Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fort Steilacoom Cyclocross

John and I entered the Category 4 Men 45+ Masters race. They do things a little different on the west side. The age breaks are 35, 45, and 55 for the men's masters due to the large number of participants. That makes me scared to age up. Everyone was issued RFID tags for their helmets in this race so our precise times could be tracked for each lap. I guess it's not enough to know how far back in the pack you finished. Now you can go to sleep knowing exactly how many minutes, seconds, and milliseconds you were behind everyone. This being Halloween, a number of people were in the spirit and dressed accordingly.

This was a really fun race. Most of the course was soaked and muddy from a couple days of rain. This morning the sky was clear and the sun warmed us up as we waited for our 10:15 start. We went around the course once to scout it out. It was 2.2 miles long--four laps were allotted. There were plenty of muddy sharp turns to watch for. There was no run up today but we had two long stretches of climbing that seemed to get longer with each lap. Three obstacles were set up, one in one section and then two close together in another.

Today I focused on the picking my bike up by the down tube instead of the top tube when going over the obstacles. I can get off the bike in a dead run pretty good but the top tube carry is awkward for me. Reaching down and grabbing the down tube turned out to be way smoother so I was very happy with that during the race.

My strategy today was to haul ass on the first lap and then try to hold on for the other three. The start was a long straightaway and I passed as many riders as I could. The first lap went well and my lungs were burning. Our group started first and the 55+ masters started 30 seconds after us. The Cat 1-3 women started 30 seconds after them. The lead 55+ riders caught me on the second lap and the lead women caught me on lap number three. Other than that I held my own pretty good. During lap three I started feeling comfortable with my pace and the final lap seemed to go by so quickly. I think I need to warm up even harder before the race so I'm really pumped up at the beginning and not shocking myself so much starting out.

(I picked up Josh from UW and brought him along. All photo credits are his except for the first one taken by my sister-in-law, Susan.)


Coolest photo of the day.

A Jacque twin?

So happy with this technique.

John on a climb.

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings. She did when she finished.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yes, The Message Is Offensive

I missed this last week. Cathy McMorris Rodgers released a statement on her campaign web site about the hateful message the Westboro Baptist Church members brought to Spokane.

“I condemn these fanatical views, and I am extremely proud of the Spokane community for coming together to speak out against them. I especially want to acknowledge the faithful work of the Patriot Guard. Our community has been unequivocal in its message against bigotry and radicalism. In the wake of hatred, Spokane has responded with peace.”

What a relief she supports our community's unequivocal message against bigotry and radicalism. But it's like the rules in English. There's always an exception.

Remember at her town hall meeting last August when a gentleman asked about what she thought about the mosque being built in New York City.

"I believe it's a poor choice of location. As I view it, I think like many in America, it almost feels like a victory dance on the place where we were attacked on 9/11. And it's offensive to me."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wait, That Ain't Right

A friend of mine was showing me his new smart phone. One feature he showed off was the speech-to-text capability.

"Check this out," he says and pushes a button to create a text message for his sibling.

"Hey (name removed), I just called to say I love you. Have a nice day."

Then he presses another button and the text is displayed.

"Hey (name removed), I just called to say I love you gay."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Here's Mud In Your Eye

I arrived at the cyclocross race in Coeur d'Alene 30 minutes before the start which is not a good thing. After registering I rode over to the race area. A race was in progress so after learning where the start was I went out on a nearby trail and rode to warm up. This time was in the Cat 4 men's race instead of the 50+ masters. To tell the truth, I didn't see much difference. Most everybody left me behind.

I got in the back of the pack at the start. There was a pileup right away and as I went by I saw John extricating himself from the back of it. He powered by me at the first long sandy stretch. Those sandy parts really sucked the life out of me. During the first lap I stayed on John's tail. He was moving pretty good. After coming out of a serpentine-like section I decided I'd had enough of the mud flying in my face and scurried past John and a couple others.

Suddenly I ran out of trail. I stood there like an idiot and wondered why the plastic tape was blocking my way. Then I heard someone yelling, "Up here!" I had blown right by the climb. What a moron! Now had I got there early enough to ride the course at least once....

Finishing up the second lap I hit the first of the three long sandy parts. I lost my line, veering off to one side and saving myself from crashing. Then I did it again on the next long sandy stretch. And then one more time. After that I decided to get off and run through them. I went just as fast if not faster and definitely used less energy than riding through them.

