Saturday, September 30, 2006

Less than 10 Hours til the Marathon.

My training today consisted of trimming the hedge, mowing the lawn and beginning the process of cleaning up the pool, which has languished for a month in mostly cool and rainy weather. I had to step into it a couple times and the icy water felt good on my feet. I decided not to finish the job today and soak them thoroughly again in it tomorrow, after the run.

I have a bit of a case of butterflies. Will I finish tomorrow? Will I end up walking until the bus catches up with me? Will they haul me away in an ambulance?

Or will I equal or even exceed my expectations?

I need to get my s**t together. Supposedly we still have a gym bag around here somewhere. When you train out of your home, you don't think about such things.

I'll tell you how it went when I recover sufficiently to make it down here.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Celebrate Anti-Federalist Day!

From the Mises Institute:
The Antifederalists Were Right
By Gary Galles
Posted on 9/27/2006

September 27 marks the anniversary of the publication of the first of the Antifederalist Papers in 1789. The Antifederalists were opponents of ratifying the US Constitution. They feared that it would create an overbearing central government, while the Constitution's proponents promised that this would not happen. As the losers in that debate, they are largely overlooked today. But that does not mean they were wrong or that we are not indebted to them.

In many ways, the group has been misnamed. Federalism refers to the system of decentralized government. This group defended states rights — the very essence of federalism — against the Federalists, who would have been more accurately described as Nationalists. Nonetheless, what the so-called Antifederalists predicted would be the results of the Constitution turned out to be true in most every respect.

The Antifederalists warned us that the cost Americans would bear in both liberty and resources for the government that would evolve under the Constitution would rise sharply. That is why their objections led to the Bill of Rights, to limit that tendency (though with far too little success that has survived to the present).

Dance a jig today, or cuss out a commie or something.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's been pretty tough to do any writing this week

What with the running and sleeping and eating and reading to the girls and taking them places and yardwork and helping the inlaws winterize the lake place...

Ah, woe is me.

Of course, I'm actually rather enjoying myself. Funny I didn't mention work in there anywhere. I'm also having to adjust to some new circumstances there, though not completely new. I just have the feeling of being like the new goldfish won at the fair. More I can't say.

If my style sounds a bit funny, it's because I've just finished reading chapter 35 of Luisa May Alcott's Little Women, and I fear it has improved my mind.

I find that whenever I read something that is touted as great literature, these days, that it lives up to its reputation. At least everything before the turn of the twentieth century. The twentieth century German authors I read in college were a bunch of, shall we say, weirdos. Although, I like Kafka. He at least had a sense of humor. D;¨urenmatt made jokes, but they were unrelentingly dark.

Now you know why I call myself a philistine. I refuse to resign myself to society's lemminglike charge into the Abyss, nor do I pretend to stand above it, laughing. Nor do I reject many of the parts of society which my professors wanted me to.

Ah! Enough of that! Time to heal unconsciously for a while in preparation for my next run.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Equinoctial Forces are about to exercise their celestial prerogative

plunging us into the barren winter.

I want to write a pseudo-intellectual tour de force (hmm, I think I just used that one), but it came out sounding so poetic I had to leave it.

Anyway, get ready, here it comes:
At the autumnal equinox (Sept. 23, 2006, 12:03 A.M. EDT), the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.

Infoplease. Thank you.

Celebrate responsibly.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I mentioned Dean Karnazes a couple posts back

I'm reading his book. I can't say that it encourages me to run ultramarathons any more than the movie K-2 [Uh, that wasn't the name was it? What was it?] encouraged me to climb anything in the Himalayas, but he's a stunning physical specimen and the greatest hero of our time. Equal to Jack Morris, at least.

Right now, he's running 50 Marathons in 50 days. Check out his blog.

Omni has a brilliant post about the inefficacy of authorities

Let me just give you her point
11) Once in a blue moon, the wrongdoer WILL be penalized; said penalty will almost never be severe enough to counteract the fun of doing the evil deed, and even if it IS the overall fun to punishment ratio remains way too high for getting the occasional butt-kicking to discourage them from misbehaving.

