Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Soccer Fan May Never Make Fun of Professional Wrestling.

I’m sitting here listening to some chick read PowerPoint slides to me. Lincoln Financial Group is not immune from the woes of the economy. People have been laid off and now I have to do more of my own official record keeping. This isn’t going to work out. I know my compliance officer is curled up in the fetal position with a bottle of peppermint schnapps somewhere because she knows every one of the 150 or so of us that she’s responsible for are going to blow this off and ask her how to do it personally as soon as we need it. This could be avoided by not reading PowerPoint slides to me over the telephone while I’m supposed to be following along on my computer. I’d also be more inclined to pay attention if I didn’t know for an absolute certainty that these procedures are going to change by the end of the week at the latest. I’m watching soccer players fake injuries on YouTube. I hate soccer. It’s the worst sport ever. Other than faking an injury to get a free kick, what strategy is there? If all the goals from free kicks, including corner kicks, were taken away, there would be fewer than ten goals scored a year in the entirety of the world’s most popular sport. Aren’t these guys embarrassed that for all their hard work and “skill” the sport is reduced to rolling around on the ground like you’ve been shot. Seriously, these guys get carted off on stretchers only to reenter the game a minute later. They make two paramedics run out onto the field, pick their Susan Lucci wannabe asses up off the ground, and carry them to the sideline. And the very worst part is that it works – a lot. Referees award free kicks, hand out cards, and kick people out of the game if the “injured” players performance is good enough. I’m surprised they haven’t figured out a way to work in some fake blood.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Didn't Make It To the Gym Today

Another day, another excuse not to do squats. I slept in today and had a full schedule at the office so I didn’t make it to the gym. I’m afraid of the mind altering pain that’s in store for me when I add squats back into the mix. Hopefully, I can work them tomorrow morning. I haven’t done squats in more than a year. Just thinking about them makes my butt burn. I’m going to take it easy because I’m thirty-eight years old, I’m not a professional athlete, and I don’t want to wind up in the emergency room. I don’t know if it’s a good thing that I’m reminding myself or a bad thing that I need to remind myself.

I read an op-ed in today’s Washington Post about how Obama and Bill Gates are trying to fix education. As per usual with limousine liberals, the biggest reason schools in America suck is because teachers are lazy and teachers’ unions are greedy. I understand that public education is not where it should be, but it really, REALLY, frustrates me when people are successful in something like politics or business and feel it makes them experts in something else. First of all, the chances that both of these guys aren’t crooks range from slim to none. I want to trust them but I don’t. At best, if Obama believes everything he says, so far he’s good at strategy and bad at tactics, and it’s the same with his staff. At best, Gates is trying to get right with God by giving away all his loot – and that’s what it is. At worst he’s pushing his agenda trying to get more foreign tech workers visas so he can pay more and more of his employees less and less. “Behind every great fortune there is a great crime” is true, and with Gates’s history of “situational” ethics, he bears watching. Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama have a lot more dilettante in them than proletariat. It makes me glad I’m not a Democrat.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Need To Be Active Every Single Day

I’m sitting here with writer’s block. I think it’s because I surfed the internet all day. I didn’t do anything productive or even interesting, nothing but Facebook to Sherdog to ESPN to the television. I watched a great basketball team outlast a great basketball player in the NCAA tournament – Blake Griffin is a beast – and LMJ rocked her first ponytail. These were the exciting portions of my day. We’ve put LMJ’s hair in a ponytail before but she’s never left it alone before this afternoon. I didn’t think it was possible, but she’s prettier with her hair pulled back. I think it also suits her down to business personality better. She doesn’t have time to be putting her hair behind her ear. She’s got stuff to do. I think my brain hurts because I spent too much time on the bulletin boards. I shouldn’t expose myself to that much stupidity all at once, no matter how funny it is. North Carolina beat Oklahoma in basketball today and less than an hour later keyboard warriors were threatening each other’s lives. It’s not like there’s even a rivalry between the schools, and the game wasn’t close or ever in doubt. Basically, North Carolina shot well and Oklahoma didn’t. These discussions always – ALWAYS – play exactly along stereotypical lines. The Tar Heels fans started making fun of the Sooners fans about being rednecks and the Sooners fans responded by calling the Tar Heels fans homosexuals, which lead to the Tar Heels saying the Sooners were poor and one Sooner came back with “I’LL F**KING KILL YOUR FAMILY!!!” I thought that was a bit of a leap, especially since OU is a football school and they barely care about basketball. I also thought it was funny that people from North Carolina were calling other people rednecks. Hey kettle, you’re black! Sincerely, pot. Maybe there’s a distinction between a redneck and a hillbilly that’s too subtle for me to discern. It’s not a good day when the most intelligent discourse I engage in is with a stoner explaining the real reason for the success of the UFC. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Small Talk, Big Steps

We had an eventful Saturday. We went to breakfast at Panera and enjoyed it immensely. LMJ was incredibly well behaved. We also had a birthday party on the schedule for the twins of a former coworker of MJ’s. She’s a vice principal, which is weird for a couple of reasons. The first is that I’m older than she is. How am I older than a vice principal? The second is that she’s attractive. I thought that automatically disqualified a person from being a vice principal. The vice principals I had were too ugly for Lord of the Rings. I think it’s a good thing that she’s at a middle school because I honestly think she would have a problem at a high school. She’s not Halle Berry but she warrants a second look in passing. I remember a PE teacher who was a former volleyball player. She wasn’t particularly pretty, but she was tall and slender with long legs and wore shorts everyday and we were sixteen year old boys. She had a real needle to thread when dealing with us. This is neither here nor there. LMJ got a chance to go on her first sugar bender. It was an ice cream and cupcake party. She took it in moderation though. Her favorite part was the toy kitchen in the little girl’s room. It had a sink, an oven, and a microwave. We took her to the party so she could interact with other children and we could interact with other parents. MJ talked shop – SURPRISE. I’m not really interested in people. They tend to annoy me, especially when little boys between the ages of four and ten are running around near my baby girl. They’re destructive little monsters with no reverence for LMJ’s greatness. That attitude isn’t good for anyone, which is why we went to the party. I talked to the birthday children’s dad. He’s a bigger meathead than I am. He’s a personal trainer, so we talked about bodybuilding and getting older. LMJ is a trooper and had the best time at the party. She goes about her business, and isn’t intimidated by bigger kids, which makes me happy to no end. I would much rather teach her not to be a bully than to stand up to one. After the ice cream and the frosting on a cupcake we came home and the little girl took a nap. Mama had some corn chips. I had some beer. We’ll call this a good day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Struggled To Get It Started, Struggled To Get It Stopped

I had a rather uneventful day with my baby girl. She has a cold so we took it easy today. I dressed her funny because I really don’t have any idea about what goes together and what doesn’t – as far as clothes are concerned. I know beer goes with anything, from sliders to asparagus marmalade. We played and read a lot today. When she took her nap she couldn’t breathe, so she didn’t sleep very well or very long. She didn’t wake up grumpy though. I think she doesn’t like being asleep because she’s afraid she’s going to miss something, so she got an extra hour of not missing stuff this afternoon.

