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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 = 0.9944. 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.



2021-05-22 - KenGar 10k Meander

~6.2 mi @ ~18.0 min/mi

"Three rabbits, and a cicada that dropped onto my head!" An early 🤖 dodges traffic and dashes across big streets, explores neighborhood dead-ends, and finds the woodland path back to Rock Creek where he meets 🐻 & 🌸 & 🥃 for further rambling. Lawn art features a silly-happy bunny hitching a tortoise ride.http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/rabbit-riding-turtle_lawn-art_sculpture_2021-05-22.jpg

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Monday, June 21, 2021 at 07:13:14 (EDT)


2021-05-21 - Koiner Farm

~2.7 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

"Welcome to your Neighborhood Farm!" says the sign on the side of the Little Free Library, where 🤖 spies a seductive self-help yoga book. (Lithe and limber is lovely, even if only in caricature!) A county bus creeps down narrow Nolte Ave between parked cars on a warm Friday afternoon. A narrow overgrown staircase hints at a new cut-through to East Silver Spring Urban Park.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, June 20, 2021 at 05:09:28 (EDT)


Learn-Work-Save Feedback Loop

Causal Loop Diagram of long-term Social Justice issues - note the Wealth-Education-Jobs positive feedback flowCausal flow cartoons add insight and aid systems thinking. For "Social Justice" one powerful positive cycle on long timescales promotes progress: a Good Education helps get a Good Job which helps build Family Wealth to enable the next generation to get a Good Education which ...

Other happy outcomes can follow, like good health, a good location to live, and good respect from others. Sadly, however, positive feedback sometimes works the opposite way and leads to long-term social decline. Key is to recognize, understand, and invest early at leverage points!

(cf Fifth Disciplinarians (2000-09-10), Feedback Loops and Delay Lines (2010-11-10), Thinking in Systems (2017-11-03), Systems Thinking Icebergs (2019-06-27), Stocks and Flows and Causal Loops (2020-02-14), ...)

- Saturday, June 19, 2021 at 06:11:15 (EDT)


2021-05-20 - Conservation of Physics

~3.4 mi @ ~20.1 min/mi

"Are all physicists that ripped?" 🐻 reports on lectures by Janna Levin, Brian Greene, et al. on string theory, gravitational lensing, and other phenomena. 🤖 suspects that not every cosmologist would win a body building competition. "Only the top theoreticians?" Thursday evening's patrol includes cut-throughs at Carroll Knolls and Evans Parkway parks. A patriotic inflatable gets ready for Memorial Day. "Maybe they should take up a collection to pay their electric air pump bill?"http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/eagle-patriotic-inflatable-lawn-art_2021-05-20.jpg

(trackfile)

- Friday, June 18, 2021 at 07:44:01 (EDT)


2021-05-19 - Gaithersburg Survey

~1.7 mi @ ~16.6 min/mi

"Curves that open a gateway!" a corner sculpture enchants during a brisk warm walk around stark rectilinear houses. A road crew scrapes gravel, a garden crew sprays shrubs. A decaying farmhouse, faded barn, and a pair of broken silos stand empty. Painted-brick signs: are they reproductions, or transplants, or were the new shops and condos built around them?

(trackfile)

- Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 06:44:26 (EDT)


2021-05-18 - Taco Tuesday

~2.4 mi @ ~17.5 min/mi

"Seeking the sources of Sligo!" 🤖 wanders in a new 'hood near the headwaters of Sligo Creek. Despite a two-minute cooldown-hydration break at 7-11 the average pace is decent, thanks to brief intervals of slow jogging between patches of shade. Geese guard radio transmitter towers.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, June 17, 2021 at 06:42:16 (EDT)


2021-05-17 - Cheshire Cat

~2.4 mi @ ~17.4 min/mi

"She often perches there, or in a tree!" says the dog-walking lady, when 🤖 points out a big orange-tabby cat atop a garden fence. Elderly bungalows rub elbows with newborn mini-mansions in North Takoma Park.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 07:00:41 (EDT)


2021-05-16 - Intervals at Intervals

~2.4 mi @ ~19.5 min/mi & ~1.0 mi @ ~13 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/hearty-arty-sculpture-lady_2021-05-15.jpg"Just a small Adventure?" 🤖 asks for advice from random folks out for a walk in their neighborhood. A hint of a path leads down the wooded hillside between houses. "Sure!" a lady advises, "just cling to the little trees!" The steep slope leads to a tributary stream of Northwest Branch, with a similar scramble up the other side. In 1904 Theodore Roosevelt described the area as "... a beautiful gorge, deep and narrow, with great boulders and even cliffs ...". Back in civilization fire and rescue trucks block a busy intersection where two cars have collided. Four rabbits nibble front-yard grass and a meditative labyrinth graces the Blair High School grounds. Backyard art near a cut-through path features a curvy-heart-woman and other sculptures.

"John Way? No way!" 🤖 recognizes a speedy comrade at Blair High School track, where as he arrives 🌸 & 🐻 are doing laps. John introduces Mike Mason, Dan Devlin, Lee Feldstein, and Alice Franks, members of an informal Sunday Speedwork gang who get together to run intervals at intervals. We commiserate about injuries and reminisce about past glory days. 🤖 essays 4 x 200m at ~60 seconds each and confirms how vast the opportunities are to improve. Infield geese spectate.

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Tuesday, June 15, 2021 at 07:18:41 (EDT)


2021-05-15 - Sunrise Thankfulness

~8.0 mi @ ~18.9 min/mi

"VE - RI - FAST!" A Harvard cyclist explains the inscription on his jacket, a play on the school motto "VE - RI - TAS". At sunrise on Saturday 김치 여자 & 🔥 & 🤖 hike the rugged Potomac Palisades Parkway trail. Art brightens the C&O Canal towpath trek on the way from Fletchers Cove to Georgetown coffee. Today's words are GRATITUDE and NOW. We laugh and are thankful together for the beauty in this world, the friends we've made, and for being itself. "Nothing happens next. This is it."

(trackfile)

- Monday, June 14, 2021 at 07:04:27 (EDT)


Nothing to See

Touching the edge
Between, around
Space shapes and bounds
Connects, defines
Avoids, aligns
    Two gaps build three
      Three holes make two
        And so the space
          Says "Yes"!
            🎶

(cf Nothingness Shows Through (2005-12-06), Between (2009-12-10), Cling to Nothing (2011-01-29), Nothing But Faith in Nothing (2014-09-07), Much Ado about Nothing (2016-12-25), 2, 3 (2020-01-04), ...)

- Sunday, June 13, 2021 at 06:40:06 (EDT)


2021-05-13 - Cursive Swan

~4.0 mi @ ~15.6 min/mi

"Feel free to paint or marker a rock to add to rock garden (or take home)!!" says the sign by the mauve- and heliotrope-hued curbside library, flower bed, stone collection, and chairs, all in front of a purple-theme house. A sweetly cursive swan sculpture arches her wings. 🤖 sets a new walkabout "speed" record. He momentarily mistakes a stationary lady watering her lawn for a statue. Oops!

(trackfile)

- Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 04:48:41 (EDT)


We Do the Best We Can

Treat Each Other Better

... wisdom from Barach Obama in a recent interview by Ezra Klein [1]:

"My entire politics is premised on the fact that we are these tiny organisms on this little speck floating in the middle of space," Barack Obama told me, sitting in his office in Washington.

I was the one who had introduced the cosmic scale, asking how proof of alien life would change his politics. But Obama, in a philosophical mood, used the question to trace his view of humanity. "The differences we have on this planet are real," he said. "They're profound. And they cause enormous tragedy as well as joy. But we're just a bunch of humans with doubts and confusion. We do the best we can. And the best thing we can do is treat each other better, because we're all we got."

(cf Ambiguous Messy World (2021-05-29), ...)

- Friday, June 11, 2021 at 08:26:11 (EDT)


2021-05-12 - Where the Buffalo Roam

~2.3 mi @ ~17.5 min/mi

"The Headwaters of Muddy Branch!" 🤖 doesn't realize where a Wednesday walkabout takes him as he awaits bison carry-out dinner from Ted's Montana Grill. The stream where he fractured his femur 18 months ago (2019-11-09 - Stone Mill 50M 24k DNF) begins near the woodsy neighborhood paths here. Small planet, eh?

(trackfile)

- Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 05:55:32 (EDT)


2021-05-11 - Wheaton Claridge

~3.5 mi @ ~18.9 min/mi

"Howdy!" 🤖 greets a group of kids who act innocent as they sit on a log in Wheaton Claridge Park. No doubt they are just enjoying Nature! Tuesday evening's random-walk survey of Connecticut Avenue Estates discovers a gap in the fence behind the Avalon School, leading to deer trails along steep hillsides and a small creek crossing. Friendly lawn sculptures smile at passers-by.http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Angel-butterfly-lady-statue_Wheaton-Claridge_2021-05-11.jpg

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, June 09, 2021 at 06:29:20 (EDT)


2021-05-10 - Southwest Passage

~2.3 mi @ ~22.2 min/mi

"Thanks for reminding me!" 🐻 graciously accepts 🤖's suggestion of "Don't fall down!" as the twins follow deer trails around a small goose pond, including a slightly tricky stream crossing, and likewise as they navigate the Southwest Passage to Everest St, with a cautious tip-toe over the final rocky stretch. Monday afternoon's adventure ends well. A tabby cat prays roadside, and painted rocks offer cheerful caricatures.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, June 08, 2021 at 06:13:41 (EDT)


2021-05-09 - Rock Creek

~6.9 mi @ ~19.5 min/mi

"Amazing!" and "Fantastic!" say cyclists riding by, as they watch four big white-tailed deer dance across the baseball fields. Dogs bark the same sentiments. Further upstream a buck with velvet antlers escorts four does as they taste-test foliage by the soccer fields. 🤖 takes the Western Ridge Trail across a corner of Rock Creek Park to northwest DC. A metallic lawn bench rests upon the Chinese word "Peace"; hearts and dragonflies form a garden gate. At the French immersion school a confusing sign symbolicaly forbids flying up the stairs, or maybe falling down and dying. 🥃 and 🐻 join final miles, then continue.

(trackfile)

- Monday, June 07, 2021 at 05:34:09 (EDT)


2021-05-08 - New Rock Creek Trail

~10 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"NO DUMPING 1,000 FINE", says an oddly dimensionless sign. Rain patters on leaves and hats as 🔥 & 🤖 explore a dirt trail along the west bank of Rock Creek upstream of Garrett Park Rd. "What went WELL for you recently?" Family, work, learning, helping, ... – the list is happy, long, and diverse. "What do you want to try NEXT?" That's a hard question!

Today's magic word is "Open" – to the new, the scary, the fun, the long-forgotten and long-delayed. It's tough to let go. Taking baby steps can help. So can friends, and befriending oneself. Some day soon!

Meanwhile a wet phone and wet watch place random calls, send bogus texts, and flip into new modes. Much of the trackfile is missing. No worries – let it go! Big 🐻 joins for bonus walkabout miles, then adds a solo run.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, June 06, 2021 at 06:38:58 (EDT)


2021-05-07 - Kensington Library

~1.9 mi @ ~18.7 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Kensington_Urban-Thrift_truck_art_2021-05-07.jpg"The Secret to Peace, Love, and Happiness!" And only $5? Friday morning, with a library book to return before meetings begin, 🤖's walkabout covers a corner of downtown Kensington. Coffee shop macarons meet dynamic signage at a psychic shop, a thrift store, and a pet care service.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, June 05, 2021 at 04:15:18 (EDT)


Being Simply Beautiful

A lovely video interview with South African Theo du Plessis, by Green Renaissance filmmakers, via Gratefulness.org – from the transcript:

... and comments about possessions and animals and poverty and choice and goodness ...

(cf OM - Gratitude, Ein Ben Stein (2002-09-19), Power of Now (2011-12-14), Beautiful Beyond Description (2014-11-19), Everything Changes (2015-04-29), Sheryl Sandberg on the Hard Days (2016-05-22), You Are a Poem (2020-02-10), The World According to Mister Rogers (2020-03-13), ...)

- Friday, June 04, 2021 at 06:49:38 (EDT)


2021-05-06 - Wheaton Claridge Park

~3.4 mi @ ~18.7 min/mi

"What self-respecting elementary school doesn't have a hole in the fence?" says 🤖 to himself as he walks along the edge of the playground. And sure enough, soon comes a gap that leads to a narrow pathway back into Wheaton Claridge Park! The tangle of dirt trails through the woods climbs rocky hills and demands a small stream crossing to escape a dead-end. There's always more to explore!

(trackfile)

- Thursday, June 03, 2021 at 06:48:35 (EDT)


2021-05-05 - Saffell Family Cemetery

~2.1 mi @ ~16.6 min/mi

Charles Saffell

Revolutionary War Patriot and musician

1747-1837
A 10-foot-square area is fenced off behind Forest Oak Middle School in Gaithersburg, without signs or markers. Who knew?

"Collaboration – Communication – Empathy – Innovation – Diversity – Persistence" – and more, says a painted wall by tennis courts. As 🤖 circles the playgrounds a stray basketball bounces toward him; he throws it back to kids playing. Narrow dirt trails lead into the woods along a paved walking path. The first branch meanders down a steep hillside to a drainage zone. The next cuts through brush to a scary fallen tree bridging a stream, with a rope handrail. On the other side of the creek, soggy wetlands eventually end at a construction site.

(cf Montgomery County Cemetery Inventory, Saffell Family Cemetery, and trackfile)

- Thursday, June 03, 2021 at 06:45:48 (EDT)


2021-05-04 - Free Gel

~3.2 mi @ ~17.7 min/mi

"Murphy's Law!" Thunder-rumbles and raindrops begin just as 🤖 gets to the farthest point from home on his Tuesday afternoon loop. At the base of the Mormon Temple hill a fallen energy-electrolyte gel lies on the road, awaiting rescue. Flowers bloom and a freight train of empty coal cars rattles away on the left-side track.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, June 02, 2021 at 05:51:21 (EDT)


2021-05-03 - Formerly Walter Reed

~2.3 mi @ ~18.2 min/mi

"The Department of State Foreign Missions Center" – "The Parks at Walter Reed" – "The Children's National Research and Innovation Campus at Walter Reed" – random-walking on Monday afternoon, 🤖 meanders into an unguarded entrance of the campus in northwest DC. Abandoned buildings with broken windows are overgrown with brush in what was, until 2011, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Redevelopment has begun: apartments and condos, biomedical R&D labs, and foreign embassy facilities. Fences block most exits. Crews spray-paint hillsides to mark underground pipes.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, June 02, 2021 at 05:22:17 (EDT)


Great Crash

Wise words from the preface of The Great Crash of 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith (1997 edition):

That we are having a major speculative splurge as this is written is obvious to anyone not captured by vacuous optimism. There is now far more money flowing into the stock markets than there is intelligence to guide it. There are many more mutual funds than there are financially acute, historically aware men and women to manage them. I am not given to prediction; one's foresight is forgotten, only one's errors are well remembered. But there is here a basic and recurrent process. It comes with rising prices, whether of stocks, real estate, works of art or anything else. This increase attracts attention and buyers, which produces the further effect of even higher prices. Expectations are thus justified by the very action that sends prices up. The process continues; optimism with its market effect is the order of the day. Prices go up even more. Then, for reasons that will endlessly be debated, comes the end. The descent is always more sudden than the increase; a balloon that has been punctured does not deflate in an orderly way.

To repeat, I make no prediction; I only observe that this phenomenon has manifested itself many times since 1637, when Dutch speculators saw tulip bulbs as their magic road to wealth, and 1720, when John Law brought presumptive wealth and then sudden poverty to Paris through the pursuit of gold, to this day undiscovered, in Louisiana. In these years also the great South Sea Bubble spread financial devastation in Britain.

Later there was more. ...

and

If we do now have a downturn – what is called a day of reckoning – some things can, indeed, be foreseen. By some estimates a quarter of all Americans, directly or indirectly, are in the stock market. Were there a bad slump, it would limit their expenditures, especially of durable goods, and put pressure on their very large credit card debt. The result would be a generally adverse effect on the economy. This would not be as painful as the aftereffects of 1929; then banks were fragile and without deposit insurance, farm markets were important and especially vulnerable, there was no cushioning effect from unemployment compensation, welfare payments and Social Security. All this is better now. But there could be a recession; that would be normal. There would also be, we may be certain, the traditional reassuring words from Washington. Always when markets are in trouble, the phrases are the same: "The economic situation is fundamentally sound" or simply "The fundamentals are good." All who hear these words should know that something is wrong.

Once more I do not predict and tell only what the past so vividly tells us. ...

(cf Cancer Ideology (1999-05-19), Money Wisdom (2001-05-20), Pop Goes (2001-06-19), Bubble Busteres (2002-02-06), Dow Theory (2002-07-27), Next Economy (2005-01-31), Back to Normal (2008-11-13), Big Short (2011-04-24), Boom Times Loom Soon (2012-08-30), Shiller Price Earnings Ratio (2021-03-29), ...)

- Tuesday, June 01, 2021 at 06:57:25 (EDT)


2021-05-02 - Night of the Grizzlies

~6.8 mi @ ~21.1 min/mi

"A pair of deuces and a Hariyama!" 🤖 picks up cards scattered on a playground. In the woods early Sunday morning narrow deer paths meander through muddy wallows and a bushwhack-ramble back to civilization. 🐻 leads the way along Beach Dr and the Valley Trail by Rock Creek. He tells of "Night of the Grizzlies", tragic events in 1967 at Glacier National Park.

(trackfile)

- Monday, May 31, 2021 at 07:42:01 (EDT)


2021-05-01 - Masklessness

~7.2 mi @ ~20.1 min/mi

"Don't look! I'm naked!" says 🤖, doffing face cover at 🥃's insistence after a year of masking up. Saturday morning is cool and crisp, roads strewn with twigs and branches after high winds the prior evening. New cut-throughs west of Georgetown Prep lead past pretty condo gardens all abloom.

(trackfile)

- Monday, May 31, 2021 at 07:36:47 (EDT)


2021-04-29 - Be the Good in the World

~6.6 mi @ ~17.8 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Be-the-Good_painted-rock_Believe_2021-04-29.jpg"Believe there is Good in the World", says the painted rock – and reading just the red letters, "Be the Good". Who knew? 🤖 is in a Happy Place, discovering two new secret paths through the woods. The first cuts across and along Forest Glen Creek in McKenney Hills Park; the second follows a nameless tributary of Kensington Creek between Drumm and Mills Crossing. Suburban adventure – who knew?

"Never too late to start!" A passing runner accepts a compliment on his weight vest and suggests 🤖 try wearing one. (Well, maybe if he didn't already carry 20 lbs of extra fat!) The "Bump and Grind" coffee company in Kensington has an arty brown bean on its garage door. A Harry Potter Sorting Hat perches atop a Little Free Library cabinet decorated with Hogwarts House crests.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 06:31:03 (EDT)


2021-04-28 - Alone Together

~5.4 mi @ ~17.8 min/mi

"Alone Together" says a sign next to a beautiful butterfly-girl mural by Keiona Clark; it's a depression support group near the Silver Spring Metro. Wednesday afternoon is warm and windy as 🤖 returns two library books. Barbecue aroma lures him across a parking lot where an unattended smoker is warming up. Bumblebees buzz, a belated rooster crows, and happy dogs bark and tug on their leashes.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 06:19:01 (EDT)


2021-04-27 - Everest Ascent

~4.4 mi @ ~17.9 min/mi

"The Southwest Passage!" 🤖 discovers a new route around the hitherto-unexplored underside of the Wheaton Branch stormwater management pond. After a few semi-sketchy scary scrambles he emerges atop Everest (tiny Everest Street, that is) startling a big rabbit and two deer along the way. A faded faux fox guards a garden.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 06:07:30 (EDT)


Ambiguous Messy World

Wise words from a talk by former US President Barack Obama in October 2019, on how to make things better:

"... The world is messy; there are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you. ..."

"... There is this sense sometimes of: 'The way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people, and that's enough.' ..."

"That's not activism. That's not bringing about change. If all you're doing is casting stones, you're probably not going to get that far. ..."

... though it certainly is fun (and short-term therapeutic) to criticize!

(cf Dark Glory (2001-03-23), This Is Water (2009-05-21), Taiji at Work (2015-06-29), Mantra - Be Meta, Be Open, Be Love (2018-11-11), Tikkun Olam (2019-12-11), ...)

- Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 05:46:43 (EDT)


2021-04-25 - Sunday Azaleas

~4.2 mi @ ~27 min/mi

"Who knew this was here?" Silver Surfer is stunned at newly-discovered paths through the woods of Bradley Hills Conservation Area, within a few blocks of his home. No surprise: it's all about Attention, and being Open to explore! From Woods Academy the crew of motley enjoys variegated azaleas in McCrillis Gardens, then meanders and marvels at mini-mega-mansions as early showers yield to sunshine.

(trackfile)

- Friday, May 28, 2021 at 06:50:27 (EDT)


2021-04-24 - Kindness Matters

~10.3 mi @ ~20.4 min/mi

"Kindness Matters – So Do You!" say the signs by painted rocks. 🔥 and 🤖 arrive early and at 0559 head toward Saturday's sunrise in search of Starbucks, where a plaque says, "Be Awesome Today" – a remindful trifecta of Being + Doing + Now. Deep trail talk ensues about life, work, helping others, and letting-go, as comrade ⭐️ joins the walkabout. Today 🐻 runs a virtual Eugene Half Marathon; 🥃 and 🔥 pace him along Sligo Creek Parkway. Wildlife sightings include a pileated woodpecker attacking a rotten log, a goose on her nest, three deer, and 11 rabbits.

(trackfile)

- Friday, May 28, 2021 at 06:44:58 (EDT)


2021-04-23 - Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory

~ 3.1 mi @ ~18.4 min/mi

"... the oldest scientific agency in our federal government ..." says a sign at the original Latitude Observatory, describing the National Geodetic Survey founded more than 200 years ago. Its job: to maintain "... a consistent coordinate system that defines latitude, longitude, height, scale, gravity, and orientation throughout the United States". What a mission – to help us all know where we are!

Two little white buildings near Gaithersburg High School are what remains of a network of half a dozen telescopes, set up in 1899 around the world at 38°06' North latitude to precisely measure the wobble of the Earth's axis. (Yes, Virginia, the North Pole wanders about 30 feet or so.) 🤖 walks the observatory grounds, then undertakes a quick survey of the neighborhood. He squeezes through a chained-and-padlocked gate and discovers Christman Park, a greenspace honoring Vietnam War deaths. A less-sketchy cut-through leads to an empty water playground and busy Bohrer Park. Geese honk and feed in a pond.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 06:13:04 (EDT)


2021-04-22 - Lei Lady

~3.4 mi @ ~18.0 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Takoma-Park_sculpture_lady_lei_2021-04-22.jpg"From a Model to a Rainbow" is the title of a Sam Gilliam mural installed on 2011 near the Takoma Metro Station. On the way to pick up nachos and tamales, 🤖 surveys a northwest DC neighborhood, finds a secret steep staircase cut-through to an alley, a narrow dirt path by the train tracks, and countless brilliant blossoms of front-yard flowers. Twin alabaster ladies wear leis and towels that are slipping. (Don't ask about how they look from behind!) Scratched letters on fresh sidewalk cement say, "You'll Never Find a Rainbow Looking Down!"

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, May 26, 2021 at 06:51:54 (EDT)


2021-04-21 - Online Meeting Walk

~4.7 mi @ ~17.9 min/mi

"When roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind!" says a painted stone. A cold front brings chilly gusts as 🤖 makes a quick circuit to return a tote bag loan from 🐻. Cellphone signals drop out near Sligo Creek, interrupting his attempt to lurk at an online group discussion led by friend 🛸.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 06:34:35 (EDT)


Scandinavian Health

"Happiness isn't a location –
      it's a state of mind.
"

Some useful words and phrases, from a Kaiser Permanente health newsletter of December 2020, "5 Scandinavian secrets to a happier, healthier life":

  1. Fika paus – Swedish for "coffee break"
  2. Friluftsliv – Norwegian for "open-air living"
  3. Gokotta – Swedish, "... waking up early in the morning to go outside and listen to the birds sing ..."
  4. Hygge – Danish, "... celebrating coziness ... joy in feeling warm and fuzzy, inside and out ..."
  5. Lagom – Swedish and Norwegian, "just the right amount"

(cf Happiness Is (2015-07-28), Joko on Joy (2015-09-03), Mantra - Happiness Is (2018-03-20), ...)

- Monday, May 24, 2021 at 06:27:03 (EDT)


2021-04-20 - Mayor Lane

5.8 mi @ ~17.9 min/mi

"Taste. Learn. Create." say signs at The Urban Winery. Its new location is an industrial park near the railroad tracks, not far from 🤖's home. He chats with the owner, who pauses her hammering to answer (she's assembling an outdoor awning for patrons). Today's walkabout official goal is to return some books to the Public Library. Visit Mayor Lane, an alley named in honor of the unofficial "Mayor of Silver Spring", a homeless man named Norman Lane (1911-1987). Bright murals decorate the backside of the PLA-ZA Art Materials shop.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 05:21:32 (EDT)


2021-04-19 - Discobolus

~5.2 mi @ ~20.4 min/mi

"As I Walked Out in the Street of Laredo?" asks 🤖 when crossing Laredo Rd. "Sung by Marty Robbins?" responds 🐻. The twins take a new path through the woods and arrive at Sligo Creek, where a lonely goose perches on a muddy mound in a pond. "If a shot-putter puts a shot, does a discobolus cuss a disc?" Painted stones under a tree on Dublin Dr depict sharks and dinosaurs approaching a penguin, and counsel Love and Kindness.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 05:56:38 (EDT)


2021-04-18 - Dewey Park Murals

~6.9 mi @ ~21.9 min/mi

"The best macarons in this world, so far!" says 🤖, after he tries a cookie from Java Nation. Sunday morning's solo meander starts in the KenGar neighborhood and explores alleys on both sides of Connecticut Ave in downtown Kensington. Near the ballfields a new wetland is covered with a wire grid and sparkly-shiny ribbons to ward off waterfowl. Soon 🔍 and 🐻 arrive, then 🥻 finishing her run, followed by 🌗. Bright murals by Juan Pineda decorate sheds at Dewey Park near the in-line-skating hockey rink and playgrounds.http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Juan-Pineda_mural_Dewey-Park_Rock-Creek_2021-04-18.jpg

(trackfile)

- Friday, May 21, 2021 at 06:32:25 (EDT)


Aggressive Courtesy

Powerful soft thoughts about balance and rising above and "beautiful absence", by William Stafford (from Poetry magazine, September 1992) titled "Annals of T'ai Chi: 'Push Hands'":

In this long routine "Push hands,"
one recognizes force and yields, then
slides, again, again, endlessly like water,
what goes away, what follows, aggressive
courtesy till force must always lose,
lost in the seethe and retreat of ocean.

So does the sail fill, and air come
just so, because of what's gone, "Yes"
in all things, "Yes come in if you
insist," and thus conducted find a way
out, yin following and becoming
by a beautiful absence its partner yang.

(cf Aikido Spirit (2003-12-09), Good Manners and Taiji (20124-04-03), Taiji and Self Awareness (2014-04-15), Practicality of Softness (2014-04-25), Aikido Zen (2019-04-05), ...)

- Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 06:37:58 (EDT)


2021-04-17 - Azaleas and Construction

~4.7 mi @ ~24.3 min/mi

"We can stop traffic for you gentlemen, if you want to walk along the road!" says the young construction worker to the Three Amigos. Bradley Blvd is narrowed to a single lane on Saturday morning as backhoes and jackhammers prepare to repair pipes and resurface the asphalt. Before joining 🏄🏼‍♂️ & 🐻 for a neighborhood meander, 🤖 does a solo stroll to survey azaleas at McCrillis Gardens. Mini-mansions have "new construction soon" signs in front as they await upgrades. Park cut-through paths lead through fields of May Apples.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 05:57:25 (EDT)


2021-04-15 - Hamantash

~6.3 mi @ ~20.2 min/mi

"Cloven hoofed demons?" Tracks on the muddy trail around the US Army's Ft Detrick (Forest Glen Annex) suggest satanic powers ahead of 🤖, as he meanders toward the local deli in a quest for hamantashen. Cicadas scream their greetings in the woods. Redbud trees bloom. Location-sharing delays foil a potential rendezvous with 🐻.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 06:38:43 (EDT)


2021-04-13 - Traincarmachameleon

~5.0 mi @ ~18.2 min/mi

Traincarmachameleon mural by Goodloe Byron"You have The Eye!" says Midwyf, when she sees 🤖's selfie. While waiting for the light to change he poses in front of the "Traincarmachameleon" mural by Goodloe Byron in downtown Silver Spring. Tuesday afternoon's mission is to return library books, plus meander for mileage to help team "Don't Step Believing" in an office exercise challenge. The group finishes in 5th place – thank goodness not 4th, one step off the podium!

(trackfile)

- Monday, May 17, 2021 at 06:08:25 (EDT)


Total Soviet Computing Power

A glimpse of the past, from the public release "CIA Historical Review Program", a September 1986 memorandum titled "Total Soviet Computing Power". Its abstract says:

We have estimated the total computing power for the Soviet Union for both general-purpose and scientific applications. In general-purpose computing the USSR has the equivalent capacity of 50 to 500 Cray-1 supercomputers, or about 10% of the total US general-purpose computing power. If used for scientific computing, the Soviet computing inventory has a capacity equivalent to 1 to 10 Cray-1's, or about 1% of the total US scientific computing power.

To the Soviets, the acquisition of a single Western supercomputer would give a 10%-100% increase in total scientific computing power. Acquisition of a single VAX-11/780-class superminicomputer would give the Soviets only a tiny increase in total capability, roughly 0.01%, for either scientific or general-purpose computing. In terms of computational power per ruble spent, however, the Soviets certainly will find it highly attractive to acquire Western computers of all classes.

The large gap between the US and Soviet computing powers is a result of shortages of all classes of computers in the USSR. The Soviet shortfall is particularly large for scientific computing, due to the absence of true supercomputers in the USSR. Although smaller computers can be used for scientific computing, they are very inefficient for demanding tasks such as advanced weapons system design. The Soviet Union will probably not be ready to produce a large-scale scientific computer comparable to the Cray-1 before the early 1990s.

