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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Be A White Supremacist’s Worst Nightmare

August 4th, 2019 Comments off

Be A White Supremacist's Worst Nightmare

Be A White Supremacist’s Worst Nightmare
Douglas E. Welch

I am a white supremacist’s worst nightmare. You can be too!

I look like them. Heck, given lack of sleep or enough alcohol and I can even slip back into my childhood accent and sound like them. I was raised in rural Ohio but sound like I am from Kentucky or West Virginia. I have had acquaintances be surprised that, given my background and upbringing, I am not a racist “good ole boy”. 

Given these outward signs, many white supremacists believe that I think and act the way that they do.


In fact, I am their worst nightmare — a “race traitor!” 1 

I will fight against their white supremacist policies and beliefs wherever I see them. I will stand up for others who are classified by their color and abused — if not killed outright — merely because they are not “white” or at least, “white enough” for the white supremacists around them. I will act as an ally for others no matter their race, creed, color, sexual identification, hair type, hair color, eye color, nose shape, place of birth, name, and all the other traits stupid racists use to try and divide — and conquer — the world.

So, white supremacists, be VERY CAREFUL who you talk to? They may look like you. They might sound like you. They might have even grown up next door to you, but they may not THINK like you. Like me, they might sell you out on social media, to law enforcement, to the government, before a second, racist sentence comes out of your mouth.

We exist.
We’re out there.
You’ll never know who we are — until it is too late. 

Now, what were you saying (Twittering, Redditing, 4Chan-ing, 8Chan-ing) again?

Let me copy and paste that for later.


Categories: Opinion, Writing Tags:

#NothingBeforeImpeachment No bills. No debate. No politics. Nothing until US House starts #impeachment. It is beyond time.

August 17th, 2017 Comments off

Do It 2017 #11: Eat the frog and other productive advice

July 27th, 2017 Comments off

Frog Photo by Jack Hamilton on Unsplash

Photo by Jack Hamilton on Unsplash

Jack Hamilton

Eat the frog!

It has been said — in variety of forms throughout history, that…

“If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.”

A thoroughly disgusting thought, but a good one for my productivity of late. I am as fond — if not fonder— of procrastination of specific tasks that most people. Tasks like balancing the checkbook to doing my daily blog posting to sweeping the patio. Many of these tasks are extremely important, but most also come with an unpleasant side. Sure, it isn’t like mucking out the horse stalls of my youth, but we all face them with a certain amount of distaste.

So, in an effort to keep things moving forward in all aspects of my life, I have taken to “eating the frog” whenever possible. I’ll get up, make my coffee and then face the most procrastination-causing task on my to do list. Once that’s done, I can move on to other, more enjoyable tasks without feeling guilty about avoiding them and knowing that that is probably the worse thing I will have to do today. It doesn’t always work, but I have used it to recently move a couple of projects forward that have been languishing for a while now. Can it help you? It might. Then again, you might be someone who is blessed to never procrastinate on anything. I envy you, but we all have to find out own way through the swamp that is any given day.

Bird by Bird

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table, close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’” — Anne Lamott

This phrase crops up in our household on a daily basis. There are times we all need a reminder that every big project is made out of many smaller steps — and sometimes even smaller ones. The only way to complete a big project is to take it “bird by bird.” In my case, this means making a daily to do list — separate from my overall to do list. This list contains all my typical daily tasks as well as those weekly items that occur on the same day each week. Partially this list is to help me remember all the little things, but they are also a “bird by bird” breakdown of tasks that move each project forward. Typical entries include my daily posts to Instagram, a blog post on Garden Decor, video clips from my talks, reading time-related documents and articles, feeding the birds (the real one’s outside my window), phone calls, emails and more. Breaking my larger tasks in these small, even tiny, steps, helps to keep me progressing even when I might not be able to complete the entire project today.

To some, such a detailed to do list can make projects seem overwhelming, but for me, I find great joy in progress, even the smallest progress. If I keep on doing the small steps each day the overall project will eventually get done. If I never start on the big project because it is too big then it will, guaranteed, never get done.

