Wednesday, December 15, 2021

new smarthome standard “Matter”

 This Verge article explains the Matter standard for smart home devices and networks. It will be updated as new information is available, so bookmark it. Matter 1.0 is the current standard, supported by many vendors and some devices will be upgraded over the air to support it. I welcome this move.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Six by Sondheim documentary

 I was deeply moved by this documentary about Stephen Sondheim. I had an inkling this would happen, based on my enjoyment of the three part coverage of Sondheim on Fresh Air, but I was not sure. After all, I am not a fan of musicals, especially mainstream ones. Having seen a few and watched some filmed,  I know they are not my cup of tea. This, on the other hand, is! I do like watching documentaries and here is one that stands out to me. What impressed me is his level of creativity and his ability to explain his creative process. A comment Gregory Bateson made came to mind, that Milton Erickson was the best therapist, but his theories of what he did were mediocre. Sondheim is supremely a master of both. Watch this and see what I mean! Streaming on HBO Max.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

in-home meditation retreat

 I will be on retreat at home for five days in November. This is a dzogchen/mahamudra retreat taught by Richard John, a senior meditation instructor taught by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Instruction will be offered via Zoom. I look forward to it.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Celebration of Life for Bill Murphy

Bill, as you said six years ago, we were such important parts of our childhood life. Sorry we drifted apart in adult life. The love we all feel for you was clear in the service. Congrats on your family, friendships, and tremendous professional achievements! May your memory last as long as the nuclear wastes you studied.

The friends I have are such special people and our connection so extraordinary. I recognize the toxic waste that struggling with Internet denizens is, especially when I have such alternatives. Time to wake up further and engage with the valuable and leave the rest aside.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Monday, September 13, 2021

Social dance considered harmful in a time of COVID pandemic

A friend who wants to remain anonymous wrote this post in response to someone else's cautionary note on COVID and social dance. Caution seems incompatible with actually social dancing right now and we should all take heed. (Post title provided by me) - David Begin quote: Here are some links to Covid-19 Risk Calculators: These events are indoors and with lots of people breathing each other's air, all exhaling heavily because dancing is energetic. Covid is spread through airborne transmission, particularly in situations where air is likely to recirculate or even be blown onto others (imagine someone who is contagious standing in front of a fan, which would then spread the virus into other people nearby and across the room). Think of the teacher in Marin who infected many kids in a classroom and then multiply that many times over. Or gym classes or choirs that have been shown to be high risk environments. You couldn't design a better way to infect lots of people in a short period of time. Anyone who thinks there's a safe way to attend such an event is fooling themselves. Use any of the risk calculators listed above, plug in the location and other factors. All of these show a risk factor that is either high or 100% risk of contracting Covid under the conditions of a typical dance convention event. People are in relatively enclosed spaces, for many hours, in close proximity, exhaling more forcefully because of exertion and thereby creating larger volumes of airborne droplets that could be carrying virus. They are coming in close contact with multiple people over several days. Those who hold such events should offer rapid testing for free for all participants and people should be tested every day during the event. Not doing so is unconscionable to keep rates of infection as low as possible. People who test positive on any given day need to quarantine immediately and notify staff of the hotel and the event. The comments by Maria don't consider the consequences to others: Consider how you might feel hearing that someone you danced with at an event you attended got sick and died, what if you were an asymptomatic carrier that infected them; or that they went home to infect loved ones who needed hospitalization or died. Maybe they had loved ones who were left to grieve. Based on infection rates of Delta, the transmission is one infected person infecting 5-7 people (much higher than the original strain). People are supposed to test negative 72 hours prior. That is 3 days where one might become asymptomatic or symptomatic. The highest spread happens 1-2 days before symptoms. What if someone was infectious and infected 5-7 others on the first night of a convention. It's possible that someone could become infectious before leaving the convention, So, 5-7 people now infect 5-7 people each (this is 25-49 more people if you do the math). But let's say 10 people were infectious to start. So, doing the math, that means they infect up to 50-70 people, and those 50-70 people infect 5-7 people each -- that's 250-490 people, who will leave and potentially spread it to 5-7 people once they get home, or to 5-7 people on the way home. The math comes out that those initial 10 people wind up possibly infecting up to 1250-3430 people. This is, of course, based on everyone being unvaccinated, so the numbers would be less if the people they came in contact were vaccinated, but you get the gist of the way this spreads. Consider that hotel workers could be infected by participants -- did anyone die because this event was held? Did someone lose their father or mother or sister or brother who worked at the hotel because this was a high risk environment? Most hotel workers are not well paid and their families depend on whatever income they generate, but if that person dies, they lose that source of income. Most dancers are privileged enough to have disposable income to pay for travel, hotel, and other expenses to attend. They may not feel the impact of lost sick days, but the families of hotel workers may suffer the consequences of a parent or sibling needing hospitalization. What about the airline personnel or other people traveling that come in contact with someone from the event that got infected, but may not be symptomatic yet, but are highly infectious? How will those lives change? Consider that many hospitals are at capacity for treating patients. ICUs are full. HCWs are exhausted. What is the impact of your being sick to the healthcare facilities where you live and are likely to seek help if you fall ill? What about the hospitals near the event, as you may have likely infected people working at the event? Did you take an ICU bed or healthcare services from someone else that needed care? DId someone die because you exposed them to the virus? What about the emotional toll on HCWs who have to hold the hands of those who die because their loved ones can't come to the hospital? Those emotional scars will not just go away in a few days, weeks, or years. Anyone not masking themselves or quarantining after such an event is irresponsible. But given the consequences of attending an event that would have a high risk of infection and spread, how is it even ethically conceivable for someone to even participate and attend if they truly care about other human lives? This is not just a decision that impacts just your health, but has impacts far beyond your own.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Obituary for Bill Murphy

