The Race

The days leading up to Sunday’s race were not what I would call filled with good omens.  First, there was the second degree sunburn I foolishly allowed myself to suffer on Wednesday’s ride-through of the 90 mile route.  Actually, those burns were largely a result of the cottage cheese I foolishly ingested on Tuesday night, which left me in the bathroom and sick in bed long after my 5am start time.  By the time I rolled out of the house at quarter past nine, I wasn’t in the mood for stopping to find sun screen.  But cloud cover was heavy, so I blew it off.  By 9:45, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and wouldn’t be until I arrived at the finish six hours later.  Note to self, **SLAP!**

Three weeks ago, I had barely ridden a bike all summer.  Only twice had I broken ten miles.  But a recent 20 holes of golf in which a ran most of the course had gotten me to thinking that my health had somewhat improved.  All earlier attempts to ride had left me feeling half dead, not sensing any ability to recover.  So, I now wondered to myself whether I should find out once and for all if I indeed were better.  And, also, I sensed a small window to do what had become a ritual for me, to ride my bike around the lake, a mere 75 miles.  Of course, I don’t have a rode bike that works and have to ride my modified mountain bike, so it takes longer.

Tuesday, August 4, I was up early, had the bike loaded and hit the road at 5:50.  Due to switching winds, the first 60 miles were slightly wind-abetted.  After I finally got the wind behind me, I frolicked around taking pictures and such and coasted home in 6 1/2 hours.  I had done it, so now to focus on work.

By Saturday, August 8, the work schedule was still full of holes.  Finding myself with the afternoon free, I decided to try it again, this time more seriously.  Based on what I’ve come to learn about muscle recovery, it was the fourth day, so I should be ready.  5 hours and 15 minutes later I was successful again.

Thoughts turned toward the “Race the Lake”, a 90 mile race held every year.  Turns out if was coming up the next Sunday.  I’d ridden 75 miles twice in a week, but had never ridden my mountain bike 90 miles in one sitting.  Could I do it?  Should I?  I decided that, based on four days’ rest, I should try the course out.  As yes another work hole opened up on Wednesday, perfect timing.

While I felt good again on Wednesday, the aforementioned mistakes had me feeling pretty miserable for the rest of the week.  Sleep was hard to get, as any little movement caused burn pain.  Also, there was the fact that work days were going into late hours.  Even Saturday, a rest day, involved too much running around, such that I finally collapsed at 10pm and hope I could get a few hours of sleep.

By the time the 3am alarm sounded, I was just falling asleep.  I got up and contemplated punting the whole idea, instead of diving into the pre-race itinerary.  Suddenly, I’m half-way through breakfast and realize that it’s already 4:15, I’m half an hour drive from the race start, and I haven’t even packed the car yet.  So now the real race begins.  Managing to pull a rabbit out of the hat, I arrived at the parking lot a 5:05am.  Race is at 5:30.  Cutting it close but OK.

So, I jump out of the car and they start my division of the race!  Oops, they told me the wrong start time at registration.  So I slap my bike together and go off by myself, 15 minutes late.  Like and idiot, I try to catch the guys in my division.  Not a smart move on a 45-pound mountain bike with no pack for sharing the wind break.  By mile 22, the elite rode bikes, who started after me by 25 minutes, go rolling by.  I try to catch a draft but am already too spent.  By mile 36, I realize that I am gassed and think of pulling out.  At mile 45 comes the first big climb and I need to get off and walk.  Also, we have now turned into the wind.  Several gatoraides and some welcome downhills later, I’m sitting at mile 65, still gassed, but thinking I can do this.  Four hours have elapsed, and I’m thinking there are only about two to go, so just keep turning the pedals.  Two more excruciating hours bring me to the finish line.

Now it is Friday post-race.  The sunburn is almost healed, now.  The last two nights finally brought sleep, but I’m still feeling fatigued.  Now the questions for analysis.

