Rabbi Sacks speaks a language that I understand. I plan to read many of his books. I started with The Great Partnership (Five Stars!). Rabbi Sacks inspires me.
Monday, June 22, 2015
Saturday, January 17, 2015
I beat 85% of all the participants and did very well except for the run.
(almost as good as Ironman Arizona April 9, 2005 11:42:47)
Note to self: Don't do another Ironman.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Saturday, April 13, 2013
"I don't think there will be a woman Prime Minister in my lifetime." (BBC, 3/5/73)
"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them." (Thames TV, 2/5/76)
"Pennies don't fall from heaven, they have to be earned here on earth." (Speech at Lord Mayor's Banquet, 11/12/79)
"You know, if you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything, wouldn't you, at any time? And you would achieve nothing!" (Interview for Press Association, 5/3/89)
"The choice facing the nation is between two totally different ways of life. And what a prize we have to fight for: no less than the chance to banish from our land the dark, divisive clouds of Marxist socialism and bring together men and women from all walks of life who share a belief in freedom." (May 1983)
"Throughout my life, I've always believed that life's path is determined by a Force more powerful than fate. I feel the Lord has brought us together for a profound purpose and that I have been richly blessed for having known you." (From eulogy to Reagan, 2004)
"We fought to show that aggression does not pay and that the robber cannot be allowed to get away with his swag. We fought with the support of so many throughout the world... Yet we also fought alone." (7/3/82, on Falkland Islands War)
"It was a lovely morning. We have not had many lovely days. And the sun was just coming through the stained glass windows and falling on some flowers right across the church and it just occurred to me that this was the day I was meant not to see." (10/15/84, following an assassination attempt by IRA)
"It pays to know the enemy - not least because at some time you may have the opportunity to turn him into a friend." ("The Downing Street Years", 9/8/83)
"To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects." (Speech at Monash University, 10/6/81)
"To those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning." (Speech at Conservative Party Conference, 1980)
"I've got a woman's ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it." (BBC, speech in 1975)
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Know and follow John Bogle.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Much has been written about Lance Armstrong that I will not repeat here, but I do want to write a few things.
I have had a picture of Lance Armstrong in my office for maybe eight years (Tour de France 2003 Stage 15 Luz Ardiden). I watched him daily starting at 5:30 A.M.PST during the Tour de France. I watched bicycle racing DVDs for countless hours while exercising on my indoor trainer. I followed Lance's twitter updates during his comeback. I cannot think of any other athlete that has captured my attention and imagination as Lance has. I always rooted hard for Lance.
Over the years I kept abreast of doping allegations but I was never too concerned about the possibility that Lance was a doper; I assumed he was. I assumed that all the top cycling competitors were doping to the extent that the doping controls could not definitively detect; all those that finished on the podium in the Tour de France during the years of Lance's seven victories were all involved in some doping scandal in their careers. Moreover, I figured that since Lance only had one testicle, he had to be getting his testosterone from somewhere. His hematocrit was always very "healthy," but never exceeded 50 percent. Besides all this, Lance passed over 500 drug tests (or did he?). In spite of all the hearsay and allegations I have always been excited by Lance's extreme competitiveness. Floyd Landis even admits, "He was a badass on the bike."
One interesting point about all this is that even though I have long considered Lance to be an under-the-radar doper, I have rooted for him nonetheless. I have enjoyed the hero's tale. And Lance is a hero of sorts. I think that Lance quite possibly would have been the best cyclist of his generation anyway; we'll never know for sure.I am not excusing Lance, just saying that I've enjoyed him regardless, for being an entertaining, fierce competitor. The real shame is that he was allowed to go on for so long. There is something very unjust about the belated justice that is being meted out to Lance now.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing for me is to watch the familiar patterns of human behavior in the attacks, denials, and defenses.
And as usual the real heroes are unsung.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Rene Descartes said, "I think, therefore, I am." This statement was the axiomatic starting point upon which Descartes wanted to rethink all of philosophy. But according to Blackmore's collection of great minds, even Descartes' philosophical axiom is false. What?
Finally the issue of free will has become interesting to me. (I will address consciousness in a separate post.)
My childhood training on this subject included the Book of Mormon verse that God "created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are,"both things to act and things to be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:14).
So my bias is toward a belief in free will. But a belief in free will is so natural and pervasive that even Descartes considered it to be the unassailable bedrock of his philosophy. Everybody naturally believes in free will.
The strongest argument against free will is called determinism which basically says that all effects have causes, and all behaviors and choices are caused by events outside the control of individuals. For example a person cannot choose not to yawn, sneeze, or have a bowel movement, etc. (I admit that I am oversimplifying here.) The problem with denying that free will exists, as is so commonly done in the scientific community, is that it follows that no one can be held responsible for his or her actions since they have no free will.
So I believe in free will for practical reasons, first of all.
In recent years the scientific vogue has been toward a reductionist emphasis that causes come from the bottom (subatomic particles) and work their way up through atoms, molecules, cells, organisms, and eventually to human beings who are controlled by the underlying forces.
I am going to be short and unscientific here: I believe that some forces come from below but I also believe that the emergent consciousness of human beings can, within many constraints, make choices that have effects that work their way back down the chain. So there is both upward causation and downward causation.
There is much here that judicial systems need to ponder but as far as I'm concerned, people have the power and agency to make choices. And the consequences of those choices have very real effects in the undetermined future.
So this boring topic of free will is important because the denial of free will leads to a denial of responsibility, and the belief in a deterministic universe may lead to feelings of helplessness and the futility of trying to build a better world.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
We don't own R rated movies, thanks to Pam. And I am happy about that. Nowadays most kids have easy access to R rated movies, even porn. I can't see how this is a good thing.
