Well, I did it! I finished the Westchester Triathlon in 2 hours, 43 minutes and set a personal record in the process! This time bests by 2 hour 55 minute time at St. Anthony’s by 12 minutes, but what’s even better is that this time I completed the .9 mile swim in 29 minutes! That’s a 9 minute improvement! I feel validated in my swim training strategy, which was simply to focus on form instead of worrying about getting fast. Well, the practice on form translated into less effort and SPEED. I was consistent about sighting and swam pretty much in a straight line. I emerged from the water ready for the bike ride.
Benjamin DeMott, author of Junk Politics: The Trashing of the American Mind, has an essay in the October 2004 issue of Harper’s entitled “Whitewash as Public Service: How the 9/11 Comission Report defrauds the nation.” In a nutshell, DeMott claims that since the report failed to place blame it is a failure.
“Imagine that you wake up in a strange land. Your room is small but comfortable. As the sun streams through fine lace curtains, you look at your watch. It’s 4:30 A.M., far too early for the sun to be shining. Then you remember: Thirty-five years after President Kennedy’s call to serve, you’re in the Peace Corps, and you’re going to be living in this strange land for the next two years.” An excerpt from ‘Two Years of Cyber Deprivation’ Download full article.
Bloggers Note – I wrote this article for Cybertimes, an offshoot of the New York Times web site, shortly after I returned from my Peace Corps service and started temping at the New York Times electronic media company. I went from being a teacher in Rietavas, a town of 4,000 in western Lithuania, where I awoke to the crowing and mooing of our neighbor’s farm to honking horns and screeching New York City subways. Needless to say, my head was spinning. The most difficult aspect of my Peace Corps service was coming home. Though I spoke the language and dressed the part, I felt as though I didn’t belong. Everyone had two years of references that I didn’t get, and I had two years of references that were foreign to folks back home. However, I couldn’t have picked a better place to land than New York City–where an escape to a foreign country was always only a few blocks, or subway stops away.
New, York, NY – “On Sunday, September 12, 2004, forty contemporary artists, working under the auspices of Downtown for Democracy, transformed the block of 22nd Street between Tenth and Eleventh avenues into the Liberty Fair.”–from the downtown for democracy website. We hired a writer to send Colin Powell a letter respectfully asking him to do the right thing and resign, got temporary tatoos, and one of us sort of wound up in the New York Times.
The scene in Rietavas, Lithuania, on September 1, 1996– it’s the first day of school. (imagine a similar picture at every school in Lithuania, Russia and the former Soviet Union). Tradition dictates that the oldest 12th grade students escort the youngest first grade students to their classes. Students, parents and teachers don their best clothes. The 12th grade students opted to wear their Soviet-era black and brown uniforms. Students held fresh flowers to greet their teachers and perhaps soften them up a bit. We gathered first in church (Lithuania’s an overwhelmingly Catholic country.) It was sunny, crisp, beautiful day–one of my favorites as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The town came together, whether they had children or not, and saw the children off to school. A soviet relic with charm. September 1, is or rather was, always a joyous, hopeful day.