I rode my bike 15 miles today, just hitting the hills out through the back of the neighborhood, down to the state park and back up to the main road.
There’s a hill right off that drops away like a waterfall. From the very top of it, and from a stopped-start, you can coast six-tenths of a mile and hitting about 28 miles per hour. That’s fun, but climbing back up it is the ride. So we did that a few times. And then we took one of the side climbs on the biggest “hill” in town a few times.
So that was a nice 45 minutes or so on the bike. And then, as evening sighed and gave way to night, we ran about two miles on one of the neighborhood paths.
It sounds like we’re in shape or something, right? My run would disagree.
And, now, Pavarotti sings Nessun Dorma
On that run I found the first honeysuckle of the season. It seems late, in general, but everything about this spring is late. We broke 70 for less than an hour today, but at least we broke 70. Have I mentioned I live in the deep south?
The the nice part about sucking wind on a poor run at the height of spring is the smell of so much honeysuckle. Trying to enjoy the nectar of the honeysuckle just before a run? Noticing there was not really any nectar to speak of? That was an odd thing, but this has been an odd spring.
The Yankee is racing on that tomorrow and I was doing the scouting work. The opening rollers can get you. Your eyes will deceive you. Watch out for that pothole. When you get here shift up. You’ll ride along the top of the hills, so pedal hard.
Gear up when you hit that stop sign. Crush it here. Be careful of that intersection, it feels crazy on the bicycle. Get over your gears on that roller. When you come back in toward the park sprint the last leg. I was breaking 30 through there.
Tomorrow she’ll do her second aquabike, a swim-ride race. Last year, in her first one, she took third place. And now she has another 600-meter swim and a 14-mile ride at John Tanner State Park in Carrollton, Ga. It boasts 28 acres of lakes, the largest sand beach of any Georgia state park and the nicest state park restroom I’ve ever seen. And also really, really cold water in the swimming area.
Things are still unseasonably cool, which feels great in general. But if you have to swim in it at 8 a.m. probably is a different story.
John Tanner was a local business owner who opened and ran the park from 1954 through 1971, when he sold it to the state. Actually it is now a county park. Even better. The state was going to close the park in 2012, but it went back to the locals instead.
The ride felt slow to me, I started cold, I hadn’t eaten enough and I’d gotten right out of the car and on to the bike. But my computer disagreed. It said I had a fairly nice pace for my first time on that route. Nice for me, put still slow, we agreed.
That’s OK, because pasta for dinner! We found our way to a Carrabba’s after noting the local Mellow Mushroom was closed and avoiding the many Captain D’s that seem to populate that part of the world.
They are presently offering a menu that includes seconds. They know their audience, namely, me. Only they brought out both plates at the same time, which didn’t make me look very good I’m sure. Joke’s on them. I still had bike grease and tire dust on my face, apparently.
Badges of honor, I say.
George Jones was nothing less than the greatest country music singer that ever lived.
Not much else to say after that. This week’s YouTube Cover Theater features covers of the timeless, brilliant George Jones.
Charlie W. uploaded this video from Belgium today:
Sitting on a porch with crickets buzzing in the background, playing a pretty Gibson Hummingbird and singing about drinking. That’s a George Jones tribute if ever there was one:
Jim Arkus here says he heard the news and sat down on his porch and put this cover of The Door on video:
There are a lot of Jones covers popping up today, and so their traffic is necessarily low. This one has been up for more than a year and I do not understand how it has less than 200 views.
The Opry dedicated their show tonight to Jones, who became a member in 1956:
George Jones had number one singles in four different decades. He marked 26 albums that charted in the top 10 and 72 singles reach such lofty places.
George Jones gets the final word, of course. This was a title track in 1985 and still a fan favorite a decade later, when he performed it in this 1993 concert. It reached number three on the charts as a lament and a criticism and it is even sadder today:
OK, Merle gets the last word, because it is likely the truth:
We held a big committee meeting today and held interviews and selected next year’s student media leaders. This is always a great day because our most motivated students come forward and share their ideas and answer a few questions and we try to make sure we pick the right people, and there are so many fine choices for most of those jobs.
I haven’t been to this meeting on a day when the sun wasn’t shining and the people in the room weren’t pleased to be there. Some of the elements of what happens in that meeting are among my favorite things about being at Samford. I get to watch highly-placed people in the university thinking about the best possible thing for a particular student. To be a part of that is to realize you are in a great place, surrounded by people there for the right reasons. That’s a fine thing to know.
