Monday, June 30, 2008

Running - Walking - Computing

WALKING AND RUNNING

The jaunt around Research Park Saturday morning was sort of nice.
The weather was warm and humid - about 72 degrees at 6:00 AM.
Not my favorite mix, but better than cold and/or rainy.

I had tried to behave myself Friday and keep the physical effort under control.
I walked three miles around the neighborhood early Friday morning (5:23 - 6:10 or so) and mowed the grass later (10:30 - 11:10 or so).
That was pretty much it for moving around for the day.
Oh, and I did two loads of laundry.
The clothes I dried in the electric machine, the sheets and towels were hung on the clothesline.

Anyway, the run went okay for the first three miles.
I felt a bit tired going up Hill One, but I was ready to suck it up and do what had to be done.
Hill two felt a bit tougher and accelerated breathing kicked in halfway up the incline.
For some reason there was an unusual amount of traffic on the roads.
Then, in mile four, my accelerated breathing was required again and I knew that this was going to be with me for the rest of the ride.
I spent the rest of the trip arguing with myself about whether to stop and walk for a while or not.
Not won.

But I was not happy that we had to have this conversation in the first place.
The good news is there was no whining from hammies or joints.

(Interestingly, while padding around the house getting ready to run, my left knee was suffering from a sharp pain just to the inside of my kneecap.
I did not like the implications of that feeling.
But when I started running I felt no problems from that location the entire journey.) :)

I spent much of the rest of the day fiddling with my computer, trying to get my new version of openSUSE Linux to work perfectly.
I had three main issues
1) my mouse wheel did not work,
2) the new version of Firefox (3.0) did not want to play flash files (and they are everywhere, including YouTube), and
3) my numeric keypad stopped working.

I submitted a couple of posts on the Suse Forums and waited for an answer.
I also posted a couple of bug reports on Bugzilla.
I got a response from a guy named Stefan in Munich, Germany regarding my mouse wheel problem in just a few minutes.
He asked for a couple of internal configuration logs from my computer, which I sent to him.
A few minutes later he told me to do three steps, which I did, and **BING** my mouse wheel was working.
I thanked him and we listed the mouse wheel bug as FIXED.
Two to go.

THE SUNDAY WALK AND....

Sunday was spent occupied with getting ready and going to church and suchlike.
I walked my three-mile route through the neighborhood at 5:30 AM as usual.
I was doing a lot of daydreaming for some reason but I managed to keep my pace up.

Evidently, the people who own the boxer that likes to greet me each morning have gotten rid of their dogs. (there was a second dog in the yard that never made any sound.)
The dog houses are gone from their back yard and it was SILENT as I padded by this morning.
I felt kind of sorry for the doggies.

THE MONDAY SOLUTION

I was becoming very upset with my computer keypad problem and so I resolved to reload the operating system this morning.
I installed the DVD at 6:37 this morning and at 6:50 my new(er) open SUSE Linux booted up, ready to go.
That is thirteen minutes for the installation of 4.3 billion bytes of code.
I was impressed.

Rather than do an upgrade installation (like last time), I did a fresh install.
I had done a backup of all my personal files last night so I was ready to have to load them into the new upgrade, but that was not necessary.
Somehow, even with the clean install, my old files were saved and were ready to rock when I did my final boot.
Sweeeet!

The new install fixed my Firefox problem.
So now I have the new Firefox 3.0, (with Flashplayer 9.0)
the latest OpenOffice 2.4.0.14,
the Linux kernal 2.6.25.5-1.1, and
the latest KDE 3.5.9 release 49.1 desktop environment.

KDE has a newer 4.0.1 version released but it is not quite ready for general distribution just yet.
I will wait a while for it.

The new Firefox is noticably faster than 2 was.
And I was not unhappy with version 2.

So now I have a *new* computer.
And everything works.

