Category Archives: Uncategorized

Look! Up in the Sky! 70s Mom!

"Is it almost night time yet? I want to come in the house."

“You done taking the picture? I gotta ride down to the ditch and play in it.”

A friend of mine sent me a link to this blog post yesterday: If 70s Moms Had Blogs. It’s the funniest thing I’ve read this week — and I’m reading the Autobiography of Mark Twain. Here’s a taste.

About an hour later Matt came back crying that Mrs. Johnson had spanked him because he was throwing rocks at cars.

“Good,” I told him, “I hope you learned your lesson. If I hear of you doing that again I’m going to bust your ass too, so you got lucky this time that you only got one whipping.” Then I sent him back outside while I continued to clean.

Little while later, here come the girls saying they’re hot because it’s 80 degrees and sunny. I gave them some more red Kool-Aid and told them if they were hot to stay in the shade and stop whining about it.

Read the whole thing. It’s funny. Unless you’re the humorless sort who sees something like this and feels a need to lecture everyone on the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, sun exposure and child-beating, as if you’re the only person in 2014 who realizes these things, like you’re alerting the rest of us to a scientific discovery. Maybe your own parents left you in a car too long with the windows rolled up as a child and it fried the humor right out of your head.

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Sleepy Hollow Half 2014

I apologize if  you’ve seen this on Daily Mile or Facebook already. Just spreading the love.

SleepyHollowHalfMedal

Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon. Official time 1:58:52.

No heads were lost during the running of this race. Though I did wish at times for a man on a black horse to come back and end the misery.

I’ll be honest. Was a little disappointed with this time. It’s over a minute slower than last year’s (1:57:07) and I figure I’m in much better shape this year. Definitely weigh less.

But I did stop to take a picture. And to use the bathroom in the first mile. And I ran a half marathon last weekend. And did a couple of decent workouts this week. And it was supposed to be a training run. So it’s all good.

And, hey, another 13 miles in the books.

It was a beautiful day for a run. Warm enough for shorts. And by warm enough I mean upper 30s, lower 40s. I did have gloves and hat. At those times, they felt like a little much, but never enough that I had to take them off.

Wish I would have had my heart-rate monitor on this one to see what the hills did to me.  And even though the course was changed, the hills were just as bad. There was a good 350 feet of elevation gain between start and mile 5. And that little bastard of a trail hill — which I thought wasn’t on the course — they sneaked in there. Brooklyn Half will be easy compared to this.

This is NOT the hill at the last mile. But this is what it felt like.

This is NOT the hill at the last mile. But this is what it felt like.

1    9:52.9     <–Hills + lolly-gagging at the toilet and taking a picture.
2    8:36.6     <– Hills
3    9:12.0     <–Hills
4    9:11.2     <–Hills
5    8:57.0     <–Downhill stretch starts here
6    8:26.4
7    8:33.2
8    8:44.8
9    9:06.3     <–70 feet of elevation gain in less than a quarter mile.
10    9:21.9
11    9:09.3
12    9:17.6     <—There is a giant fucking hill right before mile 13. 65 feet or so in a quarter mile. Fuck you, end-of-race hill.
13    9:08.1

Not Half Bad: New York City Half Marathon

NYCHalf1

Tomorrow I’m running the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon, but I figured I’d slap up some deets (I’m modeling my speech off of Geico’s spokespig, Maxwell) about the New York City Half that I ran last Sunday.

This was my first time doing this race. And it’s almost a pity I ran it as a training run instead of hauling ass. Felt really good for this one–certainly better than the Manhattan Half earlier in the year. It helped that it wasn’t 19 degrees. Amazing what rested legs and a stomach full of carbs will do. (Oh, and some training.) I was tempted to start speeding right out of Central Park, and likely would have if I didn’t have the Sleepy Hollow tomorrow. (The end goal in all of this is to PR at Brooklyn Half in May.)

I was scheduled to do a long-distance progression run. So I tried to do that. The course lends itself to that, what with the Central Park hills giving way to downhill and flats for the entire second half of the race. I stopped in Times Square to take a few pics. And the Garmin acted up in a few places — and obviously didn’t work in the underground portion toward the end. Pretty sure the last two miles were both under 8. (But that 8th mile was slower than Garmin showed).

Anyway, negative split and it felt pretty damn easy. Probably could have pushed harder, but like I said, scared of Sleepy Hollow.

Was also my first time wearing the South Central Brooklyn Runners shirt. Heard a couple of smart-ass remarks from other runner’s clubs cheering sections, to the effect of “Whatever that is.” It’s a group with me in it, so it’s automatically better than yours, you little turds.

