mm441: The Zen of the commuter

July 16, 2008

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MUDGE’S Musings

So it’s already almost 9:30pmCDT as I begin these words, pretty late to start a week-night project. It’s only a little crazy that, for WordPress.com, it’s already Thursday, as they operate on GMT and the calendar flips over for them at 7:00pmCDT.

But, while not Thursday yet in my world, it’s pretty late.

Got some interesting political/current events stuff that, if I had some drive, I might be able to write about. But, after a day of writing (a thrilling technical manual) and leading a fireman’s life later in the day (you know, days of boredom followed by minutes of sheer terror) as we broadcast our CEO’s quarterly message to his high ranking troops, I’m gassed. Not to mention the two hours round-trip commute.

Actually, I think I will mention the commute.

I’ve been making the workday journey to the Heart of Corporate America for nearly seven years. I’m convinced that the only reason that I haven’t long since gone postal is audio books.

We broached the subject of audio books in the most detail in this post from last August.

I publicly admit that I indeed listen to books on tape (or, more recently, CD) almost every day.

I have a commute that can take more than an hour, especially the afternoon home-bound one, and I have been using books on tape to fill that mental vacuum caused by bumper-to-bumper traffic on a numbing 250 times per year route for more than a decade and a half, since an otherwise despised boss tipped me to their value in this application.

I formerly listened to FM broadcast radio, mainly our last classical station, but often some afternoon FM talk, in a Howard Stern vein (but not HS!). The classics are always soothing, but not always useful at distracting one from driving chores. Talk radio, at least in MUDGE’s neck of the woods, seems to consist of 10 minutes of snarky talk followed by 20 minutes of jangly commercials. Ugh.

Books on tape rescued me from the tyranny of the airwaves (this was before the availability of satellite radio, which might have changed my thinking had I not been locked down into b-o-t mode by the time Sirius and XM made the scene).

My criteria is rock solid: never, ever an abridgement. Ever.

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mm410: Shallow thoughts

June 14, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

Back from Boston. Gotten some rest. Feeling more like myself. But not ready for deep thoughts, and yr (justifiably) humble svt found some topics on the web today worth pursuing in depth. But not today.

Sunday, 15-June-2008, is Fathers’ Day, an even more contrived observance than is Mothers’ Day. Pursuing the Left-Handed Complement archives, it seems that I let the day go by without note last year. Not a big deal.

My father, and my father-in-law, both good men and great role models, are deceased. My children, who I hope rate me similarly (but that’s for them to evaluate, and the jury is still out!), are mostly unavailable this weekend. Received a gift from the L.A. branch of the family, lovely framed pictures of our seven-year-old grandson and five-year-old granddaughter; definitely made my day.

My older son and his wife (and our local grand-dog) left early this morning for an out-of-state visit to his wife’s parents, to celebrate Fathers’ Day there. Can’t fault that; my kids haven’t seen those really good people since their wedding last July.

My youngest, the artist and vampire, leads a life that is 180° offset from his parents. He works, or performs, until the wee hours of the morning (home by 6am), so we see him rarely.

So, this weekend, a Father’s Day without fathers (permanent condition), and without children (in person — we have hopes for a Skype video call later today with the grandchildren).

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mm402: Brigadoon year for the Cubs?

June 6, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© doesn’t touch on issues in the world of sports that often.

But today I feel compelled.

I’ve spent all week sleep deprived, as the Chicago Cubs have been playing games on the West Coast, and those don’t begin until 9:05pm Central time. And the way baseball is played these days, only one of the past four night’s games has ended before midnight my time.

So, baseball has been on my mind.

They’re playing the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend. L.A. is the home of my daughter and her family: my son-in-law, and my two grandchildren.

My 7-1/2 year old grandson lived in Chicago for the first four years of his life, and somehow caught Cubs fan-itis, following the team on TV when available (and his mom and dad say it’s okay) and on line.

Last time we were together, he showed me how he logs into MLB.com on his Mom’s Macbook to get the latest scores and stats, and he grabs the L.A. Times sports section first thing to study the box scores. And his interest and enthusiasm, especially for all things Cubs, re-ignited mine. It doesn’t hurt that they’re off to a terrific start this season.

