Beauty on Aisle 3

Photogographer Denis Darzacq’s series — “Hyper” — is some pretty amazing and beautiful stuff. Amazing because he captures dancers in gravity-defying poses that make them look like ordinary people floating as if it were nothing special. Beautiful, at least to me, because of the juxtaposition of such remarkable gestures on the backdrop of an ordinary grocery store. I love art which finds sublime things in mundane context.

(warning: not all of the portfolios on his site are family or work friendly. Stick with the floating people.)

"The chair now recognizes the Senator from Time-Warner…"

Just like that, without the benefit of a public debate, money now equals speech. Compare “speech” in dollars to plain words. Which kind of “speech” do you think carries more weight? Doesn’t matter because it’s all the same now.

I have words but not much money. Sucks to be me. Or to be an advocate for the poor and marginalized. Or to be a patriot who believes the founding fathers had it right.

Pretty much only hyper partisans and mercenaries can enjoy this landmark Supreme Court reversal. (Liberals take note: This is what Judicial Activism feels like when it’s turned against you.)

The unborn, single mothers, immigrants, prisoners, sick people, the frail elderly, and the poor all better start saving their money if they want to be heard by their government.

Reminds me of an old Nine Inch Nails song:
God money’s not looking for the cure.
God money’s not concerned about the sick among the pure.
God money let’s go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
The god of money’s not one to choose

Yeah, I’m grumpy today. But I have cause.

You run wrong, too.

Turns out that running shoes are not only not better than wearing nothing — they could be even worse.

A new study shows that running shoes are a root cause of many running injuries. Apparently, shoes alter the mechanics of your gait so that you land with more impact than necessary, on the heel, so the impact goes in a more or less straight line right up to the spine.

Better to land on the balls of the feet and bend the joints to better absorb the shock. The Tarahumara indians in Mexico regularly run 150 miles at a time while barefoot and have way lower incidences of foot injury than Nike-shod runners. But they run differently, coming down on the balls of their feet in a softer more flexible landing that a running shoe makes rather awkward.

I’ve posted before about my Vibram FiveFingers and the joys of near-barefoot-ness. I cited the NY Mag article called “You Walk Wrong” to appeal to science and reason over the (admittedly) goofy aesthetics of my favorite footwear.

Biomechanics, baby. For this big guy, it’s more than just a trivial deal. I heart my Vibrams!

Open Letter to Those In Charge

I wouldn’t have voted for anyone who told me what I didn’t want to hear.
I suspended my own common sense to foist my unrealistic expectations on you.
Now that you’re elected I want this change you promised us and I want it really fast.
But I don’t like the details of any specific change you could realistically get passed.
I prefer ideology over people, so compromise is off the table.
I want change that doesn’t make me uncomfortable.
I prefer the status quo to to the uknown.
Long term solutions are too expensive. Bandaids are cheap.
I want hope without uncertainty.
This change you’re pushing must be paid for
But not by me.
So, what’s taking you so long? You made promises!
We demand responsive government!
(Please limit your response to 10 seconds or 144 characters.)

Yes is a World

22 years ago right now I was in the lobby of our hotel playing a videogame called Hogan’s Alley (indeed, a class joint) with my Best Man and several groomsmen. Getting ready to say the most important “Yes” of my life to date in just a few hours.

And I did say yes, nervously, to what turned out to be a blessed life of “Yes.” Heidi and I over the years have said “Yes” to so many things. We have learned and loved in abundance.

Today I have been married exactly as many years as I have not been married. I am a “Yes” man, praise God. So blessed am I that we said “Yes” again and again.

Happy Birthday, Clark Family! You started with a big “Yes” and grew over countless many smaller and bigger “Yes”-es over 22 years.

Is there ever a more blessed thing than a world of “Yes” to God? I have this poem memorized like a mantra. One of my favorites.

love is a place

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

ee cummings

Fun With Food Science: Puffy "glass"

Taking my cues from this source on culinary glasses and puffed food, I got my first home-puffed healthy snack success last night by making a culinary “glass” out of whole wheat pasta. See the link above for the technicals of glass transition temperatures and water composition, etc. What I did was:

  1. Boiled 100% whole wheat penne in heavily salted water on low for, like, 45 minutes. Overcooked without destroying the pasta shape
  2. Dried the pasta in an oven overnight, door cracked, on a temperature just above the “glass transition temperature” (“warm” setting did it for me)
  3. Microwaved handfuls of the pasta in a 800W microwave at high setting for 1 minute

You will hear crackling coming from the microwave (a la Rice Krispies). They will look slightly browned and pocked with crispy bubbles. Crunchiest after cooling. Salt (or otherwise flavor) and munch. Walla! Whole-grain non-fried crunchy snacks!

Easy to do, but requires time and patience.