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Showing posts from 2021

Is Anybody Out There?

Friends, When I write these notes, I sometimes wonder who actually reads them. If the ads placed on my blog are any indication, it’s filthy rich alcoholics looking to improve their diet. With ads for SEI Club’s “private matchmaking for the ultra affluent and exceptionally beautiful elite”, a Liver Health Formula for a “dying liver” and a Health Coach “holistic nutrition course”, it sounds like Google AdSense nailed it!! So, it is with great pleasure I raise a glass of the finest champagne to all you beautiful people out there eating omega 3-rich, sustainably-gathered organic caviar. As for donuts, we all need to indulge in the occasional peccadillo. So, enjoy! —it will be our little secret. Happy Friday!

Dabble in Psychobabble

Friends, Healthy minds must exchange information. The influx and outflow of ideas and opinions are like a stream, bearing oxygen and leaching salts from a lake, and preventing mental stagnation. Listening to reason and sharing your thoughts has a cleansing, therapeutic effect. While the content of our communications matters (an echo chamber of vitriol and lies may do more harm than good), the process itself is just as important. In the absence of a sounding board, it’s possible to get all worked-up over nothing and make mountains out of molehills. And so, if you’re worried about someone’s mental health, talk to them –about anything. Don’t give advice (unless they ask), don’t offer to help (unless they ask) and don’t talk about a perceived problem (unless they ask). Just talk. Open a line of communication. The weather will do –or hobbies, humor, history, happy news… you get the picture. So, if you’re worried about someone’s mental health (or your own) meet-up and catch-up, preferably at

Colorful Donuts

Friends, Color, that thin slice of the electromagnetic spectrum our eyes can perceive. Shorter than sound and radio, and longer than X and gamma rays the 400-700 nanometer waves we call light are wedged between infrared and ultraviolet. And yet, this narrow range can convey so much. This week, aspen trees are trading their boring green for luxurious gold, yellow and orange, and delivering a show that draws tourists from all walks of life to the mountains. The colors are so vibrant, even cloudy skies couldn’t dim the illusion of sunbathed hillsides set ablaze by some magical power. If you decide to go color watching, grab a donut on your way and watch-out for awestruck amateur photographers risking life and limb to take that perfect shot. Happy Friday!

A donut by any other name would not taste as sweet

 Friends, How do cyber criminals come-up with names? While the good guys have to settle for safe names --names that convey trust and are in good taste-- the bad guys have no such qualms. From organizations (Krypton, Venomous Bear, Fancy Bear, Blind Eagle, Lazarus Group…) to attacks (REvil, Operation Shady RAT, VulcanBOT, Nitro and Blackmatter Ransomware…), threat actors have the cool name market cornered. Still, I think we can do better than Zero Trust, Unified Threat Management and XDR (granted, any name that starts with an “X” must by necessity be cool!).  Then again, perhaps it's for the best. Who wants to hire Dragon's Bane to vanquish viruses with their Ultimate Forcefield  or Funky Phantom to thwart threats by implementing  their  Bot Thingamajig. So, it seems best that the companies that keep your IT infrastructure safe should themselves use safe naming conventions.  Some donut shops, on the other hand, seem unencumbered by that constraint (I'm looking at you Habit

BIrds of a Feather

Friends, The early bird catches the worm, however, as the sun rises I’d much rather have a Denver omelet than a diet of worms . Ready to fly the coop, my ducks all in a row, I ponder one more time whether a bird in hand is truly worth two in the bush. Egged-on by my quest to tuck away a nest egg, I’ve decided to change industries and hope that, like the phoenix, my career will also rise from the ashes of change. After all, I’m no spring chicken –my crow’s feet and gray bely my age – however, I have to trust my judgment and believe you can’t catch this old bird with chaff (whether or not folks think me an odd bird for my actions). And so I shall attempt to soar like an eagle, aware that counting my chickens before they hatch would be ill-advised. As I learn to talk turkey in the language of cybersecurity, I will endeavor not to hide my head in the sand, choosing instead to be like a duck – calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath! And while my excessive use of bird-inspired

Peace. Love. Donuts.

