Thursday, May 18, 2017


Exceptions can be difficult when learning a new language, as my experience learning Spanish has demonstrated. Twisted and mostly forgotten in the passage on time, the reasons why exceptions exist are not always clear and yet we adhere to the rule of following those exceptions without protest or review.

I bought a new blanket in Cuenca, a very comfortable and warm blanket, perfect in every way --- except for one thing --- someone had written "Sheeps" all over the blanket, no doubt referring to the notion of "counting sheep" in order to fall asleep. 

I got the message even though the method of relaying it was obviously flawed. Inexplicably, the plural of sheep in English is sheep. A non-native speaker of English might easily be fooled into following the generalized rule of adding "s" to make such things plural. But in faithfully following the rule, without exception, this blanket manufacturer arguably produced a flawed blanket -- for the plural of sheep is an exception. 

And yet, ironically, in this case, the flaw imbued the blanket with a endearing kind of uniqueness, a reflection of the humanity in all of us that tries to understand all the things that remain elusive due to the exceptions rife in life.

I still bought the blanket and I still enjoy the blanket as a very warm and comfortable addition to my bed. I don't consider it flawed in any respect. It's the way I choose to view such things. The flaw would be to judge such things without factoring in the law of exceptions in life, if there is such a thing. Perhaps it isn't a law, no more than exceptions in the natural world are flaws that require a separate law to govern them. 

Instead of reducing life to rules and exceptions, maybe the truth lies in a third option - one that will forever go unnamed. Most things get names but in this case -- I make an exception.

"If Moses had gone to Harvard Law School and spent three years working on the Hill, he would have written the Ten Commandments with three exceptions and a saving clause."
Charles Morgan

"Everyone knows what a curve is, until he has studied enough mathematics to become confused through the countless number of possible exceptions."
Felix Klein

"A good teacher must know the rules; a good pupil, the exceptions."
Martin H. Fischer

"There are those whose sole claim to profundity is the discovery of exceptions to the rules."
― Paul Eldridge

"Systems are to be appreciated by their general effects, and not by particular exceptions."
― James F. Cooper

"Every fundamental law has exceptions. But you still need the law or else all you have is observations that don't make sense. And that's not science. That's just taking notes."
― Geoffrey West

"The fact that anytime you think you really know something, you're going to find out you're wrong - that is the rule. The moments where you think you have something figured out, those are the exceptions."
― Conor Oberst

"Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception."
― Carl Sagan

"Nature provides exceptions to every rule."
― Margaret Fuller

"Science does not permit exceptions."
― Claude Bernard

"The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions."
― Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

“There’s always someone or something that will make you feel so strongly that you will go against everything you are ever taught or planned.”
― Beth Rinyu

“Miracles are exceptions principles are the rules.”
― Sunday Adelaja

“Be the exception, and be happy.”
― Marty Rubin

“How Ironic, when you do business you create exceptions to create new opportunities, when you write code (do a job) you handle exception to make it clean.”
― Pushkar Saraf

"There are two great rules of life; the one general and the other particular. The first is that everyone can, in the end, get what he wants, if he only tries. That is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is, more or less, an exception to the rule."
― Samuel Butler

"There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception."
― James Thurber

"There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be an exception to the rule."
― Charles Osgood

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception."
― Oscar Wilde

"Be the exception to the rule. It's the surest way to become exceptional."
― Ron Kaufman

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trees Come Down 
One From High River Water, Others Proactively

In Cuenca, Ecuador - high river water undermined the roots of an eucalyptus tree overnight, causing it to fall across a roadway bridge onto utility lines. Luckily it fell at a late hour when there was no traffic so it didn't hit any cars. A work crew had to figure out how to remove the tree from the wires and get it off the bridge. To prevent future incidents like this, the crews also proactively removed another group of trees. A crew member climbed the trees to tie a rope high up so another man could pull it in the direction they wanted it to fall. Crew members also scurried across the river on the fallen trees to get things ready. Everything that fell into the river they then had to use a truck to pull out of the river, cut it all up, and then load for removal.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Waiting for my fajitas at a roadside restaurant in the countryside a half hour out of Cuenca, 
I notice a photo on the wall with the caption -- "Solo Borracho o Dormido, se me olvida lo JODIDO."

solo borracho o dormido

Translation --- "Just drunk or asleep, I forget how fucked up."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Four Ecuadorian Soccer Balls

Can you juggle four soccer balls at once?
Can you bounce one off your head and keep juggling?
Can you let one ball drop to the ground and kick it back in line with the rest?
Can you flip a ball behind your back and up overhead while juggling?

Would you do this in a crosswalk of a busy intersection at eight in the morning?
Would you do this in that crosswalk while it was cold and drizzling?
Would you stay out there for hours, repeating the same performance for each change of the light?
Would you have done this as a young teenager?
Would that teenager have done this not for fun but to try to earn money?
Would you walk the line of cars after each performance hoping for some spare change?

This morning I watched that teenager.
He was not large physically and looked undersized for the task but he was huge in spirit.

Cuenca is adorned with interesting street performers -- some juggle soccer balls, one in a crosswalk I saw juggle three machetes while spinning a basketball on top of an umbrella balanced on his chin, all while hurrying before the streetlight changed and the roar of cars, trucks, and buses passed him by. There are well-rehearsed break-dancer routines performed in sync by 2, 3, 4 dancers. Other surprises await around the corner.   

There is more than what some will see as only the desperation of poverty in play here.
It is not only what is done but how it's done that amazes and inspires. 
That amazement and inspiration can be found in the people of Cuenca.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taking a Walk in Cuenca
Clown Walking
"We laugh at sheep because sheep just follow the one in front. Ah, stupid sheep! We humans have out-sheeped the sheep because at least the sheep need a sheepdog to keep them in line. Humans keep each other in line. And they do it by ridiculing or condemning anyone who commits the crime -- because that's what it's become -- of being different." -David Icke
Split Sunet

A gringo is riding an elevator up in a condo building in Cuenca.
On the way up another gringo gets on.
The gringo on the elevator smiles with a welcoming, "Hola!"
 The gringo getting on humorously answers, "Hola! Como estas?"
"Muy buen," comes the answer, plus, "Esta buen dia para ti?"
 "Si," is the reply, then hopefully, "Habla ingl├ęs usted?"
This elicits a smile and the mournful answer, "Un poco, muy poco y lentamente."
 The two gringos have a laugh and the elevator doors open.
The gringo exiting offers, "Que tengas un buen dia!"
 In return there's an appreciative nod and wave.
And who says old gringos can't learn new tricks.
True story.