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  1. Fri Jul 9th 2010

    by , July 9th, 2010 at 06:22 PM (Ande's Swimming Blog)
    Fri Jul 9th 2010

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    scy
    chris Coached
    6:30 TO 8:30
    Austin UT Swim Center diving well
    swam with tyler jon & doug
    beside mike, todd & Marcio plus james fike
    Guest SAM PERRY was in DA house
    dove in around 7:00


    MAIN SET

    swam easy
    the guys were doing
    4 rounds of 3 x 300 followed by 4 x 25
    I did half the 300's & all the 25's
    felt fine

    did between 1500 & 200
    mostly easy some fast

    WENT to BREAKFAST at at Kerby Lane on the Drag with Sam Perry, Tyler, Todd & Doug Dude

    warmed up again for the 50 fr

    haven't really been training for 50's

    wore a B70 Nero TX

    thought I was in Heat 19
    then realized it was heat 10
    hopped up

    Went 25.96
    Hoped to go faster


    It's my fastest time this season in a jammer


    2010 MEETS:

    July 8 - 11, 2010
    Senior Circuit #4 Meet Info
    Austin, TX
    entered:

    Fri
    50 Freestyle

    Sat
    100 Butterfly
    50 backstroke

    Sun
    200 Individual Medley
    50 breastroke, &
    50 butterfly


    07/23/10 - 07/25/10
    2010 South Central Long Course
    Southlake, Texas
    Days till LCM ZONES
    Entered Zones yesterday & got my hotel
  2. Governors Island race report

    This morning I did the Governors Island swim. Governors Island is a small (172 acres) island in New York Harbor just a 5-minute ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan, and today’s race almost circumnavigated it (because of difficult tides/ferries coming and going/air vent for the Holland tunnel, we skip the northernmost tip of the island).



    Getting to the race start required checking in, getting a special 6:45 am ferry to the island, walking over to another dock on the island where we were to finish, checking our bags and getting chips, boarding another ferry, riding around the top of the island to the race start, jumping off the ferry, and lining up behind 2 buoys for an in-water start. There were 200+ folks in the race, so it took awhile for everyone to make it off the boat and to the race start, but there was beautiful scenery to look at while we waited. Finally everyone got into the water, they started us, and the race was on!

    During the first half of the race we swam down the western side of the island. There were great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Last year this part of the race had some significant chop and waves, but this year the water was pretty calm, and there seemed to be a slight helping current. As we rounded the the southern tip of the island, we could see the Verrazano Bridge in the distance. Going up the Buttermilk Channel, the only challenge is to be sure to stay away from the 3 piers. On the right is the Brooklyn waterfront—very industrial, with warehouses and big gantry cranes, which is kind of neat. The finish is right before the Holland Tunnel air vent (that little protrusion to the northeast at the top of the island), and it is easy to miss—you actually have to turn left and swim underneath a gangway, before you can see the exit ladder. Last year I overswam it and had to turn back; this year I did a better job sighting and swam right to it.

    I was with or near a group of about 7-8 swimmers during the last portion of the race, and worked really hard the last 300 meters or so trying to pull away from them. I got ahead of all but one guy (who obviously had the same idea as me about sprinting to the ladder!) and finished the race as the second woman overall. That surprised me, since there were plenty of women in the field who are better distance pool swimmers than me, but open-water races can be unpredictable that way. (And just for the record, I’m thinking of myself as the women’s masters champ this year, since the first place woman was just 15!) Overall, this year's race probably had more favorable currents and conditions than last year's--my time was 42:04, compared with 48:06 in 2009. I'm guessing a maximum of 30 seconds of that difference came from swimming the race better.

    The highlight of the day was catching up with a number of my open water buddies whom I haven’t seen all summer. I would have stayed out on Governors Island longer and enjoyed the hammocks post-race, but thunderstorms were threatening. (I did get some hammock time yesterday, when I went out to scout out the race course and when the weather was gorgeous). Chaos was there and won his age group, and I was happy to get to chat with him a bit afterwards. He was on Sharpie duty during race check-in, and incorporated a smiley face into my race number which obviously brought me luck.

    One interesting thing that they did during this race was to have a number of “Swim Angels” wearing different colored caps who were designated as helpers/calmers-down for anyone having anxiety or distress in the water. They basically just hung out in the water and made sure people were comfortable and happy, gave directional/sighting advice, etc. I think this is an idea borrowed from triathlons. They also had some volunteers on land doing the same thing before the race.

    Tomorrow we head off to Lake Placid for a few days, and I’ll get to swim in one of my all-time favorite swimming spots, Mirror Lake.


  3. Sunk Redux: End of the Summer Open Water Swim

    by , August 9th, 2010 at 11:40 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    It's not the years in your life, but the life in your years that matter.

