Not Fit For Soundbyte Culture

He was inordinately fond of jokes, anecdotes, and stories. He loved to hear them, and still more to tell them himself out of the inexhaustible supply provided by his good memory…the coarser the joke, the lower the anecdote, and the more risky the story, the more he enjoyed them…

He possessed, moreover, a singular ingenuity in bringing about occasions in conversation for indulgences of this kind.

–Henry Villard

Reporter Henry Villard is discussing the tendency of his interview subject to tell bawdy jokes and stories, and to invent many occasions in conversation to insert his inexhaustible supply of coarse humor.

Sounds like a fun guy. The kind of guy I’d like to have a beer with. I do love coarse humor.

This guy certainly does not, however, sound like a good political candidate. In this internet era of “always on,” deep political gasping happens when a candidate so much as tap dances on a very wide line of humor. A candidate who inserts risky stories into conversation with a journalist from a widely read publication would not last long in this modern political atmosphere. We’ve seen a couple try and they have ended up becoming a footnote, a forgotten punchline and a big political loser.

In this instance, the year was 1858, the publication was The Atlantic, and the candidate for Senate being interviewed was none other than Abraham Lincoln.

In ways I can’t fully explain, it kind of cheers me up to know that Lincoln loved a good dirty joke. I knew he was a bit of an awkward man and was prone to being a “high talker” when he’s get worked up. But until today I didn’t know he had a penchant for bawdy humor.

I’ll never look at a penny the same way.

Happy Presidents Day!

“Tell me another fart joke, father.”
Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad.

Quote from “Recollections of Lincoln” by Henry Villard published in February 1904 in The Atlantic magazine.

Photo from

The State Of The Heart Address

This was shared yesterday on my Facebook, but all day yesterday and today I keep coming back to it.

It makes me smile and a little weepy and as I shared on FB, I sent it to The Good Man and thanked him for bringing the scotch tape and band aids. I used to hate Valentine’s Day but now I kind of like it.

Happy Valentine’s Day. May you have someone’s hand to hold when the wind gets a little gusty.

Image found on icanhazcheeseburger but is actually credited to

Functional. Alien. Beautiful.

My new commute is bringing me lots of new things to look at and new sights I’ve either not seen before or haven’t seen in a real long time.

I’m starting to figure out which side of the train to sit on to take in some of the coolest views on the journey.

One of my favorite parts of the ride is emerging from the tunnel on the Oakland side. Now, Oakland gets such a bad rap, but I find much of Oakland quite beautiful. (No city is 100% beautiful)

In fact, going home each night, I love to sit on the left side of BART so I can take in some gorgeous sunsets over the Port of Oakland.

Here is a photo I snapped with my iPhone from a moving train:

Image Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license in the right column of this page.

I love this photo. What you are seeing here are the shipping container cranes at the Oakland docks. Often compared to At-Ats, I think these are some of the most fascinating machinery I’ve ever seen.

I recall when the first of these cranes were purchased several years ago. They came in on a ship from Asia and were so huge, there was much worry about bringing them in under the both the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge. One big wave swell would have spelled millions in damages. They made it through safely and now many more have come to take their place, revolutionizing how Oakland moves cargo.

This is how you get your stuff, man! Pretty cool.

These cranes make fast work of unloading big metal boxes of goods from the incoming freighter ships. Every morning through the BART windows I see eighteen wheelers lined up ready to get their payload so they can haul it off to the four corners of the state and country.

The Port of Oakland is the fourth busiest container port in the U.S. Their efficiency is amazing.

And those big beautiful industrial pieces of equipment are fascinating. When silhouetted against the setting sun they are so alien and yes, so incredibly gorgeous.

They are modern and very functional art.

With a Spring and a Sproing!

After much waiting and much anticipation, my little bunch of Trader Joe’s daffodils finally exploded with Spring. Yay!

And now, the egregious but internet necessary use of macro! Go MobiLens! Whoooo! Get right in there!

This post full of sunny yellow on a crazy busy Monday is brought to you by the promise of Spring.

I’m not going to lie to you, I have an early but extraordinarily strong case of Spring Fever.

Love it!

Photos Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons in the far right corner of this page. Taken with an iPhone5, the Camera+ app and for the extreme closeup, the macro MobiLens.

What You Don’t See

Look at this photo. Gaze upon it. Let it wash over you.

Kind of cool, no? This is Interstate 280 headed northbound at about 7:15 this morning.

The rain hadn’t really started yet, but it was enough to make a really, really cool (and very bright) rainbow that looked like it was landing right in the middle of the roadway.

Now look at the photo again, this time turn your eyes to the roadway. Hmm, seems like light traffic. A few cars and me going up that incline.

What you don’t see…

Is all of the cars pulled up to a stop on just the other side of that rise.

Because apparently a pretty rainbow is enough for all of us dumb commuters to stomp the brakes and gawk like a herd of mouth breathers.

I was driving regular speed and almost rear ended another car, I really did. I had to slam to a stop because my fellow commuters were all “wooow, maaahn.”

Decorum prevents me from using the language here that I shouted in my car this morning.

The human race, doing idiotic things since the days of primordial ooze.

Which got me to thinking as I continued on my commute (driving to work gives me lots of time to think)…if we, the human race, are the top of the food chain and then in theory, the smartest of all species, then the outlook for the rest of the universe a little shaky.

But woooow, maaaahn.


If you read this post earlier in the day, prior to 5pm Pacific time, you happened to read the first draft. I was running a bit late for a meeting and instead of hitting save as draft I hit publish. Which is kind of funny, considering the content of this post. I, too, am not the smartest homo sapien on the planet. But I didn’t mash on my brakes for a rainbow, so I have that going for me.

Photo Copyright 2012, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons license found in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5 and the Camera+ app.