This list is hopelessly incomplete but I'll leave it as is.
2008 Iron Man
2001 A Knight's Tale
2008 Fool's Gold
2004 The Bourne Supremacy
2004 Napolean Dynamite
2003 The Rundown
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2002 The Bourne Identity
2001 Rat Race
2008 Fool's Gold
2000 Shanghai Noon
1999 The Mummy
1993 Jurassic Park
1993 Groundhog Day
2001 "Crocodile" Dundee in Los Angeles
1992 Wayne's World
1990 Back to the Future Part III
1989 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
1989 Back to the Future Part II
1988 The Great Outdoors
1988 Rambo III R
1988 Die Hard
1988 "Crocodile" Dundee
1987 Planes, Trains, and Automobiles R
1986 Three Amigos!
1986 "Crocodile" Dundee
1985 Back to the Future
1985 Rambo: First Blood Part II R
1985 Back to the Future
1984 Romancing the Stone
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
1982 Rocky III
1982 First Blood R
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark
1980 Seems Like Old Times
1979 Rocky II
1976 Pumping Iron
1973 Tom Sawyer
1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
1971 Fiddler on the Roof
1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks
1969 The Computer that Wore Tennis Shoes
1968 The Love Bug
1967 The Jungle Book
1967 The Happiest Millionaire
1965 The Sound of Music
1965 The Greatest Story Ever Told
1964 Mary Poppins
1964 A Hard Day's Night
1963 Son of Flubber
1962 In Search of Castaways
1960 Swiss Family Robinson
1959 Ben Hur
1956 The Ten Commandments
1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
1951 Alice in Wonderland
1939 The Wizard of Oz
2006 Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
2005 Van Morrison Magic Time
2000 Elliott Smith Figure 8
1999 Chris Cornell Euphoria Morning
1998 Jewel Spirit
1995 Tracy Chapman New Beginnings
1995 Queen Made in Heaven
1995 Jewel Pieces of You
1994 The Cult Ceremony
1994 Live Throwing Copper
1993 Counting Crows August and Everything After
1990 Jeff Lynne Armchair Theatre
1993 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged
1992 REM Automatic for the People
1992 10,000 Maniacs Our Time in Eden
1991 Queen Innuendo
1991 Ozzy Osbourne No More Tears
1991 Crowded House Woodface
1989 Tracy Chapman Crossroads
1989 Queen The Miracle
1989 Paul McCartney Flowers in the Dirt
1989 Lenny Kravitz Let Love Rule
1988 Tracy Chapman
1988 Freddie Mercury Barcelona (with Montserrat Caballé)
1988 Crowded House Temple of Low Men
1987 Def Leppard Hysteria
1987 10,000 Maniacs In My Tribe
1986 Queen A Kind of Magic
1986 Crowded House
1985 Freddie Mercury Mr. Bad Guy
1985 Les Miserables London Cast
1985 Big River (musical)
1984 Roger Waters The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
1984 REO Speedwagon Wheels Are Turnin
1984 Queen The Works
1983 Elton John Too Low for Zero
1983 Def Leppard Pyromania
1982 Queen Hot Space
1981 Rush Moving Pictures
1981 Ozzy Osbourne Diary of a Madman
1981 Elvis Costello and The Attractions Trust
1981 Electric Light Orchestra Time
1980 Queen The Game
1980 Elvis Costello and The Attractions Get Happy!!
1979 Queen Live Killers
1979 Pink Floyd The Wall
1979 Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door
1979 Fleetwood Mac Tusk
1979 Elvis Costello and The Attractions Armed Forces
1978 Queen Jazz
1978 Paul McCartney & Wings London Town
1978 Emerson Lake & Palmer Love Beach
1978 Elvis Costello and The Attractions This Year’s Model
1977 Julio Iglesias A Mis 33 Anos
1977 Roberto Carlos Amigo
1977 Pink Floyd Animals
1977 Queen News of the World
1977 Pink Floyd Animals
1977 Fleetwood Mac Rumours
1977 Emerson Lake & Palmer Works Volume 1
1977 Elvis Costello My Aim Is True
1977 Electric Light Orchestra Out of the Blue
1977 Billy Joel The Stranger
1976 Rush 2112
1976 Queen A Day at the Races
1976 Paul McCartney & Wings Wings over America
1976 Electric Light Orchestra A New World Record
1975 Triumvirat Spartacus (1975)
1975 Queen A Night at the Opera
1975 Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here
1975 Paul McCartney & Wings Venus and Mars
1975 Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti
1975 Jethro Tull Minstrel in the Gallery
1975 Fleetwood Mac
1975 Elton John Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
1975 Electric Light Orchestra Face the Music
1975 Aerosmith Toys in the Attic
1974 Triumvirat Illusions on a Double Dimple
1974 Queen Sheer Heart Attack
1974 Queen II
1974 Elton John Caribou
1973 Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon
1973 Paul McCartney & Wings Red Rose Speedway
1973 Paul McCartney & Wings Band on the Run
1973 Emerson Lake & Palmer Brain Salad Surgery
1973 Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
1973 Elton John Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player
1973 David Bowie Aladdin Sane
1972 Emerson Lake & Palmer Trilogy
1972 Elton John Honky Château
1972 David Bowie Ziggy Stardust
1971 Led Zeppelin IV
1971 John Lennon Plastic Ono Band
1971 John Lennon Imagine
1971 Emerson Lake & Palmer Tarkus
1971 Elton John Madman Across the Water
1970 Beatles Let It Be
1969 Beatles Abbey Road1968 Beatles The Beatles White Album
1967 Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
1967 Beatles Magical Mystery Tour
1966 Beatles Revolver
1965 Beatles Rubber Soul
1965 Beatles Help!
1964 Beatles A Hard Day's Night
Monday, July 2, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I had been training for the 2012 Tour de Tucson but was having difficulty finding the motivation to put in the necessary miles. Then two weeks before the event I learned that my friend whom I was planning to meet in Tucson had pulled out of the event. I was discouraged and relieved at the same time. That same day I ordered online a Concept2E rowing machine (ergometer).
