We’ve been blowing through some series now that Kim Puckett is retired.

We finished up NUMB3RS, grabbed the last season of Bosche, and have restarted Bones.

Looks like we watched Bones in 2015-2016, not knowing that 2017 would be the last season, which means that we went back and picked up that season finales in 2017, so it’s been four years since we watched it – five years since we watched the episodes that we are watching now.

I did some back of the napkin math a day or two back (okay, I didn’t use a napkin) and I think that I have seen David Boreanaz in more things than I have seen any other actor. I’ve seen twenty years of his series work – three years in Buffy, five in Angel, and twelve in Bones – plus the crossover Angel->Buffy episodes after the spinoff.

That’s a total of 411 episodes that aired for an hour each.

Now, if you count the fact that I’ve seen all of Buffy seven times, and Angel twice – and am now watching Bones for a second time – that’s some serious screen time at the Puckett house for David.

He did pretty well for a guy who only had a couple of brief speaking roles until Angel. They kept screening actors to play Angel, and couldn’t find the right guy – somebody on the staff said “There’s this guy who walks his dog in front of my house – I think he might fit the part.”

Talk about your lucky breaks πŸ™‚

I’m worried that I’m watching too much TV, though – some evenings, we might watch as many as four episodes of this. That’s almost three hours. Of course, that’s one long movie. But it still might be too much.

I’ll pray about that.

I finally pulled down the backpacks from the shelf in the garage. What did I find?

Wealth. Untold riches.

That’s six climbing harnesses – including one extremely-adjustable guest harness – and six pairs of shoes. There are two ropes on the table – more on the floor – along with an unbelievable assortment of traditional protection – cams and nuts and wedges – along with quick draws and a couple of ATCs.

I don’t even want to think about how much this all cost; I have some idea that we really haven’t gotten our money’s worth out of it all πŸ™‚ But I’m willing to try to increase our ROI on this climbing gear as soon as Kim Puckett is ready to do so.

I’m going to take a couple of guide books down and let her figure out where she’d like to go. Because, if it’s not her idea, then it won’t happen. I’ve been married that long.

Today was a three hour ride on the trainer; I haven’t really run this week. I’ve had a couple of good rides, a couple of good swims – and a long hike with lots of vertical, and 7.5 miles pushing my cart through 18 holes at Northern Pines. Never before would I have believed that that could be a workout. But, then, never before was I ever so old πŸ™‚

On the piano, I’m working on “Piano Man” – it’s an arrangement that is published by JoelSongs, but it can’t be the original. There’s no funky little intro (the kind of “funky little” that would take me an hour to learn πŸ™‚ I keep almost quitting piano – almost, but not quite.

Two or three days ago, I told Kim Puckett that I was bored. That’s not the sort of thing that I say, but I had to admit that it was true. I think it’s purely because I don’t have energy enough to do the things that I want to do. Of course, that may be backwards – I may not have any energy because I’m bored, and thus don’t have the enthusiasm. If that’s the case, then I may be in trouble, because that would imply that changes are required, and changes just aren’t going to happen in our lives anymore – Ethel has spoken. This is what life is going to be now.

So the only other option is – more caffeine. Reckon I’d better go get another cup, and then come back up here and work on “Piano Man” some more πŸ™‚

This morning, during the Inductive Big Book Study, it suddenly hit me – once upon a time, I was not sitting in meetings, with Big Books on the table.

We were studying the second page of Chapter Four, “We Agnostics”, and were in the paragraph where it says

“Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its
main object is to enable you to find a Power greater
than yourself which will solve your problem. That
means we have written a book which we believe to
be spiritual as well as moral.”

Big Book, page 45

For most of my life, I had thought that Alcoholics Anonymous was a place where alcoholics got together and sort of “propped each other up” – that it was a self-help group, or some type of group therapy, and that the answer lay in the Fellowship itself. There was a Robert Heinlein novel where the character was in an insecure situation, and he said “I needed <something> the way an Alcoholic Anonymous needed his hand held.”

