Saturday, January 30, 2010

2764 Feet Rant

Saturday, January 30, 2010

If we really believed in recycling, we'd sign our Christmas cards in pencil.


Back in the seventies, during that period when I was playing suburban housewife, I took a lot of aerobic classes - those dealies where you'd learn a heart-pumping dance routine. The classes all insisted that you had to wear big, stiff, clunky running shoes, claiming that barefoot or in soft shoes you'd slip on sweat on the floor and injure yourself.

I hated that requirement, for two reasons:

1.) Balance. In a soft dance slipper I can feel what my feet are doing in relation to the floor, so I can feel a slip beginning and recover quickly. Maybe I'd slip less often in stiff shoes, but if and when I did, it's likely to be much worse. Since the likelihood of a slip in running shoes is not zero, I prefer having more control over my feet.

I was later proven right on this - a slip in running shoes is more likely to result in much more severe ankle injury than multiple slips in soft shoes.

2.) Heel function. Humans are not meant to come down hard on our heels. We are meant to come down on the ball of the foot, and the heel is meant to be a shock absorber and stabilizer. I walk on the balls of my feet. My heels touch the ground slightly later and lightly. Running shoes force you to come down on your heel first, and that just isn't natural. I objected to wearing stiff shoes for aerobics exercises because it's high impact, and my hips and lower back just couldn't take that much pounding.

It's one of the reasons I don't like high heels - it's difficult to walk naturally because the heel is going to hit first unless you take tiny steps.

Well, after 35 years, I have finally been proven right on the heel-vs-ball issue, too. See the article at


It's the custom in this country to put hard-soled shoes on a toddler as soon as he learns to walk, "so the foot will develop properly". Huh? Like, walking naturally on your foot will cause it to develop unnaturally? That makes no sense.

I was kind of lucky. I didn't get my first hard-soled shoes until I was in first grade in the north and the school insisted on them, because my feet were too small, and my mother couldn't find shoes that weren't so long they tripped me. So my legs, feet, and gait developed naturally.

According to the article above, walking ball first requires different muscle development in the calf and foot (so maybe that's why I have an unusually high instep and, uh, well-developed calves, to put it nicely). That makes it difficult for a heel-first walker to convert to ball-first.

Many hiking clubs require hiking boots that "support the ankle". I object to them for the same reasons as listed above. Plus, I can't walk in the damn things. I keep trying to point my toes, and the stiff ankle won't let me. They force a stiff heel-first flat foot. Very hard on my back.

And, again, a misstep in high ankle hiking boots might save the ankle, but is more likely to cause a more devastating injury to the knee.

I used to get into arguments with people who seemed to think they know better. I don't argue any more. It useless. People don't want to hear it. They already know what (the marketeers have told them) is true.


And don't even ask about those stupid "earth shoes" with "negative heel technology". Here's their theory: "When you look at footprints in beach sand, you see that the heel imprint is deeper, therefore the natural way to walk is with the heel down, so the best walking shoe brings the heel down first and lower than the ball."

Save me from their distorted logic.

Like, it hadn't occurred to anyone that 1) the beach walkers' gait had already been distorted by wearing rigid soles all their lives, and 2) the heel, being narrower than the ball, sinks deeper in the sand even when the weight distribution is equal.

That's like saying that since most people prefer a Big Mac to brown rice with vegetables, the Big Mac must therefore be healthier and more natural.



A bit of foot trivia - there's a reality show on PSB right now, a bunch of people who want to be vintners going through a bunch of exercises to avoid elimination and win an internship. They dumped grapes into a vat, whence they'd be fed into a crusher, and one over-enthusiastic woman threw a high-booted leg over the side of the vat and gave the grapes a stomp.

I'd have pitched her out right then and there.

Yeah, it's village tradition to stomp grapes with feet. Bare feet. Bare, not booted. Feet as opposed to any other tool because it's the yeast that grows naturally on bare feet that gives the wine a start on fermenting and a particular flavor.

I'd have thrown that woman out because although she knew of the tradition, she didn't know the why of the tradition, and that's basic.

2763 Haiti, S.K.'s Roadwork

Saturday, January 30, 2010

There are better ways to get to the top of a tree than by sitting on an acorn.


3 degrees F out there today. I hate winter.


"The Doctors" yesterday had the four doctors in Haiti. The doctors worked in a tent, seeing people with horrific wounds that had gone days without treatment. They didn't have the equipment or medications they needed, had to make do with what was available. Many of the medicines were from other countries, and the labels were in some unknown language, and they had to assume it was whatever someone told them it was.

The camera didn't turn delicately away from injuries. Some were so bad I couldn't believe those people were walking, and many injuries had to be treated without anesthesia. The doctors had to go outside often to regain emotional control.

I'd seen a lot of photos from Haiti, and a lot of video clips, but this show affected me more than anything else. It wasn't a reporter standing on the street talking. It was the trenches.

From another direction, something I'd noticed that amazed me - when you see the Hatian people in the streets, or the tent villages, or even when they were turning up at the medical centers, the people are always wearing clean and neat clothes. Funeral attendees are wearing blinding white, without a smudge. I don't know how they manage that given the conditions - which, by the way, are not in the least exaggerated.


I'm halfway through Stephen King's Roadwork. It's one of the old "Richard Bachman" non-supernatural books. In the story, Bart and Mary have been married twenty years, I guess (I'm not going to look it up), through the loss of their only child. A highway is being built through their neighborhood, and through the commercial laundry where Bart is a manager. Bart goes a little crazy, refusing to accept the inevitable, and doesn't close on the new laundry building or the new house by the deadline, thereby losing his job, and ensuring that he and Mary will be homeless within a month or so.

When Mary finds out, she leaves him. For me, this was a THUD in the flow of the book.

Duh? There was no indication of problems in the marriage, like that she was unhappy and looking for a way out. I cannot conceive of leaving as a response. I would express shock and anger I suppose, then I'd take over. I'd find a place for us to move to, I'd get a job, and I'd sit down and talk talk talk with my husband to find out what's wrong, why he has done something so very out of character, and get him help dealing with his problems. Obviously, he's really hurting, and I would take care of him.

Mary's response was more like "If you aren't going to feed, house, and clothe me, I'm outta here!" I have no sympathy for her any more.

Friday, January 29, 2010

2762 XYZ Corp: "Call me MISTER XYZ!"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Huston Smith, on faith: "We may do things we think are wrong,
but we cannot believe things we think are false."


The recent Supreme Court decision that corporations, being "persons", have the same rights to make campaign contributions as human people scares me. Future governments will pretty much be hand-selected by corporations, and eventually we peons will be governed by corporations. They'll get anything they want.

It's not only on the national stage. A large company that wants local concessions - taxes, prime residential real estate condemned for building a new headquarters, restrictive laws against smaller competitors - can just ensure that city or town candidates friendly to their goals will have huge war-chests with which to bulldoze the opposition.

I don't understand SCOTUS' thinking on this at all. They're supposed to address only constitutional issues, and I gather they think they're applying the first amendment to corporate personhood, but how can they possibly think that was the intent of the founders?

Congress has GOT to fix this, by changing the law that endowed corporations with "personhood". I think it had something to do with income tax on corporations. But given that they are more concerned with reelection than future effects, I doubt it. Term limits! It's the only way to make them honest!

Anyway, one corporation with a conscience (or maybe they're just worried about larger competitors legislating them out of existence, whatever) has taken the issue on, with humor.
"The progressive PR firm Murray Hill Inc. has announced that it plans to satirically run for Congress in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th congressional district to protest the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision. A press release on its website says that the company wants to “eliminate the middle man[this is a link to Murray Hill's website, and it also is funny/not funny] and run for Congress directly, rather than influencing it with corporate dollars..."
The article is at It's amusing, and the short video at the end lays it all out. "It's our democracy. We bought it, we paid for it, and we're going to keep it." The longer video scared me a little.

Hey, Maryland - elect Murray Hill Inc.! At least they have a conscience, so they can't be any worse than what we've got. Send the message!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

2761 Subdued snow

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Harvey Korman, on his using Viagra: "It would be like
putting a new flagpole on a condemned building."


The weather guys were saying we'd get blizzard conditions this morning, but that total accumulation would be only 2-3 inches. I've got 2 now, and it's still snowing.

I hate winter.

I guess a lot of people must have heard only the "blizzard" part. I went to the grocery store, and the shelves were practically empty! Milk, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, bread (my shopping list), all the good stuff was gone.

I parked at the bottom of the driveway when I got back, just in case.

BTW - do not buy the Ronnybrook drinkable yogurt in mango flavor. It tastes good, but that flavor just doesn't go with the texture and color. It's kind of like eating blue meat. Just not right. Cringeworthy.


The vet told me Jasper might be a bit subdued this morning, not eating, maybe even a bit of fever, from his shot yesterday. He hasn't played with his ball-in-the-tube, but otherwise he seems to be ok. Yelled for food and petting.

I have heard that the greater the reaction that one has to inoculations, the better the preventive effect, since a reaction indicates an immune system response. So I'd rather he acted sick.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2760 Three days

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ignorant men don't know what good they hold in their hands until they've flung it away.
-- Sophocles --


I've been watching the Bear Cam ( - works better on Internet Explorer). Can't see much, but the cub is very noisy - even over the constant hum. Little motorboat putter, punctuated by squeals and screams when he feels cold, has to go potty, or can't find the nipple. I haven't decided whether the cub is so loud because momma is dormant, or that mother nature makes the momma dormant so she doesn't kill the annoying little bastard.

I know I would have by now....


I'm hearing more and more about relatively young people with jobs, cars, and ipods borrowing from their IRAs and 401Ks, just to pay off credit cards. That's scary.


I've been educated. "She been knew that" is the past tense of "She be knowing that", therefore it's more correct than the more commonly heard "She done knowed that".


Saw Precious with my Meetup group on Sunday. There were originally seven, then one woman canceled the day before, one canceled two hours before, and one simply didn't show up, leaving four. Then three of us went to dinner after. Good conversation - and if you see Precious, it's a good idea to talk about it after.

A lot of people have described it as depressing. I did not find it so much depressing as realistic. The story would have been much more depressing if she hadn't gotten pregnant. Her life would have just gone on and on without change.


Dinner at Cafe Maya last night. I was a tiny bit disappointed because they didn't have the chicken dish I'd had before - it was a special that night - but they have another similar, with just spinach and mushrooms under the chicken instead of the mixed roasted veggies, so I was satisfied. Three of us stayed talking for almost an hour after the others left. A good evening.


Jasper went to the vet today for his annual exam and inoculations. He always has fits when I first put him in the carrier. He actually tore his nose and upper lip on the door grid trying to get through it. But at the vet's he's very good. Lets the vet do anything (Miss Thunderfoot used to fight the vet), and hides his head under my arm when the vet's not poking at it. He was purring so loud the whole time that the vet couldn't hear his heart, and his behind was vibrating from the purring.

That part I don't understand. The purring when he was obviously stressed. He doesn't purr that much at home.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2759 Thrum thrum

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.
-- George Bernard Shaw --


My movie group is meeting this afternoon for "Precious" and dinner. Naturally, it's raining. There were seven people who signed up for this movie, but there's one woman who has signed up for everything so far in the two groups, and she has canceled (or not shown up) every time. As expected, she canceled again, so there'll be six of us.

Between the two groups (movie and singles') I have 53 members. The singles' group will be attending an auction the first weekend in February. After that, I don't have the faintest idea what to do with them next.


Heard yesterday:

A guy saw his girlfriend with another man, "engaging in sexual orientation with him." The girlfriend denied that any "sexual orientation was going on". They said it several times. They confused me.

A woman said of another, "she been knew that". Not a slip of the lip as I first thought. Repeated.

Sigh. Our school taxes at work.

I watched some videos of the next crop of Amazing Race contestants. A married couple said that they had always wanted to do this, and "were humbled by" getting "this far", chosen to compete.

Humbled? I hear that a lot these days, that someone is "humbled" by something that pleases them enormously. I guess they're trying not to gloat. Trying to look (inappropriately) humble. I guess that's PC talk. The correct word is "honored". It's the fashion to replace "honored" by "humbled", I guess.

I also object to overuse of the word "hero". I seems to me that someone hired to do a job, trained to do that job, who does something well within the expected set of duties for that job, not outside expectations, is not a hero for doing the job. Sorry, Scully. You're one hell of a pilot, but not a hero.

A professional firefighter who goes into a burning building is not a hero. That's part of the job definition. A volunteer fireman who does the same thing might be considered a hero, because he didn't necessarily sign up for that. And so on.

I just fuss that calling anyone and everyone a hero because we are grateful for what they do, or because they survived some danger, dilutes the meaning of "hero".

Same thing with standing ovations. When people get them just for showing up, they no longer have meaning.

I'm getting meaner and nastier as I sit here. That mysterous far-off "thrum thrum thrum" sound outside is back today, and it's driving me crazy. I can't escape it. Even high volume on the TV doesn't cover it.

Next house is going to be deep in a valley.