Friends, I enjoy jogging without music. No headphones, no earbuds, no boom box… nothing! My wandering thoughts keep me company as I put one foot in front of the other. One moment I’m grateful for the awesome sunrise, which reminds that the instant a star, like our sun, starts fusing iron it’s doomed. Soon I’m pondering another element: carbon. It gets a bad rap as a greenhouse gas, yet it is the main building block of life as we know it. And so it goes. From funny observations to solving work problems, to world hunger, to keeping tempo, to mental math, to thinking about my kids, to prayer, to ... When a great idea comes along, I jot it down – after all, a quarter of the time I can’t remember a third of my half-witted thoughts. I suppose it comes down to learning to live with yourself – and loving it. Or like the donut sign says it’s about “peace, love and donuts” – by the way, if you make it up to Loveland, the little donuts at this shop were amazing! Happy Friday!

A Perfect Day!

Friends, Sometimes, I’d like to stop time, capture a perfect moment and make it permanent. Yet, hard as I try to grab the fleeting and hold on, it’s not possible. Grapes must be harvested, leaves must fall, days must shorten and weather must turn. Snow will fall and, before you know it, make way for green sprouts to blanket the earth once again. Months make years, and decades make a lifetime. Yet, somehow, everywhere is here and it’s always now. Time’s constant churning tills the soil of my experiences and renews life all around me. I may begrudge that perfect moment's passing, but without change, I’d be stuck. I’d never see all the other perfect moments, waiting for me, just a blink away. So, what’s perfection? That’s a loaded question. I have a feeling it may involve a quiet conversation, coffee and a donut. I suppose I'll head-on down to Baked n' Denver and grab me some perfection. Happy Friday!

Greek Donuts

Friends, This week, my wife scared me half to death. I was so absorbed reading Plato, I had not noticed her sitting behind me. So, imagine my surprise when I turned to find a masked Greek theater performer (or, as it turns-out, my wife wearing her beauty treatment). While my pulse slowly returned to normal, I started wondering why Greek names haven’t caught on. After all, Greece is the cradle of civilization. Then again, perhaps the foreign-sounding appellatives add gravitas to the great philosophers of old. Would Socrates come down a notch if the folks in his dialogues had ordinary names like Bob, Joe or Mike; instead of Euthyphro, Crito or Simmias? Let’s take the phone booth time machine* out for a spin, babble fish** in ear, to the 5th century B.C., where we can be a fly on the wall for a random philosophical discourse: SOCRATES: So, Joe, we agree our senses trick us and don’t let us see the true essence of things. You good with that? JOE: Sure thing, bro! SOCRATES: And Bob, don

Donut Procrastinate!

Friends, Every achievement begins with action, a catalyst that precipitates events to follow. Granted, not all achievements are planned — nor are they all of the same caliber. Still, comfort, complacency and routine are often at odds with excitement, discovery and growth. The siren call of the mundane often wins over the small voice calling us to do great things. The couch, snacks and Netflix may have won the battle, but you, my friend, you’re gonna win the war on blah... tomorrow. Mañana, mañana!! And so it goes. Well… not today! (hmmm… that was ambiguous… did JP just say he won’t procrastinate today or does he mean he won’t do it today – i.e. he WILL procrastinate?). What chronic to-do item will you check-off the list today? Or perhaps a good deed is in the cards… if nothing comes to mind, I’m   raising money for ALS   in honor of a good friend who lost his battle to the disease a year ago this week. Whatever you do, take the first step. As for me, before I do, I need to get some don

Perseid Donuts

Friends, When my alarm went off at 4 this morning I had a choice: Morpheus or Perseus. On one hand, my soft, warm bed made driving out for a chance to witness a few grains of sand burn-up in our atmosphere seem silly. Besides, the wildfire smoke would surely obstruct my view, and I need my beauty rest. Morpheus has a point! On the other hand, my desire to watch these fleeting, magical lights streak through the sky pushes me forward. A half-hour later, Perseus had won. I’m on a dirt road, feeling silly as I stare at a patch of unclouded sky. As my eyes grow accustomed to the dark, stars grow brighter. Minutes pass. A satellite crosses the sky. No meteors. This is foolish! Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, a shooting star –darn, just missed it! Another satellite. Then, finally an unmistakable bright flash smack dab in the center of my field of vision. Wow! Minutes later, the sunrise begins, but that one Perseid makes the whole experience seem worthwhile. Granted, the deer sighting,

Revenge of the Donuts

Friends, As SARS-CoV-2 mutates, the resulting variants appear to be joining the fraternities and sororities featured in the classic 1980s film series: Revenge of the Nerds . While the Alpha Betas (UK and South Africa variants) have fallen-out of favor, the Delta Pi’s (India variant) are leading the resurgence in hospitalizations amongst the uneducated… I mean, unvaccinated. Meanwhile, the tri-Lambda variant appears to have been around for a while and is quietly making the rounds in South America. I suppose that means Omega Mu will be making their theatrical debut soon. I also suppose that if you never watched the movie you’ve tuned-out, or are very confused. In any event, this nerd is going out to grab a donut before the day gets too crazy. Cookie monster donut, or unidentified strain  at the Greek Games ? Happy Friday!

The Devil is in the Sugar Rush

Friends, The Devil might literally be in the details. Lurking. Waiting to call-out trivial inconsistencies. She may point to the anachronistic (and ubiquitous) “Tokyo 2020” branding. How much of a dent would a logo redo and new stationary have made on the $20 Billion Olympic budget? Or, make me chuckle at the little boy doing the sign of the cross with the church hand sanitizer. In his defense, it’s located where the holy water used to be. This literal interpretation of the expression might help explain the sign at this week’s donut shop. From a distance the billboard appears to simply read “Donuts”. Unoriginal, perhaps, but certainly appropriate. As you get closer, the fine print reveals the full name: “ Sugar Rush Donuts ”.  Using classic logic, one might say that since (A) the Devil is in the details and (B) the details on the store sign revealed "Sugar Rush" was part of the name, ergo, (C) the Devil is in the Sugar Rush (or at minimum, in the ensuing crash). Happy Friday!

Accidental Culinary Innovations

Friends, Have you ever inadvertently fermented spaghetti sauce? Yeah, me neither… until yesterday, that is! Imagine my surprise when the half-full bottle, sitting in the fridge from time immemorial, made a sound akin to opening a beer bottle, instantly filling the glass container with a hazy smoke. As the carbonation dissipated, I grabbed a spoon to conduct the obligatory taste test. How was it? I’m glad you asked! Let’s just say chunky carbonated tomato beer is not my thing (although I must admit that if I had been expecting it, my reaction might have been a little more… composed). Now, if you forgo the fermentation and switch the tomato paste with spicy salsa… that might be the next million dollar idea! Sparkling sriracha anyone? How about Carbonated Cholula?   Bubbly Habanero? Fizzy Jalapeño?? I could go on, but I have a feeling Gassy Guac might not fly off the shelves. Now, if only I could stumble on a way to improve donuts. Carbonated Jelly filling… yeah, maybe not. I think I’ll

Fear and Donuts

Friends, When challenging a loved one’s exaggerated fear, you should always pray the behavior you’re trying to prove “safe” does not, ironically, lead to the dreaded outcome. Your son won’t go outside due to a bee phobia? Don’t get stung mid-sentence... “if you don’t bother them, they won’t... ouch!” (if you do, stoicism is strongly advised). Wife afraid of slipping on ice lurking beneath snowy trail patches? Better not lose your footing while proving her wrong (you and your sore coccis may never hear the end of it). Improbable events are not impossible, and, if Murphy’s Law has its way, any attempt to make a point about such improbability might just trigger them. It’s preferable to acknowledge a very small (but real) risk exists that something may lurk in the dark, than to suggest it’s impossible while inadvertently stepping on the cat’s tail (that child may never sleep with the lights off again). How about you? Ever bring about the unlikely consequences of an act you were trying to p

A Giant Fades

  Friends, There’s something sempiternal about trees. Majestic specimens with perfect balance and symmetry have the power to inspire and lift downtrodden spirits. Those fortunate enough to avoid the timber mill and furniture factory can lead some astonishingly long lives. Thousand year oaks and araucarias, two thousand year baobabs and figs, three thousand year sequoias and jequitibá-rosa, four thousand year yew and cypress, five thousand year bristlecone pines and six thousand year olives (not to mention clonal trees with shared root systems – there’s a male quaking aspen colony, named Pando, believed to be somewhere north of 14 thousand years old!). Yet, even under ideal circumstances, trees eventually die. Plains cottonwoods have a 70 year average lifespan and, while allergy sufferers might consider them giant weeds, they can be beautiful. As they near their end, fewer leaves emerge each year. The bark is shed and bleached branches call to mind a giant skeletal relic of its former

Ghost Towns and Progress

Friends, Progress, measured in quality of life improvements and enabled by technological infrastructure, seems inevitable. Agriculture, sanitation, transportation, communications, industrialization, healthcare, electrification and computing would all appear to follow a linear, upward trajectory. But, are we guaranteed a higher life expectancy, greater convenience and ever-increasing productivity? Not necessarily. It’s healthy to challenge the implied assumptions that progress is beneficial, universal, undeviating and unavoidable. Take ghost towns. Last week I had the opportunity to visit Inter-Laken, a late-1800s boomtown which once competed with Aspen for the affluent tourist’s dollar. The two mile hike to this abandoned relic begins with a dubious trail at the unmarked dead end of an unremarkable dirt road. The gorgeous trek takes you through lakeside rolling hills, lush with wildflowers and shaded by pine and aspen trees. Just when you think you’ve taken a wrong turn and doubt you’l

Sweet Home Coloradough

Friends, In a world rank with spin and “truth-shaping”, the unvarnished truth can be a breath of fresh air. This notion seems to have inspired the folks naming things in and around Aspen. Next time you’re there check out the (1) Difficult Campground. After all, if you want it easy, camping may not be your thing. During your stay, you may be tempted to explore the (2) Lost Man trail. His mishap reminds us all that hiking is not devoid of risk. If you’re looking for something original to do while in town, why not take a walk down (3) Original Street, just be careful not to wander down to (4) Glory Hole Park –I hate to imagine what you’ll find there! Instead, mosey on down to Mill and Hyman where you’ll find (5) Sweet Coloradough donuts. Just be sure to go early, lest they run out of their famous Cronuts –and decide for yourself whether they’re truly worth $7 a pop. Happy Friday!

Dope Donuts

  Friends, They say you can’t judge a bakery by it’s billboard, yet, its natural to try. External traits feel like reasonable proxies for deeper truths. Eloquent passes for rational, articulate for competent and charismatic for good. We tend to trust proxies for their decent probability of holding true, forgetting that symptoms may have alternate causes. Madmen can be expressive, frauds persuasive and devils charming. So, one might be forgiven for assuming Habit Doughnut Dispensary sells torus-shaped edible THC, despite the fact such an assumption would be wrong. They’re just your run of the mill pricey bakery. That said they do have some very dope donuts (to be clear, “dope” not in the literal sense, but rather, as slang for “great”). Their blazed donut calls to mind a delicious flambe dessert and their strawberry glaze tastes like fresh picked, well, strawberries. You should try it some time. Happy Friday!

The Early Runner Catches the Donut

  Friends, Unseasonably warm days create a short window of opportunity when daylight and strenuous outdoor activities mix. Accordingly, I’ve shifted my running habit to the early morning hours. The sheets will inevitably try to dissuade me of my purpose by overselling the benefits five more minutes of sleep might provide. Fortunately, getting out there is more rewarding than the alternative. The crisp morning air, sharp angle lighting and a residual good feeling that carries-on for hours outweigh the temptation to hit the snooze button and sleep-in. If that wasn’t enough, the possibility of chance wildlife encounters sweetens the pot. This week, the coyote who often stares from a distance crossed the path a little closer than usual. Then there was the completely unexpected common snapping turtle, digging right off the running trail —there was nothing common about that sight. ​​ The other benefit of an early run is the donut stop before the day gets too crazy. I guess that's why

Guilty Pleasures

Friends, There’s a certain gratification that comes from imposing order on chaos. Whether it’s crafting a story, assembling a puzzle or building a project, every completed stage is delightful, even though there may never be a “finished product”. One of my guilty pleasures, genealogy, has mutated beyond a one-dimensional search for ancestors into a quest to tackle the social fabric that connects me to the world. My genealogical web (family tree seems an inadequate metaphor) has metastasized into a large and eclectic collection of interweaving connections between folks with varying degrees of affiliation. Think of it as seven degrees of JP González. The only rule for getting added is holding some relation with someone who is already on the tree. As you might imagine, this means a good chunk of folks on the tree hold little or no blood relation to yours truly. Still, it’s satisfying to connect the dots and, particularly rewarding when I get to merge individuals. A son is also a husband

