Saturday, January 30, 2010

Do you still read?

Every year since I started blogging in 2007 I have listed a different set of five books on my Profile as my favorite books (not to be confused with Recently Read Books). The categories are, well, Shakespeare (Othello, King Lear, Macbeth), American Classic (The Scarlet Letter, Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby), Enduring Classic (L'Etranger, Waiting for the Barbarians, In the Lake of the Woods), History (Hell In A Very Small Place, Black Hawk Down, Breakout) and Biography/PoliSci (Growing Up, U.S. Grant Personal Memoirs, Goodbye Darkness).

This year I'm listing Hamlet (Alas Poor Yorick!), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (how did Huck miss the Ohio?), The Catcher in the Rye (Goodbye Holden!), Plagues and Peoples (nature will win) and Sherman: Fighting Prophet (you'll discover how and why the Union won the Civil War in this excellent biography).

You can tell a lot about a blogger from his or her Profile.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In 2008 I got swept up in Obama's rhetoric for change and hope. I wasn't for Obama initially, because I thought he was too inexperienced, but I came around as the campaign progressed.

He's intellectual and he speaks so well! Complex problems, you would suppose, demand complex solutions. He could do that.

Then I said hello to some Tea Party types on the Mall. Tea Baggers. When I was a cop, we talked about dirt baggers. These particular tea baggers quickly offered to stick their "Don't Tread On Me" flagpole up my, well... . Ehh, not too intellectual, that bunch.

Anyway, a year later, where are we except a year recovered from the Decider? (Thank goodness.)

Back to re-set, I think. If Obama was my laptop, I'd turn it off, remove the battery for ten seconds, then put it back in and restart it.

An African-American President, an idealist, a Democrat, a brilliant guy. Which former president is Obama most like? Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK?

It hit me. He's like Woodrow Wilson. An idealist, a Democrat, winner of the nobel peace prize, a war president, a brilliant guy. He expounded the Fourteen Points upon which to end WWI, that would lead to world harmony. (Go ahead, name even one of the Fourteen Points.)

The French leader Georges Clemenceau privately complained that even God Almighty only espoused ten principles. The Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI, and the League of Nations failed.

Wilson had potential but got nothing done. An historical non-entity.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

James Wilson Lamberton, lawyer; b. Winona, MN, [mid-1920s]; Henry M. & Gretchen (Leicht) L.; m. Barbara Ann [maiden name]; children: [six]. A.B. magna cum laude, Carleton Coll. 1949; J.D. Yale U. 1952. Bar: D.C. 1952, N.Y. 1960, U.S. Supreme Ct. 1963. Assoc. firm Clearly [sic], Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, N.Y.C. 1953-62; ptnr. Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, N.Y.C. 1963-1982, ret. ptnr., 1982--; dir. Western Union Corp., Western Union Telegraph Co. Bd. dirs. S.I. Mental Health Soc., 1965-1973, Community Action for Legal Services, N.Y.C. 1968-74, Carleton Coll. Alumni Bd., 1981--; chmn. devel. com. Carleton Coll. Alumni Bd., 1982--. Mem. ABA, N.Y. County Lawyers Assn. (dir. 1973-82, pres. 1981-82). Clubs: Yale (N.Y.C.); Nantucket Yacht. Home: POB Santa Fe NM 87504-8366

Source: Who's Who in America, 43rd edition 1984-85 (Published by Maquis Who's Who).

Happy birthday, Dad. There's a lot that didn't make it into the book, like your wartime service with the First Marine Division, and those two month-long summer "vacations" you spent in 1963 (Jackson, MS) & 1964 (Gainesville, FL) volunteering your services in the civil rights movement. I'm glad that you were able to hold at least one of my three sons (the one named after you, even though he has since changed his name) in your strong hands before you passed on at too early an age when you were 61 years young.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Every year Congress challenges the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch and the Press to a 3-mile race in the District along the banks of the Anacostia River. Last year my Agency's team won the Second Place Team Plaque for the Executive Division, a big deal because our division has all the service teams (Army, Navy, the Coast Guard etc.).

Our Captain took the First Place Medal for Sub-Cabinet Head, Female. We kicked butt, in other words. (Left: The team in April.)

The winning team, Army, placed two runners in the top five, finishing in second and fifth in the division. Our two top runners got between these two stars and finished third and fourth in the division. (Right: Half a year later. Our rock star Greg, second from the right, was third in the race, next to him is Andy who was fourth.)

