Saturday Soundtrack: Keeping it together with Andrew Bryant


Today’s tasks were made easier with Andrew Bryant’s blue collar anthems as the soundtrack for the day.

I’ve always had this fear that every song I write might be the last. I’ve always been scared I will lose it or something. I used to consider my musical ability to be magical. I never thought of what I did as work, but as something I was given from some power out there. But now I know that’s not at all what it is. I know now this is something that I’ve learned to do over many years, and that my abilities grow depending on the amount of work I put into it. And that’s what I’ve learned: you have to treat your art like work, not magic. I used to treat it like magic, but now I treat it more like work. And I hope to keep working at it for a long time.


I was born 34 years ago in Oxford, Mississippi, to a sawmill father and a church piano playing mother. One taught me how to work and the other how to sing, and I try to do both as much as possible. Maybe the work isn’t as backbreaking as it was for me when I was younger and maybe the songs have changed, but I learned a lot in those day about what it takes to keep going, to not give up. I learned how to sing when my soul was down. Now I find that I just can’t quit.


opus dance


Source: Berkeley Breathed

Wednesday Noon: a small opening in the day



Your abysmal fatigue.
Is it causing your cognitive drift?
Or is it cognitive surplus?

Is the root cause of your emotional anemia
good distress?
Or bad distress?
Is there really a difference?
The grocery stores seem to think so.

No matter.
Snoopy says Happiness is a good long nap .
The noon bell has you headed for your car.
A small opening in the day.
Calgon can’t take you away from today’s cray cray,
but this little car nap will take you far.



Photo: mennyfox55

Sunday Morning: time off from all forms of worthiness


“The rest of the Shepherd who makes you lay down in green pastures is not about time off from work, it’s about time off from all forms of worthiness. Resting in the sacred is a blessed break from the “You deserve a break today” deep-fried culture of the self-obsessed. Sacred rest is a break from the am-I-productive-enough, lovable enough, safe enough, thin enough, rich enough, strong enough-worthiness system we live under. The sacred rest that is yours never comes from being worthy. It never comes through adopting the right kind and the right amount and the right quality of spiritual practices (although if those bring you a sense of well-being then by all means don’t set them aside). The rest that is yours and mine comes from the promise of the Gospel: that Jesus came to save sinners, that Jesus came to heal and love and save the sin-sick and the over-functioning, that Jesus came to give rest to the weary, and the restless, to give rest to harried housewives and overworked social workers and mildly depressed executives.”

– Nadia Bolz-Weber

Photo: Nicolas Raymond

T.G.I.F.: As the crow flies


After a busy week, and five meetings already this morning, with one more to go, I finally feel I can kick back and start coasting along like this crow. I like how smart crows are and they’ve become one of my favorite birds in recent years.


Photo: Phoo Chan

Wednesday noon art break: sunflower reminder

I’m posting this to remind myself that the sunflowers at Pope Farm Park in Middleton should be in full bloom in the next couple of weeks.


Artwork by Painted Works by KB


Why this smoking section is actually healthy





I couldn’t resist Googling about nests with cigarettes and found this:

Stuffing cigarette butts into the lining of nests may seem unwholesome. But a team of ecologists says that far from being unnatural, the use of smoked cigarettes by city birds may be an urban variation of an ancient adaptation.

Birds have long been known to line their nests with vegetation rich in compounds that drive away parasites.


After 20 minutes, the team found that devices with unsmoked butts had many more parasites attached to them than devices with smoked butts — which contain more nicotine as the cigarette smoke has passed through them. Indeed, in nests that contained bird eggs, traps with unsmoked butts caught on average more than twice as many parasites.

“It really makes me wonder: might these birds show a preference for cigarette brands high in nicotine? If they did, that might suggest this behaviour has truly evolved as an adaptive response to challenges from parasites,” says Timothy Mousseau, an ecologist at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Twitter

Photo: Kaos

Saturday afternoon showers that didn’t dampen


Saturday afternoon.
Corner of East Washington and Stoughton Road.
Traffic light is out.
I’m in the long line of cars waiting to turn right. Sigh. 

The rain is pouring,
I watch as it beats down on the traffic cop’s bald head.
His smile is brighter and stands out even more than
His neon yellow vest.
You can tell that even if offered a poncho and hat
He would decline.
Stuck alone to direct traffic at this busiest of intersections, his movements almost look like dancing.

Finally it’s our turn to go.
He gestures wildly, waving us on as if we were kids
Waiting to get into Disneyland.
Blowing a whistle none of us can hear.
A living example of don’t follow your passion,
let it follow you instead.


Photo: Nataraj Hauser

Sunday Morning: without a lonely place our lives are in danger


“Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures. The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life…”

-Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life

Photo: Dominic Wall

T.G.I.F: “Silliness suddenly seems safe now”


Bloom County is back!

“Deadlines and dead-tree media took the fun out of a daily craft that was only meant to be fun,” Mr. Breathed said. “I had planned to return to Bloom County in 2001, but the sullied air sucked the oxygen from my kind of whimsy. Bush and Cheney’s fake war dropped it for a decade like a bullet to the head. But silliness suddenly seems safe now. Trump’s merely a sparkling symptom of a renewed national ridiculousness. We’re back baby.”

Mr. Breathed said he planned to continue publishing new “Bloom County” strips online rather than in print newspapers.

“I’ll publish on Facebook, as that’s where my old school readers can reach me,” he said. “I want to hear from them — hear how my characters played a role in their lives — hear how they might still. Those of us lucky enough to be granted such a role should thank our fans daily…. The return of Opus and the old gang is my way.

He added: “Newspapers need deadlines, alas. Like my departed friend Douglas Adams used to say, the only part of deadlines I enjoyed was the whooshing sound as they sped by.

-Berkelely Breathed as quoted in the New York Times.

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