Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Prostitots - Who to blame?

Prostitots is a word I picked up from a funny football website guru that I exchange emails with from time to time. This word sprung to life after several trips to a city mall in Philly where he was swarmed literally by packs of 11-14 year old girls wearing skimpy clothing and lots of make up. I have been running with this word ever since I heard it. It is in any mall in any area. Some areas have more than other, but it is a nationwide phenomenom. How did this happen? When did this behavior that was always present in 'those girls' go mainstream?

One Wall St Journal op-ed dared to lay blame at the moms' feet. Salon got out a horse from the stable to defend moms (and slutty dressed tweens) because no one should ever be criticized. One survey showed teens are having less sex nowadays (I'd add Internet Porn to a reason the blogger lists for less teen sex). There is definitely something disturbing about pre-teens and teens tarting it up, and this is something both parents (mom and dad) have a responsibility to handle. While Salon does have a point that dressing slutty doesn't automatically lead to regret, but at 11-14, a young girl might have the physical tools or know how the basic process goes from a class or a talk with mom and dad, but that does not mean she is mentally ready to handle sex with most likely a slightly older, horny 15-16 year old who has been rejected by girls his age and needs some release. Why can't people let kids be kids? The dress and shotgun blast of makeup will attract many young men. That attention sometimes comes with activity. Why are parents setting their 11-14 year old daughters up for situations that they might not be ready mentally or emotionally for? This has gone mainstream when we know early sexual activity doesn't have a lot of happy endings. Salon misses the point as they cannot lay blame at any woman's feet, god forbid the feminism liberated sexuality narrative be destroyed.

I do blame moms. As the primary role model, they can set the tone. They can be a good model and also the first line of defense. I cite moms first because we live in a society where 41% of new births are bastard children so mom is the sole parental figure. I cite moms because more often than dads they get custody in a divorce. They also have 'been there'. They understand the game. I think one of th ebest Mad Men dialogues ever was when Betty Draper explained to Sally why a first kiss is special. Dads are also to blame, but I will cut slack to dads who had family court screw them over with custody. Dads know the mind of a teenage boy. Why would you drench a swimmer in blood and drop them into the shark tank? This is the same as sending a skanked out daughter to the mall with her friends. This is absentee fathering at its worst. If a dad is home and lets this happen, it is even worse. Sack up and tell your wife to fuck off for once before your daughter devolves into a Sex and the City mini-me who only feels right if there is a man in her life and a cosmo in her hand.

While this skank dress up and aggressive behavior has always been with us, it has not been so mainstream. A good friend cited how the Britney Spears media blitz really brought it to life as she was constantly pushed as a saucy minx.... and she was still 18. Miley Cyrus has not helped, nor has the general lowering of female standards when it comes to behavior. A far more insightful analysis fo this entire slutty tweens idea is here, "Raising Feral Females". What happens to the prostitots by the time they reach 21? With so many out there, how can we tell? This is a huge national experiment. Will oral cancer, HPV and herpes infections just keep rising? Probably. Will these girls grow up to be women who only assign value to their looks and how many guys they can attract, therefore suffering catastrophic ego destruction if they are not married by 30? Yes, I see it already in my generation. Will we see more out of wedlock babies? Most likely.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Syria Protests

Now Syrians are openly protesting against their government. This is a revolution we should support as the reigning crew is an ally of Iran. Let our admin use nice words to support the pro-democracy groups. Rule in the Middle East should be: If Iran wants to see the revolution, don't support it. If Iran doesn't like the revolution, SUPPORT IT OPENLY.

NY Times Discovers Islamists Might Eventually Control Egypt

Gee whiz, the Islamists might end up in charge of Egypt after that glorious revolution shouting for democracy. The NY Times finally caught on!!! Why are libs and the media they control always so naive about 'revolutions'? Wait, these are the same assholes who thought the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent Soviet republic was a good thing.

Jeez, even I was worried about that months ago.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Japanese Reactor Damage

Zero hedge has been a better source for news on Japan's nuke problem and cover up than th emainstream media. Let us hope this news means that the lies and dishonesty have been to prevent mass panic and help allow for orderly evacuations.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP Liz Taylor

Last of the old Hollywood glam guard. She had such a high peak, and maintained a high level of dominance and glam for so long. From Father of the Bride through the 70s, she was incredibly beautiful and glam. By the time I was a kid in the '80s, she was a tabloid figure and a crusader for AIDS research.

