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Dam, what a waste of time!

Friends, Picture a large cottonwood tree, its two foot thick trunk sharpened like a pencil by an eager beaver. Imagine all the hours spent gnawing away around the base to fell the timber. The anticipation of a new dam running through the critter’s head. Suddenly a large creaking noise signals the venerable tree’s impending fall… in the wrong direction! All that work for naught. Helpless to change the outcome, the rodent gets out of the way and watches the spectacle. As the dust settles, the hard learned lesson will not soon be forgotten: effort does not guarantee results. So, as you get ready to plunge into the day’s work and finish the week strong, grab a donut and make sure your effort is pushing you in the right direction. Happy Friday!

Badges_ We don't need no sktinkin' badges!

Friends, Is it just me or have app developers gone overboard with notification badges. You know what I'm talking about... those pervasive red balloons with a number on them that appear on your app icons and are designed to waste your day by trying to make them disappear. Either that or stress you out by telling you there's more to do. It feels like a game of whack a mole. No sooner have you cleared one of these demonic notifications, when another appears. Whether for work or leisure, a semi-OCD person looking for a clean slate could spend hours on their futile quest to have no pending tasks. I'm not kidding. For instance, why does LinkedIn need a notification badge for Messages, Notifications and My Network... and why does Facebook add new notification badges as soon as I've cleared the previous one? It's not like those unseen posts were posted in the past 23 seconds! And don't get me started on work productivity applications (not to throw any app under the bus

Is it Apocaclypse or Eclipsalypse?

  Friends, Watching the sun impersonate a donut is always a worthwhile event —not to mention, I’m a sucker for celestial happenings. Unfortunately, I’m gonna miss it. After briefly toying with the idea of traveling to see Monday’s fast-approaching solar eclipse, I decided against it for rather mundane reasons. The most driveable location is 15 hours away. Flights are packed and therefore expensive. Lodging is similarly impacted by limited supply and high demand. So instead, I curated a brief list of names several locales around the country are using to refer to this year's occurrence.  Eclipsalypse . That’s how Niagarans envision the flood of humanity seeking to document totality over the falls on their instagram feeds.  The clips . From San Antonio to Texarkana, Texans everywhere are making the celestial event sound more like a haircut event.  Monday . Dallas’ weather forecast calls for a cloudy day. Move along little Dallasites, nothing to see here.  Staring contest with the sun

And that's the way it is

Friends, Word selection influences how we process information. Consider these two sentences: To date, over 30,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza according to the Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry, in response to the Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel, many of them children, and took 250 men, women and children hostage. Following the Hamas incursion, which according to Israeli authorities killed 1,200 people and took 250 hostages, Israeli soldiers have killed over 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza, many of them women and children. Both stories are factually correct, laying out the same sad facts, statistics and sequence of events, but the language used in each leaves us with a different feeling. We may not notice it, but the carefully curated images and narratives presented to us every day on all manner of subjects help demonize —or normalize— actions and behaviors. What you believe often comes down to how things are framed for you and where your biases lie —biases built up o

Donuts, Donuts, Donuts

Friends, I seldom write about donuts on my Friday donut blog which feels a tad ironic, or at least I think that’s the right word, I’d have to consult with  Alanis Morrisette  to be sure. This week I thought I’d shift gears and remedy that situation.  Donuts are not shaped like nuts —that job falls to the donut hole. Ironically, a variety of objects are named after the humble pastry’s shape. The list includes: Ridiculously small spare tires.  Inflatable hemorrhoid relief cushions.  Tire tracks made by bored teens.  So, one might theoretically bite into a donut while doing donuts seated on a donut in a truck with a donut spare. I hear dumb people are also called donuts in some parts of Southern England… I was considering working them in, but the sheer number of donuts in the ensuing sentence might raise your glucose levels — plus I don’t think any of my readers are in Southern England. So instead I’ll settle for a donut and a cup of joe, and hope I’ve met my quarterly quota of donut refe

Where in the world is Kate Middleton?

