medication to treat arthritis

My Bus Trip

Flaming bus

“I haven’t been on a bus since I was a child,” I told Ursula, the pleasant, businesslike clerk behind the counter at the Greyhound Station at 720 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville, Kentucky. “What’s the process?”

There was no one in line, and getting situated was easy. “That wasn’t too painful, was it?” she . . . → Read More: My Bus Trip

What Is Jogging?

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Louis Armstrong allegedly said once, when asked what jazz is, if you have to ask, you’ll never know. In a roughly similar way, I’ve found that there are three types of people in this world who run: runners, joggers, and those who don’t know the difference. The attempt to define . . . → Read More: What Is Jogging?

From the Snake Oil Department

Tonight my wife brought home one of those ladies magazines full of self-improvement schemes targeted at desperate women of the type who are not in the habit of thinking things through clearly.

The titles on the cover featured articles designed to help women lose “winter toxins” (toxins??? name one), another about how to make a . . . → Read More: From the Snake Oil Department

Do-Tasks and Not-Do-Tasks

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There are two kinds of tasks: Do-Tasks and Not-Do-Tasks.

Most of the big life goals we set out to accomplish are achieved by Doing a sometimes complex array of tasks, often in some logical order. For instance, say I want to run an ultramarathon: I know I must train for it, so . . . → Read More: Do-Tasks and Not-Do-Tasks

Neglected Pianos

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Sometimes I hear about neglected pianos, upon which I go on a bit of a rampage. As the owner of a Steinway model K, which I bought brand new from the dealer, an instrument I have always tuned and cared for myself, the idea of a piano sitting in a . . . → Read More: Neglected Pianos

Places in My Life

Given an infinite universe, coincidences abound. From the Small World department … Follow this link to a Google map of a block in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

You will see a block long building between 8th and 9th Avenues to the east and west, and 15th and 16th Streets on the north . . . → Read More: Places in My Life

I’ve Seen the Future

Geezer finishes 50k

Yesterday (February 10, 2007) I ran the Pemberton 50K at McDowell Mountain Park northeast of Fountain Hills Arizona, together with a total of five longtime fellow members of the Dead Runners Society, a highly social online running club that has been in existence since the early nineties: four . . . → Read More: I’ve Seen the Future

Do I Have to Empty the Bit Buckets?

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There was a maintenance man named Bill where I worked at Four Phase Systems in about 1985 who was a nice fellow, but one of the dumbest guys I’ve ever encountered. He was one of those guys for whom carrying a ladder was risky business, and whose . . . → Read More: Do I Have to Empty the Bit Buckets?

A Thought on Literary Precision

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Compare the consequences of a lack of a single punctuation mark in English and in software. Imagine what would happen if high school students were not permitted to graduate for failing to insert a quotation mark in an essay.

I’ve heard the likely apocryphal story of how the lack of . . . → Read More: A Thought on Literary Precision

Mechanical Aids in Races

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The use of mechanical aids to assist a runner in moving forward is against the rules in most ultramarathons. For instance, a runner will be disqualified for getting a lift in a car, riding a bicycle, or hopping along on a pogo stick.

Some fools classify trekking . . . → Read More: Mechanical Aids in Races

The Paradox of Censorship

Censorship imposed on one sector of society by another is an act of the first group’s taking away freedoms that belong to the second group, regardless of the first group’s intent.

Censorship is perpetrated by persons, organizations, committees who have seen, heard, read information they don’t like or approve of, and so set . . . → Read More: The Paradox of Censorship

Failed Diets

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Some diet plans, notably Weighwatchers, depend on logging everything that is eaten, playing on the theory that if you have to log it, you may eat less.

One reason some people fail miserably in all attempts to control weight is because they become obsessed with food, and in the process . . . → Read More: Failed Diets

Routines

A friend once told me: “The more I repeat things the more good things happen.” He spoke of living his life according to an orderly daily routine.

