Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Temptation


The person who prepared this was clearly "all wet", since the label for "California" is on the Nevada side.  The mind starts playing tricks when you are a quarter way through the swim.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Islam for Jounalists

A copy of this tome is here.  The basic thesis is that 9/11 was a complete surprise to American journalists, and they found themselves knowing nothing about Islam.  Where were they educated??? Thus, a group of journalists and academics decided to put together a guide book explaining all about Islam.  Many claim to have gotten their opinions from having been there witnessing events unfold.  Obviously, only journalists and academics who say the correct things have ever been exposed to Islam.  After going through a third of the book, it appears to largely track the conventional ivory tower story that pre-dated 9/11.  Here are a few gems:

"ONE of the questions that academic specialists of Islam have long explored is: inasmuch as Islam spread over such a vast linguistic and cultural expanse, what held the community of Muslims together? After all, Islam has no pope, and it lacks the centralized ecclesiastical structure (a “church”) that undergirded religious organization in Western and Eastern Christianity. Even with its centralized church structure, Christianity experienced schisms far more regularly than did Islam."

T.E. Lawrence's (yes an exposed academic) comments on the tribal animosity he witnessed should be highlighted here.  This isn't any less abated today, and has led to the catastrophe of the "Arab Spring", which the authors ignore.  There is much, much more that can be said here, but I will need to stop.

"Women also played a central role in Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979, as well as the green movement pressing for reform in Iran today. Religious conservatives in many countries sometimes condemn women’s activism as un-Islamic."

Yes, but they were enjoying a last hurrah as they overthrew the Shah, who permitted them to enjoy life.

I will pass over the ignorance about an Islamic Golden Age, since this ignorance has been addressed in many other places.

"POLITICAL Islam is a set of political movements, founded in the 1920s, that seek to establish an Islamic state."

Yes, but let's not forget the context:  The centuries old Turkish Empire was destroyed, and the West's enthusiasm for colonialism was on the wane.  Thus, this was the first opportunity for any ideology to stake a claim in several centuries.  What pops up first?

"ISLAM is a “revealed” religion, in the tradition of the biblical prophets. Muslims believe that the Qur’an was transmitted to the Prophet Mohammed by the Angel Gabriel during meditation sessions in a cave outside Mecca in what is now Saudi Arabia."

Um, no.  It is not in the tradition of Biblical prophets, because the word of God came directly to Biblical prophets without an angelic intermediary.  Angels were sent to ordinary people at times, but this is to announce what God is doing or to explain a vision.  According to the Biblical standards, Muhammed was not a prophet.

"Qur’an literally means “The Work.” It represents the words of Allah as revealed to Mohammed. This is an important distinction from the Bible, which is a gathering of accounts of events. The Qur’an is said to be God’s own words, not the teaching of the Angel Gabriel or Mohammed."

When the authors of this book are done, I recommend that they spend some time and try to learn something correct about the Bible, classical Judaism, and Christianity.

"ISLAM has existed in America since the early days of the colonies. Some evidence suggests that Christopher Columbus was able to make his famous voyage to the U.S. with the help of Muslim navigators. It has been suggested that Muslims had actually arrived in the Americas before Columbus."

I suppose this comes from Washington Irving's secret notes used to prepare his story of Christopher Columbus.

"AS a number of studies have shown, Muslims in the U.S. are no different from any other religious group."

As everyone knows, all religions are alike.  They are social institutions, but don't actually believe anything.  Or at least they don't believe anything that isn't so utterly overwhelmed by other factors of society and life as to become totally meaningless.

"Fundamentalism. This term comes from an analogy with Christian Fundamentalism, a theological movement that also became widespread in the 1920s. Christian Fundamentalism treats the religion’s holy book as literal revelation; by this criterion, almost all Muslims qualify as fundamentalists, not just supporters of “Political Islam.” In recent years, however, some supporters of “Political Islam” have adopted an Arabic translation of the term “fundamentalism,” Usuliyya, from the word “usul” (foundations or fundamentals)."

This is about as good of a definition of Christian Fundamentalism as a modernist would be capable of, although I should emphasize that Fundamentalists take their scriptures seriously, which is more accurately what distinguishes them from non-Fundamentalists.  Of course this begs the question of why there are so many groups calling themselves Christians who reject the Bible, yet claim to honor it nonetheless?  And what would reality look like if religions actually did have distinct fundamentals?

