Mary Beth Writes

Thinking Outside the Box: 

Len once told me this WWII story. The first generation of bomber raids from England to Germany resulted in a terrifying number of bomber planes being shot down. Experts carefully examined the returning planes to create detailed reports of the bullet holes as they tried to understand how to reinforce the planes to make them safer.

Then someone consulted Abraham Wald, a Hungarian-Jewish statistician who had fled Nazi-occupied Austria and who was working in New York to help the war effort. Wald pointed out that the experts had only looked at bombers who’d returned.

The planes that made it back had survived the bullet holes that experts had so carefully mapped and calibrated. The luck of the returning planes resided not in where they had been struck – but in where they had NOT been struck.

The way to make the bomber planes less vulnerable was to reinforce parts of the plane that were NOT struck in the planes that made it back. When they did that, bombers became more resilient and successful.

Read more here: When data gives the wrong solution — TREVOR BRAGDON

If Racism and Climate Crisis are humanity’s most dangerous challenges right now; Covid following on the heels of both of these … what do we do and where do we act?

If we were a discussion group (and maybe we are?) I would ask this.

What has worked to combat political idiocy in the near and far past?

What IS working right now, in your opinion?

What choices have you made and/or groups have you joined that have enabled you to be part of something big and good and just?

What’s strong? What’s working?

Speaking of what’s working - last night we watched Kiss the Ground. .

Watch it. It shows how we can do more than just prevent things from getting worse, but how we can return carbon back into our earth where we need it. The movie is it not simplistic. It is clear.

Watch it. (Netflix)

This Sunday the service of my Unitarian Universalist congregation will be a little unusual. Years ago, I wrote a short story about two guys and one donkey and what happens when the donkey, named Miles, says one thing. Jennifer Beiriger and I will read the story throughout the service. Meg Whaley sings some beautiful songs. If you would like to join in virtually, this is the link to our website. On Sunday morning about 9AM, a link should appear to take you into the virtual service.

Hope this works.



I really don’t want to quote an old white guy but it’s too good: the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but building the new (Socrates)
Mary Beth's picture

I like this.

I teared up. I learned so much. And I can do more.... Thanks for the recommendation, I will pass it on. Can't wait to tune in Sunday.

You always give me things to think about. Thank you. Will watch your movie suggestion. Have a good weekend. Patricia
Mary Beth's picture

Thank you! We are off to Chicago to spend the afternoon with our daughters and granddaughter. It will be a very fine day, indeed.

I think the thing I've been learning most from activists and in my own life is that we're playing the long game. White supremacy tends toward a sense of urgency--being busy is a way we feel useful because we have been taught to do things first and think later. There's balance. Yes, it's urgent. Also, things are changing. These things are not mutually exclusive. I don't know if this makes sense? I'm still learning and processing. So thanks for letting me share!

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Three Things 9/11/2021

The photo is from a trip to Arizona that Len and I took several years ago. His employer had said he had to take vacation time.  We sat here in our office not knowing where to go or what to do; it came up that fast. We looked up cheap flights from Milwaukee,; Phoenix popped up for $150 round trip. That was how we decided.

Of course, we rented a car and stayed in motels and ate in restaurants so no, it wasn’t a $300 vacation.

Three Things 9/3/2021

1. This morning I was texting with Franc about our heritages. He was born and raised in the Midwest although his ancestors are from Puerto Rico. Being the child of children of a Caribbean Island means he probably has Taino DNA as well as African and European. Heck, he probably has Phoenician and Viking and Pacific Islander because island people and sailors have always thought each other cute.

Three Things 9/2/2021

Regarding Texas: I’m so angry today.

From The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution by Peter Hessler

Hessler is making a case that a significant reason for the failure of Egyptian governments is because citizens are not looking for competent political leaders. They vote for men who lambast the “corruption and immorality” of present leaders. They vote for those who promise a “return to our traditional Islamist values.”

Three Things 8/25/2021


Where did these damn fruit flies come from? I borrowed a 400-page book from the library yesterday and just finished it an hour ago. ONE fruit fly bumped me every twenty minutes through the whole damn tome. I hit at it every time it zipped past but I never zapped it.

I’ll get him (or her?). I put an inch of apple cider vinegar into a glass, covered it with plastic wrap, punched some tiny holes, set it next to our fruit.

Bugs bug me.


Is it really August already?

I woke up this morning feeling wistful. It’s the third week of August. Where did this summer go?

I have not ridden my bike even once (there are giant construction trucks all over my favorite route). We’ve hardly entertained friends at our Bistro (the apron of the garage that I painted last year). We’ve not traveled other than to see our kids. My six tomato plants are producing an unenergetic number of tomatoes. Didn’t see the Perseids. Didn’t serve umbrella drinks by our pool. Oh wait, we don’t have a pool.

Len is Raising $ for the MAAC Fund Again

About this photo: these are the four guys who first started riding together, years ago. Jack heard about the MACC fund, so they all did it together. Last year, out riding one fine day for the fun and exercise of it, Tom, the tall guy, suffered a terrible accident and passed away. Sometimes when they ride together now, Tom's humorous and kind spirit accompanies them. 


This is the MACC Fund

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