She discusses, in depth, a point well developed by Hannah Arendt and Ayn Rand. This essay fits very well with two that I read in my spare time today,

[Hey!! A guy just mentioned Hank Thompson on the Dave Thompson show! I used to run around singing "I've got a Humpty Dumpty Heart" when I was Liina's age. Of course, I sang "howt" back then. It was a bit embarassing when Mom, who goes around with one of those oxygen tanks these days, told him that personally at a concert at Cookson Hills, Oklahoma with me there. I mean, I was a 41-year-old, big, fat guy with a Groucho Marx glasses-and-mustache look for God's sake!]

What the H was I saying?

Oh! Here's a essay, The Justice and Prudence of War: Toward A Libertarian Analysis By Roderick Long
and one of his references, Understanding the Global Crisis: Reclaiming Rand’s Radical Legacy, by Chris Matthew Sciabarra.

Those are two magnificent intellectual tours de force.

Here's a bit of Long:
The non-consequentialist core of libertarian ethical theory is an egalitarian commitment; specifically, a commitment not to socioeconomic equality but to equality in authority. Indeed, libertarians' lack of enthusiasm for enforced socioeconomic equality stems precisely from their concern that it can be achieved only at the cost of this for libertarians more fundamental form of equality.[4]

The libertarian "non-aggression principle" expresses the conviction that forcibly to subordinate the person or property of another to one's own aims is to assume an unjustifiable inequality in authority between oneself and the other. And it is because this equality in authority likewise holds between private citizens and public officials that governments are forbidden to exercise any powers not available to people generally; libertarianism requires not just equality before the law but equality with the law.

And this bit, which I believe I've said myself (I've at least hinted at this strongly):
Since a libertarian polity's quarrel is with enemy regimes, not enemy peoples, it should adopt a strategy of covert operations and assassinations — as a substitute for, not a supplement to, conventional warfare.

And a bit of Sciabarra:
I have strongly supported the attempt to bring to justice the fugitives of 9/11-the murderous Al Qaeda-or "to bring justice to them," as President Bush has said. I think this is an unconventional war requiring unconventional warfare, including ongoing disruption of terrorist finance, weapons, and communications networks. But I remain wary of any long-term U.S. expansion into the region. And I believe that a projected U.S. occupation of Iraq to bring about "democratic" regime change would not be comparable to the German and Japanese models of the post-World War II era.

Sciabarra will tell you in that essay what Ayn Rand had to say about evil-doers that jibes with Omni's extremely important article. Hannah Arendt had tons to say about the "banality if evil" which it would serve you well to study. And Long's works provide a great bridge between Libertarians, Objectivists and Liberals. I like Sciabarra best, myself.

BTW, back to Omni's post, Robert Ringer has done some serious railing against teacher approved bullying in schools (public and private) that should be considered in this discussion.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm down into the 100 KG weight class!

218 Today!

All you have to do to dump five pounds fast is run 20+ miles in 3 days.

Oop! Family duties call.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Too much time on my hands, eh? Or Old Whig at the Rendezvous

[I felt the need to phrase that like the old Bullwinkle cartoons.]


We spent the entire friggin' day watchin' the old shrew get her &@*# together. Then I threw it all into the pickup in 15 minutes and we left the house at 5:00.

But! She wanted to run a few errands before we left town.


We left the cities at 7:00. You know when the sun sets this time of year.

8:45 PM: we arrive at Snake River Fort, near Pine City. Miles to go before we sleep. (Thank The Dear Lord our errands were in the northern suburbs.)

9:45: the tent is ready and we can put the kids to bed. Laurie and I get to relax and BS with our buddies by their campfire. Insanity and anger subside like a spent wave leaving only the pleasures of fine conversation and magnificent weather.

Friday... I'm sorry, it was just a blur of pleasure. I ran for an hour in the morning. Viewed a lot of magnificent autumn farmland and forest, lakes and rivers - played with several paces. Recovered quickly and was able to haul a lot of water and firewood.

