Never tell me the odds!


If I had to live life over, I’d live over a saloon.
W.C. Fields


Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother.
William Somerset Maugham, (b) Jan. 25, 1874


We shall strive for perfection. We shall not achieve it immediately — but we still shall strive. We may make mistakes — but they must never be mistakes which result from faintness of heart or abandonment of moral principle.

I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said, in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled: “Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights—then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fourth Inaugural Address
Saturday, January 20, 1945


A lottery is a taxation
upon all the fools in creation;
and heaven be praised,
it is easily raised,
for credulity’s always in fashion.
Henry Fielding, “The Lottery” – 1732

December 29th, 2015 @ 7:44 am
Never Forget

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Today is the 125th anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.

I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee as an assignment in high school and then I read it again on my own a few years after college. It’s heart-wrenching and awful, and certainly one of the most important pieces of American literature ever printed. If you haven’t ever read it, you should make it a priority.

December 2nd, 2015 @ 12:45 pm
Baby, It’s Cold Outside

If you haven’t yet seen my wife’s superb version of this holiday classic, you’re letting the terrorists win.


And if a beachhead of co-operation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure, and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

To be clear, visiting any bar where a bloody dismemberment only warrants a temporary pause from the house band is a pretty bad idea

November 19th, 2015 @ 8:11 pm
The 10 Most Valuable Star Wars Action Figures

Luke SkywalkerMy little sister and I had numbers 9, 8, 6, 4, 3, and 1 on this list. I actually still have these exact same Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, although mine are in nowhere-near mint condition. They are sitting in an original 1978 Millennium Falcon hanging from fishing line suspended from the ceiling of my son’s room right now. I also still have an original Cantina playset and a droid factory playset, and the memories of a few hundred hours of my sister and I re-enacting the films and inventing our own stories, with countless toys spread across the floors and couch and kitchen linoleum of the apartment while mom did the laundry and dreamed that one day we’d be able to afford a house.


Anti-war books are as likely to stop war as anti-glacier books are to stop glaciers.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.
André Gide

October 28th, 2015 @ 8:18 am
Anna Albanese – 1920!

Vincent and Anna AlbaneseToday would have been my grandmother’s 95th birthday! She was eight when the stock market crashed and started the Depression, and she was eighteen when World War II started. She was 21 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and she was 24 when the United Stated dropped the atom bomb and ended the war.

Nana Anna was my age during the Cuban Missile Crisis and she was 60 when John Lennon was murdered. When my sister and I stood with her in her front yard and watched the smoking clouds of the Challenger drift across the sky she was 65.

She was a great grandmother and she would have been a fantastic great-grandmother. I wish she’d lived long enough to know my children because I know she would have loved them as powerfully as she loved her children and grandchildren.

Happy 95th birthday, Nana.


I don’t know a better preparation for life than a love of poetry and a good digestion.
Zona Gale, b. Aug 26, 1874

August 25th, 2015 @ 6:58 pm
Lost Your iTunes Music? You Can Get It Back.

iTunes MusicI have heard countless tales of woe from hither and yon regarding lost songs and playlists after “upgrading” to the latest version of iTunes and / or activating the awful Apple Music service. I’ve read people crying on Facebook and complaining on Twitter and have received my fair share of frantic emails from family members losing their minds over missing music. I have not suffered the consequences of this latest Apple debacle because (a) I have no desire to stream music ever and (2) I am fanatical about making sure my music library is backed up to an external Apple Time Machine and a separate external hard drive.

If you aren’t as cautious as yours truly, there is a very good chance that you may indeed be screwed. But! But there is also a very good chance that you are not screwed.
Continue reading …

August 25th, 2015 @ 12:09 pm
Nike Gator Free Trainer 5.0

Nike Gator Free Trainer 5.0Earlier this month I read about the release of a new Gator-themed Nike sneaker on the Alligator Army website. (Follow them on Twitter @AlligatorArmy.) I jokingly tweeted a link to the story and wrote something about wanting someone to buy me a pair.

Last week a pair appeared on my doorstep, direct from Nike HQ in Portland! There was no packing slip or message of any kind, so it took me a few days to divine that they were a belated birthday present from my little sister.

How cool is that?! Best sister ever! Thanks, Jenny!

DirecTVEvery month I get a worthless email from DirecTV touted as my “snapshot”. It’s just a marketing email with links to pay my bill!

It would be really awesome, though, if they actually sent me a summary of my viewing habits for the month instead. “You watched twelve hours of American Ninja Warrior,” for example. Or, “Your living room DVR played 37 hours of the smooth jazz music station this month.”


Great minds that are healthy are never considered geniuses, while this sublime qualification is lavished on brains that are often inferior but are slightly touched by madness.
Guy de Maupassant, (b) Aug. 5, 1850


There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.
from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

June 25th, 2015 @ 7:37 am

Capitalist PigHappy birthday to Eric Blair — better known as George Orwell — born on this date in 1903, seventy years and one day before yours truly.

My dad told me to read Animal Farm when I was seven years old. I thought it was really wild, but that there had to be something that I just didn’t understand. (Why would grown ups think a story about a bunch of talking pigs and cows was so good?!) I only halfheartedly read 1984 in high school because I thought Orwell was a flake children’s book author.

It wasn’t until I got to college that I read 1984 again (on my own) and enjoyed it. Then I read Animal Farm again and was stunned for days afterward.


You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird … So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
Richard P. Feynman