Running for Your Life: Penguins in Anticlimax

So, you want to live in Park Slope Dept.

Overheard, a woman in a complaining tone, remarks to her friend while on a stroll in Prospect Park:

“I know tons of mothers. I have loads of them in my phone … ”

They’re back, these Penguins. Fresh off a 7-0 drubbing Sunday (May 21) of the Ottawa Senators, my homeland’s last remaining Stanley Cup hopeful in this year’s playoffs. The Sens are not out of it by any means, but they’ve got to find a way to beat a very determined foe, these Penguins.

Due to a quirk in the way the playoffs are run, the Penguins played and defeated the clear favorites to win the Cup this year: the Washington Capitals. Reasonable sports watchers will tell you the de facto Cup Final this year was that Pens-Caps series. Of course, in sports, any team can upset another. It’s just comes down to the better team needs to play in such a way that it beats itself for that to happen.

(Oh and ’nuff said about front-running. Been cheering for these Pens since they came into the league; still wince when I think of Eddie Westfall’s lone goal in the 1975 series in which the Islanders stormed back, winning four straight, and in Pittsburgh on that fateful Game 7, to defeat the Penguins, who’d been up 3-0 in games, and knock them out of the Cup semis. There would be 16 lean years before they would redeem themselves and win their first Cup, in Spring 1991.)

Fact is, I miss the Pens-Caps series. Each year, it seems, since the Penguin Cup runs of the early 1990s, they’ve been exciting and dynamic and, well, ninety percent of the time the Pens come out on top.

So let the Cup games continue. Me, I’ll be watching and following – but hankering for the next Pens-Caps tilt …

Next: Running for Your Life: The Write Stuff – Letters, That Is

Running for Your Life: Ridge Running

In the spirit of the wise woman who once said, Walk before you run.

Or is it, look before you leap?

In any case, this relatively old man runner is hitting the pause button on the marathon dream. For those keeping score at home (probably one, me, see previous post), I have now missed two races due to injury: the Brooklyn Marathon of 2015 and the Bay Ridge Half-Marathon in 2016.

I had, announced in this space, an intention to run in the 2017 edition of the County Marathon in Eastern Ontario. And I will, maybe, uh, in 2018.

Due to a professional event that I plan to announce at a later date that falls on the same weekend as the County Marathon, I have been forced to postpone the gratification of running in this beautiful part of the world, ringing the Lake Ontario shore.

Instead, I’ve decided to go back to Bay Ridge Half-Marathon and run along a different water course – the New York City bay waters of the Verrazano Narrows, Saturday, Oct. 7.

Thus, the walk before you run sentiment above … The Half before the next Big One.  Nevertheless, am looking forward to being in this, my first race since 2014 … !

Next: Running for Your Life: Penguins in Anticlimax   

Running for Your Life: Musical Twist

So,You Want to Live in Park Slope Dept.

Twisted song lyrics from a beloved musical floated to mind while running in Prospect Park (May 11) after seeing a primly dressed young woman, in a profoundly self-conscious manner, jog lightly along a paved path while a video cameraman (pre-wedding footage?) followed behind, shooting her.

Later in the run, I watched as a guide delivered remarks about park flora and fauna while more than half of those in attendance distractedly pored over information emanating from their pocket computers.

The park is many shades of green and finally leafy, but one wonders how many people truly notice, so distracted are they by whatever is beaming from their hands.

The twisted lyrics that even now I can’t banish from my mind?

“Doe, a deer, a female deer

Ray, a drop of golden sun

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself

Me, a name I call myself  … ”

Next: Running for Your Life: Ridge Running   

Running for Your Life: Thoughts on the French Election

So, France rejects the populist, alt-right alternative for something closer to Western rights-based centrist democracy.


Cherchez l’origine d’histoire.

Recently I wrote in this space about David Bellos’ The Novel of the Century , the publishing story behind “Les Miserables.”

Victor Hugo, the famous author, stirs debate about the sincerity of his reform leanings. Nevertheless, the French could agree that he was a national hero. When he died, 2 million people thronged into Paris streets to pay their respects.

Les Mis, one of my favorite stories, has introduced countless people to the ideas of the true revolutionary spirit: respect for the poor and incarcerated, equal rights for women, and a healthy skepticism regarding the ruling and noble classes.

A week ago I read an article in the London Review of Books about Grant Wood, the painter famous for “American Gothic.” An image of his “Daughters of the American Revolution” rolled me back on my heels. These dowdy gals represent the true face of the American style of “reform.” Determined to preserve their privileged place in American social-political history, and judgmental of the new and different to a fault, these ladies are the legacy of the Yankee style of revolution.

That late 18th century war in the new world was nothing more than a shifting of the British ruling class (United Empire Loyalists in my native Canada hold on to a similar stuck-in-time notion of decorum and privilege above all other values) for the American-born one. Fancy words in a declaration of independence offer no semblance to a deep regard for something as inclusive as liberty, equality and fraternity. (The absence of sorority notwithstanding …)

So doesn’t it stand to reason that Trump can happen here in the USA, if our traditions are closer to the DAR, marked today by a fierce need to hold on to status above all else? Is the DAR still a powerful group? Consider the DAR owns Constitution Hall, home to the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Think twice before messing with the DAR …

Next: Running for Your Life: Ridge Running   

Running for Your Life: Share This

What a downhill trajectory …

Once upon a time, business had a simple obsession with market share. The idea being that your product, or service, or whatever it is you're selling, should aspire to have a high (and higher!) percentage of the market share of business spending.

Almost twenty years ago, I edited a Wall Street Journal story on what was a new phenomenon in my books: stomach share.

In this instance, Coke marketers were investigating research algorithms to track a consumer’s stomach share, as in how much Coke was in an individual stomach, compared to other drinks and food, and what time of day too. Coke float for breakfast?

Okay, now under Trump’s deregulation regime, in which the FDA stands to be even less vigilant during Obama’s rule, expect vomit share to have its day.

Conjecture: Can we trust drug companies NOT to develop appetite suppression side effects to common medication so that, well, if not outright nausea-producing, the drug bits of their multibillion-dollar products show up in a greater and greater share of a consumer vomit. (Appetite suppression being critical to keep folks from, well, consuming other things beyond their drug products.)

Point of fact: Plenty of healthy food nutrients will treat most common ailments, but it’s not as though US health authorities go to any lengths to draw that to our attention.

Why would you think they would start to being concerned about consumers' total health and well-being now?

Truth is the “science” of drugs in America promote the drugmakers. As is “elite science” when it comes to debunking spiritualism, the topic of my next blog post, when Scientific American magazine set out to find definable proof that there is such a thing as ghosts …

Next: Running for Your Life: Through a Glass, Darkly