They’ve spent the last few days adding flat screen TV monitors to the treadmills. By the end of the Thanksgiving holiday they’ve promised us that these sets will be functional and we’ll be able to stare blankly at whatever channel we want (Really? Any channel? I see a lawsuit coming.) from a screen 12 inches from our faces instead of staring blankly at the ones on the wall.
Here’s the problem: When I worked on the other side of town, the gym on that side of town did exactly the same thing.
I hated it.
Since running on a treadmill is infinitely more boring then running outside, I can see the need for a distraction. When Marathon Girl was forced to use the treadmill in our basement, you can bet she has a move playing to distract her. When I run at the gym, I usually find a treadmill near to the TV with ESPN so I can glance at the football highlights (or whatever they’re showing) while I run.
But I don’t plug in the earphones to listen to the sound because I’m usually 1) thinking about what I need to write that night in my book 2) silently mocking the people on the treadmill who are trying to talk on their cell phone and “run” or 3) checking out how fast other people nearby are running and, if they’re running faster, seeing if I can keep up with their pace for five minutes.
All of these are in infinitely more interesting than staring at a TV screen.
Now instead of having a TV monitor that I can glance at occasionally, I’m going to have a screen right in front of my face.
It wouldn’t be too bad if I could move the monitor and push it out of my way, far from my line of sight, so I could glance at it occasionally like I do now. Instead they’re attached to some kind of titanium bracket which I doubt even the Incredible Hulk could bend.
Then to rub salt on the wound there’s no way to turn the TV sets off.
So you have to stare at something, even if you’d rather stare at nothing.
At the very least, it would have been nice if they left a handful of treadmills without the TVs for the few souls like myself who would rather do something than watch television. But no, they converted every damn one of them.
The elliptical machines are next.
It makes me glad I cut the number of runs I do each week at the gym from five to three and replaced the two runs with two 30-minute swims. As far as I know, they haven’t found a way to put TV screens in the pool.
Let Detroit Go Bankrupt by Mitt Romney (The New York Times) In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.
The Right to Win by Thomas Sowell (JewishWorldRewiew.com) When the majority of the people become like sheep, who will tolerate intolerance rather than make a fuss, then there is no limit to how far any group will go.
First rule of politics: Always control your image. (Obama is a master of this.)
Were I Sarah, I’d fire whoever decided to put me in front of the guy killing turkeys.
Update: The following comment appeared here. I think he/she asks some questions worth answering.
“As a former TV news cameraman/editor, I can tell you that I had by far the most responsibilty for the video that was aired. I was very aware of my background anytime I shot an interview, b-roll, etc. It is very easy to make a political point with your video. I am quite sure the photographer was either a complete idiot, a very biased liberal, a poor photojournalist, or a combination of the three. All the photographer had to do was tell Sarah Palin that the interview would be better in a different spot, and should have said something if the slaughter started after the interview began. I know I would have stopped it, and had her move. It would be interesting to learn who he/she is, and what they meant to accomplish by framing the shot this way.”
My latest post on the OpentoHope site was posted today.
November tenth is a day that creeps up on me now.
It wasn’t always this way.
In past years it was a day heavy with memories, emotions, and unanswered questions.
Now it’s a day just like any other.
This year it wasn’t until after lunch that I looked at the calendar in my office and noted the date. Suddenly, I realized what day it was. I pushed my laptop to the side and looked out the window at the green grass and sunshine. In seconds the memory of hearing a gunshot from our bedroom and finding my late wife’s lifeless body flashed through my mind followed by a tinge of the raw terror that flowed through my body that afternoon.
Strange story from the Chicago Sun-Times. It’s a writer’s worst nightmare.
Crime novelist attacked while jogging, in scene similar to book
Life was imitating art when crime novelist Laura Caldwell lay face down on a Lincoln Park street holding pieces of her shattered teeth in her bloody palm.
