Tag Archives: blogging



I’ve bee at this for awhile now – started in January of 2009.

I often am wrong, surely have an over inflated sense of myself.  To be sure.

But I’ve learned a lot; about some important stuff.  And it’s been fun.

This represents a 2-year posting high for me.  Onward!

2000 Posts

I remember my first post:

A democrat governor and a discussion on the minimum wage.

This is 2,000.  I’ve been at it for more than four years now.

Back when this was hosted at wordpress, my traffic was stronger.  I slipped heavily when I moved to a self-hosted blog and, in  hind site, might not do that again.  However, the increased flexibility, should I need it, makes it more attractive should the need ever arise.

I started this site after my other attempt fizzled.  It was a great time as a friend of mine still living in Seattle were able to connect across a continent.  Time got too valuable and we couldn’t keep up, but we certainly talked, electronically and literally, much much more than we did in the years prior and following.

Through it all I learned a ton.  I’ve learned that I’m not a republican, I am more conservative than liberal.  I like individual freedom eve if it means that people are free to make bad and wrong decisions.  Icky messy decisions.

I’ve learned that meeting people online is rewarding.  That being an ass online is a lot like being an ass in real life.  It impacts people.  I’ve learned to read more, to question more and to keep my mind more open.

I’ve thought about stopping for awhile now.  Traffic isn’t growing like I would like and sometimes it feels the same arguments are rehashed time and time again.

But I like this.

So maybe it’s just time to refresh the site, try different strategies and just work harder.

So, here’s to 2,000 more!

Blogging: Of Lightness And Stuff

For a few days now I’ve been on the F Train here in Brooklyn.  The girls are dancing in the city and the boy is sequestered with me while I work remote here in Brooklyn.

Lightness to continue through the week.


For the first time since the site moved from WordPress to my new self hosted home, tarheelred.com comes up first when I Google my own name!

Baby steps, ya’ll…baby steps!

Of Having And Being: Dad

I’m Dad to two young kids.  A boy and a girl, both younger than 10.  There are several things that I think I’d like to improve on, but then again, there are a number of things I excel at.

With that said, I wanna relate a story that came un-summened to my mind just now as I’m working at organizing mind bendingly boring numbers.

I grew up in Minnesota; land of 10,000 lakes.  Literally, there are more than 10,000 lakes in that place; it’s crazy.  Anyway, we often would visit these lakes in the summer, camp and stuff.  Our weekends were FILLED with camping and fishing and turtle catching and fires and …. and stuff.

I remember going to a lake that I hadn’t remembered being at before.  Of course, later it would come to be a favorite spot of ours.  But that day, THAT day, it was new.  Anyway, so, dad and my brother and I drove to this lake, what, 30 minutes from  home, and we just kinda looked around.  Great location, easy to get to, close to a store and fed by a creek.  A creek.

We walked down to that creek and walked over a bridge.  A small bridge to be sure, no more than 8 feet across and but a yard high.  A foot bridge only, nothing but people and bikes could cross.  And as we walked over that bridge we saw a creek that fed that lake FULL of fish.  And when I say full, I mean full.  Fish were fishing.  The amount of fish in that water was amazing.  And we didn’t have our poles.

I begged dad to drive all the way home, pick ’em up and drive back.  It would be SO awesome to fish that creek!

I could see it in his eyes.  He wanted too, I KNOW he did.  But he just couldn’t justify the 30 minute drive home followed by another 30 minute drive back just to fish.  Those fish lived for another day and I was left fishless.

We didn’t do anything that day.  e just drove home later and ….. and hung out.  Shit, we may have been LOOKING for stuff to do when we got back, I don’t know.  I think that whole day stuck with me.

I’ll go wildly out of my way just to let the kids “fish”.

It won’t make sense.  I’ve driven back home, 20 minutes each way, just so that my kid would have his “lovie” at day care.  I’ve made that same drive to bring in a valentine day card for a teacher.

That’s the thing about being a parent.  My folks did things and I turned out like I am.  I am happy with me.  Should I change what they did?  And if I do, do I risk raising my kids so they grow up to be not like me?



