Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Garmin Connect Activity Details for Jockey Hollow Loop

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Activity Details for
Ride with Nathan

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My friend and coworker Nathan and I decided to take advantage of reasonably good weather today and the fact that our entire organization at work was having a United Way fund-raising event at Lewis Morris Park, adjacent to Jockey Hollow National Park near Morristown, to go on a ride in the area together while the rest of the team would stay behind at the park. The tricky thing for me, a novice with only one month of bike ownership, was mapping out a loop that would be long but not too hilly for me. That proved difficult on paper (er, MayMyRide) and, as it turned out, on the road too, the whole area adjacent to the park being very hilly indeed. This was one challenging ride and even Nathan, a seasoned rider (he rode the century at the Philadelphia LIVESTRONG Challenge this year in great time) told me it was hillier than he expected. Well, I did it. Sure, I got off my bike and walked a few yards halfway up the worst two hills (at around mile 13 and mile 18), although in my defense they reached grades of 22% and 16%, respectively, and I was still in a lot of pain from a particularly tough leg workout a couple of days before. My leg routines always produce muscle soreness at their peak 48 hours after training. Not to be outdone by the hills, I managed to have my chain fall out near the very end of the ride as I switched the front gear from a particularly tough climb back into the park after almost 25 miles of riding. Who knew threading a chain back on was so easy?! It took little more than a few seconds to get that baby back on so I consider that yet another right of passage into the world of cycling. Hills, falling chains, aggressive drivers, and more hills. Bring 'em on! I'm ready and feel really good about today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary

Mary Travers of the singing trio Peter, Paul and Mary has died as a result of complications from cancer treatment. Her voice very much represented the spirit of hope and rebellion (the two going hand in hand) of the '60s. The group's performances of songs like "Leaving on a Jet Plane" and "If I Had a Hammer" and "Blowin' in the Wind" are, needless to say, so very representative of the time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A California ballot initiative to ban divorce

I love satire when used as a tool to point out hypocrisy. John Marcotte has introduced a ballot initiative in California, a state arguably left ungovernable thanks to ballot initiatives, to ban divorce. After all, if Proposition 8 was introduced and passed last year ostensibly to "protect" traditional marriage (whatever that means) by denying civil marriage to same-sex couples, the logical and probably more productive way to protect opposite-sex marriage would be to prohibit opposite-sex couples from divorcing. After all, not allowing same-sex couples to have the legal benefits and responsibilities of civil marriage has manifestly no effect on the stability of opposite-sex marriage. But prohibiting opposite-sex couples from destroying their own marriages through divorce would be far more productive. I wish this guy luck. He's doing a public service to all those opposite-sex couples who would gladly stay married if only they couldn't get divorced. As he says on his web site "You said 'Til death do us part.' You're not dead yet."

Here's a brief report on him from CNN:

John Marcotte: California Man Introduces Amendment To Ban Divorce (VIDEO)

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Friday, September 11, 2009

A view of a landmark before the world changed

Today's The New York Times profiles a project by Seolbin Park, curator of New York's SB D Gallery, to collect images of the World Trade Center from before the September 11, 2001 attacks. The exhibition opens today and runs through October 15th. What's striking about these images is how our perception of them can't help but be colored by what we know now. Images that might have seemed whimsical or simply beautiful with the perception of someone on September 10, 2001 now have a very different cast. I can't look at images from the day of the attack and, to be honest, looking at these pre-attack images is painful enough. The sense of loss (of life, beauty, innocence) is palpable enough in these simple photos when viewed through the prism of that tragedy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Meat Cake, the cake with no sugar

It's been a slow afternoon so I started checking out some of the blogs and tracked one entry on the This is Why You're Fat blog (a collection of food oddities) all the way back to a recipe for something called Meat Cake, a concoction of meat loaf, mashed potatoes and ketchup in cake form. It seems a very efficient way of consuming a meatloaf-with-mashed-potatoes dinner by the slice. Stick a candle in it and it makes a great birthday cake for the meat lover.

Iraq's New Surge: Gay Killings | Foreign Policy

Iraq's New Surge: Gay Killings | Foreign Policy

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Joe Wilson, Republican Rep. from SC and disrespectful liar

POLITICO: A voice from the floor on illegal immigrants: 'Lie' - Ben Smith - A voice from the floor on illegal immigrants: 'Lie'

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My first hilly bike ride. Look ma, no walking!

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A long overdue recognition of an injustice to a gay man and hero of WWII

Alan Turing, a mathematician who played a critical role in World War II by helping to break German military codes, was convicted under British law for his sexual orientation after the war with ultimately tragic consequences. At long last, there may be a public apology for this gross injustice: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8226509.stm .