A farmer gets up real early and
coughs on the way to the barn.
He feeds the horses
then smokes a cigarette.
It won’t be light for hours.
There are Martians on Mars,
or, rather, in Mars. They
live under the soil. Carbon
tests confirm this. The dog sniffs
at something under a rusted
farm implement, a dead animal
There’s a lot to think about
on the way to agrarian
heaven, not the least of
which is the serenity of early
morning in a barn under
a pinup poster of Racquel Welch
in a bathing suit.
… I don’t know if it matters to my life or yours, but there’s a lot of talk about Donald Trump going to jail after he’s done as president. That doesn’t make any sense. He’s either our president or not.
… Alexis and I went to the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia over the weekend. We rode the train from a downtown hotel to Lincoln Financial field. I wanted to get there early to watch the “walk on.” That’s when midshipmen walk into the stadium in formation and stand at attention until all 4,000 have made it on the field. A band plays in the endzone. You get chills down your spine, and not because it's so freaking cold out.
Army won for the third year in a row. Before that, Navy won 14 years in a row. We’re streaky like that in America. For a while, we’re sane. Then we’re not. Right now, I’d say we’re not.
… I just finished a final last night in Business Analytics for my MBA. A lot of people ask me why, at the age of 56, I’m pursuing an MBA. I really don’t have an answer for them or, for that matter, the three or four of you. I just know this – it’s where I’m supposed to be. I believe in fate, or destiny, and sitting up in the middle of the night in my underwear writing to you is where I’m supposed to be right now. Earlier today, sitting in Dr. Pat Obi’s office watching him make an afternoon slurry was where I was supposed to be.
Dr. Obi fills a cup with hot water, then combines:
- Folger’s instant coffee
- Nestle’s chocolate powder
- powdered vanilla
- Horlick’s malt
- raw cane suger
Dr. Obi mixes this with the precision and focus of a lab tech handling nitro glycerine. After a while, I couldn’t handle it.
“I don’t mean to judge, but with Keurigs all around and Starbucks on the corner, can’t you get yourself a decent cup of coffee?”
“Starbucks is too expensive.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that to get through studying for his final, I bought Starbucks three times. That's 15 bucks in one day on Starbucks.
I got 15 out of 21. I’m happy with that. It gives me a solid B in the class. I realize now what held me back from being a statistician. Yes, a stats guy. I started out that way at Berkeley 36 years go. I could do all sorts of intricate statistical analysis in the lab… but when it came to tests, I didn’t perform well.
It took me 36 years to figure it out… but as I reviewed quizzes from Dr. Obi’s class, I realized that many of the mistakes I made weren’t improper calculations or applying the wrong formula. It was that I interpreted the results backwards.
It’s simple dyslexia. I can power through reading a book, slowly, or remembering a locker combination (by singing the numbers). But when it comes to reflexive concepts, I’m lost. The proof is on Dr. Obi’s quizzes. I can get the right answer, but it comes out jumbled. It’s the most annoying thing.
… Eric Anderson died yesterday. I got to know him through business and hanging in bars. I still don’t get it. The news came down during the show – and right before my final – so I’m still a little turned around by it. He listened to the show. See ya later, Eric. Hope there’s a good pickup game on the other side.
… That’s all I have for you. It’s the middle of the night. I’m sitting in the living room with a laptop on my hairy legs. The heater’s been going most of the night. It’s a comforting sound. It reminds you that you’re warm, on a couch, hairy, overweight, hungry, tired and that finals are over. Glory be for that.