My perts…

1 9:02.4
2 8:50.6
3 9:03.6
4 8:54.9
5 8:48.8
6 8:48.7
7 9:33.2 <—Stopped to take pictures
8 8:13.8 <—Likely not that fast
9 8:26.8
10 8:32.1
11 8:13.8
12 7:56.0
13 9:26.5 <—WRONG

Play the Hot New CNN Game Show: Is It Preposterous to Think…

Is it preposterous to think Flight 370 is in the old LIRR tunnel in downtown Brooklyn?

Is it preposterous to think Flight 370 is in the old LIRR tunnel in downtown Brooklyn?

Could a black hole have taken down Malaysian Airlines Flight 370? Is it preposterous to think that?

This was a question posed on CNN last night. As you may know, when the network is not taking 90-second breaks for commercials or 30-second breaks for lighter fare such as possible World War being sparked in Crimea, it’s been providing nonstop breaking news coverage of the disappearance of Flight 370. This is harder than it looks, because there has been no news. So last night the gang discussed some of the crazier theories, including the possibility of a black hole.

Let’s not give CNN too hard a time. The reason they’re doing this is because it’s what the people want! The ratings tell them so. Fess up. When was the last time you watched CNN this much? But why let them have all the fun? You can play “Is it preposterous to think…” at home. I’ll get you started:

Is it preposterous to think that a great white shark jumped high into the sky and brought the plane down?

Is it preposterous to think that Cheryl Ladd is coming back from an overly polluted future to steal healthy humans for breeding stock? (We should ask Kris Kristofferson.)

Is it preposterous to think that it was langoliers?

Is it preposterous to think that Godzilla could have been responsible?

Is it preposterous to think that it was a kangaroo strike?

I’ve got more, but I don’t want to deprive you of all the fun. Go nuts. And remember, when it comes to cable news coverage, it might not be preposterous to think that flying monkeys took down an airplane, but it apparently it is preposterous to just think.

96 Miles and What Do You Get?

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I’ve just completed a February running streak. For the uninitiated, a streak in this case is not running naked across a football field, but rather running at least a mile every day.

Days in February: 28
Days run in February: 28
Miles run in February: 96
Pounds lost in February: 0

That’s right. Average over 20 miles a week and lost no weight.

Now, I can pretend that it was muscle added. I was working out with weights twice a week.

But we all know the real culprits.

This:

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And this:

20140301-112826.jpg

That is called salchipapas, which sounds fancy and international, but your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a plate of French fries and fried wieners. And instead of ketchup, you dip it in green sauce–which is made of mayonnaise. We ate that twice in February.

I should also point out that I’m typing this on the R Train on my way to Bay Ridge. What’s in Bay Ridge? Robicelli’s. If you don’t live in New York, buy their book. If you do live in New York, get your ass to Bay Ridge. Why?

Because this:

20140301-112919.jpg

My point is, at my age you have to run more than 20 miles a week to lose weight if you’re eating like this. Or you have to eat less. And drink less.
All of which I’m about to do. Lent is coming up and this former Catholic is giving up booze and sweets of all kinds and going on a slow-carb diet.
I’m also going to start training for the Brooklyn Half. Well, training seriously. I did a 13-miler last weekend with no problem. And I’ve got two halfs coming up this month–New York City and Sleepy Hollow. But I’m hoping to PR in Brooklyn, which means I need to get back to. 1:45. I can do it, but not while streaking.

The streaks are great for motivation and discipline, but throwing in speed work and long runs makes them hellacious. And my ankles and knees are crying out for a couple of rest days. Besides, streaks are a lot of “junk miles” when it comes to training for a race.

Streaks are also time consuming. Even if you’re only doing a couple miles you still need to find the time and get dressed and run and shower and all that.

And I’m in the middle of a new book that I’d like to finish writing by this summer. And I also have to make time for “Vanderpump Rules” and other quality TV.

So it’s either quit my job or quit streaking. And running doesn’t pay the rent.

That One Crazy on the Train

If you’ve taken the 4 or 5 or 6 train out of Grand Central regularly over the last 10 years, you’ve run into her at some point. The short, mid-30s white woman who comes aboard and starts with the sob story about needing money for her and her children because:

  1. Her husband the soldier died in Iraq.
  2. Her husband the soldier died in Afghanistan.
  3. Her husband the first-responder died in Sandy.
  4. Their house burnt down and her husband died in the fire.

