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.
.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Changing Seasons

THE DARKNESS OF MORNING

There was a time, a few weeks ago, when I set out on my morning walk or run, that the little birdies would be singing their good mornings to each other before the sun cleared the mountain east of town.
Not now.

When I set out lately, it is still dark, with no hint of light or color in the eastern sky.
And all I hear are crickets.
Zillions of them.
And a dog or two barking at probably nothing sufficient to warrant such a vociferous response.

I get amused at myself on occasion in this environment because I am generally afraid of the dark.
This goes back to my very early childhood when I had horrible nightmare.
I was about two - small enough to still be sleeping in a crib and wear pajamas with feet in them.
I still remember this dream/incident to this day.
Down to the last detail.
I will not go into the details here (refer to my autobiography for that, ... oh, wait, I haven't published it yet...) but sufficient to say that it started me off with a deep and abiding distrust of the sunless hours.
Sort of like a vampire in reverse.

This was true even when I was a teenager in Southern California.
My parents knew of my proclivities and took advantage of them from time to time. (like the one Halloween they hung a five-foot tall cardboard skeleton from the ceiling light in my darkened bedroom.)

Or the time my family went camping on the California coast.
My mom and dad (step-dad, technically) and me and my (male) friend (whose name I cannot recall at this time) were taking a leisurely walk at dusk along a deserted country road near the campground.
My parents were walking about fifty feet behind my friend and I.
We had just seen a couple of small bats flitting around above the big trees and had made a comment to that effect, when my dad, sneaked up behind my friend and I and rattled a small branch with dried leaves on it he had found lying by the side of the road.
The two of us set a new world record for the 100 yard dash before realizing that we had been perpetrated against.

With that background, I am amused at myself some mornings as I set out in the silent darkness.
Actually it is not really silent.
There are the afore-mentioned crickets.
And there are cars humming in the distance.
And if the breeze is from the southwest on a weekday, I can hear Our Guys shouting out their cadence slogans as they run on the Arsenal a mile away.

To make things more challenging, I do not wear my glasses.
But my distance vision is nearly good enough to not need them.
(I can read a license plate at about twenty feet or so.)

Most of the time I see no one.
But there are a few folks that are out at that hour (5:30 - 6:30) sometimes.
Like the older man (even older than me!) who walks in bermuda shorts and carries a shillelagh.
He wears his glasses.

Or the young black man who silently rides his bike slowly through the neighborhood.
He came up behind me one morning and set off my alarms.
But he just kept on going.
He wears a hoody and in the darkness you can hardly see his face (especially if one does not wear one's glasses).
From his speed, I surmise that he is going somewhere definite, but is in no hurry to get there.

Then there is the bald-headed man who walks his two small yapping dogs some days.
I can hear him (them) coming a block away.
And the barking (for no real reason) of his dogs, sets off all the dogs in the neighborhood to yapping back.
I am temped every time I see him to admonish him to teach his domesticated canines to not bark on a walk.
But I just wave and smile as I pass as fast as I can, to get away from his noisy animals.

I greet everyone I meet.
Most of them greet back.
And I wave casually to the few cars that pass my way.
You never know when you will need a friend.
Though my street is usually quiet, this is a high crime area with lots of drug and drug-related activity going on at night just a few blocks away.
On occasional nights I am awakened by gun fire.
So I carry my knife on my walks.

By the time I arrive home from my walks, the birdies are awake and tuning up.

THE RUN ...

... was good.
Sort of.
I was feeling pretty good and as I started out in the humid morning air, I had a persistent thought that I should try to go six miles today.
I audibly answered the idea, saying, "We'll see."
At the top of Hill One I flirted with accelerated breathing, but nothing distressing.
Near the top of Hill Two, more accelerated breathing.
But it quickly settled down.
Hmmm, six miles?
Maybe.

By the time I came to the point of decision near the end of mile three, I was not so sure about going for six miles.
There was a brief discussion about the option, with both sides presenting arguments.

