Marathon - today, < 2 hours from now 
The Via Lehigh Valley Marathon begins in less than two hours. It's slightly after 5 am and I'm up. Coffee is on but I can't drink too much before the race. Breakfast will be a hard-boiled egg and half a banana.

It will be a busy day. After my leg, (Leg 1), I'll have to move along, cheer, and pick up the kids by 9:30 because our fifth runner is watching the kids at the house. Later on I have an Eagles game to watch and the lawn to cut.

As a team we don't have a time goal but my wife's youngest sister is running the marathon and will likely finish before our team does.

Time to dress, imbibe, and consume. Look for tweets.

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My Plan 
I was thinking of some common sense requirements that should be included in any health care reform legislation:

1. Everyone who is uninsured, mail them a letter (the gov't does know who these 47 million uninsured people are and where they live, right?) and ask them if they would like to be covered by a government plan, if such plan is implemented. If forms are not returned within 90 days, it counts as a “no.”

2. Anyone who replies “yes” would be required to get a physical. If that person is obese, as defined by the FDA BMI scale, said person should submit an action plan on how he/she will lose enough weight to get within a BMI index of 25. Said action plan must be submitted within 90 days of acknowledgment of “yes” response. Said plan must include reasonable goals.

3. Anyone who qualifies for the plan must submit to regular physicals which will include drug testing. Failing any physical will result in immediate discharge.

3a. If the public (taxpayers) pay for the health insurance of an individual, the public will be allowed to dictate what said person eats, drinks, and ingests into said person's body. Excess sugar and salt, tobacco use, and failure of drug tests will be cause for policy cancellation. Other ingestables will be brought to public forum for vote.

4. Discharged persons or persons deemed ineligible for health insurance who demand a right to health insurance will be provided a one-time payment that will dictate that they to move (and revoke their US citizenship) to Cuba, Venezuela, or France. Refusal of option cancels the payment.

5. Government will reserve the right to require beneficiaries of said plan to offer their services on a subcontracting basis to manufacturers of clothing, shoes, computer components, books, furniture, and food staples in order to maintain manufacturing facilities within the United States.

It's just a start but if I'm going to pay for health coverage for someone who makes no effort to care for his/her body, then I think these and like provisions are more than reasonable. Number five needs some work but I think it can be done.

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Relay - Six Days Away 
For my last "long" run before the relay, I cranked out a 5.18 mile run* in 54:45. That works out to be a 10:34 pace and 5.7 mph. Due to situational circumstances, my last two runs, which were 4.0 and 3.11 miles, were on the treadmill (college gym, hotel) at pretty good clips - 10:22 and 9:56 respectively. But with no obstacles like hills or traffic, one would expect a treadmill pace to be better than an outside run through the neighborhood. Of course, during an event like a marathon, the runners will be isolated from traffic so that won't be an excuse for losing time.

I'll rest tomorrow and perhaps lift weights on Wednesday. Thursday will be rest and Friday I'll plan for a tune-up run of maybe 3 miles.

My official goal now is to complete my 5.5 mile leg in 59:59 or under. A 10:45 pace would come out to be 59:08 and I think I can sustain that.

*according to mapmyrun.com

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The Eyes Have It 
I recently reconnected with a friend I hadn't seen in about 16 years. We were best friends through much of the 80's but college (me) and the navy (him) separated us and we lost contact with each other. Anyway, when I saw him, I was surprised to see that he was wearing glasses, as he didn't we when were younger. But then I remembered how old we are and that it's not usual to need them by 40; even if just for reading.

However, once I reunited with him, I realized that I became the last of my inner circle of friends who doesn't need glasses (prescription or reading) or hasn't had LASIK to correct vision. Funny how a few guys who needed the proverbial "Coke-bottle bottom" glasses now have better eyesight than I do.

My sister, who is a three years younger than I am, doesn't wear them either.

Of course, my eyes aren't what they were. I've noticed a big dropoff from when I was 20/20 years ago. Coming home from Pittsburgh today I noticed another dropoff from the last time I drove a distance like that. Seems like it took longer for me to be able to read the signs ahead.

So, I may schedule an eye exam soon. I recall one in my mid or late teens that I think was part of a physical for something (driver's license? ROTC application process? (I wasn't accepted for ROTC but I passed my driving test on the first try two months after turning 16)) where I checked in at 20/15 R and 20/25 L. I certainly am not going to 'see' those numbers this time; that's for sure.

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Internet Martial Law 
That's a good summary of this what this bill would do:

Senate Proposal Gives President Authority Over Internet

I wish that Orwell would have written a prequel to 1984. I have a feeling it would look much like our society today.

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RIP Ed/Ted 
With the passing of Ted Kennedy, many news reports are referring to him as the "liberal lion." That's just not nice. It's not proper to point out the faults of those recently departed.

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I don't carry  
I saw this on Runnersworld.com:

Is That a Pistol in Your Shorts?

I don't see how anyone can carry when running. It's not the size that I see as the problem but rather the weight. Now, it may be a good idea to pack if you run in, say, Washington or Chicago or other cities where handgun bans have illustrated how obtuse some public officials and voting citizens can be. Elsewhere, I think pepper spray and a cell phone would suffice if you're a little worried about being out on your own.

When I run, I don't like to take anything extra. Some people like to take a water bottle and carry it and others like to wear a fanny belt with a bottle holder and sometimes space for an MP3 player or cell phone. Again, I think a cell phone is a good idea but I usually don't take it. I do take it when biking, though.

My standard raiment:

Shoes - Saucony Stabil 6, wide. My feet are beginning to ache a little so my flat feet may be breaking down the support. With over 100 miles on them, it may be time to replace them.

Socks - Wicking running socks that keep the feet dry. They seem to work. The Under Armours I bought were Made in USA but the Adidas were not.

Shorts - On hot days, I don't wear underwear, just something for, um, support. I have a few pairs of Under Armour running shorts. I usually stick a tissue and a cough drop in a pocket. Today I filled a sealed sandwich baggie with some ice. I put a cube or two in my hat and then splashed myself on occasion to cool off. I keep my trash in my pocket until I see a can.

Shirt - Wicking running shirt. Works ok but once it's above 80F and you're running more than a mile or two, you still get soaked with sweat.

Nike Fit-dry hat. Keeps sweat out of my eyes, even above 80F.

Timex Expedition watch for timing.

Apply sunblock and wear cheapo $5 sunglasses in the unlikely event that the bright yellow orb is out.

Other than a wedding band, I don't wear jewelry at all. But I don't wear the ring when I run as it has the tendency to slip off sometimes. Earlier this year I was at a birthday party for a friend and the ring went flying across the room whilst making a hand gesture during conversation.

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The Gitmo prisoner problem - solved 
It's so easy and simple, you'll be surprised you didn't think of it first.

Where do we put these prisoners? It's a NIMBY situation for sure. And, I'll give credit where credit is due. BHO promised during the campaign to close Guantánamo Bay, and he's doing it. But, surprise, no one wants the prisoners.

SOLUTION:

Find the US county that had the highest percentage of voters who voted for BHO, and build the prison there. Simple. Problem solved.

Be careful what you wish for because sometimes you get it. lol.

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Letter to the Editor 
Published yesterday:

http://shar.es/RWNR

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Relay - changes 
It appears that the powers that be have changed the legs of the LV Half Marathon. I was supposed to run Leg 2 which was listed as six miles but now Leg 2 is 6.5 and the only leg over six. Plus we had someone from our relay team drop out and picked up a replacement. So now, I am running the first leg which is 5.5 miles. So, now, it's just maintenance.

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Great Opening Lines 
Recently I read Neuromancer, the novel that is credited with launching the cyberpunk genre. The opening sentence of Neuromancer also seems to be widely acclaimed as of the great literary opening lines:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Here are some of my favorites:

It was a pleasure to burn. Fahrenheit 451

Elmer Gantry was drunk. Elmer Gantry

Howard Roark laughed. The Fountainhead

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want the truth. The Catcher in the Rye

By ten-forty-five, it was all over. The Moon is Down

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Nineteen Eighty-Four

These lines are mostly simple and almost summarize their respective texts in a nutshell. Holden's opening statement is long but that's about as close to a nutshell summary as Holden can get. The opening sentence to 1984 is just chilling. And, the more I think about it, 1984 was cyberpunk way before cyberpunk; and a whole lot more, obviously.

Edit - as I revisited this topic this morning I remembered that 1984 has a very memorable closing sentence.

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Blight 
In May I planted 12 tomato plants, 12 pepper plants (banana, anaheim, jalapeno), and started two pumpkins from seed. Due mostly to the fact that March lasted about 115 days this year, I have nine peppers still standing and of the 12 original tomato, it appears that only about three will really produce. None are dead yet but many have the ecru-colored leaves indicative of blossom-end rot and the plants are withered and appear to be dying. Most have tomatoes but I don't know how long that will last. On the bright side, the peppers are producing and the third attempt at pumpkins has finally given me two flourishing plants but I don't think the pumpkins will be ready by the end of October.

The constant rain and cooler temperatures of the 3.75 Marches we had this year have wreaked havoc on the tomatoes. The three pepper plants I lost were due to wind gusts from the maelstrom of rainstorms knocking them down and uprooting them - even as they were staked.

So, next year - what to do to guard against this? I will have some work to do.

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