    --Anonymous, date unknown


    How quickly my once proudest boast, "There is not one ounce of fat on this boy!" has transformed into "There is not one ounce of boy in this fat!"

    --Jim Thornton, 1983

    *

    The summer continues to pass by in a humid blink. With each passing year, the acceleration of time's flow becomes that much more bamboozlingly rapid. For a FINA-58-year-old like me, no sooner have I had such thoughts than a natural worry comes to mind. To wit, how will I possibly have time to make my burial preparations, so quickly are the nanosecond-like years speeding by.

    But then I think: Oh, what an impractical worry you are torturing yourself with, Jim! Given the speed of time's passing, the friction alone will burn you to bits, a spontaneous combustion that all but eliminates the need for any additional mortuary science!

    And I find peace in this.

    It seems like only a half hour ago since the Range War! of inchoate animosities broke out on the forum, stoked by misunderstandings and turf battling nincompoopitude that very few, if any of us, understood. Not that it stopped very entertaining criss-crossing spurts of bile from ejaculating into every corner of the forumite community!

    It seems like only a second ago that I contributed two new slogans to the USMS greater community--one, of course, not mine at all, but rather a "found" gem, like Marcel DuChamps legendary "readymades," the most famous of which was arguably:



    Fountain by Marcel DuChamp

    USMS Forums:

    A cesspool full of combative weirdoes and irrelevant losers!

    Forum T-Shirt Slogan "Found"by Jim Thornton

    [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=17197"]Forum T-Shirt Logo Poll - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]


    USMS! Where Sad Old Men Go to Die

    Advertising campaign tag line ideated by Jim Thornton

    [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=222988#post222988"]What Does USMS Needs to do to grow to 100,000+ Members? - Page 2 - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]

    Perhaps such ideas are ahead of their time; in any event, they garnered little interest at the time of their posting, and I suspect they will garner little interest now. I include them here only so that 1,000 years from now, swimming cultural anthropologists might perhaps unearth from the rubble of today's ephemerata valuable clues as to how the sport evolved to what they are doing then from what we are doing now.

    I daresay such historians will look upon today's strokes with the same bemusement we now regard the doggie paddle!

    But enough speculation.

    Let me get to the point of today's entry: the official announcement of The Jim Thornton Annual Pre-Birthday Open Rough Water Shark and Snapper Blue 2-Mile Swim.

    Two quick modifications. I thought that last year was the first time I did this, but it turns out it was two years ago. Moreover, for the second event, I am planning to change it from a 2-mile swim to a 5K swim.

    Thus the new name--and the way I hope you will note the event on your desk calendar, Blackberry-like device, and other reminder technologies is:

    The Jim Thornton Bi-Annual (not to be confused with Semi-Annual, as I almost did) Pre-Birthday Open Rough Water Shark and Snapper Blue 5K Swim.

    Here are the particulars:


    1. The JTBA(ntbcwsaaiad)PBORWSaSB5KS (for short) will be held sometime during the week of August 23-29th, that is, after the Colony Zones LCM Championships are over at the U. Maryland.
    2. The venue for the swim is Ocean City, New Jersey, not too terribly far from my twin brother's house, in the Atlantic Ocean, with the finish line being the pier at 52nd Street, I am pretty sure, though it's possible the pier is on 53rd, 54th, 55th, or 56th Street. This detail will be worked out before the starter's signal blasts or tweets.
    3. Chances are fairly good that I will be tired from the LCM meet and probably won't want to hold my event on Monday, or even Tuesday, though these days cannot be ruled out. The actual day will be announced here on my blog at least 24 hours in advance of the actual race.
    4. The starting time for the event will be after 5 p.m., because you don't need to pay for a beach tag after 5.
    5. On the day of the race, I will ascertain whether the rip currents are yanking swimmers in a generally north to south direction, or reverse. I will then use my brother's car to drive 3.1 miles up or down the beach accordingly (we will be swimming with the current, not against it) to establish the starting point.
    6. This event is not sanctioned, not recognized, not safe, not protected by life guards, and possibly fatal for a variety of reasons foreseeable and unforeseeable.
    7. This event is not really an event. It is more of a communal coincidence. If you want to do a purely personal swimming challenge entirely of your own volition, and you want to coincidentally do this when I do it too, and perhaps even race against me, why then I cannot stop you! It is a free (and under normal circumstances a litigious) country, though there are absolutely no grounds whatsoever for litigation with my communally coincidental swimming thingy.
    8. The above notwithstanding, I will have indemnification papers and liability waivers for you to sign if, in fact, you act against my strongest recommendations TO NOT DO THIS UNSAFE ACTIVITY, which could involved run ins with sea life including, but not limited to, snapper blues, sharks, selkies, and crabs.
    9. My cell phone number is (412) 651-2100 and my email address is jamesthornton1@comcast.net. (If you haven't already, please befriend me on Facebook, too, at James Scott Thornton.) If you are going to be anywhere near Ocean City that week and want to swim, let me know and I will send you a text when I figure out the day.
    10. My twin brother John might be cajoled into filming the event.
    11. He does have a garage. Knowing John, I think he would consider a reasonable rent for anyone who wants to camp out in his garage the night before or after the race. I should add that my son Jack once said when he was 6 or 7, "Uncle John, you have a serious green head problem"--green heads being these biting flies that thrive on the salt marshes against which John's garage abuts. Again, there will be waiver and indemnity forms to sign for any potential garage campers.
    12. Finally, unlike most OW events where the most threatening form of life one is likely to collide with is the Brooklyn Whitefish (AKA Coney Island Whitefish), the real challenge of the JTBA(ntbcwsaaiad)PBORWSaSB5KS is not the swim itself, which should be relatively easy, especially if the current is strong, but rather dealing with the psychological creepiness of the venue. To wit, you have to go out a fair distance to reach water that is not being buffeted by breaking waves. The water, though extremely clean, is nevertheless murky; and in this murk, the shadows of monsters do occasionally appear to play about. Once, when I was swimming through the pier pilings, trying to avoid being dashed against the razor barnacles encrusting the wood, I saw something about 6 feet across float by right underneathe my body. It was a large ray of some sort. But by the time I realized it meant me no harm, there were a few involuntary palpitations triggered by proximity to such a murk-dwelling leviathan! I guarantee that anyone who signs up for the swim will have phantoms, real or imaginary, to deal with. They become all the more sinister, I must say, when one has swum so far off shore to avoid the crashing surf that land itself occasionally disappears totally from view when one sinks into a wave trough!
    13. But still, it's very fun, and the water is a wonderful cool temperature, the perfect antidote to this summer heat and global warming foreshadowing!
    14. Here is a vlog from yesteryear about the first official race, which I must say I won handily. I will also separately link the film my brother made of that special day, a film he named simply, Sunk!