I know I spent a lot of time tending the fire and gathering the spirit of the voyageur. We had a few visitors, the girls made friends and everything was just generally wonderful.

It rained a lot that night. Storms threatened, but didn't materialize.


I overslept, so I couldn't run (visitor hours started at 9:00, I rolled out at 8:45. I (after taking my BP medication and vitamins) moseyed to the truck for some dry firewood and got a blaze going for a late breakfast. Which I got wolfed down five minutes before the foot-races began at ten. To spare you the agony, nobody entered who wasn't a better sprinter than I. I came in dead-frickin' last. Three grade-school kids whupped my ass!

(Let's see how that translates to a 10K, eh?)

Then, later, I stupidly repeated my failing shotput technique in the Stone Throw. I placed fifth overall, but they only give prizes for places 1-3. The two-handed, underhand throw has won it for the last two years and I've never been beaten by anyone who [correction: didn't throw] that way. (Of course, I get to claim the all-time championship of the shot-put style. Anybody seen that trophy? I guess it's my powder horn.)

But, you know what? That race speed carried over to the next day. I did a 90 minute run. I wasn't worried about the distance at the time, and I was feeling humbled by the thorough drubbing on Saturday, but on the way home I drove the truck to the landmarks I ran to and discovered that I had run at least 10.5 miles that morning. In an hour and a half! That is a huge, HUGE leap in my ability!

Talk about a confidence builder!

And I feel better than than I've felt in years at this moment!

Two weeks ago I was telling my in-laws that jogging is bad for you and that I'd never run more than three miles a day after this marathon. Now I knock off more than a 10K a day and enjoy every minute of it!

Karnazes: "If it felt good, you did something wrong"? I don't know, man. I'm having a good time.

But I have a somber point.

Saturday night, after the dance we had a hell of a thunderstorm. Tornado watches and everything.

There were no problems up our way, other than spray driven through every nook and cranny we didn't seal...

But a tornado formed and struck in Rogers, in western Hennepin County (my home county) so suddenly that homes were flattened and a little girl - only months older than my Rosie - was crushed to death before the alarms could sound.

Generally, I consider grief counselors to be a flock of twisted vultures... I can see visiting one now, if I'd known the girl.

I'm damn near ready to see one myself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

There's a place in France

Where the ladies wear no pants
And the men down there
Say they wear no underwear.

Or so I hear.

There are a couple of ambiguities here. First, is the "they" in the last line referring to the ladies or the men? And, second, is "down there" just a loose expression for "at the place where the pantless ladies are to be found" or is it specifically avering that the men are in position to verify the bloomerlessness of the ladies? If it's the men who are drawerless, then the answer to the latter question must be that "down there" is simply a loose expression.

I haven't been to France. My wife has, and I think I asked her what she knew of this vexing matter, but I don't recall that she gave me any satisfactory answers to these questions that so vex my soul.

I know that none of the ladies at the Rendezvoux wear pants, but are nevertheless modestly covered. And I have unfortunately seen evidence that some of the men there wear no underwear.

But then this is America, and my experience doesn't imply anything about what goes on in France.

We are headed out for Rendezvous in Pine City tomorrow. Perhaps some of the better informed reenactors can fill me in.

I'm going to have to squeeze a couple of fairly long runs into the weekend. I don't know how I'm going to deal with all the sweat and sweaty clothes that will generate.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I think this is so important that I'll take the risk

of republishing the article in full:
One Century of FDA Tyranny

It's the centennial of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA workers are
even singing an anthem, written by an employee, to commemorate the event. The
"FDA Centennial Anthem," posted proudly at the FDA's Web site, begins:

"One century past, a people's hope fulfilled
By an act conceived for safe medicine and food
Protecting rights that our founding fathers willed
To life and liberty, to happiness pursued."

Of course, these lines are Orwellian nonsense. If you truly have a right to
life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then you have the right to
market and purchase medicines and foods of your choosing. A huge, monolithic
federal bureaucracy that prohibits free choice in such matters is the very
opposite of this.

