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Punished by Day 2 on the Road to Santiago

May 27th, 2018 · No Comments · Pilgrimage, Spain

Let’s start with the statistics.

26.8 kilometers¬† — (16.7 miles)

6.5 hours on the road

41,360 steps

That was today on the Camino de Santiago, here in Spain.

Added to Day 1, yesterday, that takes our 2018 numbers to 51.7 km, (32.1 miles), 12.6 hours on foot and 79,140 steps.

Is that the sound of FitBit melting down?

Pilgrimages can be a rough road.

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Seeing Real Madrid Thrill a Tiny Spanish Town

May 26th, 2018 · No Comments · Champions League, Football, soccer, Spain, World Cup

So, four of us pilgrims set off on the Camino de Santiago this morning, marching 22 kilometers in about seven hours and 37,000 steps.

In other news … the little Spanish town where we halted for the day went slightly crazy tonight as Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in an eventful Uefa Champions League final.

Spain is soccer-mad, and being in the same room with 50-some intense and nervous fans jammed into the Casa Cruz tapas bar … was a marvelous cultural activity for the visitors with U.S. passports.

Gareth Bale’s stunning bicycle-kick goal in the 64th minute gave Madrid the lead (and the Casa Cruz fans the chills) as the town’s clearly preferred team again reached the pinnacle of global world soccer.

Our friends from St. Louis joined us as we wedged into a corner of the bar, beneath one of two big-screen TVs. Our Missouri friends were right under the TV, and could not see very well, and across the table the other two of us craned our necks so hard for two hours that we may not be able to walk to the next Camino destination tomorrow.

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Walking the Camino … Again!

May 26th, 2018 · No Comments · Barcelona, Pilgrimage, Spain

We are doing the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Again.

Once could have been enough, but we are giving “the Camino” another try, a year and a month since we first did it.

Why? Because it’s there? A little.

But mostly it is about offering some companionship to two of Leah’s dearest college friends. Devout Roman Catholics, they have hankered to walk the Camino for years and years, and here they are, ready to go.

One of them had never been in Europe till they landed in Paris yesterday. The other had not been for 31 years. They are keen to see some sights — and take some walks — and their enthusiasm is infectious.

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’21 Books You Don’t Have to Read’

May 20th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Books

Many of us have strong opinions on X percent of the books we read, perhaps evenly divided between “loved” and “hated”.

Several of those in the latter category will tend to come from English classes in high school or college. Assigned reading for our greater edification. Books considered classics, though we may often wonder why.

Apparently, we are not alone.

GQ, the magazine once known as Gentlemen’s Quarterly, is a mostly harmless, occasionally edifying magazine (a Pulitzer this year!) that originally set out to make better dressers out of men.

(And goodness knows many of us could use some fashion advice — though we almost certainly are not regular readers of the magazine.)

But back to books: GQ editors and writers in the April edition identified 20* books that appear in this or that “canon” of great literature.

The contributors to the story beg to differ, with various well-known books, explaining why we do not need to read them and suggesting a more worthwhile alternative. (This is by no means an original idea; lists of “why do we have to read that?” have been going around for decades.)

Among the books GQ believes can be avoided are A Farewell to Arms, Catcher in the Rye, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Catch-22 and Lord of the Rings.

And what do lists like this do?

Create controversy and stimulate debate. Maybe even sell a few more copies of GQ.

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Don Markham: 1940-2018

May 15th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Football, Sports Journalism, The Sun

Where to begin?

Don Markham.

Rebel, loner, iconoclast. Admired, loved, loathed.

One of the great football minds to stride across the sport’s stage in the history of Inland Empire prep football, as well as one of the most polarizing personalities.

Markham died at age 78 yesterday, and anyone who saw his teams play will remember him.

First, some links.

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The Raptors Shoot Old Yeller

May 13th, 2018 · No Comments · Basketball, NBA

I don’t spend a lot of time watching the NBA’s Toronto Raptors. For the longest time they were reliably awful, then they were good in the regular season before tending to run into LeBron James, who tended to run them over.

Like this season, when James and the Cleveland Cavaliers swept the Raptors in the second round of the playoffs. Crushed them, actually.

So, just two days after Dwane Casey got a coach-of-the-year award for leading the Raptors to a team-record 59 regular-season victories and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference … the Raptors fired him on Friday.

And I had to look at that story a little more closely.

Turns out, firing Dwane Casey apparently was very much like shooting Old Yeller in the sappy Disney film of the same name. That is, if we take the general manager and Raptors players at their word.

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David Price: Struck Down by Video Game Habit?

May 11th, 2018 · No Comments · Baseball

David Price is a left-handed pitcher and former Cy Young Award winner who is in Year 3 of a $215 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.

Unfortunately, he cannot pitch at the moment, due to pain in his left wrist, and when he had a doctor look at it, the doc had an interesting diagnosis:

Price is suffering from carpal-tunnel syndrome, which leads to pain in the wrist, often quite serious pain, for those who come down with it. And who are those people?

Often, people who use keyboards for their jobs.

Or people who play a lot of video games, which call for heavy use of wrists and fingers and thumbs.

Price, turns out, spends hours and hours and hours playing video games.

However, he said he does not ascribe his carpal tunnel to all that time playing video games — and in particular one named Fortnite — but for the sake of appearances he said he will give up playing his video games in the clubhouse.

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Sports Injury Epidemic: Is Gain Worth the Pain?

May 5th, 2018 · No Comments · Baseball, Football, NBA, NFL, Rugby, soccer

Sports injuries have become a “thing”. Seemingly not a day goes by without some fairly prominent athlete going down with a prominent injury.

I remember when none of us were quite sure what an oblique was, but straining/tearing it would put a guy on the shelf for weeks.

Those were the good old days.

Now we read about issues like thoracic outlet syndrome and grapple with something called CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) that destroys the brain of some athletes.

As time goes by, I find myself wondering if playing professional sports is worth the inevitable injuries. Talking any team sport.

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Another Case of the Wrong Guy Winning the Masters

April 9th, 2018 · No Comments · Golf

Not many strong opinions here about the game of golf.

I do wonder why so many people eagerly spend so much time and money playing a soul-crushing game. But some of us are Los Angeles Chargers fans, too.

What I do object to is the Masters tournament — “A tradition like no other” — being won by guys hardly anyone wants to see win.

Such as Patrick Reed, champion at Augusta National yesterday.

Who was the ideal winner — aside from his rampant unpopularity among fans, galleries, fellow players and college teammates.

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Ohtani: Youthful Ambition by the Numbers

April 4th, 2018 · No Comments · Angels, Baseball, Lists

Another benefit of waking up at 4 a.m. in France.

West Coast baseball is just getting started!

And I stumbled on to the start of the Los Angeles Angels home opener, versus the Cleveland Indians — also known as “Shohei Ohtani’s first game in Anaheim Stadium.”

And the Japanese Babe Ruth acquitted himself well, slugging a home run in his first at-bat and adding two more base hits in the Angels’ 13-2 rout of the Indians, a game Ohtani spent as the designated hitter, just a few days after he was the Angels’ starting pitcher in a victory.

It was about halfway through the game that the TV crew produced a copy of what is purported to be Ohtani’s high school hopes/plans for his future, from age 18 through age 42.

It makes for fascinating reading and demonstrates how ambitious is the Angels’ 23-year-old pitcher/hitter.

First, the list:

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