"So-called “honor killings” have no basis in Islamic law, but are customary practices of patriarchal societies with a high sensitivity to shame. In effect, “honor killings” are much like the “unwritten law” that for years permitted Texas husbands to shoot adulterous wives and their lovers."

So am I supposed to deduce that Texas is like Islam?  Or Islam is like Texas.  And when was the last time that a Texas mob rioted and burned down a non-Texan neighborhood over an adulterous wife?  And is there no moral distinction between an adulterous wife/husband compared to Romeo and Juliet?

"Existing religious groups (first Jews and Christians, and later Zoroastrians, Hindus, and others) were given the legitimate status of “people of the book.” This recognition stands in contrast to the lack of any legal protection for non-Christian minorities (in particular, Jews) in Europe before the French Revolution."

Ah, the glorious French Revolution.  I am not a fan of government imposed sectarian warfare, but should we really rejoice that this was replaced by government imposed class warfare?  And what about the all powerful government that sees all sectarianism as pointless given the reality of the totalitarian state?  Then there are fundamental differences in the rule of law of Western countries as compared to Eastern countries.

The introduction to this text talks about Edward Murrow, and lauds him as the patron saint of journalism.  More accurately, he is the patron saint of "drive-by" journalism, not legitimate journalism.  I cannot fault the authors for failing to uphold the standards of their patron saint.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The New Ghetto Music

The old Ghetto Music was typically a big old American car driving along blasting out some sort of rock and roll music.  This got updated to a string of profanity, rage and violence strung together in rapid succession with a rhythm, but not a tune which was designated "rap".  Another variant was the ultra-bass in a car with the windows rolled up.  This acted like a high frequency filter so that the overall sensation of being near the car was not too different from the low frequency thumping of a helicopter flying overhead.  The latest twist on this is some Indians or Pakistanis driving around in an SUV with loud Indian singing and music played at a volume sufficient to entertain everyone within 100 meters.  What is really disturbing about this is that I can't understand the lyrics and have no way to determine whether I should be pleased or offended.  Yes, the times are a-changin'.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Stranger to History part 2

I finished this book and gave it to another young friend of mine who is interested to learn more about the Middle East.  Part of me wanted to hang on to it to mine it for quotes.  The other said it was better to let someone else have a read.

There were a few additional thoughts that jumped out at me.  The first was about how the Muslims who fled what is now India to go to Pakistan at the time of the partition have still not been assimilated to their new homeland, even though most of them were born there.  This reminds me of the Palestinian problem where the refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan haven't been assimilated either.  On the other hand, the non-Muslim Indians who fled Pakistan have been all assimilated, thus, the argument is that this is really a problem stemming from tribalist tendencies of Islam.  Then there is Israel itself, which has assimilated Jews from all over the world.

Another idea is the notion that Islam must be absolutely dominant for its full virtuous effects to be felt.  This was stated by a number of ideologues.  Thus, even as Muslim countries spin economically out of control, there is the never ending hope that all this could be rectified if only a purer religion could be enforced.  This stands in contrast to my view that it is impossible for Christians to be absolutely dominant.  The reason is that as Christianity obtains more power, the top religious posts become far too attractive to closet atheists and the like, thus, precluding Christians from ever being dominant.  Unless God should choose to step in and do something different.  Anyway, the only absolute authority Christians expect is that absolute authority of the anti-Christ.  Then the end times will follow, but that will be God's doing, not ours.

The story of Iran was one where petty rules and lax enforcement resulted in a complete mockery of Islamic law.

A final point was the observation that in the countries Aatish visited, protests and riots were something spontaneous.  Instead, it was a combination of governmental planning and Imams stoking up the faithful.

Monday, March 31, 2014

2013 California Budget Surplus

One of the oddities of California is that the surplus or deficit is only announced at the beginning of the year.  This year the news is all about what to do with the $4.2 billion "surplus", which is considerably higher than last years "surplus", and last year was the first "surplus" in a decade.

