Music from My Run

It turns out to be trivially easy to get the list of things I listened to during the River Bank Run off my ipod. So I’m doing it. Read it if you care.

For what it’s worth, I started listening a little bit before the start of the race. Thus, when the actual start came around, I’m pretty sure I was listening to “Hot Cha” by They Might Be Giants.

Also, for what it’s worth? I think this my be the only time I’ve ever attended a big race and not heard “Born to Run” blasting over the loudspeakers at some point. I’ve nothing against the song, but it’s a bit of a cliche by now, I think.

Train – Drops of Jupiter
The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Blue Rondo A La Turk
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Someday I Suppose
They Might Be Giants – Hot Cha
Charles Earland – Westbound #9
R.E.M. – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville
Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
Tom Petty – A Face in the Crowd
Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs
Norah Jones – Creepin’ In
The Arcade Fire – Keep the Car Running
The Doors – Break on Through
Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl
Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity
The Brian Setzer Orchestra – This Cat’s On A Hot Tin Roof
Yes – Turn of the Century
Clifford Brown – I Get A Kick Out of You
Ben Folds Five – Steve’s Last Night in Town
They Might Be Giants – Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
Laurie Anderson – Strange Angels
R.E.M. – Driver 8
Yes – Close to the Edge
U2 – Surrender
Laurie Anderson – The Dream Before
Primus – Jerry was a Race Car Driver
Charles Earland – Killer Joe
Jethro Tull – Locomotive Breath
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Oop Pop A Dah (with Dizzy Gillespie)
The Wallflowers – One Headlight
Yes – Starship Trooper
U2 – “40”
John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom
U2 – Running to Stand Still
The Arcade Fire – (Antichrist Television Blues)
Living Colour – Cult Of Personality
Laurie Anderson – Coolsville
The Beatles – Dear Prudence

Fifth Third River Bank Run

I did it again this year. Kristen’s workplace pays for an employee and “a friend.” Husbands apparently count as friends for this purpose. So, it’s free. I like free.

I ran the 25K run (approximately 15.5 miles).

In case you were wondering what that’s like, I’ll go over the key features here:

Friday, May 9: Packet Pickup
Packet pickup is where you pick up things like the chip they use to track when you cross the start or finish line. Also, you get your “bib”–the piece of fabric that has your number on the front. Despite the name, it is too small to protect your clothes from messy eating.

Packet Pickup is something of a runner’s convention. In the larger races (like this one), you’ve usually got a massive room filled with booths. They’re usually for other races, shoe companies (Adidas, Puma, New Balance…), medical personnel (chiropractors, sports medicine, physical therapists) and in the case of this race, Smuckers. I have no idea why.

You’ve also got a stage at the front where people are being interviewed about their training techniques and racing tips. Directly in front of the stage, they held a pasta dinner–which Kristen and I skipped. We went to Ming Ten (sushi, Chinese, and Korean buffet).

Lining Up for the Race
Lining up is an event in itself. Figure you’ve got a few thousand people on the ground. All of them need to line up. They stagger people by race and by speed. In this case, they started the 10K runners at 7:30 am, the 25K wheelchair racers at 7:50, the 25K runners at 8:00 and the 5K at 8:10.

To line up, you need to either be there early enough that there’s not much of a crowd or push, push, push till you find an open gate and can step onto the street. Last year I was late enough that I had to literally squeeze through the fence to be on time. This year was no problem as I got up at 5:45 am.

The street was almost empty as I got on it (the 10K runners had left) and I had 30 minutes to kill. Here is how I spent my time:

10% Stretching
20% Thinking about how cold my fingers were
20% Finding the runners who intended to run 9 minute miles
50% Wondering why exactly I was doing this again

The Race
It started like every other long race–slooooowly.

When you’ve got a few thousand people on the road, the starting gun/air horn goes off and the people in the front start running. The people behind them start shuffling while the people after them continue to stand in one place.

It can take five or ten minutes just to get to the starting line.

