The Southern Baby

There is a difference between the North and the South. One of the differences is the lullabies that Southern babies hear when they are rocked and sung to sleep.

This is on my mind because I have a Southern baby grandchild named Tempe (Faith, Hope, Charity, Temperance — shortened to Tempe and graced on many girls in my wife’s family. My wife is also named Tempe.).

Every Southern baby has had their grandmother (and momma) sing Summertime to them. It is a “spiritual” in the genre of the American Southern African American experience, but it was written for the folk opera Porgie & Bess by the Gershwins.

The story is set in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina — a city with which all Southerners have a love affair — and revolves around a street person named Porgy (black, disabled street beggar) who attempts to rescue Bess from the abuse of her violent, possessive lover (Crown) while simultaneously trying to part her from her drug dealer, Sportin’ Life.

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Big Red Car — Fast Site

About a month and a half ago, I got hacked. That made me focus on the Big Red Car website. It was very frustrating. Lots of time on the chat with support from a bunch of different places — talking to you, AWS.

I changed a lot of things — hosting, security, analytics, CDN, cache, backup, image optimization, fonts, SSL, subscription, SEO — had to. I had let the site get a little overgrown and spindly.

So, I have been doing some work on it. Have three or four more things left to do, but today, I got the speed where it needs to be.

The site is loading in less than a second. For a site this large, that is a superb speed.

I use GTMetrix to measure performance and keep my results. It has taken at least a month, but to see an A-96% on PageSpeed and an A-90% on YSlow with a 0.8 second load time, is pretty damn good.

The smartest thing I did was to turn loose WPSpeedGuru in the person of Alexei Kutsko.

I cannot believe how much better the site does on search rankings. I never really configure it for that, but the speed makes all the difference.

I hope you enjoy it.

If there is some change you’d like me to consider. Drop me a comment. It feels like you do when you finish tying a big, fat, beautiful Monkeys Paw.





Afghanistan — No Peace, No Honor

The Trump admin is about to cut and run from Afghanistan. Worse, it is the right move. We are tired of Afghanistan, and it is not (never was) a strategic threat to the United States.

Stop right there — is that the right policy for the United States?

There are some who say it is given the current world situation and the lack of an American strategic interest in Afghanistan. Your Big Red Car agrees.

Some background as to how we were seduced into America’s longest war in its history.

 1. President Bush accused Osama bin Laden of masterminding the 9-11 attack (11 September 2001) on the World Trade Center twin towers.

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Threesomes With Siri

If you own an Apple phone and use Siri — face it, who doesn’t — you may not realize that when you found yourself in an “intimate” moment, you may really have been enjoying a threesome with Siri.

Apple had a program wherein they captured “inadvertent” conversations including you doing the wild thing [or discussing that rash, or doing a drug deal, or plotting a watermelon theft] with your beloved and allowed contractors to evaluate them to see how this problem happened.

“Babe, who is that?” asks the beloved just as you unleash your secret, death defying, all satisfying power move.

“Oh, that’s Tim Cook’s pal, Siri.”

“Babe, that’s creepy.”

“Shh, now where were we, beloved? Oh, yes, my power move. Come here, dumpling.”

Of course, they forgot to tell you that you and the dumpling were providing “content” for the contractors.

Yes, this really happened.

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We IPO — You Work, I Work, WeWork

There are some things in life that you have to see to believe. One is Niagara Falls. Another is the We IPO S-1, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing that reveals the inner workings of a company before it goes public. An S-1 is like seeing a company’s scat while on the hunt.

Image result for logo we work

This is that little falls between the USA and Canada.

Niagara Falls, New York

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Manhole v Personhole v Maintenance Hole

I have been on a journey of discovery. For a year I have struggled — admittedly unsuccessfully — with how to confront an increasingly more troubling, harsher, complex world.

This week, the Berkeley, California, City Council showed me the light when they renamed MANHOLES as MAINTENANCE HOLES, thereby driving off the offensive stank and horrific gender-biased nomenclature of such things. Hurrah!

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It is with a light heart I now face life, secure in the knowledge that I and millions of others will no longer have to confront the indignity of improperly identified, gender-shamed public facilities.

MANHOLES are dead.


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Confess — When In Trouble

When you learn to fly an airplane, you spend a huge amount of your training time learning what to do when things go wrong.

When you fly cross country, you are constantly looking at your GPS to locate the nearest airport and studying the land to see where you might put down safely if the plane’s engine were to quit.

You study the weather ahead of you. In the winter, you are constantly checking the air temperature, particularly if there is any moisture that could turn into ice on your wings. If you ascend or descend through a cloud and the temperature is below freezing, you will pick up ice. You can only haul a little bit of ice before the plane’s wings start to misbehave.

Part of your training is to memorize — Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, Confess.

Here is what that stuff means:

 1. Aviate — continue to fly the plane. Nothing good is going to happen if you stop flying the plane. You can put it on autopilot while you check the manual.

 2. Navigate — as you deal with the problem, fly toward the solution. If you have turned into a very heavy glider, glide toward the nearest airport where they will have emergency services.,

 3. Communicate — tell air traffic control what is going on. Stay in touch with them. They will tell you the direction of the nearest airport. They may have a recommendation on a good spot to land. They will clear the skies — make a hole in the air — for you. This is not their first rodeo.

I once made a terrible, stupid decision to fly down the East Coast on a summer afternoon when the cumulus clouds and thunderstorms were about ,thinking I could dodge the storms on the way to Charleston.

I found myself stuck amongst some storm cells in the Patuxent River area over the Chesapeake Bay. A cool ATC saint threaded me through the cells, thereby saving my stupid ass. He made it so damn easy, all I had to do was follow his instructions.

 4. Confess — when talking to air traffic control, tell them what you have done even if you have done something wrong. They can’t help you unless they know where you are, how you got there, your level of expertise as a pilot, and what you want them to help you with.

Declare an EMERGENCY because they have to stop what they are doing and give you priority treatment if you do that one thing.

This also applies to CEOs running companies, be they startups, small or medium sized businesses.

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Blue Apron v Red Apron

The meal kit business has been frothy and nobody has had a tougher time swimming through the froth than Blue Apron.

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Blue Apron came public — raising $300MM — during the same week that Amazon announced the acquisition of Whole Foods. Bad timing, bad luck. That, however, was only the beginning.

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