Some people just want to watch the world burn. Others make a really good living starting fires or pouring gasoline on them.

Don’t let them do your thinking for you.

Be the light.

For the record, I only ever attended UCLA as a summer program participant and an extension student. But my father and my son are both Bruins, so I claim association via legacy.

Whenever this cup lands on my desk with the cafe-du-jour, I open up YouTube on one of my screens and call up a live stream from somewhere in New York City.

I am one of those people who is happy to eschew forever any opportunity to live in NYC in favor of occasional visits. But while I have been to the Big Apple several times on business, I have never had an opportunity to visit for the pure purpose of visiting. I do feel like I am missing something.

So a trip is in the offing. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the City vicariously, allowing my brain to craft a Manhattan in my mind.

Band Name of the Week

Big Alpha Toast

I see this as a grunge metal band made up of huge, hairy dudes dressed like they work in a diner, with white kitchen aprons, white hats, and t-shirts that say stuff like “No, I can’t cook that, but I can eat it.”

The heater on the second floor is working. The heater on the ground floor is kaput. The thermocline halfway down the stairs was brutal this morning.

The Workbench, October 2022


Finished writing Cursing the Darkness, a collection of political hot-takes from the Trump Years. The manuscript is in the box, and I am wondering what to do with it.

Moved into the final editing phase of First Impulses, my first poetry collection. Now trying to decide whether to illustrate it or not. I’ll give myself to the weekend to decide, then put it to bed.

Developed a glossary of camping-related Scouting terms, initially for a master plan I’m helping develop for a Scout Camp, but will probably post it separately as a public resource.

Knocked off of the Bucket List

#21 Attained Brotherhood Membership in the Order of the Arrow

#473 Finished writing Cursing the Darkness

#904 Made jalapeño cornbread for the first time

Other Milestones

Helped run an interfaith bike ride for the Scouts (The Twelve Points Bike Ride) on the 1st.

Completed training to be a Unit New Member Coordinator for the BSA.

Reading of Note

Finished Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Baron Sacks (Of Blessed Memory.)

Finished The Last Kings of Shanghai: The Rival Jewish Dynasties That Helped Create Modern China by Jonathan Kaufman

Enjoyed “When your OCD Therapy is also a treatment for writer’s block” by Elissa Bassist

Projects Underway

Course Director for National Youth Leader Training 2023-4: assembling the staff now.

Serving on the staff of Wood Badge in 2023

Continuing to serve as Commissioner for the Ventura County Council, BSA

Books of 2021: San Miguel

In a departure from his normally humorous style, T.C. Boyle builds upon the little-known history of a forgotten American domain to spin a novel both lyrical and haunting. So perfectly are the characters and their setting woven together that I almost feel like I was reading Steinbeck.

I finished the novel late at night, and, sitting up on the edge of my bed, opened my windows so I could invite in the mist and listen to the sea lions sing a duet with the foghorn.

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