Tuesday


13
Jul 21

What is the community risk? Here’s a podcast to answer that

I got up in time for a run this morning, a simple neighborhood shuffle to cover 2.75 miles. I made it back inside just in time to grab a shower and then record a podcast.

After which I made a quick to drop off the recycling. Which I did just as the best part of the day’s rain decided to fall upon us. So I was soggy for much of the day.

And later in the morning I edited the podcast, making this officially the most productive day of the week. It’s going to be difficult to top Tuesday, rest of the week, he said without looking at his calendar.

Here is that podcast. This is IU Northwest economist Micah Pollak. He’s part of a team of a physician, a med student, a biostatistician and more. They got all of the data from the school districts across Indiana this past year and tried to create an understanding of the risk involved with sending more kids back into their classrooms. What is the risk to the larger community? Take it away, Dr. Pollak.

Now, what expert am I going to ask questions of next? It’s not that easy of a question to answer in the summer. You’d be surprised how many people don’t check their email when they aren’t in their regular weekly campus routine. (Lucky.)

When I pitched this program last year I said I could do a lot of shows within the context of Covid-19, and this conversation with Pollak makes 50. Soon I’ll be expanding it into other topics, I think.

That’ll be something to start figuring out tomorrow morning.


6
Jul 21

What’s that in your eye?

Just a bit of a bike ride. I rode really hard to get this clip.

Really hard. I was well behind and I had to work at shutting that down. It was a four-mile chase, I think. At least I was able to look cool when I went by. You don’t see it in the video, but I did. The whole pursuit and catch was pro, on my part.

With so many other things going on around here we haven’t checked in on the cats in a while. Let’s check in on the cats.

Poseidon, as you can see, is stuck in his tunnel in some awkward way.

He does it to himself, clearly. Oh he’ll whine about it, but this is his doing.

Being a cat, however, he is perfectly willing to exercise his “What? That’s exactly what I meant to do, and I don’t know what you’re talking about, anyway.”

Phoebe stares at him in disbelief a lot. We all do.

As ever, she’s content to sit around and pose nicely.

Truthfully, I only take these pictures because you occasionally get these moments where they are wide-eyed in the sunlight. Sometimes they really show off the iris.

Tomorrow we’re going to show off some other things. The cats know what it is, and they are very interested. So do come back and check that out.


29
Jun 21

The lighthouses

Why, yes, we are on day four of milking our four-day trip that took place a full week ago. You’d rather I try to make office things interesting or something?

We romanticize lighthouses these days. They were critically important tools, and unique features of rugged and beautiful landscapes. Running them was often a solitary and always demanding life. Everything was regimented and the drudgery was vital to the mission. And, when we’re away from them it’s easy to idealize lighthouses.

When you get there, it can be a little different. They’re built where they are needed. That’s often far away from everyone else. And the entire effort toward making them operational was beholden to the keeper’s job and the purpose of the place. The creature comforts are sparse to say the least.

Here’s the North Head Lighthouse, which were were able to get right next to. They do tours in a non-Covid time. It’s a small lighthouse, the tours probably don’t take long.

In May of 1898, the North Head Lighthouse went into service as the primary navigation aid at the mouth of the Columbia River. It remains in operation today, but the system is automated, and augmented by GPS and other modern technologies.

The lighthouse offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Long Beach Peninsula, Columbia River Bar, and the northern Oregon Coast.

We could not get that close to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. It went into service in October of 1856, but it didn’t solve the problem. Ships continued to run aground, often with fatal consequence. The “Graveyard of the Pacific” makes for some tricky and violent waters. The largest ocean and the region’s largest river come together, and so here we are, Cape Disappointment.

As the crow flies, they are just two miles apart; apparently the closest two lighthouses on the Pacific coast.

Where we are at in that Cape Disappointment photograph figures into the sum total of American history. The Chinook tribe are the longest standing residents of which we know. They called Cape Disappointment Kah’eese. A few other names came and went, but the Disappointment name comes from a Western explorer, of course. He named it that because he thought there was no river there. Some explorer. Another, more successful, exploration wound up here. Lewis and Clark stood on these very rocks. The Corps of Discovery came right here, to the very edge of the continent.

Here’s a bit of video, just to give you a bit of a mental vacation, if you will. This is a shot of the North Head Lighthouse.

And here’s a quick video of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, and we’ve arranged for a freighter to turn into the Columbia River to add a bit of realism. (We pull out all the stops for you, dear reader.)