Free to Fail

"There can be no real freedom without the freedom to fail", Eric Hoffer - social writer and philosopher.

Between my thoughts on childhood identification and hearing a Chuck Klosterman interview where he described the world around us as one that is increasingly being designed and configured as if everyone was a child, I have been focused on that fascination people have with childhood and the nostalgia of going back. There are different views on freedom, and my beloved view is that we are free to be ourselves to act in our best interests as long as we do no harm, being free to succeed, fail, pursue and possibly find happiness. There is another view, which I like to call the statist liberal view of freedom, that means all the tough stuff will be taken care of by some 'other' and you're free to have no consequences fun.

There is a huge pull towards the statist liberal view of freedom. Who wouldn't want to not have to worry about the tough stuff? I view that as a simplistically childish view. Right there is where the draw is: childhood. Consider how many people wish to relive their childhood. Consider how many people want to go back. Why? They want to go back to when life was simple because nothing you made a decision on had a major consequence, yet part of that desire to go back is so you can do things differently because so much looks so important in hindsight. Bills, the future, and where you'd live were problems for your parents to figure out; all you had to do was wake up, maybe do a chore, and then play all day long. Even at school, you followed orders and a schedule designed by someone else. If we do say that true childhood ends around ages 10-11, nothing you had in class for a subject was too taxing. The tough stuff was taken care of, all you had to do was wake up, live by someone's rules (who put the roof over your head and food on your plate), and play. It still blows my mind that idea of going back and reliving it being held by people who simultaneously would redo many things.

I am always worried about the 'tough stuff accounted for, just go have fun' freedom because of my experiences with college friends who grew up in Russia and the Eastern bloc. No consequences can lead to no conscience or no motivation. The 'important stuff' taken care of by the state can mean one set of goods for you and one set of goods for the guy who is connected. It means a loss in the freedom to choose your life, the responsibility to those you have a contract with, the reliability as an adult member of a community, not just the fun stuff, but the complete life you want to live.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nada Surf - Popular

"Make sure to keep your hair spotless and clean. Wash it at least every two weeks, once every two weeks!" This was a poppy grunge hit. It was in that perfect era of video making when videos had good production values, creative ideas, and performing band shots.

Rookie in Charge - POTUS

Pretty critical article on our current POTUS, Obama, over this whole Libya kerfuffle.

Sad quote: "This is the greatest opportunity to realign our interests and our values," a senior administration official said at the meeting, telling the experts this sentence came from Obama himself. The president was referring to the broader change going on in the Middle East and the need to rebalance U.S. foreign policy toward a greater focus on democracy and human rights.

Oh so you mean the whole idealistic push of democracy in the Middle East might have been a good idea from the previous POTUS. It is also funny to realize Obama did not seek Congressional authority for the Libya action, at least that "war criminal" Bush asked for Congress to rubber stamp his actions, and is acting in a manner he said the POTUS does not have constitutional authority to do. Weird to witness this from a former lecturer on constitutional law.

Another sad quote: "The fact that Obama pivoted on a dime shows that the White House is flying without a strategy and that we have a reactive presidency right now and not a strategic one."

I am thinking back to the Niall Ferguson interview where he said the rest of the world does not see a grand strategy to the current administration. It is amateur year for foreign policy.

If you want to see the best example of UN sham righteousness, look no further than here:

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon also said on Thursday that the justification for the use of force was based on humanitarian grounds, and referred to the principle known as Responsibility to Protect (R2P), "a new international security and human rights norm to address the international community's failure to prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."

"Resolution 1973 affirms, clearly and unequivocally, the international community's determination to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by their own government," he said.

If that resolution is the basis for intervening on behalf of oppressed people, the people of North Korea await your help.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Childhood Identification

Emails forwards still exist. They are not the constant inbox friend-spam they were 10 years ago, but they do exist. A common one is "if you're an 70s/80s/90s kid, you know...". When it comes to childhood identification, I can read the 80s and 90s emails and feel a pull towards either email. I lived through both decades, and spent equal time as a child in them with a couple years in the early 80s without forming memories, and with a couple years of the 90s over age 18. After careful consideration, I can definitely say I am an 80s child.

