That mean old dog didn’t bark.
After I moved from the warm, sunlit shores of Santa Cruz to the cold, snowy mountains of Sandy, I discovered with horrifying clarity the power I surrendered.
I was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and in my barefeet when I left my apartment, realizing just as the gateway to my only source of shelter slammed shut with a loud bang that I left my keys inside with the kitchen stove boiling rice while the bleak winter clouds blasted down snow on a Sunday when all the honest locksmiths were closed. My wife who was tired from a long day’s work had to hike six long miles to get home, she screamed at me when she arrived watching me hopping from toe to toe on the glaciers of our parking lot–she was mad, mad about the burning rice, mad about freezing her butt off outside in the cold dark night, and most of all mad at me for desperately eyeing the hefty stones on the ground near the kitchen window, my intentions to escape the polar tundra as clear as glass.
Eventually we got ahold of a”locksmith” who drove all the way from Gresham, losing his way many times on the long, winding country roads, barely arriving in time to spare my dark blue toes from frostbite. I had my doubts about the locksmith perhaps because his company car was a rusty old pinto, perhaps because his oversized jeans were dirty and torn, perhaps becuase he hadn’t bathed in weeks, perhaps because he kept rocking back and forth and grinding his brown gooey teeth.
Legitimate locksmith or not, he knew how get into a locked apartment, his tools being what looked like a thick a hairpin and tension wrench fashioned from an old windshield wiper. After a fair amount of fiddling and cursing, we burst inside the apartment. I rushed over to the pot of rice which was smoking fiercely just about to catch flames, turning off the hot stove just in time to trigger the fire alarm’s piercing squeal.
That was the night I decided to learn how to pick locks only to discover that picking locks is a reckless waste of time when all you really need to get inside almost any house is a bump key. Bump keys are frightening easy to buy or make and they’re foolproof for most neighborhood locks.
Sometimes when WhatsHisFace who starred in YouKnowThatMovieIAmTalkingAbout escapes me, I wish I could make a bump key for my brain. I’d unlock all the good memories from my childhood, all of the college lectures I attended, all of the fantastic ideas I’ve read in books, but mostly I’d use the bump key to open the part of my brain for remembering to not to lock my barefeet outside in the cold winter snow.
You don’t need shoes to become a celebrity or a sell out. Checkout these five famous luminaries who tread the streets in bare feet.
This hardcore savage co-hosted of Discovery Channel’s popular reality television series, Dual Survival until the hollywood hacks replaced Dave Canterberry (a shod, but awesome dude) with an ornery pile of spicy donkey crap named Joe Teti.
Despite leaving the show, Codi continues to share his valuable expertise at his Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona. He focuses on working with Mother Nature, not against her. You can learn more about his particular approach to life and to survival from his delightfully illustrated book, 98.6 How to Keep Your Ass Alive!
I almost didn’t include Steve Jobs because of his disgraceful ethics. That said, the man was not stupid and revolutionized the computer industry. When he was just a poor entitled, middle class white male, little Stevie Jobs shunned shoes. According to Walter Isaacson while Steve attended Reed College in Oregon he “went barefoot most of the time, wearing sandals when it snowed”. To his credit even after making it big, Steve didn’t ditch his partiality for the sanctity of his lower leg often shopping at the super market in his bare feet.
Abebe was an Ethiopian double Olympic marathon champion. He set a world record when he won the marathon at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome running barefoot. I wrote a separate blog post about how a minimalist shoe company tried to steal this man’s amazing legacy.
Philippides inspired the marathon and the Spartathon. He is credited with running from Marathon to Athens (150 miles) to deliver news of a military victory against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon. It took him only two days. The Spartathon is described as the world’s most grueling races, it runs over rough tracks and muddy paths, crosses vineyards and olive groves, climbs steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200 meter ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night. The ominous mountain is covered with jagged rocks and thorny bushes, on which it is said Pheidippides met the god Pan. There is still no pathway over the mountain that is swept by strong winds with temperatures as low as 4°C. Even the finest athletes hallucinate as they cover the final stages of this epic race that retraces the naked foot steps of Pheidippides the ancient Athenian herald*.
She is a semi-main stream actor who was married to both Ethan Hawke and Gary Oldman for brief periods–you can’t get anymore Gen X than that! In 2015, she ignored the requirement for women to wear heels at this Cannes Film Festival parading around barefoot instead.
*Pheidippides was a hemerodrome , which means “day-runner / professional courier”.
Let’s be honest, barefoot running hurts like hell for the first few months. It’s not easy. You can’t just barge out the door and stampede down the streets like a wild rhino. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes a strong mind and a strong heart.
Not everyone can run barefoot because not everyone has thick skin. And that’s what you need when you run unshod. You need thick skin, tough skin. Does Donald Trump have thick skin? No! No! No! Read his tweets about being parodied on SNL:
Trump’s skin has been sculpted by a surgeon’s blade, powdered and colored for camera, crowd and stage. It’s frail skin, flimsy as toilet tissue.
The Donald couldn’t run barefoot, not even for a block, not even a few paces, not even one big toe dipped gingerly on the plush white house lawn. He doesn’t have the spirit for it.
But what would happen if he did decide to chuck his loafers and socks for a day hike in the forest. Without the fabricated barrier between his body and the ground, he might feel the pulsing energy of the earth rising up through the dirt, he might experience the enchanting dribble of soothing raindrops flowing down his instep, he might even succumb to the primal urge of dance. And then, swinging and swaying to an invisible rhythm, barefoot between the wet cedars and pines, he might reconsider strip mining for Coal, ransacking planned parenthood, and banning Muslims from our borders. It certainly wouldn’t be enough to make him a great president, but it would be a start.
