Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Thots

The 6 mile run last Saturday was good, if a bit cold.
There were no major physical issues except for a short bout with my left leg and I turned on to Randolph.

My time was right at 60 minutes even though I had to wait for traffic on California.

Part of me wanted to hang around and watch the beginning of the Hunstville Marathon but I had other obligations on my time because of my impending trip.
So I left the Civic Center and went home.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

This blog will hibernate for approximately three weeks while I am on vacation.
I will be visiting my sister in Oregon and will be deeply occupied with goofing off, talking, listening, laughing, listening to music, walking, running, and sightseeing.

Thank you for you kind cooperation in this matter....
.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Saturday Run

It was very cold saturday for the Cotton Row course run.
According to the meter on my house, it was about 25 degrees.
I was wrapped in two breathable top layers with my wind layer on the outside.
My legs were snuggly inside of my tights (do not try to visualize this as it could result in cornea damage), and my wind pants.
Two pair of sox, wool mittens, and my modified blue Turtle Fur balaclava.

It turned out that there was virtually no wind so the top wind layer was not needed.
Start time was 6:00:25.

By mile two, I had all upper zippers down to allow breathing of the internal layers.
It was not quite enough.
I still got a bit too hot and made sweat.
The mittens came off in mile three.
The journey was surprisingly pleasant and I spent some time daydreaming and going to sleep during the first three.

As I was going down Bankhead Parkway an old problem presented itself again.
My left leg began to act like it did not want to perform it's assigned tasks any more.
There was no pain associated with this problem, just a sort of numbness made my leg feel sluggish and unresponsive.)
It became an effort for me to lift it and get the foot to come down in the same manner it had been doing for the last four miles.
It took special effort to get it to behave (lifting it higher, etc.)

But after a few seconds, it healed itself and things progressed in a normal manner.
I had another brief visit of the same problem in mile five and again near the end, in mile seven (past mile six...) [the "six-mile" course is technically 6.23 miles long]
In each case the problem went away after ten or twenty seconds.

My guess is that it is a precursor to Parkinson's disease or some such.
But it could be related to my occasional lower back problems, a pinched nerve bundle or some such.
But like I said, there was no actual pain before, during, or after the incident.

I crossed the line at 7:00:35.
I prolly could have beat the one hour time but I had to wait for traffic on California street and Clinton avenue (I hate it when that happens....).

The tax training continues.
If you have a question about your state or federal income taxes call me, send me an email, or call H&R Block for help. (this has been an unpaid advertising announcement.)

IN OTHER NEWS....
In spite of my Thanksgiving orgy of eating, I seem to have maintained my BF (body fat) level, or even reduced it a bit, as during my workout this morning, the blood pipes on my upper arms were showing off again.
This is good (if a little vain...) (pun?)
The goal now is to get them to show all the way up into my shoulders, like the contest boys (and girls) do.
That may take more strict eating discipline than I am willing to submit to.
Wee shall see.
.

Friday, December 05, 2008

I Very Dislike Winter

Yes, I know, it is not officially Winter yet.
That won't happen until the 21st or so. (Josh's birthday BTW...)

The outdoor thermometer read a balmy 26 degrees this morning at 5:20 AM.
My body was encased in triple layers of petroleum-derived plastic fabrics, and my head had a douple layer of similar material, for my Friday morning three-mile walk.
All except my mouth, nose and eyes.
Double socks on my feetees, and my thickest mittens on my hands.
It almost worked.

I did not take into account the lovely 10 MPH wind coming out of the north.
I am not sure what the wind chill was but my guess is that it was in the mid to upper teens.
Had I worn my wind layer on the outside rather than my fleece layer, things would have been about right, methinks.
Live and learn.
So now I am better educated.
But too late for this morning's festivities.

It was cool enough this morning that there was ice on the few remaining spots of standing water from yesterday's drizzle.

This is not to say that I was completely cold this morning.
It was just a few minutes off and on when the wind velocity increased enough to overcome the heat retaining ability of my upper breathable layers.
That did not happen the whole time I was walking.
My wind pants did exactly what they were supposed to do - block the wind.
And for half of the trip the wind was coming from behind me and did not affect me the same way it did when it was blowing in my (bare) face.
The new ski mask (as they are called) has all but eliminated the frozen chin syndrome that has afflicted me all these past winters.

Tomorrow is planned another traverse of the Cotton Row course.
The temperature will be about the same.
But when I run, I generate much more heat than when I walk, so coldness of body will be less of a problem.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Briefly Dateup

The morning runs, walks, workouts are going well.
Tuesday's run was a bit nippy (it was about 30 degrees) but there was little of me that was not covered so I survived in good order.
Wednesday's walk was equally nippy (it was about 35 degrees) but I was properly equipped as well.

Dressing for walking and running requires some minor adjustments to my layers because I do not generate as much heat when I walk as I do when I run.

I tried a dressing/layering experiment for my Wednesday walk and was surprised at the result.
Instead of three lighter layers, I tried a single light inner layer and my fleece pull-over (about medium weight).
It worked just finely.
Those two layers were just enough to hold in my body heat and yet allow some air flow to keep me from overheating/sweating. (this same arrangement would not work as well if it had been windy, methinks.)

Tuesday, I started work for H&R Block.
I will be working at the office in the Sears store in Madison Square Mall, starting in January.
Most of my training until then will be at the office in Madison, near the Walmart.
And, out of the blue, I got a phone call from a friend of a friend, asking me a tax question.
So the word is already out, I guess.

And, sadly, let the Royal Chronicles record that the roasted turkey breast, cornbread dressing, sweet taders, and cranberry sauce are all gone.
So it is back to eating the SOS (same ol stuff) for the rest of my time here in the South.
WHICH.... shant be long....
In a little less than two weeks I will take my annual flight West to visit my sister and her family for the Christmas holiday. (which will include more turkey and pies, etc..... 8-P)
For that reason, this blog will hibernate for about three weeks while I frolic on the western coast and points nearby.
Postings will resume on or about January 9, 2009.
You've been warned....
.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Post-Thanksgiving Eating and Running

THE RUN

The 10K Cotton Row run (personal) this morning was just nice.
Nothing spectacular or bad, just nice.
The prediction from them-what-get-paid-to-know-such-things was for rain.
And, in fact, it did rain a little.
So, dressed for a drenching, I started out (a bit later than I planned) in rain hat (which I have yet to be able to test in a true frog-floater) and rain top (tried and true).
Start time was 6:07:25.
It was 48 degrees.
Almost bare leg weather.
I had not gone half a block when the drizzle quit for the duration.

I just putted on in the gray/cloudy morning hoping all necessary body parts and processes behave themselves for the next hour or so.
I was not out of mile one before the zipper of the rain top came down.

In mile two the hat came off, and in mile three the knit gloves came off.
Fortunately, I had my kangaroo pouch in my rain top to store all this stuff.
But I felt like a pregnant woman running. (I know all you pregnant runners will disagree with a smirk and slow shake of the head.)

The Hill was slippery as it seemed that the light rain had not been enough to wash the car oil/grease off the rough concrete.
I climbed carefully up the grade then began running again.
I felt a bit tired today, perhaps because I walked six miles yesterday instead of my usual three. (I had done my usual three miler in the morning then joined a friend later to show them another three-mile course they were considering traversing after work.)

There was a brief sharp complaint from left knee for about ten seconds, that was serious enough to warrant executive attention, but before a council could be assembled the problem went away.

Evidently, the other runners in the area are water soluble because they all stayed in today.
Even though it was not raining, I saw no one except two young ladies being walked by their dog, and another older lady walking by herself.
Everyone else slept in.

My finish was strong, if not a true sprint.
End time was 7:07:30.
Call it sixty minutes.
Not bad for an old guy.

THE EATING

The Feast of the Leftovers has begun.
The redundant turkey dinners are being enjoyed by all (me, myself, and I) and the turkey sandwiches are awesome.
My turkey breast turned out just right, fully cooked and still moist, and I am loving every replay of it (and dreading its disappearance).
In just a few minutes I am going to do it all over again - warm turkey breast, cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes.
No pies this year. (sadly....)

But I checked this morning and my cephalics are still on display when I am warm.
This attribute will be the gage of my bodyfat/water retention in the near term.
Lean is good.
We will see how my upcoming work schedule affects my eating/exercise/leanness plan.

Just three more weeks of shortening days and then we reverse the process until next June.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

3:35 AM

I wake up, look at my clock, roll over and enjoy some more relaxation.

4:25 AM

I wake up, look at my clock, roll over and enjoy some more relaxation.

4:58 AM

My radio starts playing quietly.
I debate with myself whether I want to hear any world news.
No, wins.
So I throw my warm, snuggly covers back, swing my legs over the side of the bed and sit up.
My back is a bit stiff from my one hour leaf-raking session yesterday, so I do a few left and right twisting moves to loosen things up a bit.

I stand up, turn off my radio and shuffle to the thermostat.
It is 67 degrees in my house.
The radio lady said it was 33 outside.
My new insulation is doing a good job.
I reset the temp to 72 and begin my morning ablutions as the heater begins its warm-ups.