I am not sure I am ready for it yet, the cautious side said.
You will never know until you try, the aggressive side countered.
I need to build up to it, caution shot back.
Just do it, aggression replied, it is only one and a half more miles.
What about possible injuries from taking too big a step, caution whined.
Nothing is hurting; what injuries?
I need to think about it, said caution.
Never mind, you just passed the turn-off.

And so, the six mile distance remained an idea.
Today.
And , indeed, there were no sore places during (of after) the session.
No ice picks next to knees.
No broom sticks poking left hamstrings.
No screwdrivers in hip joints.

But about one half mile from the finish, accelerated breathing came for a visit and stayed for the duration.
This did not stop me from a final sprint over the last fifty yards or so.
But it did vindicate the cautious side of me.
My time was about forty-two minutes so this was a pretty strong session.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Must See

This is one of the most impressive political ads I have ever seen.
In case you have not seen it, here tiz......



More to come....
.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Date Of Up

Let the Royal Chronicles show that I ran 4.45 miles last Saturday.
It was a good run, even though I felt a bit fatigued.
It took forty-three minutes - longer than other sessions lately.
So the fatigue was not imagined.
But I finished strongly (or sprintingly).

I know you both will be enthralled to know that I have modified my workout/exercise plan.
Instead of a weight workout for legs on Tuesday, I ran three miles.

The logic for this is that instead of lifting 55,000+ pounds (total weight lifted [weight x reps x sets] in a typical leg workout) in a wider range of motion weight workout for legs, I am going to lift 1,045,440 pounds (5280 feet x 3 = 15840/2.5 [stride] = 6,336 steps x 165 pounds) in quick (2.5 per second) partial reps.

I will see how my body responds to this adjustment.

So now I am walking three miles on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings.
I run on Tuesday (three miles) and Saturday (four point four five miles) mornings.
And I do upper body weight workouts on Monday and Thursday.
As you see, there are no days "off".
For now, a three-mile walk is the "off" day activity.

FOR THE RECORD

I do not believe that Senator Barack Husein Obama was referring to Governor Sarah Palin in his "put lipstick on a pig" comment Tuesday.
The McCain campaign would do well to not try TOO hard to make something out of EVERY little thing that Mr. Obama says.
It could be seen by an increasingly aroused electorate as silly and a waste of time on the trivial.
That could backfire on the Maverick and his gang.
They should stick to the themes of change and the inexperience/ineptitude of the Illinois senator himself.
He is an easy target from those angles.

The Republicans have of good thing going with Governor Sarah Palin.
Go for the ride.
Let her run.
I think she has good political instincts.
I could be wrong, but she could be the next Ronald Reagan of the American conservative political movement.
She may look thin on experience (compare her experience to that of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt) but often, great people rise to greatness out of common/average beginnings.
So far I am very impressed with the lady.

More dream dialog coming....
.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dreams

In the last week, I have had two dreams that involve Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin.
Both dreams have to do with an interview and a segment of debate.
I have written down as much of the details of these dreams as I could recall, for your amusement.
Following is the first installment:

INTERVIEW

Rachael Maddow MSNBC:
As we just saw in this video clip of you speaking at your church, you said that the American troops were on "a mission of God". Do you really believe that? And if so, why?

Governor Palin:
I believe that the effort of our brave soldiers to free the Iraqi people from a tyrant and totalitarian regime is a method that God can use to help open Iraqi society to more modern influences. Influences that can help the Iraqi people gain...

Rachael Maddow:
But how is that a mission from God?

Governor Palin:
I believe God wants all people to be free to live as they want to. Free to work where they want, go to school where they want, worship where ...

Rachael Maddow:
But the people of Iraq already have a religion. Isn't the intervention of the United States in their country forcing something on them that they do not want?

Governor Palin:
No. The only thing we forced on anyone was on the corrupt government of Saddam Hussein when we removed them from power. Now the Iraqi people are free to ...

