Tuesday, November 22, 2005

At peace and other tid bits!

Over the past weekend and after lengthly debate with a fellow USAT member I have concluded that I will no longer let the negative ills of USAT consume my time and effort. After reviewing the past history, all the way back to the beginning, of USAT(the Triathlon Federation), I find that it has always been in turmoil and many good men and women have wasted vast amounts of their time getting nowhere. Why is this? I have no clue since everyone I know professes they have a "love" and "passion" for the sport and the org, but invariably this is not the case. There are aways narcissitc, hidden agendas and the good of the sport is never at the forefront. Is this unique to the sport of triathlon? I really do not know since I have never been involved this deeply with any other sport. While I played college football and ran track I was "just" an athlete and I guess the grown ups took care of all this political stuff. Even after moving to handball for 12 years I don't remember dirty politics going on. Now, I am also involved in a bowling team every Wednesday night and the biggest issue we have is who is going to buy the next pitcher of beer and will it be Coors Light or Bud Light. So, for the life of me I don't understand why our sport has to be this way. I recall in 1994 when I walked away from the politics of the sport and stayed away for 10 years it was a great time. There was turmoil going on but I wasn't in it and triathlon life was great, I was "just" an athlete and "race director" minding my own business. Then I made the mistake of running for the board a few years ago and my triathlon life has never been the same. From the flawed election, the lawsuit against the Evil 3, the service on the search committee for the new executive director, the employment and part time residence in Colorado Springs as the interim executive director of USAT, the return to the normal life of West Texas, the watching of the split between WTC/USAT/IMNA, the new love affair going on with USAT/ITU(compared by me to the many love affairs of Elizabeth Taylor, passionate and hot but ultimately it ends), the division of friendships(similar to the Civil War but with no battlefield deaths) over the split, the confusion the split has put in the minds of the athletes, the possibility that there will be a new Federation of some kind, in this small sport and industry will blow anyones mind.

So, what I have decided is that, while I will not go away totally, I am not going to pursue the negative stuff that going on in the sport. What I have found is that it is not fixable and no one listens anyway. It reminds me of an automobile sitting on the side of the road with no wheels and no engine, hopelessly sitting there with the potential to go somewhere with some fixin but with so many agendas going on it just becomes impossible. My feelings of the board and executive director recent actions are still the same, but I can't do anything about it and no one really listens so why waste my time. On time, I remember very well when I was 27, 37, 47, 57 and now on December 16, 67. Boy time flies, and I don't want to waste any more of it on useless endeavors. This is not a resignation but a resolution and I will do everything I can to abide by this, even though I know my agressive behavior will try to prevail. While sense of urgency and persistence have always been my strong suits sometimes they do get me in trouble, not with myself but with others who don't dig these attributes. I would like to say f--- 'em but I promised Marti I wouldn't do that on this site, but it is getting harder each day to abide by that promise.

The following is an example of what I can't fix and where the underlying message is, that the membership will not get. Going back to my thoughts about the new Executive Director and USAT becoming the "goons" for the ITU and Les MacDonald. The recent ruling by the board on December 31 becoming your age for qualifying for the Worlds, etc., i.e. you qualify at Nationals for Worlds at age 39 but will be 40 by December 31, you compete at Worlds as 40 year old. Now, I really have no problem with this and really do not even care, but the underlying message here is that this was passed by the board to SATISFY THE ITU, not for any other reason. Again, pointing out that USAT is really a slave to the ITU/USOC machine and is obsolete for what it was originally designed to do, serve the Age Group and Race Directors of the sport. Now, that is not all bad since professional golf came to the same conclusion some years ago when their governing body no longer served the purposes to its' membership, i.e. there emerged the touring professional whereas the governing body was created to serve the club professional. So a meeting of the minds came up with the PGA to serve the touring pro and the USGA serves the club pro. While I know triathlon is not of the same magnitude as golf the correlation to the needs of the two athletes in the sport is the same, i.e. Elite/Olympian vs Age Grouper, Race Director, etc. There are two masters here and currently one is being caste aside for the other, while the casteaway is the driving financial source of the sport. The other aspect is the real power of the sport, the Race Director, whether they be the volunteer or the multi-event professionace race director. If these factions of the sport decide to unit and exercise their muscle in the sport it will bring down the National Governing Body, since revenue streams will cease for USAT and the USOC/ITU will bring down the axe. Sounds all bizarre, and science fiction, hide and watch because it can happen.

