Cancer – Feeling Helpless

Cancer has an amazing capacity to destroy, deform and debilitate. Feeling helpless in helping friends and family who have it or have very close loved ones who have cancer brings those same qualities. You can fight cancer – and win – but it’s hard to fight feeling helpless.

One way to fight that feeling is to recognize that:

1) you are doing what you can

2) you are doing as much as the person will allow you to do. what that means is, some people aren’t comfortable at all with receiving help and it’s very hard for them. Traditionally this is viewed as a strength – he / she fought with dignity and did it their way. That is the easier route when it comes to cancer. Letting people in, letting you see their hurt, requires a strong bond and requires everyone seeing and dealing with atypical aspects of life and death, which alway seem to loom close even when death really hasn’t got a chance.

3) even the smallest thing being done, flowers, a hug, a short letter, matters as long as it’s sincere. There isn’t enough sincerity in the world. Any action along these lines is a positive in an ocean of problems created one drop at a time running off the person’s body. Cancer water torture.

Even doing something, you will still feel helpless to some extent. You won’t be a cure, but you can make a lot of the painful symptoms disappear.

Directly, I know six people who have cancer or who are dealing with a family member with cancer. Well, since one is my wife I would also have to include my children and my and her whole family. Cancer, even in remission is always more of a reality after it’s arrived than just the “theoretical” idea that people get cancer. That reality is a much bigger part of life that easily blocks out all other things a lot of the time. That’s a separate fight, shared by the family, friends and the person with cancer.

Self-Experiment – Add Google Analytics and more

I’m in the content Marketing field. I’ve always heard that to learn in-the-trenches, and view things as clients do, you should play with your own site. More than play, of course, you should train for the game and do it right.

I have started a Google Analytics account and tied it to I headed down the path of starting to link Webmaster Tools, as well, but there were a few changes to the tracking code I didn’t want to tackle quite yet.

I have been talking notes / screenshots along the way but am currently waiting a few hours to have data populate the analytics…


Eddie, 9, said he had a teacher at summer school.

“She said her name was Miss. Isis. I asked her if that was like ISIS, the murderists…”

I laughed at “murderists,” then said she’s probably heard that before.

“Kiran asked her first.”

Carrie said later maybe he could make up for that question by finding out about the Goddess Isis.

For instance she was the daughter of Geb and Nut. Nut? Ha ha. Have to love the short names, too. Osiris was her brother.

She was also a member of the Ennead, which also now tasks people with personality types with their Enneagram Test.

Knock Knock Joke From a 2-year-old

Eddie and Jack have been bombarding us with Knock Knock jokes. Blame – Iiiiii mean credit – classmates and “Boys Life” Magazine.

Jasper has caught on to the, um, “hilarity” and offered his own yesterday. Usually, he says Knock Knock and when you say “Who’s there” he repeats “Who’s there,” except “who der?” and way cuter. This time it went like this:

JASPER: Knot knot
ME: Who’s there?
JASPER: Heck yeeeah, Japper.

Where to Start for Mac Game Controllers

I’m just getting into Steam,. I purchased Tomb Raider through Steam and tried out a couple of games. The very first game I tried via Steam was the Trine 2 Demo. I could do nothing but move left and right. After playing Limbo (downloaded via iTunes) I’m wondering whether that was intentional but it certainly didn’t appear to be that way.

Still, there’s nothing absolutely clear about whether controllers are best, needed or whether any would work. With Tomb Raider, again there’s nothing solid in the game or on Steam that indicates what would be best or what would work.

Yeah, I’m no gamer. These games are part of my delayed satisfaction lifestyle, where I play many games about a decade after everyone else. And the other clue would be that, yeah, I don’t have a game controller, yet.

Today, I took the first step toward finding out more about how to use a game controller for my Fairly new MacBook Pro. I searched “Mac Game Controller” and this article, “How to use a game controller with your Mac” popped up at

At first the article seemed too specific, as it talked about using a Playstation 4 controller. But it gets good below the Bluetooth screenshot, starting, “Speaking of which, a word about compatibility.”

