Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Scarecrow Effect update Nov 2010

Recent photo with the scarecrow mask ...

Many friends have been functioning as readers and giving me feedback so that I can move on to the next phase of writing. Hoping to have a functioning rough draft by Spring 2011 ...

High Rise Pancakes

From of all things a GQ article ...

I should have added a smidge of nutmeg and I didn't use lemon and powdered sugar to top this off when done, but I will next time because this was fantastic.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Second Wind by Cami Ostman

Second Wind by Cami Ostman

Cami Ostman is an old classmate and friend who is a truly amazing woman. Reading this book was a pleasure as I can hear her voice in my head as I read. Having followed her blog during the process and had I the cash I would have gone to Antarctica. I eagerly awaited this book.

Second Wind is a book about many things and I recommend reading it. It is a book about running. It is a book about divorce. It is a book about finding new love. It is a book about travel. It is a book about personal growth. It is a book about finding out where one's limits are. I could go on, but the point is that this is a book about many things. Cami manages to tread the fine line between discussing deep personal issues and TMI. As a fan of personal or non-fiction narratives Second Wind holds your attention.

My own marathoning experience is very different from Cami's in that it seems inevitable that I would end up marathoning given that I transitioned into road races in 1990 upon completing college and was needing a new athletic challenge after the end of my college soccer career. I would have marathoned by the end of 1993 had I not broke my ankle and delayed the process for 5 years when UI finally ran my first in 1998. The marathon idea really started in the Summer of 1990 during the Goodwill Games in Seattle when a young lawyer I worked for simply up and ran the race, since their was public participation in that event. It made me realize that with a generally high level of fitness that I maintain, training myself to do the odd endurance event was a rational goal.

Like Cami, I too am a "Back of the Packer" as my speed is long gone, the product of numerous injuries and creeping age.

I joked to my son as I bought this book that it was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had in a bookstore ... which led to the following list:

1)Buying Cami's book and also the book store reading.
2)Meeting The Fonz with my daughter and mentioning how much I loved "The One And Only" while my daughter was excited to meet the crazy football coach from "The Waterboy".
3)Discussing the fate of The Combine and college poetry with Sherman Alexie. We were at WSU at the same time and I saw him read while there at a place that was converted into a French restaurant in Pullman.
4)Discussing Wrestlemania XIX with Chris Jericho, and his match in particular.
5)Discussing religious mythology with Clive Barker.
6)Harry Potter Book 7 at midnight in 2007 and then going into a race with my son to see who would read it first. I won with it completed before midnight the next day.
7)Meeting Yann Martel and discussing other works of Holocaust literature.
8)Watching a little girl clutch a copy of Harry Potter Book 6 looking really tired and like it might be almost too heavy for her to carry on release night of Book 6 in 2005.
9)Seeing the huge line for Mary Pope Osborne at Third Place Books in 2005.
10)Any time I meander through used book stores. Most notably the first time i walked The Ave and found the used book stores when in high school.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Problem Is ...

This was originally to be a post about my attendance at the "Rally To Restore Sanity" and the (then) upcoming midterm elections ... then I did not end up able to attend the rally and didn't really feel like typing up a comment prior to the midterms but found my rough notes on the general state of politics I wrote on October 25 and decided to flush it all out into one big post. Despite my general non-political blogging rule I am going to go ahead and go with this anyways.

Basically, I have always been a political junkie of sorts but in recent years have intentionally stayed away from the fray (while still voting) simply because it really isn't interesting or fun these days.

Because despite all the differences I always enjoyed it. The intellectual side of things really pushed me. But, the political climate as a result of TV commercials, cable news, and talk radio has made it simply impossible to get beyond the white noise and engage myself in the process any more. I hardly enjoying talking with people I agree with about politics, let alone those I don't.

I have long since Incorporated a "No G Subjects" rule about me. That is I do not discuss guns, God, gay rights, or government with people very often any more. Again, I still participate as a voter, but I remain outside the fray.