Rachael Maddow:
Well, okay, back to the comments you made in your church. With such strong personal religious beliefs, do you believe in the separation of church and state?

Governor Palin:
Yes, I do. That is part of our history and it is part of our culture.

Rachael Maddow:
Well, some would argue that such strong personal religious beliefs could keep you from governing in a way that was equitable and fair to all people, especially those with beliefs different from yours. For instance, your anti-abortion stand limits the choices of women who become pregnant as the result of a rape.

Governor Palin:
I have a record as a mayor and a governor that demonstrates that I can work with all kinds of people and work for them as well. Taking a position in defense of the unborn is a moral choice that sometimes has difficult consequences. But the woman who has experienced a sexual assault, as traumatic as that is, is not facing certain death, just a few months of inconvenience. The baby, on the other hand, if facing certain death, if abortion is the ...

Rachael Maddow:
But, Governor, some would say that such strong positions on morality because of your personal religious beliefs forces those moral beliefs on many who may not accept those religious beliefs.

Governor Palin:
That would be true no matter what moral code was used to pattern our laws. But law, almost by definition, is a moral code. So there has to be some basis for our ...

Rachael Maddow:
But what do you say to the many people in America who do not agree with your religious beliefs and who do not agree with many of your political positions that are based on those beliefs?

Governor Palin:
I say to all Americans, you need to examine your choices before you, and choose the party and the ticket that will move this country beyond the business-as-usual pattern that has been in place for the last twenty years or so. I understand that not everyone will agree with me on every issue, but a presidency of John McCain will change how ...

Rachael Maddow:
But, Governor, don't you think that most Americans are uncomfortable with a candidate that has religious views that differ from their own?

Governor Palin:
I that depends on the candidate and the religion. I haven't found any opposition to my religion in Alaska when I ran for mayor or governor.

Rachael Maddow:
So are you saying that your strong religious beliefs will not affect your policy decisions?

Governor Palin:
No, I am not saying that. What good is personal religious beliefs if they have no effect on your day to day life? I am saying that my personal religious beliefs will guide me to make good policy decisions that will benefit the American people.

Rachael Maddow:
But, Governor, many Americans do not share your personal religious beliefs. Many of them are uncomfortable supporting a candidate with religious beliefs that are so different from theirs.

Governor Palin:
Are you suggesting that the only person suitable for public office is an atheist?

Rachael Maddow:
Of course not, I just ...

Governor Palin:
...Is the only value of religion to fill in a slot on a resume?

Rachael Maddow:
No, but, Governor ...

Governor Palin:
...Does the possibility of someone being offended by one's personal religious beliefs mean those beliefs must be ignored?

Rachael Maddow:
No, I am just asking you how you are going to address the concerns of many Americans who do not share your strong personal religious beliefs.

Governor Palin:
I am going to address those concerns by being consistent with my well-documented moral principles, and will govern with fairness and impartiality, just like I have as a mayor of a small town and I have as Governor of Alaska.

Rachael Maddow:
Well, moving on ....

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

More later....
.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wedding Fotos on Photobucket

Here they tiz....

http://s394.photobucket.com/albums/pp23/Steev45/Josh%20n%20Teesh%20Wedding/

Hope the link works....

Okay, I checked this out and you can get to Photobucket with a copy, paste of the link into the URL address field.
That is not the slick link thingy I was wanting/expecting, but it will have to do for now.
But I am new at this.
If you want to look at the slide show, you can select that at Photobucket (it worked for me...).

There are several of these pictures that are too blurry (caused by dim light, shooting with telephoto lens, moving the camera, etc.) to suit my taste and so were not posted by me here, but are included at Photbucket.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

DON'T BLINK 2

The posting by BasfsoGp got me to thinking about the general subject of "transitions".
Specifically, the growing up of one's children.
There are several songs about the subject.
The most recent is Don't Blink.

But there are several others written several years ago.
One of them has been recycled as a video about going away to war here -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnI9pq60PX4

The song is "Watercolor Ponies" by Wayne Watson.

