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Walter Cronkite

Information Apocalypse – Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World

The New Orleans Time-Picayne, the newspaper that won Pulitzer prizes for its coverage during Hurricane Katrina, and which managed to continue publishing daily during the hurricane and its recovery, announced in mid-June that it has laid off 600 people and reduced the number of days it would put out a print edition from seven to three.

A hobo living on Canal Street quickly spoke up, volunteering to fill the void with blog articles and tweets about what he saw while pushing his shopping cart down the street. This, of course, would be accompanied by the requisite Facebook status updates, Instagram photos and You Tube videos taken from the mobile camera strategic mounted on his cart.

The ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (politically nicknamed “ObamaCare”, a name most likely supported by both Democrats and Republicans depending on which way the winds of public opinion are blowing) comes out of the Supreme Court on June 28, ruling 4-3 that the Act is constitutional with a 65-page discussion.

Immediately everyone on Facebook and Twitter becomes a Constitutional expert, without reading either the Act (which is over 900 pages) or the Court’s response, and turning what could be a discussion to improve the Healthcare of the country into YARIB (Yet Another Raucous and Immature Debate).

When turning on the local six o’clock news, a viewer is presented with ten minutes of who shot whom, while the so-called “Arab Spring” in the Middle East, China’s first manned space docking with a space station and other important events for humanity get less than 30 seconds or no coverage at all.

The Information Apocalypse is upon us (see the Introductory Article on the Thinking Man’s Guide to the End of the World, and the article on Technological Apocalypse for background). We no longer have authoritative experts, but, in their place to fill the void are a clambering mass of obnoxious bloggers (guilty!), wildly liberal/conservative Facebook users and tweeps of all shapes, sizes, colors and questionable religious denominations.

In the good old days, we had people you could trust. People like Walter Cronkite. Used to be that if you heard something from Walter Cronkite, that was it…it was gospel, law, carved in stone. I mean, the dude cried when men landed on the moon, thereby putting all of the conspiracy theorists claiming the landing was “staged” in a bad light (Cronkite wouldn’t cry if it  were a staged event, right? Buzz Aldin wouldn’t punch anyone if it was a staged event, right?). (more…)


Half-marathon training: Week 1

Sunday: Target (Easy 5 miles) – 4.1 miles. Due to a late night commando visit by my nephew, didn’t get out until 10am. Already toasty in Houston, so didn’t push through to the 5 miles. Easy pace targets at 9:30.

Monday: Target (Easy 3 miles + hill sprints) – 3.1 miles + hill sprints. Ran up the gully four times. The incline is slightly more than recommended, but should have the same result.

Tuesday: Target (Easy 5 miles) – 5 miles. In Dallas at the Omni. Ran around the lake by the Doubletree and over the bridge on Royal to the Campion Trail (that’s what Google Maps calls it, signposts say Kennan Park or something similar) all the way to underneath I-635 and back. Very warm in the morning, and kept my pace more in the moderate range (8:45-9:15) vs easy.

Note: it appears that Easy should be 9:15 – 9:45 , Moderate 8:45 – 9:15, Hard 8:15 – 8:45, and Race pace toward 8:20 for the goal to break 1:50:00 in the half (race pace chart at the bottom). The Houston summer heat will make these paces “fun and challenging!”

Wednesday: Target (Easy 6 miles) – 4.75 miles. First week running four times in a row, my legs were after four miles. This time I went the opposite way from the Omni in Dallas, through a rougher but more interesting trail to I-635 on this side of the water, then back around to Royal to get the distance in.

Thursday: Rest day. Back in Houston. Temps supposed to hit 100 this weekend! Did P90X2 Arms until AT&T showed up to try to repair a blown router. But that’s a story for another article.

Friday: Target (6 miles + hill sprints): 5.75 miles. Hills are hard to find in Houston, but there are slopes under the roads on the trail I run on cypress creek, and that and the paved gullies will suffice for now.

Saturday: Rest, and drink Firestone Parabola Sout

Totals this week: Target: 25 miles + hills; Actual: 22.75 miles + hills. Most miles I’ve run in one week since January and February’s training for the 2012 New Orleans half. Last week: 15 miles.

The Social Network vs. Zombieland SMACKDOWN

With the Facebook IPO consternation, coupled with news of certain Zombie-like events in the U.S., it is time for a SMACKDOWN of two movies that are bursting with mysterious parallels.

Movie ThemeZombies have taken over the worldSocial networking has taken over the worldThere's always someone with dreams of world domination.
Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse is shown in these pictures with two "Z"'s: Zombie and Zuckerberg. Go ahead...you can figure it out.

Jesse was also the voice of Blu in Rio...redemption!
Woody Harrelson
Justin Timberlake
Coming soon: a Woody Harrelson vs. JT SMACKDOWN...not!
Star cameo
Bill Murray
Annabelle Amirav
Murray's Zombie disguise was classic, as was the line about GARFIELD.