The article talks about the randomness of games that do or do not recognize joysticks and controllers. The solution to helping bridge this problem is Chibata Creations Joystick Mapper –

“With it you assign functions to the controller’s joystick or buttons. These generally come in the form of mouse movements or keystrokes. For example, you might assign the Mac’s W key to the forward motion of the left joystick and the Fire function to the controller’s O button.”

At $5 it’s worth a try even if it doesn’t work. But this highly esteemed site is saying it does. So, bonus. Another solution, at $25 is Controller Mate.

Of course, the next logical question is, are there more-native Mac controllers that do not require all this extra diddling around.

PS, search for Mac demos via Steam is to search for “demo” then narrow it down to Mac OS X. The ones with Demo in the title definitely have downloadable demos and many of the ones that show up do as well – but not all.

A Headline Perfectly Designed for Kids

No, not that one.

This one: “This beetle’s butt is basically a machine gun

And the article, at the Washington Post backs up the bluster. The lede:

Ever heard of the bombardier beetle? It’s aptly named: When threatened, the beetle doesn’t just excrete deadly chemicals. It actually mixes them up in an internal chamber, then fires the reaction off as a near-boiling, high-speed spray from its rear end. Now researchers have figured out how the beetles manage to aim and fire these noxious rounds at enemies.

Bonus, there’s a University of Arizona connection. They research the serious stuff.

Content Marketing Doesn’t Work for All Businesses

I left this comment on a piece about shorter news articles online in the comments, in reference to another which said the author was speaking as a content marketer, not a journalist. The author of the piece, is former journalist Kevin Delaney, now editor-in-chief of Quartz.

Content Marketers recommend longer pieces, as well. But most content marketing is meant for businesses to have a bigger and broader and better and more informational footprint for search engines to grab onto. Delaney here speaks more toward the consumption of news, which is different. As even the limited – so far – comments so far indicate though, his approach is too black and white.

I did like Delaney’s idea of beats being outmoded and journalists should follow their “obsessions” though hopefully he didn’t mean as fanbois or fangyrls. I’ve never read the site (until today when I glanced few a few articles) but someone who has read it says the shorter approach often leaves gaps and too many questions unanswered.

So there’s obviously a correct middle ground no one’s perfected, yet. Unless you’re just talking about “what appeals to the most people.” However, that’s never a good road to go down unless $$$ is your dole objective.

Just looking at the homepage by the way, I can scan just as easily on or or and then click on links from there I’m interested in. Except the range of choices is much less. And where’s the original reporting. The blurbs just point to other, um, longer articles on the subject.

I’ll read more over the next few days to see if that initial “what’s the point” impression chnages.”

International Jazz Day 2015 – Pictures of the 2 Year Old

Here we have Jasper, now 2 years and 2 months and 15 days old.

This is the best way I know how to celebrate international Jazz Day. We also call him, Jazz though he calls himself Jappers.




— all photos taken February 2015, three on the same day celebrating his birthday.

Leslie Gore – Forgotten Power

In the early 1960s, Lesley Gore released a song called, You Don’t Own Me. This song is hard to listen to often because even the title is just painful to think about.

It’s painful to think that this song, with this song had a place in society. It’s painful to think that more than 50 years later it still rings true int today’s society. She nails this plaintive plea (mp3 here, but not a straight link) that really gets across that people then and now really do live this life and struggle to push through the cocoon. It also becomes a confident voice where you can tell the voice in the song will eventually find the strength to turn her back and walk away.

In fact, if you look at the list of songs on that mp3 link above, you see a complex approach to society and relationships: Bobby’s GirlI Will Follow Him …. My Boyfriend’s BackThen He Kissed MeTo Know Him is To Love Him. And then in 2005 she announced she was gay. So, there’s that.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to? Yeah, even that one had a counter-intuitive spin. Turns out though that’s the song she’s most famous for, it’s really one of her weakest songs, sung when she was 16. She came to embrace You Don’t Own Me more, as a personal mantra, though she also said she envisioned a guy singing it to his girl as easily as the other way around. She died yesterday, February 16th, aged 68.

