, 2024


Sunday Reflection: God and the natural world


Like most other practicing Christians (and I mean that in both senses), I know a lot of people who don't go to church anymore. Often, they say the same thing: that they get more of a sense of God in nature than they do in a house of worship, so why bother?
There is a part of that which I struggle with intellectually. Jesus said we should gather for worship, for one thing. And beyond that, I've never concluded that God formed each thing in nature; it seems just as likely that the creating evolved and changed under its own forces over time.
But... sometimes I feel it. I see a perfect red leaf on the ground and pick it up. I am stopped cold by the shape of a river or the sound of the ocean. I see the snow over hills. I can't help but feel it, that presence. 
And, I suppose, that is as real as thinking it.

Saturday, January 27, 2024


This hits a nerve....


Friday, January 26, 2024


Haiku Friday: Stuff in Trees


Here we have the "Shoe Tree" on the campus of the University of Minnesota, which is... well, I have no idea what is going on there. But there are so many things in trees: birds, squirrels, kites, treehouses, monkeys, etc. Let's haiku about that this week! Here, I will go first:
 So many good shoes!
Why are they stuck in a tree?
Must mean something, right?
Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable pattern and have some fun!

Thursday, January 25, 2024


Football Mayhem Thursday


[Now that we are pretty much assured that 2024 will be consumed with Biden v. Trump, I just can't brings myself to talk about politics today-- so we get sports, instead]
Well, it was fun while it lasted.
In the wake of leading his alma mater to the national championship, Jim Harbaugh is leaving as coach of the Michigan Wolverines to go back to the pros, this time coaching the Los Angeles chargers (he previously coached the 49ers). 
There's a lot wrong with this, starting with the fact that the Chargers should still be in San Diego, anyways, and let the Rams have LA. Shoot, LA was fine for years with NO pro football teams, right? 
Offensive Coordinator Sherrone Moore is the leading contender for the new head coach at Michigan. He had to fill in for six games this year when Harbaugh was suspended for various rules infractions.
And that is kind of the story, too... it sure seemed like Harbaugh struggled to follow the NCAA's rules.  Hopefully, the professional league will be kinder to him....

Wednesday, January 24, 2024


Florida Man Fails


Not so long ago, it seemed like Ron DeSantis had it made-- for a while, he was even polling ahead of former president Donald J. Trump. Now it's all over, and it looks like Trump will almost certainly be the nominee of the Republican party. The Washington Post even referred to him as "Jeb 2.0." Ouch.
One thing DeSantis never did was really go after his primary rival, which was odd. Trump certainly didn't feel the same hesitation-- he attacked DeSantis viciously at every turn. The thinking seems to have been that DeSantis couldn't risk alienating those who are fiercely loyal to Trump-- an odd theory, since those people are going to vote for Trump. 
And now, in the wake of New Hampshire's primary, looking at the Biden/Trump matchup I have feared for a long time....

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


The New Hampshire Primary


Today is one of the red-letter days of the political cycle-- the New Hampshire presidential primary. This year, though, is a little different:
-- The Democratic Party wanted to shuffle the order of primaries, and told New Hampshire it could no longer go first, after Iowa's caucuses. That means that the Democratic primary today is not going to actually apportion any delegates. 
-- Because of that dis-affiliation of the party, Joe Biden did not seek to put his name on the ballot. So, he's not there-- and some advocates are urging people to write his name in.
-- Dean Phillips IS on the ballot on the Democratic side. He was the congressman from the other half of Edina, and owns a few businesses around here.
-- Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis pulled out of the race just a few days ago. One mystery that will be resolved today will be whether that helps Trump or Nikki Haley.

Monday, January 22, 2024



 Haiku traditional embraced nature themes and "cars" was hardly in keeping with that. We got some great entries, though, including this one from Christine that implies she (like IPLawGuy) hopes to create her own convertible by chopping the top off of an EV or Subaru:
NC, where I live
The Subaru rules the road
Along with EVs

I long a soft breeze,
The top down, blowing my hair
Along country roads.

Dr. Price got kinda philosophical on us (which is ok):
What was the dream car
before there were cars at all?
Were there any dreams?

Jill Scoggins is 100% correct:
Jaguar. British class.
Sleek, refined, a bit of snazz.
I could wear it well.

Desiree is, as always, green:
Candy apple red
Jeep calls my name but I must
Wait for electric.

