Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Running Quote of the Week, 1/28

For the Week of January 28th:
You run to no one's beat but your own. No one else is making you run. No one cares whether you do it or not. The responsibility for running is yours entirely, and the same can be said for the rewards in doing it. They are all yours, too.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Meet the Press: Gov. Huckabee

I'm watching Meet the Press and having my first introduction to Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and the great white hope of evangelical Republicans.

He's about as charismatic as a mop. I'm afraid I'm very scared for the Republicans' chances if this fellow becomes the nominee because of his pro-life credentials.

And wait, now they're trying to give him some personality, he's in a rock band playing "Born to Be Wild." But, hold on, he's a bassist and confesses that born to be mild is probably a more apt description for him. Yup, couldn't agree more.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Running Quote of the Week, 1/21

For the Week of January 21st:
There is no shortage of talk in this turned-on, tuned-in world. But as the world grows busier and noisier, we let shrink that essential time each day to be alone to fantasize, to reflect, to clear away the cluttering thoughts, to plan.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Today I played the Ravenchase game with two friends. It is a combination puzzle and scavenger hunt game. None of us had ever played before, so we didn't know what to expect. It was amazing and challenging.

There were four clues, each at different location, and each clue pointed you to two subsequent clues in order to find pieces to a bigger puzzle. Once all four clues were completely solved, you had all the information needed to decode a clue pointing you to a final meeting point and the end of the game. It was a timed event, with the fastest team winning. As an example, here is an outline of Clue #1.
Where Crawford meets the Water
A center for visiting guests
Just outside a call for you
In its bright red very best

Find the town that gave us this
And write it from left to right
Next the country down the side
Two levels of code come to light
This clue called us to the Portsmouth visitor center, where there is a red phone booth, a gift from Portsmouth, England. So we wrote "Portsmouth" across the top of the grid in the clue and "England" down the side. Then the letter string below the grid was decoded by reading into the grid. For the code "EP" we read along the "E" in England to under the letter "P" in Portsmouth yielding the number 1, which we wrote into the space provide. Decoding the resulting number string was a simple substitution operation, with "1" meaning "A," "2" meaning "B," etcetera. Numbers higher than 26 required a second trip through the alphabet, so "27" became "A" as well. Eventually, the message decoded as "VA PILOT PAPER ANNOUNCEMENTS." We bought a paper from a nearby machine, and read the announcements.

A message in the classifieds from the event organizer took us to a nearby park, where we found a little scroll of paper hidden with the first piece of the big puzzle. From there, off to Clue #2 and another multi-part clue and cipher.

None of my team had ever played this game before, and most of the remaining teams were very experienced. Still, we managed to finish in third place and claim a fabulously tacky trophy, described be the organizers as "the most phallic thing we could find." I think we will have to try this thing again.

Lessons from your dog's death

We lost our dog last week, when she was hit by a car. My wife and I found her at the Tompkins County SPCA in 1998, many moves and many jobs ago.

I miss her dearly. A few months ago, her Vet told us not to give her any human food. Now when you have two young children you can just forget about this advice anyway. In addition to the manna from the high chair, we kept on giving her the trimmings off our steaks that we cooked on the grill this summer and other leftovers.

I felt guilty about it sometimes because the doctor said we were shortening our dog's lifespan, but now I'm sorry I didn't give her even more.

I guess the lesson is sometimes you should just go ahead and have the dessert or XL prime rib

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quotes from Thomas Sowell:
The next time somebody says that the government is forced to intervene in the economy to protect the poor, ask why the government is forcing taxpayers to subsidize municipal golf courses, the ballet, opera and -- the biggest subsidy of all -- surrounding affluent communities with vast amounts of expensive "open space."

Despite the shameless propaganda of the environmentalist zealots about the loss of animal habitat, more than 90 percent of the land in the United States is undeveloped. Animals already have vastly more habitat than human beings have. How much is enough?
More here

Monday, January 15, 2007

Running Quote of the Week, 1/14

For the Week of January 14th:
There is a Big Lie on the psychological side as well. "Running is, by its nature, a lonely and boring activity." This fallacy lives in the minds of people who confuse aloneness with loneliness and unstructured activity with boredom. They aren't the same. In fact, in many ways they are direct opposites.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Minimum Wage Nonsense

This is the best explanation I have seen yet for the Democrats love raising the minimum wage:
For example, the NCPA noted that most large East Coast cities already have a minimum wage that exceeds the current $5.15 an hour. (It's $7.15 in New York City and just rising to $9.14 in San Francisco.)

