Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend

Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)( Best hikes near series) by Lizann Dunegan
Date read: 6 April 2015 – 5 June 2016
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Image of the cover of Lizann Dunegan's Best Hikes Near Bend

Paperback, viii, 223 pages
Published 2014 by FalconGuides
Source: Own

This one took me a while, primarily due to one or two very long reading breaks. It is actually a fairly quick read, if one were to read it cover-to-cover like I did.

Bottom line: Highly recommended for hiking in the vicinity of Bend.

The book is “endorsed” by the American Hiking Society, as their emblem is on the cover, but I can find no other info in the book regarding such agency. No idea if they are the premier US hiking organization or fall somewhere else on the spectrum. http://www.americanhiking.org/

The book contains 40 hikes around the Bend area. And, yes, Pilot Butte is hike #1, as it should be [Haven’t talked about the butte here in a while, have I?].

Here is the map used to show you what that means:

Image of the map showing region covered as near Bend.

There is also a short introduction with some [but not much] information on weather, flora and fauna, wilderness restrictions/regulations; a how to use this guide section; a trail finder which covers waterfalls, great views, for children, for dogs, streams, lakes, nature, and history.

Next comes the 40 hikes and then a 23-page section called the Art of Hiking, which covers the following: trail etiquette, getting into shape, preparedness [water, treating water, food, shelter, finding a campsite], first aid [general, sunburn, blisters, insect bites and stings, ticks, poison ivy, oak and sumac, snakebites, dehydration, heat exhaustion, hypothermia, frostbite, altitude sickness (AMS), Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)]; natural hazards [lightning, bears, mountain lions, other considerations]; navigation [maps, compasses, GPS, pedometers]; trip planning with checklists for day hikes and overnight trips; equipment [clothes, footwear, hiking poles, backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, cellphones; hiking with children, hiking with your dog; and an index.

Each hike has an overview which covers why you might be interested, what else you will see, etc. Then there is a big box with all of the important info summarized (start, distance, hiking time, difficulty (and why), trail surface, best season, ….

Then there is a more fleshed out description and photos, followed by a clear map of the hike, miles and directions [turn-by-turn, if you will], options and hike information.

I found the format to be clear and highly useful. I have done a few of these hikes but I look forward to doing several more; hopefully soon for one or two. The author also does a good job in the text of telling us where we need mosquito/insect repellent.

Highly recommended if looking for a hiking guide book of trails “near” Bend. Use the scan of the map above to determine whether they are near enough to Bend for you.

This is the 19th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy

Delavier’s Core Training Anatomy by Frédéric Delavier and Michael Gundill

Date read: 01-07 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Delavier's Core Training Anatomy book

Paperback, 144 pages
Published 2010 by Human Kinetics (“This book is a revised edition of Des Abdos D’Enfer, published in 2010 by Éditions Vigot.” — Half t.p. verso)
Source: Own

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • Part 1 20 Steps to Creating the Perfect Core workout Program
  • Part 2 Increase the Visibility of Your Abs
  • Part 3 Basic Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
  • Part 4 Advanced Exercises and Techniques
  • Part 5 Exercises Using Machines and Accessories
    Part 6 Workout Programs for Abdominal and Core Muscles
  • Exercise Index

While the title of this book claims to be focused on core anatomy I am a bit disappointed in that coverage. It does cover the abs quite well. Of course, the abs are part of the core, and a few of the exercises also strengthen other core muscles, but there is otherwise absolutely no coverage of the other core muscles, or even a discussion of balancing the entire core. That seems odd for a book titled “core.” Perhaps the American publisher hosed the title; in French it is Abs of Hell.

Considering this as a book about the abdominal muscles and their care and keeping, it is quite good.

Part 1 considers 20 questions/factors so that you can either build and focus your own training plans, along with verifying theirs for yourself. Some of these factors are: Set your goals, how many workouts each week, how many sets, how many exercises for each muscle, how many reps per set, rest time between sets, choosing exercises that work for you, and so on. Many of these are pulled apart based on the four possible main goals that are elucidated: strengthening core, losing inches off waist, using as a cardio workout, and improving athletic performance.

Part 2 is a short section focusing on exactly what it says, Increase the Visibility of Your Abs. Not my concern so am happy that the coverage—while good—was short.

Part 3 Basic Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs goes through 17 exercises covering the rectus abdominis, obliques, stability, breathing exercises, stretching the abdominal muscles, the hip flexors, and the low back. Anatomical drawings showing the muscles in use, along with photos of the exercise being performed, really help to understand what is going on. Variations are provided for each exercise, some to make it easier and some to make it more difficult.

Part 4 Advanced Exercises and Techniques discusses isolating the upper from the lower abs and provides 7 exercises for the upper abdominals, lower abdominals, and the obliques.

Part 5 Exercises Using Machines and Accessories discusses home and professional machines and again provides 7 exercises for the upper abdominals, lower abdominals, and the obliques.

Part 6 Workout Programs for Abdominal and Core Muscles provides 8 programs under Six-Pack Programs, 4 under Programs for Well-Being, and 4* under Sport-Specific Core Programs. I put an * for sport-specific because there are actually 19 specific sport programs after 3 more general athletic-enhancing ones. Along with those, most of the programs I listed have a beginning and an advanced version, and sometimes even more. So quite a few programs are provided for the novice or anyone who simply doesn’t want to bother with making their own programs, at least starting out.

An Exercise Index is also provided.

The book is easy to understand and does a good job pointing out dangerous practices and how to do these exercises properly.

Most of the exercises require no equipment as that is where they chose to focus. They do bring a a few bits using hanging bars, stability balls, and a few ab machines but the vast majority are equipment free.

Highly recommended.

I previously reviewed Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy and have been meaning to get around to reading some others.

This is the 16th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Exercise goals for 2015

Back in December when I saw the endocrinologist we had no real leads so I brought up that I needed to get back “in shape” so we could help ascertain what are “real” symptoms of whatever is the health issue and the those of the larger health issue of absolutely poor fitness.

I have always been a “fair weather” exerciser. Motivation is my personal downfall. I have the education and knowledge (and personal library) and was even once certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Fitness Trainer and am a US Army Master Fitness Trainer.

So. This year. I am trying to build on the motivation I grasped at at the doctor’s office. I do NOT like how I feel and how my illness makes me so I am currently highly motivated (for me).

For annual review at the start of the year I grabbed some numbers I had written down at least a year ago, maybe closer to two, for a “goal.” I was to walk a minimum of 4 mi/week and run (once I started) a min. of 15 mi/week. Surgery and forest fires and a move and selling the treadmill all added up to zilch running and pretty much the same for walking. Since Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café was about the only place to walk from our previous place and it involved a big hill it was hard to get in 4 mi/week.

Where we live now we can do all kinds of walking, although I would do a LOT more if Bend would do something about being a pedestrian here. You know, like they actually want them. Starting with some freaking sidewalks, everywhere. And then enforcing clearing of sidewalks, etc.

Anyway … we live quite near Pilot Butte State Park so I decided I wanted to walk a minimum of 4 mi/wk AND climb Pilot Butte an average of once/week.

We began the new year with a pre-dawn climb with a new friend. There was a couple day fresh pack of snow on the trails and we crested four minutes before sun up. Good thing too as it was in the single digits temperature-wise. Quite glorious actually.

Picture of the sun peaking over the eastern hills from the summit of Pilot Butte, Bend, OR

Sun up (7:41 am) 1 January 2015 from the crest of Pilot Butte

I managed to climb it again with Sara six days later and then by myself six days after that. I treated that one as sort of a “fitness test” and it almost killed me despite a strong start. My back really tried to completely break me during and for a couple days after. My next climb was about eight or nine days later (but still making average) and I took it much slower. I also took the road up that day and the trail down, instead of trail for both. My back still hurt a fair bit but began much later and did not last as long.

Picture from the summit of Pilot Butte on 7 January 2015 just a few minutes past sunup but looking west to the Cascades.

The summit of Pilot Butte on 7 January 2015 just a few minutes past sunup but looking west to the Cascades.

Another issue with climbing the butte is that from our house, if I take the most likely way and then the trail up and down, it is a 4.5 mi walk. So achieving my Pilot Butte climb gives me more mileage than I had as a goal. Silly, boy.

Nonetheless, I decided that maybe I am not yet in the shape necessary for climbing the butte. I could always take the base trail around and get in a lot of up and down and several miles but not the mostly up and mostly down of trying to crest.

With that in mind, this morning I tried to find the base trail from our way in and got off to the wrong start and was doing way too much climbing pretty much straight up the side. NOT what I had in mind. I retraced and re-found my way to the base trail and took it the whole way around. My back was not happy early on but after my mis-taken route it only made sense.

I have decided that taking the base trail around or some even longer version can count as “doing” Pilot Butte for now. When I got to the trailhead I also found the poster and cards for the Century Club.

Picture of Century Club tracking postcard

Postcard to track your Century Club progress. Available at the signpost for the Club near the trailhead.

Basically, for them, up and down once or around the base trail once is “2 miles” and 50 times gets you in the Century Club and a certificate. Some of those folks have clearly been doing it for decades as they have thousands of “laps”.

So my revised goals are:

Walking

  • 8 mi/week [till needs to go up]
  • Pilot Butte 1x/week
  • Make the Century Club by the end of 2015

Running

  • That is flexible as I have no idea if I will be in good enough shape to try running soon but I hope to, especially if the weather stays anything like this. Ha ha ha.

I am also building myself a pull-up bar from galvanized steel piping. I have an over-the-door one but I can’t make it work in this house. I am hoping that by having it there and handy I will treat it as a exercise of opportunity.

I am also doing (too infrequently) a little hopping around aerobic/calisthenic/strength routine that takes about 5 minutes to do.

There is also a Pilot Butte Challenge in September that I would like to do perhaps in 2016 if I can get in much better shape. But that is another day. I may go to registration on 7 February to see about volunteering. That way I can easily learn more about how it is run; managed, that is.

When I got home today Runkeeper joyously announced that I had achieved the most elevation gain in a month, 3488 ft. I’m guessing that’ll get broken soon.

My main goals are: to build cardiovascular endurance, gain strength, sleep better, be in far less pain, be able to determine a pain is indicative of an actual short-term problem versus arising from gross structural inadequacy, and those sorts of larger-scale more important things than simply tracking miles or reps.

Speaking of more important things, I leave you with one of my favorite junipers on Pilot Butte:

Picture of a juniper tree on Pilot Butte at Pilot Butte State Park, Bend, OR

Running Anatomy, a book review

[This is a copy of the review I posted at LibraryThing. Also posted at goodreads.]

Running anatomy : Your illustrated guide to running strength, speed, and endurance / Joe Puleo and Dr. Patrick Milroy. Champaign, IL : Human Kinetics, c2010

Disclosure: I got a copy of this book for free via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

My qualifications to review this book: Back in the day I was an Army Master Fitness Trainer and was also certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as a fitness trainer. I have been an on again, off again distance runner for over 35 years.

Review: Simply stated, this is an excellent book. Back when I was actively engaged in fitness training and acquiring resources I would have paid really good money for this book, assuming I had been able to peruse it beforehand.

The authors claim 3 goals:

1. “[T]he illustrations … are meant to aid the runner in understanding the anatomy impacted when the runner is in motion” and “to further the runner’s understanding of how” the anatomy “work[s] to move the body.” (vii)
2. Show the significance of strengthening the body via strength training. (vii)
3. Provide exercises that “will improve running performance and help to keep the runner injury-free by eliminating anatomical imbalances ….” (vii).

The book does exactly what it claims and does it in a clear, comprehensive, and understandable way. The illustrations are excellent and support the text.

The opening chapters discuss “The Evolution of the Human Runner,” “Cardiovascular and Cardiorespiratory Components,” “The Runner in Motion,” and “Adaptations for Speed and Terrain.”  Some resources spend more time on these topics but the presentation by the authors of this book are fully detailed, while being concise enough to leave more room for the heart of the work, which follows.

The next 5 chapters cover the “Upper Torso,” “Arms and Shoulders,” “Core,” “Upper Legs,” and “Lower Legs and Feet.”  Each chapter begins with a discussion of the appropriate anatomy, to include illustrations, moves into a discussion of why this area is important to a runner and what can go wrong, and then focuses on specific training recommendations. The core of each chapter is then comprised of recommended strength training exercises for the area.  Each exercise includes discussion of proper execution, the primary and secondary muscles involved, the running focus, any safety tips, and any exercise variations.

The authors have done an amazing job of bringing together all of the important and relevant knowledge about a specific exercise via  their accompanying descriptions and illustrations, and they have done so clearly and concisely.  Back when I was actively pursuing this field I had to synthesize this sort of knowledge from many sources and could never find it all in one source, unless it was one that was poorly arranged and inconvenient to use.

The remaining chapters cover “Common Running Injuries,” “Anatomy of Running Footwear,” and “Full-Body Conditioning.” These chapters, while also short, adequately serve as an introduction to the topics.

The one thing that I feel is seriously missing from the text are recommended sources, especially for the opening and closing chapters which are only able to serve as introductions to their topics. The authors must be familiar with quality sources to address these areas in more detail. Human Kinetics certainly publishes many fine books which should serve the purpose adequately.

I see that this book is one of many in Human Kinetics Anatomy Series. Other books include Yoga, Stretching, Dance, Cycling, Swimming, and so on. If these books are of the same quality as this one then they ought to serve as excellent introductions to the anatomy of, and strength training for, these endeavors.

Overall I highly recommend this book to any runner interested in the anatomy of their sport and a clear and concise description of how to incorporate strength training to improve their performance.

Some things read this week, 6 – 12 April 2008

Sunday, 6 Apr 2008

Chan, Lois Mai. 1977. Alphabetical arrangement and subject collocation in Library of Congress Subject Headings. Library Resources & Technical Services 21, no. 2:156-169.

Read this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see Tom’s bibliography mentioned last week).

Marshall, Linnea. 2003. Specific and generic subject headings: increasing subject access to library materials. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 36, no. 2:59-87.

Read this for Tom’s presentation/discussion of his project this coming Tuesday (see Tom’s bibliography mentioned last week).

The section on The Syndetic Structure is an excellent read that points to many failures of our current systems. Don’t misunderstand, I am not particularly commenting on what Marshall writes, as I am pretty much completely reading her in light of being highly informed by several previous articles on specificity and closely related topics (although a fair bit older), along with the daily struggles—experiential and conceptual—within these systems as a cataloger and catalog user. If one construes what she writes as a call for tools that would make entering, maintaining, and making the syndetic structure usable and useful then run with it. Please.

But. I am also loathe to say “go out, read this, and go forth.” I have many reservations about much of what Marshall (and the folks she cites [much of which I had just read]) advocate. The point, though, is that this is easily a century old discussion. And lest any foolish youngster or modernist thinks we have really made any serious “progress” towards solving—much less defining—specificity then I want them to steer clear.

There are, at least, two major (and somewhat related) issues here. What has been and is the state of the theoretical view(s) on specificity? And, what has been, what are the reasons why, and what is the state of specificity in action? That is, how has it been implemented in our systems, and how does it, or does it, work?

Issues of theory are complex enough, and highly disparate and even contentious. As for “progress”, we have had some if beginning to pull apart past and other possibly productive uses of the concept can be defended as good conceptual analysis. Svenonius’ 1976 article [see last week] gave us 7 concepts of specificity. Certainly useful, and clarifying, in a sense. The number has not gone down in the last 30 years, either.

I do think that there is much of value to be learned from, tested, and applied (or re-applied more smartly) from much of our literature. But it is also extremely rare that much of the conversation can be had by reading one or two articles or books. And I think that it is the conversation that is often of far more value than simply an answer or two to run with. But I do wish more folks would run with more of them.

And, yes, I know that includes me.

Monday – Wednesday, 7 – 10 Apr 2008

Budd, John. 1992. The Library and Its Users: The Communication Process. New York: Greenwood Press.

  • Ch. 2: Libraries, Information, and Meaning. (Mon)
  • Ch. 3: What Does a Communication Process Look Like? (Mon-Tue)
  • Ch. 4: The Library in the Communication Process (Wed- )

Ah, yes. I did actually leave ch. 4 hanging. I temporarily abandoned it as my bus/lunch reading for the running and philosophy essays below.

This is one of the few books on libraries and communication, and especially on libraries in communication. I ordered myself a used copy on Saturday when I also ordered the Carely below, despite its faults.

Main fault: Although discusses assorted models of communication, they are all transportation/transmission-based. The language from the beginning allows no other option; those metaphors are just assumed. There is no real space to even ask broadening questions.

So why did I buy it? Because it bears study; on several fronts. And whether I borrow much of the good and/or use it as a foil—as an exemplar of a (group of) paradigm(s) or viewpoints—it will be valuable.

This is much like the Raber book in that it discusses a critical concept, [more on Raber] [finale] but much clearer on whose views are whom’s, and better argued. I have a lot of respect for Budd as a writer and a thinker, but this is far more rooted in a single meta-view than one might (I do) hope for, despite its seeming diversity within that view.

Monday, 7 Apr 2008

Carey, James W. 1992. Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society. New York: Routledge.  

  • Read Introduction and ch. 1: A Cultural Approach to Communication.

Wow! Can I just say, “Wow!” Recommended by Tom Dousa.

Carey pulls apart the concept of communication into two of its dominant metaphors, one of transmission/transportation and one as of ritual. That is, cultural.

From such sources one can draw a definition of communication of disarming simplicity yet, I think, of some intellectual power and scope: communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed (23).

To study communication is to examine the actual social process wherein significant symbolic forms are created, apprehended, and used (30).

The widespread social interest in communication derives from a derangement in our models of communication and community. This derangement derives, in turn, from an obsessive commitment to a transmission view of communication and the derivative representation of communication in complementary models of power and anxiety. As a result, when we think about society, we are almost always coerced by our traditions into seeing it as a network of power, administration, decision, and control—as a political order. Alternatively, we have seen society essentially as relations of property, production, and trade—an economic order. But social life is more than power and trade (and it is more than therapy as well). As Williams has argued, it also includes the sharing of aesthetic experience, religious ideas, personal values and sentiments, and intellectual notions—a ritual order (34).

Carey may not have the answer, but he provides a useful counterforce to much; for instance, Budd above. Although Tom only really recommended the first chapter, I ordered myself a copy as it has lots of overlap with previous and current studies. And I’d love to see the ritual and magic of human communication taken a bit more seriously in our field. We have such primitive notions of communication in our field.

Wednesday – Friday, 9 – 11 Apr 2008

2007. Running & Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind. Malden: Blackwell Pub. &nbnsp;

  • Foreword by Amber Burfoot
  • Preface: Warming Up Before the Race by Michael W. Austin, ed.
  • Ch. 1: Long-distance Running and the Will to Power by Raymond Angelo Belliotti
  • Ch. 2: Chasing Happiness Together: Running and Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship by Michael W. Austin (Thu)
  • Ch. 3: Running with the Seven Cs of Success by Gregory Bassham (Thu)
  • Ch. 4: The Phenomenology of Becoming a Runner by J. Jerry Wisnewski (Thu)
  • Ch. 5: In Praise of the Jogger by Raymond J. VanArragon (Fri)

Cataloged this a few weeks ago. Gave it time to get to Applied Health Sciences and then went and got it.

Started running again last week. I made it out last Saturday and again Monday. Then the weather got crappy (for running anyway) again. Definitely a fair weather runner but I need to get back into some kind of shape. I took a coupe years off due to my hip acting up, but it hasn’t bothered me for quite a while.

I tried to start up again last year but things just got in the way repeatedly and then it was hot. I will run when it’s hot but I have to acclimated to the heat first. Hopefully I will do better this year.

These essays are really helping me to be in the proper mindset to start running again. All of these things, and more, are, or at least can be, part of the experience of being a runner. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this. This is what replaced Budd as my current bus/lunch book.

Saturday, 12 Apr 2008

Dickinson, Liz. 1976. Of catalogs, computers, and communication: visions of the whole service catalog. Wilson Library Bulletin 463-470.

Given to me by Tom Dousa a couple days ago due to commentary on the catalog as communication tool. Highly dated but useful mini-critique of some of the issues with our catalogs and LCSH. Still. And of interest to me due to its explicit mention of library praxis as communication.

NOTE: WordPress’ formatting issues, even using the HTML editor, are biting me hard in this post. Notice how the variously formatted entries are snugged up against the citations. I have tried assorted fixes; some of which hold for short periods; none which work. There are other issues of format but that is the most virulent and most easily spotted. What sort of idiot would crowd those elements like that? Intentionally? Not me. I find this positively distressing.

Hmmm. They are printing just fine; I did a print test of this draft post for other reasons. Verified the display stupidity in Safari.

Going to have to edit my template’s stylesheet to place some “padding” around some of these elements in display. Although it wasn’t the template that changed. Grrr. More things broken by so-called technological “progress.”

XMAS Post hoc comments: “Bah, humbug!”

Let me begin by saying that I had a wonderful “Christmas.”

I put Christmas in quotes because, as it has been for a long time, Christmas is really a couple to a bunch of Christmases at different places over what may be a several week period (only 6 days this year).

It was great to see almost all of my (immediate) family; everyone, that is, except my Mom and my little (younger than Sara) brother, David, who is in the Air Force and currently stationed at Fort Gordon, GA (Disgusta, GA. Horrible shivers!).

I got to hang out with both my kids most of the afternoon/evening Christmas Eve and pretty much all day Christmas at the ex’s. And Jeremy met me at the diner for breakfast Wednesday as he headed to his girlfriend’s in Ohio.

Yesterday, I went to St. Louis to hang out with Dad’s side of the family (minus David). My sister and her family had driven in from DC. I went down and back yesterday, but was there from around 11 AM – 8:30 PM. That was nice.

