Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: Warm weather helps

Well, today is the end of February; two months of 2016 gone already.

My concerns at the beginning of the year were keeping up with my running, and how the cold weather would hamper my progress. Well, this week was another nice week (sure there were some nights below freezing, but all the days were above, some 70s even) that kept me on pace with my goals.

I got it two more 5k runs, for a total of 11 for the year. I even got in a “half 5k” one day when I needed a little something extra to push my activity tracker over my daily goal marker. Both 5Ks were a little slower — but both over a 6 mph average, so I’m still feeling good. The one day in particular I didn’t stretch out beforehand, and had done some serious workouts during a fit-camp session at the work wellness center, so I don’t think I had full recovery.

On swimming I am up to 15,000 yards for the year, with 1,950 put in last week. Once again Misfit caught me miscounting my laps. I’ve started adding some sprints one day a week for the swimming. I’me sure I should be doing more than the 4 sprints, but I’m building up at least.

Finally, to the cycling — I’m up to 567 miles for the year, 63 of them during the past week. My average speed is holding around 12.4 mph — running the dog with the bicycle keeps bringing it down (he averages 7 mph), so my other cycling has to bring it back up. But, hey, he has to keep up his fitness too.

Posted in Music, Uncategorized

#71: Blessed day of Rest and Cheer

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Blessed day of rest and cheer!

Day divine, to us so dear!

When we gather, old and young,

Joining here in pray’r and song.


Now the week of toil is o’er,

And in peace we sit once more;

In Thy presence, gracious Lord,

Waiting for thy holy Word.


Lor,d our god, we seek Thy face,

Bless us with sustaining grace.

May Thy heralds ev’ry where,

Faithfully Thy truth declare.


Let Thy mighty word hold sway

Over all our hearts today,

Hung’ring souls, good Shepherd, feed,

Into pastures green us lead.


May, O Lord, the day be near,

When we pass from trials here

Into Thine eternal rest,

In the mansions of the blest.


Posted in Uncategorized

A Presumption of Innocence – Amanda S. Green

(Note: I found this blog below very disturbing for the excellent analysis it did on the legal trends today, and how they are hacking away at basic rights — “protecting” one group by denying another group basic rights.)


A Presumption of Innocence – Amanda S. Green One of the most fundamental premises of criminal law in this nation is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. This one idea – or ideal,…

Source: A Presumption of Innocence – Amanda S. Green

Posted in Reviews

Inside Out

I will admit I was rather impressed by this Disney Pixar movie. The concept is relatively simple, but the movie itself is filled with a lot of nuance and details.

The concept of headquarters and the console is very well done. The introductions of the emotions and what they do is informative and entertaining. But this line below is probably the core around which the whole movie actually revolves:

“You’ve met sadness — I’m not exactly sure what she does.”

One of the chief motifs of the movie is the concept of core memories. Follow them closely.

“Another thing to watch for is the line: After all, Riley’s 11 now, what could happen ….”

And of course, you know what happens. Well, not specifically, but that is enough of a trope to know to expect something.

Joy wants everything to be happy at any cost, sometimes at the expense of the other emotions and their important roles. Each emotion does have a place, and figuring them out is what the emotions do during this movie.

The movie is a journey of “internal” discovery, but not discovery of the “main character” but of the emotions themselves. Watching joy be sad and cry (spoiler) is a very complex moment.

This movie reminds me of the Disney short from around World War II, that showed the struggle between reason and emotion, but much better and more fully developed.

And beware: you may never get the  Triple Dent Gum commercial out of your head 😉

Posted in Music, Uncategorized

#70: Holy, Holy Holy

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

Today’s hymn is probably one of the select hymns that is widely known. It is also one of those hymns that has solid, obvious theology as its theme. This is a joyous celebration of the Trinity, a mystery of the faith that makes all the difference in the way we see God, and thus the world and our relationship with Him. Though beyond understanding, the Trinity is not beyond experiencing. And so we celebrate it.


Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!


Holy, Holy, Holy, All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art and evermore shalt be.


Holy, Holy, Holy! Tho the darkness hide Thee,

Tho the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;

Only Thou art holy — there is none beside Thee

Perfect in pow’r, in love and purity.


Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.



Posted in Church, Social Issues

In case it wasn’t clear the first time …

I posted a blog back in November about what science really is, what it can and cannot prove. Unfortunately the whole world didn’t get a chance to read and understand it, so I am still capable of running into people who make the same mistake about science.

In the middle of a wonderful scriptural exegisis recently I heard the speaker explain how we know science better than the Genesis writers, who made light on the first day, but the sun and moon not until the fourth. After all, science has told us all about how the sun and moon and earth move.

Now, if you look at my post about science, you can easily read the fallacy here. An appeal to science to explain something that happened in a timeline. But while all our science can tell us about gravity, and the motion of the heavenly bodies, it can’t tell us about the past. We have no idea about any other factors that might have occurred.

And, hey, we are talking about creation here. If a CGI cartoonist can start paining a scene and put light in it before getting to the point sources of light (sun, moon, light bulb, etc.) for ambient light, why can’t God light the universe without needing sun, moon and stars first. How does science tell us anything about that timeline?

We need to stop thinking we know so much about a science that really tells us so little.