The course had no shortage of puddles and mud. This being my second race and with the conditions so bad I had little confidence in my cornering so I was taking the turns way too wide. I backed off and focused on making good turns. I was surprised how well I could stay on line while turning in the mud but I still have a lot to learn.

My second moronic moment occurred on the last lap. There was one climb you could ride up. It was just steep and long enough so that when you hit the top you still had to crank the pedals hard to crest it. After the first lap I practiced running at the hill hard and then shifting down two gears as I started to climb so I could spin my way over the top. On the last lap I shifted up two gears instead. You could hear the bike frame creaking--or maybe it was my legs--as I pulled on the handlebars and mashed the pedal down as hard as I could. That would have been the worst place to come to a stop.

I only got five laps in since the race leaders blew by me. My lungs were burning and I was a filthy mess--just like everyone else. It was a good hard race. Next Sunday I'm in the race at Steilacoom.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Freshman Championship Race

The rain let up for an hour changing the girl's freshman cross country race comfort scale from "unpleasant" to "not to bad".

The cannon roared and the girls were off.

On the hill.

Coming down the finish of her last race of the season.

Steph finished around 26:45 which is about 15 seconds off her best so she wasn't very happy. But she had a good season and now that she has one under her belt she'll be more prepared for next fall.

Friday, October 22, 2010

He Can't See It From Where He's At

During my lunchtime walk a young man exited a barber shop and walked ahead of me. His hair was short. On the back of his head was a spot where the hair was obviously cut too short. It wasn't decorative but looked exactly like an "Oops!" Now when you're done with your haircut the barber normally holds a mirror so you can see the back of your head so I didn't say anything to the young man. But still, I wondered if the barber did do that and if the young man noticed.

Well, I suppose it won't matter in two weeks.

Run To Work Day - Double Or Nothing

I pressed the Outside Temp button on the dash. The display read 41. Not bad, I thought. Cool enough so once I warmed up I'd be comfortable. I stepped outside, turned on the taillight on my pack and put my Camelback on. Other than a Ride Share van, my van was the only other vehicle at the Hastings Park 'n' Ride. The full moon was on it's downward trek to the western horizon. It was ten minutes before five in the morning and I started my run to work. Carrying a light in one hand to help me with the dark spots, I headed east on Hastings and Farwell to Market. From Market I followed Peone to Bruce Road.

Peone was where I reached a tranquility point. With no cars around and the moon casting a shadow before me, I turned off my light and ran in the middle of the road. The cold hugged me. The silent darkness gave me an eerie feeling that I wasn't even there. For just a few minutes I was in the most calm and comfortable state. It's difficult to describe. Eleven miles later it would be a different story.

When I got to Bruce Road I slowed to fuel up. While I walked I ate half of an English muffin with peanut butter and drank half of a Gatorade loaded with chia seeds. While patiently climbing up Argonne hill I found myself being blinded by the ever-increasing number of oncoming vehicles and unable to see the debris on the shoulder of the road. After reaching Bigelow Gulch I jumped to the other side. That worked a lot better for me. Headlights coming from behind helped light my way and the red light on my back told them of my presence. I drank the rest of the first chia-infused Gatorade when I got to Upriver Drive and headed west on the homestretch. Okay, a long homestretch.

The sun was beginning to rise so I put my light away. The trail along Upriver Drive is nice but I preferred the level surface of the roadway so I ran in the bike lane on the shoulder of the road. I only had to get out of the way of a couple of cyclists. We exchanged, "Good mornings" with each other. Around the 15-mile mark my left arch started hurting. Can you get a cramp in your arch? I walked a bit and drank half of my second chia seed-Gatorade mix and then continued at a slower pace. After a mile it went away but I kept it slow just to make sure. Reaching Mission Park I was now on familiar territory. But I was feeling the 17 miles I'd completed so far. The usual spring in my step while running on the Centennial Trail from Mission to downtown was long gone.

I arrived at work just in time for work--8:00 am. I wasn't due until 9:00 because I took an hour off to give myself time to clean up, eat and recover a bit. After showering I went to the coffee shop across the street and order the biggest chai tea with the fattest milk--they threw in half-n-half--and washed down a cinnamon roll and a banana. The total distance was 18.9 miles.

View 18.9-Mile route to work in a larger map

I suppose I could have run around the block once to make it an even 19. Screw that, I was tired. The Bikilas held up well but I have to be honest here. My feet and calves were sore for the last four miles.

