How Sporty is Spain?

I recently took up running and had occasion to shop for running gear and suddenly I’m seeing people wearing “sports” clothing everywhere. Most are unlikely to be heading to the gym. It’s almost like when you decide to buy a certain model of car, you start to see that model everywhere.

Frankly I’m blown away by the sheer number of people buying jogging pants and tracksuits or football shirts. And running shoes – fuhggedaboutit.

If I had more of an inclination I would delve into the data of how much the sports clothing and accessories market is worth in Spain and how much of that is really just fashion vs function.

So is Spain more or less sporty than the number of people wearing sports apparel?

Photo by Ktoine

Telephones in toilets

What is it with telephones in hotel room toilets?

In this apparently 5-star hotel I’m holed up in Amsterdam – they have 3 phones in this room and one of them installed by the throne in the bathroom.

Clearly I’m not the target audience for this level of communication equipmentization (I’m making that a word!). I have no one to call on a fixed line whilst I’m doing my other kind of business.

Also I guess most of these elegant boarding houses haven’t heard of mobile phones.

Photo by conskeptical

Who is telling your story?

I’m reading an autobiography of George Carlin – one of my favourite comedians.  This biography is much more than an autobiography – it is more like a spending an endless evening with George sitting across from you with copious amounts of whatever your choice of poison and hearing him tell you everything. Some of it sounds pretty far fetched. But that is the how life is.

So it got me thinking.  What if I was simply a character in a tale told in a bar by some boozy raconteur to a spellbound audience on a cold wet night someplace cold and wet?
And if I was  – which would explain a few bizarre things that have happened in my life , not to mention being Serendipity’s play thing –  how does this story end?

If I’m a character in a story – perhaps you are too – who is telling yours?


Photo by avlxyz

Every kid needs to learn to use a toilet brush

I recently showed my son to use a toilet brush to clean up a mess he made.
Of course he turned his nose up and made the face that says ‘this is a shitty job’. It is.

Life is full of shitty jobs –  crappy things that you sometimes have to do as part of the other amazing, interesting things there are to be done.
Some shitty jobs are cleanups of a mess you made.
Some are cleanups of a mess that others make.
Some  jobs are just shitty.

However they come about – there is learning and character growth in this work. It teaches kids to be prepared to do necessary messy jobs and the humility to value all labor – even that of dealing with crappy work.

My life’s work is to bring up my kids to care about the world and to treat everyone with respect by default. The nature of people’s labor has become a way to discriminate and in some cultures – yes you India! –  it has become institutionalized discrimination. I’m against treating people badly because of what work they do and this is a principle I teach my kids.

Helping your kid recognize they made a mess – in my son’s case a rather unsightly cluster splatter – and supporting them to clean it up is an opportunity to help them grow. It is an invitation to  a conversation about who would do it instead and what that would mean. It is a ticket to explore the bigger idea of what it means to be in a family and the distribution of work in a unit that exists together and individual responsibility in that unit.

When I was a kid, someone taught me to use a toilet brush and it helped me value all labor and to be prepared to do even the stinkiest work and not let that work define me as a human being.

Photo by illustir

Love with Dead Things


Our walnut tree gives us lovely walnuts and dead leaves. Both are lovely in different ways.

I actually love sweeping up the leaves, hearing them crunch underfoot and , occasionally, making art with them before they go on to the fire heap to get turned into another form of energy.