The mornings of sitting outside on the patio drinking coffee are numbered for this year. The leaves are falling.

The intoxicating drug of wealth and the power it affords is driving the human race toward extinction, it appears to only be a matter of when and how.

“The Trump campaign is very good at manipulating the media, because it understands that liberal ideological bias is not the primary factor in shaping media coverage. The press, instead, is biased toward having a spectacular or interesting story that people want to read or watch or hear about. If you’re clever, you can manipulate the press into telling the story you want by making it seem fun and exciting, even if the story is incorrect or misleading. Given how easily the Trump campaign got the political press to take the bait here, there’s little question we’re in for a long campaign season in which it does it over and over again.” – The Atlantic, emphasis added. In other words, it’s not about reporting nor civic duty, it’s all about making money, as is every facet of United States society.

I’ve written before about how the then low cost Timex Sinclair 1000 personal computer was so influential on my life. Today’s equivalent to the Timex Sinclair is the Raspberry Pi, and I don’t think it’s coincident it also originates from England. In my opinion a Raspberry Pi should be provided to every young kid, particularly if they have any interest with computers. The newest model has just been announced and will start shipping at the end of October, you can pick up an 8 GB model with case and power supply for just over $102.

Much more of the moon was visible when I started to take this picture, but still I like it.

Moonlight behind clouds

I found the site Georgia v. Trump, a curation of articles published about the Georgia 2020 election interference trial. Added the RSS feed to my subscriptions.

I use Drummer to write many of my posts for I wonder what happens when I delete a post way back in the past? As a test, I deleted a post originally in Drummer on October 23, 2021 and it wasn’t removed during the publish of this post. Still hope to understand how processes the OPML file. I do know that I have to specify in my blog settings the public URL for the outline file, so it looks like the script in Drummer let’s know a change has been made to the OPML file and then I assume reads the file. As I can edit posts in Drummer and publish the edits back to, there is the appearance of a mapping of outline nodes to blog posts. I have found that I can even edit posts that I wrote way back in October 2021. The key question is, what does it do to deletions of entire posts? Manton confirmed that does not delete posts removed from an OPML file.

Now that the iPadOS lock screen supports widgets, I’ve started playing with focus modes to change what I see throughout the day. Two of the key modes are Work and Personal. I configured Work to be the focus mode from 9 AM to 5 PM, Personal to be from 5 PM to 11:30 PM, and then at 11:30 PM is Do Not Disturb. Problem is, the Work mode is not kicking in at 9 AM and I don’t know why. Does anyone have ideas?

Looking back at it, the last week of the MLB baseball season is often been filled with angst. I do agree with what I wrote back in 2019, I’d rather be in the position of being disappointed that a good team did not succeed than always rooting for bad teams who occasionally surprise. The Cubs lost last night after having a 6-0 lead. In many ways the game encapsulates their current state, some good pitching to gain a lead or stay close, but not enough pitching to sustain the lead through 9 innings. In that state all other facets of the game have to be played near flawlessly, so a fielding error can (and last night was) be fatal. Good news is that the one loss does not put them out of the playoff standings, but they cannot lose two games in a row now and when they do lose they are at the mercy of how other teams perform.

I read that the U.S. government is again providing free Covid tests. We have a bunch of tests that probably expired and should be thrown out.

Over the weekend the samples of the astroid Bennu collected by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft landed in Utah. The samples were collected hundreds of thousands of miles away from Earth three years ago. The successful mission is the first time we have retrieved a sample from an astroid. Now that OSIRIS has dropped what it collected from Bennu it is flying on toward another astroid, Apophis.

Today is the first day of autumn and on this, a day in the life of a member of the micro blog community in West Bloomfield, Michigan, ducks are enjoying sunshine. #mbsept

Duck in sunshine on a pond.

I’ve turned an emotional corner regarding this year’s Chicago Cubs. I now don’t expect them to make the playoffs, they are clearly in a downward spiral that they don’t have the manpower left to pull up from. I am not going to care whether they make the playoffs and focus on enjoying these remaining games.

Cubs starter Justin Steele got pounded by Pirates last night, and the Cubs lost 7-13. Fortunately, the Marlins also lost so the Cubs maintain the half game lead for the third wild card. My buddy said he thinks the Cubs pitching staff has nothing left in the tank, and that certainly looked to be the case last night. Steele is the best of the Cubs pitchers and he was cruising until he hit an apparent wall in the fourth inning.

Why The Cubs Are Fading

The World Series, like most major sports championships, is won by defense. In baseball that mainly translates to pitching, but also fielding. When you play the same team in a playoff series your hitters usually face the opponent’s best pitching, consequently you should plan for 3 or fewer runs scored and that means you want your pitching to hold the opponent to 3 or fewer runs.

Since the beginning of September the Cubs have been in playoff games. Nearly all of the teams they faced need to beat them to move ahead of the Cubs in the Wild Card playoff standings. By my count the Cubs have played 17 games so far in September and in 7 of them their opponent scored 3 or fewer runs. My conclusion is that the Cubs pitching is simply not good enough to win in the playoffs.

I think my conclusion holds if you look at the larger body of work over the season. I expect that in a high percentage of the games the Cubs won they scored 4 or more runs, too many of those they needed to score 4 or more runs. During the regular season it is not surprising that your hitters will have more success because they will be in many situations where they face poor pitching.

A team built to win in the MLB playoffs has the pitching that more often than not can hold their opponent to 3 or fewer runs. Truth is the Cubs got through the 2023 season with only one reliable starting pitcher, maybe two (Steele for sure, and possibly Hendricks). Stroman and Taillon have not been consistent and Taillon has been aweful. Javier Assad joined the starting rotation too late in to the season so it is really hard to assess his reliability. The bullpen is no better, only Merrywather and Alzolay has been reliable, though Leiter is borderline.

The fact that the Cubs are in a playoff race is much more important this year than they actually make the playoffs, and the goal long term is be winning division championships and not gain a playoff berth via the wild card. While at the beginning of the season there was some hope the Cubs could compete with the Brewers for the NL Central division championship, I think it was evident early on through head to head games with the Brewers that this Cubs team is not as good or better than the Brewers. Sure, the Cubs can win any game, but can they win a series?

Bottom line, the Chicago Cubs are on schedule for their long term goals of winning division titles and the World Series in upcoming years. Clearly, the Cubs need to improve their pitching. Jordan Wicks has shown he is a piece of the puzzle for next year, and we can hope Taillon will return to the how he pitched in the past. Stroman might be back, but with Hendricks being another year older I think the Cubs need to sign at least two reliable starting pitchers during the off season as well as keep Merryweather.

From the lineup perspective, I think the Cubs should be aggressive in their attempt to sign Bellinger, but I doubt he stays and his departure will create a big gap in their lineup. Maybe youngsters Morel, Mervis, or Crow-Armstrong can help fill that gap but all are too inexperienced with MLB pitching. Consequently, the Cubs need to sign at least one big-name hitter to maintain their current starting lineup performance.

Finally, the biggest question of the off season might be whether David Ross has what it takes to manage a championship caliber baseball team. Every manager makes questionable lineup and in-game decisions, and this is Ross’ first manager job so we need to keep in mind that he is learning on the job. I personally can’t pin the current Cubs situation on Ross, the bottom line is that the players have to perform and they are not performing. Ross has made lineup changes and pitching changes, as far as I can tell he is doing everything he can to try and have the Cubs win games. I would not be in a hurry to replace Ross unless there is a championship experienced person to replace him. So, David Ross’ fate, like Rick Renteria’s was in 2015, may be decided more by who is available rather than by his own performance.

I am frustrated by and mad about the Cub’s performance this month, but I am mostly mad at the Cubs veterans who have under performed with the pressure on. Frankly, if it weren’t for Suzuki the Cubs would probably would have a longer losing streak. Swanson, Bellinger, and Happ have not met expectations as the veteran leaders. In the big picture I am happy about where the Cubs are, they met my expectations for this season and look to be on track of near year and beyond. All of the younger Cub players who have never been in this position of a playoff race in September are gaining valuable experience of how to deal with the pressure, and in my opinion experience matters most.

We are at the start of the second to the last week of the 2023 Major League Baseball season with the Chicago Cubs in the midst of a five game losing streak. Last week has been frustrating and hopefully behind us. The Cubs have played themselves out of any chance of winning the NL Central and have moved to a third place tie with the Florida Marlins in the Wild Card standings, trailing the Diamondbacks, who just swept the Cubs, by a half game. Disappointed as I am, I also know in the big picture this experience is good for the future of the team, and should be a pleasant surprise considering how bad the team as at the beginning of June.

I’ve read in many places how Republicans are authoritarian, no longer support democracy, and would dissolve the constitution. I don’t think I have ever seem a Republican dispute these claims, which I find telling. It’s definitely not the party of Reagan nor Lincoln.

I don’t understand why Satya Nadella ever agreed to have Microsoft re-enter the smartphone market. Three years ago they produced the Surface Duo, an expensive dual screen smartphone / tablet that runs Android. Problem was at the time it first started being sold it ran a year old version of Android and never got current. It was clear early on that Microsoft was not committed to it.

Last year I bought a Duo for just under $300, nearly $1,000 less than it first cost. At that price, it’s a nice device though too heavy to be an every day carry. I find it most useful for monitoring my two fantasy football teams on Sundays.

Recently Microsoft announced they will not be providing updates, so its now an orphan.

The United States of America is only 247 years old. In comparison to the world, the U.S. is a toddler, to the universe, an infant. Our growth (transformation) relies in embracing the seemingly conflicting values of liberty and unity, by transformation from an either/or worldview to a both/and worldview. The transformation will not be easy because everything we know and see around us is built on and reinforces either/or. Either/or keeps power in power. source: Wishing It Was So

It is a sign of something, but I am not sure of what, when influencers make walking while not tuning out the world with headsets a thing. My wife pointed out that I’ve been silent walking before it was such a thing.

Tim Hortons has a credit card for which one can earn Tims Rewards. One redeems Tims Rewards for items on Tim Hortons menu. Problematic capitalism compounding problematic eating. I don’t think I even want to know how many people carry this credit card.

It has come once again, 906 Day!

Last Friday I was bemoaning the fact that September had come signaling the pending end of summer. Today mother nature is saying, “not so fast,” as temperature is near 90, as it was yesterday.

America has never truly been a democracy, it has always been an oligarchy behind the mask of “representative democracy.” A group of rich, white men declared their independence from a rich white man. The rich white men founded a ruling class (government) that established liberty for their ability to remain rich and their only concern for others was to the extent that they supported their cause. Ironically, because America was the first to form something that looked like self-government over time other countries used the U.S. Constitution as the blueprint for founding their own democracies. However, it appears that none of those countries established their constitutions for the purpose of securing an oligarchy, and so over time they made reforms to be more democratic. The United States has not made such reforms to dismantle the oligarchy and so life in the U.S. goes on as intended for the benefit of a minority of wealthy people. Problem is, demographics and generations change and so there are ways for reform to occur within our current form of government, which is why I think conservatives are fighting so hard because they feel if they don’t take action their control will cease.

Sitting outside on the patio this morning, the first Monday morning of September, what is known as Labor Day in the United States. The air is thick, the dew point 73 degrees.