this week i

updated our enrollment, cost sharing, and star ratings work for medicare's private plan marketplace

visited mushhushshu, evangeline, henri, and standing warrior with club at the detroit institute of arts

ran an urban decathlon

translate grand requin blanc, nice + country = 美国.  cappuccino: capuchin monks.  caffe latte: coffee+milk.  macchiato: marked.  mocha: yemen

drove past zilwaukee, cheboygan, the 45th parallel, pictured rocks, the great lakes rodeo.  trucker honk honk handmotion at lake superior cessnas

listened to the history of english podcast episode one thirty three

now the word biscuit was borrowed from latin and french in the early 1300s.  and if we look a little closer at that word, we can start to understand how biscuits came about in the first place.  the word actually has its origin in ancient rome.  the romans needed a way to preserve bread for long periods of time, especially on long journeys.  bread would become moldy and stale after a few days, but roman bakers realized that if you took bread and put it back into the oven for a while, it would dry out.  it would become hard and crunchy, but it would also last for a very long time without going bad.  since this type of bread was essentially baked twice, that's what the romans called it: they combined the latin word be or bi - meaning two - with the word coctis - meaning cooked - from the same root as the word cook.  so this type of bread was described as bicoctis, literally: twice cooked or twice baked.  and bicoctis later evolved into the french word, biscuit.  it also evolved into the italian word, biscotto.  and if you're familiar with italian biscotti bread, you can get a sense of what the original biscuits looked like


read chiamamanda ngozi adichie's notes on grief

is this what shock means, that the air just turns to glue?

i back away from condolences.  people are kind, people mean well, but knowing this does not make their words rankle less.  "demise."  a favorite of nigerians, it conjures for me dark distortions.  "on the demise of your father."

my father often looked stiff in photos because he grew up knowing photography as a rare and formal event at which you dressed up and sat, uncomfortable, before a man with a tripod.  "daddy, relax.  daddy, smile."

the layers of loss make life feel papery thin


this week i

drove to detroit.   virginia license plate on 270 said, "not uber."  paladin brewery men's room events calendar advertised mask burning party.  mountain bore sign read, "remove sunglasses" at the tunnel.  "keep moving" toll warnings ought to have plead, "keep it moving."  beck odelay sounded of cicada rock band, highways are concrete wormholes, what is a seagull but a dove that wants your boardwalk fries, and also the best place to sneeze remains the shower because you are immediately forgiven. kashmir palace closed so we ate and drank at the feve, artisinal now.  "it’s not a real party until a kid steps on a bee."  capuchin monks served soup, our rental ricocheted orange, green, and a mimed triangle won the game

read wonderful life: the burgess shale and the nature of history

we now know that genes can be transferred laterally, usually by viruses, across species boundaries.  this process may be important in the evolution of some unicellular creatures, but probably plays only a small role in the phylogeny of complex animals, if only because two embryological systems based upon intricately different development pathways cannot mesh, films about flies and humans notwithstanding

multicellular life of modern design occupies little more than 10 percent of earthly time

the maximal anatomical range of the burgess.  nearly 2.5 billion years of prokaryotic cells and nothing else-two-thirds of life's history in stasis at the lowest level of recorded complexity.  another 700 million years of the larger and much more intricate eukaryotic cells, but no aggregation to multicellular animal life.  then, in the 100-million-year wink of a geological eye, three outstandingly different faunas-from ediacara, to tommotian, to burgess.  since then, more than 500 million years of wonderful stories, triumphs and tragedies, but not a single new phylum, or basic anatomical design, added to the burgess complement

the majority of fossil mammals are known only by their teeth

crustacea, primarily marine (the terrestrial pillbug, an isopod, ranks as an exception)

oh fuck, another new phylum

our society's fascination with dinosaurs.."big, fierce, and extinct"

when we then inquire about the environmental oddity that could have engendered the cambrian explosion, an obvious answer leaps at us.  the cambrian explosion was the first filling of the ecological barrel for multicellular life.  this was a time of unparalleled opportunity.  nearly anything could find a place.  life was radiating into empty space and could proliferate at logarithmic rates, like a bacterial cell alone on an agar plate.  in the bustle and ferment of this unique period, experimentation reigned in a world virtually free of competition for the one and only time.
in darwinian theory, competition is the great regulator.  darwin conceived the world in metaphor as a log with ten thousand wedges, representing species, tightly hammered in along its length.  a new species can enter this crowded world only by insinuating itself into a crack and popping another wedge out.  thus, diversity is self-regulating.  as the cambrian explosion proceeded, it drove itself to completion by filling the log with wedges.  all later change would occur by a slower process of competition and displacement

but multicellular animals did not arise soon after the origin of eukaryotic cells; they first appeared just before the cambrian explosion some 570 million years ago.  hence, a good deal more than half the history of life is a story of prokaryotic cells alone, and only the last one-sixth of life's time on earth has included multicellular animals


this week i

updated our overview of the medicare prescription drug marketplace.