... how time flies, and computer power increases ... and how crude graphics were in 1986! The paper estimates order-of-magnitude values based on comparing inventory vs personnel vs budget data – rather like an "astrophysical" approach to comparing apples and oranges based on acreage, weight, and dietary consumption. Hmmmmm ...

(cf. local copy "Total Soviet Computing Power", ...)

- Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 06:43:27 (EDT)


2021-04-12 - Mindfulness Maze

~4.2 mi @ ~18.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Labyrinth_Be-Still-and-Know_Kensington_2021-04-12.jpg"There is no right or wrong way to walk it - For adults it can be healing – For children it's just fun!" say non-instructions for the meditative labyrinth in Kensington. 🤖 cuts across the stone lines and remembers (cf 2019-08-25 - Be Still and Know). A muddy path by Silver Creek leads to an open gate and new cut-through between the senior living center and the middle school. Light rain passes by. A kind friend phones to report on cleaning out an unused office space.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 04:38:28 (EDT)


2021-04-11 - Prep the New Boss

~7.4 mi @ ~19.7 min/mi

"Skipping stones made of cremation ashes!" - "Sharing failure as well as success!" - "Soft, Forgiving, Accepting, Open!" - "Prepare the new boss for a win on Day One!" - "Great teachers encourage even the slightest signs of productivity among their students!" 🔥 and 🤖 random-walk in early morning drizzle, solve world problems, and make a free solo climb at the elementary school playground. 🌓 and 🐻 join for a speedy coda.

(trackfile)

- Friday, May 14, 2021 at 06:38:46 (EDT)


Optimistic Voices

A beautiful Easter essay by Jennifer Finney Boylan, "I Know Why I Am Here on Earth" (in the 4 April 2021 New York Times) quotes the hopeful song from the Wizard of Oz "Optimistic Voices", with its lyrics, "You're out of the woods, you're out of the dark, you're out of the night. Step into the sun, step into the light." Boylan recalls her own father, who died on Easter Sunday many years ago, and concludes:

Did Christ rise from the dead? I don't know. I wasn't there. But I know that I am here on earth because my father loved my mother. There are hyacinths rising in my garden. I know what it is like to be loved.

He is not here. But his spirit is all around: in the music of Beethoven, in the pealing of church bells, in the rays of the sun rising above the ocean. And in our reckless, inexplicable hope for this banged-up world, a place so beautiful and so sad.

(cf Thanks For (2001-11-22), 2008-03-23 - Sunrise Service at Seneca Creek, Nothing Here (2016-11-21), Life Jackets of Hope (2020-04-20), Emptiness Blessings (2020-07-20), Easy to Forget (2021-03-09), ...)

- Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 07:28:01 (EDT)


2021-04-10 - Liberty Valance

~7.7 mi @ ~20.2 min/mi

"East is West and West is East!" says 🤖, as his unerring navigational talent errs yet again. He finds himself facing a foggy sunrise when he expects to be returning to Bethesda to meet Griz and Half Full at the outdoor pool. Public park sculpture is eye-catching near the Capital Crescent Trail, as are mini-macarons at the Paul Bakery. Griz recommends The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a classic film, story, and song, as the trio assesses the remnants of cherry blossom season in the Kenwood neighborhood of Bethesda.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 06:23:26 (EDT)


2021-04-09 - Be the Good

~2.3 mi @ ~18.5 min/mi

"Do you think that's thunder?" asks the lady walking her brown boxer in Rock Creek Park.

"No," says ever-optimistic 🤖, "it's probably just trucks rumbling on the road." He scrambles up a steep ~15 meter hillside on what might, arguably, be a trail. A path at the top leads to an overlook and a plastic bottle of water marked with a "B". Then a rumble – bass drum practice? – echoes through the woods. Then another. Eventually undeniable: a storm is coming! Hasty homeward walk gets there before the deluge.

A painted rock garden offers stony aphorisms: "Reach for the Sky" – "Stop waiting for Tomorrow; Start Now" – "Mistakes are Proof that you are Trying" – "Breathe". And the optimistic "Believe there is Good in the World" that, reading the red letters, whispers: "Be the Good". Yes, and...!
http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Be-the-Good_Believe-there-is-Good-in-the-World_2021-04-09.jpg

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 06:34:13 (EDT)


Peak Performance Improv

From "5 Fundamentals to Achieve Peak Performance" posted 5 years ago by Skip Prichard, a thoughtful list from Cathy Salit:

  1. Choose to grow – "... growing instead of knowing ... reintroducing play, pretending, performing and improvising into our work and lives ... embracing the unknown and the ambiguous ..."
  2. Build ensembles everywhere – "... people with different skills, different experiences, different temperaments, and varied points of view ... saying 'we' every time you would normally say 'I' ..."
  3. Listen – "... with a focus not on yourself and what you're going to say next, but on what the other person is saying and doing ... more like jazz – where you're building and creating and riffing off what you hear ... slowing down, pausing, and letting the other person's words sink in and have their full impact on you before you respond ..."
  4. Create with crap – "... it's all just material to build with ... creating something playful and incongruous with the crap we're dealing with gives us some distance from our immediate reaction ..."
  5. Improvise your life – "... walk and talk a new way, ask questions when you would normally say nothing or argue, use different body language ... listen with laser focus, say 'yes, and' to everything that comes your way, and actively create with it ..."

(cf Yes, and... (2012-11-14), Keith Johnstone Improv Quotes (2013-12-26), Johnstone on Employee Engagement (2014-08-09), Mantra - Yes, and... (2016-01-30), Improv Wisdom (2018-08-24), ...)

- Monday, May 10, 2021 at 06:05:34 (EDT)


2021-04-08 - Tilden Woods

~4.6 mi @ ~16.2 min/mi

"Work Area! Go back!" says the leader of the County park construction crew. They're digging with a backhoe in the south side of Tilden Woods Local Park. 🤖 waves and retreats up the rough stone road until, beyond line-of-sight, he spies a small hole to squeeze through in the orange plastic fencing. Yay, a new cut-through! Thursday afternoon's survey of the Old Georgetown Estates neighborhood in North Bethesda startles a small set of deer taking a late lunch by the I-270 sound barrier. Downhill jogs pull the average pace to what may be a new land speed record, back to the car, just in time to make the appointment for COVID shot (Moderna) #2 ...

(trackfile)

- Sunday, May 09, 2021 at 05:41:20 (EDT)


2021-04-07 - Daffodil-Narcissus Mauve-Orchid

~5.1 mi @ ~18.6 min/mi

"Hamantaschen!" = Word o' the Day as 🤖 rambles to the local deli to pick up three-cornered-hat fruit-filled cookies. Shades of creeping phlox form a happy heart shape (or maybe a racing rabbit?) on a front-yard hillside. Daffodil-narcissus point their trumpets at the sunset. A young runner dashes past, blonde ponytail swaying, mauve-orchid-hued top a perfect fit for the Easter season. Half a mile later she flies on her return trip.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, May 08, 2021 at 05:13:58 (EDT)


2021-04-06 - Deep Peace

~5.2 mi @ ~19.1 min/mi

"New cut-through!" 🤖 discovers a hidden staircase, rusty iron handrails overgrown with ivy, concrete cracked, at the end of dead-end Harvey Rd. It leads down a steep slope and a narrow stone path to the next street. Eureka! Today's mission of mercy brings hydration meds to Spuds and checks on the Squirrel Shack, where the expanded menu isn't ready yet. A little free library Dog Annex offers sticks and balls to borrow. Bright garden poles bear inspirational words: "Deep Peace" - "Make It, Live It, Share It" - "No Ordinary Cat" - "You Will Never Leave My ❤️".

(trackfile)

- Friday, May 07, 2021 at 05:14:37 (EDT)


When I Met My Muse

... a William Stafford poem (13 Jan 2003) about Attention and Awareness :

I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. "I am your own
way of looking at things," she said. "When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

(cf In My Journal (2005-01-29), William Stafford (2017-10-29), Volup (2020-11-03), The Way It Is (2021-03-19), ...)

- Thursday, May 06, 2021 at 07:30:05 (EDT)


2021-04-05 - Peacock Orchids

~1.4 mi @ ~18.1. min/mi

"Nice Kitty!" 🤖 pets the bronze cat at the top of the stairs during a short afternoon circuit of the 'hood. Tulip magnolias fight with forsythia and daffodils for dominance. New graffiti on the Beltway sound wall beckons, but at home a hundred peacock orchid bulbs wait to be planted before sunset. Scramble down to photograph the spray-paint artwork another day!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, May 05, 2021 at 06:09:51 (EDT)


2021-04-04 - Cherry Blossom Viewing

~2.9 mi @ ~21.0 min/mi & ~2.0 mi @ ~22.3 min/mi

"Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam!" G-ji recommends a classic Bollywood musical drama from 1962, as she leads 🤖 on a brisk Easter morning circumnavigation of the Kenwood cherry blossom display. A price check puts a modest home at more than $2 million. Flowers bloom even from the trunks of the trees. A pair of Portuguese-speaking ladies pop out of a new car to pose for photos.

"Good morning, Summer!" says Half Full to the pretty puppy taking her owner out on a walk. Summer stands atop a small boulder and graciously accepts praise. With Spuds and 🤖 the trio surveys the White Flint neighborhood. Cherry blossom trees here were planted at a local resident's initiative more than half a century ago, and their flowers flutter and gleam in the Sunday morning sunlight.

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Tuesday, May 04, 2021 at 06:25:16 (EDT)


It's a Big Beautiful World

Which world do we live in?

According to an Economist/YouGov poll in mid-February 2021 ([1] & [2]) about a third of all American people say the first, half say the second, and a sixth aren't sure. Correlations are weak versus age or gender or race, but do align with political philosophy. Editorial-page columnists like David Brooks and Philip Bump have mused about it.

Fascinating, and perhaps important for personal and world health!

(cf Optimist Creed (1999-04-16), Dimensions of Voting (2004-12-07), Lyndon Johnson Political Philosophy (2006-10-06), Roots of Morality (2009-004-03), Righteous Mind (2020-07-12), ...)

