Sunday, August 24, 2008

Third time is the charm.

Ran my third and final triathlon for the season and I got a medal!

Came in second in my division today - lost first by less than 25 seconds so I still have a goal next season. I think I might run a couple 5ks before the snow flies and my son Max is trying to get me to run a half marathon in October which I just may take him up on.

Not too shabby for a guy who was smoking 3 packs a cigarettes a day five years ago.

I think that's me.

Out of the water and onto the bike...

Off the bike and into my running shoes - I hit these transitions pretty good today - I've gotten so anal that I now have elastic shoe laces that don't have to be tied, i just slip my shoes on and take off.

As I was coming in from the run I looked behind me and saw a runner about twenty five yards back - he shouted to me "I'm not in your class" meaning I needn't worry about him because he was in a different division - I thought he said "I'm on your ass" so I sprinted the last eighth of a mile or so - nearly blowing out my jugular vein.

Who knows what is in the future for our hero?

pics by Sara

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Defining moments...

a PDF of my new book coming out this spring.

This is By Definition, Vocabulary in Rhyme a book to be published by the Wordsong imprint of Boyd’s Mills Press – they’re the people who do Highlights – you know the magazine in all the pediatrician’s offices.

I’ve got to say – it looks pretty good and I am excited. The illustrations by Sam Henderson are great. It takes so long for this process though – almost two years, that I was able to read through the pieces and really can’t remember writing some of them – but they made me chuckle so I guess that’s a good thing.

Here’s one with its illustration for ya.

Monday, August 18, 2008

C'mon folks - let's wake up

Another bicyclist vs SUV story - and as usual the bicyclist loses

Honestly - what happens to people once they get into their car?

I've posted on this a couple times now - is it asking too much for people to have a little patience and share the road?

This happened out in the boondocks here - so chances are really good they were the only two on the road.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

All's Fair in ...

Stopped by the Lake County Fair earlier this week. Our neighbor is quite the gardener and had a bunch of flowers and vegetables entered in competition so we rode our tandem over to the grounds and scoped things out.

Now, I’ve got to admit – I am no big fan of county fairs. They’re dusty, dirty, and stinky plus carnies just plain creep me out but we went early before the midway opened, cruised around the barns checking out all the animals and then found the vegetable and flower competition where our neighbor cleaned up.

This got me to thinking about all the mini sub cultures that add some semblance of meaning to our daily existence. I am a writer, an occupation that divides itself into more subsets than a Kafkaesque government agency but I also consider myself a triathlete a designation which comes with its own series of near clinical obsessions and I make my living interacting with teachers and educators, another tribe. My parents raise and show dogs, and anyone who has seen the Guest film Best in Show understands the parallel universe where those folks reside.

So at the Lake County Fair we had – the flower people (not to be confused with the unwashed summer of love contingent) the horse people, the fowl people, the rabbit people, the sausage sandwich people, the political party people, the take the folks from the assisted living facility out to see alpacas people, the guys who wear t-shirts with wholly inappropriate messages for public in public people, the very creepy carnie people ( who really are unwashed), etc. etc. etc…

Each of these folks identify with their subset, finds some sort of feeling of belonging via separating themselves from the unfathomable mass of humanity by raising chickens that look like they are wearing fright wigs or growing tomatoes the size of basketballs.

Hey, more power to them – separate to belong - an oxymoron that seems to work. I’ve read sociological studies that posture humankind cannot handle groups over a couple dozen without dividing them into further manageable subsets resulting in approximately the numbers which comprise those of a lowland gorilla troop.

Who woulda thought the desire to hang out with other folks interested in raising guinea pigs with seemingly no front or back is a genetic and evolutionary predisposition?

So – what clan do you belong to?

Monday, August 11, 2008

EHHH, What's up pops?

actually been working on our new book the one on vocabulary acquisition. I’m putting together a chapter on why a teacher would want to incorporate performance into their curriculum and now I am playing hooky on my assignment by posting here.

Some studies have decided that the typical American’s vocabulary has been halved in the last century or so. I’m not sure that I completely buy this notion; not certain whether these inquires take into account new words being introduced into the lexicon or if they only track those that are disappearing. Even so, anecdotally, I can say I have noticed a discernable anti intellectualism parading through the U S of A zeitgeist.

Last night I watched our commander in chief interviewed by Bob Costas and I marveled at how this guy could be the head of a supposed superpower. I mean this smirking cowboy has his finger on the button that could turn the surface of our planet into a glowing skating rink for cockroaches.

Yep, there he blinks, head tilted at a 45 degree angle like some dog listening to a high pitch whine nobody else is hearing. That self congratulatory chuckle and mini head bob each time he manages to get through a whole sentence without swallowing his tongue. I half expect W to copy Michael Phelps’ ecstatic reaction to the American team’s victory in the freestyle relay (was that something else or what?) each time he successfully handles a word with more than three syllables.

This is us, this is the U.S.

Bush thrust his hand into pre-game huddle before the U.S - China basketball game where Clevelander Lebron James asked, “What’s up Pops?”

“Well let’s see, Last night I sat two seats away from Putin – Y’know, the guy whose soul I looked into, that didn’t work out so good ‘cause his country is bombing the bejesus out of another sovereign nation – and back home we’ve got this mortgage crisis, gas prices are pretty much out of control, in fact inflation is making a comeback, it’s been alleged that my administration cooked the books on the whole Iraq thing – forgeries that kind of stuff – heh, heh, heh - etc. etc. etc.”
How much ya wanna bet he really answered, “Not much.”

Now I don’t expect the president of the United States to really give an in depth existential answer to the power forward of a basketball team as they break huddle– even if it is King James, who on a side note I must say, has always done our fine city proud as a well spoken young man in any interview I have seen. I just wish we had a guy in the oval officethat I could believe had the capability to intelligently and articulately answer a question.

Maybe he just needs some vocabulary lessons?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tri me

Did another tri today. This was my big one for the year – the Cleveland City Triathlon. Big means high tech timing chips - lots of support people around and a higher price tag to enter.

I revamped my approach this time – decided to start off toward the back of the pack in the swim. The last couple races I have started near the front getting out quick, and then getting swum over by folks passing from behind. This can really mess one up. And I have ended up choking and coughing up Lake Erie H2O from my lungs.

Well, the strategy worked – this time I ended up being the guy who was swimming over top of people. A much better position. Landed me in second place of my division (Clydesdale - men 200+ lb.) when I got out of the water.

I held my own on the bike ride as well even though the wind was formidable. After the bike portion I was in third place – on my way to my first triathlon medal! I rode this portion of the race next to a cardialogist ten years my junior. Good plan on my part just in case I was in need of any emergency attention.

Alas, it was not to be. One rat bastard managed to pass me during the run portion. Your intrepid poet/triathlete came in 4th place. Just out of the medals. So close! They hadn’t posted the run times yet when I first looked at the standings which had me in third – so I waited the half hour for the update to have my spirits crushed.

Even so, it was good race and I have at least one more chance this season to finish in the hardware.

Reading and weeping at the final results.