I got several nice presents, including Cowboy Junkies The Trinity Session, Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style, Davis and Phillips’ Learning PHP and MySQL, The Muppet Show Season 1 DVD, Epictetus’ The Art of Living, Cicero’s On the Good Life and $80 for books.

I am already reading Epictetus, and I have no doubt I could finish it by this evening, but no need to rush it.

I like not getting a ridiculous amount of stuff; makes life a bit more manageable. I am, almost paradoxically, excited about having cash to exchange for more “books,” though. Plenty left on the wish list.

But back to the title:

As Christmas Eve arrived, I did not greet the day knowing that I was heading to Mary’s, as I did not know both kids were already there. It was also a Sunday morn so doubly slow. Once I learned they were there (around 10 AM, I think) I was still needing breakfast. So, I cleaned up, got dressed and headed to Merry Ann’s diner on the way.

I sat in what I hoped was a quiet spot, next to a couple around my age. This couple. This couple. I wanted to knock their heads together! I felt bad about it; I did [I still have plenty of Baptist guilt to go around]. But I really did want to knock their heads together and yell at them to “Grow the fuck up!”

I finally had to pull out the laptop and throw in my earbuds to try and drown out the incessant whine, which did not work so well. For the whole time I was there—trying to enjoy my Christmas Eve breakfast—one or the other was on the phone, loudly, complaining about portions of their family, how fucked up it was that they had to miss most of the football game today to be somewhere with family, how they went late to something else because of some awesome new interactive game system, shouldn’t the brother’s families just get together and play games and ignore the rest of their familial commitments [clearly not their words], yadda, yadda, yadda.

Jesus. I wanted to scream! I mean WTF! If your family really does suck that much, then Christ almighty (whose birthday we are theoretically celebrating), get a new family! If you are my age in this world, and you have yet to figure out that you create your own family, you are, well, in serious freaking trouble.

I’m no longer Christian, and even when I was Christmas was also highly secular, nonetheless, Christmas for me is about love, family, being with the ones you love and the family you have created, sharing that time together, and traditions, including starting your own [the last is very important]. There are few good reasons to be with people you don’t really consider family (or at least friends, in a traditional sense of “friend”) at this time of year. Call me old-fashioned. Anyway, this couple really started my “Christmas” out badly. “Grow the fuck up, people!”

At least I got these shots out of this trip to the diner.

My other, even bigger, Christmas gripe is about television. And I think maybe I’ll just leave it at that.

I did have a great holiday season—generally low-key, not a lot of traveling, got to spend time with most everyone, and a got a few great gifts. There were just two biggies that I’d like to avoid in future manifestations of “Christmas.”

I hope everyone’s was at least as good as mine! And, although, I might say it again later in the day … Happy New Year 2007!

Veblen’s Conspicuous Consumption: an excerpt review

Unproductive consumption of goods is honourable.

I recently finished this little, but powerful, book [OWC]. Actually, I believe it is an excerpt from a much larger work, The Theory of the Leisure Class, edited and introduced by Robert Lekachman (Penguin Classics, 1994) [OWC].

I bought this book in the Penguin Books . Great Ideas series. This is a series of excerpts, extracts, abridgements, etc. And while I generally loathe such things, this may be a good idea in this case; some of them for some people anyway. Would I have really ever read 400 pages of The Theory of the Leisure Class? Probably not.

Some of the works in this series include Sun-tzu’s The Art of War, Plato’s Symposium, Rousseau’s The Social Contract, Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, Marx & Engels’ The Communist Manifesto, among others.

While I would only read several of these titles in their entirety, some might be more useful to me in a shorter version. I imagine the same applies to others, just differently. For instance, although I see no need to read a short version of the Symposium, I would recommend the full-length version to very few people.

All in all, this edition seemed like a good one. The book is small–18×11 cm.–and costs only $8.95 retail. Type is a reasonable size, although not large, and there is a decent use of margins. The publisher provided information about which edition this “extract” came from, and the birth and death years of Veblen. What they did not tell me, and I consider this to be the major flaw of this manifestation, was when the first edition of this book (or its whole, actually) was published. That information seems just a bit useful to place the work in context!

There were a few points where I was trying to decide if something being described was during the interwar years or earlier. It turns out the book was originally published in 1899; almost 20 years before the interwar years. There have been many editions and manifestations of this book. It is possible that it had been edited over all those years and that the things I was questioning had been added later. I’ll just have to do a bit more research into the actual editions of this book if I want to know.