After cutting little face hairs and a nice, warm shower, I am ready to cook food.
Today will be a high carb day due to the turkey dinners I will consume, so my breakfast will be a low carb session.
Three eggs fried/steamed and a half glass of milk.
That's it.
By 6:30 I am done cooking, eating, and washing the dishes.
I turn on my computer and check my email and the news.
Nothing much is happening - other than a terrorist attack in India.
And 32,000 children around the world will starve to death today.

7:00 AM

Time to begin my Thursday weight workout.
I change some clothes, call up the spreadsheet on my computer that shows my training log.
I start with lying leg lifts but my lower back is very upset from my raking session yesterday (I guess) and will not cooperate with the ninety-five degree angle range my leg lifts want.
So, we go to Plan B for abs/warm-up (I hate ab work so I use my abdominal exercises as my overall warm-up exercise), hanging leg lifts.
Everyone in back is happy with this angle of movement (still about 95 degrees but the greatest stress in on the top [contracted] of the movement rather than the bottom [stretched] part) and I do a set of 30.
Done.
Then it is on to standing bent barbell rows.
I do a warm-up set of 25 with 95 pounds.
Then two sets of 20 with 135 pounds.
Done.

Then it is on to incline bench press.
I set my bench back to 45 degrees.
I do a warm-up set of 20 with 55 pounds.
Then two sets of 14 with 75 pounds.
My strength is up a bit today.
Done.

Then it is time for bent dumbbell rows.
I load one of my dumbbells with 75 pounds.
Left arm 14 reps.
Right arm 14 reps.
Rest.
Left arm 16 reps.
Right arm 16 reps.
Rest.
Left arm, 14 reps.
Right arm, 14 reps.
My strength is still up a bit.
Done.

Time for incline dumbbell butterflies (or just dumbbell flies, as some call it.).
I unload the 75 pound dumbbell and reload both to 30 pounds each.
I set the bench to 22 degrees from horizontal.
I sit down.
With a dumbbell in each hand, I lift the two weights from the floor to my lap, lean back, press the two weights up over my shoulders and begin.
Out to the sides and back up, 20 times.
Rest.
Set two is 18 reps.
Set three is 15 reps.
Not bad.
Workout done.
Total weight lifted today = 23,140 pounds.
Amazing.

8:30 AM
It is time to begin preparation for the great feast.
My turkey breast has been thawing in the refrigerator for two days.
With my cook book in hand, I repair to the kitchen to begin the preparation of the bird.
Remove bird from refrigerator, unwrap in sink, extract gravy packet, wash, drain and pat dry, place in special rack in special baking pan, rub with vegetable oil, sprinkle with basil and sage, install meat thermometer in side of turkey breast, the oven beeps indicating assumption of 335 degrees, open oven, slide pan/rack/turkey breast into oven, close door, start timer.
Woo hoo
Good stuff coming soon.
It is 9:03 AM

10:00 AM
I check the turkey breast.
All things appear nominal.
I check my four solar heaters in the back room.
The air rising off the top of them is 95.3 degrees.
The sky is mostly clear with a few thin clouds drifting by.
They will cook until about noon, when the sun moves too far west to provide any direct light on them.

12:00 PM

The turkey breast is finally done.
My oven took its time getting to the correct temperature and so it took longer for the bird to reach the desired internal temperature.
But it is now done.

Now to cook the dressing.
Pre-made and frozen, fresh from the store.
About ninety more minutes and the feast begins.
Sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce will be prepared while the dressing is cooking.

2:00

The turkey breast has been carved to the bones and is ready for serving.
The dressing is done.
The sweet potatoes are done.
The cranberry sauce is ready for serving.
The Messiah is playing on the stereo.
Anticipation is running high.

2:15

I sit down to eat my feast.
No pies this year.
I will just have a couple of cookies after the main course.

2:30

Time to wash the dishes and pans.
Five hours of preparation, and cooking for about 15 minutes of eating.
Actually, the stove did most of the cooking.
I just watched.
In all fairness, "all" this prep and cooking has produced enough food to supply about 12 meals.
I'm fixed up for the rest of this week and most of next week.

2:37

Everything is washed and set out to air dry.
I feel a nap coming on....

And I ponder my state of blessedness.
I am very blessed of God.
He has given me salvation from sin.
He has made me part of a good congregation of dear people.
He has given me a spiritual mind and eye.
He has given me a gift of the Spirit - teaching.
He has supplied my material needs and most wants to this very moment.
He has given me very good health.
He had given me a nice family.
He is my shepherd and I have no needs.
Life is good.
God is good.

Monday, November 24, 2008

JUST SO YOU KNOW...

... I'm not dead.

The run Saturday morning was mostly good.
It was only 25 degrees instead of the predicted 19.
I was three layers deep top and bottom and that proved to be just about right.
The top zippers came down toward the end of mile three, and the mittens came off at the end of mile three.
And, amazingly, my time was 59 minutes.
I don't know how that happened.
I did not even try to go faster.

The other walks and runs and weight workouts are all going well.
Well enough that my bodyfat is inching lower.
I am at the point now where my cephalic veins are starting to show on my upper arms.
This is the mark of leanness - a la Dara Torres, as I mentioned previously.
I managed to take a picture just to document the progress.




All of this may disappear for a few weeks, what with Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation coming, and the associated excesses therein.
But wee shall see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

There is a reason they call it Fall

Remember my big tree in the front yard with all the pretty yellow-gold leaves?



Well, it took only three days for it to fall apart.



So, I spent two and a half hours to day adjusting the disposition of the leavage in my yard.



Instead of a generally even distribution of parts all over the yard (and that of the neighbors), I moved them all closer to the curb so the city men can vacuum them up some day soon (one of the benefits of living in the city).

At the risk of TMI I will provide some details of the raking session today.

Some background:
Mondays are weight lifting days and I exercise in the morning about an hour after breakfast.
Which I did this morning.
It is an upper body session involving back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps, and abs.
(Lower body - legs - are handled by my walking and running five days a week.)

Three weeks ago I added three new exercises to the Monday party to bump up the total poundage lifted to make it more closely match the total pounds I lift on Thursdays - about 23,000 pounds if you are counting.
End of background.

This morning's session was very productive in that I pounded my upper body parts into useless pulp and it took almost an hour for them to recover enough for them to be useful again.
I waited a couple of hours for the outside temperature to warm up a bit, had an early lunch at 10:30 (I was HUNGRY), then grabbed my cotton gloves and went outside.

I knew that a couple of hours of raking would further exercise my already pounded upper parts, but I wanted to get this done before tomorrow, when it would be even colder (and maybe windy-er).
So, it was suck-it-up time.

Raking leaves is a great whole body aerobic/anaerobic exercise that involves legs, hips, back, tummy obliques/intercostals, lats, front, middle and rear deltoids, biceps, triceps and forearms.
EVERYBODY dances at a leaf-raking party.

About a half an hour into the festivities, my biceps began to cramp.
This had never happened to me before and was a weird sensation.
Sadly, the only cure for muscle cramps is cessation of the stimulus, stretching the affected muscle and ingestion of potassium.
Bananas and orange juice are very good sources of potassium but I had neither of them on hand.
So I adjusted my technique to give my complaining bi's some rest.

More background:
After I started weight lifting and studying for my ACE personal trainer exam, I realized that almost every household task was similar to an exercise I was doing in my gym. (pushing the lawnmower was similar to doing bench presses, etc.)
I was amazed at how many gym moves were mimicked by real world activities around the house or at work.
End of more background.

So I was interested in the amount of work my intercostal/oblique abdominal muscles were doing as I twisted my torso while raking my leaves toward me or next to me.
Similar to sweeping the floor, but with more resistance. (leaves are heavy - especially if they are wet.)

Anyway, after two-and-a-half hours of playing in the front yard, the leaves are ensconced next to the curb for the big sucker truck to come by and eat them.
Tuesday is running day and I may be sore tomorrow when I run in the sub-freezing pre-dawn local three-miler.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some of This And Some of That

The run this morning was a mixed bag.
I traversed the six-mile Cotton Row course once again.
As I stepped out the door and 5:45, I found that in addition to the 51 degree coolness, it was drizzling.
So, it was back into the house to adjust the outfit by adding my "rain cover".
My rain cover is an old nylon anorak, which, while not "waterproof" does keep all but the mightiest downpours off of my inner layers.
Also, I have just acquired a new nylon ball cap made for running in the wet.
I thought this would be the perfect morning to try it out.
Well, sort of.

By the time I got the the parking lot of the VBC, the rain had all but stopped.
But the dark clouds looked ready to supply more at any moment, so I kept the rain gear on.
The official start time today was 5:57:18.
I have no idea how I remember these trivial numbers, but I do.

The goal, again today, was to beat the 59 minute time of a few weeks ago.
The rain (which was virtually gone now) clothes would not help.

The cool weather required long pants and long sleeves.
But I had pulled on my medium-weight top, which would have been just dandy for a dry, windless jaunt - but not under my rain top.
The proper top layer under the rain cover is one of my light-weight Coolmax tops.
And, though I felt toasty in the first quarter mile, I knew in my heart that I had over-dressed.
(I hate that...)
So, I was not out of Mile One before I was pulling zippers down to vent Steevee heat.
Then the hat came off.
And late into mile three, the mesh gloves were shed. (shedded? sheddened?)
Fortunately, my rain anorak has a kangaroo pocked and I stuffed all my unneeded accouterments into it, otherwise I would have looked like the Rag Man.