Mile 1: Once we’re started, I decide that my plan is to stay next to the official pace setters for my mile pace. That way I would definitely make my goal time. One of the two pace setters intends to go faster during the last few miles. The other plans to keep a steady pace. I decide to follow the former.

Mile 2: I bump into a volunteer handing out Gatorade at an aid station. Now there is Gatorade on my shoulder and arm.

Mile 3-4: Nothing worth mentioning happens, but it feels good to run.

Mile 5: Melissa, the pace setter I decided to follow goes much faster than the other one. I lose track of her, but decide it’s okay since she doesn’t seem to be following a 9 minute mile pace anyway.

Mile 6: Melissa reappears behind me with a few other people from the 9 minute mile group. How did I get ahead? I decide to try to stay with them.

Mile 7: The turnaround point. We cross the Grand River and start back. Melissa and a couple other people get ahead of me. I never see them again.

Mile 8-11: Hills suck.

Mile 12-14: I begin counting down the miles, knowing that it will be over soon. Confusingly, there are still signs from the 5K up. At one point I see that I have two miles to go. Then I see that I have two miles to go again. This is very demoralizing.

Mile 15-15.5: The other 9 minute mile pacesetter (I didn’t catch his name) passes me. I consider trying to stay with him, but just don’t. He runs at a 7:30 mile pace normally. It’s just not worth it. I do push myself a little during the last half mile, but not to the extent I thought I would earlier. I’m tired.

Finish: I finish at 2 hours and 22 minutes according to the clock, but according to the chip (which takes account of the actual time I passed the start) I have a 2:20:01 time–an almost perfect 9 minute mile pace.

After the race, I passed in my chip, collected my medal for running, and ate some watermelon and oranges. I considered getting free beer at the beer tent, but didn’t have an id with me. I got Pepsi instead. In the end this was okay. I like micro-brews and darker beers. They had Michelob Ultra. To be honest, I don’t particularly like that beer anyway.

At that point I left for my car. So I’m done–at least for this year.

After the Primaries…

If you’re me, you’ve probably been wondering what it will be like after the primaries are over. Bearing in mind that Obama’s delegate count (including the super delegates) is still higher than Clinton’s (and I don’t see that changing), he will probably be the Democratic nominee.

Today I received an email sent to my address at an organization I work for. Bearing in mind that it’s a Christian organization, they have various Christian groups attempting to get their attention. The one that sent this email evidently believes that Christian == conservative…

“President Barack Hussein Obama,” those have to be the scariest four words in the English language!

Ask yourself… do you really want the next President of the United States of America to be a man with ties to known Marxists such as Frank Marshall Davis and terrorists such as Bill Ayers and former PLO operative Rashid Khalidi?

Consider the fact that Barack Hussein Obama refuses to wear the flag on his lapel, or that he does not place his hand over his heart in the presence of the American flag.

Consider the fact that Barack Hussein Obama embraces Jeremiah Wright, a man who has preached the most vile racial hatred and anti-American sentiments from the pulpit for twenty years, while at the same time Barack Hussein Obama accuses decent hard-working Americans of bigotry when he says things like, “It’s not surprising that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them… .”

Consider the fact that Barack Hussein Obama’s wife Michelle said that her husband’s candidacy marked, “the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.”

But what really makes “President Barack Hussein Obama” the scariest four words in the English language is that fact that HE CAN BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

While the media would love to extend the news cycle as far as humanly possible throughout the primary season, the truth of the matter is that unless Hillary Clinton pulls off some kind of mathematical miracle, Barack Hussein Obama will go to the Democratic National Convention with more delegates.

And, with the exception of the Jeremiah Wright story, the liberal media has basically given Barack Hussein Obama a free pass — and will continue to give him a free pass!

Moreover, Socialist billionaire George Soros of MoveOn.org fame, and some of his cronies, have already spent millions of dollars and recently pledged to spend millions more to put this obscure first term United States Senator from Chicago into the White House.

Make no mistake, there are people in the United States who despise America… hate America… and hate our way of life. Barack Hussein Obama is THEIR CANDIDATE and they will do everything in their power to make sure that patriotic Americans do not understand exactly how dangerous Barack Hussein Obama really is. They’ll hide his record and his past and they’ll tar-and-feather his opposition.