But the Medievalist was closest to my own dreams (realized):

Mazda Miata,
Any year, sweet ride, jet black,
It's not practical.

Sunday, January 21, 2024


Sunday Reflection: People in Cities


In modern America, it seems like there is an inverse proportionality between population density and religious adherence-- that is, there tends to be more religious expression where there are fewer people. I'm sure there are exceptions-- for example, immigrant communities in cities can be very religious. 
Part of that, I suppose, is self-selection. Deeply religious people might be turned off by the decadence of cities, for example, so they live farther out in the country. 
I wonder, though, if it also has something to do with the community role played by faith institutions. Even a town with no store will sometimes have a church, and that simply is the place available to gather. Cynically, that would mean that the religious beliefs follow the need for community. 
Some city churches, though, are vibrant and full. I love seeing that....

Saturday, January 20, 2024



 I did not know there was going to be another Back to the Future!

Friday, January 19, 2024


Haiku Friday: Dream Car


I like my car-- a diesel sedan-- very much. But that doesn't mean that every winter I don't fantasize a little about what my next car might be. Sometimes it is something not-so-fancy, and in fact in 2008 I bought a Mazda 3 and loved it.
Let's haiku about that this week. Here, I will go first:
Winter Subaru
Seems pretty much effortless
Driving over snow.
Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable formula and have some fun...

Thursday, January 18, 2024


PMT: The Primaries-- Watch them while they last....


It's the week between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary-- usually a huge week in a presidential election year. Not so much this time around, as it seems like in is now inevitable that Donald Trump will face Joe Biden in the November general election. Sigh.
If Nikki Haley can come within 10 points of Trump in New Hampshire, then maybe, maybe there will be a race to watch, especially with her home state of South Carolina coming up soon. Maybe. Probably not.
Here is the schedule going forward for the Republicans:
Next Tuesday, January 23: New Hampshire primary
Feb. 8: Nevada Primary
Feb. 24: South Carolina Primary
Feb. 27: Michigan Primary
March 5: Super Tuesday (AL, AK, AR, CA, CO, ME, MA, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA)

Then we will be off to the races on the general election...


Wednesday, January 17, 2024


Wait a minute... who is attacking who?


As conflict grows on the other side of the world, I often have to refer to a map to remember who is who, and how they are related to one another. Here is just some of it:
-- On the left side of this map, we have Israel, that is involved in an occupation of Gaza to its south while engaging in conflicts with groups in Lebanon to the north and the West Bank to the, well, west.  Many of those opposed to Israel are sponsored by Iran, in the middle of the map.
-- Iran, in turn, just attacked groups in Pakistan, to its west, and Iraq, to its east.
-- The Houthi rebels, in Yemen at the bottom of the map, are attacking shipping in the Red Sea. They have been at war with Saudi Arabia, to Yemen's north.
-- Iran is the hub of much of this, but at the edges of this map are a number of other conflicts. India often is in conflict with Pakistan.  Azerbaijan, at the top left, is often at war with its neighbor Armenia (which is on the map but not labeled, just below Georgia). Turkey is in conflict with Kurds in Iraq. Afghanistan is... well, still messy. 
With all these interconnected conflicts, it could spin into a very scary larger war. It's worth keeping an eye on...

Tuesday, January 16, 2024


Giant Slide

 Regulars here know that one of my favorite things about Detroit is the famously dangerous Belle Isle Giant Slide, that apparently was designed and built as some kind of middle school project. 

And now, there is a song about it! I particularly enjoy the suggestion that if your kids get annoying you can send them over to the Giant Slide, where they'll probably die.  
Here you go:

Monday, January 15, 2024



 "Yes, please!", said Desiree:

Animal haiku? Don't mind if I do!

"They" say aye-aye's long
middle finger gets food. Is
there another use?

One lump or two, says
the camel. He don't need no
stinkin' Stanley cup.

Daring fashion choice,
Okapi's sporting stripes and
solids, but it works!

So many teeth for
such tiny prey. 'Possums love
those annoying ticks.

Dr. D weighed in on (I think) whales:

About four kilos,
its closest relative is
(yes!) the elephant!

Jill Scoggins weighed in:
TAMUK: Only college
With javelina as mascot.
Like boar but isn’t.