The purchase of this erg was less impulsive than it sounds, as I had been talking about it for several years but was waiting for my enthusiasm for cycling to die down. (There is some literal truth to this as my good cycling friend Fred Fischer actually did die unexpectedly). Furthermore, as I approached my 50th birthday, I wanted to do something new.
My erg arrived on November 7, 2011. Erik, Grant, and I set it up and did what comes naturally; we all attempted a 500m sprint and recorded the results. My initial goals were to achieve a 2k in under 7 minutes and achieve the 90th percentile in my age group. Well, since it only took me 15 days to go under 7 minutes, I started to make some more ambitious goals.
I learned that in the Southwest USA there are two main indoor rowing competitions, the San Diego Indoor Classic (Jan 28, 2012), and the Long Beach Indoor Sprints (Feb 4, 2012). At first I wanted to attend those events as a spectator but then I decided that I should compete and use the ambiance to achieve a personal best.
I fanatically read the Concept2 forums to learn all I could about training and racing strategies--especially drag factors was a big concern of mine. I knew that my cardiovascular system was in peak condition (almost) from cycling, and my legs were also strong, but my back and arms were a little atrophied from all the cycling. Since I naturally have a strong back, and since there have been times in my life that I have worked my back hard with weights and yard work, I had a pretty good idea about how long it would take to build my upper-body strength.
My training strategy was fairly simple. I tried to spend as much time at race pace as possible without over training (short intervals). That means my total volume was low but my quality was high. I rowed five or six days a week, two speed days per week and one or two tempo days per week. I allowed my body weight to increase to 208. It was really enjoyable not to have to keep my weight down as I did in cycling events. In rowing my extra weight would not be the handicap it was in cycling, although extra fat is still a handicap.
On Feb 4th I drove myself to San Diego and couldn't find the event or a parking space. So after a bit of panic I finally parked a mile away at Mission Beach and hiked to the competition. I was greeted by a happy woman at the registration table but all I could say was, "I didn't know there would be no parking; I didn't train for that." She happily said, "Well, now you know." I tried to muster a little happiness and wistfully said without making eye contact, "Maybe I'm taking this competition too seriously."
I walked around and sized up the event and saw Steve Krum, age group world champion for the last two years, who unfortunately was in my race. So I had no illusions about winning on this day. I simply had my own target pace and was attempting to achieve a new personal best.
When it was time to stage, I was in lane one, David Frost (President of the San Diego Rowing Club and past winner) lined up next to me in lane two. Steve Krum was in lane three. Two of the race officials approached Frost and Krum and said that they would be putting their foot on the back of their machines to prevent their machines from hopping during the first few violent pulls (legal assistance). Immediately I turned to the officials and asked, "Is this a service that you provide everyone?" The race officials looked at each other quizzically and one said, "We can." In retrospect I wish I had said nothing but I was feeling edgy and competitive, about to have a self-inflicted near death experience and wanting every microsecond.
"Sit Ready." "Attention." Row!" And we were off. I raced without my glasses and could not read the bottom half of my screen to know what place I was in. I didn't care because I was doing my own thing. I had targeted a pace of 1:39 per 500m. I did not want to do what is called a "fly and die" which is when beginners go out too fast at first and then can barely finish. My race strategy was even splits, start to finish, which I achieved. I finished in 6:36.8 drag factor 135, second place to Krum and third for the entire event. I was happy with that. Afterward, Frost and I shook hands and he said, "See you on the water," which to me suggested that he was a little frustrated about losing to two ergers who had never rowed on the water. Ha.
Afterward there were a few people who were interested to know who I was. One of the race officials said that while I was rowing, they were trying to figure out who I was (and probably if I was going to fly and die). I must have looked a little funny because my stroke rate per minute was probably the highest of the day, which means that I was relying on cardiovascular fitness more than strength to achieve my results.
It seems that I am a small rower when compared to others at my speed. In rowing I have to compete against Goliaths, many of whom I can slay but there are some that I can never slay--physically impossible.
The next week in Long Beach I improved my time to 6:34.5 drag factor 140. The Long Beach event seemed bigger and had some more very fast times. I saw Krum again, and also Mike Caviston who was another age group world champion and author of the famous Wolverine Plan for rowing training. But the highlight was another guy, Jack Nunn, who was the best rower of the day. I talked to him a bit after his race and he told me that he was using a drag factor of 140 with a stroke rate of 31. I concluded then that if such a musclar guy could use a drag of 140 then I surely do not need to go any higher, if that, but I will experiment.
I hung around until the end of the event and then purchased one of the almost-new machines to bring back home to my cycling buddy, Brian McNeece and his wife Angie, which I set up in their house and gave them a quick introduction. I hope they become converts and will want to compete next year.
I still haven't decided how far I want to take this rowing thing. For now I am going to focus on yardworkouts.
Check out this clip of Cracknell and Pinsent in one of the all time great match ups.
