Archive for January, 2011

Sweat Dreams: Ten Treadmill Tunes

OK, fast is a relative term.  Today I was killing it at 4 mph which is a jog on my machine.    The woman next to me was probably in her mid-50s and started at 4.4 mph and went up from there.  Of course, I went for 75 minutes while she wussed out after 20 minutes…and 10 mph.   So we probably burned equivalent calories but I really don’t like to run so I will keep jogging (fast walking) until I break the machine or my butt.

See what you think of ten songs in my current rotation that seem to get me moving faster than a slow walk.  Any suggestions that are not disco, metal, rap or show tunes greatly appreciated.  In no particular order:

Bonus Track: 

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Do Nothing

Can you do nothing for two minutes? This might help.

The Race to Nowhere

The Race to Nowhere is a compelling documentary about the growing national problem of over-scheduled and over-worked kids and their parents.   The desire to get into the “best” colleges has led to a near-frenzy of making sure kids are getting great grades, doing lots of homework, playing a sport, doing community service, curing a disease, working in a third world village and speaking three languages; that kids are becoming depressed and incredibly tired.  And parents are frustrated.

We all want the best for our kids.  We want them to be successful, happy and healthy.  Mostly we want them to be kids.   This documentary is a good place to start.

Anchors Away

Did you watch the State of the Union?  I did.  I give Barack a B+ for being statesmanlike and leader-ly but not particularly warm.  I guess not everyone can be Bill Clinton, who always rocked the speech.   We can check all the boxes for Great Country, Work Together, Reduce the Debt, Better Education, Fix Infrastructure, Technology, Innovation, Be Green and Our Armed Services People Are Heroes.   There did appear to be some confusion about when to stand and clap or sit on hands especially with all the R+D bonding.  They probably won’t do that again. 

My network of choice was CNN.  I mean, they have “The Best Political Team on Television,” right?  I was amazed at the run-up to the speech.  For over two hours TBPTOT quacked away about what might be said, what should be said, who will react in what way, what folks were wearing and they spent a LOT of time talking about “Date Night,” the epic post-Tucson decision to have the parties mix and mingle rather than sit by party.  So it became a game to see who was sitting next to who. 

I was hoping for more of a Red Carpet treatment a la E! where reporters could breathlessly comment:  “Hillary, whose (designer) pantsuit are you wearing?”  “Mr. Boehner, I LOVE the Man Tan.  Does that come off?”  “Senator Levin, I adore your comb-over.  Does it take much work?”  “Congressman/Senator (put name here) where did you get that hot grey suit?”  I suspect it will get to that, now that the pre-speech aisle gathering is lasting so long.  In fact the pre-speech air time was an hour longer than Obama’s address.

By the time Obama began, ten different members of CNN’s “Best Political Team…” had speculated, commented and opined about what was to come.  Now that’s a team. And it was led by The Dude:  Wolf Blitzer — who still has the greatest name in news. 

The team was made up of  five or six people in-studio and another five or six “on location.”  One woman on location was somewhere out in the dark, leaning against a wall talking about when Barack would arrive from his one-minute drive over from the White House. 

Here’s the breakdown:

In Studio:

David Gergen:  Senior Political Analyst (Awesome comb-over.)

Candy Crowley:  Chief Political Correspondent (Is “Chief” higher than “Senior”?)

Erick Erickson:  Red State.com blogger (Where was the liberal?)

Roland Martin:  CNN Contributor, Senior Black Liberal Contributor

Eliot Spitzer:  Talk Show host, ex-governor and well, you know.

Piers Morgan:  Talk show host, talent show judge, Brit (WTF is he doing on there?)

On Location:

John King:  Chief National Correspondent, Anchor of his own show

Joe Johns:  Political Correspondent (Two first names!)

Gloria Borgen:  Senior Political Analyst (Never got inside.)

Dana Bash:  Senior Political Correspondent (“I’m right here at the back of the room, by the door… can you see me waving?”)

Two people could have handled this.  In fact, the pre-speech programming could have been 30 minutes long and covered the same territory.  It was a lot like those college and NFL pre-game shows in which five or six ex-jocks try to fill hours of time predicting outcomes, matchups, keys to the game and mostly trying to out-cliche each other. (“It’ll come down to breaks,” or “They have to stop the running game.”)  Although the jocks have WAY better clothes.

I really puzzled over the role of a Correspondent versus a Contributor.  Or Chief versus Senior or in some cases Analyst versus Strategist.  On other CNN news shows I’ve noticed that the same people have different titles.  They must be stealing from the Daily Show idea of where the same person has a different title depending on the subject. ( Senior National Disaster Correspondent is also the Senior Female Contributor and also fills in as Minority Reporter.)

Rarely have so many talked about so little.  By the way, how much did you like looking at The Killer Bs, Joe Biden and John Boehner,  during the entire speech?  Joe smiling and chuckling throughout.  John trying not to cry and trying really hard to understand why he was there.   Frankly, I think they should show music videos on a big screen in back or some sports highlights.

It’s time to do away with the groups of talking heads.  They add adjectives but not insight, wisdom or value.  But they do add to my headache.

Shameless Promotion

My son Nick Edmondson can be seen here in his first commercial.  He’s “Tom” who kills it at the end.  Even though it’s a PSA (no money) and it has aired mostly on the Internet (few have seen it) I’m still proud of him.  I’m sure this will be shown when Nick does his interview with James Lipton.

It’s A Wonderful Country

If you sometimes wonder about what our voters are thinking, wonder no more.   Not only do some of these people vote they are also proof that our education system is just fine.

They’re Called A-Mend-ments For a Reason

It’s time to put an end to the whole gun control debate.  It seems to me it’s time for an amendment.  Let’s review.  The right to bear arms was established at a time when colonists were living mostly in the unknown.  We were barely a country.  In fact, the country was mostly undiscovered and we were only thirteen states.  There really wasn’t a viable national military and state militias were made up of citizens who brought their own guns. 

And what about those guns they were bearing?  They were single-shot muskets.  The owner had to spend a fair amount of time priming and loading it and then had one shot.  Then another few minutes were spent reloading.  That’s why battles were fought with several lines of troops.  The first line fired.  Then they kneeled and reloaded while the second line fired, and the third and so on. 

So, our forefathers knew people needed guns to hunt and to protect themselves from attacks from animals, Indians (although we pretty much took care of that later by killing many Indians and moving the rest to reservations) or foreign invaders.  It was a rough and tumble time with very few law enforcements and virtually no army or militia. 

A Few Hundred Years Later

Now people get to openly (in some states) carry guns.  Guns have metastisized into devices that have immense killing power.  Machine pistols, machine guns, guns that rapid fire a whole bunch of bullets in a few seconds.  And despite gun licensing legislation that varies widely from state to state, it’s alarmingly easy for anyone to get a gun. 

I’m pretty sure the forefathers did not have these types of arms in mind when they wrote the 2nd amendment.  And speaking of a-mend-ments, remember the key syllable:  mend.  It means to fix something that is broken.  We’ve done it before when we put in amendments to let blacks and women vote; prior legislation had omitted those pesky details.  And the 21st amendment fixed a huge wrong by repealing prohibition.  I’ll drink a beer to that. 

So, here’s my suggestion for the 28th amendment.

Citizens have the right to bear single-shot arms.  Simple.  You can have a gun that only fires one shot at a time.  No automatics.  No semiautomatics.  No clips that hold 30 bullets.  The guns are incapable of firing a second shot without manually reloading. 

This should make everybody happy.  The NRA doesn’t have to spend all that money lobbying Congress.  Their job is done, so they are done.  Gun manufacturers will be happy because they will roll out all new models — meaning new revenue streams.  Hunting will actually be fairer because the elk, deer, bear, ducks et. al. have a chance because they can move around while the hunters are reloading.   The people who are afraid that terrorists are lurking in their backyard can still protect themselves.  And the haters, crazies and criminals will just have to make do with a single shot. Of course, we will have much stronger gun licensing laws too. Right?

I think this makes a lot of sense.  Everybody who wants a gun gets to have a gun.  We get rid of all the guns that are not single shot.   We make one of  most contentious amendments relevant and aligned with the spirit of our forefathers.