2012 in review…

Because I’m always looking for a way to post without going to the time and trouble of actually writing, please enjoy this Year in Review, generated by WordPress…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

And then there was December…

money_pitWell, we’re moving right along through the 2006 archive. Today’s posts are from the pivotal period of early December 2006, when I was in the process of buying my money pit… er… I mean house in Memphis. I have to confess that there’s not a lot of drama there, but for at least one of us it’s interesting seeing where things were six years ago around this time and compare them with where we stand now. Whoever said “the more things change, the more they stay the same” was really on to something, there. If you’d have told me what drama the intervening six years would bring, I’d have never believed you. There never seems to be an end to the drama, but if nothing else, I’ve had the good fortune t live in interesting times… Or maybe I’ve just inflicted interesting times on myself. Either way. It’s been a trip.

Click over to the archives to start checking out that month that was, six years ago in 2006.


I ordered new tires a week ago. Then of course the shop wasn’t open the day before Christmas. Then it snowed and everything was closed. Then the tires didn’t show up the next day as scheduled. And as a result, here I sit, 6 hours after I had planned on leaving still waiting for the tires and the truck to actually come together. I’m a man who lives and dies my having a plan… and currently my plan is jacked up to the point of being in recognizable. If I’m surly the rest of the day at least you’ll know why.

Four letter word…

Sure, sure, I know plenty of you out there on the interwebs are enthralled by how wonderful the post-Christmas snow has been. I’m here to tell you that you are, quite simply wrong. It’s cold, it’s wet, and it requires inordinate amounts of effort to move from Point A to Point B. Simply put, snow is just another four letter word. Like most other four letter words, its use is almost always inappropriate. It’s even more inappropriate on days when I’m already off and want to go out and do things and see people. Under the circumstances, snow is pretty much just an enormous pain in the ass with the singular redeeming quality of being kind of pretty.

Like a hot girl with the personality of a water buffalo, sometimes being pretty just isn’t good enough. The frozen nonsense can stop dropping out of the sky any time now.

Christmas morning…

After reading so many Facebook posts about staying up into the early hours assembling presents and waking up before the crack of dawn to begin the great unwrapping, I’d like to take a moment and really appreciate my incredibly low key Christmas morning. I woke up around 8AM, took the dogs for a quick walk in the snow (their idea, not mine), made a pot of coffee, and eventually got around to unwrapping presets and reading the paper before brewing another pot of coffee and settling in for the morning.

All-in-all, a quiet Christmas morning seems like an invaluable moment of calm before the mayhem and chaos of the rest of the day. It’s not quite zen, but sucking down copious amounts of coffee while the dogs snore in front of the fire vaguely feels like what Christmas is supposed to be. Of course that may just be my own uniquely warped view of how things work.

From my comfortable seat in the living room, Merry Christmas to all my friends and family (and anyone who stumbles across this post by accident).

Even more from the archives…

MIdlandJust because I’m in the middle of packing, loading the truck, trying to settle the dogs, and make sure the house is locked up tight, is no reason Sunday’s traditional posts from the archive should be interrupted. This week features old gold from November 2006. They’re the random thoughts about Thanksgiving, packing for my it-sounded-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time move to Memphis, and a few other odds from one of the more spastic period of my life. It’s not always the best possible writing, but there’s often some interesting stuff hidden in there. As usual, I’m glad I wrote some of this foolishness down instead of trying to rely on my coffee-soaked brain to keep track of it all. Clearly I’ve forgotten some of the best stories from the old days.

So yeah, enjoy this week’s archive posts. I’ll plan on being back with you just as soon as I get my computer set up at the Historic Jeffrey Tharp Childhood Home, Library, and Gift Shop.


Supply Lines As close as I can tell moving me and two dogs from one side of Maryland to the other is the greatest logistical challenge which has faced mankind since Patton’s army raced across northern Europe. At present the packing list includes:

1. Two bags for me
2. Two crates stuffed to capacity with “dog stuff”
3. One Rubbermaid container of Christmas presents
4. Two containers of dog food (they can’t eat the same thing, of course)
5. Two hats
6. Two coats (one light, one heavy w/ zip out liner)
7. One backpack waiting to be stuffed to the brim with computer and networking equipment, a laptop, an iPad, a Kindle, and all the associated power cables
8. Two dogs

I’m sure I’ll be adding to that list throughout the night, but if you’ll excuse me I need to go start working on the load plan for the truck. I think I should have sprung for the extended bed instead of just the extended cab.

Follow Me (Everything is Alright)…

One thing I know from a misspent middle age is that Fridays are pretty much the worst day of the week to post a new blog. As soon as the whistle blows at the end of the day, people are off and racing to start the weekend – or in this case the extra long holiday weekend. Even a post with all the right content, perfectly archived tags, and on a topical bit of content just isn’t going to have juice. That’s why Fridays are usually the day I don’t bother posting anything. Even on Saturdays you can reach a respectable audience if you get you post up and Follow mein front of people early enough in the morning that they see if before they run off to do whatever it is normal people do on Saturdays.

