Sunday, December 25, 2005

No matter what you call it, Happy Holiday

For the past few weeks some of the real do gooders and/or people who have nothing better to do in life have been bringing protest against the worlds largest retailer. It seems as though Wal Mart made a marketing decision to honor all of our holidays from Thanksgiving through New Years with a simple, "Happy Holidays" in stead of Merry Christmas, etc. Since we haven't had a real reason to protest anything recently it brought out all of the picket lines and protests against the retailer. For me, I say that is a bunch of bunk and if the people of this country want to really protest they will just not buy from Wal Mart and show them in their pocket book how they feel about this. I happen to like the catch all, "Happy Holiday" and commend the marketing folks of WM for offering this little tid bit. Not that I even shopped at WM for this season or even shop their very often. But I do respect what they have done for offering their retail products to the market place. After all it took a lot of our population to make them the number one. If their prices and products were not what they said they were then why buy from them. I always say the proof is in the pudding, and the past number one retailer in the US(Sears Roebuck) is a good example(some are asking, Sears who?). Wal Mart outdid them on all angles of retail presentation and earned the position of number one. Sears has been fighting back ever since, with a limited results. Do gooders, drop your signs and head to Sears, Target, K Mart, et., if you really want to protest. Otherwise, "Happy Holiday!!!"

The same advice holds for those that criticize World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman North America for the," for the profit" sins they supposingly committ. Again coming to the rescue of these two free enterprise, forward thinking USA Corporations, I challenge the athletes that sign up 12 months in advance for their races, if it so bad then don't sign up. For the life of me I can't understand the constant criticisms towards these companies when other for profits in the sport are never criticized, i.e. Cannondale, Trek,, Colorado Cyclists, Clif Bars, Tri All 3 Bike Boxes, Giro, Quintana Roo, etc., etc. The for profit aspect of any business gives it the opportunity to invest back into its' product, therefore offering the consumer a better product. From what I have seen over the years WTC and IMNA has done a lot for the triathlon world in giving back to the sport and ultimately having a better product. If nothing else it motivates the "other" non-M dot races to be better and offer quality to the triathlete consumer.

George Carlin for today, "I'm an outsider by chocie, but not truly. It's the unpleasantness of the system that keeps me out. I'd rather be in, in a good system. That's where my discontent comes from: being forced to choose to stay outside." From MG-this is really how I feel and George hit it on the head, even though it was quite serious for him. For example, right after that he said, "The human life span will be extended to 200 years, but the last 150 will be spent in unremitting pain and sadness."

Movies: Hot-King Kong(but long), Marginal if you like CNN type presentation-Syriana, BB(bad and boring)-Cheaper By the Dozen II(shame on you Steve Martin you are too good for this), Hot-Walk The Line(makes even great popcorn better), Hot-In Her Shoes(out for a while but worth seeing if you can find it). Hot and Hotter-Just watched when Harry Met Sally while on the trainer, that orgasim scene is classic) old and on DVD.

Marti and I are off to do a bicycle ride in the infamous Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 canyons!


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Birthday gig over, other stuff!

Well there is nothing like the day after a birthday, what a big let down. On your birthday(actually should be called the anniversary of your birth, since your real birthday only happens once. Kind of like your death in this life only happens once and when you have been dead a year no one says, "let's celebrate the deathday of so and so," they say so and so died a year ago.) everything is about "me" and you can not be given enough attention. You can get away with saying just about anything and everyone just kind of grins. Someone ask if I felt any different and of course the answer is no, hell, it had only been about 1 hour since I advanced to the next age so why would I feel any different. Now, ask me that this time 11 months from now and I might have a different reply. My observations of my current age is that it is a no brainer, insignificant, boring age to be, i.e. turning 65 is the age everyone knows and respects, while 66 is an even number divided by 2 or is best remembered by the famous first coast to coast highway, RT 66, then comes my current age 67, absolutely nothing, nada, nada, but then come 68 which is again an even number divisiable by 2, then one of my favorite sex numbers 69(can't wait to get there) then of course comes 70, again even, and divisiable by 2. The good news about 67 is that it only lasts for one year. I think you can see my point now and when I reach 70 I will have another idea or two about this aging thing. Onward and upward for mankind!