The Catholics are freaking out about Angels & Demons coming out, which is just dumb. It’s an awful book, and in the history of cinema there has never been a good movie made from a bad book. I’m thinking about being outraged at their outrage. Do they really think I’m dumb enough to let a movie directed by Opie Taylor color my attitude about a 2,000 year old cult religion? You’ve spent nearly that whole time being secretive, and now you’re pissed because somebody took liberties with the truth as they filled in the blanks. Or did they?

I had a couple of heavy metal moments today. The first one was when I found a video mash up on YouTube of every time Slayer says hell, Satan or any variation on a record, and none of them were repeated so if hell is in a chorus it only gets counted once. They did the same thing with Metallica and death and dying. I thought they were pretty funny. Both bands have been around since the early ‘80’s so the videos went on a little bit. These guys might want to look into getting some counseling. The other metal moment was, seemingly out of the blue, Grammy asked me if I knew who Iron Maiden was. I was stunned. My brain didn’t know which way to go. Has she always been a secret metal fan, or is she just now dipping her toe into the pool. I went with Occam’s razor and kept everything simple and just said “Yeah?” This was the right choice because she went on to explain that her hairdresser’s husband is going to see them in Fort Lauderdale, and she told Grammy to ask me about them. The world is still okay.

I’ve had to move the Irish up in my beer crafting power rankings. I had them at number 4 behind Holland, Germany, and Canada, but they bumped the Canucks down a spot, claiming number 3. I was turned on to Smithwick’s Ale recently - pronounced Smiddicks. I’m not a big Ale guy. I think it tends to be too sweet, but this is a top 5 beer period. It was originally made by Franciscan monks in some abbey. If they’re going to make beer this good, hell, let the Catholics have Opus Dei and the Knights Templar and any shadow society they want. Hail Mary, full of grace.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ohhhhh, It Aint My Fault - Silkk Da Shocker

I had already posted yesterday when I read Jake DeSantis’s resignation in the New York Times. I ran through a gamut of emotions, from anger to contempt to disbelief and I came to the realization that these guys really do live in a completely different world. What a total disconnect. He had to have known about the workers all over the country taking pay cuts, and the people not in his industry, let alone his company, who lost their jobs because of his colleagues. He’s sad because he was asked to give back a bonus. He figures that since his department wasn’t directly associated with the department that drove the company into the ground he is entitled to his bonus, even though I’m sure he’s benefited in years past from artificially propped up A.I.G. stock prices created by the department he had nothing to do with. He sounds like a spoiled child, “I know I was standing there when Billy burned the house down, but why does that mean I don’t get a new bike? You promised!” I wish he could take a step back from himself and think about how he would react if one of his kids acted like he’s acting. He still had a job thanks to the US government. A job that was funded by the American taxpayer. You’re on a lifeboat jackass, and you’re complaining about the accommodations. I know a few guys like this. Guys so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they really don’t know that there are other people, and that these people aren’t interested in what these guys think they’re owed. It’s not really callous disregard. I honestly believe it’s ignorance. I doubt DeSantis talks to ten people a year about something other than finance. He’s Marie Antoinette. We all know what happened to her, and while I don’t think DeSantis should be summarily beheaded, I do think some violence is in order. Here’s my proposition: any and every A.I.G. employee will have an opportunity to earn his or her bonus, and so will veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Mr. DeSantis can best Sgt. College Is Going To Be Fun With 700+ Grand After Taxes in single combat then he can keep his bonus. If not, he can tap out, and go about his business. Sometimes, in life, we have to fight for what we believe is ours. How bad do you want your bonus, Jake?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There Weren't Even Any Hot Chicks To Impress.

I was not looking forward to today. I’d found ways to put off getting reacquainted with deadlifts for almost two weeks, and I ran out of excuses this morning. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, then you know that I’m not very smart when it comes to lifting weights. I did nothing at the gym this morning to change that. My thinking is why should I ease back into a weight routine since I’m going to be sore for the next few days no matter what I do. I may as well push it as hard as I can. That’s what I did this morning. Heavy deadlifts are the key to everything when it comes to lifting. They work every muscle on the back of the body from where the shoulders go into the neck down to the knees, and since the entire body is working the poundage can get pretty high. Fortunately, I have some basic safeguards pre programmed into my tiny little brain. The first and foremost is that when tequila becomes a good idea it’s time to stop drinking. I’m sure that this rule has not only saved my life, but also kept me out of jail. The second rule is that there is no reason to pack more than 405 lbs. on the bar, ever. My back was rested because I haven’t blasted it in a month, and thanks to my nap yesterday I was full of energy. That’s the perfect storm for me to do stupid stuff, but I’m happy to say that I remembered rule number two. Heavy deadlifts push all the blood in the body into places it doesn’t want to go, and if they’re done correctly there’s an almost out of body experience when I’m finished. I wasn’t getting that this morning even though I’d reached the magic weight limit. I started to rationalize that it’s not that much weight, that the world record is almost two and a half times as much, that it’s just an arbitrary number I’d selected, and I should pack another fifty lbs. on. If I hadn’t had to walk all the way across the gym to get a weight belt, I’d probably be in the hospital right now, but since I did it gave my brain a chance to remember that there’s no reason to over do it. I’m not in a powerlifting competition. I’m just a knucklehead trying to stay in shape. I think that’s true growth. Either that or my testosterone levels are dropping and I’m becoming a woman.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I was all set to go to the gym today, but then I decided to take a nap. If I don’t get to the Y first thing in the morning, then it’s doubtful I’ll make it at all. Today, I got home, ate lunch, got my workout clothes together, saw LMJ sleeping, and joined her. It was a conscious, deliberate choice. I didn’t even try to lie to myself by pretending that I’d just lie down for fifteen minutes. The windows were open. The air was sticky sweet with the smell of spring, and I said “Screw it. I’m taking a nap”. It was the right choice. There is little better in this world than an unexpected nap. I’ve been really off my bio-schedule since the time change, and this was a rare occasion to catch up a little bit. Plus it had the feel of playing hooky (is that term archaic?), which made it even better. It was a great nap. I didn’t just doze off. I fell deep into sleep. The only bad part was Senior Drill Instructor LMJ waking me up by poking me in the eye and saying “Up!” I don’t know if there have been any formal academic studies done, but in my informal independent study I’ve found that toddlers who haven’t quite reached their second birthday have a severe lack of patience and consideration for other points of view. Sometimes on the weekend her mother will ask her if Daddy wanted her to wake him up and the answer from LMJ is always the same, “Yeah!” Anyway, after I put my eye back in the socket and made sure I still had depth perception, we got up. I was refreshed and ready for the rest of the day, which is probably going to stretch close to midnight, and the vicious circle will start over tomorrow morning at 5am. It was totally worth it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Strange People at The Gym