A hot tub and a cold beer sounds really good right now. Oh, and ice cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Wonder If She's A Fremen

This young lady is holding a sign that says "Got spice?". How did she avoid the giant sand worms to get it?

Sorry for the blurry photo. I took it from a moving bus.

*** Update. I was so taken by my cleverness I forgot to include a clue to the real topic. Let's just say the spice trade is now illegal in Idaho.

On My Lunchtime Walk

Good Riddance

Juan Williams has been released from NPR--he also appears on Fox quite often--for making the following comments on The O'Reilly Factor.

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Let's substitute the word Muslim with some others. Clergy. Indian. Police. Sikh. African. Clown. Wait, that one was him.

But he does have one thing going for him. He's not a bigot.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cross Country Racing At Finch Arboretum

It's funny but during eight years of watching two sons run cross country, I never made it to a meet that was held at Finch Arboretum. Steph ran there today.

Just before the start I saw this vapor trail "X" marks the spot photo opportunity.


Just Because They Leave Doesn't Mean It's All Better

Members of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church are scheduled to hold protests in the Spokane area tomorrow. It is easy to disparage, dismiss, and disown Fred Phelps and his fanatical family of God Hates Fags fame. They are so extreme and so over the top that few of us would subscribe to their harmful and hateful views. And yet there is a little bit of Fred Phelps in many of us. Hey, did you hear the one about the queer...? Sure, it was just a little joke and not intended to offend anyone, but little jokes send a message that some elements of mockery, discrimination, abuse and bullying are for lack of a better word, okay. And then there's challenging someone's masculinity or femininity. What man doesn't bristle at the accusation, "What are you, a fag or something?" And real men don't take kindly to being turned down so they apply the "she's probably a dyke" salve to their bruised Y chromosome.

Our children who are gay--and some who are simply accused of being gay--are bullied and harassed every day by our children who are not gay. Yes, in both cases it's OUR children. In response to a recent suicide by a teen who could no longer suffer his tormentors there's an online video project called It Gets Better with the goal of providing hope and strength for these young people. These targeted young people have to deal with the kids that single them out every day and heap humiliation and degradation on them. Fred Phelps is the least of their worries.

If it does get better as many who have contributed videos to the project say, there are still aspects of our society that send a different message. Just like any one of us--after all, they are just like any one of us--gays are teachers, police officers, cab drivers, politicians, members of the clergy, etc. They exist everywhere in the spectrum of productive adults in our country. Yet one reservation we have is for those who would serve in our country's military. In that case they are told to shut up. Keep it secret. It is tantamount to saying, "We don't want to know about you people". Why? For irrational excuses which essentially legitimize the question, "What are you, a fag or something?" By the way, does that question offend you because it challenges your gender or because it's intolerant?

Whether you counter protest, donate to gay rights or veterans, or post comments to express your disagreement with the God Hates Fags message, there's one thing you should keep in mind. Fred Phelps is a mirror reflecting an ugliness that has been here all along. Let's not let him distract us from that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clash Of The Mediocres

I wasn't impressed by either Daryl Romeyn or Cathy McMorris Rodgers in their debate. Romeyn appeared to have studied up some but missed some great opportunities to show how McMorris Rodgers doesn't work for the common person. He appeared to score some points by highlighting her minimal record over the last six years. I missed 15 minutes of it so I don't know if he brought up her earmark reform record or lack thereof. McMorris Rodgers repeated Republican talking points like a champ. Unfortunately, Romeyn brought some of them up.

What really disappointed me was the inability of both of them to show how Don't Ask - Don't Tell and childhood obesity are huge societal issues.

Why I'm Voting Democrat

After a careful review of the Washington State Democrat Party 2010 Platform I have come up with the following reasons for voting for Democrat candidates.

Sustainable agriculture, safe food, growth management, reduction of herbicides and pesticides, clear food labeling, small farms, wetlands protection, and locally grown food.

Privacy protection, overcoming discrimination, sovereignty over our bodies, marriage as a legal union of consenting adults.

Antitrust law enforcement, separating investment banking from commercial banking, increased financial regulation, financial consumer protection agency, and limiting corporate copyrights.

A progressive tax system, removing the cap on Social Security tax, small business support, and capping payday loan interest and fees.

Affordable access and full funding of education mandates, smaller class sizes, medically accurate sex education, and nutritious meals.

And so much more. It's a dream, but one worth shooting for.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I pop in on the One-Minute Writer every once in a while and post a submission. It's a fun site. You're given a prompt and you have a minute to post something that uses it. It's like creative writing for the short was I talking about?

