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Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9933 ... complete list at bottom of page ... send comments & suggestions to "z (at) his (dot) com" ... click on a title link to go to that item in the ZhurnalyWiki where you can edit or comment on it ... thank you!

2018-09-30 - F Scott Moonplaster

~17.7 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"Stone Age password generators?" K2 speculates about the function of massive rocks on Fishers Lane with odd word combinations. (MOONPLASTER? STARSAILOR?) We scratch our heads. J-Bird and Slow-Twitch lead the way to famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave. Subsequent discussion of literary-country matters includes libraries, speed-reading, phonics, pop-up books, and Braille. We return K2 to her car after ~9 miles so she can make morning commitments, then continue east into Kensington where we admire cute homes.

"Do nice people tend to become ultrarunners, or does ultrarunning make people nice?" Could the causal relationship flow both ways? We cheer participants in today's "Rock The Creek Relay" and ponder doing the whole 29 miles ourselves, rather than as part of a 6 person team. Hmm!

Back in North Bethesda kind Tassie and her tripod pup Bubba take us to the amazing Grosvenor Market where we buy ice cream and diet soda. Passing Georgetown Prep School loud football-field noises remind Slow-Twitch of similar sounds during the Tesla-Hertz 100 miler on Long Island, and the Bruce Springsteen concert near the Beast of Burden 100 miler course near Buffalo. Such great memories!

GPS glitches inside Starbucks add about half a mile.


- Friday, October 19, 2018 at 04:18:08 (EDT)

Last Last We Go Dey Alright

The New York Times special section "This is 18*" arrives and falls open to the girls-around-the-world slang page to reveal:

"Last Last We
Go Dey Alright

... explained as an "optimistic saying immortalized by the Nigerian rapper Kida Kudz. It means, 'At the end of the day, we will be all right'" according to an 18-year-old young lady named Victory. See also the Kida Kudz video and the essay by Onyl Ukorah "We Go Dey Alright Last Last!" about profound hopefulness — so good!

(cf Underappreciated Ideas (1999-07-06), This Is Equanimity (2015-03-15) Mantra - It Will Be OK (2016-04-30), Mantra - Uncertainty, Kindness, Peace, Hope (2017-06-29), ...)

- Thursday, October 18, 2018 at 21:22:11 (EDT)

2018-09-29 - Birthday Ramble

~20 miles @ ~17 min/mi

"They don't have biometrics for your bum!" We speculate that answering an emergency Call of Nature near a security camera might be anonymous, at least for now. Slow Twitch and Court Jester lead the way down the Bethesda Trolley Trail, detouring to serenade Tassie who can't join us today. At McDonalds we pause for coffee. Today is Roadkill's birthday, and we ramble without plan. Five miles? Ten? Union Station? Rock Creek? Whatever!

"A fox!" K2 points out the creature eyeing us from a ridge above the Capital Crescent Trail. Polite cyclists warn before they pass. The Potomac River is high, flooding the Georgetown waterfront, as trees and debris float in the current. At the National Zoo volunteers lead miniature donkeys through crowds of tourists; a gorilla lolls in the sun on a high platform. At mile ~20 we stop at Starbucks, share Pink Drinks and Dragon Drinks, and declare victory. An Über returns us to the start. GPS glitches in tunnels and restrooms add ~1.8 bonus miles.


- Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 05:18:15 (EDT)

Fierce Courtesy

From Coleman Barks ("The Glance: Songs of Soul-Meeting"), a poem about One and Two:

The connection to the Friend
is secret and very fragile.

The image of that Friendship
is in how you love, the grace

and delicacy, the subtle talking
together, in full prostration,

outside of time. When you're
there, remember the fierce

courtesy of the one with you.

... Yes, and always remember:


... and every other -ness that leads to love ...

(cf There's Nothing Ahead (2016-11-06), Be Ground (2016-12-27), In Your Light (2018-01-04), Friend Sits by Friend (2018-07-04), ...)

- Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 06:21:28 (EDT)

2018-09-24 - Mount Daniel

~7.8 mi @ ~13.3 min/mi

"Cooked peas!" - "Cardamom coffee!" - "Corn not on the cob!" - "Pumpkin beer!" - "Canned green beans!" Dawn Patrol discusses favorite foods and their antitheses. De gustibus, etc. Light rain falls as we ramble to the end of Woodland Drive, where at the summit of majestic Mount Daniel (~460') our way is blocked by a construction site. K-Rex and K2 make inquiries of a local native, who reveals to the explorers a muddy path leading back to civilization, aka the next neighborhood. Half a mile later, the intrepid trio is inside a Starbucks. Whew!