I forced myself to go to the gym this morning. Man am I out of weights shape. However, I was much better than last week, even though I couldn’t breathe because my lungs were full of pollen. We had ice cream over the weekend but I’m still dropping lbs. I don’t know what the medical community is talking about. Bulimia works just fine. It’s not good for my breath, but I’m not a close talker anyway so it doesn’t matter. My lifting routine went without incident, which is good. There was an incident of stupidity that I would have found offensive if it had happened to me. The treadmill next to mine was broken. There were no lights flashing PRECOR and none of the buttons were responsive. These are two pretty big hints the thing is on the fritz. A little kid tried it first and discovered that it was broken. He moved on to something else without having an aneurysm burst. About two minutes later a woman got on the broken machine and another woman on the treadmill next to the broken one was nice enough to let the first woman know that it was busted. The first woman acted like she was being lied to. She pressed every button on the machine at least twice. Cops have more faith in the answers drunk teenagers give them at 3 a.m. on Friday night.

Cop: How many beers have you had?
Teen: Two (more constant than the law of gravity)
Cop: Can you show me some ID?
Teen: I didn’t drive. I must have left it at home
Cop: Okay, how old are you?
Teen: Twenty-one (more constant than the first answer)

I don’t know if the first woman thought the second woman was stupid or a compulsive liar, but if I had offered the help – which I didn’t because I was going 5.5 mph on an 8 degree incline, and I was trying not to die – I would have asked which opinion the first woman held. Did she think the second woman was trying to save the treadmill for a friend and unplugged it? She examined this thing for a good minute before she moved to the empty treadmill on the other side of the second woman with flashing lights and a television that was on. If this woman is married I feel for her husband. The other event that struck me was the guy I followed through the locker room and out of the gym changed shirts in the parking lot. The Y has a huge locker room, and it was raining today. He carried his bag through the locker room, out the door into the rain, opened it, took off his shirt, and put on a new one - in the rain. Did he forget to change inside, or was he displaying his sculpted (read skinny) physique to the zeros of woman outside? Maybe the pollen is affecting everyone differently.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm Still Bored

I’m thinking about buying a new amplifier for my guitar, but as with all things technical, I’m stuck between wanting something really cool and paying for it. On the one hand all I need is a small practice amp. The new ones have a bunch of bells and whistles, and the best part about the practice amp is that the top of the line is only a couple hundred dollars. On the other hand there’s METAL, and if I’m going to bang out some serious heavy metal, I’m going to need a big amp – a stack. I can’t conjure up the damned without a lot of volume. I believe that if your nose isn’t bleeding then the music isn’t loud enough. The downside is that I could be out a couple grand before I get the specially made strings so I can tune down to the low C. We won’t get into the confrontations with the neighbors, the police, or my wife, and it’s not like I’m Yngwie Malmsteen – Yngwie J. Malmsteen. I think it’s funny that he feels he needs his middle initial out there. I guess he doesn’t want to get confused with the other Yngwies. I also think it’s funny that he hasn’t worn pants made out of cloth since 1983.

What happens if you give an elephant LSD? A couple of a-holes answered this question in 1962. They were scientists until they pulled the trigger on the dart gun. There are no stupid questions, but there are stupid experiments and this was one. I’m not a mathematician but I’m going to estimate the chances of something good happening when you shoot up an elephant with a bunch of acid at zero. Did these guys think they’d get hippie elephants? A bull elephant trippin’ balls, what could possibly go wrong? It ran around for a bit and then died. The a-holes published their findings, concluding that elephants are extremely sensitive to LSD. Of course the public was not pleased, and the a-holes used the “How were we supposed to know?” defense. They had both taken the drug and neither of them had died. Ever the optimist, one of the a-holes figured that if a large heard of elephants needed to be destroyed quickly, at least they found out LSD was an option. So the experiment wasn’t a total loss.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

When Does The Next Harry Potter Come Out?

I’m in an entertainment funk. Last night the only television show I watch, Battlestar Galactica, had its finale, and I finished the book I was reading, Hunger Games, this morning. I’m not into any other TV because it’s all crap. It’s hard to find Reaper, and every other show on right now has jumped the shark. I can’t bring myself to watch any of the new episodes of the CBS crime dramas, new cast members or not. I actually prefer watching reruns on ION and A&E. I would read but it’s hard for me to get into a book. A fiction writer has about forty pages to pique my interest before I give up. I’m not going to force myself through a book just because other people like reading more than I do. I’ve tried to read Bradbury, Tolkien, and Vonnegut. I’ve tried reading the classics. They’re all boring. Give me some poorly written Dan Brown any day. I’m not suggesting that Dan Brown is a good writer, but at least he gets on with it. My favorite writer, Carl Hiaasen wrote a children’s book this year, and I just don’t get into them the same way I do his stuff written for adults. Reality TV has stabbed formally scripted TV in the liver, and now we’re watching scripted TV die a slow, painful, inevitable death. There is absolutely no reason to produce a well written television program. It’s cheaper and quicker to get people to sell their dignity on camera. With Battlestar Galactica retiring, the only show I’d cross the street to watch is The Closer, and they’re always on hiatus. I’m stuck reading non-fiction. I’m reading about the human Diasporas out of prehistoric Africa. I’m also reading about medieval Christianity – what a bunch of freaks. I’m bored out of my mind. Maybe I’ll feel better when I can get back to the gym regularly. This all might be from a lack of endorphins.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Am NOT One of 10,000

I’m continuing from yesterday, inspired by JSG’s comment. (This is a warning: I lost complete control of this post about a hundred words in) Where are the trolls on Facebook? For every “I bet we can find 10,000 people to fight cancer” where is the corresponding “I bet we can find 10,000 people who deny the Holocaust”? I have friends all over the political spectrum, and some of the ones that are fans of Sarah Palin, I’m sure at least know people who would be one of that 10,000. I have a friend who sent a picture of his junk to another friend via Facebook chat, and in the grand scheme of things he’s not that weird. He just lacks tact and respect. What about people that are into necrobestiality? There’s a group on Facebook called “Say Yes to 70A. It’s an advocacy group based in London with 107 members that’s dedicated to stopping necrobestiality in the United Kingdom. If it’s a big enough problem to have 107 people on Facebook willing to join a group to stop it, then it’s a big enough problem for members of this alternative lifestyle to be on Facebook, but I only find “Say Yes to 70A” when I search necrobestiality. I understand that it’s illegal, at least in the United States, but there are countless marijuana groups on Facebook and that’s illegal. But marijuana is socially neutral at worst. George H.W. Bush will be the last president that doesn’t admit puffing ganja. Obama’s probably high right now. Necrobestiality is not considered cool, but I’m sure that people into interspecies erotica are a proud subset of the human family – they’re queer and they’re here – but they’re not here, at least not on Facebook. Well, I don’t buy the math. Facebook is always bragging about its 175 million active members. Some of them are into necrobestiality. Even if it’s just to prove the law of large numbers; I bet we can find 10,000 people who love necrobestiality.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No Lifty, No Nicey

My lovely assistant, MJ, helped me figure out why Facebook has been annoying me so much since the change. It’s that the real time updates cause a lack of variety so I’m overdosing on the twitterers.