Work on a variety of tasks throughout your day

I don’t have any pithy quote to accompany this advice, but for me, it is probably the most important. If I focus on any one task for too long, the quality and speed of my work quickly diminish. I start making silly mistakes, misspelled words, fuzzy thoughts and more. I have to switch up my work throughout the day to prevent this from happening while still getting work done. This means I might do something like writing this post and then switch over to some video editing for a while. Sometimes it means culling a bunch of photos and then working on an Arduino program I have been trying to get running. Finally, sometimes it means I set an alarm for 20 minutes, lie down on the couch, allow the cat to sit on my lap and dose. Never underestimate the power of a short nap to reenergize your day!

Douglas E. Welch To Do List

I have learned over time that I am a variety junky in all aspects of my life. My way of working may seem scattered to some, but it works for my and my overall productivity seems to prove it. In many cases, some of my best ideas about a project come from when I am thinking or working on an entirely different project. You can never tell how moments in your life are going to interact, so it’s important to experience as much as possible and see what happens.

What are your favorite pieces of advice that keep you productive in life and work? Share them in the comments!

Do It 2017 #10: A gentle nudge can work wonders

July 20th, 2017 Comments off

It is a simple fact that, when it comes to productivity, we can all use a gentle nudge every so often. Our latest nudge came in the form of our new, young, neighbors. After renting the house next door for a long time, the owners were finally able to sell it outright to this couple. This has meant a lot of change…for the good…on both their property and ours.

We have been wanting to replace out south fence almost since the moment we moved in 21 years ago. At that time, our neighbor had some issues that made him reluctant to replace the fence. Then the new owners were not living in the property and so the fence was not a priority item for them. Over the years it descended further and further into disrepair — completely falling over in some cases.

Enter the new neighbors. They needed to dismantle the worse parts of the fence in order to complete their mortgage funding and we were fine with that. Even better, they wanted to replace the fence immediately. One of the reasons we hadn’t simply replace the fence ourselves was the cost. Paying for it all by ourselves was going to be expensive. Luckily, they were willing to split the cost. Just like that, workmen were on-site and 3 days later we had a nice, vinyl fence between our properties.

Moving, Moving, Moving

For me, it was a bit difficult to suddenly jump into action on such a long wanted project, but I also knew that this was the best time to get it done. It was amazing to have the young energy about giving us a push in the right direction. I have always sought out opportunities to work and hang out with younger people, especially as I crossed the threshold of 40, and this is one of the biggest reasons why. As we age, we can get a little too settled and a little too comfortable in our lives and having someone to push and challenge you a but can be a welcome change.

I know that our neighbor’s energy and excitement has certainly rubbed off on us. We have been working in the garden more lately — especially with Rosanne finally on break from her teaching for a few weeks — gotten our large tree trimmed and tidied, and we are getting our living and dining room paint refreshed after 10 years. As I often say, movement begets more movement. Action begets more action and that has certainly been the case here.

In return for all this added energy from next door, I am enjoying sharing any wisdom I have gained after 21 years of home ownership. We talk about their trees, what they want to add to the property and just general life stuff. They are free to ignore any advice I give, but it feels good to be able to offer some insight. 21 years ago we were the, relatively, young, folks moving in. Now we are in the position of being the “older” neighbors. I hope to be as good a neighbor to them as ours were to us.

Seek out energy and movement

So where can you turn and who can you turn to reinvigorate your thinking, your energy, your activity and your life? Is there a group that could benefit from your experience? Are there activities you can find that being you in content to younger folks who still have that amazing level of energy and excitement? There is nothing wrong with using a bit of that energy to add some fuel to your own fire. In fact, I think it is critical to seek out new thoughts, new places, and new adventures, especially as you grow older and more settled. Even better, you’ll find this new energy affecting parts of your life that are entirely unrelated. The simple act of being around more, good, energy means that you’ll be more inclined to do everything in your life. I know, for myself, the simple act of having these new neighbors has me re-energized to do a number of things — including returning to writing these regular blog posts.