Last night, her story had changed to her ex-husband was abusive and she was trying to get herself and her two children (one of whom has to be old enough to vote by now) away from the bastard. She layered the story, too. She was also going to grad school. GRAD SCHOOL. (Hey, dream big!) For a masters in social work. (Okay, maybe not.) And her ex-husband had screwed up any chance she had at financial aid because he claimed her and the kids as dependents. (Great detail.)

This woman really grates on my nerves, but I’ve always kept my mouth shut because a) she’s obviously unwell and b) though she sounds sweet and helpless, she can switch gears in the blink of an eye.

The woman sitting across from me — who also has likely seen the same woman telling multiple stories over the years — muttered a few things under her breath. It wasn’t loud enough to set our story-teller off, but it did prompt this as story-teller left our car for the other:

“Yeah, you bitch? Well I hope my fucking ex-husband finds you and beats your ass. Hope he chokes you. That’ll show you.”

The Anal-Retentive, Narcissistic Pretty Boy

After this morning’s workout, I get down to the locker room and see a guy putting his clothes on right next to my locker. At this point, he’s got shirt and pants on and takes a moment to walk to the closest mirror to observe himself putting on his belt.

So I head straight for the shower, figuring he’ll be done by the time I’ve toweled off.

No such luck. Ten minutes later — I took my time — he’s still dicking around at his locker. Puts his tie on, goes to the mirror, ties it, makes sure it’s just right. Puts his jacket on, goes to the mirror, makes sure it’s just right. Starts messing around in the locker, then pulls out a fucking pocket square. Folds that just so. Puts it in his pocket, goes to the mirror, makes sure it’s just right.

Look, I don’t mind the guy being there. He’s two doors down and now that I’m no longer 12, I’ve got no qualms about undressing and dressing in front of another dude. But now that I’m 40, I need that stool he’s bogarting. I’m old. I need to sit down to put on my socks and shoes. What’s he doing with the stool? He’s got an array of lotions lined up on it.

Then he puts his coat on, goes to the mirror, makes sure it’s just right. Mind you, it’s is 90 damn degrees and humid down there. And how far is he walking, anyway? Then he gets his scarf, does that just so, goes back to the mirror and, finally, he’s done.

Maybe he’s got a big meeting today. He’s definitely single. Because straight or gay, a married dude isn’t dicking around in the locker room that long to pretty himself up–especially when it’s 17 degrees out and you’re just going to be hustling from the gym to your office a few blocks away.

 

If You Were a Ski Jumper…

If the Salt Lake City jump looked this scary, just imagine...

If the Salt Lake City jump looked this scary, just imagine…

What we know about Sochi is that despite promises to the contrary, the city is laughably unprepared for the Winter Olympics. If you haven’t already, check out the story about journalists arriving at their hotels to find simple things missing — like shower curtains, floors and water that won’t eat your face. Also missing: rooms, beds, stall walls in public restrooms and manhole covers.

Of course, the official line is, “Nothing to see here you sissy Americans.” Funnily enough, another official line, regarding the rounding of stray dogs is that one reason it’s being done is to protect athletes from them running on to a course.

So. If you’re a ski jumper, how confident are you feeling about that ramp right about now?

Video: Ken on the Katie Couric Show

I posted this everywhere else. I might as well post it here. Last week, I appeared on the Katie Couric show to talk about Super Bowl ads. Yes, that was my SECOND appearance on the Katie show.

Little Something to Read on a Louisiana Snow Day

Since it’s snowing (kind of) in South Louisiana, I thought I’d offer a little taste of something that’s dropping in July. 

(And, no, there aren’t ‘free copies’ floating around, so don’t ask.)

Image

* * *

“Yall get out here,” Daddy shouted from the front door, freezing us all in mid action, stopping our very thoughts. “C’mon. Yall missing the snow.”

With that, we tried to get all six of our bodies through the bedroom door at once and stormed out onto the porch, where we stopped short. Breathing heavily in our excitement, we looked like overworked horses, steam puffing from our nostrils.

I don’t know how long it had been snowing before he called us out, but the ground was covered and it was still coming down. Silence reigned, our breathing the only sound to be heard. The lighting was strange, a gray dusk in the middle of the day serving as backdrop to the white flakes falling from the sky. I stuck my hand out from under the porch’s overhang, hoping to catch some of the magic, but it only melted.

“Can we go play in it?” Kurt Junior asked.

“Not enough to play in yet,” Daddy said. “Let’s give it a little time.”

