Thursday, September 21, 2006

Capybaras for President!


Capybaras United is gearing up for an exciting 2008 election. Will he make history as the first capybara ever elected President? Only time will tell.

And now - (drumroll please) - here is Capybaras' platform!

Capybaras for Energy Independence
  • Research: A Capybaras administration will find those energy alternatives! We'll underwrite research into alternative energy sources and encourage its adoption. Without our petrodollars, those Middle Eastern despots can't cause as much trouble.
  • Tariffs and Subsidies: When Capybaras is your president, we won't put tariffs on alternative energy, and we won't subsidize car or oil companies aside from real alternative energy efforts.
  • National Bikeway Administration: A vote for Capybaras is a vote for a fit and energy independent America. We'll fund a National Bikeway Administration that will make it easy for people to commute by bike.
Capybaras for National Security
  • Port Security: With Capybaras as your president, we will check every cargo container before it's shipped. The $120 million cost is chump change that should have been spent years ago.
Capybaras' Foreign Policy
  • Dire Poverty: capybaras need to look out for each other. With just 1% of our GNP to fund self-help programs like microcredit and literacy that help the poorest of the poor, we'll save millions of lives, make friends, and make the world safer!
  • Genocide: Capybaras says to heck with national sovereignty for genocidal regimes. We need a rapid-reaction military force that will intervene to prevent genocide, without being held hostage to the whims of China or Russia. Through the UN or a new international organization, or even a charity that hires paramilitary contractors, let's just make it happen! Hey, it's a tax deduction.
  • Silent Treatment: Capybaras will talk with anyone. Even evil dictators who we hate. Capybaras knows that miscommunication causes disaster and backs people into a corner.
  • Pay them off: Capybaras appreciates how far that filthy lucre goes behind the former iron curtain. When Capybaras is president, he'll try to pay off China and Russia to do our foreign policy bidding so they'll stop funding despots.
Capybaras for Education
  • Capybaras says, small classes for everyone! How small? If you can see them, they're still too big.
  • Capybaras, an International Capybara of Mystery, says "Oh, Behave!" During his presidency, disruptive kids will be booted out of the classroom (he has hoofs, after all) and shunted into their own classrooms until they learn to behave. An unenumerated right: The Right to Education for Kids Who Behave.
  • College costs: Why should a private university education cost more than a hardworking Capybara earns - every year? Is it all going to the students? No. These costs are getting out of control. Capybaras likes carrots but he knows how to use the stick. He'll reduce research grants to colleges that don't get their costs under control - with slower increases than inflation.

