Monday, July 31, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2017/07/19 - When Ambition Turns to Greed

I've always admired Arnold Schwarzenegger. In my mind he represents the American Dream, attaining huge successes in bodybuilding, acting, real estate, and politics. And don't forget that he married into the Kennedy family! Not bad for a child born to poverty in occupied Austria after World War II.

I'm reading his new autobiography "Total Recall" now and I'm blown away by his confidence, ambition, and-self discipline.

But there's one incident in the book that I can't let go of. Arnold had reached the top of his career in bodybuilding. He won all the major titles many times more than any previous bodybuilder and retired the undisputed greatest-ever bodybuilder.

Then in the middle of his movie career, while preparing for one of the Conan movies, against the advice of his wife, he decided to enter the Mr Olympus competition at the very last minute, surprising all the other contestants. He won, but it was the only time it wasn't by a unanimous decision.

Upon reading this, I felt as if his ambition had turned to greed, a selfish act good for Arnold but bad for the sport.

Why couldn't he step aside and let the next young buck get a turn at the crown? I read later that one of the other contestants smashed his award in the parking lot, and another gave up bodybuilding. Arnold admits he made enemies that took years to repair.

But then I wondered, would I feel the same about a boxer, cyclist, or tennis player?

What do you think?

Sunday, July 16, 2017

2017/07/16 - Lucy

Three of my NYC friends and I were looking for a place to go camping during our Easter vacation (aka Spring break) of 1966. I was fifteen. My uncle Willy knew a guy with 2,000 acres of land in Pennsylvania, most of which was primitive woods.

With all our camping gear and food packed in the belly of a Greyhound buss, off we set for a week's vacation in sunny PA.

After meeting Mr and Mrs Hull, the owners of the property, we set out hiking to find the perfect camping spot, far enough away from houses so we had our privacy, but close enough to water.

As we were setting up camp in a perfect spot near the edge of a cliff for vantage, two beautiful fifteen year old twin girls with long blond hair down to their waists approached our tents on horseback. It was almost like a dream.

Lucy and Margaret were the twin daughters of the Hulls. Never dismounting from their horses, they introduced themselves and we exchanged nervous conversation. After all, we were just young boys, and they were goddesses.

After a while, Lucy asked if we wanted to go horseback riding by moonlight. I quickly accepted, but the other guys shyly declined. Later that night she came back to pick me up.

The Troggs had just released their hit song "Wild Thing". To this day, every time I hear that song I remember kissing Lucy while lying on the thick sheepskin rugs on the cement floor of the "Pot Room" in the basement of her Pennsylvania farm house. The song came on the AM radio and she said "You're MY wild thing". 

Earlier that day, during a tour of the house, one of the boys had asked Mr Hull why he called it the Pot Room? He replied "That's where the kids smoke their pot!", as if it was a stupid question. 

What were the odds of a NYC boy falling in love with a Pennsylvania farm girl? We spent the rest of that school year writing silly love letters and planning a two week vacation in the upcoming summer. 

For some reason Lucy's love letters became less frequent the closer we got to the summer trip, but when the same four "NYC Boys" (as we became known to the Hulls and their neighbors) returned, the reason became crystal clear.

Margaret, Lucy's twin sister came alone to greet us, and sometime during the conversation pointed out Todd, Lucy's new boyfriend who was working in the field trimming trees. My world stopped as I looked at this big tall blond farmboy, with his shirt off and his sweaty muscles glowing in the sun. I was too macho to cry then, but my eyes swell now as I recall the heartbreak a fifteen year old boy suffered that day. 

While unpacking his pack, my tentmate Tony (aka Jaggerdog) presented a fifth of whiskey that he snuck out of his house. That night I got shitfaced drunk and had my first blackout, the next morning not being able to recall any of the drama I caused the night before. But that's another story.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2017/07/11 - WHO died?

I just finished reading a Denver Post story of a 71 year old cyclist who died in an accident, getting hit by a car in Loveland. It had great detail, except of course for the most important detail, the person's name.

And this pisses me off to no end. It's like someone calling me up and saying "One of our friends just died". How they died, where they died, or when they died are are not as important as WHO died!

And to be perfectly honest, I'd rather not be teased with the other details, until you can tell me who it is. I don't want to be left wondering who I know that's 71 and rides in Loveland. 

I just wrote an email to the Denver Post reporter. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017/07/06 - Mom Before and After

Here's what she looked like when I rescued her:


























And here's what she looks like now (one year and 25 pounds later):


Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017/07/02 - Safety Nets

Years ago, whenever I went hiking solo, I would always pick a route that I knew would have lots of other people on it. I guess you could say that I was selfishly using strangers as a safety net, in case I got into trouble. You would be correct.

I heard a funny comparison today while listening to podcasts during my daily ride.

With the practice of lacing heroin with drugs like Fentanyl (up to 50 times stronger than heroin) and Carfentanil (10,000 times stronger than heroin), opioid addicts in highly addicted communities are preferring to overdose outdoors with the hope that someone can quickly administer Narcan.