That seemed about like asking pigs to wait a few minutes before eating the slop right in front of them, but we all said, “Okay, Daddy,” and deferred to his wisdom. Obviously he knew a thing or two about snow. Even if he knew only one thing about snow, it was one thing more than the rest of us.

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s go eat some gumbo.”

We usually ate like a pack of wild animals, tearing through what food we had and hoping beyond the realm of all experience that there would somehow be more. But that day we were too nervous to eat, worrying that the snow would stop or that it would melt by the time we were allowed out to play.

An hour later, when we were let outside bundled up in what clothes we could find, there was a full inch on the ground. It wasn’t much, but to us it might as well have been the North Pole. After working as a team to build a two-foot tall snowman that was as much dirt and sticks as it was snow, we declared war on each other, practically scraping every inch of snow off of the ground and fence rails and the truck and low-hanging tree limbs to arm ourselves.

Since Baby Joey was too small to stay out for long, the warring factions broke down as they often did, Kendra-Sue and me against the other three. Fight like cats and dogs as often as we did, together we were an unstoppable force. Or, an alternate reason, given by Kurt Junior: “Yall too hateful to separate.” Meaning that if we were on opposing teams, the play fighting would at some point turn into real violence—and we’d all get a switching from Mama.

Still, Kurt Junior probably wished he could have both of us on his team. As Kendra-Sue and I worked silently to build our arsenal, we could hear Karla-Jean nagging him.

“We need a plan and we need to build a fort.”

“Mais, what you gonna build a fort with? Just pack some snowballs before Kendra-Sue and Katie-Lee come get us.”

I listened not so much to the words as to the way they carried in the cold air. Kurt Junior, Karla-Jean and Karen-Anne were on the other side of the house, but sounded like they were in the same room. Karen-Anne whined that her fingers hurt from the cold.

Mine burned too. Red and raw. It was the most disappointing thing about the reality of snow. I don’t know what I’d expected. Something soft? Clouds that could be packed into solid form? It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d basically be sticking my hands in cold water for an hour or more. But I held my tongue. For all I knew, this was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I stuck my head around the side of the house to spy on the enemy.

“Kurt Junior’s sneaking off behind the barn,” I reported.

“Good. We’ll get Karla-Jean first.”

She didn’t need to explain to me why. Swooping down on Karen-Anne might prompt Kurt Junior to counter-attack with force. He’d do nothing to protect Karla-Jean. If we hit her hard enough, she’d give up immediately.

When we stormed around the house, Karen-Anne bolted away from Karla-Jean, who was bent over a bare patch of ground trying to coax a fort out of mud and what was left of the snow. It looked more like a snake. Whatever it was, the three-inch mound did nothing to protect her from the four snowballs we hurled at her face from point-blank range, knocking her onto her butt. In a second, she was back on her feet, red-faced, blood streaming from her nose. She was a sight. Tall for her age, topped with flaming red hair that apparently struck at least one Fontenot in every generation. And so mad she couldn’t speak or make up her mind which one of us to kill first. Not that either of us were going to stick around to make her decision easier. We took off in separate directions and rendezvoused on the other side of the house.

Karla-Jean’s voice split the air. “I quit! Yall hear me? I quit. I’m going inside. Stupid. That’s what yall are. I hope yall freeze to death out here.”

“That was probably the best thing ever in my life,” Kendra-Sue said. She looked like a dog that had just eaten a week-old opossum.

“You think she’s gonna tell?” I asked.

“Let her. The only person gonna listen to her crybabying is Jesus.”

That was true. And Karla-Jean was smart enough not to ruin Mama’s mood by tattling.

“Who’s next?” I asked.

“I don’t know. What do you think?”

We sat for a bit, mulling it over, sticking our tongues out to catch the snow. We made more snow balls. Kept an ear out for the approaching enemy. If past war experience—and we had plenty of it, waging pitched battles with china-berries, rotten eggs, acorns and, yes, on occasion, hardened cow pies—was an indicator, Kurt Junior would lie in wait like a sniper. He could out-wait any of us. Sooner or later, we’d go looking for him and, from some tree limb or barn rafter, he’d rain death from above. And just like death, it didn’t matter that we were expecting him, he always caught us by surprise. But what was he going to do with Karen-Anne?

We found out soon enough when she poked her head around the corner. He’d sent her to spy. Big mistake.

Without even discussing it, Kendra-Sue and I said at the same time, “Wanna be on our team?”

Not five minutes later, we’d completely turned her with a promise that she’d be the key to our first victory over that stupid, smelly boy we called our brother.

***