Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Now and then someone asks me how many triathlons I've done, and I say I've lost count. But I do keep a list and today I reviewed that list. 52 triathlons. I started in 1992, so I haven't hit my 20th anniversary yet. I remember what a challenge it seemed like when I started, just to finish one. My youngest sister and one of my younger brothers had both done a triathlon at that time, so I figured if they could do it, I could do it. Somehow I was the one who really caught the bug and stayed involved in it.
And... why? I needed more exercise, and I found that races were very motivating. If I had a race coming up, I would consistently do more exercise than if I didn't.
But why triathlons in particular? I like the childishness of the sport. Swim, bike, run. It's like a child's summer day. And for some reason I like the mental overload of the sport - the way it feels like you have too much to think about.
You swim, you bike, you run,
and finally you're done!
Friday, August 26, 2011
Hasket played the male lead, Jason, the hero if you will, of my play, and he played him charmingly and disarmingly. The challenge of the character is that he is odd, but on the edge of normal, and must be sympathetic despite being an unusually persistent suitor. Hasket figured out how to do all of that, including how to deliver the "bad jokes" I had put in the script for his character to say.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Today, on my way to work, I was running for a green light, on the sidewalk, when my toe caught the lip where a manhole cover was inset. It looked something like this one:
Anyway, my toe caught, and I went horizontal, landing on toes, knees, and hands.
My knees are scraped
my wrists are sore.
I need to lift
my feet up more!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
In Austen's chronicle,
Thursday, August 18, 2011
“Talk to them directly. Find out what it is that you’re concerned about,” Obama told the man. “My suspicion is, a lot of times, they’re going to be able to answer your questions and it will turn out that some of your fears are unfounded.”The president's suspicion - that the USDA could answer - turned out to be mistaken.
An enterprising reporter, MJ Lee, called up the USDA and proceeded to get the run-around - through multiple agencies and organizations. It all culminated with this CYA email from the PR department at USDA:
“Secretary Vilsack continues to work closely with members of the Cabinet to help them engage with the agricultural community to ensure that we are separating fact from fiction on regulations because the administration is committed to providing greater certainty for farmers and ranchers. Because the question that was posed did not fall within USDA jurisdiction, it does not provide a fair representation of USDA’s robust efforts to get the right information to our producers throughout the country.”So - no answer on whether the farmer's fears were well-founded.
But you have to admit the run-around was well-rounded.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I learned a lot, and felt the author was evenhanded on controversial topics, letting the story tell itself, making the characters come alive while clearly explaining the points of disagreement and compromise. The author plainly admires these men and their accomplishment. I felt he was particularly good at recreating the sense of uncertain outcome of the American experiment in self-government.
From a contemporary perspective, one of the most striking things about the convention was the way that an assembly of politicians were actually able to keep their proceedings secret for months.
Today there'd be a leak
within a week.
within a day.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
One of his problems is that he has 5 daughters and no son.
He has trouble asserting his will
in a house where the voices run shrill.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Nonetheless, Caplan zooms in on the author's point that "income comparison" makes people unhappy. You know, the idea is that I'm unhappy because you make more money than I do. And it turns out, that if you look around, it's almost always true that somebody makes more money that you do.
Caplan then makes the point that the solution to such unhappiness doesn't have to be redistribution of income.
Yes, you could fight inequality of income. But you could just as easily fight comparison of income. Instead of praising those who "raise awareness" about inequality, perhaps we should shame them, like the office gossip, for spreading envy and discontent.Purveyors of alleged awareness
are always seeking out unfairness -
real or imagined, it doesn't matter,
as long as it leads to envious chatter.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
As with other challenging races,
it left me sore in various places.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
A woman is in the hospital after her son on Thursday allegedly stabbed her repeatedly with a butcher knife when she offered to make him a sandwich.No word on motivation. One suspects a history of craziness is forthcoming.
Be wary of offering food
to a scary crazy dude.
UPDATE: Okay, reading between the lines here in this other version of the story:
Authorities said Georg's mother brought him home Thursday from Edward Hospital's Linden Oaks behavioral health facility in Naperville, where he had been a patient since July 31. At Georg's bond court appearance, Assistant State's Attorney Deb Brewer did not disclose the nature of Georg's hospitalization, and the hospital would not comment.So maybe he was in the hospital for a severe life-threatening allergy to peanuts. And maybe his mom offered him a PBJ. So maybe he can claim it was self-defense.
He can say she was trying to take his life
and he had no choice but to go for the knife.
"When you ask about the economic team, it's kind of like, 'What economic team?'" said Edward Mills, a financial policy analyst with FBR Capital Markets. "They are very thin at a very critical time."Only Timothy Geithner remains of his original all-star team. For some reason the others have left, and suitable replacements have not yet been installed.
Of course the original all-star team failed to deliver the promised robust recovery. So a lot of ordinary citizens now see the original all-star team as a bunch of losers.
But when you think of them, don't curse.
They'll tell you: If not for their smarts
and money-printing arts,
the whole disaster could have been much worse.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
A Very Terrible Father takes you into the world of a man who is dying, a man who has his regrets, a man who needs to see his discarded daughter before he dies. It is set in the contemporary world, in Germany and America, and is elegantly presented on a simple set with a backlit screen that serves as a changing backdrop as scene follows scene.
