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Howdy, pilgrim! You're in the ^zhurnal — since 1999, a journal of musings on mind, method, metaphor, and matters miscellaneous — previous volume = 0.9942. Click headlines to browse, comment, or edit the ^zhurnalyWiki. Page-top links provide random mantras, tarots, unicorns, power thoughts, and meditative suggestions. For a lovely little mint-tin deck of mindfulness reminders see Open Mind OM Cards.



In Favor of Both

Thomas Friedman in a recent op-ed column offers a nice non-partisan list of things to support on both sides of the political fence:

... for BOTH redividing the pie AND growing the pie, for both reforming police departments and strengthening law and order, for both saving lives in a pandemic and saving jobs, for both demanding equity in education and demanding excellence, for both strengthening safety nets and strengthening capitalism, for both celebrating diversity and celebrating patriotism, for both making college cheaper and making the work of noncollege-educated Americans more respected, for both building a high border wall and incorporating a big gate, for both high-fiving the people who start companies and supporting the people who regulate them ...

... a marvelous statement of how to achieve key meta-goals: balance, partnership, insight!

(cf Make Money Whisper (2002-11-09), Overrated and Underrated (2004-03-13), Tilt Theory of History (2004-06-01), Lyndon Johnson Political Philosophy (2006-10-06), After-Shock (2011-03-30), What Moderates Believe (2017-08-26), ...)

- Friday, November 27, 2020 at 06:10:34 (EST)


2020-10-26 - Purple Line Peek

~4.2 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"¿Dónde estás?" asks the Mommy, pretending not to see her happy little girl peeking out from under the playground slide. Roadkill leaves the car at the mechanic's garage and takes the long way home via interim Georgetown Branch and Rock Creek Trails. Kids practice soccer at the community rec center. Halloween decorations abound. The wooden trestle, 1400 feet long and built in the late 1800s, has now been replaced by steel girders for the Purple Line light-rail.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, November 26, 2020 at 09:03:50 (EST)


2020-10-25 - Tea Sipping

~7.5 miles @ ~24 min/mi

"Pinkies Up!" We pause to sip tea, masked and socially-distanced, during a soggy Sunday morning walkabout. Autumn leaves are lovely in the chilly drizzle. Half Full and Roadkill rendezvous with Danger Man and proceed upstream along Sligo Creek Parkway to Wheaton Regional Park.

"There's a cut-through here somewhere!" promises Roadkill as he leads a damp tour around ballfields to eventually find the path. Dr Slow Twitch joins for the return trip, stretching her legs after yesterday's 100 miler. Law lectures explain existential entities such as companies, corporations, and persons; math lectures explain the nuances of rationals, irrationals, and transcendentals. Mindful dialogue includes the need to empathize with those who may disagree with us, and especially to leave no one behind – in society as well as on the trail. The GPS pauses, resets, and omits half the journey. No matter: with friends, just being is a blessing!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 06:46:43 (EST)


Self-Care Leadership

From Harvard Business Review "Serious Leaders Need Self-Care, Too" by Palena Neale, a short essay about how to "... reframe self-care as an investment that can increase ... overall productivity and effectiveness ...", with some suggested strategies:

(TY, Brigitta-sensei! – cf Comments on Mantra - Say Thanks, not Sorry (2017-06-21), Opening to the New (2019-05-19), Cats and Chocolate (2020-04-27), Happier and Healthier (2020-07-08), Self-Care Matrix (2020-10-15), ...)

- Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 06:26:09 (EST)


2020-10-24 - Way Down Yonder

~8.1 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"Mom, where is 'Yonder'?" Square Peg reports cognitive dissonance and a new regional vocabulary when abruptly transferring in 4th grade to a western North Carolina school. She escorts Roadkill at sunrise from Candy Cane City uphill through Rock Creek Forest, recorded by GPS but not mapped until ~1.8 miles into the trek. They return via the Rock Creek Park valley trail and meet Danger Man and Doc Bob, then loop through the Audubon Naturalist Society.

(trackfile)

- Monday, November 23, 2020 at 06:18:26 (EST)


2020-10-23 - Live Love Laugh

~2.0 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"Breathe" - "Everything Will Be 😊K" - "Live Love Laugh" - "Faith Can Move Mountains" - "Vote" - "You Make Me 😎" - "Life Is Beautiful" - "Be You" - "Friendship" ... and more! A flock of new inspirational painted rocks-in-a-box have joined those first spied during the 2020-05-14 - Cat Practice walkabout. Roadkill rambles to mail a letter, buy lottery tickets, and pick up the car from the shop. Carved pumpkins decorate a front yard stump.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, November 22, 2020 at 07:32:20 (EST)


Caring for Each Other in Some Strange Night

A thoughtful op-ed by Susan Faludi in the 29 October New York Times echoes Eugenia Cheng's Ingressive vs Congressive remapping of "female" vs "male" classic behavior patterns. The core of Faludi's argument:

The masculine archetype of the 1930s and '40s was the anonymous common man who proved his chops through communal building, not gunslinging. In a 1932 speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared that "the man of ruthless force had his place in developing a pioneer country" but he now endangered the nation.

"The lone wolf, the unethical competitor, the reckless promoter," he said, "whose hand is against every man's, declines to join in achieving an end recognized as being for the public welfare, and threatens to drag the industry back to a state of anarchy." New Deal America championed a manliness of usefulness, demonstrated through collective service and uncelebrated competence.

The '30s ideal of heroic civil servant carried into World War II, and was enshrined in Ernie Pyle's battlefront dispatches valorizing unsung grunts – "the mud-rain-frost-and-wind boys." Pyle disparaged the silk-scarfed "flyboys," whose camera-ready star turns Pyle instinctively distrusted.

Of the grunt ethic, Pyle wrote, "We are all men of new professions, out in some strange night caring for each other." This service-oriented prototype of manhood – tending to the needs of others, providing protective support, spurning the spotlight – was essentially a maternal masculinity, all the purported qualities of motherhood, recoded for the Y chromosome.

(cf Howards End - Women and Men (2017-09-17), Eugenia Cheng on Thinking (2017-12-30), ...)

- Saturday, November 21, 2020 at 05:48:48 (EST)


2020-10-22 - Pennydog and Patternbond

~5.6 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Pennydog Lane and Patternbond Terrace?" Somebody has a wicked talent for street names! Roadkill emerges from an wildly overgrown corner of Carroll Knolls Local Park after a new bushwhack cut-through over poison ivy, bogs, and tangled deadfalls. He seeks a secret back way to Wheaton and finds it, thanks to a well-hidden stairway behind Stephen Knolls School. Then it's back to meet Danger Man, who is working late. A Halloween black cat prepares to pounce and a skeletal dog has improbable bony ears. On the way Roadkill rescues a lost My Little Pony cap and a chocolate Hersheys candy bar. "The calories in this will cancel out most of today's exercise!"

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 20, 2020 at 06:47:31 (EST)


Knowing Stuff Is Hard

In "The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse" by Graeme Wood (The Atlantic, Dec 2020), two memorable quotes:

(cf What We Know (2006-08-15), Know and Do (2019-05-25), ...)

- Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 06:26:42 (EST)


2020-10-21 - Halloween Merewif

~2.9 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"Mermaid skeleton?!" Halloween lawn decorations continue to proliferate, including a wall of ghoulish portraits and a Little Free Library covered with faux cobwebs. Danger Man reports soreness from a long run yesterday afternoon; Roadkill's knee is achy after he pedaled an hour on a stationary bike. The GPS shows 2.98 miles when he stops. A curious cat follows for part of the walkabout.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 06:14:49 (EST)


2020-10-19 - Strava Means Strive

~2.9 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"2.99 miles! You go another 50 feet – I can't!" Roadkill touches the finish line, aka his parked car, while Danger Man gets ready to add a run to his daily log. Strava means "strive" in Swedish. The word "compete" is from the Latin, "strive together". Tomorrow the Dioscuri begin another silly week-long Apple Watch activity competition. By a fluke Roadkill "won" the first one. Won't happen again!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 07:00:09 (EST)


The Truth

From Terry Pratchett's comic-fantasy Discworld novel The Truth:

"A thousand years ago we thought the world was a bowl," he said. "Five hundred years ago we knew it was a globe. Today we know it is flat and round and carried through space on the back of a turtle." He turned and gave the High Priest another smile. "Don't you wonder what shape it will turn out to be tomorrow?"

... parody-echoing the film Men in Black:

"Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the earth was flat. And fifteen minutes ago you knew that people were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow."

(cf What We Know (2006-08-15), ...)

- Monday, November 16, 2020 at 05:41:02 (EST)


2020-10-18 - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

~7.4 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Lovely long ears!" says Roadkill, admiring the brown-and-white Cavalier King Charles spaniel that a masked lady is out walking. "Yes," she replies, "they pick up all the leaves!" Sunday morning's brisk ramble begins with a chilly solo walk to Starbucks for hot coffee, a quick survey of downtown Bethesda, and a return to join Danger Man, Doc Bob, and Half Full at the Bethesda Outdoor Pool, aka "SEE-ment Pond" as Roadkill pronounces it. Trash talk is strong as the group proceeds south along Little Falls Parkway and continues on the natural-surface Little Falls Trail south of Mass Ave. At his mile #5 Roadkill takes a side pathway to Westmoreland Hills Local Park and returns though a neighborhood of mansions. He discovers a good cut-through near Little Falls Swimming Club.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 05:41:27 (EST)


2020-10-17 - Lawn Angel

~2.6 mi @ ~24 min/mi

"The angel is crying!" Halloween decorations are dense in Half Full's neighborhood. On a crisp Saturday afternoon Danger Man and Roadkill follow her directions to explore Garrett Park streets and admire lawn art, autumn leaves, and architecture.