Anyway, C. Beth selected me as the winner for the week of Sep 19-25.

There'll be a web-page signing for those that are interested. Bring your smart phones and iPads. I'll bring a Sharpie.

Why I'm Voting Republican

After a careful review of the Washington State Republican Party 2010 Platform I have come up with the following reasons for voting for Republican candidates.

First of all, our government is a government under God and all our civil liberties are God-given. They don't specify which God, but it doesn't matter that much. In the major religions women are subservient and subordinate and that's okay with me.

The federal government has too much power and much of that must be returned to the states. And we must not have a state income tax to pay for the state to have the ability to enforce and utilize the aforementioned essential powers. Besides, we don't like what state agencies like the Department of Ecology and Department of Labor and Industries have done so the state should push those newly acquired powers down to the county and city level where we can get a firm grip on them.

Even though we pay too many taxes and must decrease them, we also must spare no expense to ensure our military strength never falters no matter what the latest threat is. Just like we're doing today. It's important for immigrants to come here as long as they do so legally and discard their language and culture and become real Americans.

Although marriage between one man and one woman did not stop highly admired men like Abraham and Thomas Jefferson from fathering a child elsewhere, we still believe strongly in traditional marriage. Preventing homosexuals from marrying is a fair trade to them for us not killing them like the bible says to. Life is sacred from the moment of conception to that of natural death, except when we kill someone for committing a crime.

Privatizing schools so they can make money is preferable to public schools where children can be indoctrinated. Properly indoctrinated adults should get themselves elected to school boards to facilitate conservative control. Students borrowing money to attend increasingly expensive colleges should do so from banks and other private financial institutions who can use that burdensome debt to make more money, not from the government where they won't be blindsided by terms that can change on a whim.

Although we are compassionate towards ill people, we want to take away their new health care and make them responsible for themselves. Uninsured people should have the freedom to choose which emergency room they seek care from, preferably nonprofit ones. Private health insurance companies should be free to choose which healthy people they provide coverage for.

The protection of property rights is imperative and the more property you own the more rights you have. Even though America currently imprisons more people than any other country and neither that nor the death penalty has reduced crime, we want to keep putting people away and kill them when necessary.

Since air quality has improved so much we can afford to be lax for a while. The science of climate change should take place among independent researchers we agree with and not the independent researchers who overwhelmingly agree that climate change is primarily man made. Agriculture in Washington is very important, but even though people don't eat trees that shouldn't prevent us from harvesting as many as we want.

Transportation is extremely important, especially if we repeal growth management. People living well away from city areas where their jobs are need multi-lane roads to drive their suburban assault vehicles on until we run out of gas.

How can I not support all that?

This Would Be Cool To See

Christopher Hitchens, noted atheist and author, and Larry Taunton, executive director of the Fixed Point Foundation, will debate Tuesday evening in Billings.

The pair will debate the topic “Is it preferable to live in a Christian or an atheistic society?”


Hitchens, a prolific writer, is author of the 2007 bestseller “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.” Taunton’s nonprofit is dedicated to the public defense of Christianity.

This is the first time the two will debate in public. And though they come from diametrically opposed viewpoints, they are friends in their private lives.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sekani Trail Run

I fired up the van, turned the seat warmer on and stepped back outside to scrape the ice off the windshield. While passing by Northwood and Farwell schools, little kids wearing jackets were kicking soccer balls across the frosted grass. They probably considered the five-year-olds warm at home to be lucky. A baseball team was warming up on a diamond. Clouds of breath hovered in front of their faces. Do I need to tell you the morning was cold?

I got to Camp Sekani around nine and checked in. The start wasn't until ten. Early arrivals like myself sat in their cars or dressed warm and jockeyed for position between the shadows for what little warmth came from the sun rising through the trees. I walked the course a little bit to check it out.

The route looked like it was clearly marked and that proved true during the run. We had a maybe 200 meters of roadway before the route became single track trail. Only about 200 people signed up so getting in front of the crowd would be important to anyone wanting to finish quickly.

Twenty minutes before the start I stripped down to my shirt and shorts and ran out for a quarter mile and back to get a little warmed up. While waiting at the start I had a couple people ask me about my Vibrams. I also met a young man who started running barefoot six months ago and loves it. He wore racing flats today. A young lady also wearing Vibrams told me she was glad to see someone else wearing them for a change. Then someone at the back of the start caught my attention. It was a neighbor of mine with her friend. They've started running together a couple months ago with the goal of doing a marathon next spring. I walked back to say hello and we barely got to talking when the run started.