I walked up the first half of The Hill, doing my usual (lately) heel raises.
Bankhead Parkway was so covered with wet leaves that I could not see the sidewalk for long periods.
And the leaves were slimy and slippery in places.

And then.... my left knee/thigh started acting like it wanted to lay down and rest a while.
Nuh uh.
This was not a muscle problem (although the quadraceps muscles were acting like they did not want to contract), nor a connective tissue issue (like that?).
It was some sort of neurological malfunction.
Not good.
Running Central, Coach, and Runner held a hastily arranged conference.
The decision was to keep going at pace until something deteriorated further.
It was a good decision.

As in virtually all other cases of impending physical disaster during a run, this problem went away.
By the time I had arrived at Pratt Avenue, I was chugging along like a teenager with nary a leg problem in sight.

When I turned onto Clinton Avenue the second time (at the parking garage) the predicted/promised cold wind hit me in the face and I was glad I had my rain cover on.
That wind would have blown right through my mesh top, had it been my only layer.
Up to that point I had a nice light sweat going.
Not no mo.

The last quarter mile was a good steady push against the wind and the clock.
But, alas, the effort was insufficient - 6:59:25 - 62 minutes.
Oh, well.

Epilogue....
When I got home and was walking into the house, my left knee had plenty to say about abuse and pain and whatnot.
That was when I realized that my problem may be a nerve that crosses my knee or stimulates my quadriceps.
Not sure.
Anyway, after I nice hot shower everyone was happy and quiet.

AND....
.... for those of you who were wondering what I was referring to when I mentioned my Cephalic veins (which are still coming out a few more nanometers each day) and Dara Torres, here is what I was typing about:



Dara with her hair pulled back and her Cephalic tubes in full bloom.
Awesome.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A FUN TIME WAS HAD BY ALL...

I did, anyway.
It has been a week of surprises.
First, my Check Engine light came on in my car.
That was Sunday night after church.
Then Monday morning I got a call from Matt Wingate inviting me (and my instruments/equipment) to a Wingate family music party.

I have known the Wingate family for over thirty-nine years.
One thing they have in common is a genetic ability to sing/play music (among many other talents).
So, once in a while (not often enough) they/we get together and play music.
They are also nice people and fun to be with.



Anyway, Monday evening, we partied (much to the distress of the neighbors, methinks).
A highlight of the festivities was the attendance of Jim Wingate and his wife, Faye.
We actually did not get to visit much, what with all the singing and playing going on nearly non-stop.
But it was good to see them again since they moved (for employment) to Tallahassee, Fla.
Jim has been a true friend to me in many ways and in many circumstances in these many years.



In addition to Matt, Jim and Faye, there was his brothers Allen, and Tommy, and children Jessica, and Amanda (two different ladies in some ways but both precious and delightful in unique ways. I love them both.)
My son, Josh, was the designated drummer for most of the time, with Allen spelling him a time or two.





At the end of the Monday hoedown, it was decided that once was not enough, so we/they decided to do it all again on Thursday evening.

The three-mile run Tuesday morning was good.
No issues, no physical complaints.
Live was good.

Tuesday morning I took my baby to the car man to have its tummy checked.
While we were at it, I decided to have the steering gear replaced because it had developed a leak (the kind of leak combined with the design of the mechanism requires that the whole thingy be replaced - not my favorite design.)
Soooo.... I was carless Tuesday, and Wednesday.

The three-mile walk Wednesday morning was uneventful and, in spite of forecasts of wetness descending from the sky, mostly dry.

I found out the car would not be ready by Wednesday evening so I missed church for the first time in Minnee months.
Then I found out the car would not be ready Thursday either.
Hmmm.
This was getting monopolous.

Sooo... I had to hitch a ride (me and the "equipment") to the music shindig #2 with Tommy on his way home from work.
THAT meant I had to hitch a ride home with Jim and Faye after the dance (we didn't really dance - well, Allen did, if you want to call it that).

Round two was at Matt's pad and we had the volume up.
Everyone was in a chipper mood and the music reflected it.
We, again, recorded everything on CD, just in case something came out good.

I will say this, for the ensemble to only play together one or two times a year, this is one of the tightest bands you will ever hear.
The skill, musicianship, sense of rhythm, and balance is amazing.
You will not hear a better band in any club or concert.
They play Together.
Everyone gets a shot at a solo.
And when they do their individual thing, the others blend and compliment the work.
And these folks can PLAY.
There was some amazing chops going down at the hoedown (we have the CDs to prove it).

The walk this morning was in a wet, light fog.
The light wind was from the south so I heard the recorded bugle calls and our guys shouting as they ran on the Arsenal.
I only got four and a half hours sleep last night so I was feeling a little sluggish as I trod the asphalt.
Coach kept urging me on, to burn a few additional calories.

I am pleased to report that my body fat has continued to diminish to the extent that my cephalic veins are starting to show.
I like that.
I would love for my arms to look like those of Dara Torres.
But, alas, I do not have the muscle mass that she has (the curse -or blessing - of genetics).

Hopefully, my Baby will be fixed today, I need to go food shopping.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nature Ignores ...

... the workings of people, for the most part.

While the news media is all atwitter about the mumblings and movements of the President-elect in the United States, she (as it is commonly ascribed) is going on with her annual leaf-color change thing.

My tree (of which I know not the precise make, model or year) in the front yard is showing off its colors again.
You may notice in the far picture that my tree is the only one on my street that adorns itself in this manner.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Simplistic Notions

“Now in the last seven years we have had the highest corporate profit ever in American history.
Highest corporate profit!
We’ve had the highest productivity!
The American worker has produced more per person at any time, but it hasn’t been shared, and that’s the problem because we have been guided by a republican administration who believes in this simplistic notion that people who have wealth are entitled to keep it and they have an antipathy towards the means of redistributing wealth.”

- U.S. Representative Jim Moran
Democrat, Virginia
November 4, 2008


This is the philosophy of your new leaders.
Enjoy your poverty.....

"Fools and blind!..." Matthew 23:17

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In God We Trust

Another Lovely Run

I again, ran the Cotton Row course.
The new daylight made the journey less forbidding.

My goal was to beat my 59 minute time of a couple of weeks ago.
But early into mile one I felt less than as strong as I would have liked.
I soldiered on with no physical problems and, at the urging of Coach, pushed a bit on any slight downhill parts there were in the first three miles.
I walked the first half of The Hill and did heel raises as I walked the steep incline.
I tried to push a bit going down Bankhead Parkway and Pratt Avenue, Clinton and Randolph.
By the time I reached Clinton again for the final quarter mile, I was into level three breathing and not feeling confident about my time.
There was little left for the Big Finish I had planned.
The two ladies I have passed in weeks past, were still in the VBC parking lot stretching.
They were late.
My time came out to 59:45.
I was disappointed with my time, but pleased with how I felt.
No joint issues, no muscle/connector issues.

A PROGNOSTICATION

What does the future hold?

January 09 is too soon to see much change.
We will have a better idea by January 2010, after 12 months of a deepening depression.
I expect a replay of Jimmy Carter's dance.
Stagflation.

Near zero growth of GDP, inflation of 5-10 percent annually, productivity at near zero, massive federal deficits in spite of 20 - 50 percent increases in income taxes, business bankruptcies at record levels, unemployment at 8 - 10 percent, 25 percent reductions in defense spending turns Huntsville, Alabama into a ghost town.

With no one left to tax, the Congress has to delay the implementation of the new health care rationing system, doctors and nurses strike sporadically across the nation, the price of gas goes above $6.00 per gallon for the first time, lack of supply causes spot shortages, and there are food riots in Detroit.

Six months after the last American troops leave Iraq in June of 2009, Iran invades and overwhelms the Iraqi army, but Israel makes surgical strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities which destroys their bomb-making abilities.
Iran does not retaliate because all resources are consumed with the drawn out battle with the Kurds in the north of Iraq.
The Obama administration sends an envoy to Tehran to negotiate a more moderate solution, but nothing meaningful results beyond a joint statement of mutual understanding and Arab unity for greater regional stability and world peace.

China, while liking the new "moderate" tone of American foreign policy, invades Taiwan and installs a puppet government.
Thousands of protesters are murdered in the streets.
The Obama administration sends Jesse Jackson to negotiate a compromise arrangement, which fails to produce anything meaningful beyond a joint statement of mutual understanding on regional stability for greater world peace.

China also takes over North Korea with a new, more "enlightened" hand-picked leader.
The military of South Korea goes on alert, while the Obama administration sends an envoy to negotiate a more moderate solution, which fails to produce anything meaningful beyond a joint statement of mutual understanding of regional stability which ensures greater world peace.

I can hear it now...
"The state......of our nation.....is good.
But there are .... still challenges .... that we must.... overcome.
But Americans.... are a resilient ... people.
And together.... we shall overcome.... the challenges we face."

Ad nauseum.

The deluded American public, not wanting to believe that their historic, first black president is a failure, wait nervously for a miracle.
Sarah Palin is accused of incest by Rahm Imanuel.

