Thursday, January 31, 2019

Snow provokes responses that reach back to childhood. -- Andy Goldsworthdy

 Snow is not too deep
The perfect time for a hike
Open my spirit

Walking may be a good metaphor for spiritual life.  There are times, for example, today when the snow is not too deep and the cold in invigorating, that hiking is literally the best activity.  I find that walking in the woods is a wonderful way to unify the body, mind, and spirit.  Plus, if it doesn't kill me, it's a great way to strengthen legs and increase stamina.

"There are a thousand meanings in every view, if we only open ourselves to the scripture of the landscape."
-- Deng Ming-Dao

So, at some point today, I'm going to bundle up and "open myself up to the scripture of the landscape." 

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Oh, one more quote on snow:  "A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water."     -- Carl Reiner

Monday, January 28, 2019

Random Thoughts

I've got a lot of other writing to do today.  Mainly, the monthly newsletter for the black power muzzleloading club I'm a member of.  We had our first shoot of the year on Saturday and, yes, it was cold.

Someone named Pietro Aretino once said,  "Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."
Does that mean over a dozen of us must be geniuses for coming out to the range to shoot in sub-freezing (sub-freezing sounds colder than upper-20s) temps?

The "Frozen Tundra" of Patoka Valley Long Rifles:

Anyway, we usually dress pre-1840 for shoots, but on the paper range, we go more modern -- especially in extreme cold and heat.

So, back to being too busy to give original writing much thought . . .

I thought I would pinch something from a book I'm scanning titled The Gospel According to The Beatles by Steve Turner.  It's a paragraph about early rock 'n' roll:

"The enemies of rock 'n' roll were coldness, inhibition, and lifeless conformity.  Its friends were passion, spontaneity, individuality, and imagination."

Passion and imagination were found among outsiders, those who had no significant stake in society -- blacks, petty criminals, delinquents, deviants, boboes, gypsies, junkies.  Rock 'n' roll was largely forged by such outsiders.

"The music rarely articulates what it was against," Turner writes.   "Its values were primarily communicated through its spirit."

There you have this week's keywords to add to the tune of your life:
Passion, Spontaneity, Individuality, and Imagination.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Thursday, January 24, 2019

As an old news photographer . . .

Funny, I Googled the guy (Tess Flanders) who came up with the notion that "A picture is worth a thousand words," and couldn't come up with a picture of him. 

Anyway, the English language idiom refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single picture, this picture conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a description does.

Take this now-famous image, for example:

Yes, a picture may, in fact, be worth a thousand, ten-thousand, ten-million words.  But, are they accurate?

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, January 21, 2019


Stayed up late enough last night to go outside into the frigid night air to witness the total lunar eclipse (several minutes at a time).

Prompting this haiku:

Sunlight passing through (earth's atmosphere) 
Lit our celestial sphere 
Super Blood Wolf Moon  

I'll be out a few days.  Have a great week.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, January 18, 2019

An Op-Ed

I've come across the latest catchphrase going around -- at least a phrase that has caught my attention:  Op-Ed.

Seems to be the latest tool used to reference facts.  As in, "So-and-so, contributor to this station by the way, has written a brilliant Op-Ed piece in the such-and-such paper.  Let's bring him/her on at this time to promote his/her new book and to further pile on someone whom we hate."

My, my.  These are troubled times.  Take this one, for example:

"The Americans have many virtues, but they have not Faith and Hope.  I know no two words whose meaning is more lost sight of.  We use these words as if they were (obsolete) . . .  The Americans have little faith.  They rely on the power of the dollar; they are deaf to a sentiment."

So true, right?

Oh, by the way.  That "op-ed" piece was delivered on Janaruy 25, 1841!
Written by our old friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

Gazillions of things are going on in this world.  Sure, you can read about them, watch and listen about them, think about them and debate them all you want, but most of life is going to keep on happening without your thoughts being involved.  And, without the thoughts of some op-ed writer. 

Another catch phrase I love is from an AT&T television commercial.  AT&T highlights, in a series of hilarious new ads, that AT&T is America’s best network according to America’s biggest test.

Rooted in the idea that, when it comes to wireless networks, just OK is not OK, the spots feature people in different scenarios, realizing that they’re in trouble. One of them shows a young man in a tattoo parlor, about to get himself a tattoo. The tattoo artist, played by actor Blake Gibbons, asks him if it’s the first tattoo and urges him to relax because “it’s gonna look ok”. “Only ok?” the customer asks. “Don’t worry, boss. I’m one of the tattoo artists in the city,” the answers the tattoo artist. “You mean one of the best tattoo artists in the city, right?” the customer asks again, willing to know that he came to the right guy for a tattoo. The reply (“Something like that”) doesn’t come as a relief, though. Seeing the artist ready to use the tattoo machine, the customer asks him if he wasn’t supposed to draw the tattoo first, but is soon inflicted by pain and another unexpected answer: “Stay in your lane, bro!”

Awesome advice when it comes to news and op-eds.  Think I'll just "Stay in my lane, bro!"

Have a great weekend.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Many times over the past 20 years, I’ve made it a point to go out and look up at the night sky searching for flashes of light — manmade shooting stars.  Many of those flashes are “flares” from communications satellites put into orbit by the Iridium SSC company. Beginning in 1997, the company launched into orbit around Earth some 66 telecommunications satellites, which are known to flare briefly in the night sky as their solar panels caught the sun’s rays.

They used to be a random surprise, but thanks to multiple websites, you can actually enter your location and receive a full list of tracking information.  That way, we know exactly where in the sky to look and the exact time to see them.  Awesome experience. 

Imagine my disappointment the other day when my older brother emailed me the following information:

Although there are still a few of the original 66 satellites up there – Iridium flares are destined to become a thing of the past. The original 66 satellites have been phased out, and a second generation of satellites – called Iridium NEXT – is nearly entirely in place. The Iridium NEXT satellites are no doubt superior in many ways, but, sadly for amateur astronomers, they don’t produce the beloved flares.

Fortunately, a few of the original, sometimes-glinting Iridium satellites are still in low Earth orbit. They have three reflective panels that occasionally catch the sun and produce a visible flare lasting between five and 20 seconds.

So, one of my 2019 goals is to get out more and observe the few remaining Iridium “flares” in the night sky.  Hope you do the same before they’re gone.  Enjoy your search.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, January 14, 2019

Miskates and Efferts

I've written a few times about trying to learn the guitar.  Not just the guitar, but music theory.  That's important because I have no actual knowledge of how music works other than turning on the turntable (old school, I know.  Okay, I've also learned to turn on a tape player, CD player, and a few other gadgets).

But, I've been struggling lately.  Thankfully, my friend Curt has stepped up and offered to mentor me along.  I appreciate that.

Novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (how's that for name dropping?) observed, "Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most."

John C. Maxell's response:  "Instead, people should most fear the opposite -- not taking the step.  Why?  Because if we don't step forward and out of our comfort zone and into the unknown, we will not improve and grow."

So, this week, I'm off to step out of my comfort zone and make some mistakes -- a lot of mistakes.  But, mistakes are not necessarily failures if we see them as proof that we're making an effort. 

Have a mistake full week!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mystery Keys

We’ve lived in our house for nearly 35 years.  Hanging on the inside of one of our kitchen cabinets is a key holder I made that first year.  You know, to hang our keys.  I’d estimate that 75% of the keys are now mysteries. 

I’ve always kept them in case I run into a something-or-other that’s locked.  They have to go to something, right?

So, today we’re putting away Christmas decorations and I go to the garage closet — the same closet that I’ve store stuff in for 35 years — and it’s locked.  I’ve never even realize the lock has a lock in it, but it does.  And the proof is right there in my hand.  Locked!  I did what most people probably do when they run across a locked door that shouldn’t be locked.  Try even harder.  Then walk away, come back, and then try again (as if the damn thing will magically unlock if I ignore it).  It didn’t. 

Now what?  That’s when I remember the mystery keys.  I went to the kitchen, almost giddy, and grabbed the dozen or so odd-balls and went to the garage.  Strike one.  No worries.  11 to go.
Strike two. Strike three . . .   Well, I think you know where this is going.  If it were bowling, I would have bowled a perfect 300. 

What the heck? 

So, I still have a dozen mystery keys handing up — and a door off its hinges. 
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn

Friday, January 4, 2019

Zen and the Art of DIY

Ben Franklin famously stated that the two certainties in life are Death and Taxes.  He forgot one:  If you're a homeowner, you're going to get hit with unexpected home maintenance -- and costs.

Since we’ve become a society of outsourcers, most of us don’t know the first thing about fixing our stuff.  Having said that, I often stubbornly refuse to admit defeat and call a stranger for help -- even if it is the path of least resistance.

Yesterday was such a day.  
Project One: Garbage disposal leaking.
Location:  Our home.
Assessment:  It's leaking (What, too obvious?). 
Diagnosis:  Upon further assessment, it was determined to have a small hole in the side.
Plan:  Purchase a new one and install by myself.

Project Two:  Garage Door.
Location:  Younger daughter's house.
Assessment:  Due to an accident, it had been totally discombobulated (that was my technical assessment). 
Diagnosis:  Scratch my head.
Plan:  Scratch my head and then start taking things apart, bang on a few things with a big hammer,  and hopefully put it all back together in some sort of working order.

Let's go back a few years (decades).  I'm in high school and my older brother was into motorcycles.  A book I discovered in his "library" was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig.
It is a work of fictionalized autobiography and explores his Metaphysics of Quality.  The title is an apparent play on the title of the book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. In its introduction, Pirsig explains that, despite its title, "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."

At one point, Pirsig writes about facing problems:

"Is it hard?"  Not if you have the right attitude.  It's having the right attitude that's hard.


The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called you.

Maybe he's right.  So, to paraphrase Pirsig, the real garbage disposal I was working on was me.  Wait. That doesn't have the same ring to it.  Or does it?

Perhaps the real "cycle" I was working on was disposing of the garbage thinking of doubt and opening the door to believing that, with persistence, I could solve the problem.

I formulated my PLANS.  IMPLEMENTED them.  And the EVALUATION?
New garbage disposal installed and no leaks (yet) and the garage door, though not perfect, is functional enough for my daughter to use it.

I may not know the answer, but I believe in my ability to solve the problem.  Oh, and one more thing.  I do have the plumber and Evansville Garage Company on speed-dial just in case.   The garbage of doubt is a tough bone to grind up -- even with a new 3/4 HP Super-Duper Power-Max InSinkErator!

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

"Day of Purging"

Yesterday was my annual "Day of Purging."  I start the new year by putting on a pot of beans (black-eyed peas for good luck) and go through closets, shelves, drawers, etc. and purge stuff I haven't used over that past year -- at least that's the plan.  Truth-be-told, I rarely throw anything out as I'm a bit of a sentimental accumulator (a.k.a. hoarder). 

I do, however, find a few things to donate or pitch.  And I do manage to organize my stuff.  Okay, at least the stacks are a little neater for a day or two.

This year's "Day of Purging" had a different focus:  PURGING GERMS.

Yep, the Flu Bug attacked us with a vengeance this past weekend.  Yesterday, I was finally feeling well enough to try to purge the germs that sent us all reeling.

It started Saturday when my older daughter came in with son-in-law and two kids.  She got sick almost immediately.  Thinking that the rest of us could escape the onslaught, we retreated to the zoo for a day of fun.  Within an hour, our 7-year old granddaughter was ambushed by the bug in one of the buildings (our apologies to the wonderful zoo staff who had to clean up the battlefield).

The son-in-law was next, followed by our younger daughter.  I managed to feel well enough on Sunday to get out with Suzanne and both grandkids (little Annabeth bounced back quickly).  Unfortunately, be the end of the day and just after we decided that it was time to retire our bonfire that evening, I was hit.  Our poor old oak tree will never be the same.

Suzanne was the only one who was strong enough not to be taken prisoner.

So, yesterday was not my typical "Day of Purging."  I had to change direction, adapt, improvise, overcome,  and go with the flow -- of Lysol!

Happy New Year.

Carpe diem Life,
David Kuhn