View RSS Feed

Most Popular Blogs

  1. Homage to the Summer of 2010

    by , September 6th, 2010 at 07:46 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    As I sit here at my desk in the waning hours of Labor Day, my back in spasms from the weekend's sporting events (3 hours, 20 minutes of tennis on Saturday; the 2 x 5K swim on Sunday; and 3 hours, 45 minutes of tennis this morning), I think we all look forward to the imminent onrush of "sweater weather"-- three or four months from now -- with a certain bittersweet quality.

    Sure, it will be good to see the late Autumnal temperatures finally dip from the upper 90s to the lower 90s; but climatic clemency notwithstanding, the hazy lazy days of summer just can't be beat by the hazy lazy days of fall, winter, and/or spring in terms of sheer unadulterated lazy haziness.

    To help us all maintain a hold on memories of this summer, my twin brother made a trio of films that nicely sum up the zeitgeist of this magical season.

    John is a wonderful film-maker in the primitive "outsider" self-taught school; a Grandma Moses of an auteur with nothing but his street smarts, a pair of high-rise underwear for support, and a Canon VIXIA HF S200 Flash Memory High Definition Digital Video Camcorder to craft his art.



    My twin brother John looks very Howard Hughes as he models some of the high waisted underwear his wife Nancy purchased for him now that our mother is no longer around to do this important job for us.

    YouTube recently invited filmmakers from around the known universe to submit movie footage for a major feature-film project entitled Life in a Day:
    http://www.google.com/landing/youtube/lifeinaday/ which promises:

    If your video is included in the final film, you'll be credited as a co-director and may be one of 20 contributors selected to attend the film's world premiere at the 2011 Sun Dance Film Festival.

    Anyhow, Johnny boy just got word last week that his footage made the cut for the final 100 hours of stuff being reviewed for inclusion by the project's director. Joking aside, I am truly proud of my twin's accomplishments in the brave new world of ordinary citizen film making!

    Before posting his three summer films, all of which do, indeed, feature water, a little housekeeping digression.

    My wife and I are opening a small restaurant later this month and are trying to decide on which sign to go for. Can you let me know your opinions?

    I should note that the location of the restaurant is the Historic District of a now defunct millennial sect, the Harmonist Society. [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmony_Society[/ame]



    Picture of the original Harmonist Church not too terribly far away from our restaurant.

    The Harmonist aesthetic was plain and no-nonsense, favoring blacks and whites and simplicity in architecture, etc. This tends to favor the black, white, and brick red version of the sign.

    However, the color version is nice, too, and many (if not most viewers) have expressed a preference for it.

    The two versions:



    The sparer version (juxtaposed against the brick color of the outside of the building.)




    The more colorful version. (With further thanks to my brother for his art skills!)

    Okay, at this point, let me present the three films. With the modern attention span being what it is, I know that many people don't particularly like to click on other people's YouTube movies, but I really am confident you will enjoy all three of these films, especially if you A) have ever been to the boardwalk in your life, B) have ever tried to surf, especially at age 5, and C) have ever been warned by your grandmother, as she clutched her rosary, that hurricanes like the one outside your door are deadly, but--god help you!--you found this much more exciting than scary.

    Stay tuned afterward for one final Bonus Film, one of the most blood-boilingly brilliant works of citizen journalism you are likely to see in your life!



    To view the feel-good-boardwalk-summer-2010 movie of the year, click here:
    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOoi2LVvM3o"]YouTube- Kids: A Music Video[/nomedia]
    (Music by MGMT)





    To view 5-year-old surfing prodigy, click here: [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPKN8Dt0t8w"]YouTube- Five Year Old Surfer[/nomedia]
    Music by
    Django Reinhardt




    To view John's charming movie about Hurricane Earl and an Ocean City resident who also lived through the non-dud devastating hurricane of 1944, click here: [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYD0bCToN8k"]YouTube- Earl and Pat, Waiting for the Big One[/nomedia] Music by miscellaneous jazz players.


    Special Bonus Feature!!!

    Finally, if you have any smug, fat-cat, butt-plugged, and insufferably Republican jerk relatives, living the life of King Tut in their starter Mansions on the Hill while railing against welfare and donating money to the Koch brothers, this movie is sure to wipe that insufferable smirk off their coddled, coupon-clipping, detestable faces!

    To view "The Gentry Discount, Ten Years On," please click here: [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O16CKTd_2uM"]YouTube- The "Gentry Discount" 10 Years On[/nomedia]

    Happy Labor Day, fellow Workers of the World!


    Categories
    Uncategorized
  2. 2 x 5K, Back Spasms, Toe Timer Unwisely Ignored

    by , September 9th, 2010 at 11:54 AM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Preliminary ex post facto note: when I began this vlog yesterday, I had no idea how long it would quickly grow. I have decided to embrace this length and convert what others might perceive as longwindedness into the first ever novella-lengthed swimming-related vlog. Please do not be intimidated. Those who read this entire thing can legitimately lay claim to being part of literary history.

    Since the early morning of Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010, my friend, teammate, and doubles partner Bill White and I have been undefeated in any sport by land or sea.

    It may remain this way for the foreseeable future, not because we are unbeatable, but because I am currently unplayable.


    My lower back muscles are as hard and spasmotically cramped as Dupont's new Zodiaq® quartz surface.


    Here is a picture of the human spine:





    Unfortunately, doctors seem to have trouble imaging my spine, possibly because of the intense muscularity of my body:





    In today's vlog, I shall present a brief photo essay on how my back happened to come to its current state of punitive crankiness, followed by a request (as always) for the physicians among my readership to offer their best free advice for a speedy recovery.


    Chapter 1. Out of the Ruins


    The day before our massive, uninterrupted winning streak began, that is to say, on Saturday, September 4th, Bill and I played doubles against our long time rivals, Mark and John. Let me not be accused of mincing words here: we played pathetically.


    We lost, I am pretty sure, three sets in a row, then managed to climb our way up to a 8-8 tie in the fourth set, which we decided to settle via a tie breaker, which we then lost.


    The problem with losing four sets in a row is that no match of any callibration can be added to the "win column" of our ledger.


    The scoring system that has evolved in our tennis matches is this:


    Winner of the very first point of the day:
    Indicator Point Victory. (This may not seem like much, but there have been many a time when this was our only bragging rights whatsover.)

    Winner of the first set of the day:
    Jr. Miss Championship.(a very small but developing change appears inside the tennis shorts of the winners)

    Winner of the best of three sets: Women's Championships. (the change accelerates into something full-fledged, albeit in a pre-pregnancy and baby-delivery condition)

    Winner of the best of five sets: Men's Championships. (clitoris takes on a manly stature; can be painful, I will concede, undergoing this change, especially when the full wound closes completely.)

    Winner of the best of seven sets: Super Men's Championships (the new unit becomes undeniably, even frighteningly, robust --PLUS every cell within the victors develops an extra Y chromosome, common among men incarcerated in certain maximum security Scottish prisons.)

    Somehow, I don't think females keep score in quite such terms. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think it is a male thing to start out with a tiny vagina and slowly but surely, through hard work and struggle and indefatigability, earn a penis. Again, I could very well be wrong, and I am definitely interested in hearing what any of my legion of female readers have to say about the effect of victory on their nether regions.

    So, digression over now, Bill and I found ourselves devoid of victory at any level of the hierarchy on Saturday. We, of course, both blamed each other for losing.

    I played just as poorly as I always do; Bill, who is usually so magnificent as to defy description, was just a wee bit less so. Hence, I still maintain it was his fault we lost.

    It doesn't matter. We were determined to turn things around.

    As we limped off the court around noon Saturday, my toe was throbbing (more on this soon). I should have listened to it. I didn't.

    Chapter 2: Distance Swimming in Sweater Weather



    At 6 a.m. on Sunday morning, it was 47 degrees in Pittsburgh.



    7:30 a.m. in Monroeville, Jim models his yellow Tyre Po'Boy Swim Parka (or towel as some know it), which he believes goes extremely well with his residual Bell's Palsy facial paralysis. This smiling rictus masks his determination to never lose anything again.



    Bill gets in the pool and readies himself to swim his portion of the 2 x 5K, an event where two people swim 100 LCMs relay style till each has swum 50 of them, for a total of 5,000 + 5,000 meters, or 10,000 meters. Note that Bill is concealing the top of his suit for fear that FINA observers will try to DQ our team.

    Our chief obstacle to victory in the 2 x 5K race is the tag team of Carl Goldman, a magnificent Pittsburgh area distance swimmer, and Peggy Gross, a former Olympic Trial-ian he has recruited as a ringer.



    This is Carl on the bottom and Peggy in the 4 o'clock position in the flowered swim suit.




    In an effort to level the playing field, vis a vis suit coverage, Bill puts on a top to compress his moobs.

    (The effort to bring about parity in mens and women's swimming is taking place in many ways out here in the grass roots hinterlands. As regular readers will recall, I have an ongoing project dedicated to finding precisely the right kind of paste with which to seal pasties to the Jim Thornton Jammers 'n Pasties Swim Suits for Wet Chicks (TM) project. This has, in fact, inspired readers across this great land of ours, where equal opportunity is a birthright, to take these matters into their own hands, often creating highly ingenious solutions. Here, for instance, is our friend, Mr. Bzaks1424's ecoconscious propotype for recycling swimming medals into pasties:

    You'd smile too if your nipples were covered in gold!

    Unwilling to belabor things here, let me simply make short shrift of the 2 x 5K race pictorially:



    Jim patiently awaits Bill's return during one of the many, many 100s we swam that day, in the process, lapping a fine local yeoman and an ex-Trial-ian ringer, who promised--but later renegged on this promise--that we could "deflower" her if we won. (She claimed what she had said is that she would give us her flowery swim suit to wear if we won. As if!) Given how fast Bill was swimming, Jim barely got an average of 1:21.48 to rest before he needed to swim his own 1:21.48 leg.



    Jim glances at the clock for the finishing time: 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 48 seconds. This averages out to 1:21.48 seconds for each of our 100 x 100 LCM swims.

    Carl et ringer finished minutes later.

    RESULT:
    Your time of 1:21.48 in long course meters
    converts to 1:10.32 in short course yards


    Converted to 100 SCY swims, which we will be swimming soon enough, it looks like Bill and I were going at an average pace of 1:10.32. Bill claims, but is probably just being generous, that I swam much faster than he did. I think he most likely swam faster than I did. We are as generous to one another in victory as we are cattily vicious in defeat. Perhaps it has something to do with the changes in the nether regions?






    Bill and Jim do their signature pregnancy bump following yet another victory in their storied career of winning many times and losing many more times. This photo, posted on Facebook by Pittsburgh area phenom Marla Sanchez, precipitated the following amusing exchange of comments:

    In this photo: James Scott Thornton (photos | remove tag), Bill White (photos)

    James Scott Thornton Thank god that black is slimming!

    Bill White That is not where I want slimming though....

    James Scott Thornton my doctor told me i HAD to slim down, down there, or I could actually injure women.

    Bill White apparently you are a fantastic patient!

    James Scott Thornton He gave me one of those carrot/cucumber peeling devices, and I have been steadily sheering off 1/8th " in diameter every night now for months. I am happy to announce that my unit is now no thicker than an enraged hog-nosed snake aroused from slumber on a sunny day. Soon, it will be safe to have sex again with women other than the Octomom.
    a few seconds ago

    *
    Gad Zooks!

    I have just been informed by the software manufacturer that I can only include 10 images per blog entry.

    My quest to write the first Novella-lengthed vlog in history is being thwarted!

    We will have to pick up tomorrow in the middle of Chapter 2.

    Sorry, dear readers, for this unconscionable interruption of the spell under which I cast you.

    Hackneyed as it may be, I have no choice but to employ the cliff-hanger gambit:

    • Will Jim deflower the ex-Trialian, and, if so, will his slenderized manhood imperil her health and/or comfort level?
    • Will he and Bill win in a land sport soon?
    • Will the novella ever end, or just go on and on and on as so many fervently pray?
    • And what about this toe timer he referenced?
    • Will we ever find out what that is all about?


    And so we must bid temporary adieu to the bloated athletes, Bill and Jim.

    Adieu but not so long suckers!

    We'll be back.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  3. Thornton Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Coached Victor

    by , September 12th, 2010 at 12:21 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    We last left me one week ago today (at pretty close to exactly the same time of the day as I am right now penning these words), emerging victorious from the 2 x 5K swim in the chill air of Monroeville, PA.

    (If this municipality has a faintly familiar ring to you movie buffs in vlogland, it is almost assuredly due to the work of Pittsburgh film director, George Romaro, who staged the second of his Dead trilogy --Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead -- at the Monroeville Mall.



