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Brief Review — GreenMade InstaCrate Collapsible Crate

The GreenMade InstaCrate Collapsible Crate is one of the best purchases I’ve made in the past year. I picked up two at Costco and threw one in the back of each car. They’ve come in handy for all sorts of things.Those times you may need to carry a bunch of loose items or maybe you have a couple of grocery bags, a bottle of wine, and some beer — pop this up and throw them in here. They fold down flat when not in use so they take up little space so just keeping one where you need it is of no issue. We use ours several times a week.

This would likely make a great gift; one of those “why didn’t I have one of these sooner” sort of purchases. You can get them at Amazon but the identical ones I bought were $7.99 each at Costco when I got them. So, it may be worth look there if you happen to have one near.

The Numbers

Be very wary of any numbers given out without the data behind them…

73% of Americans believe…

One in three people support…

This affects one in every ten…

How did they arrive at that figure? How many people did they survey? What was the actual question asked? Was there A/B testing across a variety of different groups? Where were those people from? Was there a mix of rural and urban? Was it diverse racially and income wise? Unless you and all of your neighbors were polled, be wary; the numbers are a guess in the best light or pure propaganda in the worst.

Numbers are often used to sway and influence opinion and it is especially true when the data behind them, the math, is purposefully opaque. The news media, politicians, professionals, companies, and even fellow citizens do this all the time. They know that people, in general, like our beliefs validated and like being with the "winners". Therefore, if I say a high ratio of some such thing want some other such thing, people will be swayed to include themselves in that "winning" number.

Worse, even if the math behind the numbers is included freely, we the people often don’t bother checking it. We accept it at face value. This is dangerous and foolish and as good as not having the data at all.

Stop this. Always question the numbers. Ask for the data. Get the facts. Check the math.

Lived In and Loved

This site, along with several others I manage, was recently the victim of an attack that injected redirection code throughout my WordPress installation. Thus resulting in visitors to the site being redirected to all manner of scammy/scummy websites. A mess I’m still trying to clean up on most of my sites (for instance, patrickrhone-dot-com is still not fixed).

I believe one of the reasons these sites were an attractive target was due to the fact that so many of them had not been posted to in several months. Thanks to my nonline sabbatical I’d let them go fallow. Thus, it likely looked like no one cared.

But, I do care… A lot! Especially about this place. Of all the places I stopped publishing on, this is the one I missed the most. And, strangely enough to me at least, of all of the sites I wrote and maintained, this one was the newest of the bunch.

But, I liked what I started to build here before taking my break. A microblog before I’d even heard the term. POSSE (Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere) before I knew that was a “thing”. But, most of all, a place where I could feel comfortable posting an idea or essay of any length and not let the wholly self-imposed guilt of something only a few words long being a “real” blog post get in the way of pressing publish.

I’ll be honest; things are really kind of rough for me these days. I’ll be spending all day, every day, in a courtroom for at least the next couple of weeks. I don’t want to get into the details too deeply right now but my eldest child is on trial for a serious charge. I have to be there to support that. Then my evenings are packed with all I can’t currently get through during the days.

That is to say that I’m working as best I can to get everything cleaned up and my sites back functioning again but it is very slow going. At least this one seems OK (The Cramped does as well).

This is also to say that I’m weighing ending my sabbatical and posting here more frequently so this place looks the way it should — lived in and loved.

On Sabbatical

As of March 4, 2017 I’ve stopped all online publishing. This includes my websites and social media accounts. No blog posts, no tweets, no status updates. I’m nonline. I expect this to last at least a year. In that time, I’ll be writing. My goal for that writing is to become a book.

My newsletter, being email, will be my primary means of communication with folks “out there” (that’s you). I will continue to share occasional and infrequent updates, thoughts, and missives there along with information about the project and how you can pre-order the book when done.

The Begging Bowl

The Begging Bowl (or sometimes referred to as a Alms Bowl or Monk’s Bowl) is one of the few possessions a Buddhist Monk has. It is a practical object, used as a bowl in which to collect alms (either money or food) from lay supporters. Many monks rely solely on the kindness and generosity of others to survive.