Where is Pino

I’ve been “away” for awhile.

I’ve been involved on two independent journeys.

One is simple, I’m making the jump from a WordPress hosted blog to a self-hosted blog.  And while I’ve been working on that, I’ve discovered a whole new realm of possibilities with the WordPress.org installation.  Because of that, I am spending more than trivial amounts of time developing and learning about new websites.

The second is of more personal nature.  And it has left me quite exhausted.

I hope to resume my normal irreverent , perhaps slightly less so going forward, yalps very soon.


The Tender Mercies Of The Bully

I’m a weird guy.  I’m a weird adult who grew out of a weird kid.

I had weird hair growing up, and played weird games.  My most favorite thing to do as a kid was to play D&D.  I remember getting that very first blue Dungeons and Dragons rulebook.  Remember?  Back when an Elf was a class and the levels went ALL the way up to 3?

Crazy times.

I played that game until I was 4 years out of college.  And even now am anxiously awaiting the day when my son understands how to play the PokieMon cards I’ve bought him.

I wasn’t very good at games with a ball; I can catch anything thrown within 10 yards of me and can hit the eye of a bird flying, but I SUCKED at those games.  But, for a small farm town kid in farm country I could run forever.  In track I won more races than I didn’t.

I went to church, Sunday school and sang in the choir until the day I graduated.  I delivered Easter morning sermons at 5:00 AM.  I marched in the band [though I did quit after two summers of marching in Minnesota heat in those hot as hell wool uniforms and those ugly black buffalo hats].  I loved debating in school, was in theater and ran the computer lab during study hall.

It was great.  All of it.  And I wouldn’t trade it for all the world.

But I paid a price; a massive price.

Beginning in the 5th grade I started getting picked on.  While fast, I was small; until I was 33 I weighed 137 pounds.  Marching in the school band with your head in the Monster Manuel while the cool guys played on the varsity basketball team didn’t make a lot of friends [though it made the BEST of friends].  Not until years later did the torture really stop, and even then it didn’t really stop.  It just slowed down.  I still remember opening my locker and reacting with horror that the entire contents had been doused with water; my Honor Cords [you know what honor cords are?] were in there.  Thankfully the perpetrator had displayed some form of human sympathy and took ’em out before the dousing.

I was hit, kicked, pushed and taunted.  Heck, I even had my hair set on fire once coming back from a class trip.  The things you see in the movies…..they’re real.

I still remember walking down the empty second floor hall in the middle school when I realized one kid in front of me.  One in back.  I fought as hard as I could, but I couldn’t stop ’em from pinning me to the locker and feeding me dog food.

Good times.

Oh, and to ensure that I would continue to participate in this mandatory fun, my dad was the 8th grade math teacher.  The deck was stacked against me.  In science class it got bad one day.  2-3 guys [it was never just one now that I think of it.  cowards] were kinda taking turns, like crows on road kill.  It went too far that morning and I actually retaliated; I hit the kid in front of me.  That kinda calmed things down.  After class, the teacher pulled me aside and mentioned that he saw what had happened.  I was relieved, ’cause it didn’t FEEL like the bastard saw it while it was going on.  He then looked at me dead in the eye and expressed his disappointment that I had hit that kid; he expected better.  I bit my tongue–that made TWO of us.  Ass.

But at least I didn’t have to worry about a girlfriend 😉

I knew back  then that this wasn’t “fair”.  That I really didn’t do anything that deserved this.  Heck, I didn’t DO anything.  I read The Trilogy, all four of ’em*, during class and just stayed out of the way.  I went to class, went to Greyhawk, went to church, went to track and went to bed.

I suspected then, I continue to believe even now, that those kids didn’t know what they were doing.  I bet if you were to ask those boys, now men, they wouldn’t remember the stories.  In fact, if I were to see ’em in town, we’d have beers and talk about the GOOD times.  As if.