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 13, 2020 at 05:03:24 (EST)


Trustworthy, Helpful, Fair

From "The state of Americans' trust in each other amid the COVID-19 pandemic", a survey of more than 10,000 US adults performed in April 2020 by the Pew Research Center found that:

... and then, looking at combinations of the three criteria:

... startling and sad numbers in many ways – but a small improvement in altruism and optimism and hope since the prior Pew survey in 2018!

(cf Underappreciated Ideas (12999-07-06), How to Succeed (2005-03-11), How to Win Friends and Influence People (2008-05-17), Tough-Minded Optimists (2009-12-22), How to Be an Optimist (2011-08-24), Life Partner Criteria (2014-05-15), Action to Raise Trust (2015-09-05), Principles of Trust-Building (2015-09-23), Nine Beliefs for Success (2018-03-02), Kevin Kelly Advice (2020-09-22), ...)

- Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 05:35:09 (EST)


2020-10-17 - Black Hill Horror

~3.2 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"Clack! Clack! Clack!" The tapping sound of Roadkill's trekking pole on the path behind them reminds Square Peg and Danger Man of a classic film trope, as if they're being chased by a monster-murderer. They run the Saturday morning MCRRC 5 miler at Little Seneca Lake in beautiful Black Hill Regional Park and finish in just under an hour. Roadkill cuts the course, omitting out-and-back segments, to take photos. An old stone marks the boundary of a William & Mary land parcel from centuries ago.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 06:51:17 (EST)


2020-10-17 - Black Hill Regional Park

~1.9 mi @ ~26 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Black-Hill-Regional-Park_Little-Seneca-Lake_2020-10-17.jpg"So beautiful – the colors, the fog, the water, the ridges, the trees!" At sunrise on a quiet Saturday morning, visiting Little Seneca Lake for the first time, Square Peg and Roadkill hike paved paths, then take a rugged trail along the shoreline at Black Hill Regional Park near Germantown Maryland.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 06:07:12 (EST)


Raymond Chandlerisms

Tidbits of advice and exaggeration from Raymond Chandler — prose worth rolling across the tongue and savoring.

... on writing:

Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.

... on ego:

You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you.

... on tension:

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

... on coyness:

She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.

... on contrast:

He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food cake.

... on life:

As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where it's going out of style.

(cf The Simple Art of Murder (2005-12-04), The Thin Man (2006-01-21), Trouble Is My Business (2008-07-20), ...)

- Sunday, November 08, 2020 at 06:09:03 (EST)


2020-10-16 - Cold Front

~4.3 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Nobody told me that Winter is coming!" Roadkill, in short-shorts and skimpy singlet, greets a lady wearing a puffy parka and gloves. Inflated Halloween dragons, dinosaurs, and black cats sway and nod. Danger Man appears and together the team discovers a new cut-through near General Getty Park.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, November 07, 2020 at 05:34:17 (EST)


Geo-Quizzes

Tricky geographic challenges and questions from retired comrade-cartographer Meredith Ingram:

(cf Geo Memory (2001-05-07), Expanding Universe (2003-06-26), ...)

- Friday, November 06, 2020 at 06:06:10 (EST)


2020-10-15 - Clickety Clack

~3.0 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Click-click-click!" A fresh tungsten carbide tip on Roadkill's trekking pole goes tappery-tap on the sidewalk; the original rubber tip lasted 100+ miles. He uses the pole marked "R" on odd-numbered days, and the one marked "L" on even days, to equalize wear. Or is he just OCD? A steep new path leads through the woods between neighborhoods. Skeletons soak up the late afternoon sun.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, November 05, 2020 at 05:25:10 (EST)


2020-10-14 - Rx for Hydration

~3.7 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Your new 'Prescription' is on the porch!" Roadkill delivers a bundle of joy to Danger Man, who promises to use it only as per doctor's orders. Proper hydration is medically vital! Air pumps susurrate in front yards to inflate early Halloween yard decorations. Apple Watch experiments continue. If a walkabout is recorded both in Strava on a phone, and on a watch's GPS-activity app, does it count double toward a fitness score?

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 04, 2020 at 05:28:19 (EST)


Volup

Such pleasing words abound
With sounds and shapes that bring
Delight to open ear or eye.

Some offer rhyme and rhythm –
They alliterate or resonate,
Suggestive echoes from the webs
Of languages and life.

An archetypal favorite:
"Voluptuous", a gift
From ancient Rome ...
With pleasure!

(cf Fascinating Words (2001-12-02), Roses by Other Names (2004-02-01), In My Journal (2005-01-29), ...)

- Tuesday, November 03, 2020 at 06:27:07 (EST)


2020-10-13 - Big Gulp

~5.6 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Slurpee or Big Gulp?" Roadkill faces the eternal question as he stands in front of the dispensers at a midcourse 7-Eleven aid station, a new-to-him convenience store in downtown Silver Spring on the ground floor of an apartment tower. Tuesday afternoon's ramble follows neighborhood cut-throughs to sketch a crude map of South Carolina. Three big deer nibble in a front yard garden. Alton Parkway bikepath leads to Sligo Creek Trail and home via Forest Glen.

(trackfile)

- Monday, November 02, 2020 at 05:56:16 (EST)


2020-10-11 - Almost Ten Miles

~9.99 miles @ ~19 min/mi

"The Universe might not be designed just to make you feel 'satisfied', you know!" Roadkill and Dr Yar analyze physics, free will, and whether it makes any sense to talk about "Before the Big Bang"; a former physicist suggests not. Half Full and Danger Man enjoy the debate. Morning dawns as G-ji greets Roadkill; both arrive at Ken-Gar early. Roadkill rambles solo for an initial 5 miles, discovering new cut-throughs and deer nibbling breakfast garden buffets. He slips on a grassy slope between Garrett Park Elementary School and Holy Cross Church and lands on his fundament. From Rock Creek Trail the secret woodland path leads to the corner of Dewey Rd and Dewey Ct. A round brown fertility goddess graces a front yard. Roadkill shows great restraint and stops short of ten miles.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, November 01, 2020 at 06:14:18 (EST)


Better Regular Expressions

From "The Elements of Good Regex Style" some tips on writing better Regular Expression for efficient, precise pattern-matching:

(cf Fuzzy Proximity (2000-03-18), Snip Pattern (2001-09-06), Reg Explanations (2003-12-03), Regex vs HTML (2020-02-27), Logical AND for Regex (2020-10-28), ...)

- Saturday, October 31, 2020 at 06:51:28 (EDT)


2020-10-10 - Prometheus Bound with Nymphs

~2.9 mi @ ~21 min/mi

Prometheus Bound with Oceanid nymphs statue, Bethesda MD"Diversity, Efficiency, Simplicity!" Danger Man, Roadkill, and Square Peg discuss criteria for retirement investment plans. Low-cost index funds, guaranteed annuities, and rebalancing to stay near the Efficient Frontier are optimal. An eye-catching statue features Prometheus bound, with an eagle getting ready for a liver dinner as a pair of Oceanid nymphs hang out. It's a copy of an 1879 original in the Berlin National Gallery.

We mourn the passing of Eddie van Halen, and share stories of how scientists are humans too. A recent Nobel laureate and somebody's close friend are enemies after one stole the other's potential spouse. Oops!

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 30, 2020 at 07:08:16 (EDT)


2020-10-10 - Brown and Sticky

~0.6 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"Where's my stick?" A quarter mile down the trail suddenly Roadkill realizes that he left his trekking pole behind. Oops! And no worries: Square Peg chaperones him safely along an overgrown path through the woods of Little Falls Branch Park between the CCT and the Parkway.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 06:16:07 (EDT)


Logical AND for Regex

How to write a Regular Expression that does an AND for the occurrence of two patterns? Answer: use a non-consuming "?=" operator! From [1]:

The typical (i.e. Perl/Java) notation is:
     (?=expr)
This means "match expr but after that continue matching at the original match-point."

You can do as many of these as you want, and this will be an "and." Example:
     (?=match this expression)(?=match this too)(?=oh, and this)
You can even add capture groups inside the non-consuming expressions if you need to save some of the data therein.

... and from [2] to try it out:

perl -e "q{some stuff and things} =~ /(?=.*some)(?=.*stuff)(?=.*things)/ ? print 'yes' : print 'no'"

... clever and useful!

(cf Snip Pattern (2001-09-06), Reg Explanations (2003-12-03), Regex vs HTML (2020-02-27), ...)

- Wednesday, October 28, 2020 at 06:24:55 (EDT)


2020-10-10 - Then and Now

~3.5 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"And how will the Future judge us?" K2 and Roadkill ponder what "That Goes Without Saying" defaults today will seem incredibly uncivilized in centuries to come. We find the elusive cut-through between the corner of East/Leland and Thornapple St, and ask ourselves what judgmental behavior today we need to work on, ourselves – especially toward those who don't share our most cherished beliefs. A BBC radio programme discusses dyslexia and the neuro-linguistic factors surrounding it in different languages.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, October 27, 2020 at 06:45:18 (EDT)


2020-10-09 - Halloween Lawn Art

~4.9 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Skeletons!" This year's motif for Halloween art inclines toward the osteo-vertebral. Roadkill takes a circuitous route and arrives at the rendezvous point just as Danger Man finishes grooming his front yard. An Apple Watch tutorial ensues as the duo rambles into the sunset, one walking the other home.