What a battle royal that must have been. I was too far back to observe it but it must have been exciting as it played out.

A bonus from last year's race was that American marathoner Meb Keflezighi ran in the race, only three days after he PRed with a sub-2:10 at London. Meeting him after the 3-mile race last year was cool.

Six months later Meb ran away from a world-class field and won New York. (Left: Our Team Captain holds our Runnerup Plaque.)

Meb has been a hero of mine ever since he silvered in the marathon at the Athens Olympics. Now he is the first American male to win a major in decades. (Right: Adrian Fenty on the left, the world's fastest mayor, poses at the 3-mile race with America's current world-beater marathoner.)

Three years earlier our team had done well and finished seventh, when our Team Captain took the Third Place Medal in his age category. We asked the bemedaled Captain from that earlier team to present the current Team Captain with the hardware we we received from the race administrators. (Left: Our former Team Captain on the right, who medaled in the 2006 race, stands with our current Team Captain.)

In a little surprise ceremony today, he presented the Captain with her individual medal and the team plaque. Although surprised, she was very collected and appreciative that we all came by to bestow the swag. It was very cool. (Right: Can't touch this. The first place medal earned last year by our Team Captain.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Farewell John

On Earth are men's dry bones, all heartless, soulless!
Youth, lend me wings--I shall be soaring
High above this dead world, and enter
The realm of heavenly fantasy
Where holy zeal works wonders
And showers upon us fresh, unheard of blossoms
Clothing in hope its golden pictures.

. . .

O youth, above that low horizon
Fly, and with sunlike vision
Pierce through and through those masses
Of human creatures thronging!

(Ode to Youth by Adam Mickiewicz)

Farewell, warrior of the Band of Outsiders. Well run, and I was honored to run with you last year. The team will run for you this year, missing you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Five Guys

Missed you at Five Guys at Merrifield today at noon, Dan. The cheeseburger (fresh ground beef, never frozen) was dreamy, with grilled mushrooms, tomato, mayo and catsup. With the fries (cooked in pure, no cholesterol tasty peanut oil), it was more than one person could eat so I cut the sandwich in two and enjoyed my half. When you didn't appear after half an hour, I bused the table, threw out your coagulated portion and left with even a heavier heart than I entered with.

You were barely 12 when you (and your brothers, also minors) were dragged into the divorce litigation up to your eyeballs (as the trial judge said) by the primary caregiver and her coterie of "professionals." This was classic PAS, which some people term child abuse.

So you haven't spoken to me meaningfully, or seen me, since you were barely 14, though you all lived two miles away and I came by the house and called for you from the curb every other Friday from 2003-2007, and called and wrote all holidays and birthdays until the house was sold the next year and my requests for forwarding addresses for my children were refused. It wasn't me who was the scofflaw during the primacy of all those custodial and visitation orders.

You'll be twenty-one in a few weeks, whereupon I'll cease my ceaseless efforts to reconnect. Then it'll be up to you, son. You know where I live, in the house you grew up in, and I'm "in the book." I sure want to see you but I sure wouldn't want to be you.

At noon on President's Day, Monday, February 15, 2010, I'll be at Clare and Don's Beach Shack in Falls Church on Lee Highway (130 North Washington Street), across the street from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and right next door to the State Theatre. Join me for lunch, on me! We'll ketchup on the last seven years.

Love, Dad.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Speaking of Anne.

A heroine has left us. Miep Gies has died at age 100.

She was the Dutch woman who helped hide the family of Jewish businessman Otto Frank, and a few other Jews, from the Gestapo during the Nazi occupation of Holland in World War II. She and her husband Jan and four other gentiles brought food and other sustenance to the hiding Jews in their secret living quarters within an office annex for two years, until the Gestapo uncovered the fugitives through an informant’s tip and deported them to concentration camps in Eastern Europe. There they all perished except for Otto.

The sad and anxious, yet mundane, circumstances of the Frank family’s secret existence during the period of hiding was detailed in a series of notes written by Otto’s teenage daughter. This became the basis for the world-famous book, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Miep discovered the writings in the living quarters following the Gestapo raid and kept them for Anne. When Otto returned after the war and disclosed that his daughter had died in captivity, Miep turned the notes–unread–over to him. He had them published.

A young girl’s musings, hopes and dreams for her life in the face of desperate circumstances thus live on forever, abetted and saved by Miep’s heroic conduct. Miep was the last survivor of the small band of heroes who took extraordinary risks in helping the Frank family and others. Two of them, Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman, were arrested and sent to concentration camps for their involvement, but both survived the war. Miep later wrote a book about the dreadful times, Anne Frank Remembered.

