Lots of mentions of this article today about the same study being used say that running is better than walking and vice versa. Interesting article but it, and the commentary on it I've been seeing around the web, seem to ignore the fact that running has a much larger impact on the body than walking does in the overall health, a larger detrimental impact. The article mentions the increase in problems with the feet and legs but seems to kind of brush that aside. Years of running killed my knees and I can't do it anymore. Knowing that I can get the same overall benefits from walking, even if it's for a longer period of time, is great to know. No, I won't get the same cardiovascular endurance but I'll still be able to move
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and the identification by at least one of the brothers that he was Muslim I'm not surprised to read this today in the Washington Post.
I knew trouble would start brewing when the media latched on to the Chetchen/Muslim angle. The discussion of the younger Tsaraev and his behaviors (smoking pot, partying) don't match with any sort of what I would consider religious behavior, especially Muslim behavior. It's a sad state of affairs that American Muslims have to say anything about this situation let alone apologize or distance themselves from it.
I hope that thinking, rational people will realize this has nothing to do with Islam. For those who aren't rational keep your racist, anti-Muslim crap to yourselves. Americans are Americans, Muslim or otherwise. We all share the same right to peace.
A Chicago legend, Roger Ebert, died today. It was a shock to me because just two days ago he wrote about all of his plans for the future. A recurrence of cancer took him but it seemed that on Tuesday things were under control. I never particularly cared for his movie reviews, as great as they were. I found that I usually disagreed with them. I loved his other writing, especially since thyroid cancer took his ability to speak. That seemed to bring out his eloquence and allowed him to write about considerably more than movies. He will be missed.
I went for a walk today to find the Boston Store. Funny thing is the Boston Store hasn’t existed in Chicago since 1948, put out of business by not keeping up with the times. A competitor had a grand return to State Street years ago and is occupying the former residence of the Boston Store. But the Boston Store refuses to be forgotten even 65 years later. If you walk on the north side of Washington Street about halfway between Dearborn and State streets and look south, and more importantly up, you’ll see the store saying “Hello” from the past. It’s nice to see these remnants of city history still hanging on despite time, weather, and city construction projects. It helps us retain a physical reminder of our past.
Is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? It’s after Halloween now so is it fair game?
At this time of year the most obvious thing is the explosion of yellow. With the peak of color now past, most of the maples are showing off their brilliant coat of yellow. Parts of the land that were formerly green are yellow almost from ground to sky. On a sunny day even the areas that aren’t yellow have a yellow tint to them thanks to the scattering of the light off of all of the leaves.
But here and there other colors are peeking out. Along the river the maples pretty much rule the roost with the odd oak tree soaring above but never dominating. The evidence for them is pretty clear with brown leaves here and there. At one point though the maples give way to the oaks.
I can’t say exactly how far away from the river I had to walk to see the transition but it was striking how quickly the landscape changed from a very dense stand of maples with their yellow leaves to the oaks, with their browns, oranges, and reds stretching out a bit. The oaks are big and they need a bit more breathing room and the forest complies.
Anyone who was a kid in the 1980’s will remember video game arcades and the biggest chain of them was Aladdin’s Castle. One of my fondest memories of growing up is of the Aladdin’s Castle arcade at Lakehurst Mall.
The last time I was there is going on 30 years ago but I can remember this place so clearly in my memory it’s almost like it happened yesterday. The thing that I think is a real shame is that kids today won’t get the experience of playing stand-up coin-operated video games. Well, most kids. These places still do exist: Ground Kontrol in Portland, Oregon is one example currently still in business. Gameland was in Lake Geneva, WI and closed about 3 years ago. That place had been in business since the heyday in the 1980s.
But even with places to go it just isn’t the same thing. It is impossible for me to describe in words how much of an …experience … it was. At Aladdin’s Castle the place was jammed from front to back with games. There were two rooms and it was loud in there. Between the music playing on the PA system and the games themselves it was impossible to hold a conversation. It was always jammed full of people so you’d be shoving your way to get through. If the games were popular enough there would be multiple games so that people could get their turn playing. You waited your turn by putting your quarters up on the game’s marquee (the lit sign that was at the top of every game) and everyone knew which quarter was theirs.
Oh, and it was dark. Light was provided mostly by the monitors on the games and black lights. There were posters up on the walls and the place had nutty carpeting.
I really miss those days for many reasons but boy do I miss places like Aladdin’s Castle. As great as games are these days most of them are a very solitary experience. It just isn’t, and can’t be, the same thing and it makes me feel sad to think it won’t ever be back.
The clarity with which the mind can render a memory, especially a memory of an emotionally powerful event, is pretty staggering. This is where we get the “do you remember where you were when…” question and we can often recall with crystal clarity where we were and what we were doing.
Today is the 11th anniversary of the day terrorists attacked, and brought down, the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I remember it so clearly it still feels like it happened yesterday.
My wife had already left for work. I was getting ready to leave for work. I was watching Good Morning America on ABC while I was ironing my shirt. When I had turned on the TV the first plane had already hit but the details at the time were pretty sketchy. They were showing smoke pouring out of one of the towers and the assumption was that there had been a terrible accident. A bit later those ideas were shattered when a second plane, clearly a large one, flew into the other tower on live TV.
At that point it was clear that I wasn’t going to work. I called in and most people had already called in. Those that hadn’t were glued to the TV there. In the hours that followed we all watched with horror as both towers fell and more reports of other planes followed.
I am thankful that nobody I knew died during the attack or in the aftermath. I hope we never have to experience something like that ( or worse ) again. The US became such a different place in the weeks ( and years ) that followed. I remember feeling a sense of loss and depression for weeks afterwards. It was definitely a moment in time in which to question our existence and wonder what the point of it all was if people could still be doing such ghastly things to one another.
There are few times when I am ashamed of the United States. Today is one of them. The State of Texas executed a mentally retarded man despite the fact that he should have been protected by the Eighth Amendment. What is worse, the Supreme Court of the United States stood by and let it happen. Just shameful.
From an article in The Atlantic:
At 6:26 p.m local time last night, an hour or so after the last appeal was denied, Texas executed a mentally retarded black man named Marvin Wilson, a man who could not handle money or navigate a phone book, a man who sucked his thumb and could not always tell the difference between left and right, a man who, as a child, could not match his socks, tie his shoes or button his clothes, a 54-year-old man with an IQ of 61* which, his attorneys were quick to point out, is “below the first percentile of human intelligence.”
I am well aware that many people support the idea of “an eye for an eye”. I used to be one of them. As a deterrent capital punishment does not work. Justice can be served other ways. We must find other ways. We must join the list of countries who have abolished capital punishment. A country founded on the principles of freedom and equality should not be allowing the State to take the life of a man who clearly can have no awareness of the seriousness of his actions.
We also cannot forget the innocent who have been put to death or who narrowly escaped the death penalty. ↩
I am a US citizen. I am not anti-gun by any means. I am however sick and tired of the speculation by the pro-gun folks that things might have been different in the theater in Aurora, CO if only someone had a gun. This is always the answer for these people. If only someone else had a gun maybe the situation would have been different.
Never mind that the theater was dark, with smoke from some sort of device tossed in by the gunman. Never mind that it was pure chaos in there with people trying to escape with their lives. Never mind that the gunman had body armor.
That is a challenging situation for even trained individuals. It is an impossible situation for those who aren’t. Had someone in that theater had the presence of mind to pull out a gun most likely the death toll would be higher, and it wouldn’t have been the gunman who was dead.
To those folks who keep wondering what if: get real. The situation would have been worse that it already was.