It should be further noted that, despite claims that it protects the safety of
Americans, the FDA has actually killed hundreds of thousands of people by its
drug regulations.

An article in the July-August 2005 Freeman magazine, "The FDA Cannot Be
Reformed," by Arthur E. Foulkes, points out a few examples:

"[T]he FDA for many years prohibited aspirin makers from advertising the
potential cardiovascular benefits of their product since the agency had not
originally approved it for that purpose and despite widespread knowledge that
aspirin therapy could significantly reduce the risk of heart attack in males
over 50. In the words of economist Paul H. Rubin, "The FDA surely killed tens,
and quite possibly hundreds, of thousands of Americans by this restriction

"In another example, the FDA approved the gastric ulcer drug Misoprostol in
1988 -- three years after it had been available in other countries. Analyst Sam
Kazman estimated -- using the FDA's own figures -- that this delay may have led
to between 20,000 and 50,000 unnecessary deaths."

There are many other examples.

FDA regulations have made introducing a new drug into the U.S. more lengthy,
difficult, and expensive than anywhere else in the world. Says Foulkes: "It now
typically takes between ten and 15 years to bring a new drug to the U.S. market
at a cost of over $800 million."

This, of course, jacks up drug costs and dramatically lowers the number of new
drugs introduced into the United States, thus depriving Americans of beneficial
and even life-saving drugs. The Cato Institute cites Robert Goldberg of
Brandeis University: "By a conservative estimate, FDA delays in allowing U.S.
marketing of drugs used safely and effectively elsewhere around the world have
cost the lives of at least 200,000 Americans over the past 30 years."

The FDA is inconsistent with a free society, and an actual menace to all
Americans. It is unnecessary, to boot. There are free-market methods of
protecting consumers from dangerous drugs, while also allowing consumer freedom
of choice and not stifling the creativity and ingenuity of scientists and
researchers. (Some alternatives to the FDA are discussed in Foulke's Freeman
article, and in another Freeman article, both linked below.)

A century of bad policy and hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and
untold suffering is enough. It's past time to say goodbye to the FDA.

(Sources: The Freeman:
Washington Post:
The Independent Institute:
Cato Institute:

I happen to take one of the drugs - inderol - that the FDA held up for ten years with its stupid bureaucratic regulations. An estimated 40,000 people who might have been protected by this drug died of stroke during that ten years.

We are poorer for the lack their contributions to our families, society, knowledge and economy due to the unnecessary shortening of their lives.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Khatami’s Harvard Visit Is a Disgrace

From the Ayn Rand Institute (if I earn any profit, I promise I'll give them a chunk):
Irvine, CA--This Sunday, on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, Iran’s former president, Mohammed Khatami, will speak before Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and give a talk titled “Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence.” This is outrageous.

Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. Khatami’s government jailed Iranian students who spoke out against the theocratic regime, and his intelligence service murdered leaders of an Iranian opposition party. For him to lecture Americans on ethics and non-violence is as obscene as a child molester instructing his victims on the importance of respecting individual rights.

Harvard defended Khatami’s visit, claiming we must have an “open dialogue” with Iran and allow for a “free exchange of ideas.” But there can be no “free exchange of ideas” between a killer and those he seeks to kill--or between a brutal dictatorship and the free nation it seeks to annihilate.

Let’s stop appeasing Iran and make it clear that those who threaten the United States will not receive an “open dialogue,” but swift destruction.

### ### ###

Copyright © 2006 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

I find I'm more of an Objectivist than a libertarian when I find the two in conflict.

Speaking of which, check this out:
When government undertakes to regulate a market-based system, it (1) compels exchanges (for example, through eminent domain and tax transfers) and (2) forcibly interferes with voluntary exchanges. When government taxes us to provide subsidies to business, our preferences are overthrown in favor of someone else’s. When it imposes import quotas, tariffs, and patents, the choices and prices of clothing, sugar, and many other things are distorted because inexpensive foreign goods are kept out of the market. When government imposes taxes and regulations, it favors large incumbent firms over small and yet-to-be-started firms. When it expands the money supply, inflation robs working people of purchasing power.

