Thursday, June 25, 2020

Enough With Political Correctness

I love the South.  I am passionate about preserving Southern speech, culture and manners.  That said, I have less than zero respect for the Confederate government and do not deny the role of slavery in the decision to secede.  The period between 1861-65 was anything but a golden age and should evoke feeling of pain, sadness and regret.  The question is where do we draw the line when it comes to removal of Confederate symbols?  I’m meh on the Battle Flag.  I’d never fly it myself but am not personally offended unless it is displayed by hate groups.  Plenty of people who are not racist see it as defense of a culture that is constantly under attack by Hollywood and the liberal media.   I have no problem with the Dukes of Hazzard or display of the flag at tailgate parties.   I do respect the feelings of African-Americans however, and supported its removal from government property. 

Change the Mississippi state flag?  Fine with that.  Abolish the Jefferson Davis state holiday and replace it with Juneteenth?  Fully on board with that.  Remove monuments of Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the Confederate government?  Yes, I support that too.  His VP Alexander Stephens once said that the notion that all men are created equal is “fundamentally wrong.”  That is indefensible.  However, this is where I would draw the line. 

I have no problem with honoring ordinary Confederate soldiers.  Plenty of them did not believe in slavery and were conscripted into the Army.  Leave those monuments alone.  I'd feel differently if the Confederacy sought to conquer the Union.  Most people would agree that Vietnam and Iraq were 2 wars that should not have been fought but those troops are still worthy of honor and respect.  With the exception of Nathan Bedford Forrest, I’m okay with monuments to Confederate generals including Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson.  However, this is an issue in which people of good will can disagree.  That’s basically what Trump said in the wake of Charlottesville and the media spun it into support for Nazis. 

The big problem is that if you don’t draw the line at Confederate monuments, the left-wing mob will not stop.  Statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have also been toppled and there is talk of re-naming high schools and colleges that bear those names.  New York removed a statue of Teddy Roosevelt, who was actually very progressive on racial issues for a man of his time.  He provoked outrage among racist Democrats for inviting Booker T Washington to the White House.  Unbelievably, statues of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant have also been defaced.  Jimi Hendrix has also been targeted.  What did he do or say that was so bad?   Is Elvis next?  Shaun King even stated that portraits of Jesus Christ should be considered “symbols of white supremacy.”  What the ______! 

A couple of years ago, I posted about offensive team names.  It was meant to be a joke, but do you honestly believe that they will stop with the Washington Redskins or even the Cleveland Indians?  Ole Miss Rebels will be next, which will be followed by the Philadelphia 76ers, New England Patriots and even the Texas Rangers.  Aunt Jemima syrup, Dixie Beer and Eskimo Ice Cream were 3 more casualties.   It’s also been proposed that the Master’s Golf championship should change its name because the word master has slave connotations.  Realtors have been told to use the term primary bedroom instead of master bedroom.  Good grief!  What about the degree after the Bachelors?  Come to think of it, Bachelor’s Degree is offensive to unmarried men.  Better change that name for my sake.  

I’d be curious to see a poll about attitudes towards America’s Founding Fathers.  I’ll bet that their favorability ratings have dropped considerably in the last 20 years, which sure is a shame.  I blame the public education system.  I was born in 1980 so I am old enough to remember the tail end of the Reagan administration and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  At least at my school, we were taught to be patriotic and anti-communist as well as to revere the Founding Fathers.  I recall singing patriotic songs in elementary school music class.  I doubt that this still happens today.  I entered school roughly 2 decades post-Civil Rights and can attest that we were also taught to revere Martin Luther King as well as to view segregation as a terrible injustice. 

To the Far-Left, America was built on slavery and white supremacy.  It cannot be fixed from within, so the only solution is a Communist revolution that has led to death camps and mass starvation everywhere it has been tried.  One of the leaders of BLM openly stated in an interview that if they don’t get what they want, they will “burn the system down.”  What further proof do you need that this was never about George Floyd or even police brutality?  We are dealing with a violent Marxist organization that seeks anarchy through abolition of the police to create a vacuum to seize power. 

IMO, it is unfair to judge 18th and 19th century men by 21st century standards.  Even Abraham Lincoln made comments about African-Americans that would be considered racist today.   In retrospect, I will not deny that the Founding Fathers had flaws, but they set up a system of government that was fundamentally good and capable of improvement and set the stage for the average person to achieve a standard of living unparalleled in human history.  This was at a time when all of Europe was still ruled by monarchs.  Hell yeah, they are worthy of honor and respect and you better not touch those statues and monuments.  The Bicentennial in 1976 occurred 4 years before I was born but it was apparently a really big deal even on the heels of Watergate and Vietnam.  I expect the 250-year celebrations to be muted in 2026.  Will America as we know it still exist in 2076?  I don’t know.      

Monday, June 22, 2020

Rave: Beach Trips

New bucket list item:
Swim in the ocean in every state.  Ideally, I want to boogie board but if the surf is flat, you can meet the standard by swimming in the ocean for at least an hour.  Simply stick your foot in the water?  Nah.  That's like crossing the border of a state then turning around at the Welcome Center.  

Washington- Even in late summer, water temps will not make it out of the 50s.  Much too cold for a swim without a wet suit.  I did stop at a random beach for a walk but all I did was dip my toes in the water.  It was windy and rainy, so I wasn’t out there very long.

