Archive for category Hootworthy
…had you told me these things about the present day 20 years ago:
* a black guy who smokes cigarettes will win the presidency — twice — while running against a wealthy, handsome white guy the second time.
* gay people will be legally allowed to get married in numerous states, with the support of a growing majority of Americans.
* something called the Internet will reveal that a horrifying fraction of Americans are functionally illiterate racist misogynist swine. (Well, this one might not have shocked me.)
That is all.
Once there was an old man in the twilight of his life. One night he had a dream. In his dream he saw a beautiful sand beach stretching along the shore of a great ocean. And on that beach was a set of footprints heading off into the distance. In a moment of insight the old man realized that the footprints represented his own journey through life. And so he followed the path they made, re-examining his experiences across the years.
At times the footprints were steady and true. At other times they appeared erratic and deeply embedded in the sand as if a heavy load had been carried. These in particular were the times of great duress during the old man’s life. But light or heavy, always the footprints were alone. And the old man wondered how this could be. After all, he always thought that he had “walked with the lord”. Why weren’t the lord’s footprints alongside his own? So the old man cried out “Lord! Did we not walk together? And why were you not with me when the times were most difficult?”
And the old man listened for an answer but heard nothing. He cried out again but still nothing. No matter how intently he strained to hear, nothing came. And it was then that the old man realized that there was no lord. Rather, it was the old man who had been carrying the burden of an ancient, now useless concept which had made the journey so difficult. It was a concept which had been placed on his shoulders as a child and reinforced by well meaning family and friends as the years went by.
And so the old man straightened himself, cast off his burden, and looking out across the vast ocean, felt at long last a true sense of freedom and relief. He smiled to himself knowing that, truly, tomorrow would be a new day.
Nope. He’s pretty close to the top of the pile, actually. Check out 19th place in the small-school boys’ race at this past Saturday’s Manchester Cross-Country Invitational. (Okay, the spelling is a bit off, but were this a road race rather than a sanctioned high-school event, I’d be screaming fraud.) It was at this meet in 1985 — my sophomore year — that I first transformed myself, in my mind, into a decent runner. The event has exploded into an extravaganza attracting many top teams from New England and — obviously! — New York State.
Really. I think this is perfect.
I don’t find a Pastafarian demanding to be able to wear a colander on his head for a license photo any more ridiculous than a Christian demanding to be able to wear a cross or a Jew wearing a star of David.
I do draw the line at practitioners of voodoo wearing dead chickens around their necks, though. Health concerns mostly.
I wish that for one day, everyone in the United States who is ambulatory would lose the ability to walk, but retain the ability to run. This would happen with no concomitant improvement in anyone’s fitness. In other words, the only way people could get from place to place on foot would be to run, however slowly, sloppily and painfully. If they needed to take breaks, they’d have to sit down or stand there until ready to go again.
This would be an awesome sight in the non-ironic but non-hackneyed sense of the word. Just imagine it. Young people, fit people, heavies, senior citizens, smokers, drunks, cops, aspiring pedophiles, missionaries, whores, cable servicepersons, Wal-Mart shoppers, everyone — running along sidewalks, across parking lots, from the bread aisle to the checkout counter, into family court, out of bars at last call. I would spend the entire day filming people, except at the end, where people like me would be at a distinct strength advantage we would put to heroic use, e.g., in the form of looting or recreational vandalism.
If you follow or tolerate me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the titles of some of the articles I’ve written for a particular entity that clearly counts on SEO, not quality, for traffic. I don’t write the titles; I choose them from among a huge slag heap of computer-generated ones and then write stuff that more or less conforms to them. I was musing in an editor’s forum yesterday that I wouldn’t mind seeing the following titles: Read the rest of this entry »
Whenever I’m in or observing an Internet melee, the “movie” below is precisely how I imagine every one of the combatants — except for me, of course. I’m the one calmly snickering and typing as deftly as anyone can while using only three fingers.