    Your humble narrator was actually a zombie Extra in this wonderful gem of a film, and moreover, I actually received some personal direction from Mr. Romaro himself, or as friends call him, Mr. Romaro, Sir! Specifically, he instructed me to "bump into that stop sign, find out what it's about." I could go on at very great length about my experiences in the film industry, but for now, I think it best to return to the topic at hand and save my critically acclaimed acting as a zombie for future discussion.)



    My film mentor, George Romaro, Pittsburgh-based auteur whose signature work, Night of the Living Dead, provoked an orgasm of contempt by Reader's Digest writer, O.K. Armstrong. If only I could come close to such execration by the nation's leading moral arbiters!

    Just to refresh your memory, Bill and I decisively won the 2 x 5k, humbling--oh, what a weak word this is for what we did to them!--castrating?--perhaps this is too much, particularly for the distaff member of the losing team--anyhow, somewhere in between humbling and castrating the competition in what would inaugurate a still uninterrupted string of victories in any and all sports with no end in sight.



    After winning, Jim signals the local press photographers where to shoot next. Contrary to a rumor that circulated widely in the immediate aftermath of this photo's publication, Jim is not indicating he needs Cialis.

    He does, but that's not really the point.




    Note the bandaged-by-duct-tape fourth digit of Jim's left foot. This conceals a truly hideous injury (really, so much more than a garden variety boo boo) that makes his and Bill's swimming victory all the more remarkable.

    If you could peel off the duct tape now--and I would recommend adopting some kind of mask to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed by the gasses of decomposition should you choose such an unwise maneuver--you would find a blister of the most advanced condition imaginable. I have wracked my mind for just the right way to describe this blister and have concluded that it is impossible to do it justice. The closest I have come is this:


    1. Accidentally hit a pregnant opossum with your car.
    2. Exit your car, make sure the mother opossum is dead and not just playing opossum (you may well have to run over it again to make sure), then scoop up one of the mewling fetal Easter-candy like pink creatures that have spilled out on the highway.
    3. Brush off any road detritus that has managed to gather on its inflamed skin. If grime is deeply ingrained, use a little turpentine or mineral spirits to thoroughly clean the area.
    4. Put on noise-canceling ear phones if the mewling becomes too disturbing.
    5. And finally--this is the important part--spank it gently but repeatedly till the thin skin begins to sweat blood.
    6. This is as close as I have managed to come to describing the flesh of my own blister after the callous had fallen off.

    You may recall from the previous posting that Bill and my chief adversaries in the world of tennis doubles are two fellows named Mark and John. Mark is a hulking Wall Streeter who stands just under 9' and has a wingspan of 14' and a vertical leap of nearly two inches. He is the only Republican in our foursome. He understands that his well-heeled bread is buttered by the same tax cuts that would so greatly benefit the infamous Koch brothers, those rapacious billionaires from Texas who have secretly funded the "grass roots" tea party movement.

    Mark is, in other words, not a true Koch Sucker, i.e., one of those redneck dupes tricked into voting against his self interest by the Plutocratic class. Mark is a Plutocrat Lite, and you have to admire him for it: pure, naked, unadulterated, fiscal Darwinistic greed!

    Just joking, Mark!

    John, on the other hand, is an Irish immigrant to our fair shores, a liberal Democratic enthusiast like myself, and the most frugal person (other than my twin brother, the pathological miser) that I know.

    John can afford to be frugal, in part, because he can fix anything. He is the only amateur tinkerer I have ever met who can, for example, take the screen off an iPod and fix whatever is wrong with its internal workings, put everything back together, and have it actually work as good as new.

    I mention all this partly to paint a picture of our doubles adversaries, and partly to explain how they operate. To wit, John--the frugal Irishman--told me about a great deal on tennis shoes: a brand new pair of Head shoes, on sale at TennisWarehouse, for only $39.99. They had one small flaw in the way the shoelaces are constructed, but other than that, these shoes--which once sold for nearly $100 a pair--were a great bargain, he assured me.

    Mark even offered to loan me money to buy a pair.



    Here is the bargain Head tennis shoe that has figured prominently in my undoing.



    Like a poor man's Travis McGee, a rangy, muscular Jim bids
    The Deep Blue Good-by to the JCC pool as he heads towards a rendezvous with destiny on the tennis courts the next day. His crouched and hunched over gait, meant at the time to simulate the pre-pouncing posture of a magnificent carnivorous jungle cat, prefigures a different kind of hunched over gait soon to come.

    On Labor Day Monday, September 6th, Jimbo and Billbo arose early at their respective abodes and scootered and Stealth-Dodged, respectively, their way to the Sewickley YMCA tennis courts.

    Bill was in fine shape; Jim thought he was too, the twinges of back pain experienced towards the end of the 2 x 5K having all but disappeared during the healing rest of the previous night.

    John, the affable Irishman, was not so lucky. He had some kind of wound on his tennis gripping hand, ostensibly caused by a drill bit but quite possibly caused by a stigmata. He gamely tried to warm up, but you could hear him mewling ever so slightly under his breath, like a fetal opossum when you have noise-canceling ear phones on. Since I live precisely six-tenths of a mile from the Sewickley YMCA tennis courts, and since I wanted to have no asterisks on today's avenging match, I offered to scooter home and get John a bandaid and some duct tape for his modest gouge wound, which I must say was no match whatsoever for the Geneva-Convention-Outlawed kind of blister I was suffering from on my left fourth toe digit.

    I raced home on the scooter, bounded the steps two at a time, dug through my medicine drawer where I keep band-aids, 17-year-old Flexerils, and the like, bounded down the stairs again, scootered full-throttle back to the courts, handed the stuff over to John. It was time to start this revenge beat-down!

    As he played around with the band aid, I leaned forward to search through my swim and tennis bolsa for some Gu.



    Note: the Bolsa--a reusable plastic Mexican shopping bag after which they named their Stock Market--is the absolutely perfect swimming tote bag for guys who are confident enough in their masculinity that they do not mind being mistaken for bag ladies.

    This is when it happened: a massive seizing up of my lower back muscles that drove me to my knees and caused moisture of some sort to leak from my eyes.

    It was horrible!

    Somehow, I managed to right myself and gingerly moved around the court, mewling involuntarily.

    Mew! Mew-mew-mew! ****! Mew!

    Over the next 3 hours and 45 minutes, we played the series of sequential matches outlined earlier. The results:


    1. Indicator point: Jim and Bill.
    2. Jr. Misses match: Jim and Bill.
    3. Women's Championship: Jim and Bill.
    4. Men's Championship: Jim and Bill.
    5. Supermen's Championship: Jim and Bill.


    Somewhere between 3 and 4 and 5, my toe began to throb. It was but one of many discomforts in a symphony of pain that included the throbbing spasms of my lower back and the hard-to-describe agonies that come from a vagina sealing itself off and sprouting first a normal then a frighteningly robust XYY, Scottish-prison-caliber penis in its evacuated wake.

    If there is one good thing about these Head tennis shoes, it's that the blisters they induce can serve as a de facto timing device to tell you when it's time to quit.

    But in the exuberance of such a victory, which leaves the victor with only rapacious hunger for more, more, more victory (not unlike a Koch brother and his mountain of gilt), I ignored my toe timer and played longer than I should have.




    A close-up of the blister. Note how earlier layers of skin have peeled away, been replaced by fetal opossum-like pinked tissues, which themselves have been peeled away, over and over again, in a process of such frequent multiple cell replication that one wonders if toe cancer might be triggered by all this sloughing and rebuilding, rebuilding and soughing?

    That afternoon, I could not walk.

    That night, I could not move in my beddy bye.

    The next morning, I could not feed the pugs.

    A friend of my brothers recommended surgery, which he said had helped his neck vertebrae. He sent me a picture to reassure me that the cosmetic results of modern surgery are remarkable.



    Joco Cohen's post surgical neck. My lower back, he assured me, could look every bit as handsome after the knife.

    Instead of therapeutic blood letting, I decided to take the advice of a kindly reader, SCYFreestyler, who in the previous vlog left me the following sagacious advice:

    "As an experienced back spasm patient, I've found the best remedy is activity. Rest provides me no benefit. Chiropractic or DO adjustments provide me no benefit. Prescription muscle relaxers provide me no benefit. Full disclosure, I'm not a physician. Hell, I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. Best of luck with your recovery."

    His advice was not entirely unfamiliar to me. In a Men's Health article of mine, which I must sheepishly admit was a finalist for the National Magazine Awards, I had examined the trend by sports medicine practitioners towards an "active recovery" mindset when treating sports injuries--one whereby yesteryear's namby pamby exhortations for lengthy bed rest and the like are now recognized as chief hindrances to recovery.

    You can learn more about the "rest is rust" philosophy by reading my entire article, The Indestructible Man, by clicking here: http://www.menshealth.com/men/fitnes...100000cfe793cd

    So anyhoo, Tuesday afternoon, I scootered down to the Y, took a Jacuzzi, swam 225 yards with open turns, took another Jacuzzi, went home and continued on the regimen of generic Naproxen and 17-year-old Flexeril that I started popping like Skittles the day before.

    On Wednesday, I forced myself to go to swimming practice and went last in B lane, doing all open turns but actually swimming the whole 2750 yards.

    On Friday, our normal practice was canceled because of Pirate Night at the pool, so I went to swim by myself before this started. By the time I managed to hobble over, I had only had 30 minutes to swim before the little mateys and assorted blackguards were using the diving board to walk the plank, their corpulent young bodies no doubt targeted like missiles at the lower backs of unsuspecting swimmers like me.

    I did 2100 yards continuously, using old-man-decrepitude flip turns the whole way. Not great, but on the road to recovery. I got out before any little blackguard could jump on me.

    This morning, I was able to reach down and get the pugs' dog food bowls off the ground and feed them.

    I am still a pathetic husk of my former uninterruptedly undefeated glory.

    But I have survived worse conditions than this in the past.



    After you've had the experience of being dead, you come to realize that blisters and a bad back don't have to hold you back. All I need do now is find somebody's mother to munch on, and I will be good as new.

    My back will be back!
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  4. No Mr. Bond. I expect you to DIEt.

    by , September 14th, 2010 at 03:59 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Last night, when Rafael Nadal won the US Open against Novak Djokovic, I had an overwhelming sense of deja vu.

    Not only had I seen this movie before, I had lived it.




    Lithely muscular Spanish tennis sensation, Jim Thornton, I mean Rafael Nadal, reminds me of exactly how I once looked during the Golden Boy phase of my life, which lasted from September, 1952 till late July, 2010. Throughout this period, I was frequently asked by admiring female fans, "Jim, could you please slow down just for a second to talk to us?"

    To which I invariably had to reply, "I would love to, girls! But I can't! I am just too magnificent in motion."


    Over the past number of days, maybe weeks, possibly months, however, things have ever so slightly changed.

    At first, it was extremely subtle: the merest hint of a zaftig quality filling out my musculature, a softening of definition that lent to my physique a Muhammad Ali-like quality (as opposed to the more musclebound body type of, say, Ken Norton,) This, I told myself at first, is not necessarily a bad thing.



    Muscle definition is not the same as muscle effectiveness. If anything, a tiny bit of leavening fat appears to be an advantage in many sports.

    But zaftig, alas, was not content with staying zaftig.

    About a month ago, I graduated to what in girls dress sizes was once called "chubby" and in boys coveralls "husky."

    From chubby-husky, the fat tide rolled me on onwards--like a sickeningly rich mound of sticky bun dough over a bed of grated pecans and granulated sugar--towards pudgy, then chunky, then corpulent, before really picking up momentum and steam rolling me into the ranks of the porcine, the blimpish, the abdominally abominable, and the "constantly mistaken for Fatty Arbuckle" realm.

    For weeks now, I have sensed if not completely conceded that the only thing Rafa and I currently have in common are our magnificently unbridled stallion-like Spanish passion and indominatability!

    For Rafa in his current body, such qualities are a magnet for girly action.

    For me in my current body, they are a virtual guarantee of restraining orders.

    Still, knowing you are fat, and accepting same, are two different matters.

    Just as I only accepted that I was bald in late 2009 (before then, I would have told you I was balding, not bald), so did full gut-level acknowledgment of my grotesque body weight problem require a bit more proof to sink in.



    Of all the recent epiphanies about my weight gain--the appearance of an old man gut cleavage line, for instance, and the tipping of the scale close to 190 lb. for the first time since my 'grossest fathood' 1976 weekend of engorgement and water drinking record attempt--the one thing that finally convinced me something was very, very wrong was the sudden appearance--just yesterday-- of double chins under my manatee-like moobs.

    In the wake of this epiphany, the idea of doing something to lose weight finally took hold in me, and I posted the concept on Facebook.

    James Scott Thornton Having recently noted that I have 1) old man gut cleavage, and 2) a double chin of sorts under both of my pecs (oh, who am I fooling? my breasts), I am about to begin work on DIEt: an Inhaler Attempts to Redefine Himself. This should generate some peepers.