Enjoy your freedoms today.
You will not have them much longer.
.

Friday, November 07, 2008

An Outline For the Coming Deconstruction

With Democrats/liberals/socialists in every elected branch of government, they can easily feel that they have a "mandate" from "the people" to enact whatever their little black hearts desire.

As they do, all the protest emails to congress from the defeated, squabbling conservative losers will fall on blind eyes.

The star-struck populace so enamored with their new messiah will accept every act of dismemberment of morality, structure, and economic institution in the belief that he is making things better for them.

When it finally becomes apparent that he and his demons have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs, it will be too late to resuscitate and resurrect the bird.

Remember the "Stagflation" of Jimmy Carter?

Get ready for it again.

One day of terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C. will provide the final bullet to a nation, bankrupt morally, philosophically, politically, and economically.

To the few of us still with a will to fight, we will try to mount a revolution.

It will be too little too late.

In God we trust....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

They Bought The Lie

Well, a sufficient number of Americans believed the lies to elect a socialist as President of the United States.

God as allowed the Chaldeans to invade our nation.
We are about to be taken captive and marched off to Babylon.

Over the next four years, we will witness the wholesale dismantling of virtually every institution we have.

Soon you will no longer have the right to property; it belongs to the state.

Soon you will no longer have the right to whatever wealth you have earned; it belongs to the state.

Soon you will no longer have the right to listen to whomever you desire on the radio; programming will be controlled by the state.

Soon you will no longer be able to go to the doctor of your choice and be treated in a timely manner; healthcare will be rationed by the state.

Soon your income taxes will go up 25 to 50 percent when the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire.

Soon you will not be able to say anything negative about homosexuals (including quoting from the Bible) because it will be classed as "hate speech" and you will be prosecuted for it.

Soon your IRAs and 401k's will be taken from you and transferred to the Social Security Trust Fund so the politicians can pass it out to others who contributed nothing to it.

Many of you who work for defense contractors will be unemployed because the defense budget will be cut by 25 percent.

And it is possible that you just voted in the last presidential election you will ever vote in.
A "state of emergency" may be in force four years from now which will suspend all political activity.

I expect a massive depression in 2009 as the business sector begins to comprehend the scope and depth of the changes proposed by the liberal socialists as they run amuck overturning virtually every right and privilege we assume is guaranteed by the Constitution.

May God have mercy on us.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

On This Momentous Day....

My the time gets away.

Since we last visited, I ran nine more miles, studied for, and passed my HR Block tax preparation course (woo hoo!) and stood in line this morning (after a nice run in the semi-darkness) and voted.

I wonder if God is going to let the Chaldeans invade this country and take us all to Babylon.

Here is the scripture that has been on my mind for the last week or so regarding this event...

10 ... because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

I realize that this passage is referring to people in a spiritual context, but it seems to apply to us in a national/political aspect as well.

We shall see....
Tonight there will be a news blackout at my house.
Much more edifying activities to pass the time doing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Stupid

In this exciting announcement :

http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20081028/ap_on_hi_te/google_books_3

Google and a bunch of librarians and book publishers published a new agreement.

The gist of the deal is publishers will get money for books they no longer publish.
Huh?
Yea, go figure.

The publishers were griping- via lawsuit - that they were missing out on copyright dollars when libraries and readers using Google downloaded books that were out of print.

I SAY....

Hey publishers, if you want money for books that are out of print, too bad.
YOU made the decision to stop printing the book(s), Not us.

So if somebody wants to read a book you no longer publish - tough noogees for you.
If you want to make money from books you no longer publish I suggest you print some more so's you can sell them.
Otherwise, shuddup.

Me dos centavos....

Monday, October 27, 2008

OSAM....OOPS, OBAMA AND TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS

Bless his heart.
He just doesn't know how stupid he sounds sometimes.

Barack Husein Obama was speaking to some deluded citizens a couple of days ago and said something like this:

My opponent believes in "trickle down" economics.
That money given to the wealthy somehow trickles down to the middle class and the poor.
We no that is not how it works.
It never has.
Wealth grows from the bottom up.
Thats why we are proposing increasing taxes on the wealthy and giving tax cuts to the middle class.

Or words to that effect.

If you look at Senetor Osa.... Obama's logic for a moment, you will see an economic oxymoron. (to match the moron who said it.)
He makes fun of, so called "trickle-down" economics.
Saying that money from the "rich" does not move from the more wealthy to the less wealthy.
THEN he says that HE is going to take more money away from the "wealthy" (if he is elected, you will get a big surprise from who he considers "wealthy") than they are already paying and give it to the middle class in the form of tax "cuts".

So HE is going to give money to the less wealthy by taking it from the more wealthy.
So it seems that it is not that the trickle down principle does not work, he just has a problem with who is doing the trickling.
HE wants to do the trickling.

MY TAKE

There is no such thing as "trickle Down" economic theory.
It is a media invention (imagine that...).
What really happens is that as wealth is created in an economic system, everyone who is taking part in the economy gains a little more wealth from it.
In dollars, the more wealthy make more that the less wealthy.
Percentage-wise, the less wealthy often gain more than the more wealthy.
But everyone gets something more over time.

It is a liberal/socialist illusion to think that taking money from the "rich" and giving it to the poor will help the poor become richer.
It does not.
It never has.
It never will.

Look at any socialist nation on this planet - The former U.S.S.R., China, Sweden, France, whatever, they never have eliminated poverty by redistribution of wealth.
In fact, when a person has no personal incentive to work in the hope of improving his/her lot in life, he/she just settles back into survival mode.
They work only as hard as they have to to keep the authorities off of their back.
Productivity goes down.
When productivity goes down, the whole economy slows down.

So, I predict that if Senator Osam .... Obama is elected President of the United States, and he attempts to implement his socialist agenda, it will not accomplish what he says the wants to accomplish.

In truth, what he REELEE wants to accomplish is to make you and me dependent on the federal government for at least part of our wealth, so that we will "hopefully" re-elect him.

So intent is he and his cohorts to "change" America, that I would not be surprised if this is the last Presidential election this nation sees.

Home schoolers. be warned.
You and your children are at risk, if the teachers unions get their man in place.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FIFTY-NINE MINUTES

That is how long it took me to run the Cotton Row course this morning.
I am very pleased.
This is just a minute off of my usual practice times back in the day when I was running the course regularly.

The weather this morning was marginally cool.
Almost cold.
For me, any temperature that starts with a "4" is cold.
My thermometer at the house read 52.
I had expected it to be cooler.

Anyway, I went with bare legs and medium-weight long sleeves, knit gloves, and ear warmer band today.
The combination proved to be just about right.
The wrist timer read 6:06:53 as I started out in the dark.
Traffic downtown was nil.

I had a physical concern.
My right kneecap had a nice, sharp little pain on the outside, as I padded through the house getting ready this morning.
Not good.
If walking hurt, what will six miles of up-hill and down-hill pounding for an hour (or so) produce?
I would watch this carefully and have a plan B ready if things went badly.

Part of me was saying take your time but Coach and Runner were urging a more aggressive tack.
THEY wanted to knock another minute off of my time.

On Lowe Avenue I saw a solitary lady runner going my way on the far side of the street.
We did not speak and I soon passed her.
That was the last I saw of her.
Good for her being up this early and doing this kind of thing.
I hope she is putting as much effort and discipline into her spiritual life.

All things went well in the sodium-lit darkness as miles one and two rolled under me.
The kneecap of concern was amazingly quiet.
Mile three is a nice steady uphill grade called Owens Drive.
Coach said quietly, "Put the pedal down a bit."
And I complied.
The clock was running.

I altered my gait to use more of my calves and it was not long before I felt them mumbling about hard work or something.
The masochist in me just smiled.
The quarter moon was peeking through the morning clouds in the pre-dawn twilight as I took off my gloves.
I love this course.

Soon I was at The Hill.
Ninety feet gain in altitude in less than a quarter mile.
The road here is about as steep as the roof of a house.
I slowed to a walk for the first half and noted the three-mile marker painted on the concrete.
I did little bouncy heel raises with each step.
Then it was running again and more calf work (Lord knows they need all they can get).
By the top of The Hill there were cries of "Abuse!" from the calf department.
"Shuddup an run!" came the reply from Running Central.

After the slight down and up of Toll Gate Road, it was all down hill on Bankhead Parkway.
We would see if the right knee thing was real or not.
(Downhill running puts extra stress on quads and knees.)

Half way down, I met two lady runners coming up.
Wow.
Pony tails sure look cute at dawn....

Nearly a mile later we knew that the right knee was healed.

There was no traffic (plus one) on Pratt Avenue and I motored down its gradual pitch with glee.
When I am happy, I tend to slow down a bit and daydream.
Coach urged me to keep the pressure on the clock so I pushed my pace up to my comfortable breathing limit.
A zig and a zag and I was on Clinton Avenue in the dim pre-daylight.
Putt putt putt, I motored on with no issues.

A quick stop at California for some traffic, then off we went again.
I hate stopping in the middle of a good run.
It just throws my rhythm off.
Another zig and a zag and I was on Randolph.
More gradual downhill.
Coach whispered, "Push it."
I did.