"Maybe we should change our name to 'The Lost and Found Patrol'? We find stuff, and we get lost a lot!" On Route 7 we pass the spot where K2 rescued a dropped drivers license ~3 months ago. K-Rex's kids are already designing their Halloween costumes; one has begun to keep a diary. Fame will soon follow ...


- Monday, October 15, 2018 at 04:21:33 (EDT)

2018-09-23 - Frolic vs Detour

~10.1 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

Northwood High School sidewalk car"Are we on a frolic or a detour?" Nowhere Man asks. In tort law it makes a difference! (cf Frolic and Detour) Regardless, on a rainy Sunday morning we ramble up Sligo Creek, pausing to photograph miniature garden sculptures. A little old lady ("Shhh - she's a secret ultrarunner!") emerges from a dirt path at one side of a dead-end street. Adventure! The narrow muddy trail leads to Breewood Neighborhood Park, and from there the track at Northwood High School beckons.

"Look Before You Go - Pay Attention as You Cross Road", curbside art admonishes, with a dynamic drawing of a car bursting out from underground. Apparently high school students still need to be reminded! We run a lap in honor of the new World Decathlon Record set a week ago by Kevin Mayer. Another dirty digression gets us to Colt Terrace Neighborhood Park, and then via wet bikepaths and sidewalks back home.


- Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 07:19:11 (EDT)

The World We Truly Want

Beautiful thoughts by John Sterman, professor and leader of the MIT System Dynamics Group:

In my view, the real purpose and real value of a Sloan education is to develop [students'] capabilities as systems thinkers and the leadership abilities to use those capabilities to build the world we truly want. Not for the short run. Not to boost the bottom line, or to pump up the stock price. But to create the world we truly want, for the long run.

... from "The Beer Game" by Peter Dizikes, MIT Technology Review, October 2013.

(cf Transient Behavior (1999-05-11), Fifth Disciplinarians (2000-09-10), Tool Rules (2001-11-10), Forecasting Lessons from Systems Dynamics (2017-07-05), Systems Dynamics Advice (2017-07-12), ...)

- Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 06:03:52 (EDT)

2018-09-22 - Pink Drink

~17.7 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

"It's the 'Pink Drink' — and you should try the 'Dragon Drink' too!" At Starbucks the lady in front of us picks up a strawberry-açaí coconut-milk refresher; a staffer also recommends the magenta mango-dragonfruit blend. Iced coffee during a morning run feels so pedestrian now!

"You've done your Good Deed for the day!" the Kensington policeman congratulates us. Crabby finds a lost drivers license on the street, and Tassie figures out where the owner's apartment is. We divert to drop it off. Mission accomplished!

"It's a gun shop and a model train store!" somebody notes, and recalls visiting there for one but not the other. Someone else tries to tell a mildly risqué model train joke as we attack the hills of Kensington Heights (or vice versa). Early morning rain leaves puddles and humidity. Time-on-feet is today's sole goal, so we explore new cut-through paths, get lost and found again, backtrack, and pause for selfies by varied sculptures. Trail talk ranges widely over politics and current events, injuries and training, upcoming races and personal plans.

"Does that poison ivy rash itch?" — "Only when you ask about it!" A local 8k race provides an opportunity to applaud passing runners; a chipmunk hesitates, then dashes away. Slurpees from 7-11 are cooling but sit heavy in stomachs. A big buck bends low to rub velvet off his antlers against a fallen tree beside Rock Creek.


- Friday, October 12, 2018 at 04:33:17 (EDT)

2018-09-21 - Upstairs, Downstairs

~5.6 mi @ ~12.4 min/mi

"Those stair lights would be great going down," K-Rex observes. "And they'd be blinding going up!" Friday's Dawn Patrol meanders through Pimmit Hills and critiques the latest trends in suburban architecture. Most mini-mansions under construction seem to devote the majority of their ground floors to multi-car garages. We dodge around kids waiting for school bus rides, cut through a neighborhood park, and admire lawn ornaments.


- Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 05:50:08 (EDT)

Getting Things Done Practices

Suggestions from Mark Volkmann's "Getting Things DONE summary", nicely capturing some of productivity-guru David Allen's recommendations of practices to adopt:

... well, yes — and flossing more often too!