And so it is, as I read stories of kids in school today being bullied, that I wonder how I’m gonna teach my own kids.  What I’m gonna say, what I’m gonna do.  What lessons will I make them endure.  My own father let me experience every one of ’em.  He didn’t intervene even once that I knew of.  In fact, only one time did I see an exchange that let me know he knew what was going on.

Down the street were some brothers.  And one day they were picking on my sister.  We told dad and he went over and tried to talk those boy’s dad.  The man refused to believe that his kids could’ve done that, “Not my boys” was what he told my dad.

The next night my brother and I took it out on those brothers at the ice rink.  Looking back I suppose it was us that was the brute then.  Anyway,  it wasn’t long before that man came knocking on OUR door and asked my dad to explain why his sons would have done what we did to his boys.  I still remember dad saying, “That wasn’t my boys.  My kids wouldn’t do that.”  He closed the door and simply went back to his paper.  Not even one word, for or against, was said.

I think that I’ll try, somehow, to explain to my kids that growing up is a lot like life.  It isn’t not getting knocked down that’s the goal, THAT is gonna happen.  It’s all about the getting back up.

My heart breaks for those kids getting picked on today.  I just read a story of another girl who has been bullied and the hell her parents are going through. For those kids that don’t know where to turn and who to talk too, [God knows they most likely don’t even KNOW about Styx] I just wish they could see their 26 year old self.  Still weird, still geeky.  But okay with the world and their place in it.  But if I could talk to ’em, I know what I’d say; “Get up!  Get back on your feet!  You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it.”

Anyway.  I don’t remember what the point was except maybe that life teaches how to prepare for life.  Yesterday’s wimpy kid is going to be tomorrows Libertarian champion maybe?  The geek makes good maybe? The ugly duckling gets the hot wife perhaps?  I dunno know.

Maybe it’s just to remind us that mean people suck.

* Rings, Lord of the; Unbeliever, Thomas Covenant the;  Lance, Dragon and Foundation, Just

If You’re Forced To Defend Your Positions

I’m the first to tell ya that I’m new to this whole gig.  I’m 42 and for the first 38 years of my life I couldn’t care less about politics and politicians.*  Not until I realized we were going to see a double primary did I really begin to pay attention.  And even then, it was cursory.

As they began to heat up, I can remember saying to colleagues of mine at the office that if Romeny didn’t win the Republican nomination, I could support this guy Obama.  Something new I told myself.  Then I listen to what he was saying.

And I’ve been hooked.

I love being challenged by Mo And Scott.  The boys over at Poison Your Mind know how to bring it.  I get support from Sean and Alan and Vern.

But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s not so much HOW to defend your positions; it’s WHERE:

If I’m slow to respond/blog, it’s not that I don’t love you.  It’s that I love me more.

* Though, to be fair, I remember crying as a very young child watching Nixon resign.  Clearly I had no idea what was going on, but I could feel the sorrow.


I wrote a letter to Ford after he was defeated by Carter.  The White House sent me a “Guide to the White House” catalog post marked on Carter’s inauguration.

The Little People

I’ve always been a fool, but in January of 2008 I started blogging in an effort to prove that fact to the whole world.

From January 2008 through September 2008 I had less than 900 hits on this site.  In the month of April of that year I had 11.  Eleven flippin’ people came to see what I had to say.  Even my mom didn’t drop by once a day.

Today I had 1,066.

I couldn’t have done it without me.  Thank me, please, thank me!

But serious.  Thank all ya’ll.

I’m Not Always Right. Right?

I get it; I’m hard to argue with.  I have the cursed combination of:

  1. Never walking away from a fight
  2. Being overly aggressive
  3. Never willing to compromise

With that said, I know, I KNOW, that I can’t be always right.  There simply have to be positions where I’m wrong or where I at least have to compromise.

So, looking back, where do I think I’m wrong?  Where do you think YOU are wrong?

I’ll start.

I am a massive believer in markets and think that we need drastically less regulation.  I’m probably wrong on how far back I wanna go.

I don’t think that we should raise taxes; in fact, I’m for lowering them.  I’m probably wrong on the degree of taxation that’s healthy.

Okay, my name is Pino and I’m a debater.

Your turn.