Speaking of aging and triathlon, I just received a new magazine called Geezerjock, the web site is Check it out, kind of quaint! Also, hope you have bought your Healthy Aging book. I will have some more information on it in future posts. Healthy aging is essential to living longer, or remaining alive. Of course some of us have an advantage since we believe in living more than one life, in conjunction with the evolution of mental and spiritial growth(figure that one out). Remember, as you age, you grow older(da da dum, stay tuned for more of this wisdom).

Some GC stuff: People I Can Do Without-
1. An airline pilot wearing two different shoes.
2. Anyone who pays for vaginal jelly with a platinum credit card.
3. A pimp who drives a Ford Escort.
4. Guys with a lot of small pins on their hats.
5. A dentist with blood in his hair.
6. Anyone who mentions Jesus more than 300 times in a two-minute conversation.
7. Any woman whose hobby is breast-feeding zoo animals.
8. A cross-eyed nun with a bull whip and a bottle of gin.
9. Guys who have their names printed on their belts.
10. A funeral director who says, "Hope to see you folks again real soon."

Just received word that my new Race Director 101-401 manual has passed initial proofing and will be back in my hands shortly. While I know most people are not holding their breath till it is printed, some will appreciate it. I have tried to relay the past 21 years of my time in the triathlon world, with 16 years as a race director, to printed form that will help new multi-sport race directors in putting on a safe, challenging and engaging event. Next on the self-publishing list will be "Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone-For Success", which will also be the topic of discussion for my mental growth seminars. My first preview CD for the Comfort Zone seminars will be completed within a few weeks, or sooner. To date I have presented this concept to groups ranging from 5-100, with great reception. My simple approach to this important aspect of life is the secret to my secret. Moving out of the zone is essential to any form of growth, whether it be academics, sports, business, government, etc. I use a method of moving out that is simple, and it works! I touched on it briefly in my book, "Mind Management", but now it will come out in book form(by stating this publicly it is a one of the examples of moving out, because when you state something to the public ears you are more prone to accomplish it). So, now I am committed than ever. Maybe this ole 67th year will make its' own name for itself!

Have a nice day, after my birthday day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Holiday season happiness or pain in the butt!!

Now that the Holiday Season(no matter what it is really called) is among us I sometimes wonder what the mystic of this time of year has brought to mankind. On the one hand it is suppose to be the time of friendly fellowship and good cheer, then on the other hand(isn't it nice to have a left and a right hand for this analagy) it has a tendency to turn us into grumpy ole men and women. How many times do we hear someone say, "I'll be so glad when Christmas is over?" So, maybe I can focus on the former rather than the latter. Marti and I just came back from a big weekend of the former and except for the fact that we spent over 1200 miles in the ole Explorer we concluded it was great fun. Since this will sound kind of like a travel log, and it really should since that is what it is, I will try to put some humor in it, so bear with me on this. Our goal for the weekend was to cram as much activity as possible into it and still come out survivors(trivia question, "What triathlete applied for the very first Survivor episode and made the second round of interviews?"--to be revealed later in this post). The to do list(I must operate on a to do list or I just don't get it done) called for: driving to New Mexico, visiting the Western Bar on the way up, plus look at some potential mountain property, competing in a triathlon(the last of the year, but also counted as the first of the new year 2006(trivia question, "What triathlete do you know that played their last high school football game in 1956 a.d.?"), attend the 25th annual Doggie parade in Cloudcroft, NM, visit the Western Bar again, then proceed to El Paso, TX for the annual SW Challenge Triathlon & Duathlon awards, dance a little or a lot, then return back to Ransom Canyon. Sounds like an awesome trip to me and you know it was! The trip was full of life's many emotions, both joy and sadness. So, I will dwell on both since the sadness is part of the story and will or should make us all think real hard about complaining about a little back pain or muscle cramp or whatever we find time to complain about.

