high-minded drivel

high-minded (adjective) - refined; cultured; particularly civilized. drivel (noun) - senseless talk; nonsense.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Focusing on the real issues

This morning it's my lower latissimus dorsi that are aching a bit.  As I've continued getting back into the habit of working out, one muscle group at a time has taken its turn getting sore, which is actually a good thing (both that they are getting sore and that they're doing it one at a time).  First it was the biceps and quadriceps, then it was the semitendinosus and pectoralis, then the triceps, and now the latissimus dorsi.  If you've known them for a long time and have been accepted as part of their in-group, you would know them as bi's, quads, hams, pecs, tri's, and lats.  I'm most familiar with lats, having gone to high school with him.  Blogger is apparently not familiar with semitendinosus and pectoralis, because it doesn't recognize either.  Occasionally a friend named traps will show up, but the others tend to keep him at arm's length, not feeling as though he can be entirely trusted, as suggested by his name.

The exercise that prompted my lower lats to hurt is what I refer to as "side bends."  Basically, you hold a weight in one hand at your side, bend to that side, and then return to a full upright position.  Then repeat 9-11 times.  "Side bends" therefore seems like a very appropriate description of the exercise.  Probably if I said "side bends" to somebody, they could make a reasonable guess at which exercise I was referring to.  It would be less likely that someone would know what I was talking about if I referred to another one of my regular exercises by the name I have for it, which is "LL Cool J's."  I have searched in vain for a video of the Conan O'Brien episode that explains this.

Election day is Tuesday, so yesterday I made an attempt to educate myself on the candidates.  This attempt was rather unsuccessful.  If you go to each candidate's actual website, everything looks good.  Whether it be a candidate for the President of the United State or a candidate for the County Soil Monitoring Board (oddly, that was the first made-up thing to come to mind), it's clear that the candidate will in fact save the world from evil and usher in a new day of peace and prosperity for all.  Since you don't get much useful information from each candidate's personal website, where should you turn?  The media?  See my last post for the answer to that question.  To the blogosphere?  Maybe, if you can find a good site.  In lieu of all of these, I've found myself going to Wikipedia.  However, even Wikipedia isn't a whole lot of help.  Therefore, in a move that would make most real politicians throw up their hands in disgust, I resort to throwing up my hands in disgust and voting for the candidate with the least negative advertising, with some weight given to which party is currently in power.

My reasoning for the latter portion of this "decision-making rubric" is that neither party's philosophy is completely right or completely wrong.  That's why we even have a debate in the first place - because there are strong arguments for both sides.  The effects of policy decisions don't come to fruition during the tenure of the person in power, but only after years have passed and things have worked their way through the system. And to actually implement policy decisions to any extent, an office-holder needs to continue in office, probably for more than one term, and have the support of other office-holders around him or her.  When voting, giving weight to the party currently in power is essentially like trying to give the party some chance to implement their ideas rather than being cut short without any progress ever being made.  There is an obvious argument to be made that this voting approach would result in the same party always being in power, but that's not entirely true.  At some point you will have had a chance to see if the party's ideas are working out, and if they aren't then you can vote in the opposing party.

What I've outlined here is, in a word, failproof.

In addition to semitendinosus and pectoralis, Blogger does not recognize the word "failproof."

When it comes to voting, Nate prefers to take the route of the absentee ballot.  This really is the more proactive approach, as it guards against not getting a chance to make it to the polls on Election Day.  Nate would claim that his reason for voting absentee is laziness, but clearly if you're requesting that a ballot be sent to you, then you place some importance on the matter.  My preference is to go to the polls in person.  It feels good to wake up early, walk down the block, and be first in line to cast my vote, even if my vote is just driven by the previously outlined "failproof strategy."  It's like one of those things that feels better if you engage in the traditional activity with no short-cuts, like reading a hard-copy book rather than reading online.  Or (horror) calling someone on a good old land-line phone rather than instant-messaging them.  Or making cake from scratch rather than using a box mix.  Or using a bar of soap rather than shower gel.  Is anybody feeling me on this?  You can rock the vote however you want, but you can rock hardest if you actually go to the concert.

I am exceedingly proud of myself for coming up with that last line.

Of course, getting to the polls early requires some efficiencies in the morning routine.  This is fairly simple for me, as my morning routine is already six-sigma, TQM, Honda/Toyota-tested and certified.

Step 1: Arise.

Step 2: Shower.  Although I commented on the appeal of bar soap above, I do use shower gel, as it allows you to combine two steps (shampoo and soap) into one.  I used to get the combo shower gel that said "Hair and Body Wash" on the bottle (my emphasis added), but now I'll just use any shower gel, even if it isn't supposed to serve as shampoo.  This lack of insistence on a product specifically designated for hair is driven by a book from my childhood titled Ida Early Comes Over the Mountain.  Ida Early is this hill-jack lady who comes to nanny these kids who have lost their mom, and she's really cool and teaches them how to do all kinds of things, like lasso pigs.  Anyway, at some point in the book she's getting a shower and she asks the kids to toss her something to clean her hair with, and for some reason all they have is dish detergent.  Ida is like "That's fine, it's all the same stuff anyway." I believe Ida was correct, and have adopted her approach.

Step 3: Dress.  This is very simple, as the only real decision is about which tie to wear, and that decision has been made the night before.  Everything else is on a regular rotation.  Once a shirt is worn, it moves to the back of the line.  Same for underwear.  Every item gets its turn, every item is treated the same.  It's like clothing communism.

Step 4: Eat breakfast.  This is done standing up at the kitchen counter.  You eat faster, and it burns more calories than sitting.

Step 5: Tie tie.  This isn't included in step 3 above because, although not noted, I do brush my teeth after eating breakfast, and I don't want to have my tie in the way while leaning over the sink.  This last step of putting on my tie can be the difference between getting out the door at 7:00 and making the bus or getting out the door at 7:02 and missing the bus.  It wouldn't be an issue but for the fact that I still use the crutch of a mirror to tie my tie.  If I learned to tie my tie without the help of a mirror then I could always just do it while on the bus.  But to my shame, I've neglected to master the art of putting on a tie un-assisted by a mirror.  It's not that putting on the tie is that hard, it's just that all ties are slightly different in terms of length and thickness, making each tying experience unique.  The mirror alleviates this issue by letting you more accurately "size up" the tie.  Doing it on the bus while sitting down can easily result in the "short tie," which was popular in the 30's and 40's, but not so much now.

If a candidate ran on the platform of bringing back the short tie, they would undoubtedly have my support, regardless of who was in power.

To be first in line at the polls, simply lather, rinse, and don't repeat.


  1. If you want to save time, after you tie your tie, take care to leave it knotted when you take it off. If you do this correctly, you don't have to retie it and it will maintain it's good shape. I do this with about 12 ties in my rotation. You can even pack them this way.


  2. Good suggestion, but in the morning I prefer a freshly tied tie. It's like freshly squeezed orange juice, but more restricting.