As I reflected on baseball, an enthusiasm that waxes and wanes for me, but which was a lifelong enthusiasm of my father, and which my older son inherited, and now, apparently, my grandson, I had this thought.

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mm384: Congratulations to the graduate!

May 18, 2008

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MUDGE’s Musings

Sometimes it’s simply appropriate to inject more than one’s opinions.

Today we inject yr (justifiably) humble svt‘s personal life.

The photo shows the proud graduate, child no. 3, shortly after the commencement ceremony at Columbia College Chicago late this afternoon, Sunday, May 18, 2008.

This is a unique arts oriented institution that marches literally to a different drummer. Big band jazz accompanied the processional and recessional, including a high energy arrangement of “Walk This Way,” yeah, that Aerosmith “Walk This Way,” as the faculty degree granters made their way onto the stage. Quite an entertaining afternoon.

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mm376: H.M.D. 2008

May 11, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

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As I write this, it’s mid-afternoon on Sunday, May 11, 2008, Mother’s Day in the U.S.

I believe that the important mothers in my life know what they mean to me, and how I feel about them:

My own mother, failing rapidly, but with her chin up, due to her illness. Her family wonders whether there’s even one more Mother’s Day in her.

My dear mother-in-law, about to be 87 years old, mostly healthy and ever very precious to us.

My lovely Mrs. MUDGE, who certainly deserved better than me, but loves me anyway, who raised three great children.

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mm366: Blast from the Past! No. 17

May 1, 2008

There’s most read, and then there’s favorite. This is a post which yr (justifiably) humble svt is, regrettably, but not regretfully, not at all humble about.

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Blast from the Past!

A post we really, really loved to write, and read, and re-read…

From our early days, originally posted August 15, 2007.

mm102: Fast Cities 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

I’ve always been a city guy, happier (even in its suburbs) than when away in some rural village, or bucolic resort. In fact, some would call my suburban home town more of a city than a suburb, and that’s just the way I love it.

And, I’ve always been secure in the knowledge that, no matter at what altitude and attitude I find myself on this breathtaking roller-coaster that is my life, I can count on my city to, eventually, provide me a livelihood. There’s just too much going on not to.

And during some extended times of un- or underemployment it was a matter of adjusting my own assumptions — the city was creating jobs every second, and I finally came to understand that I had to recreate myself to match up to one.

So, even while my faith in my home town has never wavered, even while one emotional center of gravity has shifted 2,000 miles west, it’s fun to encounter some more objective analysis about why my city makes me stay, no matter what.

And that brings me to the following story, first encountered in hard copy form (which means I’m probably 2 months late — an Internet eternity — in discovering it). I call special attention to the following tidbit:

Worldwide, the pace of urbanization is only accelerating. This year, for the first time, more of the earth’s population will live in cities than in rural areas–a cool 3.2 billion, according to United Nations estimates.

Take a look at the top of the story here:

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Fast Cities 2007

From Chicago to Shanghai, urban centers that are shaping our future.

From: Issue 117 | July 2007 | Page 90 | By: Andrew Park


You’re smart, young, newly graduated from a university with the whole world before you. You could settle in a small town with well-tended lawns, pancake suppers, and life on a human scale. Or you could truck it to the big city, with all its din and dog-eat-dog lunacy. Your choice?Fuhgedaboudit: There is no choice. For all the challenges cities face–congestion, crime, crumbling infrastructure, environmental decay, plus occasional issues with basic civility–they are still where jobs and youth gather, where energy begets even greater energy, where talent masses and collides. Worldwide, the pace of urbanization is only accelerating. This year, for the first time, more of the earth’s population will live in cities than in rural areas–a cool 3.2 billion, according to United Nations estimates. “In a world where we can now work anywhere, we’re tending to concentrate in fewer and fewer places,” says Carol Colletta, president of CEOs for Cities, an advocacy group. “Smart people are choosing to live near smart people.”

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mm308: Do you live in the right city?

March 7, 2008

MUDGE’s Musings

What I love about today’s electronified world is that you never know when and from where the next great thought is going to emerge, but you know darned well that it’s coming.

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“Why the Place You Choose to Live is the Most Important Decision of Your Life,” by Richard Florida is today’s great thought. Here’s the first page of his presentation:

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