  1. Should I go back into bike racing?  NO!  My time of six hours wasn’t bad, considering the bike I rode and the messed up situation that saw me solo the whole race.  But, the winners all posted a time around 3:23.  When I was 25, maybe I could have competed with that.  But I remember being on the bike 15 hours a week.  I remember how hard it was to stay awake at my desk during my day job.  I remember not having a life.  And I remember still getting beat by the younger guys who didn’t have a day job, which meant more rest and more hours of training.  My hobby was their job.
  2. How am I doing at 55?  After a year of really questionable health, I thought I was never going to feel like a younger man again.  I’m happy to find that that is not the case.  No, I didn’t recover very well this week.  But, I do notice a difference.  My knees stopped complaining.  My heart rate is back under 60.  Even my fingers stopped feeling arthritic.  Other issues are still nagging me.  But, I think some of that is from the stress of 330 miles on a mountain bike in 13 days.  As biking makes me want to eat everything, I got a little lax on watching what I eat and ate things I know don’t sit right with me, like dairy (Hello!  Cottage cheese?  What were you thinking!)  I will have to see if things start improving again when I get off the junk food.
  3. Will I be back next year?   It’s a long way and God only knows what comes in between.  But, I feel like my old self again for the first time since February of 2014.   I lost my sister that month, which couldn’t have helped my health much.  But it was pretty bad before then.  And depression from a failed business venture couldn’t have helped either.  But, I’ve read so much about how the body needs oxygen to be healthy.  I’ve learned so much about eating right and have done a much better job at it.  And I think it helped.  But I always had the sneaking suspicion that conquering the lake was going to help me conquer my health.  I think I was right.

Going for a little ride tomorrow.  Around the lake.  Anyone want to join me?


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The Obama Test

I have noticed, over the years, that the title of a blog is more important to its viewership than anything in the meta file or the content.   Recently, I have blogged very little.  Yet, some titles continue to lead the way in views.  I am putting this blog in the search engine just to see how many hits it gets just because the title mentions Obama.

Now, to be sure, some people love our president and some people hate him.  But, as Donald Trump would say, there is no such thing as bad publicity.  And our present White House inhabitant is certainly capable of generating a lot of pub.

Some of you might be insulted that I wasted your time in this way.  But, it’s not a total waste of time, if it gets you to stop and think about something.  Most of what we click on and discuss on this terrible and wonderful internet is knee-jerk, visceral response to shock journalism.  I am myself guilty of wasting many a good day when I suddenly realize that I have followed the click trail well down the trail of paid click sites to the point of contemplating just how much some celebrities look like their dogs.  Meanwhile, somewhere else, something matters, like Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetus parts, or Obama (oo, I said the magic word again, yay!) quietly issuing an executive order (by the way, aren’t most of these unconstitutional?) that give the federal government eminent domain over you and you property.  Why didn’t we know this? Well, there are, unfortunately only so many hours in the browsing day, and we spent ours being led by the nose through a pile of ads.

I’m sure I could come up with more catchy titles that would bring people running.  Something like,  “When they opened the lid on the garbage can, they were shocked by what they saw!”  Then I could proceed to tell the story of some schlep who was always messing until he discovered how to keep the trash can spotless.  Then I could make some links to incredible cleaning products or to that new coating to which nothing can stick.  Maybe I can get a little click revenue, while I’m at it.  Of course, it takes some time and effort to set that up, and a little know-how.   I could probably find out if I weren’t so busy deciding which Olsen Twin is more anorexic.

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Happy Anniversary To Me. So What.

Well, another year of blogging quietly concluded.  Quietly is was mostly because I ceased to care much about blogging.  What is the point of all the talk when no one is listening?

So, today I read one of my old posts, where I got it.  I don’t blog for today, nor do I blog for present day America.  I blog the universal truth for the time when someone might actually care to listen.  If any of this survives the Great Purge of Queen Obama in 2045 (she the heir and successor to her father, King Barack, who becomes the first American Caesar just before the 2016 elections), then maybe some small band of rebels might be encouraged to some small degree to forge the new freedom movement.  If, by the grace of God, that movement doesn’t end up being led by a modern day Adi Amin, I might make some small difference in this world some day.

More likely,  I will get back to this blogging thing and help the small remnant of Christians who still exist after the mass exodus from churches that ensues, now that the Christian veneer has been totally stripped from America via the Supreme Coat Us.  At least no one will accuse me of being inconsistent.  Since the eve of Obama’s second election victory (My Kingdom is not of the world), I have been speaking the truth about nominal Christianity.  I like how Hunter Baker managed to encapsulate it.  Since Essy Oat Us has now removed any possible political gain to being Christian, the death knell of nominal Christianity has been sounded.

