Just keep truckin’ on


With May now behind us, and June coming into view, there are a couple of significant dates ahead this month. The 11th will be the two-year anniversary of this blog, and the 14th will be my birthday. I’m sure that the proximity between the two is accidental, but I like it, anyway.

I never expected to be doing this for nearly two years. I’ve written about world issues and extremely local issues, and everything in between. The ability to move thoughts and ideas from that space between my ears, and out into the brave new digital world, is an amazing thing. Not everyone realizes it, and not everyone is inclined to take advantage of it either. But everyone who does is giving a piece of themselves to a world that didn’t ask for it, but can’t give it back, either.

I set a goal for myself, not long after I started doing this, to write a million words in this space. I don’t count all of the other online writing that I’ve done toward this goal, and the number wouldn’t seem quite so far away if I did. But at the same time, I’m still pushing toward that specific goal.

I’ve come a long way–roughly 400,000 words with this post–and time will tell if I can reach this goal or not. But I’m enjoying the process, and posts like this remind me that having a goal is essential. It keeps things moving in a defined manner, and without it there’s really no purpose to keep doing this as much as I do.

I’ve been thinking about the number 400 as this word milestone became closer. The level of carbon in the atmosphere has recently passed 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history. That’s a terrible thought, and Carbon in the air affects everyone, no matter who they are or where they live. Is this the sign of a global tipping point? I have no idea, but I’m definitely not encouraged.by it.

400 is also a magic number in baseball, as no player has had a batting average that high for a single season in my lifetime. Whenever somebody gets close, as Rod Carew and George Brett and Tony Gwynn have in the past, it becomes a big story, but in the end it doesn’t happen that way. It’s a number that has few equals in determining an outstanding season.

There is also a 400 movie theater on the North Side of Chicago, which I would attend sometimes when I was in college. One of the movies I saw there was Who Framed Roger Rabbit? which, all these years later, I watched with my teenager tonight for the first (and probably the only) time. I find myself appreciating this linkage to the past more and more each day, and I hope everyone has a chance to do something similar one day. It’s indeed a special feeling.

But the 400 image that I wanted to present to the world was taken at my barbecue grill this evening. 400 degrees on the thermometer wouldn’t come right away, but had to be achieved by a steady climb from about 200 degrees when the lid was lifted. Letting it reach 400 was enough time to assess how the cooking was progressing, without leaving it to burn. So I snapped a picture, put it up on the Internet, along with a few words, and now I’m a bit closer to my final goal. It’s not the worst thing I could be doing on a Friday night.

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