Here goes, we left early enough in the morning on Friday to go by and see some property in Temeron, NM, thinking of maybe a mountain getaway. This turned into an adventure of rough roads and wondering what the hell we were doing up there. But, we did find the property, gave it some thought, and decided against the fun part of isolation, doing too much hard labor to make it liveable and headed on West to Alamogordo, NM to spend the night. Very early the next morning we ventured to the White Sands Missle Range annual Polar Bear(17 degrees) Triathlon, a 5 k run, 30 k bike and in conclusion(that is the way they do it in New Mexico for some reason) a 400 yard pool swim. Marti and I both took third in our age group(yes there was more than 3 in the group), then we headed back to Cloudcroft for the 25th Annual Doggie parade. Two years ago the Buffman had earned a much deserved award for most original(he had his Harley leather on) so this year we were hoping the Buffman and Squeaky combo would win the hearts and minds of the judges. Apparently the fact that Buffman and I were dressed in matching outfits plus Marti and Squeaky was dressed in matching outfits, the team won an award(out of about 100 dogs and cats). Now the mantle has two shiny awards for the Buffman and Squeaky. They have been strutting around like some kind of big shots and look forward to showing off again at the Buffman & Squeaky triathlon in May. Then we did a mild celebration in the Wester Bar, really a sleezy take off of the original Saloons in the West) and headed to El Paso. The annual awards are held at the massive war chest, Ft. Bliss, TX, home of many soliders and weapons of mass destruction(get it?), with a formal atmosphere(black tie, low cut gowns, etc.) There is some great competition in the Series so it was a treat to see all of the recognition given to the deserving athletes. Note: Marti and I have won our age groups before in the series but due to my service to the sport in Colorado Springs and Smartys' injury we were not able to do the required 8 races in 2005. We will get back on track for 06. Now for the sad part, one of the extemely talented age group series champions in the past, John Stermer, had been afflicted with ALS(Lou Gehrig desease) and was in attendance during the awards. He was confined to a wheel chair and was devastateded physically by the disease, but mentally showed the determination that had made him such a winner. Another athlete was also honored that night, cancer surviver Cathy Ritz, also a top age group competitor. Seeing the attitude and courage these athletes exhibited was an inspiration to all in attendance and really made everyone stop and think about this thing called, LIFE!! Live it, love it and respect it!! Heaven may not be what it is all cranked up to be!! After the awards we spent some time on the dance floor, then the next morning had breakfast with our friends. Then it back to Ransom on the scenic drive through the Lincoln National Forest, featuring the Guadalupe Mountains. We also ventured past the Carlsbad Caverns but stayed topside since we were focused on our return to West Texas.

In conclusion, holiday season happy or pain in the butt? Probably both but generally as in all things in life, it is what we make it of it. As I watched John in his wheel chair I sure did not want to trade places with him(being honest here), but what I did see was a physically broken man making the most out of the day and night. He was setting an example for all us. Rather than feel sorry for him, which we did of course, the real story is to thank him for all he has done in this life and respect what he is trying to do for the rest of his life, no matter how long that is.

There will be more posts during the day or night, must go to the dentist now.

Oops!! Answer to trivia questions: Mike Greer, Mike Greer

Thanks to all my readers, you are appreciated, stay tuned for some comments on USAT(still being nice), things only women understand(then things only men understand), healthy aging tips, George Carlin quotes, some presidential stuff, Iron Girl Texas, moving out of your comfort zone for success, and on and on!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lots of stuff: Bowling, Iraq, USAT, Buffman & Squeaky, Mongolia, The Other Armstrong, Balls out Presidency?, Free Enterprise, Presidential Quotes, GC

It has been about a week or so since a fresh post has emerged on this site, so I have a lot to say and will take whatever time is necessary to say it. I have made notes, prepared myself mentally, done some very good research, spent a short run thinking and boy am I hot!! My beard has been going for over 7 days and I really look my age or maybe even older. Marti says I look like an old man, "my humble reply is that I am an old man, why not look the part." There is something about a beard that seems to take on its' own life and ultimately becomes like a best friend or at least like another pet in the family. Due to my being very vain, I am sure it will come off shortly, since it is so gray and does make me look like "an old man." Due to the many topics I have to cover I am very excited about fasttwitchmind and the fact that I have more than one reader is also very exciting. During the week I added another reader, that I know of, so now I have at least four and one even suggested that she was just hanging on to the edge of her computer screen to see what I had to say next. Made me feel good and motivated to get back to the keyboard. Also, in my promise to stay off of USAT negative stuff I will only make a few remarks about the National Governing Body(remember this) of the sport of triathlon.

The past week was a big one for the Spare Me bowling league team captain, that being me. I rolled the best 3 game series in my bowling career life, 152, 149 and a high game of 199. While our best bowler on the team was having an off night and our second best not in attendance, my record performance was not enough to pull us through to victory, we actually lost 3 of 4 for the night. It is a team sport and with one bowler on the other team getting hot, two games over 265, and our top bowlers missing the pins, you have to settle for real cold beer, popcorn, and some fun as the consolation prize. My philosophical analysis to bowling is that to score a high number, maximum being 300, you have to knock down more pins each time you roll the ball. My fellow bowlers just stare in space when I mention this to them.