A zig at the courthouse and a zag, and I was on Clinton again for the final half mile or so.
Now the racehorse in me was pushing to break free.
The finish line was in sight - waaaay down there.
There were no cars on the road for as far as I could see.

My breathing went into an easy level three.
I was feeling wonderful and ready to dump the bucket in the last two hundred yards.
And I did.

I wondered if the guys at the Coca Cola plant were watching and if so, what they were saying to each other.
"Look at grampa go," perhaps.
Then I passed the finish line and looked at my watch as I slowed to a walk.

7:05:55.
WOO HOO!
Fitty-nine minutes!
Coach was smiling.

And nothing broke in the process.
During my cool-down walk, the calf department registered a complaint regarding "overwork".
Masochist just grinned.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scrambled Up Schedule

This week's workout schedule is all messed up.
This is not a complaint, just a statement of facts.

The messedupness is because of the Pancake breakfast we had a church last Saturday.
(which was good, fun, and enjoyable)
I had to be there early enough that I did not have time to run at my "usual" time.
I chose not to run in the afternoon Saturday because of the traffic on my courses (no matter which one I chose).
Sooo.. I ran the Cotton Row circuit Sunday morning before church.
Which was nice (if a bit dark.).
See my previous post for details of that adventure.

Sunday morning is usually a walking day.
But I ran instead.
Monday is workout day - which I did, even though I was feeling tired from the run the day before.
(and had a surprisingly good result)
Today, Tuesday, is usually my mid-week running day.
But because of the run setback this past weekend, I decided to walk instead.
Which I did.
(Nobody but the yipping dog man out today.)

So, tomorrow, normally my walking day, I will run three miles.
That should get me sort of back on schedule.
Thursday is another weight workout day.
Then Friday walk, as per the usual pattern, and, bing! Saturday run as scheduled.
Back on track.

Part of the reason for the spacing and different forms of exercise is due to the ability (or lack of it) of my body to recover from certain forms of exercise.
Running takes a lot out of me, so I want to do something "light" the day after; hence the walking.
Weight lifting takes more out of me than walking, so I do it in between the other.

Because I run, walking is almost no effort for me at all.
I have to really walk fast to even get my heart rate and breathing up above resting level.
I walk mainly to burn a few calories.
With the amount of effort expended during my runs and weight workouts, walking hardly moves the effort needle off the pin.
But I am in the habit now - this is a good thing.
So I do it on my 'off' days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More of the Usual...

The days are just zipping by.
The weather has changed from nice late-summer to nice fallish.
If fall can ever be "nice". (you know I hate winter)

Because of a church event Saturday morning, I did not run.
Or walk.
Just get up and go do....

But THIS morning (Sunday) I ran.
And I ran the Cotton Row course again.

It was about 41 degrees this morning with just a whisper of a breeze and clear.
So I chose my wind pants to cover my running shorts and my mid-weight mesh long-sleeved top (with nice, double thickness collar).
Ear cover band and knit gloves.
It was just about right.

I started out a 6:08 AM.
Just a bit behind planned time.
As I was about to start, a group of about 30 runners crossed in front of me in the streetlight-lit dark.
I asked one of them what was going on.
He said, "marathon practice."
Hmmm.
It is just about eight weeks until that event.

I went on along my favorite course reacquainting myself with all the twists and turns and ups and downs.
It is prettier in the morning sunlight but that does not happen here until about 7:15 or 7:30 now.
So I run in the sodium vapor-illuminated darkness.
There was virtually zero traffic.
For most of the course I run in the streets.

At mile three, my hands were beginning to sweat just a bit so I took off the knit gloves. (while I was walking up The Hill.)
Just holding one in each hand was enough to keep my hands warm by that point.

Everything went well until the middle of mile six.
Then left hip attachments (not the joint) began squeaking insistently.
The connector ligament that lifts my leg (thigh) was no longer happy with the task at hand.

Running Central had a quick conference with Runner and Coach.
It was decided that termination of the mission was not necessary at that time.
We were close to the finish line and some pain could be accepted for the next four or five minutes.
If things got worse, the decision to continue would be reconsidered.
But as has been the case so many times, "things" did not get worse.
They got better.

Somehow, the leg/pelvis attachments reduced their whining to a muted level by the time I re-entered Clinton Avenue and Runner motored on.
So much so, that there was a lengthy sprint at the end to the finish mark on the curb, across from the Coca Cola bottling plant.

A quick check of the clock indicated that I had chopped one entire minute off of my time of last week.
Woo Hoo!
Sixty minutes flat (more or less).

It is good to visit my old friend again.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A VISIT TO AN OLD FRIEND

Let the Royal Chronicles show that I ran the Cotton Row course this morning in 61 and a half minutes.
I am very pleased.
It was very good to visit my old friend.
I do not know why I love this path so much, but I do.
It is very challenging yet pleasant.

Due to the time of the year, it was virtually dark when I started out at 6:01:35 AM.
The weather was chrystal clear and a cool 61 degrees.
The humidity seemed low for this area at this time of year.
Near-perfect running weather.

I was nervous at the beginning, wondering if I was being too aggressive in taking on this course so soon after increasing my distance to six miles.
And, indeed, just half way into mile one, my legs were feeling the subtle but insistent incline that is the most significant attribute of the first half of this six-mile path.

At the beginning of mile two I met another runner going my way.
He said he was from North Carolina and did not know his way around town.
I told him he was on a marked six-mile course and by following the painted marks in the road he would be able to follow the course back to his hotel.
He thanked me and trotted on ahead.
He was young and looked strong.
In just a few minutes he was out of sight.

It felt really good to be on my old familiar course again.
It may be three years since I have run the Cotton Row course.
I am not sure.
The session would have been more enjoyable if I had felt more comfortable with my physical ability.
But I was concerned that I might not be up to the task.
For this reason, I consciously took my time.
The main goal today was to finish with no broken parts.
We will work on time later.

I arrived at The Hill feeling good.
I knew that once I topped this steep incline it was all down hill to the end. (mostly)
Mile three ends about one hundred feet up the hill.
I walked the lower part of the Hill that is paved with rough concrete and, as has been my practice in days gone by, when the pavement changed to asphalt, I began running again.
This section is still quite steep and very challenging.
I was thrilled that at this point, nothing was hurting and other than my accelerated breathing, I was doing fine.

Then it was a quarter mile of a slight down and up and then it was all downhill for three-quarters of a mile to the bottom of Bankhead Parkway.
Still no problems.
Woo Hoo.

As I turned onto Clinton Avenue I remembered the days a few years ago when I was running this course on Tuesday afternoons after work.
It was summer and smotheringly hot.
I was doing fine joint and ligament-wise, but I was really hot.
And feeling tired.
One day I had to stop and walk for a couple of minutes.
That sort of scared me, though I finished the run with no other problems.

Not this morning.
I was feeling very good as I trotted down Clinton Avenue in the morning twilight.
My breathing was more rapid than I would have preferred but I was not laboring.
I just motored along enjoying the scenery and my blood pumping.

After a couple of turns I was back in downtown Huntsville, turning onto Clinton Avenue again for the final quarter mile.
The sky was light now, though the sun was not yet above Monte Sano.
I was feeling very good.
I was near the finish line and nothing had broken.

To my amazement, I still had enough Wheaties in the bowl to sprint the last hundred yards or so.
There actually IS a finish line mark here.

I passed the line and looked at my watch.
7:02:58.
Wow.
Just three minutes slower than I used to run this course two or three years ago.
I am very pleased.

I am sure I will feel the effects of this jaunt later.
Already I can feel my calves wanting to cramp.

THE WEDNESDAY WALK

I was in a perverse mood Wednesday morning when I woke up and, even though it was pouring rain, I wanted to walk.
So I put on my rain gear and stepped out into Noah's flood 2.
And most of me got wet - especially my feet.
Some of the gutters were 3 inches deep in water and it is not easy to see at 5:30 AM.
Even with the street lights.

Anyway, I walked in the rain.
And lived to tell about it.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Of Runs and Fiddling Around

NICE SATURDAY RUN

Saturday morning dawned cool and just a bit humid.
But it was not as cool as I was expecting.
So shorts and long sleeves was the outfit chosen to keep my body temperature happy when working hard outdoors.
And it worked just right.

I had a pleasant time running my SIX mile course (again!).
The sprinklers were shooting gallons of water into the air again.
I went into the parking lot to avoid them this time, to keep the surface under my feet as smooth as possible.
But I still had to cross the grass to get back on the sidewalk.
Me no like running in grass.

I managed to keep from going into accelerated breathing until the last half mile or so.
By then it was not a big problem to me.
My time was nominal - about 56 minutes.
There were a few, brief whinings from my left hip/leg not liking the stress.
There may come a day when such problems become a show-stopper but not now, or soon, it seems.
Thank Yahweh for good health.

I have re-learned something about running.
How I feel - meaning how I view my ability to complete the planned distance when I am running - depends on the distance I set in my mind.
If I think I can only go three miles, that will pretty much limit me to that distance. (assuming there are no unplanned physical breakdowns)
So, now that I have proven to myself that I can once again travel six miles, it seems relatively easy.
Yes, it is taxing on my (aging) body.
The results of the effort will be felt for a day or two after the party.
But it is doable.
I am thinking of tackling the Cotton Row course again.