(trackfile)

- Monday, October 26, 2020 at 06:55:17 (EDT)


Just Say Yes

A recent, long, complex essay on the importance of the positive — especially in education: "Teach What You Love: A modest proposal for professors of literature" by Mark Edmundson in The American Scholar, 7 Oct 2020. Edmundson recommends that instead of negativity and criticism, "Literature departments should be about ... novels, poems, plays, and the rest." His thesis:

... Disapproval is easy. Contempt, derision, condescension, looking down: they come to us as child's play. Love's a lot tougher. A profession, Samuel Johnson says, has got to be open to people who possess moderate abilities and the willingness to work hard. ...

Instead, Edmundson notes, in English Departments "... Suddenly, the operative word was no ...". The results were not good, for the students or the professors or the profession. His concluding words:

Teach out of love, and the students will return. They are locked in a conformist world in which there is only one way, the standard way–the SAT, internship, recommendations way–to thrive. They need more options. They require more, and more various, visions of the good life. They don't need to hear again what the good life isn't. They need affirmations, coaxed from the great writers, of what it might be. Give them that, with conviction, humor, modesty, and maybe a little brio, and let us see what happens. The sun rises every day, a beautiful morning star. Why not, once at least, see if we might not try rising with it?

Teach literature. Teach the literature you love.

... and say, "Yes, and ..."!

(cf How to Write (2000-11-28), The Brownings 3 (2001-12-15), How to Write a Sentence (2011-05-19), ...)

- Sunday, October 25, 2020 at 06:10:59 (EDT)


2020-10-07 - Werewolfling

~3.6 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"Too small for a werewolf - maybe it's a were-wolfling?" In the gloom Roadkill spies a hairy creature galumphing across the road. Danger Man directs a baseline survey of Halloween decorations in the neighborhood. Pokey insists on exploring dark cut-throughs, dead-end alleys, and streets marked "CLOSED". Jupiter and Saturn gleam brilliant in the southern sky. Four pairs of deer eyes retro-reflect spooky green at the Sligo Middle School soccer field.

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 23, 2020 at 07:01:45 (EDT)


Eric Berlow on Simplifying Complexity

Transcript of an insightful TED talk by Eric Berlow, "Simplifying Complexity", originally presented in 2010:

Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed when you're faced with a complex problem? Well, I hope to change that in less than three minutes. So, I hope to convince you that complex doesn't always equal complicated. So for me, a well-crafted baguette, fresh out of the oven, is complex, but a curry onion green olive poppy cheese bread is complicated. I'm an ecologist, and I study complexity. I love complexity. And I study that in the natural world, the interconnectedness of species.

So here's a food web, or a map of feeding links between species that live in Alpine Lakes in the mountains of California. And this is what happens to that food web when it's stocked with non-native fish that never lived there before. All the grayed-out species disappear. Some are actually on the brink of extinction. And lakes with fish have more mosquitoes, even though they eat them. These effects were all unanticipated, and yet we're discovering they're predictable.

So I want to share with you a couple key insights about complexity we're learning from studying nature that maybe are applicable to other problems. First is the simple power of good visualization tools to help untangle complexity and just encourage you to ask questions you didn't think of before. For example, you could plot the flow of carbon through corporate supply chains in a corporate ecosystem, or the interconnections of habitat patches for endangered species in Yosemite National Park. The next thing is that if you want to predict the effect of one species on another, if you focus only on that link, and then you black box the rest, it's actually less predictable than if you step back, consider the entire system – all the species, all the links – and from that place, hone in on the sphere of influence that matters most. And we're discovering, with our research, that's often very local to the node you care about within one or two degrees. So the more you step back, embrace complexity, the better chance you have of finding simple answers, and it's often different than the simple answer that you started with.

So let's switch gears and look at a really complex problem courtesy of the U.S. government. This is a diagram of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan. It was front page of the New York Times a couple months ago. Instantly ridiculed by the media for being so crazy complicated. And the stated goal was to increase popular support for the Afghan government. Clearly a complex problem, but is it complicated? Well, when I saw this in the front page of the Times, I thought, "Great. Finally something I can relate to. I can sink my teeth into this."

So let's do it. So here we go for the first time ever, a world premiere view of this spaghetti diagram as an ordered network. The circled node is the one we're trying to influence – popular support for the government. And so now we can look one degrees, two degrees, three degrees away from that node and eliminate three-quarters of the diagram outside that sphere of influence. Within that sphere, most of those nodes are not actionable, like the harshness of the terrain, and a very small minority are actual military actions. Most are non-violent and they fall into two broad categories: active engagement with ethnic rivalries and religious beliefs and fair, transparent economic development and provisioning of services. I don't know about this, but this is what I can decipher from this diagram in 24 seconds.

When you see a diagram like this, I don't want you to be afraid. I want you to be excited. I want you to be relieved. Because simple answers may emerge. We're discovering in nature that simplicity often lies on the other side of complexity. So for any problem, the more you can zoom out and embrace complexity, the better chance you have of zooming in on the simple details that matter most.

Thank you.

(Applause)

(YouTube copy at [1]; cf Simplifying through Complexity (1999-05-31), Encapsulation and Trust (1999-07-25), Complexity from Simplicity (1999-08-05), Elegant Technologies (1999-09-10), Safety in Complexity (2000-04-15), ComplexSimplicity2 (2001-10-28), Combinatorial Interference (2003-09-10), Systems Dynamics Advice (2017-07-12), Simple Complexity (2020-01-09), ...)

- Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 05:34:40 (EDT)


2020-10-04 - SlowTwitch Jammies

~9.2 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Betzee, I presume?!" Square Peg and Roadkill are surprised to spy busy Ms B as she leads her pajama-clad mistress, Slow Twitch, on a Sunday sunrise saunter around Garrett Park. Peg takes the leash while we inspect early Halloween decorations and catch up on family news. Danger Man and Half Full join in a tour of the underside of Kensington, after which we greet Crabby and Mr Bill on the way to Rock Creek. The return journey upstream gives SP & DM a chance to run intervals.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 06:25:48 (EDT)


Stimulus, Response, Meaning

A thermostat can be fully predictable at the electro-mechanical level, and yet "respond" in a "meaningful" way to a "stimulus" as it controls a heater to regulate temperature. A computer chess program can be fully predictable at the machine-instruction logic level, and yet "respond" in a "meaningful" way to an opponent's moves and play a game of chess with great apparent skill. So too a person can be fully predictable at the neuro-chemical level ...

(cf Free Will (1999-04-11), Free Action (2000-04-03), Freedom Evolves (2003-07-03), StrangeLoops (2007-10-06), Free Will Facts (2008-05-31), Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (2008-06-15), Karma (2009-07-15), ...)

- Monday, October 19, 2020 at 06:58:46 (EDT)


2020-10-03_-_Bethesda_Rambles

~5.8 mi @ ~22 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/lawn-art-sculpture-wood-spheres-ring_bethesda_2020-10-03.jpg"It's a beautiful day / Don't let it get away!" U2 reminds Square Peg and Roadkill to seek joy even in hard times. Trail talk is mindful in honor of the dearly departed. Lawn art abounds. The elusive cut-through between East Ave and Thornapple St eludes rediscovery; it was first found three weeks ago.
Danger Man arrives to lead the way south, where Roadkill insists on exploring a rugged dirt path through Willard Avenue Park along Little Falls Branch. Roots, rocks, a tiny stream crossing ... who knew it was there?http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/lawn-angel-lions_bethesda_2020-10-03.jpg

(trackfile)

- Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 05:39:50 (EDT)


When We Touch

When we touch
The waves ripple on the beach
Swell and recede, to wash the sand clean
Not like a storm, no tsunami, no crescendo or shattering
Just a gentle rise and fall, a soft glow that fades
A misty fog that tiptoes away
A hint of lavender or lilac
A subtle note that dies
Leaving us behind
Together

(cf TopicPoetry, Incomparable (2000-09-26), The Ascent (2000-10-01), Awaitingness (2000-11-14), Sun Dance (2000-11-19), InfraStructure (2000-12-26), Dream Bird (2001-01-16), Still Life in Ice (2001-02-28), Parkway Delay (2001-12-28), For Us (2002-12-31), Inspiration Prayer (2003-04-10), Daybreak (2004-01-22), Roses by Other Names (2004-02-01), Rock Creek Valley Trail (2004-04-30), Dazzling Darkness (2004-12-10), SuspectTerrain (2005-04-13), In Memoriam (2007-10-16), Conjunctions (2012-12-25), ...)

- Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 06:14:21 (EDT)


2020-09-28 - Meditative Rabbit

~3.2 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Aspin Hill Memorial Park" reads the big sign at the pet cemetery, second largest in the USA. It's on Aspen Hill Road, but is named for a differently-spelled dog kennel in England. Kanga and Pollyanna explore the grounds, where 53,000 pets and about 50 people are buried. They continue the early Monday walkabout in nearby Harmony Hills neighborhood, and suddenly discover themselves on the Matthew Henson Trail. A pink bunny statue sits like a buddha, paws in a "Namaste!" mudra.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/pink_bunny_namaste_2020-09-28.jpg

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 16, 2020 at 05:39:43 (EDT)


Self-Care Matrix

A cat-cartoon-themed 3x3 grid from "Simon's Cat" offers good advice on how to practice mindfulness + nonattachment + oneness in daily life:

Care for Others Take a Break Eat Well
Do Something
You're Good At
Talk about
Your Feelings
Keep Active
Ask for Help Accept Who
You Are
Keep in Touch

(cf Meditation Map (2019-01-19), Awakening Matrix (2019-04-29), Emptiness Empathy Empowerment (2019-11-02), ...)

- Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 06:15:35 (EDT)


2020-09-27 - Linden Oak

~6.0 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Excalibur!" Danger Man reviews the 1981 film by John Boorman; Half Full and Roadkill riff on Monty Python and Disney versions, with historical footnotes on Arthurian legends. G-ji dashes past on her long run. The Linden Oak, more than 300 years old, stands majestic; a mountain of worn-out boots crowns a camper in a Kensington alley.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 05:43:45 (EDT)


Johnson on Perseverance

From Samuel Johnson, "No. 43. The inconveniences of precipitation and confidence.", 14 Aug 1750 in The Rambler, on the need for steady hard work:

All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance: it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals. If a man was to compare the effect of a single stroke of the pick-axe, or of one impression of the spade, with the general design and last result, he would be overwhelmed by the sense of their disproportion; yet those petty operations, incessantly continued, in time surmount the greatest difficulties, and mountains are levelled, and oceans bounded, by the slender force of human beings.

It is therefore of the utmost importance that those, who have any intention of deviating from the beaten roads of life, and acquiring a reputation superior to names hourly swept away by time among the refuse of fame, should add to their reason, and their spirit, the power of persisting in their purposes; acquire the art of sapping what they cannot batter, and the habit of vanquishing obstinate resistance by obstinate attacks.

(cf Self Reliance (1999-06-16), Staying the Course (2005-07-11), John McPhee (2008-03-09), ...)

- Monday, October 12, 2020 at 07:56:28 (EDT)


2020-09-26 - For Goodness Sake

~3.8 mi @ ~23 min/mi

"It senses when you're sleeping / It knows when you're awake / It scolds if you don't wash your hands / So be good ..." – Half Full and Roadkill sing of potential privacy-invading aspects of smartwatch sensors. On the other hand, if a Fitbit or Apple Watch can nudge users toward better health would that be worth it? Lawn art glows in the morning light. Danger Man dashes ahead on "The Silencer", an infamously steep segment of Rock Creek Trail. Glasgow Drive leads into anecdotes about Glasgow Montana.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 05:48:13 (EDT)


Primal Duty of Compassion

From the Summer 2003 issue of Tricycle magazine, in an interview with Karen Armstrong by Andrew Cooper:

... The term Axial Age was coined by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers to describe the period from 800 to 200 B.C.E., when all the great world traditions came into being in four core regions of the world: Confucianism and Taoism in China; Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism in the Indian subcontinent; monotheism in the Middle East; and rationalism in Greece. This period proved to be pivotal to the spiritual development of humanity. We have never progressed beyond the insights achieved at this time, though they have often been restated and reinterpreted over the years. What is striking about these traditions is their similarity, beneath the obvious surface differences. You can see a clear resemblance between Socrates and the Buddha, for example. All these world traditions stress the importance of the inner life, of compassion; all put human suffering at the heart of their agenda and devised means of exploring the inner world. All emphasize the importance of thinking for yourself, of questioning everything, even the most cherished doctrines and traditions, and of never taking anything "on faith." In the modern world, we have also been undergoing a period of major transformation, similar to the Axial Age. But our insights have been mainly scientific or technological. We have produced no spiritual geniuses of the stature of the Buddha, Confucius, Isaiah, or Lao-tzu. And the spiritual approach of the Axial sages will challenge the way that many people are religious today.

How so? Often, contemporary institutional faiths seem to go out of their way to reproduce exactly the kind of religiosity that the Axial sages were trying to abolish: there is an excessive reliance upon doctrine (an approach that is alien to all Axial faiths) and on tradition (which must never be questioned); people are urged to accept things "on faith" in a way that the Buddha would have deplored; and the primal virtue of compassion is often ignored and quite inessential doctrines and practices put forward as the kernel of the faith.

... and Armstrong's conclusion:

... all the faiths need to go back to the primal duty of compassion. This is what the world needs from religion right now. We do not need more certainty–we have seen too much certainty recently–but we need greater respect for the sacred rights of others, including our enemies. ...

(cf "The Freelance Monotheist", Steadiness of Heart (2011-07-13), Wings of Acceptance (2015-05-26), Edgeless Sea of Compassion (2015-10-10), Kindness, Gentleness, Compassion (2017-04-05), ...)

- Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 16:51:31 (EDT)


2020-09-26 - Winding Creek Park Pre-Saunter

~1.2 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Beep-beep!" It's not the Roadrunner but rather Danger Man, whose honk startles not the Coyote but rather Roadkill at the end of a quick neighborhood survey of front-yard lawn art. A dolphin holds a mailbox; a swan bears a bright autumn bouquet.

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 09, 2020 at 06:46:48 (EDT)


Principles of Drawing

Four key concepts from Betty Edwards's book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and other writings:

... and above all, forget names – depict what is, rather than caricature what it is called ...

(cf Seeing and Forgetting (2019-07-15), Conversations in Paint (2000-08-18), Architectural Design (2016-11-04), Photographic Composition (2019-08-11), PMA (2-11-01-13), ...)

- Thursday, October 08, 2020 at 06:47:02 (EDT)


2020-09-23 - The End Is Nigh

~3.9 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Peace of Mind? Isn't that the opposite of Alarm?" Roadkill is puzzled by an oxymoronic company motto ("Urban Alarm: Total Peace of Mind"). Today's adventure-trek follows rugged Ireland Trail south along Rock Creek and through the woods along a new fence that guards the US Army's Forest Glen Annex. A steep scramble leads to an industrial park. Purple Line construction is on hold; on a Jersey barrier a rude stencil warns, "The End is Extremely F*ing Nigh". Pink flamingos and an ornate elephant guard local lawns.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, October 07, 2020 at 06:19:13 (EDT)


Yoneda and the Apple-Shaped Figure

In Appendix A1 of the 2017 paper "Buddhist Thought on Emptiness and Category Theory" by Venkata Rayudu Posina and Sisir Roy, there's an explanation of the Yoneda Lemma. It uses the metaphors of "A-shaped figure in B" and "B-valued property in A":

... Broadly speaking, the Yoneda lemma is about [properties of] objects [of categories] and their mutual determination.

First, let us consider a function

                    f: A → B

We can think of the function f as (i) a figure of shape A in B, i.e., an A-shaped figure in B. For example, in the category of graphs, a map

                    d: D → G

from a graph D (consisting of one dot) to any graph G is a D-shaped figure in G, i.e., a dot in the graph G. We can also think of the same function f as (ii) a property of A with values in B, i.e., a B-valued property of A (Lawvere and Schanuel, 2009, pp. 81-85). For example, with sets, say, Fruits = {apple, grape} and Color = {red, green}, a function

                    c: Fruits → Color

(with c(apple) = red and c(grape) = green) can be viewed as a Color-valued property of Fruits. ...

(cf Yoneda Perspective (2018-10-03), If You Need a Theorem (2018-11-08), Yoneda Friend (2019-11-22), Yoneda Explained (2020-01-05), ...)

- Tuesday, October 06, 2020 at 06:26:49 (EDT)


2020-09-21 - Kensington Cabin

~2.7 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"No home delivery – everybody has to pick their letters up at the Post Office!" Half Full describes the Garrett Park mail system, a deliberate choice for more than a century to promote a sense of community and facilitate gossip. Roadkill is amazed. Crisp weather on the Autumnal Equinox Eve makes for a pleasant ramble past the Kensington Cabin Local Park and around nearby neighborhoods.

(trackfile)

- Monday, October 05, 2020 at 06:31:57 (EDT)


Awe Walk

A statistically weak but nonetheless interesting study by Virginia Sturm et al. is titled "Big smile, small self: Awe walks promote prosocial positive emotions in older adults". Gretchen Reynolds' summary in the New York Times ("An 'Awe Walk' Might Do Wonders for Your Well-Being", September 2020) describes an Awe Walk as:

... looking at everything with fresh, childlike eyes ... the awesome can be anywhere and everywhere, ... from a sweeping panorama of cliffs and sea to sunlight dappling a leaf. ... Awe is partly about focusing on the world outside of your head ... and rediscovering that it is filled with marvelous things that are not you ...

... and from the abstract of the original paper:

Aging into later life is often accompanied by social disconnection, anxiety, and sadness. Negative emotions are self-focused states with detrimental effects on aging and longevity. Awe–a positive emotion elicited when in the presence of vast things not immediately understood–reduces self-focus, promotes social connection, and fosters prosocial actions by encouraging a "small self." We investigated the emotional benefits of a novel "awe walk" intervention in healthy older adults. Sixty participants took weekly 15-min outdoor walks for 8 weeks; participants were randomly assigned to an awe walk group, which oriented them to experience awe during their walks, or to a control walk group. Participants took photographs of themselves during each walk and rated their emotional experience. Each day, they reported on their daily emotional experience outside of the walk context. Participants also completed pre- and postintervention measures of anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction. Compared with participants who took control walks, those who took awe walks experienced greater awe during their walks and exhibited an increasingly "small self" in their photographs over time. They reported greater joy and prosocial positive emotions during their walks and displayed increasing smile intensity over the study. Outside of the walk context, participants who took awe walks reported greater increases in daily prosocial positive emotions and greater decreases in daily distress over time. Postintervention anxiety, depression, and life satisfaction did not change from baseline in either group. These results suggest cultivating awe enhances positive emotions that foster social connection and diminishes negative emotions that hasten decline.

(cf OM - Awe, ...)

- Sunday, October 04, 2020 at 06:31:46 (EDT)


2020-09-20 - Sligo Shortcut

~2.4 mi @ ~24 min/mi

"The Longest Dam Race!" Danger Man has a Sunday afternoon flashback to the intense run at the Fort Peck Dam near Glasgow Montana. Roadkill spies a dirt path and insists on exploring it. New cut-through, yay! We emerge on Woodman Ave where our 2020-08-27 - Headlamp Test sought a pathway without success. A nearby narrow track leads back to Sligo Creek.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, October 03, 2020 at 05:47:03 (EDT)


Two Thoughts

From a recent essay by Sammy Roth in the Los Angeles Times, a pair of proverbs, the first likely by St Augustine or St Ignatius, seen in the prayer book Mishkan T'fiah:

Pray as if everything depends on God;
act as if everything depends on you.