When reading the 90s child emails, I know the answers. I can identify the moments, the personalities, and the cartoons. While still technically a child, I felt more an aware and active participant than the passive child state in the 90s. The feeling of being a child was so thorough in the 80s despite my lack of awareness in the early 80s. Being born at the tail end of the 70s (I just snuck in), I had equal opportunity for exposure to the 80s and 90s. While I love 90s music, and consider the alternative scene my 'era' of rock, and the hip-hop rap of the 90s far superior to today, my childhood is the 80s. It is not what you know, what you can identify within the era, it is what you feel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Awful NFL Tie In Song

Back when the mid-80s Bears captured the sports world's attention, the team did a lot of media appearances and crossovers. There was the Super Bowl Shuffle and the Fridge's high selling GI Joe figure. For 25 years, whenever I see Mike Ditka, the first thing that runs through my head is "Iron Mike, he don't touch the baawwwl, he does the blah blah blah blah". Yup, this terrible song. Kissing Suzy Kolber found it and posted it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Put me to sleep, Beethoven

Please, we need it Beethoven.

The Japanese Nukes

Chernobyl was one reactor going critical. Fukushima has 3 reactors potentially going critical. Even if one goes, Fukushima is a city of 290K people. It is 170 miles from Tokyo. How large of a 'dead zone' do they cordon off? How much more cramped can cities get? How much depends on the wind?

My thoughts are with those scientists and workers doing their best to prevent a meltdown. This has far reaching implications. Japan is a successfuldemocracy in Asia. Japan is an innovator. Japan is a huge cog in the global economy and major investor in the emerging world. Japan supplies much of the developed world the great products we love and enjoy. Japan also buys a lot of US and European government debt.

Is this the domino that starts a bigger chain reaction? Japan has debt to GDP numbers that make Europe and the US look restrained. They forunately have 0% or 1% interest rates so they can service that debt. If they now need to ask for more cash on the markets, will investors ask for slightly higher interest rates? Will they turn in some of the US debt they have as reserves to pay for needed reconstruction? That would crush the US. How many insurance companies around the world are ont he hook for billions of damage and lives lost?

Talk about uncertainty. The stock market has had a trek from the March 2009 lows based on the flimsiest of reasons. This type of event and its impact usually slice through the crap. I don't want to even consider if a radioactive cloud ends up screwing with the crop yields in the Western US. The San Fran Quake of 1906 is what started the great panic of 1907. Can't we just have one week of peace and quiet?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

NFLPA Mismanagement of the Message

It is incredibly stupid to have one of your premier players give an interview with Yahoo Sports and compare the NFL to modern day slavery. I am glad some other players are already saying that is a dumb comparison. This does not endear the fans to your side. No one is compelled to play against their will on the whim of people who own them. Millionaires vs. Billionaires while the world suffers through depression, revolts and Japanese devastation. The world is bigger than you Adrian Peterson, even if I admire your play.

I needed a break from reading about Japan potentially going Chernobyl on us.Japan is the size of California. The area around Chernobyl that was considered unclean to live in was pretty big. Fukushima city has a population close to 300K. Japan is so much more densely populated than the Soviet era Ukraine.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japanese Earthquake Fallout

Northern Japan is still suffering large aftershocks, the nuke plants have had mini-meltdowns, and now volcanoes are going off in southern Japan. The Pacific Rim ring of fire gave us a huge earthquake last year in Chile, and 2011 is off to a dangerous start.

Having just read the Chernobyl article, I hope wind & rain can prevent the possible nuclear radiation from making it deep into the breadbasket of the world, America. We do not need food shortages right now.

Impressive Middle East Revolt Review

I enjoy this guy's writing, and you might have read an article he wrote on American middle class revolt being an ominous sign for the future. He has a long, long write up on the revolts in the Middle East. I am impressed.

The author looks like a Spanish Dave Matthews.

Book Review: Breaks of the Game - David Halberstam

God I loved basketball. I still do but nowhere near as passionately as I did as a kid. I love to play it. It can ba great game of grace and agility, teamwork, and simple goals: put the ball in the hole, stop the other guy from doing it. David Halberstam wrote Breaks of the Game in 1981, but much of what he wrote about the game applies to today. Much of what he wrote outside of the game looks a bit comical now with 30 years of age. At its heart, the book is a celebration of teamwork and playing the game as 5 men coming together as 1 unit. Basketball can be played at its best like an infusion of muscle, speed, skill and performance art.