THE FIDDLING CONVENTION

The weather was beautiful.
The music was expectedly nice.
I did not see as many folks from Morgan City as I expected.
But I did see the Bishop/elder - brother Cornwell and his charming wife and John and Katrina Crouch - so the absence of other members must not have been because of an official edict to avoid the event (as in days gone by...).

The most notable event of the day was that someone backed into my car and left a nice football-sized dent in my front bumper.
I did not notice this until the next morning, when I saw the note the perpetrator left under my wiper.
We have talked and everything will be worked out.




THE TUESDAY RUN

It was quiet in my neighborhood again this morning.
In spite of the fact that I went to bed after 10:00 last night, I woke up at 4:30 this morning.
And I felt fine.
Go figure.

Anyway, that got me off to a early start preparing for my mid-week running session.
I was out the door at 5:25 AM - which is the same as when I sleep until 5 AM.
So, what did I do for that extra half hour?
I piddled around the house arranging my running clothes in the closet, cleaning my bathroom sink, and other little tasks that I have ignored.

Anyway, the run went well.
I was expecting rain but there was none.
Yet.
Clouds but no rain.
And it was surprisingly warm - almost 70 degrees.
So the outfit of choice was shorts and one of my sleeveless tops.
(I only bring up what I wear because as winter approaches, dressing "just right" for a run becomes a more involved process. That is why I like to run in the summer - same outfit every session.)

And I was alone today.
No people, just a couple of dogs to greet me (behind their fences).
And three or four cars.
That was it.

About a quarter-mile from my finish line (an invisible line in the street in-line with the edge of my driveway) I purposefully jacked up the pace to induce accelerated breathing.
I am sure this validates the contention of some who believe that there is a touch of masochism in runners.
I am not sure I would take it that far, but for myself, I have a sense that if a session feels too easy, I will try to do something to make it more of a physical challenge.
This usually comes near the end of a run where I unconsciously measure how much juice is left in the bucket.
If there seems to be more than enough, I jack up the effort.
The goal (and I cannot tell you where or why I got this idea) is to end the session with no juice left in the bucket.
I see that as enforcing an element of discipline on myself, rather than deriving pleasure from personal pain.
And, most of the people who see masochism in runners, are not runners themselves.
So, I think this is more an expression of jealousy than concerned clinical observation.

Friday, October 03, 2008

DEAD

It was really quiet this morning during my walk around the neighborhood.
So quiet that as soon as I got out on my street I heard the recorded trumpet on the arsenal playing reveille a mile away.
Soon after, I heard Our Guys hollering as they ran on the arsenal.

Other than the three cars that passed me, and the light traffic on Bob Wallace, it was like a ghost town.
Rin Tin Tin (not his real name) was up and barking again (he is a big German Shepherd that is usually sleeping when I pass, but yesterday he was busy defending his territory) for some reason, but was quiet when I passed.
The man with the yipping dogs was absent.
The man with the Shillelagh was absent.
Just the crickets and a few night birds were busy.

This is unusual for a Friday.
Often, Sunday morning walks are this dead, but not Fridays.
Usually, some folks who will lay out on other weekdays, will go to work on Friday because it is payday for many companies.
Not today, it seems.

It was on the edge of cold this morning - about 54 degrees.
For a the walk I dressed in long pants and long sleeves and mesh gloves.
It was just about right.
And about fifty minutes after I launched out, I was home with another three miles on my shoes.

ANNOUNCEMENT

This is to advise you that I will be unavailable tomorrow, Saturday, after the morning run and weekly shopping trip.
I will be in Athens, Alabama, attending the annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention.
I plan to be there from ten in the morning until eight or nine that evening.
Pictures will be taken (even though they may look like the pictures I have taken at this event the last two years (the only years that I have had a digital camera).
.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Very Important Message

This takes about ten minutes to watch but it is worth your time if you want to understand what happened today.



Spread the word.
We need to throw the bums out who did this to us.


NOBAMA
Keep the change

Saturday, September 27, 2008

HO HUM SIX MILES AGAIN

"Pride comes before a fall."
I was feeling pretty spunky this morning as I did the usual Saturday morning jaunt.
But I tried to be careful and humble about my new distance.

The plan was to do the six, with fall back plans B (the 4.45) and C (the 3.0) as required.
The temperature was 62 at the house.
The sky was so clear I could see stars overhead.
Off to the east there were a few thin stratus clouds waiting in the dim, lighter dark blue for the sun to light them up.

The party started at 6:08 AM; a little later than plan.
My left knee tried to squeak some protests about something not being quite right in there, but the early concern of Running Central turned to ignore after several steps diminished the problem to near zero.
And it stayed thus for the remainder of the trek.

Everything physical was nominal through miles one, two and three.
I turned off of Explorer on to Discovery like I have been doing it for months.
And the memories came back of the days that I used to run this course back in '02 and '03.
I plodded along flirting with accelerated breathing (not unexpected at this point) but managed to keep it under control.
Back on to Explorer, and things were just dandy.
Then I saw the sprinklers.
They were sprinkling on my sidewalk.
Not good.

Maybe sprinkling is too mild a term for what I saw.
These looked like a fire department pressure test.
Or a dress rehearsal at Yellowstone before tourist season opens.
Instead of the usual twenty-foot arcs of the other sprinklers I have seen in the area, these were shooting up ten or fifteen feet in the air and out fifty or sixty feet (or more?).

I do not like running with wet shoes.
The water makes them heavy and squeaky and on a long run, one can develop blisters sometimes. (to be honest, I have never gotten blisters running in wet shoes.)
Running in the rain is one thing (kuz it is everywhere, so you can't run around it), but running through the sprinklers is another.
I avoid it as much as possible.
Like today.

To do this I ran into the grass beyond the range of the sprinklers.
I hate running in the grass.
While softer than pavement or cement, the surface is uneven.
More so than it looks.
The risk of twisting one's ankle is much greater.

Anyway, once the computer controlled geysers were surmounted, the rest of the trip went smoothly.

Since last week, I have given some thought to adding the 264+ feet needed to make my course a true six miles.
So today I forsook my old, faithful finish line/crack for another.
Instead of ending the dance at the east end of the building where I start and stop, I kept on going to the west end of it.
According to my measurements of the satellite picture of the building, the new line is 507 feet from the old line.
Good enough for me.
The time was 7:02.
Fifty-six minutes, almost to the second.
Not bad for an old duff.

The Big Spring Jam 5K race was today.
Part of me wanted to run in it.
But, the shy person in me prefers to run alone.
I ran in close to one hundred races in my five-year "career" (I have not counted the exact number).
These included two half-marathons - 13 miles each, two or three 10 milers, three or four 9 milers, dozens of 6 milers, four or five 5 milers, three or four 4 milers, dozens more 3 milers and three or four two milers - and a one mile "sprint".
The results of all of these events proved to me that I was at least an average runner for my age; something I would not have believed if someone had just said it to me.
So, I do not "need" to run in a race to prove anything - to myself or to anyone else.
I enjoyed it when I was doing it, and might enter a few more in the future, but maybe not.
Racing is not a big deal to me.
Running is.

As I said last week, I will pay for this new achievement.
There is a low-level fatigue with me all day.
After lesser runs, I feel "tired" after the event, but this gradually lessens as the day goes on.
Not after this.
It takes a couple of days to get over this session.
And I will walk tomorrow.
And there is a weight workout scheduled for Monday.
Then Tuesday arrives.
Time to run again - albeit just three miles.
Still, it is a run.

If this sounds whiny, it is not meant to be so.
Just stating some facts.
I dare anyone to do what I am doing and not get into good physical condition.
Like the Nike ad says - "Just do it".
.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Most Powerful People....

... in the United States in 2008.

With the national election soon approaching I did a little quick math (with the help of a spreadsheet) to answer a question.

Here is the question : What is the fewest number of states a candidate must win to accumulate the minimum number of electoral votes needed to win the election?

Here is the answer: Eleven (11).

THE DATA

Listed below are the states with the largest number of electoral votes in order...

California - 55
Texas - 34
New York - 31
Florida - 27
Illinois - 21
Pennsylvania - 21
Ohio - 20
Michigan - 17
Georgia - 15
New Jersey - 15
North Carolina - 15

The total of electoral votes from the above eleven states is 271.
270 are needed to win the election.

Assume that the individual vote count is tied in every precinct in every county in every state across the United States, EXCEPT in ONE precinct, in ONE county, in EACH of these eleven states.
And in each of these eleven precincts just one vote separates the the winner and the loser.
And in each of these eleven precincts the one winning vote is for the same party/candidate for President.
Thus, each of these eleven votes would win their precinct and the entire state for that party/candidate.
These eleven votes, then, would decide the election for the entire nation.



Will you be one of the eleven?

Your vote is important.

..................................................

Contrariwise, a candidate/party could win all ten of the states with the most electoral votes and still lose the election to the candidate/party who won the forty-one remaining states with the least electoral votes.
Again, only one vote in each state is required.
That would only require forty-one people.
.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

SIX MILES!!!

Let the Royal Chronicles show that I went the distance this morning.
You may recall that last week I had the six mile goal in mind when I started out, but internal discussion kept the distance to the usual 4.45 miles.
This morning was different.