This is my bowl…

As of March 4, 2017 I’ve stopped all online publishing. In my own way, I’ve gone into solitude and trusting my continued sustenance into the hands of those that wish to support my efforts. Here are ways to fill my bowl:

Other ways to fill my bowl…

Extending one’s bowl takes a tremendous amount of trust in both directions. The monastic trusts that there are those that wish to make a small donation to support their practice and the giver trusts they’ll have something of value to give back to the world upon return — this is the basis of karma.

On Sabbatical

As of March 4, 2017 I’ve stopped all online publishing. This includes my websites and social media accounts. No blog posts, no tweets, no status updates. I’m nonline. I expect this to last at least a year. In that time, I’ll be writing. My goal for that writing is to become a book.
My newsletter, being email, will be my primary means of communication with folks “out there” (that’s you). I will continue to share occasional and infrequent updates, thoughts, and missives there along with information about the project and how you can pre-order the book when done.

The Begging Bowl

The Begging Bowl (or sometimes referred to as a Alms Bowl or Monk’s Bowl) is one of the few possessions a Buddhist Monk has. It is a practical object, used as a bowl in which to collect alms (either money or food) from lay supporters. Many monks rely solely on the kindness and generosity of others to survive.
This is my bowl…
As of March 4, 2017 I’ve stopped all online publishing. In my own way, I’ve gone into solitude and trusting my continued sustenance into the hands of those that wish to support my efforts. Here are ways to fill my bowl:

Other ways to fill my bowl…

Extending one’s bowl takes a tremendous amount of trust in both directions. The monastic trusts that there are those that wish to make a small donation to support their practice and the giver trusts they’ll have something of value to give back to the world upon return — this is the basis of karma.

Review — A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Jones

On a recent trip to the mall with my wife, Bethany, we decided to pop into the Anthropology store there. I saw this book, A Modern Way To Cook by Anna Jones, sitting on a shelf and it immediately caught my eye. I picked it up, flipped through, and waved Bethany over to discuss. “This looks like a really nice vegetarian cookbook!”, I said. Explaining further, “Fairly simple recipes organized by time to prepare, snappy writing, and beautiful pictures.”

“We have that one, I reviewed it on my site months ago. It’s on the shelf in the kitchen.”, she returned. I put the book down, somewhat sheepishly, now having revealed I’d never noticed it and did not remember her post.

When we got back home, I found it and spent a few minutes digging in. In my goal to eat more healthily with more vegetables and low carb, I found several easy and delicious looking recipes I’ll likely try right away. The very first recipe in the book, a one pot kale, tomato, and pasta dish, is one I plan to make as soon as possible (I’ll use whole wheat pasta for mine).

My wife’s review is longer and arrives at some different takes than mine here. That said, I find it not only compelling and useful but a beautifully executed cookbook that I’ll likely use frequently.

Traveling Light (2017)

One of the more frequent requests I get from my readers is an update to a video I made back in 2009 detailing what products I used to maintain my goal to travel as light as possible.
I’ve resisted doing an updated version with specifics on clothing and gear for a number of reasons. For one thing, product offerings and availability changes too frequently. Many of the items I use I purchased several years ago and are no longer available. So telling you what I use is next to useless. Also, what I take often changes based on the conditions and environment I might find myself in. For instance, what I pack for a spring break vacation will be vastly different than what I pack for a speaking gig. Not to mention what works for me, as a middle aged male, does little service to my female readers.
Most of all, traveling light is less about products and more about methods, choices, and principles:

  • Get clothing that is lightweight, durable, easy to hand wash in a sink, and that dries quickly. Many of my faves are from Travelsmith, Patagonia, and REI,
  • If you’ve done the above, there’s only two sets of clothes you need for most short trips — Those you are wearing and those that you plan to wear tomorrow having washed what you’re wearing at the end of the day.
  • Pack clothes that are versatile — solid colors you can easily mix and match. 3 tops and three bottoms are nine potential outfits if the colors, style, etc. are complementary.

  • There are only two types of luggage, carry-on and lost. Most airlines charge for checked baggage anyway. Avoid both the potential loss and the near-certain cost.

  • Like I said, you’re going to be washing your clothes in the sink unless you are lucky enough to get an AirB&B with a washer dryer. Therefore, get some single serve travel detergent packs. The ones behind that link are Woolite — gentle on clothes — and come with a handy rubber sink drain stopper which is also recommended for times when the built in stopper fails. Or, if you really want to go full hippie ninja, get yourself a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s and use it for every-friggin-thing. Also, a travel clothesline for hanging up the wet stuff to dry. I like this one but there’s plenty of good options out there.