Halberstam is a favorite of mine. He has an amazing ability to create a tapestry so that you know how each person came to this point, how each concept formed, and how all of the pieces fit into the whole. I love his dedication to research, conducting hours of interviews with the people who populate his books. While writing about the 1979-80 Portland Trailblazers, he actually spends more time on the champsionship season the Trailblazers had a few seasons earlier. You will learn about the game more reading this book than you could by watching a whole season, reading newspaper reports on games, or even playing. The history of the NBA's development, the rise of player salaries and labor issues, and the wave of black player participation is really interesting to read about. I don't like the Celtics, but I have a greater respect for how their organization was run after reading this book.

One thing that Halberstam really pounds into the ground is the issue of race into everything with basketball. The book was written in 1981, and it is obvious that he's writing with the contemporary liberal mindset of the time. It gets annoying after a while. There is always a huge white conspiracy behind a black player's lack of success of advancement. All black racist behavior is glossed or skipped over. Some things are even comical to note now with 30 years of hindsight. One player he cites as "poor, white but very poor", which made me laugh out loud. When the Portland trainer (white) does not get awarded a playoff money share of $2500, Halberstam cites how hurt he was and how the vote was all white players votign him a share but rhe black players didn't. Then they gave lame excuses why they voted no. Halberstam cites this as the trainer learning there is no loyalty in the new NBA, but if you reverse the races on this Halberstam would have accused the 'no' voting white players of a conspiracy. Come on Dave, write it the same way for all sides. He conveniently overlooked the bad cocaine problem in the NBA (small mention of it), which would become much worse in the '80s.

In this book, you also see the seeds of the NBA's destruction. The player contracts quickly escalated and became problems as the players could then get coaches fired. The fight between players geared towards a 1-on-1 game vs. a team game concept pushed by coaches. The short life span of the coaching profession caused short term thinking to overtake player development and team building. Players started to get guaranteed money more and more, creating albatross contracts for teams. TV showed the beauty of effort as well as the indifference displayed by some players. The long season and 2nd season feel to the playoffs made casual fans only focus on the playoffs. Buzz Bissinger recently wrote about the NBA's declining popularity problem and once again, laid it at the feet of racist white fans. This is bullshit. The NBA was 75% black in the 1980s and 1990s and had much higher popularity than today. Buzz even cites int he article his colleague who said it was racist to say the NBA fan problem is a race problem. Yeah, Buzz, fuck off.

This book explains the problem by explaining the beauty of basketbal as a teamwork based game. People loved Magic's Showtime lakers, the Bird Celtics, the Bad Boy Pistons, and the Dr. J centered Sixers of the 1980s. White people loved seeing a 'team' play together and win, regardless of color. When the NBA, because of overexpansion and the Jordan effect, moved towards building teams around one great guard and a bunch of bums, people stopped watching. Who wants to see a game that appears to be 1-on-1 on both ends of the court? Not the same people that loved to see Magic end a fast break with a no look pass or Bird find an open man that no one else saw.

Reading this book, I found my NBA analog: Trailblazer small forward Bobby Gross. He looked to pass first instead of shoot, he moved well without the ball, he rebounded and was a defensive stopper. He shut down great scorers. That is what I was known for: passing, rebounding and defense. He contributed beyond numbers by making others better and taking away the best scorer on the other team. He didn't feel right if he wasn't playing his best for his team, screw the salary. The Bobby Gross type of player is a dying if not extinct breed in the NBA. Oftentimes, these style players play well in that manner, then get a huge contract extension or go elsewhere for big money, and then start shooting more and becoming selfish scorers. I blame the AAU culture of rewarding scoring above all else starting at age 10, and the money thrown at players. The beautiful game best expressed through that championship Trailblazers team, Bill Walton and coach Jack Ramsey is celebrated in this book. It should be. It is the way the game was meant to be played. 5 guys, 1 team. Now instead of 5 men playing as 1 unit, basketball teams have become collections of men playing as individuals.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back Running

Even though I had run a half mile last week at a slow pace for the triathlon start up training, I went for my first real run yesterday (in 3+ years). It was directly after biking, so my legs were already a bit weak, but it was humbling. My lungs burned that cold burn when you know your cardio system is weak, and my heart rate was very high by the end. It was 13 minutes of ego bursting. It was good. No way am I going to prepare for this triathlon well without really pushing myself. After weight training the last 3 years, I have usually done 10-15 mins on an elliptical machine. I see now how illusory that cardio was. It was a means of keeping my heart rate up for an additional 10-15 mins, but did not build up much lung strength.