It was surprising that I was even really considering a political rally at all at this point. I have not even gone and seen President Obama in person on a few occasions when I could have. My limits have been pushed so much past tolerance of the subject matter that even things I would generally enjoy I avoid. In 1989 I enjoyed covering a speech by then President George HW Bush. However, the rally in question was essentially about my problem and felt like it might be therapeutic to go. Then I couldn't and kind of felt like I was missing out on something and that realization is why I am bothering to type this all up.

People who I know well that are to my right I really can still talk to, but I simply choose not to delve into politics with them any more. There are only so many "Obamacare is designed to kill people because it is a Nazi Islamic plot to take over America" emails I can take before I only talk football or movies with people, if at all.

Stupidity is not a virtue. Science is not opinion and the outright assault on fact by those with agendas in opposition to facts is troubling. Please at least try to be intellectually honest. Political ads seem to claim that the only job where a lack of experience is a good thing is politics, where we are expected to hand over the reigns of a trillion dollar machine and believe someone wants to shrink their power by being voted into office to do something they haven't actually done before. Initiatives have been usurped and are actually damaging Washington instead of helping. Common Sense is the same thing as saying nothing. It sounds like something, but is suitably vague enough to actually mean anything and therefore commit to nothing. Facts matter. Barack Obama is not a Muslim. Health Care Reform is not about killing people. The bailouts were a Bush plan Democrats ran with and many Republicans voted for. Bush is not responsible for everything and neither is Obama.

Both parties have had a fair amount of control of Washington in my lifetime. For one side to claim that a single senator is responsible for something when that senator was in the voting minority for half or more of a term of office I cannot take you seriously.

I was born in 1967 with LBJ in the White House and a Democratic Congress ... (Use the following scorecard where the White House is listed first and the senate second and house third is would be D/D/D)

1968 LBJ does not run, RFK is assassinated during the campaign and a Republican wins the White House. (R/D/D)

1976 a Democrat named Carter takes the White House back. (D/D/D)

1980 the Democrat loses re-election and the Republicans win the Senate and the White House with Reagan. (R/R/D)

In 1986 the Democrats take the Senate back. (R/D/D)

In 1992 a Republican president named Bush loses re-election and a Democrat named Clinton win the White House. (D/D/D)

In 1994 Republicans win both chambers of Congress, although the Democrat wins re-election two years later. (D/R/R)

In 2000 the Republican Bush wins the White House. (R/R/R)

In 2001 a Republican becomes Independent making the Senate briefly Democratic. (R/D/R)

In 2002 the Republicans get the Senate back. (R/R/R)

In 2006 the Democrats take both chambers back. (R/D/D)

In 2008 Obama is a Democrat and wins the White House. (D/D/D)

In 2010 Republicans take the House but not the Senate. (D/D/R)

4 of the past 5 presidents including the sitting office holder lost at least one chamber during a mid-term election. Bush could not lose either as he had neither from 88-92 but he lost re-election. Going back to a 6th president Carter managed to lose the Senate in 80 during a general election but also lost re-election himself at that time.

Anyone who claims anything about a mandate or the like cannot possibly be serious ...

In my 43 years the Dems have had all 3 for 9 years, the R's for 5, and the longest without a change in any of the 3 is 8 years from 68-76, with changes every 2-4-6 being very common. Every election anger is noted and then after a change in one a rush to judgement about a permanently changing landscape is claimed ... and then it changes again within an election or two on average.

Also, only once has a chamber of Congress changed during a general election year (1980 the Senate to R's with Reagan). Otherwise it almost routinely changes during mid-terms.

The Republicans and their Tea Party supporters won half a midterm election and are acting like it is a mandate when all it is is more of the same. Democrats have made the same mistake in the past. All one has to do is look at the 1986 through 1996 series of elections to see how things ping pong back and forth quickly.

We should be able to still agree to disagree, but I cannot take anyone seriously on either side when they do not take me seriously enough to at least try and be intellectually honest.