 Bill was a close friend in junior high and high school, as well as a fellow Boy Scout and member of the school band. We had lost touch in later years, but he still mattered to me. I last saw him at a high school reunion. Another reminder of mortality and to live life while we can. RIP, Bill.

Friday, July 2, 2021

A perfect morning

 Woke early again, but not *too* early. Another especially enjoyable episode of UnderCurrents Radio, a delicious hot cup of coffee, and a short story by Charlie Jane Anders in Worlds Seen In Passing. Based on my enjoyment of that story, I borrow an e-book of an Anders novel, then hop in the shower. Ready to pull a full day of my three jobs for the first time. Life feels good!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Good morning

 Undercurrents Radio on my cans, a steaming cup of coffee in my hand. Life is good. Work has been hard but not *too* hard. Accomplishing things. Learning. Producing from skills I built up. Over a minor health issue.Morning light, pleasant weather. Carrying on…

Glad to see Dave Winer getting some traction on the seriousness of our political situation. Joe Trippi prodded into action!

Email subscriptions changing

 Next month the email subscription feature of will terminate. This is the service I use for this blog. Alternatives include, a commercial service for following feeds with email, or the Vivaldi browser, which supports RSS feeds natively. Add a comment if you have questions or suggestions.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Dick Van Dyke

 Watching the Kennedy Center Honors made me remember how great Dick Van Dyke is, particularly his dancing. Lots of good performances by others as well!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Current meditation practice

 Reading The Mind Illuminated: Meditation Integrating Mindfulness for some guidance and based on that, upped my practice to one hour sessions twice a day. I feel a strong need to meditate. I am now around a year and a half into my strict daily practice regimen and twenty years into my return to practice in general.


This Washington Post story of a cross-US hike  is heart-warming and inspiring. Via my middle-school/high-school group of friends. The group includes a couple triathletes and many hikers. I am prepping for our (COVID-delayed) 50th reunion in the Fall, necessary for me.  I am walking at least an hour a day on my treadmill. Even with that, I won’t be able to keep up with them. I expect something milder than HikeANation, but... Maybe someday we will hit the Camino de Santiago. My longest hike was ten days on Hadrian’s Wall.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Follow up to “Nothing Is True”: Deepfakes

 Nina Schick’s book “Deepfakes” is an excellent follow-up to “Nothing Is True”, which I pointed to in this post The use of AI to create synthetic media has only just begun; it will transform the political and cultural landscape in the next few years.

More about “Nothing Is True...”

 I finished the book mentioned in an earlier post and recommend it more strongly than before. Now I understand Trump World better - get the background on the culture and mentality from which it arises. The book is not about Trump and Russia, by the way. Think “Situationists Nightmare.” Poor Olga and Julia grew up in this mileau...

Clojure and Zendesk

Studying Clojure, a LISP-family language, and setting up a test instance of Zendesk, a customer service system I might use for my business - I am excited and having fun! Something inherent in this work tickles my interest, although our deal pipeline excites me as well.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Nothing is true

Read this book: Nothing is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of The New Russia. An informative, entertaining, and discouraging look at post-Soviet Russia. I bought Ross a copy to provide additional context about his past escapades. I also thought about my conversation with Jeff about his adventures as a development consultant in Poland in the Nineties.


 I have to say I was not a big Bowie fan early on, although “Space Oddity” of course caught my attention. A vivid mid-Seventies memory is of two guys living in a school bus in front of Ralph’s house in north Oakland; they worshipped Bowie and were “into spirals.” I didn’t really know them, so I can’t say more other than their musical appreciation was prescient. Longtime friends Steve Adams and his buddy, musician Raymond Gorman, are members of a strong enclave of the College of Musical Knowledge (Bowie Division). This group is true fan territory, the type where details of album covers and lyrics and musical staffing are ripe material for trivia contests they regularly hold. Credit goes to them for pumping up my understanding of the importance of Bowie to the appropriate level. Right now I am listening to a week of one-hour shows from David Shafer’s New Sounds radio show. You can visit some of the recorded versions by searching for “ Bowie,” while some are no longer available due to recording rights issues. For insight into “Space Oddity,” see if you can read this Financial Times article modulo a paywall.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Theme and variations on Bowie’s Warszawa 

One year of daily meditation

 Today marks the one year anniversary of my daily meditation practice, the first time I engaged so in depth with it other than the many one-month retreats I have attended. The influence of this is great, as great as the retreats if not more so. Daily practice interleaves life on the cushion and off the cushion much more than the hermetic style of retreat. Both have their place, though. At this time I remain focused on the daily but plan on solitary retreats sometime in the future. My current schedule is 40 minutes sitting/40 minutes of cardio/40 minutes of sitting, which is the increased pace I began on New Years Day.

Jimmy Herring and 5 of 7 11/20/19 live 2 hour show


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Sunday, April 4, 2021


 I’m in an especially good mood this morning! Although earlier in the night I was fighting off assassins and therefore disturbing Sara’s sleep, I ended the night with a long dream about a totally refurbished Dwight House. It was a super-premium version, mostly a finished idealized version with many features and staged by a professional service. As I toured prospective buyers I fell in love with the place again and again.

Life can be so good and Home Is Where the Heart Is!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Body-mind expression, a conversation with Paul Oertel from 1986

 This conversation about working with emotions, hold, release and expression is inspiring. Wish I had worked with Paul, who both taught at Naropa Institute and went to high school with me, and Antero Alli, the interviewer, a ritual theater creator. I have talked to former students of Paul, who were uniformly enthusiastic.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Beautiful pictures of Mongolian Eagle keepers

Our friend Art visited Mongolia and the Eagle keepers. He is both an inveterate hiker/world traveler and a photographer. Always great to visit with him, but his own pictures of the trip were amazing. Wish we could go ourselves.

Obama on the “Gates incident”

 “...[Henry Louis] Gates affair caused a huge drop in my support among white voters, bigger than would come from any single event during the eight years of my presidency.”

Friday, March 12, 2021

Photo management services

 I have never used photo management services such as Flickr. Any recommendations?

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

RIP Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

Samantha Buckwalter on discrimination and prejudice in the West Coast Swing community

 For those who have an account, here is a Facebook post by Samantha Buckwalter that everyone in the dance community should read. I have known Sam’s mother since college and therefore Sam for her whole life. She is informed, articulate, and compelling. I will add a link to a blog post once she has a non-Facebook version.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Meditation, weight loss, and performance goals

During the first eight months of the pandemic I gained eight pounds, reaching a lifetime maximum of 221. This was the result of too much sitting in front of screens and our gym’s closure. The gym had always provided variety plus I could tag along with Sara to draft on her discipline - both worked well for me. The lockdown reduced me to walking outdoors and on our treadmill at home - I have not picked up on the straps Sara adopted for bodyweight exercise. In April I decided to upgrade my meditation schedule to 100% daily, #NoTimeOff, as I have described in other posts. I was first inspired to do this when I read that Jack Dorsey meditates two hours a day. If he can be CEO of two companies and sit two hours a day, I can do more too. I have kept at this, hitting the ten month mark and upgrading to twice a day/forty-minute sessions in early January. While some people believe that willpower is a limited quantity and use in one area leaves less for others, I find the opposite happening: discipline carries over. Four months ago I switched to a firm keto diet (strictly limited carbs, in my case an apple a day). I also added a forty minute or so walk/treadmill routine between sittings. As a result I am glad to report I have dropped almost twenty pounds, closing in on my interim goal of 200 pounds. Kudos also to Ruby Rambeau, a Facebook friend and an expert fitness trainer and dance instructor; Ruby is an inspiration, even though I don’t train with her now (she lives in Chicago). Another resource I found is the FitBod app user group on Facebook, which provides a lot of motivation in the form of amazing Before and After pics. My longer term weight goal is 175 pounds, 25+ below where I am now. #CalorieDeficit! Luckily my gym now has an outdoor area and I will get vaccinated in the next two months, so I can start lifting again - #Gainz!

As for meditation, it provides its own motivation. I feel on track and the experience is simpler as the months pass. Most of the time I think I am at a good re-start point after five decades of meditation and wonder what retreats would be like *now*... #Mindfulness

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A new docudrama: “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Sara and I enjoyed the docudrama The Trial of the Chicago 7. In this film there is a side character, Fred Hampton, who was killed by a massive police raid. I just now watched the trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah, another brand new docudrama about to release to theaters and the HBO Max streaming platform. This focuses on the FBI pursuit and assassination of Hampton. Based on the trailer and history, I recommend watching the movie.

Also note: Truthout posted News yesterday about a FOIA response 50 years after the fact, one which reveals J. Edgar Hoover was personally involved in the campaign against Hampton; I wonder if that information is included in this film? I suspect the movie information is the source for that story.