Saturday, 24 May 2008

A Year Ago



My beloved Detroit Tigers have scored 19 runs in the first five innings against the Minnesota Twins. I wish they would save some for tomorrow and the next day.


This morning, in Burleson, Texas, I did my eighth bike rally of the year and my 429th overall. Two of my home boys wimped out. Joe is sitting on his ass in a tent in the Washita Mountains of Oklahoma. Phil is sitting on his ass on a cruise ship off the coast of Nova Scotia. Only Randy and I, plus our new home boys Bryce and Rusty, had the fortitude necessary to ride our bikes. Why oh why do I have such wimpy friends?

A year ago, this rally was washed out by torrential rain. It was rescheduled for September, by which time all of us were in great shape (having just done the Hotter ’n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls). Randy swears he rode in the rain that day. His lie is now a year old. I keep waiting for him to come clean, but he won’t. Today’s Honey Tour was the 10th annual. I’ve done nine of the 10. And guess what? Today’s was the fastest. I’m not getting older. I’m getting faster!

The wind, as usual, was brutal, but luckily we were in a pack during the worst of it. Pack riding is great fun, albeit dangerous. I did more than my share of pulling at the front, because, as you know, my goal is to get stronger each week. If I stayed sheltered the whole way, what good would it do me down the road? Randy also took several pulls, which isn’t bad for an old man. We knew that it was in our interest to stay in the pack as long as possible. Once we reached Grandview, which is the southernmost point of the course, we had a tailwind all the way back. The Grandview rest stop (on main street) is one of the best in any rally. It’s the only rest stop with pineapple. There was also cold watermelon. I gorged on fruit, then topped it off with a large, salty dill pickle, straight from the jar.

I pedaled 18.0 miles the first hour, 19.3 the second, and 18.1 the third. Randy and I took it easy after that, so I averaged only 16.36 miles per hour for the final 15:24. I ended up with 18.30 miles per hour for the day (59.6 miles), which, with the wind, the heat, the humidity, and the rolling hills near the end, is more than acceptable. Did I mention humidity? It was awful. We’ve been lucky this year in having dry air. But now summer is in full force here in North Texas. It will be like this until October. There’s no point in complaining about it; you just grit your teeth and accept it.

In other statistics, my maximum speed for the day was only 30.6 miles per hour. There were many small hills, but no big ones, hence no fast descents. My maximum heart rate was 158 and my average heart rate 128. I burned 2,058 calories. I saw a three-legged dog on the course. Several other dogs (the four-legged variety) ran along the side of the road after us, but none caused an accident. The sun never made its appearance. There was a beautiful woman in our pack. I teased her about her farmer’s tan. She laughed and said she was working on getting rid of it. All in all, it was an enjoyable ride.

J. J. C. Smart on Deontology

[A]ny system of deontological ethics is open to a persuasive type of objection, which, though it falls short of disproof, can be convincing to those who have the welfare of humanity at heart. For though conceivably in most cases the dictates of a deontological ethics might coincide with those of human welfare and of an act utilitarian ethics, there must be some cases in which they conflict. Indeed there must be some cases in which avoidable human misery could be prevented only by breaking the precepts of the deontological ethics. The adherent of the deontological ethics can then be accused of heartlessness if he prefers abstract conformity with an ethical rule to the prevention of the misery of some fellow creature. Or if not of heartlessness, of some sort of confusion, or perhaps of ‘rule worship’ which leads him to prefer conformity to a rule to the prevention of avoidable human suffering.

(J. J. C. Smart, An Outline of a System of Utilitarian Ethics [Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1961], 2-3)

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “A Victory for Equality and Justice” (editorial, May 17):

As a gay man, I am happy with the California Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage.

I am proud that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger found the political courage to support the court’s ruling. I realize it wasn’t an easy political decision for him, but if a Republican Supreme Court and a Republican governor can support same-sex marriage, why can’t the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates?

Jim Patterson
San Francisco, May 17, 2008

Note from KBJ: Because they want to be elected?