The contents include: The Leisure Class; Conspicuous Leisure: Status and Servants; Conspicuous Consumption: Women, Luxury Goods and Connoisseurship; Canons of Taste: Greenery and Pets; Admission to the Leisure Class; Survivals of Primitive Male Prowess: Fighting and Sports; and Conspicuous Uselessness of Education.

Now I’d like to highlight some passages I found particularly “important” to me:

The ground on which a discrimination between facts is habitually made changes as the interest from which the facts are habitually viewed changes. Those features of the facts at hand are salient and substantial upon which the dominant interest of the time throws its light. Any given ground of distinction will seem insubstantial to any one who habitually apprehends the facts in question from a different point of view and values them for a different purpose (8).

This should be common sense, especially in library work, but is it? How many people in our society, or even our profession, really honestly believe— and more importantly, live by— this idea?

The early development of tools and weapons is of course the same fact seen from two different points of view (19-20).

See also: “Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.” Ani DiFranco. my iq. Puddle Dive.

[The] term ‘leisure,’ as used here, does not connote indolence or quiescence. What it connotes is non-productive consumption of time. Time is consumed non-productively (1) from a sense of the unworthiness of productive work, and (2) as an evidence of pecuniary ability to afford a life of idleness (21).

A knowledge of good form is prima facie evidence that a portion of the well-bred person’s life which is not spent under the observation of the spectator has been worthily spent in acquiring accomplishments that are of no lucrative effect (26).

Unproductive consumption of goods is honourable, primarily as a mark of prowess and a perquisite of of human dignity; secondarily it becomes honourable in itself, especially the consumption of the more desirable things (43).

But a base service performed for a person of very high degree may become a very honorific office; … (53).

No class of society, not even the most abjectly poor, forgoes all customary conspicuous consumption (58).

The enthusiasm for war, and the predatory temper of which it is the index, prevail in the largest measure among the upper classes, especially among the hereditary leisure class (77).

Now ain’t this just the damn truth? And what are we to finally do about it?

It is only the high-bred gentleman and the rowdy that normally resort to blows as the universal solvent of differences of opinion (79).

Sports shade off from the basis of hostile combat, through skill, to cunning and chicanery, without it being possible to draw a line at any point. The ground of an addiction to sports is an archaic spiritual constitution – the possession of the predatory emulative propensity in a relatively high potency. A strong proclivity to adventuresome exploit and to the infliction of damage is especially pronounced in those employments which are in colloquial usage specifically called sportsmanship (85-6).

The addiction to sports, therefore, in a peculiar degree marks an arrested development of the man’s moral nature (86).

The slang of athletics, by the way, is in great part made up of extremely sanguinary locutions borrowed from the terminology of warfare. Except where it is adopted as a necessary means of secret communication, the use of a special slang in any employment is probably to be accepted as evidence that the occupation in question is substantially make-believe (87).

Hmmm. What does this second sentence say about librarianship?

The chapter entitled “Conspicuous Uselessness of Education” is particularly damning of the humanities. While I tend to agree with Veblen’s analysis, I do think that there are some countervailing issues that bring their value (of which Veblen admits) more to the fore. There have also been further changes in higher education (or education, period), along with the demographics of students, professors, and so on, which impact his analysis. All in all, though, a very interesting chapter; especially since it was written so early in the history of public higher education.

The presumption that there can ordinarily be no sound scholarship where a knowledge of the classics and humanities is wanting leads to a conspicuous waste of time on the part of the general body of students in acquiring such knowledge. The conventional insistence on a modicum of conspicuous waste as an incident of all reputable scholarship has affected our canons of taste and serviceability in matters of scholarship in much the same way as the same principle has influenced our judgment of the serviceability of manufactured goods (99).

A breach of the proprieties in spelling is extremely annoying and will discredit any writer in the eyes of all persons who are possessed of a developed sense of the true and beautiful. English orthography satisfies all the requirements of the canons of reputability under the law of conspicuous waste. It is archaic, cumbrous, and ineffective; its acquisition consumes much time and effort; failure to acquire it is easy of detection. Therefore it is the first and readiest test of reputability in learning, and conformity to its ritual is indispensable to a blameless scholastic life (102).

I may just have to read Veblen’s whole work one of these days. I’m also interested in seeing some critiques from over the past 100+ years of its issuance. It is very insightful, although I imagine some of the ideas could be couched differently, also more scholarship in areas which Veblen uses for support has been done. If things have changed in these areas, it might affect his arguments.

Anyway, highly recommended short read. As for the series, you might consider it for your library if you have patrons that need an “easier” or, at least, shorter introduction to assorted “classics” of Western lit.

