Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Ford Idiosyncrasies

Jake and H jetted off to San Diego early Sunday morning, leaving us to watch after the Taurus in their absence. Now this isn't just any car, it comes with special instructions. Here is the verbatim copy of the instructional note penned by Jake. (I wanted to scan it but having probs with scanner.)

Ford Idiosyncrasies

1) Front Door Keys
2) Open front door - use outside
3) Gas tank opening open by pulling cord in trunk

The note needs a little interpretation, so here are my comments.

1) Front Door Keys - not sure what the point of this one is?? Maybe S knows?

2) Open front door - - yes, you are right, you have to open the door from the outside. Sounds reasonable, assuming you are outside the car wanting to enter. This rule also applies to those inside the car. The first time I saw Jake pull up our driveway, roll the window down, and open the door by grabbing the outside handle, I just chuckled. Well - I'm not laughing now, since it's presently 0 degrees and windy outside.

3) Gas tank - - This is a fun one. Apparently the gas tank does not open with the little gas tank lever in the car. In order to open the gas tank cover you first open the the trunk, reach inside, and grab some cord ??. Pull the cord, and the gas tank cover pops open.

I have Jake's name for Christmas. He needs a car, but given our spending limits maybe I'll just buy him a bus pass.

Darkmonth 21, 2004

Ann Althouse has a new name for an old month,

We are deeply embedded in the time of year I think of as "Darkmonth." Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the midpoint of Darkmonth, the darkest 30 days of the year. After tomorrow, there is, at least, the knowledge that each day has a little more light than the day before.

Not too bad a year for my SAD. Thanks to the various meds, I keep a little skip in my step. Though I don't have time/energy for the annual Christmas card and letter. Now that I write this I feel guilty. Perhaps you will be seeing New Year's Greetings from the family in weeks to come.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Running Notes

Born to Run,
From our spring-loaded ligaments to our muscular behinds to our ability to sweat, the human body took the ideal shape of a long-distance runner starting some 2 million years ago, the researchers say. The long, lean build helped us scavenge widely scattered kills and could also have been an advantage when hunting down prey over long distances.

A running legend dies,
Arthur Lydiard, 87, a top New Zealand track coach in the 1950s and '60s whose methods revolutionized training for distance runners and helped fuel the worldwide boom in jogging, died Dec. 11 in Houston of an apparent heart attack.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Jose Feliciano - in our bed?

The Dude's under a little stress these days. This afternoon is the Holiday Pageant at his school. He has a speaking role (one line) but I don't expect him to actually say it. He does however, really know the songs. He will sing them for anyone who wishes to listen. In fact, the songs are having quite an effect on him.

This morning around 4:00 a.m. (I think), the Dude crawled into our bed. Half asleep already, he rolled over onto his back, eyes closed, and as he drifted back to sleep was singing Feliz Navidad - a regular Jose Feliciano.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pass the Ibuprofen.

Just returned from a walk and I thought I’d take this moment to comment on my physical condition as of late. Both knees ache, along with my right elbow and my upper spine (sometimes). The knee pain is not the sort of pain I would normally associate with my running knee injuries. That is more of a specific pain on kneecap – specifically the outer edge – consistent with ITB Syndrome. The pain now is more of general achy stiffness combined with an overall feeling of weakness. On Friday, I was walking across the parking lot, turned to look over my shoulder, and it felt as if it wouldn’t take much more to twist my thigh off from my knee/shin. My knees, especially the left, don’t feel too firmly anchored in place – if that makes sense.

Elbow – who knows? On Friday it hurt when I was driving – especially when changing radio stations. I know what you’re thinking – don’t change radio stations.

Spine – Here I’m talking about the area between my shoulders. Overdoing a shoulderstand in yoga class might have caused this pain. The class takes place in a school gymnasium – with hardwood floors. The yoga mat doesn’t provide a lot of padding here.

Not sure why everything aches these days. I recently upped my thyroid meds – now taking 88 mcg a day of Levoxyl. A quick check of PDR doesn’t really include any of these general aches and pains as side effects.

Going on the theory that I twisted my knees somehow in yoga, I’ve taken it easy on the yoga these past few days. That doesn’t seem to help.

Going on another theory – that my knees are truly weak – I got it in my head to try Pilates. I checked out a book from library (good!) and a video (not so good), and gave that a try. Found Pilates to be hard, but fun – however – now my shoulders are stiff. Probably due to all the “rolling” up you do. It’s hard to remember not to lead with the head.

So hear I sit. Pass the ibuprofen.

Bĕ'-bĕ-ka and “Chinese Wave”

Notes on observing the world through 4-year old eyes. This morning we were going to watch one of the Muzzy Spanish Language DVDs. The Dude said to me, “These DVDs are made by the bĕ'-bĕ-ka.”

"Who makes them?" I asked.

He repeated, "The bĕ'-bĕ-ka.”"

I had no idea what he was saying until he picked up the DVD and pointed to the “word” BBC – the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC created the Muzzy Language series. Never thought of trying to pronounce it phonetically like a word.

Later, while driving into work he says, “That man in the van just waved at you.”

“What van?” I asked.

“That white van back at the street we just passed.”

I looked in my rear-view and saw a white van waiting to enter the traffic. The driver was looking east into the sun. I asked for a little clarification. “How did this driver wave?”

“It was a Chinese wave.”

“A Chinese wave, what’s a Chinese wave? Can you show me?”

When I looked over my shoulder the dude brought his hand up to his forehead, palm out, lowered the hand over his brow and squinted – the Chinese wave. Otherwise known as the universal symbol of drivers attempted to enter traffic while squinting into the sun. It now has a name.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Gift Ideas

I've been told to put out the word on gift ideas. I recently started an Amazon Wish List - for the first time. Today, while going through e-mail, I came across the latest offers from FTD - the florists. (Last month I sent flowers to a co-worker whose father passed away. Now I get marketing from them on an almost daily basis.

One of the mens gift ideas was a traveling cigar humidor. That doesn't interest me, so I clicked on MORE and came across this one.

Get ready for a great weekend experience! This exciting kit includes the book "The Great Sex Weekend", Chocolate Body Paint® and brush. Directions: heat to 98.6 degrees, apply liberally, and let your imagination run free! Award winning chocolate dessert topping made with a cream base flavor with semi-sweet chocolate. 8-ounces.

Whoa - FTD! Think of the carbs!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Judge and the Fossilman

Whoa! - - looking through the most recent issue of the Law Alumni News (from UofMN law school) and found some big news in 1992 - my year. One of my former classmates, Shaun Floerke, who I knew quite well was recentlly appointed judge in the 6th Judicial District MN - Duluth.

Also, another classmate - who I did not know well - recently won the 2004 World Series of Poker. Apparently "the Fossilman" made $5million. That goes a long way towards paying off those law school loans. I mentioned this to my colleagues and they knew of him - - from watching poker on TV. Man - - there is a whole 'nother world out there.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

"Bill's Beach Diet" Revisited

Forget the food, "Sleep Loss May Cause Weight Gain".

If you're looking for a better way to control your weight, a new study suggests that getting a good night's sleep might keep the pounds off.

"Bill's Beach Diet" will be revised to include new sleep requirements.

Peanut Butter and Lawyers

This is interesting:
The three owners quit their jobs as lawyers in May 2003 to pursue their idea of a gourmet, multivariety peanut butter sandwich shop.
Read the rest in the Minnesota Daily.

Credit to Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Performance Review Time

It's that time of the year - when employees' thoughts turn to the annual performance review and subsequent merit-based pay increase. By December 24, I will have written twenty (20) reviews!

How do I do that without going crazy? What you may ask is the secret to my success?

Experience - I have been doing this for about six years now. When I'm in my zone the stuff just flows. My early years were spent in politics/government. Combine that with law school and you get a writing machine.

"Special Skills" - Last year I had two employees named Mike. Both were/are star performers. The highlight of the year was when I cut a (very long) paragraph out of Mike #1's review and pasted it into Mike #2's review - - no other editing needed.

This year I have five (5) guys named Jim on my team - - look out!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Lefse Links

Cousin Blair has loads of lefse links.

It's great as a holiday left-over delivery system: Take turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy - roll it up in lefse, heat in microwave, but be sure to dip into some cold cranberry sauce before eating.

Cough Up a Lung? Almost

Our neighbor Mark is battling Hodgkins. Recent good news includes the fact that the tumor receded some, pulling away from his trachea but leaving behind a small hole in the trachea wall (which should repair itself).

Here's a funny (though somewhat gross) story about Mark coughing up part of his trachea. It's at his Caring Bridge site.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Daily Dog Fix?

In order to prepare myself for the addition of yet another mammal to the C-G household, I've been exposing myself to dog info. Found this cool site this afternoon. The Modern Pooch:

Is This a First?

Reading Thomas Friedman's Op-Ed piece today I was surprised to see the highlighting in the first sentence. The NYT is linking to the Washington Post. Do they do this often? It's the first I've seen. Here's the first paragraph:

The Washington Post had a story on Monday that contained possibly the greatest hint to a sitting cabinet secretary to start looking for another job that has ever been printed. The article reported, "One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long."

Read it all, registration required.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Busy Day – Quick Links

Birding in uniform,
Tired of those boring Minnesota birds, here's a National Guard guy who's "Birding Babylon".

Lileks on printers:
Bought a new printer the other day. Ah, once that was a great moment in a geek’s life, back when the improvements in printers were substantial. My first printer I remember well – an Apple ImageWriter II that used the paper with the holes in the margin. The big advance was Microperforations! that allowed you to rip off the margins and leave a clean edge. Coff. Right. All my early manuscripts were as jagged as well-used hacksaws.
Forehead – ticket trick,
So, you’re going to a ticketed event, like a concert or a ball game. It’s out of town. You’re carpooling with four other people. How do you ensure that everyone in the car has their ticket with them?
The car doesn't move until each person takes out their ticket and holds it to their forehead.
Been doing it for 20 years, and you’d be amazed how often it saves the day.

And finally—Some days even the Beatles didn’t do much, from Today in Beatles History,
1965 -Visit at Neil and Mal's flat (16 Montagu Mews West, Marylebone, London).

Friday, November 26, 2004

Barbie Beauty Styler

One dining room table, two computers working away on this quiet post-Thanksgiving morning at the Hobbled Runner household. Dad surfs the web, checking his favorite blogs, while M screams and rants at the uncooperative Barbie Beauty Styler game. Time-out as Dad pours another cup of coffee and goes over to assist M choose a "new friend" for Barbie. Tricky game!

Nice, quiet Thanksgiving with HR's Mom. Lots of leftovers! Anyone within reading distance, stop by for "the works".

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

You Know You're Old When . . .

. . . your director sends around an e-mail entitled, "Understanding Generation X Talent". We've been hiring a lot of younger attorneys lately. I don't even think many are Generation X'ers anymore. The youngest must be Generation Y, or Millenials - - or whatever they call the latest group.

Anyway, I'm embarassed reading the e-mail which is actually an advertisement for a "webinar". It includes "gems" like this.
Although stereotypes can be unfair, and each individual is unique, there is some truth to the saying, "We resemble our times more than we resemble our parents." This generation grew up having different shared experiences than the Baby Boomers or World War II Veterans who came before them. To cite just a few examples:

Many Generation X workers grew up as "latchkey" kids. Both parents worked, or they came from single- parent families. No one was waiting to serve them milk and cookies when they got home from school. They were forced to become independent.

For this generation, over 50% had parents who divorced. As their single parents dated, pseudo-moms and dads came and went. They have learned to be cautious about entering into relationships.

They watched their Boomer parents work long hours and then get laid off by the employers they had given so much of their lives to. They are cynical about the employer/employee relationship.

As children, they witnessed a president resigning from office in scandal, the fall of Jim Baker, and their parents (or their friends' parents) divorce. They are skeptical of authority and their elders' abilities to run things.
It's important for you to realize that these employees are members of a generation with it's own unique personality. They were shaped by different times, influenced by a different economy, molded by different heroes. Given their very unique experiences, it's no small wonder that managing and motivating this generation is a challenge.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Whoa - Honest Feedback!

Just got done delivering some honest feedback to a person who had unsuccessfully applied for a recent opening on my team. I'm embarrassed to say that in 6+ years of managing people, I can count the number of times I've given truly honest feedback to someone on one hand.

Don't get me wrong - I don't just make stuff up when giving feedback, but I tend to couch it in "corporate speak". I could have told this person she needed to work on her "communication" skills or be more of a "team player". Instead I told her of an incident that came to my attention where she was disrespectful to a colleague. This coupled with "the word on the street" about her generally crusty behavior, led me to not select her. She would be great with customers, but I fear her backbiting behavior on my team, which up until now has always worked very smoothly and cooperatively.

I’m inclined to select her when I have future opening. If I do that, the big battle will be with my manager who thinks I made the correct decision not selecting her. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but her customer skills and product knowledge would make her a good fit for my team.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Jesus on a Pole?

M and I were driving back from the bagel store yesterday when we noticed woman setting out Christmas decorations. Probably a good idea to hang the lights before the snow flies, but a quick peak into her living via the picture window revealed that most of the inside was already decorated too!

As she usually does, M started asking about why we don't put out more Christmas decorations. We usually only string some lights over the bushes near our front steps. This is kind of lame, but it works for me. This year I said, "Yes, maybe we should have more lights."

"Yeah, and some of those other decorations," she said, "Maybe Santa Claus or Jesus on a pole or something."

Friday, November 12, 2004


This is vacation? I was home with the kids on yesterday and today. Thursday was OK, off in the AM for "Eagles Nest" and a chance for the little guy to blow off steam. M had a friend come home with her after school. Whew! Somedays M needs time to decompress after school. Today was one of those days - - except she had a friend with her. Needless to say, there were a few tantrums before friend's Dad stopped by around 5:00 to pick her up.

Dude gave me grief at bedtime. The lastest stall tactic - Fluffy needs to run in his ball. Fluffy our hamster has a little plastic ball - with air holes - that you seal him in and he runs like a mad rodent all over the house. Usually lots of fun, but not at 10:30 p.m.

AM - M had been up sick durin the night - fever, aches, and "the knee" again. WHile Shana took M (heaving all the way!) to the DR, I took Dude to another friend's house. Kid has a much more rounded social life than his Dad. To kill time while he was playing pirate treasure hunt or whatever, I dropped $129 at Target. New watch, two pairs of pants, and two sweaters. Not bad.

Quiet afternoon at home with M dozing on couch and Dude playing with Matt-Medic upstairs in his room.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Good Morning

A beautiful morning - sunny and cool (well OK it's cold by California standards), but not bad for November in MN. Dad has two wonderful "stay at home" days ahead of him. Dude's pre-school is closed today for Veteran's Day, so Dad gladly used some of his vacation days to blog from home. Plans to go to Eagles Nest - - one of those indoor parks - - with his friend Quinn and Quinn's dad later this morning.

As of this writing (8:13) Dude still fast asleep. That's 11+ hours and counting. Maybe that will cure the crabbies. I hope.

M woke up with her "trick knee" - - won't bend and hurts - - again. We've learned through many trips to DR that this is most likely a reaction to a virus. Water on the knee, etc. We gave her some Motrin and sent her on her way - - we are such tough parents.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Rescue Heroes and Princesses

Crazy morning - the dude did NOT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL. He finally came around after much screaming, yelling, crying, and finally cuddling with Dad.

On the drive to preschool he lays this on me: "Drew is my girlfriend." Drew is a cute little 4 year old at his school - - daugther and granddaugher of the owners.

What a surprise. It was common knowledge that she did NOT like Rescue Heroes. Instead, she was one of those girls smitten by horses and princesses. I reminded him of this saying, "But remember Drew doesn't like Rescue Heroes. You told me she says they are 'stupid'".

"No", he said, "She likes Rescue Heroes and Princesses."

Wow - - what a combination.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Can't Get Enough?

Some people just can't get enough. Efforts underway to unseat Senator Mark Dayton.

I personally need a little time to digest all this red state - blue state stuff.

Beatles Discovery Day

Along with July 7 (the anniversary of the day John and Paul met), November 9 should also be a day of Bealtes related celebration. November 9 should be remembered as Beatles Discovery Day. It was on this day in 1961 that Liverpool Music Store owner Brian Epstein first saw the Beatles at a noon-time performance at Liverpool's Cavern Club. Days earlier he a teen had walked into the record store requesting a copy of My Bonnie - which the Beatles had recorded in Germany with Tony Sheridan. He didn't have the record so he inquired around and found out where this band was playing and paid them a visit. John, Paul, George, and Pete (Best - remember this was pre-Ringo) impressed him with their musical abilities - or perhaps more by the way they wore leather. The "boys" often performed in leather pants and jackets, and Brian was known to like leather-clad boys. But whatever he saw in them, he knew what to do with them, and how to make them famous. Shortly after this meeting he became their manager, and the rest was history.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Mark, our neighbor, has Hodgkins-Lymphoma (Refractory Hodgkins to be exact - it never went into remission - but it's back). Last night family and friends held a meeting at the fire station (he is a volunteer ff) to strategize how to help the family during the 6 - 8 weeks he and his wife will be living in Rochester for treatment. They have 4 kids under 7, a 7-year old boy, 5 year old girl, and twins, boy/girl age 3.

The meeting lasted 2+ hours and I think we (they) got it all worked out. Different folks taking kids different weeks, others staying with Mark on weekends so his wife can come home to be with kids, taking kids to Rochester for visits, coordinating school, pre-school, cub scouts, gymnastics, church functions, etc. Amazing - very humbling to see this kind of thing in action.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Blue State Blues?

Many folks in MN sad about the Kerry loss, but on the bright side the DFL really kicked some Repub-butt at the Legislature. The Repubs went from a 81 - 53 majority, to a 68 - 66 very slim hold on the House. Many powerful incumbants given the boot. Reasons?

The Minnesota Public Radio commentator - Prof. Chris Gilbert from Gustavus - thought that voters may have been taking their anger over several issues out on Republicans:

1. Indian Gaming* - he thinks there is no way this can be spun to anyone's political favor - and Pawlenty really blew it.
2. Lack of action at last session - Gilbert pointed out we haven't really had a budget plan since Ventura.
3. Anger over the negative campaign ads waged by Republicans.

Very interesting - - he kept coming back to the Gaming thing. Thinks it's a lose-lose proposition and Pawlenty handled it poorly.

*Gaming Thing - - referring to the Gov's plan to take a sizable portion of the revenue from the Indian gaming operations in exchange for a promise from the State not to pursue private (non-Indian) gaming. Hard to not spin that as blackmail. It conjurs up images of broken treaties. Not that it wouldn't be nice to have a share of some more of that money, but any chance to come to a reasonable compromise on the issue seems blown.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Back and Voting

Both Dude and Dad took a sick day yesterday - spent an hour (!!) at Dr, then off to Target for the reward - Rescue Heroes® ROBOTZ Billy Blazes™ & Firestomper™. The reward was for "submitting" to the throat culture. He didn't actually submit. Instead, he sat in my lap, my legs were twisted over his, my hands were prying open his mouth, and I used my what was left of my arms to squeeze his little arms together. Sheesh - after that I needed a Rescue Hero.

Out to vote early today - Dude was not too happy when he saw me pull into the parking lot at the polling place. Luckily we were in and out in less than 10 minutes. I'm always surprised by the huge number of candidates on the ballot for President. The Dude is proudly wearing Dad's "I Voted" sticker.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


I have no idea if this is his idea of a bad joke, or some serious cross-cultural knowledge acquired at preschool. Today as we were getting into car, the Dude (age 4) says, "Daddy, What do you call an Indian with big ears?" I didn't know what to say. Couldn't recall any Indians (Native Americans or others) in the Scooby Doo or Rescue Hero videos, so I said, "I don't know, what do you call an Indian with big ears?"

"Buddha," he said.

Sometimes I have no idea where he gets things.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A Little Friendly Competition

Sis-in-Law and her husband, really know how to have fun.

Well....the husband and I often have competitions on who has the lower resting heart rate. Usually I have him beat by about 2 beats/min. I often check mine when I am bored sitting in class just to see if I can will it even lower.

With a social life like that they certainly appear ready for South Bland.

Friday, October 22, 2004

My Achin' Knees

This week's early excitement over my running breakthrough has been tempered by that fact that both my knees, especially the troublesome right one, hurt like heck. I even have resorted to taking the elevators at work when I'm just traveling 2 floors, something I never do.

Could be the weather - very dank - cloudy/foggy - temps in 40s and 50s. Haven't seen the sun in days. Could be "the pose" - not so much the physical aspects of the pose itself, but the fact that it "lured" me with the promise of injury-free running. Maybe I should have just stayed on the couch.

Oh well, I'm not 15 anymore - but I'd settle for 35.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Working "Under the Hood" - a Medical Update

For all the medicos in my family, here's the latest. Went to DR today - ostensibly for a cholesterol check. Yes, we all know that my most recent blood draw was meant to be a thyroid only screen (so I didn't fast) and the fact that they checked my cholesterol "by accident" and it came back at alarming rates was all a big mistake. But - - it's so hard to communicate with my DR that it's just as easy to make an appointment to see him than to try to reach him via phone. Anyway, the lab results said I needed to see the DR anyway before my veins clogged up anyway.

While at DR he noted that my TSH was kind of high, and he would prescribe raising my thyroid medication dose. Why he brings this up in the office – but didn’t mention it on the comments to my test results that were mailed to my home – I’ll never know. See, it pays to visit the Dude in person. Anyway, the TSH at last test was 3.89. He would like to see it from 0 to 2. So they are putting me on Levoxyl 88 mcg once a day (up from 50 mcg). He hopes that by getting my thyroid under control that my cholesterol level may drop as well.

To top it all off – there is new computer system in the DR’s office with a PC in each examining room. So I got to recite my entire medical history - - AGAIN. I should really write that down. I can never remember whether my grandparents had glaucoma, or bad hearts, etc. I do recall that my fraternal grandfather had rickets as a young boy - - why don't they ever ask about rickets?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Trick Dude

Big talk at our house over past few days is the impending purchase of a hamster. Mostly it's been M - very excited about it, reading books, purchasing little toys for it, etc. Well today the Dude gets into the act. As we set out to pre-school, he grabs the hamster book: He needed to "study" more about hamsters. He was quite insistent on reading the passage about their water bottles. When he couldn't find the right page, he became upset. While stopped at a stop sign, I grabbed the book and found the appropriate section.

Sometime on the four mile drive to preschool, he had created an imaginary hamster and named it "Trick". By the time we got out of the car he was holding one hand in a cupped position: palm facing upward, fingers slightly curled. I asked what he was doing. He said, "I'm carrying Trick." As he walked across the parking lot he let Dad hold one hand, the other hand held Trick.

When we entered the preschool, the director said, "Good Morning. What do you have in your hand?" Dude became a little shy here so I had to tell her it was his imaginary pet hamster Trick. The Dude then became mad at me, "You didn't have to say that, the name is on my back-pack." Keep in mind now that he's not wearing a back-pack - - anyway he continued cupping his hand until we entered the classroom. Without a word, Trick had "disappeared". Can't wait to see where he next appears.

Next Year

Spent a very chilly Saturday morning at the Richfield High School Alumni Cross Country meet. This year I was a "mere" participant, next year I vow to run it. It's only two miles - - but that's been difficult these past months.

That night I read an article in Runner's World about something called the "Pose Method". The Pose was developed by a scientist schooled under the old Soviet system where running form always meant more than in the West. His theory (in a nutshell) is that the traditional heel-strike running style of many runners and joggers puts too much strain on the system, resulting in injuries. The Pose requires you lean slightly forward (the article likens it to "falling" forward) and landing on your midfoot which can absorb more shock. (WARNING: - a midfoot strike takes more muscle strength in the legs - especially the calf/achilles. Some who try this method report achilles related injuries.)

Well I got to thinking. When I underwent PT a few years ago, a video analysis of my running style showed I was a midfoot striker. The PT said that indicated I spent time on the track running "shorter" distances. True - I loved the 1/2 mile in junior high and high school. You can't run a fast half-mile on your heels. When I first entered PT I was suffering a calf problem - - probably related to my mid-foot style -as well as knee problems. Her suggestion was to work the muscles of my calf and quads to better support my knee, and switch to a heel strike.

I've never really gotten "better". Heel-striking seemed to work OK at first, but lately I start hobbling after 100 yards. After reading the article I was inspired to return to my mid-foot strike.

Inspired by memories of my athletic youth, and stoked up to try the Pose, I woke up Sunday morning bound and determined to run. After M and Mom returned from swimming lessons, I set out. Using the new (but probably incorrect or at least modified) Pose Method, I completed about 1.5 miles.

The "Plan" for now is to try to run at least 2 times a week, continuing Yoga and walking, and hope for the best - - at least 2 miles at next year's alumni meet.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Wrong - Not Cut-Out for Pre-School

I was wrong. The next letters in the pattern were not cc, but aa .

Last night over a quiet dinner at Perkins I asked, "So what happened at school today? What was the next letter in the pattern? Was it c? The Dude fixed me with that stare all kids give their parents when they say or do the "wrong" thing and said, "No, it was aa - like aa, bb, aa, bb, aa, bb. . ." [I had to cut him off here.]

Oh well, back to school for me. Really - tomorrow I will be attending the Richfield High School 50th anniversary festivities. Plan to bring M and the Dude along. It now occurs to me that the equivalent would have been: 1969, my father taking me to a school built in 1919 - I'm sure they'll be impressed.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Patterns: aa, bb

The Dude's pre-school teacher was telling me about the patterns they kids are learning: aa, bb. The kids were all abuzz wondering what today's pattern be. One thought maybe it would be another a, as in aa, bb, aa. I think the smart money's on c. Teacher said these guys were catching on quicker than the first graders she used to teach.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho . . . .

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, I can't believe she made me go.

Actually I had a good time at the Kerry march this past Saturday. Boppa tipped us off to this one. M was very keen on going. A "quickie" event organized only 2 weeks ago by some DFL women. The Kerry daughters were going to be in town. The event was orginally scheduled for Sunday, Oct 10, but was moved to Saturday, Oct 9, when it was learned that President Bush was coming to Mpls on Saturday.

Picture if you can (and it's not easy) - Boppa, M, and your's truly marching across the Stone Arch Bridge chanting "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, George Bush has got to go." God - how I hate that old recycled "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho fill-in-the-blank has got to go" chant. Boppa and I are not the loudest chanters, but we actually warmed up as the march wound across the bridge. After the March, M and Boppa were enlisted to stand behind the Kerry gals as they were interviewed by local news folks.

I watched with interest as several women looked on. Now - this won't sound good - but you gotta admit it's true. Any political movement has a subculture for whom the mission and the message are paramount - often to the detriment of personal hygeniene. The sort of women looking on may have fallen into that camp. I can't say for certain. I can say, they didn't spend a lotta time on the hair and make-up. Anyway, the Kerry daughter are what many would call "glamerous". These onlookers were staring uncertainly when one finally said, "She has nice hair". Another agreed, "Yes, and that is a nice sweater." Then they just sighed.

Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho,

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Hobbled Runner Lives Up to Name

Got the call on Monday, High School Cross-Country Reunion/Race - October 16. Richfield High School is celebrating it's 50th anniversary. As part of the festivities, some old cross-country teammates are organizing a reunion/race. It's only 2 miles, but I'm afraid that would be 1.5 miles more than my right knee wants to run. Coming to grips (yet again) with age and injury. Oh well, I'm sure they need a timer.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Triumphant Return of the Wife/Mom

Everyone awaits the return of S from her 2-day sojourn to Madison for some sort of web-design for museums conference. You know you’ve reached a real mature point in your relationship when your wife can travel hundreds of miles away for a few days, leaving you with the kids, and you’re not really sure where she is or exactly what she’s doing. (Don’t worry I have the necessary contact info – just in case.)

All-in-all it went very smoothly. Kids quite cooperative – M even doing her homework and piano in one night! Last night I caved and went to the “movie store” to rent Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders. The Dude really loves his Scooby. These newer shows aren’t that good – not bad, but not good either. For me the best part of the DVD is the “behind-the-scenes” parts when you “meet” the voice-talent. This one has Scott Innes (not Kasey Kasem – the original Shaggy) doing Shaggy and Scooby. Lots of laughs in the family room as he goes through his lines.

Oh well, back to work, but not before a quick stretch. Awoke about 2:30 a.m. on my stomach. The Dude had put a pillow on my back and was sleeping on me. Kind of sore in the lower back this morning.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Public Restrooms

This is cool - - not sure I'd use it though.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Grand Rounds, and More

First it was Carnival of the Vanities, then Carnival of the Capitalists, then Carnival of the Receipes, and today, Grand Rounds:
Welcome to the debut of Grand Rounds, the weekly summary of the best of the medical blogosphere. It's our hope that this new feature will introduce a wider audience to the expanding array of talented doctors, nurses, techs and students writing online today.

Reading at 40+

Haven't been able to read fiction lately. Maybe Lileks knows why:
Now I’m reading again, and like many in their 40s, it’s non-fiction. The real world is more interesting than the manufactured ones, with all its tricks and gimmicks. By now I’d rather read a biography of the man who typeset “Les Miserables” than read the book again.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Noon Notes

On today's lunch-time walk I carried a few sheets of paper and a pen. I've been meaning to do this for some time since I have a lot of (great?) ideas when I'm walking. Today I wasn't going to miss anything. I would see for certain whether I really had good ideas on the walk - - better than I have sitting in my cubicle.

The Notes:
"w/e dig garden front." Translated that means that this weekend I had promised to help dig up some more of the front yard in furtherance of my wife's gardening ambitions. Digging up sod that's been there for over 40 years is not easy. Grass has roots - - tough ones.

"Benefits of long held pose - mtn e.g."
This is a reminder to see what sort of benefit I derive from holding my yoga poses longer, for example Mountain Pose. I recall reading somewhere that older (less flexible) people should hold their poses longer. Couldn't hurt - I tend to rush things.

"Sharp shin, lean, not as big, bulky as red-tail" [my notes also include a sketch] This means I saw a Sharp-Shinned Hawk - - at least I think I did. It was smaller than a red-tail, and had a longer torso - and tail.

These notes are kind of messy. Maybe I need to adopt the Hipster PDA.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Portion Size

Feeling kind of bloated lately, and feel I need to cut back at meals. Found this interesting article about how Americans are eating larger and larger portions of food at each sitting. Nothing new there, but thought this was an interesting way to determine if you were getting the "right amount" short of whipping out your scale at every meal:

"Usually someone's hands are in proportion to his or her body. The size of the palm is about how much meat is usually best for them.

"If they make a fist, that's a good portion of starch (such as pasta). If they cut a piece of cheese, the width of their thumb is a good indicator of the portion that's best for them."


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Big Bird, Small Bird

On Sunday I chanced to see Minnesota's smallest bird and it's largest bird (OK - almost the largest*) in the space of one hour, from that most excellent of birding positions - - shooting baskets in my driveway.

The smaller - Ruby Throated Hummingbird - must have been migrating through when it stopped for a drink from the Nasturium in front of our house. It hovered for a few seconds, then started flying directly towards me before quickly veering to it's left.

Almost an hour later I spotted a Bald Eagle circling the field behind our house. It was riding the thermals upwards and heating southwest.

Not bad for unplanned birding activity - no binocs.

*Without consulting my field guides I believe the Turkey Vulture is actually the largest in MN, Bald Eagle second largest?

Multi-task - kills neutrons?

Found this interesting post on BusinessPundit discussing a study on the perils of multi-tasking.

Dr. John Sladky, a professor of pediatrics and neurology at Emory’s School of Medicine and the chief of neurology at Emory Children's Center, notes that in visual scans of the brain, the amount of activity diminishes when multitasking comes into play. “A summary of more recent research would indicate that the brain doesn’t multitask very well, and unlike a computer that allocates an equal amount of energy for each task, the brain’s energy expenditure capability is limited. Simply put, energy for each task is finite.”
. . .
. . . stress induced by high levels of multitasking, or even other major causes of stress, can “cause a chain reaction in the brain to kill off neurons.” Short-term memory loss is a common result.

What was I saying - - oh yeah - I find this fascinating, especially the part about how humans evolved to handle stress in one way (Use the physical rush of seeing the saber-tooth tiger to make a run for it - - occasionally) and now we face stress from many sources all the time - - and we can't outrun it. No wonder everyone and their brother is on some sort of anti-anxiety/depression medication.


Friday, September 17, 2004

Starbucks in Paris

One thing I remember most about Paris was the great coffee. S always chuckles when she describes my reaction to that first sip. In honor of that memory is this,
You know, Starbucks made sense when the only coffee you could get was at the local diner, where the brew percolated hours ago and sat on a burner for hours. Hell, in English-speaking countries we don’t even have our own words for good coffee, so we have to use Italian. That’s why Starbucks was not such a bad thing. But Starbucks in Paris? Why would anyone order a grande-latte-no-foam when they can order un café au lait en bol?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Velvet Fog

Listening to KFAI on the way in this morning. David Cummings (the Rockin' in Rhythm show) was celebrating Mel Torme's birthday (Monday, Sept 13 actually), by playing several by the "Velvet Fog". Torme is quite good. Having been introduced to him via Night Court where the Judge (Harry Anderson) was a Mel Torme fan, I thought the guy was sort of a "nothing". On that show, he seemed to be the butt of jokes, or rather the Judge seemed to be the butt of jokes for liking Torme. At least that's how I recall it.

Anyway, add Mel Torme to the list of CD's I need.

Step Away from the Keyboard

Wow - maybe this blogging stuff is bad for your health. If one looks at a blog as a sort of diary (which I do):

Keeping a diary is bad for your health, say UK psychologists. They found that regular diarists were more likely than non-diarists to suffer from headaches, sleeplessness, digestive problems and social awkwardness.

Their finding challenges assumptions that people find it easier to get over a traumatic event if they write about it.

“We expected diary keepers to have some benefit, or be the same, but they were the worst off,” says Elaine Duncan of the Glasgow Caledonian University. “In fact, you’re probably much better off if you don’t write anything at all,” she adds.
Fully story in New Scientist. Thanks to devclue.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sappy, but . . .

The Minnesota Ornithologist's Union (MOU) listserv has many interesting posts. There is a dedicated "tribe" of folks out there every day scouring the landscape for birds both ordinary and rare.

One of the member/posters has this line in her signature. It's kind of sappy, but also very nice:
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun

On a related (bird) note, I checked out a bird-call CD at the library yesterday, A Field Guide to Bird Songs: Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guides). The kids got quite laugh out of it as we drove home from the library. When you are not "in the field" but hear only the call over the car speakers, some sound quite startling, and some are just plain funny. Overall the effect is soothing. M asked me to put in the "Bird CD" last night and she fell asleep instantly.


I'll admit my birding skills are a little rusty, but I did spot a nice "group" - "flock" [kettle - I suppose] - of nighthawks on Saturday evening. It was about 6:00 pm and they were circling above my house moving slowly from the Northeast to the Southwest. There were about 12 or so. Up to now I've only seen single nighthawks, so I went into Google and searched circling nighthawks ramsey, and low and behold the first two posts were for MN sightings: This post from another Ramsey County birder, and this from a Dakota county birder.

Wake Up Time

Pretty busy Monday. I like busy, but now I need coffee. Since it's still Summer, or finally Summer, depending on your view - I will celebrate with an Cold Press from Caribou.

Yoga again tonight after a few missed classes - vacation and Labor Day holiday. Keeping up with the daily practice and I'm looking forward to tonight. Plan to sign up for another 16 weeks at the beginner level (lots of stiff parts after 42 years of living and 25 years of running).

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Better Butter?

Wow - and I thought the MN State Fair butter sculptures were cool. Check this out from the New York State Fair. Butter Farm.

"Let Go Mister!"

We are at the State Fair; kids start to fight, smallest makes a run for it, so Dad catches him and hangs on tight. Kid starts to struggle and says "Let go Mister". Oh, and did I mention that he bit Dad's arm?

A very creepy few seconds at the fair as I tried to break up the sibling fight, corral the younger from running off into a crowd of thousands, then pry younger one off my arm while he is attached by his teeth. But the scariest was when he called me "Mister". For a split second I imagined what would happen if someone thought I was just an anonymous "Mister" rather than "Dad". How do you prove that a kid is actually yours? Maybe I should have a chip inserted – right behind his shoulder. Shouldn't hurt much.

All in all the State Fair was a hit. When isn't it? Lots of kid rides, a modicum of food - M ate two "Fudge on a Sticks" - and Cotton Candy. Mom and dude left early, as he was pretty pooped. M and I stayed for that second Fudge, Cotton Candy, Lemonade, followed shortly thereafter by 3 consecutive rides down the Giant Slide.

Time of arrival: 10:15 a.m. - time of departure: 5:00 p.m. The kid (and Dad) has stamina.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Vacation and Lawn-mowers

Back from vacation today, a well-needed rest, and only 277 e-mails, not bad. Cleaned out my IE Favorites. Many I read out of habit. Getting away for a week broke the habit, and now I’ve pared it down to the bare essentials. Give me two weeks to add a dozen new Favorites.

Speaking of breaking things, I ran over a large rock with the lawn mower shortly before leaving on vacation. Not only did I bend the blade, but I also bent the crankshaft. The mower is lost. S wants me to buy an electric mower. They may cost a little more (for the cordless especially, but they are much quieter and pollute far less. Drawbacks? Some take many hours to charge – not a problem really. I also wonder if I can do my entire yard without stopping to recharge?? Absolutely will not work with a cord – super nerdy.

I am considering purchasing a reel mower again. They are real cheep – even the top-of-the-line models. One problem is that they are not too good on weeds. They tend to “caress” them, just rolling over the tops. Also – we have many trees and come fall it is nice to just mow over the leaves, turning them into mulch. On the other hand, I could always rent a mower for the one or two weeks of serious mulching. Also – the reel mower would be cool – very retro, and maybe the kids could start mowing earlier. I would hesitate to let them use the gas-powered model until they were around 12 or so.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Magic Five

Looking for a little variety in the morning routine. After suffering some aches and pains earlier this week, I decided to mix a little old-fashioned calisthenics with my usual yoga. Needed to pump things up a little. It helped.

For calisthenics I actually follow a modified version of Jack LaLanne's Magic Five. Yes, Jack is still alive. Kind of a weird web site. I remain intrigued by the idea of exercise at home with as few props as possible that's why Jack (and yoga) appeal to me.

Friday, August 20, 2004

The World as He Sees It

Lileks - Read it.
No magazine really reflects the world as I see it. They either magnify an interesting portion beyond its importance, or float off into irrelevance. Which is why I prefer the internet. Every day, a thousand pages. We make it. It’s our magazine. It’s the true pop culture, and the only question is how long it will take before the democratization of information makes the old celebrity paradigm irrelevant.

In the future, everyone will be hyperlinked for fifteen minutes. And that’s a good thing.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Left Behind?

I was not encouraged. That’s just one reason why I didn’t apply for all the new manager positions open at my office. Having just come out of a situation (another department) where I was actually sought out and encouraged to apply, the lack of any requests to apply for internal positions from my own senior management was taken as a sign.

But that’s the victim’s excuse. That’s the easy way out. I just don’t have the interest. I’m not feeling sorry for myself here, but I don’t have the “jazz” necessary to add something to a new position in this department. I just don’t want it. Time to move on. The fact that I wasn’t encouraged to apply just helps drive home that point.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Solution to our Problems

Piles of books? Here's something that caught my eye. The Sapien bookcase.
For those of us with a lot of books and very little space in which to store them, the Sapien Bookcase by Bruno Rainaldi provides a unique solution. By holding texts in a horizontal fashion, the design can accommodate up to 70 small and large books in a very compact footprint.

Co Pay for Oil-Change?

Why is it that there is only a "crisis" in health care? What about auto insurance?

Summary: Is there something special about health insurance that makes it crisis-prone? I mean, we never hear about the horrible "house insurance crisis" or the "spiraling cost of auto insurance."

Read the whole thing.. (via BusinessPundit)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Wished He Was a Unitarian?

Kerry stumbles into the "Good works" vs. "Faith alone" controversy. Is that Martin Luther I hear rolling over in his grave? From Kill the Buddha:
For the American politician working the stump, there is seldom anything risky about quoting scripture. The word of God oozing from a candidate’s lips is as predictable as the ensuing chicken and peas dinner, and has traditionally been one of the most effortless ways of winning over a mob of American voters. Unless -- and this is a full-size unless -- one happens to be a Roman Catholic who quotes a certain verse from the Epistle of James (2:14, to be exact), which Sen. John. Kerry did last Sunday, March 28, in St. Louis. . . .

And of course the Pope is now mad at Kerry on the abortion question.
Word of Sen. Kerry’s heresy has made its way back to the Rome, where a Vatican official recently told Time magazine that “People in Rome are becoming more and more aware that there’s a problem with John Kerry, and a potential scandal with his apparent profession of his Catholic faith and some of his stances, particularly abortion.” Sen. Kerry must sometimes wish he were a Unitarian.
[Emphasis mine.]

This certainly won't rise to the level of "Christmas in Cambodia" or the Swiftboat Veteran controversies, but I expect the elders on my father's side will get a kick out of it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Uff Da: MPR Buys WCAL

As an employee of an 8000+ employee international information-technology company I'm in a "glass house" when it comes to critizing large corporations. In fact, I'm not one of those anti-corporate types. I'm sort of a mixed bag when it comes to the influence of corporate America on our lives. I enjoy Target more than the corner drug store. However, I enjoy the corner coffee shop more than I enjoy Starbucks. I love the little hardware store by our house, but found myself at Home Depot last weekend anyway. Like I said, kind of a mixed bag.

That said, I've had just about enough of Minnesota Public Radio (MPR). The eMPiRe [hey - I just made that up - not bad] just announced plans to buy WCAL - Minnesota's first public radio station. WCAL was NOT part of the Kling Empire (Bill Kling is the President of MPR). WCAL was associated with St. Olaf College until they pulled their funding this year. Looks like they will continue normal operations until the end of 04, but what comes after that is anyone's guess. Although you'd have to be pretty slow to not see where this is leading:
Tom Kigin, MPR executive vice president and general counsel, was more specific: "It's fair to say that it would be unusual to have two classical music stations in one town."

Indeed, some major cities, including San Diego, Philadelphia and Detroit, no longer have even one full-time classical station.

It's not that I'm against MPR soley because of its size. I do enjoy their news programming on KNOW - 91.1, but I don't much care for their classical side, KSJN 99.5. Good old WCAL had local programming as well as programming from NPR. On Saturday mornings they carry a local show with an eclectic mix of music - mostly popular songs of the early to mid 20th century. On weekday evenings they carry National Public Radio's Performance Today. They also carry local religious programming and more. KSJN does have a nice Sunday morning show, though I haven't listened to it in some time, and I don't think they have much national programming. My impression of KSJN is a few local dj's spinning the same small assortment of classical CDs.

In Minnesota we will soon have ONE station. Anyone who has traveled outstate knows that MPR owns every public radio station from MPLS to Fargo and beyond. All the news stations play the same news, and all the classical stations play the same music.

Oh well, the money I save in WCAL pledges can be redirected to KFAI, 90.3 and the KBEM, 88.5.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

August Wind-Chill?

The dog days of summer? Hardly, it's 57 degrees at 11:30 a.m. Crazy weather, but I like it!

Signs of fall this week: Canada Geese in v-like formations over my neighborhood on their way to and from the University of Minnesota Ag campus cornfields—fueling up for the “big trip”; red leaves amongst the still-mostly green sumacs; and a desire to forgo the usual cold-press iced coffee at Caribou in favor of a hot cup of joe.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Beatles - Yes - Again!

Today (August 9, 1964) in Beatles history: Concert at the Futurist, Scarborough.

Today (August 9, 2004) - and what's playing at the Futurist? Spiderman 2.

Friday, August 06, 2004

They Still Are

Looking back on the summer of 1966, when it appeared the Beatles were bigger than Jesus - or more popular - or something. Here's what John Lennon actually said. Sometimes it pays to read the quote in context - - sometimes is doesn't.

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
- John Lennon, 1966 (This quote sparked quite a large controversy, as many of you might know)

"Look, I wasn't saying the Beatles are better than God or Jesus. I said 'Beatles' because it's easy for me to talk about Beatles. I could have said TV or the cinema, motor cars or anything popular and I would have gotten away with it."
- John Lennon, 1966

"No I wouldn't say that at all."
- John Lennon, 1966, in response to the question "Do you feel you are being cruicified?" Steve's Beatle Page

This day in Beatles history, Aug. 6, 1966:
Brian [Epstein - Beatles manager] leaves his holidays at the village of Portmeirion, North Wales, to fly to New York and give a televised press conference defending Lennon in the `Bigger than Jesus' controversy.

We Like Our Fish With Poison

Stumbled upon a cool list. don't ask me how, I'm often unsure how I end up at these sights. Six Things You Don't Know About: Minnesota.

#1 Minnesota is Trannie Town:
Things seemed to going well that night at the bar. That tall, svelte gal flirting with you has just invited you home. Seems like it's your night until calloused man hands caress you and that Adam's apple suddenly just pops out. This happens a lot in our state. It's estimated that The Center for Sexual Health at the University of Minnesota (Go U!) does more than half the surgeries nationwide and plenty stick around our Twin Cities.

#5. We Prefer Our Fish With Poison, You Know, For Flavor.

Madison, Minn. has the unenviable distinction of being the "Lutefisk capital of the United States". Made from codfish, this is a Scandanavian delicacy which literally means "fish soaked in plutonium". However, the Norwegian immigrant's found an easier away of preserving their codfish was to soak it in lye. Yep. Fucking lye.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Cleaning House

Well - not really "house" - though lord knows that could use some cleaning. Just finished cleaning up my IE Favorites, dumping all the blogs that I no longer visit on a regular basis, or ones that I frequently visit despite the fact that they often annoy me. The latter are like a bad habit, akin to picking a scab. Once upon a time I found a "gem" on the site, saved it as a Favorite, then returned every day hoping for a similar gem, only to be disappointed. [Better watch where I go with this - people in glass houses, etc.]

Anyway, cleaned up my Favorites and I'm now looking for more.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Why I "Play" the Guitar

Haven't said much if anything about the guitar lately. Took it up last year - part of the ongoing mid-life crisis. If anything it helps me appreciate music more. When you play it yourself - or in my case, try to play it - you understand a little better when you hear others play it. Even Top-40 stuff sounds more interesting.

Along those lines I found this today,
Though I think I would have always dug this band, [The Kings of Leon - ed.]these days I find I can really hear them,. I am aware of each note; I can feel the separation of the instruments; sense what Caleb and Matthew Followill are doing on their guitars; take it all apart and put it back together; and it’s all due to the few months Jack and I have spend whacking our own geetars.

Over the past couple of years, drawing has done the same for my appreciation for art, focusing my likes but quelling my dislikes, broadening my mind and letting me see what I would have formerly walked past or dismissed. I feel increasingly less intimidated by the heavy intellectualism of a lot of contemporary art and get a lot more pleasure whenever I’m in a museum.

You don’t have to be a musician to love music or an artist to love art or a writer to enjoy a novel, but when you try to make it yourself, even in the most rudimentary way, it enhances what you get out of really great Art. In the end, we are all Artists. Some of us have long hair, greasy fu-manchus, and peg leg jeans while others just back up nine-year-olds.(emphasis mine)

Everyday Matters.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Aches and Pains - and Linking

Coming down with something - throat is sore and scratchy. I have various aches and pains.

To help me forget the pain I'm perusing some cool blogs.

Althouse: by Ann Althouse a University of Wisconsin, Madison, Law Professor. Been reading this one for a while. In addition to the political/legal spin, I like her pictures of Madison. I once thought the day would never come when I didn't know anyone in Madison. Seemed for a while that we knew a half-dozen friends or family in grad school at Madison, making the frequent road trip down 94 to visit. Those days are gone.

iamtonyang: This is by a man named Tony Ang - I think. Life of a young technie in Boston. Great pictures every day. Neat street scenes along with very cool nature pics. He doesn't miss much.

Just found this maps site today. Very cool hand-drawn maps.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Say It Ain't So

Somehow my AM morning practice with Rodney Yee will never bee the same.
Sadly, commercialization breeds excess. Take Rodney Yee, one of America's top yoga instructors. He once preached that yoga helped him achieve a solid marriage. That was before Time named him the "stud muffin" of yoga in 2001 and a former teacher at his Oakland, Calif., studio hit him with a breach-of-contract lawsuit after two students alleged they had sexual relationships with him. (Yee has denied the claims.)

Wendy Melillo, Ohm no! A commercial pose is the last thing yoga needs, ADWEEK Western Edition, Copyright BPI Communications Inc., 2003. Sorry, link not available.

Abusing Time?

Interesting piece in the Business Pundit about Abusing Time.
Time abuse is very different from the common and well-covered problem of time management. While the vast majority of us can benefit from practical insights on how to organize our lives better, lessons in time management will have little impact on time abusers. That's because real time abuse results from psychological conflict that neither a workshop nor a manager's cajoling can easily cure. Indeed, the time abuser's quarrel isn't even with time but rather with a brittle self-esteem and an unconscious fear of being evaluated and found wanting. That's why you should focus your efforts on what makes a time abuser anxious instead of teaching him how to organize his day.

Not sure if blogging at work is an abuse of time. Not sure what sort of schedule the BP keeps but I see blog entry was posted at 9:19 a.m. and people who comment do so during business hours. Although reading a business site at work beats checking the latest sports scores or worse.

Archie Sucks?

Given number of old musty Archie comics at the in-laws cabin, I couldn't resist passing this along,
Archie Comics produced a wide variety of terrible comics in addition to the stuff they did well. And I do think they did some stuff well.

Read the whole sad thing.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Wither High School?

Phillip Greenspun wonders if High School is a thing of the past:
Suppose that you had a 16-year-old named Johnnie and the $14,000 per year that the local school district will spend to keep him occupied for a year. If there were no Boeing 747s, cheap telephones, or Internet you might want to send him to a nearby school. But for less than $2000 we can send that kid anywhere in the world and bring him back for Christmas and Spring Break. For a few cents per minute we can pick up the phone and talk to our kid regardless of where he happens to be.

Hmm... maybe we can send Johnnie to China for one year. He will go to an elite private boarding school and learn Mandarin, probably the most useful language for business, aside from English, for the foreseeable future. With the money left over from the $14,000 after subtracting for airfare and school fees we can send Johnnie on a backpacking tour around Australia during his summer break.

I've often wondered about the value of traditional Junior High (grades 6 - 8 or 7 -9), but haven't given much thought to the high school question. My mother attended a one-room school house as a young child. She found the mixing of the grades very helpful - she would usually sit and listen in on the lessons intended for the upper grades.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Poetry Anyone?

I usually don't put much faith in "signs". You know, looking for guidance in the form of hints from above/below/or beyond. However, when I stumble across two references to the importance of poetry in less than 24 hours - well you gotta stop and take notice.

Yesterday I came upon Scrolling Forward, Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age by David M. Levy.
For Levy, documents-from cash register receipts to children's notes, greeting cards, and web pages-are "things we have imbued with the ability to speak." While each kind of document operates within its own limited niche, collectively they work to provide some measure of stable ground in an unstable world.

I starting reading Levy's chapter on Whitman's "Leaves of Grass", and remembered I had purchased a book of Whitman's poetry years ago. It inspired me to go find it - - haven't located it yet. (Hope I didn't give it away - I do things like that.)

Today, one of my favorite blogs, About Last Night, has a piece on the benefits of good, old-fashioned rote memorization of poetry. I have taken these two "hints" as a sign that I should memorize a poem. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sweating Shins

It was so hot today.
How hot was it?
It was so hot that my shins sweated, leaving sweat stains on the lower front of my khakis.

Conditions as of 11:00 a.m.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Currently: 84°F Partly Cloudy
Wind: Southwest at 6.0 MPH
Humidity: 69.0%
Dewpoint: 73°F
Barometer: 29.83 inches and rising
Heat Index: 90°F

Today is one of those days where it truly is the humidity and not the heat. Just returned from a very slow walk – 1.2 miles around the path. Everything seemed slow and muffled, thick. The birds, however, were very active, especially the goldfinches. Observed many bright males chasing each other, rising up then diving down. Perhaps the abundance of thistle makes them so active. I believe the variety is plumeless thistle.
Yoga practice going well, after a brieft setback. At the end of last week, I was very stiff. My right shoulder was giving me trouble, along with my right hip and calf. I tried to "yoga" my way out of it, by being diligent about my poses, and doing lots of them as well. Not a good idea.
Somewhere around midday Sunday, probably when I was having trouble reaching up to change the CD volume whilst driving, I had a revelation. Breathing - I hadn't been breathing correctly. Moreover, I wasn't practicing any relaxation in my yoga.  I was just forcing all the poses and starting to feel all bound-up in the shoulders, back, and hip. At first I welcomed this sensation. Felt kind of muscle-bound - a real Charles Atlas, ready to kick sand in someone's face. But then I remembered the funny thing about yoga, like much of life. If you try to hard you often run into trouble. Just step back and approach it in a more relaxed state.
Solution - - the AM/PM Yoga DVD. I had been ignoring it for a while because it is so touchy-feely. The music is all swarmy and new-agey. But I also remembered that it really promotes the breathing, relaxation part of the practice, while moving through some wicked tough poses. On Sunday night I slipped old Patricia Walden in the DVD player and did the PM workout. On Monday I did both AM (Rodney Yee) and later PM. Did the AM again this morning. Feel great!
Learning yoga is kind of overwhelming. Like another sport I know, it promises to cure all ills, even change the way you live and think. There are so many poses, it's tempting to try them all and really push yourself. Not a good idea. Moderation, of course, is the key to success. The harder you push, the further into injury you go. It almost sounds backward, but it works: Strength through relaxation and flexibility.  

Monday, July 19, 2004

How it All Started

Many ask me how I became interested (obsessed?) with the Beatles. I tell them it was the "Silver Album", Beatles Rock-n-Roll Music, released June 10, 1976.
This review paints a rather grim potrait of the album I loved so much:
Once The Beatles contract with E.M.I. expired on February 6th 1976, E.M.I. had the rights to release any of The Beatles previously released recordings. This double set was the first album release where E.M.I. exerted that total control.
As with the "Red" and "Blue" albums, the presentation of this package was once again diabolical. The artwork was awful, no "special" tracks, no lyrics, no coloured bags, nothing. In fact, John had actually written to E.M.I. offering a design, and was not at all impressed with E.M.I.'s refusal and the finished product. The art direction was by Roy Kohara, and the amateurish drawings were by Ignacio Gomez.

Unfortunately, nothing new on the album, every track had been previously released, although the four "Long Tall Sally" E.P. tracks and "I'm Down" were in stereo and on an album in the U.K. for the first time.

One point of interest ... for the first time an L.P. of The Beatles had an entire side NOT written by them. In fact, if you include the two tracks of the previous side, and the first of the next ... a most unusual TEN tracks in a row ALL non-Beatles written!