Meters & Time Date Pace & Comments 2500 2/4/2012 warm up 2000 6:34.5 2/4/2012 1:38.6 Long Beach Indoor Sprints PB Second Place (age group) 1000 2/3/2012 1:57.3(26)d140 1013 2/3/2012 1:54.4(28)d140 1005 2/1/2012 1:55.8(26)d140 500 2/1/2012 1:41.8(33)d140 200 2/1/2012 1:33.0(45)d140 1008 2/1/2012 2:11.7(23)d140 200 2/1/2012 1:36.2(45)d140 1000 2/1/2012 1:58.8(26)d140 1000 1/31/2012 1:59.7(26)d90 1000 1/31/2012 1:54.7(25)d120 1098 1/31/2012 (Intervals 5x200@3'r d140) 1:34.0(41) 1:34.0(40) 1:28.5(66) 1:36.0(37) 1:37.0(40) r98 Still weak from last. Next race 4 days. 1000 1/31/2012 1:56.9(26)d140 1059 1/30/2012 2:04.0(24)d102 1004 1/30/2012 1:57.5(27)d114 1000 1/30/2012 1:51.5(27)d135 500 1/30/2012 1:34.4(35)d153mhr179 1000 1/30/2012 1:50.3(30)d135 2500 1/28/2012 warm up 2000 6:36.8 1/28/2012 1:39.2(34?) San Diego Indoor Classic 2nd Place (age group)PB 3rd Place Overall 2500 1/27/2012 2:12.2(25)easy, including 10 pulls at race pace. 4000 1/25/2012 4x1k easy with a few accelerations.Felt sluggish. 3020 1/23/2012 easy 200 1/23/2012 1:38.0(38)d135 1000 3:06.6 1/23/2012 1:33.3(38) (43)152 1:31.5 (36)168 1:30.5 (40)172 1:30.5 (36)177 1:32 (39)180 1:33 (38)182 1:34 (35)182 1:34 (38)182 1:35.5 (40)182 1:36.5 (38)181 733 1/23/2012 2:39.4(23)easy 1003 1/21/2012 2:04.7(27)d134 500 1/21/2012 1:48.7(29)d165mhr151 100 1/21/2012 1:32.5(58)d165mhr139 500 1:28.4 1/21/2012 1:28.4(44)d165mhr177 @100m 1:27.0(52)147 1:26.5(49)166 1:26.5(52)170 1:28.5(54)175 1:33.5(58)177 1st pull 2:00 506 1/21/2012 2:04.6(22)d134 500 1/21/2012 1:38.2(37)d134mhr173 1000 1/21/2012 1:57.9(22)d115mhr163 500 1/21/2012 1:38.4(36)d135mhr174 550 1/21/2012 1:59.6(29)d135 1000 1/20/2012 1:52.5(30)mhr150d135 500 1/20/2012 1:44.9(35)mhr160 500 1/20/2012 1:40.1(37)mhr167 500 1/20/2012 1:39.0(38)mhr170 500 1/20/2012 1:37.8(38)mhr169 500 1/20/2012 1:34.7(43)mhr173 500 1/20/2012 2:01.2(28) 1000 1/18/2012 1:55.6(29)d130 1000 1/18/2012 1:48.4(32)d130mhr163 1000 1/18/2012 1:39.4(36)d130mhr181 hr@200m 152,168,175,177,179 1000 00:00.0 1/18/2012 1:38.9(35)d130mhr181 hr@200m 158,170,175,179,181 600 1/17/2012 2:03.0(23)d135mhr126 500 1/17/2012 1:48.4(30)d135mhr147 500 1/17/2012 1:45.4(34)d135mhr156 500 1/17/2012 1:46.1(34)d120mhr159 2000 1/17/2012 1:45.9(33)d120mhr174 Was going for 5k but handled down. 500 1/17/2012 1:38.3(37)d120 First 100m 1:44.5(44) Back pain. 400 1/17/2012 500 1/16/2012 1:55.3(30)d140 500 1/16/2012 1:44.5(35)d140 500 1/16/2012 1:38.0(37)d140mhr168 hr@100m 136 1:40.0(45) 149 155 163 168 750 1/16/2012 1:38.1(36)d135mhr176 hr@100m 139 1:40(48) 153 162 167 172 174 176 176 1241 4:00.0 1/16/12 1:36.6(39)d135 splits@1' 1:35.8(38)169mhr 1:36.7(35)177 1:37.4(36)181 1:36.4(37)180 500 1/16/2012 2:06.8(29)d135 500 1/14/2012 1:51.2(28)d142 500 1/14/2012 1:39.0(33)d142mhr162 750 1/14/2012 1:38.4(33)d142 hr@100m 1 135 2 148 3 156 4 163 5 169 6 170 7 171 8 173 1000 1/14/2012 1:39.7(34)d142 hr@100m 1 138 1:43.0 2 155 1:37.5 3 161 4 165 5 167 6 171 7 172 8 174 9 175 10 175 1000 1/14/2012 1:39.1(33)d135 hr@100m 1 140 1:43.0 2 153 1:38.5 3 160 4 165 5 169 6 171 7 173 8 175 9 175 10 176 500 1/13/2012 1:40.5(32)d137 500 1/13/2012 1:42.2(32)d149 500 1/13/2012 1:38.6(34)d183mhr174 500 1/13/2012 1:38.5(33)d183mhr173 1200 1/13/2012 1:39.9(34)d142 splits@400m 1:40.3(34)mhr168 1:39.2(33)mhr178 1:39.7(34)mhr178 1037 1/12/2012 2:03.4(31)d81 1018 1/12/2012 1:53.7(31)d106 500 1/12/2012 1:37.3(36)d157 750 1/12/2012 1:37.6(34)d142mhr176 1000 1/12/2012 1:39.9(34)d128mhr177 750 1/12/2012 1:38.8(32)d180 500 1/12/2012 1:39.4(34)d135mhr170 Back still sore. Required 10-12 strokes to reach pace. 500 1/11/2012 1:52.5(32)d102 513 1/11/2012 1:43.2(34)d119 1000 1/11/2012 1:46.9(34)d119 7547 30:00.0 1/11/2012 1:59.2(30)d119 Back still sore. Couldn't pull hard. 500 1/10/2012 1:50.2(32) d102 7505 30:00.0 1/10/2012 1:59.9d102r31.5 Back still too sore. Afterward I went to the mall and got a 20' table massage out in the open. 500 1/9/2012 1:52.4 d162 500 1/9/2012 1:48.0 d162 500 1/9/2012 1:46.7 d162 500 1/9/2012 1:49.1 d127 250 1/9/2012 1:36.9 d127 1600 5:20.1 1/9/2012 1:40.0 d127 splits@400m 1:39.2(36)mhr168 1:39.7(34)mhr177 1:40.2(32)mhr178 1:40.8(34)mhr177 400 1/9/2012 1:40.6 d127 Back still sore (right middle). Tried to warm it up but could not. Workout cut short. Couldn't pull hard. 1000 1/7/2012 2:04.9(28)d115 1000 1/7/2012 1:48.1(32) 2000 1/7/2012 1:49.0(32)mhr166 500 1/7/2012 2:02.0(26)d78 Limited workout due to sore back from shoveling in a.m. 500 1/6/2012 1:53.0(29)d162 250 1/6/2012 1:38.2(35) 500 1/6/2012 1:37.3(35) 750 1/6/2012 1:38.7(33)mhr168 1000 1/6/2012 1:38.7(33)mhr175 750 1/6/2012 1:38.2(34)mhr174 500 1/6/2012 1:34.6(38)mhr171 250 1/6/2012 1:31.0(43)mhr160 500 1/5/2012 1:50.4 4000 14:23.9 1/5/2012 1:47.9d133 split pace@5' 1:48.1 1:47.9 1:46.9 Handled down. Seriously tired from operating a trencher earlier this week. 500 1:49.0 1/5/2012 1:49.0(22) d116 500 1/5/2012 1:34.1(40) d116 7767 30:00.0 1/4/2012 1:55.8(28)d133 hr@5'splits: 145,156,162,175,167,170 500 1/3/2012 1:41.8(33) d115 500 1/3/2012 1:57.9(18) 1000 1/3/2012 1:44.8(32)mhr169 1000 1/3/2012 1:43.8(32)mhr173 500 1/3/2012 1:39.4(33)mhr172 500 1/2/2012 1:46.5 d161 500 1/2/2012 1:48.5 500 1/2/2012 1:47.5 1600 5:19.9 1/2/2012 1:39.9 splits@400m 1:39.6(35)mhr172 1:39.6(32)mhr181 1:39.5(32)mhr185 1:41.3(33)mhr183 handled down on 2k 400 1/2/2012 1:48.3 500 12/31/2011 1:46.1 d161.5 250 12/31/2011 1:37.6(34)mhr150 500 12/31/2011 1:36.9(33)mhr168 750 12/31/2011 1:37.0(32)mhr179 1000 12/31/2011 1:38.8(33)mhr180 750 12/31/2011 1:38.2(34)mhr180 500 12/31/2011 1:37.8(34)mhr173 500 12/31/2011 1:56.7 500 12/30/2011 1:55.0 d172 500 12/30/2011 1:38.5 d140(33) 500 12/30/2011 1:38.4 d110(37) 500 12/30/2011 1:39.9 d90 (34) 500 12/30/2011 1:42.0 d80 (37) 2000 12/30/2011 1:47.5 d140(32) 500 12/30/2011 1:57.7 d212 1250 12/29/2011 wu cd pyramid with unmeasured rests 250 12/29/2011 1:38.9 d171 500 12/29/2011 1:38.8(35) 750 12/29/2011 1:39.3(35)mhr181 1000 12/29/2011 1:39.0(35)mhr184 750 12/29/2011 1:39.3(33)mhr182 500 12/29/2011 1:39.3 250 12/29/2011 1:36.8(35) 500 12/27/2011 1:53.5 d158 500 12/27/2011 1:40.5 d158 1000 12/27/2011 1:39.4 d172 500 12/27/2011 1:57.2 d172 500 12/27/2011 1:41.7 d172 500 12/27/2011 1:39.0 d172 1000 12/27/2011 1:53.3 d172 500 12/26/2011 1:59.1 d8=181 500 12/26/2011 1:59.7 500 12/26/2011 1:54.7 1000 12/26/2011 1:39.4 1000 12/26/2011 1:40.5 500 12/26/2011 1:43.0 500 12/26/2011 2:09.9 500 12/26/2011 1:38.5 500 12/26/2011 1:58.9 500 12/26/2011 2:06.1 d111 7660 30:00.0 12/24/2011 1:57.4(27)d143ahr161 500 12/23/2011 1:54.3 (5x1500m) 7500 26:56.5 12/23/2011 1:47.7d183 splits@1500m 1:44.6(33)d8 1:44.8(31)d8 1:45.8(31)d8(died last 500m) 1:50.2(30)d7 1:53.2(30)d6 500 12/21/2011 2:01 1500 4:34.8 12/21/2011 1:31.6(58)d185 15x100m@1:20r 1000 12/21/2011 1:57.7(22)d125 500 12/21/2011 1:43.4(36)d133 500 12/21/2011 1:35.9(36)d160 1000 12/21/2011 1:47.4(36)d160 500 00:00.0 12/20/2011 1:55.8 500 00:00.0 12/20/2011 2:01.1 5000 18:09.3 12/20/2011 1:48.9d130 splits@1k 1:48.8(31)164 1:48.9(29)171 1:49.1(31)177 1:49.7(31)179 1:48.0(33)181 aw271 ahr174 3000 12/19/2011 2000 6:43.8 12/19/2011 1:40.9(34)d183 2k splits@500m 1:39.2(37) 1:40.3(34) 1:40.9(34) 1:43.5(34) aw340 