My disagreement with these guys and the Libertarian Party is this: I want the borders closed to anti-capitalists, and I want the border open to capitalists.


An excellent article on the Mises Blog today

How We Come to Own Ourselves
By N. Stephan Kinsella.

He packs in quite a number of points into this paragraph about self-ownership and the child/parent relationship:
...[T]he libertarian could argue that the parent has various positive obligations to his or her children, such as the obligation to feed, shelter, educate, etc. The idea here is that libertarianism does not oppose "positive rights"; it simply insists that they be voluntarily incurred. One way to do this is by contract; another is by trespassing against someone's property. Now, if you pass by a drowning man in a lake you have no enforceable (legal) obligation to try to rescue him; but if you push someone in a lake you have a positive obligation to try to rescue him. If you don't you could be liable for homicide. [Ed. note: "could"?] Likewise, if your voluntary actions bring into being an infant with natural needs for shelter, food, care, it is akin to throwing someone into a lake. In both cases you create a situation where another human is in dire need of help and without which he will die. By creating this situation of need you incur an obligation to provide for those needs. And surely this set of positive obligations would encompass the obligation to manumit the child at a certain point.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dan Kennedy's got a good observation,

as well as some good advice, here:
It has consistently been my experience that people underestimate themselves and overestimate what's necessary for the success they seek. The millionaire entrepreneurs that I know are not much smarter or more knowledgeable than the average person on the street, nor are they gifted or somehow pre-ordained for exceptional achievement. In many cases, they're not as smart as most people - believe me, I've met some pretty dumb rich people. Just about anybody could do what they do, it's just that few will do what they do.

Well, since they gave me the code...

You Have a Melancholic Temperament

Introspective and reflective, you think about everything and anything.
You are a soft-hearted daydreamer. You long for your ideal life.
You love silence and solitude. Everyday life is usually too chaotic for you.

Given enough time alone, it's easy for you to find inner peace.
You tend to be spiritual, having found your own meaning of life.
Wise and patient, you can help people through difficult times.

At your worst, you brood and sulk. Your negative thoughts can trap you.
You are reserved and withdrawn. This makes it hard to connect to others.
You tend to over think small things, making decisions difficult.

That's about right.

Thanks, Blue. What's that car, there?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Heres an important message from


Image Hosted by

Screw anybody who trifles with the Bill of Rights!

John McCain and Russ Feingold are tied for #1 on the libertarian hit parade. George W. Bush is #2 [though he may be tied with a bunch of Senators and at least an equal number of US Reps.

Moderates? How about you pick your position between the obvious and literal words of the Constitution and the Bullshit of the Politicians?

Sorry about that. Went out of town for Labor Day.

I hear they had some major storms while I was Up North. We had fabulous weather.

Rosie and I took a long walk Saturday and swam on both Sunday and Monday. The water was cool, but not as cold as Pattison Park (where I grew up).

I ran 12 miles on Sunday, in 2 hours. ...All right, "jogged."

Ron, I bet you didn't know you share your birthday with Epicurus. He was born 2300 years to the day before you. [Except you actually have to subtract 2 years because the guys who made our calendar didn't know about zeroes... don't get me started. But you can't make any numerological hay out of 2298 years. Or can you?]

I've mentioned him before. I like his philosophy, generally speaking. He was accused of being a sumptuary [WOD alert!!], because he says that the basis and goal of action should be pleasure. Or, to quote from the first paragraph of Cicero's quote of Lucius Torquatus who was defending Epicureanism:
...[T]he final and ultimate Good, which as all philosophers are agreed must be of such a nature as to be the End to which all other things are means, while it is not itself a means to anything else. This Epicurus finds in pleasure; pleasure he holds to be the Chief Good, pain the Chief Evil. This he sets out to prove as follows: Every animal, as soon as it is born, seeks for pleasure, and delights in it as the Chief Good, while it recoils from pain as the Chief Evil, and so far as possible avoids it. This it does as long as it remains unperverted, at the prompting of Nature's own unbiased and honest verdict.