You don’t own me, I’m not just one of your many toys
You don’t own me, don’t say I can’t go with other boys
And don’t tell me what to do
And don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display, ’cause
You don’t own me, don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me, don’t tie me down ’cause I’d never stay
Oh, I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please

A-a-a-nd don’t tell me what to do
Oh-h-h-h don’t tell me what to say
And please, when I go out with you
Don’t put me on display
I don’t tell you what to say
Oh-h-h-h don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you
I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To life my life the way I want

She wasn’t a success overnight, it took a week.

Arizona Hikes With the Best Scenery

This article “10 Fitness Hikes With Tremendous Views” from AZ Central | Arizona Republic showcases some of the best hikes in Arizona, primarily for the views not for the exercise or difficulty.

This might translate into kid-friendliness.

Top 10 Books


Defining your own top 10 is a lifetime exercise.

Are you listing them because you enjoy them, because you learned from them, because you think you should read them again, because you’re nostalgic for them, because you admire the author, because you think they’ll impress others? All but the last are good, valid reasons for putting a list together.

My list is a combination of 85% enjoyment and 15% nostalgia. I read for enjoyment, for escape for stretching my brain on its imagination side. As a result, there are few non-fiction books or biographies because pure enjoyment is rarely there. I enjoy the learning and the discovery but both are included in more entertaining ways in my list. In the order I thought of them.

The entire DragonLance series (particularly the Time of the Twins, War of the Twins and Test of the Twins trilogy) – Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Othello – William Shakespeare
Butcher’s Moon – Richard Stark
The Last Unicorn – Peter Beagle
The Rainbow Goblins – Ul De Rico
Xanth series – Piers Anthony (particularly the first 6)
Smoke Signals – Sherman Alexie
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (collection of stories) – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury (this was the cover I had on the one I read when I was a pre-teen, used then)

Now having Bradbury last was just a complete oversight. He’s my favorite author. He’s very minimalistic in creating deep and complex landscapes, scenes and characters. This approach really let’s you, the reader, fill in a lot of gaps.

Butcher’s moon is a book, I believe I still have. I remember it very well, even though it was a throwaway read after I found it somewhere in a bookstore as a teenager.

The Rainbow Goblins saturates your mind (and belly?) with color, visually and I remember it when I was a kid and have now been able to read it to my kids.

The Last Unicorn is also a book from my childhood (I was a VERY early reader and read a lot) that has stayed with me. I believe my mom owned this and I picked it up one day and it was very sad. I believe my mom probably still has it. I was disappointed to know that the film version is not that great.

9: The Peacemaker

Enneagram Test

— your own interpretation goes … here —

Cider Tipples On Twitter

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted:

I grew up in England. When I was legally able to drink, I turned to cider first. In earlier teen years, I had tippled other weird liquors from my parents cabinet and tried the occasional Heineken from my dad’s alcohol stash. But cider was what I’d drink in the pubs, which I visited more for the snooker than to pull birds or a pint.

Woodpecker and Blackthorn were the ones I drank; I think primarily because my dad had those, as well.

And then I came to America and pretty much forgot about them. And I was stuck for two years not “legally” being able to drink. I did not drink much of anything; then moved mostly toward Jack and coke and cocktails at the club – always willing to try something new or recommendations.

And in the last three years or so beer and particularly craft beers and developing my tastes has come to the forefront.

But obviously the idea of a good cider never dies. I guess I need to call it hard cider, but by this time, you know what I’m talking about. I’ve seen it more in the stores and one day I wanted something lighter than beer but not juice. So I picked up a Strongbow. In a can it’s just not as good. I had a (smaller American) pint of Strongbow at the George and Dragon pub in Phoenix a few years ago but that wasn’t as good as I remembered either.