Take THAT Micro$oft.
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Friday, June 27, 2008

SOME THOT ON LEGAL REASONING

LEGAL READING

I have spent a good part of the last two days reading the U.S. Supreme Court decision District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller.
All 68 pages worth.
At Issue is whether the District of Columbia - the governing body of the city of Washington D.C. (D. C. = District of Columbia)- has the right to ban the possession of handguns by all residents of the city.
Particularly, the court considered the question whether the District Law violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Which reads:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The decision of the Court was a 5-4 split.
The arguments of the two sides split along two lines of thought.
1) The majority said that the Amendment had two parts - the Militia clause, and the "keep and bear" clause.
They read this as the Militia clause did not limit the "keep and bear" clause.
By this, they meant that there were more reasons for a citizen to keep and bear arms than just to be able to join in a state militia, when necessary.
Among these reasons were protection of individual/family/property from assault, robbery, etc., hunting, and sports.
Thus, any laws that limit the ability of a citizen to keep (posses) and bear (use) arms (weapons) violated the second amendment to the Constitution.
This is because such laws not only constrained the ability of citizens to participate in the Militia, it also constrained their ability to protect themselves.

2) The minority said that the Militia clause DID limit the applicability of the "keep and bear" clause.
This being the case, the lack of a need for a state Militia in modern times, reduced the need for citizens to posses and use weapons.
They did acknowledge the value of possessing weapons for personal protection and defense of property.
The minority cited several laws passed down through American history that limited the right to posses and/or carry and/or use firearms.
The reasoning being that no "right" delineated in the Constitution is absolute and without some "reasonable" limits.
By their reasoning, the D.C. prohibition on owning a handgun was a reasonable limitation on the right because, 1) it still allowed possession of rifles and shotguns, 2) the high incidence of crime and murder in the city involving handguns made the ban an "acceptable" attempt to improve public safety.

SOME THOTS

I was intrigued to see the lack of one overriding perception by the justices.
There was a good bit of discussion over the meaning of the "keep and bear" clause.
To me, this is quite simple.
To "keep" means to retain in one's possession.
To "bear" means to (literally) expose, or more properly, to use.
The reason these terms were left as spare as they are was not to save ink.
It was because it was generally and widely understood that virtually everyone owned a weapon of some kind.
"Arms" were not limited to just guns.
Swords, and knives were also considered to be "arms".
Especially in reference to the militia.
But most people had a gun.
And nearly every citizen used them on a regular basis.
Primarily for killing animals for food, but also for killing predatory animals or pests, and finally, for personal protection of family and property.
Given that, there was no need for the framers of the Constitution to elaborate on the concept.

The dissenters go into the reasons the D.C. council used to justify the handgun ban.
They quote several statistics about gun-related deaths in the United States used by the D.C. council.
The motive is to justify the motives and reasoning of the council.
And the dissenters deem the process and resulting prohibition "reasonable".

What is interesting is that more recent statistics on gun-related deaths in the U.S. presented to the court in this case, demonstrate that the D.C. ban on handguns has had NO effect on crime or deaths in Washington, D.C..
In fact, crime and gun-related deaths have increased.
If statistics were a reasonable justification for passing the law in the first place, then, ten years of new statistics that show the handgun ban of no effect (or of making the level of public safety even worse), should be reason to repeal it.
But the dissenters tried to blunt this last point by saying that just because facts show a changed situation, that does not prove that the law in question CAUSED the change.

Point granted.
But that rule of logic can also be applied to the process of enacting the ban in the first place.
That makes the rule of logic in question null.

Given the latest statistics, the D.C. council should try the opposite tactic, to wit: repeal the handgun ban, and issue a gun of choice to every family that wants one and offer training in how to use it in the context of self-defense and protection of home and property.

A SIDE NOTE

It was mentioned in both arguments that certain people are prohibited from possessing a firearm in most states - felons.
Those who have been convicted of a crime.
It can be assumed that this common limitation is based on experience with ex-convicts in numerous communities across the nation.

Interestingly, in almost every discourse on the penal system in this country, the stated goal of the prison system is to rehabilitate the criminal.
Yet this prohibition of guns to felons (and other civil restraints) admits that the judicial system in this country is a failure when it comes to rehabilitating citizens convicted of a crime.
If a former prisoner is truly rehabilitated, why should he/she be prohibited from participating in every right and function of regular citizens?
He/she has paid his/her debt to society and is now fully able to rejoin the citizens he/she offended.

