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Showing posts from March, 2020

Rocotos and Spring are Here!

Friends, Spring arrived tentatively last week but it’s been making solid gains. The weather is warming, my lawn is greening and the red and yellow rocoto peppers (capsicum pubescens) I planted a few weeks back have sprouted! I’m not much of a green thumb, however, my faith that the barren dirt in those flower pots would yield little plants is being rewarded! It goes to show life is a powerful force and you should never underestimate it. I find myself wondering how hot my batch will be (rocotos range from four to forty times hotter than jalapeños —30,000 - 100,000 SHUs— with yellow fruits reaching the higher end of the range). We shall see! I imagine a gifted chef could make a spicy jelly-filled donut with them. They might even use the black seeds as a decorative garnish on top. Too bad my baking skills are as rudimentary as my gardening talent. So, I’ll just be content to enjoy the donuts my son Pablo brought home from Dunkin’ —he got them of his own initiative! I must be doing some

Too soon?

Friends, As I practice social distancing (or “working from home”, as I had erroneously been calling it for the past couple of years), I’ve been pondering the implicit trade-off society at large seems to be making between economic production and human lives. By my calculations, a saved human life appears to be worth somewhere north of $300,000* (give or take). How far north? I hope we never find out! Granted, this is not a cold, calculated financial transaction, and the costs/benefits are unevenly distributed --plus, my math may be way off. If my numbers hold, that's a much higher figure than I had predicted going into this exercise (kudos to society's higher than expected willingness to forgo economic activity.). Also, my calculation doesn't take into account any environmental benefits (less travel/transportation = less fossil fuel burning) or personal pain and suffering. I’m fortunate that my work can be done remotely, unlike many jobs which require workers to be present.

Just Monkeying Around

Friends, Whenever something looks bad, I find a little distance can lend some perspective. Like the hotel at Denver International Airport. Folks have been complaining for four years that this monstrosity obstructs the view of the terminal’s canvas teepees. You’d think by now we’d all see it as the Spanish galleon the designers envisioned. I hate to say it, but both sides are wrong --and I suspect you may never see it the same way again after this revelation. You ready? If you take a step back to get some perspective (say, through a 3D view in Google maps), you’ll see the Westin actually looks like a sunglass-wearing giant monkey face! The next time you’re traveling somewhere (I hear now is the time to buy cheap tickets!), I dare you not to smile at the sight of that big, adorable chimp. And when you do, stop by the Dunkin’ at Peña Blvd and Gun Club Rd to grab a donut for the road. You’re welcome, Denver! Happy Friday!

The Cure for Election Angst and Pandemic Panic

Friends, Ignorance, and fear. These seemingly ordinary traits can lead otherwise well-intentioned folks down perilous paths. If left unchecked, they can bring civilization to its knees (then again, that may just be my own fear and ignorance speaking). Here’s what I mean: Elections . The ability to select and replace the people who will represent us in government is a hallmark of democracy. Voters with neither the time nor inclination to thoroughly weigh platforms or think through the unintended consequences of well-meaning policy proposals are asked to choose our leaders. In this age of misinformation, folks fear the terrible things they are told, oversimplify a complex set of trade-offs and demonize the other side. Politicians pander to these biases and fears. Not a recipe for enlightened government if you ask me.  Pandemics . Wash your hands often, cover your cough and avoid crowds if you can. Or... compulsively watch the news, obsessively worry about each new tidbit that comes