Oregon- Water is not much warmer here but the beaches are much nicer, especially with the rock formations.  My choice here was Cannon Beach though once again, I only dipped my toes in the water.  I will waive the 1-hour requirement for these two because it is simply too cold to swim without a wet suit.

California- I visited Venice Beach near Los Angeles but did not even enter the water.  It was January so I had an excuse.  Here, water temperatures can hit 70 degrees in San Diego in August and September and the upper 60s in the LA area.  That’s warm enough.  I’d opt for San Diego and have plenty of choices in terms of beaches. 

Florida- I’ve been on all 3 sides of the peninsula and there are so many great beaches from which to choose.  For the northern Gulf, I’ve got to go with Destin.  On the Atlantic, you can’t beat being able to swim in Miami all year round, but I actually had more fun in Daytona.  I was in Tampa as a teenager and intend to go back but rideable waves are rare, especially in the summer.  You might have a chance in the Spring and Fall. 

Georgia- Been to St. Simon and Jekyll Islands but I prefer Tybee because of its proximity to Savannah.

South Carolina- Used to live here.  Been to Hilton Head, Charleston beaches and Myrtle Beach.  Isle of Palms, near Charleston is my favorite in SC.  It might even be my favorite Atlantic beach.

North Carolina- Been to Carolina Beach, near Wilmington.  Surf was much rougher than neighboring South Carolina, at least on this day. I’d like to visit Nags Head and the Outer Banks.  That can be combined with a trip to Virginia Beach.  It would be a 2-day drive, but Charlotte is a good stopping point.

Virginia- Been to Virginia Beach as a child and want to go back.  I’ve also had several good sessions at Chincoteague on the Delmarva Peninsula as a teenager when my sister lived in the area. 

Maryland- Ocean City is the best and most popular beach here.  If you prefer a less touristy destination, Assateague Island is also a good option.  I’ve been to both.

Delaware- Bethany Beach is just across the border from Ocean City, Maryland and is also less touristy.  I went there a couple times just for something different.  I have not been to Rehoboth.

New Jersey- I was told that I was here as a toddler but don’t remember it, so I don’t feel right about counting it even if I did go in the water.  It’s a bit too far to drive, so I’d probably fly to Philadelphia and rent a car.  Wildwood, Ocean City, Atlantic City?  Take your pick.  All 3 are within 90 minutes of Philly.

New York- I did walk on the boardwalk in Coney Island in Brooklyn but the beach was not open in early May, so I didn’t even step foot in the water.  I’ve since learned that surfing is not even allowed there so my choice must be Rockaway in Queens.  It is accessible by the subway.  Sure, I’m up for another NYC trip someday. 

Connecticut- Unfortunately, there are no waves here because it is blocked by the Long Island Sound.  I took an hour-long dip in New London’s Ocean Beach last August before heading to Rhode Island for a quality afternoon body surf session.

Rhode Island- Known as the Ocean State, you’ve got several options in a small land area.  I went with Narragansett because it was closest to Connecticut, but Newport can be fun as well.

Massachusetts- I went with Horseneck Beach on the south coast just about an hour from Boston. Lots of seaweed and a stony ocean floor but I still enjoyed my session here.  Cape Cod and Salisbury look to be better options.  I’ve been to Cape Cod, but it was too cold to swim.  Both here and Rhode Island, I found the water to be comfortably cool in early August. 

New Hampshire- Only 14 miles of coastline but you’ve got Hampton and Rye Beach.  Both look good.  It was October so all I did was walk on the beach and stick my foot in the water.  I expect the water temp to be a few degrees cooler than Massachusetts and Rhode Island (likely mid 60s in August) but that should still be tolerable for at least an hour. 

Maine- The northern coast is too cold for swimming, but the rocky beach is still worth a look just for the scenery.   Wells Beach, just across the border from New Hampshire, is the best bet for swimming and I expect that it will be no colder than beaches just a few miles south.  Yes, people do go in the water here in late summer so I will too.  I can choose an August race in Maine and can have 2 sessions in different states on the same day. 

Alabama- Under the radar for much of the country but the beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach rival the beauty of neighboring Florida. 

Mississippi- Maybe I can count this because I did swim in the Sound but a short cruise to Ship Island, where rideable waves are usually accessible can be had for a reasonable price.  I plan on doing it.

Louisiana- Skip the Cajun Riviera near the Texas border and take the drive down to Grand Isle south of New Orleans.  The water doesn’t look too appealing, but it feels fine.  This is the only place in the state with rideable waves. 

Texas- Very under-rated beaches here especially further south.  I’ve been to both Galveston and South Padre and intend to visit Port Aransas. 

Puerto Rico- Not a state but you can’t go wrong with beaches here.  I went with Carolina in Isla Verde just outside of San Juan. 

Hawaii- TO DO!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

GOP Vote Share

There is a common misconception that Trump was elected by riding a massive wave of white support.  This is untrue.  Actually, Trump did no better than Romney among white voters overall.  He lost some suburban voters in the Sun Belt (Phoenix, Houston, Charlotte, Atlanta) while picking up ground in the Rust Belt.  It proved to be a good trade as he held Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona while picking up Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.  Trump did marginally better than Romney among all racial minorities and benefited from lower turnout.  His share of the African-American vote was between 8 and 9 percent, which has been just about the norm for Republican candidates since the mid-1960s without Obama on the ballot.  One thing that I do find intriguing is that Trump got 13% of black male voters (slightly more than 1 in 8) but only 4% of black females.  When framed a different way, black men are more than 3 times more likely to vote for Trump than black women.  This was not an anomaly either.  In the Georgia gubernatorial election, Stacey Abrams got 97% of black women but only 87% of black men. 