I still can't believe I used to run long sessions of 8-9 miles some weeks for x-country.

The NY Times Apologized

The NY Times issued a statement for their poor blurb on the gang rape of an 11 year old in Texas. They even admitted the AP reported it more balanced. It is completely sad that the 'community' in Texas is rallying around these guys. Considering other laws: stat rape and unlawful confinement of a minor (or related term), the guys videotaped or photographed at the scene are toast. Texas' stat rape laws do not protect you from 'I didn't know' when the girl is under 14. Lock them up and let the big boys in prison introduce them to another form of sex (which is also wrong but a coincidence).

Libya Games

The president of France has recognized the Libyan rebels declaration of a republic. President Sarkozy, who will probably lose in 2013 in his re-election bid because he raised the French retirement age by 2 years, did a smart move here that our President Obama would be smart to duplicate. It is hard to get the UN to agree on any action as the Russians and Chinese will veto movements as this would set a precedent of intervention. Outright military intervention would be unwise as getting involved in a civil war in a Muslim country would be complicated and stretch our troops even thinner. We can use covert means of aid as well as supply munitions, food and material.

This is the brilliance of Sarkozy's move. He knows nothing will happen through the UN, so he can claim he would do something. He knows a no-fly zone would be hard to do, and the pro-Ghaddafi forces would just use their artillery and armored advantage with close helicopter support (arms sold to them by Europe). By recognizing the rebels, Sarkozy can set up an embassy within international norms, which means he can set up communications with them and a channel for sending military aid and covert 'advisors'. This is how the Western world can go after Ghaddafi. Berlusconi questions if it was wise to jump quickly on him or if he'd even lose. I would prefer to see Ghaddafi gone, but it is a tricky situation as what measures or limits does a government have to quell an internal uprising? What right does the outside world have with interfering? I applaud Sarkozy's move, and wish Obama would follow through the same, and hope that covertly and clandestinely, Western aid cna help the rebels take out a horrible dictator who has oppressed his people and funded international terrorism and other dictatorships around the world.

Note: I enjoy how the yahoo piece comments on Sarkozy's bold move, compares it to US dithering, but never calls out Obama for being indecisive and confused. The US media will do their best to protect Obama.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pray for Japan

Let us all pray for Japan, the Japanese people, and the nuclear scientists and workers now rushing to prevent a core meltdown at 5 nuclear reactors.

Update: One reactor explosion, but it might just be a containment room. Let's hope the scientists and workers can prevent any further 'critical' situations.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't Ever Disparage Someone's Mothering

While watching the atrocious Bachelor reunion show, which was awful and I barely paid attention to while reading, I rewound and rewatched a sequence that explained a problem with modern society. A 'crazy' contestant was being called out for being bad and mean, behaving like a stereotypical bad vixen on the show. The young woman pointing out the vixen's bad behavior mentioned the vixen being a mom, and maybe not setting the best example. This stopped the vixen's crying as she got real harsh and said 'don't you ever question my mothering'. Sadly and predictably, the host then said something defending that and the other ladies backed down. It elevated her a bit. This is horrible, as that was the opportunity to have a rather huge conversation on the whys on going on reality when a person is a parent, especially a single parent.

Since when did being a mom make you automatically a saint? No one can ever question someone's mothering? Sorry, but I think being irresponsible enough to have a child out of wedlock, then be cited in an NBA player's divorce, and then actively sign up for a multiple month show that would take you away from your child does reflect on your parenting (she also has implants). You agreed to be on a show that would leave your child elsewhere for months. Instead of someone bringing this up, we get the St. Mom halo drop. That is BS. I know plenty of people who suffered with bad moms. The sad part is 35 years ago, the vixen would be called a loose woman who abandoned her illegitimate bastard child to chase attention and superficial fame on TV on a long form version of the Dating Game. I know it is harsh, but gosh, something feels a lot better about shaming attention whore (and other related) behavior rather than defending and celebrating it.