Roth notes, "... as seriously as I take myself and my work, the fate of planet Earth does not depend solely on me. The world is full of well-meaning people – including people I might sometimes disagree with – trying to make things better. None of us is in this alone. ..." He then quotes Rabbi Pirkei Avot:

It is not your responsibility to finish
the work of perfecting the world,
but you are not free to desist from it either.

(cf Tikkun Olam (2019-12-11), ...)

- Friday, October 02, 2020 at 08:29:29 (EDT)


2020-09-20 - Kensington Cut-Throughs

~3.9 mi @ ~21 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Kensington-Parkwood-Elementary-School_mosaic_z_2020-09-20.jpg"Look under the bushes!" G-ji points out hidden lawn ornaments to Roadkill. Sirens wail as a fire truck and an ambulance pull up and stop across the street. Strange wooden statues and an Aussie-theme painted trailer are protected by high barbed-wire fences in a town government lot. New cut-throughs lead between alleys and dead-end streets. The mosaic at Kensington-Parkwood Elementary School is dazzlingly complex.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, October 01, 2020 at 06:51:03 (EDT)


Two Days

"There are only two days with fewer than
twenty-four hours in each lifetime, sitting like
bookends astride our lives: one is celebrated
every year, yet it is the other that makes us
see living as precious."

... a poetic observation from With the End in Mind: Dying, Death, and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix, as quoted in Cathy Rentzenbrink's essay "When comfort reading won't cut it: books to restore hope in humanity".

(cf Johnson Condolences, Death and Life (2005-01-02), [[]Ultimate Freedom]] (2017-06-18), Making the Ordinary Extraordinary (2017-09-11), ...)

- Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 05:17:02 (EDT)


2020-09-19 - Bethesda Orbit

~1.2 mi @ ~23 min/mi

"Lovely!" A glass matrix decorates a downtown Bethesda garage. Half Full in quilted jacket and Danger Man escort Roadkill for a quick loop before heading out for their brisk morning trek.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 05:39:20 (EDT)


2020-09-19 - Hidden Thornapple Park

~3.8 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"Dead End" says the sign on Thornapple St. But just before Roadkill retreats a local resident emerges from a narrow pathway, revealing a new cut-through via a tiny fenced-off garden-park. It emerges on East Ave. Temps in the 40s make hot coffee a welcome boon. En route there's a sapphire lawn pig, an antique brass mailbox, and a jet-back angular sculpture.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 05:37:33 (EDT)


Anti-Paranoia

Mentioned by Kevin Kelly in his list of advice-aphorisms, pronoia is a recently made-up word to represent the opposite of paranoia, the irrational feeling that "Everybody is out to get me". Fred Goldner (Social Problems, Volume 30, Issue 1, 1 October 1982, pps 82-91) writes:

Pronoia is the positive counterpart of paranoia. It is the delusion that others think well of one. Actions and the products of one's efforts are thought to be well received and praised by others. Mere acquaintances are thought to be close friends; politeness and the exchange of pleasantries are taken as expressions of deep attachment and the promise of future support. Pronoia appears to be rooted in the social complexity and cultural ambiguity of our lives: we have become increasingly dependent on the opinions of others based on uncertain criteria. This paper discusses individuals who suffer from pronoia, the organizational and interpersonal mechanisms that encourage it, and the connections between pronoia and paranoia. The paper suggests that introspection in a time of conflicting forms of consciousness is both an explanation for pronoia–and a problem in itself.

... and maybe it can be irrational – and maybe it's nevertheless good!

(cf Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), Optimistic Pessimism (2003-03-19), Mister Pollyanna (2020-01-28), Be More Optimistic (2020-07-02), ...)

- Monday, September 28, 2020 at 06:21:51 (EDT)


2020-09-17 - Garden of Remembrance

~1.2 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever." At the Garden of Remembrance an inscription credits lovely words to Alfred Lord Tennyson, but likely the quote is apocryphal. A statue at the cemetery entrance depicts an adult helping a child blow a shofar.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 06:52:12 (EDT)


Research Shows

"Research shows that
showing people research
doesn't work!

... from MIT professor John Sterman, as quoted in Climate Interactive. A better way to persuade is via experience, often via models ...

(cf Systems Dynamics Advice (2017-07-12), The World We Truly Want (2018-10-13), ...)

- Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 06:20:51 (EDT)


2020-09-13 - Higgins Cemetery and Parklawn Memorial Gardens

~5.4 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"What's that stench? Roadkill?" Tassie wrinkles her nose; Nova concurs. Roadkill denies smelling anything. The Twinbrook Connector path (cf 2019-02-09 - Pause, Breathe, Yes) leads to Rock Creek Trail, then Parklawn Memorial Gardens rich in cenotaphs, columbaria, and angel statues. Today's trek begins and ends at the tiny Higgins Cemetery, more than two centuries old.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Rock-Creek-Trail_Amy-Couch_Sara-Solt_z_2020-09-13.jpg

(trackfile)

- Friday, September 25, 2020 at 06:53:41 (EDT)


2020-09-12 - Mews, not Alleys

~1.6 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"OK, pick one!" On Little Falls Parkway a woman breaks a big branch in two and orders her dog to decide which stick to carry in its mouth. Danger Man, Half Full, and Roadkill find a new cut-through and concur that there are no "alleys" in Bethesda, only "mews" or similarly swanky-narrow lanes.

(trackfile)

- Friday, September 25, 2020 at 06:53:19 (EDT)


Legs of Lightning

A lovely metaphor from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Equal Rites:

It was good thunderstorm country, up here in the Ramtop Mountains, a country of jagged peaks, dense forests and little river valleys so deep the daylight had no sooner reached the bottom than it was time to leave again. Ragged wisps of cloud clung to the lesser peaks below the mountain trail along which the wizard slithered and slid. A few slot-eyed goats watched him with mild interest. It doesn't take a lot to interest goats.

Sometimes he would stop and throw his heavy staff into the air. It always came down pointing the same way and the wizard would sigh, pick it up, and continue his squelchy progress.

The storm walked around the hills on legs of lightning, shouting and grumbling.

(cf Mines of Metaphor (1999-09-28), Wonder Why (2000-05-10), Thoughtful Metaphors (2000-11-08), Pregnant Sails (2001-06-26), Roses by Other Names (2004-02-01), Invisible Aura (2004-08-03), Wallflowers (2011-01-01), Trust-Building Techniques (2017-12-09), Speak, Poetry (2018-03-23), Yoneda Friend (2019-11-22), ...)

- Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 07:51:22 (EDT)


2020-09-12 - St Rose of Lima

~2.5 mi @ 22 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/St_Rose_of_Lima_cemetery_little-princess-gravestone_2020-09-12.jpg"Last time this seemed a lot shorter!" Thirteen years later Kanga and Pollyanna meet again at the little cemetery by St Rose of Lima Church and walk along the shoulder of busy Clopper Rd to the metal gate across from Seneca Creek State Park. The Greenway Trail here is overgrown and brushy; socks pick up burrs and poison ivy threatens. A deer races along the horizon as raindrops rattle on the forest canopy. The old stone Waring Viaduct railroad bridge has new graffiti under it. Game Preserve Road closes the loop. (see Fallen Angel and Hunting Season for report on the 2007-11-24 trek)

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 23, 2020 at 07:00:04 (EDT)


Kevin Kelly Advice

34 samples from Kevin Kelly's list "68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice" on his recent 68th birthday. Notice how many center on kindness, selflessness, and professionalism:

• Learn how to learn from those you disagree with, or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe.

• Being enthusiastic is worth 25 IQ points.

• Always demand a deadline. A deadline weeds out the extraneous and the ordinary. It prevents you from trying to make it perfect, so you have to make it different. Different is better.

• Don't be afraid to ask a question that may sound stupid because 99% of the time everyone else is thinking of the same question and is too embarrassed to ask it.

• Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love keep asking them "Is there more?", until there is no more.

• A worthy goal for a year is to learn enough about a subject so that you can't believe how ignorant you were a year earlier.

• Gratitude will unlock all other virtues and is something you can get better at.

...

• Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.

• Extraordinary claims should require extraordinary evidence to be believed.

• Don't be the smartest person in the room. Hangout with, and learn from, people smarter than yourself. Even better, find smart people who will disagree with you.

...

• Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead.

• Don't take it personally when someone turns you down. Assume they are like you: busy, occupied, distracted. Try again later. It's amazing how often a second try works.

• The purpose of a habit is to remove that action from self-negotiation. You no longer expend energy deciding whether to do it. You just do it. Good habits can range from telling the truth, to flossing.

• Promptness is a sign of respect.

...

• Trust me: There is no "them".

• The more you are interested in others, the more interesting they find you. To be interesting, be interested.

• Optimize your generosity. No one on their deathbed has ever regretted giving too much away.

• To make something good, just do it. To make something great, just re-do it, re-do it, re-do it. The secret to making fine things is in remaking them.

• The Golden Rule will never fail you. It is the foundation of all other virtues.

...

• Show up. Keep showing up. Somebody successful said: 99% of success is just showing up.

• Separate the processes of creation from improving. You can't write and edit, or sculpt and polish, or make and analyze at the same time. If you do, the editor stops the creator. While you invent, don't select. While you sketch, don't inspect. While you write the first draft, don't reflect. At the start, the creator mind must be unleashed from judgement.

• If you are not falling down occasionally, you are just coasting.

