Thursday, 22 November 2007


I leave you this fine evening with a column by Timothy Garton Ash. Key paragraph:

However, the arguments against settling on this tag are stronger. First of all, in the last 50 years the label “fascism” and “fascists” has been profligately over-used and hollowed-out to mean little more than “something the left hates at the moment”. If it’s bad, and you’re on the left, you call it “fascist”; if it’s fascist, it feels good to be against it. The list of things described by people on the left as “fascist” over the last half-century would fill several pages, and certainly include Margaret Thatcher, the United States, the Federal Republic of Germany, capitalism, men (aka male chauvinists) and the Daily Mail.

It’s a testament to the intellectual bankruptcy of progressives that they label as “fascist” anything and everything they oppose. The word has no meaning to them. It functions as a cudgel.

Turkey Trot

North Texas weather is crazy. Two days ago, the official high temperature at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was 84º Fahrenheit. Today, when I woke up, it was 38º, with a high of 50º expected. A howling northerly wind made the wind-chill factor much lower, perhaps in the low 20s. I’m a Michigan boy, but this is ridiculous! Still, I had to run. The Fort Worth Turkey Trot was beckoning.

At 8:55, having shivered for 30 minutes, I set out with a thousand or so runners on a neighborhood 10K course. I’ve done this course several times over the years, so I knew what to expect: hills. My goal for the day was to beat the 7:21.75 I recorded at the Squirrel Run 12 days ago. Anything better would be gravy. (Sorry.) As soon as the gun sounded, I knew I had made a mistake in lining up too far back. My progress was impeded by slower runners for the first quarter mile or so. I estimate that it cost me 30 seconds. Sure enough, I had 7:43 after one mile. I didn’t give up on reaching my goal, however. Never give up.

Once I got clear of slower runners, I picked up the pace considerably. I did the second mile in 7:13, which gave me a cumulative mile pace of 7:28. Not bad, I thought. I did the third mile in 7:13 as well, which gave me a cumulative mile pace of 7:23. Gee, if I keep this up, I’ll have a good time, I thought. The next two miles were slower, in part because of the hills and in part because of the wind, which was not only stiff, but biting cold. I ran hard whenever I was going downhill or with a tailwind, but you can’t make up what the hills and headwind cost you. I did the fourth mile in 7:25 (cumulative mile pace = 7:23.5) and the fifth in 7:26 (cumulative mile pace = 7:24). I knew I would have to surge in order to break my Squirrel Run mark. Luckily for me, the course flattens near the end. I did the sixth mile in 7:17, which gave me a cumulative mile pace of 7:22.8. So close! Don’t let up. Stay focused. One more turn. Sprint for all you’re worth.

I covered the final .214 miles at a mile pace of 6:11. That gave me an overall mile pace of 7:20.36. (Elapsed time = 45:36.43.) I was disappointed in not breaking 7:20, but pleased that I did better than at the Squirrel Run. Had I not lost 30 seconds at the start, my overall pace would have been 7:15.53. I’ve never won anything at this race, since there are so many participants (and only three awards per age group), so after picking up a banana and a small cup of coffee, I went home. By 10:30, I was walking Shelbie on the school grounds. (She loves the cool weather.) A few hours ago, when I got up from the computer, I saw that it was snowing. That’s right: snowing! What’s strange is that it was 40º outside. The snow didn’t accumulate, obviously, but I enjoyed seeing white flakes falling. They were large and soft.

I hope all of you had (are having) a nice Thanksgiving. Having exerted this morning, I get to eat a bit more.

Addendum: Here are the results. I was 94th of 726 finishers, which is the top 12.9%. I was 73d of 382 male finishers, which is the top 19.1%. I was seventh of 44 finishers in my age group (men 50-54), which is the top 15.9%. The top three in each age group received trophies. Note that the second overall finisher was a woman. She was only 18.7 seconds behind the winner! That is incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman as the overall winner of a race.


Here is a sad story about Sly Stone.

Curro Ergo Sum

Here is an interesting article about athletic training.


Read this essay by UT-Austin journalism professor Robert Jensen. What Jensen doesn’t grasp, probably because of his ideological blinders, is that almost nobody thinks of the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday while celebrating it; and there is certainly no need to. For most people, including atheists such as me, it is simply a day on which to give thanks for what one has. I’m not surprised that nobody wants to have dinner with Jensen. He is the academic version of Debbie Downer.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Lou Cannon’s premise that “Ronald Reagan was not a racist” is misguided, and his discussion of whether Mr. Reagan actually benefited from his remarks in Neshoba, Miss., is not relevant.

Mr. Reagan’s statements pandered to bigots for political gain, and that is no less serious an offense than racism itself.

Gary Axelbank
Bronx, Nov. 18, 2007

Note from KBJ: Every presidential candidate, including Hillary Clinton, panders to bigots for political gain. Bigotry is not limited to conservatives, to males, or to whites. Some of the most bigoted people I know are progressives. They’re bigoted against whites, against men, against Christians, against the affluent, and against conservatives. I await the letter writer’s condemnation of Clinton and other progressives. By the way, please don’t say that everyone’s doing something doesn’t make it right. I’m not saying that pandering to bigots for political gain is right. It’s wrong. Nobody should do it. What I’m pointing out is that, since everyone does it, nobody should be singled out for condemnation. Either condemn all pandering or don’t condemn any of it.

Affirmative Action

Dr John J. Ray understands the affirmative-action game, which is about alleviating white guilt rather than helping blacks.

A Year Ago