I’ve heard some polls from Rasmussen that claim Trump has a 40% approval rating among African-Americans.  I wish it were true but somehow, I doubt it.  He’ll do better but it won’t be a significant jump.  I’ll predict at least 12 percent overall, but no higher than 15.  He might crack 20 among black men but the gender gap will remain significant.  Of course, these were my thoughts before all the protests.  He could take a hit in the aftermath of George Floyd.  There is a bit of a split among black conservatives about the severity of police brutality.  Failure to do anything about it would cost him but his Executive Order was a good move.  Obama/Biden took no such action in the wake of Michael Brown or Freddie Gray but to be fair, those cases were not as clear cut.  De-funding or disbanding the police is one of the dumbest ideas that I have ever heard and would most definitely lead to a spike in crime.   

One thing that I do find encouraging is the generational split.  Among African-Americans under age 45 (both men and women), 25% have a very or somewhat favorable view of Trump, which is double his share among older voters.  I’m betting that if the gender gap is consistent, more than one third of young black men would be open to voting for Trump.  That tells me that the Democrats cannot count on 90% forever.  Come 2048 or 2052, their share of the black vote will be down to 70-75%.  I’d say that the reason is that Boomers and Silents who came of age during the Civil Rights era are more likely to be die-hard Democrats while the younger generation is more open to trying something new especially if they are not pleased with how things have gone under Democrat control. 

How would the Electoral Map change if Trump got 25-30% of the black vote?  He’d shore up Georgia and North Carolina with margins up to 10 points.  Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania would not be as close.  Virginia, Colorado and even Delaware would become more competitive, but it would probably not be enough to flip them.  He’d need close to 50 percent.  In Maine and New Hampshire, it would not matter because the black population is very small.  The only states that would have flipped based on the 2016 numbers would have been Minnesota and Nevada but that’s still 16 EV. 

Here are some of the policies that I support, which would affect the black community:
-Aggressive enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, including assurance that a qualified candidate with an ethnic sounding name is given an interview.
-Expand on criminal justice reform and de-criminalize most non-violent drug offenses.
-School choice, including vouchers for private schools
-Reasonable reforms to Police Departments
-Ending abortion, which disproportionately affects the black community
-Mentor programs for at-risk youth.
-Incentivize 2 parent households
-Stress that you can make it in 21st century America with good life decisions. 

I’m betting that most black Democrats would agree with me on many of these issues.  My question is this: Would you consider voting for a Republican who campaigned on these issues?  If not, what is lacking? 
Come 2048 or 2052, it will be the Hispanic vote that will make the difference.  Trump got roughly 30%, which was slightly better than Romney and almost even with McCain but well behind Bush-43.  Republicans will need close to 40 to remain competitive.  That would shore up Texas, Florida and Arizona while putting New Mexico in play.  It would flip Nevada for sure and make Colorado competitive.  If Texas and Arizona go blue, it’s pretty much game over for the GOP.  How to get up to 40 could be tricky.  Do not cave in on immigration.  I’m dead set against a path to citizenship for illegals but I’m okay with shielding them from deportation if they are otherwise law-abiding.  Compromise that in exchange for the wall?  Nice idea but Congress will never approve.  Stay focused on jobs and growth.  Policies that benefit all Americans will also benefit African-Americans and Hispanics.   

Friday, June 12, 2020

When to Apologize and When Not to

I remember one of my posts about relationships a few years back.  I said that if you say or do something hurtful to your friend or especially your significant other, you need to swallow your pride and apologize even if you don't believe that you did anything wrong.  The other party also needs to apologize if they over-reacted to it.  I still stand by that assertion as long as it does not occur on a regular basis.  Now, suppose that your significant other consistently throws a hissy fit over trivial things and attacks you viciously for no good reason.  Get out of the relationship if you are not married.  See a counselor if you are.  This is not healthy.  You are dealing with somebody who has unrealistic expectations.  Even if you bend over backwards for them, it won't be enough to keep them happy over the long haul.

Now let's shift gears back to politics:
Huffpost wrote a garbage article on white privilege.  To their credit, it did say that you could still face hardship but the color of your skin won't hold you back in your personal or professional life.  I disagree.  When it comes to affirmative action, I actually favor giving all economically disadvantaged students a leg up in college admissions.  They don't have access to the best teachers and may not be able to afford tutors or test prep classes.  For example, if everything else is equal, I'd have no problem with an 1150 SAT from a poor school being chosen over a 1200 from a top school.  However, it should absolutely NOT be based on race.  I've heard of less qualified black or Latino students being accepted over white or Asian students despite the fact that they attended the same school and even lived in the same neighborhood.  To me, that is reverse discrimination.  So yes, it can hold you back professionally. 

If you are labeled a racist, that charge is very difficult to refute and you could see your reputation tarnished forever no matter how much you apologize.  Now, if you let hate speech come out of your mouth or blatantly espouse inherent racial superiority, you BETTER hang your head in shame.  You would be well advised to keep a low profile for quite some time.  That said, some people change and if the repentance is genuine, they should be forgiven and given a second chance but not a third.