    http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=791

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kso-cO0RrJU&feature=player_embedded"]YouTube- ‪Sunk‬‎[/nomedia]

    Updated August 10th, 2010 at 12:09 AM by jim thornton

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  4. Jimsley's Inferno, Day 1

    by , August 25th, 2010 at 11:05 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    On Friday, August 20th, 2010, your narrator mounted his Honda CRV and headed to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, destination destiny.

    After 4.5 hours, I was six miles away from my second home in Vienna, Va. One additional hour of rush hour traffic, I emerged from the Honda feeling a bit like a crucifixion victim allowed to come off the cross.

    Leslie greeted me warmly, then a blond bombshell walked by, and I wondered why extras from Mad Men were also staying at the home Leslie owns through marriage and toil, and I own through squatter's rights, not that this bothered me.

    (Brief aside: I am on hold with the Norton anti-virus company, and I can't do anything else but sit here and type, and I am going to make no effort whatsoever to restrain myself in the verbiage here. I am, in other words, going full 18th Century on my readers, that wonderful time of yore when readers had attention spans, and writers were paid by the word, the more the better. Ready yourself for a long, long, long and gloriously meandering read here, occasionally interrupted by the lady's voice on the telephone offering me other options for accessing Norton via online chat, email, etc.)

    Anyhow, the Blondie turned out to be Ali, Leslie's not yet 16-year-old daughter, the kind of a babe that probably statutorially entrapped Jack Nicholson's into the Cuckoo's Nest and his Ratchety punishment.



    So anyhow, I opted to stay in Leslie's son's room, who was sleeping over elsewhere, and when I went up to unload my stuff, Ali said, "I can't believe you are sleeping in my brother's bed."

    I asked her why. She said because it was unbelievably disgusting. "Do you know what bad things he does there?"

    I could not imagine.

    Before I could self-edit, I found myself singing the lyric from the True Blood theme song: I wanna do bad things with you.

    [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxINMuOgAu8"]YouTube- True Blood Opening Credits[/nomedia]

    Ali ogled me peculiarly.

    Rich arrived soon thereafter.

    Let me quickly say at the outset here, before the wall of words becomes too overwhelming and I begin to shed readers like head hairs (I am still waiting for the next available customer service representative, by the way, on hold now for 25 continuous minutes and counting) that Rich Swim Stud Bell is an absolutely capital chap, and if you ever, ever have the chance to meet him in the flesh, your life will have taken one giant step towards fulfilling completion.



    Rich SwimStud in a pensive mood.

    Rich and I started discussing how lucky we were to be staying at Leslie's house for Colonies Zones, then I happened to mention that I technically was part owner of the compound, and that to be fully accurate, he, Rich, was lucky to be staying at Jim and Leslie's house, and I explained the squatter's rights business.

    (Damn this Norton woman is annoying.)

    Anyhow, Rich said there was just a court case in Connecticut where someone was a guest in someone else's house for two weeks, and that when the owner tried to get the deadbeat schnorrer out ( [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schnorrer[/ame] ), it turned out that if after 2 weeks tenancy, you are a legal resident and have to be legally evicted!

    I quickly made sure that Leslie knew I had been living in the Compound since SCY Colonies Zones championships the past April and had simply gone out for a bottle of milk and gotten lost, but that technically, I had been living there uninterruptedly for four months!

    By the way, at that meet, readers may recall that I did my lifetime best in the 200 yard freestyle, breaking 1:55 for the first and only time. On the "event rankings" and later the "preliminary Top 10" list, this was good enough to earn me a tentative 10th place in the Top 10.

    I am thrilled to announce this held:
    200 Freestyle SCY Men 55-59 (2010)
    # Name Age Club LMSC Time
    1 Michael T Mann 55 CMS Colorado 1:48.79
    2 Jack R Groselle 55 O*H* Lake Erie 1:49.76
    3 Phil L Dodson 57 IM Illinois 1:51.71
    3 Brad Horner 56 WMAC Wisconsin 1:51.71
    5 Paul G Karas 55 MICH Michigan 1:52.01
    6 Jim Mc Conica 59 VCM Southern Pacific 1:52.32
    7 Larry B Krauser 56 HMS Inland Northwest 1:54.03
    8 Larry W Wood 56 TXLA South Texas 1:54.48
    9 Donald B Gilchrist 56 NCMS North Carolina 1:54.73
    10 James Thornton 57 TPIT Allegheny 1:54.89

    (Norton hold time: 45 minutes and counting. Basically, what I am trying to do is this. I just renewed my subscription to the tune of about $48. Then, this morning, I learned I get a better version of Norton for free through Comcast. I want to get my money back. Boy, they do not like to talk to you when the moolah is being regurgitated!}

    So, time passed, Leslie cooked an absolutely delicious dinner for us, jokes were made, suit changes were discussed, bowels were nervously evacuated, hot flashes were experienced, reading glasses were misplaced, and the air conditioning setting was lowered to Arctic levels.

    I went up to the bed where bad things have been rumored to have been done...

    Lordy!

    ---------------------------------------

    Okay, it's roughly nine hours and 200 years later, and I have my computer now protected by a new free Norton suite complimentary with Comcast Business Class, and I have had my payment for renewing my old Norton antivirus rebated to my credit card.

    Let me make modern short shrift of what had earlier in the day looked to be a 678 page Gothic novel of swim meet remembrances.


    • I slept in Zak's bed with the air conditioning turned to 66 degrees, the arctic blast evidently blowing from an overhead duct directly upon my socks-less feet.
    • Leslie, Rich, and I ate breakfast, lollygagged, then drove to the meet at the U. Maryland.
    • Rich shaved my back in showers. It was an unbelievably kind gesture. I had hoped for Ali and a couple of her friends in bikinis to do this, possibly humming the True Blood "I wanna do bad things with you" theme song, but when the chips were down, it was Rich Counter-Homophobic-SwimStud nonpareil who actually did this for me. You, sir, are a capital chap in an era where capital--the rich uncle of cash--is the King of Kings.
    • During the first 10 feet of my warm up, my toes and arches began cramping. I told myself this would go away. Some1600 meters of warm up later, my distant appendages continued to do a St. Vitus' Dance of their own, no conscious input from me whatsoever.
    • Last year at Indy, the only event I made the Top 10 in was the 200 LCM free. It was my first event in this meet, too.
    • Put on the speed jammer and hoped for the best in my dolphin-like hairless slick. Dolphins, however, do not get dorsal fin cramps.
    • On the start, I felt my legs cramping, but they semi-calmed down. I knew with the FINA mandated suit change, I would be slower this year than last year, but I didn't want to wimp out. I took the first 50 out fairly briskly, did a flip turn, and...
    • felt my left toe barely graze the wall. I actually wondered if I had touched the pad hard enough to register my presence. I almost went back to touch the nearly missed wall again, but then realized I would just argue my case afterwards.
    • I began kicking in a frenzy, my little arms joining the frenzy in an effort to accelerate from a dead stop to some actual forward progress.
    • This was a mistake.
    • Both sets of piggies, their attendant arches, and the calf-bones-connected-to-the-ankle-bones all fired a coordinated spasming attack cramp. For the next 50, I swam in a panic, all arms, my feet at right angles to my shins, trying to work out the cramps and soldier on.
    • Nearing the 100 m. mark, I realized that I was getting exhausted from this exercise in frenzied but mysteriously slow swimming, and realized I had to slow down a little or I wouldn't be able to finish.
    • The third length, I tried to lengthen out my stroke as I continued to work out the foot cramps.
    • The final turn was good, but I pushed off gingerly, hoping not to fire up a fresh insurrection of angry muscles. Once safely off the wall, I began to speed up, and found myself hoping against hope that I might actually have salvaged a mediocre time out of this, my best-chance-by-far-historically-speaking for making the Top 10 at the advanced age of 58 (deep into the heart of an age group whose members move, with relentless inexorability, ever closer to frailty and death with each passing day.)
    • This false hope was not to be.
    • Last year's time and splits in a B70 kneeskin:

