Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Gutless politicians and legislators have a lot of blood on their hands

This week we had another round of senseless killings in this country.  We are the only country in the world that has hundreds of mass killings each year and nothing changes.....that borders on the definition of insanity.  And in fact, it is the insanity and cowardness of the politicians in this country who respond with thoughts and prayers............if you change nothing, how is the outcome going to be different? 

I own guns and they are for hunting game.  They were purchased legally and that is not saying much in this country.  A handful of $20 bills will get you set up with a gun and ammo, and no one knows any different.  The current state of affairs allows for hunting people with assault rifles, which are traditionally used by armies to do the dirty work of the gutless politicians that will be skewered in this rant. The AK47, which is a Russian designed weapon, started the assault weapon craze in the late 1940's and most recent development of these weapons has produced relatively affordable weapons with only one purpose--dead people to support your twisted hatred.   Today, the US built assault rifles are sold everywhere and are quite easy to obtain.   Purchase 500 rounds of ammo and you are in the mass killing business, it is entirely too easy to pull off one of these events, way too easy. 

How do we fix this mess???   I am not the biggest fan of more government, but we have no better choice here.

  • First, tell the NRA to jump in the lake and keep their blood money. This is really important, they are the propaganda wing of the second amendment one issue zealots. They are selling fear and we must keep them out of the news and their lobbyists must also be neutralized with their sack of money.  They will have little to do with the solution to this mess. 
  • A new government agency needs to be created if we are to keep guns available.  If we decide to eliminate guns entirely--that is very easy to do.  Follow the actions taken in Australia and the UK in recent years.  That option is very remote, it would be basically a civil war and this country would be crippled for years as it recovered. Not my preferred mode of action. 
  • This new agency would be in charge of any gun transaction, any ammo sale, and a license would be required to make a gun or ammo transaction, even a family or private sale.  Private sales and family transactions are massive loopholes currently.   Heavy handed?  yes, it is, but it would allow for people to still enjoy owning guns for the right reason--hunting or shooting sports.  By the way, any gun designed for military use ( semi and fully automatic weapons) would be classified as a Class III weapon.  Currently, Class III weapons are legal to own and are fully automatic weapons.  But, getting a Class III weapon is very expensive and you need to pass a lot of scrutiny and background checks with the BATF.  Not many people get these weapons because it is really that expensive. Class III weapons are rarely used in crimes, they are too valuable to lose.    Why lose a $20,000 weapon due to a crime? 
  • So how would this new Federal agency work?   If you travel internationally, you had to get a passport from the Federal State Department to use to enter and leave this country.  Your personal information is contained in the passport computer base and you are basically tracked in and out of the country. Act up and the passport is revoked, a very simple process.  A similar web based system needs to created for gun ownership.  You must get a Gun Ownership License to purchase guns and ammo.  Sales must be transacted through an authorized dealer, no more personal or family sales or gifts.  Getting the license would be a lengthy and cumbersome process and that is important.  Make absolutely sure of the mental makeup of the people trying to get a license.  Another part of the licensing process would be a medical follow up in subsequent years.  Medical records and the use of certain medications would automatically suspend your license and this would also force you to sell your guns and ammo.  Certain crimes would also trigger a license suspension or revocation.  Truck drivers, pilots and many other professionals all need to pass annual physicals to keep their licenses.  Make sure the mental part is also included in the routine follow up work. 
  • Any transaction is entered into the system to keep track of your amount of purchases and sales.  If you are accumulating too many bullets or guns, the local authorities would come around to a visit to see what you were doing.  This would be a proactive approach that would be key to success, don't wait for dead bodies, check out the computer is telling you. Keeping track of all purchases would allow the tracking of where all the ammo was headed.  The police really need to get on board with this approach. 
Are there loop holes in this approach?  Yes,  there are many, but I think it is the only way to get a start towards a more safe world in the USA. Two things could be done today to make a lot of this craziness go away very quickly.  Background checks on any gun or ammo sale and reclassifying all military-type weapons as Class III weapons.  Background checks could slow up some of the crazies and making all the assault weapons Class III would make them too valuable and expensive to own--let alone risk in a crime. And you need to go through the BATF process to get them registered and licensed to your ownership.  If we make ownership more difficult and raise the cost to a level that is very difficult to overcome, we are on the right path to a safer world.  