700 12/17/2011 7899 30:00.0 12/17/2011 1:53.9(30)d142 30' splits@6' 1:49.6 1:51.5 1:55.4 2:00.4 1:55.2 aw237 ahr170 r30 (72 of 692) 1000 12/16/2011 1:59.7 1000 12/16/2011 2:20 4000 13:41.5 12/16/2011 1:42.6d141 (last two at d5=126) 4x1k@5'r 1:41.0 1:41.3 1:43.6 1:44.7 aw323 mhr177,182,181,182 r34 1500 12/15/2011 2:08.5 500 12/15/2011 2:08.1 5000 18:06.0 12/15/2011 1:48.6(31)d142 splits@1k 1:47.0 1:47.9 1:49.0 1:50.8 1:48.2 aw273 mhr177 1000 12/14/2011 easy 3000 10:50.4 12/14/2011 1:48.4(31)d142 splits@1k 1:46.6(32)289w 1:47.4(30)283w 1:51.2(31)255w aw274 6000 24:05.5 12/13/2011 2:00.4d120 6x1k@3r 1:59.9(19) 2:01.4(18) 2:00.0(19) 2:02.2(19) 1:59.5(19) 1:59.8(20) aw201 1500 00:00.0 12/12/2011 easy 4000 13:11.8 12/12/2011 1:38.9d217 8x500m@3:30r 1:37.0(35) 1:37.0(36) 1:37.2(40) 1:38.3(37) 1:39.4(35...) 1:40.1 1:42.0 1:40.9 aw361 1200 00:00.0 12/10/2011 easy 1000 3:09.5 12/10/2011 1:34.7(38)d217 splits@250m 1:30.6(40) 1:32.4(38) 1:34.8(37) 1:41.2(38) Still feeling weak with a cold. 1000 12/9/2011 easy 2000 6:51.9 12/9/2011 1:42.9(32)d184 splits@1k 1:43.5(32) 1:42.4(32) Not bad considering I've had a cold all week and felt weak. 6000 12/8/2011 d126 r23 4500 12/5/2011 easy 500 1:29.0 12/5/2011 1:29.0 d202 splits@100m 1:30.5(37) 1:28.0(38) 1:27.5(41) 1:29.0(41) 1:30.5(40) 500 12/3/2011 easy 6000 21:51.5 12/3/2011 1:49.2(31)d142 splits@2k 1:48.9 1:49.6 1:49.3 aw268 ahr174 1000 12/2/2011 easy 4000 14:03.1 12/2/2011 1:45.3d160 (Intervals 4x1k@5'r) 1:37.9(372w) 1:47.6(281w) 1:46.1(293w) 1:49.9(264w) aw299 r32 5000 11/30/2011 d150 500 11/28/2011 easy 4000 13:28.0 11/28/2011 1:41.0(33)d150 (Intervals 8x500m@3:30r) 1:40.2 1:40.7 1:40.5 1:40.0 1:40.6 1:41.8 1:41.1 1:43.2 aw340 5000 18:30.2 11/27/2011 1:51.0(32)d141 splits 3:32.8 3:40.8 3:45.6 3:49.0 3:41.9 ahr172 6000 22:23.0 11/24/2011 1:51.9(32)d141 splits@2k 7:28.5 7:27.8 7:26.8 aw249 ahr175 3000 11/22/2011 easy 2000 6:54.8 11/22/2011 1:43.7(34)d152 splits@500m 1:37.8(374w) 1:45.8(296w) 1:45.0(302w) 1:46.1(293w) aw314 1000 11/21/2011 easy 4000 11/21/2011 d152 (Intervals 8x500m@1:30r) 1:44.8 1:41.5 1:44.8 1:44.1 1:44.2 1:44.7 1:44.8 1:42.5 aw312 r34 6000 22:44.3 11/19/2011 1:53.6(30)d150 splits@2k 7:37.8(233w) 7:37.3(234w) 7:29.3(247w) 250 00:43.6 11/18/2011 1:27.2d8aw527 1000 3:22.8 11/18/2011 1:41.4(36)d150 2750 11/18/2011 d8 (Including 1k@3:28.8) 1000 00:00.0 11/17/2011 easy 5000 18:45.1 11/17/2011 1:52.5(28)d5.5 splits@1k 3:43.0 3:44.1 3:44.9 3:47.7 3:45.2 ahr175 5000 20:00.0 11/16/2011 2:00.0(27)d132 r27 6000 11/15/2011 d7 (Intervals 6x1k@3r) 3:58.9(28) 3:43.1(28) 3:40.8(31) 3:34.3(31) 3:46.1(31) 3:55.0(27) 1000 11/14/2011 d7 6000 (Intervals 10x500k@2r) 1:47.1(31) 1:44.0(30) 1:44.1(33) 1:46.4(35) 1:47.6(36) 1:45.6(33) 1:54 1:56 1:50 1:51 5000 11/12/2011 d5 1k wu 3.5k wd 500m@1:38.0 (lost power after 1 minute) 2000 7:41.3 11/11/2011 1:55.3(30)d3 splits 1:55.7(30) 1:56.5(28) 1:55.1(30) 1:53.9(32) 3000 11/11/2011 d3 (Intervals 10x250m@1r) 1:03.7 0:51.9 1:05.5 0:52.0 0:59.1 0:55.0 1:03.5 1:01.5 1:01.3 0:53.7 5000 11/9/2011 d6 (Intervals 5x500m@1r) 2:00.6(32) 1:52.2(35) 1:49.2(32) 1:48.4(33) 1:54.6(32) and 2500 11/9/2011 2:10 5000 20:36.6 11/8/2011 2:03.6(32)d4 splits 4:10.3 4:12.9 4:11.6 4:00.9 4:00.9 5000 11/7/2011 d8 FIRST TIME ROWING!!! Warmed Up 500m then 500m @ 1:39.9. Ran out of power early. Poor technique.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
One of my favorite rituals is the celebration of Thanksgiving. I love getting together with family and friends once a year to enjoy good food (usually a turkey) and good company, in the spirit of gratitude.