  • Invest in good shoes. Shoes that are as versatile as the outfits and are appropriate for most occasions. But, more importantly, ones that you can walk for miles in. Because, we do a lot more walking, in general, when we travel. In modern airports, distances can often be counted in miles between the curbside and your gate. My favorite travel shoes I’ve had for years (like I said, not worth mentioning the brand because they’re no longer available) and I could write a whole post of their own about where they’ve been. They’ve seen some miles and adventures and are not showing a single sign of stopping.

  • Finally, a good sturdy bag. One that can take a beating. I prefer the handsfree convenience of a Backpack but something with a good slip-free shoulder strap can work too. These days, I switch between a GORUCK GR1 and 32L Kit Bag depending on the circumstances. Love them both.

I hope this helps. If I can think of anything to add to the above I may do so at a later date. Further questions are always welcome but, if you really want specifics on products and I did not convince you with the above on their usefulness, you may want to search for past posts I’ve written on the subject.

Capturing The Wild Snippet

I’ve recently re-adopted something I learned in a high school creative writing class. I’ve been keeping a Field Notes notebook in my back pocket and capturing stray interesting thoughts that pop into my head and things I overhear from others (conversations, movies, reading, etc.) There’s no specific reason or purpose for these random snippets, for now. Just listening, observing, waiting, and writing down anything that catches my attention. Our writing instructor at the time told us that, mostly, these things will remain meaningless and go unused but, perhaps, one thing in there might be exactly the line you need to turn a good poem into a great one or the first line of conversation for a character in a book or even the first sentence of the next Great American Novel. She said one may not even make that connection for many years but, if it only happens once, the whole of all the capturing will be worth it for that single line.

The other lesson is that it causes one to be more attentive to the world. The senses become naturally heightened and one is much more mindful when anything is potentially worth the ink in one’s pen.

Campfire Diplomacy

I know, from reading my friend Kurt Harden’s blog, that we may not see completely eye-to-eye politically. But, a fact of which I’m absolutely certain of is that we could sit down around a campfire with two fingers of whiskey and a decent cigar each and come around to more that we agreed on than disagreed. And, with that which we do not agree on we would at least recognize that, in the grand scheme, we both want to be good Boy Scouts and leave the world a better place than we found it for our children. That we share this same goal. We simply have different ideas as to what “better” may look like but we can honor the other’s perspective.

Regardless, I can’t help but think of how much I need this right now. To know that my many friends on the “other side” of all of this would like to embark on some campfire diplomacy such as this with me. Creating the space for goal-oriented persuasive conversation so that “we” may once again become “we the people”. Because history tells us the consequences if we don’t.

Kurt, if you’re reading this, I’ll bring the whiskey if you pick up the cigars. Let’s build a fire.

Facts on Impeachment

A history reminder:

  • Number of US Presidents that have been impeached: 2
  • Number that have been removed: 0

Impeach ≠ You’re fired (Further reading here.)

An impeachment is technically synonymous with indictment. It is simply the U.S. House of Representatives charging a public official with a crime. Just because one is charged does not mean they must resign or are in any way impeded from carrying out their duties. I think people get confused because of Former President Richard Nixon who resigned before the impeachment process was done. Former President Bill Clinton (one of the two above), for instance, was impeached for committing perjury. The Senate declined to hold a trial on the charges and, well, that was that.

Removing a sitting President is a constitutional mechanism without precedent. There is an Article that outlines the reasons a President can be forcibly removed but the bar is pretty high. It, also, would likely be a long process (The impeachment, the Senate hearings/trial, the legal battles, the challenges, etc.) We don’t know, it has never happened. Therefore there is no precedent with which to gauge it.

My eyes are just tired from rolling whenever I hear folks talking about impeachment being the answer. It’s barely a question, historically. So, if that’s what you are hoping for in regards to the current or a future President, please understand what you are actually asking for. What you are likely hoping for is an “Article 2; Section 4 Removal” which simply begins with an impeachment.

I hope this information helps you and others in future conversations regarding this.