- Monday, May 03, 2021 at 05:57:50 (EDT)


2021-04-03 - Hard Problems

~7.0 mi @ ~19.8 min/mi

"I love it when people have the confidence to pose!" says 🔥, as a young lady takes a sexy stance déhanchement under cherry blossoms for her photographer. Holy Saturday begins in gloom with a Dawn Patrol survey of Kennedy Dr and Goldsboro Rd. Easter bunny ears decorate a garden dinosaur and a front-door rabbit face. "Awaken Spirituality + Nurture Fellowship + Serve Others" says the banner in front of a Methodist church. The Marriage Problem (how to pick optimally from a series of candidates when one can never look back) is analyzed, along with the related film Must Love Dogs. Hyper-caffeinated 🤖 monologues on acceptance, failure, freedom, category theory, mental models, and countless other metacognitive Hard Problems.

"And so that's why you need to do a 100 miler!" is the non-sequitur conclusion. Maybe? Or just Be!

(trackfile)

- Sunday, May 02, 2021 at 06:28:37 (EDT)


2021-04-02 - Squirrel Shack

~4.0 mi @ ~20.3 min/mi

"Squirrel Shack!" a voice answers the phone. At the local golf course, alas, pit BBQ is gone; the clubhouse snack shop's short menu now features sandwiches of spicy sausage, meatballs, etc. Roadkill walks there on a brisk Friday afternoon and brings home an experimental "Golf 'n Grub" sampling for dinner. Tiny owls guard a garden.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, May 01, 2021 at 06:18:56 (EDT)


Lunar Mnemonic

To remember the phase of the Moon in 2021, take this year's Magic New Moon Number of 16 and subtract the Month. To within about a day, the New Moon falls on January 15, February 14, March 13, April 12, ..., December 4. Add a week for each phase, i.e., +7 for First Quarter, +14 for Full Moon, and +21 for Last Quarter. Close enough!

For 2022, the Magic Full Moon number is 19; for 2023, the Magic New Moon number is 23. Is there a long-term pattern to learn that works for decades? Hmmm ...

(cf Body Mnemonic (2004-12-04), Mnemonic Principles of Taiji (2014-03-24), ...)

- Friday, April 30, 2021 at 06:20:40 (EDT)


2021-04-01 - Maundy Thursday

~5.6 mi @ 18.7 min/mi

"Hard freeze tomorrow morning!" warns the elderly couple covering their front-yard plants with plastic sheeting. Maundy Thursday's afternoon ramble leads past St John the Evangelist Catholic church, where in a grotto the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Our Lady Queen of Poland, blesses crucifix beads. Pokey tap-dances at the "echo center" concrete circle in Evans Parkway Neighborhood Park and hears himself amplified. A meandering muddy-hilly path from Sligo Creek Trail leads to new graffiti on the Beltway sound barrier wall. Brief bursts of sleet rattle down.

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 07:37:12 (EDT)


2021-03-30 - Elisaberayar Wheaton Mural

~7.0 mi @ ~20.0 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Wheaton_mural_elisaberayar_2021-03-30.jpg"Pugs and Kisses!" says the sign for the dog statue wearing Easter Bunny ears. Pokey enjoys an urban bushwhack as he stumbles along new cut-through paths at Carroll Knolls Local Park and, far sketchier, through brambles along a drainage stream east of Stephen Knolls School. Eventually he scrambles back to civilization up a muddy slope and arrives at Wheaton Plaza. Nearby a bright mural by "Eli Sabe Rayar" (Elisa Murillo, a Venezuelan muralist) graces the wall of a Jamaican restaurant. He meets Spuds during the return trip and they ponder the protocols for low-mileage ultramarathon training. How to ramp up and taper down simultaneously? Hmmmmm ...

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 06:29:51 (EDT)


2021-03-29 - Kensington Seven-11

~5.1 mi @ ~18.0 min/mi

"Woodley, Woodstock, Wilton, and Forsythe!" A decorative hub of painted hubcaps marks a mini traffic circle in Forest Glen Park. New gnome villages sprout up with the daffodils around the base of a big oak. Pokey meanders through Kensington, picks up mail at the post office, and returns via Mr Singh's 7-11 on the north side of the tracks. While wiping off the GPS watch face he inadvertently breaks the track file in two – such a First World Problem. Oops!

(trackfile & trackfile])

- Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 05:56:42 (EDT)


Like a Hand, Like a Wind

Like a hand, like a wind –
Time –
        ... to reach out and touch
        ... to sow seeds that grow
        ... to scatter and gather

Like a song, like a fire –
Space –
        ... to rise above and fly
        ... to hold and enfold
        ... to tremble and shatter

And though we each crawl –
Alone –
        ... through time, across space
        ... between and beneath it all
        ... in darkness and infinite depth
We always find each other
And hope

- Monday, April 26, 2021 at 05:31:03 (EDT)


2021-03-28 - Spin in the Woods

~4.0 mi @ ~17.8 min/mi

"Is this your third lap or your fourth?" Pokey asks runners as they zoom past in the two-lap "Spin in the Woods" MCRRC 4 mile cross-country race. He finishes ahead of a 77 year old woman and an 85 year old man to claim 62nd place of 64. Don't ask about the 8 year old girl who came in almost half an hour faster! Rain, mud, puddles, slippery rocks, and fewmets on the horse trail add to the charm of the course. And it's All Good!http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/MCRRC_Spin-in-the-Woods_Wheaton-Regional-Park_2021-03-28.jpg

(trackfile)

- Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 06:24:52 (EDT)


2021-03-27 - Into the Sun

~7.7 mi @ ~20.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/C-and-O-Canal_sunrise_2021-03-27.jpg"Raised by wolves in a barn!" says someone, describing less-than-civil behavior. At Civil Twilight the Dawn Patrol begins a walkabout along the C&O Canal, sharing news and philosophizing about the world. What's the distinction between an Inquiry and an Investigation? And how about the nuances of Reckless vs Intentional vs Knowing acts? (But not Wanton, please!) Guilt and innocence are more bayesian than binary. Birders perch on the towpath, training binoculars and long lenses on raræ aves in a tall tree. An hour after reveille at the nearby Navy base the National Anthem booms from loudspeakers across a Boy Scout encampment. Arise, ye sluggards!

At 0830 Plato joins Peg, Perry, and Pokey for further mileage. Banter ensues about formal language theory, whether Social Justice can be analyzed using functional programming and path-integral methods, the Jersey shore, the Grand Tetons, and B&B etiquette. For the drive home the radio aptly plays "Glory Days".

(trackfile)

- Friday, April 23, 2021 at 06:09:05 (EDT)


Vartan Gregorian, R. I. P.

Vartan Gregorian was a scholar, a leader, and a friend to all humanity. From the New Yorker magazine's 1986 portrait of him, by Philip Hamburger, his description of the institution he then led:

A library is a sacred place. My role is educator and teacher. For four thousand years, humanity has gone through dreadful horrors, dreadful turmoils, varied glories. How do we distill the past? How do we retain the memories? Libraries. The New York Public Library is one of the greatest in the entire world. Its research libraries contain some twenty-nine million items, and there are eighty-eight miles of stacks right here in this building. Millions of memories. We are a treasured repository of civilization. Sometimes I am overwhelmed when I realize what we mean to the city and to the world. Libraries keep the records on behalf of all humanity. We contain the unique and the absurd, the wise and fragments of stupidity. We mirror the world, in all its folly and wisdom. We serve the masses and the individual. A library must never be indifferent to the individual, must always protect him. Think of a lone person in one of our reading rooms, who has just read a book, a single book that has perhaps not been read in twenty years by another living soul, and from that reading comes an invention of incalculable importance to the human race. It makes a man tremble. Endless sources of knowledge are here. We have books in three thousand languages and dialects. I can take you through here from Balanchine to Tibet. There are esoterica on synthetic fuels, neglected maps of the Falklands which were suddenly in demand at the time of the Falklands War. And Warsaw telephone directories from the years of the Holocaust, often invaluable as the only source of documentation of who lived where, in order to substantiate claims for retribution. There will never be an end to this library. Never!

Gregorian died last week. He brought boundless energy and enthusiasm to all he did. From the same New Yorker profile:

      Yes, and...
Vartan Gregorian
      1934-2021

(cf [1], [2], Boston Public Library (2002-06-20), Vartan Gregorian (2010-02-05), Philanthropy and Charity (2010-03-28), Libraries on the Road to Home (2010-04-08), Vartan Gregorian and Andrew Carnegie (2010-05-05), Librarians (2020-02-03), ...)

- Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 06:25:31 (EDT)


2021-03-26 - Garfield Connector

~4.5 mi @ ~18.5 min/mi

"Down is harder than Up!" Roadkill tests the proposition at dead-end Garfield Av, where he clings to saplings and descends the steep hillside first climbed six months ago (2020-09-23 - The End Is Nigh). A dirt track along Rock Creek's left bank leads across muddy puddles to the paved bikepath. Most of the Audubon Naturalist Society side route is boardwalk, but a final hill is tricky-rocky-rooty. Bright graffiti graces the understructure of a bridge just inside the Beltway, surveyed from the opposite side of the stream just four days ago.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 06:42:27 (EDT)


2021-03-23 - Rock Creek Cliff Climb

~2.2 mi @ ~18.9 min/mi

"Hug the trees!" Roadkill clings to twigs and scrambles up the steep 30 meter hill looming over Rock Creek. On Woodstock Av at the top a lawn sculpture, clad in shiny beads, guards a garden. Bright new graffiti graces the underside of a bridge just inside the Beltway.http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Lawn-art-beads-woman_Woodstock_2021-03-23.jpg

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 05:57:26 (EDT)


How to Speak

The lecture "How to Speak" by the late MIT computer science professor Patrick Winston (1943-2019) offers excellent advice for effective communication. Heuristics from the transcript:

(cf Tufte Thoughts (2000-12-18), There Are Three Points (2012-05-06), Meta-Briefing (2012-11-22), ...)

