May 29

History Wednesday: A Lesson in Water Safety

I was going to write about Paraguay again, but it occurred to me earlier today I should bring as much geographic balance to History Wednesday as possible. Since I began SB at least one History Wednesday has been set on every continent. Except one, and I have regular visitors from it.

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Well, two if you count penguins, but they don’t have broadband.

So it’s high time to take a look at Australia and an event which has a cautionary tale about water safety. Perfect now that summer is upon us. Or winter, as the case may be. Anyway, the Paraguay story is good, but it can wait.

Continue reading

Apr 25

Winded on the Central Bench

OK, I know all six of you who read this blog religiously have been wondering when I’m finally going to go to the gym. Well … I haven’t done it yet. However, a couple days ago I went out and exercised, dammit.

Back during the dark days of Milli Vanilli and New Kids On the Block I was a distance runner. I was on the cross country team in fall and on the track team in spring. Although I never seriously contended for any sort of championship, I was a fairly decent athlete who usually finished in the middle of the pack in varsity races and in the top 10 in JV races. I was also a hell of a lot thinner back then.

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Note the awesome “Flying T” uniforms of the day.

I was pretty hardcore about running, too. During the season I’d run up to seven miles in a single practice. That’s a little over 11 K for you metric types. During the off-season and in summer I’d occasionally compete in community “fun runs.” I never ran anything real intense like the Rim2Rim in the 2T or Robie Creek here in Boise. I might have had I not lost interest in the whole deal during my senior year.

Nevertheless, the experience earned me the enduring symbol of the musclehead jock: the varsity letter. I lettered twice in cross country, once in track, and once in, um … debate. I still have the jacket, even though I haven’t worn it in years. For one thing, people my age really shouldn’t wear such things in public. For another, it doesn’t fit anymore anyway.

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Voir!

Anyway, where the hell was I? Oh yes, exercise. Some two decades later my fat ass decided to reprise an old cross country workout known as wind sprints. Cross country workouts were usually conducted on the 2T’s country roads. Since these roads are laid out in a grid system with an intersection every mile, it’s easy to judge how far you’ve run. Like most country roads, they’re lined with telephone poles at fairly regular intervals.

As far as the 2T cross country coaches were concerned, wind sprints worked as follows. From a starting point one walked to the next telephone pole, then ran at their 5K pace to the next pole, then sprinted to the next, then repeated the process. This typically went on for three to four miles and possibly preceded and/or followed a traditional practice run.

2Tstreet

Not quite a 2T rural road, but you get the idea.

Being old and fat I adjusted the workout a bit. I replaced the 5K run pace with a power walk, conducted my wind sprints to the suburban Central Bench (where the telephone poles are closer together than out in the sticks), and limited myself to one mile. It felt like a good four-miler back in the day, but I completed the task with minimal embarrassment.

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Maybe next time I’ll wear the right damn shoes too.
Image credit: jacob earl

I’m going to the 2T for the weekend tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll do some more wind sprints there. Not at the old practice venues, however. I don’t need another ambulance ride.

Mar 24

March Blandness

March Madness is all over the news, so I might as well give it a mention. Inspiration is definitely in short supply today.

I’ve never been much of a basketball fan, so every year when the NCAA basketball tournaments come around I give them little more than passing notice. When the subject comes up thoughts invariably turn to Idaho State’s upset win over UCLA to make the Elite Eight.

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And that was way the hell back in 1977.
Image credit: thedraftreview.com

Although I’m not the prototypical American sports fan by any stretch of the imagination, I follow college football much more closely. Even then, my tendency is to check the scores online rather than watch the games. I know how they’re played, so except for the occasional big play they hold little interest for me. If I want to watch the big play later, it’s easy to find.

My sport of choice used to be hockey. I was a fan of the old Quebec Nordiques and to this day host a web site about the team. Many years ago I held press passes to report on Idaho Steelheads and Philadelphia Phantoms games for a long-dead minor league hockey news site. I haven’t been to a hockey game since I lived in Las Vegas. That was nearly eight years ago.

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I haven’t looked at the Nordiques site in some time. It needs some work.

Based on the premise that the person least knowledgeable about college basketball is the one who wins the office pool, I was going to fill out a bracket and post it here. However, I didn’t get around to doing it. Since the tournament is half-over there’s no point in doing it now. Maybe next year.

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Florida Gulf Coast. Really? Well, gotta go with them now.

A closing thought for today. Apparently “March Madness” is also a term to describe the height of the annual European hare mating season.

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Which would have undoubtedly made for a much better article today. Oh well.
Image credit: Takkk

Mar 22

Friday Crap Roundup VI

I almost didn’t make the deadline today. Yet here I am for the 41st time. Maybe a slow weekend will get me back in rhythm. That said, it’s time for the Friday Crap Roundup! Um, yay?

Respect At Last

I’ve mentioned a couple times Idaho State University is my alma mater. What I haven’t mentioned is how utterly dreadful most of their sports teams are. Case in point, the football team hasn’t won a road conference game since 2006.

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And being constantly confused with these guys doesn’t help.

So it’s good to see Idaho State finally won a national championship in something this week. What is that something, you ask? Well, we have a national champion mascot in Benny Bengal. He won the 2013 U.S. College Championship Mascot Division in Anaheim this week. It’s always good to win something.

Benny Bengal

And when you’re an Idaho State alumnus, you take what you can get.
Image credit: ISU

He’s All Right

As I’m sure many of you do, I occasionally post memes and other images on Facebook I find amusing. This little gem produced a lot of buzz on my page this week. Absolutely freakin’ brilliant.

kennyjesus

Kenny Loggins is actually alive and well. Jesus didn’t look like him anyway.

History With a Dope Beat

Speaking of brilliant, I love the Epic Rap Battles of History series on YouTube. These guys are not only pretty accurate with their history, they’re also good musicians. Hell, they even got Snoop Dogg to do a cameo. Or is it Snoop Lion now? It’s so hard to keep up with these things.

This one is pretty tame by their standards. Many of the others are NSFW.

Track of the Week

Churning out this stuff every day has been particularly difficult recently. Nevertheless, I just gotta …

… Whip it good!