I don’t usually watch these dog-and-pony shows between theists and atheists because there is little point, at least in terms of learning anything new or forming different ideas. I don’t need to listen to another traveling Christian circus to know that the idea that morals or anything else is God-given is a farce, for two simple reasons: The Christian god is a pitiful but ferociously persistent fiction, and moral behavior and frameworks are adequately explained in naturalistic terms.
But I like watching Sam Harris for the same reason I enjoy watching Christopher Hitchens — I just like his style (and Hitchens and Harris could scarcely be different). So I watched the April 7 “debate” between Harris and William Craig at Notre Dame (video below). My impressions are below the fold lest you prefer for some reason to watch the debate without the dubious benefit of my “spoilers.”
I don’t know if this counts as a PSA, a cheap shot, or an expression of gratitude that I am not a frequent patron of fast-food restaurants. Regardless, it’s kind of funny, more so than most things, even.
Someone I know runs an HVAC business, which means he does repairs and maintenance on various types of heating and air-conditioning equipment that I have no idea how to fix. He has quite a few corporate clients, among them at least one Long John Silver’s. I don’t like seafood, if that is indeed what it served there, and have never been to one of these establishments for that reason alone. I am in no hurry to change this after hearing his account of his labors today.
Evidently he was starting to work on a small refrigerator at this restaurant and was reaching behind the unit to access whatever wasn’t working right when a small battalion of cockroaches emerged at high speed from what to this point had served as a well-concealed base of operations. The manager, who had been watching, without a word hunkered down and began squashing as many of these roaches as he could using only his thumbs. Why he did this instead of stomping on them is unclear, but he managed to exterminate a good many of them before they could take refuge behind another piece of equipment. Then the manager left. My friend continued working, and minutes later the manager returned with a vacuum cleaner and began sucking the corpses out of view.
I have never been associated with a public health entity of any sort and do not pretend to understand the complexities of their sundry regulations, but I am confident all the same that restaurants are expected to keep their premises relatively clear of roaches and other six-legged invaders, and pre-remptively at that, not by deploying thumbs and an industrial wet-vac only after their presence, in the form of colonies with memberships numbering in the double digits, is discovered.
I would tell you exactly where this restaurant is, but I figure that if I don’t you’ll think twice about eating at a Long John Silver’s whether you are reading this in Dead Pecker Ridge, Nebraska or Rangoon.
Someone’s pissed and staging a contest and giving something away for participating. Unlike those offers that promise a “free” iPod or Playstation 3 for filling out 78 surveys and signing up for 48 trial offers (meaning that you’d be better off working a few more hours and just buying the fucking thing), all you have do do is be concerned that Angryrunner is going to get knee-walking drunk on vodka and cokes after running the Boston Marathon in something like 3:15 to 3:17, tell her why you deserve to win what’s she’s giving away for free (no, not that, dudes…hands off, I saw her first), and send a “tweet” about it, and you may be the lucky recipient of one of eight prizes, plus an as-yet unspecified bonus prize that will be shipped to you along with a pack of Maverick cigarettes.
So have at it. To get started, click on the monkey below!!!
Aimless souls who wander the Internet looking for interesting running-related blogs know that the process is like looking for a leftover candy bar on the set of The Biggest Loser. But despite the cringeworthy banality of the majority of weblogs as well as the limited range of topics runners typically explore, titillating examples do exist. One increasingly popular one–even if I am calling it that mainly because I just found it myself–is “Run Angry,” a wonderfully vulgar yet coherent set of essays assembled by a thirtysomething marathoner from the cold white north. She’s got a little something for everyone: She’s a lot faster than most women (and men) will ever be, yet pedestrian enough to have fun at faster runners’ expense; she drops f-bombs like a longshoreman, yet none of her coprolalia is gratuitous; she does indeed fuel herself on high-octane angst, but not on genuine bile–at least not yet. And her comic timing,such as it exists in this medium, is brilliant.