And the only thing that stands in their way is patriotic Americans like you!

George Soros and his friends may have millions and the liberal media may still control the information that most people see and hear, but patriotic Americans can still fight back. We have just launched ExposeObama.com — call it the Obama Truth Squad — and in the coming weeks and months, we will tell the American people the truth about Barack Obama.

We’ve just completed our first major television ad. And if you use this hyperlink you can see it right now! But we just don’t want you to view this ad, we want you to join us. We need to raise $300,000 in the next 72 hours to buy the ad time on television that will expose Barack Hussein Obama to the American people .

Please watch this ad and if you agree that all Americans should know the truth about Barack Hussein Obama please join us. Your financial assistance of $5000 or $1000 or even $100 or $50 or $25 is urgently needed right now.

Remember Willie Horton?

One of the key members of our team is Floyd Brown. You may remember Floyd as the man who created the Willie Horton ads which brought the truth about Mike Dukakis directly to the American people.

Before the Willie Horton ads came out, Dukakis had a healthy lead over George H.W. Bush in the polls, in part, because the liberal media glossed over Dukakis’ liberal record. And it looked like Dukakis’ march to the White House was unstoppable.

Willie Horton was a convicted killer serving a life-sentence without the possibility of parole. Horton callously stabbed a 17-year old gas station attendant 19 times and left him in a garbage can to die.

And yet, Horton was given a total of 10 weekend passes from prison.

During one of those weekend passes, Horton kidnapped a young couple, stabbed, beat and gagged the boyfriend and then repeatedly violated the girlfriend multiple times while the boyfriend watched — helpless to do anything.

Dukakis supported the furlough program that gave Willie Horton and so many others like him weekend passes — even after the Willie Horton affair came to light. Moreover, when the Massachusetts legislature attempted to close the furlough program, Dukakis vetoed the bill .

When the Willie Horton ad came out, the left-wing media went into spin mode and attacked Floyd. Twenty years later, fabrications and lies concerning the Willie Horton ad are still misreported by a biased media.

But when the Willie Horton ads were released, the American public saw the truth. There was no hiding the fact that Dukakis was soft on crime.

The media will attempt to elect the next President of the United States for you and that president may be Barrack Hussein Obama.

You can let that happen or you can join us as we expose the truth about Barack Hussein Obama!

If you agree that the American people need to know the real Barack Hussein Obama, then join us in the fight and in the coming weeks and months, we will tell the American people what the liberal media refuses to report when it comes to Barack Hussein Obama.

We’ve just completed our first major television ad. And if you use this hyperlink you can see it right now! But we just don’t want you to view this ad, we want you to join us. We need to raise $300,000 in the next 72 hours to buy the ad time on television that will expose Barack Hussein Obama to the American people .

Please watch this ad and if you agree that all Americans should know the truth about Barack Hussein Obama please join us. Your financial assistance of $5000 or $1000 or even $100 or $50 or $25 is urgently needed right now.

Obama and Racism…

Barack Hussein Obama slapped hard-working Americans in the face when he said that “bitter” people “cling to guns or religion.”

But how does Obama react when he actually encounters bigotry?

Do you remember what Jeremiah Wright, the man who preached to Obama for 20 years, married him to his wife, baptized his children and served as his spiritual advisor said about the United States?

Here’s what Wright said:

“The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America? No, no, no! Not God bless America. God d*** America! It’s in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God d*** America…”

Wright actually said that when terrorists killed over 3,000 innocent people on September 11, 2001, “America had it coming!”

Wright once called the United States of America, “the U.S. of K.K.K.A”

Wright even accused the United States government of developing the AIDS virus to exterminate blacks.

For 20 years, Barack Hussein Obama listened to Jeremiah Wright preach hate and didn’t say a word. When confronted with Wright’s race-baiting he refused to disown the man… and yet he has no problem insinuating that hard-working, God-fearing Americans are bigots!

What does that tell you about Barack Hussein Obama?

George Soros and his friends may have millions and the liberal media may still control the information that most people see and hear, but we can fight back. We have just launched ExposeObama.com — call it the Obama Truth Squad — and in the coming weeks and months, we will tell the American people the truth about Barack Obama.

We’ve just completed our first major television ad. And if you use this hyperlink you can see it right now! But we just don’t want you to view this ad, we want you to join us. We need to raise $300,000 in the next 72 hours to buy the ad time on television that will expose Barack Hussein Obama to the American people .

Please watch this ad and if you agree that all Americans should know the truth about Barack Hussein Obama please join us. Your financial assistance of $5000 or $1000 or even $100 or $50 or $25 is urgently needed right now.

If He’s Weak On Crime, Will He Be Weak On The War On Terror And National Security?

When it comes to the issues, most people simply don’t know where Barack Hussein Obama stands. The liberal media won’t give you that information!

For example, when it comes to crime, Barack Hussein Obama seems to care for criminals more than victims:

In 2002, while gang related crime infected Chicago like an open, festering sore, Barack Hussein Obama voted NO on HB 1812, a bill designed to toughen penalties for crimes committed in furtherance of gang activities.

And the problem is only getting worse!

On Sunday, the CBS affiliate in Chicago issued the following report:

“A violent and deadly weekend continues in Chicago. At least 12 people have been shot, two of them killed, since Saturday morning. Two others were stabbed in a home invasion. This comes after at least 20 people were shot, four of them killed, from Friday night through early Saturday.”

Ironically so many of the victims of these gang-related crimes are, innocent African-Americans from Barack Hussein Obama’s hometown of Chicago!

Question: If Barack Hussein Obama REFUSED to vote in favor of tougher penalties for those who commit atrocious crimes against innocent people in his own hometown, how will he react when confronted with America’s enemies and those who want to harm innocent Americans?

When terrorists around the world, such as Osama bin-Laden, look at Barack Hussein Obama’s record on domestic crime, will they dance in the streets?

Our very first ad takes a hard, no-nonsense look at Barack Hussein Obama’s record on what the Chicago Sun Times called “urban terrorism” in Obama’s own backyard and asks:

“Can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?”

When the time comes to be tough, will Obama choose to be weak?

Of course, if you join us, this will only be the first of many nationwide commercials spotlighting Barack Hussein Obama’s record on the issues! You can help us make it happen!

If you haven’t done so already, view our very first ExposeObama.com television ad for all the gut-wrenching details.

If you agree that the American people need to know the real Barack Hussein Obama, then join us in the fight and in the coming weeks and months, we will tell the American people what the liberal media refuses to report when it comes to Barack Hussein Obama.

We’ve just completed our first major television ad. And if you use this hyperlink you can see it right now! But we just don’t want you to view this ad, we want you to join us. We need to raise $300,000 in the next 72 hours to buy the ad time on television that will expose Barack Hussein Obama to the American people .

Please watch this ad and if you agree that all Americans should know the truth about Barack Hussein Obama please join us. Your financial assistance of $5000 or $1000 or even $100 or $50 or $25 is urgently needed right now.

Bruce Hawkins
Executive Director
ExposeObama.com

P.S. Even if you can not join us in this effort right now, you can still help us expose Barack Hussein Obama by sending this e-mail to at least 10 of your friends.

This is the sort of political speech I hate when it comes from the left or the right. Stuff that relies more on emotion than fact and encourages people to loath the opposition rather than disagree with their policies.

With any luck, the actual election will be on a higher level of discourse than this, but at the moment I’m not feeling optimistic.

Odd Bible Verses

You know how you sometimes read the Bible and discover something that you didn’t expect was there? I’m not talking about anything spiritually meaningful in this case. I’m talking about finding something weirder than you expected.

Thus I’m including a link to Cracked magazine’s list of nine passages that qualify for what I mentioned above.

I’m not sure if it reflects well or badly on me that I was already familiar with all but one. In fact, I can think of at least one passage that I’m surprised they skipped.