Ms. Amirav is a star in her native Israel with a small part in this movie, but, dressed almost like a zombie, her public service announcement on Domestic Abuse is powerful and moving.
Quote that should be from the other movie"Without friends, you might as well be a zombie.""Hey man, sorry. A couple of girls are freshening up in there."Can't pay for marketing like that!
Superhero connection
Emma Stone (Wichita in Zombieland) is Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider Man
Andrews Garfield (Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network) is Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider Man
Though not a fan of reboots (which usually means (a)need more money or (b)it stunk the first time), I'm a fan of anything Ms. Stone is in...as long as she's carrying a shotgun.

Gwen Stacy with a shotgun...yum!
Best Facebook IPO Quote"Time to nut up or shut up!"“They’re suing me because for the first time in their lives, the world didn’t work the way it was supposed to for them.”'nuff said.
Least likely to occur in a million yearsThat a geek like Columbus (Eisenberg) would be lucky enough to get a babe like Wichita (Stone) as his last girl on Earth.That a geek like Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) would be lucky enough to get a company like Facebook to IPO
New Orleans Half

Half-marathon training: modifications

At the New Orleans Half-Marathon this past March, I ran a 1:52, which is my personal record (yeah, I started running these races when I was old and slow, so every run is a chance for a PR!). Based on some discussions with my speedster brother and some reading, I’m making the following modifications to my training. All comments and suggestions welcomed.

These modifications come with new goals:

  • October 7: San Jose Half – target sub 1:50
  • February 24, 2013: New Orleans Half – target sub 1:45


  • More miles: leading up to the New Orleans half, in January and February I was averaging 20-25 miles a week. This new plan starts at 28 miles per week, and ramps up to 48 miles per week. The main risk here is whether or not my knees can handle this amount of work;
  • Hill sprints: hill sprints should help leg strength, which in turn will help my knees resist injury;
  • Variance in speed of training runs: in the past, I’ve tried to always maintain a certain pace in all my training except intervals. This program differentiates runs into Easy, Moderate and Hard, plus includes Progression runs as well as intervals and fartleks. I’ll have to discipline myself not to always try to run at a particular pace; certainly should make the increase in miles a bit easier.
  • Myofascial release (foam rolling): I’m putting together a longer article on myofascial release and chi/qi; but I’ve started foam rolling from running with Bert and really got into it with P90X2. It certainly helps the soreness around my 50 year old “Rugby and surgically enhanced” knees and in my quads and hamstrings.

The new training program starts in earnest tomorrow, appropriately on Father’s Day.

John Carter vs. The Avengers SMACKDOWN

With the impending release of JOHN CARTER on DVD, and THE AVENGERS breaking records at the box office, it is past time to compare and contrast these two latest Disney/Buena Vista movies.

Evil Nemesis
Matai Shang
(Mark Strong)
(Tom Hiddleston)
Loki already had his butt kicked once, why bring him back as a villain when the Marvel world has so many other villains to play with? They both have cool toys/weapons and a unpredictable ability to travel between worlds. Hiddleston was in Warhorse; Mark Strong was Sinestro in Green Lantern, if that counts.
Cute Animal Sidekick
The Hulk
Seriously, who would want to be licked by the Hulk?
Femme Fatale
Dejah Thoris
(Lynn Collins)
Black Widow
(Scarlett Johansson)
Dejah has a sword and is a scientist.

Natasha has two pistols and an awesome roundhouse.

Both ladies are welcomed to come to our house to compare and contrast these movies in a purely intellectual setting (heh).
It ain't easy being Green
Tars Tarkas
(Willem Dafoe)
The Hulk
(Mark Ruffalo)
Tars is taller, has more arms and tusks.

Hulk is Hulk.

Green is the new Black.
Prequel MoviesZero (Tarzan doesn't count)

For background on Barsoom and John Carter, see my John Carter Primer on You Tube
- Iron Man
- Iron Man 2
- Thor
- Captain America
(the two crappy Hulk movies don't count)
John Carter is the first in the series.

The Avengers was setup by Iron Man (1 and 2), Thor and Captain America, and it survived the first two Hulk movies (though Ed Norton was not bad, Ruffalo OWNED the HULK).
Director's Previous MoviesWALL-E, Finding Nemo, Toy Story 2 and 3 (Andrew Stanton)Thor, Serenity (Josh Whedon)Interestingly, Whedon and Stanton were both writers on Toy Story 1. Knew there was a connection somewhere.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
(Daryl Sabara)
Nick Fury
(Samuel L. Jackson)
Spy Kids vs. Pulp Fiction.

Would like to have seen more ERB, enjoyed Sabara's characterization of him.

Will see LOTS more of Fury, Samuel L. has signed on to play him forever, even on coffee mugs.
Viewer Age Demographic50-1000-50With The Princess of Mars debuting 100 years ago, and its two sequels just after, the John Carter story and its supporters have been around the block a time or two.

The Avengers come out in monthly fashion, either in their own comic books or together, and some cartoon replays, catering to a much younger generation.
Current Box Office (as of June 1, 2012)$282 million Worldwide

$72 million Domestic (26%)
$210 million Overseas (74%)
$1,312 million Worldwide

$530 million Domestic (40%)
$782 million Overseas (60%)
With a ratio of six Avengers heroes to one John Cater, this revenue mix seems about right.
Probability of SequelCurrently sacrificing chickens to ensure a sequel100%

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