- Monday, April 19, 2021 at 06:13:04 (EDT)


2021-03-21 - Arty Ash Tray

~5.8 mi @ ~20.7 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Lawn-lady_sculpture_light-socket_ash-tray_Kensington_2021-03-21.jpg"Manny's Woods" reads the sign by the Garrett Park swim club and Cambria dog run. Half Full and Roadkill explore the tiny memorial area, named for a local resident who died in 2003. It ends abruptly at concrete foundations that suggest a long-vanished bridge above the railroad tracks. Dawn frost fades as the sun warms arty hearts hanging on a Valentine line. An arched-back lawn lady holds a light socket that's now being used as an ash tray.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 05:59:01 (EDT)


2021-03-20 - Ecclesiastical Moon

~3.4 mi @ ~23.3 min/mi

"Easter and Passover don't always co-occur - but you don't want to know the details!" Roadkill mercifully refrains from lecturing on the Ecclesiastical Full Moon when Half Full inquires. Danger Man asks Siri about the nature of Dark Matter and receives a lengthy response that boils down to, "Nobody knows." The trio explores Chevy Chase and enjoys front-yard inflatables, including Easter bunnies riding carrots and driving trains.

(trackfile)

- Friday, April 16, 2021 at 06:51:58 (EDT)


Meditation, Improv, Aikido

Earl Vickers in a 2020 essay "Yes, and": Acceptance, Resistance, and Change in Improv, Aikido, and Psychotherapy offers an interesting table of "Parallels between improv, Aikido, Ericksonian therapy, and meditation". Omitting the (redundant, distracting?) psychotherapy column it looks like:

Concept Improv Aikido Meditation
Physical Stance Relaxed and alert, flexible, open awareness Centered stance, relaxed, neither rigid nor limp, soft gaze, deep breathing, open awareness; receptive, open, engaged Relaxed yet alert, attention to breathing, open awareness
Being Centered Be spontaneous, present in the moment, listening Centered in the present moment, centered physically, connected to opponent's center Focused on the present
Entering "Enter the Danger"IrimiFully engage with the present moment
Resistance, Struggle Avoid blocking your partner's offers and your own ideas Avoid struggle; give the attacker nothing to resist – the attacker feels no force until it is too late Don't struggle with distracting thoughts
Blending Yes, and...Blending Accept any distracting thoughts and continue with your meditation
Acceptance, Mistakes as Gifts "Mistakes are gifts," an opportunity to remove the fear of failure – celebrate failure View the attack as a gift, an opportunity to restore disturbed harmony Accept the present moment; accept distracting thoughts instead of trying to block them out
Redirection Add to the offer, embellish it or redirect it Redirect the attack using circular motions Gently redirect your focus to the object of your meditation
Indirectness "Dare to be dull" – don't go directly for the punch line Indirect movements taking the path of least resistance, frequently a spiral Let your thoughts run their course instead of trying to make them stop
Protect your partner / yourself Make your partner look good; don't try to one-up your partner Protect the attacker; use the least amount of force needed Don't beat yourself up for losing focus

... a fascinating, thoughtful summary of similarities in some related paths to self-awareness!

(cf Aikido Spirit (2003-12-09), Virtues of Softness (2014-03-20), Mantra - Soften Into Experience (2014-11-26), Aikido Zen (2019-04-05), ...)

- Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 06:20:22 (EDT)


2021-03-20 - Park Service Fence Gaps

~4.0 mi @ ~20.3 min/mi

"Sorry, we don't open until 9 AM!" says the kind staffer at the Parkway Deli when Roadkill rattles the door at 8. No hot coffee yet! Frost glazes the grass between muddy patches on trails in the woods. A big opening in the fence invites exploration at the Maryland Park service's Meadowbrook maintenance facility, but once inside the only other way out is a crawl through a low gap.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 05:26:00 (EDT)


2021-03-19 - Lost Wing

~7.2 mi @ ~17.6 min/mi

"Sure, go ahead - they're my Mom's statues!" the young man gives Roadkill permission to photograph lawn artwork at his home near Sligo Golf Course. A garden angel ponders her lost wing. Friday afternoon's ramble leads to new cut-throughs at Mary's Center (community health care) and the Masonic Children's Center on University Blvd. A cat sits in the sun near a sign warning "Beware - Guard Dog". A muddy trail through the woods leads to a comfy armchair and discarded bike. Gravel crunches under the wheels of a Park Police cruiser as it creeps along a narrow trail.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Angel-lost-wing_2021-03-19.jpg

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 06:42:56 (EDT)


How to Share Hard Ideas

Paul Krugman, economist, wrote an essay in 1996 called "Ricardo's Difficult Idea". It's about Comparative Advantage, and more generally about how to help smart people understand non-obvious concepts, and in particular how to explain model-based thinking. BLUF:

From the beginning of his discussion, Krugman's diagnosis:

At the deepest level, opposition to comparative advantage – like opposition to the theory of evolution – reflects the aversion of many intellectuals to an essentially mathematical way of understanding the world. Both comparative advantage and natural selection are ideas grounded, at base, in mathematical models – simple models that can be stated without actually writing down any equations, but mathematical models all the same. The hostility that both evolutionary theorists and economists encounter from humanists arises from the fact that both fields lie on the front line of the war between C.P. Snow's two cultures: territory that humanists feel is rightfully theirs, but which has been invaded by aliens armed with equations and computers.

... and from his conclusion, Krugman's prescription:

5. What can be done?

I cannot offer any grand strategy for dealing with the aversion of intellectuals to Ricardo's difficult idea. No matter what economists do, we can be sure that ten years from now the talk shows and the op-ed pages will still be full of men and women who regard themselves as experts on the global economy, but do not know or want to know about comparative advantage. Still, the diagnosis I have offered here provides some tactical hints:

(i) Take ignorance seriously: I am convinced that many economists, when they try to argue in favor of free trade, make the mistake of overestimating both their opponents and their audience. They cannot believe that famous intellectuals who write and speak often about world trade could be entirely ignorant of the most basic ideas. But they are – and so are their readers. This makes the task of explaining the benefits of trade harder – but it also means that it is remarkably easy to make fools of your opponents, catching them in elementary errors of logic and fact. This is playing dirty, and I advocate it strongly.

(ii) Adopt the stance of rebel: There is nothing that plays worse in our culture than seeming to be the stodgy defender of old ideas, no matter how true those ideas may be. Luckily, at this point the orthodoxy of the academic economists is very much a minority position among intellectuals in general; one can seem to be a courageous maverick, boldly challenging the powers that be, by reciting the contents of a standard textbook. It has worked for me!

(iii) Don't take simple things for granted: It is crucial, when trying to communicate Ricardo's idea to a broader audience, to stop and try to put yourself in the position of someone who does not know economics. Arguments must be built from the ground up – don't assume that people understand why it is reasonable to assume constant employment, or a self-correcting trade balance, or even that similar workers tend to be paid similar wages in different industries.

(iv) Justify modeling: Do not presume, as I did, that people accept and understand the idea that models facilitate understanding. Most intellectuals don't accept that idea, and must be persuaded or at least put on notice that it is an issue. It is particularly useful to have some clear examples of how "common sense" can be misleading, and a simple model can clarify matters immensely. (My recent favorite involves the "dollarization" of Russia. It is not easy to convince a non-economist that when gangsters hoard $100 bills in Vladivostock, this is a capital outflow from Russia's point of view – and that it has the same effects on the US economy as if that money was put in a New York bank. But if you can get the point across, you have also taught an object lesson in why economists who think in terms of models have an advantage over people who do economics by catch-phrase). None of this is going to be easy. Ricardo's idea is truly, madly, deeply difficult. But it is also utterly true, immensely sophisticated – and extremely relevant to the modern world.

(cf OptiMizers (2001-04-01), AdvantEdge (2001-04-15), Insight Modeling (2019-12-31), ...)

- Monday, April 12, 2021 at 05:57:30 (EDT)


2021-03-16 - CJ Reunion

~6.2 mi @ ~17.9 min/mi

"Courtney!" Roadkill greets a friend out for a walk in her new neighborhood. Quick chat ensues and prepares for future rambles together. They part ways; Roadkill delivers adult rehydration liquids to Danger Man, then takes dirt paths over the hills and through the woods behind Acorn Hill Waldorf Kindergarten & Nursery, near the Sligo golf course. Lawn gnomes laze.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 06:18:31 (EDT)


2021-03-14 - Dark Matters

~5.0 mi @ ~21.3 min/mi

"It is quite dark underground!" Silver Surfer notes, as Danger Man discusses the search for Dark Matter via detectors buried deep inside the Earth. Literal-minded Roadkill gets the joke belatedly. Half Full leads the gang on a Garrett Park walkabout exploration of the Schuykill Rd dead-end community trapped between the train tracks and Rock Creek. A resident reports that his car and $1300 was stolen; he found the car, damaged. Before the rest of the crew arrives Roadkill checks out industrial park culs-de-sac near White Flint, where geese honk at him.

(trackfile)

- Friday, April 09, 2021 at 06:07:11 (EDT)


Constant Miracle

Infinite God-hammer
Strike the anvil
Of this world
Shatter it
And then
Reforge it
Moment by moment
In a constant miracle
That no one ever notices

- Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 05:57:46 (EDT)


2021-03-13 - Unknot Theory

~5.8 mi @ ~21.9 min/mi

"Rogers Pass holds the record cold for the continental US!" Danger Man suggests points of interest to visit in the northwestern states, as he rambles with Square Peg and Roadkill through new neighborhoods in Chevy Chase and back to Bethesda on a sunny Saturday morning. New developments in Knot Theory (last month, a long-sought quasi-polynomial time algorithm for recognizing the unknot!) and cosmology ("Hey Siri, what is Dark Matter?") accompany discussions of new streaming video shows. A US Space Force flag flaps in the breeze.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, April 07, 2021 at 06:02:43 (EDT)


2021-03-13 - Girl With Hoop

~4.3 mi @ ~21.9 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Girl with Hoop by Jenny Read"Grand Teton – what does that mean?" Roadkill and Square Peg muse about the entymology of geographic names during an early Saturday public art walk around downtown Bethesda. They find sculptures and murals, silly and serious.

Conversation wrestles with how to think better about complex issues, especially on topics that some people find painful. Feedback loops between individuals and society can run either way, and are hard to interpret. As Mister Rogers said (Tikkun Olam): "No matter what our particular job, especially in our world today, we all are called to be Tikkun Olam – Repairers of Creation. Thank you for whatever you do, wherever you are, to bring joy and light and hope and faith and pardon and love to your neighbor and to yourself."

Yes, and...

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, April 06, 2021 at 07:01:15 (EDT)


Confusion of Ideas

To teach, to explain something, to answer a question, one must have a good mental model of what the listener already knows and doesn't know. Otherwise the explanation won't be at the right level and the transmission won't make sense when it gets to the receiver. Charles Babbage in his autobiographical Passages from the Life of a Philosopher writes:

... On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower, House put this question. I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. ...