    This, in turn, prompted a lively exchange from some of our frequent and beloved fellow forumites.

    A sample of their replies:

    Leslie Livingston can't wait for this!

    Paul Wolf Let me know how it goes

    Leslie Livingston Do you have a plan of attack?

    Kirsten Thompson Will be following this closely as I have breasts too

    James Scott Thornton I doubt yours have double chins where bacteria can hide and putrefy, making one wonder if something has died outside his house, and then later making one wonder if something has died inside the library, and then later making one wonder if something has died by the Jacuzzi at the YMCA, before at last one realizes that the stench of death he smells is not external but internal, portable, and ineradicable.

    This I doubt is the case with your breasts.

    I could be wrong though.

    Amanda Hunt nipples standing at attention with anticipation here.

    Please indulge one more Facebook-purloined, on-topic, digression, this one posted by none other than Eney Jones, a non-chubby swimming legend who can't beat me in the 50 or 100 despite her best attempts to do so.

    Yesterday, Eney posted a link to a TED talk (eye-opening, often paradigm-shifting speeches given by various experts on different scientific topics). This particular TED talk was on the dangers of announcing your intentions and goals before you achieve them--

    TED Talks: After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.


    For more on this, I refer you to http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_siver..._yourself.html

    Of course, experts on the other side of the equation have suggested that when it comes to things like exercise programs and weight loss regimens, it can be helpful to tell your friends what you plan to do so they can support your efforts and hold you accountable.

    Who knows which approach is more viable?

    At the risk of dooming myself to failure at the outset, I will nevertheless tell you readers exactly how I intend to recapture my Rafael Nadal-like Golden Boy magnificence.

    To wit, here is what I have achieved so far and what I intend to continue to do well at least until Thursday if necessary.

    Step 1. Acknowledge you have a problem.

    Check!


    Step 2. Lose weight by Method A. Now I know there are no shortage of strategies for losing weight, from forced vomiting to amputation of less important body appendages. I plan to start with Method A, which--I'll be frank, has not always worked that well on a general population level. Still, Method A is probably the simplest weight loss strategy that doesn't involve a finger or a knife. All one must do: Stop eating.

    Semi-check!
    I stopped eating this morning after breakfast, and I plan to continue to stop eating until I pass out, at which case, continued attempts to stop eating should become relatively easy until I am revived.

    Step 3. With luck, there will be no need for a Step 3, and I will be back to a healthy weight later this afternoon or by early evening. However, should Method A fail to provide the intended pound shedding necessary, or I fail to adhere to Method A long term enough, then I will without hesitation move on to Step 3. Look for and implement Method B. (I wish I had thought this out a little better in advance. The Steps and the Methods are off by one numeral-digit--Step 2, Method A; Step 3, Method B; Step 17, Method P, and so forth. Oh, well. Nobody ever said weight loss was easy.)

    Check to come only if needed. As already indicated, I hope we will not need to move to Step 3, Method B. I just walked--somewhat dizzily--to the scale for a late afternoon weigh-in. Since not eating anything post-breakfast, I have gained a mere 2 lb., indicating that the rate of fathood ascent appears to be slowing.

    I will keep you posted until I slip into a hypoglycemic coma (one reason many doctors do not recommend Method A for longer than several hours at a time).



    Updated September 14th, 2010 at 04:09 PM by jim thornton

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  5. Adapting Medieval Technology to Modern Weight Loss

    by , September 16th, 2010 at 05:23 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Note: this vlog contains imagery of a purely scientific nature that may be found unsettling and/or actionable by gynecologists, holy men, and women. Please do not read any further if you A) suspect you may fall into one of these categories, or B) are a lawyer. Thanks.

    --the Edito
    r
    *
    Fellow travelers hoping, like me, to find an exit from their own false Imprisonment on Candy Land Island know that your narrator/favorite fatty began my diet nearly 30 hours ago.



    Using Step 2, Method A as outlined here http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?bt=45649 , I managed to lose 4 and 1/2 lb. from breakfast to dinner by eating only a light lunch and then going to swim practice, swimming 5250 lackluster yards, and spending some time in the steam bath.

    At the time, I was confident my need for dieting would soon be over.

    Alas, though somewhat less plump than when I first started this ordeal, I am nevertheless still hideous in my surfeit of flesh.

    As promised, I am now moving on to Step 3, Method B.

    And what is this, you are asking yourselves?


    _______________________


    The concept seemed vaguely familiar
    to me, this locking up
    of a troublesome orifice
    in search of pleasure.


    _______________________


    To explain the thought process leading up to my discovery--or perhaps rediscovery is a better word--of Step 3. Method B, let me briefly re-trace yesterday's food odyssey as such was lived out by me.


    • Breakfast: cereal and 9 cups of coffee.
    • Lunch: nothing.
    • Late afternoon snack: several wafer thin slices of country ham whose salt and protein content I hoped would help banish hypoglycemic bonking and cramps during my subsequent swim practice (it did!)
    • Pre-swim ingestion: One package of orange flavored GU Chomps.
    • I then swam 3800 more lackluster yards, took the ceremonial post-practice steam bath with my teammates, including a novelty-stimulus female or two, and did my official post-practice weigh-out: 180.9, the least fat-engorged I have been in weeks!
    • I scootered home and did not feel any desire to eat again, that is, until shortly after 9 p.m. I made two turkey and fresh tomato sandwiches, and though one might hope this would have proved more than enough, it merely opened the sluice gates to endless snacking foodstuffs placed by me in my gullet over the next two hours.


    Watching a repeat of True Blood's season finale, with all the au jus spilling everywhere, did not help matters.



    Bottom line here: After almost an entire day of pang-free abstemiousness, all was lost over a two-hour orgy of make-up eating.

    I waddled up to my bed and went to sleep, sort of, so fat was I that breathing was labored despite my CPAP machine blowing 8 cm of water's worth of air pressure into each nostril!

    I felt like Tony Soprano, one of those thickly mucosa-ed breathers who gasps for air sound like a beached grampus whale.





    This morning, I surveyed the damage and looked for solutions.

    It occurred to me that only two hours of an otherwise splendid day of carefree, easy dieting had ruined everything!

    For 22 hours a day, I live the life of a righteous, thin man.

    But for two hours, I become a food slut of the most slatternly type.

    Might I not figure out some way to take special precautions today to guard myself against a repeat of this for just the two hours of night-time, TV-watching, exceptional vulnerability when my inner glutton comes out to play?

    Perhaps I might create some kind of contraption that might temporarily lock up my orifice so that it could not get into trouble during a period when my Iron Will was temporarily unavailable to me?

    The concept seemed vaguely familiar, this locking up of a troublesome orifice in search of pleasure.

    Of course!



    This form of chastity belt, known as a bellifortis, (Latin for "Strong in War" or "War Fortifications") has been designed to keep lips unavailable for stuffing.



    Throughout much of the day, my own lips--thin to the point of cruelty--are hardly troublesome at all! They remain tightly pinched, offering no opening for the camel's nose of gluttony (nor its cameltoe, for that matter) to gain entrance to my gullet.




    A comely medieval frau is helped by Well Meaning Patriarchs into a necessary garment during her time of ovulation, an interlude during which her virtue is most likely to abandon ship and embrace sluttery.




    How I know first hand the maiden's temptation! How I wish for similar respite from my own temporarily insane abandonment of virtue! Could I, by some technological adaptation, tinker with the bellifortis to keep my paper-cut thin wanton lips from stuffing during the hours of 9 p,m. to 11 p.m.?



    For hours and hours, I roamed the Internet, searching for modern approaches to yesteryear's Chastity Belt solutions, ones that I might adapt to create my own dieter's Step 3, Plan B proprietary device. Finally I found the answer I had for so many feverish and throbbing hours sought! Release was at hand!

    With my brother John's help, I designed and manufactured a prototype, which I am hoping to put into mass production for sale at K-Mart in the very near future.

    I am negotiating with Martha Stewart even as we speak for some kind of It's a Good Thing licensing arrangement.

    In the meantime, I plan to test it out and get back to my fellow swimmers with notes on my flight back to Golden Boy status. Wish me luck!

    In less than 4.5 hours, the witching hours will be upon us once more, and I plan to use my new device to completely bar any invagination of foodstuffs and beverages alike into buccal cavity from from 9 to 11 p.m.



    Note: I am confident to the point of bursting that the Jim Thornton Chastity Head Belt & Pie Hole Blocker (TM) will do what we all know needs to be done.


    Can a letter from a certain committee in Stockholm be far in my future?

    Stay tuned.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  6. Speed Work, Friday, Sept. 24

    by , September 24th, 2010 at 06:18 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Swim/SCY/Solo @ GMU:

    Warm up:

    700 various

    Transition/Speed Play:

    Ripped off a bit of this from Speedo's blog.

    8 x 25 glide drill

    10 air squats off pool bottom at 9'5" depth:

    1-5 = streamline, got to top hip level
    6-10 = streamline + 2-3 dolphin kicks, got to bottom hip level

    3 x 20 seconds AFAP vertical dolphin kick + 50 EZ (Got this idea from Geekity.)

    Went 54, 54, 53 dolphin kicks. As Geek would say, these hurt like mother scritchers. I could have used an easy 100 between instead of a 50 to get my heart rate down. The thought did occur to me that this could easily be adapted as a tabata set. It was great speed work also.

    4 x 25
    odds = standing broad jump into pool w/med ball and eggbeater kick to wall holding med ball out of water (I HATE eggbeaters.)
    evens = standing broad jump, turn over on back and kick holding med ball up with 1 hand
    (A masters swimmer swimming next to me remarked that this looked really hard. Yep.)

    100 EZ

    Speed Sets:

    5 x 50 AFAP + 100 EZ

    #1 = SDK, high 22
    #2 = back, high 23
    #3 = free, high 23
    #4 = SDK, mid 22
    #5 = back, 24 (tired)

    (I did the first two on 3:00 and the last three on 3:30.)

    Last year at the time, I went:

    50 SDK on back, :23
    50 back, high :24
    50 free, :25 (missed turn)
    50 SDK, :23
    50 back, :25 (tired)

    50 EZ

    5 x (25 AFAP kick w/board & fins + 25 EZ) @ 30

    Got kicked out of comp pool and went to hot rec pool. It felt dreadful after the cool water in the comp pool

    200 EZ

    Total: 2300 + VK

    Yoga:

    30 minutes of stretching and yoga while watching DVR'd shows.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Commentary:

    I loved this workout! The squats, jumps and VK at the beginning were fun and useful. And I think they were a good warm up for the fast 50s b/c they got my sprinter neurons firing and heart rate up.

    I was surprised to see that my times were slightly faster than last year. I am chocking this up to the better accuracy of the digital clocks over the pace clocks I used last year and the much cooler water at Mason.

    I'm now pretty tired from this.

    Looking ahead to next week, I'd like to do 2 fast days with more of a lactate tolerance element. I may do the Rich Abraham broken 100 set one day. Speedo want to join? I also liked this set that Ande did today.

    3 rounds of 3 x 50 + 100 easy , done:

    #1 @ 90% on 1:15
    #2 @ 95% on 1:30
    #3 @ 100% on 2:00

    At least I think this is what Ande did; there may have been a typo in his blog b/c he said it was 4 x 50. Since I'm not Ande, I may adjust the intervals slightly.

    Going to my team practice tomorrow am, which will be aerobic in nature and then to:

    http://www.sportfairusa.com/

    Updated September 25th, 2010 at 09:41 AM by The Fortress

    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  7. Final Solution for Fatties Like Me

    by , October 4th, 2010 at 03:45 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    My first two weight loss techniques:

    A) Stop Eating, and

    B) Chastity Belt Adapted for Buccal Cavity/Yawning Maw

    have, alas, failed to provide the miracle breakthrough for weight loss I'd hoped for.

    The former proved surprisingly impossible to sustain for longer than seven or eight minutes at a time. And the latter, unfortunately, could just not survive the wicked mechanical forces of my rasper organ of a mouth. This, apparently like a Dyson vacuum cleaner, NEVER LOSES SUCTION.

    I am forced, thus, to go back to the only absolutely 100 percent guaranteed remedy: a broken heart, or, because I have become much too fat of late to attract anybody who could then cruelly reject me, a facsimile of a broken heart.

    And so, ladies and gentlemen, my fellow rotundity victims and would be Hunger Artists, I present to you the third in my Triptych of Weight Loss Methods. I think you will soon see that I have saved the best for last with...

    Jim’s Melancholia Spa ®

    ______________________________
    Depressed about your weight, butterball?

    Evidently, not depressed enough!

    At Jim’s Melancholia Spa ® we specialize in helping you lose weight fast--without dangerous diet drugs or even potentially heart-stopping light-to-moderate exercise prescriptions.

