Friday, September 30, 2005

Weird & Disturbing Articles: The Bank of Walmart? Abort Black Babies to Lower Crime?

The Bank of Wal-Mart sounds like something from an episode of The Simpsons, but it may soon be a reality. The company has applied to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for insurance for a proposed bank in Utah, one of the few states that allows commercial firms to operate banks. Article

...What next...McDonald's Mortgage Lenders? Give up points for burgers? You want fries with that loan, dude?

Former Education Secretary William Bennett remarked that the crime rate and the abortion of black babies are linked.

Bennett, on his radio show, "Morning in America," was answering a caller's question when he took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is up.
"But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down," said Bennett, author of "The Book of Virtues."
He went on to call that "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky." Article

...Yeah, and everyone knows that aborting every white, suburban baby would bankrupt Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy, and Starbucks. Not to mention that Britney and the "Boy Bands" wouldn't get any work.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Ink Doodles

A trailrunning buddy of mine, Jason Crosby, hails from Macon, Georgia and recently relocated to the Kansas City area. He posted this illustration recently on his blog, "Ink Doodles". It's based on his experiences running with our group on our crazy night runs.

Jason has been the graphic artist for the Tour de Georgia, and several other projects. He's a natural runner, and loves trailrunning, and is training for his first 50K. He seems to despise pavement running.

He's a wonderful addition to our motley crew of trailrunners.

He freelances, and comes up with great graphic designs for all occasions. Any race directors or others interested?
Drop him a line:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tuesday Night Impromptu Trail Run

Three of us decided to run on trails Tuesday night (after dark), on a whim. We decided to run at "Psycho WyCo" Park. The temperature is finally cooler and we were feeling great for running fast and furious up the relentless WyCo hills.

We spotted many deer, and Jason's new xenon flashlight probably caused them a great deal of retinal damage. My hand-held was about out of juice, so it was confusing... with his bright light bringing up the rear (and casting spooky shadows), while mine was dimly giving me just an inkling of what lie ahead. Running in the woods (near-blind) requires a lot of concentration and "trail-feel".

We put in about 7 miles, but with the crazy footing and the hills in that park, it felt like 12 road miles. It was a nice way to round-out Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


It's the time of year that I appreciate being alive. The hot & humid Kansas City Summer is pretty-much out of here, and the cooler Fall weather is in. It means that I can brew beer on the weekends again without being parboiled by the weather. It also means that I can run harder, longer and faster (outside) for the same reason. Training can be a real bitch around here in the Summertime.

Photos from Oktoberfest gets me in the Autumn mood, too. Check out this one. Aren't those some of the most big and beautiful mugs of beer that you've ever seen?

I'm not much of a German lager fan, but I could definitely go for "just a taste" of Germany, I think. Yum, yum, yum. Ich habe eine Liebe für Bier!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Dreams of Western States, Hardrock, and Leadville

I want to run the Hardrock Hundred in a couple of years. Hardrock is probably the most difficult 100-mile trail run in the world. It is a big loop course that starts and ends in Silverton, Colorado. The high point on the course is 14,048 ft, and it has a total of 67,ooo ft of climb and descent. They give you 48 hours to complete it, and the winning times are usually about 28 hours. To put that in perspective, I finished the last 100-miler I ran in 24 hours, and I'm a middle-of-the-packer.

To qualify, I'll have to first run one of the following difficult mountain 100-mile runs: Wasatch, Eagle, Bear, Leadville, Angeles Crest, Massanutten, Western States, Plain, HURT, Bighorn, or Cascade Crest Classic.
I've picked Western States as my vehicle to Hardrock Heaven, but even though I've qualified for Western, they also have a lottery system to get in. So my dream of running it will be fulfilled not only after a lot of hard work, but will also depend upon f*cking dumb luck.

Last year, I paced (72-yo) Lou Joline at the Leadville 100. I definitely got "mountain fever" from hanging around in Colorado for nine days. I loved the challenge of high altitude and constantly changing weather. Kyle and Stacy were out there with me for while; (Kyle, Stacy, and me are in the photo below).

I'm much more of a mountain person than a Midwest person. Especially a Colorado mountain person.

It would be great to run Hardrock in 2007. After all, I'll be 50...that's five-zero years old, buddy. To get prepared, I'll have to crank up my trail mileage, lift more weights, and continue with my 15 x 15 abs per day regimen. For mental preparedness, I'll keep drinking good beer and listening to decent music. (Running with a hangover, occasionally might be good training, too). Goals are good. Difficult goals are better, and make life more interesting. Hmm. Maybe I'll run off with Jessica Alba or Teri Hatcher. Difficult goals, yes, but...

To read a great Hardrock race report (with photos) click here.

Mean Humor Gets Me Reinvigorated on Crappy Day

I was having a crappy day, until this was sent to me. I busted my frigging gut when I saw it. It's been floating around the web for a couple of years, but this is the first time I've seen it.