don't listen to music at your peril.  humans are happiest when their feet don't touch the ground.  dr. sherman said stop eating so much seafood

read siddhartha

a heron flew over the bamboo wood and siddhartha took the heron into his soul, flew over forest and mountains, became a heron, ate fishes, suffered heron hunger, used heron language, died a heron's death

may your friendship be my payment

the river has taught me to listen..if i could talk and teach, i would perhaps be a teacher, but as it is i am only a ferryman and it is my task to take people across this river.  i have taken thousands of people across and to all of them my river has been nothing but a hindrance on their journey.  they have travelled for money and business, to weddings and on pilgrimages; the river has been in their way and the ferryman was there to take them quickly across the obstacle.  however, amongst the thousands there have been a few, four or five, to whom the river was not an obstacle.  they have heard its voice and listened to it, and the river has become holy to them, as it has to me

the river is everywhere at the same time

the river laughed.  yes, that was how it was.  everything that was not suffered to the end and finally concluded, recurred, and the same sorrows were undergone.  siddhartha climbed into the boat again and rowed back to the hut, thinking of his father, thinking of his son, laughed at by the river, in conflict with himself, verging on despair, and now less inclined to laugh aloud at himself and the whole world


this week i

peeked into zed's for klimt and bamboo clue murder weapon, first time there since date with doctor who quit medicine to become airline stewardess.  b&b staff memorized our names, we brought our own kombucha to surf, turf burgers. early fifties, twenties father-son pair shared first post-quarantine fling, kissing the ring in reliance mine.  new york ninth motel partying reenactor looked of rick danko, pulled up sweater to show stenciled the band despite not knowing big pink.  his since-childhood-pilgrim wife poured us dental rinsecup fireball, his son or nephew or boarder - whatever you'd write on the census form - heckled us as john and yoko due to new glasses.  post eighty four coffees, "the art of embracing damage" instructions, we drove mummasburg to michaux, hiked rocky knob, ate waitstaffed buffet dinner before olde shoppe, lonely cotton-eyed joe barn dance, not forgotten almond flour triple c.  second saturday after gourds'r'us, air hockey pong, we celebrated cunningham falls birthday-in-absentia, perused another kintsugi pamphlet, i poured mouthwash on my palm from the fumes. memorial morn, mouthed "i love you" to lesko's riddlermobile.

read the apartheid-era liberation two-man play woza albert!  jesus chose south africa

ja, this is what i call, 'loafer-skap!'


ukudla kwemi godoyi lokhu [this is food for a dog] - no, a dog wouldn't even piss on this food.  ikhabishi, amazambane, ushukela, ipapa, utamatisi endishini eyodwa - ini leyo? [cabbage, potatoes, sugar, porridge, tomatoes in one dish - what is this?]


percy (continuing clipping): aaahh, don't ask me nonsense.  i had a barbershop.  but the police came with the bulldozers during the soweto riots.

mbongeni. ooohh, 1976?

percy.  uh huh.  during the times of black power.  everything was upside down...(to the invisible interviewer as he enters:) oh, hello, skulu.  i'm fine, thanks.  and you?  (listens.)  morena?  here, in south africa?

mbongeni. that's nice  during o

percy (clipping, talking excitedly): well now, i want him to build me a barbershop in a very big shopping centre in johannesburg city, with white tiles, mirrors all over the walls, and customers with big hair!  (the clipper gets caught in mbongeni's hair.  he struggles.)

mbongeni.  eeeeeeeeiiiiii!


you must make bricks like you make bread and wine long ago.  i mean you must make bricks to fall down like manna from heaven -

percy. like you made fried fish!

percy.  we have finally captured morena, sir!

mbongeni.  you've what?  attention!  one-two-three-one-two-three-one!  (they march to each other, shake hands.)  excellent, sergeant!  excellent!

percy.  thank you, sir.

mbongeni.  and now, what's happened to your head, sergeant?

percy.  a mad zulu, sir.

mbongeni.  a mad zulu?

percy.  yes sir.  he struck me with the branch of a tree, sir.

mbongeni.  a branch of a tree?

percy.  they call it a knobkerrie, sir.

mbongeni.  ah!  when, sergeant?

percy.  during operation coronation, sir

my people, as your prime minister i must warn you that we stand alone in the face of total onslaught.  our enemies will stop at nothing, even to the extent of sending a cheap communist magician to pose as the morena, and undermine the security of our nation.  but let me assure you that this cheap imposter is safely behind bars, from which he cannot fly.  peace and security have returned to our lovely land


morena's walking on water to cape town