That’s what I thought it was – that it was the people helping each other. I even thought that maybe they helped each other with all of their problems, so that troubles and worries would keep them from drinking.

I had no idea that what they did was show each other how to access the Solution – and, yes, that is capitalized because it refers to the Almighty. That what we were given was a set of instructions that, if followed as a way of life, just made the problem go away.

I’ve now spent about 60% of my life sitting around these tables. The other 40% ? Most of that was my childhood. Getting sober at age 26, I’ve got very little of my adult life outside of AA.

But it just hit me, during that meeting this morning – once upon a time, I had never sat in a meeting. I had never been discussing this solution, so that others could hear about it and incorporate it into their lives – or, as we tend to do in the Inductive Study, delve deeper into the “Black Words on White Pages” to see how I might better use this solution, or better present it to somebody else.

And that idea – of not being here – just seems so foreign to me….

From Roll Bama Roll

“We don’t have to like it, but college football as we know it isn’t long for the world.”

This is Bryce Young.

Bryce Young is a quarterback at the University of Alabama. Bryce Young has never started a football game.

Bryce Young already has a million dollars in endorsement deals before the season even starts.

If I’m watching a movie or a TV program – fictional, not documentary – I pretty much have to care about the protagonist in order to maintain interest. I have to share some struggle or values with the hero, or…or I’m turning it off and reading Jack Reacher.

It’s hard for me to care about a college kid who’s making a million dollars. In fact, it’s pretty much hard to care about college football at all.

So – as of last year, pretty much all of the college teams decided to use their games as a platform to tell me about important social and political issues. Why a bunch of college kids would think that they have anything to say is their business, but why would I want to listen? They’ve never done anything, learned anything, or lived anything. They’re just…famous. Prima donnas who want to tell me how to think about things.

With the transfer portal, these kids can now jump from team to team. They don’t have to care about anything – nobody is expecting loyalty. They aren’t expected to be fans of their own team, or to love their school. They are expected to jump from team to team to maximize their chances – which aren’t much more than 1% – of making it to the NFL. Who’s gonna bother to learn the fight song? They got important business stuff to think about.

And now these kids are making literally megabucks.

In the meantime, it looks more like conference realignment may be happening again, and that we may wind up with two superconferences of 24 teams each that actually have a shot at a national championship.

With the new proposed playoff, twelve teams will be able to play for the championship – if they do this realignment, then that means one quarter of the college teams from the superconferences would make it into the playoff. Reckon it doesn’t matter if you lose a game or two, or three – you’ve still got a pretty good shot.

This sounds, to me, just like the NFL.

Why would I want to watch this?

…and, the truth is, I’m losing interest.

I’m not expressing an opinion on whether or not any of this is “good” or “bad”. I’m expressing a preference – this ain’t the sort of thing that I like, or that I want.

But Ethel will still be watching, so I suppose so will I.

But it’s kind of hard to really care.

The General Service Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous decided to change “a fellowship of men and women” to “a fellowship of people”. Well, can’t do anything about that.

Then they decided to change “of the opposite sex” in the 12 & 12.

Here’s what the 12 and 12 says, in tradition 10:

“NEVER since it began has Alcoholics Anonymous been divided by a major controversial issue. Nor has our Fellowship ever publicly taken sides on any question in an embattled world.”

Huh. Well, looks like we’ve entered the fray on gender and sexual orientation issues. Unapologetically.

Apparently the delegates decided to make these sorts of changes because…..well, funny. I haven’t heard any explanation or justification of them. This just happened, and to those of us who don’t care for it – oh, well. The rest of us ain’t Delegates, and therefore, apparently, we ain’t smart enough to know when to break the Traditions.

I see no way to put this toothpaste back into the tube. As I heard in a meeting this morning, “progressive agendas” only go forward; they never retreat.

There are five things that seem to matter in my life, greatly – Alcoholics Anonymous, my marriage, my fitness, college football, and my church. Four of those are under attack. The only one of those that I can’t live without is Alcoholics Anonymous.

