Thursday, March 14, 2013


The Hunter

By Richard Stark

Fun easy read whose hero is as bad as the people he murders.  I could not put this fast paced book down and want to rent the movies Payback and Point Blank.


Joseph Anton: A Memoir

By Salman Rushdie

Joseph Anton was the name Salman Rushdie took after he went into hiding when the Ayatollah Khomeini placed a fatwa on his life for writing The Satanic Verses.  Salman Rushdie hold back nothing as he describes those 12 years.

Salman Rushdie describes in detail his childhood through the time the fatwa was lifted and he was free to venture out of his home to experience the freedoms he and other fought for for so many years.  My favorite part of the book was reading about where Midnights Children came from and how it received by the public.

This was a long, long book.  One aspect that comes from its pages is Rushdie’s ego.  He never denies his hubris but at times it is unbearable.  I do not think I could have been included in his circle of friends for all he asked from them.  Rushdie’s message of freedom of speech and the evils of limiting that freedom was constant and correct.

Salman Rushdie’s case for free speech is heard loud and clear.


Pale Fire

by Vladimir Nabokov

This is an amazing novel on many different levels. It is creative, funny, creepy, and sincere (just kidding). Trying to explain this book will be a challenge because of its complexity, but here it goes.

Nabokov’s novel, as I see it, focuses on three different areas, the life of the Poet John Shade through his poem “Pale Fire”, the live of his neighbor Charles Kinbote seen through Kinbote’s forward to “Pale Fire” and various comments in him Commentary, and the crazy world of Zembla which Kinbote has created in his head.

Charles Kinbote begins the novel by writing a hilarious forward to the poem “Pale Fire”. Immediately the reader is caught up in the outrageousness of Kinbote and his bizarre relationship with John Shade. Along with the humor, which had me laughing out loud, we are introduced to the eventual death of the poet by an unnamed murderer.

“Pale Fire” is Shade’s poem describing his life. I have never learned how to read poetry and when I first read the poem, it was difficult. I would suggest after reading “Pale Fire”, to listen to the Audio version. This helped me greatly understand Shade’s life and appreciate the beautiful of Nabokov's poetry.

The final part of the novel is Kinbote’s commentary to John Shade’s poem. Again, humor is everywhere. Kinbote sites lines from the poems followed by long descriptions of thing that have nothing to do with the lines quoted. From the commentary, the world of Zembla is described along with its ruler Charles.

Nabokov genius is how humor morphs into the disturbed. By the end of the novel is not clear who Charles Kinbote really is, the eccentric neighbor, the beloved ruler of Zembla, or a crazy killer.

This was an excellent read.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I Will Run 500 Miles!

Week Five:  Lazy! Lazy! Lazy!  Again, I did not get out during the week.  Only ran once during the weekend.  It was a great run.  Afton again, so beautiful.

Totals for the week: 3.0 miles
Yearly Total:  23.1 miles (-20.92 miles)

Week Six:  Ran only on the weekend and then only once.  4.81 through Kingston to Hinton back on 70th.  Not fun on 70th because I had to run on the road.  I fear for my life running on the street in the winter.  I feel like a car could skid out at any moment.

Totals for the week: 4.81 milesYearly Total:  27.91 miles (-25.92 miles)

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Project Ping Pong

A friend of my, JT, once told me that no project was easy and no project would take less than four hours.

Twenty years later, I have found that this is true with an addendum.  If you think the project will take more than four hours, it will inevitably take a multiple of four hours.

This was true putting together the boy's Christmas gift.

The following is a blow by blow picture documentary of the construction project. 

The box.  Heavy and exciting!  The project begins.

What you can not tell is that the temperature outside the garage was ten below zero, temperature in the garage, not much warmer.
I swear, 30 minutes later.
Looks easy, not. One hour later.

Another hour later, total project time so far 3 hours.

Two hours 45 minutes.  Ok, maybe I ate dinner during that time, and maybe, I made and drank hot coffee, and maybe I had some help by Anthony.

DONE!!!  Total time of project:  8 hours!  Theory hold again.

Note, we had the first Cauthorn Ping Pong tournament that was won by me.  The boys were shocked.  Get used to it boy, get use to it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I Would Run 500 Miles

Bad, bad, bad two weeks. 