As I stepped out of the house, I felt light rain drops on my face.
Hmm, an added element to the session, I thought.
There were already enough issues to deal with for this session.

I was dealing with some minor digestive issues, the result of overindulgence the previous evening.
There was a men's group cookout at church Friday evening and I love grilled hamburgers and it is the only way I like hot dogs cooked.
So, I had two hamburgers and a hot dog and a nice fizzy, foamy cup of root beer - my favorite sugar drink.
I spent much of the evening, later, feeling excessively engorged.
Later, I had a little ice cream to help sooth the gastric hyperinflation.

I did not sleep as well as I would have liked (prolly because of the intestinal processing), and when the alarm went off at its usual 4:58 this morning, I felt like I would prefer another hour in the sack.
But I extricated myself from the Royal Bed and began my morning ablutions.
I checked my thermometer on the back porch and in the dim light it read about 67 degrees.
Not as cool as I expected.
Good thing.
A few seconds later I felt the rain.

The jog began at 6:04 in a very light rain.
This was one of those days to which I committed myself back in 1999, when I was sitting on the side of my bed pondering if I was going to become a "runner" or not.
Running in the rain was one of those circumstances that I promised I would do, even though I would prefer not to.

To add to the distress, my lower back was not liking the slightly sway-back angle in which I like it to be when I run.
So we have tummy issues, tiredness issues, weather issues, and back issues.
There was the faint flicker of a thought that I might not even be able to complete the 4.45 mile distance with all the little nagging negatives nattering at me.
But Running Central sent out the terse, clear message that all decisions about less distance will be dealt with later, at the time a decision must be made.

With that settled, my whining back did not find peace until well into the first mile, just before Hill one.
And the first hill was surmounted with nary a hint of accelerated breathing.
A good sign.
Hill Two was accomplished with equal strength.
And mile two and three were soon consumed.

As I approached the intersection of Discovery and Explorer, there was a quick huddle between Runner, Running Central, and Coach.
The question - do we go for six miles?
The negatives - lack of training, possible injury, the rain still coming down, tiredness from lack of good rest last night.
The positives - we used to run this distance on THIS course regularly, runner wants to try, nothing is hurting now.

As I turned left onto Discovery Drive I was curious about the challenge I was about to take on.
I was a bit amused at the less-than-ideal circumstances of this task.
But here we go.
I had not gone a quarter of a mile when the hamstrings in both of my legs began to whine.
This is nonsense, came the response from Running Central.
And after a few more steps, the hammy whinny went away.
I flirted with accelerated breathing off and on, but managed to keep my respiration in my comfort zone.

I motored on and early into mile 5 (five!) my left hip began to announce a dull ache with each stride.
I wondered if Arthur was stalking me.
No doubt he was/is but today was not going to be the day he takes me down.
Running Central sent out an "Ignore" order.
Runner complied.
And then I was into mile 6.
About mid way into the last mile, accelerated breathing kicked in for the duration, but it was not as uncomfortable as it has felt is previous parties.
Maybe I had bounced all those hamburgers and hot dogs down into a more comfortable disposition.

In spite of some low level left hip squeaking, I entered the last parking lot feeling like Superman.
I even sprinted to the finish line/crack.
I looked down at my watch, expecting over an hour duration.
But, nay-nay.
6:57.
Less than one hour.
Seven minutes less than an hour.
Six miles (minus 264 feet) in fifty-three minutes.
Woo hoo!
I was shocked, amazed and elated.

I could hardly wait to get home and write this.

I will pay for this episode.
I expect soreness later today and tomorrow.
Nothing crippling, just a nuisance.

...............................

Just to make sure that my distance was correct, I drove my car around the added loop I ran today.
It was exactly 1.5 miles. (thus, 1.5 + 4.45 = 5.95)
I will find a way to pick up that 264 feet....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Morning meeting and Finances

THE MORNING WALKING AND MEETING

Well, as you might remember, my last morning walk was rather quiet.
Not so this morning.
It looked like a neighborhood fire drill.

My first mile and a half or so was the usual crickety quiet.
Then I saw the bus in the church parking lot.
Then I saw all the cars and trucks of the people who were going to ride on the bus (I presume) in the church parking lot.

On the back half of my loop there was the man with the yipping dogs (who were yipping).
Then there was the two joggers whom I have seen before but never been close enough to speak to until this morning.
Then there was the black man on the black bicycle rolling along in stealth mode.
And THEN the old man with the shillelagh.

CONGRATULATIONS!

For those of you who pay taxes, congratulations are in order.
By virtue of the actions by the Secretary of the Treasury today, you are now a co-signer on several hundred thousand (or more) home loans that the current mortgagees cannot pay for.
So, if they default on their loans, YOU get to pay for it.
With your tax dollars.
And thus you own one 138 millionth of their house.
Woo hoo.

This is because of our old friend Billiam Jefferson Clinton, and the Congress, way back in the 1990's.
He signed legislation pushed by the liberals of them days, that required mortgage companies to loosen credit standards to allow more "marginal" applicants to qualify for a loan on real estate.
This was the financial equivalent to affirmative action at your local bank.
So, the banks dreamed up loan programs to lower the monthly payments of prospective loan applicants.
But lower payments equal slower payback.
Or no payback.
(ever heard of an Interest Only loan? This is a loan were all you pay each month is the interest on your loan. If you never pay anything on the principle, how long do you think it would take to pay back the loan? Try forever.)

But many of these folks could not really afford even these "lower" mortgage payments.
So, the bank gets the house back, to re-sell again to someone else, who, hopefully, can better afford the payments.

Then there are the derivatives.
This is where it got complicated.

ECONOMICS 525 (ADVANCED)

It works like this...stay with me....
Bank A has made 2000 home loans this month.
They sell 1000 of these loans to investment company B.

[why does the investment company want to buy these loans?
Because they have "guaranteed" value over a long time (15 or 30 years).
The homes have value and can be resold, even if the owner defaults on the loan.]

Unfortunately, mixed in with good loans are these "marginal" loans.
Only, investment company B does not know how many of the loans are "marginal".
Historically, only about two percent or less of home loans fail.
Based on this, investment company B discounts the total value of the 1000 loans it purchased from Bank A about two percent.
But because many more of these loans are "marginal", the likelihood of more defaults on these 1000 loans is greater.
But remember, investment company B does not know this.
Or at least, it does not know the actual percentage of "marginal" loans are in the 1000 loans, so they cannot accurately discount the value of the package.
Investment company B then goes out and uses this package of loans, and others like it, as collateral for other investments based on their assumed value.

Other companies, called Rating Agencies, whose business it is to put a value on the investments of these companies, vouched for the assumed value of the investment company based on the assumed value of the investments it had made.
Note "assumed".

Then some of the people who took out the loans on their homes began to fall behind in their payments.
Then the loans started to fail.
And more failed.
And more failed.
And, suddenly, the total value of all the loans bank A owns is not worth as much as it thought.
Banks determine their total business value by how much total money it is owed to it by all of its customers. (plus total deposits of actual money.)
If too many loans fail, the total value of the bank goes negative.

And investment company B finds that more of its loans (purchased from the bank) are failing than expected.
And, suddenly, the total value of all the loans it bought from bank A is not worth as much as it thought it was.
When this happens, it cannot borrow as much money to make more/other investments.

And the Rating Agencies, when they find out that the value of the investment company's investments are not worth as much as they thought they were, must lower the value it ascribes to the investment companies.

Then, other investment companies, who used to buy mortgage loans from banks realize that these are not as "safe" and stable as they used to be.
So they stop buying them.
If the banks cannot sell them, they lose more income.
If they lose more income, they make less loans.
They hold on to more reserves to cover anticipated increased defaults of their real estate loans.

Can you see a house of cards here?

Multiply this scenario by thousands of banks and set the default rate, not at two percent, but at ten or twenty percent, and you can see why we have a problem.
There are billions of dollars tied up in individual house/real estate loans.

And one more thing.
When a bank finds that its income from the mortgage payments of its customers begins to fall, it cannot loan out as much money as it used to.
And if the bank officers think that more of its loans are going to fail, it will hold on to more of its money (reserves), "just in case".
When it loans less money, your local business person (maybe your boss) cannot get the small , short-term loan he needs to keep his business going and growing.
Then the whole economy starts to slow down.
Small businesses start laying off workers.
Laid-off workers start to fall behind in their house loan payments.

Of Governors, Workouts and Lawnmowers

SUM MOR THOTS ON GOVERNOR PALIN

It is a sad fact that the daughter (Bristol?) has committed an immoral act with the young man (Levi?).
It was/is sin, punishable by death in the O.T. times (Deuteronomy 22:20-21) and worthy of being sent to hell then and now.
But God is merciful and does not want anyone to perish in hell (2 Peter 3:9).
So, hopefully, the young lady and the young man have repented and been forgiven for their transgression.

Because we, as Christians, have been given the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), it is our task to forgive the transgressors (Galatian 6:1) and help them deal with the situation that now faces them (Galatians 6:2) - a child, a soul, a little person that they/we have been charged to raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

Interestingly, it was noted in a news report, that Track, the Palin's first child (just shipped out for Iraq) was born eight months after their marriage.
Eight months, not nine months.
If this is so, it appears that premarital sexual activity runs in the family.
This is sad.
Perhaps, Track was just a few weeks premature.