Guns are way too cheap and easy to obtain in the US currently.  There are ways to get this killing under control, but the politicians have got to get the courage to do the right thing, flip off the NRA and get the gun control legislation passed. Too many dead people for no good reason--do your jobs now!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reactor Poisoning

Linda and I recently had an opportunity to watch  the HBO 5 part series Chernobyl.  That series just left you limp from the stupidity of the entire event.  Linda was living in Europe at the time and had first hand knowledge of the events and more than likely was exposed to some radioactive materials.   I am not going to spoil the show if you have not watched it, but when your reactor is full of poison, in this case an isotope of Xenon, you need to work the process and take your time getting things safely under control.   Check it out if you get a chance.  

Last weekend I traveled to Ames, Iowa for the USATF Masters National Outdoor event.  I was going to run the 100, 200, relays and HJ.    The weather was quite warm with few clouds on a couple of the days and that made for a hot slow track.   I came into the event with a right hamstring that had given my a scare or pause the previous Friday near the end of one of my speed workouts. I had a 'grab' in the hammy at the start of a 100 meters grass rep and that just ended my workout right there. I rested it for 5  days and had not done anything at max effort sense the 'grab' until the HJ on Friday.  I warmed OK and jumped OK, but finished at 1.40 meters in 8 th place.  Nothing to write home about, but the legs were OK.   I ran the 100 prelim later that day and finished as 6th quick and made the finals the next day.  Our massage specialist had made my hammy feel really good and it held up the rest of my events.   I was feeling much better with my personal reactor poisoning out of my system. Thanks a bunch Wild Bill.  

Saturday morning we ran the 100 finals and I had a pretty good start and was challenging for a medal (I think) and at 70 meters was reaching for another gear when my left groin gave me a little tug and I eased off to finish 5 th in a slow time of 14.03.    After the race it was clearly evident that I was going to be done for the meet.   I did the ice treatment and threw in the towel.   It appears that my adductor longus was strained during the 100 meters.  That is the first time in forever I have had groin problems, but it happened.      Three days later, it is progressing well, but it will be 3 to 4 weeks of rest required to get back to anything like a leg workout.

Why this meet?? I had an iffy hammy and maybe I changed my form a little to compensate for that body part.  Or, a much better culprit is the closing of my gym several months back and I did not do my normal cable and leg work during my training period.  After the closing, I did not round another gym right away and with the pending move, found it a waste of time.  I think I was dead wrong.  I think my legs were not as strong as normal and that lack of strength was the real reason I had a failure in my left leg,   Hydration was an issue as well, I drank water and sports drinks continuously on Friday and could not get ahead of the clear skies.  I was not really hydrated until day 3, when I was drinking just as much liquid, but actually had a to pee a couple of times.    Hydration is always a big deal a these meets.

Was it a complete waste??  No, the SoCal team took the team title for the 17th time…I only provided 2 points but, I did a lot of cheering once I was out of the action.  Even though I was out, the team delivered!! and it is always fun to be a champion again.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Time to run my mouth a bit

I raced last Saturday in Nashville at Stratford High School in the TN USATF meet.   This meet is an annual get together and gives everyone their first chance to run outdoors with electronic timing.   The weather was as usual-- threatening --that is what this meet has always attracted, but we only had limited rain, and no wind or lightning.   No lightning is a huge plus to get the races ran.   As I stated, there was no wind, the track was wet and as a result quite cool and that made for great running conditions.  The track would really push back when you compressed it with your spikes. 
 I set up my shelter near the 100 meters starting line and keep all my gear dry as could be for the event.
We ran the 60 meters first with 5 or 6 people in the heat and some were quite a bit younger and faster.   I used my own blocks and that was a plus, the blocks provided did not dig into the track very well and were a little scary due to that slippage. 
Mine have been used enough on all surfaces to have the bugs worked out. I had a pretty good pass and the timers were working on the times and they were not available as we headed back to the tent, so I thought I would get it later.  I finished all three of my races before collecting my times.     When I got my times, I was a bit stunned, to tell the truth.  I broke 8 seconds in the 60 meters!!  I did not feel like Superman, but this meet has generally produced fast times for me.  I think it is early in the season and I am fully rested and I have not been doing any racing either.  Once I got home I loaded the time into Masters Rankings and it was the quickest outdoors this season--globally!   Fifth quick if you add in the indoors times.  I am definitely going to run my mouth a bit on this one now.  Wohoo!

I ran the 100 next and had a very quick 13.22 which was last in my heat, but the time was the fastest in two years I think and meets AA Standard.  I struggle to make AA Standard in the 100, it is my weakest race.   I also ran the 200 as the last event and ran a 27.39, which is 12 th quick outdoors globally this season and 1.5 seconds quicker than indoors.  Where did all this speed come from??   One day, three races and they were all big times.   I did not run the 400 meters and I think it takes so much out of me, that in the big meets I cannot achieve these times.  That is my opinion, but I need to do more testing to answer the question. 

Overall it was a great meet and I came through unscathed and feeling pretty solid.  The picture here is of the local talent in the Nashville area.  There are world champions ( Howard, Grady and David) in multiple events, three world records, too many State Senior Games championships and state records to count.  From the 50 meters to the 1500 meters, this group will kick your butt.   The talent is really deep locally. Most of the guys here have been recovering from injuries and it was there first meet of the season and they all showed well. 

June Rosemary
June has been in town the last week and has been keeping my worn down a bit, maybe she knocked the edge off to make me run better????

Monday, April 29, 2019

Still Thinking

I am still working on getting some full time work.   I have an interview this week with a chemical company and I may get back into the chemistry end of the tissue business.    But on to more important things.   June is coming to town. 

Our grand daughter is coming for a two week stay and the Fly Away Farm is going to be a busy place with a 2 year old holding sway over the operations. Linda and I are excited for the opportunity to have June stay for about 10 days and enjoy some nice weather.  I am in Milwaukee today and it is gloomy and I am being positive!  Ick.   This will be a trip back in time for us with a new set of aches and pains to remind that old people do not need kids full time. 

We went to down town Nashville before the draft party started--we were there Wednesday night--and checked out the venue.  I also went back down on Sunday near the 6 and and 7 rounds to check out the humanity again.  Nashville can throw a party--the crowds were way down from the peak, but there was chaos at every turn.   Just a wall of football jerseys and people with drinks in their hands.  TV programs on every perch as well.  They also ran the Nashville Marathon  on Saturday and I felt bad for the finishers as they had to wade through the football crush to get a cold one or two.  The marathon finished in Nissan Stadium and most were walking over the ped bridge to the downtown area.   The bridge was filled with sight seers, the NFL had added a digital display for each team and the bridge was really a busy spot.   There was something at every turn to catch your eye and ears.   

Nashville needs to do it again real soon. They can throw a dandy party.

I am going to race this weekend at a Tennessee USATF Master meet in Nashville.  I have been sore for weeks working on strength and endurance and I want to see if it was worth the effort. .   I am going to run a 60, 100 and 200.  I have may not get a chance to run another 100 this season, so I need a time in the books for comparison at least. I also want some 60 and 200 times for the outdoor chart, I have not competed outdoor this season.  So Saturday we will see what we have for speed.  I will rest a lot of this week and get some juice back in the legs and let it rip this weekend. 

On a sadder note, I have been using Prairie Life Fitness as my gym for many years.  It has a track that I can use for conditioning, weights and hot tubs--all the stuff I really need.  They are closing this week and I will need to find another place to train.  I will miss the scale the most, it was my 'official' scale and now I will have to get a new weight baseline. Crap.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Time to Think

I was working on some minor little thing on the phone today and came to a very interesting conclusion--when you are not employed --you have a lot more thinking time.   I was laid off about 10 days ago from my Tissue Specialist role with Kadant Solutions.   It was an amicable break-up, they just eliminated my job and that was it for me.  It was harder on my boss to tell me the news than for me to receive it.   I knew it was coming from the phone the call the previous day.  I have been fired before, so I knew all the language and posturing that happens.  I had 4 great years in that role and off to new adventures in the tissue business.

The extra thinking time is due to the fact your mind is not consumed with the mass of little details and innuendo that comes with a full-time job.   You are always on the alert for changing travel arrangements, meeting appointments, getting scheduled work completed, expenses, plane reservations, emails.............  This week, absolutely none of that stuff happened.    I am working with two headhunters which are really like agents that supply talent in the paper making business.   They know all the players and will float my resume around the business and see if anything happens.  I meanwhile have been looking at company web sites and working through the jobs that fit my skill set.   I applied for three interesting jobs today that will allow me to use my experiences to solve tissue making problems.    I will continue to search daily and see what is available. 

As we roll into the summer and the outdoor racing season comes into full swing, my status for racing is really up in the air.  I have more time now to train on a daily basis and I am.   But, getting settled into a new job and getting to the 3 and 4 day meets will be a real challenge to make happen.   I will play all that by ear. 

I have been training on the track by running longer sprints with more 300 meter repeats showing up in the menu.  I have also started to walk for an hour in the mornings now and those are to control my weight and burn off some energy.  It is also time to think--believe it or not--more of thinking time!  I may get some foreign language on my phone and work on Spanish or French or something in my walkabouts. 
 I should be in about the best shape I have been in a long time this summer, that is my plan now.  Who knows about tomorrow or the next day.

Friday, March 8, 2019

USATF Masters Indoors Nationals 2019

Last weekend was the big indoor meet in Winston-Salem, NC.  A great turn out of around 1000 athletes made for some very solid competition and a lot of new world records.   I competed for the SoCal track team and we did not win the team competition this meet, as we did in Spokane.  Our group was down several competitors due to injuries and various other reason.  We had a very small group, but we did manage to score fourth in the team competition and score a lot of gold medals int he process.   I already blogged about the people in the meet and this entry will be basically the nuts of bolts of the competition for me. 

I am 62 this year and right in the middle of my age group and I signed up for the 60, 200, 400 and High Jump and also competed in 2 relays--4 x 200 and 4 x 400. 

I did not make the 60 finals and ran 7 th in the 400.  I ran pretty good in the 400--65.65-- but did not really seem to have any real juice at the end of the 2 laps and faded a bit at the end for 7th..   According to National Rankings for Masters the 60 is 21th quick  in the US this season and the 400 is 9th quick in the US this season.
  Pretty decent speeds, but all the fast folks were at this event.    The other events I did score points and they are infinity more interesting to discuss.  So we move on .....

I high jumped and scored a 6th with a jump of 1.43 meters.  The competition was world class and I got beat by 0.25 meters!!  The 1.43 meters is 12th best in the US this season and is also All-American Award eligible.   I felt pretty good, but this was the big boys in this event--they only jump and do nothing else.

I had not run the 4 x 200 meter relay until this meet.   One lap of crazy and let the next guy gets a lap.  Rather simple, but very exciting.  Our relay team was in the 60-64 group with my age as the group we were entered.  The other three were over 65, our group was a little older, but that did not deter our efforts.   The heat we were in had 6 teams, so the 6 lane track was full and were in lane one.  That is the tightest turn, BUT, in this race it is a three turn stagger with the lead off staying in the lane and the second leg blending after the first turn was complete.   I this sort of race you really want lane one or two so the blending is to your advantage. I was the second runner and really really wanted the lead going into the blend line.  If you are going to win this thing, that is the way to get it done.  David Craig ran the first leg and we had a very good hand off.  We had been in on a bunch of relays together and we are getting used to the hand offs with each other. When I received the baton, it was dead even with 3 or 4 other teams.   I knew I had one more stagger to my advantage and absolutely crushed the first turn and came out on the blend line in the lead and absolutely sprinted away with a 10 meter lead at the next transfer.  Since we were leading, we had lane 1 and Nolan Shaheed  took a great handoff and left the entire crowd and it was basically over.  Another helpful racing incident was runner in lane 2 fell at the handoff and this really allowed us to gap the field and win it by a couple of seconds.  Great racing and some smart racing on our part got us the gold!! We ran a 2:00.38. 

The next day I ran the 200,  we had 4 heats for 6 spots!  Each heat winner and the 2 quickest other times to transfer to the finals that afternoon.  I was in with the winner of the 60 meters and knew that winning the heat would be tough and I needed to have a quick lap.  I ran really hard in lane 5 and finished in second in the heat in 28.81  and transferred on time.   I knew I had to really get on it hard and go to the whip.  In the finals, my time was a little slower at 29.01 and that was a solid fourth place.  I used up way too much in the qualifier and I knew it, but you gotta get in the show!  The 28.81 is 9th ranked in the US thus far this season.    It was good racing, I just need a little more top end speed to hang with this crowd.

4 x 400 Gold
The final events, as always, is the 4 x 400 relay.  I have been running this since 1973 and just love it.  Many times it will decide the meet winner and it is always challenge to summon the energy for one more 400 meter.  Our group was the same first three from the 4 x 200, but for anchor we had added 73 year old Gary Patton.  Gary is a middle distance champ and holds the world record in the Indoors 1 mile in the 70-74 age group.  He is quite fast and I was glad to have him on anchor.    David Craig led off and I was second leg and was basically trying to find the competition for the first lap of my leg.  I handed to Nolan (800 specialist) and he started to lap the second and third place teams.  There was 5 teams on the track and three in our age bracket--mine.  Gary just finished it up for a 45 second win and another gold.  That gold was my fourth straight in this event!! 2 outdoors and 2 indoors in succession.  That is pretty cool to have won four straight.   That is a big deal to me and I would love to continue that string in Iowa this summer.

At the end of the meet, we were waiting on the 30 minute waiting period to end for any protests to be lodged on the results and then we could receive our gold medals for the 4 x 400 and head out for the day.  Surprise! they ran out of gold medals and I will wait on my second gold medal to arrive via the mail.   That kinda killed some of the joy, but we still hugged and cried like the rest of the competitors. 

I had a pretty solid meet and came through with nothing more that a sore right ankle and knee and it has to be from that laps I did in lane one on the track.   I tried to run today--5 days rest- and it is still a bit early to do anything hard.  I have started weight training and will try more running next week if my joints are in agreement.   

Since I am moving up in my age bracket and the new speed arrives daily, I am seriously looking at taking up the hurdles--short and long.   I have a couple months before I race again and I am going to work on hurdle technique and see what happens.  In the Outdoor Nationals, they run a mixed gender hurdle relay ( I think) and that would be too much fun and would be a pure team event.   I enjoy the team stuff and it is another way to get the team title secured.

see you on the track!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Really Important Information

I participated in the USATF Masters Indoor National meet last weekend in Winston-Salem, NC.   It was good meet for me and I will add the details of the results in another post later this week.  What I want to reflect on here is the quality of people in that building.   I am just so impressed with the high level of competition and caring for each other that goes on for 3 days. 
Hug and Cry Area for Awards
 There were around 1000 competitors for the event, and with families and officials, generally 500 to 2000 people were in the building during the times the track was open. It was not completely full at JDL Fast Track, but a really good crowd.

North Carolina passed some very hateful and just plain repressive legislation a few years back concerning rest room usage and anything that did not meet the "hateful Jesus" religion that they were  promoting.   The NBA pushed back and moved their All Star Game location and I think this may have gotten the attention of the politicians.   With that political environment in place, what was the feel of this meet going to be??  The answer is quite simple:   one of the most loving and inclusive environment that will ever exist anywhere on this planet.    First off, there was no security presence, no police anywhere, no metal detectors--just walk and get on with the show.  You would think that without any security force around, it would not be a  safe environment.   Nothing could be farther than the truth.   Cells phones were laying about and if you were inclined, you could have a basket full to take home. 
Really good 800 meter race
 Nobody was waving the Southern battle flag, showing their gang colors, talking trash or belittling any group.  It was quite simply,  families with young babies and mature kids, track teams and individuals just having fun on the track. As I say, "let's go racing".

How far has humanity (the USA) moved to a more accepting society?  I have two examples that I saw with my own eyes and those events really were the genesis of this blog.   One of the members of the SoCal track team has a 5 month old daughter and she is still breast feeding and also racing in the distance events!    After an 800 meter race, her daughter was hungry, so they nursed right in the stands and guess what?  Nobody even showed any concern or outrage.  A hungry baby had some lunch right in front of every body.  The USA just struggles with this sort of thing in public.    It reminded me of a visit to France when a mother was feeding her baby as she checked out in a grocery store,  just normal life.  This group of people were enlightened enough to accept that life really is breast feeding in public without any taboo or regrets.   The second event may have not been so big a deal in Canada or Europe, but we were in NC.   There is one main restroom that is very busy at all times and has 4 urinals and 4 toilets and had a very strong smell of camphor.   Late in the meet it needed service and a young women was filling the towels and cleaning out the trash cans while the old timers were just coming on going as usual.  No signs for closed restroom, nothing!  Nobody, including the woman,  gives a damn about your stupid legislation, North Carolina.  I think it is a direct reflection on the quality of people and their outlook on the world-- the restroom needs towels and I need to pee-- that is not something that needs legislation to protect. By the way, Mom raced again and her daughter was still hungry and she fed her again, that is a different kind of racing shape.
4 x 400 Gold team
  Mom asked for a picture of her breastfeeding to show her daughter  when she is older what happened at her first National track meet. That should be a fun show and tell in a few years!

Why is this "Really Important Information"?   Because I have found a group of people that care about the rest of the world.  The athletes and families I raced  and visited with are some of the most enlightened people as a group I have met.  They are accepting of all kinds and competitors.  In many types of athletic competition there is always someone that thinks that booing or being derogatory is appropriate behavior.   This building was free of any of that activity.  There was only cheering and encouragement during the events and a real handshake or hug after the race-- " Congrats and we made it" type of hug.   Anyone was approachable and would generally give you  "the time of day" if you had something to add to the conversation.   I really think this is model behavior that the modern society must try to emulate or it will ultimately suffer. 

I am really proud to be associated with this group of competitors and their families, hopefully it can a long and enlightening relationship.