But law is a function of experience.
Bad experiences in society yield specific laws.
If felons are commonly prohibited from possessing firearms, there must be a reason.

The only logical conclusion must be that felons are NOT rehabilitated.
In other words, ex-convicts are not able to behave as citizens in ways that are acceptable to society.
Stated another way, ex-convicts are not generally good citizens.

Given this admission, does this not make a good case for the death penalty?
If a former convict cannot be trusted with a firearm for lawful purposes, as is any other law-abiding citizen, then what good is he/she to society?
Perhaps, it would be wiser for the community to rid itself of those it cannot trust to behave in socially acceptable ways.

In a similar way, convicted sex offenders are required by law to notify the local authorities where they live, and are restricted from living in certain areas, such as near schools.
Why is this if they are truly rehabilitated?

It must be that they are NOT rehabilitated.
And, as such, liable to commit the same type of crime again.
That being the case, then sex offenders should be killed by the state to protect its citizens from further harm.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gutters for Rain and Not Leaves

My cuticles have stopped bleeding now.

I finally got around to installing a cover over the rain gutters on my house so the leaves will not clog them.
Though not especially difficult, it was a tad painful to slide the plastic mesh under the shingles on the edge of my roof.
This process caused many small cuts around my fingernails.
My fingers are still sore.
But they will mend.

IN OTHER NEWS.....

The Monday workout was pleasantly successful.
I actually got it out of the way before I started on the gutters.

For the past month or so, my back has been is such a condition that it did NOT like the transition from lying flat to sitting up bent forward. (about 110 degrees total movement)
I could tolerate either extreme but not the process of going from one position to the other.
Somewhere in the middle, "things" in my lower back would ouch loudly.
So loudly as to be paralyzingly painful momentarily.

So, this morning when I set up my incline board to again try to do my incline sit-ups, I wondered how "things" were going to be back there.
To my surprise and delight I was able to do the move without any complaints from lower back.
In fact, I did twenty of them with surprising ease (as easy as incline sit-ups ever are).
I could have done more than twenty today, but I stopped there.
Why my tummy was so strong, I know not.

The pull-ups and push-ups (three sets of each) went on without any problems and in an hour or so, I was done.
Yes, I know I could have done the whole workout in about twenty minutes but I purposely spread out the exercises so that there is some aerobic effect as well.
My goal is to make the session last to about forty-five minutes to one hour.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Of Trucks and Computers and Runs

A GOOD RUN

Did you ever have to poop in the middle of a four-mile run?
Don't answer.
I really don't want to know.
Let's just say that if you have, I know somewhat how you felt.
Don't ask how I know.

The threat of morning rain did not apply to my running course this morning.
The temperature was a nice, damp 70 or so with several layers of broken clouds basking in the sunrise.
The start time was 5:53 AM.
The finish time was 6:34 AM.
This calcs to me like forty-one minutes.
I was well pleased.

The session was pleasant if not fun.
I felt a bit tired, not at my best, but I was able to perform in general "comfort".
(I know some of you cannot conceive of having a "comfortable" run - of any distance - and I would not either eight years ago.)
But there is such a thing, and today was close to it.
So much so, that after Hill One, I was pushing ever so gently on the pedal to increase my pace.
Evidently, it worked.
The clock never lies.

My back was not comfortable with the upright, slightly sway-backed - position for the first quarter mile or so.
I was somewhere in mile two when I realized that my back was happy.
A happy back makes me happy.
I was happy after mile one.

Sadly, yesterday is the longest day of sunlight for the year - the first day of Summer.
From now on, all days will be getting shorter.
This is enough to put me in a funk, because I hate winter.
Cold, gray, yucky, rainy, windy, blech.
That is the bad news.
The good news - all of that is still four or five months away.
Woo hoo.

OPENSUSE 11.0...

is now installed on my puter machine.
I spent most of Friday downloading it, burning the ISO to a DVD, then installing it on my machine.
The down load took about an hour and a half for 4.3 gigs of data/code.
I wasted another hour or two piddling around trying to verify the check sum.
I finally got the magic detail online from a user in Europe somewhere.
Nice guy.

Burning the DVD took another three hours because of the slow burn speed recommended by "them-what-know" (1.5 hours to burn + 1.5 hours to verify every individual bit).
It only took about thirty or forty minutes to install the new stuff on/in my computer.
And now----- I have new software - from the kernel on out.

The new Firefox 3.0 is noticeably faster.
The new Open Office 2.4.0.14 looks about like the last rev but has some subtle differences.

I was looking forward to seeing the new KDE 4.0 desktop but for some reason it did not want to load.
And the automatic updater is broken.
But I can do updates manually.
And my mouse wheel is still broken.
But maybe I will learn how to fix it myself.

So I will wait for another patch or two to fix these few issues.

I have been using openSUSE Linux for over a year now.
I have no plans to go back to Window$.
I am very pleased with this version of Linux.

THE TRUCK WITH THE LOW TIRE

Some time last year (I think) I was sitting in my car in Lowe's parking lot getting ready to leave on another errand.
A man driving a red Chevy Blazer drove slowly past me and made a slow loop around the big covered exit, apparently looking for someone.
What caught my eye was the right rear tire of the truck.
It was about half flat.
I pondered trying to wave him down to tell him, but he left before I could make a move.

Months later, I saw the same red truck parked in front of some cheap apartments near my house.
The right rear tire was still half flat.

I felt sorry to the man and God said to me, you can help him fix that tire.
He is probably having a tough time of it and you could help him.
I knew it was true.
I have been blessed and it would not be a financial strain to help this man get his tire fixed.

But I put it off.
It was never the "right" time to change my little schedule and go do the deed.
Such moves are out of my comfort zone.
What would I say?
How would I explain my desire to help?
What would he say?
This discomfort went on for days and weeks, but it was clear that God wanted me to help the man fix his tire.
Even if it cost one hundred dollers.

Then one day as I passed the apartments after work - the truck was gone.
I felt badly.

And God said, "See? I told you to help him. Now he's gone."
Missed opportunity.
And missed blessing.

That was about two months ago.
Guess what I saw this past Tuesday?
Yep.
The red truck.
Guess what - the right rear tire was STILL low.
I said, Lord, I will do it this time, no matter what.

So today, after the morning run and the shopping trip, I drove over to the apartments.
Got out of my car and introduced myself to the folks there.
I explained my mission and why.
It turns out that the man I saw in the truck last year was no longer the owner.
At this point, I did not care.
I had to get that tire fixed.
The man did not argue with me when I offered to get his tire fixed.

So the new owner, gave me the bad tire and wheel and off I drove to get it fixed.
It turned out that the tire was damaged and could not be repaired.
I was prepared for this.
So I bought a new tire for the wheel.
After about an hour or so, I returned to the red truck and proudly presented the man with his **new** tire and (old) wheel.
He was pleased.
I was pleased.

And a burden of guilt was lifted off of me.
Next time I will move faster.
I promise, Lord.
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

THE SUNDAY MORNING WALK

The walk Sunday morning was according to my new three-mile course.
Which is half of my old two-mile course.
I know that does not make sense but let me explain. (like you care.)

From my house to Bob Wallace Avenue is about a half mile.
From Bob Wallace Avenue to Drake Avenue is one mile.
If I go directly home from Drake Avenue, that is another half mile.
Half mile plus one mile plus half mile - Ta Da! - two miles.
That was the OLD route.

The New Route follows the same "old" path for the first mile and a half (see above).
But rather than coming directly home from Drake Avenue, I retrace my course back to Bob Wallace Avenue and then home.
Thus, half mile plus one mile plus one mile plus half mile - ergo, THREE miles.
The extra mile takes about ten extra minutes or so.

The weather Sunday was nice, if a bit humid.
Even at 5:23 in the morning, it was about 68 degrees.
But, hey, this is Alabama in the almost summer.

All of the dogs were sleeping in except the Boxer on Fairacres Road.
If he really wanted to eat me he could easily jump the three-foot chain-link fence in his yard and attempt a bite.
(but I carry a knife for just such an encounter and would do my best to sever a jugular.)
But I am convinced he really wants no trouble.
He is just doing his dogly job to impress his owner to keep the meals coming.

At this particular hour, on this particular day of the week, traffic is virtually nil.
Because of this, I can walk down the middle of the street (except on Bob Wallace where I use the sidewalk because there IS some traffic there - even at this early hour).
Often, the paper man is riding around in his little red pickup tossing the Sunday paper on driveways with the characteristic whomp!.
There usually are no other people out walking (or running or crawling or anything).
Just the black young man on his bicycle.
He doesn't say much, just nodding to my quiet verbal greeting.
I don't know where he is going at this hour but he is in no hurry.

I, on the other hand, have to keep prodding myself to keep my pace as fast as I can.
This hour of the day, it is fun to just look around and daydream.
And when I daydream, I pay not attention to my pace and slow down.
This is a no-no.

The real purpose of this session is not to sightsee; it is to burn calories.
And the way to burn them is to step lively, not saunter along.
Since I ran Saturday (yesterday), it would be wise not to run today.
Though I am likely capable of a three-mile run, it would be harder on my system and prolly burn too much muscle.
And, at this stage in my life, I need every last ounce of muscle I can keep.
This is not so I will look pretty (though that would be nice, but, alas, I have belatedly learned that such a status would require a massive genetic overhaul).
It is, rather, because I need the muscle to keep my metabolism going as fast as possible.
Muscle mass is what burns calories, and burning calories helps keep one's body fat under control.

I found that when I was achieving my best running times, I was weaker than when I was only lifting weights.
I was a stronger runner, but actually weaker overall.
That may seem like a contradiction, but I have the workout numbers to prove it.
It surprised me when I found out this tidbit.

This may be unique to Lil Steevee because he has such limited systemic strength.
I can do one well or the other well , but not both well. ("well" = strongly)
And if I had to choose between the two - running or weight lifting, I would choose weight lifting. (surprisingly, given that I love running so much.)
The reason is that running has little practical value in daily life.
What do you do each day (or each week, for that matter) that requires you to be able to run a mile, or two, or three, or six?
Nothing.

Not so with weight lifting.
You typically are lifting and moving things every day.
Not barbells, of course, but books, or laptops, or groceries, or yard tools, or whatever.
You need some level of strength to do your daily tasks.
Whatever cardiovascular strength you need can be built/maintained by walking.

So, you might say, WHY do you like running so much?
Simple.
I am a drug addict.
I am addicted to the endorphins produced by the run.
Walking does not produce them to the degree that running does.
Neither does weight lifting.
Some, but not as much.
See here for more info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphins

So, I run because I love it.
I lift weights because I need to.
I walk because I should.
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Post-VBS Run

THE TRUE MEASURE OF A RUN

If one knew that he/she had limited strength and recovery ability.
And this one knew that he/she was going to run about 4.45 miles on Saturday morning.
And this one knew that he/she should limit the amount and intensity of activity on the day and evening prior to the 4.45 mile run so that one's strength would be adequate to perform said run.

Then one would not wash the car on Thursday.
And one would not decide to trim the hedge and sundry yard bushes on Thursday.
And one would not delay Thursday's weight workout to Friday morning.
And one would not mow the grass of one's yard on Friday after the weight workout.
And one would not decide to help move church furniture and help clean up the Vacation Bible School decorations after the closing program after the weight workout and cutting of the yard grass.
And, knowing that one needs plenty of rest prior to the 4.45 mile run on Saturday, one would not get engaged in looking up information on the internet after coming home from cleaning up the Vacation Bible School decorations after the closing program, and stay up late on Friday night.

But I did all that.
And the run this morning was another slog.
The session started at 6:02 AM in cloudy, humid weather.
The temperature was about 70 F, with a nice steady west wind of about 5-10 mph.
I spent almost the entire session alternating between "normal" breathing rate and my accelerated breathing after topping Hill One.

In addition, in the middle of mile three (as usual) my left (as usual) hammies started to whine (as usual).
The unanimous response from Running Central, the Coach in me, and the Runner in me, was "Sorry about that. Deal with it."
Which (as usual) the hammies did.
I actually felt a little sorry for my left hamstrings today.
They HAVE been busy.

