What a fine start to June

We had a party for the god nephews and niece in-law (just go with it) yesterday evening. The boys are at the age of physicality and not understanding the ability to hurt one another. How they don’t devolve in any waking moment to the most charismatic wrestling move now on television is a mystery. But they wail on each other, as kids do, in just about every other way. It’s fun for them both, of course, until it is not. They are both insanely careful around their sister, which is cute. I am still bigger than them, so I can use the news anchor voice or go stand over one when he is being a little too much. Sometimes it’s the little brother that has to be called to heel.

In other words, they’re boys.

So we recreated famous football catches and toured the basement. They were very interested in our basement, which is not nearly as cool as their grandfather’s basement, and I told them so, but they could not be dissuaded. We had pizza and macaroni and cheese for dinner. We played basketball as a last-ditch stalling effort before they finally left.

The youngest, by the way, has a girlfriend and they have kissed at school and he says they both liked it, and he is in the NBA. He is also graduating kindergarten in a few days.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t completely sapped of energy when they left last night. Must have been that real-strawberry popsicle.

The cats hid upstairs during all of this. They are not used to little people, is the best we can figure. Lately they are both quite friendly when an adult comes by for whatever reason. But these half-sized types are no good for them. They don’t really have a reason for this fear, they just know it on a run-upstairs-and-hide level, and they aren’t wrong.

When they weren’t dodging loud, smelly, pokey, little people, they’ve had a great week. Phoebe is anticipating the sun’s movement.

And she keeps a close watch on the front yard.

Poseidon, meanwhile, has the backyard under close and near constant supervision.

When he’s not taking some Poe-time under a blanket somewhere.


So the cats are doing just great, thanks for asking, and so are we!

I only got in 70 miles on the bike this weekend, mostly because Saturday, which I had imagined as a longer ride, was the day my body said “Hey, feet, aren’t you tired?” And my feet said, “Sure am. And what about you, back? A little stiff aren’t you?” And my back said, “Now that you mention it, yeah. And I just bet those hands are numb, too.” And my hands said “Pkkwbo fiwo iwbefnwne.” So I called it at 32 miles.

Most disappointing. It was slow, and I was well behind my lovely bride, and nothing felt especially good. And that’s why I shouldn’t ride a hard, fast, short ride the day before my longer ride, according to the hypothesis I came up with Saturday evening.

And since I was going slow, I decided to shot this hay storage. There are cow pastures on either side of the road, and that’s the leftover hay from the winter, and that should tell you how mild things were.

A version of that photo will probably wind up as one of the banners on the blog eventually.

Yesterday, I did a little recovery ride, designed to not tax myself too much. And my legs felt great on the out part of my out-and-back route. On the and-back portion I realized, Oh, there was a barely perceptible, but nonetheless helpful tailwind working in my fair a moment ago. That, of course, meant I had an insurmountable headwind on the way back in.

Anyway, today, I’m taking off, and I’ll get back to it tomorrow. In the meantime, since we’re here, let’s check on the month’s progress. May was a light month, in terms of mileage, but it’s still a productive (for me) year so far.

The green line is a projection, where I’d be if I rode an average of 10 miles per day. The ride line is where I was this time last year. The blue line charts my 2024 progress. So it’s been a productive, so far, and should be another record-breaking year.

No one is happier than my spreadsheets.

Yes, I have multiple pages of cycling spreadsheets. Never start doing this. Down this path lies madness, and mystery, and sometimes satisfaction, but usually a squinty-eyed, “How are these the data points I’m fixated on?” sort of feeling of “Huh?”

Our next door neighbor is a 1-year-old. And his parents, of course. But mostly the kid. His parents put a swing out under a tree, it is one of those four rope numbers, and it leads down to a plastic swing that looks like the manufacturer just messed up on the high seat molds and decided they could make something work out of it anyway. The boy is starting to come around to the idea of the swing, a little bit. It takes time, but it is a good swing and his parents are determined and, eventually, this will be a wonderful experience and future swings under that tree will be in the blur of memories he carries forward his whole life.

It’s an amazing tree. Huge, wide crown. Thick lush grass underneath. There’s going to be so much fun and imagination that comes to life as he continues to grow.

And he doesn’t even know yet that helicopters live in it.

Things continue to look beautiful in our backyard beds.

No jets or choppers are emerging from our greenery, though.

We are going to have some grapes again this year, though. If we can keep the pests away. (We’ll fail at that miserably.)

But it is fun to try!

I had a student ask me in the spring if I was excited that Jon Stewart was returning to The Daily Show. I’d mentioned some research we did on the program way, way back when and soon after that announcement came down and he remembered that. And afterward he asked me once or twice what I thought about the new episode.

Since it was a new media class, it seemed viable, even if these students have never even seen the product, let alone the Jon Stewart version. Somewhere along the way there was a good injection point and I said, what people forget is that, at its core, this show is a satirical critique of the media, rather than a commentary on society as a whole. And as I watched tonight’s episode I thought, This is the episode that proves my point.

His guest was Ken Buck, most recently the resigning Congressman from Colorado. And he … was not ready for this.

At the end of the interview, my lovely bride said, “He’s not happy right now, is he?” The question allowed me to return to my central thesis about the show. No, he’s not. He was expecting still another softball interview, but the difference is that Stewart came prepared, and was ready with real-time rejoinders, and names and facts. He doesn’t let things slide, which is what political operators are fundamentally trained for now.

Yes, Stewart has a staff. Yes they do four half-hour shows a week, and yes, he is only, himself, doing the one show a week and, sadly, for this limited run, but what he brings to this highly specific interview is different than every other interview you’ll see on TV, which is largely about cheaply, effectively (with conflict, if possible) filling time and getting to the next commercial break. There’s no substance in that formula. No opportunity for push back, even if you were so inclined. And many aren’t inclined. That’s one of the big problems of contemporary media, an issue Stewart has been pointing out for decades now, and perhaps never more clearly than in the A-block of this episode.

Buck wasn’t always pleased with how that went, even though it wasn’t, at all, adversarial. It could have been even less to his liking. Watch the interview, you see that Stewart bailed him out, or let a moment pass, three or four times. (Frustratingly, Stewart let one go that I wish he’d stuck with.)

It was a brilliant piece of television.

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