What if you are accused of racism and the charge is totally bogus?  Serious question.  How would you defend yourself?  The black friend defense never works and is often considered offensive by the Left.  Conservatives have actually been accused of using black people as cover.  If anyone ever said that about me, words cannot express how angry it would make me.  I'm quite sure that my friends would be offended by the suggestion as well.  Seriously, if you have a close friend who experiences racism and you see how much it hurts them, I'm betting that you will be more motivated to take a stronger stance against it.  I know because it had the same effect on me.  I've heard encouraging stories of Neo-Nazis renouncing their hatred.  If you ask them what changed their mind, they will almost always say that they were befriended by a person who is a racial minority.

Chris Hodges, who is a megachurch pastor here in Birmingham, simply liked a couple of controversial posts on social media.  One referred to COVID-19 as the Chinese virus.  No problem with that.  I've got nothing against the Chinese people but do have issues with the government and some people believe the virus was manufactured in a lab.  The other showed Trump pictured with Rosa Parks and Mohammad Ali while Gov. Northam, a Democrat was pictured in blackface next to a man in a KKK robe and asked who's the racist?  Again, I see nothing wrong with that.  For the record, I am not the biggest fan of his church and its theology but in this case, the pastor did absolutely nothing wrong.  It is also true that he's performed tremendous outreach in the predominantly black Woodlawn neighborhood.  The next week, he preached an entire sermon against racism.  I didn't listen but heard it was quite good.  He tearfully apologized and even confessed to privilege and unconscious bias.  Still, it wasn't good enough.  He lost his lease on one of his buildings and his reputation has taken a big hit.  I'll bet there will soon be calls for his resignation, which he should absolutely fight.  On the other hand, Jeremiah Wright, can spew his hatred every Sunday and he only came under scrutiny because he was Obama's pastor.  Racial minorities most definitely have a greater license to intolerance than do white people.

Drew Brees apologized for saying that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.
Chick-Fil-A apologized for allowing employees to wear Back the Blue Shirts.
A town apologized for letting cops use bathrooms in a certain building
COPS and Live PD were taken off the air.
OK State football coach Mike Gundy apologized for wearing a One America News t-shirt off campus.

A friend of mine took heat for saying that being black has NOT held him back in life.
Another person was blasted for saying that life decisions rather than color are the best predictors of success.  A Lefty countered that we can't expect black people to make good decisions, which is very racist if you ask me. Soft bigotry of low expectations.

If you express a well reasoned position that is within the mainstream of American thought or expose the ugly side of their movement, DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR OFFENDING A LEFTIST!  It will not be accepted anyway so why bother?  Stand up for yourself, especially when you did nothing wrong.  I didn't vote for Trump in the 2016 primary because of his character and demeanor but I've come to realize that we need a man like him to stand up to a blatantly dishonest media.   Now, there are some mainstream liberals that can have a reasonable and productive dialogue.  I would encourage that to seek some common ground.  When it comes to the Far-Left who will not accept anything less than revolution to overthrow the whole system, don't even engage.  The Snooze and Unfollow has become quite useful.

As for the future, I'm afraid that the chasm between Left and Right is too great that it cannot be bridged.  Some have suggested an amicable divorce between Red and Blue.  I'd hate to see it come to that.  Because almost all states have some red and some blue counties, how to divide it up won't be easy.  My worst fear is that we are headed for a small scale Civil War.  It won't be North/South or even Red/Blue but likely Antifa and their Leftist allies versus the rest of us.  The former group represents a relatively small minority but they are quite vocal and can do a lot of damage.  I sincerely do hope that I am wrong about this.  It remains to be seen how the riots will affect the Electorate and I will not make any predictions.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Rant: Definition of Privilege

Face it.  Some people are born into better circumstances than others and some will be born with traits that enable doors to open that would otherwise remain closed.  I was born with above average intelligence.  Though it did not always come easy and I had to work hard to achieve good grades, it did enable me to graduate from Clemson and get a pretty good job.  That’s something that simply would not have been possible if my intelligence was merely average or slightly below.  I didn’t grow up in a mansion in a gated community, but my family was well-off, and money was never an issue.  It certainly was a benefit to graduate without mountains of student debt.  Perhaps most importantly, I was raised in a stable household with a loving mother and father.  Now, there are plenty of single mothers out there that are doing a great job, but the fact is that the odds are not in your favor both for yourself and your child.  

If you have a son, it is especially important for him to have a strong male role-model.  Sons who grow up without a father are 8 times more likely to drop out of school and go to prison.  The poverty rate is much higher as well.   I have not seen any data for girls, but I am betting that in rare cases of daughters being raised by single fathers, the stats are not pretty. 

These advantages transcend race.  Too often, the so-called “black experience” is associated with growing up in the Hood surround by crime and broken homes.  It doesn’t have to be that way, nor is that stereotype accurate.  Blacks who are born into similar circumstances as I?  Yes, they do exist and can reap most, if not all the benefits associated with it.   A white kid from a broken home in an impoverished region of Appalachia?  Not so much.  Being an attractive female or a star athlete transcends both race and class and will open doors not available to others.  If you have a naturally outgoing personality, you can more easily make network connections in the job market.  Still, with all of that said, no matter what hand you’ve been dealt in life, you can always make choices to better your situation and improve your odds of being successful.  

I strongly dislike the term “white privilege,” which was almost never used before Obama, but that’s another issue.  To me, it implies that my skin tone is a golden ticket to a comfortable life free from hardship as well as a guarantee that I will never face prejudice, harassment or bullying.  THAT AIN’T TRUE!  Anyone who reads my blog knows that I suffer from an invisible illness that appears to be getting worse all the time.  Unless you live with me or hung out with me on a regular basis, there is just no way to understand what I go through every day with the various treatments.  Northern friends have admitted to me that if we met on the street, I would be pre-judged as dumb because I have a strong southern accent.  It’s not an issue here in Alabama but if I wanted to live in the Northeast or West coast, I believe I would face job discrimination. 

How is my relationship with law enforcement?  I would not say that it is good.  It’s pretty much non-existent.  I’ve only had 2 encounters within the last 8 years.  One was due to a parking lot car accident in which I was deemed to be at fault but did not get a ticket.  The other involved a naked man who was walking around my old apartment complex at night.  I thought that he was probably on drugs, but it turned out that he was suffering from dementia and was taken home.  No doubt that I did the right thing by calling.  Farther back in the past, I had one positive encounter and one negative.  I was saved from a probable mugger in New Orleans when I was in my early 20s.  The cop approached my newfound companion and said “Hey!  How you doin?  Didn’t know you were giving tours.”  At first, I thought it might be racial profiling, but it turned out that the man was well known for theft and robberies.  I was warned to be more careful because I was in one of the most violent cities in the country.  Good advice.  The only negative was being pulled over for going 70 in a 55 mph zone.  I was yelled at bigly and told that I could kill somebody by driving like that even though there was little traffic and I honestly thought the speed limit was 65.  In the end, he handed me back my license but not my car registration.  He was just a jerk and probably treats everybody the same way. 

I have no problem with the slogan Black Lives Matter but when it comes to the organization itself, I do have some issues.  They constantly push a TOTALLY false narrative that there is a massive nationwide epidemic of police shootings that only affect unarmed black people.  Several banners that I’ve seen in the news have compared the police to the KKK.  That is ridiculous.  I will cede one point that a black man is more likely to be pulled over if seen driving through an upscale white neighborhood such as Mountain Brook.  That is flat out wrong, and no further comments are needed.  

A friend of mine recently posted that sometimes she is afraid for her son to go out because of the police.  While there is never an absolute guarantee for his safety, police are not the ones to be feared if you look at the statistics.  27% of people killed by police are black, which is roughly 2 times their share of the population.  Now, consider that blacks have more interactions with police due to the crime rate.  If you look at the number of deaths per police interaction, I’ll bet it is slightly higher but not significantly and certainly not as bad as the media would lead you to believe.  An unarmed black man is more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a police officer.  Again, racist acts do happen.  I will not deny it or downplay any individual case, but it is NOT the norm. Hell, even fellow police officers will not defend this and in many cases sided with peaceful protesters.   I can think of at least 5 issues that are more pressing needs than police brutality. 

 I have ZERO sympathy for violent protesters especially after the officer was charged with murder and public opinion is overwhelmingly against him and his accessories on the scene.  Looting is not on the same level as murder and try to understand their anger?  No excuse.  True, looting is not on par with what the officer did but burning down a building that houses a child is.  11 people have been killed in the protests and 7 were black.  Most don’t even know their names.  Sickening.  At this point, it is no longer about George Floyd.  We are dealing with radical Anarchists and Communists who are looking for any excuse to start a revolution and overthrow the whole system. 

It’s gotten to the point in which it is considered offensive to say ALL LIVES MATTER and a sportscaster was fired for posting those 3 words.  This does NOT mean that I am indifferent towards the black community.  In my view, mistreating others for ANY REASON must be condemned with no exceptions.  I am passionate about the school bullying issue and the epidemic of teen suicides, which affect all races.  I was once told that my very existence was offensive and the only way for the bullying to stop was for me to die and go to Hell.  NOBODY deserves to be subjected to that level of hatred.  I don’t care about the motivation for making such a statement.  I won't get as much sympathy if I shared that story because it was not racially motivated.  Yes, personalities can clash and not everybody will like each other but respect and civility must be practiced at all times. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Training 6/1-6/7

6/1- Day trip to Chattanooga.  Got home late so I only did 2 laps plus a cool.  I did take TRS in the morning and after going 12 hours without it, I could only manage a 2:54 (8:42 pace) then improved to a 2:25 (7:15 pace) with it.

6/2- Lakeshore 3 in 26:18 (8:46 pace).  Weak effort.  This time, the TRS gap has diminished.  1st half in 13:37 without it but only improved to a 12:41 with it.  That's significant but not night and day and the ceiling is WAY TOO LOW!

6/3- AM- I don't understand this.  I was actually worse than yesterday.  Came through the Mile marker in 9:50 then quit.  Maybe I could have rallied a bit on the back half but not by much.  My only explanation was that I didn't take enough TRS.  Loaded later in the morning and improved to 7:26.  Not great but certainly a big improvement.

PM- Under the threat of storms, I clocked an 8:38 mile after another low dose of TRS.  Not pleased at all.

6/4- AM- Just wanted to see how bad it would be without any TRS and clocked an 11:03 for 1 mile.  Dipped under 4 for a half mile with MEGA doses then added a cool.

PM- Did 2 miles at Canterbury.  No TRS.  Just forgot it.  It was a junk run and I bet it was over 20 minutes.

6/5- Same workouts as yesterday.  AM was trial and error miles in 9:38/8:02.
Did the Canterbury 2 in 18:08 (9:04 pace).  Did 10 sprays both times.  I'm sure that I would have been better with extra but I just can't afford to take more.  I just have to let the detox run its course.