And as “good Americans,” as I have no doubt most of my readers are, remember, “Conspicuous consumption of goods is honourable.” Even our president urged us to consume in the wake of 9/11; so it must be honorable.

Hey, Iris, Veblen is a Carleton geek, er, I mean grad. 😉

Racism not so lite

"Well, well, well."   Let’s see what the University of Illinois Board of Trustees does with this.  (Local version)  Will it finally be the goad they need to do the right thing?

I am not one of the folks out protesting and raising a fuss, but I do consider Chief Illiniwek to be racist.  There is simply no non-racist way to defend his retention as a mascot, or symbol, or whatever those who support him want to call him.  One might be able to make a reasoned, intellectual sort of argument for his retention, but then one only has to watch the behavior and langauge of his supporters and realize that it really is racism no matter how prettily they dress it up.

Seems the NCAA has only taken a half-step, but at least it is a step.  At least 18 schools, to include the U of I, will no longer be able to host post-season tournaments.  Last year, UIUC hosted the soccer championships and the men’s tennis championship.  I wonder if these events bring in enough money or prestige for it to matter to them.  The Trusteed may be able to just shrug it off, but I certainly hope not.

I wish the NCAA had gone further, but it is a half-step in the right direction.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to buy and wear something with my school’s name on it.  For now though, I won’t even own anything that simply says "University of Illinois."

"The Chief Forever"  Let’s hope not.

Just in, the NCAA statement: NCAA Executive Committee Issues Guidleines for Use of Native American Mascots at Championship Events

Running again, or so I hope

I finally went for a run today, 16 minutes.  "So what!" you might say.  Well, it’s been 10-11 months since I last went running, so that’s "What!"

Normally I ought to be up to at least 30 minutes by mid-May, but this isn’t normally.  The important thing, of course, is that I keep at it.  This is a good week to begin as I actually have some free time for once.  Here’s hoping the weather is good for the rest of the week and maybe I can get out a few more times.  If I can get the 1st 3-4 in then I might do OK keeping at it.

I will be walking even more this summer, but I still need to run.  I got my practicum paperwork signed by my practicum supervisor today and checked the distance on the way home (I drove).  On the days I walk, which will hopefully be those it doesn’t rain and is not 95+ degrees out, I’ll walk to work (28 min.), to the practicum (32 min.), and home which is another 3.2 miles.

I went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy last night.  When I 1st heard that it was coming out I practically screamed and swore I wouldn’t go see it.  (Yes, I can be overly dramatic.)  Since it was released, I have read a few posts about it across the web and changed my mind.  I swore to myself not to judge it based on the books.  It was OK.  Was definitely funny on occasion.  I’m just glad I haven’t read the series in quite a while, although if I could fit them in this summer….  Hitchhiker is just the kind of ‘skiffy’ I love.

At the theater I noticed a poster for a new Pink Panther with Steve Martin.  Why the fuck can’t those assholes in Hollywood have an original idea?  It’s been like 30-40 years since those pukes thought up something for themselves.  Incestuous is way too polite of a word for what they do—especially considering the versions of DRM and copyright law the MPAA wants to force on us!

College Hoops

…I never saw this one coming.

Went to visit a friend in Chicago yesterday and hung out and watched the Illinois – Louisville game.  His family is from Louisville so he was back-and-forth on the phone trash talking.

I actually enjoyed the game.  It was well played, the level of sportsmanship was quite high, and I was quite impressed with the Illini.  I’ve ignored as much as I could of the whole affair all season.  But, they really were an amazing team in yesterday’s game!  Lots of passing, very unselfish playing, everyone contributing, settled, patient and in control.  Now, if we only get rid of that divisive, racist mascot.

Although I would certainly never take credit for anything related to this win, I would like to mention that the only time the Ilini weren’t in the lead I was reading a book my friend had handed me.  I got engrossed for a few minutes and when I ‘came back’ to the game we were down a little.  I put the books down and watched the rest of the game.  The only reason I mention this is because I know a few very bright and highly educated people who only listened to the game by radio and wouldn’t watch it on TV because when they watched during the Arizona game we were losing and we were winning when they were away from the TV and listening to the radio.  [We all know people like this.]  What utterly ridiculous behavior!  Why is it intelligent people believe in such nonsensical theories of causality?

Today is beautiful out!  Mid-60s and not very breezy.  Went to Lohmann park and threw 9 holes of disc golf.  Now that is my kind of sport!  I sure wish I had the time to throw more–maybe this year.