And Dr. Daniel Price, as well, again, and well!:

Its young are "puggles"
and its name looks like a real
word, but spelled backward.

Sunday, January 14, 2024


Sunday Reflection:


There are some people I see that I just... I want to know what it is they are talking about. Like these guys I furtively photographed yesterday. (And yeah, I was not in Minnesota-- this was back in Waco). 
When I was a kid, someone told me that everyone has something interesting about them, and over the years I have found that to be true. The trick is to get them to talk about it, sometimes. We all sometimes protect the things that are most important to us, after all. We hide our light under a bushel, as Jesus described it.
I wish we talked to each other more often. But, as an introvert, the lack of that is usually my fault in any given situation. Sometimes, on a plane for example, I find myself in conversation with someone and that fascinating thing comes out. This world is full of amazing people. They are walking right by you on the street, eating at the next table, waiting for the bus as you drive past. We would all be better off if there were bubbles over each of us, announcing what our real deal is. But lacking that, we'll just have to ask...

Saturday, January 13, 2024


IPLawGuy's New/Old Car!


If you were wondering about IPLawGuy's new unrestored 1973 convertible-- here it is!

Friday, January 12, 2024


Haiku Friday: Unusual animals


I'm pretty sure this will come off as just pandering to Desiree and her interests, but I do think that unusual animals are interesting on their own. So let's haiku about them this week! Here, I will go first:
Yellow honeybee
Such a complex construction!
So many pokeys.
Now it is your turn! Just use the 5/7/5 syllable pattern and have some fun!

Thursday, January 11, 2024


PMT: And... Christie is out


Just a week before the Iowa caucuses, former New Jersey governor and Trump friend-turned-enemy dropped out of the presidential race.
On the way out, he had a fun hot mic moment, in which he said to the world at large that Nikki Haley was "going to get smoked, and you and I both know it," and that rival Ron DeSantis was "petrified." Oops. That certainly makes endorsing either unlikely (though it was already unlikely, unless Haley or DeSantis became willing to disown Trump and his followers). 
Christie was, actually, the one in the Republican race who seemed to make the most sense when he talked, which is an important attribute in a president. He was also the most moderate, and this is not a time when that's successful in a Republican primary. 
I called IPLawGuy to get his take on all this, but I got him as he was driving to the "South of the Border" truck stop in South Carolina for something in his unrestored 1973 Gremlin convertible, so it was hard to hear.  "He...  no way.... ice cream.... leather helmet... get out!" was the best I could make of it.  So I'll have to circle back to him on that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024


Yes, please, I would liike a "tidy mouse"


My favorite non-sports story of this very young year is about the "Welsh Tidy Mouse," who secretly tidies up some guy's work bench in Wales.
I very much could use a "tidy mouse" to work on my office. However, the stuff is too big, so I might need a "tidy gopher" or even a "tidy bear" to sneak in and do the work. Now, I can't get rid of the image of going into my office, finding it in perfect order, and then noticing the bear asleep on my couch....

Tuesday, January 09, 2024




For the first time since 1997, Michigan won the national championship in football. I never went to Michigan, but I've been a fan my whole life, and my dad (who also did not go to Michigan) was too. 
It was a weird year for Michigan football, marred first by a minor recruiting scandal and then a bigger one about improper scouting to steal signals. But... it's pretty certain that Michigan wouldn't have been able to steal signals against their final (and best) opponents, who they played after the scandal broke: Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama and Washington, all of which were in the top 10. 
I'm happy for Michigan. But I'm sad college football season is over.
Outside, it is finally snowing.

Monday, January 08, 2024


So many scary things!

 We had two good ones from Desiree, this:
Busy honey bee,
I love your honey but fear
That stinkin’ stinger.

And this:
Glenn Youngkin proves that
the rich get richer with tax
loopholes— scary greed.

And two from the good Dr, Daniel Price, starting with this fantastic blast from the past (I'll explain later this week):
To think that today's
students might not know that Roy
rules in botany...

And this (which... I'll get around to):
Mounting dread when one
hears the loud, cheerful "Quiz Kid,
we have an answer!"

And then Jill Scoggins brought the real fear:
Husband: eighty-two.
In good health but I prepare
and fear for his loss.

And finally IPLawGuy, er, sorry, anonymous, is still showing the Youngkin love:

We should all a-fear
The loss of one Glenn Youngkin
Virginia needs him!

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