• Perhaps the most counter-intuitive truth of the universe is that the more you give to others, the more you'll get. Understanding this is the beginning of wisdom.

• Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better. In so many ways a friend with a boat is better than owning a boat.

...

• Hatred is a curse that does not affect the hated. It only poisons the hater. Release a grudge as if it was a poison.

• There is no limit on better. Talent is distributed unfairly, but there is no limit on how much we can improve what we start with.

• Be prepared: When you are 90% done any large project (a house, a film, an event, an app) the rest of the myriad details will take a second 90% to complete.

• When you die you take absolutely nothing with you except your reputation.

• Before you are old, attend as many funerals as you can bear, and listen. Nobody talks about the departed's achievements. The only thing people will remember is what kind of person you were while you were achieving.

...

• Don't say anything about someone in email you would not be comfortable saying to them directly, because eventually they will read it.

• Art is in what you leave out.

• When someone is nasty, rude, hateful, or mean with you, pretend they have a disease. That makes it easier to have empathy toward them which can soften the conflict.

...

• Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist you don't have to ignore all the many problems we create; you just have to imagine improving our capacity to solve problems.

• The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia.

(cf Helpful Homilies (2007-09-02) from David Stern, ...)

- Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 06:46:43 (EDT)


2020-09-11 - Tiger

~3.1 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Tiger!" The neighborhood swim club is open; its sign offers a photo op during a ramble around the 'hood, as do mosaics at the local elementary school. Location-sharing for Danger Man seems easy to turn on, hard to turn off. Roadkill runs 50 paces uphill at the end as the damaged left knee continues to heal – or so he fantasizes!

(trackfile)

- Monday, September 21, 2020 at 06:43:31 (EDT)


2020-09-10 - Stairway Mosaic

~3.8 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Let's not try the creek path!" Flash flood warnings after an afternoon of heavy rains suggest that Danger Man and Roadkill might be wise to explore neighborhood streets instead. A deer and her fawn nibble grass amongst flickering fireflies in Forest Glen Park. Stair risers feature bits of broken ceramic crockery and tiles. Roadkill tests his knee by running 25 paces uphill, and later another 35 paces – great progress in healing!

(trackfile)

- Monday, September 21, 2020 at 06:41:32 (EDT)


Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, Verification

From Oxford professor Raymond Flood's 2016 lecture "Hardy, Littlewood, Cartwright and Ramanujan", anecdotes about deep mathematics, including J E Littlewood's taxonomy of discovery:

... Later on in life in an article called The Mathematician's Art of Work he distinguished four phases in creative work: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification or working out. He viewed the last phase of verification as within the range of any competent mathematician given the illumination!

Preparation was largely conscious or anyhow directed by the conscious and consisted of stripping the problem to its essentials, surveying all relevant knowledge and considering possible analogues. Following Newton he advised that the problem should be kept constantly in mind during other periods of work.

Incubation is the work of the subconscious during the waiting time which may be several years.

He says that Illumination, which can happen in a fraction of a second, is the emergence of the creative idea into the consciousness and implies some mysterious rapport between the subconscious and the conscious. He recommends
walking and the relaxed activity of shaving as helpful to the process of illumination. ...

What is this "shaving"?!

(cf Hardy Littlewood Rules (2004-06-14), ...)

- Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 05:43:57 (EDT)


2020-09-07 - Meta-Ornithology

~3.8 mi @ ~25 min/mi

"What do you call the study of bird-watchers? Ornithology-ology?" Danger Man and Roadkill venture down a sketchy steep path over rocks and roots through the woods of Wheaton Regional Park. They emerge to find a dozen birders staring at them – or rather into the trees above them. The miniature railroad offers photo ops, as do lawn sculptures in the neighborhood. "You shoot me down, but I won't fall, I am titanium ..." Sia sings David Guetta's "Titanium" on the radio.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/butterfly-angel-sculpture-reading-lantern_2020-09-07.jpg

(trackfile)

- Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 06:17:48 (EDT)


2020-09-06 - Ocean in View

~5.7 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"Ode to Joy?" Roadkill misunderstands Danger Man's quote "Ocian in view! O! the joy" from William Clark's expedition journal, upon seeing what he thought was the Pacific in 1805. We observe Lake Needwood as Danger Man concludes his MCRRC race series with a ~10k trek. Course Marshal Roadkill forgets his trekking pole at home; the first stick he tries is weak and bits break off repeatedly, until he is hobbling hunched over. Fortunately Half Full identifies a replacement that serves wonderfully. Another candidate staff is huge enough to part the waters, or perhaps turn into a monstrous snake.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 06:10:20 (EDT)


Shifu

A lovely honorific: shifu (or sifu ) meaning "teacher" or "master" (or "father" or "mother"), showing respect for another person's skill and experience.

And maybe Shifu should also be used to address one's self – giving appropriate honor to someone whom one often ignores, criticizes, and mistreats?

Yes, Shifu!

(cf Power of Self-Respect (2015-10-08) Respect (2018-05-30), ...)

- Friday, September 18, 2020 at 07:06:49 (EDT)


2020-09-05 - Old Nasty Trail

~4.6 mi @ ~23 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Old-Nasty-Trail_Lake-Bernard-Frank_z_2020-09-05.jpg"Big Pine or Old Nasty? I know which trail YOU want to take!" says Kanga, who can read Pollyanna's mind after 15+ years and thousands of trail miles together. Fog hangs low as the rising sun glints blindingly off Lake Bernard Frank. A manic fitness group, bedecked with weight vests, gathers on the picnic grounds. Trails teem with dog-walkers and bird-watchers. By sound Kanga identifies a pair of red-shouldered hawks.

"You CANNOT do the 'Wet Crossing' today!" A voice of reason wins the debate over whether to take a short-cut, despite roadside barriers that are male-challenging to clamber over. Trail talk is wide-ranging and therapeutic. Pollyanna "runs" almost two dozen baby-steps, a new comeback record.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 06:14:02 (EDT)


John and Annie Zimmermann Family

From notes taken in a conversation with my Father, Werner Zimmermann ca. 2016, about his memories of siblings and their children:

John Zimmermann (1898-1985) + Annie Ohnheiser (1899-?)

Garbles and omissions are mine!

(cf Werner Zimmermann, R.I.P., ...)

- Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 05:42:01 (EDT)


2020-09-02 - Gated Community

~3.8 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Fancy meeting you here!" On a muggy evening Danger Man and Roadkill have a lucky Livingston-and-Stanley path-crossing on Forest Glen Blvd after an earlier missed rendezvous. Roadkill does figure-eights among the trees on the median of Belvedere St and follows a car through the gate to infiltrate a fenced-in community. On the road he finds a shark-pattern face-mask and a safety-reflective mesh hat-shade.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 05:46:43 (EDT)


2020-08-31 - Rainy Sligo

~2.6 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Let me have men about me that are fat / Sleek-headed men and such as sleep a-nights," Roadkill recites Shakespeare's Julius Caesar after a stab (pun intended) at King Lear. He and Danger Man try come up with a quote for today's walk in the rain, besides "I'm lost!" At one point they get turned around and suddenly find themselves back at Sligo Creek Parkway. Showers pause, then return heavier than before. A young man swings two wooden swords as he prances across the wet grass of an empty ball field in martial arts exercises.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 05:44:44 (EDT)


What It Looks Like to Us

Ada Limón's poems are beautiful, challenging, and full of images that awaken — as in her "What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use":

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea's
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don't believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds–
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.

- Monday, September 14, 2020 at 06:33:02 (EDT)


2020-08-30 - Bethesda Elephant

~2.3 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"The density of garden sculptures is inversely proportional to the size of the house," theorizes Half Full, as she and Danger Man chase Roadkill through a Bethesda neighborhood. The only new lawn ornament seen is a curvy abstract elephant. Dog-walkers and pram-pushers politely step aside to let others pass.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 05:23:08 (EDT)


2020-08-30 - Two Santas

~4.0 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Great costume!" says a passer-by. Santa Steve and Roadkill look at each other in puzzlement. What is she talking about? Aha, must be Princess with us! We walk-and-run down Rock Creek Trail and then Beach Drive into DC, on an amazingly cool Sunday morning. After ~1.7 miles Santa and Princess continue south while Roadkill branches through the woods to the Western Ridge Trail and then closes the loop on neighborhood streets. A deer and her big fawn nibble shrubbery.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 05:21:11 (EDT)


Clad in the Panoply of Love

Clad in the panoply of Love,
human hatred cannot reach you.

(Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 571 [1]; shared recently by SMB)

- Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 05:50:19 (EDT)


2020-08-29 - Needwood Showers

~2.7 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Of course!" Kanga recommends her daughter's go-to phrase. "Indeed!" Tigger offers his all-purpose reply. Flashback to several years ago, when the duo conferred on other generic responses. Key is sincerity when using them. Saturday morning rain pauses, patters on the leafy canopy, then pours. Quiet on the trail shatters as a flock of geese honk their way across Lake Needwood.

(trackfile)

- Friday, September 11, 2020 at 07:51:33 (EDT)


2020-08-27 - Headlamp Test

~2.5 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"The farther we go, the bigger the houses get!" observes Danger Man, as he leads the way along dead-end streets near Sligo Creek Park. No legal cut-throughs found, alas. Earlier, Roadkill in a solo survey discovers a new connector between neighborhoods north of the middle school. A skeletal monkey climbs a front yard tree. Two yippy wee dogs defend their yards. In the darkness after sunset the blinky red light of a new ultra-bright headlamp works well.