... so yes, perhaps the place to begin is by being kinder to one's self, on the way to getting better-organized — as per Mantra - Love Your Self and Mantra - Be Your Own Best Friend ...

(cf Mind Like Water (2011-12-24), Getting Things Done - Summarized (2012-05-14), Mindless Mind (2012-10-06), David Allen Summarized (2014-04-29), Feel Good about What You Are Doing (2016-05-25), David Allen on Opportunities and Gracefulness (2018-07-02), ...)

- Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 06:09:45 (EDT)

2018-09-19 - Perspectives

~4.6 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Knows right answer when told!" Dawn Patrol characterizes authorities who are, unfortunately, sometimes more decisive-certain than nuanced-wise. We ramble, sharing without judging, in search of iced coffee. And small-world surprise: chlose cholleague Chiara materializes at Starbucks just as we arrive! Shared laughter ensues. We cut through a nursery and admire the mums and gourds.

"Say 'Experiment', not 'Focus Group', if you want to get approval these days." And so the phrase du jour evolves. Once upon a time it was "catastrophe theory" and "mobile missiles". Now it's "deep learning" and "blockchain". What's next?

"Take a higher perspective!" K-Rex suggests. K2 and Roadkill concur on the value of being more 'meta', and not fretting so much about the small stuff. We're blessed to be out here together — and nobody has fallen down lately, yay!


- Tuesday, October 09, 2018 at 05:29:26 (EDT)

2018-09-16 - Polygamy Porter

~6.5 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"Polygamy Porter — bring some home to the wives!" says the slogan for a Utah brew. Nowhere-Man recalls the "Go West Beer Fest" that he attended with Ken and Emaad, and what happened afterwards. (Trail Talk!) We try to enhance today's trackfile with a loop, fall prey to a dead-end street with no cut-through escape, and have to backtrack. A realistic great blue heron sculpture stands guard in a front-yard garden. Ken and Win meet us in the tunnel under the train tracks. Two big deer amble across Rock Creek Trail.

"Is that a gall?" - "Or a boll?" - "It looks like a giant brain!" We try to remember the term ("burl") for a canker-like growth on the side of a tree. Win discusses plans for playful pranks and wonders about the potential benefits of electrical muscle stimulation for healing injuries. ("Just don't attach the wires to your head!") Ken describes today's "Baldo" Sunday comic strip, with punchline "Libraries are theme parks for the mind!" Nowhere-Man's tie-dye-style skull shirt reads "Run or Die" with subscript "Singletrack Mind".


- Monday, October 08, 2018 at 04:37:18 (EDT)

Mantra - No Watcher, Only Watching

No Watcher,
Only Watching

As Bhante Henepola Gunaratana says:

... You perceive the universe as a great flowing river of experience. ... You stand there transfixed, staring at this incessant activity, and your response is wondrous joy. It's all moving, dancing and full of life. ...

(cf The Watcher (2010-11-15), Mantra - No Self (2016-10-25), Simple but Not Easy (2018-01-10), Mantra - Unself Together (2018-03-30), ...)

- Sunday, October 07, 2018 at 07:18:21 (EDT)

2018-09-15 - You Are Loved

~22 mi @ ~15.5 min/mi

"You Are Loved" - Garrett Park Sidewalk stencil with Caitlin"UR ❤️'D" reads a sweet square sidewalk stencil on Strathmore Avenue. Crabby and Roadkill pause to frame it with their fresh kicks. We're finishing the postscript to a happy humid urban ramble with Tassie and K2 that includes:
- 3 deer, a gaggle of geese, and at least 1 rabbit sighting
- a midcourse ice pop stop at Chateau Spargeaux
- "Cards Against Humanity" vocabulary lessons from the Game Night winner (don't ask!)
- multiple new cut-throughs between neighborhood streets
- Starbucks iced coffee (yay!)
- mitzvah visits to Slow Twitch and Court Jester - the first to console the sick, the second to fetch Tassie's forgotten phone
- helpful tips for newbies attending the upcoming 2019 Dopey Challenge
- a fairy ring featuring an invisible meditative zen fairy seated amidst the mushrooms (and if she was invisible, how do we know she was there? don't ask!)

"She named many religious holidays - but they were all for the wrong religions!" Someone's five-year-old was far too ecumenical for a single-faith summer camp. Trail talk celebrates the growing openness of society in many dimensions of life. A front yard is dense in reflecting globes and other ornaments.