Miep was so fearless that she even went to Gestapo headquarters after the raid to unsuccessfully try to secure the release of her friends through bribery. In current times, when many Americans desperately want to ensure their own safety and security above everything else and treasure their own lives to a paralyzing degree, it is gratifying to contemplate the selfless and heroic actions undertaken by persons such as Miep and her friends.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Green me

It was so satisfying last night.

The District has a new tax, 5c for every bag you receive in a store to put your purchased items in. Paper, plastic, it doesn't matter, every bag is a nickel. They say they're going to earmark the funds to clean up the Potomac but it's a pure revenue-raiser, like red-light cameras. It doesn't matter, it's a good idea.

I walked into work yesterday morning after buying three bananas for a dollar at my usual coffee outlet with the bananas stuffed into my pocket. They went in yellow and firm and came out black and mushy. When the cashier offered a bag, I just said, "No."

Last night I went into the supermarket on my way home and actually brought in a cloth bag with me. I had bought this weeks earlier to use for recurring purchases but this was the first time I had remembered to bring my own bag along. At the cash register, after ringing me up for 18.90, they shoved my purchases into my bag and collected the total of 18.85. You get a nickel credit at Giant for "bringing your own."

Cool. I'm green, man. Me 'n the Hulk.

Lessee. The bag cost me 1.99 so I need nineteen more trips to make it pay for itself. If I split my purchases in half each time, swinging around to the back of the cash line again with the rest of my items after making the initial buy...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Flat Foot, Acquired

The six miles in Rock Creek Park on Saturday went well enough, although the aftermath didn't. Sunday I had to go up the stairs one at a time like an arthritic old man. After 12 weeks of "recovery" to no avail, it was time to get serious about my sore ankle.

Only it's not my ankle, it's my foot. According to the podiatrist, it's Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (Posterior Tibial Tendonitis), caused by tibialis tendonitis flat foot, acquired.

Actually, I was born with flat feet, I'm pretty sure.

I had a nice visit with the specialist. After two visits to GPs who poked around on my foot and kept asking, "Does that hurt?" to which I'd say, "Sort of," I got referred to a specialist (another, higher, co-pay).

The podiatrist listened to my tale of woe while I stood barefoot, looked down at my flat feet and had me rise up on my left five toes while standing only on my injured foot. Then he announced what I had.

That was it.

While I sat, he traced on my lower leg the calf muscle to where it attached to my foot via the tibialis tendon, below the ankle, and said, "That's inflamed due to chronic overuse. Fortunately it's not ruptured, or else you couldn't have stood on your toes." Around my ankle bone, the light yet pointed passage of his index finger traced the center of my pain exactly.

Prognosis: Ankle brace, contrast therapy, custom orthotics and ibuprofen for ten days for the swelling. The doctor parroted back to me sua sponte the "ten percent rule" which I often cite to trainees (never increase your weekly distance by more than 10% any week).

He said, "That six miles on Saturday, after hardly running for three months, way overdid it."

I hung my head in shame, secretly smiling inside.

Hey, I have a diagnosis, a treatment plan (I'll be transitioning to start-up running in two weeks, hopefully) and I'm back!

Friday, January 1, 2010

And we're off . . .

. . . into the new decade. Happy New Year's!

My friend who is a coach asked me to to take out a less advanced group tomorrow morning, six miles. The coach's more advanced group is doing nine miles. This ought to be a good kick-start for me to get back into running.

I only ran three times in December, three miles with a fast group (9:30 miles which just about killed me, they did six miles, I did three), once with a friend on the C&O Canal for four leisurely miles which was just right, and once leading a holiday lights run around the District with a group from work. I hope my ankle holds up.

And Daniel W. Lamberton, I'm sorry that I missed you for lunch today. The meal was delicious. I ate enough for the both of us.

Our next opportunity to re-connect after seven years is the MLK holiday. On Martin Luther King holiday, Monday, January 18, 2010 at 12N, I'll be having lunch at Five Guys Burgers in greater Falls Church (Merrifield) at 2960 Gallows Road, Dan. That's right next to the Unique Thrift Superstore, a terrific store in its own write. Come join me, on me!

We'll catch-up (ketchup, get it?) over fatty hamburgers and fresh-cut french-fries, an artery clogging but oh-so-delicious meal! Hope to see you then! Love you, Dad.