Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.
February 3, 2023

Portico Darwin: Take Your Top Off

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS > 3 minute read Hi! I'm a Californian again! And it's Friday! Along those lines, here are my favorite convertibles, in no particular order. Most, but not all, are vintage vs. something new. I'm not bothering with years, although I do provide the model of the car. And shocker, there's even a pithy comment here and ther...
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February 1, 2023

Portico Darwin: Mind Blown

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS <2 Minute Read Happy hump day. It is back to SF in a short while after a typically glorious, if cloudy and cold, visit with the literal lifesaver, Dr. Shelly Murphy, here in busy Houston. If you are in America, alive and anything other than off-grid, you've no doubt heard the wave after wave of hype over AI - artifici...
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January 30, 2023

Portico Darwin: Arrive Houston + A Journalist's Call for New News

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS 5 Minute Read (attached PDF) I flew into Houston yesterday, courtesy of my favorite cousin, Dr. Shelly Murphy, and am now ensconced in the palatial Murphy Villa. But the Villa will be just a memory soon, which is why I'm here: I'm spec'ing out the tech for her new digs. "New digs," you ask? Nothing major, unless you c...
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January 27, 2023

Portico Darwin: Geezer Happy Hour

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS < 3 Minute Read It's the weekend, and I'm asking my dear departed parents to serve up the drinks. What drinks? I'm talking late 1960s and early 1970s, and following are what my parents and those around them were tossing back. People like this - my parent's friends Art Hansen, Wally Clarke, and Bill Cameron. All fine w...
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January 25, 2023

Portico Darwin: Cooking Up a Crisis

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS < 3 Minute Read First and foremost: Happy Birthday to my very special wife, Julie. If only she took better pictures. On to less wonderful subjects. My typical disclaimer on days like today: no, I am not returning to my news and social media-fueled hair-on-fire and angst-ridden blog style. Nobody wants that. Or mass sh...
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January 23, 2023

Portico Darwin: Texas Is Energetic

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS 2 Minute Read Happy Monday. Let's start the week some good news about Texas. And perhaps, America. My favored news source The Economist recently published an article I found rather astounding. It is about the adoption of green clean energy in Texas. I love the graphic they used and the article even more. Here's just o...
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January 22, 2023

Portico Darwin: Downtown Sonoma Travel Guide

OVERVIEW Unfortunately, I must begin this wine region-focused Travel Guide by bragging. Because the fact is, I've been to all parts of Sonoma before. And Napa. And Anderson Valley. Santa Cruz Mountains. Livermore Valley. Santa Barbara and the Santa Rita Hills. The Sierra Foothills. Heck, I've been in a wine region in New Mexico. And fr...
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January 20, 2023

Portico Darwin: This is Psycho Woke

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS 2 Minute Read It's been magical pretending we live in Wine Country. We head back home tomorrow after a great week here. Travel Guide? Certainly and soon, but its scope will be limited to Downtown Sonoma, vs. a vineyard touring thing. But believe me: we went wine tasting. I hope you enjoy today's short rant. Many (OK, ...
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January 18, 2023

Portico Darwin: An Apple Can Rot

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS 5 Minute Read Enough heavy talk - JFC I'm in Sonoma! And it's not awful! But for now I will duck out of the many wine salons I am inhabiting this week to talk about America's corporate darling, Apple. I want to remind you Apple people out there - and OMG, there are a whole bunch of you - that Apple, its products, and ...
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January 16, 2023

Portico Darwin: I Also

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS 2 Minute Read Happy Martin Luther King Day. I hope you'll consider and remember what this singular man did for America. And at what cost. It's a holiday, I know, but this topic is important. My apologies for its serious and sexually graphic nature, and a warning that it is about the subject of rape. Please do not read...
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January 13, 2023

Portico Darwin: At The Movies

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS 4 Minute Read It's the weekend, so maybe you're looking for movie ideas. Yes, I'm going all Siskel & Ebert on you. For you kids out there, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were among the kingmakers of the movie industry. These gifted dweebs were influencers before the term existed; a "Thumbs Up" meant a film likely made mo...
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January 11, 2023

Portico Darwin: The One About Being Retired

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Today I am reflecting on the great fortune of being retired relatively young. I've been in my own private Del Boca Vista since October of 2020, when I was 56; I am now 59. Is it all it's cracked up to be? Better? Worse? Shocker, but I have some thoughts. I think it's important to say at the outset that retiring and be...
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January 9, 2023

Portico Darwin: Are You a Fool, Or What?

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Monday, and let's begin the week with some Shakespeare. Naturally. "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." While often this blog is little more than a personal trough of self-aggrandizement and documentation of my overly-charmed life, I do occasionally seek and then pass ...
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January 6, 2023

Portico Darwin: The Everest of Guitars

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS (No, I'm not back on my political lectern. And Ukraine is still top of mind. But today is January 6th, among the darkest dates in American history, and a big reason are the people above, who refused to certify Biden's election after the riots at The Capitol 2 years ago today. Kevin McCarthy is there, as are those now ...
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January 4, 2023

Portico Darwin: The Final Nail?

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS If you watched this past Monday night's football game, you already know about this. If not, you should be aware a player very nearly died on the field of cardiac arrest after a violent hit, but was brought back to life via CPR over several minutes. As I write this early on Wednesday PST, the player, 24 year old Buffal...
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January 2, 2023

Portico Darwin: Jim Morrison Was Right

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy New Year and face it: it's the dead of winter. But winter in SF is arguably the best time here. Sure, there are storms (and we're having some fabulous rain this season and OMFG do we need it - just not too much too fast, please), but boy, do we have some Chamber of Commerce days, too. In fact, New Year's Day in ...
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December 30, 2022

Portico Darwin: 2022 Darwin Award Winners Special Edition

There are acutally actually no typos in today's post. Without further ado and in response to the clamoring from many (fact check: nobody), here's who will be taking home the prized Portico this year. The award ceremony is very hush-hush and on a need-to-know basis. Trip of The Year ·Ormond Beach · Tupper Lake · Italy & Austria: Lake Ga...
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December 29, 2022

Portico Darwin: Travel Guide 2022 Special Edition!

Yes, more me! As so many have been begging for (nobody, actually), here - hot off the presses - is The Portico Darwin Travel Guide: 2022 While not as vast as last year's, there was still plenty of magic. I hope even a tiny bit is useful to someone out there, and I appreciate any and all feedback, and especially if you try my advice som...
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December 28, 2022

Portico Darwin: Pencil Neck Geeks

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS I trust you had a great Christmas. Us? Well, Christmas Day itself was fine, but let's just say all good things must come to an end. After a positively Diamond Certified almost 3 weeks in Hoboken and NYC, it all screeched to a halt when, about 20 minutes before boarding, Alaska Airlines canceled our EWR-SFO nonstop Chr...
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December 25, 2022

Portico Darwin: Metro NYC Travel Guide

OVERVIEW Alright - this is another doozy but it provides new perspective, or at least I hope it does. That's because I am now mostly convinced - barring a short trip and/or having big dollars and wanting to splurge - that the smart people stay in Hoboken, vs. Manhattan proper, on a trip here. There are exceptions - it's not convenient ...
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December 25, 2022

Portico Darwin: Tupper Lake Travel Guide

Tupper Lake is in The Adirondack State Park of New York State, specifically in its famed High Peaks region. It is a superlative amalgam of mountains, forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife, that surround the nice-but-struggling village of Tupper Lake proper. Let me summarize it this way: Julie and I have been fortunate enough to travel to ...
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December 23, 2022

Portico Darwin: An Atheist's Christmas

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS A proud atheist, in fact. But - and let me be clear - I really don't care what you believe or don't believe. Are you fair? Honest? Grateful? Curious? Fun? Productive? GOOD ENOUGH! Please continue with your patronage of your synagogue, church, mosque or whatever it might be. I am 100% on board with anything that makes ...
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December 21, 2022

Portico Darwin: Seamus Colonnity Buy Himself Some Trump NFTs

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Editor's Note: Seamus Colonnity is an occasional visitor here, borrowed from Christopher Buckley's hysterical "Make Russia Great Again: A Novel". Imagine a less intellectual Sean Hannity, and you're getting close. If you need a visual image of the mighty Seamus, here is a good start. Here, the proudly ultra-MAGA Colon...
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December 19, 2022

Portico Darwin: It Was St. Patrick's Day

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS What a weekend. Once the rain stopped late Friday, it was Chamber of Commerce weather combined with Textbook or better everything else. Not sure I could swing the cold or heat or chaos, but there is nothing quite like New York City (and Hoboken), especially now. This was yesterday. Still, many (OK, actually none) have...
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December 16, 2022

Portico Darwin: Ferries and Fairies

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS As you'll see in the upcoming Metro NYC Travel Guide, after walking, the mode of transportation of choice around here, at least for this sailor, is the ferry. So, in a mercifully short post for your Friday, I deem the ferries here in Metro NY as magical and will briefly explain why that's so. First, they're magical. L...
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December 14, 2022

Portico Darwin: Outside Tables and Downside Service

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS What better place from which to pass pretentious and privileged judgement on the entire American restaurant scene than New York City? Because I think we've all experienced, in every location large and small, the overall drop in the quality of service at restaurants. And something happened here this past weekend that h...
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December 12, 2022

Portico Darwin: Prime Polluters

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS I should be up front about this: Hoboken, my home until Christmas day, is a veritable adult f'ing Disneyland for someone like me - maybe you, too. Bars. Restaurants. Wine boutiques. Bodegas. Delis. Bagels. JFC there's even a German biergarten a few blocks away with . . . Weissβier! Oh, and there's this place called Ma...
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December 9, 2022

Portico Darwin: Arrive Hoboken + Hall of Joke

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Yeah, baby. A not-too-awful flight in steerage across our big country and we're now wonderfully ensconced in an undisclosed location in happening Hoboken. Pro Tip: I like the Oneworld alliance, of which American and Alaska Airlines are a part. We're flying Alaska both ways, but our American Admiral's Club membership g...
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December 7, 2022

Portico Darwin: Another Plane from Fantasy Island

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS China's problems have gotten so bad, I felt I needed to call in my heavy hitters. So in a twist, it's Mr. Roarke and Tattoo that step out of da plane; once off, they jump in to an electric Waymo that awaits. Without a word or a driver, the car transports them to a discreet resort, high in one of the world's most treas...
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December 5, 2022

Portico Darwin: Leave The Writing To Us?

TODAY'S RAMBLINGS Happy Monday and let's turn our attention to the gee-whiz world of AI - artificial intelligence - and take a look at a tool that uses it in a way that I find quite disturbing. At least as someone that loves to write the old-fashioned way. You know, with my own brain and emotions. The tool is called Lex, and via its cl...
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