(trackfile)

- Friday, September 11, 2020 at 07:47:34 (EDT)


Wake Up Grumpy

Two silly-twist jokes about love and tolerance in partnerships:

- Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 06:20:39 (EDT)


2020-08-26 - Haiti Cemetery

~3.9 mi @ ~17 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Haiti-Cemetery_sign_2020-08-26.jpg"Haiti Cemetery - Founded by Freed Slaves and Their Descendants" says the sign in the tiny graveyard hidden between dead-end Bickford Ave and the ball fields.
Tombstones bear dates mainly in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Who knew what a narrow cut-through between bushes would lead to?http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Haiti-Cemetery_graves_2020-08-26.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Haiti-Cemetery_Lizzie2020-08-26.jpgRoadkill rambles 'round Rockville on the way to pick up Chinese carry-out dumplings. Impenetrable fences between College Parkway and Montgomery College make for bonus mileage. Another dead-end street leads to woodsy paths in Welsh Park.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 09, 2020 at 05:30:54 (EDT)


2020-08-25 - Blair Lightning

~2.2 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"We probably have until 7pm," Roadkill estimates, as cloud-to-cloud lightning sizzles a dozen miles to the west and dark clouds scud overhead. Dozens of geese nibble the infield at Blair High School track. Danger Man arrives and runs laps. After one circuit Roadkill heads north by northeast to explore a new neighborhood. A front yard statue features a pair of blurry-bendy dancers. Kids shoot baskets at Saint Bernadette School; police cruisers roll slowly down side streets. On schedule big raindrops begin to fall.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 09, 2020 at 05:20:43 (EDT)


Clarity, Understanding, Community

Mathematician Bill Thurston (1946-2012), in response to a question from a person worried about not being able to contribute to math at the "highest level", writes movingly and insightfully about:

Thurston's brief essay, posted in 2010 and referenced by mathematician Emily Riehl, in its entirety is:

It's not mathematics that you need to contribute to. It's deeper than that: how might you contribute to humanity, and even deeper, to the well-being of the world, by pursuing mathematics? Such a question is not possible to answer in a purely intellectual way, because the effects of our actions go far beyond our understanding. We are deeply social and deeply instinctual animals, so much that our well-being depends on many things we do that are hard to explain in an intellectual way. That is why you do well to follow your heart and your passion. Bare reason is likely to lead you astray. None of us are smart and wise enough to figure it out intellectually.

The product of mathematics is clarity and understanding. Not theorems, by themselves. Is there, for example any real reason that even such famous results as Fermat's Last Theorem, or the Poincaré conjecture, really matter? Their real importance is not in their specific statements, but their role in challenging our understanding, presenting challenges that led to mathematical developments that increased our understanding.

The world does not suffer from an oversupply of clarity and understanding (to put it mildly). How and whether specific mathematics might lead to improving the world (whatever that means) is usually impossible to tease out, but mathematics collectively is extremely important.

I think of mathematics as having a large component of psychology, because of its strong dependence on human minds. Dehumanized mathematics would be more like computer code, which is very different. Mathematical ideas, even simple ideas, are often hard to transplant from mind to mind. There are many ideas in mathematics that may be hard to get, but are easy once you get them. Because of this, mathematical understanding does not expand in a monotone direction. Our understanding frequently deteriorates as well. There are several obvious mechanisms of decay. The experts in a subject retire and die, or simply move on to other subjects and forget. Mathematics is commonly explained and recorded in symbolic and concrete forms that are easy to communicate, rather than in conceptual forms that are easy to understand once communicated. Translation in the direction conceptual → concrete and symbolic is much easier than translation in the reverse direction, and symbolic forms often replace the conceptual forms of understanding. And mathematical conventions and taken-for-granted knowledge change, so older texts may become hard to understand.

In short, mathematics only exists in a living community of mathematicians that spreads understanding and breathes life into ideas both old and new. The real satisfaction from mathematics is in learning from others and sharing with others. All of us have clear understanding of a few things and murky concepts of many more. There is no way to run out of ideas in need of clarification. The question of who is the first person to ever set foot on some square meter of land is really secondary. Revolutionary change does matter, but revolutions are few, and they are not self-sustaining – they depend very heavily on the community of mathematicians.

(cf Mathematical Magic (2001-09-27), Millennium Math (2002-12-05), Proofs and Refutations (2004-06-24), Stokes Theorem (2006-01-27), The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics (2008-02-17), Roads to Infinity (2010-10-06), Greatest Inventions (2011-06-09), Music of the Primes (2011-08-11), Simplicity via Abstraction (2016-01-27), Ultimate Abstraction (2017-08-24), Many Worlds of Math (2019-03-15), Painfully Difficult Beautiful Ideas (2019-08-06), ...)

- Monday, September 07, 2020 at 07:11:29 (EDT)


2020-08-24 - Bicentennial Tree

~2.5 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," plays the incongruous music from a Good Humor truck. Danger Man and Roadkill are tempted but resist – mainly thanks to the long line of children waiting to be served. Can the driver accept e-payments? The humid summer evening walkabout uncovers a 1976 plaque honoring a "Bicentennial Tree" that survived for more than 200 years. Alas, in 2014 it fell.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, September 06, 2020 at 07:23:05 (EDT)


2020-08-23 - Summer, Summer, Summer

~2.9 miles @ ~20 min/mi

"Summer, it turns me upside down / Summer, summer, summer / It's like a merry go round," says The Cars' song "Magic" on the oldies radio station. Danger Man and Half Full kindly accompany Roadkill for a sultry walkabout before their run. Peripatetic philosophical conversation explores why each of us is targeted by specific divergent categories of spam. (Concealed-carry permits? Spanish or Russian offers for web-hosting or birthday parties?) A metallic lawn heron lurks in the bushes; a license plate advises "BREATHE". The word "EAT" is concealed in the middle.

"For $800 you can have one too!" says the walker in a big black CAM boot. On Little Falls Parkway a lady talks to her cellphone through a silver-shiny face shield. At 2.99 miles on the GPS Roadkill exhibits self-control by stopping short of an integer.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, September 06, 2020 at 07:20:49 (EDT)


Death by Shakespeare

Death by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings, and Broken Hearts is a new (2020) fast-read analysis of, as the title hints, ways that Shakespeare in his plays caused, described, showed, understood, and used dying in various forms. Author Kathryn Harkup, a PhD chemist, is crude and gory, sporadically a bit repetitive, and nonetheless a good writer. Speculation runs rife, with guesswork well-qualified as appropriate on what could have been the cause of demise in hundreds of cases: poison, disease, injury, execution, etc. Often gruesome, sometimes a bit close to Wikipedia-paraphrasing, rarely boring.

And, to give the Immortal Bard the last word(s):

... To die, to sleep, –
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, – 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; –
To sleep, perchance to dream: – ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause ...

(Hamlet, III,i; cf Pregnant Sails (2001-06-26), Crispin Crispian (2001-10-25), Will in the World (2005-04-20), Shakespeare versus The Philosophers (2008-05-08), Bryson on Shakespeare (2010-06-21), Words Shakespeare Invented (2013-01-31), ...)

- Saturday, September 05, 2020 at 05:37:45 (EDT)


2020-08-22 - Stephanie 100 Miler Escort

~4.4 mi @ ~20 min/mi (1:47am)

~1.4 mi @ ~20 min/mi (3:48am)

~1.4 mi @ ~20 min/mi (4:58am)

~1.4 mi @ ~19 min/mi (6:33am)

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Stephanie-Fonda-100_pringles-gatorade_z_2020-08-22.jpg"Your Mother could ... uh, no, she couldn't!" Roadkill rolls down the car window at 0135 to greet Slow Twitch and commence celebrating the pre-dawn hours of her eleventh 100 Miler. (Wow!) Jaybird and Tassie lead a brisk Rock Creek walking tour for miles 74-78, featuring fond-fonda-found memories and secret trail-talk code-words:
    • " Ditto! "
    • " Cat 1 + Cat 2! "
    • " Eleven! "
    • ...
Don't ask what those mean until you've done a thousand miles with us. Then you'll know!

Light rain starts and pauses. Local loop closed, at ~3am it's time for Slow Twitch and Tassie to begin a 1.4+ mile circuit of the neighborhood. Roadkill lounges in a front yard camp chair, drinking Gatorade, eating Pringles chips, nursing his knee, resting his eyes, enjoying the drizzle, and protecting Base Camp. He joins alternate orbits as Slow Twitch finishes the 70's (mileage) and cruises into the 80's decade. During the walks Tassie solves the Trolley Problem.

And most important of all, we share the wisdom of Lowen and Navarro's song, "We Belong" – together!

Yes, and...

(trackfile, trackfile, trackfile, and trackfile)

- Friday, September 04, 2020 at 06:51:37 (EDT)


Frame the Sanity Ball

Two evocative sentences rediscovered recently, of unknown origin and perhaps worth filing away for potential use:

... neat meta-metaphors!

- Thursday, September 03, 2020 at 07:18:32 (EDT)


2020-08-20 - Kensington Hills

~4.6 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"Excelsior!" Danger Man runs up and down the Mormon Temple hill, while Roadkill rambles through the neighborhood. A pair of miniature villages guard the base of a large tree. Coney Count = 1 big bunny.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 02, 2020 at 06:57:40 (EDT)


2020-08-19 - Equal Justice for All

~4.2 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"Justice for George Floyd" and "Justice for Ahmaud Arbery" read signs held by Yoda and Rosie-the-Riveter in the mini-deck beside a neighbor's mailbox. When last photographed a year ago both figurines were just lounging there with some miniature buddies. Roadkill and Danger Man face off at opposite ends of Belvedere Blvd, like rival gunslingers meeting on an Old West main street. A big fawn, still speckled, retreats from Sligo Creek Trail into the brush. Roadkill completes the majority of the walkabout without using his trekking pole. Progress!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 02, 2020 at 06:55:07 (EDT)


2020-08-18 - Almost Two

~1.9 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Dangerous Curve?" Danger Man and Roadkill scoff at the caution sign. Bugs decorate shirts on a cool evening walk. A cut-through path that was freshly covered with wood chips only a fortnight ago is starting to show erosion. Bunny count = 2. Geese swim quietly on the millpond at sunset. Roadkill shows great self-control by stopping with the GPS at 1.99 miles.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 02, 2020 at 06:53:10 (EDT)


Luna Bar Sayings

http://zhurnaly.com/images/Luna-bar_sayings_2019-07-11.jpgInspirational thoughts from the wrappers of Clif brand "Luna" bars:
  • Better an oops than a what if.
  • Never forget how wildly capable you are.
  • This day leads to awesome.
  • Do something today your future self will thank you for.
  • Great things never came from comfort zones.
  • ...

