Saturday, August 31, 2019

Scooter's Brain (and why you should be happy you don't have it)

Yesterday I was looking at Instagram and ads popped up for this weird pillow. Now I cannot find them now so you won't see the exact ad, but it is for the pillow below.

It's a semicircle arc, and it is suppose to have support so your significant other can lay in your arms, but your arm won't fall asleep.

It's not a horrible idea, but all I hear in my brain is the girlfriend as you slip this over your arm;

"Oh that's a great idea. No, I get it. I'm soooo fat you need extra support. Perfect. You want a crane too, a crane to roll my fat ass over so I don't accidently touch you! Oh.. it's not because I'm fat. Then why? You don't like touching me? Just say so. Just say, I'm so disgusted that any physical contact - you AFTER sex of course - is revolting. I get it. NO, I'm fine. But I think you can sleep on the couch so you don't get cooties."

And as he slinks off to the front room, she says, in wane voice, "No.. wait." And she heaves the pillow at him, "You forgot your little friend.!"

Friday, August 30, 2019

Looking for Hope

I was looking at this in my writing, but I thought it was nice and hopeful. I am not including the entire address (it was quite long) but this overview of it by the Mt. Verson historical society.

Washington began his address by explaining his choice not to seek a third term as president. Washington revealed that he had hoped to retire prior to the previous election, but refrained due to the “critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations,” referring to the escalation of tensions with Great Britain over its war with France. But with that crisis passed, Washington assured the country that his leadership was no longer needed. The republic would be safe in the hands of a new president.2

Having done his best to assuage fear, Washington then offered his final counsel to the people as their president. He stressed the importance of the Union that bonded all Americans together and provided for their freedom and prosperity. He reminded them that the “independence and liberty” the nation currently enjoyed was the result of the “common dangers, sufferings, and successes” they had experienced together in the American Revolution and early years of the republic. To safeguard their hard-won system of republican government in a federal union, the country had to remain united.3

He cautioned against three interrelated dangers that threatened to destroy the Union: regionalism, partisanship, and foreign entanglements. He warned his countrymen not to let regional loyalties overwhelm national attachments: “The name of American…must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” At this time, many Americans primarily identified with their state or region, but Washington reminded the citizenry not to allow such attachments to divide them, lest “designing men” convince them that differing local interests made the Union unworkable or unnecessary.4

In particular, Washington feared that geographic identities would serve as the foundation for the development of political parties. Indeed, this process had already begun with the emergence of the New England Federalists and Southern Democratic-Republicans. While we currently view partisanship as inseparable from the American political process, in the early republic, most condemned parties as divisive, disruptive, and the tools of demagogues seeking power.5

“Factionalism,” as contemporaries called it, encouraged the electorate to vote based on party loyalty rather than the common good. Washington feared that partisanship would lead to a “spirit of revenge” in which party men would not govern for the good of the people, but only to obtain and maintain their grip on power. As a result, he warned Americans to guard against would-be despots who would use parties as “potent engines…to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”6

The greatest danger to the Union, though, stemmed from the combination of factionalism and external invasion. Washington explained that partisanship “open[ed] the door to foreign influence and corruption” because it weakened voters’ abilities to make reasoned and disinterested choices. Rather than choosing the best men for office, the people would base decisions on “ill-founded jealousies and false alarms,” and so elect those in league with foreign conspirators. To avoid outside interference, Washington advocated a foreign policy based on neutrality and friendly commercial relations with all.7

Washington concluded his address with some brief musings on his legacy. Given his forty-five years of service, he hoped that his countrymen would view his past mistakes “with indulgence” and that history would relegate them “to oblivion.” He closed by expressing his anticipation of a retirement in which he enjoyed the fruits of the nation’s “mutual cares, labors, and dangers” over the last several years. That is, “the benign influence of good laws under a free government.”8

Washington’s Farewell Address spoke to contemporary concerns that the Union was weak and vulnerable to attacks from internal and external enemies. But even after the uncertainty of the early national period had passed, his message of unity remained powerful. In the early nineteenth century, Federalists read the farewell address aloud as part of their yearly commemoration of Washington’s birthday.9 It is still recited annually in the United States Senate, a tradition dating back to the Civil War. The Farewell Address endures as a critical founding document for issues of Union, partisanship, and isolationism.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Birds From Africa

Eddie and I got some great bird shots from Africa. I am posting some, because they are way cool. I'll probably post more later and pull Gareth's shots too.

African Fish Eagle

This little wader was cool. The picture above is her nest, right on the side of the road. There were two nests that were undisturbed... until the Wildebeests came through. One was destroyed, but her nest made it through successfully.
This is a black headed lagwing. Cool right?