We have both German and English speaking characters, with exquisitely rendered scenes of misunderstanding. But somehow, even though all the actors are really speaking English, the audience never becomes confused about who is speaking what language. In one of the play's haunting scenes, our protagonist tries to explain things to his daughter, in words she cannot understand.
Key parts of the play are set in a certain Florida theme park, you know the one, a place that is portrayed with obvious affection. Because of my personal history with this park, because we took our middle child to this park when she was dying, I found this setting almost unbearably sad. But I think the setting works quite well in the play, emphasizing the special beauty that is life.
Jeremy Menekseoglu turns in a tour-de-force portrayal of Matthias, the dying man who is forced to confront the truth about his own history. Mishelle Apalategui is captivating as Lilli, the girlfriend he met at a support group for the dying. Courtney Blomquist simmers and finally explodes as Zita, the mother of his daughter. Natalie Breitmeyer is perfect as the young woman herself, every inch an uncomfortable and uncomprehending American 12 year old. Last but not least, Chad Sheveland embodies the character you love to hate – Bill, the well-meaning American adoptive father, who thinks that most of life's tragedies can be resolved by drinking the right sort of organic smoothie.
Menekseoglu often writes plays involving legends and fantasies. But in this play he has stuck very close to life, and death, as we know it. The result is a play with the look and feel of ordinary reality, but the power and force of myth.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
on what the direction should be:
Almost three-quarters of Americans say the United States is on the wrong track, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found Wednesday.But plunging toward the dirt
has got to hurt.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
"The day I signed, I had way too much to drink. It was after 5 p.m. and I signed it and I didn't know what I was signing," the Sunland Park mayor wrote in response to questions from lawyers for the architectural design firm Synthesis+.Was he out of his mind
when he signed?
Or is the booze
a lame excuse?
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Some busy Starbucks coffee shops in New York City have started blocking electrical outlets to discourage laptop users from hogging space, and to free up seats for other customers.No doubt there were people who sat there for 4 hours, after buying one small cup of coffee, enjoying the Wifi and the electricity.
Look at it from the New Yorker's point of view.
This rich corporation says I can sit here all day on one cup of coffee, in this nice comfy chair, with a better view than my apartment, while working on my laptop. Who am I to say no? If they want me to leave, they can tell me so!But, no. Starbucks isn't telling them to leave. It's just cutting off the power.
Starbucks may think that this is sufficiently strict,
but I will go out on a limb and predict
that some New Yorkers will reply
by buying bigger batteries that take even longer to die.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
He thought speaking was a big part of leadership, but only part, and in his farewell address he went out of his way to say he never thought of himself as a great communicator. He thought he simply communicated great things—essentially, the vision of the Founders as applied to current circumstances.Her theory is that his opponents drew the wrong conclusion from the success of his speeches. They didn't think what he communicated was great. It was conservative poppycock. So somehow his sheer oratorical gifts had sold that stuff to the American people.
Part of the Democrats' current problem, she writes, is that they thought they had their own Reagan in our current president.
They hoped his oratorical gifts could sell his stuff.
But as it turns out, that wasn't enough.
Indeed, far from most of the genome being effectively constant, it can be estimated that every position in the genome has been mutated many, many times over in the human population. And each of us carries hundreds of new mutations that arose during generation of the sperm and egg cells that fused to form us.The author says this is why, so far, things have not been going well in the search for genetic causes of diseases. We're all mutants.
You may remember that great progress was expected immediately when the human genome was decoded. Pundits envisioned a medical revolution that hasn't really occurred so far. That's partly because the biology is a lot more complicated than they contemplated.
You peel a layer back,
and what do you get?
New problems to attack.
No end in sight yet!
Friday, August 05, 2011
The Republican Party made a big, big mistake passing up a chance for a “grand bargain” with Obama. It’s time to be a realist about revenue increases, rather than signaling ideological purity.I'm unclear
on his logic here.
Of course the Republican Party is not a monolith. There were elements in the party who seemed willing to be "realists" and raise taxes. It was the newer reps, the tea party people, who were dead set against it - partly on principle, and maybe partly because they want to get re-elected.
At this point, the numbers look bad for the Democrats in 2012. It's early, of course. But perhaps the Republicans were wise to hold off on a grand solution. In a year and a half they could be in a much stronger bargaining position.
I'll vote yes
for "spend less".
UPDATE: The S&P downgrade has occurred.
In her upcoming movie "The Change-Up," actress Olivia Wilde opted to wear pasties for her big nude scene with Ryan Reynolds. After the final shots came out, it was obvious that Wilde wasn't completely nude, so producers gave the actress several CGI nipples to choose from to complete her big sex scene.Why reshoot
when you can recompute?
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
The situation is screwing up FAA workers' finances, and stalling construction projects. But the fact remains that for now it is actually saving money for the flying public.
You might want to fly today
before Congress acts
to bring back the tax
and re-fund the FAA.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Getting the Tooth Fairy to pony up in this sagging economy has been like pulling teeth.Yes, it's the scary truth:
A recent survey found that the national going rate has seen a 40-cent decline this year: From $3 to $2.60.
even the Fairy is paying less per tooth.
Bear in mind, you have 2 sets of grandparents, 4 sets of great-grandparents, 8 sets of great-great grandparents, and 16 sets of great-great-great grandparents - unless you've got some cousin marriages in the family tree, and the math suggests we all do, somewhere back up the line.
Of course, if you trace it back, we're all related,
but figuring out just how is complicated.