- Tuesday, September 01, 2020 at 06:05:04 (EDT)


2020-08-16 - Fecal Humor

~4.5 mi @ 21 min/mi

"Fecal humor is always appropriate!" Walkabout conversation turns to US Postal Service cutbacks and whether stool samples collected for colon cancer tests will be delivered in a timely fashion to the labs. People could die if not! Danger Man and Square Peg escort Roadkill on a ramble through the mean streets of Westwood, where they discover new cut-throughs near Little Flower Church and Westland Middle School. Bolero Bethesda, a bowling alley, is COVID-closed. Shared stories include roller derby and crazy kitchen cleanups. A scary-angry-fluffy-tabby cat sits statue-like on a front doorstep defending her domain. "I have met eyes filled with recognition / speaking of life as the red berry / laughs out of the tangled brush" says a roadside bench. We work on mindfulness, forgiveness, acceptance.

(trackfile)

- Monday, August 31, 2020 at 07:07:37 (EDT)


2020-08-15 - Little Bennett 10k XC MCRRC Virtual Race

~6.7 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep ...", and Little Bennett is a creek – as well as the name of a Regional Park. Roadkill has miles to go on the 10th and final MCRRC race in the Virtual Club Series, a 10 km cross country ramble. He adds some bonus distance by missing turns and overshooting out-and-backs. Light rain starts and stops. The ice is thin and unsafe, according to park signs.

(trackfile)

- Monday, August 31, 2020 at 07:04:28 (EDT)


Compassionate Living

Pema Chödrön, from the preface of Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living (1994):

... the first step is to develop compassion for our own wounds. It is unconditional compassion for ourselves that leads naturally to unconditional compassion for others. If we are willing to stand fully in our own shoes and never give up on ourselves, then we will be able to put ourselves in the shoes of others and never give up on them. True compassion does not come from wanting to help out those less fortunate than ourselves but from realizing our kinship with all beings. ...

(also quoted in [1] and [2]; cf No Expectation (2015-01-02), Watch the Wound (2015-07-24), Mantra - You Are Loved (2016-01-10), Let It Be (2016-12-06), Mantra - Love Your Self (2016-12-30), Kindness, Gentleness, Compassion (2017-04-05), New Superpower (2018-10-27), Self-Compassion (2020-06-08), ...)

- Sunday, August 30, 2020 at 11:26:53 (EDT)


2020-08-13 - Sligo Middle School Discovery

~3.3 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"... Then felt I like some watcher of the skies / When a new planet swims into his ken; / Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes ...". Danger Man and Roadkill climb a steep, cracked asphalt pathway and suddenly emerge from the woods to discover spread before them – not the Pacific, but nonetheless a vast ocean of soccer fields behind Sligo Middle School. New neighborhood cut-through #998! They look at each other with a wild surmise. A rainbow leads them back to close the Thursday evening circuit. Along the way, lovely lawn angels each play a different musical instrument, summer flowers explode, and free seedlings stand by a sign that says, "Please do not take sign!"

(trackfile)

- Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 06:11:46 (EDT)


Kindness Works

In his 2017 holiday newsletter, Bill Penzey of the Penzeys Spice Company writes:

... While we are all about great spices, we've come to understand, to have the best chance to share the gift of cooking, we also need to be equally about heart, and smiles, and stories that radiate an overwhelming sense of welcome to all. At Penzeys we do our best to bring spice to life by showing all the good things set in motion when people care enough to cook. We work to make every gift from Penzeys an invitation to a life made richer through connecting to family, friends, community and the larger world around us.

The understanding that to best do our jobs we must embrace humanity as well as quality has set all sorts of good things in motion for us, including ever better spices. Now when we travel out into the world, it's that very same spirit of compassion that cooks share around the table that we carry out into the world with us. This spirit of compassion has opened doors that we never even noticed before, and that have in turn helped us to bring back the very best in flavor the world has to offer. We can report firsthand that the very same spirit that works around our kitchen tables works around the world as well. Kindness Works. It's a gift well worth sharing.

(cf Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), Kindness, Gentleness, Compassion (2017-04-05), Mantra - Widen the Skirts of Light (2018-01-06), 2020-08-06 - Embrace Hope, ...)

- Friday, August 28, 2020 at 07:01:56 (EDT)


2020-08-11 - Steep Sanford

~1.2 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Sanford seems steeper than Tilden," Danger Man suggests, so Roadkill of course insists on that street. Bunnies and ducks accompany a sculptural head in a front yard garden. It's a Tuesday evening cool-down walk for Danger Man, who finishes his neighborhood run just as Roadkill arrives.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 06:41:41 (EDT)


2020-08-10 - Big Gulp Journey

~4.4 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"🎵 By the banks of bounteous Sligo! 🎵" Roadkill attempts to sing a fragment of the Sligo Middle School song, as related by the late Bob Forward who attended SMS ~75 years ago ago. (R.I.P., Fast Forward) Danger Man appears and leads the way along Sligo Creek Trail to a Seven-11 in Wheaton, where the duo snags sodas on a sultry summer evening. A doe and her dappled fawn nibble leaves in Evans Parkway Park.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 06:39:02 (EDT)


2020-08-09 - Tall Towers

~4.7 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Radio Towers!" Roadkill leads Half Full on a tour of the Bethesda neighborhood where four antennas stand, each 400 feet high, in the corner between the I-495 Capital Beltway and the I-270 spur. Since 1941 they broadcast the WMAL-AM signal. They were decommissioned a few years ago and in June 2020 the land was sold for $74 million to become a housing development. Meanwhile the duo finds a couple of new cut-throughs, at the Stratton Local Park and Ashburton Elementary School. "Andrà tutto bene" = "Everything will be fine" reassures an optimistic Italian sign on a nearby home.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 06:33:10 (EDT)


The Honor Was Mine

Dialogue from the movie "Battleship", when near the end of the film two major characters quietly thank each other before facing what may be catastrophe together:

"It was an honor serving with you, Captain," says one.
"The honor was mine," replies the other.

(cf Living Philosophy (1999-06-02), Pursuit of Excellence (2002-02-22), Honor Your Practice (2013-01-04), Mantra - With Dignity (2015-12-26), Mantra - Give More Praise (2019-07-28), ...)

- Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 06:28:02 (EDT)


2020-08-08 - Lake Needwood 10k XC MCRRC Virtual Race

~5.9 mi @ ~20 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/geese-on-parade_Lake-Needwood_2020-08-08.jpg"Ahoy ahoy, Rabbit!" Roadkill greets his Power Animal during lap 2 of the MCRRC 10k Lake Needwood cross-country race. The same bunny, or its twin, watched him pass by an hour earlier. Weeds on overgrown trail segments brush against legs (check for deer ticks!). An abandoned transformer shed by the water becomes a surface for graffiti. Geese line up on parade; a doe and two fawns stop traffic as they cross the road.

(trackfile)

- Monday, August 24, 2020 at 07:04:14 (EDT)


2020-08-06 - Embrace Hope

~2.0 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"Embrace Hope" says a small sweet sticker on the side of a car. It's from Penzey's, a spice company with a heart. Thunderstorms rumble in the distance as Roadkill does a brisk walkabout in the Mormon Temple neighborhood. A rabbit nibbles grass; flowers bloom; a curvy front-yard sculpture abides. A side path down a deep ravine is slightly too scary to attempt alone.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Embrace_Hope_Penzeys_2020-08-06.jpg

(trackfile)

- Monday, August 24, 2020 at 06:57:02 (EDT)


2020-08-05 - Old Men

~2.5 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"When you get as old as I am ...", begins Danger Man.

"... in about one month ...", interrupts Roadkill. The pair circumnavigates the 'hood on a cool August evening. Danger Man runs ahead and re-syncs every mile or so. A line of to-rent bikes and a weather-water-stream sensor provide photo ops.

(trackfile)

- Monday, August 24, 2020 at 06:48:37 (EDT)


Mantra - Less Certainty, More Inquiry

Less certainty
    More inquiry

... Erik Seidel, from [1] and other reviews of The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova.

(cf OM - Perhaps and Certainty and Doubt (1999-04-27), Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), Epistemological Enginerooms (2000-08-10), Exaggerated Certainty (2002-12-16), False Certainty (2010-03-23), Meta-Ignorance (2012-06-28), Transient, Unreliable, Contingent (2013-06-14), Superforecasting (2016-02-21), Mantra - Uncertainty, Kindness, Peace, Hope (2017-06-29), Mantra - Beliefs Are Knobs, Not Switches (2017-07-03), Forecasting Lessons from Systems Dynamics (2017-07-05), Pearl Harbor - Lessons Learned (2017-12-19), Mantra - Doubt (2018-01-14), Evil Certainty (2019-12-09), ...)

- Sunday, August 23, 2020 at 07:45:07 (EDT)




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