A churlish conservative writer that I had seen claimed that the 2013 "surplus" amounted to -$12.6 billion, which was a bit less in magnitude than the +$15.6 billion "deficit" that had occurred in 2012.  This article claims that the actual "surplus" was only -$12.2 billion.  During 2012, there was a horrible screech from the state controllers office about inability to make payments, while the Republicans were clearly hell bent on destroying the states finances.  2013 came along with a super-majority, and poof!  the deficit was gone and there wasn't a peep from the controller.  There seemed to be some plausibility to this, since the stock market has been unnaturally soaring due to the fed, and rich Chinese party members are buying up million dollar properties so that they can contribute property tax.  Meanwhile, spending has also been going up.

Another journalist who specializes in California politics noted that the governor simply excluded certain payments from the deficit calculations.  For example, payments needed to keep pension funds solvent.  Of course my major hope is to witness the Apocalypse first hand, so all this is helping me to remain in a very cheerful mood.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Spring Showers

Just so those who don't live in California won't feel too sorry for us.



California Water Woes

I just got a warning in the mail:

"Due to the ongoing drought, the Alameda County Water District can no longer meet ordinary water demands without depleting the available supply or reducing its quality to an unacceptable degree.  As a result, on March 13, 2014, the ACWD Board of Directors declared a water shortage emergency ..."

Some forbidden practices:

"Draining and subsequent refilling of swimming pools"
"Use of non-recycling decorative water fountains"
"Hosing off sidewalks, driveways, etc."

What caught my eye was the manner or enforcement:

"REPORT WATER WASTE!

Call (510) 668-4299 or visit www.acwd.org/reportwaste if you see anyone violating these mandatory restrictions."

My immediate reaction was that encouraging neighbors to report one another is likely to bring back some bad memories to many who have resettled in the US.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Out Of The Closet Part 2

After two days and 2,000 child sponsorship cancellations, World Vision has reversed its reversal and will revert to the a correct notion of marriage.  What is fun to do in these cases is to take a look at the language of "apology".

"'They were not taking a position supporting same-sex marriage or homosexuality,' said Tim Dearborn, director of Fuller Seminary's Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching".

Apparently recognizing same sex marriage has nothing to do with taking a position.  Then it goes on:

"'First, to focus on the aspects of the biblical mandate that are non-negotiable: caring for the poor, victims of injustice, and especially children,' said Dearborn".

Um, no.  The Bible gives us commands to take care of orphans and widows, yet even here it is with caveats.  Relatives are to take care of them first.  Our obligation doesn't extend beyond the Ekklesia (assembly), unless God calls us to do otherwise.  When the Old Testament gives commands, it isn't about free handouts, but rather it is to not oppress, to forgive debts, and to make room so that the poor can work for a living.  Finally, there is the fact that for every command regarding the poor, there is probably a dozen that apply to everyone commanding them to refrain from sexual immorality.  This is non-negotiable.  Going further, most of the injustice and suffering of the poor is a direct consequence of sexual immorality.  Anyone who doesn't care about sexual immorality clearly does not care about injustice or the poor.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

World Vision Comes Out Of The Closet

World Vision is one of the world's largest private charities and was originally founded as a Christian organization.  Apparently a majority of their current representatives felt that being saved from sin was no fun.  Instead, they are now promoting a "gospel" of salvation to sin.  That is, they have embraced a total negation of the most important Christian belief.  These things are usually a long time in coming, so I am surprised no one mentioned this a few years earlier.

I had it in my mind that World Vision was related to Samaritan's Purse, but this seems to be in error:  Both organizations were founded by the same person, but they are independent.  Franklin Graham has a statement here on the decision of World Vision to declare for Depravityism.

A side note is that I usually don't get too worked up over what is or is not a "cult".  Yes, there is a lot of differences and really crazy beliefs out there, but the worst of the cults seem to understand that sin is bad and God wants to bring us into a relationship with Him by changing us.  Most of these are still much closer to Christianity than atheism.  Modernists, however, are drawn to promoting sin, which is a vector that leads further away from Christianity than atheism.  Of course abortionists, pimps, drug dealers, and pornographers do the same, but at least they have a profit motive that they can cite as a pretext.  The modernist, however, advocates evil for no other reason than the fact that evil is evil.

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.  Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, ad their destruction is not asleep." - 2 Peter 2:1-3

There is nothing new under the sun.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stranger to History, A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands

This is a book recommended by Rummuser and written by Aatish Taseer.  Aatish was born as to a Sihk journalist and a Pakistani politician as the result of an affair.  He is somewhat confused about his identity growing up, but has a sense of being a Muslim.  In this book, he writes of his journey through Islamic lands speaking to different people and trying to get a sense of what it means to be Muslim.  I still have a ways to go in the book, but so far have been enjoying it very much.

I am a Western Christian, yet I am fascinated with ideas (beliefs), particularly as they are bundled together into philosophical, religious and cultural identities.  Aatish is trying to tease out what exactly these ideas are that constitute Islam, perhaps with the goal of finding out what his identity should be.  From the updated Introduction, it is clear that he found out what his identity wasn't, but I am not sure he figured out what it is.

One notion that jumps out of this book would seem to parallel Christianity:  A Turkish Muslim explains: "There is a conflict between the world and our ideas, our beliefs, our culture".  This conversation goes on to explain the alienation of true Muslims from just about everything in the world that deviates from a 6th century Arabian Sharia Law context.  And yet technology must be embraced, if only to get this message out.  Christians have a notion that is similar on the surface: "Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul." - 1 Peter 2:11.  The Christian view begins as one of me against myself.  My home is heaven, yet I must live in a world where my desires tempt me.  May these desires pass away.  Technological contexts, cultures and much more can change, but these basic human considerations of temptation never change.  The Muslim view expressed above is strictly us vs. them and morality itself takes a back seat in all this.

There remains much to read in this book and the Muslim voice I quoted above is just one of them, so we will see where this leads.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Crimea Ponderings

This is related to my complete failure to comprehend western politics regarding the events in the Ukraine.  Maybe somebody can explain to me what I am failing to understand.

My understanding is that the Crimea, and more specifically Sebastopol, is one of the most strategically important cities to Russia, given its position as the port in the Black Sea.  The local population is mostly Russian.  If this territory remained in the Ukraine, and the Ukraine became subservient to the Union of European Socialist Republics, then the port would be under the domain of a hostile empire - one that also represents a hostile modernist religious theocracy.  Why would anyone in the West expect Putin, or any other Russian politician, to behave differently?  

This also has me reflecting back to the Crimean War, which was sandwiched between two other glorious Western Wars, The First and Second Opium Wars.  In the Opium Wars, the UK declared war on China for refusing to permit English companies to sell Opium to the Chinese.  Apparently it is legitimate to blow peoples brains out with drugs if it makes a good profit.  Modern Libertarianism owes its founding to John Stuart Mill who argued that this war was "just", because the Chinese had a right to commit suicide with opium that superseded any governmental jurisdiction.  The Crimean War was likewise purely a trade war where France and England allied with the Ottoman Turks against the Russians.  But then a religious dispute was sought out as a pretext, and the western atheist politicians sold the Crimean War as a Crusade against the Russian Orthodox devils.  Thus, we became allies with Islam against a more or less Christian nation.  From my Chinese acquaintances, I know that any mention of the Opium Wars is likely to put them into a state of rage.  The same reaction would no doubt be expected when dealing with the Russians over the Crimea.

With all that in mind, we have the leftist western politicians issuing idle threats against Russia.  Then there are the right wing politicians who are angry that the left's idle threats don't have any teeth to them.  One wants to tease the momma bear while grabbing her cub.  The other wants to bite the mamma bear in the nose, while grabbing her cub.  Or is there something to else this that I am missing?

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Malaysian Airlines Thoughts

I did take Malaysian Airlines once in and out of Kuala Lumpur.  Friends and relatives are on this airline fairly regularly.  We will need to wait and find out what happened, but I presume everyone on board is dead.  May God comfort the families of those who lost loved ones.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Walter Brueggemann: Cadences of Home, Preaching among Exiles

The actual title of this book is "Cadences of Home, Preaching among Exiles".  As it indicates, this is a book about preaching that I have been assigned to read for seminary.  The theme of this book is that of exile, which is an important topic both in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  What is inescapable at the start is that this white, American, male, tenured, mainline professor who has spent his entire life as a leader in America's dominant ideology of modernism is not exactly the best person to tell us of his experiences in exile.  As I read the laments of his sense of alienation, I can't stop smirking because our current president is from the same United Church of Christ (UCC) religion as Brueggemann and he (along with an army of judges) is busy imposing the UCC's religious ideology onto the US.  Exile?  Yeh, right.

