Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mountain-biking day #2

Saturday was a perfect day for going out; a good night sleep and cool morning temperatures. I did my routine course behind our home that amounts to about 8.2 miles and tried to do the best I could, but still felt that my time was bad.

Well, when I compared to my first outings of the 2016 season, I was 1 minute faster which was encouraging. What interests me is to see the relationship between aging and athletic performance and the only meaningful graph I was able to find dealt with swimming.
It showed that the angle of the slope is pretty steep after 55, but the loss seems to be around 1 to 2 percent per year after 60 years or so.

So things aren't so bad after all. I realize that swimming has little to do with mountain-biking, but it provides me with smidgen of reference.

I just need to get out more often...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The American healthcare quandary

In the current discussion about Obamacare vs. Trumpcare, most people are focused on one single idea, but fail to see the larger picture. Sure, the American healthcare situation is a catch-22.
In 2015, the USA, healthcare cost ran about 18 percent of GDP at about $10k per person. Other OCDE countries are around 10 to 12 percent.

Unlike other industries, and because of Big Pharma's control of our politicians, as medicine advances, it become exponentially more expensive (x-ray vs. MRI), so don't expect the trend to abate. Now, if we don't take care of folks who can't buy insurance or have excessive deductible, we'll end up paying for their care, no matter what, making the whole package even more expensive because of total lack of screening and preventive care.

I'm under Medicare, it works very well, but cost $11k per beneficiary per year since it covers a very frail and broken-down age group. It seems to me that either through higher taxes or through excessive health care costs, we will all end up paying dearly for it, except that in a single payer system like Medicare, we can eliminate the Insurance industry share of profit.

We could also negotiate Big Pharma prices down if we could take money out of politics as it egregiously stands now. If Trumpcare passes, which in fact might create an interesting test, it might unleash a popular uprising that could accelerate a bruising GOP defeat and the advent of some form of public option.

That's my two-cent.

Friday, June 23, 2017

New US Ski Team logo?

As part of a two-year re-branding project, U.S. Ski & Snowboard just came up with a brand-new logo to replace the pair of logo used by the team and the association until now.

A bunch of “experts” and consultants were called to create the new logo. Since we say that too many cooks spoil the broth, I don't think the result is that good.
It looks as if it had been designed by a six-years old (I know, I'm an old grumpy guy!) I liked the old crest-logo much better.

Of course, regardless of the result quality, this big effort probably did cost a bundle that could have better been used in helping financially-strapped athletes!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

LGBT and today's culture

We just saw “Real Boy” another documentary film about a young transgender and her/his struggle with family, friends and society.

By the end of the movie, I realized the deep disconnect that exists between the entire LGBT community and society with its deep ignorance and unpreparedness, that is more noticeable and ingrained in its main institutions like family, school, government and religion.

Being LGBT is a probability at birth, just like any physical variation from what could be called the human norm. Let's say that it is 8 percent likely that any child will be born with LGBT traits just as some are born with flat feet, autism or dyslexia.

If society at large fully embraced that potentiality and expected its manifestation, there wouldn't be all the trauma, suffering and ostracism that are part an parcel of being LGBT. In that regard, our culture is flawed and is long overdue for change.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Yesterday Skype, now Facebook?

Most people are familiar with Skype. A select few use it a lot; I don't and I typically never use it when I'm on my computer as I find it a bit disruptive.

I've since migrated this app to my smartphone. Yet, when I check, I see very view folks on Skype at any given moment and this makes it hard to actually use.

A few days ago, my son called me from France on Father's Day, via Facebook Messenger (he was just doing a voice-call). I was a bit startled by the unusual ringtone, mangled the communication and had to call him back.

Instead of doing a voice-only call, I hit the video button and we had a video-chat that worked every bit as good as with Skype, if not better.

Since, more people are stuck on Facebook at any given time of the day, Facebook Messenger might take the place of Skype as far as I'm concerned...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hard to get back in the saddle!

Like no other year before, I've found it very hard to get back in the saddle and cycling again.

Was it more apprehension, more procrastination or tiredness, I can't say for sure. We blamed the delay on May's atrocious weather, but this sounded like a poor excuse.

We finally got the bikes out around the middle of June, without any great enthusiasm and yes, all went well, except for the usual pain in the buttocks which never fails to accompany the very first days of riding. Will we break records this summer? I don't anticipate it, but let's say that we'll do our best.

By the way, if this were any measure of my commitment, I just bought a brand-new helmet!

Monday, June 19, 2017

June, the month for tuning skis?

In years past, I've always dusted off the family skis sometime in November, usually one or two days before the local resorts would open, the snow would begin to fall seriously or the day before I'd be ready to start skiing.

Usually, it was cold, dark, there was no time to procrastinate, it just had to be done. This routine changed this year as I decided to do it outside, on my front, lower patio, in perfect light conditions, comfortable temperatures, and just wearing shorts and t-shirt instead of bundling up.

I worked on four pairs of skis. Two of mine, my wife's and daughter's. Their skis were in far better shape than mine, reflecting both their greater care and my innate brutality.

I repaired the bases, did the edges but didn't wax. I'll wait for ski day #1 for this!