I’ll be completely honest, I don’t know what my posting schedule is going to look like for the next few days. This has all been a long way of saying that hitting the regular gates for days and times that I usually post can be a little problematic when there’s travel and a holiday involved. I’m not even going to pretend that I’m going to try to sticking to a schedule for the next few days. With that being said, I don’t foresee things going dark around here either. Stupid things that need to be talked about seem to follow me around like damned plague of locusts.

The best way to make sure that you don’t miss any of the fun and excitement at jeffreytharp.com is to go ahead and click on the little “Sign Me Up” button on the upper right hand sign of your screen. That way you’ll get your very own email notification every time something new shows up. I mean if that’s not a Christmas present, I don’t know what is.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Comcast. We’re now on the 3rd monthly bill that’s jacked up as a result of my changing cable plans. This month’s bill got it mostly right, but still shows a $16 charge for a DVR and service that I no longer have. That’s not going to blow the monthly budget, of course, but it’s one of those small things that it really shouldn’t take three months to sort out. Now that I’m not really doing any living in the basement, I think I’ll just have that cable drop turned off and send the box back… At this point, any time I can put fewer dollars in Comcast’s garter, the happier I am. Optimistically, I think we should have everything resolved by sometime in June.

2. Terms of Service. If Instagram changes their terms of service and you don’t like it, go ahead and delete your account. To the best of my knowledge, no one is required to use Instagram. Since their providing a free service to the people of the interwebs, I think it’s only fair that we expect that at some point they’re going to have to figure out a way to make money from their service. If my fancy business classes are to be believed, the whole point in starting a company is to actually make money. Otherwise, they’d be a charity (or an arm of government) and would be interested in providing all of us something for nothing until the end of time. If you think applying filters to your grainy camera pics is so important, go ahead and by a copy of Photoshop and do it up right.

3. The Friday before a Ten Day Weekend. If anyone is expecting great and wonderful things tomorrow, let me disabuse you of that notion before we even get there. Although my body may be physically be shackled to my desk for one last eight hour stint, rest assured my mind has already flown the coop for 2012 and isn’t accepting any additional old business at this time.

The God of Happy Accidents…

There’s something that’s been bugging me for the last few days. It’s one of those things that most don’t consider a topic for polite company and I’ve swung from one side to the other debating whether this was the right place to even bring it up… or whether I should bring it up at all or just let it be one of those questions that agitates me quietly forever in the back of my head. Since I use this site as a platform for pretty much every other flavor of Buddycontroversy, I don’t suppose religion should be more off limits here than any other topic has been in the past.

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m not exactly what you’d call religious. I’m not sure I can even get away with describing myself as “spiritual,” as many people seem to prefer these days. It’s not exactly that I’m anti-religion, but I’ve never quite been able to accept faith as the ultimate evidence of things not seen. I’ve always liked my evidence to be something a little more corporeal. Despite that, I’ve always had a healthy level of curiosity about world religions and have a tendency to pay attention when they are discussed academically.

This past weekend I heard a theologian argue that we can’t really blame God when something bad happens. In the next breath, this same panel member argued that we should praise God for all the good things that we enjoy in the world. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where my train of thought came off the rails. It seems to me that if we’re going to worship an all knowing, all powerful deity that is responsible for every good thing that happens, the very nature of an omnipotent God demands that He also be responsible for bad things when they happen. To think otherwise suggests a divine duality – one god responsible for all good things and another responsible for only bad things. That’s a pretty problematic concept to tinker with when the world’s major religious groups are pretty well established as monotheistic enterprises.

After writing that last paragraph, someone is sure to argue that I just don’t like religion in general or Christianity in particular. Because I know my own mind, I can say that’s not exactly true. I’m fine with religion and with Christianity (as long as they’re not being forced on anyone at the point of a sword)… what chaps my ass is hypocrisy. If someone of faith had the stones to go on national television and simply say “sometimes God just lets bad shit happen” I think I’d be fine with it, but to absolve your particular deity from responsibility because it doesn’t fit with the traditional narrative that God is Good requires a level of mental gymnastics that I’m not comfortable carrying out.

Although I’m not a theologian by any stretch of the imagination, it seems to be that if there is a God and He is, in fact, all powerful and all knowing, then we’re doing Him a disservice by only giving Him accolades for the happy accidents of life. Sorry, but if He wants the credit when things are going well, He’s going to have to share in the blame when it’s gone to hell in a handbag, even if it’s only because free will was His idea in the first place. How’s that for a controversial stance?