    Our philosophy couldn’t be simpler:

    Lose the will to live, lose the will to eat! ®

    When you first check in (no shoe laces, please!), our crack team of psychiatric nurse practitioners will administer medicines to deplete your brain of serotonin, noradrenaline, and a host of other neurotransmitters associated with feelings of well-being. Soon, you’ll have no appetite left for anything--sex, life, and most importantly, food-- which is just as well because the only “nourishment” we provide at Jim’s Melancholia Spa ® is synthetic potato chips fried in Olestra and flavored with aspartame!

    Yum, yum!

    Wink, wink!

    If you can stomach “three squares a day” of this proprietary Melancholia Spa Foodstuff Staple ®, you’ll lose weight even faster than most, thanks to the virtual certainty of acidic anal emissions!

    Acidic or not, at Jim’s, we see every kind of elimination as a good thing. For this reason, there will be no shortage of purgatives and Ipecac provided gratis to all our guests.

    Unlike trendy “fun” spas that promise the weight-loss moon but measure “success” in ounces, Jim’s Melancholia Spa ® is not set near some picturesque beach where the balmy breezes blow, keeping spirits high. You can find us instead in an underground cavern in Missouri (pronounced “misery,” pun intended!) tucked ever so deep inside the earth’s crust and ever so far removed from the green sunlit comforts of surface life.

    Indeed, at Jim’s Melancholia Spa ®, we pride ourselves on bringing you...A Little Closer to Hell ®.

    It’s a cold hell, too. Day or night, winter or summer, the temperature in our pitch black underworld never gets above or below an uncomfortable 52 degrees F. We let you keep your underwear, even provide you with a horsehair blanket to cover yourself as you curl up in fetal position around a wet stalagmite. Most of our guests, however, become so forlorn they eventually abdicate their wet blankets altogether.

    As certain medical researchers in Germany discovered during the late 30s and early 40s, the only thing better than despondency at triggering weight loss is despondency stoked by hypothermia!

    For guests with proof of health insurance, our Tough Lovin’ Staffers ®--the best brutal blackguards you could ever hope to have care for you!--will offer the special a la carte Close Shave ® option. You show them the money, and they’ll hand you a straight razor and turn their backs for up to 15 minutes while you “freshen up.” To be sure, our crack team of vascular surgery nurse practitioners will be Johnny-on-the-spot to repair any weight-draining mischief you get yourself into!


    ____

    "It is as if any appreciable time spent in Jim’s Melancholia Spa ® changes one forever."

    ____

    No matter whether you choose the two-month, six-month, or deluxe ten-year Spa packages, we guarantee that when you once again ascend from the bowels of the earth to stand in the light of day, there will be a much thinner you thereupon standing. Our long-term guests, once morbidly obese, invariably find themselves transformed into wraiths who sport the hollow eyes and sunken cheeks that for so many of us define physical attractiveness. We can’t name names, but suffice it to say: some of the top fashion models working today got their start as tubby teens whose parents loved them enough to send them to Jim’s Melancholia Spa Summer Camp for Fat Girls ®.

    But what about relapse rates, you’re probably wondering. You’re probably well aware of the statistics of weight loss--the 95 percent long-term failure rate of virtually every diet known to man. Talk about depressing!

    Please know too that our program truly is different, and tiny is the number of recidivists that eventually leave our cavern. It is as if any appreciable time spent in Jim’sMelancholia Spa ® changes one forever.

    But in the unlikely event you do eventually begin to perk and pork up again, don’t quietly despair! Despair grandly, ever while knowing that Jim’s Melancholia Spa ® awaits like a booster shot, loaded with all the encouraging discouragement you need to wither your way back to ideal weight and less!

    __________________________________________

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  8. Swim, Monday, Oct. 11

    by , October 11th, 2010 at 08:52 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Back in the water for a very slow short swim:

    Swim/Solo/SCY @ OakMarr

    Warm up:

    600 various
    10 x 25 shooters w/fins

    Main sets:

    Solo Social Mini Mountain Kick:

    all dolphin kick w/board @ :15-20 RI
    1 x 50
    1 x 100
    1 x 150
    1 x 200
    5 x 1:00 vertical kick (breast, dolphin, flutter, dolphin, breast)
    1 x 200
    1 x 150
    1 x 100
    1 x 50

    10 x 50 @ 1:0
    odds = free
    evens = back

    6 x 25 breast
    alternating dolphin and whip kick

    50 EZ

    Total: 2550

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    Commentary:

    Well, it's a start. My throat and lungs are still burning. Cough is slightly better. It's very non-productive, so it needs to just stop soon. Getting healthy feels like a fairly interminable process.

    Just to cheer myself up, I checked the LCM rankings and my 4 x 50 from Zones are still in the top ten. I think this reflects a lack of participation in long course this summer. I'll be curious to see if that continues this short course season. Apparently, according to the convention votes, most people don't like the suits. If so, they should be lining up to swim now.

    Also, on a whim, I checked the all time FINA rankings and was surprised to find this: Some of these will no doubt change with all the fast chicks entering my age group.

    FINA WORLD MASTERS TOP 10 - SHORT COURSE METERS - ALL TIME (1986-2009)

    50 SCM BACK:

    30.58 K.PIPES-NEILSEN USA 2007
    31.14 LESLIE LIVINGSTON USA 2009
    31.45 BARBARA OPITZ GER 2006
    32.02 SHIZUKO HIRAISHI JPN 2009
    32.51 LAURIE DITOMMASO USA 2009
    32.54 VIBEKE SWANSON USA 2006
    32.59 K.ANDRUS-HUGHES USA 2006
    32.61 SUSANNA ROSEN SWE 2009
    32.65 L VAN PELT-DILLER USA 2003
    32.67 LAURA VAL USA 1999

    100 SCM BACK:

    1:04.46 K.PIPES-NEILSEN FRA 2009
    1:07.21 ELLEN REYNOLDS USA 2009
    1:09.20 VIBEKE SWANSON USA 2006
    1:09.27 VERA CAPKOVA BEL 2006
    1:09.58 LESLIE LIVINGSTON USA 2009
    1:09.68 KARIN SEICK GER 2007
    1:09.90 L.PELT-DILLER USA 2006
    1:10.17 LISA WARD USA 2009
    1:10.33 LISA DIXON-WELLS CAN 2006
    1:10.40 SUSANNA ROSEN SWE 2009

    50 SCM FLY:

    29.10 HAYLEY BETTINSON GBR 2009
    29.21 LAURIE DITOMMASO USA 2008
    29.40 K.PIPES-NEILSEN FRA 2009
    29.69 LESLIE LIVINGSTON USA 2009
    29.71 SHIZUKO HIRAISHI JPN 2009
    29.97 USCHI DUMIG GER 2005
    30.02 KARIN SEICK GER 2006
    30.18 LISA DAHL USA 2006
    30.24 TRACI GRANGER USA 2007
    30.37 ARLENE DELMAGE USA 2008


    FINA WORLD MASTERS TOP 10 - LONG COURSE METERS - ALL TIME (1986-2009)

    50 LCM BACK:

    31.71 VALERIE JENKINS USA 2008
    31.85 SUSAN WALSH USA 2007
    31.99 LESLIE LIVINGSTON USA 2009
    32.08 SHIZUKO HIRAISHI JPN 2009
    32.10 K.PIPES-NEILSEN USA 2007
    32.65 VERA CAPKOVA BEL 2006
    32.93 LAURA VAL USA 1997
    33.18 KARIN SEICK GER 2006
    33.34 K.ANDRUS-HUGHES USA 2006
    33.40 CATHY SHEEHAN CAN 2005

    50 LCM FLY:

    29.37 LAURIE DITOMMASO USA 2009
    29.52 K.PIPES-NEILSEN USA 2008
    29.57 LISA DAHL USA 2009
    29.74 LESLIE LIVINGSTON USA 2009
    29.84 SUSAN WALSH USA 2007
    29.89 SHIZUKO HIRAISHI JPN 2009
    30.01 LISA WARD USA 2009
    30.04 ARLENE DELMAGE USA 2008
    30.30 ANGELA ZINGLER GER 2001
    30.40 ROBIN PARISI USA 2002
    Categories
    Swim Workouts
  9. I, Restaurateur: A photo essay

    by , October 31st, 2010 at 08:59 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    I, restaurateur, also remain a magazine writer whose current assignment is on the vagaries of moral psychology and the vociferous arguments that such so often provokes. The combination of physical and mental labor, and many more hours of both, has required me to make some sacrifices in my discretionary time. Gone now are daytime naps, hours spent crafting assorted bon mots on Facebook and the USMS forums, offering succor to women who I perceive to be in need, and using the bathroom.



    Good and evil: my beloved twin brother, John, whose art skills have immensely upped the entertainment value of my vlog (movies, PhotoShop images, and the like), arrived with his movie camera to document the "soft opening" of our new restaurant in Ambridge, the Old Economy Cafe. Here is a link to the movie John made about that day:

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDijPfyJ46k"]YouTube - Old Economy Cafe[/nomedia]



    While preparing the Cafe's delectable Russian Chicken Potato Salad, my wife Debbie sliced into a potato and to her astonishment found that it had an uncanny resemblance to me. She did not cook that spud. Instead, she gave it to me. I immediately dubbed it my Potato Avatar Spirit God, and the two of us became inseparable.



    An early customer, whose office is a short distance down the street from the Cafe, is state Representative, Robert Matzie, from the 16th Legislative District. He agreed to pose for this picture whereby I appear to be "buying him off" with some sort of restaurant graft; by agreeing to thusly pose, he earned my vote in perpetuity.

    Please feel free to send money to him in care of his web site:
    Rob Matzie - 16 Legislative District

    (Note: I am not sure what party he is, but the fact that his web site doesn't immediately make this obvious make me think he is a fellow Democrat. I could, however, be wrong.)



    A wonderful charcoal drawing of my twin brother, our father, and me done by John's roommate from their art school days at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Our father passed away several years after Edgar Jerrins did this great work. A couple items to observe: 1) this is our ancestral home, where my father lived from 1953 till his death. 2) My family and I now live in this same house, though financial vicissitudes being what they are, I am not sure we can hang onto it forever. 3) Our father has begun the descent downstairs. I am next in line. It is hard to look at the curved closet wall in which I am framed and not imagine that it will be Jimbo next in the Thornton men casket. I say this metaphorically, of course, because we Thornton men do not allow ourselves to molder in a box in the cold ground! We prefer cremation and sprinkling. Much, much, much more affordable!



    Bill White, breaststroker-and-masters-coach extraordinaire, has been impressed into duty at the enterprise. Here the two of us show just how manly aprons can look on the chiseled male swimmer physique. (In one of our cases, indeed, the apron and concealing undergarments are necessary to provide a manly appearance given how much these are able to hide the fatted moobs.)



    I, restaurateur, learn that sometimes you have to do more than coax and cajole money out of your customers. Sometimes you have to grab it and tug with all you got. Here, I attempt to get payment from muscular roofer, Marty Kuzmkowski, brother of less muscular swimmer, John Kusmkowski. Bill looks on, ready (I hope) to continue the wrestling process should I fatigue and need to "tag" my fellow wrestler.




    I won't lie to you: physical labor, especially in an unrefrigerated atmosphere, does age a guy and his Potato Avatar Spirit God. A few days later, when my doppelganger PASG began to smell a little funny, he preceded me in death and was buried in a Hefty 30 Gallon trash can bag with some of his fellow root vegetables.



    Fortunately, with sumptuous victuals like the above, I do not feel it is too imminent that I shall be joining my Potato likeness.

    If you are ever in the Pittsburgh area strike zone, keep us in mind! Ditto for our Old Economy Inn, a bed and breakfast about 5 blocks or so from the restaurant. If my fellow swimmers let me know in time, I will try to arrange for a free guess pass at our Y, too, so you can not only eat our food, sleep in our bed, but swim in the Amish Mud Hole that has made Bill such a powerful force to be reckoned with in his age group, and me such a, well, not powerful, exactly, and not a force, but something! That mud hole has definitely made me something!

    Updated October 31st, 2010 at 09:22 PM by jim thornton

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  10. Sleep, or How to "unravel the twisted skeins of care"

    by , November 9th, 2010 at 04:06 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Still hyper over-worked, but I thought vlog readers might enjoy a pair of sleep-related articles of mine now up on the Men's Health web site.

    Any comments left thereupon would be greatly appreciated, as such would perhaps indicate to my kindly employers that I do have a few readers hither and thither throughout the fruited plain.

    Article 1: The darkside of Ambien and its "novel hypnotic" chemical cousins. http://www.menshealth.com/health/sleeping-pill-dangers

    Article 2: Sleep apnea in non-traditional patients (i.e., reasonably fit, non-obese, athletic people.) http://www.menshealth.com/health/sleep-apnea-danger-0

    This latter article also has a movie my son Jack, brother John, and I made this Sunday about exercises that can potentially reduce apnea.

    Note: a tremendous salute to our very own Tom "Jaegermeister" Jaeger, an internist at Mayo whose patient counsel over the years got me off Ambien and onto CPAP and created such an amazing difference in my quality of life.

    Thanks, Tom!

    With luck, someone will read these stories and either seek help for themselves or forward the link to a friend or loved one with the problem.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  11. Before

    by , November 25th, 2010 at 06:14 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    176.5

    This weigh-in was:

    * after scootering down to the Y thru the freezing pre-Thanksgiving air to swim practice with Bill and Leslie

    * after pre-warming up in the Jacuzzi with Leslie

    * after having swum practice with Bill and Leslie

    * after having steambathed and Jacuzzi'd with Bill and Leslie


    We shall see how much tonight's engorgement will affect tomorrow's post-practice weigh-out.

    Oh, and as my Thanksgiving gift to my comrades across this great fractious nation, from churning sea to frothing sea, here is a bit of philosophy to ease your minds.

    I discovered this gem of a film quite by accident last night. I used Google Desktop to find a favorite quote of mine from Marcus Aurelius, and in so finding, I also found my dear brother's movie, Stoical Storytime.

    Really, it is very amusing and insightful simultaneously!

    Never surpass the sense of your original impressions. Perhaps they tell you that a certain person speaks ill of you. That was their sole message; they did not go on to say that you have been harmed by him. Perhaps I see my child suffers illness; my eyes tell me so but do not tell me his life is in danger. Always keep to your original impressions; add no interpretation of your own and you remain safe. Or at the most add a recognition of the great world order by means of which all things come to pass.

    --Marcus Aurelius

    The film:

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQM3PTXEr_c"]YouTube - Stoical Storytime[/nomedia]
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  12. After

    by , November 27th, 2010 at 12:09 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    176.98

    Readers of Before will recall that following practice and various sweat-inducing heat treatments both dry and wet, I weighed-in at 176.50 on Thanksgiving Eve.

    My hypothesis was that the next time I officially weighed-out following the Thanksgiving engorgement and Friday's swimming practice, the scales would register somewhere in the upper 180s to lower 190s.

    Fortunately, the hypothesis failed to be corroborated by the actual data.

    Here is a brief chronology of the 48 hours between the weigh-in and the weigh-out:

    * I went home Wednesday night and cooked 8 porkchops on our Weber grill. My sons together ate three of them, more or less. I ate the remainder. When I was done with mine, I scavenged the considerable amounts of meat that had not been gnarled from the bone by my sons. I then gave the remaining tissues to my pugs, Lefty and Biscuit, who were able to find additional sustenance. All that was left of the 8 pork chops was a bunch of very splintery bone fragments of the sort that I have learned from experience to avoid at all costs stepping on barefoot in the darkness. Actually, you do not even need to be barefoot to want to avoid stepping on these bone splinters: I have ruined a pair of perfectly good year-old Route 66 $19.99 K-Mart "winter sandal" slip-on shoes by so misstepping in the darkness--and still lacerated my ball of foot!

    * I followed this meat up with 4 Pepperidge Farm "entitlement" Sausalito cookies. The entitlement aspect came from having swum hard at practice. But I also consumed these cookies because of a Thornton family tradition: the need to stretch ones stomach on Thanksgiving Eve to prepare it to accommodate a literally sickening load of foodstuffs the following day.

    Note: Pink Floyd famously asked, "How can you have your puddin' {or, in my case, 4 Pepperidge Farm "entitlement" Sausalito cookies} if you don't eat your meat?" My answer: "But I did eat my meat! All 5 porkchops plus remainders of my sons' 3!"

    * I had the dregs of my last bottle of Nyquil, one 37.5 mg pulvule of Effexor XR (which, alas, does not seem to be countering the hibernal gloom all that effectively, especially when one factors in the prospect of Marshalsea Debtor's Prison once again looming in the near distance, and the occasional revolting memory of sexual leprosy scares from the past); read a few pages of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (marveling how, when I first began this series, I was devastated by Stieg Larrson's premature death, but by book #3, am becoming more and more at peace with it); hooked myself up to the CPAP machine; turned on Hatertainment radio for 30 minutes to lull me into dream land; and drifted off to fat-storing oblivion where my leptin and ghrelin levels could do their shilly-shallying waltz of obesity-inducement.

    * I woke up rather late, at least for the post-CPAP era, and ate granola, dried cherries, walnuts, 6 cups of coffee, and for dessert a 200 mg. tablet of Provigil. I then began doing battle with our financial situation, which is to say, throwing pebbles impotently at the sucking vortex that is the Final Destination for spendthrifts like me. Ah, how fondly I remember those days of yore when I actually felt like a kind of human being! These days, and by these days, I mean every single second of every single minute, etc., since I first took out a mortgage in Minnesota in 1987, I feel like an increasingly fallow field that is being tilled by dozens of pitiless farmers hoping to extract the final tidbit of croppage from my hide before I expire altogether and become suitable for little but the storing of spent nuclear waste!

    * Bill called, and told me that he and his brother in law, Sean, were going to the Y and asked me if I was up for an Iron Infant (an ultrashort triathlon I invented which consists of 30-45 seconds on an exercise bike; a walk-run for approximately 200 yards to the locker-room; and from there to the Jacuzzi for a few minutes of "swimming" in the whirling heated waters.)

    I met Bill and Sean at the Y, did about 60 minutes of Nautilus stuff (I hate weight lifting, as some of you may recall; but I have decided, purists be damned, to do these machines regularly because they are slightly less detestable than free weights and dry lands with all sorts of weird bocu balls and whatnot that I don't understand how anyone can enjoy), and thenI did the Iron Infant.

    * Back home around 3 p.m., it began to seem like somebody should put the turkey in. A friend of my brother's gave me instructions on how to cook an 18 pounder in 3 hours: preheat the oven to 500 degrees and cook it uncovered at this temperature for 30 minutes; take it out and cover only the breasts with a bikini top of double folded foil; then stick it back in for another 2.5 hours at 300 degrees.

    * I also made cornbread stuffing "snowballs" and jammed these into every orifice I could find, sealing one of them off with the Pope's Nose, and leaving the other major cavity open like a post-resurrection sepulchre.

    * Between breakfast cereal and turkey preparation, I probably ate something, but the truth is, I can't remember what or even if I did.

    * By 7 o'clock, everything hog-like was ready for insertion into my python-like alimentary canal. The little nuclear family sat down at our little dining room table. We discussed our various reasons for being Thankful this year. Then the engorgement began and, in my case, if not for the rest of my beloved relatives, said foodstuff packing did not stop till I was in a great deal of distress.

    I was able to walk away from the table, which is something. Most years, this is not possible, I must get down on the ground and slither out to the couch and be helped up onto it in order to comfortably watch TV.

    Granted, though upright and walking this year, I certainly was in not shape to walk lively, with a jouncy strut, if you will; I doubt I could have even completed an Iron Infant without hydraulic assist, so replete I was with turkey, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, gravy, and assorted other items that blend so nicely into a stomach-extending bolus.

    And it was a good hour before I could eat sticky toffee pudding with Ben and Jerry's Hannah Teeter flavor ice cream plus whipping cream.

    "How can you eat your sticky toffee puddin' with Ben and Jerry's Hannah Teeter flavor ice cream plus whipping cream if don't eat your meat?"

    "But I did eat my meat! I ate half a turkey plus all that sausage in the lb. of cornbread stuffing I consumed!"

    Then I watched some more TV, inhaled the final Nyquil fumes from the bottle, repeated my nightly pharmaceutical night cap, read more about Lisbeth Salandar's head wound, listened to more hatred as accompaniment to drifting off.

    * I woke the next morning with very little in the way of appetite and thus had to force myself to consume a caramel and pecan and apple tart with whipped cream for breakfast along with the standard dosages of coffee and Provigil. I spent the rest of the day working at our Cafe. I was not hungry at all, but nevertheless shakey in that hypoglycemic way that afflicts me from time to time. My wife kindly recommended that I drink a SlimFast shake despite my feeling nauseated; this helped a bit.

    At 4ish, I drove back home and ate a package of GU Chomps knowing that swimming practice was imminent. I rested a bit then went to practice early to check Leslie in.

    I thought I had more Chomps waiting for me in my locker, but alas I only had 3 of the disgusting gel formulations. I sucked one and brought the other two to the pool deck, pretty sure I was going to have a hypoglycemic attack because of not eating much lunch.

    The main A practice was only 2450 yards, but I did some extra pre-warm up so that my total was 3600. Thanks to the two extra packs of Gu gel, I was able to make it through the whole thing without seeing lights or feeling shakey.

    However, the combination of breakfast tart, SlimFast Shake, and 4 packets of Gu, did not save me from cramps that started in my toes, moved to my foot arches, and then from these inaugural beachheads annexed my calves.

    It was for this reason, no doubt abetted by character weakness, that my "sprint" 100s were pathetic: 1:00 and 59.99 respectively.

    Afterwards, Leslie and I steamed and Jacuzzi'd. I took a hot shower and dried myself thoroughly and got on the scales.

    Net increase over the Thanksgiving holiday:

    .49 lb.

    Readers of the third in my series on weight loss techniques may recall Jim's Melancholia Spa (TM), documented more fully here: Final Solution for Fatties Like Me

    This Spa, I assure you, is not only a metaphor but also a place to which my life frequently dispatches me.

    I cannot say I entirely recommend bivouacing here for weight loss. However, if you are of the genetic subtype for whom life's miseries decrease, rather than increase, your appetite for food, sex, consciousness, television viewing, etc., and if moreover you find yourself waylaid in a morbid state of mind, then I must say you can take consolation in the fact that your misery will surely help you wither!

    Or should I say, you could take consolation in such a fact if the condition that makes weight loss so effortless did not simultaneously levy a tax of inconsolableness.

    You win some and lose some, I suppose.

    And all the while the pitiless farmers ready your hide for sowing their next, dwindling crop.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  13. Grunion Data

    by , December 8th, 2010 at 10:54 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    The Long Beach Grunions just posted the results for this year's SCM meet.

    This, by the way, is what a grunion looks like:



    Moreover, according to Wikipedia:

    Grunion are known for their very unusual [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mating"]mating ritual. At very [/ame][ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide"]high tides[/ame] the females come up on sandy beaches and dig their tails into the sand to lay their eggs. A male then wraps himself around the female to deposit his sperm. For the next ten days the grunion eggs remain hidden in the sand, but at the next set of high tides the eggs hatch and the young grunion are washed out to sea. *


    In any event, because this is a very well attended yearly meet, which Leslie told me some think of as the unofficial USMS "Nationals" for the SCM venue, and furthermore--and please correct me if I am wrong here!--it is held in the same pool at roughly the same time each year, I thought that comparing this year and last year might provide a bit of data for how much the loss of the body suit impacts aging men's swimming speeds.

    Obviously, my interest here is 100 percent Jimcentric. It is quite possible that elite 20-year-old male swimmers might not be affected all that much by the loss of blubber compacting neoprene. I don't care! I am only interested in how much the loss of these suits is impacting my cohorts, how much the loss of these suits is impacting me, and whether, when the smoke clears, I will be hurt more, less, or the same as most guys in my age bracket.

    A few caveats are in order:I looked only at my age group, i.e., 55-59
    1. I looked only at the men's freestyle events
    2. Some of the top swimmers this year had just "aged up" and I did not try to find out what times they had done the previous year in the 50-54 age group.
    3. Not everyone who swam in 2009 also swam in 2010. In fact, in several events, I found no repeat swimmers at all in the top 5 or 6 places.
    4. I have no idea what kinds of suits those who did swim the same event two years consecutively were actually wearing; I am assuming that most top swimmers took advantage of whatever was legal at the time, but I could be wrong about this.
    5. People do slow down a wee bit from year to year, at least on average. This effect is exaggerated in the post-50 age groups, and it really accelerates in the post-70 age groups. Thus, it is possible that some of the poorer times this year compared to last year could have been from aging, but I doubt this alone explains some of the whopping changes I found.
    6. Also, a lot of people train with a bit of extra intensity the year they know they are aging up, because they figure it's their best shot at making good top 10 times. So the fact that the repeat swimmers were one year deeper into the age group might also have lead to some slackening motivation, though once again, I find it hard to believe this would account for such whopping changes either.

    ABSTRACT:

    In every case I was able to find of guys who swam this year and last year, none did better in jammers than whatever they wore last year; all, in fact, did worse.

    Much worse.

    I had expected to see a second or so per hundred. The smallest deterioration in repeat swimmers was just over 3 seconds per 100. In some of the longer events, the deterioration was as high as 6.5 seconds per 100.

    Again, this is an admittedly very small and select data sample. But if there is even a snifter of validity to it, the bottom line take away message--at least for the likes of me--is that the "new reality" is very likely to cause you significantly slower times than your peak performances in high tech full body rubberized body kayaks like the B70.

    I think a lot of people have been telling themselves that the suits really don't make that much of a difference. This, at least, would indicate that's wishful thinking.

    If you can keep your "jammer" times within a couple seconds per 100 of your "body kayak" times, you may, in fact, be swimming faster than before, despite the depressing digital readout on the scoreboard.

    Anyhow, here is the data:

    50 SCM Freestyle

    2009—Body Suits

    1 Gandee, Brad 55 GMUP-10 26.43
    2 van Boer, Eric 55 RHMS-38 26.54

    3 Wilson, Robert 58 NMMS-42 26.55
    4 Williams, Bruce 56 RICE-25 26.59
    5 Dickson, Dave 56 CMSC 27.32

    6 O'Keeffe, Peter 59 UCLA-33 27.50
    7 Mc Bride, Duncan 55 LAPS-33 27.60

    2010—Jammers

    1 Krauser, Larry 57 Hydropower Maste-35 26.27
    2 Blatt, Michael 55 Ventura County M-33 26.50 7
    3 Djang, Philipp 56 Fort Lauderdale-50 27.03 6
    4 4 Behun, Bill 59 San Diego Swim M-44 27.85 5 5 5 Miller, Chris 57 Las Vegas Master-33 28.05 4

    * (No repeat swimmers in top 5 in this event)
    _______________________________________




    100 SCM Freestyle
    2009—Body Suits


    1 van Boer, Eric 55 RHMS-38 58.74 9 28.14 58.74 (30.60)
    2 Williams, Bruce 56 RICE-25 59.07 7 28.21 59.07 (30.86)
    3 Mench, Lee 57 HSAM-44 59.12 6
    28.91 59.12 (30.21)
    4 Dickson, Dave 56 CMSC 59.51 5 28.28 59.51 (31.23)
    5 Wilson, Robert 58 NMMS-42 59.91 4
    27.98 59.91 (31.93)
    6 Phillips, Rick 55 ROSE-33 1:01.63 3
    29.48 1:01.63 (32.15)


    2010—Jammers
    1 Blatt, Michael 55 Ventura County M-33 58.15 9 27.61 58.15
    2 Krauser, Larry 57 Hydropower Maste-35 58.68 7
    27.81 58.68
    3 Behun, Bill 59 San Diego Swim M-44 1:01.50 6
    29.27 1:01.50
    4 van Boer, Eric 56 Rolling Hills Mu-38 1:01.90 5
    29.31 1:01.90
    5 Adkison, Bill 55 Rolling Hills Mu-38 1:02.77 4
    29.60 1:02.77
    6 Heather, Michael 56 Mission Viejo Ma-33 1:03.09 3
    30.75 1:03.09

    * (One repeat swimmer in top 5 in this event)



    58.74 to a 1:01.90--a 3.16 second difference
    _______________________________________

    200 SCM Freestyle
    2009—Body Suits

    1 Wood, Larry 55 TXLA-43 2:08.42
    2 Dickson, Dave 56 CMSC 2:11.13
    3 Townsend, R Scott 56 LVM-33 2:12.34

    4 Penn, William 58 PNA-36 2:33.00

    5 Quinn, John 59 SCAQ-33 2:30.38
    6 Sicard, Federico 59 SDSM-44 2:30.51

    2010—Jammers

    1 Krauser, Larry 57 Hydropower Maste-35 2:09.27
    2 Blatt, Michael 55 Ventura County M-33 2:10.80 3 Heather, Michael 56 Mission Viejo Ma-33 2:22.34
    4 Miller, Chris 57 Las Vegas Master-33 2:42.82
    5 Astudillo, Fabio 58 San Diego Swim M-44 2:49.26

    * (No repeat swimmers in top 5 in this event)
    _______________________________________


    400 SCM Freestyle

    2009—Body Suits


    1 Wood, Larry 55 TXLA-43 4:32.85
    2 Dickson, Dave 56 CMSC 4:39.79
    3 Phillips, Rick 55 ROSE-33 4:41.84

    4 Penn, William 58 PNA-36 4:43.16

    5 Leonard, Dan 55 SCAQ-33 4:49.05

    6 Mench, Lee 57 HSAM-44 4:50.


    2010—Jammers

    1 Krauser, Larry 57 Hydropower Maste-35 4:39.87 9 32.13 1:08.41 1:44.18 2:20.07 2:55.87 3:31.21 4:06.57 4:39.87
    2 Phillips, Rick 56 Rose Bowl Master-33 4:58.51

    3 Leonard, Dan 56 Southern Califor-33 5:06.39
    4 Penn, Bill 59 Pacific Northwes-36 5:09.63
    5 Bias, Philip 56 Unattached 5:45.24 4
    39.32 1:22.73 2:07.33 2:51.85 3:35.45 4:19.87 5:03.23 5:45.24

    * (Three repeat swimmers in top 5 in this event)



    4:41.84 to 4:58.51 16+ seconds slower (average 4 sec/100 slower



    4:43.16 to 5:09.63 26+ seconds slower (average 6.5 seconds per 100 slower)



    4:49.05 to 5:06.39 17+ seconds slower (average 4.25 seconds slower)
    _______________________________________
    800 SCM Freestyle
    2009—Body Suits

    1 Townsend, R Scott 56 LVM-33 9:26.04
    2 Wood, Larry 55 TXLA-43 9:33.71

    3 Penn, William 58 PNA-36 9:42.73

    4 Dickson, Dave 56 CMSC 9:45.91

    5 Phillips, Rick 55 ROSE-33 9:51.01


    2010—Jammers

    1 Krauser, Larry 57 9:42.94
    2 Penn, Bill 10:28.29
    3 Bias, Philip 56 Unattached 12:03.27
    4 Ferguson, Howard 12:39.67


    * (One repeat swimmer in top 5 in this event)
    9:42.73 to 10:28.29 45+ seconds or 5.5 seconds slower per 100

    ______________________________

    * Final thought: Who knows? Perhaps male grunions who swim in the waters of Long Beach, California are exhausting themselves in ways that have nothing to do with swimming. Such speculations, of course, are beyond the scope of the present inquiry.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  14. 2 Christmas Cards plus Lefty the Christmas Pug: A Tale

    by , December 16th, 2010 at 12:56 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I have never been one of those types who send out Christmas cards on a regular basis or, for that matter, on an irregular basis.

    Something about finding a suitable card, scribbling a suitably festive message thereupon, getting envelopes, getting stamps, the orgy of licking that ensues, the pasty mouth that makes it hard to swallow and causes you to imagine you have become transformed into an iguana, the trip down to the Post Office to stand in line and make sure you have weighed things correctly, all of this, well, has conspired to turn me into one of those 58-year-olds who eschews Christmas cardery of the Traditional Sort.

    But this year, thanks to technology, I have decided to send all my friends in the USMS greater swimming community not one (1), but two (2), count them! two (2) Christmas cards.

    Christmas Card Greetings No. 1:


    Jim uses an open fire to burn the hair off a monkey prior to machete chopping it into body parts for boiling in a Christmas cauldron! Here's wishing that your Traditional Christmas Feasting Foodstuff o' Choice does not have fingerprints, which makes swallowing difficult.

    I am hoping that this first Christmas card--a traditional favorite of mine--will serve more than just to put you into an appreciative mood regarding the astringent cold waves that are now gripping much of the east coast. I hope, as well, that it will help to jump start the inevitable diet that comes in the wake of Yuletide cookies-marinated-in-nog overindulgence.

    Christmas Card Greetings No. 2:



    Here is a homemade greeting card that invites a certain amount of mental interactivity. Enjoy piling on additional clothing until even the vaguest trace of my hidden existence becomes an unsustainable article of faith!

    And finally...

    This morning's anecdote retold as a Christmas story:

    Lefty the Christmas Pug

    Here are our two pugs, Lefty and Biscuit, playing with Mollie Nadler a few weeks ago (Mollie was doing some house painting and took a break to play with the dogs.)



    Sorry for tilt here. I can't figure out how to fix it. That said, Mollie does look better in the horizontal position.

    About three weeks ago, on the coldest night of the winter up till that point, I fed Lefty and Biscuit their dinners outside and left for swimming practice, confident my sons would let the little pugs in from the dark, cold night and the surrounding forest in which bobcats and coyotes are rumored to prowl.

    When I got back from swimming practice, Lefty--the plump male pug--was indeed in his spot in the kitchen, gnawing on a ham bone. But Biscuit, the lithe female pug, was not in her usual spot, that being the heating register where she regularly stokes herself with hot forced air.

    I went outside into the previously described night and called for her. Unfortunately, her hearing is not that great these days, and no manner of shouts or whistles managed to summon her.

    I called both sons on their respective cells--they had gone out to respective friends' houses--and asked them where Biscuit was. They both told me they had searched for her to no avail.

    Lefty, the amiable but dumb pug, began begging for a dog treat. He is an adorable dog, but can be pretty annoying what with his insatiable appetite for food, and his nearly endless whimpering cries and beseeching for same!

    "Lefty," I said, "how is it that you are here and Biscuit is out there somewhere, possibly being eaten? I thought she was the smart one, and you the dumb one, but here you are, and who knows where she is?"

    We went out looking for her. I put on my headlamp and bushwhacked through the dark woods above our house, but to no avail, Lefty all the while at my heels. Then we reversed course and headed into the dark woods beneath our house. At one point, I could no longer see Lefty and feared that he, too, might be lost.

    Finally, I managed to find Lefty, but his little female bride remained irretrievable.

    Lefty and I went home, hungry and disconsolate, respectively.

    It was so bitterly cold out!

    I tortured myself with images of poor little Biscuit out there in the night, a smart and keen eyed pug whose greatest pleasure in life--more so even than food and treats--was her perch by the heating register.

    I fell asleep, depressed, already in a state of pre-mourning.

    Sometime around 4 a.m., I awoke and went downstairs to check the three doors to our house, hoping against hope Biscuit had somehow made her way back and was patiently shivering in wait to be let in.

    Front door? No Biscuit!

    Patio door? No Biscuit!

    Kitchen door....but no sooner had I entered the kitchen, which serves by night as our pugs' bedroom, than I saw not one (1) but two (2) pugs in their twin pug beds!!!!

    Biscuit was home and back inside!

    In the morning, I learned from my older son Ben that when he got home at 3 a.m., Biscuit was waiting by the back door, and he let her in.

    Safe and sound!

    Flash forward approximately three weeks to this very morning, Dec. 16h, 2010. My younger son Jack, now a high school senior and future Tarheel (accepted yesterday via early decision to his top choice, U. North Carolina-Ashville!), needed a ride to school.

    We put the pugs outside and drove down to Leetsdale, locus of Quaker Valley High School, at 7:30 a.m.

    I was back home by 7:45, and as I drove up the driveway, I beeped the horn several times to alert the pugs that I was back, that it was time for them to gather at the homestead, and that I would feed them their breakfast.

    The temperature was 12 degrees F.

    The pugs did not answer the beep.

    They were not in their Dogloo outside.

    I could not find them shivering in the garage.

    Nowhere!

    The beloved pugs, on the new coldest morning of the year, one week and one day before Christmas, were gone!

    I whistled and yelled for them, to no avail. I went inside and started making coffee. Sometimes, I think they can smell the coffee brewing and know that their breakfast cannot be far behind once this olfactory stimulus hits the air.

    And like clockwork, I soon heard an insistent scratching of pug nails against frigid aluminum! They were back, robustly alive, uneaten by either coyotes or bobcats!

    But when I threw open the door to see what was accounting for all the clatter, there was only one (1) not two (2) pug dogs there to greet me!

    A shivering Lefty, who immediately began his pleading intercessions for victuals.

    I let Lefty in and he begged even more frenetically.

    "Where's Biscuit, Lefty?" I asked him, the entire horror-show of three weeks ago back in a flash of deja vu misery!

    Lefty replied" "Rrrreee yelpppp roofffff arrrryllllll arrrppp!"

    Then he stamped his little feet in a food frenzy dance and began to yawn boisterously in a fashion my wife has taught him. It is adorable to hear him yawn in this desperate way--a signal that usually nets him food.

    Hopeless, I said to Lefty, "I know you are a little dumb, Lefty. And I do not believe this will get through that thick occipital bone that cradles your brain pan. But please!

    "Find Biscuit. Find Biscuit. Find Biscuit."

    And then I sent him back outside without food. I imagined he would just hover by the door and start scratching it again to be let in. But to my amazement, Lefty trotted off with what almost seemed like purpose.

    Two minutes later, the scratching renewed. When I threw the door open to let him back in, I was absolutely astonished to see not one (1) but two (2) pug dogs waiting patiently to be let in!

    Perhaps it was coincidence, Perhaps Biscuit chose this very moment to come back, completely independent of any search party efforts on Lefty's part.

    But I don't think this was the case.

    I think Lefty did, indeed, find Biscuit.

    I think Lefty is, indeed, smart after all!

    It is, I am convinced, a True Christmas Pug Miracle!

    I fed them a fine bowl of assorted meats and meat byproducts followed up by dog treats for them both!

    They are now downstairs cuddled together by the heat register, taking a long winter's nap.

    And I, for the first time in many, many a year, find myself in something that faintly borders the Christmas spirit!

    May all my swimming friends capture a similar sentiment this season as well! Here's wishing you all a faint bordering brush with the Christmas spirit!

    Updated December 16th, 2010 at 02:00 PM by jim thornton

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  15. Drop till you stop

    by , December 21st, 2010 at 07:13 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    As regular vlog viewers know, I rarely write about swimming workouts in this presumably swimming-workout-related venue.

    But today I am making an exception because I think I may just possibly have invented the best fat-burning, conviviality-promoting, civilized-Christmas-Eve, reduced-hours-at-the-Y, practice ever!

    A preamble:

    On Friday, Dec. 24th, the Sewy Y, my home stomping grounds/salmon spawning stream/Amish mudhole frolicking spot 'o choice whenever the cost of gasoline rises above $1.97 a gallon, is going to be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This means our normal Friday night practice is canceled, and those of us who want to swim it anyhow must try to grab a lane with the rest of the unwashed throng of noodling humanity.

    I plan to get to the pool at the nanosecond it is open and secure a lane for myself and possibly adjacent lanes for B and C swimmers I am hoping will join me in this, the best fat-burning, conviviality-promoting, civilized-Christmas-Eve, reduced-hours-at-the-Y, practice ever!

    The plan, which I am in the process of heavily promoting on Facebook, will be for many swimmers, not just from our Y, but from surrounding Y's that are home to no shortage of novelty stimulus females (hopefully, photos to come; stay tuned with crossed fingers), anyhow, one and all are invited to come swim the practice, followed by...

    A late breakfast and/or early lunch at our restaurant, The Old Economy Cafe, 1198 Merchant Street, Ambridge, PA 15003, home of the best darned sticky toffee muffins in Christendom!

    With luck, people will be pleasantly relaxed, not overly strained to the point of nausea, but well-exercised enough to have inflamed appetites and a very strong sense of entitlement eating following the best fat-burning, conviviality-promoting, civilized-Christmas-Eve, reduced-hours-at-the-Y, practice ever!.

    Okay, here it is. Note: I am dividing it into A, B, and C workouts, with A being people who can reliably hold a 1:20 pace per 100 SCY for an hour or so; B reliably hold this at, say 1:40; and C closer to a 2:00 or higher pace.

    If it looks easy to you, that's because it is easy, at least for a good long while!

    Warm up
    A: 10 x 100 on 1:30 relaxed
    B: 8 x 100 on 1:45 "
    C: 6 x 100 on 2:05.

    Relax, regroup, socialize, and wait until the next reasonable "top" to start the next thing. Since I will be repeating this "relax, regroup, socialize, and wait" quadro-exhortation between every set to follow, let us, for the sake of brevity, abbreviate it at RRSW.

    Note: abbreviation should not in any way be construed as grounds for denigrating what each of these letters stands for. Each letter, indeed, needs to be taken very seriously if one is to truly reap maximum benefits from my best fat-burning, conviviality-promoting, civilized-Christmas-Eve, reduced-hours-at-the-Y, practice ever!

    Let us review:

    R, or Relax. Shake your muscles lightly. Luxuriate in their loose litheness. See if you can get your triceps to flap loudly against your rib thingies.

    R, or Regroup. The point of regrouping is to allow everyone, from speed demons to laggards, to start again from the same spot in time--the top, i.e., the 60, where for precisely one nanosecond everyone, me, Michael Phelps, Johnny Weismuller, Eney, Dr. Kurt Dickson, Bill, Leslie, the whole shooting match! where all of us are one big happy fraternity-sorority of identically gifted swimmers with exactly the same time in whatever event we are about to commence, that time being O.

    S, or socialize. Discuss current events, Jim's health insurance woes, mildly ribald comments involving novelty stimulus females and Jeremy Cornman, Christmas puddings, upcoming dreams, how many eggs we will be ordering in our fritattas, in short, anything and everything that allow us to feel as one with the multiarmed and multilegged millipedial swimming organism that is we practicers at the pool right here and now, at this very moment, all for one, and one for all!

    And finally, W, or wait: do not ejaculate yourself prematurely from the wall of the pool, take your time, let your huffing and puffing abate a bit, and only then, when Jim in lane A signals that it is this top, this very one, when the red thing stands completely erect and points to the 60, then and only then begin the next set.

    Which is...

    A: 5 x 100 on 1:45
    B: 4 x 100 on 2:00
    C: 3 x 100 on 2:15

    I know! A luxurious amount of rest! Too much rest? Perhaps! Perhaps not! It is what it is.

    And immediately follow into another round of serious RRSW.

    Followed by:

    A: 5 x 100 on 1:40
    B: 4 x 100 on 1:55
    C: 3 x 100 on 2:10

    And then RRSW

    Continue to follow the same pattern--i.e., 5, 4, or 3 x 100s, dropping your respective intervals by 5 seconds on each successive set, with RRSW in between, until...

    You can no longer make it!

    I anticipate for A, the "you can no longer make it" point might well arrive at the 5 x 1:10 or 1:15 point for me; and the 5 x 1:05 or 1:10 for Bill.

    But do you stop when you can no longer make it?

    No! That is just one of many beautiful elements of this workout! You do not stop, you simply subtract a length and continue.

    So, say I cannot hold 5 x 100 on 1:10, that I miss, say, the second or third one. At this point, I simply switch to 75s and keep on going.

    A reprieve! 75s on 1:10 are child's play compared to how hard Bill must work to continue with his 100s on the same 1:10!

    RRSW then drop 5 more seconds--

    Now I am doing 5 x 75s on, say, 1:05.

    And on and on till eventually, perhaps around the :45 or :50, I can no longer make the 75s.

    Solution? Drop the distance once more.

    RRSW followed by 5 x 50s on :45, then :40, then :35, then....

    Time to drop to 25s!

    Eventually, when we get to the 10 second interval, even Bill will have trouble holding 25s, and practice will finally be over.

    At which point it will be time for a steam bath with all sorts of novelty stimulus females obscured in the hot fog, inviting your mind to run riotous, then off to the Old Economy Cafe for food-based entitlement RRSW of the very top caliber ever!

    Join us, won't you?

    Sewickley YMCA, 10 a.m., Friday, Christmas Eve! If you have a Y card and a picture i.d., you can get in free. If you don't have a Y card, the guest fee is a pricey $10, but worth every penny for the best fat-burning, conviviality-promoting, civilized-Christmas-Eve, reduced-hours-at-the-Y, practice ever!

    Did I mention novelty stimulus females?
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  16. Don't Forget My Senior Discount

    by , December 28th, 2010 at 10:28 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    1. Don't Forget My Senior Discount



    2. Business Idea Free for Taking

    You have probably heard of Vampire Drains in terms of energy usage. Here is a great little graphic illustrating the concept --

    (you can find the original at
    http://awesome.good.is/transparency/...ireenergy.html ):




    The constant low-grade suckage of standby appliances does indeed cost a lot of moolah over the years, but I think an even greater source of Money Suckage is the financial world in general, something that the great Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone so famously described in his article on the greatest suck agent of all, Goldman Sachs:

    The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.

    I was surveying my impossible bill situation today and realized how many things I have allowed to accumulate on a kind of autopilot basis. Cell phone service for more minutes than I could possibly use, texting and video messaging I rarely use, and so forth; the constant up-creep of Comcast TV, phone, and Internet stuff; my son's subscription to X-Box Live, whatever that is, which seems to contribute $24.99 per quarter into Bill and Melinda Gates respective purses, which I am pretty sure have been made from the stretched scrotums of Microsoft workers who did not make their quota of bad service; magazine subscriptions I never ordered but show up at my door anyhow, like Russian proletarians at Dr. Zhivago's summer home http://www.imdb.com/media/rm721390848/tt0059113; various local tax payments you don't actually owe but would take up so much of your time proving you don't owe them that you are better off just paying; Netflixx subscription that you haven't used for quite some time; various overdo library book fines; etc.

    So anyhow, here is my business idea for anyone who wants to turn it into a money maker: come in and straighten up all these useless money leaks, and I will give you 10 percent of all the money you save me!


    I will also write you a testimonial. You can use this to get ten more happy clients, and ten more glowing testimonials.


    By this point, you will have learned where all the long hanging fruit is and come up with ways to easily handle this sort of money draining stuff.


    Soon, you will be killing the vampire financial drains of millions of people, and netting a happily paid 10 percent of all this money you have saved!


    Just watch out for people who wear hats like mine (Where the **** is My Senior Discount?) because we vote for people who won't like your business and will try to put you out of it.


    But I am rambling.


    We old fellows do ramble. That we do.


    3. Last Sewy Practice of the Year

    I apologize for not being able to turn off the italics here. After I italicized Matt Taibbi's quote at the outset of 2. Business Idea Free for Taking, I can't seem to get the italics to stop. I can bold things. I can even underline them. Change colors. Alter font Sizes. Even do a mix and match of all of these.

    But I can't turn off the damn-your-eyes italics. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much a metaphor for the accumulation of little niggling obnoxiousnesses that will be the death of me!

    But again I ramble.


    After last Friday's hyper successful Christmas Eve swimming practice at the Sewickley YMCA, I am proposing to do a kind of Redux version this Friday, New Year's Eve.




    Swimming coach Bill and shy actor, Mark Cox, attempt to restrain Jim when the palsies strike in the middle of the Christmas Eve 2010 5K. This happens occasionally, most likely because of the pool chemicals. Note: These and the two following pictures by the magnificent photographer, Go the Distance Phenom,
    John Kuzmkowski ( M56 AMAM 561.03 miles as of this posting)





    A very cold novelty stimulus female, Lisa Morrell, attempts to get used to our fetidly hot Amish mudhole swimming conditions. Watch out for crawdads, Lisa!



    The beauteous lithe former novelty stimulus female swimmer Jocelyn Cornman, wife of Jeremy and part of the marital Kona Triahtlon Finishing Family. Jocelyn bedazzled us all when she started swimming. But novelty, alas, wears off. She is now old hat to us, but the good thing for most viewers of my vlog who don't know Jocelyn, she is not by any means old hat yet for you! Grade AAA novelty stimulus. (Regular viewers may recall Jocelyn starred in one of my Polar Bear swimming videos of yore, performing a very spirited girl-on-girl scissoring on the frozen beach. But you need not tell me! I am rambling again.)

    THIS JUST IN!!! Swim Photographer extraordinaire, John Kuzmkowski, has just sent me a freakishly rare photo of shy actor, Mark Cox, who has momentarily emerged from the shadows. This very handsome Captain of Industry lives in a household with one wife, three daughters, and an ever shifting array of the earth's loveliest au peres.

    He inhabits, in other words, an estrogenic fog chamber that has no doubt contributed to the softening and feminizing of his chiseled male features, producing that perfect icon of modern attractiveness for our era: the softer-sided caring man.

    Alas, craggy old get-off-my-lawn-and-give-me-money-now! buzzard types like me, once held in such reverential esteem by the distaff gender, have gone the way of the Cro Magnon Turok Son of Stone comic book characters upon whom we are based.

    Pity.

    Anyhow, here's Mark, whose blog Water Rat can be found here: http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?u=11850





    The self portrait atop this blog entry is like Old Man 2010. Who knows? Perhaps with luck and the rejuvenating powers of this practice I am about to invent, before our very eyes, I will begin 2011 like a Cute Little Baby in swaddling cloth, ready to attack the world with gusto again!

    So here is the basic idea.


    Start with the premise that the A swimmers can hold 1:20s per 100 for a relatively long period of time (we did 9 x 500 on 6:40 on Monday, for 4500 in one hour; I almost but not quite made it. It took me 61 minutes.)


    B, on the other hand, can hold 1:40.


    And C 2 or 2:10.


    So the practice is pretty much based on these intervals.


    Warm up

    A 10 x 100 on 1:30

    B 8 x 100 on 1:50
    C 7 x 100 on 2:10

    regroup


    the rest of the practice are harmonic variations on 5 x 200 for A; 4 x 200 for B; and 3 x 200 on C.


    A:

    repeat 5 times
    100 on 1:20
    2 x 50 on :40

    regroup


    repeat 5 times

    100 on 1:30

    2 x 50 on :35


    regroup


    repeat 5 times

    100 on 1:10

    2 x 50 on :45


    regroup


    repeat 5 times

    100 on 1:20

    2 x 50 on :40


    regroup


    10 x 50 on 1:00 Karmic Yoga Breath Control Cool Downs holding your breath on the 1st 25 while chanting the word "calm" and breathing ad libertam on the way back while chanting the world "peace"


    Total: 5,500 yards, or nearly exactly 5k for A


    B.

    repeat 4 times
    100 on 1:40
    2 x 50 on :50

    regroup


    repeat 4 times

    100 on 1:50
    2 x 50 on :45

    regroup


    repeat 4 times

    100 on 1:30
    2 x 50 on :55

    regroup


    repeat 4 times

    100 on 1:40
    2 x 50 on :50

    regroup


    10 x 50 on 1:00 (see above karmic cool down description)


    Total distance for B: 4,500 yards, or almost exactly 100 yards more than 4k


    C:

    repeat 3 times
    100 on 2:10
    2 x 50 on :1:05

    regroup


    repeat 3 times

    100 on 2:20
    2 x 50 on 1:00

    regroup


    repeat 3 times

    100 on 2:00
    2 x 50 on 1:10

    regroup


    repeat 3 times

    100 on 2:10
    2 x 50 on 1:05

    regroup


    8 x 50 on 1:15


    total for C: 3400 yards, or almost exactly 100 yards more than 3K

    Updated December 29th, 2010 at 09:52 AM by jim thornton

    Categories
    Uncategorized
  17. The Secret Lives of Twins

    by , December 30th, 2010 at 01:25 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Most of you, I suspect, are singletons.

    A lucky handful, perhaps, are fraternal twins.

    But only a pittance are God's Miracle of Nature: Monozygotic, AKA, identical twins.

    Singletons are fascinated by us miracles, I know.

    There is a constant prying into our clandestine lives for glimpses of what it must be like to be the Chosen.

    We usually brush off these attempts to pry.

    But in the spirit of generosity, the Thornton Twins, former impressarios of the Thornton Twins Podcast (which may or may not still be available for free iPod downloading at iTunes), recently Skyped one another and recorded the conversation via Camtasia technology (I hope I am spelling this correctly.)

    John, the older but much, much younger looking twin, asks Jim, the younger but beaten-down-into-a-craggy-monster-by-life twin, to explicate his rudimentary understanding of epigenetics.

    This new branch of Science, Jim is pretty sure, explains how it is that one twin can look like the dying elderly father of another twin.

    Please enjoy this New Year's Eve Eve contribution to your feeling better about yourselves by proxy film!

    A shiny quarter to anyone who can prove they watched the entire interminable thing!

    (Please send a self addressed stamped envelop to Jim Thornton, 814 Blackburn Road, Sewickley, PA 15143. I will review your proof and if you qualify send you your shiny quarter within 8-14 weeks. Shipping and handling costs may apply.)

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D87QAVDJNwg&feature=player_embedded"]YouTube - 2010-12-30_113020.mp4[/nomedia]
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  18. Neoprene Dreams

    by , January 11th, 2011 at 01:38 PM (Chicken's Nuggets)
    Thankyou to all who supported me for the Frogman swim. I ended up raising about $250 for the Naval Special Warfare Foundation. Better than expected!!

    The swim itself didn't go as expected, but then, what ever does?

    I tried on a loaner wetsuit from my friend Dani the night before the swim and was surprised by how easily it went on and how comfortable and stretchy the material was. The wetsuit I have at home is a few years old (I wore it somewhat successfully in IM Wisconsin 07), but is made of what feels like cast iron and is very thick. Although I'd previously decided to go naked, I was very easily persuaded to give the newer wetsuit a try the next morning.

    The water was 62 at the starting point, which felt like a warm bath compared to those horrible cold baths I'd been having for a few weeks. I believe the water was low 50's in the middle of the course and warmed up a little towards the finish. Cold. Definitely doable without neoprene, but chilly.

    It wasn't to be, though. I just couldn't breathe. Every time I turned onto my stomach to swim I felt like I was being garroted. Hyperventilating, I'd turn on my back and scull for a while then try again. Same thing. Over and over. Deep breathing, relaxing, laughing. Nothing worked! I ended up feeling a little lightheaded.

    I'm not superstitious, but the whole thing might have been because I wasn't wearing my CIBBOWS cap. We were given rather nice colour coded silicon caps to wear according to our wave. Some would say the RobAquatics suit I was wearing had a curse (blessing??) and can't abide being touched by neoprene. Of course it may just be that, as one should train in the cold to swim in the cold, one should also train in a wetsuit to swim in a wetsuit



    Anyway......eventually all the other swimmers were out of sight so I took off the wetsuit, handed it to my nice but bewildered young kayakers and had a nice swim back to the start. I think I swam a total of 500 yds in 50 minutes. I was relieved to find Ron Collins and his wife Rebecca at the start and hitched a ride with them to the finish point. I believe Ron took a wrong turn and was separated from his kayaker. This made me feel like slightly less of a loser. Hehe, actually it was worth mucking up the swim just to meet them.

    Aside from meeting the Collinses, something else of value was gained from this swim.

    While swimming back to the start, I designed a new line of wetsuits which I believe will eliminate the choking, claustrophobic attack I experienced. I'm currently in negotiations with Butterick Patterns to sell them my designs. I think my designs speak for themselves.

    The Cowl Neck, Bootleg



    The Plunging V-Neck



    The Pleasant Peasant



    The Dirndl



    And my personal favourite, the Bibless Brace



    To conclude: the Frogman swim was really a lot of fun. It was probably the best supported swim I've ever done. Great cause. Great organisation. I would love to do it again next year. It's really not mandatory to wear a wetsuit, as long as you let the organisers know beforehand (I had). A very fun day!

    Here's the website:

    http://www.tampabayfrogman.com/
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  19. There is superstition

    by , February 6th, 2011 at 06:00 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    My son talked me into growing a "Steeler beard" a couple weeks ago.

    It wasn't all that hard to talk me into this because I was lying around with a bubble of gas in my eyeball, awaiting a laser procedure to zap a detached retina back into place, and the opthamologist didn't want me to move around much anyhow.

    So I wasn't going to shave regardless.

    I shall document the retinal detachment reattachment procedure in a new vlog entry fairly soon.

    But I wanted to post this Steeler beard picture now, before the game starts in approximately 79 minutes, give or take, to see if the superstition has any effect on the game's outcome.

    I suspect it will have about as much of an effect on the game's outcome as the outside appearance of my two brown-eyed-handsome-man eyeballs will have on my next Challenge Question.

    To wit, which eye do you think suffered the detached retina--the left or the right?

    Look closely and see if you can determine the problem eye, which is (fingers crossed) no longer that much of a problem, because the procedure seems to have worked, and I am looking forward to trying flip turns again in practice very soon, possibly even tomorrow.

    A shiny quarter to anybody who can guess correctly which eye was affected, and then sends me an SASE with your entry.

    Here, by the way, is Brett Keisel's beard, which is the inspiration for my son's superstition about me growing a Steeler beard to help the team win.



    Brett, in my layman's opinion, seems to be suffering some form of detachment that doesn't have anything to do with retinas.

    The game is now set to start in 73 minutes, and be over 3-4 hours later, depending on how many commercial time outs are taken, the risk of some terrorist attack, and who knows what.

    My own prediction: the Steelers lose in a blow out.

    But perhaps my Steeler beard will ward off this fate.

    Time will tell.

    There is superstition.

    Is it, or is it not, the way?

    By the way, if you want to answer the Challenge Question, I am talking my actual left or right eye, not the eye on the left or right side of the photograph.

    For those who do not want to return to the top of this vlog entry to re-scrutinize my picture before hazarding a guess, I shall repost here:



    Hint: the affected eye still has a surfeit of floaters and what might best be described as heat lightning in the distant periphery. Perhaps you can detect a certain distraction quality from this eyeball, as if it is preoccupied with deciding what is and isn't real.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  20. Fort Stretching Tips

    by , February 28th, 2011 at 02:53 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    FORT STRETCHES:

    As I get older, stretching and staying flexible have seemed to increase in importance. Stretching can speed recovery, help remove lactic acid build up and help the muscles generate force. I believe stretching also helps keep me more injury free and prevents tightness from negatively impacting performance. When I stretch on my own, I combine yoga poses and stretches that focus principally on stretching the back, chest, hips and legs. I rarely stretch the shoulders, so as to prevent further loosening of my loosey goosey shoulder tendons. I do these after exercising and hold the stretches for 30 seconds. I'm also a fan of the P90X stretching DVD. Here are my top 20 stretches:

    Half Moon Pose:

    http://www.thesecretsofyoga.com/Bikr...half-moon.html

    Standing Separate Leg Pose:

    http://www.thesecretsofyoga.com/Bikr...half-moon.html

    Standing Head to Knee Forward Bend:

    Stand and bend over grabbing heels underneath. Then touch forehead to shins keeping legs straight and knees locked.

    Standing Bow:

    http://www.bikramyogabozeman.org/Ima...Bow%20Pose.htm

    Wind Removing Pose:

    http://www.bikramyogabozeman.org/Ima...20removing.htm

    Camel:

    http://www.santosha.com/ushtra.html

    Fixed Firm Pose:

    http://ombyoga.com/2010/03/26/postur...xed-firm-pose/

    Spine Twisting:

    Sit on the ground with your legs crossed. Lift your right leg and cross it over the left, which should remain bent. Hug the right leg to your chest and twist the trunk of your body to look over your right shoulder. Change legs and repeat (i.e. looking over your left shoulder).

    http://www.bikramyogales.com/bikram-...pine-twisting/

    Cat Stretch:

    Begin on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders and knees directly under your hips.
    Inhale as you drop tummy towards the floor and look up over your head. Exhale as you bring your tummy back up, rounding your back as you tuck your chin in and tuck your tailbone in.

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-67HQ5xetzk"]Cat Stretch - YouTube[/nomedia]


    Scapular Stretch:

    Sit on floor with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place arms under knees grabbing the opposite elbow. Pull back with your back. This is a good stretch for the mid back.

    Knee Drops or Hip/trunk Twists:

    Bring the knees up and bend them to 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor and arms out to the sides. Contract the abs and rotate the torso to lower the legs to the right, bringing them down to the floor. Bring the knees back to center and lower to the left side.

    Spinal Twist:

    While lying face up on the mat, grab the right leg (straight) with the left hand. Slowly twist the leg to the left straight to the floor while keeping both shoulders on the ground. Great stretch for the glutes and back.

    Hamstring Stretch:

    Lie on your back and place a piece of exercise tubing (or just use your hands) around the bottom of one of your feet. Pull the tubing and raise your leg at the same time until a comfortable stretch is felt. You can also pull the leg to the floor (left leg to the left side and right leg to the right side) to open up the hips.

    Piriformis Stretch:

    Lying on your back, cross your legs just as you might while sitting in a chair. Grasping the "under" leg with both hands, pull the knee toward your chest until you feel the stretch in your buttocks and hips.

    External Hip Rotation Stretch:

    Sit down with knees bent. Rest one ankle on the opposite thigh. Lean forward pushing with hands.

    Adductor Stretch:

    Sit up on the floor with legs spread. Reach forward with hands, trying to put chest on the floor. You can also bend to the right and to the left in this position to stretch the oblique muscles.

    Kenpo Quad Stretch:

    Lay on your stomach. Grab your left heel with your left hand and stretch. Do the other side. You can also do this laying on your side. To make it harder and also stretch the glutes a la P90X, tuck one knee under and then reach back for the heel. Try to place your hands on the floor in front of you.

    Gastroc (back of the calf) Stretch:

    Lean against a wall or other stationary object, both palms against the object. The leg you want to stretch is back, several feet from the wall, your heel firmly positioned on the floor. Your other leg is flexed about halfway between your back leg and the wall. Start with your back straight and gradually lunge forward until you feel the stretch in your calf. Keep your back foot straight and angled 90 degrees from the wall.

    Groin Stretch:

    Seated, put the soles of your feet together. With your elbows on the inside of your knees, gradually lean forward with a straight back and gently press your knees toward the ground.

    Forearm Stretch:

    Get on all fours. Place hands on floor with fingers pointing back to your knees. Gently pull back, stretching forearms.


    Links/Pictures:

    http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cy...lstretches.php

    http://www.dcdoctor.com/pages/rightp...cise_back.html

    http://www.google.com/images?q=stret...w=1642&bih=894

    Updated January 7th, 2012 at 12:29 PM by The Fortress

    Categories
    Uncategorized
Page 11 of 23 FirstFirst ... 78910111213141521 ... LastLast