Twitterer: “Taking the fam to 5 Guys Burgers and Fries”.
Commenter 1: Oh my God!!! I love that place so much!!
Commenter 2: Soooooo jealous.

I delete this comment before posting it, although it’s getting closer and closer. As a forward thinker, I have come to the conclusion that a drastic overreaction isn’t a disincentive to drastic overreactions, but fighting fire with fire is getting more and more tempting. What’s so exciting about going to a burger stand? How the f**k is that news? If you’re sooooo jealous of the burger this guy is going to get then go get one yourself. It’s a national chain. There are twelve of them in metro Jax. It’s physically impossible for you to be more than ten minutes away from at least one of them. What’s going to happen if he takes his girls someplace that’s actually special, like the Russian Tea Room or Fuddruckers? Are his commenters going to need a cigarette after reading the update? This may push me off Facebook. I can’t take the dumbsh*t. I have a friend that gives stupid fake updates, but at least they’re funny. The overload of stupidity is making me question exactly how these people live. How boring must someone’s day be when someone else taking his daughters to get a fast food burger – not even ice cream – causes a spell of the vapors? And remember, I sell life insurance door-to-door and no one in the history of the world has loved burgers more than me. I’m going to try to settle down now, so we won’t be getting into people pushing political agendas via Facebook update.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just Spitballin'

I’ve got an idea for a screenplay, and I’m going to write it down here before I forget it. Just so everyone knows, I didn’t make it to the gym today and I’ve had a lot of caffeine. I got part of this idea from a local attorney, Kenny Leigh (pronounced Lay). He runs commercials on the big sports talk radio station in Jacksonville. He only handles family law and he only accepts male clients. I also got part of this idea from the Jules and Vincent scenes in Pulp Fiction. Hitmen have to talk about something, and they have interests and hopes and dreams just like everyone else. I also like Tarantino’s ultra-violence. But I plan to turn it upside down. My story is about two tiny chick hitwomen – Jada Pinkett, Jodie Foster, Haden Panetierre, Kristen Bell, etc. If you stand one of these chicks on the other’s shoulders, we’re not getting ten feet in the air. They’re hired assassins, or more precisely, they’re assassins on retainer. They work for a high powered woman attorney, who only handles family law and only has female clients. Sometimes she has to play hardball, and make her clients widows instead of divorcees, depending on how the numbers come out. The story is going to be centered on the exploits of these two female killers doing what they do best. I don’t have names for them yet, but I do know they use shotguns. I haven’t decided on whether or not the head honcha will be small or not. Right now I see Glen Close, even though she always plays that role. Meryl Streep is overkill. Julia Roberts might work. I want the killers small because their victims are going to be large – Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, Will Smith, Liam Neeson – and the juxtaposition will create an interesting visual. There won’t be any real depth to the characters. It’s like Law & Order; you don’t need a back story. It’s just a day in the life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If I Get To The Gym, I Write About Exercise. If Not...Whatever

I had a bit of a strange St. Paddy’s day. It didn’t include any Jameson’s, which I’m pretty sure is a sin. I was too busy to work out, which is sad. I’m thinking about moving to Iowa so I can vote for Chuck Grassley. And I read about the last Chinese eunuch. I don’t know anything about whiskey, so I don’t know if Jameson’s Irish whiskey is good or rot gut or somewhere in between. I do know that it’s Catholic, and it’s the drink of choice for Jimmy McNulty and Jenna Jameson, so it’s good enough for me.

Chuck Grassley is a Republican congressman from Iowa who thinks the executives from AIG that used bailout money to pay themselves bonuses should do the Japanese thing and publicly apologize and either resign or commit ritual suicide. I think this is a brilliant idea. I’ve had this idea, myself. The reason none of these executives seem to understand why everyone is outraged at their behavior is because they have no blood in the game. It’s all numbers, hot tubs, and Norwegian hookers to them. Sometimes, as a last resort, an ass whoopin’ is the only option. In this case the carrot hasn’t worked; it’s time to try the stick.

A biography of the last Chinese eunuch has been translated into English. Dude(?) died in 1996 at the age of 91. He was castrated as a poor boy with no anesthetic by his father in the hope of gaining political power by serving the emperor, and only males of the royal family were allowed to have their genitals at court. Castration was seen as a quick, if agonizing, path up the social ladder. While he was unconscious, recovering from being maimed, the emperor abdicated the throne. At the time, China was a Japanese colony in all but name. Oh yeah, they stuck a goose quill in his urethra so it wouldn’t close up while he healed. So, all of this was done for nothing. Then during a political upheaval in the sixties his family threw away his pickled “treasure” because any relics from the old world were seen as subversive, so this guy could no longer be “made whole” in the afterlife. I can’t wait for the movie.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Man's Game

This was day one of Weights: Da Return. I haven’t lifted in three weeks because I was completely focusing on my running. I lost about twelve pounds over those three weeks – seven of it last week. And I ran a 15k on Saturday. I knew I was in for a long day as soon as I started to warm up. I thought, “Oh man, this feels heavier than it should.” My muscles thought we were done with weights for good, and I know that they’re going to make me pay dearly over the next week as I get back into the flow. I tried my normal routine, and my body said no. I tried lifting lighter weight with more reps, and my body said no. The highlight of my weight session this morning is that I didn’t hurt myself – a minor miracle – and I didn’t get trapped underneath anything and need one of the trainers to save me, even though today would have been a good day for that to happen. The Yates Center seems to be skewing its training staff more towards the eye candy variety. Maybe it’s the economy and higher end trainers are having to move down a notch or two on the career ladder. I’ve been going to the YMCA for five years, and there have always been more trainers with guts than there have trainers with washboards, not anymore. There were three trainers on the floor with very little body fat and one was carrying some artificial extra weight in the upper torso region. But that’s not important. What is important is that even though I struggled through the weights portion of my workout, my cardio went great. My legs weren’t sore at all, and I burned a bunch of calories while taking it easy on my knees. I did chest and biceps today. Back is tomorrow, which should be fun. And the nightmare is scheduled for Thursday; legs are on the agenda for the first time in almost a year. We’re going to find out if I still know squat. Pray for me.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coming On, Doing It, Finishing Strong

Yesterday I wrote about the Gate River Run while I was in a lot of pain. Today, thanks to the horse meds, I’m feeling a little bit better, and I’m writing a more upbeat take on the event. I love the running community. I’ve never been around a group of such genuinely positive people. Everyone at a race is happy to be there, even though we all make the same joke about how we would rather be somewhere, anywhere, else. Maybe it’s because misery loves company, and make no mistake running = misery. The guy who came in second of the whole damned race is quoted in today’s Times-Union saying, “I was glad there was fog, so I couldn't see how much [Hart] Bridge there was to go. It doesn't matter how good you feel; it's always going to hurt like that." All 12 thousand plus of us that crossed that Godforsaken monstrosity yesterday felt the exact same way, from the winners to the people struggling to stay ahead of the straggler truck. I know it makes me feel better that people finishing in less than 45 minutes think the bridge is an obstacle and wouldn’t mind it not being there, just like I do. I love that everyone who’s ever run this race has thought the exact same thing as they passed Beach Road Chicken, SH*T! As bad as the Hart Bridge is, crossing the finish line is infinitely better. Sometimes it just takes a little time to pay its cathartic dividends. Not only am I proud of me for finishing, I’m proud of everyone that finished. Professional fighters – world champions - talk about respecting anyone who steps into the ring/cage. That’s how I feel about runners. I think we all feel like that. How else can you explain people that have already finished the race backtracking along the course for no other reason than to encourage the people that haven’t finished yet? JG commented that she thinks I can finish in an hour and fifteen minutes next year (sounds like a wager). If I do, I think I might be one of those people climbing back up the Hart Bridge. To quote Bill Clinton, “I feel your pain.”

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Gate River Run and The Evil Hart Bridge

The Gate River Run was brutal. It was the first time I’ve ever considered not finishing a race. I felt great for the first six and a half miles and then my legs said, “We’re done.” I have no idea what happened, maybe it was the lack of sleep over the past week. Maybe I lost too much weight this week. I dropped seven pounds. I don’t know what it was. I just know that I gassed. I struggled along fine, just in pain, which I can deal with. I slowed my pace down to eleven and a half minutes a mile and stopped at every water station. Then I started up that green summbitch, which I swear goes up a lot more than it comes down. This is where I thought about quitting. I started to feel funny, and I stopped running and started walking. My mind kept telling me to go go go, and if I didn’t have my heart monitor on I probably would have pushed it. Fortunately, I did have it on and knew that my heart rate should be under 175 since I was walking. My hamstrings were killing me going up that damned bridge. I just wanted it to be over so I would run for 100 steps. It had to have taken me ten minutes to get to the top of that thing. Coming down was easy. I basically fell down the bridge. This was one of my least favorite races. I felt like crap. It’s too long for me to run alone. I was bored. I should have worn my iPod or stayed with EG and JG. If this had been a 10k instead of a 15k it would have been one of my favorites. The last three miles were just awful. One positive was the massive amount of Seminole love coming from the spectators. I saw a couple of people I didn’t expect to see, which was cool in the first couple of miles, but I got passed on the Hart Bridge by someone who tapped me on the shoulder and waved at me. I waved back but I have no idea who she was. I finished almost exactly at my goal time, but I wasn’t really able to finish strong. As bad as this race was for me, it was still a positive experience, and I’m looking forward to next years. I ran eighteen minutes faster this year than I did two years ago, so that’s the bench mark for next year – 1:25 – and no I didn’t learn anything.

Friday, March 13, 2009

D Minus 1

I don’t know what my problem is. I tossed and turned all night thinking about the River Run. If I hadn’t run eight miles last weekend, I’d be completely losing my mind. I ran that almost effortlessly, but I’m nervous about tomorrow’s race. My goal is to survive, as in be alive crossing the finish line, as in the ambulance was superfluous. I keep telling myself that there’s no pressure, that as long as I don’t get picked up by the straggler truck I win. When I picked up my race packet yesterday I nearly had a panic attack at the sight of the Hart Bridge. I’ve studied the race course, which I never do, and I’m happy that this year the race ends at the western base of the bridge, even though it means I won’t get to run through the stadium. There is a little bit of added pressure from my wife. She’s going to cheer me on at various points of the race, and when I told her that I was going to try to run faster than an eleven minute pace she started plotting points and times on a map. She was going over it with my mother-in-law, and it felt like the scene in Saving Private Ryan when Tom Hanks and Ted Danson are talking about the path to Berlin. I don’t want to hold her up and make her late for her next rally point, which is silly because I’m the train or the fast moving ground forces or whatever. I’m setting the pace, and even if I’m creeping along at fifteen minutes per mile I’m still an American hero. I’m like Audie Murphy. I deserve a Medal of Honor and a Purple Heart. My calves are a little sore, but you know I'm going to solider on. War is hell, boys. Yes, I think finishing a 15k is roughly the same as storming the beach at Normandy. I’m going to be running over a bridge. They spent a spring day at the beach. Am I wrong?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This Is A Cheery Post or See What Happens When I Can't Fit In A Workout?

I have lunch with a group on alternating Thursdays, and today was a lunch day. I love these days because I get to eat at one of my favorite spots, European Street. I think they’re the best sandwich shops in Jacksonville. I also enjoy hanging out with this group, which consists, mostly, of old white Southern men. The group started with my dad and these men, I think as a vestry committee, almost fifteen years ago. I’m not really sure, but I know it had something to do with church. I know that’s where they met each other. I’ve been part of the group for about ten or twelve years. Members come and go, and the group will get as large as ten, but there are two real mainstays, John and Bill. John is a curmudgeon with a heart of gold who desperately wants to have an open mind. That’s the best way I can describe him. Bill is just a sweet, sweet man. When I first started eating with them Bill was in his mid sixties and John was in his late fifties. Now Bill is in his late seventies and John is in his early seventies. They’re getting old, or more precisely, they’ve gotten old. John is recovering from a heart attack and triple bypass surgery he had about a month ago, and hasn’t been able to join us. Bill had to cancel two weeks ago because of some type of medical issue, and when I saw him today I noticed that his handshake was weak. Their minds are sharp but their bodies are failing them, and it’s freaking me out. My Thursday lunches are going to change. They already have. John has chosen me as his successor. I now organize when everybody gets together. John is a self-made millionaire through hard work and saving, so I understand where he's coming from politically. He’s a conservative cut from the “I’ll take care of me and you take care of you and everything will be fine” cloth, yet he spends three days a week delivering meals on wheels. He’s a Republican who’s disillusioned by the petty cowardice and stupidity of his party, but he’s friends with younger Republicans who aren’t as thoughtful as he is. And I’m finding it hard to invite them to what is becoming my lunch. Bill is a guy who truly just wants to be a good Christian, and has spent his life evolving from his experiences. They’re two true mavericks. They were Southern Republicans before 1980. I hate that John’s and Bill’s funerals aren’t abstractions in my long term thinking anymore. I'm moving out of the phase of life where I think, wow it’s going to be weird when so and so dies, and into the phase where I’m terrified that oh s**t these people are going to be gone soon. Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Hate The Elliptical Machine