The good news is that I did not have to stop and walk (though part of me was warning about old runners dropping dead from overdoing it, etc.).
The other good news was that I arrived at the finish line/crack at 6:44 AM.

Forty-two minutes.
Not bad for a tired old man.
So, it does not really matter how one feels during a session.
One may feel good or bad.
It matters not.
The clock always tells the truth.
The clock said I had a pretty good session today.

I have promised myself that I will do a better job of pre-run preparation next time.

VBS

Our Vacation Bible School this year was a major disappointment to me.
This had nothing to do with the people who worked so hard to prepare everything, learn the songs, study the lessons, prepare the snacks, etc.

It had more to do with the number of kids who came.
Attendance was a disappointment to me.
I found myself having to "jack up" myself to get over the thoughts of "wasted effort" and such like.
And I was not feeling that it was MY effort that was being "wasted".
My role is relatively minor, and that is fine with me.
I was thinking more of all the other church folks who had helped.

Fortunately, by the last evening, my (and the Lord's) jacking up had worked.
I looked at the effort as a seed-sowing time.
God can take little and make it much.
And sometimes the "little" is so little that we do not even notice it.
But God does.
And He can magnify it in the mind of a child into something that stays alive in them for years.
And then He can add another element to it and move that person to the point a making a decision to repent and be born again.

So that is what I am trusting will happen this year.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

THE RUN AND (UNPLANNED!) WALK

THE RUN AND WALK

Saturday, the morning run was a disappointment.
The weather was accommodating - warm - about 70 or so - partly cloudy with a veree light breeze, humid.
I was feeling tired/weak for reasons that I know not.
Starting off, my back was just barely tolerating my normal angle for running.
But I was determined to make a go of this event, even if I had to go slower to accommodate my still-infirm back.

This back weakness (I guess) provoked accelerated breathing at the top of Hill One and Hill Two.
For me, this is a sure sign that my strength is not at its best.
Part of the reason for the tiredness may be the leftovers of my back problems.

I had noticed that as I tried to compensate for the limited mobility of my lower back, it put a strain on my middle back muscles.
Sometimes they would cramp.
This happened a couple of times Friday as I worked around the house.
So.... the Saturday morning session turned out to be more of a struggle than I expected or wanted.

I was working so hard that I had to stop running late in mile three and walk for about five minutes - something I HATE to do.
When my breathing got back to a more comfortable rate, I started running again.
But I had to stop again late in mile four.
I was not happy.
I finished the session running but my self esteem was in the basement.
I was more surprised than anything else.
It has been years since I have had to do this.

Partly in response to this poor performance, I decided to jack up my Sunday morning walk around my neighborhood from two miles to three miles.
There was enough time before get-ready-for-church time to allow an additional ten minutes or so for the extra mile.
And it was so.

And my back felt a bit better for this session.
So, (according to my observations) it takes me about 35-40 minutes to walk two miles and about 50 minutes to walk three miles.
These times indicate an inconsistent pace for either the first or second mile and/or the third mile.
But the true fact is my "two"-mile walk is really about two and a quarter miles because I throw in an extra loop around an extra block.
I have not measured the "two-mile" course with my car to verificate the distance.

MY NEIGHBORHOOD

The area where I live/walk/run (sometimes) is basically an old suburban neighborhood.
My house was built in the early 1960's.
Other houses just a couple of streets away are larger, and appear to be about 20 years younger.
Some newer than that.
I class the area as lower middle class, income-wise.
About a third of the homes are populated by older people - many of them older than me. (so that's really old!)
The other two thirds are about evenly split between younger families - with no or a few young children - and "older" families with tweenage and teenage kids.

These people are mostly manufacturing or retail workers, with a few small business owners in the mix.
Of the more mature (read: older) people, they have likely worked their way up from line workers and material handlers in local small businesses to line supervisors or production supervisors.
I am sure there a few invisible millionaires around me also.
The Latino families that are starting to populate the area seem very proud of their property and take good care of their yards.

Many of these people smoke.
(this demographic detail indicates that many of these people are not college educated.)
I see a few of them sitting out on their front porch or car port sucking on one in the early morning as I walk. (I walk every day I don't work out or run. Which now means I walk on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.)