Poor Rape Reporting by the NY Times

I love bashing the Ny Times. Part of it stems from their amazing resources being wasted on dumb subjects or important articles that get washed by the need to protect the lib narrative. The NY Times shining moment was their reporting after 9/11, which showed what the 'best' newspaper in America could do with an earth shattering event in NYC that changed the nation and world. They just did a short blurb on a gang rape of an 11 year old in Texas and really dropped the ball. Others have pointed out the obvious blindness to the reporting.

1. They only get quotes from a person who knew the defendants "These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives". - Well if they had not raped a 11 year old girl, they wouldn't have to live with it the rest of their lives. What about her life? Why is this woman trying to turn these young men and teens into victims?
2. They sort of blame the 11 year old victim.
3. The reporter himself asks how these young men could be drawn into an act like this. As if there is an intangible force that persuaded them to commit rape rather than say no and call the police.

The Houston paper happens to mention how some in the community are now threatening the girl and her family. Because if she can't testify, defendants can get off. The community is also circling the wagons around the defendants despite video and photo evidence. Sickest part of it all:

The bastards videotaped it on their cell phones.

UPDATE: It gets even worse. Now complete jack asses (news article here) are descending on the town, blaming the victim, circling the wagons around the defendants, and of course playing the race card. Disgusting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Nothing has Really Improved and Higher Prices are Here

Economic employment 'gains' are mostly massaged stats and temp jobs. The huge debt overhand is still there. The banks still are not recognizing losses. The housing market is still a mess. No bankers have been jailed. The FED keeps printing money and subsidizing the big banks who now control 80% of uS assets. The Federal government ran a February deficit that was equivalent to the entire 2007 deficit.


Add to it the commodity crack up boom of the last 6 months. Oil is over $100 again mostly because of devaluing the dollar and somewhat because of Middle East tensions. The economy in 2007-2008 could not handle $100 oil with 5% unemployment. How are we going to handle it with 10-20% unemployment? This will not end well.

Got gold and silver?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Psychiatrists: Goodbye Sons of Freud, Hello Pill Pushers

This NY Times article on modern psychiatry really bummed me out. I need pills, or maybe I need to talk it out. I am not shocked by this as my psych major friends talked of the split between the biological psychology folks and the traditionalists. Go figure that the bio-psychology students would go out, enter the psych field and then push pills. The class action lawsuits for pills that eventually messed with adolescent brains permanently will be coming.

There is something math related that bothers me. The article states how psychiatrists can earn $150 for 3, 15 minute medication visits vs. $90 for a talk therapy session. They later say the median annual compensation was 191K in 2009. Say a shrink has 2080 45 min talk therapy sessions (1 per hour in a 40 hour workweek). That is $187K in salary. Very close to the median amount. Keep in mind that is the median amount across the US. I think $187K is an AWESOME salary in any red state and some lower wage blue states. Utilizing the pill route more could maximize earnings to $312K. Could this mean that shrinks are being greedy and going the pill route to earn more money? Could the shrinks be making a decision on their own to make more money? This is their choice. They do not have to practice in that manner, nor in the NYC metro area. I bet they are, but that would ruin the narrative that somehow health insurance is to blame for this problem. Protect the narrative at all costs!!!!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Under 6 Feet Tall, Monster Dunker

I'll watch shorter players dunk all day compared to 7 foot centers. As a kid, I loved seeing Spudd Webb dunk.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Teachers Unions

Sacrifice. Yeah, the teacher unions have to guarantee those automatic pay increases, no contribution medical and other gemstone benefits that you and I do not get. They also usually get a retiree life insurance policy as well that never ends.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Training for a Triathlon

As an old high school athlete who doesn't do organized sports anymore, I've done a lot of gym work to stay in shape. I believe it is important for one's health to be fit, eat right and keep your stress levels down. Working out helps take away any stress as I internalize a lot. I ran a 5K race several years ago and did not train properly for it. Looking at race options, I did not want to go back to doing long mileage on the road and damage my legs and joints on hard pavement. I've been searching for something to compete in and most of all, to push myself. I'm going to train for a Triathlon.