I don’t like exercising inside as much as I do outside. I spent an hour on an elliptical machine at the Y today and it sucked – all 360 seconds of it. I was stuck watching Marquette play St. John’s in the Big East basketball tournament. They were making me angry with their horrible play. The score was eleven to four nine minutes into the game. These kids just didn’t have any talent. For the love of God shoot the damn basketball. Both teams were looking to get fouled and go to the free throw line instead of putting the ball in the basket the way Dr. Naismith envisioned. These guys were missing wide open shots that I was able to knock down in high school, and that’s taking into account the added pressure of tournament ball. Today, I’d be bangin’ out jumpers and talking next level trash. I wouldn’t feel the pressure because I wouldn’t care about winning or what the coach wanted. I’d care about getting my shots. Actually, none of that would happen. I just have the exact same delusions of grandeur every aging fat guy that earned a varsity letter at some point has. Normally I would have just changed the channel, but I was stuck on the elliptical machine, and nothing else was worth watching. I got on at 2:05 and tipoff was at 2:07, and since there were so many fouls, the game crawled along at a snails pace. I spent the entire time watching guys go through ridiculous routines at the free throw line just to miss them. I could turn the television off, but then I wouldn’t finish an hour on the machine. If I had to stare at a blank screen while fake skiing, I’d completely lose my mind. Cardiovascularly, it was a piece of cake, but the elliptical hits the muscles in the legs a little bit differently. I was determined to burn a minimum of 720 calories, which was made nearly impossible by the crappy basketball and sliding in place. I enjoy being outside so much more than being on a machine. Running outside is experiencing life. Using a cardio machine is imitating vermin. But the River Run is a few days away, I need to continue losing weight, and my feet and knees needed a break. So the low impact machine was a necessary evil. I also really miss lifting weights, and I’m looking forward to getting back into it next Monday. When I cross the finish line at the bottom of the Hart Bridge, running season is over for all intents and purposes. The next hard race, after the River Run, is the Tour du Pain, and that’s not until July or August.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

I got up this morning ate breakfast and got out for a run before 7:30. It’s a lot easier to run in 55 degree weather than it is in 75 degree weather. Today was just a recovery run from yesterday’s run and Saturday’s run. I ran my 5k route and it was a half hour well spent. The sun was coming up and turned the sky all kinds of purple, pink, and orange, and all of it reflected off the river. It would have been a great postcard. There were even pelicans sitting on the posts from a dock that was torn down about ten years ago. I was pleasantly surprised that there weren’t any smokers on the way out. Normally, there are St. Vincent’s employees, patients, and patient’s families smoking around the bulwark behind the hospital. I guess 7:30 is too early to smoke. I was also surprised that I didn’t pass – or get passed by – any fast runners. I saw a bunch of old couples, a bunch of dog walkers, and some scrubs like me, but no one that’s going to be disappointed if they don’t finish the River Run in less than eighty minutes. When and where do these freaks run? I imagine they run even earlier, but how do they run in the dark? I don’t care if there isn’t a lot of traffic at 5 o’clock in the morning. There are potholes and jagged sidewalks. I ran in the dark once – once (Joe Piscipo). I fell and almost brained myself. I thought about what would happen if I fell while I was running today. It was toward the end of the run, and I wasn’t in any danger. I just wondered if I would have had enough energy left to get my hands down and roll, or would I just resign myself to some reconstructive surgery and eat some crete. My mind was wandering because I didn’t take my iPod with me this morning. I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday’s messed up soundtrack. I may be phasing music out of my running routine. Overall, today did what it was supposed to do. I worked the lactic acid out of my legs, burned some calories, and sold myself, once again, on the benefits of early morning runs. I’m going to the Y tomorrow for an hour on the elliptical, and then nothing on Thursday or Friday. I’m as ready for this thing as I’m going to be.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Everything I Said About Florida Yesterday Was Bulls**t.

The River Run is less than a week away, and drinking too much beer and not getting enough sleep didn’t lend itself to a good session today. It’s a lesson I would think that I had learned by now. I didn’t drink a whole bunch of beer in beer drinking terms, but it was enough to affect how I ran today. Daylight savings time has thrown my internal clock off, so I wound up running at noon. It was 76 degrees during my four miles today, and the sun was beating down, forcing me to sweat more than I’m used to at this time of year. I cursed myself for the last forty-four minutes of my forty-five minute run. Why didn’t I eat right? Why didn’t I get out early this morning? Why did I sign up for this stupid race? I felt a little bit better as I passed runners who were in the same boat that I was in. Daylight savings time really is a bitch. I passed by three runners that had stopped in the middle of nowhere to stretch a calf, catch their breath, or hold on to a tree while trying desperately not to vomit into the St. Johns. I think my biggest mistake was running with my iPod. When I run with my music I unconsciously pace myself by the song that’s playing. I should running behind St. Vincent’s before Dem Franchise Boyz are done. I was almost a quarter mile short today. It really messed with my head. It was like watching a familiar movie with the soundtrack shifted back five minutes, nothing matches up anymore. On the bright side, I’m glad this happened Monday instead of Thursday. I think I sweat out all the beer. I’m definitely going to bed early tonight. I’m eating right, and I have five days to recover.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm Just Lucky To Be Here

We went to the beach today. We didn’t want to get behind on our trips during Florida’s nine months of summer. Today is one of those days when I don’t understand why people live elsewhere. It was about 68 degrees when we got to the beach, and I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible to have better weather. It wasn’t scorching hot but it was warm enough for people to go surfing. We saw our first dolphins of the season, and who doesn’t love dolphins? I’ve lived here for twenty-eight years and it’s still a huge thrill to see wild dolphins going about their business. After getting home from the beach I grilled some burgers and drank some beer. Ama and Granddad came over and basked in the greatness that is LMJ. I wonder if LMJ is going to understand how lucky she is to have three grandparents constantly spoiling her as she grows up. I can’t express how wonderful it is to have family close. March is also basketball season, and today is a banner day. Duke and UNC are playing today at the college level, and the Spurs and Suns are representing the pros. Basketball doesn’t get more exciting - at least until next week when the NCAA tournament starts. We should start a pool. Not only does everyone else have one; nothing says depression and financial desperation like gambling. What could be more fun than putting the fate of whether or not you keep your house on nineteen year old boys and how they play on a given day? Sorry, but nineteen year old Marines are men; nineteen year old college basketball players are boys. It’s science. I truly love the changing seasons, even though we only get one and a half here. I think that probably makes them mores special.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

T Minus 7 Days Until Gametime

I will never get used to how much running sucks while I’m doing it, but how good I feel when I’m done. I ran long today to get ready for the race next Saturday. I ran eight miles, which I hadn’t done since the 2007 River Run. I ran it comfortably for the most part, even running up and down the bridge over the railroad tracks. I kept my time under eleven minutes a mile, so I’m just about where I want to be for next week. I’m optimistic because I ran in the middle of the day, and I was still able to manage my time. I started at 10:30 a.m. and finished at about 11:55 a.m. right as the sun is really starting to heat the day. It was 68 degrees when I left and 76 degrees when I got back. I drank a whole bunch of water right before I left. For all intents and purposes, I put the cup down, grabbed my keys, turned on my watch, headed down stairs, and started running. It’s a miracle I didn’t get a cramp. The bridge over the train tracks was at about 3 ½ miles going out and 4 ½ miles coming back, tap dead center in the middle of my run twice. As I was cursing my stupid planning, I was glad that the Hart Bridge is at the very end of the River Run. It’s a bitch getting up, but once you’ve reached the top, the race is all but over. The best part of the run today was my feet. I love my Air Pegasuses. I’m seriously thinking about buying ten pairs of them, and not having to worry about running shoes for a while. If I can get some kind of bulk rate, it’s already done. My point in all of this is that I couldn’t have managed today’s run much worse, yet I still hit my goals. When I get downtown next Saturday for the River Run I’ll be pre-hydrated, well rested, and the sun won’t be at it’s apex. I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Keep Your Dog on A Leash

I spent the day with my beautiful baby girl. We read books. We played with blocks. We watched some Winnie the Pooh. She helped her daddy pick some horses – gotta pay the rent some how. Okay, we didn’t really go to the race track, but we did go to the neighborhood park. We always find time to go to the park when we hang out. I push her on the swings. I make sure she doesn’t fall when she climbs the sliding board ladder or figure some other way to maim herself. Today we had a different experience, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. After we had done the swing thing and the slide thing LMJ started running around, up and down some hills. We go to the top of a hill and I looked up and saw a dog heading right for us. It was some kind of golden lab mix. I’m not afraid of dogs at all. My time selling newspapers door-to-door taught me that if you’re nice to a dog, a dog will be nice to you 99 times out of 100. I’m deathly afraid of dogs running at my baby girl. I don’t know if it’s to her credit or not, but LMJ stood there like nothing was happening. I got between her and Chloe – that’s the dog – so Chloe wouldn’t barrel into her full speed. Chloe was a sweet dog as she licked my hands when I let her smell them – greeting dogs 101 – and my fear, which quickly turned to anger, moved from Chloe to her a-hole, stoner owner. Dude had a Star Wars Rebel Alliance insignia tattooed on his calf. NEWSFLASH: Dogs are predators, and therefore dangerous. Dogs off leashes in the street are a huge pet peeve of mine, especially when the dog isn’t trained and weighs more than fifty pounds. Chloe’s owner is now chasing her around the park trying to get her back inside his apartment. LMJ is watching the whole incident hoping Chloe comes back so she can pet her. I felt a little bit stuck because even though Douche McGee was apologizing, he wasn’t fixing the problem. He didn’t even have a leash in his hand, and Chloe didn’t have a collar. Normally, I would have lectured him about dogs and leashes and laws and euthanasia. If MJ or CG had been there he would have heard about it, but I was by myself and LMJ’s safety was my primary concern, so I was nice. LMJ’s primary concern was petting a dog. Douche also had a miniature greyhound witout a leash. LMJ was slightly offended that the little rat was afraid of her. I thought it was funny. My problem is that I know screaming at the guy wouldn’t have solved anything, but I don’t think he learned that his dogs need to be on leashes, and I’m unsatisfied with how the situation ended. Chloe went inside when she was done smelling stuff, and Douche just shook his head while apologizing. Why isn’t this going to happen tomorrow and how long will it be until Chloe runs into someone who’s afraid of her or just doesn’t like dogs? Why is it so hard not to be a douchebag?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We Can't Come, Ummm LMJ Has The Mange

Okay, so we went to dinner tonight at the house of a very nice couple. We didn’t like it very much. People are weird. The back story is that we want to redo our house, but we’re all visually retarded. I know that I can’t see how a space is broken down into its component pieces or how those pieces can be replaced, removed, or rearranged. Naturally, my reaction is, I don’t know what I’m looking at. MJ’s and CG’s reaction is, LETS KNOCK DOWN SOME WALLS!!! My reaction is useless and unproductive. Their reaction is dangerous, but could be fun. We met in the middle and talked to the husband of one of MJ’s coworkers, who is an architect. He came over to the house a month or two ago and did his architect thing, and we paid him with coconut cake. I had given them some financial advice about a year ago for roughly the same price. Anyway, they invited us to their house for dinner so we could see some drawings of his ideas. They all rocked. Dinner? not so much. We had some kind of a ham roll that had been in the freezer since Christmas. She told us this point blank. It was good, but I have a meat tooth – basically the same palate as a hyena. The vegetables were very fresh, but the food itself wasn’t the problem. It was the choice of food that was. The coworker was kind of pushy with MJ about having this get together, and then she served us her garbage. It wasn’t malicious. I think it never crossed her mind that feeding guests stuff she pulled from the back of the freezer might be considered bad form. Or serving people she doesn’t know very well out of the ordinary recipes. We all happen to like asparagus, but it’s a bold ingredient. I’m going to write down some words and you can make what you will of them: three month old fruit filled pork roll. We don’t host a lot of stuff because we feel the pressure to make sure our guests enjoy themselves. Hence the Panini grill and deep fat fryer. Melted cheese and things battered and fried are universal. I would never serve my – well Giada’s – asparagus carbonara to people I barely knew and bullied into coming over to my house, even though it’s out of this world delicious. It’s got a red pepper glaze and is served on a bed of fettuccini with a fried egg on top. I also wouldn’t make my guests feel bad about bringing over a homemade apple pie. Yeah, we’re sorry for showing up with what might be, calorie for calorie, the best desert in the world. I’m making it sound like the night was awful, which it wasn’t. It was good company, and overall, everyone enjoyed themselves. But the preceding 450 words is why we don’t go out much.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Good Ole Boy Network At Work

Holy mother of fracking Christ. We’re moving. I cannot in good conscience raise a child in a place where the local newspaper’s website is a troll board and nothing else. There’s an article in today’s Times-Union about a music teacher in Clay county whose job was saved by a populist uprising. Read the comments, read them. I happen to know this music teacher and the sewage in the comment section is mind boggling. Why would people take the time to write this crap? I guess the problem is that I’m closer to this situation than I am to most other situations in the paper. For example, the same level of douchery and retardation is present in the comments on the article about the cop who killed a guy while racing down the road at 98 miles an hour with his bubblegum lights off to, allegedly, catch another guy whose window tint was too dark at 1 o’clock in the morning, while ignoring a non-injury hit and run he had been assigned to. There’s not a single well thought comment on that story but I’m insulated because of an emotional detachment. But with the music teacher I’m stuck in the port-o-potty and it’s noon during August in Jacksonville. I can’t ignore the stench. My favorite comment is about the good ole boy network at work again. Metro Jax has just over a million people. I doubt there are five people who are less a part of the good ole boy network than the music teacher. Hank Azaria’s character in The Bird Cage would have more pull with the good ole boy network than the music teacher (everybody have fun with the puns. I left that meatball spinning out over home plate on purpose). My second favorite comment is about not letting the NAACP know about it. What does that mean? What is the goal of writing that? I know for a certainty and a truth that all of these people, with the exception of the former student, are talking out of their asses. And they’re doing it badly. My personal connection to this story has ruined my amusement of the Old Testament, wrath of God level stupidity of the comments on my local newspaper’s website. It got too real.