"That cricket is driving me crazy!" Crabby's bête noir is an inch long and lurks outside her bedroom, chirping amorous serenades before sunrise. K2 and Tassie get their 10 mile goal plus a 20% bonus; Crabby likewise overachieves her planned 18 miles. At the end of the trek, Häagen Dazs on a stick gets Roadkill's core temperature down. Thank you, C - and thanks to all for a lovely-therapeutic Saturday morning jaunt with friends!


- Saturday, October 06, 2018 at 04:46:46 (EDT)

2018-09-14 - Heroes

~5.4 mi @ ~12.9 min/mi

"We can do anything!" says K2, ambiguously, as Dawn Patrol pauses at the first corner. Roadkill hears her remark as a delicious allusion to the Alesso song "Heroes (we could be)", with its lyrics about secret superpowers and running as a team through dark empty streets (see below). Or then again, maybe it's just a statement of openness about today's route? K-Rex chooses to turn left. Onward!

"I've stopped caring! Uh, no — I mean, it will turn out OK no matter what." Roadkill backpedals furiously re the latest re-org. We arrive at the Potomac Heritage Trail head and fight temptation to play hooky from morning meetings.

"Welcome! Here's a glass of water and two Tylenol!" K-Rex recalls her Mom's present to her Dad after he took the kids on a fishing expedition. Sometimes little ones are quite a headache; then, there are all the rewards. Final miles bring reminisces about homemade moon pies, chessboards of vanilla and chocolate cookies, and other oven delicacies. Yum!

"Heroes (we could be)" by Alesso

We go hide away in daylight
We go undercover when under sun
Got a secret side in plain sight
Where the streets are empty
That's where we run

Everyday people do
Everyday things but I
Can't be one of them
I know you hear me now
We are a different kind
We can do anything

We could be heroes ...


- Friday, October 05, 2018 at 05:07:27 (EDT)

2018-09-12 - Ghost

~6.2 mi @ ~13.2 min/mi

"So am I a ghost?" K2 asks, after Mandy and K-Rex run through spiderwebs along the trail while following close behind her. Then we realize that she's wearing Brooks brand "Ghost" shoes. Hmmmm ... could this be the surprise-ending revelation for a thriller?

"Venting? That's exactly what Dawn Patrol is for!" The first week of school brings schedule chaos. Looming hurricane winds threaten to knock down trees, disrupt electricity, flood neighborhoods. We meander by flashlight and headlamp through quiet streets, and spy a deer, a fox, and a rabbit. Humidity is high; light drizzle begins.

"He was playing with my kids, and then walked home. Next thing I knew, fire trucks and ambulances pulled up in front of his house." Hours later Damon, a dear family friend, died. His memorial service was held just a few days ago. We share sorrows and memories, and give thanks for lives rich in love and caring.


- Thursday, October 04, 2018 at 05:50:39 (EDT)

Yoneda Perspective

From "The Yoneda Perspective", a 2017 essay by Tai-Danae Bradley, discussing the Yoneda Lemma of Category Theory:

... mathematical objects are completely determined by their relationships to other objects ...

... and:

... the properties of a mathematical object are more important than its definition ...

... and in the remarks on that essay, a comment by David Roberts:

Q: "What is the Yoneda lemma? And if it's just a lemma then - my gosh - what's the theorem?"

A: "All of them."

(cf Tai-Danae Bradley's blog and her 2018 notes "What is Applied Category Theory?"...)

- Wednesday, October 03, 2018 at 04:46:44 (EDT)

2018-09-10 - Thank You, Mr Rogers

~4.6 mi @ ~14.0 min/mi

"Yes, and...!" Dawn Patrol concurs on the value of a relentlessly positive attitude — in work, life, and everywhere else — during a drizzly-dark ramble featuring midcourse iced coffee from a chatty barista, three deer, a wet rabbit, and a big brown wood frog that hops along the path in McLean Central Park. We catch up on family news (all's well) and vow to practice better self-care. Currently one of us is recovering from a bad cold and one reports twinges in ITB, hip, hamstring, and various other places. Do as we say, not as we do?

"It takes 1 letter to say I, 4 letters to say Love, and 3 letters to say You. That's 143!" K2 recommends the new film "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" and describes Fred Rogers' secret way to say "I Love You". (He also tried to hold his weight at 143 pounds.) "The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving." Radical kindness, and a code language to express the two most important messages in the world: "Thank you." And, "I love you."


- Tuesday, October 02, 2018 at 06:48:35 (EDT)

2018-09-09 - Parks Half Marathon

~13.1 mi @ ~9.0 min/mi

"Prune fingers!" Crabby holds her hands in front of the car heater vents to dry them post-race. Today's Parks Half Marathon is a soggy sprint through heavy showers that flood Rock Creek Trail. We high-step through ankle-deep puddles, splashing and laughing on our mission to get Craberella to the finish line in under 2 hours. And she makes it, for a monster PB improvement - yay!

"Many years ago on a trail run you said, 'Passing on your left, Sir' - and I still remember that!" Richard Szwerc tells Roadkill. Looking back, likely it was the 2011 "MCRRC Piece of Cake" 10k XC race. Today, though, it's Richard who does the passing. Caroline, official 1:55 target time leader, is friendly and establishes a solid pace from the start. Roadkill can't keep up and slips back after ~4 miles; Crabby hangs on longer to finish in an awesome ~1:57 - brava!

"I smell pizza!" Nowhere Man rides with Roadkill to the start and plans begin early for post-race recovery fuel. We thank C's husband Bill, who drives us to the start of the event. Near the finish line C's mom cheers us for the final dash, then takes photos. Crabby displays medals and hats; Roadkill is happy to get an ice pop. Right after finishing his calves cramp up ferociously.

"It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you / There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do / I bless the rains down in Africa ...", plays on the radio as Roadkill parks his car in the dark this morning. It's Weezer's cover of Toto's song "Africa" - and throughout today's rainy race it's on heavy rotation in the mental boom box. Unofficial results: 494th of ~1400 finishers, 349th of ~700 males, 4th of 19 males 65-69 years old, gun time 1:58:58, chip time 1:58:32 - after many years, sub-2 hours one more time!
Parks Half Marathon photo by Zeitvogel


- Monday, October 01, 2018 at 04:28:04 (EDT)

2018-09-08 - Aussie Talk

~8.6 mi @ ~15.2 min/mi

Bethesda hibiscus"And that is Australian slang for ...", Tassie offers Down Under language lessons to Slow Twitch and Roadkill, who true to his trail name jaywalks to show faith in right-of-way regulations. Thankfully, today not fatal! On a cool and humid morning the Bethesda Trolley Trail takes three friends south in search of iced coffee. En route trail talk ensues. We practice role-playing selfish, arrogant, assertive characters - and faux-scold one another when normal self-deprecating and self-sacrificing tendencies surface. It's a day for shameless Mr Hyde, not diffident Dr Jekyll. We offer mutual reassurance that, though times are tough right now, we're all doing our best and the most important things will ultimately turn out OK. Yes!

"Remember crouching behind that wall?" - "There's the security camera I stood in front of!" - "At mile 60 we played the 'Would You Rather ...' game!" - "Do you know the ASL sign for that?" We share memories of local training runs and ultramarathon anecdotes. Slow Twitch recounts tales from last weekend's awesome-tough 71-mile odyssey around The Ring. Hibiscus flowers flaunt their beauty in roadside gardens.

"So do you guys have any info I can read if - hypothetically - I wanted to train for my first ultra? I mean, just for academic purposes?" young Tassie texts a few hours later. Uh-oh!


- Sunday, September 30, 2018 at 05:48:22 (EDT)

Mindless, Rigid, Separated

Opposites of Mindfulness + Nonattachment + Oneness? Inverses of Meta & Soft & Open? How about:

(cf 0-1 (2014-08-29), Mantra - Mindfulness, Nonattachment, Oneness (2017-01-25), ...)

- Saturday, September 29, 2018 at 05:57:58 (EDT)

2018-09-05 - Crickets

~3.7 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"Crickets!" notes Dr K-Rex — referring not to silence but to loud insect noises on a humid morn. A shadowy fox slips silently into the bushes. Dawn Patrol cuts through tiny Pimmit View Park and admires glowing blue lawn art as the sky brightens around a waning crescent moon. We mew at a cat watching us from its front porch perch.


- Friday, September 28, 2018 at 05:29:51 (EDT)

2018-09-03 - Woodside

~12.6 mi @ ~13.9 min/mi

"Knight of Pentacles - Slow Down!" Today's tarot card counsels patience, wise advice on a super-humid morning with sunbeams piercing the misty shadows. Hibiscus flowers blossom uninhibited and spiderwebs span Sligo Creek Trail. Today's route meanders through comrade Amy's former 'hood, Woodside, inside the Beltway. A northern flicker (woodpecker) takes wing on Pin Oak Drive; three deer feed at the meadow near a Goose Crossing sign. A painted mini-angel guards a driveway.