Most lives progress in cycles with controlled variations, from which emanate all that becomes one’s productivity, that by means of which we will make our mark, . . . → Read More: Routines

Boredom Yet Again

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Time for a rant: About being bored on the track—speaking as one who has spent a total of twenty-three 24-hour days and nights circling various tracks and short, flat pieces of road. The topic comes up often.

Persons who say that they are bored, as distinguished from those who fear they may . . . → Read More: Boredom Yet Again

Such a Lonely Word

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We recently heard a Bible talk that touched on honesty. It included exhortation to students to avoid looking at someone else’s paper during tests.

My high school (attended 1957-1961) prided itself on what it called the “honor system,” something they began to prepare us for as early as seventh grade. . . . → Read More: Such a Lonely Word

Snobs in Wilmette?

The summer of 1952, when I was between third and fourth grades, my family moved from a blue collar neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, where the men were policemen and plumbers, to the upscale suburb Wilmette, where most of the fathers were businessmen who did things none of us kids understood, some of them . . . → Read More: Snobs in Wilmette?

What Is Economy?

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Recently I mentioned to a friend that it was difficult to communicate with some persons I need to keep in touch with because they either do not use computers, or do so infrequently. Sending them email is next to useless, and other means of contacting them is way too slow. He suggested that . . . → Read More: What Is Economy?

When I Almost Died

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In February, 1972, my wife and I, who were living in the Riverdale area of Bronx, New York at the time, planned a week’s vacation to visit our parents in Wilmette, Illinois. (Our families lived four blocks apart.)

I remember taking a cab to the airport and feeling wonderful that . . . → Read More: When I Almost Died

A Family Affair

As a runner who is deeply involved in the organization and presentation of Across the Years, yet who also manages to run the 72-hour race each year, mostly undistracted by official responsibilities other than to answer an occasional question, I enjoy a unique insider’s perspective on the race.

It has been my pleasure . . . → Read More: A Family Affair

Half Crazy

Most distance runners have been asked by non-runners: “How far is that marathon you’ll be running?” We all have our own saucy answers. I’m sure somewhere there’s a smart aleck who replies: “It’s just a standard marathon.” “Ummm … Oh! Great!”

One day a man at the gym asked me as I whizzed . . . → Read More: Half Crazy

Chips Off the Workbench

Welcome to my verbal webcam. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, as I’ve been busy with work and the upcoming race Across the Years. Meanwhile, here are a few thoughts that pass through my eccentric mind.

When people ask me why I run so much at my age I tell them I’m hoping to be . . . → Read More: Chips Off the Workbench

The Dumbing Down of Holidays

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Modern American society has dumbed down so-called holidays. The word “holiday” is derived from and sounds like an Old English expression “holy day,” a day set aside for religious observance, for worship of and paying tribute to God. These days few people are willing to be thought of as devoting . . . → Read More: The Dumbing Down of Holidays

Streisand Does Phoenix

Cover of Barbra Streisand

When Suzy and I have told people we went to hear Barbra Streisand in concert Thursday night (November 16th) the almost universal reaction has been a discreet, “Well, Barbra Streisand is not my cup of tea, but I’m glad you had fun.” Internally their reaction is roughly the same . . . → Read More: Streisand Does Phoenix

On Being a Soldier

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People can put any spin they want on words to defend war and those who join the military — willingly or otherwise. They can call them freedom fighters or defenders, and imply they had a choice by saying they make sacrifices. The one that gets me is when they . . . → Read More: On Being a Soldier

To-Do Lists

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I don’t do things unless I’ve added them to a to-do list. Sometimes my wife will ask me to do something. I’ll say, “But that’s not on my list.” She’ll say, “So put it on your list.” So I put it on my list. Then I’ll do it . . . → Read More: To-Do Lists

Javelina Jundred 2006

Geezer at JJ 2006

At Javalina Jundred 100-mile trail race on November 4th and 5th, 2006, I had my toughest outing ever in that or in any other race. Less than two miles into my fifth loop at a little over 60 miles, I turned back and dropped, but I was fried both . . . → Read More: Javelina Jundred 2006

Running Through the Night

Saturday night I ran an all-night training run at Pemberton Trail, two full 15.4-mile laps plus the 9.2-mile partial loop that comes back on the Tonto Tank trail. It was my best trail training run in years.