"See ya later," I said and took off. This was a combined 5k and 10k run with the diversion around the two-mile mark. I ran on the outside of the group so I could pass as many as possible. It's not that I wanted to finish fast. Mostly I didn't want to get stuck behind a group of slower runners who'd made it difficult to pass after the trail narrowed. After about 1/4-mile we had the first hill. I don't know if the climb was exactly a mile long, but it felt that way. It being so early in the run and me being so full of energy, I scampered past a number of people. That first mile was tough. A lot of people were walking as they neared the end of the climb. I was briefly concerned that I went out too fast.

The second mile consisted of rollers. Short and sharp drops and climbs kept me from keeping an even pace so I could catch my breath from the first mile. Serpentine pathways zig-zagged back and forth again preventing an even pace. Mile number three was brutal. A long climb up Tower mountain had me slowing for a short walk on an especially steep section, but after cresting the top the run took a different form. I flew downhill and mile four seemed to take no time. By now I was just behind someone who was keeping the same pace as me. I shadowed him the rest of the way. We blew by the water station at mile 5--why stop when we're almost done?--and cut loose.

The trail opened up to a roadway and I pulled up next to him thinking we could push each other to the finish. His suddenly quickened pace told me he was up for that. We were ripping downhill to the last turn onto the roadway to the finish. We kept pace with each other for almost the entire distance when he fell back just before the finish. We high fived afterwards. It was a good finish.

This girl was a volunteer working the race. Her smiling high fives before the finish made it a little brighter for everyone.

I chatted with the guy I raced to the finish with and it turns out he's Steve Warrington. Steve was the cyclist who got hit by a car while competing in the Coeur d'Alene Iron Man last June. It messed up his ankles and this was his first race since then. I could tell he was in his element because he was cheerful and loving every minute of being out there. I asked him about ultras and he's done the Centennial Trail Run. Our paths will probably cross again because we both plan on doing CTR in March.

Coincidentally, Steve and I both took second place in our respective age groups. He (51:26) in the 40-49 group and me (51:23) in the...ahem...more mature group. I was amazed at my time. That's an 8:16 mile pace. It never occurred to me I could or would do that on a trail run. I know the last half of the run was much faster than the first, just like it was for everyone else. Well, maybe not for that guy who did it in 36 minutes and change. Unbelievable!

This was not my first long run with the Bikilas but it was the first long trail run. Uneven terrain requires a lot of flexibility and puts a lot of stress on the foot and ankle. The grippy pads on the soles worked great. I rarely slipped and when I did it was just a little bit. I ended up with a small blister on my right pinky toe from all the lateral movement caused by angled surfaces. Plus, on a fast downhill I nailed a rock really hard with the front part of my left heel. It didn't slow me down but I felt it during the final two miles. I'm feeling it a lot more at home.

This is a great trail run. About the only change I'd make is doing two starts, one for the 5k and one for the 10k, to reduce the crowding at the beginning. And that may become necessary if this run becomes more popular. But with only a couple hundred people participating it seemed more like a neighborhood-level activity than something put on by the City of Spokane. The informality of it all was great. I'll be back next year.

Original Scraper Bikes

Four years ago Tyrone Stevenson founded Scraper Bikes as a 17-year-old. Now at 21 he's turned it into a non-profit organization and the Original Scraper Bikes in Oakland has become a great thing for kids in that area for many reasons. It guides them away from drugs and gangs, promotes education as well as a healthy recreational activity, and it inspires creativity.

Scraper bikes are equal parts art project and pragmatic transportation. Far less than the cost of a scraper car – the lowriders from which the bikes borrowed their name – scraper bikes are tricked out using foil from candy wrappers and soda cans, their frames painted with spray cans from the .99 cent store.

“The frames are donated or found around the neighborhood,” says Stevenson. The oversized wheels may be the most expensive component, but all told, a scraper bike can be built with a few dollars and some sweat equity. “Kids show up at my house every day of the week to work on their bikes,” says Stevenson.

Scrapertown from California is a place. on Vimeo.

These are not just any kids. In order to join the scraper bike team you must come with your report card and demonstrate at least a 2.0 GPA (Stevenson checks them every week). While academic achievement and sustainability have not exactly defined street cool in the past, the tactic appears to be working: the group began with just eight or nine and now has almost a group of 40 mostly 13-16 year-olds.
Stevenson plans to leverage the attention the group has received to build an advisory board and raise funds for a community center and bike shop that could serve more neighborhood kids. “Each Saturday, the group grows,” he says. “I’m running out of space in my backyard.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Pick Of The Litter

Stephanie was all too eager to help me make a dessert this evening, mostly with the fun parts like this really cool egg white separator.

Testing the salad bar sneeze blocker at a buffet with this baby would make for a memorable evening.

Of course, she had to help me with the grossest part. Yes, this is a kitty litter cake. Lunchtime at work tomorrow is going to be...different. Stephanie said, "I'm proud of my turds." Didn't she make some really great turds?

Think I'll Take A Break

I hate to see Kathy work hard, too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There's Always Something To Work On

Steph had another cross country meet this afternoon, this one at Audubon Park. She ran the first mile too fast which made her start running out of gas near the end finishing about eight seconds slower than her best.

As you can see her running form is still tops.

But she needs to improve on her spitting.

A Lose-Lose Situation

I had to ponder yesterday's Spokesman Review editorial board's tepid endorsement of Cathy McMorris Rodgers for a bit. Essentially, it's an it's-not-like-we-have-a-choice choice. Daryl Romeyn's campaign is practically invisible since he has no backing of any sort. So the editorial board shrugs it's shoulders and puts lipstick on the pig.

McMorris Rodgers has been in office for nearly six years and her only reach-across-the-aisle accomplishment is setting humane disciplining standards for special needs children? In six years.

She may bemoan the toxic atmosphere in Congress but that hasn't stopped her from contributing to it. Last year she said she'd like to "see the documents" that verify President Barack Obama is an American citizen. After Barack Obama's first State of the Union address during which he gestured to House Minority Leader John Boehner and said, "Let's meet," McMorris Rodgers stood by Boehner while he proudly proclaimed, “I know who I am, I know what my principles are, I know what the principles of my members are and I’m not going to sacrifice my principles just by sitting down and negotiating.”

At her Spokane town hall meeting McMorris Rodgers fed right into the hate speech when asked what she thought about the mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York City.

"I believe it's a poor choice of location. As I view it, I think like many in America, it almost feels like a victory dance on the place where we were attacked on 9/11. And it's offensive to me."

Also during the same town hall meeting, a gentleman said he knew the Republicans had a plan but people just weren't aware of it. He asked her for specifics. She didn't provide a single one.

When it comes to budget reform, McMorris Rodgers and her fellow Republicans haven't identified any specifics. Instead they rely on the tried and true mantras of "reign in government spending", "earmark reform", "the system is broken" and "cut taxes". In late 2008, McMorris Rodgers was appointed chair of the House Republican Select Committee on Earmark Reform. The group was supposed to provide an earmark reform proposal by Feb 2009. Not only did they not create such a proposal, they never held a single meeting.

The Review board's endorsement ends with this:

Her message is to give Republicans another chance. It looks like they will get it, but she needs to do her part as a party leader to squelch the acrimony with Democrats and tea party activists before realistic solutions to some very big fiscal issues are resolved.

McMorris Rodgers is the easy call in this race, but her task will be formidable.

Yes, she is an easy call, but she has shown that she's not up to the formidable task of working with both sides of the aisle or getting things done. She's been a faithful follower of the party of "no". She's shown she is adept at repeating vapid talking points. She's all for scrapping Social Security except for current and near-current recipients. She's against financial institution reform that would reign in the abuse of and losses suffered by the American people. She wants to make permanent the tax cuts that have contributed just as heavily to our country's deficit as they have to the pockets of the very rich. She wants to repeal health care reform in the name of freedom, where presumably the uninsured have the freedom to go to the emergency room of their choice.

If representing our district consisted of sending out tweets and getting likes on Facebook and posting videos on YouTube, then McMorris Rodgers has been a stellar congresswoman and deserves our support. Doubling your Facebook followers is a formidable task. And about the only one she's up to.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The "Born In the USA" DNA Sequence

Here's a great example of the bizarro world our country has become. An article that calls for the analysis of Barack Obama's DNA to settle once and for all the manufactured controversy over his American citizenship.

A certificate that a child was born to Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu on 4 August 1961 might be true; but, assuming it’s true, it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Obama is that child. Whether he is or not requires genetic analysis.

Now we have to list all of the possibilities, regardless of how outlandish they are.