Made it home in time to enjoy dinner with our friends Barry and Melissa, who were in town for meetings and things. We’d just spent the weekend with them and others in Louisville, but now they had their sun, who is a huge ball of 5-year-old energy. We saw Dr. Magical, who made Matthew, who is awesome, a balloon. He likes Angry Birds so …
I mention the Boston scanner and listening to that last night. I stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m., late enough to not be sure. I fought my eyelids for a good long time and then when the officers decided to tighten their perimeter and wait until daylight it seemed a good time to get some rest. So I had about three hours last night. And when I woke up they’d turned off the streams to their scanner chatter for security reasons.
The good people of the great city of Boston have a lot to be thankful for. Their police, and the feds and other municipalities who were involved in all of that performed admirably. Today, too, we found a link to a still-active scanner feed for about a half hour before dinner and it was the same thing, even as they were drawing close, and even as they realized they had their suspect contained.
And so when they announced, when we were at dinner, that they’d caught their man, and started pulling out of town, the road lined on either side with neighbors who looked like the Celtics had just won a championship, when the SWAT team took to their loudspeaker and told the people of that neighborhood that it was their pleasure to be there, that was a beautiful site.
Here is the scanner chatter as they caught their man. “Neva betta” indeed.
There are, already, at least two sites taking donations to collect money to buy the Boston police officers a beer. That seems fitting.
YouTube Cover Theater: Where we irregularly celebrate the talent of the undiscovered, who take their guitars and their computers and show off their song stylings to the entire world, by showing off people covering popular performers. It is a testament to all of the talent that is out there that ought to be acknowledged, and only gets mild notice. We do this by picking one musician and finding people who are covering them. This week’s featured artist is Colin Hay.
This version of I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You is by the U.K.’s Kieran Smith, who is a music teacher, it turns out:
Australian Jace Leckie’s cover of Beautiful World has only been watched 62 times, which is a shame. It is a chill cover of a terrific song:
Here’s a guy sitting at his desk, just strumming out Maggie. No big deal:
Guess it wouldn’t be Colin Hay without some Overkill. Monica Brentnall is handling it. It really needs some more views:
And, finally, a bit of Colin Hay himself. Another great song, Waiting for My Real Life to Begin:
Hope you have a great weekend. Let’s all celebrate it like we’re in Boston.
We have half the grapes that we started the day with. And one less navel orange. Also, the leftover spaghetti from last night disappeared. And then I was full for about an hour. But white grapes only last so long and I had to talk myself out of an extra lunch. Miles on the bike speed up the metabolism, or so I tell myself, and I want to eat everything.
Strange since my energy was all over the place yesterday. I chased The Yankee around town, counting my second, third and fourth wind. These things should be more predictable, but yesterday I was left amazed at how I couldn’t find my legs to get over this hill, but soft-pedaled over the next one, with my legs feeling bored with it all. The body is an amazing thing, and a body on a bicycle is a curious miracle, all balance and whirring and swaying and moving forward. I’m not a good cyclist. Usually I do well just to stay upright. Balance and whirring and all that. At my best moments I’m either trying to make nice little circles with my feet or, if I’ve given up on that, I just try to make it all look casual. That’s also impossible.
But, 30 more miles yesterday, and I really need to start putting more miles back in. We got home just as the wind picked up. She’d forecast the afternoon perfectly. Meteorologists call her for input, or they should.
And now back to work today, the cold week of spring break is over, replaced by a cold regular week.
In class today we talked about films, which means a lot of clips of special effects. One of the students found a five minute EXPLOSIONGANZA of CGI that just melted everyone’s brains. Oh, for a few scenes of expository. Or even a Stallone quote.
When they talk about film they also talk about awards, which everyone loves except me, apparently. I’m fine with it. I did enjoy the Oscars poster someone showed off. It had the statue in the foreground surrounded by floating lines from memorable award winners. I saw this famous line and thought about adding in some running commentary — we’d recently talked about civil rights, the 50th anniversary of various events in Birmingham and across the south, how critical a time that was and how there is such a great museum just over the mountain — so bringing up In the Heat of the Night would have been perfect.
I decided against it. I’m not sure kids born in the 1990s would understand 1960s Mississippi and why all of this was so important. Even the television show was off the air by the time my oldest student was born. Sidney Poitier, though, he just gives you more every time you watch that quiet moment.
Everyone always remembers this, perhaps a cinematic first: