iPad: How I Got Locked Out

I recently upgraded my iPad to iOS 10 and just out of curiosity, I set up a thumbprint unlock setting. Big mistake.

Last night I picked up my iPad and it wouldn’t accept my thumbprint. It would only accept a passcode, which I never set up. I didn’t want both. Now I was hopelessly locked out of my own device.

Apple will tell you that when you set up a biometric – using your fingerprint or thumbprint to unlock your iPhone or iPad – a passcode will be required also. This would have prevented my problem. If had set up a passcode, I could have entered it, instead of my thumbprint, and opened the iPad instantly. By it isn’t true; it wasn’t required and there was no warning of the risk. So I’ve gently made Apple Support aware of this.

The only way to get my iPad back was to connect it to my PC and use iTunes to restore it to factory condition. Then all of my apps and stuff were restored from iCloud. The process took 2 or 3 hours, with Apple’s assistance. I first followed the instructions online, but failed.

Everything is OK now, including the photo of Brookie on my lock screen.


But events like this are stressful: they flood our poor soft-celled brains with damaging cortisol, which makes us stupid. Which may explain why I had to call Apple.

Ordinarily I’m a big believer in system encryption and personal security in general. I lock doors; ask anyone who knows me well. But in the case of devices this complicated, it might be that the better policy is KISS: keep it simple, stupid.

The better approach may be to be careful with our belongings, not let them fall into the hands of miscreants.

What do you think?

That Man is a Success

When I was young – a teenager – my parents gave me the quotation below – framed – for the wall of my room. It has lived on in my mind for 40 years. I only wish that Emerson had made it gender-neutral, because I have known just as many admirable women as men, to whom its enlightenment applies.

While the day’s calamity for Trump may leave many of us feeling vindicated, outraged, or sickened, I also feel sad. So much that is beautiful and kind, gentle and true about human life is so often and so wantonly demeaned. It goes light years beyond the fact that he is no gentleman. Power is still consistently given to men who think people are possessions, that women and children, the poor, the sick and weak, the marginalized and the outcast, are subject to domination. That is sad, and it’s even sadder that some targets of their twisted, onanistic self-gratification seem to accept this, even to support this particular contemptible and toxic troglodyte.

We may not get another chance to teach such evil, insentient men – once and for all – that they are wrong. And to show the women and girls of America that they are awesome and equal, that their value in the world is intrinsic and inalienable. So no one has the right to grab them or bring them down.

Peace to you Reader, and to the women in your life who have taught you love and strength, intelligence, courage, and dignity.


That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who leaves the world better than he found it,
whether by an improved poppy or a perfect poem or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sit Down and Shut Up

Sit down and shut up and be glad you live in a country where nobody can tell you to sit down and shut up because we all have freedom. Brave men and women died for your right to stand up and speak out, so long as you do it quietly. And you better not sit down and shut up to do it. By God, we won’t stand for that or take it sitting down. We The People demand you shut up, stand up, and salute. Because, you know, Freedom!


The Corn Moon

This time of year, I often remember my college days. I would sit in my dorm room, and in the carrels of the university library, and on picnic tables by Big Chico Creek, breathing in poetry.  I took in long, deep breaths as one does on entering a bakery on a rainy day.

There was an autumn feel to it; a descent into more sublime atmospheres. Leaves fell and crunched underfoot as we walked to class. In those days, there was no pumpkin spice everything. There was Bly and his snowbanks north of the house; Stafford with his images of geese and rivers; and there was Wright with his equine redemption and industrial grief, his momentous confession of a wasted life, “as the evening darkens and comes on.”

It’s the poet’s job to be outdoors a bit longer than others as the days shorten and The Corn Moon appears. As the fog rolls in at the end of the day and the pumpkins lose their green camouflage, we must continue taking notes.

There is a certain sadness in the house, even as the fires are banked for morning. Someone who shined our shoes won’t do that for us anymore. Somewhere deep in our ritual DNA, we begin lighting candles against the universal fear of what the shadows hide. Summer is over.

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful
At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other’s bodies.

~ James Wright



A Lesson in Fundamentals

The right to protest peacefully (freedom of speech and expression) is a fundamental right afforded to every citizen by the US Constitution. It’s right up there with freedoms of equality and religion. But in my lifetime, I have never seen anyone protest peacefully and have that right respected. Tolerated occasionally, but never respected.

When I was born in 1961, people were being jailed in South Carolina and Mississippi for the act of sitting at a lunch counter. In fact, charges against the Friendship 9 weren’t dropped until 55 years later, in 2016.


The reality is that not only do we Americans despise and disrespect our own right to protest, we don’t really have rights of equality or religion. Because if we deny those rights to anyone, we don’t have them either. But my question today is this:

If it’s not OK to protest by simply sitting quietly, declining to participate, can anyone tell me what form of protest is alright? If a citizen has a complaint about society, how can he or she express it without pissing off a mob of idiots?

If you are white and think you have equality, you don’t; you have supremacy.

If you are Christian and think you have equality, you don’t; ask a Muslim.

If you’re a veteran and think you fought to give Americans their rights, you’re wrong. Our rights – if we really had them – come from the Constitution, not from the military. And by the way, the National Anthem is a custom, not a legal requirement. It’s not mentioned in the Constitution. Demanding someone stand for a song is like insisting they eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Or watch football.

The service of our military and our veterans isn’t dishonored by citizens exercising their rights. It is dishonored when people deny the rights to others which are guaranteed to all.

So if you think you can stand up and speak out without being told to sit down and shut up, try standing up and speaking out. Considering all the stupid that’s floating in the atmosphere these days, I wish you luck.

If you think you can sit down and shut up, try sitting down and shutting up. See if it works better for you than it has for Colin Kaepernick. But don’t feel sorry for him when he’s cut from the 49ers. That was a foregone conclusion before he tried to protest. Everybody knew it; he’s been injured too long to play. But he’ll make $12,000,000 this year anyway.

That’s why Kaepernick protested during the preseason, when fewer people are watching, instead of waiting until the final roster is done. He knows he won’t be playing the season, no matter what he says or does.

Unlike the rights the Constitution only guarantees if we’re willing to defend them for everyone equally, Kaepernick’s money is guaranteed. And unlike all the millions of us who don’t have the rights we think we have, because we don’t want men like Kaepernick to have right either, that dude’s got nothing to lose.