Capybaras for Economic Honesty
  • Pension underfunding: Capybaras knows the law - and the law lets companies underfund their pension plans. Baah. Capybaras won't allow these accounting gimmicks: let's close that gap until companies have fully funded the pensions they've promised.
  • Social security: Capybaras hopes to become an old Capybara who is not forced to nibble on wilted grass. If that's to happen, let's fund social security now. In fact, over the next half century, we should overfund social security so that each generation of capybaras pays for itself, not the previous generation.
  • Gross National Happiness: Capybaras supports the pursuit of health and happiness. To achieve a goal, you've got to measure it, so Capybaras will add Gross National Happiness and Gross National Health to our economic statistics. If Capybaras runs for reelection you'll see whether his policies made us happier, healthier and wealthier.
  • Realistic Budget Projections: Capybaras despises budget shenanigans. He'll make it a crime to use scams like artificial 'sunset provisions' to spend past our debt limits.
Capybaras for Healthcare
  • Universal healthcare: As all capybaras know, we pay for people's health care one way or the other - but when someone doesn't have coverage, the costs skyrocket. Capybaras proposes a basic universal healthcare plan, paid for through payroll deductions. Want your share to go toward a better but more expensive plan? No problem, as long as it covers everything the universal plan covers, and more. Healthy capybaras are happy capybaras!
Capybaras for Electoral Fairness
  • Capymandering: As your president, Capybaras wants legislation that makes districting fair and apolitical, to eliminate gerrymandering.
  • Electoral College: One Capybara, one vote! Let's allocate votes proportionally within each state.
  • Voting Shenanigans: As your President, Capybaras will make vote counting fair and consistent, and keep partisans from positions of election oversight. Capybaras will personally flog and neuter folks who intentionally interfere with the fairness of an election.
Capybaras for Online Privacy:
  • A heads up from Capybaras: when you're online with the big search engines - especially Google and Gmail - you have no privacy. If you're not worried about this now, you will be, because Google keeps track of everything you've searched for, forever, and it might become subpoenable and public - even if your gardener sues you and challenges your character. Capybaras challenged his gardener's character, and believe me, it wasn't fun for anyone. In combination with your email and calendar, Big Brother is back. Capybaras will give Google a gentle slap on the hoof, and see to it that Google and its cohorts delete your search history - and all other private data - that's more than a month old.
Capybaras for Animal Welfare:
  • Factory farming: When Capybaras is president, abusers of animals will be shot. Even if they are animals themselves. We'll also ban veal and foie gras, and punish violators by locking them in narrow cages and force feeding them until they pop. Then we'll compost their remains to help grow luscious organic food.
  • Organic food: Is that organic label for real or are they stretching the truth? Capybaras will put your mind at ease by setting stringent standards for organic labeling. We'll put violators in the foie gras cages.
Capybaras for Arms Control:
  • Who deserves the right to arm bears? Responsible bears. Most gun crimes are connected to just a few gun dealers, and we can't have that. Capybaras will put those gun dealers in the foie gras cages.
  • Capybaras will also ban sales of semiautomatics, and make sure all guns are registered after a waiting period. Remember: an arm for an arm, a bear for a bear.
Remember: a vote for a capybara is a vote well voted! Capybaras United for President in 2008!

Monday, September 04, 2006

13.9 miles to Riverside State Park

Stir crazy after just too little biking, I headed north on the Hudson River bike path for an afternoon Labor Day ride. Took it easy except when some fellow tried to pass me when I slowed down to avoid a gaggle of pedestrians. That wasn't fair! So once we got past the pedestrians I had to pass him, of course.

On the way back I passed a dozen geese who were fraternizing in the 60's on the grass near the water. Some kayakers were also making the most of the day.

Hours later my back started giving me real problems. So the chiro says no exercise for the upcoming week - not even swimming, which I ordinarily wouldn't be into (but gotta get that exercise somehow).

Sunday, September 03, 2006

11.9 miles to Fairway

Bearette's friend T visited us this weekend from DC. We all had a great time. We played scrabble, heard about T's band (they are finishing up an album), and ate well. We patronized these fine dining establishments:

Il Bastardo: The only disappointment of the weekend. We had never been here before - because of the moronic name - although this is the sister restaurant to Cara Mia, which is quite good. It was a nice atmosphere though - the glass doors were opened up, so we sat half in and half out of the restaurant. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and I'm never cold, but it began to get a bit too windy and rainy. Their bathrooms are incredible though - they take up the entire downstairs and have the feel of a posh and trendy spa.

Good
: On Saturday morning, T and Bearette headed off to Pilates so I went here alone. I had a craving for scrambled eggs, and they have amazing scrambled eggs.

Angelica Kitchen: We had a croquette dish which was the special of the day. At Angelica the thing to get is the special of the day; call ahead to make sure it's a good one. If the word 'croquette' is spoken, it will be a good one.

We stopped by B&N and then bumped into S on the way home. At home, scrabble was played (and won!)

Le Graine: The rebranding of Le Gamin, with better service. In the past you would wait at least an hour for your food, once a table even opened up. Now it's much more manageable. For Sunday brunch I had french toast ("pain perdu") with scrambled eggs.