Here are the words of two more -

"Somewhere In The World Tonight" by Wayne Watson

Somewhere in the world today
A little girl will go out ot play
All dressed up in mama's clothes
At least the way that I suppose it goes
Somewhere in the world tonight
Before she reaches to turn out the light
She'll be prayin' from a tender heart
A simple prayer that's a work of art

And I don't even know her name
But I'm prayin' for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus baby wherever you are

Somewhere in the world out there
That little girl's learnin' how to care
She's pickin' up her mamas charms
Or maybe, swigin' around in her daddy's arms
Somewhere in the world to be
Through the future's not real clear to me
Theirs could be a tender love
Grounded in eternal love above

And I don't even know her name
But I'm prayin' for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby wherever you are


And a song from the 70's, "Where Are You Going" -

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two,
turn around and you're four,
Turn around, you're a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around, you're a young girl going out of my door.

Where are you going, my little one, little one?
Dirndls and petticoats, where have you gone?
Turn around and you're tiny,
turn around and you're grown,
Turn around, you're a young wife
with babes of your own.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around, you're a young wife
with babes of your own.

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my darling, my own?
Turn around and you're two,
turn around and you're four,
Turn around, you're a young boy going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around, you're a young boy going out of my door.


And here are four more piktures from/about the wedding.




For BasfsoGp, here is a couple of shots to provide some perspective on how the closeup shot looked in the room.
It was quite dark for photography.



Here is another "perspective" shot of the two little munchkins.




Just for the record, here is the printed program.




And here is the inside of the program.
.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

And Mo Pichahs






.
.
.
.
I have more pictures (see? I do know how to spel it.) but they are mostly pictures of the rehearsal dinner setup and odd candid shots.
I will be glad to post them is there is any interest.
Otherwise, they will remain for family distrubution.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mor Pichers and Sum Thots










THE RUN...

... went surprisingly well.
I was tired from all the festivities on Thursday and Friday.
Plus, I did some work on the walls in my house patching the remaining holes in them.
I felt tired when I woke up but was determined to go the long course (barring any semi-catastrophic physical issues).
And I did.

My breathing, which is my gage to how strong/well I am/feel was right on the verge of level three rapidity after mile one (not a good sign).
But I was set on going the long distance (such as it is these days).
So I just settled in to loving the more rapid respiration rate.
The governing thot being "this is normal".
And I was reminded of my racing days when, in order to achieve good (as in, low) clock numbers, I learned that I had to push myself into rapid breathing after the first quarter mile of a 5K race.

So, I settled in to the pattern and made peace with it.
It is not my favorite way to go, but it is survivable.
And to my surprise, I was able to produce a bit of a sprint for the last fifty yards or so.
I was happee.


AFTER THE RUN

After my run Saturday morning, I found myself in a melancholy mood.
Upon reflection, I decided that it was the result of a combination of things.

One - My little Josh is now a man.
(Actually, he was before Friday but part of me was not taking that in.)
While part of my brain "knew" that, I realized that emotionally I have not embraced that fact.
So now it is time for dad to grow up and get a grip on reality.
I hate it when I have to do that.

Two - it was nice to be around the saints of Morgan City again.
After spending thirty years with a group of people it is not easy to leave that environment.
And seeing/visiting with them again was nice.
And it was troubling.
Many of them were teenagers - or less - when I last saw them.
Now, many of those same "kids" are married with babies of their own.
That makes me feel old.
And I realized I missed these folks.

And some of you may be thinking, this "problem" is self-induced.
To which I say, yes, at least to some extent.
But life takes some turns sometimes that cannot be anticipated.
And once some events take place (or decisions are made and acted upon) you cannot go back and start over.
And even if we tried, "things" will never be as if those events/decisions were never made.
So we are left with "things" in an altered state - maybe not as we wish them to be.
So there was that.

But it was a happy time.
And I pray that Josh and Tesia will live happily ever after...
.