Friends, There’s a perfect storm brewing and I’m not talking about the massive amount of snow falling over the Denver area. I’m referring to the mixing of two highly reactive ingredients. On one hand Kate, princess of Wales, absent from the public limelight following her mysterious surgery allegedly posted a clumsily edited photo. On the other “swifties”, whose penchant for following mysterious clues left behind by Ms. Swift has been in need of a new challenge due to a break in Taylor’s schedule. The poor handling of royal communications followed by the ensuing wild speculation by the hoards of bored gen Zers has been fun to watch. Is she horribly disfigured? Is she leaving William? Is she dead? While the truth is probably more mundane (she’s convalescing), conspiracy theories are so much more fun. And, since all one really needs is a fig leaf of plausibility to create one, I’d like to fabricate my own: I believe Catherine had a compliance chip implanted against her will. The chip’s pu

Putting the dull back in Dulles

Friends, Is it just me or does Dulles feel taken out of a Star Wars scene? Not so much the people, although you do run into some colorful characters. More so the architecture. Despite being our empire’s capital airport, the vibe is outer rim, not Courascant. The high curved roof. The needlessly excessive metal anchor points. The iconic mobile lounges getting you from terminal to concourse. And of course a name that sounds made-up: ‘So you’re going to Texas?’ ‘Actually, Virginia… it’s Dulles, not Dallas…’ It’s the kind of place that should have an Mos Eisley cantina-themed Voodoo donuts instead of a plain old Dunkin’. Then again, maybe that’s how they keep the “dull” in “Dulles.” Happy Friday!

The PR PRimer you PRobably PRefer not to PeRuse.

Friends, The last hours of my first trip to PR (Puerto Rico) are as good a time as any to ponder some insights travel booklets may not give you. In all candor, I haven't read any, so, it's possible you may find some overlap. In any event, here are a few: Folks here use kilometers to measure distance, but speed limits are denominated in miles per hour. How long it takes to get anywhere is anyone's guess and requires some serious math. Then again, drivers are so patient, it always takes longer than you think. Old San Juan’s defensive walls still surround much of the city, serving their original purpose of preventing tourists from reaching the beach. Of course the iconic garitas (sentry boxes) along the wall make for great photo opportunities. Pirates, schmirates. Once you finally make it to the ocean front, before getting into the crisp, clear water, make sure you find yourself a nice posita (shallow beach sheltered from the open sea by rock formations) and have plenty of 10

Yo, Vote!

Friends, Conservative, moderate or liberal. Libertarian, republican or democrat. With over 70 political issues spread across a dozen categories, expecting anybody, let alone a political party or candidate, to be fully aligned with your views is a tad unrealistic. An “us vs. them” mentality is overly simplistic and blindly pinning your hopes on one party while demonizing the others is misguided at best, and probably dangerous. On the bright side, no matter which geriatric presidential hopeful wins, I’m glad the U.S. government is designed to move at a glacial pace to prevent the tyranny of the majority. Also on the bright side, this year’s mail-in ballot came with a casual, encouraging “Yo, Vote!” sticker– well, technically it’s the Spanish version of “I Voted”. Still, it felt laptop-worthy. Also, note my donut pillow on the selfie – which reminds me, I should go grab one. Happy Friday!

Tell it like it is

Friends, This year for lent, I’m giving up euphemisms. Which means over the next 40 days (not counting Sundays) no one will be let go, under the weather or pass away. They might however get fired, be sick or die. The flatulent will fart, the overzealous will be aggressive and those who have a complicated relationship with the truth will just be liars. I know what you’re thinking… what about the vertically challenged, big boned and unique looking folks out there? Well… they’ll still be short, fat and ugly. Now some of you may rightly argue lenten sacrifices are supposed to be good things (after all, abstaining from sin and vice is something we should do all the time, not just during lent). To you I say, while euphemisms may border on white lies, they’re used to protect sensitive ears from unsavory words, and there’s no rule against their use. And so, this first Friday in the Lenten season, in addition to abstaining from meat, I will also forgo sweet torus-shaped pastries. I will have a

Here Be Donuts

Friends, With the lunar year of the dragon upon us, a roundup of these serpent bodied behemoths felt in order. There's the dreaded demon, defeated by Saint Michael the archangel, and the revered Chinese Loong, promising good fortune. Amaru, Quetzalcoatl, Apophis, Hydra, Leviathan and 120 other subspecies names permeate myths and legends across every corner of the globe. From Tolkien to Martin, fantasy writers have been fascinated by them — even some whose name isn't J.R.R. Then there’s dragonflies and snapdragons; dragon mothers and if I continue writing, well this note will… drag on (-;. So I’ll stop and wish you a happy new year. Have yourself a delicious donut and afterwards be sure to brush your teeth, lest you be cursed with... you guessed it... dragon breath! Happy Friday!