Donut Essence

Friends, John Locke’s concept of nominal essence refers to a common set of qualities a thing shares with other things of the same kind. For instance, all donuts share a donut-ness (nominal essence) even though they don’t all look, smell or taste the same. This archetype tells us that we are indeed enjoying a donut; not a bagel, muffin, danish, croissant or funnel cake. As I prepare to run the “Bolder Boulder” this weekend, I can’t help but wonder about the race’s essence. The crowded Memorial Day 10K event has become somewhat of a González family tradition. Running through the streets of Boulder, where quirky racers and fans engage in shenanigans, and culminating at Folsom field, where F-16 flybys, parachute landings and military tributes amuse the recovering runners sprawled on the bleachers. That was then. This year, the organizers have spread the start times across the entire weekend (my family runs tomorrow) and venues (we’re running in Firestone, CO… not Boulder), so as to avoi

Anthropomorphic Donuts

Friends, The human form is the measure by which we frame the world around us. We are, after all, most familiar with (and full of) ourselves. Take the friendly elevator at Shift, the coworking environment where I sometimes migrate to change scenery. It’s no more or less efficient than other elevators, yet, the illusion of a smiley face created by the card reader’s reflection makes the space just a tad more endearing. The elevator could, for all I know, be an evil machine plotting my demise. Nah! Who am I kidding, it can’t be. What with its symmetric “eyes” and understated grin. Nothing so cute could possibly be waiting for the right moment to plunge me to my grave from the top floor. Could it? Another example: receiving two thumbs up is universally accepted as a sign of having done a great job. Unless, of course, if it’s coming from a koala bear. With two opposable thumbs in each hand, anything short of four thumbs has room for improvement. Which leads me to donuts. Last week’s expedit

Urban Camping

Friends, With urban camping season underway across the Colorado front range, now felt like a good time to ask, what makes for a good spot to pitch a tent? Private property is out of the question – “trespassers will be shot” signs can be a tad unnerving. Access to services is a selling point amongst urban campers settling near the Good Samaritan and the Jesus Saves sign. Public lands and close quarters with other like-minded urban campers also seem like key criteria. And, while a view of the capitol or a flowing stream would appear to be desirable commodities, the smell of pot and strewn litter might be bigger draws. Maybe it’s my quiet nature or the quasi-hermit mindset derived from years of working from home… whatever the reason, I think that if I were camping within city limits, I’d pick a suburban trail underpass. You know, within reach of civilization but still remote enough to create the illusion of wilderness – plus the road above bears the brunt of the elements in the event of

Huele a Costa

Friends, Good photos use subject, light, color, contrast, texture and composition to create an overall pleasing effect. Great photos add the whimsical, unexpected and inspiring. Good photographers know the rules, understand their gear, are deliberate about their approach, experiment with different variables and welcome the unexpected. Great photographers combine motive, means and opportunity (or was that criminals?) They strive to create, not recreate some archetype of beauty. They go beyond technique and touch the soul. Which is an awkward way to introduce some photos I took on my cell yesterday afternoon. I’m no great photographer, but I was trying to challenge my process and habits. On my sunset run, I kept an eye out for counterintuitive subjects and soon realized the sewer system along the trail had a lot to offer. This resulted in four photos (and an average pace of 14 minutes per mile — the word “run” may have been overly generous). I call this series “coastal smells” (an expr

Spice Donuts

Friends, I realize I’ve been on somewhat of a Mars kick lately – three red planet references in as many months*. Granted my fascination with the fourth rock from the sun goes pretty far back. I was notoriously the first (and perhaps only) person to report how curiosity killed the cat in 2012 – and have been guilty of intermittent allusions to Ares’ orb over the years. Unfortunately, as you surely already know, today’s reference couldn’t   be helped. As evidenced by Percy’s ǂ latest (and possibly last) mastcam HD image, it would appear a sandworm has prematurely cut the mission short. On the bright side, if confirmed, NASA is hopeful this could mean Spice Melange is real – which opens-up the possibility of drastic space travel acceleration by enabling safe spacetime folding (leveraging the Holtzman Effect) § . So, in the spirit of the day’s events, I have taken the opportunity to sojourn to Wake and Bake on South Broadway for a cinnamon crumb cake donut – and eleven of its best fr

Ordinary Donuts

Friends, Context and experience separate the ordinary from the extraordinary and the mundane from the amazing. If I told you a helicopter flew twice this week, you’d be forgiven for wondering why I even brought it up. Helicopters, after all, take to the air all the time. So ordinary. This particular helicopter, however, happens to be on Mars. Ingenuity (the little drone’s name) took to the very thin Martian air and performed the first (and second) controlled flights ever on another celestial body. Quite extraordinary! Now, if we had a fleet of these machines on the red planet making dozens of routine flights a day, no news outlet would consider it noteworthy (unless it was a for a fluff piece). Similarly, documenting the existence of a fairy or a ghost would be quite amazing. But, if these same mythical creatures were something you could go to the park and see whenever you please, they’d be a rather mundane experience. In fact, if enough of them were out there they might even become

Donuts and Balance

Friends, We tend to think of information as a permanent record of our fleeting passage through time. Yet paintings fade, sculptures erode and pages become moth chow. Even great libraries burn or decline; vanishing out of existence. Granted, a humble basket might survive ten thousand years under the right conditions, still, that’s a blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. In this digital age, it’s tempting to think that, freed from the shackles of physical media, our photos, programs and posts will live on. Yet, ones and zeros must be stored on decaying hardware, often owned by private enterprises who may one day go bankrupt, end support or simply walk away from a platform. We may cheat entropy for a decade (perhaps a century or even a millennium). We may even be gifted enough for our artifacts to find relevance with people living in that distant future (relevance, now there’s another sticky wicket). Wow, that came-out a lot darker than I intended. I don’t believe hard work and

Queen City 16

Friends, They say you learn something new every day (granted, when you’re my age you may have to forget something to make room for the new info). Just last week, despite living here for over twenty years, I found out Denver is the Queen City of the Plains. It happened as the consequence of a recent donut run to Pandemic Donuts –which disappointingly landed me at Queen City Collective Café (on a side note, the nom de plume used as visitor bait worked). Coincidentally, my colleague Steve Smith had visited Queen City Architectural Salvage earlier in the week – where he learned from the proprietor that the establishment was named after Denver! Pretty cool, right? So why does the grandiose moniker of “Queen City” have such a low profile? Well, it turns-out queen cities are a dime a dozen. There are 39 Queen Cities in the U.S. alone and no less than six abroad. Not as cool as I expected. Then again, maybe there is something we can do to bring some prestige back to the name. It occurs to me

Hanging it up!

Friends, All good things must come to an end (all bad things too, for that matter). A great movie, a good beer and a fun afternoon all share the same fate as a fruitful career, an enlightened age and, eventually, our planet. Such is the nature of existence. Which brings me to the reason I’m writing you this fine Friday morning. Although the “donut whisperer” had a good run (if I do say so), the time has come to hang it up! In truth, I hadn’t thought this moment would come so soon. For over a decade it served its purpose well, bringing me great joy and serving as a pretext to strike-up a conversation. It has been a means to provoke, engage and bring smiles. Now, I’m hanging it up! After a long  11 year  life, my tattered donut whisperer T-shirt will live-on as a wall hanging in my home office.  (What? You thought you were rid of me? Fat chance!). Happy April Fool’s day! ​P.S. I do realize it's only Thursday, I threw Friday in to try to daw you off the scent of my lighthearted pran


 Friends, My wife and I are getting the Covid-19 vaccine tomorrow. Personally, I’ll be comparing notes with a colleague whose experience involved the Walmart greeter/groundskeeper applying the shot through a bandaid placed in advance of the needle (I’m hoping that’s just an Arkansas thing). While I believe vaccination is the way to get back to a semblance of normal, it is a personal choice. If you watched I Am Legend and fear becoming a zombie, then don’t have a cow. I say this because the word vaccine derives from the Latin vaccinus = cowpox (the virus used to immunize against smallpox), which ultimately comes from vacca = cow. So, if you don’t want one, don’t have a cow ! If, on the other hand you’re on the fence (no cow pun intended), Krispy Kreme’s “ be sweet ” program offers a free glazed doughnut each day for the remainder of 2021 to folks who can produce a stamped vaccine card. That must be what Mary Poppins meant when she said a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. De