From Today’s Perfect Moment

What would you do with a little energy boost? Take the first step and seek out those people and experiences that rev you up instead of those that grind you down. It can be a tough step to take, but it will become easier with time as each step leads to the next and the next. Like a snowball rolling downhill, it will gather its own energy and influence with just a little push from you.


Worrying about the right things [Essay]

July 16th, 2016 Comments off

Worrying about the right things

There are so many things to worry about these days. It used to be we worried about running out of gas or milk or making a mistake at work or missing our train. These days, though, we wake up each morning to more and more horrific disasters, both natural and — ever more frequently — man made. How are you supposed to cope?

As we head off to Europe this week, I found myself trying to get my head around all the big worries that confront us from, dealing with airport security to being caught up in political turmoil to making sure we make it home one piece. You know what? I will worry, but I have decided to worry about the right things on this trip.

Family festa at Casa Rinaldi House

I’ll worry about having a mind-expanding trip that takes me back to visit far flung family, new people, new cultural adventures and understanding.

I’ll worry about having a great time with great people — many who I don’t even know yet.

I’ll worry about helping my son better understand the world that surrounds him and how, through directly experiencing it, he can make it a better place.

I’ll worry about whether I am living the happiest, most accomplished, most impactful, most meaningful life I can live.

I’ll worry about meeting new acquaintances, making good friends, having amazing experiences, eating great food and simply enjoying life day-by-day.

I’ll worry about learning something new about the world, its people and myself every single day of our trip — and beyond.

I’ll worry about treating everyone as an individual and not some stereotype sold to us by mass media and politicians.

I’ll worry about how I can carry the lessons of our trip with each day we are gone and every day after we return.

We can’t always control the world around us, but we can do our best to control what we experience, how we experience it and what we make of it.

The next time you find yourself worrying, make sure you are worrying about the right things.

At Sperlinga with Orazio and Maria Conchetta and Filippo Montalto and family

Categories: Friends and Family, Opinion, Writing Tags:

Takata Air Bag Crisis Hits Our Home [News]

June 30th, 2016 Comments off

The long-running and widely reported problems with Takata air bags in a variety of Japanese vehicles has be on-going for a long time now and as owners of 2 Honda vehicles, we have been dealing with it for over a year. We were lucky enough to get replacement air bags for our 2004 Honda Element, although to took several trips to the service department, over several months, to get them all replaced.

We recently traded in a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, which didn’t have any air bag recalls with a 2014 Honda Insight Hybrid. Unfortunately, we recently received a recall notice for this new vehicle and tried to get it into service. What has happened, though, would seem ludicrous if it didn’t involve injury or death from a malfunctioning Takata airbag.


Our service department was unable to get any replacement air bags for our vehicle and recently offered us an option. First, they would take the vehicle into their storage lot and offer us a full paid rental car for the full time required to receive and install new air bags. Unfortunately, the dealer’s service storage lot was completely full with other vehicles awaiting air bag replacements. Instead, the dealer agreed to provide the free rental and told us to simply park the car at home and not drive it.

We waffled a bit on doing this, as it seemed odd to just have a car sitting around, even if we would get a replacement vehicle. I had heard how dangerous the air bags could be, though, so my wife and I finally relented and picked up a rental car about 2 weeks ago. It still seemed silly, but better safe than sorry, we thought.

It looks like it was a good idea, though, as today the US Department of Transportation has issued a press release that “…urged owners to stop driving the “unsafe” cars until they have been fixed.” (U.S. Warns Honda and Acura Owners to Replace Airbags, New York Times, June 30, 2016) I had seen previous stern warnings like this for other affected vehicles, but this was first one I had seen specifically for Honda. What’s interesting, though, is that these recall warnings only seem to address 2001-2003 vehicles, but ours is much newer, so there must still be large issues involving vehicles made up to the 2015 model year. You should check this article (Takata Airbag Recall: A Complete List of Affected Vehicles, Daily News, June 3, 2016 ) and with your dealer to see if your newer vehicle is affected.

