Dean Clough

November 25, 2022

Portico Darwin: 2022 Darwin Award Nominees!

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS First, a belated Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you had as much fun as we did. But it's also another time of the year, one you've no doubt been eagerly anticipating. Delusions of grandeur! Fake awards for real things! Yes, it's time for the nominees for the 2022 Portico Darwin Awards! Let's take a look at this year's cate...
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November 23, 2022

Portico Darwin: Just a Second

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Let's go into Thanksgiving with the right mindset. I heard this not too long ago and it really puts the whole wealth and greed thing into a new frame of reference. Call me a simpleton raised near a meat packing plant, but a million dollars still seems like a decent amount of money to me. Yet, I observe aghast as 1BR/1...
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November 21, 2022

Portico Darwin: New News

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Thanksgiving Week Monday, made extra special this year by The World Cup occurring simultaneously. Sportswashed or not, and even without beer, it is an amazing exhibition of sport on the grandest scale. But here, away from the desert and certainly not without beer, I'll say that, if Keith Raniere hadn't ruined th...
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November 18, 2022

Portico Darwin: The Worst Cars

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS You know, I got a lot of push back on the elite nature of my recent post on electric cars. OK, I actually got zero push back, but I need something to justify this list. Because today, I give you the worst cars that I am aware of. I'm talking the real f'ing dogs of the automotive world. I share my own run-in with a bad...
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November 16, 2022

Portico Darwin: Sportswashing, Qatar Style

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS I have wanted to write something more about sportswashing for a while. I've touched on LIV Golf before, and that's certainly one example of an awful country (Saudi Arabia) attempting to freshen its tainted reputation via sports. But there's also the sportswashing facilitated by the Olympics and Formula 1; both have be...
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November 14, 2022

Portico Darwin: Now, a Poem

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Recently, I've doubled down on gratitude, cut my news and social media intake, and tried to tame my anxiety. And to make it worse, I've written about it here. Yet, when you thought I couldn't get any more goofy, today, to start your week, I give you a poem. Actually, it's a poem my wife gave me at a low point a few ye...
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November 11, 2022

Portico Darwin: SF is The Best! SF is The Worst!

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Friday. Re: the mid-term elections. My major reduction in news intake and social media means I have little to say that hasn't likely already been said by the pundits I'm no longer reading. You're so very welcome. I will make one comment (shocker) though. Remember that most anything Trump touches, he ruins. Maybe...
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November 9, 2022

Portico Darwin: Music, The Origin Story

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS I will defer commenting on the mid-term elections until after the dust settles. Plus, after Monday's Debbie Downer of a blog, we need to lighten it up. And what the heck could be lighter than me providing - with cover art and links to the music - the first 3 albums I ever owned? These records were the beginning of wha...
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November 7, 2022

Portico Darwin: Like Taxes

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS OK - I am sorry to start the week with such a dark subject. But as you know, I occasionally share things in their entirety that I find unusually profound and/or informative. Sometimes even challenging things. I'm doing that today, but jeez, please do NOT read anything tragic or awful in to this. I am fine, as is Julie...
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November 4, 2022

Portico Darwin: Diamond Certified Electric Cars

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS A while back, I advocated an electric future, powered by - yes - nuclear power. And we need that, in large part, because of our reliance on dinosaur ruins for, oh, I don't know, forever? Cars, anyone? While I will always wish we hadn't built our world around cars, the fact is, we did, and cars are here to stay for the...
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November 2, 2022

Portico Darwin: The One About Bowling

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS OK, I know. A post about bowling, bowling shows, famous bowlers and bowling alleys seems a little extreme. Well, I like to live life on the edge. And is there anything edgier than bowling? What drove today's ridiculous topic was this, an article from not too long ago saying that the last bowling alley in my hometown o...
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October 31, 2022

Portico Darwin: The Musk of Trump Hammers Pelosi

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS At least in part, you can blame the East Bay hipster Kevin Monza for this. Today's post was to be a really fun one on bowling; but that will have to wait. My apologies. Because on Friday, Mr. Monza pretty much demanded a comment of some sort on the crazy-town attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. Representative a...
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October 28, 2022

Portico Darwin: What Retired People Do

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS One question I'm asked often (especially on Fridays) is "What is the meaning of life, Portico Darwin?" Actually, no one ever asks me that. Instead, it's more like "How do you fill all of those lonely, empty hours in retirement?" Or, if it's someone pleasant: "Where do you get the super cool old photos you use in the b...
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October 26, 2022

Portico Darwin: Office Buildings Are The New Pyramids

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Disclaimer: what follows was greatly influenced by thisIn Plain English podcast, and specifically, the research done by the guest on that episode, Nicholas Bloom. A lot of what I say below is backed up by the cold, hard research done by Bloom and his fellow brainiacs. Their stuff is at WFH Research. With that out of t...
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October 24, 2022

Portico Darwin: Where Oil Comes From Sucks

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Monday and am I the only one pissed at Saudi Arabia? First, we've put up with their anti-Semitic and misogynistic bullshit - forever. Then, there was their involvement in that little ol' thing we call 9/11. A bit later came MBS and his penchant for killing those that protest him . . . killing those that protest ...
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October 21, 2022

Portico Darwin: What Clinical OCD Looks Like

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS My recent post on my life as told via Esquire covers may have struck you as a bit strange. Today's is worse. Or at least obsessive and probably also compulsive. But at least it might give you something to do this weekend, apart from reading books. And perhaps some will see the method in my madness. In fact, you probab...
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October 19, 2022

Portico Darwin: What Price Diamond Certification?