There is a power to Thanksgiving. It can cause family and friends to travel many miles to renew their bonds of friendship while subtly causing many to reflect on the past (and the present) with gratitude.
Who can deny that the world is a better place because of the ritual of Thanksgiving? It is inconceivable to think that the world would be a better-off without Thanksgiving.
Most people like Thanksgiving, even anarchists. In fact, anarchists love rituals too; just look at the annual Burning Man event, with its ritualistic temple construction and burning, and many other predictable attractions. This is an exhibition of primal human activity, and an example of the formation of new rituals.
Baptism is a ritual. While some call it an ordinance and others call it a sacrament, it is still a ritual performed by people for people. And there is a power that inheres in this ritual, although that power is not magical but psychological.
A little over a year ago, on a Saturday afternoon, my wife’s friend, Kasey, was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I attended the baptism with my usual smidgin of Sherlock Holmes awareness. I played the piano, as requested, for the couple of hymns that were sung and Pam directed the music. The crowd was limited to a small subgroup of the congregation and were congregated in the Primary Room which was converted to a Baptismal Room by rearranging the chairs and by opening up the baptismal font by sliding open the metal curtains. Mormons believe in baptism by immersion. The font was filled with about four feet of fresh warm water.
Before the intimate meeting started, Kasey and the Elder (missionary) who baptized her were dressed in borrowed white jumpsuits and barefooted. They sat on the front row along with Kasey’s extended family and husband, all of whom knew very little about the Mormon Church. After some welcoming remarks, an opening hymn, prayer, and a brief talk about the ordinance of Baptism, Kasey and the Elder proceeded to the font. The Elder entered the water first and then faced Kasey as she descended into the water. Many of those in attendance stood up and crowded around the sides of the font to get a better view, children sat on the floor next to the glass; others remained in their chairs. There are always two official witnesses at Mormon baptisms that stand on both sides and watch carefully that the initiate is completely immersed.
The Elder raises his right arm to the square position and repeats one of the few scripted prayers in Mormonism:
“Kasey [Full Name], Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
Then the initiate bends both knees and slowly leans backwards into the water as the baptizer supports her in a rehearsed fashion.
Kasey, like so many others before her, came out of the water exultant…and dripping wet. She and the Elder changed into their dry clothes and rejoined the meeting a few minutes later.
Before the meeting came to a close Kasey was asked to speak a few words. This was the good part for me. I sat on the piano bench at the side of the room and could see both Kasey and the audience. All eyes were on Kasey. All was silent. I watched Kasey carefully as she approached the small podium. She was beaming. She was nervous but spoke with a strong voice,
"The Church must be true. [Pause] Otherwise, why would I feel so good."
The next day, Sunday, in the chapel, in front of the entire congregation, Kasey was asked to come forward and sit in a chair while a small group of Elders from the Church stood around her,placed their hands on her head and conferred upon her the gift of the Holy Ghost with these words:
Afterwards, Kasey stood and shook each of the Elders’ hands and then returned to her seat in the congregation.
The Bishop then addressed the congregation and said , “All those in favor of welcoming Kasey [Full Name]as the newest member of our Ward, please manifest it,” whereupon, the entire congregation raised their right hands.
No matter how much rationality and objectivity I use to analyze this initiation process I must conclude that it is powerfully inspiring to those that watch and participate in the event.
The thanksgiving ritual could go wrong if, say, a family would bicker over the serving of ham instead of turkey and thereby weaken the bonds of familial love. While turkey is the customary entree, it is not worth fighting over in the short-run, but in the long-run tactful and gentle persuasion should be used to reason out the situation; No more. Likewise, churches have no need to contend one with another.
All rituals have the potential to go wrong. I will not take the time now to list any of the many egregious over-beliefs (literalistic beliefs) in rituals, though it would be easy to do so. Besides, to focus on the over-beliefs would detract from the spirit of the ritual, and so I guard my words while ever maintaining my religious sobriety just in case I am needed as a designated driver (so to speak).
Religions are full of rituals and those rituals can be truly powerful, although their power is not in magic, but in the effect they have on the human mind. The power is real nonetheless because ideas have consequences in the real world. And that is why those who administer the rituals have a big responsibility to see that the rituals and their theological interpretations are not carried out too far, beyond what makes this world a better place.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Over the years I have been too busy to follow WFB as closely as I would have liked and wished I had the time to continue my subscription to National Review beyond the early 90’s. When I learned of his death I knew that I had to find the time to more fully understand this man that I had found to be so interesting. So almost three years after Buckley died I finally chose six of his books to read:
God & Man at YaleSince so much already has been written about WFB, the man who used words like Thelonious Monk used notes, I will not write much more. WFB may not have been correct about every opinion that he held (he didn't like the Beatles) but what matters more to me is the way that he went about forming and sharing his opinions. He always offered clear logic for all to scrutinize, even his faith in Catholicism was logical. And he had style. In retort to a man who had written a rude letter to National Review, WFB didn’t merely reply by calling this writer an ass, but instead proffered a more subdued, “Indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus, ass.” But for the most part he debated his opponents with civility, respect and logic, not declamations; Although I did burst out laughing when WFB interviewed Noam Chomsky:
Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography
Let Us Talk of Many Things: The Collected Speeches
Nearer, My God: An Autobiography of Faith
Cancel your Own Goddam Subscription: Notes and Asides from National Review
Saving the Queen: A Blackford Oakes Mystery
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.: I rejoice in your disposition to argue the Vietnam question, especially when I recognize what an act of self-control this must involve.Too funny! Find the clip. Listen to as much WFB as you can find. Study him. Enjoy him.