So on to other import things, Clint Eastwood, George Carlin, current movies, American Presidents:

Clint Eastwood says, On women, "She wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log."--The Enforcer, or On Democracy, "I hate the goddamn system, but until someone comes along with some changes that make sense, I'll stick with it."--Magnum Force, or On Violence, "Hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have."--Unforgiven, or On Diplomacy, "In this world there are two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."--The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, or On Crime, "When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and and hard-on, I figure he isn't out collecting for the Red Cross."--Dirty Harry.

George Carlin says, EUPHEMISMS: The March of Time. As we resume our look at the advance of euphemsms, we have to keep a close eye on the image-makers; advertisers, marketers, public-relations people. And to repeat an earlier point, it's important to remember that, over time, this trend toward softer language has only gotten worse. I don't know when the whole thing started, but I do know that at some point in my life, toilet paper became bathroon tissue. I wasn't consulted on this. I didn't get a postcard, I didn't get an e-mail, no one bothered to call. It just happened. One day I found myself using bathroon tissue. Then my loafers became slip-ons, my running shoes became athletic fotwear, my sweatpants and sweatshirt became active wear, second hand clothing became vintage apparel, toupees became hair applianes, false teeth became dental appliances. Other GC tidbits: If a safe is unlocked, is it still a safe? or Just because you don't have a lot of money to spend is no reason you shouldn't spend what little you have. or I had no shoes, and I felt sorry for myself until I met a man with no feet. I took his shoes. Now I feel better or You know what you never see? A really good looking homeless couple. or Stick around. China's gonna win it all. In conclusion, TRUE FACT: There is now a gay softball World Series.

David Letterman--"The other day Jeb Bush says he may run for President, I ask, can you start tomorrow?"

Bill Clinton came up for air during his latest non-sexual experience to say, "Sooner or later you figure out that pragmatisms are principles in a democracy. It's not selling out your convictions." From MG-I really like that quote and it is helping me get through my decision to not waste time on USAT fixless situation. I must say every 30 seconds, "Sooner or later------, Sooner or later, etc."

Current movies reviewed by MG: Hot-"Derailed", intrigue, murder, sex, violence, deceit, adultry, bad language, lieing, stealing, boy what more could you ask for?
Others I have seen in the past that are at the $2.00 movie house and I can't remember if I reported on them, here goes: Hot-"40 Year Old Virgin, sex, nudity, language, humor, weird plot but a plot in spite of itself, happy ending(he gets some). Worth seeing but has some off color stuff I even found offensive.

Look for irongirltexas.com, for newest race production of BSLT Triathlon Inc.

Off to Alabama for Turkey Day, yea that same state that asks you on your marriage license if you are kin to each other!(True)

Mike Greer

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Some humor, for a change of pace!

"In her new movie documentary, Madonna renounces the material world, saying we are enslaved by it and it will ultimately be our undoing. Madonna made this statement from her mansion in England."--Jay Leno

"The U.S. government announced it would not accept more than 300,000 meals donated to Hurricane Katrina victims by the British. A U.S. government spokesperson explained that the Katrina victims have suffered enough."--Conan O'Brien

"Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers steadfastly refuses to talk about herself, will not talk about herself, and I'm thinking to myself, Hell, where do you find a woman like that?"--David Letterman

Suggested sentencing for Saddam after he is convicted, he gets Iraq back!