Based on this new warning, I would urge you to immediately call or visit your dealer’s service department, confirm that your vehicle is under recall, and then take advantage of whatever programs they provide for replacing your vehicle until it can be repaired. This situation has clearly reached a crisis point where car dealers realize that the potential legal exposure of not replacing the vehicles far outweighs the cost of providing rentals to affected vehicle owners. As several of the related articles said, the very next trip of your vehicle should be to your dealer for repair and nowhere else.


Categories: News, Opinion, Technology Tags:

Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails by Matthew Biancaniello [Book] [Food] [Drink]

January 26th, 2016 Comments off

Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails by Matthew Biancaniello

Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails by Matthew Biancaniello

(I was provided a free, ebook, review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own)

Once we get over the peer-induced binge drinking of your college years, many of us go looking for a more enjoyable, and mindful, consumption of alcoholic beverages. As I moved into adulthood, I began to appreciate good wine, and my marriage to a Sicilian-American certainly didn’t hurt my exploration of both homely table wines and more expensive fare. Finally, as I have grown older, I have developed a taste for liquor of many sorts, cocktails of all descriptions and even began making my own liqueurs and digestivos, branching out into making my own hard cider, too.

As my love of cocktails grew, I began looking for books and blogs that could help me expand my knowledge and enjoyment of the countless combinations of liquor, mixers and infusions of all sorts. My wandering through the online world crossed paths with Eat Your Drink.

IMG 7201

The title immediately caught my eye. What could it possibly mean to “Eat Your Drink?” Living here in Los Angeles, I have been exposed to the heightened levels of mixology that various cocktail creators have been bringing to our local, and hip, bars and restaurants, In some ways, I have been a bit intimidated by the complexity — some might say, oddity — of cocktails with homemade or unusual ingredients along with the high price tag of most of these cocktails. Still, I thought I might be able to find some ideas I might be able to use in my own humble ways.

IMG 7202

While I found the foreword by Roberto Cortez a bit intimidating and off-putting, once I made my way into Biancaniello’s recipes, I was sold. Sure, most of these recipes are not something I would attempt to duplicate in my own home, within each one I found something that intrigued me — something that made me think differently about food, drink and cocktails in particular. One major theme in Eat Your Drink is that of combining spirits with food products to yield something new and unique while still being true to the original ingredients.

Biancaniello takes a chef’s approach to cocktails. He even divides the book into sections that would be at home on any fine dining menu. These include Amuse Bouche, First Course, Second Course, Main Course, Dessert and After Dinner (a traditional placement of cocktails and digestivos) He’s also not afraid to include food elements in many of the recipes — Blood Orange “Crackers”, grilled pineapple, passionfruit and more.

The use of homemade infusion of various liquor talked to my own cocktail sensibilities, too. Fruit and spice infused liquors abound in the book, each bringing a unique twist to each drink, but also something that could be easily created and used in my own kitchen and bar. I make my own limoncello each year to share with friends and family and — even if I might not make any of the book’s cocktails in full — there are variety of infusions that I look forward to making in the coming years.

IMG 7200

One particular infusion of note was toyon berry-infused Capurro Pisco. I am surrounded by this native plant covered with red berries around Christmastime, but I have NEVER seen it used as a food item. I didn’t even know it was edible to be honest. I plan on doing some further research on Toyon berries and might even make that the next infusion I make.

As Biancaniello moves into the Second Course and Main Course recipes he loses me a bit. The inclusion of savory ingredients in cocktails is something new to me and a bit challenging for my palette. That said, his Cactus Sage Heaven does sound a bit “heavenly” with agave syrup raspberries, sage leaves, ginger and tequila. Still, cocktails including Uni (Sea Urchin), horseradish and oysters are a bit too much for me. That said, there might be those among you who are already salivating just thinking about it. To each their own, for sure!