Week three, I am not making this up, I only ran .8 miles.  I did not motivate myself to get out during the week and by the time the weekend came, it was bitter cold.  My only run was on Sunday where I ran .4 miles out, was so cold that I turned around and ran the .4 back to my car.  The temperature was 6 below zero.

The following week was only slightly better.  I still could not get myself out of the house during the week and only ran on Sunday.  It was an amazing run, 4.81 at Afton.  Lots of walking but it was beautiful and fun. 


Week Three Total:  .8 miles
Yearly Total:  20.1 miles (-9.51 miles)

Week Four Total: 4.81 miles
Yearly Total:  24.91 miles (-14.31 miles)

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Week Two, "I will run 500 miles. . ."

Great running week, not only did I get four runs in, but I also had a few mental breakthroughs.  First the runs:

Wednesday:  I took the night off swimming (a breakthrough in itself) and took Michael to soccer practice at the ALC.  After I dropped him off, I ran 3 flat miles.  We had a warm up in MN and I was WAY over dressed.  I was sluggish and walked a lot but when I was done, I had a chance to watch Michael play soccer.  That was great fun.  I learned that wearing the correct clothes is paramount. 

Friday:  I took the night off swimming again (what has gotten into me?) and ran my usual 3.1 mile route.  I ran the whole time (awesome for me!) without music and thought about what I was doing and why.  I am running to get exercise and feel good not to be fast.  I want to be strong not injured.  This got me thinking about my running technique.  I am not a running coach but my swimming background gives me some hints about how I want to train.  I know that with my swimmers I have to keep reminding them to slow down and do things right.  I did the same thing while I was running and tried to feel my feel land under me rather that in front of me.  I pushed my chest out slightly and tighten my core.  This help me greatly and made this one of the best runs of the year so far.  I need to keep reminding myself why.

Saturday:  I ran the same route (3.2 miles this time) but waited until too late to get started.  I did not leave for my run until after 10 PM at night.  This made the cold that much colder.  I was extremely hungry when I finished.  I ate an apple with peanut butter and some corn chips.  Not the best snack but I felt I needed some food.

Sunday:  After I dropped Anthony off at Afton Alps to teach snowboarding, I stopped by Afton State Park.  There was an organized run going on at the time, The Sasquatch Shuffle.  Fun to see so many people out running.  I ran a short (1.8 mile) loop mostly because of the cold and how the fact that I ran not 10 hours earlier.  The conditions were terrible, we had had some unseasonably warm weather which made the trails icy and torturous to run on.  I went slowly but kept moving the whole time. 

Week Total:  11.1 miles
Yearly Total:  19.3 miles (+.1 over goal!)

Monday, January 07, 2013


Week One Run

Week one done and I am already 1.55 miles down.

I was planning on running on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday last week but I was unmotivated after work to get out.  This is something I need to address and overcome as my work schedule won't get any easier anytime soon.

My first run was on Saturday afternoon.  I went three miles and felt like crap.  Unmotivated, slow, tired. 

Sunday was a different story.  I dropped Anthony off at Afton (he is working there now) and stopped into the State Park.  It was a beautiful day and about 20 minutes into my run, I ran into Jim Stocco, my Night School boss.  He is a crazy runner, running races of 100 miles.  We ran together for about 40 minutes before I got back to my car.  I went over 5 miles and was outside for over an hour. 

I am not worried about my pace during the winter.  The snow takes speed out of the equation. 

My goal this week is to get out two times before the weekend hits!

Friday, January 04, 2013


Henderson the Rain King

by Saul Bellows

This novel has so many things that I love.  It has a quirky self-absorbed main character, humor, a twist, and an uplifting message. 

Henderson is a man in turmoil.  He is tortured by an inter dialog of “I want, I want, I want!” but he does not know what he wants.  His journey to Africa is to find out this answer. 

He meets many important people along the way, his guide Romilayu, the Arnewi, and finally the King Dahfu.  Each experience brings him closer to the answers he is looking for.

Saul Bellows hit this one out of the park mixing humor and touching insight.  It is a book that is deeper than what it seems like on the surface.  I was like looking at a photo by Robert Adams that wells up emotion without the viewer knowing exactly why.   

I highly recommend this book!

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