The moment I discovered the blog, it was inevitable that I would want to stain my own with her crass musings. Since I’m a narcissist to the core, or so I am told by people who inexplicably dismiss the value of solipsistic ranting, I knew I would very much enjoy this experience because I could count in it being like interviewing myself on a day when I was in rare form as a subject.
So, here she is, preparing to run the Boston Marathon on April 18th, looking to run under 3:20. Read the rest of this entry »
So a team of biomedical researchers at the University of Helsinki claim to have perfected a system for measuring the efficacy of medications used to treat erectile dysfunction using real-time imaging.
The process, seemingly conceived in a union of the Transportation Safety Authority’s new body-scanning equipment and a time-tested tool for assessing heart function, involves injecting radiocontrast dye into the blood vessels serving the penis and examining what occurs in specific areas of the corpora cavernosum and corpus spongiosum, the mesh-like regions of the organ where blood accumulates and is retained during tumescence. Experiments have involved the IV administration of vasodilators such as sildenafil (known in the U.S. as Viagra) near the base of the penis and assessing what occurs in the “downstream” microcirculation. Since most men with erectile dysfunction have localized rather than generalized circulatory compromise in the small vessels–common culprits are smoking and especially diabetes–this theoretically allows for the placement of small vasodilator patches on the penis in the 30 or so minutes prior to the initiation of sex play. Now that’s romance! And hey, even geometry enters the mix: Read the rest of this entry »
Have some Irish ale with a biochemical/physiological twist:
Tip o’ the leprechaun hat to Tarion Anarore!
As usual, James Howard Kunstler’s Monday-morning essay this week is a gallantly fatalistic drumbeat concerning the incipient failure of the petroleum-driven global economy. And as always, in between describing the various facets of political chaos worldwide, he takes an apt potshot at the collective mentality of his own countrymates who are all standing by just as torpid and unconcerned as those in charge appear to be:
I tried to follow the story on American cable TV Sunday night but with the exception of stolid, dogged CNN, all the other news channels were playing one sordid and titanically stupid program after another: meth freaks, show-biz narcissists, and sex chatter without sex. What a nation of morons we are. Over six hundred cable TV stations and only one that even tries to tell you what is going on in the world. How many citizens of this republic were watching a dessert chef undergo staged humiliation for the failure of a cupcake batch while two nuclear reactors melted down across the Pacific? We deserve what just happened to Japan three times over. And we might just get the equivalent at least in social and political trouble as our money follies unwind and normal living here becomes untenable on the old terms.
For anyone who’s still wondering about the source of the jovially beleaguered actor’s energy and ideas, it may not be any of the popular suspects — an extended neurotransmitter storm with roots in pharmacopoeia, or merely a fantastic and solipsitic contrivance — but this 2007 interview with one of America’s greatest and most colorful distance runners.
In the age of the Internet and a million apocryphal tales, it’s difficult to say whether Gerry Lindgren’s chief notoriety today lies in his sublime accomplishments or in the training and racing feats attributed to him by himself and others. Whatever the case, several things are unquestioned: Lindgren held the U.S. high-school 5,000-meter record (13:44, set in 1964) for 40 years; he still holds the indoor two-mile record (8:40.0), run on a small eleven-laps-the-the-mile track and surviving a strong challenge over the weekend from Illinois wunderkind Lukas Verzbicas (8:40.70); he won eleven NCAA titles; and he set one world record (27:11.6 for six miles in 1965). As for the rest — the series of 350-mile training weeks, the comments about Oregon runners employing stealth hip checks — who knows? He gives a great interview.
When I was doing those long runs I kind of knew nobody else was doing so much. I thought that if you want to run well you have to go through hell to get to heaven. I was just willing (or stupid enough) to do whatever it takes to serve as I wanted to serve … Every day I have regrets. Why didn’t I do more? Why did I stop at 50 miles when there was still sunlight? Maybe I could have been a bigger influence on other runners and non-runners too if I had just demonstrated a little more courage. I never did enough!