For what it’s worth, here’s my commentary on Ezekiel 23:19-20 (which they didn’t skip).

Worth mentioning? The reason these passages are regarded to be odd is the prevalence of sex and violence. The Bible has more of that than you might think.

Traffic Congestion in Space?

Sometimes I read about the future and sometimes I feel like I live in it. I read this in USA Today:

Gridlock has come to outer space. Spacecraft now wait in line to dock to the International Space Station, and mission planners sometimes delay one launch to make way for another.

There one sense in which I think it indicates poor planning and another it which it seems pretty cool that I live in a time in which these problems are possible.

Wackier still, this quote:

Even without the Japanese ship, the congestion in space can lead to headaches. The European cargo ship and the shuttle use the same radar frequency for communications, forcing the European ship’s launch to be delayed until Endeavour blasted off.

If I were writing a story about various countries putting a space station together, I’d probably assume that different ships would use different frequencies or at least that it would be easy to switch frequencies. I would be wrong.

So… New Car

Here’s how that sort of thing happens around our house…

Sometime in the summer, a mechanic at Zandee’s Auto Repair points out that the van I’m driving has a rusty frame and floor boards.

How rusty? Rusty enough that they aren’t sure it would come down in one piece if they put it up on the lift.

That’s not good.

So Kristen, being Kristen, thinks about this a lot. More to the point, she checks the used car classifieds regularly. Over the course of a few months, she talks about how nice it might be to have a Volvo station wagon. The idea being that we’d buy a used (but still new-ish) wagon that she would drive and pass on her Saturn to me.

Which would be fine.

I’m totally OK with having the second best car because I really don’t care what I drive–as long as it works. Oddly enough, this is exactly why I’m a bit leery about European imports. When things do go wrong with those, the parts are often insanely expensive. I know. I had an Audi at one point. It had many good points (the speedometer went up to 200 mph for a reason), but one painfully bad point–the cost of repairs.

Except here’s what happens…

Kristen sees an ad for a Volvo wagon in the paper. It’s a good price. An affordable price.

I go for a test drive.

It’s nice.

I decide that we might as well buy the car, but that I should talk to people who know cars well about the potential risks (like maintenance) as it’s a 1998.

After talking to mechanics, I learn that it was a good year for that particular model. I decide it would be good to take it into Betten Imports as a last step before buying it to make absolutely sure…

Except I don’t.

The owner calls me and let’s me know that someone else has test driven it, wants desperately to buy it, but that I’ve got right of first refusal…

So I buy it.

I find out later that the other potential buyer actually called back trying to outbid me, but the Volvo’s (then) owner said, “No.” He didn’t feel comfortable doing that.

Which makes me the owner of a 1998 Volvo v70, a car that Kristen likes, but oddly enough doesn’t drive because it’s older than the Saturn.

Wacky.

P.S. Our daughters both like it better than the Dodge Caravan it replaced. There are a variety of reasons. For example, there’s a third seat in the back that pops up, allowing them to sit facing backwards–and possibly make funny faces at the people in the cars behind us. Another reason… The fabric on the ceiling doesn’t hang down (as it did in the van) and touch people’s heads.

Personally I just like the fact that the gas doesn’t randomly cut out for no good reason. Near the end, the only way I could stop that from happening on the van was by gunning it every so often. Or maybe constantly. It just depended on the van’s mood that day.

Channel 3 Clubhouse and West Michigan Children’s TV Programming

I don’t know how much TV I watched as a little kid. It was enough that I still know the schedule of the programs I actually cared about. On weekdays, Bozo the Clown on WZZM–an ABC affiliate, Captain Kangaroo on WMMT (then WKZO), and Channel 3 Clubhouse following it.

Pretty much everyone’s heard of Bozo and Captain Kangaroo. Outside of West Michigan, Channel 3 Clubhouse is unknown.

It lasted from 1955 to 1985. It included a host (Cynthia Kay when I was watching), puppets (Nigel and Lambert the lion), a crowd of local children, games and possibly (I’m not sure of this) cuts to cartoons.

As it happens, Cynthia Kay has since gone on to run her own media production company. The website includes links naming her as one of the most influential women in West Michigan, her business as a top women-owned business in West Michigan, and also as small business of the year (2005).

Oddly enough, one of the places I work for regularly contracts her to create video presentations. On Friday, I dropped by her business to pick up a stack of DVD’s she’d produced.

Though she’s been at various offices that GRACE has owned, I’d never actually talked to her before and thus never mentioned that I’d watched her on TV.

I did this time.

She put her hand on my shoulder and said (exactly as she might have if I’d been five and on the show), “So, what’s your name? How old are you?”

I laughed, and we moved on to talk about things relevant to the task at hand.

I told my wife about it though.

“I’m jealous,” she said. “I always wanted to be on that show.”

So yeah, no matter what honors and success Cynthia Kay achieves she will still be known (to people who spent the 1970’s watching children’s TV in West Michigan) as the host of Channel 3 Clubhouse. I’ve no idea whether this amuses or disturbs her. Perhaps I should have asked.

P. S. Oh, and should Cynthia Kay google herself and read this entry, I have a question for her. My wife wants to know what happened to the puppets after Channel 3 Clubhouse was canceled. Do you have any idea?

Castro Resigns, ACME Corporation Mourns What Might Have Been

Castro’s been a fixture in US political life (not to mention Cuba’s) for nearly fifty years.

As of today, he’ll no longer be Cuba’s official leader. It won’t change much immediately, but it opens up a lot of possibilities. One possibility being that our government can deal with Cuba without being embarrassed because it’s dealing with Castro.

Amusingly, our government has tried some pretty crazy stuff to “deal” with Castro in the past.

I recall hearing on the news that the CIA had actually tried to assassinate him with an exploding cigar.

It’s as if they outsourced that hit to Warner Brothers animation department. I’m thinking specifically of Wile E. Coyote.

It was just as successful as you might expect.

Weird though.

Hey, That’s My Church…

There’s apparently a website called “Ship of Fools” which looks at Christianity with a perspective that’s both critical and irreverent at the same time (to my mind this is a good thing).

One of the features is something called “The Mystery Worshiper” in which someone reviews a church. During the summer, someone apparently reviewed Church of the Servant, the church I go to.

In the recent past, they apparently also reviewed Mars Hill Bible Church, a locally prominent congregation.

One of Those Horrible Catch-All Posts

As the title says, this is going to be one of posts where I write about all the things I ought to have written about if I’d been writing much of anything in the past few weeks.

The thing that sucks is that I’m not going to devote an appropriate amount of time to any of them.

Without further preamble:
1. I went to Florida around Christmas, visiting my younger brother and his wife and son. Also visited Disney World with my parents and sister while I was there. Saw an alligator from a distance. This is the best way to see an alligator.

2. Have been viewing season one of Heroes on DVD. I missed it while it was running. It is incredible. Hopefully it will survive the bad reviews of the first half of the second season and the WGA strike.

3. I’ve been writing a web fiction blog, currently devoted to a superhero web serial. It has actually attracted a few readers that I don’t know–which is cool. It’s also cool that a few people I do know are reading it.

4. The Michigan presidential primary is tomorrow. Thanks to our brilliant leaders’ attempt to beat New Hampshire and Iowa this year, the Democratic leadership will not allow the primary’s results to count. The state’s leadership claims that the Michigan delegates will ultimately be counted, but I’m not holding my breath. On the bright side (for Ed), this gives Kucinich the best chance he’s got to win an early primary.

To be honest, I’m not sure who I like most on the Democratic end of things at the moment. I have things I like and dislike about each candidate.

The Republican party does not appear to be punishing its people for disobedience and as such their primary does count. I’m tempted to vote in it. We’ll see. Given the choice, I’d prefer McCain to anyone else on the Republican side of the fence. If I thought of myself as Democrat, I might think it inappropriate, but as an independent I don’t have to feel guilty about voting in the Republican primary at all.