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  1. "I am not a creeper!" declares Vloggist

    by , February 4th, 2009 at 05:59 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    A mini self-vlogging here before the more severe self-vloggulation of swimming practice begins in 1 hour and 10 minutes.

    It has occurred to me, after receiving several comments, possibly from women with kidney stones and delicate Scylla and Charybdis-like nether passages to same, that a section of yesterday's vlog may have seemed to some of you (i.e., those who avoid reading about the latest scientific findings) to have been the arbitrary and sickly imaginative fantasies of a creeper.

    I refer specifically to my offer to remove Jessica Alba's kidney through her birth canal.



    One woman emailed me the following (in response to my circulation of the vlog url http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=1313 to select teammates in the hopes that they would A) open the vlog, B) click the "rate this vlog" button, C) select "Excellent!" ******, and finally D) either read it or not; once the Excellent tab has been checked, their further behavior is not my concern.

    Anyhow, here, in its snippity snappity entirety, is what this snippy-snappy snapper wrote me, ostensibly in reference to Jessica, vaginas, and kidney extractions:

    Jim, I don't rally need to get your email reply to all the Masters. I don't particularly get your humor. I would appreciate if you make a note to remove me from your group list, unless it is something you need to send to me specifically.

    Thanks,

    --Humorless Cur*

    *name changed slightly

    Not long after this, another young woman, whose opinion I care deeply about, and whose kidney I have long sort of wanted to extract with my trochar (see picture), told me she found the whole business tasteless, sick, and marveled at how I could have any friends at all.


    Trochar being used on a rodent

    Anyhow, we went back and forth on the topic of me, my lack of friends, the reason girls don't like me, why she thinks I am disgusting, that sort of thing, in other words, putting myself willingly through the Dr. Kurt Dixon "time is a violent stream and the world is a meat grinder" exact summation of La Condition Humane.

    Then all of a sudden it occurred to me why this other woman (not Humorless Cur, the other one) was so mad about the whole business:

    She thought I had made up the whole concept of kidney through vagina extractions!

    As soon as I realized this, I felt so much better!

    No, one thousand million times NO!

    Jimby did not make up anything, ever, in the history of my life, having to do with vaginas and medical intervention! No, no! This is not my world! I have no desire to intrude here in any but the most wholesome of natural ways! And even this, due to no fault of my own, has proven by and large impossible!

    Science made this up. Science and scientists and real men of Medicine and Hippocratic First Do No Harm Oaths!

    I honestly and truly thought that this new procedure, publicized widely via the Associated Press yesterday, was something that everyone already knew about!

    'Natural orifice' surgery is the final frontier


    Ewen Callaway, reporter
    We've all heard about the urban legend where a person wakes up in a hotel bathtub with a scar across the abdomen, one kidney lighter.
    However, a new surgical procedure could make donating a kidney nearly scar-free - at least for women. For the first time, doctors extracted a kidney out of a patient's vagina for the purpose of organ donation.


    You can read the whole thing here: http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/sh...ry-is-the.html


    So there. I think we all feel much better now knowing that beyond all possible question, your vlogger is 100 percent not a creeper.

    Never was, is not now, not ever gonna be!

    ___________________________________________
    Technical notes for those interested in the nuts and bolts of vlogging:

    1. Attentive readers will note that Jimby has pioneered the self-referential "meta-vlog" in today's offering. Within the present vlog, he has provided a link to yesterday's vlog. He is considering going back to yesterday and inserting a self-referential link to today's, or yesterday's future, vlog. But he fears that he might somehow get stuck in a circular loop and spend the rest of eternity in something very close to perdition.

    2. Another quality evident in today's effort is the use of random boldings of words and thoughts and so forth. Readers of comic books will see that Jimby has simply taken an old technique from Spiderman inkers and applied it to his own work a la Mary Jane below:

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  2. Mea Culpa

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

    The film is made!

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

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

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

    Sorry.

    I don't expect you to read this.

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

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

    But we are living in strange times indeed.

    Nothing would surprise me at this point.

    Nothing.

    Well, next to nothing.

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

    Strange as our times have become, that would, I admit, surprise me.
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  3. A turn for the worse

    by , October 20th, 2009 at 07:12 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Maybe the watched buboe never heals.

    After 2.5 hours of tennis, during which I played like a leper, and the only thing that kept me awake was the leeching of sweat into my lesion, and the occasional jokes of my adversaries ("If you had gotten that in France, it would be a French foreign lesion"), I got back, removed the bandage, took a shower, and photographed what I must acknowledge--at the risk of biasing the viewer--represents a setback.

    Does it look to you, as it does to me, that this is just the first step in a process by which my skin will begin to tear off my body in sheets?

    Perhaps I should document the lesion's progress, or lack thereof, or backsliding, as such is the case, on a somewhat less frequent basis.

    Here is the run down, from Sunday, to Monday, to today's post-tennis state:



    Sunday and still arguably the worst




    Monday--apparent improvement (though it probably has more to do with lighting than actual improvement)




    Today, post tennis--a likely step backwards.

    If any of you know a doctor willing to diagnose me by pictures alone, and who will then send me the magic healing elixir I so desperately crave, please refer my case as soon as you have finished your dinner of boeuf au jeu and red wine or whatever else goes well with this kind of vlog.
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  4. Buboes in Perspective

    by , October 29th, 2009 at 04:32 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
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  5. Requiem for a Spider

    by , November 5th, 2009 at 04:49 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Preliminary biopsy-of-lesion results in, and it looks like I tentatively can cross at least a couple dire items off the list.

    The beautiful blonde dermatologist called today to explain the findings.

    There was, for instance, evidence of bacteria on the surface of the lesion, though this is hardly unexpected since wounds tend to attract bacteria. We jointly decided these bacteria were most likely of the ex-post-facto opportunistic variety, as opposed to the causative sort--almost like scavenging low-level criminals that stumble upon a murder victim and rob his corpse blind but do not bear responsibility for the homocide itself.

    The pathologist did want to run some additional stains for tuberculosis (which I did not think caused skin lesions, but that is why I remain a fake doctor) and syphilis (which an earlier test, the VDRL, or venereal disease research lab test, had already provided a clean bill of health--"not bloody likely they will find syphilis in a fine young man like you," said the beautiful blonde dermatologist, maybe in slightly different ways. "Why, then," I replied, "would they test for syphilis is so fine a young man like me who has already passed, with flying colors, both his VDRL and holy water drip tests [wherein a drop of holy water is placed upon the manhood, causing a horrible burning sensation in sinners]?" She replied, "They found evidence that your plasma cells were clustered, and whenever they see this, they just run a syphilis test. But you don't have to worry.")

    Other tests also seemed to indicate that my underlying skin cells were of normal configuration, no suggestion of malignancy, in other words.

    At this point, the BBD said that something to do with my relatively normal level of eosinophils also indicated that the culprit was probably not fungi of one sort or another.