At the same time, it is a fact that the mainline religion is rapidly shrinking.  This is deemed to be something lamentable.  I should be happy to see it dead and gone, except that there is the nasty fact that the mainline is dying precisely because it has succeeded.  Christianity says that God (i.e. Yahweh per the old testament Jewish naming of God), is powerful.  He has an objective existence that transcends any group's experience.  He interacts directly with you and me, but on His terms - not ours.  We are only involved in the narrative that Yahweh authors.  And then Yahweh came to Earth incarnate, as Jesus, to save us from our sins.  Mainlineism isn't even sure if Yahweh exists.  Instead it is convinced that the power of religion is entirely bound up in the Yahweh narrative, or whatever that might be for Mayans or Tartars or Inuits.  Once you go that route, however, you have the inescapable fact that everyone can make up their own Yahweh narrative.  Thus, Global Warming or anti-Imperialism can become your Yahweh, if you are persuaded that you are more sophisticated.  For others a football team will become their Yahweh.  Even marijuana, crass materialism, and child porn can become someone's Yahweh.  It is precisely because the Mainline theologians succeeded in their message of group Yahweh narratives that their houses of worship have emptied out.  In fact, many of these alternative Yahweh narratives are ones that Brueggemann advocates in this book.  The disenfranchised poor.  The American hegemony.  Yet somehow Brueggemann thinks that prescribing a return to the Yahweh narrative will help them recover.  The problem is that if Yahweh isn't real, unique and directly involved in the affairs of mankind, then you might as well make up the Yahweh narrative that suits you.  The Mainline has checkmated itself.

Monday, March 03, 2014

California Water Woes

In spite of our recent rains - or perhaps because of them (this is California) - we are still in a drought situation.  Of course marijuana growing trumps the US Constitution, the Declaration to Independence, and the Galactic Charter of Responsibilities for Carbon Based Life Forms, so marijuana growers are busy extracting what they need to grow one of the most water thirsty crops known to man.  The article suggests that a county sheriff will take some action to shut them down.  Good luck.

Another article describes a bit of the New Logic:  Although most of California industries, including farming, are subject to more regulations than the rest of the planet combined, Marijuana is outside the jurisdiction of the regulators.  That is because Marijuana growing is illegal, therefore, it is not permissible to regulate it.  This frees the growers from any rules regarding water usage, land usage, or whatever.

Meanwhile, up in Napa Valley they are using Witchcraft to locate water.

And if all this wasn't weird enough, California's governor said something that almost sounds sensible and enraged the Reefers:  " ... how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? ...  I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."  Stay alert for what?  The Zombie Apocalypse?  To be continued ...


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Signs of Spring

This is a glimpse of the nearby hills from my house.  In a normal year, the hills would have been greener than this by mid-December since the rains start in November.  This year it has only been the last few days that things have been turning green.


The peach tree has been flowering for more than a week.  It rained hard over the last three days, so the flowers are a bit frazzled.


The ornamental Maple is sprouting some new leaves.


The lemon tree has a different notion of seasons.  We still have a hundred or so lemons waiting to be picked.  Or maybe they are limons, since true lemons would be completely yellow by now.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Wedding Stuff

My daughter has found a wonderful young man and the inevitable is now firmly placed on the calendar.  Being old school, the planning of such things is "woman's work", so I have only been tuning in now and then to the preparations.  The only thing that has grabbed my attention is an attempt to coerce me into dancing during the festivities.  Something about the inviolability of tradition.  My solution to this will probably to be to head out for a trail run at night and sprain my ankle or break a leg a few days before the event.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Snow Pictures

These are from my parents home in Pennsylvania where the snowpocalypse has been making its way through.  My mother now has a newer Canon than me, which is fueling a rivalry of sorts.  Meanwhile, I have a severe stomach flu and am shut in, although not by the weather.  Today is the first day in a few days that I could sit at the computer and focus for more than 2 or 3 minutes.




Saturday, February 01, 2014

California's Drought and Baptism

I keep looking for something from the past to relate to California's impending water crisis.  The following remark from the witty church father Tertullian (160-220AD) stands out in this regard:

"We enter, then, the font once: once are sins washed away, because they ought never to be repeated.  But the Jewish Israel bathes daily, because he is daily being defiled."  - Tertullian, On Baptism

If I understand this correctly, Christians only need to bathe once, but others need to bathe daily.  Clearly this is something the California government should keep in mind as it looks for ways to conserve water.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gnostic Gnotes

One of my seminary classes has a requirement to write a short paper on 1st - 2nd century Gnosticism.  This isn't supposed to be a huge effort, but I decided to make it one by going through Irenaeus' Against Heresies one more time.  The Librivox recording is just short of 1,500 minutes long.  There are a lot of other related works, including a "neo-Platonist" work against the Gnostics as well (Enneads, book II).  Recently the Nag Hammadi library of Gnostic writings has gotten some press, so I felt it would be good to take a glance at it.  Much of it follows what Irenaeus wrote.  Then there is the Gospel of Thomas.  Since I have been given a rhetorical, "What about the Gospel of Thomas?" from neo-Gnostics, who usually style themselves as "agnostics", I decided to take a look.  Here is what you get:

"These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke.  And Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down."

Apparently Thomas was the insider, and not Peter, James and John.  So what are the hidden words?

"Jesus says:

   'The one who seeks should not cease seeking until he finds.
    And when he finds, he will be dismayed.
   And when he is dismayed, he will be astonished.
   And he will be king over the All.'"

This is the first example.  The entire collection has 113 sayings that seem to be more or less garbled versions of what is in the gospels, but divorced from their context.  The actions of Jesus are as important as his words.  The above quote is a variant of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." - Matthew 7:7

But these in turn appears to be shorthand for Old Testament passages:

"But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul." - Deuteronomy 4:29

And this is one of the key problems:  The New Testament and the Old Testament are bound together by their theology and symbols.  The Gnostic writings are entirely divorced from the Hebrew Old Testament.  The OT and NT together result in a clearer and simpler meaning.  The Gnostic writings simply muddle and take things further from anything that might be sensibly understood.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The California Drought

"Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.'" - 1 King 17:1

It is tempting to see this story being repeated in California, but we have had some dew and mist, so it doesn't quite fit.  The Biblical story tells of a kingdom that intentionally embraced total depravity as its object of worship rather than worship the God of Creation.  The king did this because the true worship was in a neighboring kingdom, and he would rather his people knowingly worship what was false than go to the neighboring kingdom with their sacrifices.  The prophets of God were all murdered, and false prophets were employed by the king and queen to tell them what they wanted to hear.

Anyway, we are about to have an official declaration of a drought here in California.  That means choices will need to be made about who gets highest priority for water.  Is it the fish?  Is it the farmers?  Is it the urban areas?  Or is it the golf courses?  Of course California is heavily investing in marijuana agriculture, yet this is one of the most non-green crops you can grow.  It takes up gobs of electricity and water.  Given that America's rumored economic improvement likely is constructed on bringing the narcotics trade into the statistics, this should prove interesting.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Alcatraz 2014 Winter Swim Video

The organizers of the even already put together an amazing video of the Saturday swim.   It is at the following link:

http://waterworldswim.com/video-winter-alcatraz-challenge-2014/

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Alcatraz Result

33:38, was my time if I remember right.  A personal best, but the fast youngsters finished in 22 minutes.  The San Francisco Bay was relatively calm as you can see from the picture below.  No whitecaps.  The water temperature was 51 degrees.  Given my training in 46 degree water, this seemed warm to me.  From the picture below, two were wearing wet suits and one not.  Overall, about 2/3 used wetsuits.  

Usually my breathing rate is the limiting factor on swims, so that I don't feel tired when I am done unless it is a very long swim.  This time, however, my muscles felt like they had a serious workout.  My previous Alcatraz swim times have been from 40 to 50 minutes.  A great way to start the year.

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. 


Friday, January 03, 2014

New Year Report

Below is a picture of a vulture happily celebrating the New Year while circling above our little hiking group.  The morning started early with a light frost and a few miles in Dry Creek Par.  After the hike, I did the Polar Bear Swim.  Someone said the water temperature was 46 degrees.  The afternoon air was closer to 70 degrees.  This made the transition to swimming a bit more traumatic, but the 3,000 yards went smoothly.  There were some worries that I might have a cramp, since I did a bit of jogging on the hike and the muscles were being used differently now, but it was all uneventful.  Tomorrow is the Winter Alcatraz Swim.  The water temperature should be 5 degrees warmer.   Don't know if I can handle the warm conditions.


Thursday, December 26, 2013