Politics, Sundry


Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2024/03/06/2024-02/

2024-02-01 Th:

We have been watching “The Bear” which is, imho, incoherent and overrated, but the scenes are spliced together with L trains and skyscrapers. I get a nostalgia for the Old Country. RJ says that people from Chicago who settle elsewhere always feel an instinct to return. The instinct is not found in suburbanites or people from downstate. The instinct is for the children of the city. I count myself among them. I feel the pull. But I’ve also settled in California. Married. Bought a house. Once I suggested we look at a house in Chicago, just to see. My son was not having it. “I don’t want to switch schools,” he said. Fair enough. I am a Californian. There’s a sense of The Future here. The air and the politics tend to be clean, and there’s little crime in my suburb. But not much character, either. The sprawl has a monotonous consistency that reflects the weather.

But today it is raining, so anything is possible.

2024-02-02 Fr:

There’s a sense that educated, middle-aged people who buy houses and raise families in the suburbs should naturally become more conservative and vote Republican. The bread and butter of the GOP. But it turns out all us would be Republicans like stuff like healthcare, racial diversity and bodily autonomy, so there’s a bunch of missing Republicans, more Atheists, fewer white people, and now pop stars are corrupting our football heroes!? If this keeps up the only people left who can be relied upon to vote Republican will be racist basement trolls, evangelical Christians, and crypto Libertarians.

This demographic is the bread and butter of any fascist movement. Donald understands this on an intuitive level and he lacks the capacity for shame. He will take this group as far as he can. The adoration of a culture’s worst people is one hell of a drug.

2024-02-05 Mo:

It has been rainy and windy. Yesterday, our power went out. On a tip from a neighbor, I walked down to where the line had failed. It was easy to spot, thanks to the fire engine and the tape. There was a burning smell in the air and a spot in the park strip that was smoldering at the end of what had at some point been a live wire. I stood nearby with a couple of other onlookers and we caught video clips as the man in the bucket was lifted into the air, then carefully trimmed back the remaining pieces of the broken wire.

I correctly deduced that, because there were a lot of power outages, this crew was just a first responder, clearing away the danger, and another crew would come out for repairs when they could. I got home, dug out the flashlights, and as the evening came on, we went downtown for dinner. The street where the line had fallen was open, and I pointed out the missing wire. On the way back, the street was again closed and we saw two bucket trucks and two light trucks getting ready for action. The lights were on a couple of hours later.

2024-02-06 Tu:

At first they were just itchy spots. We could feel them here and there, with greater frequency. Too small to see. But before long I could see flocks of the buggers scurrying across the floor. There was nothing we could do to get rid of them, we knew. There would just only ever be more of them. I found a fly in my drink. I tried to ignore it, knowing the futility, that little grubs were surely suffused throughout the glass, like so much microplastic. When I decided to try and fish it out, it had become two flies, thrice the size, just floating contentedly on the surface, confident in their inevitable triumph.

When I awoke, I figured the dream was about cancer. I feel a tender spot beneath my eye, and I choose to believe that I recently got bumped in the face at some point I don’t remember. Stray elbows in the night.

2024-02-14 We:

I noticed this mild-looking guy had a large, black tattoo shaped like Texas on his forehead. Then I remembered it was Ash Wednesday.

2024-02-23 Fr:

Q: Anything else you would like to tell us about the check-in process for flight number 1093 from DEN to SFO departed on 02-22-2024?

A: I got hit with the “carry on bag fee” which I have avoided on previous flights. Since enforcement is lax, opting in to the fee is pointless, and when you do have to pay you just feel like Frontier Airlines is overall this weird gamble for people who are trying to save money but maybe have to occasionally and randomly cough up an extra $200 because they wanted to read a book on the plane, and because their kid’s plastic carryall is an inch larger than the sizer. It feels like some weird immigration checkpoint designed to remind people who don’t have a lot of money that they will always be subject to random cruel indignities.

To be sure, this reminder is probably appropriate given our xenophobic tendencies and flirtation with fascism.

Q: Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience at the gate at the DEN airport on 02-22-2024?

A: Oh shit this is not about the carry-on fee but the actual check-in. I travel with my kids, and every time I check in, we are seated apart, then the gate agent has to go and fix the seat assignments. You don’t make any money on this: you are wasting labor. Program the damn computer to “randomly” seat children with their parents and you’ll be a more efficient and profitable airline.

Feedback Welcome



Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2024/04/01/2024-03/

2024-03-08 Friday

Thursday was nice. Older kid graduated across the Arrow of Light into Scouts BSA. What we called “Boy Scouts” in my day but now that girls can join “BSA” is like “YMCA.” I’ve volunteered with the Cub Scouts so I went down to the Scout Shop and picked up a tan shirt and patches to wear at the ceremony. Baby Adult Leader. The guy at the shop said if I volunteer with Cub Scouts and BSA I can get velcro from the craft store to facilitate swapping-of-patches without having to buy two shirts.

I googled and found lunch at the nearby Uncle John’s, which is a pancake shop in this hip San Jose neighborhood. I ate and walked across the street and visited the Bike Store, called Upshift, formerly La Dolce Vella. They had Bianchis out front but I was curious to “ask about bikepacking” and so I did and the deal is you roll up with a sleeping bag and $100 and they’ll roll out to the State Park in a group and spend the night and feed everyone. I need to get on that.

On my way out through the gorgeous mansions adjacent to the hip shopping district I saw what I thought was an Estate Sale but turns out it was a rummage sale for the local Neighborhood Preservation association. If you weren’t a registered NIMBY it was $5 admission. I had somewhere to be anyway so I left peacefully.

We had Pho for dinner, because it was across from the Auditorium, and because we love us some Pho. My belly is still full from drinking the broth. Elder Son walked across the bridge, and the guys from his new troop adorned him with a fancy new bi-color kerchief. It’s weekly meetings from here on out, but led by the boys, and I have some Tigers to lead. Life is good.

2024-03-13 Wednesday

Last night on the TV, a “man on the street” Trump supporter explained that yeah he would love for Trump to be a dictator for four years. I had to pause the video and rant. “That’s not how dictators work, dumbass!”

I think the majority of Americans still figure Democracy is good and worth keeping but this is going to be a year that tests our faith.

2024-03-14 Thursday

Pi Day. Yesterday, in “Ministry for the Future,” a Science Fiction novel about Climate Change, I got to the chapter where they saw the first anthropogenic YoY drop in Carbon Emissions. They achieve sequestration at 475 ppm. What’s that from where I sit? I looked it up. We’re at 420 ppm, going up about 5 ppm per year. At a constant rate, that is … eleven years from now? 2035? Maybe if emissions start to slow, but they seem to be picking up. (The book notes a decade of levelling, so 2045.) What I saw yesterday was that we’re at 1.6 degrees C, or about 80% to the 2.0 C threshold where we become more likely to hit tipping points that lead to an irreversible transition towards a jungle planet. An uninhabitable zone around the equator, and a truly massive extinction that takes a few million years to recover from.

And the refugees! There are so many already and we’re trying to keep them “under the rug” but the number will only grow.

I live in one of those cool bubbles where … we are trying. I saw that near 40% of new vehicles sold in the San Jose metro are EVs or at least plug-in hybrids. That’s something. Incentives to electrify your house. There are trends around the world that may cause the tide to flip. But will it happen in time?

Last century had the Pandemic at year 18. By year 45, they had concluded The Ultimate Battle Between Good and Evil. Their First Battle started in year 14, and that’s when Putin took Crimea. If the Ukraine Invasion counts as the start of our Ultimate Battle … 2028? This century has been gentler than the last, so far. So far.

In year 45, I’ll be an Old Man, if I am still around. I hope to be. I hope along the way to be a force for good. It is my Sons I worry about. They’re growing into Interesting Times and I hope The Ancestors can guide and comfort.

Be The Change you wish to see in the world.