Tomorrow: more vacation highlights. We’re going to the beach.


15
Jun 21

You thought we forgot the most popular weekly feature?

We never forget the weekly feature. We just move it around from time-to-time. Lot of pictures yesterday, needed some for today, and that’s how that works. The most popular weekly feature serves more needs than one. But your needs here are the most important.

So let’s get to the weekly check-in with the cats!

Phoebe’s fish play is also very important.

Throw your paws up in the air, and hold them there, ‘cos you just don’t care.

That’s how she gets off a seat after a nap. She stretches out and stays like that for a few minutes, and then she’ll push off with her back legs and twist and spin her way to the floor.

Meantime, Poseidon is spending a little quality time in the tunnel. It is currently one of the hip places to be.

Sometimes he gives us a good pose.

There are new cones on the conifer up the street. I saw it on my evening run.

Maybe I should chart their progress. It’s not like I’m running too fast through there. I’ve been told to run slower; I say you can’t be much slower. If my perambulation was any slower the flowers could stop and smell me. The sap from that cone would drip on me. The needles might catch me, and I might not make it back inside for the next series of cat photos next week.

Best not to slow down, then. Wouldn’t want to jeopardize our most popular weekly feature.


8
Jun 21

Oh so colorful

As of today I can be out of the heady cufflink manufacturing game. I’ve been making my own, you see. And I had some great fabric and the bits to put all the cufflinks together. But, now, the task is complete. Just when I got into a good rhythm of producing the things I’ve run out of supplies. And happily so. Once you’ve created an efficient technique and found the material you want to highlight and cut and trimmed all the fabric and assembled the things … then you count them. And you find … a lot of cufflinks.

At least I’ll have colorful wrists. And go a long, long time before repeating any.

Here’s the last batch, then.

I counted them all, so I could note it here. But now maybe it’s enough to say it’s a lot. Making things — most any kind of widgets, really — on your own is inexpensive and brings about a certain satisfaction. And those widgets pile up in a hurry.

Which brings us to the next project, pocket squares. I have so many, of them already, but I’m going to make more.

It’s something to do.

This evening we went for a run. Also something to do. It was in the upper 70s and 90 percent humidity and I just jogged out two easy miles, but that was enough to make it look like I’d been playing in a sprinkler in the back yard.

I use two recording apps for this. I don’t know why. One says I gained 70 feet of total elevation on my two-lap neighborhood route. It always overestimates, if you ask me. (And you just did, in your head, ask me. I know.)

And the other app says I gained 21 feet of elevation. So a disparity between the two, and a not small one, within the context of a short run. This is the fun part. That second app breaks it down by miles. It says I gained zero feet on the second mile. But it recorded an elevation loss of three feet on the first mile. So where did I gain the 21 feet? Or the 24 feet, as the case may be?

We’re worried about our phones tracking us. We should be wondering about what’s tracking us correctly. (And also why we have willingly allowed such things into our lives, sure.)

The Olympic trials are underway, which means the Olympics aren’t far away — should things continue as planned at Tokyo, at any rate. All of this means we are watching people do things near and at their peak human physical capability. And some of the names we know. There was a swimmer in the pool tonight who was my lovely bride’s student last semester. Pretty neat stuff.

He finished seventh in his heat tonight. I don’t know if he’ll ultimately make the team, but he is, as you might expect, very fast.

One thing about the Olympics is that the proper speed of the racing events doesn’t really translate in the camera shots. You really have to be at the venues, and the closer the better, to really appreciate how these gifted athletes go.

Years ago I was in a pool with an Olympic swimmer. This guy was in the lane next to mine during an open lap swim and without writing sonnets about it it gets difficult to express the power and grace they have. It was a pleasure to watch from up close. He did it with the ease and the certainty in which you might open a kitchen drawer. And that was the moment I realized we overuse the phrase “swim like a fish.” That guy did, most of us don’t.

It called to mind a conversation I had with 12-time national champion swimming and diving coach David Marsh. He said “You have to admire anyone who spends hundreds of hours in the pool just to shave off a couple thousandths of a second off of their best time.” And he was right, go figure. (Marsh has also coached 49 Olympians. The man knows stuff.) I think about that comment a lot. You’re gifted, and you work at it. That’s what it is. That’s the historical formula.

And it makes me want to go for another run now …