... correctly identifying the main challenge of responding!

(from [1]; cf [2] Chapter 5, "Difference Engine No. 1" final page, and Common Understanding (1999-10-08), Technical Minded (2003-07-18), Impute Motives (2009-03-18), How to Explain Anything (2016-01-28), Eagles Are All about Efficiency (2020-05-12), ...)

- Monday, April 05, 2021 at 06:42:40 (EDT)


2021-03-12 - Discovery

~5.1 mi @ ~17.7 min/mi

"No Trespassing! - Danger! - Caution! - Warning!" Scary signs (and vigilant guards) at the water tower deter Roadkill from a quick inspection despite a temptingly open gate. Friday afternoon's walkabout leads past downtown Silver Spring murals on the (former) Discovery Communications building, enamel panels of the universe by artist Narcissus Quagliata. A standing-defiant turtle sculpture is covered with peaceful Einstein quotes, and a masked lawn cat is surrounded by rabbits.Discovery Building mural Silver Spring MD

(trackfile)

- Saturday, April 03, 2021 at 04:54:42 (EDT)


2021-03-07 - Yoda

~4.4 mi @ ~16.8 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Yoda_2021-03-07.jpg"Mercaptan!" Roadkill sniffs trace amounts of the stenchy natural gas additive as he explores Westmore Road by the big Washington Gas facility. The "Dead End" sign is missing at the industrial park's entrance and the street stops abruptly at the train tracks. A brisk Sunday afternoon walk brings back memories of the Rockville "Millennium Trail" on Gude Drive. Yoda in his bathrobe stands guard in a Lincoln Park front yard.

(trackfile)

- Friday, April 02, 2021 at 06:22:12 (EDT)


Network for Goodness

A cheery hopeful thought from George Saunders in his book on writing fiction, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain:

... There's a vast underground network for goodness at work in this world –
a web of people who've put reading at the center of their lives because they know
from experience that reading makes them more expansive, generous people ...

(cf On Booklessness (1999-07-18), Pursuit of Excellence (2002-02-22), Improving My Mind (2003-06-22), Knowledge and Public Happiness (2003-07-29), Reading at Risk (2004-09-01), Learning to Pause (2015-08-10), ...)

- Thursday, April 01, 2021 at 06:30:11 (EDT)


2021-03-07 - Do Not Compare

~5.1 mi @ ~21.3 min/mi

"He didn't go into physics because he compared himself with the only other high school physics kid he knew," says Silver Surfer, "and thought he wasn't smart enough – unfortunately the other kid was Richard Feynman, a future Nobel Laureate!" Canada Geese honk, a Northern Cardinal sings, and an Eastern Bluebird chirps near Sligo Creek. The Dude from Far Rockaway joins Danger Man, Half Full, and Roadkill for a chilly Sunday morning ramble.

(trackfile; cf Self Standardization (2002-04-06), Do Not Compare Yourself (2020-03-08), ...)

- Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 06:26:46 (EDT)


2021-03-06 - Kimchi Girl

~5.1 mi @ ~21.0 min/mi

"My Mom made the best kimchi!" declares Tyger (aka 김치 여자), as she crosses a corner of the country club with Danger Man on a bright and chilly Saturday morning. Roadkill joins the duo for a walkabout on steep neighborhood streets after a solo survey of North Chevy Chase Park, where two of the town's Finest return his raised-coffee-cup salute from the warmth of their patrol car idling at the entrance. Hope they don't worry when he never exits! A woodsy path with a bit of off-trail bushwhacking leads back to civilization via another dead-end street. Lawn art abounds including a leprechaun astride an inflated unicorn. Happy early St Patrick's Day!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 06:26:00 (EDT)


Shiller_Price_Earnings_Ratio

For quick, clean, revealing charts see Shiller PE and similar dimensionless ratios of prices/earnings (e.g., on multpl.com). In brief:

So remember: don't get caught up in fantasies of wealth without work, save money for the future, avoid high sales or management fees, and rebalance annually between "stocks" and "bonds" (or their equivalents — shares in major businesses and fixed income investments). It really is that simple, over a lifetime!

And for some additional good suggestions, from a Wikipedia summary of Andrew Tobias' "The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need":

1. No reliable methods exist of speedily accumulating vast riches.
2. One's income should exceed one's expenditures.
3. If one's expenditures exceed one's income, one should determine the nature of the expenditures and whether they can be foregone with equanimity.
4. One should beware of financial advertising. The advertisers and the financial institutions who offer it often have interests that run counter to those of the small investors whom it targets.
5. One should put one's first several thousand dollars into an account which is unlikely to lose its nominal value.
6. One should employ tax-sheltered accounts to invest for one's retirement and for advanced academic education of one's progeny.
7. One should commit a fixed sum to no-load, low-expense stock index mutual funds every month for the remainder of one's term in the labor market. One should not commit less money than usual after a severe or prolonged market decline. Nor should one commit more money than usual after the market has ascended sharply for years.
8. One cannot reliably achieve higher returns from the stock market than the market average, no matter how much time and effort one devotes to the task. And one can achieve nearly the same return as the market average almost without devoting time or effort to the task by periodically committing a fixed sum to index funds. Therefore, one should make the periodic commitment of one's money and return to one's regular routine.
9. One should omit complex, laborious, expensive, unreliable tactics that are alleged by some to enable one to achieve higher returns than the stock market average. One should merely periodically commit a fixed sum to index funds.
10. Investing in commodities, or coins, stamps, automobiles, collectables, autographs, pictures, art or anything like that is not worth the cost for the amateur investor because of two reasons: You are not an expert, so you will probably be buying from an expert. Second, even if you buy at a good price, you will be selling to an expert, and lose money by selling to one.
11. Low Price-Earnings stocks beat the market the majority of the time. If all stocks are high PE stocks, wait six months for the market to crash.
12. Buy stocks that have dividends at least equal to the amount you would find at a bank.
13. Only invest money you do not need for the next five years, and diversify by not buying all stocks at the same time, or with the same company.

(cf Money Wisdom (2001-05-20), Bubble Busters (2002-02-06), Back to Normal (2008-11-13), Boom Times Loom Soon (2012-08-30), Harry Browne Rules of Financial Safety (2019-12-24), ...)

- Monday, March 29, 2021 at 07:00:24 (EDT)


2021-03-05 - No BBQ

~5.2 mi @ ~18.6 min/mi

"If only they had barbecue tonight!" Danger Man and Roadkill yearn for Sligo Pit BBQ (closed until 1 April) as they speed-walk up narrow-steep Dallas Avenue at the southern edge of the golf course. A new cut-through leads past the Maryland Parks headquarters building to Burnett Av where they part ways at sunset. Another brisk climb takes Roadkill via a narrow dirt path to Harvey Road. Miniature gnomes guard a local lawn.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 06:29:39 (EDT)


2021-03-04 - Beltway Bridge Graffiti

~2.9 mi @ ~22.0 min/mi

"Good evening, Deer!" At sunset Monday Roadkill startles four does grazing at the Forest Glen Creek buffet. Ruins of old brick structures bear bright graffiti, as does the Capital Beltway sound-barrier. Scramble down through thorny brush, dance across the stream via steppingstones, and find a stick to assist the return climb up a muddy slope. Caryatids line a courtyard at National Park Seminary.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 05:10:56 (EDT)


Invisible Fixers

What a neat concept: tikkun olam meaning "Repair of the World" in Hebrew — working to help make this universe better, sort stuff out, fix what is broken, nudge society into harmony, promote justice and fairness for all. "Olam" can mean "all of time", and it can also mean "hidden".

How marvelous, to be a selfless, unseen, quiet World Repairman!

(and though "Tikkun Olam" may have other meanings, how nice to think of it this way! – cf No Glory (2000-01-11), Dark Glory (2001-03-23), Invisible Web (2002-12-08), Tikkun Olam (2019-12-11), ...)

- Friday, March 26, 2021 at 06:39:50 (EDT)


2021-03-02 - Botero Ballerinas

~5.6 mi @ ~18.0 min/mi

Botero Ballerinas by Barton Rubenstein"Botero Ballerinas", the downtown Silver Spring kinetic sculptures first found during 2021-02-17 - SS Ballerinas, sing metallically as they twirl after Roadkill gives them a polite nudge. (Click to see a movie clip of them turning; may not work in some browsers.) He carries 5 library books on his back and turns them in through the slot on a chilly Tuesday evening. A new narrow path leads down from the 16th Street bridge over the railroad tracks to a quiet (between trains) neighborhood.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 05:53:07 (EDT)


2021-03-01 - Parkside

~3.0 mi @ ~22.5 min/mi

"Dodge Stealth Parking Only - All Others Will Be Crushed" reads the sign behind classic sports cars parked on Dallas Ave, eastern boundary of Sligo Creek Golf Course. At sundown Danger Man and Roadkill explore a new neighborhood and refrain from venturing through a hole in the fence. (Maybe next time!) A mystery building in the woods turns out to be "Parkside", headquarters of the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). The twins reminisce about college sports: both took weightlifting as freshmen, and both got an "A" for improvement! 🏋🏻 🏋🏻‍♂️

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 06:40:21 (EDT)


2021-02-28 - Slurpee Sale

5.9 mi @ 22.6 min/mi

"So what were the Six Flags that flew over Texas?" Danger Man comes up with almost all of them in response to Roadkill's challenge. Half Full is amused. Four big deer watch from the woods by Beach Dr as the trio amble downstream and back. Rain pauses, starts, and stops again. We discuss cosmology, taxes, gambling, and mysterious car symptoms.

About 90 minutes earlier Roadkill, solo, watches ducks dabble in the floodwaters that blanket much of KenGar Palisades Park. He climbs the steep path, crosses the train tracks, and finds a semi-sketchy shortcut between Howard and Knowles Ave via the Arden Courts "memory care community". Other cut-throughs lead back through Kensington to a 7-11 where Slurpees are on deep discount. On the return trip he discovers a steep path from dead-end Mertford St down a Rock Creek tributary that feeds the bogs where he began.
http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Flag_Kensington-park_Eagle_2021-02-38.jpg

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 06:34:54 (EDT)


2021-02-27 - Smurf Village

~9.0 mi @ ~22.5 min/mi

"Avocado toast with salmon!" tempts the breakfast menu at Java Nation. Square Peg and Roadkill arrive far before official opening, find an unlocked door, and are thankful for kind staff who bend the rules and serve excellent coffee. Saturday's trek starts in light rain at White Flint Park. The twins explore the Timberlawn neighborhood ("No Non-Resident Dog Walking!") in search of enlightenment, resolve to be kind, and discover a hole in the fence behind Tilden Middle School.