Congratulations Music Teacher, even though the only reason you get to keep your job is because you’re probably a member of First Baptist.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thanks For Playing, Better Luck Next Time

January 23, 2009, mark it down as the day Barack Obama got reelected President. He seemingly off-handedly told a group of Republican congressman that, “You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." I don’t think the remark was off-handed. Obama is like Jason Bourne; he doesn’t do random, he doesn’t make mistakes. What’s happened since then would have been considered hokey and ham-fisted if Aaron Sorkin had written it for a West Wing episode. Rush Limbaugh’s favorite person, Rush Limbaugh, has been emboldened, if that’s possible, and has gone on a predictably narcissistic bender. He “energized” the Republican base with a speech to the Conservative Political Action Council where he basically accused any Republican calling for new ideas or helping the Obama administration of treachery. We’re looking at you Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich. Anytime an elected Republican is critical of Limbaugh that Republican has to apologize publicly. Barack Obama picked the new Republican leadership, and it looks a lot like the old Republican leadership, and with a ten word sentence he started, what will inevitably become, a GOP civil war. Limbaugh is going to beat his chest constantly for the next three and a half years, screaming about how the Reagan strategy, which is almost thirty years old, is the only strategy – while never having to produce results on anything. I don’t know if he knows he’s being used or not, but I don’t think it matters. People are screaming “Rush” and he’s drawn like a pill popper to the medicine cabinet moth to the flame. The only option for Limbaugh to stop an Obama rubber-stamped reelection is subtlety and deference, and he doesn’t have that club in his bag. He can’t let Michael Steele, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell – the early favorites for 2012 GOP nominees - be more important than he is. But he also can’t/won’t run for office for a number of reasons. He doesn’t want to work that hard. He doesn’t want to take the massive pay cut. He doesn’t like follow up questions. He’s fat. He’s a recovering drug addict. He has a bad back. He’s deaf. He’s been divorced three times. He barely graduated from high school. And Republicans are jackals. There is no way he could survive a primary against one, let alone multiple, GOP hopefuls with work experience more impressive than “disc jockey”. I like Rush Limbaugh, especially with Democrats controlling everything. He’s smart, funny, and he’s constantly in their faces, which forces them to govern better. But he and the Republican Party are getting worked by possibly the best politician ever. Looking at it from Machiavelli’s Obama’s perspective, if Limbaugh is marginalized then the GOP can become more moderate and his job is easier and he’s guaranteed reelection. If Limbaugh does his peacock thing then the GOP is fractured and Sun Tzu Obama is guaranteed reelection. All the pieces aren’t on the board yet and it’s already checkmate.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Interval Training In The Cold

Oh my goodness does interval training hurt. I am so glad it is out of the way until next Monday, even though I’m thinking about adding another session Friday or Saturday. Hopefully, I can come up with some excuses not to do it. I did 10x400 again on the track, and reps four through ten were nightmares. I thought the cold weather would make it easier. I think it made it harder, or maybe I’m doing it wrong. I run 400 meters in under two minutes and fifteen seconds and then I rest for a minute – rinse and repeat. The first two reps are fun. I’m haulin’ ass. I’m thinking about my stride. I’m pumping my arms. I’m running the turns. I’m not pacing myself at all, which is dumb. I’m running as fast as is comfortable, and I finish the two reps at sub seven minute paces. That’s way too fast, but I’m from the school of “if it’s not hurting then you’re not working”. The third rep is my body figuring out what’s going on and starting to hurt in the last hundred meters. I guess I’m working now. Everything else is me hanging on for dear life. Reps four through ten are torture. I may get fifty yards into them before I want to quit. I don’t pay attention to where I am on the track or how far I have to go before rep four, and the minute break seems like a long time. Reps four and after I know exactly how far I have to go and I start getting antsy if my Garmin doesn’t start beeping to let me know I have less than fifty feet left when I KNOW that I’ve run more than a quarter mile. During the seventh rep I looked at my watch, certain that I had less than a hundred feet to go; I had 351. I almost started crying. Fortunately, interval training pays immediate dividends because if it didn’t I would not be doing it. I think this is my third session and I can run comfortably at a pace thirty seconds faster than when I added them. What’s funny is my perception. I swear my watch is cheating me out of rest time as the workout goes on. There’s no way that was a minute. That was eight seconds at the most!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Return of Ortega River Run: Run Harder

I didn’t write about some of the people in the race yesterday, so I will today. The race had barely started before a kid, who was six at the oldest, decided running wasn’t the thing to do and had a full on Chernobyl meltdown. We weren’t 100 yards past the start line and he was screaming at the top of his lungs about not wanting to run in the race. It was awesome. His mom, to her credit, didn’t take him very seriously. I guess she figured as long as her little monster didn’t stop running he could scream all he wanted. I don’t think it ever occurred to him to stop. Kids are funny. I passed them pretty quickly and never saw them again. About a mile into the race I came upon a family running together – a mom, a dad, and an eight or nine year old girl. The girl felt the same way as the little boy, but her game was a little bit tighter. She was fake wheezing in the most dramatic way she could. You would have thought she was inhaling mustard gas. Dad wasn’t buying it and told her so. Mom told dad not to push her or she’d wind up hating running. Dad said sarcastically, “Too late for that!” On my way around them I heard a group of Ortega housewives gossiping about another Ortega housewife who wasn’t with them. I was surprised. I had no idea that kind of thing went on, talking behind a friend’s/neighbor’s back. The best thing about them was their accent. If you’ve lived in Jacksonville you can hear it, the middle to upper middle class WASP North Florida housewife drawl. It’s not like any other Southern accent. I’ve never heard it in a movie or on television. I think it disappears quickly if the speaker is forced to talk to people not like her, at a job or in another city. If I had run into these women after the three mile marker I would have slowed down. I love good gossip. But this was barely a mile and a half in, so I was still motivated. They were the last interesting runners I encountered, but miles 4 and 5 of the course were sprinkled with nice Ortega people in their front yards cheering and encouraging the runners. Some of them even make banners. They don’t have to do that. For all intents and purposes the only thing the race does is tie up their traffic for a couple of hours. They make lemonade, a few of them literally.