John James Audubon was born in 1785 in a little country known as Haiti. As a baby he moved to France, I’m assuming with some help, and lived there until he was 18, when he emigrated to the United States. I’m guessing this is like 1803 due to math.

You have heard of the society named for him, it’s called the Audubon Society, and it has something to do with bird conversation or bird watching or a combination of those two things — I don’t feel like searching for it. …


In the year 1819, 202 years ago as of this writing, an American that is long dead wrote an essay about travel, kind of, called . This essay was about the author, Washington Irving. He was alive at the time of writing.

I really want to turn the content in this essay into a meaningful blog post with an inspiring message but it’s like 2 pages long and not really about anything.

He likes America, and liked to look around his town a lot when he was small. Okay, that’s cool, I get it. Then he…


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Photo by Ben Noble on Unsplash

When his second term as the first President of the United States ended on March 4th, 1797, George Washington had just turned 65 years old. Born in 1732 in Virginia, he would die two and a half years after leaving office. He was 6’2”, and led the US to victory in the War for Independence.

And now he’s probably pretty disappointed in what the hell has happened to us as a country.

Sure, we have electric cars and satellites in space that can watch you everywhere you…


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Photo by Jan Meeus on Unsplash

Take better than half the population of people in this country and tell them to stop learning. Tell them they can’t do math or science or reading. They can’t invent things or improve society and they really shouldn’t participate in the systems of politics or entrepreneurship. Start this process shortly after they are born. Then you’re kind of just left with whoever is left to run things, learn things, build things. Dedicate also a portion of their time to making sure that the other people, the ones not learning, don’t start doing any of the things mentioned.

This week I…


Very few people, except my friend Chris, remember the summer of 1787. It was a wild time, a chaotic time, a time of new beginnings, a time of reflection. It was when Thomas Jefferson released his in-depth remembrance of his home state, .

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In that book is a section called , which I have recently read and digested and am currently processing into a blog post. This work has the pleasure of being one of the earliest broadly distributed arguments for the freedom of religion in our young United States of America.

Thomas Jefferson was…


a valentine’s day heart tin laying in snow
a valentine’s day heart tin laying in snow
That’s a heart pan in snow. I took that in Cincinnati, OH. Happy Valentine’s Day.

There are countless blog posts and guides dedicated to working Agile DevOps into your team. There are posts on how to measure MTTR (mean time to repair) and CFR (change failure rate). There are posts on how to measure velocity and team throughput. There are posts on what makes a great DevOps culture. These posts are all incredible if you already practice some version of DevOps. They are also good if you work on a dev team with people itching to do DevOps.

They are not so good if you are just getting started. I want to help build into…


Until two days ago, I don’t think that I had either. Yes, I have seen the play. Yes, I have watched it on Disney+. Yes, I have pretended to people that I was “for sure going to read his biography now!” Yes, I have streamed the original Broadway cast recordings on Spotify.

But none of that amounted to reading any of the actual works — largely  — that he’s famous for writing much of.

Well, that has all changed: I read the first one. And boy, is it is a doozy. It’s not particularly long (just a…


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Photo by Allison Heine on Unsplash

Benjamin Franklin wrote a short essay titled in the year 1784. The theme of essay is the supposed savagery of the Native Americans (or Indians, as they are called throughout). The “Savages” in the title quickly becomes clear as sarcasm — he blithely describes their manner, means, and customs as superior to their white brethren. The essay reads as relevant today as it must have been in the late 18th century.

The term “American Exceptionalism” brings to mind myriad topics — from winning World Wars to putting a man on the moon to…


I grew up as a Millennial, that oft-maligned generational segment typically blamed for destroying the economy, music, movies, higher education, family values, and fashion. Personally, I blame my friend Eric’s stepdad for most of that, but that’s irrelevant. Another key attribute of my generation, one that I personally see as a testament to our intellectual versatility and creative elasticity, is our erratic job histories. We move around. A lot.

How many Millennials do you know who are on track to retire from their first employer? Other than RJ Winkler, I don’t know any. …


Faheem Rasheed Najm was born just over 35 years ago, in 1985, in Tallahassee, Florida. The capital city of Florida, Tallahassee is known for having the third-tallest state capitol building in the United States, at 22 stories. Najm, known by the stage name T-Pain, may be the city’s most important export of the late 20th century. Maybe ever.

Nearly 250 years before the birth of T-Pain, Thomas Paine was born in the market town of Thetford, England, in 1737. …

John David Back

Peanut butter first, code second.

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