"We're oozing energy today!" Nowhere Man notes. Or sweating it out? Four electrolyte caps, a salty gel, a bottle of Gatorade, and three pints of water result in 3+ lbs of weight loss. Rabbit count = 1. In the final mile neighborhood runner Ryan introduces himself as he dashes by.


- Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 06:08:59 (EDT)

2018-09-02 - Gateless Gate

~12.1 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Who's blocking the Gateless Gate?" Roadkill stands athwart the entrance to the Japanese tea house in Brookside Gardens. Is this a Zen riddle? If there's no Self, then who's stopping whom?

"Let's visit the Butterflies!" Nowhere Man suggests. Alas, it's not open until later this morning, so we we walk around the outside of the conservatory and eye the exhibits there. On the way to the park we detour to get bottles of chilled PowerAde, thanks to kind Robin Z. Heat and humidity are oppressive. A deer steps aside for us to pass. We wonder how Slow Twitch and Court Jester can possibly survive The Ring, and learn later that they both somehow finished that 71 mile über-mountainous trail run. Awesome!


- Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 04:46:36 (EDT)

Twilight Sparkle

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Indeed — starting with the My Little Pony universe's "Friendship is Magic" show. Who would have thought of a children's TV series featuring "Five Elements of Friendship" — honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, and loyalty — that combine into a sixth Element, "magic", each one personified by a pastel horse?

And the primary character, "Twilight Sparkle", here drawn featuring the "Yes, and... mantra?

Such a marvelous world we live in!

- Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 05:35:13 (EDT)

2018-09-01 - Turnabout

~16 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Is my face red?!" Barry and Roadkill ask in embarrassment as they discover that they've gotten turned around on the one-dimensional Capital Crescent Trail and have gone half a mile in the wrong direction. Oops! Ken and Emaad finish the run and phone, concerned about the prodigal pair, to find out where we are. We speculate that the trail name "Nowhere Man" could fit Barry.

"Good morning, Mr Bun!" A rabbit scampers into the bushes as Roadkill does a solo preface trot to the group trek. Morning dawns warm and hyper-humid. On the way to Bethesda a florist's delivery van flashes lovely flowers on its flanks, and wooden bears guard a home on hilly Leland Street. Dear friends are in our thoughts as they run The Ring today, a 71-mile mountainous ultra on the Massanutten Trail.


- Monday, September 24, 2018 at 04:34:58 (EDT)

2018-08-31 - Memorial Mosaics

~5.2 mi @ ~13.1 min/mi

Falls Church McLean Childrens Center memorial mosaic"Chorus of crickets!" K-Rex comments, as Dawn Patrol surveys Pimmit Hills on a hyper-humid morning, serenaded by chirps. Headlamp comes out for the first time after a summer of early sunrises. At the Lemon Road Elementary School (Falls Church McLean Childrens Center) we pause at sad-beautiful memorial mosaics to a local child who lived only 2000-2009. A shadowy raccoon dashes across the street; a faster runner clears the cobwebs from the path ahead of us.
"I set that trap to capture your queen!" K-Rex reports on her son's metacognitive commentary during their recent chess games. Zombie-eyed kids shamble toward street corners to await their school buses.Falls Church McLean Childrens Center memorial mosaic


- Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 05:53:25 (EDT)

2018-08-29 - Leadership Training

~6.3 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"And she won her very first marathon!" Mandy tells of her awesome-strong triathlete sister-in-law who broke every rule and yet came out on top. We remind ourselves not to make comparisons with other people, or even with our past selves. Humidity hangs heavy as K-Rex leads the Dawn Patrol east through neighborhoods of hills, mansions, and friendly dog-walkers. We discuss Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership training and other courses aimed at making senior managers better. (Do they? Or do they just sharpen what was already there?) Fog hangs low over the elementary school playground, and dew-drenched grass wets our feet as we cut through to the condo complex. A deer nibbles honeysuckle blossoms at McLean High School.


- Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 04:31:32 (EDT)

Feynman by Ottaviani and Myrick

Graphic novel biography of Nobel-Prize-winning theoretical physicist: what could go wrong? Besides everything? Amazingly, (almost) nothing goes (seriously) wrong. Feynman, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, as a comic book flows fast and tells diverse stories about Richard P Feynman (1918-1988). No (significant) new scholarship, lots of diverse classic anecdotes of a fascinating, flawed person.

