A couple of days ago we had a fun visit to the state fish hatchery in Sandwich, MA. It's a fun excursion if you are in the area. My friend Phyllis sent me a story from the Cape Cod newspaper about a seal who (happily) found the hatchery last January.
Seal Finds Trout Buffet at Sandwich Hatchery
And here's a video of the story:
"it’s important to talk to people about how we’re in a fundamentally different world. Ask the question, “If compensation isn’t going to be the same for a while, where do you get your fulfillment in life?” Certainly, work is a big piece of that and work is rewarding well beyond compensation. But faith, family, friends and hobbies create real balance. The conversation I’ve had with a lot of people, both in large groups and small, is make sure you have balance in your life and make sure that all your fulfillment doesn’t come out of economic gain.
I’ve talked to a lot of people on Wall Street where their entire fulfillment came from the answer to, “Is my bonus bigger this year than last year?” Or, “If I worked 100 hours a week this year, can I work 101 next year?” It’s actually a great time for us as leaders to help people to step back and ask the question: “Where do I get the fulfillment in my life? And how do I make sure my job is a big piece of that?” I’ve found that employees who are fulfilled on a much broader basis in their lives usually do a much better job of work than those that are completely, single-mindedly focused on and get all their value out of"
See also my earlier post: Maintaining Perspective
|Bayou City Farmers Market, Houston, March 2009|
Had a long talk yesterday with a friend who is interested in taking the plunge and buying a digital SLR. I put together some notes for her about links and products I've found useful which I figured I'd share with all of you as well. As I said to her, I love talking and sharing photography, so let me know if you have any questions.
www.kenrockwell.com (I don't love his tone all the time, but he tends to zero in on what's really worth paying for. There's a Nikon link on his home page which will show you all his Nikon stuff.
www.bythom.com (particularly good for Nikon stuff)
http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/ (check out his video work - particularly a short movie called Requiem - as an example of what can be done with a digital slr with video capabilities
B & H Photo - my favorite NYC camera store. Very good and very reliable - be sure you look for products with a USA warranty
Digital Photography Review (encyclopedic collection of camera reviews)
Digital Camera Resource Page (another encyclopedic collection of reviews)
Flickr - great for photo sharing (you can see some of my pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aweber9/)
Picasa - google's free and very good photo editor; integrates automatically (automagically) with picasa web albums; both picasa web albums and flickr have excellent blogging integration
And some product links of interest:
The Digital Photography Book (less about buying a camera and more about how to get the most out of it; very good and very practical)
Nikon D90 (midrange Nikon with HD video capabilities)
Nikon 18-200 VR lens (this is one lots of people like as an everyday lens)
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (terrific editing program, somewhat expensive but very good for managing a large library of photos)
Peggy Orenstein's article in today's New York Times, Growing Up On Facebook, touches on these issues and how they may play out at a time when we increasingly share the details (minutiae?) of our lives on facebook, twitter, blogs (!), etc..
college was my big chance to doff the roles in my family and community that I had outgrown, to reinvent myself, to get busy with the embarrassing, exciting, muddy, wonderful work of creating an adult identity. Can you really do that with your 450 closest friends watching, all tweeting to affirm ad nauseam your present self?.....
Certainly, I kept in touch with a few true old friends, but no one else — thank goodness! — witnessed the many and spectacular metaphoric pratfalls I took on the way to figuring out what and whom I wanted to be. Even now, time bends when I open Facebook: it’s as if I’m simultaneously a journalist/wife/mother in Berkeley and the goofy girl I left behind in Minneapolis. Could I have become the former if I had remained perpetually tethered to the latter?.....
On a related note, I recommend you check out my friend Eileen's new blog - it's terrific. You can find it here: Nurves-Circuit Therapy with Eileen J. Dordek, LCSW; Snippets of Psychotherapy for Everyday Life
Inspired by The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread and by Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking, I've been on a bread-baking tear.
Pictured above is my first sourdough loaf, which was made completely from scratch (including making my own sourdough starter from rye flour and pineapple juice!). As is often the case, I've jumped in all the way and have become a regular customer at the King Arthur Flour shop online. Last weekend I also made pizza from scratch according to a recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice with fantastic results. If you are interested in learning bread-making or just love reading beautiful cookbooks, check out Bread Baker's Apprentice.
Image via WikipediaSaw the physical therapist today for treatment of my ongoing leg/back pain. He thinks maybe it's time for an MRI and that I might have something called FAI.....just like Alex Rodriguez. From cnnsi.com: Expert: A-Rod's pending surgery necessary to prevent hip arthritis
As finely tuned a baseball machine as Alex Rodriguez might appear to be, a critical part of his body's machinery has long been working its way toward malfunction. The cyst on his hip that was drained last week is not the problem, but simply a result of a deeper structural problem with the joint itself; one that has developed over years and resulted in a condition that is increasingly being recognized in both athletes -- and the general population -- as a common cause of chronic groin and back pain.
According to a rough estimate by Rodriguez's surgeon, Dr.Marc Philippon, who has operated on dozens of pro athletes, perhaps 20 percent of people have a structural abnormality that can impair internal rotation of the hip joint. (Internal rotation is what happens when you flare your foot to the outside of your body.) The problem is that the head of the femur -- the bone that runs from knee to hip -- rubs against the socket excessively either because there is too much bone covering the head, or because the head itself is not, as it should be, round like a baseball. The condition is called femoracetabular impingement, or FAI -- orthopedic lingo for the square-peg-in-the-round-hole.
Picture Rodriguez, staring down a pitcher, waiting for a fastball. When the pitch comes, he generates his power by pivoting on his back foot and swinging his hips open. The head of the bat follows, like the end of a whip trailing the handle. The more force with which he can throw open his hips, the harder and faster his bat will come around. That motion causes a powerful internal rotation of Rodriguez's right hip -- the one being repaired on Monday. Rodriguez has probably taken hundreds of thousands of swings in his life, not to mention the hip rotation that comes with throwing to first or second base from shortstop or third base.
Rodriguez is one of those people who has a misshapen head of his femur. According to Philippon and other doctors, there is very likely a genetic component to this, but they also believe that stressing the hip joint -- doing deep squats with heavy weights is one sure way to stress the joint -- can cause the femoral head to deform further. So now picture Rodriguez's hip: instead of a round ball rotating smoothly in a cup, his formidable muscles jam his misshapen ball into the socket, where it scrapes along the surface of the cup, meticulously rubbing away the protective cartilage until it tears the labrum -- the band of tissue that rings the hip joint, securing the head of the femur.
The sooner someone with FAI gets surgery, the better. If left untreated, Rodriguez would likely end up with bone scraping bone inside his joint, and would be at risk for early arthritis or in need of a hip replacement. Philippon has seen athletes as young as 25 who have needed total hip replacement, surgery that would seem more to befit their grandparents.
The most insidious part of FAI is that it often manifests as something other than hip pain. Hockey goalies who have impingement use the butterfly technique, in which they go down on their knees and splay their feet out, will sometimes develop chronic groin pulls. The pain may actually be a result of muscles around the hip working hard to make the head of the femur fit into the socket. The trouble gets worse if the athlete is made to stretch the groin more, as most who complain of groin pain are. "If you're stretching and the ball doesn't fit in the socket," Philippon says, "you're going to accentuate the contact stress, you're going to accentuate the conflict."
Chronic back pain can be a sign of impingement, as well. Philippon once operated on a woman with back pain so excruciating that she was wheelchair bound. The woman had an MRI which showed no damage, and visited several surgeons who told her that her pain was from an old back injury. Finally, one doctor suggested she get an MRI arthrogram, a particular type of MRI in which dye is injected into the hip to highlight damaged areas. That test revealed multiple tears in her labrum. After Philippon operated on her, the woman was eventually walking pain-free. Vesa Toskala, the Maple Leafs goalie who had hip surgery, had a similar experience in which an initial MRI was negative, but an arthrogram showed a torn labrum. "I want to say to everybody who thinks they have hip problems," Toskala says, "when they go to take an MRI ... you have to put the dye on it so you're able to see it."