    There was some other reason why poison plants--oak, sumac, ivy, and maybe the deadly pyretheum daisy--were also ruled out, maybe eosophinils or clustered plasma cells, to be honest, I was starting to get confused.

    At which point, the BBD said, "More and more, it's looking like a bite is the most likely thing."

    What form of bite is hard to say, though spiders appear near the top of the list. Alas, there is no way to test for spider venom at this point. If it was a bite, then my body seems to have reacted pretty violently to it.

    I told her that when I was in the Amazon jungle, I got a bite from something on my ankle bone. It never hurt or itched but took months to heal. I went into the jungle just as the Bush-Gore recount was beginning, and came out ten days later with the recount not yet decided.

    I still have a mark from that bite: my jungle tattoo.

    Perhaps the groin lesion, which is healing over but still itches and causes weird sensitivity to broad swaths of the surround thigh and buttocks skin, will one day be a fondly remembered River of No Return tattoo.

    I have been vlogging about my lesion for so long now that it will be hard to give the topic up. But it is time to move on.

    So please permit one last glorious celebration of this chapter in the life of Jim.

    Unless something drastic occurs, I will do my best to speak of this never more. If you need ongoing help with your diet, or implosion therapy for arachnophobia, this little slide show will always be there for you even as I move on to life's next round of fresh disasters.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_05u2GIWmM"]YouTube- Requiem for a spider bite[/ame]
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  6. Elbow and swimming

    by , December 20th, 2009 at 09:11 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Can an inflamed elbow make swimming anything other than just unpleasant? Can it make it, for instance, slower and/or less indefatigable? Can it distract from ones mental processing in such a way as to induce tactical mistakes, or induce such a fear of inadvertent dinging on the taut lines that you give the line you fear unreasonable berth, which might only throw you into ensnarement with its parallel mate?

    What can be done with a smallish sharp one in the bottom crook, a pointy little arrowhead of bone, upon which surface area the thought that anything ligamentous might possibly adhere seems laughable, and yet something is adhering, and being subjected to forces that strip the filaments into a horsetail of red pain. Is there anything to be done here. anything at all?

    This is what it looks like.

    So little in life these days gives me any joy whatsoever. But to draw an anatomical depiction of my elbow, in a style that might be mistaken for Rafael's, were it conceivable that Rafael might have had access to Magic Markers, well, just, a mountain of suppositions and ifs and perhaps this or thats: but a break has been earned, don't you think? A small one?

    So, ecce elbow. It's been several months since the damage was done by my racquet during outdoors tennis season. But it lingers and loiters and lallygags and dawdles, impervious to ice; unblunted by naproxen; cajoled at best into some whispered temporary quiet by hypnotics and speedballs of my own concocting.

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  7. Hit Parade

    by , January 11th, 2010 at 10:49 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Perhaps this is vanity, but I have occasionally been known to check the viewership of my various vlogs, in part to try to figure out what my readers most seem to want to read about.

    Then I can give them more of that, currying favor and otherwise sucking up, until I have achieved my lifelong goal of getting a friend somewhere before I die.

    Just joking. My identical twin brother John is definitely a friend, and he maintains he is not pretending to like me.

    I am off track.

    So anyhow, every once in a long while, I will post a vlog that takes on a life of its own. For example, last February 23rd, 2009, I posted a vlog entitled Who's Your Trinidaddian? about the 1650 meet at Carnegie Mellon University. It featured my friend and Pitt teammate, Meera Ramsooksingh, whose parents came to the US from Trinidad.

    For reasons that I still don't understand, this vlog has received more hits than any other I have written to date. The margin above and beyond all the others has, until recently, not only been inexplicable but ludicrous. I asked Meera if she had forwarded the link to her mother, who then might have forwarded it onwards to the entire Trinidaddian expatriate diaspora, but Meera claims this did not happen.

    She says, if anything, she has done her best to hide the existence of Who's Your Trinidaddian? from everyone she knows.

    I should add that there is a picture of Meera holding a sign that reads, "Will Swim for Polish Vodka."

    In any event, that vlog has received, as of the latest inventory, some 4807 views. Interested parties can read, or re-read, it here: http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=1689

    Until very recently, my second place vlog entry has been around 1600 hits, again, astounding, and I do not in any way believe this many people have actually read it. Still, I can't understand why web crawling internet search engine spiders would have focused on this one, either.

    However, there is a new vlog entry that is rising even more quickly and inexplicably than my salute to Triniddadians and their love for swimming and Polish vodka.

    Since Dec. 22nd's posting of Lost Person Behaviour--only 2 1/2 weeks ago!--this vlog on my tendency to late-night Ambienated scrofulousness has already garnered 3120 separate views. Last night, the figure was 2200, give or take--there threatens to be 1,000 views in a single day!

    What gives?

    I asked this same question on Facebook, along with a related query--i.e., how to encourage my fans to tithe.

    Dave "Chaos" Barra suggested there might be a virus.

    Amanda "Chicken of the Sea" Hunt thought that I was clicking on it myself in Ambienated amnesia.

    Eney Jones said that she reads it when she can't sleep, implying there might be a legion of insomniacs out there who turn to the words of Jim to lull them into stupor.

    Only my friend Bill (yes, Bill-- along with my twin brother John -- are friends, despite the earlier appeals/ploys for sympathy) came up with what might be the real answer: that the combination of Ambien, Zombies, and Tiger Woods, all of which are mentioned in Lost Person Behaviour, may have conspired to put my vlog y into some prominent position in the Google queue.

    Thus tonight's vlogging experiment.

    Here are some things that I have found myself thinking about today, in enumerated order:

    1. mark mcgwire 2. oinkernet 3. ruthie from 7th heaven 4. jejune 5. 8 parts of speech 6. nothing suits me like a suit 7. miep gies 8. brown coakley debate 9. teresa sullivan 10. under the milky way tonight 11. honey west 12. sam s club closing 13. monica malpass 14. the bachelor rozlyn 15. sarah palin fox news 16. jejune definition 17. katie mclaughlin 18. alcoa earnings 19. david gergen 20. ethan embry
    Let us see how many hits today's vlog,Hit Parade, generates, shall we?

    Jejune this experiment may indeed be; but I very much doubt you will find this kind of content on oinkernet, even if Sarah Palin does end up taking a job there when the Fox News thing fails to pan out and she joins Mark McGwire and, possibly, Teresa Sullivan, Monica Malpass, and the bachelor Rozlyn in the ranks of forgotten disgraces.

    If you don't believe me, ask David Gergen, Ethan Embry, or Ruthie from Seventh Heaven.

    Oh, I did a 53.35 in the 100 SCY free yesterday, in a Y pool where the shallow end was so shallow that Bill reported hitting his legs on 4 (count them, 4!) SDKs on every shallow-end pushoff in the 200 backstroke. More on swimming tomorrow, that is, if today's vlog does not lead to such an overflow of traffic that the USMS servers must temporarily shut down!

    Just in case none of the above triggers the right combination of search term Open Sesame attention, I should add one final item to my recent life. After noting on Facebook that my good friend Amanda Beard had befriended "Heather Hotness" and 29 others, I immediately sent a friend request to Heather Hotness myself.