Not a race, but a no-cost supported run, its purpose was primarily to train for the Javelina Jundred 100-mile trail . . . → Read More: Running Through the Night

A 42.5-Mile Night Run

Geezer runs all night

As I’m training for the Javelina Jundred 100-mile trail race, my training schedule has called for a progressively increasing very long run every four weeks since May. As of today I’m still on target.

A month ago I did a 40-miler, so the objective of yesterday’s run was to . . . → Read More: A 42.5-Mile Night Run

Running Pemberton Trail

Saturday afternoon I ran Pemberton Trail. The high in Phoenix was 102, about normal for this time of year. I didn’t see another human soul out there the whole time, not even in the parking lot.

I felt good at the start, anxious to get in a good workout. I wore my light . . . → Read More: Running Pemberton Trail

Ape

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There’s a guy who comes to Bally’s gym that I call Ape. I call him that because it’s his name. Well, maybe not, but it should be. What else could his mother have thought when she first saw him?

Ape works out for hours almost every day, mostly in the free weights room. . . . → Read More: Ape

On Saying God

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Near the beginning of John Updike’s novel Rabbit, Run the main character Rabbit and his wife Janet are having a minor tiff while Janet watches Mickey Mouse Club on TV. Chief adult Mousketeer Jimmy appears onscreen and the following takes place, beginning with Jimmy’s words:

“God doesn’t want a tree to be a waterfall . . . → Read More: On Saying God

The Rudest Devices

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On July 13th I became the owner of my first cell phone. My resistance to having one in the past was not entirely for financial reasons, nor because I suffer from high-tech phobias, nor because I’m an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy. I’ve been an internetting software engineer since the mid-eighties, usually . . . → Read More: The Rudest Devices

Balanchine Festival, Ballet Arizona

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Saturday night we attended a Ballet Arizona performance that was billed as part of a George Balanchine festival. While the music, the dancing, and the choreography were all exquisite, the experience was not without eyebrow-raising issues.

We bought tickets six months ago, when I learned that the program would be . . . → Read More: Balanchine Festival, Ballet Arizona

Conquering the Voice

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Whenever I go to the gym for a run there is a period of time between when I quit working for the day and when I arrive, during which my mind engages in relatively unproductive thought. It provides ample time to dwell on negatives, as I rapidly begin to unravel . . . → Read More: Conquering the Voice

Non-Utilitarian Apparel

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There is a certain arbitrariness born of tradition regarding what is considered dressy attire. Utilitarian wear is not the first principle of design.

There is nothing intrinsically praiseworthy from a practical standpoint about tying a piece of cloth around one’s neck that gets in the way. They don’t call it . . . → Read More: Non-Utilitarian Apparel

Giving Awards

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Mankind is inextricably addicted to the ceremonious giving of awards.

When I was a Boy Scout, our troop had a pancake making contest. I took it seriously, thinking the intent was to make the finest-looking stack of pancakes possible. Some of the other boys brought in pancakes that . . . → Read More: Giving Awards

Morons Need Jobs Too!

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To each person his own job is or becomes important. Morons need jobs, too. Give them their space; let them do their work.

When the average joe looks for a job, his primary objective is usually to find an occupation that will bring in enough money to pay the bills. Other . . . → Read More: Morons Need Jobs Too!

Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman — Arizona Opera

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Last night was the first time in 62 years of musical life that I ever attended a live production of a Wagner opera. At that rate I’ll be 124 before I see my next one. I can wait.

