Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

Here’s a photo I took on the drive back from Golden today of some cattle on the right and wrong side of the fence, a big field, and some mountains. (Click the small image to see the full size image.)

Cattle, field, and mountains near Golden, Colorado

One last post about the 2016 Presidential election. This is from Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara of the Village Zendo on The short, non-religious version is:

Listen > Learn > Act


Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara on the 2016 U.S. Presidential election

A nice man who works at the local Walmart shared this story this morning while I was checking out:

“You know, I’ve been married 54 years.”

[long pause. you can tell he’s thinking about something.]

“One time, a long time ago, I was sitting on the couch, watching tv, and I could feel her staring at me. I mean I could just feel it. So I turned and looked at her and said, ‘What?’”

“She said, ‘You know what.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ She just got up and walked away.”

“You know, to this day I still have no idea what I did.”

[long pause]

“I think sometimes in a relationship you just have to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ even if you don’t know exactly what you did or didn’t do.”

When my candidate loses an election like this, I feel like Al Gore in 2000: I want to sit on the couch, drink beer, eat pizza, grow my beard, and wonder what the hell happened.

While it feels horrible now, Al Gore turned his lemon into lemonade. He works with Apple and Google, is pursuing his passion in environmental activism, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

All of which makes me think of this old Taoist story.

The Taoist story of the old farmer

When I saw that “physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill” was on the 2016 ballot here in Colorado, I was curious how the vote would turn out. With 87% of the vote in, it appears to have been approved by nearly a 2:1 vote.

Physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in Colorado

I never liked living in states that always voted Republican or always voted Democrat, because if you were voting for the other Presidential candidate in those states, your vote didn’t really matter.

Like Al Gore before her, it looks like Hillary Clinton will win the popular vote while losing the election. Given what we can do with modern technology, I hope the antiquated Electoral College will soon be abolished so every individual’s vote really will matter.

(I don’t write this as a Democrat or Republican. By my count I have voted for four Republican presidential candidates and four or five Democrats. I write it as someone who is an Independent voter in America who likes their vote — and everyone else’s vote — to be meaningful.)

The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.

~ Chögyam Trungpa

Why is it that I can eat salty potato chips with a glass of water, but I can’t drink a glass of saltwater?

On the eve of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, I thought I’d share these memories of the worst things that were said about Presidential candidates in years gone by:

1976: Jimmy Carter had a brother named Billy who apparently really liked beer.

1980: Ronald Reagan made some bad movies, and was the first President to have been divorced.

1988: Gary Hart was a front-runner until it was found out that he was having an affair with Donna Rice. Within a week he quit the race.

1988: Joe Biden plagiarized a speech, and quickly withdrew from the race.

1992: Bill Clinton was rumored to have had affairs, and he was the first major candidate to admit to smoking marijuana (though he apparently didn’t inhale).

1996: Bob Dole seemed really grumpy.

2000: George Bush was the first presidential candidate where I can remember thinking, “Um, he doesn’t seem very smart. Shouldn’t there be an IQ test for this position?”

(I would later come to think that there should be an “Enlightenment Test,” where Presidents have to think about “100 years from now” as much as they think about today.)

2008: John Edwards: affair, dropped out

I’m sure there’s more than that, but that’s all I can remember at the moment.

“What makes a clean test? Three things. Readability, readability, and readability.”

I don’t have a publisher yet, but this is a chapter from my new book, which is about Scala and functional programming. This is an early lesson in the book that is sandwiched between two other lessons that are titled, “Basic Recursion,” and “Tail Recursion,” respectively. Please note that the content has not been through a review process yet.)

Expectations lead to suffering. :)

This is a photo of a sidewalk that I took somewhere in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I love the colors and artistry of the city.

A sidewalk, somewhere in Santa Fe, New Mexico

This is a photo from the drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico north to Colorado, taking the back roads rather than the expressway. I took this photo in March, 2015.

Road from Santa Fe, New Mexico north to Colorado

This image makes me think of the angst of many American voters in this election. They’re angry at “politics as usual,” so they think, “I’m angry, let’s just blow it up.” But it also makes me think of the young people, and the future.

The angst of American voters

This image shows how to use color syntax highlighting in the Scala REPL. In short, just start the REPL like this:

$ scala -Dscala.color

I had two interactions with Chicago Cubs players in my youth.

When I was about 10 years old, Randy Hundley was the Cubs catcher and he came to speak to all of our little league players and parents at a large gathering. After he gave a speech we were allowed to ask questions. Even then I was interested in pitching, so I asked, “What do you talk about when you go out to the pitchers’ mound?” He answered something like, “Son, I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to use those words here.” (All the adults thought that was funny, but I was serious and thought, “Geez, why don’t adults ever take kids’ questions seriously?”)

Then when I was a senior in high school, Ron Santo came to one of my games, wearing his trademark leather jacket. Technically he went to his son’s game, but since I was pitching and we won, it was my game. ;)

It drives me crazy when I log into my MacOS Yosemite and Sierra systems and I’m quickly hit with an Apple “You have updates” notification. It’s like I just want to get to work, and I’m reminded of updates I don’t care about.

I just learned that you can hide some updates from annoying you, but I haven’t found a way to get rid of other updates.

“Some people, they just lose sight of what’s important in life. That doesn’t mean they can’t find their way again. Maybe all they need is a little Christmas spirit.”

“You and I are the force for transformation in the world. We are the consciousness that will define the nature of the reality we are moving into.”

~ Ram Dass