My good fortune is that I was such a wimp and worthless as a runner. My coach told me to become the rabbit, to sacrifice myself for the good of others, so that the team could grow stronger. In running as a rabbit without any regard for myself, I tapped in to the will of the gods. The longer I ran the more I felt energy was there. The harder I trained the more joy I experienced. On those long lonely runs I was always either given more energy by the gods or forced to suffer some unusual circumstance that would test my determination to serve…
I could write a book on [America's] problems. When the military/FBI/organized crime conspired to kill Kennedy, they killed virtue as well. Selfish military, selfish government and lies took over. We had rioting in the streets, distrust of police and government, and more and more people looking at what they can get for themselves. Runners today don’t want to MAKE great races; they only strive to win them. Runners are afraid to train hard, race hard, pay the price. It is as if we outsourced courage to Kenya and Ethiopia.
I’ll present this without comment except to note that I wonder why this guy denied making the Hitler reference after everything else he admitted saying. Granted, the dude’s 91 years old and by all accounts has lost his squash, but he’s like a guy who admits he’s had sex with 34 women other than his wife, then denies that he’s ever looked at Internet porn.
Anyway, political news in any state undeniably becomes more interesting when Republicans gain control of the legislature.
A 91-year-old state representative told a constituent that he believes in eugenics and that the world would be better off without “defective people.”
Barrington Republican Martin Harty [said that] “the world is too populated” and there are “too many defective people” … Asked what he meant … Harty clarified, “You know the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions – the defective people society would be better off without.”
…Harty said nature has a way of “getting rid of stupid people,” and “now we’re saving everyone who gets born.”
…Harty then stated, “I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population.”
After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, “Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it).”
Harty told the Monitor he was “just kidding” about Siberia. He denied making the comment about Hitler…
Harty, a first-term representative, wrote a letter to Foster’s Daily Democrat last month stating, “So far I really don’t know what I’m doing … The few votes I’ve made so far I really didn’t know what I was voting for or against … Just looked at the people around me and went along with them.”
If you’re going to be arrested, at least make an effort not to advertise your crimes or blow out local irony meters. These are actual booking photos from the Tampa Bay area. See if you can guess what each person was hauled in for (answers are at bottom).
1. DUI, driving under license suspension
2. Domestic battery by strangulation
3. Child sex abuse
5. Misdemeanor battery, disorderly conduct
For more schadenfreude at its finest, click on the cutie below (picked up in a stripper bust along with about ten others) to view close to 100 other funny mug shots (<—testing search engines here).
In doing some research for an “article” I happened across a treadmill with some impressive specifications. This monster has a deck 18 1/2 feet long and four feet wide, weighs more than a Humvee, can accommodate exercisers weighing over a ton, has a 40-HP motor, can be inclined to a 17 percent grade, and has a top speed of 60 miles an hour, about twice what Usain Bolt is capable of achieving. Of course, it’s intended to train horses, not humans, but what of it? Its price tag of $72,000 or higher should not be a deterrent to the folks at Jackass, a show for which this piece of equipment was seemingly invented. Come on, who wouldn’t want to see someone in a specialized suit dropped on to one of these things cranked up to top speed from a height of ten feet or so? Or buck naked?
I cringe at wondering what this letter looked like before it reached the Monitor’s editors.
My responses are in moderation at the moment because the coterie of cranks on the site have consistently lodged complaints against my input and the editors unfortunately humor them, but in summary they assert that the writer is operating on a demonstrably false premise (that nonbelievers wouldn’t exist of only everyone read the Bible) and give a specific example of a contradiction in Genesis, followed by the results of the Pew Forum survey revealing that on the basis of a 32-question quiz, atheists know more about religion than Christians do.