Maybe that’s why folks die – because the world changes to the point where it ain’t no fun to stick around anymore.

(N.B. – Fat Charlie the Archangel has “no opinion about this…no opinion about that”. That’s because I have no opinion on OUTSIDE issues, in alignment with Tradition 10. But I have bodacious opinions about INSIDE issues.

We went to the east side of Glacier National Park for a couple of days of camping.

We’d bought the gear the week before, and wanted to try it out somewhere “close to home” to figure out what we were doing right and what needed tweaking. And we also wanted to do some hiking. We got the bonus of finally seeing for ourselves why it’s called “Glacier” National Park πŸ™‚

This is Iceberg Lake. That chunk of ice across the lake is a glacier – I don’t know the name. But I know that it’s a glacier, because it flows, and icebergs calve off into the lake.

And, when they do so, they float around the lake, until idiots jump into the lake and try to swim out to them.

Now, there’s a good reason why I did that. Okay, no – not a good reason*, but a reason, and that is that I was sort of tired and sweaty after hiking the 5.5 miles up to this lake from the Many Glacier Campground, and I have to admit that this was the most refreshing thing I did all weekend.

The camping was okay; I didn’t sleep well either night, but I did sleep. We found some things that we need to tweak, and before long, we’ll probably be doing a longer trip, somewhere else – for instance, maybe we’ll head down through Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. We’ve even considered going way up into Canada, although I suspect that everybody else in the border states is going to go up there next month.

I was stiff and sore both mornings. I wasn’t stretching enough after our hikes, that’s for certain.

I met a whole demographic during this trip – hikers. I’ve been watching Ethel go for two or three hikes every week, and not really understanding it. But it seems that many people hike, just to hike.

Now, I’ve done a fair bit of hiking in my time. But, for me, hiking has always been about getting somewhere – to a summit, or to a climbing crag, or something like that. For instance, if we do go camping in Colorado, the main reason for me would be to hike to the summit of Engineer Mountain.

But these folks seem to be walking just for the purpose of walking.

I don’t know that I’ll ever become a hiker. But I am certainly willing to support Kim in her efforts. And it’s a good workout – moreso than I was expecting, although that may simply be that I’m in even worse shape than I thought πŸ™‚

*there were also bad reasons, such as “lots of other guys were doing it”. I didn’t have any board shorts, so I went ahead and jumped in in my (ahem)) cool plaid board shorts that I just happened to be wearing under my hiking shorts.

It occurred to me two days ago – nobody is watching me.

Right after that, I was on the bike watching “Tin Cup”, when Kevin Costner was telling himself the same thing – but he meant it as a consolation.

I’ve mentioned how my life has gotten smaller over the years – after getting larger for a good many. Now I’m almost a private person entirely.

Back in the 90s, I was in the office all the time, and I was a member of large AA groups, and I ran with running clubs, and I was a member of the Dead Runners Society, which at that time numbered around 2000 people. I was involved in church, as well.

Over the years, this kept up, mostly – DRS got smaller, but I wound up in Facebook. The size of the groups that I ran with got smaller, as well, but many of the meetings were larger. As we moved around, we were in and out of churches.

Then, about eleven years go, I went 75% remote – at least. Maybe more. And for a few years there, we weren’t involved in church much at all. And DRS got smaller, and I wound up a lone runner, until I became a lone triathlete.

Finally I wound up completely remote, in a remote location. Here in Whitefish, I have never actually run a mile with another human being. We’re involved in church, but it is a small church. And then I retired.

And then COVID hit.

Now my home group has about eight members or so. I left DRS* and Facebook back in February.

What occurred to me is this – I used to have all kinds of adventures. Running, moving, traveling, climbing – just all kinds of adventures. And, even though I wasn’t that conscious of it, I also had an audience. People would mention stuff to me about those adventures, either face to face or via email or Facebook or whatnot.

Now, the adventures are gone, but there’s nobody is watching who would comment on that anyway, so it’s happening quietly.