If Trump did start running, or even just walking barefoot, America might not be lost in its teenage self indulgence. And I along with all of the other barefoot runners from around the world would rejoice, knowing that Trump’s bare feet would be hitting the cold, hard streets of DC and hurting like hell for the first few months.
Until then, I leave you with this:
Blog survived, but my images didn’t.
A few days ago, bizarre ads filled my screen. Many of them aimed at women: Maxipads for instance. They appeared on Youtube & in MY private google account. Even on Spotify I received ads for Christian books and mascara. At first, I was amused. But the offbeat ads have become downright annoying. So, I delved into my Google Ad settings.
I was shocked to discover that Google pegged me as a 17 year old girl!
And it’s not just Google. I’ve had issues with Amazon as well. For instance when my WIFE was logged into Amazon. MY wishlist appeared on her suggested buys–when she clicked on the “Your Wishlist” link, MY wishlist appeared. What’s even worse was Amazon’s sending HER purchase suggestions to MY google e-mail. I received direct e-mails from Amazon suggesting that I buy things from HER private wishlist for myself. Somehow Amazon’s cookies crossed our wish lists. Our names are different. Amazon has no way of knowing that we’re married. It’s disturbing because her personal preferences were sent to me without her consent. And mine were sent to her without my consent. The privacy hole is huge and frightening. We contacted Amazon and they have fixed the issue.
I’m sure that I am not alone. Anyone who shares a computer with someone else has probably endured similar glitches. Here’s how I was able to “Opt Out” of Google advertising.
Log in to your account. Just below the gear/configure icon, click the link that says, “Why this Ad?“
A balloon will appear it will say:
This ad was based on the email you were viewing. Ads Settings puts you in control of the ads you see.
Click on the link that says, “Ads Settings“
Click on the links that say, “Opt Out“.
For added privacy, you might also want to disable Flash Cookies.
To find out more about Safe Browsing Visit:
It is 1991, the start of my Born Again Jesus is Risen Christian Phase at Skate Church in sunny California. I am meeting MJ for the first time. The church auditorium smells like popcorn; it’s full of half pipes, a live hardcore Christian music band, and skaters. Craig, the only pastor who resembles a pastor and not a skater, is introducing me to MJ. MJ just gave his life to Christ. I shake MJ’s hand. Before I let go, I notice that the veins on MJ’s skeletal arms are pocked with raised brown mounds of flesh. His cheeks are hollow. I can the see the strings of muscle ripple when grinds his teeth. But when I gaze into his eyes, I see a warm and friendly soul.
After a few weeks at rehab, I am watching MJ get baptized in the main auditorium. He is with Hope and Charity, two teenagers who came to Christ the same night as MJ. They are wearing white robes. When each emerges from the holy waters radiant and smiling, I believe. Yes, I believe! Jesus loves! Jesus heals! Jesus saves! Jesus is Lord of All!!!
It is a month after his baptism, our fellowship of Christian skateboarders drives over the hill to Sea Bright Beach in Santa Cruz. We roast hotdogs, drink soda, and talk about Christ. We are seated around a huge pillar of fire that is heating the entire west coast. Everyone around the fire is laughing. I spot MJ, he is away from us, sitting on a rock near the bathrooms. He is starring at the sand, his head bent low. I think I know why he is so depressed. The engine of his beat-up BMW was clanking and sputtering on the drive to the beach. I walk over to MJ. He says he’s worried about his car. I tell him that I will stay right behind him on the drive home in case anything happens.
The steep road curls. We are almost at the summit. A toxic black fog rushes over my windshield. It’s coming from MJ’s car. I flash my lights. MJ pulls over. He lifts the hood of the battered BMW, as soon as the hood click opens, flames jump out. They almost catch MJ’s sleeves on fire. He slams the hood shut and checks for burns. That’s when I notice the fresh needle tracks on MJ’s arms.
I drive MJ home in my dirty green 1970 mercury cougar with the white vinyl top. I should take better care of such a classic car. But I don’t. I talk to MJ about skateboarding. He gives me one word answers. His knees rapidly knock up and down. I try to steer the conversation to the ever loving forgiveness of Jesus Christ. But MJ chides me with silence. After I drop off MJ, I pray for his soul.
The next few weeks, I don’t see MJ at skate church. I am not surprised. Hope tells me that MJ is a “backslidden Christian”. He fell back into drugs. We hold hands and pray for MJ’s soul. Hope even speaks in tongues.
Our Christian fellowship prays for lost souls. Craig says, “There is power in unity.”
About a month later MJ returns to church. He wants to get baptized again. He gets baptized again and again and again.
Gradually the fellowship chips apart. Some move away. Some some attend seminary. Some quit church altogether. One by one, we each shoot off in our own direction. Unity breaks.
It’s well over two decades later. I have just finished a long run. I am stretching. My wife opens the front door. She has something to show me. She has to go upstairs to get it. I sit on the floor. She brings me a picture of MJ. She took it just before his first baptism at skate-church. MJ is wearing a white robe. His smile is warm and friendly. He is radiant. “Remember MJ?” she says. The memories wash over me. Before she finishes speaking, I already know what she will say.
Rest in Peace MJ.