    Heather accepted! I am friends with Hotness! And I think after she see this vlog get over 1 billion individual views, she will even answer my chat overtures. (I asked her "Are you real?" and she immediately logged off.)
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  8. Did He Who Made the Lamb Make Thee?

    by , January 13th, 2010 at 09:52 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I would like to extend a hearty welcome to my new and potentially vast vlog viewing readership.

    A quick survey of my some of my earlier posts might give you the wrong idea about my Nature.

    This is a "Kodacolor Print made by the Eastman Kodak Company TM Regis U.S. Pat. Off" of me (or possibly my identical twin brother John, neither of us is completely sure) from "the week ending July 28, 1956."

    I (or possibly John) am not quite yet 4 years old.

    I don't think I know how to swim yet.

    Our mother is of the overprotective school of mothering, as evidenced by the double layer of sink-proof garmentry she has outfitted me (or John) with.

    Thank god I never got upended in the Semple's swimming pool, because I don't think I could have righted myself again with this collection of anti-drowning apparatus on.

    Note my shoes. Note, in the very distant background, the presence of a golfer. I am pretty sure the background is the 6th hole of the Allegheny Country Club.

    Not only was my mother overprotective, but she managed to instill in me a fashion sense and love-hate relationship with the ungraspable Good Life that lasts to this very day.

    In any event--and I apologize for going on so long here--no matter what heinousness I may be capable of today, and sadly it appears I am capable of a lot, know that somewhere in the exhausted elastic of my crepe-like skin there still resides this little lad, this little well-protected drowning-proofed bundle of innocence, this cute little dodgie of the Post War and Pre War eras: a smidgen of him still lives!

    Now that I think about it, this probably is John.

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  9. Part 3. Note--please read Parts 1 and 2 and 3 in order

    by , January 4th, 2009 at 09:04 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    (Note: If you are reading this without first going back in time and reading Part 1 and Part 2, I warn you that today's tripartite swimming video-less vlog dependent on emoticons will make even less sense than it should. --Jimby)



    Alas, the whole thing has left me with an exertional headache and some residual fatigue that keeps me from for joy, or, for that matter, even myself, and certainly not telling myself I am not , though the truth is, I probably could tell myself this, and not even the 's would find fault with my reasoning!

    Anyhow, I had hoped to cap off the night with some butterfly kicking drills, but it looks like that's not in the cards. And so I will probably just head off to before a quick visit to parts of the Internet to help me visualize said kicking drills.

    Your video-less vlogger, signing off. Check back here soon for more .
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  10. Of sandpipers, sore throats,and stroke analysis

    by , January 11th, 2009 at 08:47 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    1. Sore throats.

    Throat sore today, so sore, in fact, that it was a chore swallowing the 8,000-10.000 Kcals that still managed to somehow wend their way through the inflamed Scylla and Charybdis of my gullet and enter my stomach.

    Next Sunday, I am signed up for the 1-hour postal swim in the morning, followed by a Y meet in the afternoon. I am hoping that my sore throat is better by then. I will probably attempt to go to my swimming practice tomorrow, but will almost certainly need to swim in lane B or lane C, and keep some Ricolaaaaaaa! lozenges at the end of the pool within easy reach.

    2. Stroke analysis
    I am in negotiations with Jim M., our extremely knowledgeable webmaster nonpareil, for creating a new "group vlog" where interested swimmers can post video of their strokes to be analyzed by any volunteers (Chris, Ande, Patrick, Fortressa, etc.?) who might offer tips. I could do this here in my own vlog, but I think a dedicated one-stop-group-vlog site, dedicated only to swimming stroke analysis, could be very useful. I will keep you posted on the progress here.

    Note: by "in negotiations" with Jim M., I mean simply that I have sent him a private message asking for advice in how to actually do a group vlog. I am waiting for him to answer, which I am sure he will do soon, given his work ethic and general levels of indefatigability.

    3. Sandpipers
    My brother has done another wonderful short video on a type of shore bird native to Cape May County, New Jersey, where he lives. It has a wee tiny bit of human swimming, but a lot of lovely ocean videography of waters where my new Open Water swim will be held every year from now on, a few days before or after our birthday on Sept. 24th. This is a great time of year for open water swimming in New Jersey. The crowds are largely absent, and the water is as warm as it gets all year.

    Please enjoy the sandpipers!

    And stay tuned for the group Stroke Analysis Video Group Blog

    BORKED
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  11. To swim sick or not to swim sick, that is the question

    by , January 12th, 2009 at 02:30 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    In the past, I have occasionally asked for stroke analysis.

    In this video, I ask for throat analysis.

    Thanks for viewing. And please forgive today's uncharacteristic brevity. For fans of prolixity, if this is a word, I hope to be back to full throat soon.

    BORKED
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  12. Rattus norvegicus

    by , April 17th, 2009 at 05:59 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    The above little fellow is kind of cute, I suppose, what pet shop dealers call "a fancy rat."

    True, the rat that has infested my house goes by the same Linnaean name: Rattus norvegicus. But he probably should not be confused with his big-eared, big-eyed, domesticated cousin. My unwanted Rattus norvegicus is most likely feral, a greedy little creature upon whose oily coat hop about the sort of fleas whose own passengers once killed half of Europe.

    If you would have told me three days ago that I would have a rat infestatin, I would have not believed you. My house is reasonably sanitary; our neighborhood is good; the neighbors not the sort to provoke suspicions that they have laid out an enticing chain of breadcrumbs from the sewer to my door.

    Now, I suspect them all.

    I heard the skittering above the ceiling, back and forth, punctuated with gnawing sounds. I tried to tell myself it was nothing--a piece of loosened insulation blowing around in the night breeze.

    Then the stench of rat urine became way too much to ignore. Sawdust and plaster falls like snow. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, tell-tale pellets are everywhere, and every unguarded crust bears teeth marks.

    I cannot catch him in the act. He is a conservative little fiend, very secretive, hiding and lurking as I tug my hair out and wonder about the future of my house and health. I think his numbers are proliferating. Rats breed like fire; their appetite for destruction is exhilarating.

    I have taken all the usual steps: mowed the unkempt clumps of heather surrounding my estate; searched on Craig's list for rat tarriers to let; considered even the possibility of an allergic life of running eyes and nose in exchange for one devoid of rats. How quickly would Geoffrey dispatch these devils!

    For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.

    For he killed the Ichneumon-rat very pernicious by land.

    I know, of course, that once entrenched, it is very difficult to unhouse a rat; it is, in fact, hard to even espy him.

    But it is true, as well, that the lurking rat prefers his anonymity. Much better for him the life before his presence is known--suspected, perhaps, maybe even dreaded, but not entirely 100 percent surely confirmed.

    That there is a rat wandering about in my community is no longer the stuff of paranoia and suspicion. I have heard him skittering, smelled his piss, seen his toothmarks, understand sans doute his capacity for destruction.

    It has even become clear to me now that sometimes the fancy rat uses his fanciness as a disguise for his feral nature.

    Happy the rat that conducts his business in secrecy! Less content willl he be now that his presence is understood.

    Back to your sewer, I warn you, for I am dedicated to your extermination.

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  13. Chapter 3: Preliminary Visuals

    by , April 29th, 2009 at 10:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    "Is one of the symptoms of swine flu a rash on the cylindrical base of the, well, I don't want to get this vlog thrown off, but is it?" thought James Thornton, several days after the Zones meet was over, and he was starting to wonder if his lack of an active immune system might actually save him from the latest colonization.

    He coughed, felt his lungs ache, shook his head, felt ashamed he'd missed practice, wondered how technology could possibly hope to keep pace with his sicknesses and workout slothfulness.

    He tried to swallow. It hurt too much. He brought the coagulated substance back up, then tried to avoid thinking about the cylinder and its inflamed base....

    Having now provided my vlogging viewers with an overwhelming reason to change the mental visuals now dancing in their heads, I shall post some much more wholesome imagery.

    First, a still photograph of a swimmer who truly deserves all the credit for my swims, this swimmer being one Mr. William Sumerfield, Esquire. Yesterday's picture of BillS, which used Jimmy Stewart as a stand-in, was a mistake.

    I should have used William Holden instead:



    Note: I have cropped the picture to spare Bill the embarrassment of showing what his friend's hand was doing at precisely this moment.

    Next, I will present four short films taken from the Colonies Zones meet. None of these show actual swimming, so please do not be disappointed. I understand your feelings. During my Golden Boy youth, I was once jogging when several highly attractive tartlets beckoned to me to stop and chat them up.

    "I'm sorry, girls!" I said. "I'd love to stop but I can't--I am just too magnificent in motion!"

    I add this not our of conceit nor any other self-aggradizing motive. I am not immune to the aesthetic artfulness of my bodily movements; I feel your desire to see this, for I desire to see it myself, perhaps almost as intensely as you do.

    Take heart: There will be, in a few days or so, almost 5 minutes and just under 25 full seconds of me swimming the 500 to be posted soon!

    But for now, the preliminary footage.

    The first two are both from Friday, April 24th, after I have warmed up for the first time in the B70. I didn't have any competitive events this day, just let myself get used to the suit a bit.

    The second two are from the morning of Saturday, April 25th, as Leslie "the Fortess" Livingston, blissfully unaware that she was driving me (illegally, as you shall see) to her own first national record, well, it is just a delicious irony to see Leslie in the very final charmed moments of her life before she transmogrified from amateur celebrity to professional celebrity, with all the attendant paparazzi style pains the latter are known to foist upon the truly great.

    Thank god I am headed for no such fate myself!

    Film 1: The Grand Sweep of the GMU Natatorium

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGPLw8_-JoY"]YouTube - Friday: A 2008 Zonesman Previews the 2009[/ame]

    Film 2: Interview with David Bright on the B70's legality and predictions for my events

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWhTkgm3xVU"]YouTube - David Bright: On a Swimming Costume's Leg[/ame]

    Film 3: Driving to GMU with the Great One and learning how to mix and max pills and inhalants.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpUnrfwmrN4"]YouTube - Saturday Morning: Driving with Miss Fortr[/ame]

    Film 4: Convincing the Great One to Break the Law

    (Note: I may need to repost this one of Leslie breaking the traffic regulations under my relentless urging. It appears there has been an error, but try playing it anyhow.)

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8x328Ea56E"]YouTube - Saturday: First Illegality as the Drive C[/ame]

    More soon, but for now, I must take my swine-fluish hulk to the sick bed and/or sick sty.
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  14. Obsession Escalates: Third Vlog Today

    by , October 20th, 2009 at 10:30 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)


    The doctor is in!


    I was just able to cajole the lovely death doctor, Heather Rietz, MD, a great swimmer and Facebook friend, who knows more about "icing on the cake" in corpses than all of us put together, to agree to a Q & A about my groin infection.

    This is what Dr. Reitz had to say:

    James

    heather, can you do me a huge favor?
    10:04pmHeather

    Depends (LOL).
    No I will not lick your wound.
    10:05pmJames

    can you go to my vlog and look at my lesion and offer me the benefit of your pathologist's thoughts?
    did you see today's pix?
    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=5972
    10:05pmHeather

    It looks pretty nasty but it maybe looks better.
    10:05pmJames

    it is the weirdest thing
    10:06pmHeather

    Did you acquire this in the wilderness?
    10:06pmJames

    does it look like MRSA or Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis
    i am not sure where i got it.
    it showed up a week or so after the wilderness
    a very small little crack in the skin tha itched
    10:07pmHeather

    Could be. I guess. Hard to tell now that it has been treated. Did your doctor culture it?
    10:08pmJames

    not yet, he took blood tests to see if it was rocky mountain spotted fever
    i am so so so sick of it
    can't swim
    10:08pmHeather

    Hmmm...are you systemically ill in any way?
    10:09pmJames

    when i first got back from idaho, i had a really bad cold that went away faster than any cold i had ever had (3-4 days). then i noticed this tiny little itchy area, tried to treat it with antifungals and cortisone cream, and it got much worse
    and has since lingered despite antibiotics and antibiotic cream
    10:10pmHeather

    It looks more bacterial to me. May just take more time.
    Isn't one of your 500 some friends a dermatologist?
    10:10pmJames

    i wish!
    i am an impatient sick person
    prone to catastrophizing
    10:11pmHeather

    I would be much better at helping you if you sliced off a piece, put it in formalin so I could make a slide!
    10:11pmJames

    can i buy that stuff at radio shack?
    10:12pmHeather

    I am impatient too. I would hate anything that kept me out of the pool. LOL!
    10:12pmJames

    oh, oh! it has been steadily "weeping" very slight amounts of pinkish fluid
    10:12pmHeather

    I think that you need to go to AZ and go to Kurt Dickson's ER!
    Does sound kind of blisterish!
    10:13pmJames

    the only strange symptom besides this is that the surround skin, as far back as the the first half of the left butt cheek, feels kind of almsot sunburned and sensitive
    sorry for the lack of humor here!
    major psychopathology taking hold
    10:13pmHeather

    Be more likely to find formalin at a place like McDonald's!
    10:14pmJames

    Okay., could I have a Big Mac and a Petri dish? And yes, I do want fries with that
    10:14pmHeather

    That's very odd. Not good to be a medical mystery!
    10:14pmJames

    the perfect storm for us nondelusional hypochondriacs
    10:14pmHeather

    I think that you would be much more ill if it was MRSA!
    10:15pmJames

    yes, probably. i wonder if it could be a spider bite?
    i'd hoped that land exercise wouldn't be bad for it, but the sweat didn't seem to help
    it's almost like a burn
    10:15pmHeather

    Could be. Brown recluse spider bites can be nasty like that.
    10:15pmJames

    i don't think they have them in Idaho
    10:15pmHeather

    Yes I would say that it has to be kept as dry as possible.
    I suppose other types of spiders could cause a similar reaction.
    I would say if it's not significantly better by Thursday GO BACK!
    10:17pmJames

    well, thanks for listening. I might try to postpone my daily pictures unless there is something noticeably changed
    10:17pmHeather

    Might need stronger drugs!
    10:17pmJames

    Okay. I doubt it will have changed much by then.
    Would cortisone be a mistake on top on the antibiotic ointment? I suppose you want inflammationfor healing
    right now, it just kind of burns
    10:18pmHeather

    I would just put the antibiotic ointment on it. Burning could mean it's healing!
    10:18pmJames

    thanks, heather. you can have my body to look at when i expire
    10:19pmHeather

    FANTASTIC! Hopefully I'll be retired by then.
    10:19pmJames

    i will be your advisor for affaires de la coeur. You can be mine for infections of the groin.
    pretty much the same thing, when it comes down to it
    10:19pmHeather

    Ha! Ha! Have a good night. Hope that you get back to the pool soon!
    10:20pmJames

    thanks. one last thing. have you ever heard of someone having a permanent groin infection that never goes away and just makes the person miserable for the rest of his hopeless life? and if so, is this common?
    10:21pmHeather

    I don't think so. It should heal. You should know that you're not supposed to keep "touching" yourself down there. It will make your tallywacker fall off and you will go blind!
    10:22pmJames

    Great advice. I only wish I had learned it 57 years earlier. I am going to copy and post this conversation on my vlog for the benefit of my fellow members in the Mysterious Groin Affliction Sufferers
    Support Group!
    TTYL
    10:22pmHeather

    Cool!
    10:23pmJames

    Ciao!



    The doctor is out.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  15. Savant Idiot

    by , October 22nd, 2009 at 10:38 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    I played tennis again tonight, possibly a mistake, but it was in the 70s, and a balmy southern breeze under conditions of squinting could just possibly be mistaken for a summer wind, so I played.

    Terribly. Mistake after error-riddled mishitting -- that word doesn't look right, perhaps it needs a hyphen: mis-hitting.

    At one point I wondered if it is possible that I might just be one of those very rare individuals known as a savant idiot.

    The more common idiot savant is, of course, a person tremendously gifted in one very specific skill: some weird math ability, for instance, or musical genius, or the ability to sculpt exact replicas of X or Y--but other than this one specific spot of genius, is sort of thick in all other avenues in life.

    Could I be, I wondered, after flubbing yet another easy backhand into the net, or "lobbing" a wounded duck of a Penn 3 into the oversized sweet spot of my adversary's smashing Babelot--could I, might I, is it possible, even remotely, that the one known as Jimby might be a savant idiot:

    A genius in every aspect of life except one, that being tennis, and in this area, I am profoundly retarded?

    I was musing on my possible savant idiocy diagnosis when other areas of profound retardation began emerging: for example, not knowing how to stop talking about my lesion in polite company. This is probably a case of social retardation, but nuances aside, it did make me realize that tennis is not my only area of disabling dunderheadedness.

    In fact, there appear to be many, not the least of which is the ability to remember the others.

    So, I probably am not a Savant Idiot after all, at least in the true sense.

    ______________________

    Our local paper wrote me up in an article today, which I found out by accident. The writer had emailed me some questions, which I filled out, and I thought she said she would call for a followup interview, but she didn't. Then when I was picking up a submarine sandwich for dinner tonight, the submarine sandwich vendor said, "You are Thornton, aren't you? I was reading about you in the Sewickley Herald."

    You too can read about me in the Sewickley Herald. Interestingly, this is only Part 1. I may have mentioned during the email "interview" that I had developed a lesion following my return from Idaho.

    I wonder if Part 2., which is scheduled to run next week, will focus on this aspect of my life.

    Here is the link: http://www.yoursewickley.com/sewickl...-wild-part-one

    Interestingly, three weeks earlier, the Sewickley Herald ran a different story on the Bed & Breakfast my wife and I (well, almost entirely my wife) restored. If you are ever likely to be in these here parts and want a nice place to stay that doesn't smell like a chain motel, you might want to check this out, too:

    http://www.yoursewickley.com/sewickl...oric-buildings

    ________________________________

    One thing you don't need to worry about is contracting my lesion.

    It really does not seem to be getting better, nor worse.

    I made an appointment for tomorrow. It may be time to remove my groin. Drastic, maybe even draconian. But sometimes you have to kill the patient to save him.

    Little Jimby, it was nice being your traveling companion thru life, but it's time we parted ways.

    The entire retrospective horrorshow for your continuing dietary efficacy:


    Sunday



    Monday



    Tuesday



    Wednesday



    Thursday
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  16. S.L.?

    by , October 27th, 2009 at 08:37 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    The beautiful blonde dermatologist replied, when I began to tell her the history of my lesion and the possible (but ever more remote) chance that it came from the Wilderness, "Oh, I read about you in the paper."

    Then she took her swab and rubbed the lesion so pitilessly I thought for sure I would swoon.

    She took a hypodermic needle and injected me with some sort of anesthetic, which apparently works first as a pain magnifier.

    I can't remember for certain, but I thought I heard her say, "Little prick, just for a moment."

    When I came to, she had removed from her bag of Jeremy Irons-inspired surgical devices an implement she described as a cookie punch.

    A minute later, a bit of Jimby dough had been removed and placed into some sort of biohazard bag with a mailing label. Here it joined with the swab samples.

    She closed the wound with a single stitch.

    The beautiful blonde dermatologist sans merci told me I could put my pants back on.

    In a week, I shall know my fate, but it is looking increasingly like S.L.

    She did not use this acronym exactly, but it was written in her beautifully green and merciless eyes: sexual leprosy, picked up from God knows where.

    God most likely had very little to do with it.

    You can search the dermatology pictures high and low and not find another picture that exactly resembles this one.

    In one week, I shall return to learn my diagnosis.

    I suspect this will be obvious in much less than a week.

    Little or not, I am waiting for it to drop off, confirming what we all suspect.

    The last picture I will likely post of my lesion, unless, that is, there is a hue and cry of begging for more.

    Unlikely, I know. A graph of my recent vlog visits resembles the stock market last year.

    If indeed it does fall off, perhaps there will be a slight bump as I apply to swim in the gender category we all know is where I belong.

    Tis the end of Jimby the kind of man; and the birth of something a tad more monstrous and in need of warning the children about, as in "don't stare at that poor thing, kids--it can't help it, what it's become--it is merely paying the price for hope over reason."

    The next time you think you see good in your fellow apes, remember this and think again!

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  17. Nats, Day 2 & 3, July 7-8

    by , July 9th, 2012 at 12:34 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Saturday:

    50 back, 32.4, WR

    Only one race on Sat, but it was my baby. Thrilled to break my own record and was somewhat surprised. I had a .60 reaction time but uncharacteristically botched the start a bit -- entered the water with my hands crossed instead of in a streamline. That's like a automatic break in the water and I was mentally letting out F bombs. Getting quickly into my SDK helped ameliorate this eror, but I know I lost a couple tenths here. The rest of the race felt good, good tempo and I even swam straight. My tempo slowed down a bit the last 10 meters, showing my lack of sprint conditioning. The only odd part of the race was that I felt like I had water flowing over my face the entire time making it difficult to see and breathe. Some of it was splash from my rapid fire turnover. But some felt unusual. Other backstrokers complained about this phenomenon. Don't know if it had anything to do with the current in the pool or what. If I didn't look that happy on the jumbotron (Water Rat commented on this), it was only because I was gasping for some air and sick of water in my face. 32.4 is my second fastest time ever. I had secretly hoped to be a bit faster, but there is always next time. That's the fate of sprinters -- any small deviation from perfection in the details costs you time. Still, the end result rocked!

    There is a vid of this on my FB page. I need to figure out how to youtube it.


    Sunday:

    50 breast, 39.0, 2nd

    Woohoo! I dropped 1.6 seconds from last year. What a shocker for me with only one little dolphin kick to get me through the race and no walls. I was really pleased when a couple breaststrokers commented that I looked like a legit evilstroker and was getting major forward progress from my undulation. A friend commented that I looked "like a dophin in the water." I guess my evil has improved this year from doing it in practice so frequently. The only technical difficulties were that I was under a tad too long on the start. After my pullout, I was not at the surface, so had to float up and hence was not ahead on the start. My stroke count was also off at the finish and I had to short stroke it to avoid a major glide into the wall. The remaining area that needs improvement is my whip kick. But I likely will just continue to fake and not work on that much.


    50 fly, 30.4, under previous NR of 30.7

    I knew going into this race that Lisa Dahl would be tough to beat. I'm not sure I've ever beat her in 50 fly LCM and she was on fire this meet. Kudos to her. My strategy was to go the entire first 15 meters underwater and try to hang on. I've never done that before on the 50, but thought it would save my arms. Very helpful that there was a marking at the bottom of the pool so I knew exactly when to breakout. As I knew would happen, I tightened up the last 5 meters. But the real problem was that I didn't hit the wall right. I was forced to glide in while Lisa slammed the wall. I think I lost on the last stroke; it was a Cavic-Phelps type situation. I thought I would be rather heartbroken about this. But, no, I was phlegmatic. You win some and you lose some in the world of sprinting. I believe 30.4 is my second best time and best textile time. (29.6 with the Jaked being my fastest ever from 2009). And 30.4 is vastly better than the 31.5 I swam last year at Auburn. I just needed more juice. Still, no one can be bummed about swimming under a Laura Val NR. And I believe only 1 person swam faster in the 40-49 age groups.


    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    Thoughts on Omaha:

    -- The pool and facility were fantastic. The arena setting meant ample seating. The warm down pool was fantastic with blocks in a couple sprint lanes to practice starts. And the jumbotron and cameras were pretty cool. There did seem to be a slight current in the pool. And you could often see ripples in the water, especially in the end lanes.

    -- Much fun to be had hanging with friends, watching the racing and meeting some of my HIT peeps.

    -- I am a short course swimmer. My best stroke is dolphin kick and long course deprives me of this weapon. My actual long course times are just flat out slower than my converted short course times.

    -- I am really growing to hate the 15 meter rule. My dolphin kick has improved so much that I could maintain speed much further. Not that I'd like to go 50 meters UW, but I think 25 would be just dandy. I was bummed to have to come up in both fly and back this meet.

    -- Because I am a kicker and turner, I MUST train long course to be at my best in long course. Long course feels like a different sport to me and there is a vastly bigger aerobic component. Not that I would need to do IG in practice, but the workouts I did after Greensboro did not prepare me adequately. And I was really negligent in not doing any lactate tolerance sets. I'm not sure about next long course season. There may always be a conflict between Lil Fort's track practices and NVSL meets and me training at Mason in the summer ... I'm not sure solo training at Rockville more often really would be enough either.

    -- Greensboro and Omaha were just too close in time. I was uninspired for a few weeks after Greensboro and lost key training time. And I was never as sharp in May and June as I was from Jan to April in practice.

    -- I did achieve my goal of swimming faster this year than last year at Auburn.

    50 free: 29.6 --> 29.2
    50 back: 32.5 --> 32.4
    50 breast: 40.6 --> 39.0
    50 fly: 31.5 --> 30.4

    And I had been concerned that I wouldn't be able to do that after my last week of taper power outage hell. Looking at the times, I was definitely best on Sunday. Somewhat unusual for me. I felt out of sorts on Friday and better as the weekend progressed. I was even ready to do a 100 back when the meet ended. And I am contemplating going out to UMBC next weekend to pop one in on Sunday.

    -- With the improvement in my breaststroke in the last year, I really feel like I am a four stroke swimmer now. Thank you fins and all those fast hand drills!

    -- Overall, I give myself a B+. I would have given myself an A- if I hadn't scratched my 100 back split in the 200. But I was too tired to do it after 50 free and not mentally prepared. I should know never ever ever to sign up for back to back events at Nationals.

    -- I got home at 3:00 am last night. Re-entry is apparently my 6th event.

    -- Bring on short course! But not until I've goofed around for a while.

    Updated July 9th, 2012 at 04:08 PM by The Fortress

    Categories
    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  18. Tri Pie and Fair Die

    by , July 21st, 2010 at 09:57 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    A Vindication of the Rights of Swimmers: A Modest Proposal for Jim’s Fair Ironman


    An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon (WTC) consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26 miles 385 yard run, raced in that order and without a break.

    The current Ironman world record was set in 1997 by Belgian Luc Van Lierde. He set his world record at Ironman Europe with a time of 7:50:27 (0:44 swim, 4:28 bike, 2:36 run, plus transition).

    The total time Luc spent moving and changing outfits and footwear that day was 470 minutes, give or take a few seconds.

    The swim portion thus comprised approximately 9 percent of the total race; the bike 57 percent; and the run 33 percent. I am leaving out the wardrobe changes for simplicity’s sake, but let us just assume that he was also a world class ecdysiast as well as a fast swimmer, bicycle enthusiast, and runner. See pie chart:



    Of the three separate endurance disciplines, it appears that running, which took up exactly one-third the total time, was the only sport equitably represented. Swimming, at under one-tenth of the total time, got ludicrously short shrift. Indeed, it appears to serve as little more than a momentary spit bath at the start of the competition, designed, one might think, to cool the competitors off before the real work starts.

    Biking, well, biking—you are quite the disgusting pig, aren’t you, bogarting with your grotesque truffle-snorting nostrils nearly twice as much of the available spotlight time as running and nearly six times as much as swimming.

    To rectify this, here is what I propose: the development of what I hope will become widely known as Jim’s Fair Triathlon, a just competition that gives each of its sporting segments equal time to shine. Certainly, other sports jurisprudential philosophers before me have proposed this before, especially (I have to imagine) the small handful of top notch triathletes that come from a swimming background as opposed to a running or biking one.

    Obviously, I have no illusions that such appeals for the establishment of a Fair Triathlon will get anywhere. The greasy bike wheel (and surely grease-demanding bikes are by far the most expensive of all the highly-priced gear already necessary in this modern day Sport of Kings; indeed, with the possible exception of polo ponies and/or skeet shooting Hugenot peasants, I am not sure what sport exists today more geared to the success of the affluent than triathlons!) is always greased.

    I suppose my prime hope is to just get a discussion rolling amongst our triathlete-performing masters swimming peers, along with the closeted underbelly of tri-haters (you know who you are!), and along with the vast ranks of swim-phobic USAT types who, if anything, would like to further minimize swimming’s role, perhaps replace it entirely with kayaking (now there’s something we could charge a fortune for--Tri kayaks fabricated out of Kevlar so they weigh no more than 7 ounces!)

    My proposal has two steps, the first hardly novel; the second arguably slightly further from the well-worn path.

    Step 1: Rebalance the Event Distance Portfolio

    To do this, I checked some distance records for top swimmers, bikers, and runners. As indicated earlier, the World Record time for an Ironman is currently about 470 minutes. Divide this into thirds, and you come up with three equal segments of 156 minutes each, or 2 hours and 36 minutes. How far can the world’s top swimmers, bikers, and runners respectively cover in this allotted time?

    Getting exactly accurate apples-to-oranges comparisons here has proved surprisingly difficult, as I learned after roughly 8 minute of intensive Google searching. Nevertheless, I found enough data upon which I believe I can build a rough but reasonable preliminary estimate.

    Swimming: In the 2010 FINA 10K Marathon Swimming championships held in Lausanne, Switzerland on June 28, Germany’s Thomas Lurz sprinted to a gold medal in a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 5 seconds. This means he was covering slightly less than 100 m per minute. Assuming he could maintain close to this pace for the next 35 minutes, this would leave him with a total swim distance of 13,500 meters (about 8.4 miles) in his allotted 2 hours and 36 minutes.

    I herewith propose that the swim portion of Jim’s Fair Triathalon cover 8.4 miles (an increase of 6 miles from current Ironman)

    Biking: One site I found suggested that top pros can average 35 mph on the flats almost indefinitely. This sounded a bit vague to me, so for further amplification, I found a Time Trial from the Tour de France, Stage 19. Here are the times by top competitors racing 55 kilometers:

    STAGE 19 RESULTS

    1. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 1:06:49
    2. Jan Ullrich (G), T-Mobile, 01:01
    3. Andréas Klöden (G), T-Mobile, 01:27
    4. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 02:25
    5. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, 02:48
    6. Ivan Basso (I), CSC, 02:50
    7. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, 03:19
    8. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Illes Balears-Banesto, 03:33
    9. Rubiera José Luis (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 03:40
    10. Azevedo José (P), U.S. Postal Service, 03:49

    55 kilometers translates into 34 miles. I am not sure how flat this course was, but it would appear that Lance’s remarkable achievement suggests he was traveling at a bit less than 35 mph. Let us give bikers a bit of a break here and stipulate that top pros could probably average 30 mph for an extended period of time. Thus, during the 2 hours and 36 minutes of the biking portion of Jim’s Fair Triathlon, they would be expected to cover about 78 miles.

    I herewith propose that the bike portion of Jim’s Fair Triathalon cover 78 miles (a decrease of 34 miles from current Ironman.)

    Running. The current marathon world record is held by Ethiopian runner, Haile Gebrselassie, who on September 28, 2008, completed the Berlin marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes and 59 seconds. If Haile had been allowed to run for another 32 minutes, assuming his pace dropped off from fatigue to 5 minute miles, he would have still covered at least another six miles.

    I herewith propose that the run portion of Jim’s Fair Triathalon cover 32 miles (an increase of 6 miles from current Ironman.)

    Step 2: Make the Event Order Fairer

    Currently, the swim portion of every Ironman proceeds, by fiat, in an inviolate order: swim, bike, run. If football were governed by such a rule, the home team would always get the first possession—hardly fair, I think any fair-minded person would have to agree. Much better to give either team an equal chance. Thus, the flip of a coin has a long and storied role in all fair sports.

    Triathons, to be sure, have three possibilities, and there is no such thing as a three-headed coin. True, but there is now, thanks to the ingenuity of yours truly, the Jim Fair Triathlon Die.

    See sketch:



    Approximately five minutes before the start of every Fair Triathlon, the Order of Events official will roll the die to decide what event will lead off this particular race. Since the die has six sides, two of which are labeled swim, bike, run, the official will continue to roll the die until the next sport comes up. The final leg will thus be decided by elimination.

    The race finishers, too, might be thusly decided. Perhaps literally.

    As masters swimmer/Mayo Clinic internist/all around nice guy, Dr. Tom “Jaegermeister” Jaeger, MD, recently emailed me, researchers reported last April in the Journal of the American Medical Association that the swimming leg, albeit an afterthought in current triathlons, is nevertheless the singlemost ruthless test of participant survival. As the JAMA paper reported:

    “A total of 959 214 participants were analyzed (mean [SD], 323 [444] per race); 59% were men. Forty five percent competed in short (swim <750 m), 40% in intermediate (swim 750-1500 m), and 15% in long (swim >1500 m) triathlon races.... Fourteen participants died during 14 triathlons (rate, 1.5 per 100 000 participants; 95% CI, 0.9-2.5), including 13 while swimming and 1 biking... Although the contribution of cardiovascular abnormalities cannot be definitively excluded in some cases, logistical factors and adverse environmental conditions may have been responsible for these events, given that about 95% of triathlon fatalities occurred during the swimming segment. Furthermore, deaths were more common in triathlons involving greater numbers of competitors. Because triathlons begin with chaotic, highly dense mass starts, involving up to 2000 largely novice competitors entering the water simultaneously, there is opportunity for bodily contact and exposure to cold turbulent water.”

    It is, perhaps, inevitable, that if Jim’s Fair Triathlon wins general acceptance and over time usurps the current Ironman, or Patently Unfair Triathlon, approach in vogue today, the cavalcade of slaughter due to drownings is likely to increase a bit. Offsetting this, perhaps, is the likelihood that at least one third of the time, the swimming leg will be the final part of the race, guaranteeing that the participants will have spread themselves out considerably by then, reducing the likelihood of “chaotic, highly dense mass” swimming conditions where intentional drowning of despised competitors is no doubt as common as it is difficult to detect forensically and criminally prosecute.

    In any event, regardless of death toll, I think we can all agree that sporting fairness really should take precedence over human life, at least where triathletes are concerned. As the name Ironman implies, swimming has always been a tertiary citizen in the world of triathlons (with a specific gravity of 7.7, twice as much as Portland cement, a true “Ironman” is designed to sink, not swim). It is time to change this.
    Categories
    Uncategorized
  19. A Non-Vindication of the Rights of Yards Whores

    by , May 26th, 2009 at 11:51 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    We all know them.

    In fact, many of us are them.

    The "more is more" philosophers of swimming known as either yards whores or, in polite company, triathletes.

    The very wise Britisher, Mr. Richard Skerrett, a swimmer from Wales whose USMS discussion forum name I should know but don't, who is nevertheless as capital a chap as can be found in the blessed realm, sent me a fascinating link this morning that I strongly urge you to read.



    Look at Mr. Skerrett and ask yourself this: Can you imagine any Dylan Thomas/Richard Burton-esque Welschman with so handsome a weathered face ever steering you wrong? My god, man! He appears to have learned about the sea and the ways of water from Admiral Nelson himself!

    Take to heart the wisdom in his link, which I shall reproduce here:

    http://www.brianmac.co.uk/swimming/swimspeed.htm.

    Alas, we live in hurried times, rushed times, times when there is very little time whatsover to stop and smell the pixilated roses depicted on your computer screen.



    Smell this, you Type A bastards, you!

    For those of you too busy to read the link, let me excerpt a key passage:

    Research into the effects of high-volume swim training on performance suggests there is no advantage to piling on the kilometres. The legendary US physiologist Dave Costill has undertaken a great deal of research on swim training over the last three decades. In one study, his team of scientists followed two groups of swimmers over a 25 week training period. Both groups began with once daily training, but one group moved to twice daily training in weeks 10 to 15, reverting to once daily for the rest of the study period. At no stage of the 25 week training period did this group show enhanced performance or increased aerobic capacity as a result of their extra training. It was a waste of time.


    In another study, Costill tracked the performance of competitive swimmers over a four-year period, comparing a group averaging 10 kilometre per day with a group averaging 5 kilometre per day in relation to changes in competitive performance time over 100, 200, 500 and 1600 yards.

    Improvements in swim times were identical for both groups at around 0.8% per year for all events. Again, even though one group did twice as much training, both groups benefited to the same extent in the long term.


    To quote Costill directly: 'Most competitive swimming events last less than two minutes. How can training for 3 to 4 hours per day at speeds that are markedly slower than competitive pace prepare the swimmer for the maximal efforts of competition?' Research from France supports Costill's conclusions. A team of scientists analysed the training and performance of competitive 100 metres and 200 metre swimmers over a 44 week period. Their findings were as follows:

    • Most swimmers completed two training sessions per day
    • Swimmers trained at five specific intensities. These were swim speeds equivalent to 2, 4, 6 and a high 10 mmol/L blood lactate concentration pace and, finally, maximal sprint swimming
    • Over the whole season, the swimmers who made the biggest improvements were those who performed more of their training at higher paces. The volume of training had no influence on swim performance.

    --with thanks to Rapheal Brandon

    So, the next time you are tempted to swim nonstop at a plodding pace in the hopes of doing your competitive swimming some benefit, think twice. Even if you kick it into somewhat elevated gear, but don't give yourself too much rest, chances are that once you've trained your aerobic fibers to the max, you're not adding much.

    Dare to make yourself uncomfortable, in fact, very uncomfortable with more race pace practice than you want to do, even if this drastically reduces your overall yardage.

    I am not sure exactly what i think of the famous feminist work, A Vindication of the Rights of Whores [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Vindication_of_The_Rights_of_Whores[/ame]

    However, I am increasingly critical of all who would vindicate the rights of yardage whores, particularly our plodding freestyle lane hogging brethren who only swim in order to be able to finish the first leg of triathlons.

    On this note, let me segue to my growing acceptance that weight lifting, if not necessarily the source of swimming speed, may be--in my case, at least--a possible mild protector against swimming injuries, which in turn is allowing me to do more race pace sets in practice without long bivouacs on the couch under bags of ice.

    Today, my 21st day of consecutive exercise, I managed 66,000 lb. of Nautilus weight--a meaninglesss amount, I know, given that it depends on the number of sets, etc. However, it does show that I am improving quickly from my first session three weeks ago, when my total weight lifted was 18,000.

    Today's film, which boasts perhaps the poorest quality of anything yet posted to YouTube, shows a weekend day in the life of exercising Jim.

    It took place on Saturday, when I lifted 53,000 lb. in preparation for Sunday's tennis match (alas, not shown), which lasted for 3 hours and 15 minutes and was the first time this season that Bill and I actually won not just the Women's Championship (2 sets Bill/Jim to 1 set John/Rick) but went onto claim the Men's Championship, as well (Us 3 sets; them 1 set.)

    I looked into my Nike shorts after successfully driving the final shot of the match down the unprotected alley, noted what now so handsomely resided there inside my underwear after weeks of punishing losses, and proclaimed, oh so happily, "It's a boy!" Or maybe it was a geoduck.



    Either way, it was cause for celebration.

    Herewith today's vlog: 53,000 Pounds. (In case you can't figure out the initial action, I am riding a Honda Metropolitan Scooter down a closed road while simultaneously trying to film.)

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5hS-MGlMzY"]YouTube - 53,000 Pounds[/ame]

    Updated May 27th, 2009 at 08:56 AM by jim thornton

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  20. Idiosyncratic stats and Wordsworth excerpts

    by , January 26th, 2009 at 11:39 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    • Number of miles swum so far in January, 2009: 30.01


    • Average yards per day during the past 9 days post the "end" of my sickness: 3227.78


    • Qualitative self-assessment on the Jim Healthometer scale, wherein 91 percent is realistically the best I can hope for: 42 percent


    • Qualitative self-assessment on the Jim Healthometer scale during the height of the bubo outbreak: 37 percent


    • Number of yards swum during practice today before I began seeing lights that weren't there and found my muscles were shaky and my head light-headed: 2100


    • Number of packets of Gu required to complete tonight's practice: 2


    • Total yards tonight's practice: 4000


    • Days I have been alive: 20,562




    • Remaining number of days: 12,288


    • Current Top 10 Times for the Age Group I might make it to:

    100 Freestyle SCY Men 90-94 (2008)
    # Name Age Club LMSC Time
    1 Brud Cleaveland 90 FMM Florida 1:46.17
    2 Russ Witte 90 SWOM Ohio 1:54.05
    3 Tom Haver 90 SDSM San Diego - Imperial 2:20.05
    4 Donald B Pope 93 MICH Michigan 4:38.01


    • AT (Anaerobic Threshold) time per 100 SCY one year ago based on the 1 hour swim: 1:14.61


    • AT time per 100 this year based on the 1 hour swim: 1:16.6


    • Most recently measured sperm count, including gimps, two headed specimens, dead ones, and assorted monstrosities: 965,000,000 per ejaculation


    • Three favorite excerpts form William Wordsworth's ODE INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY FROM RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY CHILDHOOD:

    *


    Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
    Where is it now, the glory and the dream?


    *


    Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
    Shades of the prison-house begin to close
    Upon the growing Boy


    *


    Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
    A six years' Darling of a pigmy size!
    See, where 'mid work of his own hand he lies,
    Fretted by sallies of his mother's kisses,
    With light upon him from his father's eyes!
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