Friday, July 21, 2017

Run #4: 2 Miles

These are handy to ensure you don't cheat on the amount of time you stretch.  An alternative is to say three Hail Marys and one Our Father...thinking about the words as you pray.  That is WHILE stretching, not INSTEAD of stretching.  Three Our Fathers will also work.

Stretching fixed the issue with the cramping calves and hamstrings.  Three times a day with a minute for each muscle groups seems to be the right amount.

I got into some shin pain a quarter mile into the run.  It did not smooth up on its own.

Shin pain usually means I let my stride length get too long.  Long strides means I am heal-striking.  The shin muscles take the shock of the heal strike.

The other reason long strides cause shin pain is because the shin muscles must lift up the toe so it does not drag at mid-position when you pull that leg forward.

Shin pain is nature's way of telling me to shorten my stride.  (I also have shin issues when the sole of my shoe is too stiff.)  I shortened my stride and the shin pain went away.

It looks like I am back on track to run three miles on July 29.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Repealing Obamacare: A Gordian Knot

The short version is that there is an air-bubble in the siphon and nothing is going to happen.

The longer version is that individuals used to work for the same firm for most of their career or they carried their healthcare policy with them.

They over-paid for healthcare insurance when they were young and healthy.  Or, more likely, their upward wage growth was stunted by the premiums paid to support older, unhealthier employees.

Picture a man who was 45-to-65 when Obamacare vaporized the plan he was in.  Five years later he is having twinges.  Maybe he is pre-diabetic.  Maybe he needs new knees.  Perhaps he has a family history of heart disease.

The fact that Obamacare vaporized his old plan was partially offset by the fact that insurance companies were not allowed to take existing "preconditions" into account when setting rates.

That stipulation, that insurance companies cannot consider preconditions when setting rates, is one of the prime drivers of the Obamacare death spiral.

The issue of preconditions is also what is locking up the repeal or replacement of Obamacare by the Republicans.  It is not possible to roll back the calendar.  The insurance plans those baby-boomers used to pay into are gone, atomized and blown away.  So are the jobs.

The politicians painted themselves into a corner.  That vast tsunami of baby boomers vote!  Even stepping away from the healthcare insurance rodeo, the entire paradigm of working for one employer for 40 years is gone.  For that matter, the paradigm of working is gone for many people.  Automation continues to eliminate jobs.

So there is Billy Babyboomer.  He toiled through his twenties and thirties and forties.  And just as he is about to be on the receiving end of the system:  BAM!  TFB.

The same trajectory as Social Security and Pensions.  Healthcare just hit a little sooner.  It is not politics.  It is math.


I was recently given a lawn tractor.  It is a 1997 model.

It stopped working about five years ago.  The owner parked it behind his garage.

I picked it up today.

There are reasons why people give things away.

The original reason it stopped working was probably electrical.  The owner said, "I was mowing and hit a bump and the mower right now."  Sitting outside in the weather did not do it any good.

The original owner claims to not be "handy".  I was hoping that he gilded the lily so he could convince his wife that he needed a new mower.
The fuel tank is held in place with zip ties.

New fuel line and filter.  The fuel line looked to be original and was as stiff as a broom stick.  Oh, and it was cracked.

Purged the float bowl.  It was full of rust.

New battery.  The cables on the old battery were loose.  I wonder if that was the original problem.

With the new battery installed I can hear relays clicking  but the starter is not kicking in.  The next thing I should check is to see if the engine is frozen up.  No point in pouring more money into this if the motor is trash.  If I can roll the motor over by hand then I need to check the voltage at the starter and work backwards (or forward) from there.

Probably would not hurt to throw the charger on the new battery.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Yesterday's hero

Died December 31, 1972 delivering supplies to victims of an earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua.  Note that he was not a native of Nicaragua. He traveled with the supplies to ensure that they were not diverted by corrupt officials.
Management refused to pay him over $20,000 in 1960.

Today's hero
Contract for $126 million.  Yeah, the guy who is sitting.  Not fit to tie Roberto Clemente's shoes.

Running update

My "usual" run is three miles, basically around the block.

Today I was only able to run about one-third of the distance.  My calves and hamstrings were locking up.

I attribute it to not stretching on my day off.  I think I am going to have to stretch three times a day, every day.  Each problem muscle group requires a minute.  Since I am struggling with left-right/hamstrings-calves that is a minimum of four minutes stretching.  In total, I will be spending more time stretching than running.

I guess a gotta do what I gotta do.


Belladonna informs me that she is not a Millenial.  She is Gen Z.

According to Ryan Jenkins these are some of the differences:

How Generation Z Differs from Millennials
  •  More pragmatic.
  • More cautious.
  • More money conscious.
  • More face-to-face.
  • Less noticed.
  • More global.
  • Less educated.
  • More individualistic. 
  • More tech dependent.
  • Less parented.
  • More early-starts.
  • More disruptive.
  • More split-tasking.
  • Less focused.
  • More entrepreneurial.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spraying poison ivy in Salamandar's Orchard

I went out to Salamandar's Orchard to spray for poison ivy.

He had recently mowed it and it looked great.

I wonder if he came down with a case of poison ivy because the stuff was everywhere.

This picture is from April and was snapped from almost the same place as the photo above.

I sprayed between the trees. 

This crop will break the branch.  I need to remove about 1/3 off the end of this limb.
Two-thirds of the trees are carrying heavy crops.  My intention is to catalog and label the trees with regard to variety.  The few records that exist tell me that the original planting contained Jerseymac,  Liberty, Empire, Cortland, Jonafree, Golden Delicious, Melrose and Ida Red.  They should be different enough that we can make reasonable guesses.  Of course, the deer don't care what variety they are munching on.  It is more to satisfy curiosity than anything else.

Three-quarters of the top of this apple tree was removed.
This is what it looked like on May 9.
This is what it looked like after it was pruned.
This is what it looked like before it was pruned.
The flattened grass to the right and beyond the sprayer is where a deer had been bedded down.  This is a classic place for a deer to bed.  It has a panoramic view down-wind (to the left) and is on the cusp of a hill where the breezes will diminish biting insect pressure.  Security and comfort.
I took a slightly different way home today.

A seven foot tall Turk's Cap Lily standing in the sun.

Most farmers used to "hog out" swamps and swales to kill off the snakes.  That practice was devastating to plants like Turk's Cap Lily.  TCL has a large bulb that the hogs gobbled right up.  As an ornamental, the TCL cannot hold a candle to most of the modern hybrids, but it lightened my heart to see three of them hanging on in an out-of-the-way low spot.