The author says, "If you work in an office with lots of people, chances are that you work with a person who hangs pictures up that their kids have drawn. The pictures are always of some stupid flower or a tree with wheels. These pictures suck; I could draw pictures much better. In fact, I can spell, do math and run faster than your kids. So being that my skills are obviously superior tothose of children, I've taken the liberty to judge art work done by other kids on the internet. I'll be assigning a grade A through F for each piece."
You should be able to see the whole thing at one of these links: Link1 Link2

Rita's Wrath and the Politics of Bad News

As Rita approaches the Texas coast, the world watches. I was in Houston last week, and had talked to lots of people displaced by Katrina to Houston from Louisiana. Many sad stories. Now they have to pick up stakes again and head out with the Houstonians. This really sucks.

The govenmental and NGO's response should be better, and more fine-tuned, this time. I'm optimistic that it will be.

I've had many friends and associates tell me that they are upset by the "witch hunt" and "blame game" going on, for trying to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the Katrina response. (Some of these people are still saying nothing went wrong, by the way). They need to keep in mind that this is still supposed to be a FREE SOCIETY, and a free press is part of that. Without the press, no one would of known about much of what was going on during Katrina, because the press was there before the government. The president was ignoring it until one of his brave staff told him how bad it actually was. (You see, our wonderful leader does not watch the news or read papers or internet news; he relies on his staff to tell him what's going on in the world. This smacks of "Ivory Tower" to the Nth degree. Staff members are loathe to tell him bad news, you see, because of his history of reaction to said bad news). He likes to be surrounded by people who agree with him. This makes it hard for someone to approach him with a different viewpoint other than the one that he has already formed.

We need to learn (and learn darn quickly) what went wrong with the Katrina response, because we are just HALF-WAY THROUGH THE HURRICANE SEASON, you f*cking dolts!!! If that means finding blame, or firing not-right-for-the-job college cronies, so be it. We need to be prepared for up to 5 more Ritas and Katrinas, this year. Thank goodness the president has turned his attention to the problem (and has accepted the blame for the Federal response).

What's weird is, he's finding out that there is deep-rooted poverty in the Gulf Coast region, and wants to throw money at the problem. If he would actually look for poverty in this country, he would find it everywhere. But, we will have to wait for one of his staff to tell him that, I guess.

Throwing money at the poverty problem is not the answer. Especially since we're throwing money at Iraq and other problems at a historic level, without actually paying for it now; it's all debt. When will people wake up and notice that the "New" Republican Party is not the party of fiscal responsibility? They are spending the country to death. Maybe that is part of the NeoCon plan, to "kill the beast" (of government), and proceed with their "final solution" of gutting any social programs and just funding a large military for doing what we want in the world. America, the "Hegemonic Bully", as it were.

I'm not saying the Democrats have a solution for anything, currently. They don't have a unified focus and seem to regurgitate back the viewpoint of the "poll du Jour". I'm not too hopeful that they will have a viable candidate, within 3 years, but maybe the Republicans won't, either. The way things are going under this administration, though, you would have to be either blind or a mindless ditto-headed follower to think that things are getting any better.

I'm disgusted with both parties, have been for years, and pissed that we don't have more of a choice in this country. It appears that we have too many folks in the government that live in ivory towers and are out of touch with what's going on. Their agenda seems to be power and money only, funded by all of us middle-class saps (and our children and grandchildren).

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Houston, oh Houston

I spent all of last week in Houston, Texas. It's not one of my fave places to go. For one thing, the air pollution can be horrendous, and mixed with the early-morning humid fog, it's like breathing acid. I can't run outdoors while I'm there for that reason. I joined a local gym for the week for my exercise fix.

We were driving over that cool-looking Hartman Bridge in east Houston, and one of our hosts stated, "isn't this a beautiful view...when are you guys going to move down here to "God's Country?" From the bridge, all you could see was refineries and chemical plants for miles & miles. I responded, "if God was a 400-lb chain smoker who bathed in chemicals, then I guess this is God's Country." My comments weren't very well received.

The last night that I was there, though, I was intent on having a good time. I went to one of my repeat favorite spots, the Flying Saucer, and had a few really good brews. It was the high point to my trip. My favorite beer was the Yeti Oak-aged Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing. An incredible brew.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Celebrity Deaths During September, 2005

We lost these important celebrities during September, 2005:
Simon Wiesenthal, Nazi hunter, died September 20 at the age of 96.
William H. Rehnquist, chief justice of the US supreme court, died September 3 at the age of 80.
Bob Denver, actor best known as Gilligan, died September 2 at the age of 70.

Unrelated??? I think not!!!

Simon Wiesenthal hunted Nazis, mainly Gestapo and SS-type Nazis.
Segue to the "SS" Minnow...Gilligan's boat.
Rehnquist was the Conservative "Anchor" of the Supreme Court. He actually said in 1985:
"I felt that at the time I came on the court, the boat was kind of keeling over in one direction," he said. "Interpreting my oath as I saw it, I felt that my job was, where those sort of situations arose, to kind of lean the other way."

