Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year from Home!

Deee-lighted to be here. A fine, noble 2009 to all! Abba thinks so, too.

New Years Eve in Redding

Such a possibility awaited us until a few minutes ago. But first yesterday's driving update: loaded up the car at my sister's place out in the Washington countryside. My windshield was glazed with ice. That meant Monday's rain-soaked roads were also icy. Heading out on two-lane blacktop past alpaca farms, Douglas Firs, and coated horses grazing in early morning fields, we kept the speed down to 30 mph. Even that caused the car to swerve on slick blacktop. A half-hour of tense driving got us on the interstate and a deep sigh of relief. 

Regular motoring down into Oregon, through now-cleared Portland and across the flats to Eugene. Past Eugene, the terrain rose toward Grant's Pass. MDW was driving when a high-pitched squeal sounded under the hood. She pulled over and I checked - nothing. I took over driving as the squeal came and went, usually above 2300 RPMS/63 mph. 

We passed through Medford and Ashland, climbing into the southern Cascades into California. Dusk arrived and the squealing worsened. I began paying attention to exit sign numbers and hoping the engine held up to Redding. We entered a prehistoric lava field, encircled by cone-shaped, extinct volcanoes, snowy slopes aglow in the fading light. Overhead, a crescent moon gleamed above a landscape that seemed as bleak and lifeless as an asteroid. Oh, God, not here, I thought. And we squealed on past.

Finally made it to Redding. This morning the garage checked it out and said a part holding on my fan belt assembly was expiring. They found an after-market item over in Andersen and managed to install it, ensuring New Year's Eve might indeed be spent in the bosom of our condo.  

Ah, but another full day of driving stands between us and home. Adventures abound on the western roads. Let us see what transpires. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

Moist Washington Notes

Down at my sister's house near Fort Lewis. We had a large family gathering last night, with the kids screaming and running around because we're out in the country and who is gonna hear? Today my sister and I drove to Tacoma to see a museum containing nifty glass artwork, but it was closed, so we discussed family business, stopped at a used book store with a cat curled up on the counter, then out for pizza. 

During last week's storm in Portland, cars were following snow plows on the freeway, driving at low speeds. Many ran out of gas as the off-ramps were unplowed and impassable. I passed several such vehicles last Wednesday, sealed in snow by subsequent plowings. Even if cars had managed to exit, fuel trucks couldn't reach many filling stations along the interstate. 

The Washington sky is in constant flux, as if under contract to display as many looks as possible: overcast, sunshine with light shafts so brilliant they make you squint, back to partially cloudy, dark and broiling, but always with rain, or rain mixed with snow. 

Tomorrow, MDW and I begin our thousand-mile drive back to Los Angeles. Lots of rain in the outlook, but hopefully very little snow. This has been a wonderful trip seeing family and the best, most adventurous, Christmas I've had in awhile. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Red Right Return and Other Nautical Terms

Eleven McCanns took the ferry across Puget Sound to Bremerton on the Kittsap peninsula. My cousin Jim, an old Navy officer, pointed out red marker buoys that vessels entering port must keep to their right. Helmsmen are taught to remember that by this post's title. Land blocking the wind is known as a wind shadow. And green buoys direct returning helmsman to stay to their left, or port side. As a young man in officer training forty-four years ago this day, Jim married his wife Linda. To stay married that long requires some pretty nifty navigation of its own.

We wandered around the slushy Bremerton wharf, ate Belgian French Fries, then sailed back to Seattle for dinner at an Italian restaurant. At least I didn't have to drive today - car or boat.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Icy Road Trip and U R A BUS

Tuesday morning, after a tense drive in cold, mist and ice, I crossed the mountains into Oregon. Spent that night on my cousin's farm near Corvallis; quiet with rain falling on snow; rolling hills bristling with Douglas Firs rising out of the mist; Hereford cows, rich in placid bovine calm, munching behind wire cattle fences. On Christmas Eve, prior to driving up to Tacoma on Family Fest '08, I checked the interstate on the web. Smacked by two snow storms with another on the way, the I-5 around Portland appeared to be a mess of spun-out wrecks, ice sheets, and hour-long waits.

Sure enough, all the above lurked beyond Salem. As I learned, the cameras didn't really show ice composition: brown in scattered fields like very large charcoal briquettes. Driving across it was like traversing an extremely slick, treacherous washboard. On the roadside, cars were spun out into snow banks, some buried by subsequent plowings. Reaching the hour-long backup, I sat behind a Subaru long enough to realize the vehicle name was an anagram for the title of this post.

Driving across the Columbia River into Washington found me motoring through rain, snow rain and snow, and moisture in general. But it sure beat icy old Portland.

Christmas today was spent pleasantly at the home of cousins, surrounded by other cousins of many ages. Alas my sister had to work, a niece couldn't come out, and MDW was bushwhacked by the airlines' incompetence, missed her flight, got shuffled to Phoenix, and spat out finally in Seattle at 8:00 PM. But we're winding down now, on a busy Christmas night.

Merry Christmas to all.

Merry Christmas!

Interesting travel updates to follow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

U.N. Manny

Paul suggested this episode as a tribute to when the Animaniacs writers were in New York and took a U.N. tour. Mr. Lighter-Than-Air is Marc Drotman, another member of our old Acme Comedy Theatre improv group and the voice of Fatman from Freakazoid.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dateline: Redding, CA

After many hours of driving, racing ahead and through rain storms, I reached Redding. Check into my room at Motel 6, then hit Denny's for dinner. Three waitresses are seated at the counter in a mostly empty restaurant. They look at me as I enter and one remarks, "Let's fight over him." I throw my arms wide and answer, "A dream come true." They laugh and suddenly the place fills up behind me with three family groups with kids and old people, but no dogs.

I stop in a Shell station convenience store for the next day's road snacks. The woman behind the counter notices I'm carrying a book. In under three minutes I learn:

She had just finished a book by Dean Koontz.

Used to live in Newport Beach, CA - the same town Koontz lives in - and greeted the author as he was driving around town with his golden Labradors.

Has ADD and hasn't seen a movie in years because she can't settle down long enough to focus.

Used to work in Alaska running a tour group.

Has a sister who is super smart and encourages people to read.

Finally I got away after saying I suffer from 24-hour leprosy.

And the night is still young here at the feet of the Cascades.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Dark Smurfs courtesy of Tom Ruegger.

SUNDAY UPDATE: Phoenix marathon team ran 20 yesterday. Several runners bonked from injuries and ended up stopping or heading to the pool. Former coaches Jimmy and Kate stopped by to teach a form clinic to the spring team. Jimmy recapped his outstanding finish at the Rio Del Lago Ultra Marathon back in September. (1st in age group; 3rd overall on a blistering hot day.) Mostly drove around with Coach Karla and checked on people.

Some sort of bug laid me low today. I feel better now. Off to the north tomorrow. Weather is rough with storms in Portland and throughout Washington. But I'll make it, for its Christmas and I said I would.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Up the Coast and On the Couch

After years of traveling east to Phoenix, the axis of family Christmas has shifted to the Pacific Northwest. Some family members are returning to old haunts, others have always lived there, while a few are newly landed. Whatever the case, it will be a Christmas with the most McCanns around in, oh, say 37 years. I'll drive up on Sunday, visit cousins in Oregon, then on to Washington, moving from near Olympia to outside Tacoma to Seattle. A few thousand miles there and back again.

No running for another month. This self-imposed ban will be an attempt to jump start my knee past the "almost healed" state its been in since mid-October. Lots of pool running, I'm thinking, but not with much enthusiasm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Scooter and Jersey

More from Tom Ruegger: Young Scooter and Jersey, his fantastically old, heroic dog who once saved President Taft.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Return of Manny

Fans of One Saturday Morning may recall the energetic Manny the Uncanny. Paul Rugg's creation is now up at YouTube with more episodes on the way.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Honolulu Marathon News

Text messages keep pinging in from the marathon. Teammate Liz, who'd gone out for a vacation, decided to run and has just finished. Larry, a man who fought through many injuries, is past mile 22 and doing strong. Ah, the 21st century.

UPDATE: Larry finished in 7:34. Another heavily injured runner, Dolly, finished in 7:53. A long time on a hot course, but they overcame obstacles and did it. Team!

UPDATE: Jon finished in 8:59, while wife Maureen slogged in at 9:47. A rainy, wet run with rain at the start and more rain in the middle. A friend of Ernesto's finished today and reported blisters on her arch from wet socks. In any case, congratulations to the runners and well-done to Coach Dave who put in a full day on the course.

UPDATE: Props to Aaron who finished a team-first 4:54. Not bad for an initial marathon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dog Gone

Some of Tom's different dogs. For reasons known only to Blogspot, it decided to alter the colors. Everyone's a critic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Aloha, Winter Team

Dinner last night at Marston's in Pasadena as we feted our teammates heading off to run this Sunday's Honolulu Marathon. Rain is forecast for Oahu with temperatures in the low 80s. High humidity; a 5:00 AM start time which means a 3:00 AM wake-up. For some reason, the Honolulu Marathon is like Mardi Gras for Japan. The Japanese flock to this race dressed in odd, strange outfits such as papier mache giraffe heads, massive disco wigs, Elvis costumes, wooden clogs, space aliens, and anime characters such as Sailor Moon. When fatigue sets in, peek around at the Japanese runners. They're like a visual energy drink.

Illinois: Land of Cash

Having grown up in Illinois, I've followed the Governor Blagojevich corruption scandal with a sense of nostalgia. My senior year in high school, Paul Powell, the Democratic Secretary of State, died of a heart attack. Under investigation for corruption, a maid found over 800k in cash stuffed in shoe boxes, briefcases and strongboxes in his Springfield hotel room. Powell walked liked he talked: "There's only one thing worse than a defeated politician, and that's a broke one."

Powell's saying should replace "Land of Lincoln," though you'd need a smaller font or bigger license plates.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Phoenix 18

That's how far our marathoners traveled at practice. Saturday was the USC-UCLA football game and the Rose Bowl was jammed early. We ran through the smell of cooking meat at 9:00 AM, a smoky meat haze lingering in the arroyo. Old injuries flared up and some runners had to cut it short, but no one was left face down on the course.

Afterwards, the team presented me with a birthday cake and a card. My birthday was Friday, Dec. 5, a day I share with America's obscure 8th president Martin Van Buren and Gen. George Armstrong Custer of Little Bighorn fame. Let us hope that one day I am not obscurely massacred.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Time and Mrs. Murphy

Back in the early '80s, when I lived in Hollywood, my elderly landlady, Mrs. Murphy, told me she'd been present in Honolulu during the Pearl Harbor attack. (A great danger came from falling shrapnel from exploding U.S. anti-aircraft shells.) Evacuated from Oahu to California with many civilians, Mrs. Murphy bid farewell to her husband, Bill, a Marine major. Bill was gone for years, fighting in the Pacific. He once wrote Mrs. Murphy from the island of Eniwetok that "nothing smells worse than a dead Jap." Bill survived, but, like the stench of enemy corpses, the horror of that island always lingered. Mrs. Murphy eventually became a manager at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. (She was present that day in 1968 when Robert Kennedy was assassinated.) Mrs. Murphy was like a history sponge, just trying to live a normal life while soaking up events spilling around her.

In time, Eniwetok vaporized from hydrogen bomb tests, the Ambassador Hotel was torn down, Bill died, and Mrs. Murphy ended up a landlady, drinking double bourbons in the afternoon and sharing her memories with an unemployed comedy writer. She always regretted never moving back to Hawaii after the war. A few years later, Mrs. Murphy passed away. She is forever tied in my mind to December 7th. I wish her a good afterlife and hope it contains palm trees rustling in the warm trade winds.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Paul Rugg Records Tom Ruegger Characters

Thanks to said garage band, Paul Rugg and I recorded voices to different characters that Tom Ruegger had drawn, with Tom serving as engineer. Great fun all around and a nostalgic reminder of times past. Tom will animate a few and put 'em on the web. More than likely, some will find their way here in the next few months.

Troy, Freakazoid DVD director, has his own blog. Visit and learn about fine cultural happenings.

I have gas today.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Surly Bird and The Worm

More artwork from Tom Ruegger - dawn confrontation between elusive worm and Surly Bird.

Surly Bird tries a more passive approach with a spot of worm-fishing.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time on My Feet

Ran 50 minutes yesterday, the most since early Sept. Some knee soreness but not much, and no pain this morning. I've been using the dirt horse trails at Griffith Park, the dust tamped down from last week's rains, locomoting at a modest 1:2 run/walk ratio. I'm happy to be able to do any sustained exercise.

Writing daily. I'm stalled again on my projects three, but I'll untrack and finish them. Today, I loath their every clause, comma and contraction. But that will change, I'm thinking, once they're completed.

And now I've completed my post.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dead Race and Ruegger Art

Running on empty might describe the late Pasadena Marathon. Cancelled due to poor air quality, the race recently sent out an email asking for donations so as to hold the race in March. A tough tumble, considering all the work undergone to get it ready in the first place. Not to mention bummed out runners who peaked without a payoff.

Tom Ruegger recently drew many pages of fine characters. (Like the confused fellow above.) Paul Rugg and I will attempt to attach voices to him and others this week. As Hollywood is mostly closed until late January, its our way of generating work.

Until then, we'll live on left-over turkey.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mysterious Gym

Working out at the gym yesterday on the cross-trainer. From behind me come a series of moans, like someone with a bad stomach ache. Looking around, I see a guy on a treadmill behind me making these odd sounds. His head lay down across the machine as if grieving. The sounds stopped, then started again. Short and long, grunt/moan combos. I considered asking him if he was Okay but didn't, just in case he wasn't.

Finishing up the cross-trainer, I moved to the treadmills to cool down. Everyone was giving the Moaner a wide birth. I found a machine in the second rank and started walking. Now I'm behind the Moaner. He finished up his workout, appearing quite refreshed. Fumbling around the floor, he grabbed a white and red, official blind man's cane and tapped his way down to another treadmill. Quietly, minus any interesting vocals, the Moaner began another workout.

Having once lived with a blind roommate, I know there is no correlation between exercise and blindness. Maybe that one treadmill brought back unpleasant memories? Maybe it was the machine, intolerant of the handicapped? This is but one of many stories in the mysterious gym.

Practice today saw the Phoenix marathoners running 16, and a solitary Honolulu walker going 18. I ran and walked about half of what I did last week with only minor knee pain. As a few of us waited for the walker, Liz and Inez made an In-and-Out run. What impressed me was how many people ordered by menu number. (Me: #3.)

Now I'm home and sore.

But not moaning.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nowhere for the Holidays

As far as running goes, at least. After zipping around close to 15 pain-free miles on Saturday, my knee is now sore after a 3.5 mile Monday run on dirt trails. Ice, ice, stinking ice.

Big fat downpour at the end of track practice last night.

Two of our walkers, Larry and Kim, are looking strong. Both have overcome injury, lost a lot of weight, and are pressing ahead to complete 26.2. I recall their shaky confidence back in August. Seeing them grow in strength and ability makes coaching a blast. Each season I'm privileged to observe the human spirit in action as TNTers face and overcome limitations.

Plus, I have a blog where I can publicly grumble about mine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bailout Mentality

If a coach taught runners to train for a marathon by wearing iron boots and those runners were badly hurt, and no more runners went to the coach, and he was about to go out of business, but the government stepped in and gave him thousands of dollars to support him while he brought in new clients - would this be wise?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Running at Practice Again

Not more than a few miles at time, but steady. Running and walking with team members today, especially the Honolulu folks doing 20 miles, got me a 13.7 mile workout. Knees are a bit sore, but not too bad. I got to practice chi technique and felt a bit more comfortable with it.

Acres of alumni out today, including Kelly from my first season in fall 2005. Also saw David, recovering well from his cancer operation.

Speaking of the big C, I'm off to see Dale tomorrow and learn how this week's chemo went. If he wasn't doing well, he wouldn't have invited us over. A good sign, as these things go.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chi Run Refresher

Met with local chi running instructor Kathy this morning for a refresher course. Since my Oct. workshop, I've been nursing my knees and gradually growing stronger. She was a big help in pointing out little areas where I hold tension. Like t'ai chi, this running style collapses when tightness is present - which blocks chi flow.

Lunch today with former TNT coach Katie. She's also looking for work. I'm hoping she gets a job soon and hires me. How's that for taking charge of my fate?

Still writing on a bunch of projects, though I've fallen off the last two weeks. Time to recommit, get these things finished so I can goof off in style.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Empire of the Old

Drove out to see my cousin yesterday in Sun City. Located in Riverside County near Perris, this is a community where you must be over 55 to live. (I would qualify.) My cousin has a psychotic cat, overamped on feline energy. Psycho Cat enjoys perching atop the TV where it has a better view of the front door. As I entered the apartment, the cat bit me on the wrist bone.

My cuz assured me "Tabby" never bites anyone. Basking in the warmth of this unique status, I cleaned the wound and put on a Band Aid. Outside the bathroom, Tabby waited. She hissed and swiped at my ankle. I kicked and missed. She swiped and missed. I kicked again and connected as if booting a 40-yard field goal. Tabby sailed into the bedroom, thumped to the floor and scrambled under the bed. I slammed the bedroom door.

"But she never does that."

"Let's go eat."

Every restaurant and mall abounds with the elderly. At the coffee shop where we ate, the muzak featured songs from the 50s and 60s ala Jay and the Americans. We each had the over-55 soup and half sandwich special that included a dessert of cake and heart medicine. Afterwards, we sat outside her apartment and talked family and politics until it was time for me to drive 90 minutes back to L.A.

"She never bites anyone."

"Except me."

"Except you."

"Trade the cat in for gold fish. They're safer and if they die suddenly, who cares?

She thought it over. "I might."

Next time I visit, I'll be wearing steel gloves.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fire Cancels Track Practice

TNT coaches want to let the air clear up more, hence no track practice tonight. Nevertheless, I ran yesterday using the newer chi running method and the older walk breaks. I finished a 3.1 mile lap around the Rose Bowl without knee pain. Very slow, but still my longest run since September.

With Pasadena cancelled, runners scramble to find new marathons. In general, a runner likes to finish the last 20-mile training run three weeks before an event. This allows the body to recover in time for maximum effort on race day. But without a clear event to work backwards from, "peaking" becomes hit and miss. Plus training adaptations must be woven into last-minute travel arrangements should the new marathon be some distance off. (Las Vegas and California International Marathons are the first week of December. I'm not sure if there's anything local closer than that.)

Good hunting to my fellow runners.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Marathon Scratched and Other Thoughts

Ash and smoke ended the inaugural Pasadena Marathon. Winds are dying down, but the air still smells like a fireplace. We've got the windows shut, but the burning scent seeps in.

Off to visit my pal Dale tonight. Dale was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007. Near death, he successfully battled back, returned to work, and readjusted his priorities, realizing family and friends were more important than the many business deals that previously occupied his life. Now cancer has not only returned, but spread to liver and bones. Doctors are giving him three months. Maybe so. Dale's going through the grief process, but still determined to fight. Several of us visit on Sundays just to call him names and let him know he's remembered and loved as Dale enters the ring for what may be his last round.

For a man to struggle back, learn priceless lessons, then be terminally decked seems most unfair. There's a blog I read occasionally called The Anchoress. Its author lost a brother to illness and wrote on the painful troika of death, suffering, and dignity. Her conclusions allude to a subtle spiritual weaving between dying and comforters, an exchange of graces, a transfer of blessings, including humility, charity, and the self-awareness that our actions count because we're all on borrowed time.

I tend to miss the subtle. I usually want someone to be responsible for my loss so I have an object to focus pain, anger and bitterness upon.

Lost marathons, burned homes, and death rank differently on the hierarchy of hurt, irretrievable in degree. Loss would seem to be the norm in life. Our response allows us opportunities to deepen and grow. And if loss is inevitable, then what we have is all the more precious. If nothing else, I hope to remember that today.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hill Fire and TNT

A hot Santa Ana blew this morning at 6:00 AM as Santa Barbara and Sylmar were charred by wild fires. At practice, Honolulu participants ran 18, while Phoenix marathoners did 9 to 16 miles depending on their injury. Temperatures rose throughout the morning and by noon, when the last walkers strode in, it was in the high 80s. However, with the Pasadena Marathon tomorrow, TNT had the trails pretty much to ourselves. Just like the old days.

The air stinks like ash.

Put in eight miles as I walked around with team members. I should be Okay for the half marathon tomorrow. Though it'll be hot, bad fire air is the big concern for many runners. Send prayers and good thoughts to all the people who have lost their homes.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Year 3!

Today marks my third year of blogging.

12,252 visits.

22,481 page views.

More t/k.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Running and Silent Library

Another fall, another Tuesday night track practice. After the coaches sent the team to do timed 800 meter runs, I loped around, putting in two miles. That's the longest sustained run since early Sept. No knee pain, but I stopped early, not wanting to press the matter.

I'm excited about Sunday. Even though I'll be walking the Pasadena Half Marathon, it'll be my first race since San Diego back in June. Not that I'll be racing. It'll be more like walking in a parade. But a fun parade without equestrian units.

Some website had a link to a Japanese game show called Silent Library. Six guys sit around a table in a library. They must be quiet as they turn over cards. Anyone turning over a skull card is punished in really odd, painful ways. I'm not sure how you win or even if it is possible to win. But I'm hooked.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day Thanks!

A shout-out to the men and women of our armed forces. Stay as safe as you can doing the work you do. God bless.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy 233!

Captain Sam Nicholas founded the USMC at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia, Nov. 10, 1775. On we go into our third century. Semper Fi!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Team in Traction

Unexpected warm weather and long distances combined to make today an injury-riddled practice. One mild case of heat exhaustion and three knee injuries had the coaches earning their pay. (Or in the case of assistant coaches Alfredo and I, our symbolic, volunteer pay.) Honolulu runners and walkers put in 18 miles, while Phoenix marathoners logged 16. I walked briskly here and there for a total of 9.7 miles. No knee pain. I think I'll try walking the Pasadena Half-Marathon next Sunday. Won't that be fun? I think so.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

At the Mountains of Demographic Madness

Overlooked in the election post-mortem lay an interesting demographic. In addition to winning most categories and income levels, president-elect Obama sewed up votes from all the Great Old Ones.

This race of telepathic, star-born beings almost sat out the election behind their dimensional portals. However a federal judge in Arkham, Massachusetts, who had just ruled that a homeless man could list a park bench as his residence, declared that any dimension opening over U.S. soil clearly could be considered "home" for voting purposes. Obama campaign lawyers, armed with copies of the eerie Necronomicon, immediately spread out across New England.

In cities such as Innsmouth and Dunwich, the attornies bellowed out a series of brain-bending spells that ended with them slaying kidnapped women and shrieking, "Ia, Ia, Barack fhtagn!!" The spells successfully released colossol monstrosities Yog-Sothoth, Dagon, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and Cthulhu. The lawyers issued them provisional ballots and a Democratic party voting guide before they were devoured, screaming in madness.

Later, two brave professors from Arkham University shut the dimensional doors, returning the Great Old Ones to various eldritch lairs. But not before they had voted and been questioned by pollsters as to why they broke for Barack.

Dagon felt that Obama's environmental plans would better protect his watery city, deep beneath the reef off Innsmouth.

Yog-Sothoth could not point to any one thing, but hoped Obama's radical change meant that he intended to topple cities and wash himself in the blood of the terrified inhabitants.

Cthulhu liked that Matt Damon was voting for Barack.

Afterwards, the pollsters were devoured, screaming in madness.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Dark Horse via The Onion

Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

Arcane News

Congratulations to president-elect Obama.

Conspiracy theorists point out that "Obama" spelled backwards is "Amabo."

They go on to reveal that Amabo is the name of:

A. A swank eatery mentioned in the Kabbalah.

B. An old Star Trek villain.

C. A nickname for a guy called Amab.

D. A Zulu word for warthog pellets.

E. Too cryptic for you to understand; too intricate to explain; but I get it!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Of rain and TNT runners yesterday. Most of the Team ran or cheered up at the Santa Barbara Half Marathon while a few kept a practice going at the Rose Bowl. Despite lightning, swirling winds, and a brief but heavy rain, a handful of runners and walkers finished 12 miles. I walked the last 3.1 with Larry. It was the longest I've been on my feet since early September. A stiff back and a few knee twinges, but otherwise Okay.

Next week I'll try walking a few days and see what consistent use brings to Recovery Fest '08.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gibbon Activist Slain!

Write Enough has obtained information suppressed by the L.A. Times. Undisclosed sources report the Times has possession of a video tape showing the murder of gibbon activist Ingrid Bunt. An outspoken defender of lessor apes, Bunt believed they were as intelligent as humans and superior to teenage males and members of congress. In 2003, her body was found on Monkey Island at the Tucson Zoo. Police believed Bunt was murdered while attempting to register gibbons to vote.

Long thought to have been slain by nomad bums, Bunt was killed by gibbons. According to sources, the footage shows Bunt holding out a form to a gibbon while she pantomimes signing. The gibbon distracts her with cute, touching gestures that indicate understanding. Meanwhile, a second gibbon creeps up behind Bunt and riddles her with a Glock .40 caliber. Tossing the pistol into the moat, the gibbons emptied Bunt's purse, ignoring credit cards but keeping a compact mirror and a package of mints. Later, footage showed one gibbon using the mirror to direct sunlight into the eyes of a mountain goat. The second gibbon traded the mints to a female in exchange for sex and flea removal.

What is the Times afraid of? Release the tape today or be branded "monkey pawn." Of course, nowhere in all this do we learn of any gibbon remorse. To this day, they loll about their island, well-fed, waiting, waiting, waiting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

TNT '08 Plus Ape Notes

That how it felt yesterday at practice. We start the walkers off an hour earlier, separating them from the runners. And with injuries and no-shows it seems we have fewer runners than ever. I believe the Pasadena Marathon hurt TNT's recruiting this season. Why sign up for a race in Honolulu or Phoenix when you have one right in your own backyard? Plus there's no fund raising to sweat.
For over six weeks, injuries have prevented me from running with the team, which is where you really get to know people. I'm feeling TNT disconnect.

Slow healing on the knee doesn't help my mental state. I was prepared to be healthy again a week ago. Alas, my body didn't get the email.

Still there's plenty I can do and I'll focus on that, both for coaching and my own training.

On an unrelated note, do monkeys hate us? I think they do. If humanity weren't so fragmented and self-absorbed, we'd take care of them now before they obtain legal status and file crippling law suits.

Let's stop ape perfidy in its hand-like footprints.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chi Running Class

Last Sunday I gave chi running a try. This system uses gravity and the strong muscles of the psoas to propel you forward rather than relying solely on quads and calves. Next day, I went out for a run but only made it a mile and a half before my knee grew sore. I backed off and walked, but it appears more cross-training lies in my future.

Joe Lahey Graces Freakazoid Season 2 Taping

Joe Lahey joined us last Thursday for the Freakazoid Season 2 taping. Good to see our favorite announcer again. Paul Rugg, Rich Arons, Tom Ruegger and myself recalled various moments from "the day."

Alas, no Barone's pizza, but we muddled through. I'm not sure what the release date is, but I'll say so when I do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Value Added

Tomorrow we tape a few things for the Freakazoid Season 2 DVD. Nothing fancy, but it should be fun. This will probably be the last official act involving the Guy with Lightning in his Hair. A different TV animation world exists, built upon different rules.

But thanks to the Internet, one need never say "farewell," just "see you later forever and anon. "