"It's a Smurf Village!" says Coney Counter, who arrives to lead an architectural history tour. Caro-LINE gives chocolate to K-Pop; Half Full and Danger Man join for a survey of the other side of the tracks. We share gratitude for good friends, good health, good times together!

(trackfile)

- Monday, March 22, 2021 at 05:37:50 (EDT)


Hard, Hard Problem

Hard, hard problem:
You turn it over
Study it from the other side
Push it around the floor
Bend it, but it springs back
Gnaw it, until your teeth hurt
Try one thing on it, then another
Set it aside
Pretend not to care about it
Sneak up on it and surprise it
Trade it for another hard, hard problem
Take it back again
Carry it with you wherever you go
Sleep with it beside you
Wear it like a collar
Wear it down
Weary it
Worry it
Dirty it
Clean it
Chew on it
Find a tiny crack in it, maybe that it had all along
Make the crack in it a little larger
Give it to the next dog

(cf Richard Hamming's "You and Your Research", Applied Bypasses (1999-04-14), Genius and Complexity (1999-05-25), DiffiCult (2001-06-28), Insight Modeling (2019-12-31), ...)

- Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 06:55:35 (EDT)


2021-02-25 - Language Lesson

~3.5 mi @ ~19.7 min/mi

"Plantar fasciitis? Achilles tendinitis?" Danger Man and Roadkill practice their Latin and Greek during a sunset ramble. Cyclists on Sligo Creek Trail swerve and warn as they swoop past.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, March 20, 2021 at 05:45:21 (EDT)


The Way It Is

William Stafford (1914-1993) wrote thousands of poems. Or maybe he discovered them, or brushed away the words that weren't right leaving the poem behind. He wrote this one on 2 Aug 1993, less than a month before he died.

The Way It Is

There's a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.

In the collection of Stafford's work The Way It Is that she edited, poet Naomi Shihab Nye sees and seizes him:

... An intense awareness of presence and absence permeates here. He embraced and saluted the process of working. He meandered, and valued the turns. He honored, while demystifying anything that rang of pomp. He dug in the ground. He picked things up and looked at them. He had so many frequent flier miles he could have started his own program. He answered people's letters diligently, often closing with "Adios."

He sent poems to people who asked for them. No magazine was too small for his consideration. He was marvelously funny, with a wry tip of wit, the folded poems coming out of one pocket, going back to the other. He left devotees in his wake but wouldn't have thought of them that way. He befriended the earth and its citizens most generously and attentively, at the same time remaining solitary in his countenance, intact, composed, mysterious, complete in his humble service. ...

... echoing Stafford himself.

(cf In My Journal (2005-01-29), William Stafford (2017-10-29), ...)

- Friday, March 19, 2021 at 06:38:13 (EDT)


2021-02-24 - Flamingo Love

~5.5 mi @ ~17.9 min/mi

"🦩❤️!" says the display of Valentine hearts and lawn ornament flamingos. Roadkill discovers multiple dead-ends on the periphery of aptly-named Woodend Sanctuary, the Audubon Naturalist Society headquarters. Warm weather melts icy patches into slippery mud. Near "Rancho Relaxo", a spectacular sunset!

(trackfile)

- Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 06:32:03 (EDT)


2021-02-23 - Riprap

~5.3 mi @ ~19.0 min/mi

"Rip-Rap: Piedras de Retención" says the sign by Sligo Creek, a 1-to-3 length ratio in the two languages. A life-sized deer poses for selfies with Roadkill near the Clement Rd cut-through to the park. Icy-muddy patches add slippery messiness to a new connection between bikepath and Dameron Dr. Pansies bloom despite the cold.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 05:48:46 (EDT)


Certain Uncertainty

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is,
and knowing how to live with insecurity
is the only security.

... from the Siobhan Roberts essay "The Lasting Lessons of John Conway's Game of Life" in the 28 Dec 2020 New York Times, quoting Melanie Mitchell quoting John Allen Paulos:

Given that Conway's proof that the Game of Life can be made to simulate a Universal Computer – that is, it could be "programmed" to carry out any computation that a traditional computer can do – the extremely simple rules can give rise to the most complex and most unpredictable behavior possible. This means that there are certain properties of the Game of Life that can never be predicted, even in principle!

In this moment in time, it's important to emphasize that inherent unpredictability – so well illustrated in even the simple Game of Life – is a feature of life in the real world as well as in the Game of Life. We have to figure out ways to flourish in spite of the inherent unpredictability and uncertainty we constantly live with. As the mathematician John Allen Paulos so eloquently said, "Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security." This is, I think, Life's most important lesson.

(cf Dead Beginnings (2002-09-28), Mind Children (2003-04-17), Pyramid Building (2004-02-21), Genius at Play (2018-11-04), ...)

- Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 06:31:26 (EDT)


2021-02-21 - East Village

~1.3 mi @ ~23.5 min/mi

"Maybe if we lie down in the middle of the street?" Kanga and Roadkill watch a turkey vulture circling overhead and wonder how to lure it closer for a photo op. An ice-clad meadow makes for an instant skating lesson. "Should we stick to the sidewalk?" Speculation includes treks on the Catoctin and Seneca Creek Trails. Or maybe a time-limited distance challenge? Hmmmm!

(trackfile)

- Monday, March 15, 2021 at 06:20:08 (EDT)


2021-02-21 - Believe

~4.4 mi 2 ~24.7 min/mi

"2,864,974" say stickers on cars in Garrett Park. Danger Man, Doc Bob, Half Full, and Roadkill meander on a snowy sunny Sunday, admiring architecture and sharing silly stories. "I sleep 6 hours 25 minutes most nights!" and "I dream about work, and sometimes actually get work done in my dreams!" A festive ribbon decorates a tall tree; a Moravian Star dangles from a branch. Why are Bitcoins worth anything? Why is anything worth anything? Roadkill suggests that it all comes down to trust.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, March 14, 2021 at 06:51:50 (EDT)


In the Woods

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Fairchild-House_In-the-Woods_2021-02-06.jpgFairchild House and five acres of adjacent grounds were acquired in 1959 by CCRA. It is the remainder of a 34-acre estate, named "In the Woods," developed by Dr. David Fairchild, the renowned botanist, and his wife, Marian, in the early part of the 20th century. The house was innovative for its emphasis to connect with the natural setting via its many exterior doors, roof deck terrace and interior detailing that celebrated the natural world. On the property, beginning in 1906, Dr. Fairchild planted many important tree species including the Dove, Cedar of Lebanon, Chinese Fringe, Nikko Maple, Oriental Oak and Flowering Japanese Cherry, many of which survive to this day on the CCRA property and are listed as Maryland Champion Trees. As a U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist, Fairchild traveled the world and brought over 200,000 plants and seeds to the U.S. He is responsible for introducing many foods to Americans that are now commonplace, such as avocados, mangos, and more. He also became well known for his role in the introduction of the Japanese Cherry trees at the Tidal Basin and in the Kenwood neighborhood.

(as seen during walk 2021-02-06 - In the Woods)

- Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 05:46:40 (EST)


2021-02-20 - Rise Above

~9.5 mi @ ~23.2 min/mi

"I need to work on my Spread sheet!" Danger Man and Roadkill analyze weight records (and sometimes set weight records). Square Peg tells of satellite orbital equations and kids' happy accomplishments; their tragedies often are less scary than first feared. The trio's rambling route takes them along icy streets and brings back memories of where they lived years ago, carbon-dated based on who was in labor and gave birth to whom during which weather event. Speaking of which: today is Peg's happy birthday!

"Dig deep!" and "Rise Above!" Metacognitive metaphors, maybe useful. Then there are the benefits of mistakes, serendipitous email address errors in bringing new talent to bear. Explorers Lewis & Clark make a cameo appearance during a discussion of hydrological divides, the Chicago Canal, and the Great Basin. Social justice issues involve {urban, ethnic, educated} populations – and the opposite. We remember times when we could have done better toward others – and the opposite. Life is often tough – and the opposite. It's not a zero-sum game. All we can do is our best, given the circumstances. And we can help each other do better!

"Be kind!" a 2013 graduation speech by writer George Saunders suggests. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I'm old, I admire kind people." And Saunders himself seems to be even more optimistic than Roadkill: "Oh, there's a nail in my head. It's great, I'll hang a coat on it, that'll be good." Ha!

(trackfile)

- Friday, March 12, 2021 at 05:28:08 (EST)


2021-02-17 - SS Ballerinas

~5.2 mi @ ~18.4 min/mi

"With curvy shapes evoking the feminine form, these ballerinas interact with slow rhythmical movements, symbolizing the dynamic nature of human interaction." In a downtown alley the triplet shiny-steel wind-kinetic sculptures named "Botero Ballerinas" pose en pointe. Roadkill pauses to admire the art by Barton Rubenstein. A masked neighbor emerges from a day of work at home and says, "Hi!" as she sets out for her evening walk. "Shine Brighter in Dark Times" advises a cheery window decoration in downtown Silver Spring.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 05:25:31 (EST)


2021-02-16 - Love, Kindness, Respect

~5.0 mi @ ~19.0 min/mi

"I'm still wandering around lost!" Roadkill texts comrades, as a northward ramble drifts west. Then suddenly, deja vu on Casper St, as from the opposite direction he spies scenery last seen at sunrise with Square Peg a month ago (2021-01-16 - Onslaughted). Small planet! Kensington front yard art counsels Love, Kindness, and Respect.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 07:22:12 (EST)


Easy to Forget

Most of the time it's so easy to forget that:

(cf My Business (1999-05-30), My Religion (2000-11-06), Most Important (2002-05-16), 2008-03-23 - Sunrise Service at Seneca Creek (2008-03-24), Purpose of Life (2009-01-28), ...)

- Tuesday, March 09, 2021 at 05:49:09 (EST)



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