Now, I’m not for gay marriage any more than I’m for abortion.  But it just might be a good thing that we finally see the fruits of uncommitted Christianity.   Decades ago we dropped the ball when we stopped throwing people out of the church for doing unchristian things like sleeping around, easy divorces, spousal abuse, and, in general, imitating and trying to “fit in” to the unchristian world.  For decades, those watching the church shouted “hypocrisy!”   We, the few who really were trying to live our faith, tried to respond that we were misunderstood, that no one can live up to the standards of Christ no matter how hard they try, but that there is forgiveness when we fail.   We didn’t really understand that only 10% of us were really even trying.  We didn’t start to realize it until a whole generation of young Christians went off to college and never came back.  We blamed it on brainwashing of teachers (which is quite true), not realizing that the real blame lay in the fact that we neither taught our children God’s word nor showed them any example of Christian living.  Now, suddenly, the shock at legal gay marriage.  Frankly, I am a little shocked myself that gays should want to marry, given that “Christians” have made such a mess of the state that hardly anyone who looks at most marriages should want to marry.

Anyway, I’m still all for marriage.  It’s the best for everyone involved.  I’m not all for gay marriage, because I don’t think any marriage based on something abominable to God can ever end well.  And I’m not for the idea of Christian marriage just because that’s what Christians do.  No, I’m talking about a real, working marriage, with kids nurture by a father and a mother, kids who are trained up in the way they should go so that they know how it’s supposed to be done when it’s their turn.  But I haven’t seen much of that in a long, long time.  And, when I do see it, it is a rare thing of beauty.

So, yes, I’ll keep blogging.  I’ll take some different tacks, since logical politics is dead and gone.  But I signed on for five years minimum.  Two to go.  Hope I still recognize something in the world by then.


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And then there was Nepal

As some of you who read my blogs may know, I was hoping to ride my bike from India through Nepal and into Tibet.  So I have been planning and studying the region for some time.

About a year ago, I was introduced to a young man in Nepal with a dream to take the Good News of Jesus to his fellow Nepali people.  Unfortunately, as an orphan, he lacked the funds.  Could I help him?  So, my plans to go to Nepal gained impetus, and the focus changed from tourism to what I might do to help him and others.   Somehow, over the last year or so, I have fallen in love with the people of Nepal more than the scenery.

Now comes the events of the last few weeks.  Suddenly, everyone is thinking about Nepal.  Well-intentioned people are rushing with food, medical and other kinds of aid.  Donations are pouring in. Everyone wants to help.

I have two questions.  Besides the tourists, who came for the view, who cared a hang for Nepal before the earthquake?  And how long will it take for all of this caring to move on to the next disaster and leave the Nepali people to their fate?

I know there are a lot of people, by which I mean hundreds, that really care about Nepal in a personal way.  And there are many thousands more who simply are compassionate people and want to help people out in desperate times.  And thank God for all of them.  But, ten dollars is easy to spare, or even a hundred, when it’s nothing to drop $500 a month on the new SUV.  I’m sure most of the Doctors Without Borders could pony up substantially more than that.   Instead, they give something a lot more precious.  They give themselves.  They don’t just write a check toward a problem.  They go and FIX the problem.

What is my point?  Why does it take a disaster before we care?  Why are we so selfish that we scream through life on our agendas and don’t bother to look at the people we pass, the very people whose existence defines life?  Perhaps that is our training in the modern world where money and pleasure have become our most sought after commodities.

I have a commitment to help the people of Nepal.  I can’t fling them a check right now.  But I give them myself.  I will pray for them, laugh and cry with them, seek to do business with them.  Mostly, I will find a way to come to them and help them fix their problems.  Commitment isn’t about checks, and it isn’t about today.  It’s about tomorrow and every day after that.   Good that so many offer help to Nepal.  Don’t forget them tomorrow.