Assume that Hawai’i’s certification of live birth is true and official as far as it goes. If Mr. Obama’s birth parents are indeed Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama the alien Luo tribesman, there is a prima facie case that Mr. Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen, because Obama the Luo tribesman was an alien.

The 14th Amendment says otherwise. But they're not done building their case.

When a child is adopted, an amended birth certificate is created naming the adoptive parents and creating an official fiction that they are the birth parents.
Hence Hawai’i’s certification of Mr. Obama’s live birth in Hawai’i is intentionally ambiguous. By design, it is impossible to tell from the certification whether the purported parents named therein are Mr. Obama’s birth parents or his adoptive parents.

The craziness doesn't stop there.

[Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawai’i State Department of Health ] has also let us know that Mr. Obama’s birth parents were U.S. citizens, which makes baby Obama a natural born U.S. citizen at birth. This leaves open the possibility that he lost American citizenship thereafter.

How he would have lost his citizenship thereafter remains a mystery. But what's even worse is...he's not even black!

Mr. Obama’s gross misrepresentation that he is black is arguably election fraud.

To sum it up, Barack Obama is a natural-born/adopted imposter, non-black son of an African man committing election fraud by claiming to be black as well as a citizen who lost his citizenship. And there's only one way to settle this.

Mr. Obama’s vital records must be disclosed and his DNA analyzed to confirm the birth parents of Barack Hussein Obama II, and to confirm that Mr. Obama, pretender to the Office of President, is actually the child whose birth was recorded, not a ringer.

Unfortunately, there are a number of people who drink this kool-aid energetically. Check out the comments on the article. You'll also see that Malcolm X was Barack Obama's father. He's a dead ringer for him!

Some people are just plain crazy. Some crazies vote. And some crazies buy guns.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cyclocross Race

To allow John to get back to Tacoma at a decent time we decided to sign up for the first race, Men's Masters all categories ages 40+ and 50+. Since he was in the 40+ group, he got to start ahead of me. The 50+ group started 90 seconds later. Barb, our sister, came out to watch and take photos so all photo credits are hers.

Here we are fresh faced and ready before the race.

We did a couple of warm up laps and scouted the course. The layout was great with some nice level or downhill parts to help you recover from the obstacles and climbs.

Since this was my first race I wisely started at the back of my group. At first I tried to keep up with everyone as they pulled away. I quickly wised up and backed off. There's no sense killing myself trying to ride someone else's race. It took me about three laps before I found my rhythm. I definitely need practice at getting over the obstacles. I kept bouncing my front tire on them which forced me to struggle to control the bike. I was getting the hang of finding my lines between roots, rocks, puddles, etc., but there was one corner where I kept forgetting about a low branch. I hit my head on the branch on every lap. I guess some things just take longer to learn.

The puddles were the best part. I charged them as much as I could. It's not like I'm going to get any wetter. Besides, it was fun.

John wiped out on one turn and found time to show off his wound to Barb.

I used the push-the-bike-up-the-hill technique.

John shouldered his and lugged it up.

I wasn't really clear on the rules but I was told that if you are passed by the race leader then that is your last lap. Or something like that. While I was approaching the last turn before the finish line to complete my fourth lap I heard a voice behind me.

"Race leader approaching."

I hammered the pedals and pushed hard so he wouldn't pass me before I completed this lap. I was successful, but I was also tired. At the end of my fifth lap I was told I was done. I felt a combination of relief and disappointment. I had one more lap in me but a part of me was a little thankful I didn't have to do it.

This was hard work but in a fun way. I have no idea how I did overall nor do I care. But I'm looking forward to riding through more puddles and making the biggest splash I can.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Four Letter Words

Steph and I tried out a game for the first time. It's called Scrabble Slam. The dealer spells out a four letter word and deals the remaining cards out. Everyone races to play their cards and change the word to a different one, one card at a time. You have to yell out the word you spelled. Whoever runs out of cards or has the least cards when no more plays are possible, wins. Steph was the dealer and she spelled out the starting word.

"What?" she says with an innocent face and laughing eyes.

Tank, Load The Cyclocross Program

Tomorrow at Riverside State Park I'll ride in my first ever cyclocross race. I had to get my bike ready. After coming home from my ride with the Spokane Bicycle Club, I stripped it down and swapped out the tires. (Tires graciously loaned to me by Pat. Thank you.)

This is my commuter bike.

This is my commuter bike on steroids.