Therefore, all three of these celebrity deaths ARE RELATED.
Case Closed.

Back to Psycho WyCo! and the Rocky Raccoon 100

One day every weekend, we have been running on the east side of the Wyandotte County Lake trail. This last Sunday, however, five of us ran a modified loop of the Psycho WyCo course. It's good to be back to the BIG hills, rocks, mud, and sights & sounds of the whole WyCo trail system, once again.

I was tired Sunday afternoon. I forgot how much the hills and crazy footing take out of a person. That's the reason why I get in such good 100-Miler trail shape over the Winter...we run two 10-mile loops on a Saturday or Sunday all Fall/Winter.

Speaking of 100-milers, I am registering for the Rocky Raccoon 100-Mile Trail Run today. It will be on Feb 4th, 2006. This will be the 4th year in a row for me to run it. My last 3 finishes have been tough, but fun. Several folks from KC will be going down for it: Mike Schupp, Dave McGuire, and (new to trailrunning) Rick Mayo.

My goal is to finish and improve on my best time. I want to run a sub-23-hour time, this year. Barring any injuries (like last year), I should be able to do it. A time of 22:45 or faster would be schweeeet!
My 2004 Race Report
My 2005 Race Report

Rocky Raccoon Course Description
If you want to join us on any of our group trail runs, check out this LINK or the parent site.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

How to Have Fun in a Chicken-Shit World

My grandson turned 3 years old, this Summer. He's a strong, very active, happy kid. Some of the things he likes to do when he's staying at our house:

Go trailrunning with G'Pa - He loves "getting muddies"

Walking the dog around the block - it's an 85-pound dog, and he insists on holding the leash.

Playing soccer in our back yard


and now...skateboarding.

You might think I'm irresponsible for letting him do some of these things. Tough crap. It's not like I'm going to take him on one of my crazy 100-mile trail runs or drop him down a rope, into a cave. (At least, not yet). Skinning knees and stubbing toes should be part of growing up. In my opinion, it should be part of being a fun-loving adult, too.

Take a few well-calculated risks every now and then and have fun. Live vicariously through yourself. It makes life worth living.

*****Special Mask for Chicken-Shit People*******

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

My son and I took some photos of interesting signs and grafitti on our Northwest Road Trip. All of the locations were in Washington State. Check them out.

These two (above, below) were near Pike Place, in Seattle.

The following two are interesting references to alternative lifestyles/habits.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gas Prices, Bicycling, Rednecks, Shiny Shorts, and Portland

Kansas City is slowly adding more bicycle lanes and the bus system is getting better. Eventually, alternatives to single-occupant car commuting in this town will be better.

Hopefully, with higher gas prices, we can push for more bike lanes in the 'burbs, as well. It really is scarier riding in the suburbs of KC, than in KC itself. More Big SUV-Attitudes, I guess. I've had half-full beer cans whiz by my head while running along main streets in the 'burbs, but never in the city itself. I've also had the same thing happen out in the country on my bike, but it's usually followed-up by a honk or a yell of "faggot", or similar. The redneck factor is ubiquitous, and rears its ugly head, occasionally; especially when I'm wearing shiny black bike shorts, it seems.

That's one of the reasons why I'm moving to Portland, Oregon, when I retire. You can even take your bike onto a light-rail train, if you want. It's a biking, running, walking, train & bus riding type of town. When I'm there, I walk at least 15 miles per day. The excercise is always offset by copious amounts of good beer drinking, though.

My son and I were in Portland in Mid-July. He got to experience Portland as an adult for the 1st time. Of course, he's thinking of moving there, now.

The unpaved trail system leading out of downtown Portland and through its multiple park spaces is incredible. I tend to find time to run when I'm there, even on business. The last business trip that I took there, I spent an extra day there, just so I could run my ass off. I figure I put in a 35-mile day on that Saturday in 2002. Don't tell my wife. (Actually, she would understand just fine).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Weekend Running & Good Beer

Labor Day Holiday Weekend!

What a holiday weekend.

I entertained my inlaws, watched my grandson, and ran (on trails) for long-mileage on Saturday, and short on Sunday.

Sunday night, though, my son and his friends and I had a few beers and sat out in the garage. We decided to go to Costco for steaks and salad fixings, and I let my son's girlfriend drive, because she hadn't imbibed, up to that point.
What a feast we assembled! And the beers were great. On tap was a Belgian homebrew of mine (Old Mill), a strong ale of mine (Drive-by Malt Liquor), and we also had a bottled version of an Abby Ale.

Monday was a kick-back and relax/recover day. I don't JUST SIT AND RELAX too often. Normally, I would run the Heart of America Marathon or something similar, on Labor Day. It was nice just to sit and chill.