So the other day I Tweeted out that I had found a cider contender. Redd had less sweet, more dry. Crispin and Angry Orchard just were too sickly sweet (for my tastes, obviously).

Micah Silke tweeted back that he had found a dry cider in Oregon while on honeymoon, called Citizen. Quite fortuitously the company that makes Citizen joined in on the conversation. Carlton Cyderworks first favorited and then RTed our brief conversation and then when I asked about availability in Arizona, joined in, saying, unfortunately no at the moment. but it was available in the Seattle area. I have family there so – score, there’s a chance.

I followed @carltoncyderworks. And then something quite wonderful happened. Twitter started recommending all these other cider companies. Sweet. Or rather, hopefully, not-sweet.

So I can and will put them in a Twitter list. i noticed they were almost exclusively in the Northwest (I later found Santa Sidra cider from New Mexico (so I should be able to find that in AZ, right? No according to the site :| ). Other than the easy availability of apples, I wondered why that was the case?

But these are the ones I followed and if you have any recommendations and experience with these, I’d love to hear them. (Include whether you prefer sweet or dry, if you can):

Tieton Cider Works – @tietoncider (bonus, their Twitter image has bottlecaps, which i collect).
Red Tank cider – @redtankcider
Cider Monger – @cidermonger (not a brand but cider news.)
Cider Riot! – @CiderRiot
2 Towns Ciderhouse – @2townscider
Anthem Cider – @anthemcider
Schilling Cider – @schillingcider
Whitewood Cider – @wwcider
Portland Cider Co. – @portlandcider
Rev Nat’s Hard Cider – @revnatscider
Alpenfire Cider – @alpenfirecider
Bull Run Cider – @bullrunciderllc
Bushwhacker Cider – @bushwhckr
Snowdrift Cider Co. – @snowdriftcider
Fox-Tail Cider – @foxtailcider

I made a Ciders Twitter list – Ciders – to keep track


Changing WordPress Links to Alphabetical Order

Been loathe to change anything about the basic ZBench theme I downloaded a few years ago. I don’t mean I haven’t wanted to change the look of the site; it doesn’t mean I haven’t do ne just a little customization.

It means I haven’t wanted to get into the code. I have been burned pretty badly by that in the past even with backups and me copying code elsewhere before proceeding.

But I just changed the alphabetical order of my links.

Now that I think about it though, I don’t know if it was because I installed the My Link Order plug-in or simply because I changed a bit of code.

So I went to and searched for “alphabetical links” and found “My Link Order.” Version 3.5. Rashly, without backing up, I installed it.

Then it took me a few steps to find out how to get to the themes and to the Edit Themes part.

The page for the My Link Order plugin had a “Breaking Change Made in 3.1.4”

“If you do not use widgets to display links you must do the following: replace your call to wp_list_bookmarks() ** with mylinkorder_list_bookmarks().”

I wasn’t sure if I used widgets – yeah, it’s been that long since I messed with my code and theme – except to replace it twice in recent months.

First I went under Plug-Ins and then I went to Widgets. Yes, that means I didn’t think I was using Widgets; that and My Link Order was found under “Plugin Directory” of Then I hit “Editor” under Appearance to get to the Edit Themes / code chapter of this story.

By the time I got to the code, I copied it into TextPad (its equivalent, anyway) and found the “bookmarks” part mentioned above:

<h3><?php _e(‘Links’, ‘zbench’); ?></h3>
<ul><?php wp_list_bookmarks(‘title_li=&categorize=0&orderby=id’); ?>

So, yes, I had worked out that it was part of the sidebar.php file and that what was already in the parentheses ** should stay in the parentheses. So, I changed out wp_list_bookmarks … and nothing happened. Nothing happened.

Pygmies. And frak.