1 in 20-Proportion of men ages 35-44 who die within one year of obesity surgery, according to a new study by the American Medical Association.

150,000--Number of such surgeries that will be performed in the U.S. this year, up tenfold from 1998.

90%--Percentage of adults who admit to stealing candy from their kids' Halloween bags.

35 million lbs.--Amount of candy corn that will be produced this year.

Some interesting philosophy from Clint Eastwood movies:

On Foreign Policy--"Nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot."--Magnum Force

On Gun Control--"I have strong feelings about gun control. If thee's a gun around, I want to be controlling it."--Pink Cadillac

On Health--"I've drank more beer, pissed more blood, and banged more quiff than all you numb-nuts put together."--Heartbreak Ridge

On Gunfighting--"I'm faster than your'll ever live to be."--High Plains Drifter

On Anger Management--"Go ahead, make my day."--Sudden Impact

On the Art of War--"You improvise. You adapt. You overcome."--Heartbreak Ridge

On the Afterlife--"If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster."--The Rookie

To be continued-----

Mike Greer

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ironman Florida, George Carlin, Dr. Weil, and other stuff!

Just returned from a glorious week in Panama City, Florida. Our mission was to exhibit the virtures of the Buffalo Springs 70.3 race for 2006, and the new Iron Girl Sprint race for women only, and secure entries if possible. Talked to Graham Fraser on the first day and as he said, marketing, marketing, marketing, 24/7. So, we were in good company and really enjoyed seeing and talking to the athletes that frequent our race and they ones who want the challenge for the first time. Of the more than 2000 athletes competing in IMFL, there were many who have done BSLT and look forward to coming back for more, we appreciate that very much. My observation of this IMFL is that it is very popular and by the number of athletes that keep coming back, they are very pleased with the product that Ironman North America offers and will continue to compete in this race. From the expo, to race registration, to the race itself I feel that it is very well done and the customers seem to agree, since they sign up for the next year at a very rapid pace. If they weren't pleased then surely they wouldn't come back for more. Which of course this brings me to the next thought relative to the National Governing Body of the sport of triathlon, USA Triathlon. Where were they during this race? Well, no where to be found, seen or heard. Maybe they were hiding behind the bushes or something. But, as someone ask, "Who is USAT?" Wow, have we got short memories or what? The magical thing about this big triathlon weekend is that everything went well without the red, white and blue(USAT this is) being there. So, I suggest something get done fast to mend this division or it will be proven that life can move on with the largest single customer of USAT(20-30,000 athletes) getting along quite nice without them. To me it is very weird that this huge event, in this small industry, can be presented in such a way that the absence of the NGB not even be noticed. But, trust me it really was!!!

George Carlin says: "Guys don't seem to be called 'Lefty' anymore." or "In the expression 'topsy-turvy,' what exactly is meant by 'turvy'?" or "I think they ought to have black confetti. It would be great for funerals. Especially if the dead person wasn't too popular." or "If you really want to put a faith healer to the test, tell him you want a smaller shoe size." or "The police in Los Angeles said recently that some man had been stabbed in the San Pedro area. Believe me, I know how painful that can be: I was once bitten there by a dog. It's expecially painful when you go to the bathroom." or "You know how you can tell when a moth farts? When he suddenly flies in a straight line." or "I often think of something my grandfather used to say. He'd tell me. "I'm going upstairs and f--- your grandma." He was a really honest man. He wasn't going to bull---- a five year-old. or "In the United States, anybody can be president. That's the problem." or "This is just one more way of starting a sentance with the word "this" and ending it with the word "that." or Odd Slang: A woman who has sex with a priest is said to have "taken a ride on the holy pole."

Now to Dr. Weil, boy what good stuff his book has. If you have not bought a copy yet, please do so. You will enjoy it and it makes good since. More quotes from his book, "Our attitude toward aging and our responses to the changes in appearance that aging brings are totally colored by our knowledge that we are moving inexorably toward death. It is not my intention to write about death or the fear of dying in this book, but I find it impossible to avoid mentioning them as the soure of our negative feelings about aging, which are entirely based in fear." My comments, "Real happiness in aging is when we can truthfully say, this time of my life is the best it has ever been, then age doesn't matter." The Dr. continues, "Suppose some power could grant your wish for eternal youth and health along with unlimited years. How long could you stand that? Writers and philosophers throughout history have speculated on the possibility of immortality; almost all have concluded that it would be intolerable." My comments, " I had a urologist a few years ago tell me that I was so damn healthy I was going to be a very lonely man when I grew older because all of my friends would be dead." My reply back to him was that my motivation for staying healthly was not to outlive everyone, but simply to be healthly for each day I am alive." In conclusion from the Dr., on immortality, the following questions was presented to Miss Alabama in 1994 at the Miss USA Contest, Q: If you could live forever, would you and why? A: I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, than we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever." My comment-go back to what I told the urologist.

Since I have mentioned in my previous posts about USAT doublespeak I thought I might elaborate a little on that term. That would help in understanding what the boys and girls of the National Governing Body are talking about when they have their very intellectual news releases. Please note that there are four kinds of doublespeak. The first is the euphemism, an inoffensive or positive word or phrase used to avoid a harsh, unpleasant, or distasteful reality. My comments-in the opposite vain from this the executive director describes the actions of his largest customer as a "mockery" and "revenue driven motives" in his press release and certainly violates the definition of euphemism. The second kind of doublespeak is called jargon, the specialized language of a trade, profession, or similar group, such as that used by doctors, lawyers, engineers, educators, or car mechanics. Jargon can serve an important and useful function. Within a group, jargon functions as a kind of verbal shorthand that allows members of the group to communicate with each other clearly, efficiently, and quickly. My comments-none at this time. The third kind of doublespeak is gobbledygook or bureacratese. Basically, such doublespeak is simply a matter of piling on words, of overwhelming the audience with words, the bigger the words and the longer the sentences the better. My comments-read the letter from the executive director, USAT, July-August, 2005 issue. Enough said. The fourth kind of doublespeak is inflated language that is designed to make the ordinary seem extrordinary; to make everyday things seem impressive; to give an air of importance to people, situations, or things that would not normally be considered important; to make the simple seem complex. My comments-read the letter from the executive director USAT in the September/October 2005 issue, also see review in this blog site.

Okay I get it, I promised to get off of USAT screw ups and give them a break, but my desire to get back on this subject was inspired after seeing the great sport of triathlon, being thoroughly ignored by the NGB of the sport. It should be pointed out that this was the case at the "World Championship" in Kona and Panama City.

It has been pointed out to me by a very astute and well thought of person in the triathlon world that the arrogance and ignorance of USAT is not all the fault of the executive director and that I must lay some blame where it is really due. So, guess where that is, yep I get it, the Board of Directors for USAT. Afterall, the executive director was hired by them and reports directly to them. When I was the interim executive director for USAT(seems so long ago) I made the statement more than once, to myself and others, that 98% of the problems with USAT were as a result of the egomaniac driven current board of directors. The other 2% could be attributed problems brought on by the previous board. Since the board sets policy and is responsible for all long term goals and policies who else could we blame. Also, when the apology was needed by the exective director for the press release mistake concerning the World Triathlon Corporation the board should have demanded that the apology be extended immediately. So, future posts concerning USAT will be directed at this totally enept board, with the worst leadership it has ever had.

New movies to see: Hot-The Greatest Game Ever Played, Legend of Zorro, North Country. All hot as buttered popcorn. Seen by MG in person.

Toby Keith said it all, "I may not be as good as I once was, but I am as good once, as I ever was." Off to the pool to tone the swimming muscles!

Mike Greer