All posts by keith

Monday Musings — 27NOV23

I’ve been thinking (just thinking, mind you) about electric bikes, and maybe getting an electric trike. I don’t think I could do a 2 wheeler, because of my balance problems, but a 3 wheeler would work. I don’t go far most of the time, groceries, pharmacy, library. It would beat taking the truck out when I just want to go a short distance. Except in winter. No way, I can barely be outside in cold weather.

And they are better for the environment.

What advantages do electric mopeds and bikes have?

The electric transport revolution is a great chance to rethink how we move through our cities—and whether we even need a car at all.

Cars, after all, often have only one occupant. You’re expending a lot of energy to transport yourself.

By contrast, electric mopeds and bikes use a lot less energy to transport one or two people. They’re also a lot cheaper to buy and run than electric cars.

If you commute on an e-bike 20 km a day, five days a week, your charging cost would be about $20—annually.

In Australia, electric bikes are very rapidly going from a hobbyist pursuit to a serious mode of urban transport. Over 100,000 e-bikes were sold here last year.

Of course, you’re unlikely to use electric mopeds or bikes to drive from Sydney to Melbourne. Their real value is in short-hop trips—the school run, the milk and bread run, or even the commute—where they take roughly the same time or shorter than a car.

I finished The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin this week. Highly recommended.

“A gorgeous and inspiring work of art on creation, creativity, the work of the artist. It will gladden the hearts of writers and artists everywhere, and get them working again with a new sense of meaning and direction. A stunning accomplishment.” –Anne Lamott From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of their creativity, comes a beautifully crafted book many years in the making that offers that same deep wisdom to all of us. “I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be.” –Rick Rubin

Many famed music producers are known for a particular sound that has its day. Rick Rubin is known for something else: creating a space where artists of all different genres and traditions can home in on who they really are and what they really offer. He has made a practice of helping people transcend their self-imposed expectations in order to reconnect with a state of innocence from which the surprising becomes inevitable. Over the years, as he has thought deeply about where creativity comes from and where it doesn’t, he has learned that being an artist isn’t about your specific output, it’s about your relationship to the world. Creativity has a place in everyone’s life, and everyone can make that place larger. In fact, there are few more important responsibilities. The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It distills the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime’s work into a luminous reading experience that puts the power to create moments–and lifetimes–of exhilaration and transcendence within closer reach for all of us.

Or in case you’d like the ebook.

That’s it for this week. take care of yourselves, and stay warm.

Monday Musings — 20Nov23

Wow this crept up on me quick. I’ve had a cold this week, and got some meds for it on Friday, that seem to be killing it off. Trying to avoid pneumonia and a visit to the hospital.

It’s Thanksgiving week. Which, again, this year is going to be less stressful for me since all I need to do is make Anadama rolls. I use my Nana’s recipe, which I’ve had for years. Here it is:

Well used. I made a pdf to give to family members, but there’s no reason to not post it here. It’s fairly simple, but does take a while.

So what are you thankful for this week? This month? This year? It’s time to assess your life, and see what you love about it, and what you don’t. I’m thankful for the people trying to keep me out of the hospital. From my wife, to my cardiac team, to my PCP. Been in too many time this year. The heart and lungs have been the big problems, and fluid retention, caused by them, mostly. I’m thankful that I can be home and safe with help just a phone call away. I’m thankful for Nora. I’m thankful that Oliver is still a goober, even though he seems tired most of the time. I’m thankful for the staff at Cancer Care, who treat me like family, because I’ve been going there so damn long. I’m thankful to still be here.

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.

2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.

3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have I caused?”

That’s it for this week. Remember what you have. Maybe it isn’t much, but it’s yours. Hold on to it.

Monday Musings — 13NOV23

Release Thoracic Spinal Cord, Open Approach 14NOV2017.

This week is the sixth anniversary of my Multiple Myeloma diagnosis. It started on Sunday 12Nov2017 with an MRI that showed tumors in my T7 vertebrae. They sent me to the emergency room,, and admitted me to the hospital. That’s where I met my angel surgeon, Dr. Joanna Swartzbaugh, who, literally, saved my life. Or at least my ability to walk, such that it is. Two days later (the 14th) I had that thing in bold up above, Joanna couldn’t get an operating room before then. She took out a tumor the size of two golf balls from my spine. The scar from that surgery is the most wonderful scar in the world.

Three days later Dr Catherine Chodkiewicz did a bone marrow biopsy and confirmed my diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma cancer.

And that was the start of this journey. It’s had its up and downs, but six years later, I’m still here. I “endeavor to persevere”. And I will.

From Charles Hugh Smith on Self Reliance:

In my experience, these eight soft skills (as opposed to the hard skills of tradecraft) are useful because they help us organize working with others. I cover these skills in greater depth in my book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy (2014).

1.​Learn challenging new material.

2.​Creatively apply new skills to a variety of fields.

3.​Be adaptable, responsible and accountable.

4.​Apply entrepreneurial skills to any task, i.e., take ownership of one’s work.

5.​Work effectively with others, both in person and remotely (online).

6.​Communicate clearly and effectively.

7.​Build human and social capital, i.e., knowledge and networks.

8.​Possess a working knowledge of bookkeeping, spreadsheets and project management. Those with hands-on skills and these soft skills will be optimized for an economy that favors flexibility—skills that can be productive in a variety of environments.

That’s it for this week. Always have a plan B, C, etc. … As Mike Tyson said; “Everyone has a plan until they get hit.” Plan for the best, but have back up plans for when the worst happens.

Juxtapoz Magazine – Martyn Cross Proclaims “All Shall Be Well”

Source: Juxtapoz Magazine – Martyn Cross Proclaims “All Shall Be Well”

It goes without saying that Martyn Cross‘ work probably should be shown in the forest. The earth tones, soft and worn colors of the oil painting, the are-they-figures-or-are-they-mythical-beings populate each canvas and work on paper. Everything feels aged and organic, like buried in the soil and unearthed for an exhibition. So a white cube can be jarring. 

His first major NYC solo show, All Shall Be Well, on view at Marianne Boesky to close out 2023, starts with a poem: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,” a line from Julian of Norwich. The history goes that Julian was an “English anchoress of the Middle Ages. Her writings, now known as Revelations of Divine Love, are the earliest surviving English language works by a woman.” So this is where we start. And it makes sense in the sense that the Welsh painter Cross is inspired by medieval religious imagery and literature, and the gallery notes “Cross layers scratched and scrubbed dry-brushed pigment to yield weathered and worn textures that glow with the internal luminosity of medieval manuscripts and frescoes—that seem to hold within them ambiguous, untold histories. From these surfaces emerge references to the terrestrial and to the celestial: roots grow into the ground and morph into strange, humanoid creatures, immense hands reach down from the clouds, comets transform into eyeballs as they blaze across the sky.”

This is a rare scene in a Chelsea gallery; a Middle Ages inspired collection of worn and mythical paintings. Cross is challenging us to think all shall be well, but in an imaginary and utopian way. It may be exactly what we need. —Evan Pricco 

The Anarchism of the Catholic Worker | The Nation

In its 90th year, the radical peace movement is reinvigorating itself by going hyper-local.

Source: The Anarchism of the Catholic Worker | The Nation

In the nine decades since its birth, the Catholic Worker movement has come to be many things: a labor movement, a countercultural commune movement, a back-to-the-land movement, a Luddite arts-and-crafts movement, and a peace movement. Simone Weil House is one of at least six Catholic Worker houses that have opened around the country in the past five years that are turning to Maurin and Day’s original vision of spiritual and economic change to combat the despair of late capitalism and the anomie of a younger generation facing financial devastation and environmental destruction.

Monday Musings–6Nov23

The big news this week is the Beatles releasing new song. It is a Beatles song, and brings you right back to the seventies. I listened to it several times, and it is likeable, but except for the technology used to separate John’s vocals from the piano not that interesting to me, as it might be to other people.

Now and Then–The Beatles

There’s also a short film on how they made it.

Sort of a making of film.

Some progress on the house painting:

House Painting
House Painting

Here’s something to think on, from an essay by Wendell Berry:

Wendell Berry’s Criteria for Appropriate Technology

To make myself as plain as I can, I should give my standards for technological innovation in my own work. They are as follows:

  1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
  2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
  3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
  4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
  5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
  6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
  7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
  8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
  9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.


I’m not sure I agree with all points of that, and of course the essay was written a longtime ago (1987), but maybe slowing down on all the tech innovation is not a bad idea.

I think that’ll do it for this week. Hope you have a good one.