Nope, not the crazy ironman, long distance triathlons, but I will train for a 'sprint' triathlon. The triathlon I looked up is made up of 3 parts shortened from normal triathlon lengths: swim 500 meters, bike 10 miles, run 3 miles. I have a life so I don't have the time or desire to train for a 3 part event that has a marathon tucked at the end. I am shooting for something that is different and will test me mentally and physically. The sprint distance also allows for training times that do not complicate my life as a new dad.

A beautiful thing about the internet is that there are wonderful resources online to help with triathlons. No longer does a person need to know someone already in the system or buy books. I have found a website that offers training program designing, an online training journal and other articles on completing a triathlon. I've even started a light program to get me geared up for this. My gym has bike machines and treadmills so I can't use the weather as an excuse. I even did a bike then immediately run session last night to simulate the actual event. My problem is finding a pool. There isn't one at my gym. There is one at another gym, but I do not know if they have pool access only memberships. I need to do that in the next few weeks. Even if I don't get the pool access now, I can do the biking and running and set up a pool membership for next spring and summer's races. Like art, some things are about the journey not the destination.

UPDATE: That other gym cut a deal with me for a 6 month membership of pool only. No excuses now.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Double Indemnity Awesomeness

My favorite insurance movie of all time. Fantastic scene of flirting back when men were men and women were women.

Book Review: The Africans by David Lamb

Anyone know what the hell is wrong with Africa? When cruising through Borders during lunch time walks, I check out the African book section. There are the white guilt books, there are the warfare books, and there are the history of Africa/apartheid/colonialism books. I've been looking for a book about modern Africa that doesn't sound like a printing by some charity. David Lamb's 1982 work "The Africans" has aged pretty well. While it was written prior to the end of apartheid or the onslaught of HIV/AIDS, there are many parts that feel contemporary (except the Commie/Soviet stuff). It is a heartbreaking read at times but worth the time.

Lamb's work is based on his years as the LA Times correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa. His focus is on 'black Africa', and he does not pull punches. He lays blame at the feet of everyone: colonialism's legacy, selfish dictators, Western aid agencies that send money out of guilt, Commies, the climate of Africa and the African people themselves. No one avoids his wrath, but unlike many writers pointing out the boogeyman, he mentions solutions. Lamb sounds like a man who genuinely cared about the African people he met, and a man who saw the great potential if only given the proper leadership, patience and investment.

With hindsight, some of his predictions are proven wrong. While the Soviet threat is gone, the Chinese seem to have stepped into their place with investment for access to raw materials. Apartheid ended without a war. Mugabe became a terrible dictator who destroyed Zimbabwe. The Sudan slipped into horrible crisis and blood civil war. Rwanda's genocide popped up form under Lamb's nose. Sadly, no one saw Aids coming, and that has ruined black Africa. HIV/AIDS has become a horrendous killer, and some of the aspects of Africa's poor medical and health policies make HIV/AIDS worse than it should be. The medical facilities are poor, sanitation bad, belief in witch doctors still prevalent and then throw in HIV. It is a recipe for disaster. We should be honoring the MDs who volunteer whether through NGOs, governments or their church organizations for giving their time to Africa.

There are many great moments in the book. The entire section on Idi Amin is great. He was an exaggeration of what the rest of the African strong man dictators were at that time. Kind of funny to read the author point out how odd it is to berate South Africa for apartheid when many other African dictaors are killing thousands of their people. It was interesting to read some of the independence stories as well as the coups. The coups read like bad 70s-80s movies, except there is no Arnold or Stallone to come in and root the bad dictator out. At the end of the day, this book is about the people of black Africa. It is their story. It is a varied and diverse story and one worth reading.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Sheen Media Fiasco

The media is spending an inappropriate amount of time focused on the ramblings of one rich man who is on one hell of a drug and alcohol binge. They don't want to report on the 44.1 million people on food stamps or the never reducing unemployment problem. Sheen can act as the sideshow for now. I side with Sheen as long as he is not putting anyone else in harm's way. Let him binge and act crazy. It is his life. If he wants to destroy himself, who are we to send media helicopters to his house?