My brother, John, came over from Tacoma to do this race with me. He did one on the west side last Sunday and he said it kicked his ass. Regardless of the butt whooping I get tomorrow, I plan to have fun because that's what it's all about.

Friday, October 8, 2010

John Lennon's 70th

Courtesy of Google.

Morning Run To Work

I mapped out a ten mile course and followed that this morning, wearing the Vibrams the entire way. The Vibrams were very comfortable for the 90 minutes it took me. Overall a very pleasant and relaxing run.

View 10.2 Mile To Work in a larger map

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Marr - Baumgartner Debate On KSPS

I didn't get to watch the entire debate, but I enjoyed the parts I did get to see. I thought Baumgartner would never stop his "quit telling people I'm not from Spokane" whining. Thumbs down to both candidates for being against gay marriage, but more so to Baumgartner for saying he's not running for office on any social issues. If you're elected you still have to deal with them.

Marr had his facts and figures at the ready and it showed. It was funny to hear him describe the problems with our state's tax system and what needs to be done to fix it and Baumgartner saying how Marr was such a status quo tax-and-spend liberal. Baumgartner showed off his labeling skills which seems to be just about all he's got going for him. I don't agree with Marr on everything, but he's proven he's willing to work with people and get things done.

These Are Not The Earmarks You're Looking For

The website set up by House Republicans and touted by Cathy McMorris Rodgers so we could look at where all the earmark money was going has disappeared.

“As Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, one of my top priorities is to increase transparency and accountability in government,” said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. “That’s why I launched a website which enables citizens to track earmark requests by every member of Congress.” is no more. Now you get this message instead:

No, you can't.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bike/Pedestrian Tally

I spent the morning counting bikes, pedestrians, etc., at Post and Buckeye. The vast majority were southbound.



Don't count.

One observation I have is that a number of people didn't get counted because they were one, two or three blocks over. With a school in the area many pedestrians took the most direct route. Plus experienced (I assume) cyclists wanting to turn left from southbound Post onto Buckeye made the turn a couple blocks beforehand and then popped out onto Buckeye a couple blocks down the road.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Some Things Don't Need To Be Said

Double Take

SB = small boobs?

Which Ones Deserve Our Attention?

According to the schedule on the Westboro Baptist Church site (Can you appreciate the upside down US flag symbol of distress icon?), Fred Phelps and his demented family members plan to visit Spokane on October 21.

I'll believe it when I see it. The WBC schedules a lot of protests but doesn't follow through on every one.

In the meantime, Facebook counter protests--1048 say they're attending--are developing. It's very encouraging to see such a response to a group of crazies exercising their First Amendment rights.

But what a contrast to the paltry attendance at Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers' town hall meeting back in August and the combined Chris Marr/John Driscoll town hall back in February. These are people casting votes on legislation that affects each and every one of us.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Accident Involving A Cyclist

Around 2:00 pm this afternoon a cyclist was involved in an accident and seriously injured. The Spokesman Review reported it and you can feel the love in the comments. According to these enlightened minds cyclists need to get off the road, pay for bike lanes, and/or always disregard the rules of the road.

Here's the Street View look of the intersection. The cyclist was going north on Lincoln. It's downhill and it's an arterial going into downtown. The van the cyclist ran into was going east on 4th so it was coming from the cyclist's left. The van had a stop sign. It doesn't look like the cyclist would be at fault on this one but that doesn't stop some people from spouting nonsense about it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Aid To Terrorists?

From NDTV:

The Plane Finder AR application, developed by a British firm for the Apple iPhone and Google's Android, allows users to point their phone at the sky and see the position, height and speed of nearby aircraft.

It also shows the airline, flight number, departure point, destination and even the likely course-the features which could be used to target an aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, or to direct another plane on to a collision course, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

How does it work?

The new application works by intercepting the so-called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcasts (ADS-B) transmitted by most passenger aircraft to a new satellite tracking system that supplements or, in some countries, replaces radar.

According to the FAA:

ADS-B is a crucial component of the nation's Next-Generation Air Transportation System, and its implementation over the next 20 years will turn the NextGen vision into a reality. After years of research and development, and use by general aviation pilots in Alaska and air transport carriers in the Ohio River Valley, the FAA determined in 2005 that ADS-B is ready to be made operational throughout the national airspace system.

It appears that ADS-B is not using encryption which means anyone can read the signal. So rather than design a safe and secure system we label Plane Finder AR (still on iTunes as of this writing) as a terrorist aid.

It's like painting a target on your chest and then complaining about how good people can take aim at you.