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 32.37 32.37
    2 1:07.06 34.69
    3 1:42.01 34.95
    4 2:14.73 32.72


    • This year's pathetic performance swum in a Speedo LSR loaner jammer, with shaved back and literally cold feet:

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 31.51 31.51
    2 1:10.03 38.52
    3 1:49.50 39.47
    4 2:25.80 36.30


    • I was utterly miserable. This was a much slower time than I had done earlier in the week, at the end of practice, from a push off!
    • As much as I am prone to making excuses, I rarely believe them. Leslie and Rich told me that my 200 was bad because of the missed turn and the cramps; I knew the real reason. My 200 was bad because I was a bad swimmer. I seriously considered quitting forever. The thought that I have been fooling myself for nearly a decade now, thinking I was a mediocre swimmer as opposed to a bad, bad, bad swimmer, a beneficiary, if you will, of a cheating suit technology that provides approximately 6 seconds of help per 100 meters...well, it was too much for me to bear.
    • Flash forward to the 50.
    • Last year's time, again in B70 body suit, was a 27.76. This year's time, in a jammer, was a 28.26--exactly one-half second slower.
    • This did improve my mood a bit, I do concede. Not only did I still do an okay for me 50 in the old fashioned swimming costume, but my differential between Leslie actually widened. Her time last year: 28.67, which means that I beat her then by .91 seconds. This year, Leslie's time was a 30.02, which means I beat her now by 1.76 seconds.
    • A new measuring stick instantly suggested itself: The Leslie Unit, subsequently renamed the Leslie Coefficient. Rather than measuring myself by the number of seconds it takes me to swim a particular race, I will look at the differential between Leslie and me back in the glory years when she had a closetful assortment pack of then FINA-legal body kayaks to choose from, and I had the legendary Neill Williams' hand-me-down B70 kneeskin to compete in. As long as I maintained that Leslie Coefficient differential, or beat it, then I could feel I was holding ground against the Reaper!
    • Later I would discover than my 50 also widened its lead over the legendary Eney Jones, whose best times of last year and this year, respectively, were 28.42 and 30.09. If anything, my Eney Coefficient is even more impressive than my Leslie Coefficient, despite the fact that those two (one a former professional athlete, might I add) continue to be allowed by FINA to swatch vast swaths of their feminine hairless musculature with body suit fabric.
    • Speaking of Eney, here she is in the moments before beating me by over 3 minutes in the 2-mile cable swim:






    Eney Jones, specimen extraordinaire, and Jim Thornton, ordinary specimen, prepare to swim




    Jim tries to trick Eney into racing the 2 miles under water, but evidently she only pretends to fall for the ploy.



    After her victory, Eney earns the right to manhandle my girlish moobs. This kind of thing is not about sex. It is about power.


    • Anyhow, as the golfers know, drive for show, putt for dough, and I think Eney and Leslie both know who among our little tripartite menage is the real putter now.
    • Which brings us to the final event of Day 1: the 1500 with automatic filing for free of the 800 split.
    • Regular readers of these forums will recall that distance is not necessarily my bag, baby. Not my bag at all. I never would have signed up for the 1500 if the 800 had been available. On the other hand, I had something of a grudge match going with Eney, who did not finish (that is to day, DNF'd) the 1500 in Puerto Rico. In order to win, not just the 1500 but the 800 as well, all I had to do was finish. As Amanda pointed out on Facebook, if I simply F'd, Eney would have lost in one fell swoop another two legs of the five-legged LCM freestyle chair. (I should note that her 2:17.53 in Puerto Rico was probably sufficient to hold up a table by itself, but who really wants a one-legged table?)
    • Jeff Strahota, aka Muppet, aka the meet director, was a bit cold to my idea of going out hard for the 800, then spending the next hour or two cooling down on the final 700. I was afraid that if I went out too fast on the 800, without leaving myself enough energy to finish in time to keep the meet on schedule, I might not be able to finish at all. I, like Eney, would thus have DNF'd. But in my competition with Eney, I really, really, really wanted to F.
    • I opted for a mixed strategy: try a bit out of my comfort zone on the 800, reevaluate, and either loaf or finish up strong in the 1500.
    • Leslie was counting for me.
    • On lap No. 19, her little underwater counter sign said 17. I couldn't believe I'd miscounted.
    • The rest of that agonizing swim, I chanted the word Snakebit over and over. I recounted and became convinced Leslie, not me, had miscounted. On my lap 25, which Leslie said was 23, I did an open turn and said I thought she had miscounted. I finished the race, and somebody started yelling I had two more to go.
    • Afterwards, I checked with the computer operator and it turned out...
    • I had been right all along, Leslie less so. So I did a horrible time on my 1600 m, and not a whole lot better on my 1500.
    • Alas, so bad are this year's times in my age group, that if I had finished a bit stronger in both, I might have squeaked in for a Top 10 in both the 800 and 1500, this despite the truly pathetic cool down speed of my snakebit day.
    • We returned to the Compound where I attempted to unkink my crushed little legs and arms and rekindle my energies like the squashed cockroach I was. Only one semi-decent swim of Day 1: the 50. And that, I told myself, was probably the real fluke.