There are a lot of American flags displayed year round.
About half of them on vertical poles in the front yard.
Most of the properties are well-kept.
These people spend a lot of time tending their little plots of real estate.
The exception is the messy/grass-needs-cutting yard.
But there is one or two on every block.

I see my neighborhood as a pretty typical American area.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Finally - A Run, and some other stuff

BACK TO RUNNING

My back was sufficiently healed so that I could actually run Saturday morning.
The weather was nice, if a bit too warm and humid.
The temperature was about 68.
The sun was trying to peek through the hazy eastern clouds.

After not running for two weeks, I knew that I would have diminished aerobic capacity.
And I did.
By the time I reached the top of Hill One my lungs wanted more air than my regular running breathing rate could supply.
So I kicked into accelerated breathing for a couple of minutes.
As I settled down for Hill Two the slower breathing only lasted until I got to the top.
Then I went into the level two panting again for a couple of minutes.

Part of me felt uncertain about going for the four-mile course with my limited capacity.
The Runner, and the Coach in me both said go for it.
The line was, "If you have to quit and walk, deal with that if/when the circumstance presents itself."
So, on I went onto the long course.
And somewhere in mile three, the accelerated breathing kicked in again, even though this portion of the course is almost ruler flat.
I knew that this would be with me for the rest of the session.
But the runner in me was ready to prove something - mostly to myself.
So, I plodded on.

And, as I have found many times before, there is something deep within me that will push my body well into discomfort.
And as my mind bounced between "can I do this?", "I want to stop," and "Shut up and run," I kept going.
In all fairness, this was not the most difficult run I have ever done (that distinction would be my first Monte Sano 15K, and my second 10 mile runs, or my last Alabama A & M 10K - where I actually quit before the end of the race - my only DNF)

When I finished, my wrist clock told me that I had taken 43 minutes.
Not a bad time for diminished strength and endurance.
It was good to be running again.

BUMPER STICKERS

Following are a couple of bumper stickers I have invented for the doomsday global warming fans -

SAVE THE PLANET - KILL YOURSELF

The logic here being that if people (supposedly) cause all this bad stuff, the solution is simple - get rid of the people.

Next...

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE

Pretty self-explanatory.
But the point here is we are all going to die regardless of the cause.
So, chill out...oh, wait, you can't kuz the global is warming.
Um, well....

And, perhaps, just for the record, I need to state my position of the subject of "global warming".

GLOBAL WARMING (NOT!)

1) I am a firm believer in the concept of climate change.
"Climate change" is defined as long-term (measured in decades or centuries) trends in temperature change - of air and/or water - either up or down.
We are currently in a transition from an "Ice Age" to a "Warm Age" (whatever exactly that will be).

2) NONE of the long-term climate changes ever recorded are the result of the activities of people.
It is the most arrogant, self-important deception to believe that the activities of people on this planet can amount to enough to change the planetary climate system to even the most minute degree.

Even with 6.7 billion people on the planet (that reads as, 6,700,000,000), they populate only ONE PERCENT of the earth's surface.
(If you doubt this, just fly over this nation and look at all the open territory between the houses, towns and cities.)

Seventy-one percent of the earth's surface is covered by water.
That leaves only twenty-nine percent for people to settle on.
The total mass of the worlds oceans is about 1.4 × 1021 kilograms (14,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 grams)
Water has a ability to collect and store heat energy.
A collection of water this large has a huge effect on the weather of the planet.
There is NOTHING people could possibly do to alter the temperature of the worlds air and/or oceans to cause a change in the climate of this planet.

Regardless of the quoted statistics of how many tons of pollution or CO2 gas (or whatever your favorite poison might be) industrial plants produce each year, they are virtually insignificant when compared to the amount of energy produced, consumed, and stored by the weather system of this planet.

A single volcanic eruption will produce more CO2 in a few days than all of the people and their evil factories on the entire planet can produce in a year or more.

There is NO WAY the activities of people can affect the worldwide climate system of this planet.

The idea that people can "save" the planet from changing its climate a few degrees is an exercise in self-deception of the highest order.