The above not withstanding, I still like the lady and think she would be an excellent Vice President and capable of being a great President.

IN OTHER NEWS...

Today was workout day.
No walking or running.
So I did leg lifts, bent barbell rows, bench presses, bent dumbbell rows, and incline butterflies.
Total lifted this morning - 21,200 pounds.
Time - about an hour.
Amazing.

THE EXPERIMENT

Soon after I bought my current lawnmower, I changed the oil in it, according to the instructions in the Owners Manual.
This required that ALL of the gas be consumed from the gas tank (duh) and the mower be physically turned upside down to allow the oil to drain out.
Sooo, after mowing the grass one day, I tied the safety bar to the handle and left the machine running in the back yard.
The tank was almost empty, I could see just a few teaspoons worth in the bottom of the gas tank.
If it takes only forty minutes or so the use up a whole tank, a few teaspoons worth will not take long to be consumed.
Wrong.
The mower ran for over two hours on "no" gas.
I was amazed.

So, this summer, I have been playing a little game - to see how little gas I can mow the yard (front and back) with.
When I first started mowing with this mower three years ago, it took almost a whole tank (it holds about a quart or so) to do both parts.
A few weeks ago I started the mowing session with about half a tank.
There was still some gas in the tank after the yard was mowed.
Then I mowed with a quarter of a tank.
STILL some gas in the tank after the session.
Yesterday, I add NO gas to the tank and STILL mowed the whole front and back yard.
There was just enough gas in the tank to cover the bottom of the tank when I started.
This is amazing.

At the beginning of this mowing season, I had about a gallon and a half in my gas can (with which I refill my mower).
Early in the summer, I pondered how long this would last me this season and how much it would cost to fill the can when I ran out, with gas running 3-4 dollars a gallon.
Amazingly, I STILL have gas in my gas can.
I have yet to refill it this year.
Stay tuned...
.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Of Runs, Eyes and Blood Pressure

THE RUN...
...this morning was good.
Three miles starting at 5:30 AM.
The neighborhood was quiet - except for the crickets.
No birds.
Just a couple of yarded dogs doing their yardly dootee, today.
My only company on the dark street was the man with the two yipping dogs (who where yipping) for a few seconds as we passed going different directions.
Our mumbled greetings were drowned out by the two yammering canines.

The weatherperson promised that it would be cool this morning (mid to upper 50's) so I donned my long-sleeved light knit top (with collar), my knit gloves (just in case) and my ear warmer band (ditto).
I did not check the temperature on my thermometer when I left the house, as I should have.
Had I done so, I prolly could have left the gloves and the ear warmer at the house.
But I didn't, so I didn't.

Near the end of the first half-mile, the gloves came off and the zipper of the knit top went from full up to full down.
There was a nice light breeze from the north that blew the heat of my torso right out of my knit top, so I stayed mostly comfortable (though a bit warmer than I would have liked).
I just sweated a little more than I would have preferred.
(see why I hate winter?)
The ear warmer came off in the last half mile.

The mid-week run was intended to build up my cardiovascular capacity so that I can run farther/faster on Saturdays.
The intended placement of the mid-week session is exactly mid-way between the previous Saturday session and the next planned one.
According to my calculations, the perfect time (equidistant between each Saturday would be to run on Tuesday evening at 6:30.
Not gonna happen.
I prefer to not run in the evening.
I did it when I was working because running in the morning before work was too much of a time crunch and would require that I arise a 4:30 AM or so.
Not.

Anyway, my compromise is to run on Tuesday morning.
That puts the session 72 hours after the previous Saturday run and 96 hours before the next Saturday jaunt.
And there are weight workouts and three-mile walks in between also.

I felt good today.
My finish was strong and I felt like I could have gone farther (where was this Saturday morning when I needed it?).
Maybe next Saturday....

125/68

That was my blood pressure reading today in the optometrists office.
My heart rate was 64.
About the same as last year.
No growth of my cataracts.
No glaucoma.
No mac degen.
No change in vision.
Ho hum.

That will be two hundred and twenty-five dollars pleez.
Blaaah.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dream 2 ...And A Protest

THE SECOND DREAM

For your amusement, a reconstructed text of my second dream about Alaska Governor Sarah Palin:

...the debate between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin...

Moderator:
What experience do you believe you have that qualifies you to be Vice President of the United States? Senator Biden, you have sixty seconds.

Senator Biden:
For the last 21 years I have been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and for the last two years, I have been it's chairman. I have been a member of the United States Senate for over 35 years. This experience has given me a unique perspective on a wide range of domestic and international affairs. I have heard testimony from foreign leaders as well as U.S. military leaders. I have traveled to dozens of foreign countries over the years. This has given me a wealth of knowledge and understanding of complex and far flung issues that face this nation today.

It has shown me that we need to reverse the failed policies of this administration for the past eight years and begin to work to gain the respect of other nations and our allies in the world again. We need to engage our adversaries in meaningful dialog to seek resolution of issues that divide us. We need to address the issues that are affecting the middle class today. We need to make sure that everyone has access to affordable health care, that we have good-paying jobs for everyone who seeks one, that we address the important issue of global warming before.....

Moderator:
Your time is up.
Governor Palin you have sixty seconds.

Governor Palin:
I was a mayor of a small town in Alaska. I made decisions almost every day that affected people that I knew and saw on a regular basis. Many of these people were my friends and neighbors. I saw how my decisions affected each of them. I never forgot that experience when I became governor.

As a mayor and a governor, I have more executive experience than both Senator Biden and Senator Obama combined. As a member of a Senate committee, while the position is important, all you do is make recommendations to the executive branch or to the senate. As a mayor or a governor you have to make decisions. And the results of those decisions can be felt quickly sometimes. As a governor, you can't just vote "present". You have to act. You have to do something. You have to make a decision. Even if you don't like any of your options. I have shown that I can make those kinds of decisions. And as Vice President I will use this experience to make decisions that are for the good of the American people.

Moderator:
Explain your philosophy of governing or view of the role of government in solving the difficult problems that face out nation today.
Senator Biden, you have sixty seconds.

Senator Biden:

I believe that government has a vital role to help people who are struggling in today's recessionary economy. Struggling to pay their bills, struggling to find affordable health care, struggling with high gas prices, struggling to pay their mortgages. We need to extend a helping hand to those workers who have lost their job because their employer sent the work overseas, with job retraining programs. And we need to penalize those companies that shift jobs away from this country.

We need to come up with a system of affordable health care so that working people can get the health care they need. The market hasn't worked for millions of Americans who are struggling with low-paying jobs. Our government needs to step in and provide some structure to the health care system to make it work for the 43 million Americans who can't afford the health care they need.

We need to improve our schools where there is an unacceptable dropout rate. We need to revise our curriculums to make them more relevant to today's children so they will see the value of staying in school. Only government can do that kind of thing.

And we are faced with a catastrophic climate crisis that is too big of any single company or nation to solve. Only our government, in cooperation that other industrialized nations around the world, can put in place the guidelines and regulations needed to limit greenhouse gases that are destroying this planet. We need ....

Moderator
Your time is up, senator.
Governor Palin, sixty seconds for your response.

Governor Palin
My philosophy of government is simple.
The best government is the least government.
We need to get the stifling arm of the federal government out of our schools, our businesses, our homes, and our economy, and set the creative energy of the people of this great nation free. All the government should do is make sure that there is a level playing field where every citizen can achieve his or her full potential. And provide a little help for those who are experiencing hard times.

While I respect the fact that my counterpart has been successful in holding a senate seat longer than most people hold a career, allow me point out some concerns regarding that long stay in the senate.

Did he ever make any meaningful decisions for the benefit of the people of this nation?
Did he ever vote against a federal tax increase?
Has he ever voted in favor of reducing federal spending?
Has he ever voted to support our troops fighting in Iraq, or was he voting to cut off funding of the war there, every chance he got?
What has he done to make the federal government more efficient and more responsive to the American people?
Has he done anything to make it easier for an immigrant family to enter and work in this country legally, than it is for them to sneak in illegally?
Was there ever a problem that he thought he could solve that did not involve more government programs or raising taxes? Did he....

Moderator
Your time is up, Governor.

A PROTEST

In the last few days the following phrase has been making the rounds on the networks:
"Jesus Christ was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a Governor."

The assumed purpose of this *cute* slogan is to compare the experience of Barack Husein Obama to that of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

This phrase is offensive to me, as a Christian.

Jesus Christ was/is the Son of God, Yahweh.
Jesus Christ was/is the savior of all mankind. (including mee)
Jesus Christ was a carpenter.
Jesus Christ was a teacher of the truth of God.
Jesus Christ was/is a miracle worker.
Jesus Christ healed the sick, blind, lame, and mute. (and still does)
Jesus Christ was opposed by leaders of the government and religion.
Jesus Christ was killed by religious and political leaders of his day for opposing their distorted system of teachings.
Jesus Christ came to set people free from the universal problem of sin.
Jesus Christ died to save people from their sins.
Jesus Christ was much more than a "community organizer."

Community organization is what atheists do to try to help people because they have nothing better to offer them.
.