States' Bites

Friends, Why do we have states? I’m not talking about states of mind (thinking, engaged, critical and autopilot) or states of matter (solid, liquid, gas and plasma). I’m not even talking about sovereign nation-states with firm borders, currency, armies and a shared cultural identity. I’m talking about the “S” in “USA” – the vestigial states that make-up this great nation. Having been United for nearly a quarter of a millennia it’s hard to think of states as little more than accidents of history and geography. Granted, when traveling to Alabama one does feel a tad foreign. Still, looking at a map, it’s hard to comprehend how Alaska, at over 550 times the size of Rhode Island, can be in the same category. Sorting by population closes the gap, but still, California has nearly 70 times as many inhabitants as Wyoming. Then there’s Puerto Rico and the other territories. They get one non-voting house representative and zero senators. Talk about taxation without representation! I think it’s

A Dozen Rules to Live By

Friends, When it comes to the big questions, there are far too many platitudes, truisms, cliches and BS. Bookshelves are lined with so much advice, you’d think we would have answered them all by now. So, why do people keep doing it? I couldn’t tell you. Whatever the reason, here’s one more exploration to add to the interminable list. I’ve left God out of this post, so these “rules” should come in handy whether you believe life has meaning, or you think purpose is just our prefrontal cortex’s way of sabotaging our limbic system. And, since donuts come in dozens, it felt fitting that my list just happens to have twelve rules.   Do it! (what are you waiting for?). Life sometimes feels like a dress rehearsal. So much time spent preparing for the future, there’s little time left to actually live life. Habit, routine and inertia have a way of filling the day. Try something new, who knows, you might enjoy it. Don’t overthink it. But, what to do? Give-in to a pas

The Best Donuts!

Friends, When folks ask about my donut blog, I generally start by saying it’s not really about donuts. Well, not today! Today I lean-in, full boar... it's all about the donuts. Not too long ago, a good friend sent me an article on the best doughnuts in every state . Rather than nit-pick the criteria used, variety sampled or judges’ credentials—which smacks of donut snobbery, an oxymoron—I thought I’d love to sample some of these outstanding donuts, filing the information for the moment opportunity came knocking. As luck would have it, an opportunity presented itself this week in the form of my brother-in-law’s move to Connecticut. Three of these best-in-state donut purveyors were (roughly) on the route. False Start . Olsen’s Bake Shop in Omaha, Nomaska was supposed to be the first stop. Alas, it was not to be. We found out the hard way they’re closed on Sundays. Plan B, Donut Stop & Coffee Shop, was boarded-up. It felt like Superbowl XLVIII all over ag

Stay or Stray

Friends, I love road trips. New sights, fun discoveries, eclectic experiences and a futile attempt to reach the horizon all play a part in the thrill. While anticipation builds, I find a competing distaste for leaving people and places behind counter-balances my thought process (hate would be too strong a word). As I prepare to hit the road for a few days, I’ve been trying to name this feeling. “Call of the wild” or “call of the open road” miss the conflicting desire to stay. “Resistance to change”, on the other hand, overstates the internal conflict. My search for an appropriate moniker has left me with a short list of candidates. I could call this feeling “the clash” —you know, after the British band that sang “should I stay or should I go?”. Then again that reference might be too obscure (and it certainly shows my age). I was also thinking of calling it the “Sarah impulse”, after Lot’s wife who turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back on the home she was leaving behind.

Mars Rush

Friends, There’s a sort of a Mars Rush underway. Missions from China, the UAE and the U.S. are all reaching the fourth planet from the sun this month. The U.S. just landed a new SUV-sized rover on Mars. Perseverance survived the seven minutes of terror (about the duration of the song “ working man ” by Rush), made it safely onto the surface of the red planet and is now traversing an alien shore . Speaking of which, why does my Rush station play Pink Floyd, but my Pink Floyd station never plays Rush? I understand why Pandora would choose Alan Parsons Project as complementary to Pink Floyd (but not Rush) or Yes as having an affinity with Rush (and not Pink Floyd). But, if one plays another’s songs, shouldn’t it be mutual? It’s like Rush is the geek that bends over backwards for the popular Pink, who doesn’t even notice, let alone reciprocate. I know what you’re probably thinking: who still listens to Pandora when Spotify is so much better? Call me old fashioned. That said, before I begin