IMG 7203

After reading about these adventurous Main Course cocktails, the Dessert and After Dinner, pulled me immediately back in, though. The Mayan Campfire with tequila, chocolate syrup, smoked jalapeno tequila and marshmallows had me dreaming of a warm fireside and a comfy chair where I might imbibe and enjoy it. Chai Iced Tea, made with chai-infused gin also caught my eye.

Again, while most of these cocktails might be a bit exotic for me to try making them in own home, the infusions, interesting ingredient combinations and sheer creativity of the recipes certainly got me thinking about what small portion I might be able to use for my own creations. I am fond of saying that any book that gives you one or two great ideas and gets your own creativity flowing is a good book. Eat Your Drink certainly hit this mark for me.

Preorder Eat Your Drink: Culinary Cocktails by Matthew Biancaniello

Categories: Books, Cooking, Drinks, Food, Opinion Tags:

Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker [Book] [Food]

January 20th, 2016 Comments off

Bourbon Curious: A Simple Tasting Guide for the Savvy Drinker

Bourbon curious cover

* I received a free ebook copy of this publication from the publisher for review. All opinions are mine.

I am fond of saying, “A geek in one thing. A geek in all things.” It’s certainly true of me and I have countless friends who feel and act in the same way. This means that I can “geek out” over gardening, bees, architecture, art and, of course, food and drink with ease. I am self-learner and over the years I have “gone down the rabbit hole” with Alice many times. With this history, it only makes sense that Bourbon Curious caught my eye when I was recently looking for new books. It is, above all else, a geek’s guide to bourbon.

So what does it mean to be a “geek’s guide?” Well, first Bourbon Curious is written by a true devotee of bourbon, award-winning whiskey writer, Fred Minnick — someone who obviously loves everything about the drink — the history, the science, the culture, the business, everything. I would describe him as a fellow geek with the same ease as I would apply to my technology geek friends. He’s knowledge, passionate and, above all, informed about bourbon and wants to share it with the world.

It seemed only natural that I should love this book. It hits all my loves including the (somewhat murky) history of bourbon, the science of bourbon making, the dispelling of bourbon myths, the somewhat rough and tumble world of bourbon marketing, and, of course, the buying, tasting and enjoyment of bourbon.

Bourbon curious presidents

Like many books on food and drink, there is an entire section dedicated to the how, what and why or tasting bourbon and some of the possible flavor notes you might experience there.

The last 3rd of the book is taken up with a detailed listing of popular bourbons for tasting containing information on each distillery, the bourbons they produce, the name of the master distiller, proof and product age, mashbills (basic breakdowns of which grains are used in product) and more, including items to look for when tasting. It is quite a lengthy list and working through it in your tasting would develop quite the bourbon education.

Finally there is an Appendix with short histories of a large number of the current bourbon brands

Bourbon curious whiskey whisky

If you want to increase both your knowledge and enjoyment of bourbon, then Bourbon Curious is a great place to start. Go “down the rabbit hole” and see where it leads. I think you’ll greatly enjoy the journey, as I have.

About the Author

Wall Street Journal best-selling author Fred Minnick wrote the award-winning Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey. Minnick writes about whiskey for Covey Rise, Whisky Advocate, and Whisky magazine. He is the “bourbon authority” for the Kentucky Derby Museum and regularly appears in the mainstream media, including CBS This Morning, Esquire, Forbes, and NPR.

Categories: Books, Drinks, Food, Fun, In the kitchen, Opinion Tags:

Book: John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography

January 15th, 2016 Comments off

John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography

As regular readers have probably noticed, photography is an ever growing part of my life and nature photography in particular. While I am not chasing wildlife around the world, I do love photographing plants, flowers and scenic views. With these interests in mind, I was so glad when I saw this book was available from Blogging for Books, a service that provides free review copies to bloggers. I have spent the last several months dipping into the book whenever I had time and then giving some time to let the lessons seep in.