The event du jour was The Flying Dutchman, one of Wagner’s earliest works. The . . . → Read More: Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman — Arizona Opera

The Most Secure Place in the World

Many adventure and sci-fi movies show scenes of top secret highly secure fortresses surrounded by armed guards and protected by more hi-tech gear than the Pentagon can afford. Each of these movies leaves you convinced that there couldn’t possibly be a more important place in the world.

What might be found in the . . . → Read More: The Most Secure Place in the World

Music As Wallpaper

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Music today has become like wallpaper — part of the ambience. Hardly anyone ever just listens to it any more, unless it’s to get up and dance.

As a child I became accumstomed to simply listening to music, allowing it to take over my full attention. Even when I was little, I would sit . . . → Read More: Music As Wallpaper

How Many Miles Per Whatever?

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Non-runners will ask runners: “How many miles per unit of time du jour do you run?”

If the inquirer is a fitness oriented type who sees me at the gym frequently, he may be the sort of person who assumes that I follow a periodic routine, and that I run pretty . . . → Read More: How Many Miles Per Whatever?

A Simple Life

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Many people stumble along the path from birth to death with colossal holes in their lives.

They never read. How can a person know anything if he never, ever reads?

They never think.

They never work out.

They never learn to experience music or art or drama and sometimes cultivate a distaste for artistic beauty.

They are immune . . . → Read More: A Simple Life

Handel’s Semele — Arizona Opera Company

Cover of Georg Friedrich Händel

On January 30th Suzy and I attended the Arizona Opera Company’s performance of Semele by Handel. Some musicologists classify it as a “secular oratorio” rather than an opera, but all presentations of it I’ve found listed by Google have been completely staged — by opera companies — so it . . . → Read More: Handel’s Semele — Arizona Opera Company

Boredom Redux

Often I’ve claimed that I never get bored while running. I’ll stick to that claim, with a minor rider. Sometimes preoccupation with something else can interfere with whatever task we are presently performing, such that we do it less well, or quit it entirely. This postulate applies particularly well to running.

This . . . → Read More: Boredom Redux

Downtown Chamber Players Concert Review

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Friday night Suzy and I attended an all contemporary chamber music concert. (Contemporary if you count Ysaÿe.) It’s been a long time since I did that.

The venue was a huge space in downtown Phoenix called The Ice House, which is exactly what it was built to be in 1910. . . . → Read More: Downtown Chamber Players Concert Review

Job Interviews Are Like Auditions

Cover of Sir Georg Solti

Recently I have been looking for work once again, and in so doing have had to make myself available for job interviews, the humiliating grilling in which a person is expected to lay his life’s work experience on the line in the course of a few minutes. He . . . → Read More: Job Interviews Are Like Auditions

Spinning Statistical Meaning

At Across the Years this year I earned a jacket for covering 1000 miles lifetime in my seventh year of running it. That’s the accumulated total from one 24-hour race, one 48-hour race, and five 72-hour races.

(Update: My total following the 2010 race is 1516.58 miles, the fourth most overall. That’s . . . → Read More: Spinning Statistical Meaning

Why Ultrarunning?

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On the Ultra List ultrarunning e-mail list one subscriber surmised:

“…some people get into ultrarunning to prove to the world that they’re “tough.” Deep down inside they feel weak, so they compensate by doing something physically difficult.”

Another responded:

Or to prove it to themselves. Running ultras is hard, painful, expensive, dangerous and . . . → Read More: Why Ultrarunning?

From Enron to Pink Plastic Flamingos

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This is a tale of web “surfing” in the truest sense — something I don’t often do — an exploration of connections that led to an amusing conclusion relevant only to this blog.

Last night Suzy and I rented and watched Enron — The Smartest Guys in the Room, the appearance of . . . → Read More: From Enron to Pink Plastic Flamingos

Fantastic Writing

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At this moment my wife is sitting in the living room watching Lord of the Rings. I tried watching it when it first came out, but fell asleep, and have had no further interest in watching the others. I also fell asleep watching the first Harry Potter movie, . . . → Read More: Fantastic Writing

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