Freeman Dyson, friend of Feynman and fellow physicist, explains in his review:

... The genre of serious comic-book literature was highly developed in Japan long before it appeared in the West. The Ottaviani-Myrick book is the best example of this genre that I have yet seen with text in English. Some Western readers commonly use the Japanese word manga to mean serious comic-book literature. According to one of my Japanese friends, this usage is wrong. The word manga means "idle picture" and is used in Japan to describe collections of trivial comic-book stories. The correct word for serious comic-book literature is gekiga, meaning "dramatic picture." The Feynman picture-book is a fine example of gekiga for Western readers.

Dyson concludes his essay on a personal note:

... He hated all hierarchies, and wanted no badge of superior academic status to come between him and his younger friends. He considered science to be a collective enterprise in which educating the young was as important as making personal discoveries. He put as much effort into his teaching as into his thinking.

He never showed the slightest resentment when I published some of his ideas before he did. He told me that he avoided disputes about priority in science by following a simple rule: "Always give the bastards more credit than they deserve." I have followed this rule myself. I find it remarkably effective for avoiding quarrels and making friends. A generous sharing of credit is the quickest way to build a healthy scientific community. In the end, Feynman's greatest contribution to science was not any particular discovery. His contribution was the creation of a new way of thinking that enabled a great multitude of students and colleagues, including me, to make their own discoveries.

Feynman wasn't larger-than-life — he fully filled his space-time. R.I.P

(cf Late Physicists (2000-09-24), Fractal Feynman (2003-01-30), Essential Knowledge (2005-06-20), Feynman Lectures (2006-11-26), Feynman on Poetry and Science (2015-11-03), Symmetry in Physical Laws (2015-12-12), Alternative Paths (2017-01-15), Feynman on Good Stuff (2018-06-03), ...)

- Friday, September 21, 2018 at 05:12:32 (EDT)

2018-08-27 - Cobweb Help

~5.5 mi @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Thank you for clearing the spiderwebs for us!" Dawn Patrol salutes a handsome young gentleman who dashes ahead on the path by Georgetown Pike.

"You're welcome," he replies. "Actually I took care of them earlier, outbound." We start in gloom, running by cellphone glow in darker patches under trees.

"That could be a car advertisement!" K-Rex observes as a full moon sets, perfectly placed, above a mansion with a luxury auto parked in front. She and K2 spy three rabbits as we lope along neighborhood lanes.


- Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 05:36:49 (EDT)

Mantra - Gently, Gently, Gently


... and as Bhante Henepola Gunaratana says:

... Mindfulness is cultivated by a gentle effort, by effortless effort. You cultivate mindfulness by constantly reminding yourself in a gentle way to maintain your awareness of whatever is happening right now. Persistence and a light touch are the secrets. Mindfulness is cultivated by constantly pulling oneself back to a state of awareness, gently, gently, gently. ...

(cf Gently, Gently, Gently in Mindfulness in Plain English, Chapter 14 "Mindfulness versus Concentration", ...)

- Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 04:29:21 (EDT)

2018-08-26 - Scooby-Doo

~8.9 mi @ ~15.0 min/mi

"Ruh-Roh!" Barry translates Scooby-Doo dialect for clueless Roadkill. (Uh-Oh!) A speedy 3-year-old kid, chased by his hound, leads us along a narrow trail through the woods near Rock Creek. His father lags far behind shouting, "Romeo, Romeo!" as we add a bit of bonus mileage after a loop around Chevy Chase with Gayatri. On the way to rendezvous, pause for pics of Hello Kitty "Baby on Board" car decals. Give thanks for dawn, for friends, for beauty, for health.


- Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 05:31:15 (EDT)

2018-08-25 - Only Cups

~11.5 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"I'm hungry and they have no food in the house, only cups!" and "I do everything and you do nothing!" Cait and K2 recount complaints by exhausted little kids having meltdowns. Life is so tough sometimes! We join Santa, Ken, and Barry for part of a cool Saturday morning ramble. Plans take shape for the Disney Dopey Challenge race series in January. "What's your favorite Disney movie?" Roadkill names "Fight Club", and vows to be more adventurous, more open, more accepting. He dashes across a street to photograph wall art in downtown Bethesda.

"I started crying within the first 3 minutes and completely lost it by the end!" The new Mr Rogers movie, "Won't You Be My Neighbor", is reviewed and recommended. (Quick, buy stock in tissue companies!) At the opposite end of the nice-naughty spectrum, "DTF" is defined for the more innocent Dawn Patrol members in the context of OkCupid's recent ad campaign. (If you don't know, don't ask!)