Is this that “go[ing] gentle into that good night” that I’m not supposed to be doing?

“Not with a bang, but with a whimper”.

Of course, one is supposed to do what one does without an audience – that’s where the character builds. And I hope to do that – but now I wonder if some of my slipping episodes regarding discipline happen because there’s only me to care.

But then I remember – just because folks might have been watching, didn’t really mean that they cared, anyway πŸ™‚

*A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend in DRS mentioning that she hadn’t heard from me in a while. That’s the only person who even noticed I was gone. Bucket, water, finger πŸ™‚

Sometimes, I wonder about stuff.

Apparently, the Wave ran out of chlorine.

Now, at what point did they realize that they were actually using chlorine at the Wave? How long ago should they have gone ahead and ordered chlorine for the only public pool in several hundred square miles? How much could chlorine possibly cost? Currently the median home price in Whitefish is $624,000. Surely some of us could have chipped in and bought some chlorine?

And why can’t they just say “We ran out of chlorine”? Why does it have to be “a disruption with our Chlorine Supply Chain”?

I am wondering about that. But I am not wondering “what’s that about”.

This is a bit of usage that has worked its way into the English Language, and I don’t care for it. I do know that I don’t use it – unless I’m using it to make fun of it. I’m referring to the phrasing of “What’s that about?” or “It’s about <whatever>”.

I’m totally capable of saying “What’s that about?” – if I’m asking about a movie, or a book, or a story. But the usage has gotten extremely vague.

Yesterday, I heard a woman in a meeting say “This isn’t about alcohol. It’s about God, and it’s about peace, and it’s about love, and it’s about….” – apparently, the list kept going.

To say that Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t about alcohol is rather disingenuous. But that’s not the point.

My point is that folks use this phrasing to really mean “There is some relationship here, but I’m too intellectually lazy to actually figure it out and state it, so I’ll say this and it will sound poetic but won’t really describe anything”.

The song “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” is about God, and how He has the world in His hands.

Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t “about” God. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program by which the alcoholic can establish a relationship with God that will solve his alcohol problem. There – now it’s stated flatly. It’s not that hard.

It’s not “about” peace. Peace and serenity are two of the stated outcomes.

Saying “it’s about God, and it’s about peace, and it’s about love” means nothing other than a vague lumping of concepts. It doesn’t tell you what those relationships between the program and those nouns – God, peace, love – are. It doesn’t tell you which comes first, or what is cause and what is effect, or roles or responsibilities.

Sometimes, it’s actually okay to go ahead and think about things – to make them clear and useful. It’s about rationality, and clarity, and making things useful πŸ™‚

Today we set up the new tent in the backyard, to make sure that we can do it quickly enough. The plan is to actually sleep in it tonight, to make sure that we can do that, too – and that Juneau will calm down enough in the tent to let us sleep.

My eldest took a look at this picture, and said it was about the most “white people” thing he’d ever seen – to spend this much money to build a house, and then to sleep in a tent in the back yard πŸ™‚ I told him that that was a racist statement*, but I quickly added the mitigator – “…not that there’s anything wrong with that” πŸ™‚

I realized many years ago that I am racist, sexist, and ageist – in fact, I’m pretty much most anything-ist. And this doesn’t bother me much, but I wouldn’t generally mention it in polite company, unless my honest or integrity** required it, because most people have negative connotations with those words.

(BTW – the only reason that I told David that that was a racist statement was to poke fun at the current hyper-knee-jerk reaction many folks have to yell “Racist!” at stuff that they don’t like πŸ™‚

Not only am I racist, but, well, I believe that you are, too – even if I don’t know you. Here’s one of the current, easy-to-find definitions of racism:

“the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.”

Now, here’s a funny thing – it is impossible to not be racist, if one admits to the very existence of “race”. Because, if there are no differences, there are no races, and if there are differences, then to acknowledge them at all is to be racist.

Because all of those differences were chosen by natural selection, in whatever situation that race developed in, to be more prone to survival in that environment or ecology.