NOAM CHOMSKY: It does.
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.: Sure.
NOAM CHOMSKY: It really does. I mean, I think that it’s the kind of issue where —-
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.: And you’re doing very well. You’re doing very well.
NOAM CHOMSKY: Sometimes I lose my temper. Maybe not tonight.
WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY, JR.: Maybe not tonight, because as you would, I’d smash you in the goddamn face. (WFB winked at the camera.)
Buckley's debate with Reagan regarding the Panama Canal exemplifies how to debate civilly.
Of the WFB books I have read, the one that I would most recommend would be, Let Us Talk of Many Things.
William F. Buckley was another of life's originals, perhaps the key conservative of the 20th century. His arguments are worthy of being studied. Here are a few short Buckley quotes for fun:
"I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 2000 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University."
"The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house."
On grammar rules: "The general rule is not to begin a sentence with "and"; the particular rule is that writers with a good ear know when to break the general rule."
"I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence."
"Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive."
"One must bear in mind that the expansion of federal activity is a form of eating for politicians."
"The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense - the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy."
"I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said."
"I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth."
"Quod licet Jovi non licet bovi."
Thursday, June 2, 2011
[Candid photo of my pump house built on three cistern tanks. Setting the ridge on a double hip roof all by myself was not easy. Wish I had removed the metal fence railing first...but oh well, that's what makes it candid. Also note the new (last year) septic cover. I decided against making custom chamber lids and used potted cacti instead.]
I do not consider myself to be a very mystical person, but here is somewhat of a mystical (and true) story.
In November of 1991 the family was driving to Mesa, Arizona to spend the night at Diane and Bill’s house for Thanksgiving. I was driving, Pam was in the passenger seat and the three kids were in the back. As we drove eastbound on Highway 8, everyone dozed off while I enjoyed looking at terrain that I had never before seen. Pam woke up to enjoy the drive through the rocky gorge on the border of San Diego and Imperial Counties. We descended 4000 feet to the low desert and wide-open desert sky. We were in a lonely and desolate part of the world. The landscape was sparsely dotted with creosote bushes, ocotillos, and other dead-looking shrubs as far as the eye could see.
After about 15 miles of driving in the flat desert, I suddenly saw deep-green, lazer-leveled fields. We drove another 10 miles through this greenness with very little sign of human life or development when suddenly I saw a house a quarter mile north of the freeway and I came out of my pensive stuppor and blurted out,
“Look!..There is a house!…I wonder what people do here…How would you like to live in a house like that? (Of course, I was kidding.)”Pam came out of her stuppor and bluntly said,
“Get real.”We returned to our thoughts as we passed through the humble City of El Centro.
Fast forward to spring of 92.
I was looking at job opportunities in the state of California community college system and noticed a job announcement at Imperial Valley College. I had already taught part-time at Mira Costa College for two years and had formed the opinion that teaching at the community college was the best kept secret in all of education. I applied and got the job.
I started teaching at IVC in August 1992. At first I had to commute or spend nights at a friend's house (David Bates) while I looked for a house to buy or an apartment to rent.
I drove many miles around Imperial County and explored each of the dispersed communities. Soon I narrowed my search to west El Centro, then I began driving every street, including country streets, looking for For Sale signs. I saw an old country house for sale that I liked about a quarter mile north of the freeway, just west of town.
The house had been listed for only a week. I called Pam and described it to her and asked if she wanted me to go ahead and make an offer without her seeing the house first. (My sense was that this house would not last long.) She said she trusted my judgment and so I made the offer and we got the house.
The house was 80 years old, made of adobe, on three acres with the nearest neighbor a quarter mile away, in the direction of growth, in the district of the county’s best school, just outside the edge of the city limit, across the street from a fresh water canal, with quick back road access to CostoCo and WalMart, with no close-by dilapidated structures except our own.
After signing escrow papers and getting the keys, we entered the house as a family and walked around. Then I gathered the kids together and said, “let’s have a screaming contest.” Alison, the reigning champion, would go last. After each took a turn, Alison let out a scream that was about 50% louder than everyone else’s which made everyone laugh in amazement. Then we had a group scream…because we could. No more would we have neighbors who would ask us to keep our kids quiet.
Before I made very many improvements I overheard Erik tell one of his friends that "We live in a wrecked-out old house." I was a little sensitive to this critique and slowly I tried to improve the house as time and money would allow.
When Alison was about seven years old and we had our finances under control and our future looked easy, I remember one night walking out to the goat’s field under the clear desert sky and thinking that Pam and I could get old now and have no problems. Or we could have more kids. Though I didn’t bring it up to Pam, I thought that this was the kind of house in which to raise kids and we were the kind of people to do it. We had two more kids.
We were living in the Walden-equivalent of the desert, not for two years but for decades. (The book Walden by Henry David Thoreau is a favorite of mine.)
Now here is the mystical part. I have driven the freeway on the west side of El Centro looking at all the houses that are visible to the north (of which there are almost none) and wondering which was the house that roused me as we drove past on that Thanksgiving-Day drive in 1991. While trying to be as objective as possible, I have come to the conclusion that we did indeed buy the very same house.
We moved in during the Thanksgiving holiday 1992.
Since then I have continued looking for another house but have never found one and have never regretted buying our old home. Recently, since the housing bubble burst, I have looked to see what kind of bargains might be found.
Pam, sensing this, said,
“Remember, buying another house is a group decision and I like living here.”And so we remain, happy in our way.