I've always heard that the University of Nebraska has the most respectful football fans. This video, posted by my friend Carlos, attests to it. I've also heard that the fans of the St Louis Cardinals are the most respectful in Major League Baseball. Which team in MLB has the most disrespectful fans? Okay, that's too easy. Which team in MLB other than the New York Yankees has the most disrespectful fans?
Yesterday, in Pantego, Texas (a mere 3.9 miles from my Fort Worth house), I did my seventh footrace of the fall and my 133d overall. I was still sore from Thursday's two races, but it didn't deter me. The race is in the afternoon (at 4:30), which makes it hard to prepare for. I had to eat just the right foods (such as spaghetti) in just the right amounts at just the right times of day. I should have taken a nap, but I was busy reading and writing.
A couple of my friends showed up, which was nice. We chatted at the start and then let it all hang out. The course was the same as a year ago—on residential streets. Either there was no mile marker at the first mile or I missed it. This was bad, because I base the remainder of my race on how I do during the first mile. At two miles, I had an elapsed time of 13:58. I thought I was going faster than that. I knew I could bear down and break seven minutes, and I did. I finished in 21:27.85, which is a mile pace (for 3.107 miles) of 6:54.49. A year ago, my pace was 6:58.17. It was colder a year ago, and rainy to boot, so that probably slowed me down a couple of seconds per mile.
I got first place again, this time of four men. I was the 14th finisher overall, of 138. After I finish racing, I walk back on the course a hundred yards or so and cheer on the runners. I'm especially hard on the kids, some of whom are dogging it. When I berate them ("Come on! Dig! Finish strong; always finish strong!"), they turn it up a notch, which is nice to see. I go easier on the old people, since they might resent my attempts to inspire. Many of the runners probably don't hear me, since they're wearing earphones.
As I was walking to my car, having decided to pick up my award later, a boy of about four years of age came up to me crying. He said he was lost. I took his hand and calmed him down. He told me his name was Xavier and that he had come with his aunt (he pronounced it "Ont") and cousins. I remembered seeing this boy as he finished. He was running on the grass alongside the road. I asked him as he passed whether he was in the race. He shook his head yes, and then I saw his number on his back. He got on the road, where he was supposed to be, and finished. His little feet made a clicking sound as he ran, which made me wonder whether he was wearing street shoes. I later learned that he was wearing running shoes, but maybe they had hard soles.
I walked Xavier back to the finish area and told the race officials that he was lost. They were busy, so they asked another volunteer, a young woman, to help. She kneeled down to Xavier and told him in a sweet voice that she would find his "Ont." I knew he'd be safe, so I left. I remember getting lost when I was a child, in a department store. The clerk who found me announced on the loudspeaker that there was a lost boy. My mother came to get me. It was frightening, so I knew what Xavier was going through. I see by the results that he finished 88th. I also see that he is six years old, not four. He was a small six, that's for sure. I can't believe he ran 3.1 miles at his size and age. Hell, he beat 50 people!
I've done five 5K races since 1 September. Here are my mile paces:
6:52.74 6:46.77 6:49.42 6:52.92 6:54.49
I'm going backward! I'll have to pick it up a notch next weekend.
Addendum: One of the friends I mentioned is John Ball, who is 56. He's always an age group ahead of me, but he usually beats me. Yesterday, he got ahead of me by about 40 yards early on and stayed that far ahead of me the entire way. I used him as a rabbit. I'm pretty sure I could have outsprinted him at the finish, because I've done it before, but I saw no need to do so. He beat me by four seconds. John won the master's award, which goes to the top finisher who is 40 or more years old. I've never won a master's award, and now that I'm 51, I probably never will. Yesterday may have been my only chance. Oh well, at least my friend won it.
On April 22 of this year  Immanuel Kant was born in Königsberg. The Old Prussian Almanac associated the name "Emanuel" with this date. Accordingly, he was baptized "Emanuel." He would later change it to "Immanuel," thinking that this was a more faithful rendition of the original Hebrew. "Emanuel" or "Immanuel" means "God is with him." Kant thought that it was a most appropriate name, and he was uncommonly proud of it, commenting on its meaning even in his old age. It is perhaps meaningful that he found it necessary critically to evaluate and correct the very name given to him, but it is noteworthy that the literal meaning of his name provided him with comfort and confidence throughout his life. Indeed, Kant's autonomous, self-reliant, and self-made character may well presuppose a certain kind of optimistic trust in the world as a teleological whole, a world in which everything, himself included, had a definite place.
(Manfred Kuehn, Kant: A Biography [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001], 26 [endnote omitted])
Note from KBJ: Just think how differently Kant would have turned out had his parents named him, say, Mephistoph (Hebrew for "destroyer of the good").
11-30-88 . . . To the consternation of conservatives and to the glee and relief of liberals and radicals, George [Herbert Walker] Bush has appointed a number of moderate Republicans to his cabinet. James Baker, Bush’s longtime friend and most recently his campaign chair, has been named Secretary of State, while Richard Thornburgh and Lauro Cavazos have been retained from the Reagan cabinet as Attorney General and Secretary of Education, respectively. John Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire, has been named Chief of Staff. What tickles me is that conservatives, such as Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak, are aghast—even angry. They supported Bush, thinking that he would be as conservative and ideologically “pure” as Ronald Reagan. Early signs indicate that he is not. So perhaps I can live with a Bush administration after all. The acid test will be when Bush appoints someone to the Supreme Court. Will it be a Robert Bork or a John Paul Stevens? If the former, then I retract my statement; if the latter, then I will breathe a sigh of relief.
You rightly urge the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8, not just to uphold the freedom to marry for committed gay couples, but because “the justices’ job is to protect minority rights and the State Constitution—even when, for the moment at least, it may not be the popular thing to do.”
This same court in 1948 became the first to strike down race restrictions on the freedom to marry. Polls at that time showed that 90 percent of Americans opposed marriage equality. In the best-named case ever, Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court in 1967 upheld marriage equality nationwide, despite polls showing 70 percent opposed.
Imagine what our country would look like today had the opponents of equality been able to cement into the Constitution the prejudices of the majority and the passions of the moment. Our president-elect—the son of a couple who would have been barred from marriage because of “tradition,” religious opposition and the majority’s discomfort—might have had a very different life.
If fundamental rights can be stripped from a minority on a mere show of hands, why bother having courts and constitutions?
Evan Wolfson New York, Nov. 25, 2008 The writer, the executive director of Freedom to Marry, is the author of a book about gay people’s right to marry.
Note from KBJ: The letter writer is arguing as follows:
1. There is no morally relevant difference between heteroracial marriage and homosexual marriage.
2. It is unjust to prohibit heteroracial marriage.
3. It is unjust to prohibit homosexual marriage.
The argument is valid, but the first premise is false. A man and a woman of different races can procreate, which is the purpose of marriage. Two men or two women cannot procreate. There is also a legally relevant difference between heteroracial marriage and homosexual marriage. Constitutionally speaking, race is a suspect classification; sexuality is not. In order for a race-based classification to survive judicial scrutiny, it must be necessary in order to further a compelling state interest. In order for a sexuality-based classification to survive judicial scrutiny (indeed, in order for any legislation to survive judicial scrutiny), it must bear a rational relationship to a legitimate state interest. There is no compelling state interest in limiting marriage to homoracial couples. There is a legitimate state interest in limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.
Here is a New York Times story about Google, the power of which, to me, is unsettling.
Addendum: Michelle Malkin has a post about the story—and about her bad experiences with Google. It appears that Google is using its commercial power to silence those with whom it disagrees. It's not censorship, because Google is not a governmental entity; but it's troubling nonetheless. Progressives would howl if Google silenced progressives. If they were principled, they would protest the silencing of conservatives. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.
Both President-elect Barack Obama and Bryan Curtis have it wrong.
Mr. Obama wants an eight-team, three-week-long playoff at the end of a regular season. Mr. Curtis thinks that would diminish the importance of the regular season, because even if a team lost a game it would still be in contention for the playoffs—which he thinks is a bad thing.
It would also mean that even though a team lost one game, we would still care about whether it won or lost any other games.
They are both wrong, because they both miss the point that we are still talking about college athletes and collegial experiences.
Now, 50 percent of the teams that play in the innumerable bowl games are winners. Under Mr. Obama’s plan, there would be only one winner. That might be fine for presidential elections, but not for college athletics.
Now, 50 percent of the players and their fans can remember back when we won the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and so on. With a playoff system, that would all be gone, and it would be the same as college basketball, with one winner and everyone else a loser.
Jonathan Rutledge San Francisco, Nov. 22, 2008
Note from KBJ: God forbid there should be losers. Is this the result of telling children that they're special? Is this the result of putting self-esteem ahead of achievement?
Note 2 from KBJ: There's a more serious problem with the letter writer's argument. The bowl system would not change if a playoff system were adopted. The only difference is that four of the bowl games would be used as the first tier of the playoff. The four teams who lose those games would have lost anyway. Three of the four winners will eventually lose in the playoff. So the very worst that can happen under a playoff system is that three teams that would have finished their seasons with a victory in a bowl game end up losing in the playoff. Three. Jonathan Rutledge needs a course in critical thinking.