Improved Roads

When we “improve” a road, what exactly are we improving?This is a reflection on improving roads, both actual and metaphorical, in Death Valley and Yosemite and the slow loss of “natural” places with every “improvement.”

The Last-Straw Ratchet

Camel pulling overloaded cart

We have good camels in our caravan. Maybe not great, but good. But then we pile on too much, so the good camels leave and get replaced by slightly worse camels and we ratchet down, because too many camel drivers think their job is to make the camels adjust to the load, when usually their job is to adjust the load to the camels.

Farmers and Miners

A farmer works the land for generations and, if careful, the land is worth more with each passing year. A miner extracts what he can from the land and, when done, it’s worthless. Most business people are either farmers or miners and we need both. The problem is miners who mistake themselves for farmers.

The Hotel on Pluto

Ahwahnee, Majestic, planet, not a planet. Does it make any difference? For some people it’s a big deal. For me, not so much, but if I can just get investors for my hotel on Pluto, I can make the people who care very happy.

The Forgetoir

Picture of abandoned railway station in the desert

As we edge toward the third decade of the 21st century, I have decided that it is time to forge ahead with a new literary genre — the forgetoir, a record of all the things we’ve forgotten or, at least, are trying to forget.

Bug Zappers and Thoreau

Thoreau loved swamps. Modern Americans love swamps too, as long as they surround them with bug zappers. I think there’s a lesson in there.

Changing WordPress Permalinks from Date-Based to Postname Only

It seems like nothing could be simpler. But there are some gotchas with respect to rewrites. The big challenge, though, is that your existing URLs are stored as serialized data, which means that if you do a search and replace on the database, the universe ends, or something like that.

Multi-Dimensional and Associative Arrays in Shopify Liquid

You think if you can just find the right spot in the documentation, you can figure out multi-dimensional arrays in Liquid. Actually, you can’t. There is no way to create them. But this clever(?) but cumbersome workaround will get the job done.