I’m Tired

Someone shared this on Facebook today and I read the whole thing. No TL;DR for me. I want to share it for two reasons which I will get to after you supposedly read it. The author is Bill Cosby.

“I’m 83. Except for brief period in the 50’s when I was doing my National Service, I’ve worked hard since I was 17. Except for some some serious health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn’t call in sick in nearly 40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as though retirement was a bad idea, and I’m tired. Very tired.

I’m tired of being told that I have to ‘spread the wealth’ to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.

I’m tired of being told that Islam is a ‘Religion of Peace,’ when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family ‘honor’; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t ‘believers’; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for ‘adultery’; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.

I’m tired of being told that out of ‘tolerance for other cultures’ we must let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia , New Zealand , UK, America and Canada , while no one from these countries are allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country to teach love and tolerance..

I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers, and politicians of all parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I’m really tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.

I’m also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and early 20’s be-deck them selves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making themselves un-employable and claiming money from the Government.

Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 83. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter and their children. Thank God I’m on the way out and not on the way in.”

The first reason I wanted to talk about it is because it’s very interesting. Bill Cosby changed the game in many ways for many people and his opinion is certainly worth listening to. I never watched his show too much or listened to his comedy but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate what he’s saying. While his ending slightly depresses me because I’m a young person in this supposedly deteriorating (spelled that right on the first try) world, it is still an intelligent and well thought out view as to what’s going on in our nation.

The second, and more important reason that I want to talk about this, is because it was not in fact written by Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby is currently 75 years old. It was instead written by a guy named Robert Hall who severed five terms as a senator for Massachusetts. Now this will be similar to a post I made a week or so ago about the legitimacy of this golfing fail. Does the fact that this wasn’t said by Bill Cosby make it any less credible? The content of the passage remains unchanged so it shouldn’t matter right? On a personal level it does not change the message that is trying to be delivered.

As I sit here I’m having another thought. I’m in no way trying to be racist but the person who shared this was black. Black people have every reason to look up to Bill Cosby as an inspiration and it is black history month right now. I wonder if it would change a black persons opinion of the passage differently than a white persons because it was initially thought it was Bill Cosby but instead it’s some senator that nobody has heard of. Just a thought.

Regardless, this was not written by Bill Cosby but it no doubt gained huge popularity by someone saying that it was. As of right now it has over 200,000 shares on Facebook being falsely credited to Cosby. But if the content of a message is what will ultimately be interpreted with the author having no effect, I should start saying that this blog is written by Neil deGrasse Tyson or Edward Norton or someone obscure like that. All it takes is someone to think I’m credible, then they’ll read what I have to say, hopefully find me credible, and by that point it doesn’t matter if I am who I say I am right? I’m getting carried away and this post is already too long. I hope you enjoyed some of this.

Nothing too much

The weekend put a halt to my posting.

Running Paragraph
Saturday we had a home meet where I raced for the first time in about 6 weeks. It didn’t go as well as I had hoped but it was okay. I went 4:49 for the mile which was mostly run in lanes 2-3 and then ran a 2:10 in the 800 which is really slow but I don’t really know what to say. I’ve only been working out as a mid-D guy for 3 weeks so hopefully I can whip myself into 4:30/sub 2:00 shape eventually. I don’t know if that will happen or not but that’s the goal. I guess I should just be happy that I can still compete. On the other hand I would like to give two shout outs to my two very good friends Mike Palmisano and Katie Gorman. Palm ran a mile this Saturday in 4:06.8 for a new PR (indoor nonetheless) and seems to be getting his shit together at the perfect time. Obviously the illusive 4 minute barrier is a ways away but that time is already an incredible accomplishment. Katie ran a 5k a few weeks ago in 16:55 for a PR (also indoor and could also probably beat me at the moment) which is currently ranked 35th out of all Division 1 girls. Watching their progress, their ups and downs, and now their huge success over the past few years is quite motivating. I’ll be following/rooting for them down the line. I should also note that Paul Reilly won his 800m race this weekend in 1:53.37 so kudos to him as well. I’m not sure how often/if any of them read this but whatever.

After the meet that majority of the team attended the dated. Nothing specifically crazy happened but the night itself was very fun. I pre-gamed the perfect amount I would say. I drank a bit more when I was there and got pretty drunk but remember almost everything. I planned on drinking yesterday for the game but after a single Natty Ice I threw in the towel. The game itself was entertaining and better than I thought it was going to be. I guess I was leaning slightly towards the Ravens but I didn’t really care who won. I would have bet the Ravens with the points (check) and the under (nope). The half-time show wasn’t really up my alley but Beyonce is nice to look at.

As my blogging experience has grown I’ve learned that people rarely care about what I do. I could go into the specifics of my pregame on Saturday or the dated or what I did last night but unless it’s really interesting/entertaining it’s just not worth writing about. I’ll try to revive the creative juices.

The one on one

Mark and I went to the bar one time last semester and had a conversation that for whatever reason inspired me want to write this blog. It was a random Sunday night and we decided that silver coin at the Trappe would be a good time. We headed down assuming we’d find some friends there to enjoy the nighttime football game. We were mistake. We made countless jokes about how people assumed we were gay and on a date especially because we were buying each others drinks with no one sitting around us.

Anyway, Mark said something along the lines of “You know you’re good friends with someone when you can do something like this one on one and it’s not weird.” This thought never really crossed my mind because obviously it wouldn’t be weird if Mark and I did something with just us but then I thought about all the other people I interact with on a daily basis and wondered how many I could just go to the bar with for two hours one on one and not have the thought of “this is somewhat awkward” cross my mind. The list was much smaller than I thought (about 20). Of all the people I know and am friends with, about 20.

When something like our suite or our team exists we rarely get one on one time with people. You most likely don’t realize this until you’re put in a one on one with a person you rarely interact with one on one. These can catch you off-guard because you wouldn’t ordinarily think that it would be awkward but when it happens, it can get ugly quick. As I’m writing this it made me realize that Seinfeld already pointed this out. George and Elaine can’t hang out alone without it being awkward. They find that the only way it’s not awkward between them is if they’re constantly talking about/poking fun at Jerry. I think once you can pull one on ones with someone that’s when they’ve made the step from friend to close friend. I imagine this number will decrease once I graduate because my contact with people will diminish.

With this in mind, I believe it’s why distance runners have a unique bond. On any given day I may end up doing a run with just Amos or just Jamie or just Alex and by doing this you build that one on one bond with every person on the team slowly over time. You have no choice but to make it not awkward because these combinations happen randomly and often. You can get to know someone pretty well after a couple of hour long runs with each other.

Anyway, an extended one on one is the test of a friendship. Obviously immediate close friends are no brainers but there are others that may surprise you when you get one on one. Another even better test is the Pulp Fiction test. To quote Uma Thurman’s character, “That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.” 

NOW I know better

I think the concept of thinking understand things now versus what we thought in the past is actually quite amusing. Things come up all the time where you look back in hindsight and think to yourself “How could I have been so wrong?” The of it thing is that in the past you were likely as confident about your then understanding as you are about your current understanding.

This is a weird example but it sort of helped me think to write this. Wacker and I play a good amount of Halo 4. In the early days of playing he made a comment about how the suppressor was the easily the worst gun in the game. It was just a totally useless weapon. Now the suppressor is pretty much his favorite gun and he claims it pwns. It does seem like the suppressor is good from my personal point of view but that’s irrelevant. The point is that if I tried to convince Wacker two months ago that the suppressor was a really good gun he would laugh in my face but NOW that he knows better he can laugh in his own face of two months ago.

But why should we be so confident about what we “know” NOW when it’s so obvious we’re in the same spot we were in the past? We think we have these solid ideas or understandings of things that are smarter and more advanced than that of the past but then where are we heading? To a more complex understanding of what we already know which would make what we currently know the stupid thing that we will laugh at in the future? All because we don’t know it’s stupid doesn’t mean it’s not stupid.

This happens all the time in science. Look at the evolution of our knowledge of the human body. Some ancient people pretty much thought that the heart was the brain. They probably told everyone around that was the case and that they finally “figured it out”. They laughed at the stupid people before them who didn’t know. Now we’re laughing at them saying the brain is the brain, not the heart. We think we have it all figured out, NOW we know better.

How the hell am I supposed to believe anything that’s coming out now to prove old points wrong when that’s been what’s happening for millenniums. These points will surely be proven wrong in the future right? But now we all say “well science is way more advanced and we can actually back up what we’re saying” but I don’t totally buy that. If you told people in 1500 we’d have brain scanners or whatever that can track electrical pulses or something like that they’d think you were nuts. So when I sit here telling you that we’re going to have machines that will literally take your brain out of your body and make it an entirely separate entity that can speak on it’s own and will say “oh yeah, when you’re speaking you’re using this part of me and when you’re doing things subconsciously it’s this part of me” etc. you’ll think I’m crazy. BUT, when it actually happens you’ll say, “well NOW we know better, obviously this thing was the reason for that, not the other thing”. That example was a bit of a stretch but you get the point.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should stop searching for answers, that’s one of the fundamental things to being human. I just think we shouldn’t be so confident in our current understanding of things (even if it’s as simple as Halo 4) and as critical of our past understanding. And I’m not saying that everyone is, but it’s just something to think about.

The Passion

My history of jazz class last Friday was awesome. I walked into class and my teacher was standing in front of the room with her saxophone around her neck and an unoccupied piano, a drum set, and a weird looking bass behind her. When everyone settled in she said that we were going to hear some jazz improvisation today with help from a few kids in the class. Dom, Dave, and Andrew stood up and approached their instrument. For ~30 minutes out of 50 minutes they were simply jamming, making up things as they went along and it was absolutely awesome to watch. They were so into and in sync with each other that it was just really cool to see. When it was over the piano guy asked the bass player if he wanted to stay and play a little more after class to which he agreed and it was obvious these guys don’t just study music, they love it, they have a real passion for it and it’s something they really enjoy doing. In all honesty it was inspiring.

Since I’ve begun rooming with Wacker I’ve gotten slightly into professional supercross. I have learned a number of terms that I wouldn’t have understood before and the stories behind a number of the big name guys. There was one documentary about a guy named Trey Canard who essentially had a bike/rider land literally on the back of his neck and was out for a long time recovering. It illustrated the process he went through to get back and it was obvious that the guy really loves what he does, getting on the bike and riding. Even though I can’t identify with supercross very much (other than Trials which I’m getting back into), it was inspiring to see him have that determination and passion to get back on the bike and ride after nearly dying.

Now those are my two examples that I’m citing, a group of kids playing instruments and a supercross rider, they’re not similar in anyway. But that is not what matters, instead it’s the feeling that I got from watching both of these things. Watching someone do ‘their thing’ when it’s something they’re really passionate about is inspiring. I don’t necessarily get inspired to go ride a supercross bike or play piano (although I’m making a legit effort to learn more about music and actually play guitar after these first two weeks of music class but that’s a different story) but I’m inspired to do something with that type of passion. Naturally the first/only thing that comes to mind on a personal level is running. Even though I’m just an average runner, having that type of passion for something makes it irrelevant how talented or good at running I am. It gives me something to look forward to and spices up an otherwise boring life.

Pretty much what I’m trying to say is that passion is not only inspiring and attractive to others but that everyone should have some strong passion for something, anything. It doesn’t matter what it is. Some people look at running and think there’s no way in hell they could get into it or enjoy it and that’s completely fine, everyone is different. Finding something to be passionate about gives meaning to what you do regardless of what it is.

Real or Fake

I initially watched this video and laughed decently hard when he fell in. After watching it two or three more times I started to question it’s legitimacy. First off, there’s no way to verify that this guy is actually 9 shots deep. Second, the fall itself seems a bit suspicious. If this guy was 9 shots deep and swung that hard, it’s pretty realistic to assume he would lose his balance and potentially fall in but would you really pull out the video camera on the off chance that happens? That ball could have easily been placed there obviously and the fall could be staged. I looked at the comments below and other people shared my suspicion. But does that make it not funny?

Nothing about the video changes whether it’s real or fake. It’s the exact same thing either way. But if he did in fact stage it, it loses a huge amount of humor. It’s not genuine. Instead of feeling like you got a good laugh out of it, you feel tricked and embarrassed. Instead of being in a laughing mood it makes you feel cheated and angry at those in the video. \

I just think this is interesting because it means that the content of the video is not necessarily what makes it funny. Obviously it helps but there is a lot more that goes into it. I imagine this extends beyond funny youtube videos or funny things in general.

Off-Shoring With Obligation

This letter was sent by David Schlesinger who is the global managing editor for Reuters (an international news agency) to his employees regarding outsourcing jobs. This debate and perspective are pretty relevant given today’s global economy and people going bonkers over US companies outsourcing their work. I bolded the two parts that particularly stuck out to me.

“I grew up in New London, Connecticut, which in the 19th century was a major whaling center. In the 1960’s and 70’s the whales were long gone and the major employers in the region were connected with the military – not a surprise during the Vietnam era. My classmates’ parents worked at Electric Boar, the Navy and the Coast Guard. The peace dividend changed the region once again, and now it is best known for the great gambling casinos of Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods and for the pharmaceutical researchers of Pfizer. Jobs went; jobs were created. Skills went out of use; new skills were required. The region changed; people changed. New London, of course, was not unique. How many mill towns saw their mills close; how many shoe towns saw the shoe industry move elsewhere; how many towns that were once textile powerhouses now buy all their linens from China? Change is hard. Change is hardest on those caught by surprise. Change is hardest on those who have difficulty changing too. But change is natural; change is not new; change is important. The current debate about off-shoring is dangerously hot. But the debate about work going to India, China and Mexico is actually no different from the debate once held about submarine work leaving New London or shoe work leaving Massachusetts or textile work leaving North Carolina. Work gets done where it can be done most effectively and efficiently. That ultimately helps the New Londons, New Bedfords and New Yorks of this world even more than it helps the Bangalores and Shenzhens. It helps because it frees up people and capital to do different, more sophisticated work, and it helps because it gives an opportunity to produce the end product more cheaply, benefiting customers even as it helps the corporation. It’s certainly difficult for individuals to think about “their” work going away, being done thousands of miles away by someone earning thousands of dollars less per year. But it’s time to think about the opportunity as well as the pain, just as it’s time to think about the obligations of off-shoring as well as the opportunities… Every person, just as every corporation, must tend to his or her own economic destiny, just as our parents and grandparents in the mills, shoe shops and factories did.”

Back at it

Pun intended. This will be my first running post in a while. I have not been happy when talking about running for a while. I had a bit of a hiccup over winter break where I had to take ~a week off and thought my competitive running career was over. This was the first time that this had crossed my mind or ever the first time I was convinced it was true but it was still very annoying to deal with. After that I had one last ditch effort to revive my running and it was something I thought I would never do; I decided to become an 800/mile guy as opposed to a 5k/10k guy. For years I was convinced I had no speed and that running high mileage was the key to me being good. If I could run high mileage that’s what I would be doing but my back has prevented me from doing this on multiple occasions.

Since making the switch things have gone really well. My weekly mileage is around 40 which my back seems to handle pretty good. I’ve been lifting weights (!) 2-3 times a week for the past month or so and I actually think I’m starting to see a difference. I’ve been tapping into my speed that has poked it’s head out here and there but I never actually tried to become a speed guy. Now that I’m left with no other option, I’m looking to speed as my savior which is something I never thought I would do.

The reason I’m writing this post is because of the workout we did today. It was 8×400 with ~2:15 rest followed by 8×200 with 90 seconds rest. My splits were as follows.

400: 71, 68, 68, 68, 69, 69, 69, 69
200: 32, 32, 32 ,32, 31, 31, 31 ,30

This workout was a lot of running with not too much rest that I thought went really well. It was pretty much max effort and granted the times completely aren’t out of this world, it is definitely a really good start for the end of January considering where I was. I haven’t really been “in shape” since I got injured over 13 months ago but I would say that I’m finally starting to get there. I have high hopes for the next 4 months. I said I didn’t want my current PRs to be my PRs by the time I graduated. While it isn’t what I had in mind, I will hopefully set an 800 and mile/1500 PR which I will gladly take given the past year. I’m finding the joy in running again and things are finally looking up. I’ve been optimistic here and there but this is the first time I feel like things are actually starting to click and that I’ve finally figured this injury figured out. Happy running everyone, don’t take it for granted.

Bellybuttons

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted so I’m going to talk about something that no one probably talks about; bellybuttons.

Bellybuttons gross me out. I don’t think Mike Palmisano reads my blog but he knows that I think he has the grossest bellybutton of all time. I’m not exactly sure why but I have a potential reason to explain this. My bellybutton is uber sensitive. I can’t really touch my bellybutton without experiencing pain. This is rarely ever a problem so I never really talked to others about it but since I’ve arrived at college it has been talked about. Apparently it’s strange that my bellybutton hurts on contact, I don’t know how to explain it exactly because it’s not your traditional pain but it’s extreme discomfort and then escalates to pain as the contact becomes more intense.

Since I’ve been here I’ve asked a number of people about their bellybutton and I get roughly the same answer every time, simply no. Then when I tell them that mine hurts on contact they are baffled, “Hurts?!”. Yes. Hurts. With this knowledge, Wacker and Slade have come up with a very annoying habit of trying to touch my bellybutton. I figure my sample size is too small to make any definitive statements but can someone please verify my feelings that the touching or rubbing of your bellybutton causes severe discomfort and sometimes pain?

Lance Armstrong: My Opinion

As Tom has pointed out, these people/stories get blown up because the media blows them up. I do not count this blog as a significant news medium so I can blog about it without making Lance get too much more popular.

As someone who participates in an endurance sport and takes it pretty seriously, I hate Lance Armstrong. Sure there’s pressure to dope and a lot of people do it but that doesn’t make it okay. There is no excuse and he deserves zero sympathy. It ruins the sport in my opinion. Sure watching someone run a 3:30 mile would be awesome but if they’re doping it just taints it, who cares then you know? It’s becomes who has the best pharmacist, not who can train the hardest.

The problem is that there are talented people who don’t dope and can run elite times or bike at an elite level but they will never be as good as the dopers, it’s just that simple. You can train as hard as you want but when people are doping and you’re not you just don’t stand a chance. So if someone actually has morals and chooses not to dope, they are penalized.

I think it’s a good thing that he finally came out and admitted it. It must be suck to have all these people coming at you all the time regardless of whether they’re right or wrong so I see why he finally came out and admitted it. But as far as feeling bad for him, well I don’t at all. Sure he’s human and you can say humans make mistakes but the magnitude of this “mistake” (more like thousands of mistakes) is way to big. It just speaks volumes of his character and he’s a shitty human being. I will applaud him for Livestrong and helping cancer patients but as far as personal character goes, he’s not someone that I would want to be associated with in any way.