Utah mountain memories

Highlights from a recent getaway, in no particular order:

  • Startling some young deer and two sandhill cranes as we pedaled along a gravelly trail.
  • Being followed in the forest by a wild mink.
  • Staying upright in the river on my first fly-fishing wade.
  • The sound of a meteor exploding somewhere in the upper atmosphere.
  • Hiking mountain trails with Mrs. Smith and our 5-year-old granddaughter.

Carry on, my friends.

B.J.

Dry Heat

A few lizards hotfooting across the pavement. Three solitary squirrels scurrying to their own shady spots. A butterfly, fluttering by.

Those were among the few signs of life on the Colorado Riverfront Trail as I pedaled along on my lunch break today. It was not yet 95 degrees F, as it is now, and climbing, climbing. There was time to think.

Colorado River, Mesa County, Colorado

Dry heat means nothing
like what it once meant to us
before we came here.

High desert has its charms and wonders, but it is hard not to wonder how long it will be before this lonely planet will be so hot and so dry that one can’t sweat at all, high or low, far inland or on a sandy beach by an ocean.

That this heat is dry is no consolation.

Say no to racist theocracy

I’ve been thinking about what my mother and my sister Kathie would be doing at a time like this. 

Rosemary would be doing everything she could to elect Democrats, from rallying voters in her precinct to driving candidates between campaign events to making phone calls and writing letters and whatever else she could. 

Kathie would be doing some of those same things, and if necessary she would sit down in an intersection and block traffic, as she did one night in 1972 in Iowa City when civil disobedience was necessary. She risked arrest and moved on only when a state trooper lifted her to her feet and physically forced her to move on.

These two set the bar pretty high, and they were gone too soon, and we need people like them more than ever.

Do what you can to stand against oppression by those who are stripping away our civil rights – your individual rights – based on their deeply flawed or deliberately distorted views of the U.S. Constitution. They will undo whatever constitutional amendments they can, ignore others, and overturn more precedents they dislike to turn our democracy into a pseudo-Christian, racist theocracy.

Do not underestimate your individual power and value in this fight.

Do not underestimate your individual power and value in this fight. Start with something you can do today, like contacting the lawmakers and lawbreakers who represent or purport to represent you in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Demand that they act to protect your rights and tell them what you want.

For those of us who live in Colorado, support Democrats who share your values. Look here for ways to get involved.

I no longer trust the current Democratic leadership to do what needs to be done when it comes to the filibuster and the Supreme Court. Biden, Pelosi and Schumer have had multiple opportunities to end the filibuster, expand the court, and even impeach the justices who lied their way onto the court and otherwise failed to live up to their oaths.

We need new leaders. We need people to stand up and demand better.

We need to demand better and accept nothing less.

B.J.

Life is too short for FAQs

If I’ve ever found the answer to one of my questions by sifting through an FAQ, such an event was so rare that I no longer look at FAQs. There may be a few useful ones here and there, but I don’t waste my time hunting for them. Life is too short.

As a person who writes and edits for a living, I confess that I’ve been involved in creating an FAQ page or two for a website. I hope they’ve long since been deleted, and I would not be surprised if they were never updated. FAQs are prone to being neglected.

Your first question

A few tips:

  • When someone wants you to create an FAQ, ask your first and most important question: Why?
  • Whatever the response is, ask your second and third questions: What are those frequently asked questions? What are the answers?
  • If you get a list of questions and answers, make sure the information – not the Q&A – is easy to find, in context, where the web visitor can find it without having to go to an FAQ.
  • If you don’t get a list of questions and answers, be glad you don’t have to create an FAQ.

Life is too short. Don’t waste anyone’s time on something that is almost always a bad idea

B.J.

Nobody “falls off” a bicycle

Enough of this nonsense about Joe Biden falling off a bicycle.

Nobody falls off a bicycle unless said bicycle was stationary and remained upright after the person who was on top of it somehow ended up on the ground or pavement or garage floor or wherever the bicycle remains stationary.

If a bicycle is moving and rider and bicycle suddenly both end up on the ground or pavement … or whatever, the cyclist has crashed.

As an experienced bicycle operator who has crashed a number of times – and in the process broken multiple ribs and one pelvis, incurred at least one minor concussion, and experienced countless bloodied knees and elbows – I can testify that in none of those mishaps did my bicycle remain upright.

I have never fallen off of my bike, even when I was new to those so-called “clipless” pedals and slowed down and forgot – as everyone does, sooner or later – to unclip.

I crashed. Joe Biden crashed. I watched the video and his bicycle clearly ended up on the pavement with him.

If you’ve never crashed while riding your bicycle, you need to get out more. If you’ve fallen off a stationary bike, I don’t know what to say.

Pedal on, my friends. Pedal on.

B.J.

P.S. Yes, as a professional writer and editor, I think words are important. Editors get paid for being those people who distinguish between falling and crashing. Being a pain in the ass is one of the benefits.