First, as it should be with any book on photography, the photographs included in the book are beautiful, but also explanatory and good examples of each concept being discussed. A picture is worth a thousand worlds might be a cliche, but in a photography book, photos are worth much, much more than just a thousand.

Digital Nature Photography takes you clearly through each step in the photography process from choosing your camera, properly setting it up to work the best it can — touching on subjects like proper white balance, RAW vs JPEG file storage, setting your autofocus and much more. When reading this section of the book, I st  with my camera and camera manual close at hand and worked through each setting as it was discussed. I think this allowed me to get the most out of every bit of advice Shaw was offering. Shaw is careful to show when their were different names for features in the ubiquitous Nikon and Canon camera worlds, even with my Olympus Micro Four-Thirds camera, the feature names were similar enough to allow me to apply the settings, even if I did have to be a bit creative in locating some feature settings. The gear discussion also includes clear and detailed advice on accessories like tripods, lenses, filters, flashes and more. The writing is clear and straightforward with good examples of the pros and cons of each option.

Next comes some great guidance on exposure, aperture and ISO that all photographers need to learn and apply. Shaw gets direct and practical examples of how each effects your photographs and provides clear and specific examples of when you might want to alter these settings such as shooting birds as opposed to other wildlife or scenic subjects. There is so much information here, I am still trying to process and apply it all. I figure it will take me a few more reads through the book before I can glean and apply everything I have learned.

The sections on Composition and Closeup turn away from the more technical aspects of the early sections and seek to explore the artistic side of photography. Here again are great example photographs illustrating each topic such as Learning to see Photo-graphically, Lighting Changes, and Vertical vs. Horizontal format and framing. The section on Closeups delves into focusing issues (one of my biggest problems, Macro lenses, creating good backgrounds to your closeups and more.

John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography is a great book which can help any photographer jumpstart their growth from someone who takes simple, casual, snapshots to a photographer who creates beautiful, artistic photography.



JOHN SHAW is the author of many enduring bestsellers, including seven previous books on nature photography. His work is frequently featured in National Geographic, Nature’s Best, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, Natural History, Sierra, and Audubon magazines, as well as in calendars, books, and advertisements. He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and leads sold-out workshops around the globe. Visit him at

New Media Interchange 17: Technology & Leadership Changes at YouTube [Audio Podcast]

August 17th, 2015 Comments off

New Media interchange, my new show with 3rd Pass Media, is now available on iTunes. 


Please subscribe, review and rate via iTunes 

New Media Interchange is a podcast spotlighting various developments in New Media & focusing on the media world beyond mainstream television and radio, including podcasting, YouTube, live streaming, gaming and more. Hosted by Douglas E. Welch , pioneer podcaster, blogger and new media consultant.

New Media Interchange 17: Technology & Leadership Changes at YouTube [Audio Podcast]

Listen Now


New Media Interchange is part of the 3rd Pass Media Network which is launching a series of shows this week including Mindul(l) Media, The Render Break Report, New Media Interchange and More. You’ll find more information about 3rd Pass Media at http://3rdPass.Media.

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New Media Interchange 17: Technology & Leadership Changes at YouTube

This is New Media Interchange where we talk about the media world beyond mainstream television and radio, including podcasting, YouTube, live streaming, gaming and more. I’m your host, Douglas E. Welch, pioneer podcaster, blogger and writer.

In today’ show…

  • YouTube News about personnel changes, new services and technology updates and competition from Facebook
  • A number of follow ups on stories from previous episodes
  • A VR camera from Nokia in the Hardware Hotlist
  • See the complete show notes at

More after this…

Today’s show is brought to you by I love New Media like podcasting and YouTube, but I also love all types of books. If you love audio books you can support New Media Interchange and 3rdPass Media by starting your free 30-day trial with Audible today. Choose from over 100,000 books, Including The Cold Dish: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Visit or use the link in the show notes today.


Categories: Audio, New Media, News, Opinion, Podcast, Show Tags: