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  1. Alternative You's

    by , March 4th, 2009 at 10:40 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Did you ever wonder what else you could have been had you taken other paths in life, made different choices here and there, pursued other career avenues, taken more or less or different risks, found refuge in a different set of arms, become a runner instead of a swimmer, etc.?

    As an identical twin, I have the ability to glimpse answers to such wonderings via the miracle of nature that is human cloning.

    To be sure, researchers now know that a variety of transcription factors can turn various genes on and off in complex ways mediated by the environment, so that identical twins slowly become less alike over the decades. Still, we started off with identical DNA, and even though it is likely that we are not currently expressing exactly the same complement of genes, we do represent something of a living laboratory for the study of a single organism taking two different paths in life.

    Those who know John and me also know that it is John who has blundered onto the better road, the high road, if you will, while I have meandered along the potholed low road, stumble-bumbling my way along, havoc and disharmony in my wake, like a comet's polluted tail, or, less grandiosely, the flatulent clouds that follow a nervous steer down the chutes of the abattoir.

    In tonight's vlog, I present my twin brother John's recent film wherein he reimagines a myriad of even more alternative routes he himself (and by extension, me, his trollish clone!) might have taken had we been born at different points in the history of art.

    John, as I think I may have posted somewhere earlier in the vloggish memoir, was a swimmer at one point in his life, a member of the Junior Varsity at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where his greatest athetic achievement was not so much as a swimmer but as the inventor of the game John Ball.

    Mitch Kupchack was one of many members of the Tarheels bball team to play John Ball, which involved a hand ball, the elevator banks at Granville Towers which housed the basketball team, and horrified co-eds, before the game was permanently banned from campus.

    Still, John's swimming accomplishments are no small matter. He still holds Thornton family records in the 100 freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly.

    That's neither here nor there, I suppose, at this stage of our lives. As indicated earlier, John's charming new film highlights many other scenarios that, as fate would have it, are also neither here nor there but quite possible could have been both here and there had we been here or there...

    We (and by we, I mean he) herewith presents more Alternative Us's to give you fodder for rumination about your own Alternative You's, and in so doing, find a portion of contentment in your actual lot:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq2VWDd8CDM"]YouTube - John Thornton Takes You on a Wild Art History Tour![/ame]
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  2. The Live Comedic Swim Stylings of Jim

    by , March 3rd, 2009 at 09:02 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    For those so lacking in impulse control that you simply cannot wait, go ahead and click the play button.

    However, you might want to first read the explanatory comments below, which may well enhance your viewing experience in a way similar to taking a college course in Classical Music can make it possible to sit through a concert without immediately succumbing to narcolepsy.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thKm3Dsf9Jg"]YouTube - High Noon at the New Castle Y[/ame]

    Okay, I am assuming that if you have reached this point in today's vlog, you have not yet clicked the start button. You have wisely chosen to extend your pleasure by postpoining it!

    In the process, you have opted to become educated in the nuances of the admittedly palsied footage you are about to see and hear. Good for you! I, for one, am proud of you. I don't know if I personally could have resisted pressing the start button already myself. But I admire people like you who can!

    Let us begin with the Dramatis Personnae and Narrative Overview of our little drama, and so forth.

    The film opens with the protagonist, Jim "Aging Golden Boy" Thornton, now known behind his back simply as Jim "Fool's Golden Boy" Thornton, pointing out several of the features of the New Castle YMCA swimming facility--its five lanes, the narrowness of same, the impotent gutters that seem, if anything, more designed to augment rather than dampen waves, etc.

    What the film does not, in fact, cannot show is how hot the water is. During warm up, or perhaps more accurately, hot up, I felt like a queasy chunk of semi-digested flotsam in the belly of a dyspeptic whale.

    But just as such flotsam, under the right conditions, can be vomited out of the leviathan, found by explorers, gathered up and sold to the finest perfumeries in France, and end up converted into Chanel No. 5 and spritzed on the slender necks and elbow crooks of the world's most enticing courtesans...so would Jim "Fool's Golden Boy" Thornton make something magical out of the ambergris of his being...

    After the set up, we cut to the Men's 200 Freestyle Relay in the 180-219 additive man years division. The Sewickley YMCA has fielded many a glorious team in this legendary race since the circa 1982 founding of the Allegheny Mountain YMCA Masters Swimming Association, or AMYMSA (pronounced "Amy Missa") http://www.amymsa.org

    A quick check of the all-time Top 10 relay results clearly bears this out:

    Men 200 free.relay Total Age: 180-219

    1 SEWY Andre Weisbrod Jim Thornton Bill White Kevin Robertson18104-05CLAR1:39.16

    2
    SEWY Bill White Dale Sirinek Jim Thornton Preston Test18011-02GRBG1:39.21

    3
    SEWY Ronald Jacobs Jim Thornton Dick Lynn Andre Weisbrod18309-00SEWY1:39.71

    4
    SH Robert Casey Bob Jenner Bill Herzer Gary Matyko18604-97CU1:41.03

    5 SEWY Ronald Jacobs Andre Weisbrod Dale Sirinek Jim Thornton19904-03CLAR1:41.90

    6
    SEWY Andre Weisbrod Jim Thornton Bill White Dale Sirinek19604-04CLAR1:42.54

    Note 1. With the exception of SH, or South Hills, which placed 4th all time and which I have highlited in pink, SEWY, or Sewickley, has all but one of the top 6 all time finishes in our league. It is of some curiosity to note that all of these have occurred since the arrival of one swimmer in particular, who returned to his boyhood home of Sewickley from St. Paul, MN in 1995, like a magnificent male salmon who, despite prodigious quantities of milt, dodged grizzlies and powered up cataracts via powerful flicks of his tail flukes, to arrive at last upstream where he started.

    Note 2. I have taken the liberty of highlighting this one milt-laden salmonid-like swimmer in Royal Blue.

    Note 3. The relay swimmers in the video appear in the following order:


    1. Lead off: Bill White, 38. Adjective: Magnificent. Our team's coach, a harsh but lovable task master who is on almost as many of the Top 10 Relays as the individual highlighted in Royal Blue
    2. Next: Dan Nadler, 58. Adjective: Avuncular. Our team's absolutely brilliant and generous eye doctor, the former YMCA Pennsylvania state champion in the 14-15 age group (yes, they did have this age group 43-44 years ago when Dan's peri-pubertal morph emerged victorious in the York YMCA pool waters) is also the uncle (hence avuncular) of Mollie Nadler, who makes a to-die-for cameo later in the video
    3. Next: Jim Thornton, 56. Adjective: Spiritualeaderish. Your's truly, about whom if you do not yet know something, you are not keeping up sufficiently with this vlog. Of particular importance filmically: I am wearing a red swimming cap borrowed at the last minute from the lovely Jamie Heil [ame="http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=10381"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] of the Cranberry YMCA masters team. She leant it to me after I realized I had forgoten to bring a cap with me to the blocks.
    4. Anchor: Mark Cox, 40. Adjective: Dimpled. A new recruit to the Sewickley Y, Mark has been compared to Clark Kent by the young women on our team--a serious fellow with his glasses on, but once these are removed, his movie star good looks and high wattage amiability reveal an underlying superhero quality. Bequeathed his three gorgeous little daughters with dimples, too.

    Together, the four of us are much more than our individual parts. Together, we are one lean, mean 192-year-old man you do not want to mess with.

    The old record to beat: 1:39.16

    Splits in the relay:

    Coach Bill 23.49

    Uncle Dannny 26.94

    Golden Boy 23.87

    Mark the Coxman: 23.53

    Total: 1:37.83

    Record: Smashed so far beyond all recognition that even the Pittsburgh CSI had trouble identifying it.

    _______________________________________

    The film then cuts to my next event, the 50 yard butterfly. Narration for this scene is provided by the lovely Mermaid [ame="http://forums.usms.org/member.php?u=4084"]U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] whom some of you may have met at last year's USMS convention and/or Albatross Meet. If so, I am sure you remember her. A forrmer Miss Teen Age Pennsylvania, it is fair to say she cuts an unforgettable figure in the minds of men.

    To my side is Coach Bill, who also flanked me during the later 100 yard butterfly swim. Unfortunately, Mermaid, who assured me that she would film this event too, got caught up in other activities when the time for the latter money shot came. How quickly the young girls forget your narrator Jimby's attempts to preserve his glory for posterity! It is as if they want absolutely nothing to do whatsover with anything involving my posterior!

    Oh, well. It's okay. My disappointing time in the 50 fly--27.78--allows for an easy DIY simulation of my 100.

    Simply watch the 50 in its entirety, rewind back to its start, pause exactly 5.24 seconds, then watch the 50 again.

    My time for the 100 was 1:00.80, and if the above math is correct [(2 x 27.78} + 5.24 = 1.00.80], the above should allow you to relive the experience vicariously down the the nearest hundredth of a second. Just make sure to time your blinking so it doesn't look like I get to dive twice, which I am pretty sure is a rule violation.

    _______________________________________

    This meet experience, especially the 100 fly that didn't get filmed, does give me hope that with a little more butterfly practice, I have a prayer of breaking a minute again in the 100 before I die.

    Hell, if I can secure financing out of TARP funds to pay for a B70, there's a good chance I can break :50.

    For those of you who love a good story of adversity overcome and impossible dreams realized, stay tuned.

    For the rest of you, I will try to get Mollie to make another cameo.


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  3. Mea Culpa

    by , March 2nd, 2009 at 11:29 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    For those looking foward to seeing the comedic swim stylings of Jimby, especially as he thrashes about in the 200 freestyle relay--like a little water spider gone amuk!--and later in the 50 fly--a splashing dynamo of ineptitude!--I greatly apologize for the technical problems.

    The film is made!

    My co-record-breaking teammates and I--all 192 aging man years of us in our crepey skin and swimming suits!--have been suitably documented.

    There is even a nice bit of cheesecake rewarding the viewer who can fight off motion sickness (the videographer is not that steady handed a shootist!) to the end!

    Alas, YouTube is having trouble processing this 4 minute opus, and thus I will have to try again tomorrow.

    Sorry.

    I don't expect you to read this.

    I certainly do not expect any of you who have read this to re-read this.

    And I absolutely certainly do not expect any of you who have read this and re-read this to recommend it to your friends.

    But we are living in strange times indeed.

    Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    Nothing.

    Well, next to nothing.

    An Oscar nomination for short film cinematography for my upcoming vlog, if YouTube ever finishes processing it, would surpise the mother ****ing ****ity **** **** bejeebers out of me.

    Strange as our times have become, that would, I admit, surprise me.
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  4. Sunday Night Exertional Headache and Movie Premier

    by , March 1st, 2009 at 08:20 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Just got back from the 3-burger bonanza (cooked by record-relay-settting teammate, Dan Nadler, former PA 50 yard YMCA state champion in the 14-15 age group, current member of today's 192 year old relay that swam a 1:37.+ in a five-lane pool) following our meet, and am too stuffed and too lacking in energy to do anything with today's meet footage.

    This I will try to post very soon.

    But before I pass out from a combination of exhaustion and food coma, let me quickly introduce the Sunday Night Movie Premier, which is a charming (and I really mean this, it is utterly and completely charming) story of a seal on the Ocean City, NJ beach.

    Many of my swimming friends, including two who have spent many summers guarding the beach at Sea Isle City, NJ, and some beach close to Rehobeth, DE, respectively, have assured me:

    There are not seals in these Atlantic waters!

    I think they will readjust their attitudes after watching my twin brother's great new movie, which features a great, great swimmer who never shaves before she swims record breaking sprint and endurance events.

    Enjoy!

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCzNBOuriQA&feature=channel_page"]YouTube - Ocean City Seal[/ame]
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  5. Lepidopteran Alert!

    by , February 28th, 2009 at 12:24 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Extremely short vlog today, designed to allow me more time to rest.

    Tomorrow, your vloggist will travel with his teammates and FlipVideo Ultra to the New Castle YMCA's 5-lane swimming facility--

    (heat sheet available at a glance here: http://www.amymsa.org/Heatsht.html )

    --where your aging narrator has signed up for the 100 IM, 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly, and 25 breaststroke.

    This is actually the first season in several years that I have raced anything besides freestyle, much less practiced the off strokes during workouts.

    I used to love butterfly, and though never a natural lepidopteran in the water, I was able--7 years and 26 days ago, at the age of 49, in the waters of the Taylor Allderdice High School swimming pool--to swim a 59.59 in 100 fly, then followed this up at Y Nationals that year with a 59.19.

    However, two years later, a 10K open water swim in Atlantic City (time of 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 20 seconds), followed by a 6 hour tennis match a week or two later, followed by some fly practice in the pool, lead to a crisis in confidence vis a vis my ability to ever again enjoy a shoulder-pain-free moment in my remaining lifespan.

    For the next couple years, all I swam was freestyle, with maybe a length or two of breaststroke thrown in here and there, because both fly and back seemed to send me back to square one in the shoulder woe department.

    Two January's ago, in the chlly waters of the University of Pittsburgh's fantastic Trees Pool, I tried to inch my way back into the realm of IM swimming, but after a few tentative weeks of it, shoulder discomforts creeping back, I gave up.

    This year, perhaps as a seredipitous consequence of the "twinges and hinges" arthritis therapy temperature of the Sewickley YMCA, where we often take a steam bath after practice to cool down, I have had a little more luck.

    Anyhow, if the video recorder works, and I can find someone to operate it during my time as a Monarch or Viceroy, I will paste in my races for the amusement and savage dissection of various fans of Jimby.

    Get your corkboards out!

    Tomorrow, you can pin me down and examine my exoskeleton and fragile wings and compound eyes!
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  6. Player-Coach Resurrection

    by , February 27th, 2009 at 05:29 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Thanks to his wife Colleen's good luck at winning an office lottery, where the grand prize is a weekend retreat at a local resort, our regular coach Bill is not going to be at practice tonight.

    This has left an opening for me to resume my erstwhile position as beloved Player-Coach of yesteryear's Sewickley YMCA Sea Dragons, Aging Division.

    Actually, Bill said he could leave a workout unless someone else wanted to write one, and before anybody else could object or emit a peep, I said, "Me! Me me me!"

    Unlike a "professional" or "paid" or "respected" coach of the sort that wins "USMS Coach of the Year" "honors" or avoids being "fragged" by his "swimmers" or "shivved" in the "showers," we Player Coaches have our own way of writing workouts.

    I shall write tonight's practice right now, and show you our technique while doing so.

    Really, it's not that hard.

    I quickly consult my voluminous library of swimming manuals, cross referenced according to energy systems and training volumes indexed according to different phases of the microcycle within the current macrocycle.

    Three to seven seconds later, I am thinking: Are you out of your mind?

    Practice starts in an hour, and just trying to remember the definitions of all this physiological gobbledegook--Krebs Cycles this, intensity coefficients that--is so far beyond my soylient green-fed brain as to be laughable.

    I laugh.

    I decide to rely on the thing that made me such an emininently forgettable coach in yesteryear: my intuitive feel for what we swimmers need. Well maybe not we swimmers, exactly.

    Consideration No. 1: Ask yourself, what do I feel like I need to accomplish in swimming tonight?

    It might be nice to wake up a little, but to do this in such a way as to not make it hard to fall asleep later tonight.

    It might also be nice to allow the stretched and cranky cartilaginous sinews in my right shoulder and left knee, respectively, settle down.

    We have a meet on Sunday, and I signed up for the 100 IM, 50 and 100 fly, and 25 something, breaststroke maybe? Anyhow, no point in swimming these things tonight. Gotta rest up the various micromuscles involved with the off strokes, as I like to call them: fly, back, and breast.

    I need, in other words, the taper equivalent of a farmer rotating his crops. We planted sorghum, cranberries, and alfalfa on Wednesday and Thursday. Tonight, it's time to go back to planting petunias, that is to say, freestyle.

    It is also Friday, and Friday is sprint night. 100s freestyle seem kind of long to sprint. They actually seem absurdly long. 25s might be good, but you really do have to sprint a 25. I mean it's hard to fool anyone doing a half-assed 25 freestyle and trying to pass it off as a sprint.

    The good player-coach, like the good Lt. fresh out of the military academy and shipped to Nam, needs to lead by example. Otherwise, the odds of getting fragged by the troops, or shivved by the swimmers behind you in your lane, go way up.

    Don't I know it!

    The last time I player-coached a sprint practice, it seemed like it would take forever for the stab wounds in my feet to heal.

    Okay, so 50s it is. Or, more grammatically, 50's it are. Or, even more grammatically, 50's they are.

    With this settled, we come to...

    Consideration No. 2: Do you want to reinvent the wheel?

    Of course not!

    And with this in mind, I locate and copy a favorite 50 workout written by another coach, who actually is all the things I am not: professional, paid, respected, and--to add just one more characteristic to the list of attributes thatTeam Pitt's great masters coach, Jen Michaels, has that I do not--competent.

    Since Pitt has 1.5 hour practices, and we in Sewy get only 1 hour, I include much shorter warm ups and cool downs and just use in tact her main set:

    10 x 50 on 1:00 easy
    1 min rest

    8 x 50 on 1:00 odds easy, evens 200 pace +2 *
    1 min rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 odds easy, evens 200 pace +1
    1 min rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 odds easy, evens 200 pace +0
    1 min rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 odds easy, evens 200 pace -1
    1 min rest
    8 x 50 on 1:00 odds easy, evens 200 pace -2

    1 x 200 on 4:00 ez cool down

    * divide your best 200 time by 4 to get your average 50. Example: if you swim the 200 on 2:00, your race pace 50s are :30. Your fast ones should thus be :32, :31, :30, :29, :28.

    I will let you know how it goes. Sewickley swimmers, with a few exceptions, have demonstrated an antipathy for math that would make the average 7th grade Airhead Sorority seem geekish in comparison.

    I preminisce no shortage of mayhem, especially in C lane, where the new-to-swimming triathletes are, under the best of circumstances, concentrated in an arrogant frothful cauldron of rudeness and disorder, as if they sense that learning to throw elbows and climb over one another in a frenzy is actually a better use of training time for their chosen sport than swimming itself.

    Just kidding guys!

    Really, put those shivs awy!

    I shall keep you posted.
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  7. Jim de la Selva

    by , February 25th, 2009 at 10:51 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    A very short vlog tonight. Tired from practice:

    400 warm up
    10 x 100 on 1:40, evens IM
    6 x 50 fly :55
    6 x 50 back :55
    6 x 50 breast :55
    6 x 50 free :50, first one no breaths; 2-6 1 breath down, 2 breaths back
    1 x 200 alternating free and back easy
    1 x 200 IM hard (2:33 for me)
    1 x 100 cool down
    steam bath
    home
    fried six Wallapa Bay oysters (those giant pacific kind) in vegetable oil and butter; ate them with bread, lemonade, and then some Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream with organic raspberries and extra creamy Redi Whip, followed by medications...

    Also tired from writing about a curious case of soy protein induced gynecomastia in a retired attack helicopter pilot.

    Anyhooo..

    It occurred to me when I recently inventoried the Many Faces of Jim--Jimby, Master Jimmy, Golden Boy, Jamesuardo, Spunky Po'Boy McPunkerton, etc.--that I left out perhaps the most complimentary moniker I have ever been given.

    Here is a brief excerpt from a story I wrote 8 years ago for National Geographic Adventure magazine on the time I traveled to the Equadorian Amazon for training at La Escuela De Contrainsurgencia De La Selva--i.e., jungle soldiering to keep the F.A.R.C. over in nearby Columbia where the kidnapping bastards belong....

    ___________________________________________

    At breakfast on my final morning at La Escuela, I sat with Lt. Colonel Bravo and Capitan Freddy in the Casino, a gigantic domed officers’ mess that resembles a modern church and was built as a largely unwanted gift to the military by petroleum interests. Bravo, who looks a little like a mustached Raul Julia, had just outlined our upcoming itinerary: a couple days on real patrol with BOES-60 troops near the Colombian border, and then off on our own for the trip to Huaorani land, deep in Yasuni National Park and far from any possibility of military protection.

    “The principle thing,” he told me in heavily accented, deadpan English, “is theese. Do you have insurance?”

    “Do not worry, Jim,” Freddy added quickly. “You are equal to Schwarzenegger now. Do you know theese TV show we have down here, Jim de la Selva? Eees about English man who lives in the jungle. I think you are now the real Jim de la Selva.”

    The complimentary moniker was just starting to take hold when my eyes happened to spy a photo in the morning newspaper, El Comercio. It showed an Indian police investigator holding three spears found at a murder scene in the Oriente. I asked Freddy to translate the accompanying article, the gist of which was this: members of the Tagaeri tribe, a renegade offshoot of the Huaoranis who have refused all contact with the “civilized” world, had just assassinated two Quichewa Indians who unknowingly wandered into Tagaeri territory. The first victim, a 60-year-old man, was lanced with thirteen spears, his wife was then killed with four spears inserted in such a way that she was found still standing in death. Their five-year-old grandson survived the attack by hiding in the vegetation. He told authorities that he witnessed “several naked people” kill his grandparents.

    This was by no means the first time Tagaeri have resorted to murder to defend their territory against encroachment by cowore, their term for outsiders. The tribe made international headlines in 1987 after assassinating Spanish missionary Alejandro Labaka and Colombian nun Ines Arango, lancing them both with a bevy of 13-foot, triangular-cut spears designed, like military bayonets, to inhibit clotting and promote fast blood loss. A one-time victim of Brookside Bible Summer Camp myself, I’m sure part of me might once have admired the Tagaeris spunk--that is, from the safety of the United States.

    “Where we’ll be going with Stalin after the patrol,” I asked Freddy, “is it close to Tagaeri territory?”

    “Si,” he said, nodding with confident nonchalance. “Eees cerca, muy cerca. But there is no problem, no is danger for you.”

    “Why not?” I asked, emboldened by his apparent confidence and figuring he knew something I didn’t.

    “Because,” he said, “you are Jim de la Selva.”
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  8. Tuesday Edition: Sunday Night Movie Feature Extraordinaire

    by , February 24th, 2009 at 04:24 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Whereas I have written, or perhaps overwritten, the introductory section of my forthcoming treatise on soy and the quiveringly buxom male body....

    Whereas my gray matter, no doubt fast losing its myelin sheathing and hence less gray than once said matter was, needs recharging for tomorrow's continuing efforts...

    Whereas the superb PBS science show NOVA is broadcasting an episode, entitled "Rat Attack!", which I have been looking forward to watching for weeks now...

    Whereas this is being followed by a presidential address on the state of the US economy, an address that is likely to serve as a fitting sequel, "Rat Attack 2!"....

    Whereas I am still coming to grips with the noxious sequellae of a tidbit my accountant told me about the likely reason for my audit, this being that in the waning moments of the previous Administration, the IRS was instructed, in essence, to forget going after hedge funds, because these were too complicated to understand, but instead concentrate their rapacious siphoning efforts on little people with schedule C's because it is virtually impossible not to extract easy money here....

    Whereas my invitation to CreamPuff to share an In-n-Out experience at the next meet we both attend [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=13340"]How do you recover after a meet? - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame] has me so addled with anticipation of a positive reply and anxiety-riddled over the prospect of a restraining order....

    Whereas I managed to swim last night's entire workout of 500 warm up, 10 x 100 on 1:25, 4 x 100 on 1:20, 5 x 200 on 2:40, 2 x 500 on 6:40, 2 x 100 on 1:15, and 1 x 100 cool down on 1:30 without missing any send offs...

    Whereas the sun is finally out and I can at last feel that A Tale of Two Jimbys is not 50 percent fraudulent...

    I herewith premier the first of the Thornton Twins Sunday Night Movie Feature Extraordinaire:

    A Tale of Two Jimbys

    A humble little filmic homage to one Mr. Charles Dickens, another scrivener (albeit infinitely more successful) who, like me, wrote for money and vlogged for love...

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_9Cd2D0NEs"]YouTube - Hoop Dee Doo with jim Thornton[/ame]
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  9. Who's Your Trinidaddian?

    by , February 23rd, 2009 at 10:07 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    We all swim for different reasons.

    Yesterday, at the 1650 meet at Carnegie Mellon, I saw my old teammate from Team Pitt, the lovely and brilliant Mee Ra Ram Zook Singh (the last name pronounced like an exotic bird call: Ram Sook Sing!)

    Here is a picture that shows Mee Ra's motivation for this meet:



    Mee Ra, I should point out, is a descendant of former citizens of the island nation of Trinidad. She came to Pittsburgh to study neurobiology at the University, and then decided to double major in this subject plus German literature, with perhaps a snifter of Slavic languages thrown in for good measure.

    She taught me how to say my now deceased father's favorite tennis expression:

    Er, der ein Grab für andere graben würde, muss in ihm selbst liegen *

    He who would dig a grave for another must lie in it himself

    * I have lost Mee Ra's original, and better, translation and will have to ask her again. The above is from Babelfish, but I add it just to give you a sense of how my father hated it when an opponent on the tennis court tried trickery.

    Mee Ra knows more about CRF and glutamate in rat brains than any dozen other people I have met in my life put together.

    No wonder that I have trademarked a phrase to be used in conjunction with wonderful Meera-like individuals:

    Who's your Trinidaddian!!!???

    Anyhow, Mee Ra brought her camera to the meet, and I will paste in a few snaps of me, followed by a few snaps of her as a reward for those who must scroll past me to get to her:



    Jimby models the 2009 T-shirt. He did not understand the design till someone explained it was the lap counter doohickey thing, double orange signifying the last length to go, staring back at you with not exactly sinister eyes.



    On the back of the T-shirt, the meet record holders are honored with their times and age groups. This is the only T-shirt in the history of Thorntondom with the name Jim Thornton on it whereby said T-shirt is actually likely to be worn by people not exclusively named Jim Thornton.



    Hope springs eternal. Last year, when Jimby swam the same event at CMU, his time would have made the TOP 10, but alas the meet was not sanctioned by USMS so his accomplishment evaporated into the ether. This year, his slower time is very, very unlikely to make the TOP 10, but it would have squeaked in last year, so he fills out the paperwork necessary to get credited for what is likely to be, at best, a TOP 17 placement.



    Lovely rat brain scientist "who's your Trinidaddian?" Slavic vodkaphile, Mee Ra, does an excellent impression of Latika from Slumdog Millionaire.

    Who's Your Trinidaddian, indeed????



    Mee Ra lookalike and Gunga Jimby wannabe before the Polish Vodka celebration begins.

    Final super exciting Vlog promotional note for those who have waded down this far!!!!

    To wit, Thornton Twins Productions is thinking of starting a regular MUST SEE TV feature available only here on Vlog the Inhaler Video:

    Sunday Night Movie Feature Extraordinaire

    It was scheduled to premiere last night, but then we realized that the Oscars were on, and we didn't want to draw too many viewers away from the Industry with whom we have the same intense Love Hate relationship as a dependent infant who is A) starving and B) lactose intolerant has with the teat of a voluptuary.

    So, the premier of A Tale of Two Jimby's is being postponed till tomorrow night.

    Set your clocks and calendars, please!

    Sunday Night Movie Feature Extraordinaire

    officially premiers this Tuesday, February 24th, sometime most likely in the evening.

    Updated September 21st, 2010 at 06:03 PM by jim thornton

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  10. No. 13 Cliffhanger Resolution

    by , February 22nd, 2009 at 07:49 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Meninges throbbing with exertional headache, your Sickboy proudly announces the resolution of No. 13 on yesterday's list of cliffhangers: Will Jimby swim the 1650 at CMU despite sickness.

    Since I had already paid for it, I decided--perhaps unwisely--to go ahead and swim.

    Let me now provide not exactly an autopsy of my race, for I am still clinging to life; more of a pre-mortem, if you will, an analytical vivisection.

    Note: because my days of late have been so consumed with reading the scientific literature of soy phytoestrogens and the putative health effects of same, the literary form of these scholarly papers has begun to ingrain itself in mind.

    I thus will write up the following case report in a manner I hope will prove inviting not only to my vlog audience, but researchers who subscribe to, and find comfort in, the familiar linguistic rhythms of leading peer-reviewed journals.

    __________________________________________
    The Journal of Somatoform Disorders, Hypochondriasis, Swimming Science, and Babyishness 2009 Feb;72(1):220-4. Epub 2009 Mar 21.

    "Sarcopenia of Muscle or Mind? A case-study of a masters swimmer in the 1650 yard competition"

    Thornton, J (*), Huang Y, Pan L, Xia X, Feng Y, Jiang C, Cui Y.

    Department of Psychiatry and Masters Swimming, Thornton University School of Internet Diplomas, Jim's Garage, Sewickley Heights, PA 15143

    * corresponding author. Please send grant moneys to Prof. Thornton c/o his institution. Footnoted references unavailable upon request

    Abstract
    Earlier studies (1, 2, 3) have shown compelling evidence that swimming times slow in a non linear fashion (4,5,6) with a performer's age, with exceptions (7,8,9,10,11). One of the factors hypothesized to account for these exceptions is psychological "character." In the present case study, we examined the performance of a 56-year-old man (12, 13, 14) with a long record of 1650 swims. After subjecting his times over the past 5 years to multivariate statistical analysis (p < .005), we concluded that there is no evidence of "character" (15, ibid) whatsoever in our test subject.

    Introduction
    Wiser swimming minds than ours have long proposed a validated construct whereby the nervousness preceding competitions can be largely explicated by two global fears:


    • The Fear of Pain
    • The Fear of Poor Performance

    In our present study, volunteer subject James T. (JT) appeared highly anxious with full-blown expressions of both state and trait anxiety (17,18, 19) over both these prospects. His mood appeared, however, to cycle quickly to a negative affective state, which he described as "despondency" and "the sickness unto death" and wherein he claimed to no longer have fear of either pain or poor performance ("They can't transfuse a turnip or make a dead man dance.")

    In our pre-competition interviews, JT also claimed to have been sick for the past 6 weeks with a "slow virus" (23, 24, 28). A laboratory workup found some evidence to support a likely cold, with attendant mucous, sniffles, mild malaise, and fatigue. Titers for hemorrhagic fever, bird fancier's lung, and Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome proved negative. His blood workup and urine were unremarkable.

    Despite our reassurances, JT wavered about even participating in this year's race, to be held at the indoor SCY course at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

    He decided to go at the last minute because he had already mailed in his entry form six weeks earlier during "a time of relative health."

    Warm up consisted of a very leisurely 600 yards swim with open turns, followed by a leisurely 400 yards with flip turns, and some time in the shower to warm up his frigid feet to help prevent arch and toe cramps. He then changed into his overly used Tyr $56.95 discounted competition suit even though at least one of his competitors was wearing a B70 (47-83).

    Interviewed right before the race, JT expressed no fear of pain ("Because I am not going to swim fast enough or try hard enough to cause any") nor too much fear of poor performance ("Because I have already reconciled myself to swimming poorly.")

    He did concede his biggest extant anxiety was that his presence in the first and fastest heat would lead to a substantial delay in the timeline of the meet, thus subjecting himself to considerable social opprobrium (99,102, 117). He petitioned to meet officials to be removed to heat #7, where the average seed time of 34 minutes seemed more doable. The meet officials declined to allow the switch.

    His secondary fear was being beaten, yet again, by the young female swimming vunderkind nemesis, Marla Sanchez, who nearly lapped him in the same pool during the ill-fated hour swim earlier in the season. When JT noted that Marla was swimming right next to him, again, he resolved to not let her lap him twice.

    Results
    Here are the results of the meet in their entirety. The most pertinent sections will be pasted in below the link.

    http://www.cmu.edu/athletics/univers...0results09.htm

    1 Goldman, Carl 45 SHY 18:00.59S
    2 Buerger, Daniel 41 CMU 18:49.28S
    3 Ratliff, Nathan 27 CMU 19:05.79S
    4 Kress, Paul 35 TPIT 19:10.35S
    5 Thorton, James 56 SEWY19:54.24S

    6 Brewton, David 49 TPIT 20:04.25S
    7 Breisinger, Sarah 24 MLAC 20:17.84S
    8 Sanchez, Marla 35 SHY 20:18.60S

    Analysis
    JT provided the following data, which represents all the timed 1650s in his life that he knows of:

    56 19:54.24
    55 19:47.91
    53 21:34.00
    52 20:45.65
    51 18:59.22
    50 18.53.69
    49 19:27.75
    48 20:34.05
    47 21:10.00
    44 21:40.54

    For purposes of analysis, we randomly selected two races to submit to the Finnish Formula and age graded swimming calculations. These two races, again, by pure random luck of the draw, turned out to be today's race at 56, and JT's race at age 50, six years ago, when he got his life time best.

    Finnish formula comparisons: http://n3times.com/swimtimes/swim.cgi

    (Note: because the longest distance this calculator will allow is the 200 freestyle, we simply plugged the time at age 50 for the 1650 into the 200 box.)

    50 18:53.69 (18:53.69)

    51 19:01.81 (19:01.84)

    52 19:10.52 (19:10.33)

    53 19:19.87 (19:19.18)

    54 19:29.89 (19:28.42)

    55 19:40.63 (19:38.06)

    56 19:52.16 (19:48.12)

    As you see, JT's performance today fell short of both the American aged prediction, 19:52.16, AND the Finish formula in parentheses (19:48.12).

    Age graded scores: http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

    Grade for an 18:53. 69 at age 50:

    Course SCY Event 1650 Free Gender Male Age 50 Time 18:53.69 Record Curve 16:39.96 b0 937.825 b1 1.71402 b2 0.07181 Rating 88.2

    Grade for 19:54.24 at age 56

    Course SCY Event 1650 Free Gender Male Age 56 Time 19:54.24 Record Curve 17:13.42 b0 937.825 b1 1.71402 b2 0.07181 Rating 86.5
    Hence, on the age grading scheme, as well, JT's time represents something of a disappointment.

    Discussion
    There really is nothing to discuss at this point.

    Conclusions
    Though our study did not rule out the possibility that character or some other as yet un-elucidated factor might allow certain exceptional individuals to swim well into their dotage, we found no evidence for any such factor in JT's performance today.
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  11. Cliffhangers

    by , February 21st, 2009 at 04:05 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    The endgames cometh.

    In the next month or so, the following questions may or may not be answered, each of which is vitally critical to Jimby's welfare:


    1. Will he lose what little net "worth" he has left to the IRS?
    2. Will he get over his cold?
    3. Will his estrogen levels rise in a clinically significant way, and will he then sell video access to his moobs on the Internet to a wealthy subset of very peculiar fetishists?
    4. Will he act on an impulse, increasingly boisterous within his serotonin-depleted brain, that urges him to substitute one stubborn vice for an old relinquished one?
    5. Will he lose his job?
    6. Will he get the go ahead to write about masters swimming and perchance get to attend Y Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale and try to talk the B70 Corporation into lending him a suit?
    7. Will he be forced to sell his ancestral stomping grounds and boyhood home for worthless pennies on the even more worthless dollar?
    8. Will he grow a spine or continue to lose bone density here until the metamorphosis into an invertebrate is done?
    9. Will he figure out how to get Windows Movie Maker to work again on his computer so he can do piss poor video edting, which would at least allow him to vlog again?
    10. Will his brother John ever download the most recent batch of lugubrious footage he sent him and turn it into something amusing?
    11. Will he spell cliffhanger with two f's, i.e., the conventional way, or with one f, in deference to the soy-filled energy bars that are helping him to grow a pair of hirsute titulars?
    12. Will readership of the vlog continue its downwards trend as his fellow Americans, bloated with their own grief, tire of reading about his?
    13. Will he swim tomorrow's 1650 at CMU despite his head already swimming within its suffocating skullcap?
    14. Will he appear on Court TV after doing something, or some many things, decidedly ill-advised?
    15. Will he ever again smile and swagger and speak without a palsied twitching of the voice box?
    16. Will he end up in the one place he has always dreaded most, the Snake Pit, being administered to by nurse R?
    17. Will he go to his grave waylaid still in the one dimensionality of the first person?
    18. Will he keep the card house standing?
    19. Will he enjoy the “largely unanticipated delight in the suffering of another which is cognized as trivial and/or appropriate”--or will he find this cold comfort at best?
    20. Will he hang or drown or go the way of most?
    21. Will he get a PR again?
    22. Will he have his way with a CreamPuff like vision?
    23. Will he gain or lose his will?


    Well, will he?

    Stay tuned. The endgames cometh in Season 2 of Vlog the Inhaler: the Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton!

    Updated April 16th, 2009 at 10:37 AM by jim thornton

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  12. Tatts I would get if I was a Tattist

    by , February 19th, 2009 at 07:31 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Perhaps you, like me, have been feeling a bit dour, or dower, today. Not terribly surprising--



    Perhaps you, like me, also live in a part of the country where the meteorological forces are similarly conspiring to dampen your joie de vivre, though I must say Pittsburgh might be hard to beat on this cold and gray front:



    (Note: I hear the Good Doctor Dickson saying that Salvation by Photons is an illusion; still, I must say that Death by Snowflake Burial is very real.)

    There is, of course, all manner of idiosyncratic misadventure, familial and/or employment social dysfunction, and other causes for grief we each, in our own circumstances, can ladle endlessly out of the tureen of life's bouillabaisse gone septic!

    Even the wicked, it's been suggested, get more than we deserve.

    Still, what is the point in stewing?

    One of the strategies very often suggested for extricating yourself from personal misery is to stop focusing upon yourself and instead do something nice for someone else. Call this selfishness via altruism.

    I am going to give it a whack and see if it helps.

    The other day, I happened across a potential new swimming friend of a swimming friend named Deborah Milan Brudvig, who only recently took up swimming. On the forums, her user name is SwimMuseDeb.

    Anyhow, I discovered that Deborah is, among other things, a cello teacher and an artist. In her Facebook info, it gave the site where some of her artwork is sold: SwimMuse http://www.cafepress.com/swimmuse

    Some of the stylized swimming designs really caught my eye--I think these are beautiful and capture the spirit of those who are able to flow like currents (see yesterday's vlog) in the Popovian waterworld.

    Here are a couple examples:



    Though I am not a tattoo kind of guy, plenty of my younger teammates are riddled with them--sharks, dolphins, carnations, etc. It occurred to me that if I were a tattoo kind of guy, I would definitely consider one of these slightly abstract designs.

    I contacted Deborah about this and told her I didn't know how she could possibly get any money for it, but perhaps anybody who wanted to use one of Deborah's designs could make a voluntary contribution, a la Freeware or Shareware programs that altruistic software designers bequeathe to us all.

    She said she wasn't a tattoo person either but would be happy for her work to reach a wider swimming audience.

    Anyhow, check it out. Anyone who draws swimmers by day and teaches cellists by afternoon has to be a good egg. Note: if you or someone you know does get a tattoo like any of these, please let Deborah and me know!

    Lordy, I am feeling better already.
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  13. It's official: I've been colonized

    by , February 18th, 2009 at 08:58 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    On the 40th day of Jimby's continuous infirmity, his kindly swimming coach, Bill, took pity and made tonight's "stroke" practice reasonably doable.


    • 8 x 100 odds stroke, evens IM on 1:40
    • 12 x 25 fly with 3-5 SDKs on :30
    • 12 x 25 back "
    • 12 x 25 breast DPS
    • 12 x 25 free 1 breath per length
    • 3 x 100 IM on 2:00, last one fast
    • 6 x 50 free on :40
    • throw in the 100 easy I did on my own for pre-warm up, and it totalled 2700.


    The only hard part was the butterflies, which seemed like they were going to be easy after the first one, but quickly became grueling five yards into the second one.



    The horror and gasping struggle caught on camera by swimming and photographic legend, James Kegley, protegee of Doc Councilman, winner of innumerable Chesapeake Bay Swims, and husband of a former CIA operative

    The set that did make me feel I still had hope as a swimmer was the 12 x 25 freestyles.

    Almost everyone on our little team tonight ended up taking at least the allotted one breath and sometimes more than one.

    I announced that I was going to alternate no breath/one breath, proclaiming to my teammates that my body had been so thoroughly colonized and replaced, cell by cell, by anaerobic bacteria over the past month and a half that I no longer needed air at all.

    Mollie, Stacey, Annie, and perhaps to a lesser extent Jessie, that is to say, the comely young girls of the team, seemed to think this was the idle boasting of an ineffectual lech.



    James S. "Renfield" Thornton frightening girls in his spare time

    I actually thought perhaps this was a sound interpretation. But Spunky emerged, supplanting Renfield, and bragged to the comely tarts that the colonization is, indeed, so complete that I get lockjaw in every muscle of my body.

    Thinking, of course, that this was true except for the one bodily quadrant that could actually use a wee bit of firmness.

    Then the red thin line stood erect at the apex of the pace clock.

    I was off.

    No breaths the first 25.
    None the second.
    Or third.
    And so forth.
    300 yards without air.
    Well, I breathed a bit in between, i.e., on the wall, while awaiting the next send off.

    But nary a single lung suck taken in from toe push-off to fingertip wall touch.

    It helped that our kindly Bobinator had posted earlier somewhere, I think, on her own blog, the quote from Alexander Popov about not fighting the water, but rather trying to assume some of water's qualities, befriend it, flow with it.

    Actually, the exact quote was: "....you don't have to fight the water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move" Alexandr Popov



    Popov's friendship with water leads to an odd fusion

    And thus I imagined myself cruising up and down the pool like a human current, and the desire for air just faded away.

    I have at last become a 6' 1" anaerobic bacterium: dream state complete.
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  14. Spunky Po'Boy McPunkerton-Thornton

    by , February 17th, 2009 at 06:41 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    As some of you may know, and others are perhaps discovering for the first time, Vlog the Inhaler, like Sybill, is a person of multiple, and for the most part delightful and/or pathological, personalities.

    We have, for instance, Jim Thornton, AKA, James Thornton, AKA, James S. Thornton, and various other anglosaxonate aliases of this sort. Born a white male Episcopalian country clubman jr., MasterJimmy (as he was known by servants and bank tellers alike) grew up understanding that he was made in God's likeness: indeed, he and his twin brother John were, in their own eyes and the eyes of the surrounding community, as close to the spitting image of God as could be found anywhere in the firmament.

    Oh, I was also known widely as Golden Boy.

    More recently, we have Jamesuardo, the Hispanic form of the above, a little further from God's image, to be sure, a bit tanner than the clubman jr., but one of the few completely original surnames in the Internet universe, and thus one of the few people who can get email addresses and the like at popular sites without having to add an endless string of random numerals and letters.

    JimThornton@hotmail.com? Taken, in fact, so taken that the first available facsimile is JimThornton27753qzx44rtlfgn99@hotmail.com

    But Jamesuardo@hotmail.com? To my knowledge, still robustly available!

    In even more recent times, following the adoption of atheism as my personal saviour and the epiphany that a white male Episcopalian country clubman jr. is, in point of fact, not the spitting image of God, but, if anything, the very antithesis thereof (not, mind you, that either God or Antigod now exist in the world of this defrocked former clubman who would no longer even want to be admitted to the Allegheny Country Club even if he could afford it and could find a single living soul to put him up for membership)--following all this, and inspired by the Nietzchian concept of resentiment (learned not from a primary source, but rather as such was explained to me by my still God-Like identical twin brother after John had taken a class in philosophy at UNC-Chapel Hill in the early 1970s), wherein the Germanic philosopher argued that what we want, but cannot get, is devalued, and its opposite held up as a virtue, thus explaining the "turn the other cheek" and "the meek shall inherit the earth" passive aggressiveness of the early Christian devotees, who wanted the power of their Roman bastard overlords, but had no chance whatsoever of securing this...

    Where was I?

    Oh, thus was berthed Jimby the Scrivener, who made up in utterly mild mannered ineffectual good naturedness what the former Clubman Jr. had claimed for himself in his "highest being in biological and theological evolution" birthright mentality.

    Jimby, nice, pleasant, not arrogant, not an in-your-face blackguard, but rather, at best, a gently teasing jokester whose most defiant of all positions was, as his famous scrivener inspirtation, Bartleby, taught him to say, "I prefer not to." And then make himself as deadweighty and immoveable as a stubborn toddler who does not want to be bodily removed from the toy store.

    Jimby has been a pretty good persona, all told. He lets me stalk the CreamPuffs of the world without inviting restraining orders. He lets me complain about my illnesses and IRS audits and the like without provoking a barrage of rotten vegetables hailing down upon his harmless head. But Jimby, in his submissiveness to his fate and general vulnerability to misery and giving up easily, etc. is not without his downsides.

    Jimby has his place, as does Jamesuardo and, to be honest about it, James S. Thornton, dethroned Clubman who, to be even more honest about it, would still like to play golf sometime before he dies, no matter how ugly and divot-marked the rough and fairways will inevitably become in his wake.

    But as the assortment of me's face the prospect of financial ruin and death, James S. sneering, Jamesuardo swearing, and Jimby maintaining he would prefer not to, it occurs to us that perhaps it is time for a new morph to emerge: one with the wherewithal to confront the challenges of the New Era.

    And on this note, I would like to introduce the latest neonatal form of me:

    Spunky Po'Boy McPunkerton-Thornton.

    I do not yet know that well my new aging lad who refuses to surrender but remains, cheerfully and indefatigably, a man's man and a lady's man, part rogue, part scoundrel, part rascal, part scamp, but 100 percent the kind of man that everyone, including himself, can't help but like. Beyond this, I am not sure what kind of guy Spunky Po'Boy is.

    Thanks to my kindly vlogging commentators, whose sagacious counsel has provided the impetus for this new me's birth. If you know of any attributes that you think Spunky has, swimming related or non, please feel free to let me know.

    Likable as he is, Spunky Po'Boy McPunkerton-Thornton is a work in progress. He needs guidance, perhaps more of this than Jimby, Jamesuardo, Master Jimmy, Golden Boy, and James S. Thornton, even working in concert, can provide.

    Perhaps some of you have met Spunky at some point in your lives, and maybe even have stories to recall of his rough courage in the face of adversity and difficult swimming practice sets. Feel free to make up anecdotes to share about me.

    I need to know how to be next.
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  15. One of the Laws of Thermodynamics

    by , February 16th, 2009 at 10:22 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I am not sure which one it is, but one of the Laws of Thermodynamics, if memory serves me even a little bit, says that energy runs downhill. Entropy is gaining on us all, relentlessly.

    Perhaps in the grander scheme, this could explain the past several months of swimming practice.

    I am wondering if anybody out there in vlog land might have less grand and more Jim-specific explanations for what is happening to me.

    I don't mean for this to sound woe-is-me-ish here, though I suppose that after playing the same instrument for so many years, it's not unreasonable to think that my words might seem to echo with at least a little bit of that atonal whiny soundtrack that has so frequently accompanied Jim utterances in the past.

    Still, I am hoping we can dissect me, and by extension, Everyman, to find out what is happening, if it is inevitable, or reversible, or slowable, or only likely to accelerate.

    Basically, the gist of my lament: my AT times are becoming noticeably worse.

    A few snapshots from my swimming practice log:

    Jan, 2003: 3 x 1500 on 20 min. in practice: times 19:20; 18:40; 18:28

    Jan, 2004: 4996 yards in 1 hour postal meet

    June, 2004: 46 x 100 on 1:20

    Sept, 2006: 4 x 100 sandwiched in between a bunch of 50s and 25s, the times for the 100s 57, 58, 57, 58.2

    Oct. 2006: 4 x 200 sandwiched in beween sets of 8 x 50 on :50, the times for the 200s 2:08, 2:08, 2:07, 2:07

    Jan. 2007: 2:08 for 200, 4:35 for 400; 7:08 for 600; 9:52 for 800

    Nov. 2007: 2:17, 2:16, 2:16, 2:11 for 4 x 200 separated by 300s

    Jan, 2008: 4825 hour swim

    Jan, 2009: 4700 hour swim

    Tonight's practice: 10 x 100 on 1:25; 8 x :50 on :40; 10 x 100 on 1:20, then I gave up and went to B lane like an abused dog, unable to complete the rest of A's practice (4 x 200 on 2:40; 4 x 100 on 1:15; 4 x 50 on :35.)

    I am just wearied out these days. It hasn't yet ruined my shorter swims, but I don't know. Swimming coach Bill thinks it's psychological, that I need some kind of placebo to get me thinking positively and trying harder again in practice. But I still find myself coming to the brink of vomiting--surely this must be some sort of index of effort, right?

    I do not want to think that I am slowing down.

    I do not want to think that I am nearing the Great Resting Reward.

    I do not want to think that the IRS will be able to feast on my remains without me so much able to raise a finger, a middle finger, to wag in their direction and say, No, Jimby prefers not to!

    "Not to what?" asks the IRS lady, her breathe reminiscent of Jimby's other female nemesis, that damnable nurse Ratchett.

    "I prefer not to! Not to anything you want! I prefer not to!"

    Wagging that finger savagely now.

    In any event, I do not want to think any of this figures in a slippage in my AT time.

    I am hoping my vlogging viewers might be able to come up with alternative scenarios to propose, to cast me a placebo, if you will, to rally me back!
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  16. Vocabulary builder. Say what?

    by , February 15th, 2009 at 11:42 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    nadir Noun
    1. the point in the sky directly below an observer and opposite the zenith
    2. the lowest or worst point of anything: I had touched the very nadir of despair [Arabic nazīr as-samt, literally: opposite the zenith]

    self-pit·y
    (slfpt)n. Pity for oneself, especially exaggerated or self-indulgent pity.

    no mas
    spanish
    In boxing shorthand, it became known as the No Más Fight after [Roberto] Duran was said to have uttered the infamous words while quitting the fight in the eighth round. Both he and his corner have always denied it, saying that he actually said that "my stomach is hurting too much" and that the press had doctored the quote to create the eye-catching headline.

    audit
    n.
    An audit is an IRS examination of an individual or corporation's tax return, to verify its accuracy. There are three types of audits: correspondence audits (the IRS mails a request for additional information), office audits (an interview is conducted at a local IRS office), and field audits (an interview is conducted at a taxpayer's place of business, for a corporate tax return). Since there is always the chance of an audit, experts recommend keeping good records to support all the information in a return. The reason detailed and accurate bookkeeping is so important is that the burden of proof is on the filer, not the IRS.

    Book of Job
    narrative summary
    There was an extremely pious man named Job. He was very prosperous and had seven sons, and three daughters. Constantly fearing that his sons may have sinned and "cursed God in their hearts" he habitually offered burnt offerings as a pardon for their sins.[2]
    The angels of heaven (the Hebrew word translated as "Angels" means "the Sons of God") and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satan"]Satan[/ame] (literally, the Hebrew word means "the accuser" or "the adversary") present themselves to God. God asks Satan his opinion on Job, apparently a truly pious man. Satan answers that Job is only pious because he is prosperous. In response to Satan's assertion, God gives Satan permission to destroy Job's possessions and family.[3]
    All of Job's possessions are destroyed and all of his offspring are killed. Job does not curse God after this but instead shaves his head, tears his clothes and says "Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return : the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (Simplified).[4]
    As Job endures these calamities without reproaching [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Providence"]Divine Providence[/ame], Satan solicits permission to afflict his person as well, and God says, "Behold he is in your hand, but don’t touch his life." Satan, therefore, smites him with dreadful [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boil"]boils[/ame], and Job, seated in ashes, scrapes his skin with broken pottery. His wife prompts him to "curse God, and die" but Job answers, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all of this, Job doesn't sin by cursing God.
    In the meantime, only three of Job's friends come to visit him in his misfortune — Eliphaz the Temanite, [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bildad"]Bildad[/ame] the Shuhite, and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zophar"]Zophar[/ame] the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naamathite"]Naamathite[/ame]. A fourth, Elihu the Buzite, first begins talking in chapter 32 and bears a distinguished part in the dialogue; his arrival is not noted. The friends spend 7 days sitting on the ground with Job, without saying anything to him because they see that he is suffering and in much pain. Job at last breaks his silence and "curses the day he was born".

    Buboes: Smooth, oval, reddened, and very painful swellings in the armpits, groin, or neck that occur as a result of infection with the plague.

    Delusions of grandeur (as distinct from megalomania and delusions of persecution)

    Delusions of grandeur may be seen as distinct from megalomania: An overweening and excessive preoccupation with one's own importance, though it may be considered pathological, is not necessarily delusional. A delusion of grandeur, if it is a true delusion, must meet the psychiatric criteria for delusion. Whereas it is possible, in the case of megalomania, for an actually important man/woman to be preoccupied with his/her own actual importance, a person suffering from delusions of grandeur would stubbornly entertain patently false, generally fantastic and often highly complex ideas of his/her own importance, often with a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernatural"]supernatural[/ame] or science-fictional bent.

    Delusions of persecution may be intrinsically related to - and the flip-side of - delusions of grandeur in that the very idea that one is being persecuted by a complex of conspirators involves a sense of greatly elevated self-importance. Delusions of persecution, though generally disturbing and unpleasant - i.e. affectively different - can be seen to similarly arise from a grandiose self-conception.

    Adj.1.babyish - characteristic of a baby; "babyish tears and petulance"immature - characteristic of a lack of maturity; "immature behavior"

    rhinovirus,n any of about 100 serologically distinct, small ribonucleic acid viruses that cause about 40% of acute respiratory illnesses. Infection is characterized by dry, scratchy throat, nasal congestion, malaise, and headache. Fever is minimal. Nasal discharge lasts 2 or 3 days.

    50 Freestyle SCM Men 55-59 (2008)
    # Name Age Club LMSC Time 1 Paul T Trevisan 57 SYSM Florida 25.16 2 Mike Tennant 55 OREG Oregon 25.94 3 Casey Claflin 55 TMM Florida 26.25 4 Wes Edwards 55 OREG Oregon 26.44 5 Greg J Shaw 57 NEM New England 26.51 6 Tate Holt 57 TAM Pacific 26.82 7 Edward Bell 55 SKY Kentucky 27.08 8 Larry Philbrick 56 OREG Oregon 27.14 9 James Thornton 56 TPIT Allegheny 27.16 10 Jim Clemmons 58 MAM Pacific 27.21

    100 Freestyle SCM Men 55-59 (2008)

    # Name Age Club LMSC Time 1 Paul T Trevisan 57 SYSM Florida 57.11 2 Mike Tennant 55 OREG Oregon 57.52 3 Phil L Dodson 55 IM Illinois 58.73 4 James Thornton 56 TPIT Allegheny 58.89 5 Jim Clemmons 58 MAM Pacific 59.06 6 Edward Bell 55 SKY Kentucky 59.52 7 George L Schmidt 58 GOLD Florida Gold Coast 59.69 8 Larry Krauser 55 HMS Inland Northwest 1:00.77 9 Tate Holt 57 TAM Pacific 1:00.92 10 Robert H Wilson 57 NMMS New Mexico 1:01.52

    200 Freestyle SCM Men 55-59 (2008)

    # Name Age Club LMSC Time 1 Phil Dodson 55 IM Illinois 2:06.97 2 Jim Clemmons 58 MAM Pacific 2:07.78 3 James Thornton 56 TPIT Allegheny 2:11.98 4 Kevin M McCormack 56 SYSM Florida 2:12.11 5 Edward Bell 55 SKY Kentucky 2:12.34 6 Rick B Walker 58 SYSM Florida 2:12.77 7 Mike Tennant 55 OREG Oregon 2:14.83 8 Mike Pendleton 56 OREG Oregon 2:15.48 9 Steve Heck 59 KAMS Gulf 2:16.57 10 John Needham 55 WM Metropolitan 2:18.44

    400 Freestyle SCM Men 55-59 (2008)

    # Name Age Club LMSC Time 1 Jim Clemmons 58 MAM Pacific 4:35.22 2 Larry Krauser 55 HMS Inland Northwest 4:36.79 3 Phil Dodson 55 IM Illinois 4:37.61 4 James Thornton 56 TPIT Allegheny 4:40.15 5 Alan Bell 58 PNA Pacific Northwest 4:47.22 6 John Needham 55 WM Metropolitan 4:49.81 7 Mike Pendleton 56 OREG Oregon 4:50.38 8 Fred Ferroggiaro 55 TOC Pacific 4:51.40 9 Edward Bell 55 SKY Kentucky 4:52.41 10 Frank Thompson 57 MICH Michigan 4:56.74

    400 Individual Medley SCM Men 55-59 (2008)

    # Name Age Club LMSC Time 1 Jim Clemmons 58 MAM Pacific 5:13.35 2 Hubie Kerns 59 VCM Southern Pacific 5:30.41 3 Robert V Brown 56 AWJ Georgia 5:37.71 4 Mike Tennant 55 OREG Oregon 5:38.39 5 James Thornton 56 TPIT Allegheny 5:47.02 6 Steve Heck 59 KAMS Gulf 5:53.73 7 William J Geoghegan 58 CONN Connecticut 6:06.97 8 Charles F Holum 56 CMS Colorado 6:12.97 9 James B Lucas 58 LAAC Southern Pacific 6:21.49 10 Don R Perry 55 ARIZ Arizona 6:25.54
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  17. Good luck, Self Pity, Soy Jimby

    by , February 13th, 2009 at 09:13 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I was all set to post this yesterday when Comcast had an outage in our area, cutting off Internet, TV, and land line phones at our house. I will try again and hope it is not too late...

    G
    O
    O
    D

    L
    U
    C
    K

    Leslie!

    Whip them Johnny Rebs down in 'Bama or wherever the hail Auburn is.

    *

    I have decided to leave the Self Pity part out. Now, to the sickbed, in the poor house, with the vultures of the IRS gathering in a roost on my headboard, a hasty retreat I beat.

    *
    Soy Jimby means, in Spanish, I am Jimby.

    Soy Jimby means, in English, the specimen I am slowly turning into now that I am consuming soy protein and its various constituent isoflavones in amounts that have been virtually impossible to ingest over the vast majority of human history.

    I suppose it is somewhat grammatically correct in Spanish to say, Soy Jimby y tambien soy Jimby, or "My name is Jimby and I am also this Jimby you see before you who is slowly being replaced, one molecule at a time, by soy."

    I do not think any Spanish-speaking person has ever said this. Nor do I think that it is likely one ever will.

    In any event, here is Silky mud in your eye. Forgive the misspelling in today's very short film's title. It should be "or" not "of."

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkJCXbrEDx4&eurl"]YouTube - Mud in Your Eye of How to Consume 25 g of[/ame]
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  18. Dara, Stump, and Me

    by , February 11th, 2009 at 03:49 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    This just in:

    Charming Stump wins over crowds, judges

    Veteran dog comes out of retirement with record-breaking performance




    At age 10, crowd-charming Stump is 14 years older than I am, that is, after the well-known and oft-verified dog-to-human year conversion is applied.

    Stump has thus emerged as the oldest male Gold Medal winner in the history of competitive sports.

    This just in a long time ago:




    Dara Torres, then 41 and mother of tot, is oldest female in history to get three silver medals in Olympic history. In this picture, Vlog the Inhaler is surreptitiously sucking down great lungfuls of Dara's vapors.

    This not yet in:

    I have another grueling Bill White swimming practice tonight. To prepare for this, I have done my usual of late:


    • worked some in the morning
    • drank 16 ounces of soy milk, consumed one soy yogurt, and interviewed experts on the potential dangers of too much dietary soy
    • took a nap for about 45 minutes
    • awoke 20 minutes ago in a deep stupor of sleep inertia
    • brewed and am now consuming my second round of coffee of the day (it is now 3:30)
    • trying to burst out of my imprisonment of grogginess and effete-dom
    • mentally telling myself that I wil break my own pathetic record in the 200 backstroke at a dinky little Y meet this weekend
    • visualizing how I will do this by kicking SDKs as long as I can off of every turn
    • remembering yesterday's practice when I accustomed myself to flooded sinuses till this felt almost normal
    • and finally, feeling the vapors of ancient Dara fusing with the inspiration of even more ancient Stump, my more proper role model in life because A) he is a male, and B) he is a dog
    • and preparing myself for the missing link transition wherein I become the perfect 56-year-old woman-man-canine chimera bridging the gap between Dara's Silver Excellence and Stump's Gold Magnificence:



    Lordy! Where did this sudden hunger come from?

    (Note: thanks as always to the magnificent Rusty Scupperton for his Photoshopping bewonderment.)

    Updated February 12th, 2009 at 12:16 PM by jim thornton (photo link problems)

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  19. You are an old-looking idiot

    by , February 10th, 2009 at 09:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    And by you, I mean me.

    The quality of my vlog is likely to go downhill for a little while as my limited powers of cognition are siphoned off in various ways.

    For one thing, I had blood drawn yesterday.

    For another thing, I am consuming a lot of soy protein, with its insidious ingredients, genistein and daidzen, compounds that beans use to kill fungi.



    These compounds also happen to resemble estrogen.



    ESTROGEN RECEPTORS (a) IN MAMMARY GLAND

    For another thing, my new levels of phytoestrogens are causing me to take the vapors, as we ladies of Society refer to our time as women.

    Do not expect sense, transitions, a narrative line.

    This is a "hack" my swimming coach Bill's son, Liam, boy genius, figured out how to put on the Sewickley YMCA's computer.

    I like to go on to this before and after practice, check out my vlog statistics, and give my entries another couple "Excellent's--*****!":



    (Please don't forget to click "excellent" yourself--Liam deserves it!)

    Liam is a very good swimmer, but he is an even better hacker. He is 8. This still picture does not give you a complete sense of the devastation of his hack.

    You click anything on the screen, and these You Are An Idiot placards proliferate like wildfire, rendering the computer useless.

    Well, actually, not useless exactly. It becomes a very, very good electronic sooth sayer. You stare at the screen in growing fury. It tells you, hundreds, maybe thousands of times, that you are an idiot.

    Eventually, it sinks in.

    After practice last Friday, the team went out for pizza, and some of the parents brought their kids.

    Liam sat next to me, and he was so intrigued by hacking technology, that he spent much of the dinner drawing this:



    Not only is Liam very good at computer technology, but he is an excellent artist. I think that his crayon drawing of the You Are an Idiot computer screen comes closer to providing the actual experience than the photo above.

    Note 1. You can see that he has placed in his drawing various instructions for turning the mayhem off, but I am too much of an idiot to understand the encryption.

    Note 2. You can see that the pizza parlor's placemat has a map of Italy on the opposite side from the drawing. Also, I think there is a small spot where Liam dropped some Sierra Mist. Future anthropologists 14,000 years from now: Please have a field day, courtesy of one Mr. Liam White, 8, and his Boswell, one Mr. Jimby the scrivener, 56.

    Which brings us to Part 2.

    Liam's father, my best friend and swimming coach, emailed me this so that I would see if first thing upon awakening. He knows that I am a twin; that I have been on antidepressants longer than John; and that I am a caricature of John playing an old and bewildered man.



    You can actually find more out about this interesting subject by clicking here:

    http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...ealthsci-yahoo

    (The gist: after 40, you can look younger by getting a little bit fat, which puffs out your skin, reducing the empty-baggy saggy cadaverousness that the emaciated old tend to develop; you can also avoid the sun (in your youth, alas, was the time to do it); not smoke; and--interestingly to those of us who believe that "without chemicals, life itself would be impossible"--avoid taking antidepressants, which cause the facial muscles to sag. This is probably the reason I look so much older than John. Otherwise, I should look younger. I live in a cloud forest, and I am fat. John lives in a solar zone, and he's thin.)

    Now, here is a picture of the Thornton twins:



    Oh, well. Who knows?

    Perhaps soy will prove a paradoxical salvation for the likes of me.

    I can't really call it an epiphany per se, because I think I have known this for a long time. But mark today, February 10, 2009, with my official public announcement of acknowledgement, for from this day on, I will no longer argue to the point:

    I am an old-looking idiot.

    But an old-looking idiot with a theme song written expressly for me by two adorable young looking geniuses. If you haven't listened to this already, and if you are feeling at all like an old-looking idiot yourself today, I refer you to the bottom of:

    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=1419

    Regardless of what your name is, be it Bobinator or Qbrain, Duckson or Kafka, just add the Gallyumbo part to your moniker and share in the rejuvenating powers of music!

    Updated February 10th, 2009 at 10:26 PM by jim thornton

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  20. Jimbo Jumbo Gallyumbo

    by , February 9th, 2009 at 11:10 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Utterly exhausted.

    Actually worked today. Odd. A foreign experience of late.

    Blood drawn for testosterone and estrogen readings.

    The soy era has begun. Soy milk--2 giant glasses. Cliff Bar, hopefully salmonella-free, but it's possible the local supermarket decided to **** the recall.

    I like being able to use the word **** and not have to worry about it seeming bad. **** **** ****!

    I am semi-documenting my soy experiment and its effect on my swimming, but too tired to post the footage yet.

    What I will post tonight, however, is the practice I did that has left me vibrating with exhaustion and a sense that I am getting old.

    And the leading contender for the Vlog the Inhaler theme song, written and performed by the two wonderful little daughters of my swimming teammate, Mark H.

    I think that you will see their song about me has a lot in common with other songs like "It's a small world after all" and "The song that never ends."

    Catchy. Infectious. And once it gets into you head, you just want to sing it nonstop all day and all night for the rest of your life.

    Which, alas, you might also end up cutting short with a small arms round in the cranium.

    Even this, however, is not enough to stop the sound of the Vlog the Inhaler theme song.

    Enjoy!

    Practice:


    • 250 tai chi warm up on my own
    • 10 x 100 1:25 official warm up
    • 5 x 100 on 1:20 (1:12's -1:14s for me)
    • 1 x 500 at a better pace than above (6:12 --pathetique)
    • 5 x 100 on 1:15 (1:10s or 1:11s for me)
    • 1 x 500 at a better pace than above (yeah, right. I did a 6:22 and felt as ancient as a 56 year can feel)
    • 2 x 100 on 1:30
    • 1 x 200 fast (2:08, almost threw up; leg cramp the second 100 forcing the right angle ankle kick)
    • 6 x 50 on :40 (almost seized up)
    • 1 x 50 slow on my own to bring total up to 3600
    • steam bath
    • continued to drip sweat for a long long time after I got dressed. the pool water, by the way, was 85.


    And now for the Jimbo Jumbo Gallyumbo song. Note: absolutely no video production values tonight. In fact, after the girls give me the muuaaahhh kiss, or at least Marion does, Carrie is too old to do such things, you can shut it down. The last 30 seconds or so is just me fumbling with the camera trying to turn it off.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU61U6iKtzk&eurl"]YouTube - The official song of Vlog the Inhaler[/ame]
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