As he has helped to spread the word about FAI, Philippon has treated not only hockey and baseball players, but, among others, football players, skiers, golfers (Greg Norman broadcast his surgery live on his Web site), and figure skaters. Remember Michelle Kwan's tearful departure from the 2006 Olympics with groin trouble? Turns out the problem was actually her hip, and she was under Philippon's knife soon after the Games.
The good news is that the operation seems to be a permanent fix. Philippon will repair the tears in Rodriguez's labrum, and shave the head of his femur into a sphere. In an interview before Rodriguez's impingement was reported, Philippon said that the goal of surgery to fix impingement is "to improve the movement, but by improving the movement, by shaving the bone, you're basically resolving the conflict between the ball and the socket. You're making it fit better." For some athletes, there seems to be a performance benefit to the newly crafted joint with its increased range of motion. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Anaheim Ducks goalie, had the surgery in 2005, and says that it was like having a ball bearing in his right hip oiled for the first time. "It feels pretty good," Giguere says. "It actually feels better than the other hip."
A better rotating A-Rod? Could be a scary thought for pitchers when he returns to the field in a few months.
David Leonhardt's Economic Scene column in today's New York Times (To Spend or to Save? Trick Question) addresses the conflict many people are feeling right now between spending and saving; the paradox is that we need spending to improve the state of the economy, but we need savings to reduce personal debt, recapitalize banks, etc. Given all that, it's hard to know what to do, and the natural instinct is to hunker down and stop spending any more than is absolutely necessary. Leonhardt writes:
It’s your fault. Part of it is, anyway. You, the American consumer, spent too much money. You bought too much house, took on too much debt and generally lived beyond your means. Your free-spending ways helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
And now you’re going to have to do your part to end the crisis. How? By spending. Enough already with the saving that many of you have suddenly begun doing. This very moment, Congress and President Obama are preparing to send you a tax rebate, to inspire you to stimulate the economy. So go out and stimulate. Spend as if the future of your country depended on it.
John Maynard Keynes, the great 20th-century economist, would have appreciated the apparent absurdity in these mixed messages. He coined a phrase, “the paradox of thrift,” to point out that what was rational for an individual during hard times — saving money — could be ruinous for an entire economy. Eventually, many of the savers may end up out of work because everyone else is saving, too.
It’s enough to make you wonder what exactly you’re supposed to do. At his news conference on Monday night, Mr. Obama was asked directly whether people should spend or save their rebate checks. He ducked the question.
Goldratt has a way of looking at these kinds of conflicts: a thinking process called an evaporating cloud. I liked Leonhardt's approach to breaking the conflict between spending and saving: spend, but spend on things which represent investment (such as energy efficiency home improvements and a seltzer maker (you'll have to read the article....). Check it out!
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had a thought-provoking article on the risks of being addicted to a kind of success that revolves primarily or exclusively around career. As the article says:
The deepening recession is exacting punishment for a psychological vice that masquerades as virtue for many working people: the unmitigated identification of self with occupation, accomplishment and professional status. This tendency can induce outright panic as more and more people fear loss of employment.
For the entire article, see: You Might as Well Face It: You're Addicted to Success
In terms of what one can do about professionally focused success addiction, the piece has this to say:
To disassociate identity from professional status, therapists recommend taking pride in characteristics that can't be stripped away -- virtue, integrity, honesty, generosity. They also recommend investing more time and pride in relationships with family, friends and community.
All of his reminds me of a couple of songs I really like (ok, so they are a little over the top, but still....): Kenny Chesney's Don't Blink, and It Won't Be Like This For Long by Darius Rucker (thanks for this one, Phyllis). The links are for the music videos.
I found this fascinating quote today:
We've moved past the time when big institutions controlled what we read, what we thought, and what we believed. And we are arriving at a new place where each and everyone of us will report on our world and share it with others. Sharing is the new truth.A VC, Feb 2009
You should read the whole article.
|From Outdoors On The Frozen Lake - January 2009|
|From Outdoors On The Frozen Lake - January 2009|
|From Outdoors On The Frozen Lake - January 2009|
Had the first chance recently in my 40+ years to make an ice skating rink on a frozen lake - see the pictures above.
Nice article in the NYT about the weather being cold enough this year for lots of ice skating in the area: Skate, Sure, but Don’t Expect a Zamboni. We could have used a Zamboni to smooth out the ice, but I don't think the kids cared much....
This video from the publisher will give you a sense for the scale and vibe of the book (link):
Houston Chronicle: Cutting For Stone By Abraham Verghese
San Francisco Chronicle: 'Cutting for Stone,' by Abraham Verghese
Washington Post: Healing The Past
New York Times: Doctors And Sons
Listening to the audio of communications between the pilot of Flight 1549 and air traffic controllers, I'm struck by how calm everyone seems to be. Hard to imagine.
If you're interested in James Fallows' take on what happened, check out these two blog posts:
In case you were wondering, about that airplane in the Hudson
Two quick followups about the airplane in the Hudson
I've got a bunch of videos lined up to watch, but my favorites so far are by Peter Reinhart on baking bread and Benjamin Wallace on the price of happiness.
Here's the Reinhart video:
And here's the Wallace video:
(here are links to the Reinhart and the Wallace in case you can't see the embedded videos).
If yoy are interested in baking bread, you should also check out Reinhart's new cookbook The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. The cookbook has won a couple of awards and is terrific. I've not made any of the breads yet but have enjoyed just reading Reinhart's detailed descriptions of the bread making process.
I did laugh at this quote from the Lehrer article:
Chronic stress is another important risk factor for chronic pain. One back surgeon, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of offending his patients, said that he's seen several men develop lower back pain shortly after getting engaged. "Weddings are stressors," he says, "and that stress can exacerbate the experience of pain.
And that, of course, reminded me of this very funny video (thanks, Bob & Sara!):
If you can't see the video, you can find it here.
The norms of the last two decades or so — consume before invest; worry about the short term, not the long term — have been more than just a reflection of the economy. They have also affected the economy. Chief executives have fought for paychecks that their predecessors would have considered obscenely large. Technocrats inside Washington’s regulatory agencies, after listening to their bosses talk endlessly about the dangers of overregulation, made quite sure that they weren’t regulating too much. Financial engineering became a more appealing career track than actual engineering or science. In one of the small gems in their book, Goldin and Katz write that towns and cities with a large elderly population once devoted a higher-than-average share of their taxes to schools. Apparently, age made them see the benefits of education. In recent decades, though, the relationship switched. Older towns spent less than average on schools. You can imagine voters in these places asking themselves, “What’s in it for me?”
By any standard, the Obama administration faces an imposing economic to-do list. It will try to end the financial crisis and recession as quickly as possible, even as it starts work on an agenda that will inspire opposition from a murderers’ row of interest groups: Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Coal, the American Medical Association and teachers’ unions. Some items on the agenda will fail.
But the same was true of the New Deal and the decades after World War II, the period that is obviously the model for the Obama years. Roosevelt and Truman both failed to pass universal health insurance or even a program like Medicare. Yet the successes of those years — Social Security, the highway system, the G.I. Bill, the National Science Foundation, the National Labor Relations Board — had a huge effect on the culture.
The American economy didn’t simply grow rapidly in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. It grew rapidly and gave an increasing share of its bounty to the vast middle class. Middle-class incomes soared during those years, while income growth at the very top of the ladder, which had been so great in the 1920s, slowed down. The effects were too great to be explained by a neat package of policies, just as the last few decades can’t be explained only by education, investment and the like.
When Washington sets out to rewrite the rules for the economy, it can pass new laws and shift money from one program to another. But the effects of those changes are not likely to be merely the obvious ones. The changes can also send signals. They can influence millions of individual decisions — about the schools people attend, the jobs they choose, the medical care they request — and, in the process, reshape the economy.
After lunch I headed over to Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar for a cornflake-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookie. Since I was full from lunch I waited until much later to eat the cookie, but it was great. Here's a funny review of the spot from Yelp.
Good thing the spin class I will attend tomorrow is an extra-long session..... (75 minutes).
Since I'm still on the bench for running given my groin injury, I've been focused lately on spin classes. I've rearranged my weight training day so I can attend spin class three days a week - on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Today's class was the first I attended with a heart rate monitor, and the results were terrific.
The five zones pictured above correspond to ranges of % of maximum heart rate. Zone 5 is 90-100%, Zone 4 is 80-89%, Zone 3 is 70-79%, Zone 2 is 60-69%, and Zone 1 is 50-59%. Knowing my heart rate zone during class helps motivate me to push into higher zones and also keeps me from kidding myself about how hard I'm working. Today's class was really tough, and though I never got into Zone 5, I did spend a fair amount of time in Zone 4 (more than 20 minutes).
If you are committed to doing great cardio workouts, I suggest you consider a heart rate monitor. I have the Polar RS200 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black)
Terrific article on the benefits of exercise and the commitment required to make a difference. Here's one great story from the article:
Then there’s Charles Reilly, a federal prosecutor in Manhattan and a marathon runner who took a 10-year hiatus from the sport when he joined his local school board. He just did not have time to exercise, he said. Along with exercising less, he ate more. Soon he ballooned from 159 pounds to 282. “It came on gradually, but it came on,” Mr. Reilly said of the weight.
On April 18, 2005, he had his last school board meeting — he’d decided not to run for any more terms. Eight days later, he went out for a run.
“After half a mile, I had to stop and walk,” Mr. Reilly said. But he kept trying. A month later, he could run three miles without stopping. After three or four months, he says, he could run for five miles. By the end of 2006, he ran 10 miles. In the meantime, he also changed his diet. “My goal was to lose 100 pounds,” Mr. Reilly said. He did it, hitting his goal on Feb. 3, 2007, in a little over 21 months.
we can each improve within ourselves by reframing our expectations, by challenging our beliefs, by identifying our own mental barriers and then breaking them down
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much? (Part I) - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much? (Part II: Indefensible Administrative Costs)
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much? (Part III: An Aging Population Isn’t the Reason)
Why Does U.S. Health Care Cost So Much? (Part IV: A Primer on Medicare)
U.S. Health Care Costs, Part V: Can Americans Afford Medicare?
U.S. Health Care Costs Part VI: At What Price Physician Autonomy?
U.S. Health Care Costs Part VII: Reining in Doctors Who Cost Too Much
I found this fascinating quote today:
If I think about all the issues we've had on wall street over the past year (see Michael Lewis and Daniel Einhorn's two part column for a great description of them), I think most of these issues have been caused by investors playing with other people's money without enough of their own net worth at stake. Financial leverage is a good example of playing with other people's money. You put up a tiny amount of your own money and you borrow the rest. If things don't go your way, you write off the little you put up and the lender takes the bath. That's been going on in the financial markets and the housing markets for the better part of ten years and we are now seeing the cost of that approach.A VC, Jan 2009
You should read the whole post.
Some key excerpts:
"Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from nonleaders"
"Leaders on the front line must anticipate merely what comes after current projects wrap up. People at the next level of leadership should be looking several years into the future. And those in the C-suite must focus on a horizon some 10 years distant. ... So how do new leaders develop this forward-looking capacity? First, of course, they must resolve to carve out time from urgent but endless operational matters. But even more important, as leaders spend more time looking ahead, they must not put too much stock in their own prescience"
"Yes, leaders must ask, “What’s new? What’s next? What’s better?”—but they can’t present answers that are only theirs. Constituents want visions of the future that reflect their own aspirations. They want to hear how their dreams will come true and their hopes will be fulfilled."
"As counterintuitive as it might seem, then, the best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present. The only visions that take hold are shared visions—and you will create them only when you listen very, very closely to others, appreciate their hopes, and attend to their needs. The best leaders are able to bring their people into the future because they engage in the oldest form of research: They observe the human condition."
Links to more links: 10 Hot Photography Tips and Tutorials from 2008 and 21 Settings, Techniques and Rules All New Camera Owners Should Know. From Digital Photography School.
From the Wall Street Journal: New York, Boston Prices Expected to Fall Further
The Times piece seems more optimistic while the WSJ piece seems more realistic.....though one could argue that the differences have only to do with time horizon.