"My neighbor's father was her Captain!" The USS Torsk is now a museum submarine in Baltimore's Inner Harbor; K2 saw it and, last weekend, so did Cait's family. Small world! Runkeeper's GPS glitches wildly during the journey through the Dalecarlia tunnel and awards us a bonus 2-minute mile.


- Monday, September 17, 2018 at 05:36:32 (EDT)

Causal Inference in Statistics

Heavy going, marred pedagogically by poor choice of notation, too many typographical errors, and overly-complex examples — yet nonetheless Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer by Judea Pearl, Madelyn Glymour, and Nicholas Jewell offers an introductory glimpse of how to think about cause and not just correlation in collections of data. Bayesian graphs are Giant Step #1, and midway through the journey, a glimpse:

...There is a powerful symbolic machinery, called the do-calculus, that allows analysis of such intricate structures. In fact, the do-calculus uncovers all causal effects that can be identified from a given graph. Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this book ...

Perhaps there's a gentler pre-primer introduction to this topic? Perhaps it is yet to be written? Or perhaps Robert Tucci's 2013 "Introduction to Judea Pearl's Do-Calculus" is one such gateway, as recommended by Ferenc Huszár's "ML beyond Curve Fitting: An Intro to Causal Inference and do-Calculus" earlier this year?

(cf Statistics - A Bayesian Perspective (2010-08-13), Introduction to Bayesian Statistics (2010-11-20), Doing Bayesian Data Analysis (2013-11-02), Probability Theory, the Logic of Science (2013-11-18), Statistical Hypothesis Inference Testing (2013-12-01), ...)

- Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 13:36:34 (EDT)

2018-08-24 - Cheetos, Chipwich, Sponge Bob

~5.4 mi @ ~14.2 min/mi

"No backsies!" calls K-Rex, when Roadkill tries to retract the word "walk" that, by Dawn Patrol Rule #7, mandates a walk-break. An amazingly cool August morning demands a long ramble. A beer truck makes a super-wide turn that rolls wheels all across the sidewalk.

"Cheetos, Chipwich, or Sponge Bob?" At a gas station convenience store we pause and, to the clerk's amusement, ponder the broad spectrum of salty, sugary, and icy snacks. A Marshall HS five-star logo calls for a selfie. Animal statues adorn a tiny fenced-in parking lot. Fragrant roses bloom. Drs K&K drop sad Roadkill off at a Metro station (alas, he has early meetings) and continue, GPS-less, for another dozen+ miles of adventure and fellowship.


- Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 04:35:47 (EDT)

2018-08-22 - Mudslide

~4.2 mi @ ~12.3 min/mi

"!!!!" Slip-skitter-slithering on a surprise layer of mud, in the dark, crossing under-construction Old Dominion Drive, startled Dawn Patrol members somehow manage not to fall, pause to catch breath, let pounding hearts recover. "Did you take ballet in your youth?" - "No, did you?" - "Maybe T'ai Chi helps balance?" - "Maybe we're just lucky!" We ramble to Starbucks for iced coffee. Trail talk suggests moving family time and self-care higher up on the list of priorities. There's great thankfulness for friendship, sharing-without-judging, and domestic peace as anniversaries loom. Sometimes it's vital just to say, "Yes, Dear!"

"Let's walk when we reach that ..." - "Too late, I heard the word 'walk' and I'm walking already!" Maybe alien-syntax verbs to the end of sentences moved should used be? K2 begins a psyop to get Roadkill to run the Disney Dopey Challenge in January 2019. Perhaps he should take his own advice and say "Yes, and...?"


- Friday, September 14, 2018 at 04:37:28 (EDT)

For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), 0.9913 (August-October 2014), 0.9914 (November 2014-January 2015), 0.9915 (January-April 2015), 0.9916 (April-July 2015), 0.9917 (July-September 2015), 0.9918 (September-November 2015), 0.9919 (November 2015-January 2016), 0.9920 (January-April 2016), 0.9921 (April-June 2016), 0.9922 (June-July 2016), 0.9923 (July-September 2016), 0.9924 (October-December 2016), 0.9925 (January-February 2017), 0.9926 (March-April 2017), 0.9927 (May-June 2017), 0.9928 (June-October 2017), 0.9929 (October-December 2017), 0.9930 (December 2017-March 2018), 0.9931 (March-April 2018), 0.9932 (May-July 2018), 0.9933 (July-September 2018), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2018 by Mark Zimmermann.)

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