"The proposed wage hike is a way for business and labor interests in blue (Democratic) states to raise labor costs in the red (Republican) states with which they compete," said the NCPA's Robert McTeer. "What business wouldn't relish the thought of raising the costs of its competitors?" [...]

"If the goal for all low-wage workers to have the same, minimum standard of living, we need different wages for different cities," McTeer said.

"If the goal is to punish red state economies, a uniform minimum wage makes sense. But if the goal is to enact a uniform minimum living standard, we need to start by raising wages on the coastal cities and leave the interior cities alone," he concluded.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Running Quote of the Week, 1/7

After over thirty years of running, I have started keeping a runner's log book for the first time ever, just to see if it proves fun and/or helpful. The log I purchased from Runner's World magazine includes a running quote for each week. It seems like good blog fodder, so I will reproduce one each Sunday night. For the Week of January 7:
The Big Lie on the physical side of running is, "If it is going to help you, it has to hurt." The Lie is spread by people who confuse pain with purpose. The fact is, pain in running serves no purpose except to prevent you from inflicting more pain on yourself. It draws boundaries which you cross only at great risk.

What Kind of Pirate Am I?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bureaucratese Translated

Anybody that has ever dealt with a government agent knows these catchphrases oh too well.

BUREAUCRAT: That’s very interesting.
MEANING: I disagree.

BUREAUCRAT: I don’t disagree.
MEANING: I disagree.

BUREAUCRAT: I don’t totally disagree with you.
MEANING: You may be right but I don’t care.

BUREAUCRAT: You have to show some flexibility.
MEANING: You have to do it whether you want to or not.

BUREAUCRAT: We have an opportunity.
MEANING: You have a problem.

BUREAUCRAT: Help me to understand.
MEANING: I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I don’t think you do either.

BUREAUCRAT: You need to see the big picture.
MEANING: My boss thinks it’s a good idea.

BUREAUCRAT: My mind is made up. I am adamant on the subject. There is no room for discussion. But if you do want to discuss it further, my door is always open.
MEANING: Fuck you.

BUREAUCRAT: We’re going to follow a strict methodology here.
MEANING: We’re going to do it my way.

BUREAUCRAT: I didn’t understand the e-mail you said you sent. Can you give me a quick summary?
MEANING: I still can’t figure out how to start the e-mail program.

BUREAUCRAT: We have to leverage our resources.
MEANING: You’ll be working on weekends.

BUREAUCRAT: You need to be more proactive.
MEANING: You should have protected me from myself.

BUREAUCRAT: I’d like your buy-in on this.
MEANING: I want someone else to blame when this thing bombs.

BUREAUCRAT: We want you to be the executive champion of this project.
MEANING: I want to be able to blame you for my mistakes.

BUREAUCRAT: We need to syndicate this decision.
MEANING: We need to spread the blame if it backfires.

BUREAUCRAT: We have to put on our marketing hats.
MEANING: We have to put ethics aside.

BUREAUCRAT: It’s not possible. It’s impractical. It won’t work.
MEANING: I don’t know how to do it.

BUREAUCRAT: It’s a no-brainer.
MEANING: It’s a perfect decision for me to handle.

BUREAUCRAT: I’m glad you asked me that.
MEANING: Public relations has written a carefully phrased answer.

BUREAUCRAT: I see you involved your peers in developing your proposal.
MEANING: One person couldn’t possibly come up with something this stupid.

BUREAUCRAT: There are larger issues at stake.
MEANING: I’ve made up my mind, so don’t bother me with the facts.

BUREAUCRAT: I’ll never lie to you.
MEANING: The truth will change frequently.

BUREAUCRAT: Our agency is going through a paradigm shift.
MEANING: We have no idea what we’ve been doing, but in the future we shall do something completely different.

BUREAUCRAT: Value-added.
MEANING: Expensive.

Hat-Tip: Brother Jim


This is unbelievable. Remember chasing mercury from a broken thermometer around the kitchen table as a kid? No more. Seems a man in a small town in upstate New York broke a rectal thermometer. Then he called 911 to get help cleaning it up. That's right, he called 911! So what happened?

Well, it must have been a slow day around the firehouse, because the Fire Department showed up. 100 of them. One Hundred. To clean up a spill from a household thermometer. Which they did. In protective gear!

What a joke this country is becoming.