Blue Header Roller

Monday, August 26, 2019

My Grandfather Dr. Quintin DeYoung

Well, my Grandfather is a complex character. So I will start with some basics, then some discussion of my interactions with him, and then interesting things I found out about him and his family.

First off, if you google Dr. Quintin R DeYoung and Chapman College, you will find out a few things about him. He was an extremely influential professor of Psychology in general and Child Psychology in particular. In fact, in 2010 Chapman College put up a sculpture and a quote of his is used on it (below).

The first thing my family noticed is that his named is spelt incorrectly, which drove the family nuts (my mother’s obsession with correct spellings of names merits its own post some day). The quote is:

Will you seize and grasp my flickering flame? Not because I implore you. Not because your family, your friends, your ambitions implore you; but seek knowledge and truth for its own sake. You may find, as I have found, there is no truth… only the quest.

It’s inspiring but it doesn’t really capture my Grandfather fully, if anything could.

Another interesting thing that is totally true (honestly). When I was in High School in Cerritos -  about 7 miles from Chapman College in the city of Orange – I had 2 different teachers say to me, “I know this is very random, but are you related to Dr. DeYoung?”

You see, he taught Child Psychology to teachers at night and they had studied under him. That is how much we looked, sound and acted similarly.  And, in addition to being brilliant, he was bi-polar back when it was called Manic / Depression. Apparently, until the lecture started, he was an asshole, making fun of people and general being a dick. But, the minute he started lecturing he was interesting, engaging and comforting. In High School my manic and depressive swings were not nearly as pronounced, but was obvious if you were looking for the signs.

One of the last conversations we had was about Manic / Depression or bipolar episodes. He and I had separately read findings that established a coloration between the condition and the hereditary links. It turns out it travels down the female line, generally skips a generation and is passed from male heir to grandson – along the mother’s line. If you can’t follow that, it means I’m as nuts as he was. I have the benefit, thank God, of better meds.

My grandfather was proscribed Librium, which helped but has a long litany of side-effects. Given these he was inconsistent with his use of the drug and people never knew which Dr. DeYoung would show up. Fun, huh?

My Grandmother (the woman in the pictures) decided when she was older to cut up all the pictures and make colleges. See, I fairly come from a family of kooks.
-- Our Relationship –

Friday, August 23, 2019

Last Night at the US Open

From left: Adam Rippon (Gold Medal figure skating), Brian Vahally( tennis), two lovely women from tennis doubles who are lovers (I cannot pronounce there names. I think Dutch) Jason Collins (first out basketball player), Billie Jean King, Billy Bean (baseball) and the announcer (who's very nice, but who's name I forget)

Last night the US Open had a Pride event. That is, they hosted a panel discussion about the changing norms of being gay and being allowed to play professional sports. It was a fascinating talk, and I got to meet some very cool people afterwards,

 It was cool and afterward we meet some people we look up to.
Us with Adam Rippon

Jason, Billie and Billy
Patrick Galbraith the USTA President (and a UCLA Bruin)
Jason Colins is very tall   

Eddie and I

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Hyenas are NOT the most lovable animal in the wild. They are ugly, have a bit of a weird lopping gait, and because they are in the big cat family, not dog, they start eating their kill while it is still alive. But in other ways, they are pretty dog-like. In particular the spotted hyena, which is what these pictures are.

They look like dogs, but are in the group, FELIFORM

Mother with a young

They live in groups and we found several groups on our safarii. By far the largest had taken over a watering hole. They hunt at night, but here, in a large group with a lot of young, they spend their days lolling around, while the young played grab-ass.

Even though they are more related to felines, the mimic CANINES in family group and morphology

The first day, they were a little wary. But after the wildebeests' migration came through, they were fat and happy. Easy to watch.
Spotted Hyenas kill their prey (unlike more stripped and southern hyenas that are scavengers)

And, after a while, a kind of stark beauty is about them.
Blood from last night's kill. And a hugely extended stomach (vs. top pics)

Harder Than I Thought

Okay - writing about my relatives is a lot harder than I thought. Since no one is demanding this, I will do it once a week.  Next week will be about my Maternal Grandfather, Dr. Quintin DeYoung.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Robert Lee Green (my Great-Grandfather)

Approx 1937 with his wife, Cairo IL
Robert Green was my Great Grandfather, and I was an annoying and hyperactive young child. This was not a great combination. Further, I think Granddaddy, which is what we called him, was not a ball of fire in any case. He benefited from a strong and domineering wife and a daughter that helped take care of him – my Grandmother Zela.

It looked a little like this, genealogically speaking.

Robert Green -> Zela Mitchell (née Green) -> Gerald Mitchell -> Me!

I tend to see him through the lens of his later years, but I have learned enough through talks with my Grandmother and the Ancestry web site.

But coming at it from the other side is where I found him interesting.