Simplest case – black people have darker skin than other folks. This results in the ability to withstand sunlight on their skin better than paler folks. It’s a simple distinction, but it means that there’s an advantage there that is part of the definition of the race, and the only ways to not be “racist” in that situation are to espouse one of the following viewpoints:

  • Black people are not darker than other folks, OR
  • Having darker skin gives no advantage

But, if the darker skin gives no advantage, then why was it selected for with all of those folks who lived in those hot regions, close to the equator?

The races have differences because they are different – and, if they weren’t different, we wouldn’t even be able to have this conversation.

This does not mean that any individual black person is better able to withstand sunlight than any individual white person. But we’re speaking in general terms – generalization, which is a word that a lot of the fuzzy-thinking folks just hate, but is an absolute essential tool in rational thought.

So is discrimination. Generalization means the ability to identify similarities; discrimination means being able to tell differences. Much of analysis is grouping and dividing.

But all of these differences had to be brought about by some difference in environments, which made the populations better able to thrive in those environments. If not, then – what brought them about? What caused them?

That’s just racism – sexism is even more blatant, in that the differences between the sexes are much sharper, and larger, than between the races. Ethel will never bench press what I can do easily; there’s no way that I could deliver a baby πŸ™‚

Ageist? Anybody who thinks that abilities don’t differ with age has no age to speak of.

So I am ageist, sexist and racist.

Even if folks hate me for that πŸ™‚ Which is, actually, what’s going on her – folks think that racism somehow means hate. And that’s how a lot of the definitions are changing; the component of hate or oppression just gets built into the definitions, and folks simply buy it. Why? I can’t help but think that it’s because they are so terrified of losing the approval of others, that they are willing to lie to themselves and others.

Now, I love everybody, and like everybody, and I don’t think that most of these differences have a whole lot of application in a lot of areas. I’m not smart enough to know which do matter, and which don’t. But I’m honest enough to admit that they exist.

There was once a Bloom County Sunday strip that had Ted Coppel monitoring a debate between Opus’ left brain and right brain. Opus’ left brain – the logic brain – was sure that black people could dance better, because he watched “Soul Train”. The right brain – the emotional side – was mad at the left brain for saying such a thing.

The debate continued throughout the strip, until Ted closed it off by saying that the logic brain was being a “nincompoop” or some such. Because it doesn’t matter what one sees, or what one thinks, or what the evidence is – what matters is how folks FEEL.

Which is pretty much the problem of everything, everywhere, all the time.

*BTW – what Floyd was calling a “white people” behavior wasn’t really racist, so much as culturist – he didn’t mean white people. He meant people in a range of income and activity demographics such that they’d have a nice home, and also want to camp, and would want to test out the camping gear before they spent the weekend in Glacier Park. But that’s not important right now πŸ™‚

**or pride, but that’s one of the seven deadlies, so there’s that.

Yesterday I shot a 90 at Northern Pines, which is, for me, very good.

Here’s me after a birdie on #13 –

I had one bad hole on the front, that left me with a 50 – but on the back I shot 40, which is as well as I’ve ever done in my life; perhaps the best*. And this is on a challenging course, as well.

So, what does this mean? Probably nothing πŸ™‚ It could have just been a good day. However, I’ve been skirting in the low 40s on the back for a while now. Of course, being who I am, I start thinking that I should start spending more time on the driving range, and get some more lessons – because I would love to actually shoot 9 holes in the 30s, at least once before I’m dead πŸ™‚

But – there’s no reason to assume that that will happen.

I ran my first-ever 5K in 1992 in 20:XX; my second one was 19:XX, and my third was 18:XX. Of course, anybody with any sense would assume that my next would be 17:XX.

It never happened. My 5K PR bottomed out at 18:09, and never hit a 17:anything πŸ™‚

So yesterday’s 40 for nine holes might be the acme of my career.

That’s me. A B- in everything πŸ™‚

*my best ever round was an 85 back when I was in college, but I don’t recall the splits.