It's amazing the things one learns from a baby. Of course, you have all of the expected "standing in awe at the wonder of the world" type stuff--and this is not to be minimized. But over the past several weeks, little Max has taught me something much more useful: How to burp most effectively. (M)
I often forget that Cleveland is at approximately the same latitude as Florence. This morning, it was cool and sunny. On my walk to work, the slight smell of exhaust in the air, the light and the temperature reminded me of my walk to school along the busy, narrow streets of Florence in 1994. I feel good every time I'm reminded of those days. (M)
Stuck in a jet, sitting on the runway, delayed, reading an ebook, a thought occurs to me: "Paper books do not require batteries..." (M)
A Brief Enterprise

My office is in a rather nice downtown historic building called the Terminal Tower. The Tower is just one piece of a large, interconnected urban complex. At the center of this complex is a grand public space, six stories tall, flooded with natural light. This space is occupied by pedestrians, retailers and restaurants. Also within this space are a number of freestanding booths, often leased by smaller retailers who don't need (or can't afford) a full-sized store. One of these caught my eye recently.

"Beauty Sensations" opened with little fanfare. The booth was constructed of wood and metal, about four feet wide by eight feet long, just like the other seven that lived in the grand public space. They seemed to sell beauty products and perfume, and were well-located to do so at the terminus of the escalator from the underground parking garage. The sales staff consisted of a pretty Hispanic girl, and sometimes also a young black man. In the background, off to the side, there often stood a young white man. He was skinny, had an incomplete beard and talked on his cell phone frequently.

I observed them at lunch. The sales staff were trained with very specific instructions. The Hispanic girl would watch people walking past, and when she spotted someone who looked like "a customer", she would walk up to them very quickly and offer, apparently, to spray perfume on them. Most declined, but some let her spray. No one bought anything. The skinny white guy with the cell phone watched from a few feet away, and from time to time coached the staff on their tactics.

Observing them, I wondered what set of circumstances brought this little enterprise to life. Who said to him or her self, ?Let's do this--this is a good way to make money.? What were the mental connections? What were the hopes? What was the cost?

Three weeks after I began my observations, the booth was abandoned. The pretty Hispanic girl, the young black man and the skinny white guy could no longer occupy their days with this particular activity. I wonder where they are. (M)

There's a cafe that I visit on my walk to work nearly every morning. I'm starting to run into the same people every day. The staff know me, even though I'm not very friendly with them. It's funny; many people embrace these familiar daily encounters. It's community, at a casual level; it's networking. Me, though, I change cafes when I start becoming too familiar a face. So much for networking.
A conversation this morning:

Rose (from the bedroom, with Max): “Jas, are you making a coffee?”

Jason (from the kitchen): “Yes.”

Rose: “You might want to wipe down the espresso maker because Max peed all over it last night when I was giving him a bath.”

Jason (thinking): I thought something tasted different.

Johnny Cash died today. I'll miss him. (M)
It's amazing how one can sometimes see hope in the sad faces of other people. (M)
The mountains are the mountains and the trees are the trees. (M)