Dallas BBQ: Just joking -- we have never gone here. This swamp does attract a following, with its bargain "two whole chickens for $9.99" and patrons the size of trucks.

We talked through the far West Village, by the water, then returned T to her train.

BTW for the curious among my myriad blog friends, on Thursday I set the office record at the chiropractor's: level 30 on the "Stim"! He admitted that the machine would go past 30, but he refused to increase it further. The previous recordholder got a 28.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More sets with Allen

We had a good workout - I didn't go crazy (on the advice of the chiro) but Allen did encourage me to add weight to the Leg Press, which made it more fun.

Yesterday I got the MRI results back - alas, a herniated disc at L5-S1 (the lower back)! Supposedly if I do the back exercises, it may get 95% better in a couple of weeks. Seems brief for a herniated anything, but what do I know.

BTW, for those of you who haven't had an MRI, they're (shockingly) -- fun! They make all sorts of noises while you're in them -- a disco/breakbeat rhythm with funky tones. Despite what they say, it's not particularly claustrophobic; it's wide, and the area past your head is open to the outside. Plus it was just 15 minutes, with the musical scans taking just 2 or 3 minutes apiece.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A bunch of sets with Allen

How many? Can't remember, but you know it's a good workout when you start getting nauseous ;-). Only briefly though, thankfully.

I've been going everywhere by bike these days, even to client meetings. Much faster than being stuck in NYC traffic! Alas, my back has been burning intermittently - probably from carrying the bike up and down staircases so much - and the chiropractor's trying to get me to ease up briefly. Traumatic especially because the weekend's so close. Not sure whether to follow the advice. I'm leaning toward a compromise: not biking to the office because of the staircase, but continuing with my glorious Saturday rides.

He did suggest a fun stretch that doubles as an ab exercise. Lying down, with legs out straight, you lift them to a 20 degree angle. Then bring your knees to a 90 degree angle, and use your arms to pull your knees toward you, which stretches the spine. Then you release and bring your legs back to a 90 degree angle, and straighten your legs as you lower them until the 20 degree point. Repeat 15 times, without letting your legs touch the ground, and you'll feel it in your abs!

The chiropractor thinks I am "competitive". He has a device that applies electrical stimulation to your back, with power that ranges from 1 to 30. Apparently I kept asking him to raise it, trying to beat the previous recordholder. Last time I got up to level 19, this time level 22 ... the record is 24.

Friday, August 18, 2006

20.5 morning miles past Van Cortland Park

Woke up right before the airplane I was in was about to crash, in my dream. It was a night flight, and the plane had been going suspiciously slowly and low, not even reaching the tops of the buildings it was dodging. It lacked the oomph to gain altitude. Anxiety surged through me as I realized it was the end. Then I woke up and realized I was at home.

Just around a week ago I had a similar dream, where I got some scrape on my pinky toe while visiting Donald Trump. Conveniently a doctor was nearby. He diagnosed it as four or five types of cancer combined, at least one of them being a rapidly fatal one. Another bout of anxiety and attempt to come to grips with upcoming death, before I woke up.

What is it with these dreams!

When I woke up this morning, it was early - just over 5 hours of sleep - but it's no fun to go back to sleep after an anxiety dream so I got up, did a bit of work, and headed out for the bike ride. Pretty fast ride, without much traffic. Picked up speed on the way back as a fellow on a Serotta would occasionally try to pass me and I'd pick up speed to stay ahead. Then after a while I'd get complacent and slow down and this would repeat. Two miles from home, he actually did pass me, for about 10 seconds. Kicking myself for my laziness, I pumped the pedals and surged ahead of him, keeping that pace til I got home.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

19 sets with Allen

May have been more, I wasn't paying attention. We had a nice little workout.

Earlier, P took Bearette, me and his sister to the Yale club for lunch. He didn't go to Yale. A fun time was had, even with their oppressively formal dress code. Thanks P!

Bearette is trying to read this over my shoulder, but she knows the rules - no reading til it's posted!