My Coloring Book page 4

Lisa and I were at the Rocket in Ypsilanti yesterday. I noticed 2 additions to the “grown-up coloring book” genre: Mazes and Extreme Dot to Dot. So, I couldn’t resist making a maze.

Try it! It should print fine at 8.5X11. Try to get from either X to the other. And yes, there is definitely a solution.


Now, I have to get busy and catch up on 3 days worth of email I’ve been ignoring while doing yardwork, playing guitar, and drawing pictures.

Physical / Tactile / Nostalgic / Beneficial?

IMG_3240I’m still working my way through digitizing all of my old reel-to-reel tapes but I noticed something today. I’m going to miss the feeling of threading the tape through the transports and onto the take-up reel. I remembered how much I liked threading the 8mm film through the projector or even crawling under an old beater car to wire the muffler and tailpipe back to the frame to save a few dollars on repairs (my cars never lasted more than a few years anyway).

Naturally, that got thinking…

There’s been a lot written over the years about the value of engaging with the physical world. One of the earliest I remember is the book “Chop Wood, Carry Water” (the title comes from a Zen quote “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water”). I’ve seen articles about how kids are being affected by being distanced from nature, whether it’s urban/suburban living or the X-box (etc, etc). The topic is even subtext for movies like “The Matrix” or “Surrogates” (a truly creepy movie).

In ADHD world, I’ve seen it mentioned in a few places. For example, an article on kids and gardening in ADDitude Magazine or a study from University of Illinois about how walking can help with ADHD symptoms.

I think a lot of us have experienced this. And if not, why not give it a try?

If you  hit the wall on a problem, get up and take a walk around the office or around the house. If you feel some frustration coming on with the task you’re doing, stand up and take a few breaths or stretch.

Make sure you spend some time during the day doing something physical. Maybe not “build a playhouse in the backyard”, but sit down and doodle or color a few pages (all the rage these days). If you have kids, play a little catch or take a bike ride. (OK, I know I’m writing this in January, but you get my point.) If you have a pet, play with it.

If all else fails, you can try to use this as a positive motivation to go do the laundry.



Improv Class Starts Tomorrow! (Feb 2015) and other stuff

It’s been a busy week – I haven’t posted since the 16th. (I never made a commitment to myself to “post everyday”, but it was a fun run.)

Since the 16th, though, I’ve finished a draft of my MA project paper and finished assembling the book of poetry I’ve been working on since the end of summer. I have a copy with me, formatted for 6″X9″ with page breaks and fonts. I am going back over to see if I like the sequence of the poems and whether I am going to include any pictures (drawings and/or photos). Then, off to the editor.

I’m working on some music for an Indegogo promo for Pointless Pub and starting to pull together the setlist for our May Rotary Club gig “Lost in Space”.

But, the big news is that my Improv for Non-Actors class at Ann Arbor Rec and Ed starts tomorrow night. It’ll be about the sixth or seventh go-round and it’s always a lot of fun. Seeing new faces and some repeats and opening up space for them to just relax and have a good time is a real treat.


Daily Thought for Feb 16, 2015 (Mon)


With Lent coming up, we are looking into a program that
suggest eating a reduced diet for 40 days as a way of
showing solidarity with the poor, of experiencing a tiny
bit of what it means to be without readily available and
abundant food, and maybe just to simplify things a bit.

I wanted to provide some links, but I can’t find them right now.
I will post them later.

I do know that the origin of the idea was
a conversations Jean had with me about the book
“A Place at the Table”.

Daily Thought for Feb, 10, 2015 (rough morning)

Black Day V2_sm

Goal for the day: spend as much time as I can on the M.A. project.
Step 1: Find the notes from my last draft.
So: searched and searched and can't find them. Frustration. Anger. Self-loathing, etc, etc.
Until: sat down and made the drawing above.
Then: decided to take a different tack - reading "sista docta" (Joni L. Jones) 
and going through my notes on "What the Buddha Taught" (Rahula) to bolster my 
argument for using a phenomenological approach to thinking about ADHD.
Result: yep. When stalled, switch gears.

All of this made me think of using the phrase “The only way to it is through it.” Which made me think: “where did this phrase come from?”

Earliest reference I could find was in a poem by Robert Frost titled “A Servant to Servants” (1914). A woman – exhausted from taking care of her husband and many men who seem to room with her – is ruminating about a new fellow who is camping out on their property. How she finds that attractive – that he has just walked away from life and is living in nature.

Here’s the original passage from Frost:

Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through—

The line seems to refer to her husband’s attitude toward her exhaustion and possible mental illness. He argues that she should just “tough it out”. I’m not sure that’s the answer in ALL cases, but it got me through the morning. I went “through” it by accepting that I was not going to find what I wanted and that there was still plenty of other work to get done.

Daily Thought for Feb 4, 2015


Over the years, I’ve had conversations with different people about the idea of “law”. You can talk about it in terms of politics, religion, justice, even the rules of writing poetry and blogs. My position has always been that laws are useful in the same way grade school is useful: you need clearly defined boundaries until you are are wise enough to make up your own mind. Then, it can be a different story.

One quote I’ve had around for a while is credited to Plato and shows up all over the Internet:

“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.” – Laws, Book IX

As a philosophy teacher (at least up until March of 2014), I knew enough to be suspicious of the way that was phrased. I’m a Platonist at heart and I don’t like seeing my guy misquoted. So, I went and found the original reference. Sure enough, it’s different. And not just subtly, enough to make you stop and think.

So, here are two other translations for your consideration:

Laws are made to instruct the good, and in the hope that there may be no need of them; also to control the bad, whose hardness of heart will not be hindered from crime. This is from a web post titled “Pet Peeves and Plato’s Politics“. He doesn’t cite his translation.

The Internet Classics Archive translates it this way: Laws are partly framed for the sake of good men, in order to instruct them how they may live on friendly terms with one another, and partly for the sake of those who refuse to be instructed, whose spirit cannot be subdued, or softened, or hindered from plunging into evil.

The key difference between these two and the original, more popular, quote is this: Plato understood the need for law. Yes, there may be times for civil disobedience and even for ignoring laws that are outdated or senseless, but the idea that we don’t need laws wasn’t his point.

Daily Thought for Feb 2, 2015

About Abdul Ghaffar Khan.

A while back, UTNE Reader ran an article about Abdul Ghaffar Khan titled “The Islamic Gandhi”. When you read about him, it seems like he should be a household name, in the same way as Gandhi (who he knew) and Mother Teresa. Of course, being Muslim, he is not. Which is not meant to be a political comment on my part, but a simple recognition that most of the people I know do not know a lot of Muslims. So, to do a little bit of good-news spreading, I’m adding some quotes and some links to information about him.


It is my inmost conviction that Islam is amal, yakeen, muhabat – selfless service, faith, and love.

Only a dead nation remembers its heroes when they die. Real nations respect them when they are alive.

Who was Badshah Khan?

From the Progressive:

YouTube Video of a 10 minute biography produced by the Gandhi Memorial Fund:

A link to the movie “The Frontier Gandhi: Badshah Khan, a Torch for Peace”, produced in T.C. McLuhan, released in 2008