Her upcoming book, Red Hot Lies, portrays a red-headed female lawyer walking at night through the Old Town neighborhood, feeling increasingly uncomfortable as she realizes she is being followed.
On Thursday, Caldwell, a red-headed attorney who in 2005 successfully defended a man who spent five years in jail awaiting trial for murder, was jogging at Seminary and Altgeld in Lincoln Park when she saw two men — one with a hood pulled over his cap and the other who was lifting his jacket over his head.
Nervous, Caldwell felt the hair rise on the back of her neck. Suddenly, one of the men kicked her from behind, and she fell onto the street.
“They smashed my mouth into the pavement and kicked me a few times,” she said. “They screamed about money, but I said, ‘Guys, I am jogging and I don’t have any money.’ They took my iPod and ran off.”
The book hasn’t been published yet but accoring to this blog it features “a sassy, redheaded trial lawyer who turns to sleuthing when her fiance disappears on the same day her big client is killed.”
For Caldwell’s sake, let’s hope the similarities between her and the character in her book end at the mugging.
Awhile back Lerin wrote the following about baby names:
I haven’t even had the baby yet, and I am already hearing that there are concerns for what I may name my child, and controversy over whether there has been a previous “claim” to a name or not, both in my circle of friends and in my family.
In the nicest, most charitable way possible…I just want to say…the names we love are not original or unique, and we don’t get to “claim” them. I honestly do not have an issue with anyone who wants to use one of “my” names, but I don’t want that person to then be upset if I decide to still use it. I promise, I will have absolutely NO hard feelings if one of my friends or family members uses the names Madeleine, Sophie, Isabella, Clare, Benedict, Paul, or any variation thereof.
I never realized how political naming a baby could be until Marathon Girl became pregnant with our first child. Suddenly family members and friends were telling us names they wanted to use for their future kids. Though we weren’t asked not to use them, the implication was that they wanted to. (We didn’t use them but it had nothing to do with their requests. It came down to a fact that we didn’t want those names for our own children to begin with.)
A couple months back a member of the congregation Marathon Girl and I attend came up to us and said that she wanted to name her soon-to-be-born baby Molly and hoped that would be okay with us. Last time I checked there were thousands of people named Molly, including one of my cousins, and we certainly didn’t feel the need to ask any of them if it was okay to use their name. (For the record, she ended up giving the baby a different name.)
Last time I checked, you (thankfully) couldn’t trademark or copyright a person’s name. There are thousands of people with the name Emily. Emily’s a great name. Does it really matter if there’s one more?
Unlike most celebrities, Marathon Girl and I actually take the task of naming our kids seriously. This usually means, to Marathon Girl’s chagrin, that we usually don’t narrow it down to two names – the name we like and an alternate in case we change our mind after we actually see what the kid looks like – until a week before the baby’s born.
I know in some families it’s a tradition to name their kids based on certain nationality (Irish, for example), have all their names start with the same letter, have the same middle name, etc. Marathon Girl and I have no such criteria.
In fact, when it comes to naming our kids, I will only object to names for four reasons:
1) I knew someone with that name who I disliked or had a bad experience with in the past. The last think I want is to have my kid remind me of him or her.
2) No gender neutral names. That means no Gene/Jean, Riley, Micah, Carson, Pat, Alex, Cameron, Emerson, Harley, Jaden, Jamie, Jordan, Morgan, Parker, Sklyer, Dakota, or anything like unto them –including alternate spellings
3) No weird Utah names. There’s a strange tendency to make up names in the Beehive state or give common names inventive spelling. I don’t know why. It’s a quirky Utah thing. Though quirky is sometimes good, most of the made up names are usually horrendous. So our kids will not be named BeVan, Alverta, Ra Vae, VaLoy, LaVaughn, Celsey, Kadon, or Earlette. (To generate your own, unique Utah name that will make you feel right at home in Utah, click here.)
4) I don’t want the kid named after me. Part of my reasoning is selfish. I like being the only Abel Keogh in the world. But the main reason is that I had two friends that were named after their dads. It caused a lot of identity confusion when making phone calls, receiving mail, etc. My life’s hectic and confusing enough as it is. The last thing I want to do is add to it.
Though I’m not going to reveal the five names Marathon Girl and I have on our short list for soon-to-be-born baby, I do promise that they meet the above standards and won’t upset any friends or family.
On the way to work this morning, I heard a fascinating report on NPR about the American Widow Project – a non-profit organization for (young) military widows. The American Widow project was started by Taryn Davis who was just 21-years-old when her husband was killed in Iraq. Feeling alone she took a camera and started making a documentary that ended up being turned into a national support grow for other widows. It’s a moving story and you can listen to it here.
Though I’m not a military widower, I remember wanting resources that could help. Now it seems like there are more and more of them. I hope young miliary widows can find the support they need through this group. You can check out The American Widow Project here.
The Uses of Adversity by Malcom Gladwell (The New Yorker) Can underprivileged outsiders have an advantage?
Nationalizing Detroit by The Wall Street Journal Editoral Page In the Washington mind, there are two kinds of private companies. There are successful if “greedy” corporations, which can always afford to pay more taxes and tolerate more regulation. And then there are the corporate supplicants that need a handout.
Like a lot of people, I was surprised to learn that Michael Crichton passed away on Tuesday from cancer. The fact that he kept his illness a secret from the press and the public doesn’t surprise me. In numerous interviews he gave, he was always willing to talk about his books or the various social issues his books addressed but always seemed resentful when the interviewer asked him questions about his personal life.
I first read Crichton’s books in, of all places, a college literature class. The class was called “Technology and the Novel” examined different ways different writers wrote about technology in their books from the industrial revolution to the present day. We read Crichton’s Jurassic Park and had many lively discussions whether Crichton was trying to warn people about playing God with technology or championing the technological achievements.
Though I always thought Crichton did a horrible job in creating charters the reader would actually care about, I admired his courage for writing books like Disclosure and State of Fear where he took on the conventional wisdom on the topics of sexual harassment and global warming not because he had an agenda to shove down others’ throats but because he was at heart a scientist and was always questioning human behavior and the way the world worked (see first clip below). Many of the ideas for his novels came from questions he had and the reading and research he did to answer those questions.
I also enjoyed the way Crichton took complex technology and explained it in terms that anyone could understand. His books showed his great imagination and the research he poured into every novel. The result was page-turning stories that were fun to read.
In May 2009 his last novel will be released. If it’s like his other books, it should be worth reading.
The nice thing about the Internet is that instead of spending 60 minutes writing on what I consider to be the pivotal issues of the election, is that I can find someone who has already written something similar but done a better job of it. I never thought I’d agree with a Democrat on important election issues, but this time I do. If you haven’t already, read What Really Matters As We Vote by Orson Scott Card
I took advantage of early voting last week and cast my ballot last week. I decided waiting in line for an hour was preferable to waiting in line for 2-3 hours on Election Day.
This is probably the first election where I’ll follow the results primarily online as opposed to TV.
I don’t think there’s going to be an Obama landslide tomorrow. My prediction: Obama receives 49% of the popular vote and 282 electoral votes. McCain gets 48% of the popular vote and 256 electoral votes. Only five states change their vote from 2004: Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico go for Obama. New Hampshire goes for McCain.
The email addres you left on my contact form bounced. Here’s my reply:
You’re not being too sensitive. You should feel like the number one woman in the the widower’s life. Instead, you’re playing second fiddle to a dead woman.
The problems with the in-laws aren’t going to go away either once you become engaged or get married. If anything they’re going to get worse since the guy you’re dating doesn’t have the spine to stand up to his former in-laws.
Stop wasting your time on this relationship. It’s time to move on and find someone who will treat you like the center of his universe.