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Update: taking advantage of a warm February

Last week was a warm week for February — some might say unseasonably warm for Missouri — though when you look at the stats, we may get more weather like this in February than we remember. It just isn’t something you can count on.

That said, a lot of people got out to exercise and enjoy the heat while it lasted.  I was one of them. The 70s came on Thursday and lasted through Saturday, and I got out during all of them for some time. The bike trails I traveled Saturday were especially crowded. I even saw bicycle-mounted police officers for the first time.

So, now to recap the week’s progress. MisFit worked well for me with tracking swimming on Thursday — once again I swam 1,050 yards when I thought I swam 1,000 yards. Friday I swam again, but couldn’t get it to tag the swimming. It wasn’t until I got back to my app that I realized I had somehow turned off tagging — my fault, but also not the best design where it is that easy to turn it off when you just mean to change tagging activities. So now I am up to 13,050 yards swam for the year.

On cycling, I crossed the 500-mile mark on Saturday with a 30-mile bike trip to Tiffany Springs and back.That means I’ve completed all the miles needed to be on track for the month of February. gives me another week to start working on my March miles.

For running, I did a 5K Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning. That brings me up to 9 for the year. I also increased my average speed on each. My previous best was 6.39 mph, but on Thursday my average was 6.62 and Saturday was 6.82. I had wondered whether my improved performance was due more to the changing weather, but am certain that at least some of it is due to actual physical improvement. The weather was 70 for my afternoon run Thursday, but the Saturday run was done in the morning as the sun was rising. I started when it was 45 and finished when it was about 50 degrees (the temperatures rose quickly when the sun came up). The light gloves I wore came in handy. I still wore shorts and a T-shirt, and managed to sweat it out between the shoulder blades, and need to wipe sweat from my forehead before it occluded my eyes.

As you can tell, Saturday was a duathlon day. I started with the 5K, and then pumped out the 30 miles on the bicycle (with an hour between to eat a high-protein breakfast). The last time I did the 30-miles route, I averaged 15.4 mph on the way over, which dropped to 15.2 by the time I got back. This Saturday it was 13.5 on the way over, rising to 13.7 on the way back. I experienced some minor winds, but not enough (or so I thought) to explain that much of a drop. Obviously to me the 5K took enough out of me to tap my umph on the bike ride. What was interesting is that it seemed like I was recovering on the way back, and was able to increase my output. The running definitely takes more out of me than the cycling. I don’t seem to have a way to max my output on the bicycle — though I can max my ability to go any faster.


Posted in Music, Uncategorized

#69: Safely Through Another Week

(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


Safely through another week God has brought us on our way;

Let us now a blessing seek, Waiting in His courts today:

Day of all the week the best, Emblem of eternal rest;

Day of all teh week the mest, EMblem of eternal rest.


While we pray for pard’ning grace Thru the dear Redeemer’s name,

Show Thy reconciled face, Take away our sin and shame;

From our worldly cares set free, May we rest this day in Thee;

From our wordly cares set free, May we rest this day in Thee.


Here we come Thy name to praise — Let us feel thy presence near;

May Thy glory meet our eyes While we in Thy house appear;

Here afford us, Lord, a taste Of our everlasting feast;

Here afford us, Lord, a taste Of our everlasting feast.


May Thy gospel’s joyful sound Conquer sinners, comfort saints;

May the fruits of grace abound, Bring relief for all complaints;

Thus may all our Sabbaths prove, Till we join the Church above;

Thus may all our Sabbaths prove, Till we join the Church above.


Posted in Social Issues

Silver Bells — lessons in being American

One of my favorite movie scenes is the “Silver Bells” scene from the movie The Lemon Drop Kid. To me it as one of those all-American type scenes. And it is a scene that could never be made today.

The scene paints what some might call a Norman Rockwell type Christmas scene that the main characters wander through while singing “Silver Bells”, all to advance the plot of the movie. But this is in New York City, and most of the illustrations of Christmas are highly, sometimes subtly, ethnic. Those vignettes, especially the one with the Chinese kids, are why the scene could not be made. The stereotypes used would raise the hue and cry of racism, possibly sexism.

And yet that is what makes this all-American. All these people, all these backgrounds, sharing the common holiday, yet still with the flavors of their ethnic backgrounds, all as Americans. Sure, they are Polish, German, Chinese, Slavic, etc., but first and most importantly of all they are American. And they can be proud of it.

Today the hyphens and distinctions get bigger. Back in the Lemon Drop Kid days all those people would have become more and more American, would have dropped old world rivalries in the quest to be American.

Today, we encourage them to keep the old world connections, keep the distinctions, and not blend in. We think this is helping them preserve their heritage, getting rid of old stereotypes. But what we don’t realize is all that really happens is old stereotypes get replaced by new ones. People who would have been outsiders for awhile now become outsiders always. 

Sure, the old system wasn’t perfect, but the examples of why and how it wasn’t perfect show that the new was is not the best way. It didn’t always include groups; we ended up with ethnic enclaves like Chinatown in various cities. But this showed that encouraging ethnic enclaves means a failure, not a success of the system.

We want to be careful about looking at scenes from old movies, like the one that started this post, and feel that we are more superior than they are — look how far we’ve come, etc. — because, as this analysis shows, they achieved a lot of things that we are now unraveling and tearing down without even realizing it. Certainly is enough to cure me of Chronological Snobbery.