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Lessons on the Middle East: Introduction

I have been, in my hiatus from blogging, studying the Middle East.  There  are no end of choices about our current problems with the the region.  Yet few newer offers really get to the historical context of modern events.  Two excellent exceptions are All The Shah’s Men, by Stephen Kinzer (2005, not all that modern anymore), and Islamic Imperialism, by Efraim Karsh (2007)

As  way of introduction, and in order illuminate a source of vaste knowledge about the true nature of Islam,  I give this link

Dr. Bill Warner details quite quickly just what is the overwhelming truth of Islamic conquest and why the world is the way it is today.  I urge anyone to have look at this video and his other offerings.

One of the things I like about All the Shah’s Men is that it explains well that, when it comes to dealing with the Middle East, there are facts, there is propaganda, and there are facts skewed in importance by propaganda.  This is really no different from any other place.  What causes the Middle East to be under the microscope is that has been the historic battle ground of empires.  From the earliest days of the Persians battling the Greco-Roman empires to the modern clashes between the Russian and British empires, it has been the battle ground of East against West.  And, from the dawn of Islam, which has sought to destroy Christiany by force, and which has indeed succeed in wiping out half of the Christian world, it has been a battleground in the death struggle of spiritual forces as well.

To the casual observer, especially those residing in America, far-removed from the constant conflict, our glimpses of the Middle East are few and seen through our own prism of 9/11.  It is looked upon by most, I think, as an isolated incident.  Our fears have been aswaged by an all-out assault of “religion of peace” propagandists to make it seem as if the most famous terrorist act in our history was a one-off by “radicals”.  As Dr. Warner points out, though, there have been 19000 jihadist attacks just since 9/11.  And, if one goes back to the beginning, the death toll of the “religion of peace” is staggering, as are the hundreds of millions of people in once-Christian nations who were forced to assimilate.

Certainly, Islam doesn’t equate with Middle East.  But, for the last 1400 years, the overlap has been enormous.  To treat the subject politically without considering Islam is utterly impossible.  And, while many of the Muslim nations have had a go at secular and separatist power grabs over the centuries, that fact remains that there is one overall driving force in the region.

I have friends living in Tehran.  Most of them are Muslim.   Most of them are Persian, too.  Persians are not Arabs, and they would be the first to point that out to you.  While religious ties seek to unite the region, ethnic ties seek the opposite.  One of the greatest battles that Middle Eastern countries have waged are battles with themselves.  We certainly see this with ISIS at present.  It does seem very confusing to outsiders, but it all make perfect sense to insiders.  Hopefully a little focus on the region will help it to make sense to us as well.

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I’ve been using the Menrise site for about a week.  I started using it as part of a pragram to learn Korean in order to learn vocabulary.  Overall, I think it’s pretty good.  However, there are some drawbacks, as you can find with any system.

Since it requires typing many answers, the site is not ideal for those who don’t have mastery of the keyboard.  Of course, if you want to master the keyboard, you certainly are going to get a lot of practice.  Korean, for me, is certainly helping me familiarize myself with the Korean keyboard again.  I had somewhat learned it a few years ago.  But I definitely have gotten a better mastery of it having to type all the words with Korean script.

I will say that having to type Korean is a definite advantage over romanized methods.   Some people may not think this in the beginning, especially those who have come from Chinese study with pinyin or from romanized Japanese study or study of one of the south Asia languages with ornate scripts.  But, unlike Chinese or Japanese, Korean is alphabetical, so the writing is also the sounding.  Of course, in Korean, you’d be hard-pressed to find two people who pronounce things absolutely the same way, so it does get a little confusing if you listen to the word and then try to write it correctly.  But, romanizing doesn’t really make this any easier.  You pretty much have to learn the spellings by rote anyway.  But, then, you really have to do that with English, given so many origins with different spelling schemes.  (Why isn’t it “skeem, skeme, skeam or skime?)  Since you must learn these spellings anyway, might as well do it in Korean script.  I’m assuming you’re learning it because you want to go there some day and somewhat fit it, or at least you want to follow Kpop and have some clue as to what’s being said.  In any case, you’re going to want to be able to read it anyway, so might as well start from the beginning to make it second nature.