It's impossible to imagine a time when I didn't know these songs, but there was. Prior to this album I think I would have recognized She Loves You - mostly for its Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs; Hey Jude - probably because it was so darn long, and maybe Yellow Submarine. At the tender age of 14, I fell in love with this album, playing it over and over. Side one of the first album was my favorite: Twist and Shout, I Saw Her Standing There, You Can't Do That, I Call Your Name . . .  I remember staring at the album drawings and trying to guess who was who. Ringo was easy, the guy holding the sticks, but I had no idea who was John, Paul, or George. Early on I figured out Paul, but couldn't understand why his bass looked like a violin. It took me months to get John and George straightened. Now I can pick apart any song, tell you who sings what part, who plays what instrument. Thanks to guitar lessons and a heightened understanding of that instrument, I am even beginning to pick out which guitar solos are by George, and which are by John and sometimes even Paul - - George did always get to play lead.
Incidentally, this day in Beatle History, on July 19, 1976, Rock-n-Roll Music was released in the UK. Not often that a Beatles album was released in US before UK.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Figured out my blog problems almost by myself. Was able to do a short test blog with no problem, but anything longer (that inlcuded block quotes and links) just kept coming out all messy. Also - - when I tried to post I kept getting error messages saying either my div was not closed, or my div had not been opened.

After trying unsuccessfully to either close the div by adding div or open the unclosed div by typing div I gave up and went to the Blogspot help site. Saw that one user had commented that his editor was adding div tags where it shouldn't have. He just deleted his div tags and viola - perfect.

Aha - - I didn't even know the div tags shouldn't be there. I went back, deleted the div tags, and I'm up and running.

Almost as satisfying as replacing the toilet (I love plumbing!).

Doing Some George Work

This day in 1969 found the Beatles at Abbey Road studios working on a couple of George compositions: Here Comes the Sun and Something.
Studio 3. 2.30-7.00pm. Recording: `Here Comes The Sun' (overdub onto take 15).. Studio 2. 7.00pm-12.30am. Recording: `Something' (overdub onto take 36, tape reduction into takes 38, 39). Producer: George Martin; Engineer: Phil McDonald; 2nd Engineer: Alan Parsons.

Note 2nd Engineer Alan Parsons - - as in "The Alan Parsons Project".  Very interesting career. I knew he had worked for the Beatles but wasn't aware of all his other stuff:
This was only the beginning however; As the engineering mastermind behind Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album, Alan became highly sought after as one of the new breed of creative engineers. 

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Where Have All the Milers Gone?

New York Times reports on the decline of the American middle-distance runner.
It has been 32 years since an American man has won an Olympic gold medal in a middle-distance track event. The American record in the mile, 3 minutes 47.69 seconds by Steve Scott, has stood for 22 years. In the middle distances, defined as the 800 meters and the 1,500 meters, there has not been an American man ranked No. 1 in the world since 1980. In the last 20 years, fewer than a dozen Americans have cracked the world's top five at either distance.

Similar problems at the Marathon level. Here's what just one writer/runner (Lee Fidler in Running Journal) has to say: 
When looking at Track and Field News recently, I discovered that my best marathon times from 1975-1980 would have ranked me higher in 2003 than they did when I ran them. Wouldn't you assume that performances would improve over time?

In 2003 the top American times wer 2:10:03, 2:12:47, and 2:12:51. In 1983 three U.S. citizens broke 2:10 in one race, and another went under in December. My best time (2:15:04) ranked 30th in 1980. Last year, it would have ranked fifth.

Fidler implies that maybe present-day marathoners are not working hard enough:
During the period from 1972 thorugh 1983, I averaged 100 miles per week, and it seems most of my contemporaries logged a similar volume. We may have run well in spite of our training instead of because of it, but there seems to be some positive correlation between high mileage and marathon success. My suggestions for the elite may be a good take-home message for anyone who hopes to run or race marathons.
Some blame money. Runners in the 1970s (Shorter and Rodgers, etc) were amatuers (OK so they got shoe and clothing deals) but they didn't make a living off race winnings. Rules prohibited winning much more than a cheap medal. Today, many races offer prize money. My brother, no slouch at the running game, once speculated that many great runners were gravitating to the shorter road races. Shorter distances mean quicker recovery which means more chances to make money.
What to do?
  • Some have called for American-only events. The Twin Cities marathon announced this tactic for the upcoming October 2004 event, but later changed their mind after Minneapolis civil rights officials began to condier legal action.
  • I tend to favor a return to more miles. You can't take the money out of the sport, and you shouldn't. Like most sports, most athletes only have a few good years. I don't begrudge them the chance to make a living (at least a chance to support themselves while they are training sometimes twice a day for many hours).
  • In the end, marathoners will have to want it bad enough. It's a big risk. You train for months, and it can take months to recover from each race. The runner only has a few good marathons "in them" each year. Will someone take that course over running (and making money) in shorter races several times a month? 

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


I just started Zero Three Bravo: Solo Across America in a Small Plane, by Mariana Gosnell. Found this one on Tuesday at the Library's "remainder shelf". At the library's exit there are usually two or three carts of books you can take, provided you leave a donation: $1 for hardcovers and 50 cents for paperbacks.

This book may be put to further use. I figure it Ogren might be interested, flight freak that she is. Assuming she hasn't read it already.

This book will have an interesting life. It is marked as coming from Hennepin County, I bought it at the Ramsey County Library and may end up in Iowa.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Keeping Up With the Beatles

When we last left the lads it was July 1963 and they were performing at the Winter Gardens, Margate with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Today (7/13/1963) marked the end of the 5 day run. No time to rest, it's off to Blackpool.

Busy month - July 1963 - Gaining fame in England (Please Please Me #1 on UK Charts for 10th week), but still virtually unknown outside the UK.
5 July Plaza Ballroom, Old Hill
6 July Memorial Hall, Northwich
7 July ABC Theatre, Blackpool
8-13 July Winter Gardens, Margate
14 July ABC Theatre, Blackpool
19-20 July Ritz Ballroom, Flintshire
21 July Queen’s Theatre, Blackpool
22-27 July Odeon Theatre, Weston-super-Mare
28 July ABC Cinema, Great Yarmouth
31 July Imperial Ballroom, Nelson link

Management by Baseball

I've been reading this fascinating business blog called Management by Baseball. Those familiar with my disinterest in baseball and other sports might take this as a sign that this blog is worth checking out.

The blogger just finished a three-part series on "The Book" - the unwritten rules of baseball, comparing them to the unwritten rules of business/life.

"By The Book", a platitude you hear in organizations whose size or industry has shorn them of their entrepreneurial vitality, comes from baseball. But in moving from baseball to other organizations, especially business ones, the model has unnecessarily lost a lot of its intrinsic value. Non-baseball organizations should examine "The Book" baseball keeps for guidelines on how to proliferate policy, how to diffuse it though their organization so people understand it and how to see that it evolves appropriately over time.

. . .

Baseball "knows" and makes it easy to see how procedures should evolve because managers pay close attention both to the immediate & to with trends they've been tracking, synthesizing them. Take a couple of well-known managers as an illustration
. . .

It pays to create ways to diffuse knowledge through your organization without resorting to procedures manuals, and baseball is the shining example of why to do it, how to do it, and when and how to break the mold for decisions.

Notepad = Geek

Here's a good one:

Do you use Notepad in windows?
This one question will establish anyone’s geek factor almost at once.

80% of the computer using population won’t even understand the question.
These people are not geeks at all. In fact it may be that 95% of users fall at this first hurdle. Geek Test

While I haven't used Notepad in quite a while - I once worked with a guy who always used Notepad. He was pretty tech-savvy, so I asked him for tech help on a few occasions. If the question was about Word he just snickered and shook his head.

Living in Harmony

Why is it that we appreciate harmony so much in music and yet we crave dissonance in politics and social commentary? Ernie the Attorney.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Coffee can have this effect:
It isn't all fun and games. "After about four stores, the coffee loses all taste," says Winter, who's unconcerned about any long-term effects of so much coffee. "It doesn't taste good at all—I'm not enjoying drinking it. After an extreme number of stores, I have to wash out the taste with water after every sip because it's starting to make me sick."

Fortune reports on a man attempting to visit every Starbucks:
There is no stopping Starbucks' worldwide expansion. One man thinks he can at least keep up. Meet Winter, Starbucks hunter.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Beatles - history - to round out week

Twice this week I've posted on Beatles history. Here's the last post - just for kicks. Not much happened on this day in Beatles History - in my humble opinion. But for the record:

July 9
Concert at the Winter Gardens, Margate, with Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas.

Studio 3. 4.00-9.00pm. Recording: `Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' [re-re-make].
Studio 3. 10.00pm-3.30am. Recording: `Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' [re-make] (takes 20, 21). Recording: `Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' (overdub onto take 13, tape reduction take 13 into take 22, overdub onto take 22); `Revolution' (rehearsal only). Producer: George Martin; Engineer: Geoff Emerick; 2nd Engineer: Richard Lush.
Recording of laughters and other bits for `Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da'.

Studio 2. 2.30-10.15pm. Recording: `Maxwell's Silver Hammer' (takes 1-21). Producer: George Martin; Engineer: Phil McDonald; Engineer: John Kurlander.
1st John's session after his accident. A bed is brought into the studio so that Yoko could stay by John's side.

Thanks to getback.org.

Song Sparrow

Stepped out for a quick walk this afternoon. Humid - at least for me. Temp of 72, dewpoint of 62, no breeze to speak of - felt like summer for once.

Bird of the day - the Song Sparrow.

Song Sparrows are individualists, they don't run (or rather fly) with the pack. For proof, see this cool fact:
Cool fact: Within northern populations of Song Sparrows, there may be both migratory and nonmigratory individuals. The decision to migrate is apparently an individual choice; it is not an inherited tendency. Once on wintering grounds, migratory birds mix with residents in loose flocks during harsh weather. (Emphasis mine)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I Didn't See That Coming

What's this? Lifestyle causes myopia, not genes.

I knew I should have played Little League baseball:
. . . children who read less also tend to spend more time outdoors, where better light may reduce the need to focus precisely for near vision. Studies show that children who play sport are less susceptible to myopia.

Carbs Involved - figures:
One group of researchers has even proposed that diet is one of the factors contributing to the rise in myopia. They argue that eating too much refined starch affects the growth of the eyeball

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Light Rail Update

In the interest of presenting both sides of the issue, thought I'd pass along this update on light-rail - which I took the opportunity to hammer last week.

93,000 rode the light rail in Week 1
Paying passengers boarded trains an estimated 93,000 times during the first week of Hiawatha light-rail service, topping expectations by almost 70 percent, Metro Transit reported Tuesday.

The goal is to average 55,400 rail rides each week through the end of the year.


From time to time I post on what I'm reading these days. I have a few books in the works:

Sea of Grass by Conrad Richter: Got this for 10 cents at the library. It was on their shelf of stuff they desperately wanted to clear out. Short historical novel published in 1936 covering the "wars" between the ranchers and settlers in old New Mexico. The inside cover has a sticker indicating the book was originally from the English Department at John F. Kennedy High School in Bloomington, MN - an old rival of my Richfield Spartans.

Yoga Bible: The Definitive Guide to Yoga Postures, by Christina Brown. Checked out from library, this smallish book has great illustrations of almost every posture you can think of along with practical tips for your practice. I believe there are 170+ postures - - including those really gross stomach pulling ones, the Nauli poses.

Beans: Four Principles for Running a Business in Good Times or Bad, by Leslie Yerkes and Charles Decker. Found this one at the company library. It is a business "fable" - a fictionalized account of a Seattle coffee shop owner and his struggles to reinvigorate his small coffee shop.

Coffee - Nectar of the Gods

Not that I doubted it, but here's further evidence of the benefits of the bean - from today's Chicago Tribune:
Though the virtues of coffee drinking may have been debated in the past, now there appear to be new reasons to rejoice over java. More and more studies have linked coffee consumption to a number of health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, gallstones, colon cancer and potentially heart disease.

When He's 64

Lots of Beatle news this month. Today marks the 64th anniversary of the birth of Richard Starkey aka Ringo Starr.

Happy Birthday Ringo!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Abandon Internet Explorer?

Lots of talk about abandoning Internet Explorer as your browser. The "home office" was off IE for a while and found Firefox just fine. That seems to be the alternative browser of choice.

This article in Business Week, Why I'm Staying Away From Internet Explorer pops up #1 on my Google news search.

Also you gotta take notice when, Homeland Security Warns Against Internet Explorer.

Several of the attorney bloggers - or blawgers also abandoning IE:
Ernie the Attorney

47 Years Ago Today

July 6, 1957 - an important day in my life - though it would be 5 years more before I was born.

On this day in 1957, 15 year old Paul McCartney of Liverpool, England and his pal Ivan Vaughn went to a church fete in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton. Legend has it Paul and Ivan went to the party for two reasons: girls and to hear a band. Ivan's friend John Lennon (age 16) had a band called the Quarrymen who played that day.

Long story short - Paul hears John massacre the words to "Come Go With Me", Ivan introduces his mutual friends during a break. After the show, Paul teaches John the correct words to the song, then teaches the Quarrymen to play "Twenty Flight Rock" (by Albert Lea native Eddie Cochrane), and to top it all off, shows John how to tune a guitar.

Some say that John asked Paul to join the Quarrymen that very day, other sources say it was a few days later. Either way, within the month, the seed germinated and the Beatles were born.

What about Ivan? I suspose he is one of many who earned the title "Fifth Beatle". I was able to dig this up online. These are Paul's comments during an April 30, 2001 interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.:

" Well, Ivan Vaughn was one of my best friends at school, who was born on exactly the same day as I was in Liverpool. So when we discovered this fact in the playground chatting, we became instant good mates. And he was a really lovely man. He turned out to be a classic scholar. He went to Cambridge to study Greek and Latin. And the other important thing was that he actually introduced me, one day, to John Lennon because he was very good friends with John, part of John's crowd. And Ivan said to me, 'Come along to this village fair.' That was in the village of Walton where John and Ivan lived. And he said, 'Why don't you come along? It'll be quite a bit of fun,' you know. He said, 'And my friend's playing in one of the bands.' So I arrived there and saw John, and so I was introduced. So it was Ivan who actually introduced me to him.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

A Blogging Dog

Found this cool site, "hosted" by Joop, a farmer's fox terrier from the Netherlands. Cool pictures.

My name is Joop. I'm a 'boerenfox' (farmer's fox terrier).
On August 19, 2002 I came to live with my humans in the small town of Paterswolde,
just south of the city of Groningen in the northeast of The Netherlands.
I was born in or around 1994, sais my vet.
My humans found me in an animal shelter in Noordwolde. I was brought in there by a human
who had caught me wandering near a country road.
Nothing is known about my earlier life, nothing at all.
I like to pose for the camera. My human likes to put words in my mouth. We're a good team.
If you want to look at my private album go here: http://henkbinnendijk.tripod.com/joop/index.html

You could spend hours at this site - I haven't - but one of my favorite series of pics is entitled Joop in de Auto. Shows Joop in the new Beetle and the Chevy. Reminds me of Favorite. She liked to sit up front and give directions. She always looked so natural. We would come to a stop light and someone from the next car over would invariably glance our way and smile or laugh. I miss her.

Yikes - Not a Happy Meal

Maybe I should reconsider those McDonald's Adult Happy Meals.

HANSON, Mass. -- Dorinda McCann is hopping mad over a toad she found in her salad.

McCann, 34, found the two-inch long toad in a takeout salad bought at a McDonald's in Hanson on June 16. link

Definitely not on the Bill's Beach Diet.

TSH = 2.99

This post is for the medical professionals in my family. Others may find it mildly interesting - but I doubt it.

Finally got the results on my Thyroid test. They only tested TSH level. It was 2.99, normal considered 0 - 5. Appears the meds are working. I will continue on meds and retest in 3 months.

Transit Envy? Thoughts on Light Rail

A colleague just e-mailed me:
So any effects on your commute inflicted by the new Choo-choo? Have you ridden it yet?

My response: Not an issue for me anymore. We now live in Roseville - which presents commuting issues of its own.

And then I kind of got carried away.

I'm not a big supporter of light rail. Now that we built it I hope it generates the ridership necessary to make it worthwhile, but I don't see how tearing up streets and putting down rail line at a cost of billions is a better transit solution that busses. One reason they got rid of the trains in the first place was because they were inflexible. If you want to try a new route, or the old route wasn't generating ridership, you couldn’t tear up the old ones or lay down new tracks easily. With buses you could try a route and if it didn’t work you could change it. Busses should be a much more flexible transit solution. In fact, up in Roseville the Metro Transit folks run small buses that carry folks around the Rosedale shopping area and down into St. Paul. Sure as hell wouldn't do that if trains were our only transit solution.

Trains hold a romantic place in many people's hearts - they recall a bygone era when many residents relied heavily on mass transit. Not everyone owned a car or needed to since most everyone lived in the cities proper and the suburbs didn't exist - at least not to the extent we see now. As the metro area grew it would have been too expensive to lay light rail out to the hinterland, but busses could work. Also more and more families purchased cars (as well as a second car) so the need to rely on public transportation was reduced.

There is another weird strain running through the whole light rail discussion. I call it "transit envy" - the notion that a train somehow makes us a "real city" like New York, Boston, Chicago, etc. Do we need a train to make us a real city? Aren't we already a real city"? We have millions of people living in a multi-county area, an international airport; many Fortune 500 companies are located here. Don't we already have professional sports, great theater, an enlightened citizenry, relatively easy-to-navigate roads (compared to the "real cities"), plus relatively cheap parking downtown?

Don't mean to sound too negative, and I hope it works since we will be footing the bill for years to come.

At Least I Didn't Fart

Yesterday, stiff, sore - still recovering from Monday night's yoga class. No new poses introduced, but finally learning to do the ones I thought I knew right. Videos and DVDs only take you so far. Nothing like the teacher wandering around between students offering corrections to help get your poses right. Also - when she wanders around the room we end up holding the pose for twice as long - or so it seems.

So I got a little more out of the various Warrior poses - my quads and shoulders were actually shaking. I thought that was kind of embarrassing, but at least I didn't fart. Yes, that's right. Two classes so far and each week someone farts - really loud! Considering how much twisting and squeezing we do I'm surprised I don't hear more. I reserve my "noises" for grunts and groans.

(What will the Blogspot Ads do with this post? You may notice that the ads at the top of the page relate to recent posts. There have been bird ads, yoga ads, etc. Perhaps we will see a link to anti-flatulance products?)