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Home for the Holidays

(for any big wave junkies out there that enjoyed the last post on Nazare, check out this recent episode from earlier this week)

As is the case for us most years, we're not out rambling around over the holidays. Instead, we're waking up to frost out in the park and snow on the nearby peaks. We sit in bed holding our coffee cups in two hands, Sophie perched primly on our laps, and take stock in the world. There is much to be grateful for: good health, our wonderful friends and family, and the people who read my blog. Of course, there is also way too much to be saddened by as well. We do our best. We read. We empathize. We donate. We vote. We wonder aloud at the colossal stupidity of the species.

But, when that doesn't seem like enough, we drink. Ha ha, just kidding, we drink and we watch football. Well, I do at any rate.

According to Lori, I'm watching a lot of football this year. Define a lot dear... Seems totally normal to me. And when your alma mater goes 13 - 0 earning a trip to the CFP, I think you get a pass. Go Dawgs! As for the NFL, I have a dog in that fight too, but thus far they are more of a yappy Daschund than a Pitbull. (Should we try the wishbone offense?)


Speaking of football, in case you don’t watch it, the Burger King people put a lot of their ads on those telecasts. The food looks pretty tasty (on TV). But you really have to be on your toes with those ads because if you don’t mute the commercial within, say, 5-seconds, their BK jingle is IN YOUR HEAD (again) for at least the next two or three days. I’ve found the only effective remedy at this point is a drug-induced coma. Time consuming and a bit dangerous, but fully necessary when you are too slow with the clicker.

Where were we? Ah yes, the holidays. We still celebrate the season with the Pagan-Christian tradition of bringing a dead evergreen into our home and hanging things on it. Good for the dark northern soul around this time of year. A few years back, I shared the tale of our annual Christmas tree hunt which involved a great many steps, inevitable false starts, and a tree-evaluation process led by my lovely wife that is so thorough it can only described as “exhaustive.” To save a little time, I typically steered us to Lowe’s beautiful garden center warehouse, which may lack some Christmas character, but is less than a mile from the house.

This year, overcome by temporary insanity and a silly romantic notion, I suggested we go out to cut down our own yuletide arbor at a charming Vermont tree farm. We went on a Sunday morning. We selected the farm closest to home, but it was still out there a bit. Definitely over hill and dale. When we arrived, I could barely find a parking spot. The families were swarming over the hill, and the dale, saws in hand.

Lori was in heaven. So many trees! And so little time. Well, actually we had all day, but I was trying to inject some kind of time limit on the thing. NFL RedZone was on in 2 hours!

Despite an initially bouyant stride across the road from yours truly, I tired immediately as we began to wade through the corn rows of balsams, frasers and nobles (a species distinction which I forget every single year) and I slumped down in a row. "Carry on dear, the mission is too important." Lori marched up and down the rows leaving the crowds behind (and getting further and further from the car where our kill would ultimately have to be dragged) in a state of amazement. So many trees! How to decide?

She kept calling to me from a great distance to ask if this one or that one was a good tree, whether it was a noble or a fraser (???), and other excited questions. The few times when I tried to enthusistically endorse one of her candidates, she seemed to suspect a trick, dismissed me, and moved on with the hunt, because obviously the right tree was out there. Somewhere.


I passed the time by watching a young family cut down their tree. Mom was videoing and chuckling to herself about how we had better "capture the moment." Dad had his wee son and daughter down there with him on the wet turf, trying to get them to fake saw the tree for the shot. The son was not having it. He was bawling and screaming about something, and dad finally gave up and just cut the fucking thing down.

Thinking about RedZone again, I was beginning to wonder if crying might work for me?

In the end, a tree was stalked, felled and trussed for transport. Hallelujah. We made it home with our trophy just in time to see who Washington would play in the Sugar Bowl on the big CFP announcement show, and just before RedZone started. Consequently, I had to let Lori handle the trimming business again. Duty calls.

Lest you think it’s just football 24/7 for me with few outside interests, I also watch a lot of basketball. Specifically, I watch a lot of high school basketball. That’s because I’m an assistant coach, and that’s pretty much the job description. Hopefully, your next question is “How’s the team this year?” Thank you for asking. Excellent. I see few hurdles between us and the championship, other than the twenty-four games we must play and then win.


But seriously, I like it. It keeps me young (ish). I learn new words. I get to hear what the kids are listening to. And, I thank the Lord every day that I’m not still in high school myself.


I’m still in the marketing game too. I like that as well. This year, artificial intellgence (AI) is on everyone's lips. Naturally, I’m on the cutting edge of this technology. And AI is changing everything.

For example, just a couple of years ago, before Sam Bankman-Fried got his mug shot, I would get several emails a day like this:


"Tom! – how would you like to triple your business instantly? Our Blockchain-powered lead generation tool will deliver dozens of qualified leads to your inbox every week. May we talk?"


Now they say:


"Tom! – how would you like to triple your business instantly? Our AI-powered lead generation tool will deliver dozens of qualified leads to your inbox every week. May we talk?"

Once released into the wild, the first thing my new AI tool did was destroy all my blockchains, because AI is an alpha. It doesn't like competition any more than a cougar in a coop full of house cats would. But AI a great tool. In fact, I let AI Tom write this entire post and spent my time drinking mulled whisky by the Christmas tree instead (there was no football or basketball on at the time).

Smart, right? Though, I guess you wouldn’t know that for sure. It’s possible that AI Tom has imprisoned (or terminated) Real Tom...

But that's just ridiculous. There's no way a machine could ever be smarter than a person. People worry about the silliest stufxx100011100xxxwwxx88001

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

Attention all Planets of the Solar Federation

We have assumed control

We have assumed control

We have assumed control


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