I went to Links where I now had My Link Order in the menu. That allowed me to physical move the links in alphabetical order (Or any order I wanted.) There should’ve been an Alphabetical Order button I could just click because that has to be the most common use for this plug-in.

Nothing happened. Frakking Pygmies.

I stepped away for a few minutes. … and went back to the WordPress page for the My Link Order plug-in. There are several tabs, I noticed and it defaults on Description. And the next was Installation. And it had something different inside the parentheses. So I left the wp_list_bookmarks code there and added the something different.

So the new code is:
<h3><?php _e(‘Links’, ‘zbench’); ?></h3><ul>
<?php wp_list_bookmarks(‘orderby=order&category_orderby=order’); ?>

And that works. I’m not even sure I need the plug-in at this point, but don’t want to mess with it. On that front, anyway.

And along the way, I reduced the size of the biggest word in my Tag Word Cloud from 18 to 15.

Now I’m going to work on lessening or removing the Archives – or producing them better than a giant list of months.

UPDATE, about 5 minutes later: So, going back to the sidebar.php page of code I changed “monthly” to “yearly.” That worked. Not ideal because now when I click on the year under Archives it just lists every post, instead of offering another list of months. … Then I moved “Search by Tag” and “Archives” down below my list o’ links.

The Center Of

luther-burbank-park luther-burbank-park-satellite-mp


There’s blackberry row, there’s Shakespeare in the park, Comedy of Errors / Alice in Wonderland, skipping stones, now sitting in the cool water with freezing kids, losing, searching and finding car keys, bouncing tennis ball on the slide, fire engine playground, free space.

Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert’s Letter to Fans After LeBron James ‘Decision’

Today Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavalier’s took down the July 8, 2010 letter he sent to Cleveland fans and, essentially, LeBron James after the latter showed up on TV to humiliate the Cavaliers on his way out of Cleveland and on to Miami. I’m a Spurs fan so none of the parties directly effect me, though I’ve never liked James after The Decision.” He never thanked the Cleveland fans, he thought mystery was more important than caring. James’ largely poor playoff performance while a Cavalier is a widely overlooked factor.

Below is the content of that letter that used to be here (not yet in its original Comic Sans but I’ll fix that at some point, though it still won’t show up that way on most computers.)

TITLE WAS: Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

[signature “Dan”]
Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers

The New Skylanders Trap Team


Saw this at Target, caught me completely by surprise.

The most important thing to know about the new Skylanders Trap Team is that ALL older Skylanders will work in the new adventure and on the new portal.

It also comes out October 5, and cost about $75, so we’ll have to wait a little. It is available for regular Wii.

That’s cool. And a wildly big improvement over SWAPForce, which I would not buy – or could not justify buying as we were still getting through the Skylanders Giants game. I’ve since got through the entire game (though need to get higher 3-star scores at several levels.)

But Trap Team seems like a winner and I’m excited about it. Eddie and Jack will enjoy it too (even though Jack still needs someone to move around while he shoots).

The Skylanders website is not the best place to get all your questions, answered; that would be too easy. But the Trap Team official website is a good place to get a back story – which oddly , only helps slightly. For instance, I’m not really sure what this means – “Take control of bad guys! Trap bad guys with the power of Traptanium, release them from the crystals and use their awesome powers for good.”

There appears to be actual USB-type keys in a fancy shape that will interact somehow with the game. Taking them out of the game until they can be pulled back in? Not sure.

1 of Wiisdom offers some more Trap Team insight, including some names of characters and a little more explanation of the game. The site names Skylanders Character List, as you might expect has more names and some pictures of the new Trap Team Skylanders characters.

There about 60 new characters. So that would be about another $850 investment. Yeah, it adds up. We haven’t even bought all the Giants characters, yet.

The Tesla Model X

It’s a CVU. Arrives 2015.

Three rows of seats, $54,000. Electric. “Gull-wing” doors, but hinged so they can open in tighter spots (doesn’t sound completely safe – a weak point in a crash?)

More from PC Mag: Tesla to Deliver Model X