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

YESSS!!!

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

Reading

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.
link

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
1963
Concert at the Winter Gardens, Margate, with Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas.

1968
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'.

1969
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.

Reading

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
netlawblog

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?)