Friday, August 28, 2009

Have We Reached the Point Where All We Can Do Is Laugh?!

Okay, now that we've turned the most prosperous and successful country in the history of mankind over to 537 greedy, power-seeking idiots can we all just sit back and laugh?! I mean, every reasonable person seems to see what is going on to the point of almost disbelief. It's sheer lunacy. Anyway, I came across this little nugget on YouTube that I just have to share because it is so true. Enjoy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

MS Bike Ride Journal Day 2

Okay, pretend I wrote this on Saturday after the ride instead of two days later. I was tired.
I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. But when I woke up at 5:10 I decided it was probably better to just get up than to spend the next 20 minutes worrying about when the alarm was going to go off.
I packed up my things and headed by 5:30. After a quick trip to McDonald's drive-thru for a sausage and egg bagel, sans sausage, and a large OJ I was on my way up the canyon.
I worried because the temperature in Brigham City was around 60 that early in the morning. But as I headed up the canyon the temperature dropped: 50's, 40's, yikes! By the time I reached the fairgrounds it was a comfortable 51 degrees -- just as forecast.

Parked the car, checked the air pressure in my tires loaded my seat pack and set off for our team tent.

We snapped a quick team photo, made last minute adjustments, took one final potty break and moved to the start line.
With over 3,000 riders they have to start in waves simply to protect all the riders and not overwhelm law enforcement which has to manage the bike traffic and the regular car traffic through Logan.
The waves were started every five minutes starting at 7 am. I and two of my team riders, Joe Andersen and Paul Ellsworth, were at the very front of the sixth wave. Putting me at the front of a starting line is a bad idea. My mind immediately reverts back to my high school track days.

Following our police escort we took off at a nice clip -- I wasn't going to be passed in the first mile!

For the next 20 miles I worked my way through the throngs of cyclists being passed by many and passing even more. I had dropped Joe and Paul somewhere around mile three and would go the rest of the way on my own.

I made the first rest stop around mile 20 where I met up with several other of our team members (we had all started at different times.) At this point I felt great. The weather was comfortable and the course had been fairly flat.

This would be about the last time I would see any other riders from our team.
I plugged in my iPod and headed out.
I was able to maintain an 18 mph pace over the entire 100 mile course, stopping about every 20 miles to rest, eat a little and fill my water bottles. I finished with a ride time of 5:27 and an overall time of 6:15.
The last ten miles, as always, were the hardest. I jumped into a paceline with about 9 miles to go and rode with them for two miles. But their pace was just a little too fast for me and I dropped off. With five miles to go the song, "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M came on my iPod. I had to laugh out loud!
I pulled across the finish line to the cheers and congratulations of the MS staff and many supporters and received my commemorative medal ;-)
I was a great ride. The temperature never got above 85. The air was calm and the route was simply beautiful. I will definitely ride this one again.
After showering at the public pool shower and eating a meal of bratwurst, chips and water I waited at the tent for the rest of our team to arrive. We had four team members ride their first century ride and they all did great!
I headed home around 6 pm tired but happy. The best part was that I was able to raise $1,000 for this worthy cause. Thank you to all who supported me financially and otherwise.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My MS Bike Ride Journal Day 1

I arrived in Logan today, OK, actually I arrived in Brigham City. You see, when I was planning this little adventure I was feeling pretty tight. So I decided I could save a few bucks by staying in Brigham City instead of Logan where all the other riders stay thus driving the price of hotels up.
So, I arrived at the Crystal Inn Brigham City at about 3 pm. I checked into my room and immediately took a 1 1/2 hour nap.
I then drove through the canyon to the epicenter of the MS event: the Logan fairgrounds. Arriving just after 5 pm the check-in line snaked down the street about a hundred yards. I decided to walk around the "village" a while and wait for the line to get shorter (check-in started at 5 so this was the initial rush.)
The village is a hodge podge of gazebo style tents consisting of teams gathering for meals and relaxation and vendors hawking their wares. I decided at the last minute to bring up one of our tents and a credit union banner and got permission to set up camp on the edge of the village -- kind of a squatter I suppose.
I went back to the check in line which had shrunk by that time and checked in. I had reached my goal of $1,000 just a few hours earlier and made the cut for the Ruby Spoke Club. But as I opened my gift bag just a few minutes ago I noticed that they gave me the wrong jersey, doh!
As I went to set up our team tent the heavens opened and gave us what I hope will be the last bit of rain for at least a day or two.
We had a team dinner at an Italian Pizzeria in Smithfield called Callaway's (very good), located about 10 miles north of Logan. Our entire team raised just under $9,000 but we should have some more donations coming in which will put is over $9,000. The last time I headed this we raised about $4,000 so this year was a big success.
The ride starts at 7 am sharp. Because of my decision to stay in BC I will have to get up between 5 and 5:30, ugh, to make the 30 minute drive to Logan. We are meeting at 6:40 for a team picture and then will move to the starting area.
If all goes well, I hope to finish in about 6 hours. I know my training hasn't been as good as last time and I won't have Bret, my riding partner, along to pace me so I'm setting my goal lower than last time.
Well, better hit the hay. Morning will be here before I know it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Going MS for MS

I guess it's time that I come clean: I'm going MS for MS. By the first MS I mean metro sexual. The second is Multiple Sclerosis.

For the second time I'm riding in the MS Bike Tour (I won't call it by it's official name because I don't like it) in Logan Utah. Last time in order to motivate donors I shaved my head. This time, I'm being a little more subtle -- I've shaved my legs.

I have to admit that for several years as I've ridden my bike I've looked down in disgust at the hairy poles protruding from my biking shorts and envied the smooth, muscular look of serious cyclists.

Hey it's for a good cause and while I may never have legs like Lance Armstrong I do like the look of the glistening sweat on my smooth legs.

Of course, this is as MS as I'll go. You won't find me wearing a salmon colored shirt, polishing my fingernails, sporting a man-purse or hanging Ansel Adams' photos in my office -- but I will keep my legs trimmed, at least for another month.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

How Easily We Get Bored

Yikes! Has it been two months since my last blog?!

What a crazy Spring in Utah -- or should I say, lack of Spring. 90 Degrees one day, snow the next. It's made my bike training rather difficult. Regardless, I'm starting to get in the habit. Out each day at lunchtime I'm slowly getting my endurance and strength back .... at least my cycling strength.

I started a nightly routine of situps and pushups to try and strengthen my core. Wow! I decided to start moderately so that I didn't get too sore and have to stop for two weeks like I've done in the past. I found out that moderate means 20 situps and 10 pushups. I feel old.

I have been able to increase my situps by five each night. I'll see how long that lasts. Maybe an increase of one per night is more realistic. I hadn't really done the math but now that I think of it in two months I'll be doing over 300 situps per night -- probably not a good idea =)

I've decided to stop weighing myself. I don't want to look at the scale until I can notice some change in the mirror.

So much for my rambling.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Okay, I've been a little slow on posting my results because I wanted to be sure that I had some results to post. It doesn't make sense to say, "two weeks and no change."

I was able to drop four pounds through moderate diet and bouts of intense exercise.

I'm thinking of have a metabolic assessment done to see what my metabolic rate is and what my optimal exercise intensity is. I'm sure that when I exercise all I burn is carbohydrates since I have a tendency to believe that I am 17 years old and in prime condition.

Of course, I celebrated my "success" with an over indulgent meal at the Thai House in Lehi -- and might I suggest the lemon-orange chicken, yum!

I have committed myself to once again riding in the MS 150 bike ride in Logan. Hopefully this commitment will help motivate me to step up my weight loss program. After all, I don't really want to take and extra 40 pounds along for the ride.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Step 1: Admit You Have a Problem

When I was 17 I was 6'2", 140 pounds and had body fat of 4.5%. I could eat a double Whopper with cheese every day for lunch and a half-gallon of ice-cream at night and never gain a pound.
Those days are over. I'm now almost 44. I'm still 6'2" but that's the only similarity. My Wii Fit just told me I'm overweight with a body mass index of 28 (it means I'm fat.)
Over the years I've tried different diets and weight loss programs. I've stayed fairly active, riding my bike on almost a daily basis. Yet the climb up the scale keeps going.
So, I've decided to shame myself into weight loss. I currently weigh 218 lbs. My goal is 178. I will post a weekly weigh-in.
I'm also planning to pack a healthy lunch each day instead of hitting the fast food joints or scrounging the office for food. So, any suggestions are welcome.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Those Dang Old Cars

I really like not having a car payment. But the trade-off for me is driving a 10-year-old Durango with 133k miles. This morning ol' blue refused to go. So instead I made the five house trek down the street to borrow the momandadmobile -- aka the communal car. Lucky for me Kimberly had just returned it the night before and it was clean!
However, I couldn't stand having an unfixed vehicle so I slipped out of work early and headed home for the frustration of car repair. Spark plugs seemed like a reasonable start. After all, they've never been changed. Seemed like a good call. The gap was twice what it should be on all eight and the post was almost completely gone. Problem solved? The car started, but doesn't seem to run a whole lot better.
While I had it in the garage I decided to change the oil (my last trip to Jiffy Lube cost me over $60! What happened to the $20 oil change?!) This resulted in oil running down my sleeve as I tried to remove the oil filter from it's hidden position.
Now I know that changing the oil won't make the engine run any better but it made me feel good nonetheless. Cars these days are so hard to work on. Everything is electronically controlled. You can't just get in and make a mechanical fix.
So, I don't expect ol' blue to run much better tomorrow. I'm hoping that he'll hold out until Spring when I can trade him in on a slightly less old car. After all, warm weather hides a lot of car ills.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Stimulus Package is Already Working!

I've been stimulated right back into writing my blog by all this stimulus nonsense. So, I guess it's working -- in one sense.

The following Op-ed piece ran in the Washington Post by the ranking republican on the House Appropriations Committee. I still think he's being a little soft and should take a hard stand against the stimulus package, but he is a politician. The fact of the matter is that Clinton asked for $16 billion and America scoffed at that. Have we gotten so drunk that we can swallow hundreds of billions of dollar spending proposals and think it necessary medicine?! Wake up America!!! This is not a good idea.

LEWIS: Common sense on spending

Washington Times: January 22, 2009


America's economic crisis continues, and there is an immediate need for Congress to produce a strong and definitive plan to help weather this financial storm.

In reviewing the Pelosi-Obey stimulus proposal released last week, I was struck (along with many others) by the sheer magnitude of the numbers before us. Just the size of this bill, some $825 billion, raises serious concerns. Without a clear assurance of how, why and if this proposal will create jobs and promote economic recovery, Congress cannot simply write an $825 billion blank check at taxpayer expense. We should demand that there be some clear, unequivocal assurance of the desired outcomes, in the form of a revitalized economy.

Unfortunately, the evidence from past attempts at stimulating the economy through government spending does not lead to this needed measure of certainty.

In part, this is a debate over how, not how much is needed, to stimulate the economy. This bill represents the theory that the economy can be boosted if the government borrows money and then gives it to people so they will spend it. This supposedly "primes the pump" as the money circulates through the economy. The theory sounds good, and it would be nice if it made sense, but it has a glaring logical fallacy. It overlooks the fact that, in the real world, government can't inject money into the economy without first taking money out of the economy.

More specifically, the Pelosi-Obey stimulus proposal only looks at half of the equation - the part where government puts money in the economy's right pocket. But we must also ask where the government gets that money? Ironically, the answer is that it borrows it out of the economy's left pocket. This scheme doesn't boost national income, it merely redistributes it. The pie is sliced differently, but it's not any bigger.

Previous attempts to use this redistribution strategy did not work. Both President Herbert Hoover and President Franklin D. Roosevelt dramatically increased spending, and neither showed any aversion to running up big deficits, yet the economy was terrible all through the 1930s. Stimulus schemes also were tried by President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush and had no impact on the economy.

And over the 1990s, Japan engaged in massive, multiple stimulus efforts and saw its economy remain stagnant and its per capital income go from the world's second-highest to the tenth-highest.

To be fair, the failure of stimulus spending to boost growth may not necessarily mean government spending does not create jobs. Moreover, the argument that government can create jobs is not unique to "stimulus" bills and is often a significant component to other types of legislation.

Nevertheless, no matter how the issue is analyzed, the more relevant question is how the government might destroy jobs.

For example, if the government decides to build a bridge, it is very easy to see the workers who are employed on that project. But what is less obvious is how many of those workers have been taken from jobs in the private sector, and thus are no longer available for other, perhaps better and more "stimulative," uses.

Based on the Pelosi-Obey jobs claims, this bill will spend a shocking $275,000 for each new job created (assuming they actually materialize). Even worse, this calculation is only a partial measure of cost. In reality, the cost of each government-sponsored job should reflect how the market would have spent the $275,000 if the government had never got its hands on it in the first place. It is more than likely the private sector could have created more than one job for $275,000 - especially considering the average U.S. household income is around $45,000.

Finally, we must not forget that this massive government spending doesn't come out of thin air and we run the perilous risk of leaving a terrible fiscal legacy for future generations. This comes at a time when we are already staring down a trillion-dollar deficit. Based on Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recent figures, by 2019 we will have to spend $750 billion per year just on interest alone on debt that has accumulated - and this does not include the addition of $825 billion in new "stimulus" spending.

I fully understand that prompt action is needed, but there are more than enough reasons for caution on this "stimulus" legislation. While there may be a few folks who think a big increase in the burden of government somehow is a recipe for job creation, the facts show they may be missing the mark.

In order to make the best possible decisions regarding economic stimulus legislation, we must ask ourselves some common sense questions. Are the programs in this bill really stimulative? Do they create jobs, (and how many and for how long)? Are they worth the cost? Are these one-time costs, or we committing our nation to years and years of heightened government spending? And are these things that must be done immediately, or could they be done more effectively and efficiently with more deliberation and study?

If Congress fails to ask these questions, protect the interest of the taxpayer and remember our economic history, and exercise common sense, we will find ourselves in worse economic shape than we are today. An $825 billion free-for-all based on flawed policy will not be our rescue - it will shackle our country to continued economic decline and a perilous national financial future.

Jerry Lewis of California is the ranking Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee.