Great Duke football news!

The best news about Duke football in years: head coach Ted Roof has been fired.

About damn time. I am truly disgusted by the lack of progress in the football program. A measly 13 wins total since 1999 (including three winless seasons) is a disgrace. I’m not a big enough booster to have any input into the process, but the next head coach had better be someone with a proven winning record. No more speculating on assistants who might be good coaches. Two bad coaches in a row is not the foundation for a successful program.  I expect a .500 season in 2008. There are enough experienced players (a must for football) that they should be able to get more wins. No more excuses.

Consumerism!

Did you do some shopping this weekend?

I did a very little bit on Friday at lunch time. I went to work on Friday, and while running at a little after 6:00AM, I saw that the Target parking lot was about full (kind of hard to tell in the dark, looking under I-95 about a short block away) and the Toys R Us parking lot also looked full (even farther away in the dark). My Friday trip included five stops (four stores, plus lunch pick-up) in about 30 minutes. I wasn’t looking for much, really. Was successful in three of the four stores. Not too bad.

Karen and I were out for a few hours today, but not stupid early. We didn’t really hit much traffic, either driving or while shopping. It was actually fairly simple. Hit Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble for some stuff for Victoria. Stopped at two places at the mall, had lunch, and browsed at Babies R Us for a dresser/changing table for Cletus (not the actual name; due in mid-February). We were gone about 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Not too shabby.

I think we should start wrapping presents soon after we get them, so we don’t have the chaotic wrapping spree we had last year. Karen doesn’t seem so inclined, and thinks it’s OK. I think it will be more difficult with Daisy jumping and barking to try to do it all at once. Maybe that will help convince Karen.

Sweet and Sour Jesus

From time to time, Darling Wife (when exasperated at small child or dog) will say “Sweet Jesus of life!”

To me (being raised Jewish), this makes no sense. So I asked, “Is there a Sour Jesus of Death?” To which I receive either a “you’re a jackass” stare or a heel of the hand punch (lightly) to the forehead. The latter being her preferred method of chastising me, provided that I’m close enough to hit.

This lead to the title of this post, “Sweet and Sour Jesus”. Just for the hell of it (cue distant rolling thunderclap), I decided to search for the phrase “sweet sour jesus” to see what came up. It turns out that the phrase was used on the Colbert Report (which I now ashamedly admit that I don’t watch) and it’s the title of a song by Supersuckers (check it out yourself Supersuckers - The Smoke of Hell - Sweet 'n' Sour Jesus). So much for thinking that I might have a moment of originality here. :-(

What the Hollywood writers’ strike means to you and me

After all, it really is about us, the viewers.

I mean, will the striking writers’ think it’s been worth it if the audience disappears and doesn’t come back? The show could then be canceled, and then there would be nothing to write for. Catch-22 indeed.

If I wind up taking the time I spend watching TV back and channeling it (no pun intended, seriously) into something else (like blogging), I might not go back.

To see where you favorite shows stand, check this list from Entertainment Weekly. Notably missing from the list (from my TV watching perspective is Cane, which is apparently close to being canceled anyway. Or maybe not.

Rain + public transit = bad morning commute

One problem with riding the bus and/or subway to work is that you need to figure out how to carry your wet umbrella without soaking the people you pass as you get to your seat or the seat next to you if empty. Unless of course, if you’re an asshole, then you don’t care and get everyone and everything wet. Not too much of the latter this morning, since it wasn’t raining too hard. Plus, there were the “cool guys” who didn’t have umbrellas and looked rather silly being wet.

I have tried to be somewhat conscientious with my choice of a compact umbrella. It’s small enough that is fits in my briefcase when closed and just large enough to cover me when I’m walking in the rain. My jacket and bag will get a little wet, but that’s OK. Counter that with the assholes who carry golf umbrellas (and who most likely have never played golf). These things are enormous – they take up the entire sidewalk and could double as homeless shelters.

One thing that amazes me is that more buildings (and none I’ve been to in Philadelphia) do not have umbrella bag dispensers inside the front door. I first encountered one of these years ago at a class I was taking in D.C., at the Reagan Building & International Trade Center. I thought it was a great idea – you don’t make a mess of the place with your soaking wet umbrella. Of course, now such things are probably an environmental hazard or something, being made of plastic.

Double race weekend

Yes, that means two LBRRs for the price of one. Still free.

For the second year in a row, I decided on a 5K/10K combo of races. A good way to mark the end (of very close to it) of my racing season. The 5K was the Dash for Democracy 5K, which this year was actually 5K (as opposed to last year’s 3 miles). A cool and windy day, I had zero expectations for time since I haven’t done speed work in a very long time. I tried to start out conservatively, so I could attempt to run at an even pace, instead of starting out too fast and hanging on for dear life at the end. Mile 1 in 6:13. A good pace. I tried to hang onto a pack of four other runners, but just couldn’t stick with them. They were just out of reach, but I managed to keep them about the same distance from me, give or take a few meters. Mile 2 in 6:35. Maybe they went out a little farther than I thought. I couldn’t let them get too far away – I wanted a good time.

The best part about this course is that about the last 3/4 mile is a straight line. I knew that I had some separation to the person(s) behind me (no, I did not look to check) because the police were since cars across the course just after I went by. Mile 3 in 6:24, finished in 19:54 according to me guess (chip time was 19:49). Good for 19th place overall out of 430 runners/walkers. I leave as an exercise for the reader to figure out where the runner/walker divide is.

Sunday was the Ben Franklin Bridge Challenge, a fun 10K across and back on the BFB with another almost 5K on the streets of Camden. The finish was “neat” (for lack of a better word) – we got to finish in center field of Campbell’s Field. This race presents a few challenges:

  1. You have to strip down to race gear a long time before the start, since they have to lead the runners out onto the bridge. So staying warm is rough since you can’t just throw your clothes on the bridge.
  2. You go from a dead stop to an incline on the bridge. Getting the pacing right is tough unless you practice starting on an uphill, which I don’t.

It was a very nice day for racing – not as cold or windy at Saturday. Mile 1, mostly uphill in 6:56. Right about where I wanted to be. Tried to stay in control on the first downhill, since we have to come back over the bridge – mile 2 in 6:26. Pulled back some people who flew by on the downhill (learned to stay in better control last year, thanks to Goat). Mile 3, which finished the uphill portions and was partly downhill, in 6:27. Hit 5K on the bridge (but no marker) and out onto the flat streets of Camden.

Last year, I ran really well over this portion, reeling in people one at a time as the runners had spread thin. I thought I could do that again this year, but it was more difficult. Mile 4 in 6:39. I could feel the after effects of the bridge, but I was still trying to pass people. Passing one iPod guy and then another and feeling OK. Mile 5 in 6:57. The iPod twins (those two guys I passed before) caught me somewhere around here. I was starting to get fatigued. As we approached the stadium, we had to zigzag through an adjacent parking lot (an assumed course kludge to get it to 10K). I could hear the announcer calling for cheers as the clock got closer to 40:00. I knew that I wouldn’t even be close to that, but kept pushing through the parking lot. I entered the stadium, hit the left field grass, and dug deep to finish strong in 41:37. Not a 10K PR, but I think a PR for this course – which is fine with me. I had a good run. Saw a recovering from injury Seebo and British Mike afterwards, grabbed a small snack, and got the heck out.