Absolute Perfection

Friends, Truth. Goodness. Beauty. In a world where absolutes are tempered by nuance, true north feels elusive. Opinion and perspective may cloud our vision — and judgment— but they don’t change reality. Sure sometimes circumstance may shift the answer, but facts do not depend on your belief to be true; actions don’t need your approval to be good; and things don’t need to align with your aesthetic sensibility to be beautiful. Conversely, no matter how hard I may believe I’m impervious to poison, a sip of cyanide will still kill me. Regardless of my motives, my hating you would still be wrong. And while beauty is often found in the eye of the beholder, jealousy is always ugly. And of course, donuts are always delicious. Periodt. Happy Friday!

Breakfast Efficiency

Friends, Efficient. That's one way to characterize my breakfast routine. Soft boiled eggs are the long pole in the tent, so I set them on the burner before heating yesterday’s leftover coffee in the microwave. I press the 30 second button followed by “start” then add another 30 seconds. This gets the power going two button clicks faster than “1-0-0-start”. I rinse the coffee pot and leave it under the running water while I set the filter with fresh coffee. By that time, the pot is full of water. The fresh coffee starts brewing right as the microwave delivers my first cup of the day. Eggs start to boil. I take a sip, set the three minute timer and proceed to grab some almonds and a banana. By the time the eggs are done I’ve skimmed the morning news and consumed the rest of my breakfast — which on a Friday might include a donut instead of a banana. The nagging question: is efficiency desirable when it comes to breakfast? You tell me. Happy Friday!

Algorithms Socializing

 Friends, Do you ever wonder about social algorithms? You know, the ones deciding what adjacent content to show you based on your interests and behavior. I don’t know about you but mine act like a volunteer committee. I imagine the decision making process goes like this: Say, JP follows NASA and engages with  space.com  so how about we frequently show him content from flat earth groups. Yeah, but only troll posts. Is there any other type? You know, while we’re at it, we should show him UFO content. How do you figure? You know, space… plus he’s also interested in architecture… hello? Pyramids and s#!t… Bet! Say, isn’t he into history? Let’s throw in some illuminati and Knights Templar fiction.  And click bait. Can’t forget the click bait. But he hates it. Your point? Riiiiight! Donuts? On his feed? Nah! All this rapid fire creativity made me hungry, let’s go grab a dozen. You mean a baker’s dozen…. And so the algorithms head out to socialize at Dunkin’ after a productive session. Or som

The Donuts Around Saturn

Friends, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived at the Lumonics immersive jazz-art experience. Billed as a Sun Ra tribute, the vibe was equal parts cult, acid trip and sideshow. The music was to jazz as jellyfish are to squid… they’re both part of the animal kingdom, but any other similarity is accidental. To say words can’t begin to describe the show feels like a cop out, so here’s what I heard. Space whales singing as the surf crashes over an airless breeze. Fractal brain waves occasionally interrupted by electric mosquitoes in your ear. Phantasmagoric church pipes playing while an alien orchestra tuned their instruments. Cybernetic lava drips as you come out of a trance induced by an endorphin release. It’s what I imagine an LSD trip might be like. And that’s just the music. Don’t get me started on the trippy light art. Suffice it to say there may have been a representation or two of a transcendental donut. Then again, the sensory overload may have given me the munchies. Happy

Silly Traditions

 Friends, New Year’s resolutions are silly. Why wait for an arbitrary date to start improving your life? Why not start eating better, exercising or reading, the day the realization crosses your mind? Then again, I suppose we all engage in silly behaviors. Take my New Year’s Eve traditions. A week building an effigy representing the year that passed. Hosting a party with music, food, drinking and dancing. Writing and reading the year’s “last will and testament.” Burning the effigy at midnight and jumping over the embers for good luck. Staying up until the wee hours of the new year. Such silliness. Who am I to judge? Go ahead, dive into your silly resolutions with gusto! For my part, I will focus on the good things I already have. A loving wife. Four awesome children. An indescribably cute granddaughter. Parents, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles and aunts. Friends. A job I enjoy. Health. Shelter. Food. A positive attitude. I am grateful beyond words and I don’t express it enough