The Greens were farmers in Kentucky for 4 generations before he was born. His Great Grandfather, William Charles Monroe Gabrial Green, was born in Virginia and headed out to the brand-new state of Kentucky to become a farmer very early in the 1810s. I can’t find too much out about their farming life except that it was in the rolling hills about 10 miles south of Cincinnati. His son moved to south, right on the border with Tennessee. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Change of Pace... Stories of My Family

Most of my friends have heard stories of my family, but I have been following Ancestry and I find some of these fantastic. So I will start sharing. Read what you want, ignore what you don't. They are in no order, but mine.

And a note. You will notice that the connections I felt strongly are not always the closest relative. There is a reason for this.

As families moved to the United States and then to California, not everyone came. I became extremely close, by emotion or proximity, to the family members that lived in California. I spent more time with my Great-Gandmother's Sister Smitty (Effie Rosetta Smith) than almost any of my other relatives bar my parents and one Grandmother. In fact, that Grandmother (Zela) lived for years with Smitty who was her mother-in-law's younger sister.

So California, Southern California in particular, was a destination of choice. Populated by the headstrong, dreamers and fools. My family in a nut-shell.

So let's start with my Great Grandfather in the next post.

Grandaddy Green

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

California Condors - It was a nice run when we cared about the Earth

Homage to the Endangered Species Act - The California Condor.  What we can do when assholes aren't President.

Because the Supreme Court is non-Partisan

Keep The Pictures: Trump Administration is Fucking America Over and We Can Now Kill These

The updated Endangered Species Act allows the government to take "economic factors" into account in order to gut the act. Because our need for hunting, and coal outweighs silly ideas about protecting our future for our children.

Here are some of the first stupid animals that will be forced extinct.

My favorite, the first thing I spent my own money to protect, is the California Condor. I lived to watch a final desperate act and seeing them all captured, then a breeding program. It is a success and now there are hundreds instead of the final 24 there were when we started to save them. 

May they leave and feast on the entrails of those committing them to extinction.

Channel Island Fox - another success story. Well, it was before we allowed them to be screwed over with Trump.

Channel Island Gray Fox.

Florida Panther - we need roads in the Everglades.

Hawaiian Akailopia cuz, who the fuck needs birds.

Mississippi Sandhill Cranes - birds again.

Sage Grouse (although there are some in Canada, so they got a chance.

Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits

Right Whales - that's some tasty eatin'

Monday, August 12, 2019


Men's Gymnastic Team 2019 - The Face of America

Watching the Men's Gymnastic Tournament yesterday made me happy. Not just because they are so freaking amazing, although they are. And not just because they were so happy to be there, although that helped.

It reminded me that America has a look. And that look is not White Nationalism. That look is a diverse and happy country. Sure, assholes can try to challenge that look. They can rail against Mexicans as rapists, African-Americans as an infestation, mock the accents of Asian-Americans. And then there are people that aren't our President that can be just as bad. But fuck them.

Look at this team. It is a team of Americans from colleges and training camps around the country. And they are happy for each other, thrilled to be the face of the United States and it makes me fucking happy.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Anderson Cooper Reminded Us of Normal

While working today I had CNN on in the background. Anderson Cooper was discussing and trying to explain how unusual our current President is.

He contrasted Trump words to the country after tragedy with the words of Reagan (after the Challenger disaster) Clinton (after Oklahoma City) and George W Bush (after 9/11 IN A Mosque). We forget that Presidents normally try to bring the country together.

Trump complained about coverage, trashed Dayton's Mayor and Ohio's Senator as well as El Paso's old Congressman (Beto O'Rouke). He cannot even pretend to pull our country together.

It physically (and mentally) hurts.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Apparently Polly Wants a Hunk of Flesh

Wow... (LINK)

On My Way to Chicago to Teach Agile

I normally teach PMP boot-camp. A method of project management that allows a certification from the Project Management Institute. This week I go to Chicago to teach PMP-Agile.

Now I know you're wondering about the difference, and so here is a happy little graphic to explain.

Now, aren't you happy you asked?

Monday, August 5, 2019

For Fuck's Sake

Now, I wasn't going to talk about the three mass shootings this week. I think there are multiple factors going on and it doesn't help to blame our legislators because it is a difficult situation and blame doesn't help solutions.

But if you want to know why it is so hard in America to fix this, look at these two posts from this morning.

First out Very Special Genius President - who is going to address this in a nationwide speech at 10:00AM, has already explained why we have so many mass shootings by White Nationalists since he has come out of a Nationalist and blamed "invading illegals" for the problems. Why, fake news.

But in Ohio, site of the most recent mas shooting (by 13 hours), a legislator there knows the real reason... gay marriage, abortion and video games.

For fuck's sake.

About sums it up