Another HARD CRASH over the weekend.  The tolerance for TRS has greatly diminished.  I'm shutting down until further notice.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

RANT: George Floyd and Response

Like almost all Americans, I am DISGUSTED by the horrific actions of this police officer that caused a senseless death.  In a case of clear cut police brutality such as this one, I am confident that we will see a conviction.  I think it should be murder.  He might beat that charge but I see no way that he cannot be found guilty of manslaughter or negligent homicide even if the autopsy didn't reveal strangulation.  I am also DISGUSTED by the reaction to this crime on many sides.

Let's start with my fellow conservatives:
While nobody has defended this cop, one person said that because Floyd was a petty criminal, there should not be much sympathy although she re-iterated that he did not deserve to die.  She was roundly and harshly condemned for those remarks.  And rightly so.  I DON'T CARE if he was a petty criminal.  This was a terrible and inexcusable crime that was committed.  Don't you dare place even a shred of blame on the victim!

Others have brought up black on black crime or white victims of violence in which there is nary a word of media coverage.  Now is NOT the time for that kind of talk.  I do agree that the media does have an agenda to foster national division especially in an election year.  That said, we must NEVER deflect attention from the horrific crime committed here.

A few have suggested that the crime was not racially motivated.  In this case, I can respectfully disagree.  My personal opinion is that it was an act of racism but it is certainly possible that personalities can clash.  Two people could simply dislike each other and it may not have anything to do with skin color.  In this case however, especially given our history of emotional response on the subject and the length of the video, I believe that race had to be a factor in his sick decision making process.

Now let's move on to Liberals:
Is America a racist country in 2020?  Almost everyone on the Left would say Yes.  I have a different question.  Is the state of Maine a violent place?  Most would say No.  What if I told you that several murders occur every year in the Portland area?  Still no because its crime rate is among the lowest in the nation, right?
That's pretty much how I feel about racially motivated police brutality and racism in general in America.  It happens.  I will not deny it or downplay any individual case.  Even one instance is one too many as well as a cause for outrage.    However, I do feel very strongly that these terrible cases are the EXCEPTION RATHER THAN THE NORM and police brutality does affect all races.  There is absolutely no reason to fear that you will be hunted down by white vigilantes or gunned down after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation.  Yes, there is a minuscule chance that I could be killed in a shark attack or a hijacked airplane but it's so small that it's not even worth the worry.  Sadly, I DO believe that most blacks experience occasional racism today but I doubt that it is pervasive or occurs on a regular basis.  Correct me if I am wrong. 

Dear White People, this is not okay.  Has nothing changed since 1960?
NOBODY is saying that it is okay!  There is nearly universal consensus among both blacks and whites that the officer should be tried and convicted.  I would argue that the average American in 2020 is LESS racist than the 1990 counterpart and MOST DEFINITELY less so than 1960.  In the last 30 years, inter-racial relationships have seen much greater acceptance and the Confederate flag has become increasingly taboo.  There is no way that Barack Obama could have won in 1992's electorate.  On the Republican side, South Carolina elected an Indian-American governor and black US senator.  In the latter case, Tim Scott beat out Strom Thurmond's son in the Republican primary.  I'd say that's a pretty strong repudiation of the racist policies of the past.

I visited Selma, Alabama back in March of this year and was both horrified by the injustice that took place there and dumbfounded that it could be accepted by much of the population.  Back then, blacks could not drink from the same water fountains or eat inside restaurants.  Today, I can have lunch with a black man or woman at the same table and it's not an issue.  I know it's true because I've done it myself.  There is a scare tactic every 4 years that the Republicans want to bring back Jim Crow or worse.  That is ridiculous.  If a segregationist candidate was nominated today, he'd lose by more than 50 points even in Alabama.  If it became legal to refuse service on the basis of race, would I ever support that business?  HELL NO!  I'm quite confident that the majority of whites would agree with me on this.  Jim Crow is never coming back.  Take it to the bank. 

Some have even gone as far as to call for killing cops in retaliation and have praised Antifa as well as the rioters and looters.  It's funny that people who are now calling for mass protests are the same ones who until just days ago called for everyone to stay at home due to COVID but that's another issue.  I would not criticize anyone who is angry about racism even if their comments are over the top.  If you go to this extreme, it's game on.  Trump was called racist for using the term "thugs" even though Obama used it as well and there are plenty of whites who are also protesting violently.  Black people have no other recourse other than to riot?  What the _____!  If you do not expect or demand better than this from the black community, you are the real racists.  That's the soft bigotry of low expectations.  Beating a store owner to death or burning down a building that houses an innocent child is INEXCUSABLE! 

Every profession has its share of crooks.  Do we malign all religious leaders because of a few pedophile priests?  Some lawyers knowingly prosecute innocent defendants while others get rapists and murderers off on a technicality.  Are they all bad?  No.  In my line of work, taxpayers have been cheated out of money because somebody wants a good appraisal or a promotion.  It happens but it's not the norm.  Liberals have been strong on NOT condemning Muslims because of the actions of a few.  Why not have the same attitude towards police officers?  End rant.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Training 5/25-5/31

5/25- Planned rest day.  Drive home

5/26- Just 1 mile in 7:44 at a comfortable effort.  Sustainable for 3 miles.

5/27- AM- Tested the CoQ10 and the gap remains significant but it has diminished.  I was 2:48 without it and 2:36 with it.  Gap is only 36 seconds per mile.
PM- Crash.  2 miles in 21:12 (10:36 pace).  I'll explain later.

5/28- I've had BAD joint pain the last couple of weeks, especially in the hip and groin.  Toxic metals are most definitely the culprit.  I woke up feeling MUCH worse than yesterday but was actually slightly better on caffeine.  TRS made a YUGE difference.  Apparently, I've uncovered another layer of toxic metals.  I'll need mega doses of TRS going forward.  I have extra bottles.

5/29- Not pretty at all but I'll take it.  In the morning, I was slightly better WITH caffeine but I'm still staying off it.  PM was Lakeshore 2.5 in 23:21 (9:21 pace).  I was 12-flat at the half but finished in 11:21 so that's a good sign.  I don't have much faith that I will EVER recover my energy and vitality.

5/30- Crash #2- 1 mile in 11:20 on Lakeshore.  Caffeine was actually helpful yesterday but today, it was not tolerated.  I was only marginally better in the afternoon.

5/31- AM- Opener in 3:52.  With CoQ10, I was only down to 3:47 so it's now official that CoQ10 no longer makes a significant difference.  With only 3 sprays of TRS, I was all the way down to 3:16 (MINUS 93/mile).  With a full dose, it would have been another MINUS 93 at least.

PM- Re-assessed my tolerance for caffeine and TRS and surprisingly, I was tolerant today.  Dipped down to 59.2 seconds for a half lap (5:55 pace).  I will try again to go clean starting tomorrow.

-13 miles on the week

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Rave: Beach Hopping

I’m often asked how I can afford to travel so much.  The answer is that I am frugal on my trips.  Many people that I have traveled with in the past would insist on staying at a luxury hotel on the beach for at least $250-300 per night plus an expensive dinner with drinks and dessert that could cost you upwards of $70 per meal.  I don’t need to do any of that, and it really does not add to my enjoyment.  I’m perfectly fine with using the public beach lots and if you arrive early enough, parking is not a problem.  If you travel just a few miles inland, you can score a deal for half price or even less.  I’ve been known to make an exception to the rule and stay on the beach during the shoulder season.  From late April through mid-May as well as October and sometimes into November, it’s usually warm enough to swim but prices will drop considerably.  It’s worth it to pay a few bucks more for a beachfront hotel but certainly not upwards of $100 more per night.  Also, I often find that it is more fun to check out multiple beaches on the same trip rather than be tied down to a single location.  

Here are some distances:
Jacksonville to Panama City- 4-4.5 hours
Cocoa to Sunny Isles (Miami)- 3 hours
Sunny Isles to Clearwater-4 hours
Port Aransas to Galveston-  4 hours
Tybee (Savannah) to Isle of Palms (Charleston)- 2.5-3 hours

A 4 hour drive may seem like a lot but if it’s split up over 2 days, it’s really easy.  Let’s say that you finish up your afternoon beach session at 5:00 PM.  You can eat dinner on the way, drive 2 hours and arrive at a Motel 6 or Super 8 at a decent hour.  The next morning, it’s an easy ride to your next destination.  Often, it will only set you back about $60 per night.  I've taken beach hopping road trips the last 2 weekends.

Trip 1- Left after work on Thursday and drove to Cordele, Georgia (between Macon and Valdosta) then ended up in St. Augustine, Florida (between Jacksonville and Daytona).  I'd probably recommend Jacksonville instead because it's closer but I had already been there.  In St. Augustine, I got to see the Old City with the fortress plus some lush palm trees and Spanish moss.  As far as the beach was concerned, the sand was a bit softer than Daytona and had a bit of a pinkish tint.  My only gripe was that the ocean floor was quite shelly.  A pair of aqua socks would have been appreciated.  Call me crazy but I like how it feels when a wave breaks on my neck and I don't mind the occasional wipeout even if I get a mouthful of salt water.  In this case, the surf was actually a bit too rough even for me.  Waves came one after another and I often got wiped out before I made it past the breakers.  Nevertheless, I caught more than a few perfect rides from chest high water all the way to the shore.

St. Augustine

Friday- Spent the previous night in the Tallahassee area then took a short detour through the Forgotten Coast from Carrabelle to Apalachicola.  Parts of the road ran right along the Gulf.  The water here is not the best for swimming but still scenic nonetheless.  I arrived in Panama City to find calmer conditions with the usual sugar white soft sand and clear emerald water.  The waves here were still pretty high but much gentler with no wipeout potential.  It was enjoyable but more relaxing.  I hoped to see a nice sunset but unfortunately, the skies became cloudy in the evening.

Saturday- Spent the previous night in Crestview, about 20 miles inland then drove to Perdido Key on the Alabama line.  After another enjoyable session that was slightly better than the previous day, I had a late lunch at FloraBama then headed home.

Trip 2-
For Memorial Day weekend, I figured that the beaches in Florida and Alabama would be PACKED so I wanted to go off the beaten path.  I would start out on the Bolivar Peninsula in Crystal Beach, just outside of Beaumont, Texas then hop back east.  Crystal Beach is about 9 hours from Birmingham so that's not bad if split up and can be done in one day if need be.  I would leave Friday afternoon and made it to Lafayette, Loosiana.  That's the correct pronunciation of the state west of Miss'Sippy.