    After my assorted failures, Leslie tries to coax me into once again believing in myself, but once one loses faith in a false deity like me, it is very hard for even us most gullible of sheep to rekindle it.


    • Without the magic cheating suit, guys like me, I figured, are as pathetic in reality as we once believed ourselves great in imagination.
    • Back home, I got Leslie to lend me some socks, which were pink, and kept my extremities warm all night in that bed where bad things are rumored to have taken place but in my case didn't, really, I can assure you of that! A few pages of The Girl Who Played with Fire, then the nasal pillows went in my nostrils, the CPAP was turned on, and out I went for the night, shivering.
    • I also borrowed a little red jacket that didn't fit me very well. I thought someone had snapped a picture of me in my borrowed pink socks and Leslie jacket, but this picture can't at the moment be found. In any event, this was the genesis of Jimsley, an amalgam of me with the trappings of Leslie. It is also spelled Jimslie, though my brother Johnny boy, who coined the neologism, originally just went with Jimsley.
    • Tomorrow, I thought as I drifted off with 8 cm of water pressure blowing up my nose, was another day...and another opportunity for races to get F'd by Jimsley, pink socks notwithstanding.
    • More on this soon. (Readers of Dante's Inferno, in whose ranks I admit I am not a member myself, can look forward to a change of fortunes on Day 2, in which our protagonistic Jimsley, like Euridyce or whoever the guy was in the Dante book, makes his way up from Hell and into the very thick of Purgatorio!)
    • Oh, for those wondering, the following is my bag, baby, thanks to the incredibly generous Amanda Chicken of the Sea Hunt. When you think about it, between Rich shaving my back, and Amanda giving me kangaroo scrotums (so that when people tell me to grow a pair, I will have a place to put the seeds and Miracle Grow fertilizer), anyhow, between the two of these wonderful Queen-fearing British Empirians, it really does make you think we American hicks should have remained under King George's rule. It was a mistake to try going it on our own. We just aren't civilized enough.

    Updated August 26th, 2010 at 08:34 AM by jim thornton

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  5. Jimslie's Invierno: Day 2, the Resurrection

    by , August 29th, 2010 at 05:15 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    On the previous episode of Jimslie's Inferno....

    Our protagonist swam a horrible 200 LCM freestyle at the U. Maryland pool partly because of leg cramps, a missed turn, the lack of a cheating full-body suit, but mainly due to being a bad, bad swimmer.

    He then partially redeemed himself on the 50, which was exactly 1/2 second slower in jammers than his 50 the previous year in a B70.

    But just as he thought he was escaping from Swim Meet Hell, a length miscount during the pathetic 1500/1600 dragged him back down into Patheticon Redux.

    Afterward, he slunk back to the Livingston-Thornton Compound to try to recover as best he could before the second and final day of humiliation...




    Deeply despondent about his performance during Day No. 1 at Colonies Zones LCM meet, Jimslie borrows clothing items from Leslie and tries to fight off the full-body chills that have been wracking his cramp-riddled physique. Perspicacious viewers will note the reflection of Leslie (holding the camera) and legendary distance swimmer, Michelle Kagy-Schwartz (nourishing her ample bosom out of what appears to be a dog food bowl.)




    Michelle post-bosom nourishment.

    ___________________________________________

    Hopefully, I have not lost anyone with the brief recap above, but if so, please simply revisit http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=11260 and join the 485 viewers so far who have tremendously enjoyed living my abject swimming meet misery in a vicarious way.

    But enough about the distant past. It is time now to move onwards towards recalling in detail the marginally less distant past.

    I retired early, hooked myself up to the CPAP machine, read some more of The Girl Who Played with Fire in a bed where bad things are done, nodded off, and dreamed of my new residence as a swimmer, that is to say:



    Picture courtesy of the magnificent Chicken of the Sea, a woman who I hope, like all women readers of my vlog, will not be offended by the pervasive male notion that there is no worse place for a male athlete to reside during a meet than the Platypusary; and no better place to reside in celebration of meet accomplishments afterwards than the same. Alas, for Jimslie, the timing of his residency here was precisely the opposite of optimal.



    As I slumbered, I am not sure what exactly the energetic Livingston girls were up to, though it is possible they were filming a television commercial for cold creme. Which one is the daughter? Which one is the mother? Who knows? They look like mono-zygotic twins, one of whom has had a gene mutation shortly after the first cellular replication of the zygote, a mutation leading to hair color the likes of which is rarely seen outside of Lucille Ball and/or Carrot Top.

    I got up, as is my new wont on CPAP, around 6:30 a.m., crept downstairs in my pink socks, read The Washington Post, and gave myself a pre-meet pep talk:

    You suck. You are a bad, slow, pathetic worm of a swimmer. You have been deluding yourself for years thanks to those ridiculous body suits you have been wearing. You are not a swimmer at all. You are not even much of a body kayaker, but without your body kayak, it is a wonder you can swim at all. I am surprised the lifeguards let you dive in without first mandating a deep water test.

    But on the plus side, with this meet you have a chance to set a new personal low water mark. You are swimming so slowly that only an utterly incompetent person would not be able to improve on your performance in the future. Of course, the odds are overwhelming that you are just such an utterly incompetent person.


    There's something about my daily affirmations that almost always perk me up. When Leslie, Rich, Michelle, and I headed back to The University of Maryland's world-famous
    MIDOL Extended Relief (R)
    Natatorium Complex
    , (call me old-fashioned, but I really this corporate purchasing of naming rights for athletic facilities has gone too far), I was determined to show the world what I was really made of--putrescent foul-smelling pustulent rot!

    At the meet, another familiar forumite had arrived to cheer on her fellow losers:



    Alison Simpson SwinShark Moore and I do an impression of narcoleptic lemurs on meth. We are two of the very few forumites who are 100 percent committed to President Obama and continue to send his re-election campaign as much money as we can possibly afford. Why? Because we both know we will be going on welfare soon.



    After the joke photos have been taken, Alison and I turn serious. We point out each other's respective swimming infirmities. In Alison's case, it is a recently removed Manitou from her right ankle, a "cyst" that had threatened to grow into a malevolent Indian Midget God; in my case, it is an enormously fatted gut filled with visceral fat, precisely the sort of victual favored by Manitous.

    After warm-up, I noted that my legs--though a bit less cramp-prone than the day before, thanks to A) the pink socks, and B) Leslie's kindly agreement to raise the air-conditioning setting up to 67 degrees as opposed to 66, my toes were nevertheless continuing to move under their own volition, that is, with no conscious input from me. This desultory shifting around, though normal enough in my restlessly flaccid manhood, is nevertheless not the norm in my toes and invariably presages problems with cramps.

    I thus initiated a series of stretching maneuvers and anointment of the piggies with hot water in the shower.



    Jimslie shows the other Jimslie how to stretch the pectoral muscles beneath freshly shaved moobs (male boobs). Note how the other Jimslie has absolutely no need to shave her own foobs thanks to the continuing legalization by FINA of enormous technical body suit covering of female flesh. Really, if FINA had any interest whatsoever in fairness, Leslie, Eney, Michelle, et al should be forced to wear male jammers and modesty pasties. Note: I may have to vlog in the future about my campaign to mandate FINA-approved pasties for female masters swimmers. If I forget to do this, please remind me.

    As I climbed the blocks for today's first event, the 400 m freestyle, I felt my thighs cramp slightly. I told myself the following:


    • Don't dive with gusto or the lifeguards are going to have to use the hook on you.
    • Swim the first 50 slightly out of your comfort zone; the next 100 easy; the next 50 slightly outside your comfort zone; the next 100 easy; then build the last 100.
    • If you suck, you will have established a new time you can beat in the future. If you don't suck...well, you are going to suck.

    Last year's time, in a B70 at Indy, was:

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive

    1 35.14 35.14
    2 1:15.38 40.24
    3 1:54.79 39.41
    4 2:34.19 39.40
    5 3:12.20 38.01
    6 3:49.58 37.38
    7 4:25.50 35.92
    8 4:58.31 32.81

    Imagine my delight, therefore, when I looked up at the scoreboard for this year's race and saw that I had beaten this (albeit slightly) in a pair of jammers! Woo, thank god, hoo!

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 34.84 34.84
    2 1:14.68 39.84
    3 1:54.11 39.43
    4 2:32.32 38.21
    5 3:10.71 38.39
    6 3:48.23 37.52
    7 4:24.40 36.17
    8 4:58.22 33.82

    Adding to my delight here was the fact that my second 200 split was only .1 slower than my actual 200, with a dive, the day before, adding more evidence that the cramps and missed turn, more than total suckiness of body and character, had accounted for yesterday's pitiable performance in my best event.

    And adding even more accelerants on my smoldering bonfire of joy and redemption: thanks to this year's relatively pedestrian swims in the 400 in my age group peers, today's 4:58.22 actually put me in third place nationally in the event rankings (though I understand another fellow, who swam worlds masters, is also ahead of me):

    1 Wood, Larry W56 4:53.58 TXLA USMS 2010 Summer National Championships

    2 Guadagni, Peter M55 4:57.40 WCM USMS 2010 Summer National Championships

    3 Thornton, James58 4:58.22 TPIT 2010 Colonies Zone LCM & 6th Annual Terrapin Cup

    If I'd known how close I was to glory, perhaps I would have swum a few more of the 8 lengths outside my comfort zone.

    At this point, I was a little confounded. My 50 was decent, 200 awful, 400 decent, and 800/1500-1600 awful. Part of the reason I came to this meet was to see what effect the FINA suit change was likely to have on my swimming performance. I haven't swum LCM enough to really have a great sense of what various times mean, and I figured this would be a good way to cushion myself against what I thought would be a severe blow of at least 2 seconds per 100 (and maybe more) of slowing down this coming SCY season.

    But to date, the data only told me that the suit changes makes a +6 sec. difference per 100 m in the 200; a +.5 sec. difference in the 50; and a -.01 difference in the 400.

    Perhaps my final event, the 100 M free, would yield more definitive data?

    Last year at Indy, once again, in full B70 knee skin regalia, I swam this distance in:

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 29.82 29.82
    2 1:00.87 31.05


    And the year before, in this exact same U. Maryland pool, while wearing a Speedo Pro (that was stolen at the meet), I did it in:

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 29.69 29.69
    2 1:01.63 31.94


    When I climbed the blocks this time, my toes were twitching violently, and my arches were in that pre-spasm phase. Again, I reminded myself not to dive off the blocks too hard for fear of triggering cramps, and not to go out too fast for fear of dying prematurely. I knew I would be going considerably slower in my jammer than in yesteryear's full body suits.

    The question was how much slower?

    My seed time was just under 1:05, and I wondered if--rather than sandbagging--I had inadvertently anti-sandbagged.

    Somehow, I managed to finish the distance without cramps, and when I looked up at the scoreboard, I once again found reason for pleasant surprise:

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 30.09 30.09
    2 1:01.84 31.75

    This time was only .97 slower than last year's effort in a B70, and .19 in a Speedo Pro. It also, I was delighted to discover, ended up beating all the women in the entire meet. Among others, I absolutely crushed top place female finisher, Fall Willeboordse,

    Women 40-44 100 Freestyle
    ================================================== =========================
    Pl Name Age Club Seed Time Final Time Points
    ================================================== =========================
    1 Willeboordse, Fall 44 AGUA 1:00.90 1:01.86 9.00
    28.83 1:01.86(33.03)

    Who knows how many more hundredths of a second I could have beaten Fall by if she had been wearing a jammer, too, and the pasties I will devote much of next year lobbying FINA to adopt, provided someone reminds me?

    But that is neither here nor there.

    Yet.

    For now, it was time to celebrate my emancipation from the Platypusary of swimming and into the Platypusary of life!


    To the victor goes the spoils. Not that I in any way think of Michelle as spoiled.

    So, what did this meet teach me? What life lessons can you, my readers, take from my own experience in travail overcome, adversity leap-frogged, glory obtained via alternative routes?

    Let me sum up for you:


    1. If you are having trouble achieving glory, lower your standards for defining glory. In my case, if you can A) beat Leslie, Eney, and Fall in any event whatsoever, and B) swim in jammers somewhere only one to six seconds slower than your best 100 times in a cheating suit, then you, sir, are a resounding success!
    2. Positive affirmations are not necessary and, in fact, counterproductive to success. The old chestnut about "you can only achieve what you believe you can achieve" is absolute rubbish and squanders necessary psychic energy trying to talk your mind into something it knows to be false. Better by far to simply redefine and cognitively restructure misery in positive terms. Just as insomniacs often find relief by trying to stay awake, so do swimmers swim better when they prepare themselves ahead of time to swim horribly!
    3. After a meet such as this one, filled as it was with corporal, mental, emotional, spiritual, and psychosexual challenges, make sure to keep your eye on the road when driving back. I rear-ended a very angry woman while wool-gathering briefly on an entrance ramp.
    4. Finally, sitting on a guy's lap while fully clothed will not lead to panky or , for that matter, hanky--just the sort of sustained happy memory in the mind of the aged man such as me that will keep us asking for ventilators a little bit longer than we should.

    Updated August 29th, 2010 at 05:39 PM by jim thornton

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  6. 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!


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  7. 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.
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  8. 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!
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  9. 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

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  10. 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.
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  11. 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!

    __________________________________________

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  12. 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
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  13. 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

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  14. 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.
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  15. 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]
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  16. 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.
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  17. 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.
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  18. 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

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  19. 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?
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  20. 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

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