Feedback Welcome



Link: https://dannyman.toldme.com/2024/05/18/2024-04/

2024-04-01 Monday

Nobody reads my blog. And that’s okay. Nobody read my blog when I started back in 1996, either. For about a decade, blogs were a thing. Now they’re quiet again.

Now I am middle-aged, and life is full with family and work. There’s no time and need for a blog. But sometimes I feel the itch. I give it a scratch. Sometimes I look back on what I’ve written recently. It pleases me. That’s all we need.

One day I will be less content.

2024-04-02 Tuesday


An excellent headline. This shop is “just around the corner” from where I grew up, at least in Suburban terms. I went to a closer bike shop, though mainly I had access to an on-site mechanic I call Uncle John.

Ross found himself in the city because he fell in love with a Chicagoan and left his old life behind for her. Although she died two years ago, Ross can’t return to the Amish community he grew up in because he was shunned for choosing to marry her, he said.

“I was so blessed to have her in my life,” Ross said. “Even knowing how things turned out, I’d still make the same choices a thousand times over because I had never experienced love like that before. But, it’s challenging to live here without her to protect me. … I miss her constantly.”

Ross has remained committed to his faith and still follows many of the Amish traditions he grew up with. His wife helped him learn to use a phone and navigate public transportation, but she “respected that [he’d] always be Amish,” Ross said.

The couple’s strong bond “developed naturally,” and they easily found ways to co-exist, Ross said. For example, Ross won’t take any photos that show his face, but he got pretty good at snapping pictures of his wife. When Ross proposed, he gave her a ring as she expected. But instead of wearing one himself, he honored Amish traditions by growing out his beard.

Fixing electric bikes helps Ross “keep his mind off things,” he said. He also finds a lot of joy in caring for his dog, Lucy, who he brings everywhere with him.

“I just keep to myself and let others deal with people,” Ross said. “My favorite part of my work is designing a concept, then bringing it off the page into reality, and seeing how happy and surprised the customer looks when they pick it up.”

Relatable guy.

2024-04-08 Monday

2024-04-09 Tuesday

Sometimes your local Planning Commission is a forum for personal frustrations. We call this Democracy.

2024-04-12 Friday

Some people’s best angles are behind them.

2024-04-12 Friday

I was walking to the train station but it rolled up early. The gates came down and the train rolled into the station. A few young women went around the down gates to make their train. I wanted to Follow The Rules and wait for the gate, but experience has taught me that Caltrain can not be trusted to wait. I looked both ways and joined the crowd rushing to board the train. We got up the steps and the train was rolling ten seconds after the scheduled departure time. I have read that in Switzerland the trains depart at 59 seconds after. (I can not verify this information … Swiss trains appear to depart at the top of the minute.) I found an article that in New York, trains unofficially depart one minute after the official time. But I learn Caltrain doesn’t treat the timetable as a schedule and that passengers are recommended to arrive ten minutes before the posted time because trains will totally leave early. (A coworker shared a story of missing an 11pm train that had left early. Ouch!)

Then there was a 35-minute delay at California because of a “trespasser” incident. Someone had died on the tracks. Probably a suicide but I was upset that the railroad’s practices induce reckless behavior. Had I waited for the gate to raise, I would have missed my train, and had to wait 45 minutes for the next train, which was itself delayed another 20 minutes.

My train home departed 30 seconds before the timetable. In Japan, this would warrant an apology. But with Caltrain, passengers could have just waited around for another twenty-ish minutes for the next train. After all, it is rush hour! The train “ran hot” down to Mountain View, where the conductor explained that you could get off the train to catch the express to San Jose, because as early as our train was, it was going to have to wait at Lawrence for the express to pass.

So … why?

After the stress of running across the tracks in the morning, because the railroad doesn’t care about the passengers and then catching sight of someone’s Last Day, I needed to take a walk. I did spy a diesel train pulling an electric trainset up the tracks. The progress made me happy. We’ll soon be running Swiss trains. Maybe we can run on Swiss schedules.

2024-04-13 Saturday

The taxes are done now, which is important because we are having a nice overnight trip with the in-laws on Sunday.

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