Made it to my destination pretty early.  The vibe on the Texas coast is totally different than FLA/ALA.  Here, the sand is hard and brown and you can actually drive and park on the beach itself.  Though the waters were uncrowded, there were plenty of people on the sand playing loud music that could be heard in the sea.  This place can grow on you.  Though the water with its brownish tint is not so great to look at, it feels just fine.  The surf was just strong enough to be exciting but I would not have called it rough.  Further south, in Port Aransas and South Padre, the beaches are much nicer with clearer water.  I ended my session around 5 PM then headed back east for a Loosiana Saturday night.  Yes, I played Mel McDaniel's song several times along with a cover.

Crystal Beach

Cajun coast day.  Left Lafayette and it was another 3 hours to Grand Isle.  I have been to the Cajun Riviera before around Holly Beach about 4 year ago.  I found it to be unspectacular.  The water and sand were muddy brown with no wave action.  Lake Charles looks to have a nice swimming area but Grand Isle, a full 2 hours south of the city of New Orleans, is the only place in the state with ride-able waves.  The water here looked less inviting on the surface but still felt fine.  I'm sure it's safe for swimming but I would not have wanted a mouthful of that water on a wipeout.  Fortunately, the surf was fairly calm though once again, I got plenty of good rides on the board.  Overall, it was worth seeing for something different but I am unlikely to return as it is just too far out of the way.  On the plus side, if you are worried about the coronavirus, this beach probably will not be crowded even on a holiday weekend.  I had to leave a little early to ensure that I would make it to the Miss'Sippy Sound before sunset.  That's the correct pronunciation of the state to my west.   Here, the sand is as white as FLA/ALA but the water is still brown with no wave action.  However, if you take a short cruise to Ship Island just off the coast, it supposedly rivals the beauty of the Emerald Coast.  Unfortunately, tickets were sold out for Monday so that will have to wait.

Grand Isle

Mississippi Coast

Plan B was to head back to Ala-dam-bama at Gulf Shores and it worked out just fine.  The beauty of the beach puts all the others to shame and the surf was excellent too.  After an epic session, I had to leave before it got too crowded.  Good thing I did because traffic was rough coming home.  It took 2 hours longer than expected.

Gulf Shores

Monday, May 18, 2020

Training 5/18-5/24

Did very little running last week but made an important discovery.  I took a trip to North Florida last weekend and stayed mostly clean with the diet.  I did have one beer for dinner on Friday then one mixed drink with lunch on Saturday with no caffeine.  That is HARDLY a binge but I could NOT tolerate it.  Water only until further notice with no cheat days at all?  I don't think I can do that and if I can't tolerate just 2 indiscretions per week, that's a big problem.  The culprit is NOT CoQ10 after all.  It is ATP.  Indeed I have read that caffeine interferes with adenosine receptors and I'm betting that sugar and alcohol do as well.  That's okay.  I don't need to take ATP every day.  I only need enough to transport B-12.  Occasional use (once per week) will do me fine.

5/17- Very good news.  Without ATP, caffeine was tolerated and CoQ10 actually made things better.  Even better, I had no significant difference between 2 pills and 4.  I was 2 seconds slower per lap on extra so that's just statistical noise.

5/18-AM- Opener in 59.4 (5:56 pace).  Very impressive opener.  With 2 CoQ10, I was down to 50-flat (5:00 pace) then added a cool.  That's my fastest time on that loop by nearly 2 seconds and it was done WITH caffeine.  I'm sure it's not good for me but even if I had a daily habit, it should not hurt me NEARLY AS BADLY as it has before.  I'm quite sure that if I popped just one ATP pill, it would have been a disaster.  Still a little concerned that the gap (56 seconds) is still significant but I'm quite sure that I would have been no better or worse if I had taken extra.

PM- Lakeshore 2.5 in 19:36 (7:51 pace).  Not a bad showing.  Felt comfortable most of the way though my legs were a little heavy.  Started a little fast then backed off on the back half to 8:00 pace.

5/19- No AM workout but I could tell without running that just 1 CoQ10 pill would NOT be enough.  Not pleased about being so dependent on this or any other pill.  Gotta hope that will eventually fade.  Then again, at least I don't need mega doses.  The eventual workout was 3 miles at Montreat in a time of 23:22 (7:47 pace) with relatively even splits.  Don't think the pace ever went above 8.  Half mile longer on a route that was a bit tougher than Lakeshore.  I'll take it.  Not a significant difference versus yesterday but the sum of small gains is the goal.  Legs were still heavy and breathing was labored at times.

The South Dakota race scheduled for July was CANCELED due to Corona.  I've had enough of this.  I was willing to go along with the lockdown for 2-4 weeks but it's past time to open up.  My next race option is not until September in Minnesota.

5/20- CRASH!  Lithium was the culprit this time.  Since it is related to ATP, it's not a big surprise.  I should not need that stuff at all going forward because it is an ingredient in ADHS (adrenal modulator).  I may take it once per week to be safe however.  Forced myself to jog 1 mile but that pace was likely over 12 minutes.  I expect a nice rebound tomorrow.

5/21- 3 miles on Lakeshore in 28-flat (9:20 pace).  Big improvement over yesterday.  I was only doing 9:40 pace for the first half but managed a 9:00 flat on the back half with an 8:46 in Mile 3.  Nothing to celebrate but I should be back to the Mendoza line by tomorrow.

5/22- Repeated the Lakeshore 3 and my time is down to 25:36 (8:32 pace).  1st half- 12:52, 2nd half- 12:44.  I'll take it.  MINUS 52 overnight.

Impromptu trip to the Coast.
Only 1 additional junk mile.
- 13 miles on the week.