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Is this a rant about inflation? I don't think so. Complaints from a dinosaur? Maybe, but this impacts young and old alike. Because today is about how a lot of things I (probably you, too, if you're reading this) enjoy have gotten much more expensive, in some cases prohibitively so. OK, I can hear it now: "Cry me a riv...
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October 17, 2022

Portico Darwin: More Dr. Phil (Darwin)

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Monday. Let me start your week with a suggestion, in case you're still deciding what to do this Fall. You're welcome, and with that out of the way . . . I was humbled (it's true) by the feedback I got regarding my post on gratitude, and the story behind it. That blog, the one about lowering my news and social me...
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October 14, 2022

Portico Darwin: Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Friday. If you don't care about sports, you can safely blow off TODAY'S RAMBLINGS. But don't miss FROM THE UNWASHED MASSES or KLUF. My Giants finished in a .500 shade of gray, after 107 wins last year. Our beloved - and champion - Warriors are in turmoil. Yet - despite it all - we still have it very good here in...
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October 12, 2022

Portico Darwin: My Esquire Covers!

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS This is the first in a series of pointless - and I mean really f'ing pointless - posts. Pointless? Well, upcoming editions will be about the 13 most recent albums by a band few know of, and another, a complete list of the fake names that I've used in this blog since its inception. See what I mean? They are harmless di...
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October 10, 2022

Portico Darwin: Yes Nukes!

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Monday. Long-time readers know that I 1) occasionally simply repeat an article or podcast from somebody smarter than I, on a subject in which I am (and hope you will be) interested, and 2) love the Freakonomics podcast. Well, what do you know? Today I'm combining the two and pushing a subject whose time I think ...
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October 7, 2022

Portico Darwin: Get Off My Vineyard

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Today's blog about wine tasting might be corked. You'll see. But you do have to first skim this PDF. It is a very useful list of what our local paper, The San Francisco Chronicle, deems "the most beautiful wineries in Napa and Sonoma". Wow - those are some bold words. But: the fact is, The Chronicle has always had a r...
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October 5, 2022

Portico Darwin: No (Less) News is Good News

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS I am going to run with a complement - backhanded as it may have been - from the senior media critic Max "Madras" Ryder. In response to my recent tongue-in-cheek (but only kind of) essay about our travails in first class on a EuroCity train, Max was nothing but sweetness. “Oh, you don’t realize how amusing that little ...
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September 30, 2022

Portico Darwin: October 2 and Gratitude

Today's post is different. First and foremost, that is because I leave tomorrow for Boulder to attend a memorial for Scott Edwards, to be held this Sunday, October 2. There will be no post on Monday for that reason. A coincidence, but October 2 has taken on some significance for me in recent years. On October 2, 2019, I left TEECOM. On...
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September 28, 2022

Portico Darwin: The One Where I Actually Complain About European Trains

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS WARNING: TODAY'S RAMBLINGS are nothing but a first-world whine. I hope you like it! As I referenced in arecent Travel Guide, there are few things about which I am more passionate than trains. Passenger trains. Especially, big, beautiful high-speed passenger trains, like the kind we're building all over the US as we sp...
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September 26, 2022

Portico Darwin: Say Hey

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Monday. Here is some help for setting the right tone for the week. And beyond. One of the books I read whilst away on vacation was "24", which is subtitled "Life Stories and Lessons from The Say Hey Kid". For you non-sports fans out there, it is a kinda biography of the best baseball player of all time, Willie M...
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September 23, 2022

Portico Darwin: Carnac and I Are Back

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Yeah, yeah, I know: Portico, we thought you were going dark for 3 weeks, yet you rubbed our noses in your vacation glory. My apologies, but I'm hopeful you found the information useful. I will tell you we loved discovering Lake Garda and especially Hotel Val di Sogno, as well as really enjoying Innsbruck. And have I m...
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September 21, 2022

Portico Darwin: Innsbruck Travel Guide

(Editor's Note: by now, I hope you know the drill. There are a lot of photos, so if you have any trouble, you can view the post in a browser here.) OVERVIEW This borders on being just a Micro Travel Guide, as we were here for only a short time. But we were impressed enough by Innsbruck that I felt it deserves some attention. This is no...
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September 17, 2022

Portico Darwin: Dolomites Travel Guide

(Editor's Note: again, this one has a lot of photos - it had to. So if it's slow to load on your device or if it seems like some pictures are missing, you may wish to read this post here.) OVERVIEW If you read this blog, you know I have several happy places. Places where even an obsessive like me can let go, and not grind and grind and...
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September 16, 2022

Portico Darwin: Lake Garda Travel Guide

(Editor's note: there are a ton of photos in this one. You might wish to read this here if it's slow to load and/or if it seems like some photos are missing). OVERVIEW Let me be clear right up front: I have no idea what the hell Lake Como is like, but I don't know how in the world it could be more absolutely stunning than Lake Garda, i...
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