Iraq: What a stupid war, which isn't even a real war. We declared it, sent troops there, took our surplus budget, added $89 billion plus to it, now have a $7 trillion deficit, now have over 2100 young valuable lives lost to it, and have nothing to show for it. Since we declared war on false pretenses, decided by the Commander In Chief that we should change their belief system and make them whole with Christianity, this has been on big farce. Then last week we have the report that many of our very few allies are pulling out. Here are some facts: 160,000 US troops in Iraq compared to the following, 8,000 British troops, 16,000 troops from other foreign countries, 200 soliders killed from other coalition forces, as opposed to the 2100 US troops killed. While the Brits represent the second highest number of troops, South Korea is next with 3200 troops. They will remove nearly 50% of their troops soon, as will Italy. I believe this is called "shoot and run in the old west." Of course it was our(USA) war to start with and was motivated and passed by our Congress based on the mythical, "weapons of mass destruction" presence in Iraq. In conclusion, as with everything now a days it comes down to money for most, i.e. President Bush praised the "fearless warriors," all 120 of them from Mongolia, for their war efforts. But the rest of the story is that for their presence in Iraq they were given $11 million and they are also part of a group of small countries being promised a total of $1 billion for "helping" out. So, the USA goes deeper in debt for these ancient and couragous horseman of the great war in Iraq.

USAT-while I have tempered some of my opinions on this organization I still experience some boiling blood vessels and increased heart rate. While this organization and some of its' strongest supporters contend for profits are the whore of the earth and the poor ole non-profits are kicked around by them, let me show you where this is just the opposite. First, USAT operates with a $6 million budget, that is not subject to any taxes, pays its' top people very well, executive director $130m plus perks, cfo $81m plus perks, National Teams Manager $80m plus perks, etc., put away at least $500m per year in "reserves," since it can't be called "profits", has over $2 million in varies mutual funds, etc. Now, to add insult to injury they have decided to create their own magazine and compete against the two National mags, Triathlete Magazine and Inside Triathlon. Fact is they are coming out in print stating how much better your advertising dollar is being spent with USAT versus the other mags. Now, who is the big bully here? Since the two listed mags are for profit they must operate with funds generated by their free enterprising spirits, manage the business so it does make a profit and in general make good business judgements, to stay in business. On the other hand USAT operates with funds that are generated by forced membership dues of its' members and race directors. Nothing that USAT really does creates a free enterprise atmosphere or makes them hustle for their money. My concluding question here is: Instead of sticking to their mission statement to serve the sport of triathlon, why are the board of directors allowing the executive director and his staff to enter into free enterprise at the expense of those for profit, free enterprise entities. If USAT is going to enter into the publishing business and become the best advertising buy in the industry, then I contend they are way off course from their mission statement and have an uneven playing field. Kind of like playing soccer with the field tilted to a 90 degree angle for one team, but flat for the other(not that I know anything about soccer). The next thing you know they will be making the best running shoe since the, Nike swoosh!

Buffman & Squeaky are getting prepared for the annual "doggie day" parade in Cloudcroft, NM on December 10. Two years ago Buffman won a prize for most "distinctive dog" and was real proud. With the addition of Squeaky and they naming of the annual Buffman & Squeaky triathlon after them, they have become very popular in the tri-geek community. They will also attend the Polar Bear triathlon at White Sands and the annual Southwest Challenge series annual awards in El Paso. A very busy weekend for two Boston Terriers.

Without question the most well known Armstrong in Texas has to be Lance Armstrong, winner of 7 Tour De France races. But, alas, and with great pride Lubbock, Texas has the "other" not so famous, but just as spectacular Armstrong. Shanna Armstrong has won the Ultraman Triathlon, 320 mile swim, bike and run over 3 days, in Kona, HI. This was in addition to her co-ed win at RAAM(over 3000 miles on the bicycle across America) this year. To my knowledge she is the only female to finish first in both of these events in the same year. Shanna has been an athlete most of her life and has been in triathlon for over 7 years, with great success. While specializing in longer distance racing she has won the Southwest Challenge Series age group award more than once in her career. Congrats to Shanna!