On the other hand, this is one drawback of Memrise for pictographic languages such as Chinese.  You can’t practice writing the characters.  This doesn’t sound like such a big deal, and it isn’t if all you ever hope to do is read a simple news article.  But writing is really the best way to know that you really know something.  Charcters are often quite similar and you can easily confuse them at quick glance if you haven’t drawn them and known them intimately.  Take, for example, 我 and 找.  The difference between them is one small stroke.  The first, “wo”, means “I’ and one of the most common words used.  The second, “zhao”, means “search”.  I have often been reading along and mistaken the second for the first.  Then I look in vain for a verb, since I’ve mistaken the verb for the subject.  I don’t know that one should have to practice writing 10,000 characters.  But it’s a good idea to practice enough to get the idea of how they are formed.

Another problem, of course, it that not all Chinese writing styles are so easy to read.  I think the fact that two different styles are used in the particular Chinese program I am working on in Memrise is a good thing, because it forces me to pay closer attention to the strokes.  Ideally, someone would come up with a way to teach recognition of freehand characters.  All of what I find in learning books amounts to the English equivalent of type-written.  Just as I can’t read some handwriting of English speakers without difficulty, so I am really lost trying to read Chinese scribble.

As I said, I originally went to Memrise to work on Korean vocabulary.  But the site offers a host of language learning programs, plus many other programs from science and mathematics to geography and history.  I haven’t tried many of them yet, but they do look intriguing.  Since one of my stated goals is to learn everything about everything and then go on Jeopardy and win $2.5 million like Ken Jennings, this may be the prefect place for me to train for my goal.

Two things that help on Memrise are the ability to chart your progress and the competitive incentives.  It takes a little getting used to, but, once you understand how a learning program is set up, it’s easy to customize your program to your tastes and track you your progress.  It’s also easy to see your development overall and to measure yourself against others, but in each specific learning program and in Memrise overall.  And, of course, if you are super-competitive like me, you KNOW you have to get up that leader board and show everyone who’s boss.  Yeah!  Take that, Gordon23!  I just owned you!  Ahem, well, I mean, you’re just coming in here for your own growth, not trying to compare yourself to others, right?

I think it’s hard for grownups to find learning fun.  Making it like a game is the way to reach children and to help them want to learn.  It can work for us old people, too.  It’s hard to let go of being an adult.  Even what I learn for pleasure I have to justify as some advancement of my professional life.  Otherwise, it’s hard start anything.   But, maybe, just maybe, I can spend some time in Memrise, learn something just for fun, and feel a little like a kid again.  And, unlike Farmville and Candyland, there is a real payoff at the end in a skill you can use outside the virtual world.  In the meantime, I’m coming for you,  Membassador Gordon23!

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Illinois IARDC : Corrupt jurists, judicial & public officials

A friend of mine recently told me the sad story of her aunt. Her aunt unwisely gave POA to a neighbor. This neighbor had the aunt declared incompetent and place in the nursing facility, then appropriated her belongings with the help of court orders. Though my friend was able to get a hearing in which her aunt pleaded to have her POA switched to my friend, and though the aunt testified that she was being abused, to date nothing has changed.

There are thousands of cases where the government itself has appointed guardians for “incompetent” people on the flimsiest of evidence and have taken their rights or their property. Several cases like the simple questionnaires given to veterans. One vet had his guns confiscated for incompetence because, when asked about his finances, he replied, “My wife takes care of those.” They will use anything against you, especially if you are old. In the case of my parents, I’m even afraid of the yearly health consultation that is routine now. I tell them never answer yes to any questions such as, “Have you ever been sad over the past year?” Such things have been used as justification for institutionalization.

The PPJ Gazette

new logoKen Ditkowsky


No outrage is too large or too horrible for the corrupt jurists, judicial officials and public officials who participate in the cottage industry of elder cleansing and their war on the elderly and the disabled.

The lawyers who pirate the estates of the elderly and the disabled are given a free pass, but, any lawyer who joins in the complaint is suspended from the practice of law.”


The interim suspension of the law license of JoAnn Denison, Attorney

America has been very lucky to date. It continues as a viable republic in spite of events that could havedd395-Judge%20(site) destroyed her. For instance, in 1812 a hurricane drove the British out of Washington and saved the Republic. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The American public reacted with patriotism and love of country. On September 11, 2002 terrorists attacked the Trade Center in…

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