For the life of me I don't understand why President Bush is still acting like a candidate rather that the president who will serve out his second term and then become a "former" president. He should become the "balls out" president and quit campaining and for the once admit where he is wrong. Former President Clinton handed him a surplus budget, which is now a deficit mainly because of the war in Iraq, and it keeps getting worse. As a parent I remember having to say, "no more money, back to the budget, to my kids," this is no different. We have to stop spending and start saving. Right now President W will go down in history as one of the worst presidents of the modern time or maybe of all time. He is making Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Warren Harding and James Buchanan(considered the very worst) look like Abraham Lincloln, George Washington, and Franklin Roosevelt(considered the top 3 best).

Some Presidential Quotes I like: "I never gave anybody hell--I just told the truth on these fellows and they thought it was hell."--Harry S. Truman(my favorite President), "No President has ever enjoyed himself as much as I."--Theodore Roosevelt, "He serves his party best who serves the country best."--Rutherford B. Hayes, "Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality."--John Tyler, "There are two types of education...One should teach us how to make a living, And the other how to live."--John Adams

Sports in general: Forgot to mention that I am also a member of the US Bowling Congress, the National Governing Body for bowling that has more member benefits than USA Triathlon, the "so-called" National Governing Body for triathlon, for less money. Golf-Actor Dennis Quaid was named best celebrity golfer by Golf Digest. "Does that mean Tiger Woods isn't a celebrity?", Sport psychologist banned from European Tour after fight with caddie. "He specializes in helping players develop their punch shots." What I like about pro golfers is that they get no quarantees, while there is over $252 million on the US tour to win, they must play excellent to win it. There are no signing bonues, no guarantees, no gimmi's regardless of performance. They must hit the drives, make the short shots and sink the putt to make money. In this case more is not better, lesser(strokes) is better. If they pulled something like T.O. has done to pro football they would be out for life. College football-Looks like The University of Texas-Austin, will go to win the National Championship, it should be a great game with USC. I am picking UT. Also, from the great state of Texas, we will see Texas Tech beat Alabama or another SEC team, in the Cotton Bowl. Texas Tech was again the total offense leader in college football.

George Carlin and Willie Nelson: GC-"Murder investigators say that in most cases husbands kill wives, wives kill husbands, children kill parents, and parents kill children. Thank God for a little sanity in the world." "The Loch Ness monster surfaced today, and in a clear Scottish accent asked if she had any messages." A Kentucky man has been arrested for making an unauthorized deposit in a sperm bank." "A spokesman for the Vatican announced today that in Rome a statue of St. Peter has come to life, and is passing along fishing tips and veal recipes." A Florida man who wrestles alligators for a living was eaten alive today when the alligator apparently did not understand the universal signal for time out." From Willie-Q: Could you ever imagine having sixteen kids in your life, Willie? A: There probably would have been sixteen wives and one Willie. Q: How's your golf game? A: I lie so much that I don't really know. Q: Can you get out there and beat the average person? A: I really don't like to play people I can't beat. Q: A lot of people much younger than you would have already said to themselves, "You know something? I've had a good career, I want to sit in a lawn chair and drink a beer." A: Well, I don't like lawn chairs, and I don't drink beer.

Some Texas self confidence(or maybe some Texas arrogance): Fact, Texans are the only people who go to Europe and when ask what country they are from say, "Texas." Well, think about it, your from Rhode Island and a foreigner says what country are you from and you say, Rhode Island. No way would that work! A popular trendy beer brewed near Austin, TX is Shriner Bock. To offset this and be competitive Anheuser-Busch came up with a "brewed in Texas and sold in Texas only bock beer, " called Ziegen Bock. My father-in-law loves anything from Texas, and really enjoys Ziegen Bock. So, I took him some during Thanksgiving and we enjoyed toasting a few during the holiday. After drinking a few bottles I decided to read what was printed on the bottle label and much to my surprise here is what I found: "Brewed and Available only in Texas," "We're proud to brew an American-style bock beer which is only available in Texas," "Brewed to Achieve Highest Quality," "The Very Finest Ingredients," Government warning: (1) According to the surgeon general, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects, (2) Consumption of alcoholic beverages impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery, andmay cause health problems.

Thanks for reading, all four of you and growing, I will have a new posting on within 7 days or sooner.

Mike Greer