Tag Archive: side

Eli Manning and the New York Giants have won Super Bowl XLVI, demonstrating some serious karma!

For years, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were great… but the New England Patriots had his number.

However, as Eli Manning entered the NFL with the New York Giants, it seems that the Giants have had New England’s number.

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If you haven’t heard, Julyna is the latest crazy cancer fundraising campaign. It is similar to Movember where men grew moustache designs for the month to raise awareness for men’s health. However, here, women shave their pubic hair into designs to raise awareness for cervical cancer. Some suggested designs, from the campaign website, with descriptions are at the bottom of the post.

What I want to know, though, is how are people going to know which women are participating or has participated? It’s not like you can tell just looking at them in everyday life.

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New Pittsburgh

New Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Penguins, captained by Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby, broke and made history by winning the 7th game of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals 2-1 over the Red Wings in Detroit. For only the second time in 31 Game 7s of a major pro sports final, the road team won after being 3-2 games down. The other team who pulled off the come back feat the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. It was also the first time an NHL team has won a Game 7 on the road since 1971 when the Montreal Canadiens won in Chicago against the Blackhawks. Also in a parallel to that year’s playoffs, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma also became only the second rookie coach to join a team mid-season and lead them to the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens’ Al MacNeil did it in 1971. Truly a City of Champions, Pittsburgh, if not the City of Champions given the championship legacies of the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The latter two have won championships in 2009. The Pirates are not likely to win a championship this year, but it’s not a bad year by any means with two major sports championships. Furthermore, the Penguins are 5 and 0 in Game 7 road games, stepping up to the moment.

A little less well known is how winning a year the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is having. More specifically, it’s Cole Harbour, and it’s this week that has been monumentous! Just four days ago, New Democratic Party leader, Darrell Dexter, won a decisive victory in the provincial elections, forming the first NDP government in Nova Scotia and east of Ontario. Now it backs it up with local phenom Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup. Sid the Kid was sidelined with an injury to the side of his knee at 5:30 of the second period and played only one shift in the final period, but was on the bench to support his teammates in the third period.

“I don’t recommend anyone watching the Stanley Cup final from the bench, it’s a tough situation,” Sidney joked when interviewed after the game. He is the youngest captain ever to hoist the Stanley Cup.


Hey, I just saw Gatorade play rather plain “G” commercial with voice over to Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Champion. There weren’t all those stars in the usual commercial, but you can bet there’ll be a real one with Sidney in it coming soon!

Evgeni Malkin was named the Conn Smythe trophy winner as most valuable player in the playoffs. He led the playoffs with 36 points, as well as the regular season scoring to become just the fifth player to accomplish the double. Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky 4X, Guy Lafleur 2X and Phil Esposito 2X were the others. However, it was Maxime Talbot who scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals tonight in the second period, at 1:17 and 10:09. Rookie Jonathan Ericsson replied for Detroit with 6:07 left in the third period. Pittsburgh, who trailed 2 games to 0 out the gates, came back to win 4 of the next 5 games, including the only road win of this series tonight to win the Cup. They truly earned it as that feat was not easy to do against a tough team like the Red Wings.

In other story lines, Marian Hossa of the Red Wings had a potential dream of vengeance turned into the ultimate nightmare. Always plagued as not being a playoff performer, he was with Pittsburgh last year when they lost in six the finals (thanks to Brian J. for the correction), losing to Detroit on home ice. During the off season, Marian walked away from a reported 5 year, $7 million annual offer by Pittsburgh, and a rumoured $9 million a year multi-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. He went for a one year deal in Detroit worth $7.45 million, presumably because he thought the Red Wings had the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Hossa could have hoisted the Stanley Cup in the Pittsburgh fans’ face in Game 6, to prove he was right, had he stepped up to help them win. However, he ended up losing on home ice again, in a worse situation being Game 7, to the team he ditched. Turns out, he was right to have walked away from the Penguins. That is a bunch of winners who know how to step up when the pressure is on, and Hossa clearly doesn’t. He turned his back on people like Mario Lemieux in ownership who were willing to believe in him after so many others didn’t. He jumped on the easy bandwagon of the reigning Stanley Cup champions and arguably, took them down without contributing his fair share once more. Talk about knowing how to make your own loser legacy! Serves him right!

On the other extreme of the legacy spectrum is Penguins part-owner, past multiple Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy winners, Hall of Famer, Mario Lemieux. Mario has won a lot of other accolades in the past, showing he could win in pretty much anything to do with hockey. He proved so now as a winning part owner. Mario also took Sidney into his home when Sidney first entered the NHL with the Penguins, when Sid was more truly the “Kid”, to show him “the way”. And look how the Kid turned out! It was great to see Mario hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head again!

Congratulations Pittsburgh, Sidney, Mario and all those associated with the club, from the pros to their families. They’ve all worked hard for it, took risks and so on, and got what they deserved!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.7


Do Runners Divorce More? (Part 3 – Things to Think About)

drphilAfter having done my own sampling of runners I know in Part 1, then reviewing some research in Part 2, I share some thoughts on whether or not I think runners divorce more, and why or why not, Dr Phil style. That’s just an analogy. I offer things to think about, not authoritative advice, arguing from a psychological stance given the more scientific, statistical “research” in Part 2 was not conclusive. Besides, it makes for better water cooler talk. But as I am a never married 36 year old veteran of 25 marathons, I can’t be offering anything “authoritative” on this matter. :-)

From information presented in Parts 1 and 2, it was obvious nothing conclusive could be deduced from data with any degree of certainty. Besides, pinning many relationships’ outcome on one factor is almost ridiculous. Relationships are just too complex to analyze like that. However, I believe runners divorce more than the typical population. I just don’t believe that it is being a runner which is the cause of this higher rate. Rather, I believe that being a runner, like being any “serious leisure participants” as defined in Part 2, is a symptom of behaviours exhibited by serious leisure participants. Just look at those six qualities and three types of commitments serious leisure participants must show to qualify as such. That’s nothing easy to ask of anyone without stressing their relationships, and I can’t believe a set of additional stressors like that, plus some other factors outlined below specific to running, can’t influence a divorce rate to a noticeable extent.

That also means I believe any other serious leisure participant exhibiting those same qualities and commitment types would also have higher divorce rates than the average rate. So whether you run, crochet or do triathlons, if you do it enough to qualify as a serious leisure participant, I believe your kind has higher than the average divorce rate. By “enough”, with respect to running, I’ll put the line at half-marathon or marathon runners, which was how my sampling from Part 1 was skewed. I’m not sure about 10K runners, but I’m quite sure you won’t find this among 5K runners. People generally don’t need to train that much to do 5Ks to qualify as “serious” leisure participants. I hope to be able to demonstrate this more quantitatively in the next month, rather than just pure speculation that I can only offer at this point.


So how did I come to these conclusions?

You’re no longer the person your partner married
Serious leisure participants, as defined in Part 2, incorporate the leisure activity into their identity, or make it grow into something more as they improve. Even if the change were not the dominant change in someone’s personality over the years, the person has become someone slightly more different than a typical person might change over the same period in their lives. This is counter intuitive, though, because an identity associated with a healthy activity like running is generally only seen as being positive. However, it can become “too positive”, accentuating short-comings of one’s partner that they may no longer tolerate. I believe marriages, and other close relationships, last when people can change together to accommodate each other’s change with time. A serious change like that from serious leisure activities, if not matched, could well lead to the same outcome as a negative change. It’s not really about the type of change, but the gap left behind. Whether you create that gap by going ahead or falling behind, the gap is what ultimately gets you.

Time spent away from family and having to work around “schedules”
A decent level of training is not much different than the demands of a second job, although you won’t likely be paid for it and have a lot of fun at it. There are schedules, energy spent, learning, other investments, etc. No matter how “soft” those training schedules are, ultimately, if you train, you have to fit it in somewhere and that’s time not spent together. If you can’t balance the work load on top of this, it’s more conflict.

Time spent with others leading to jealousy and/or suspicion
This may not be a big factor, but I know lots of male/female running pairs who are not married, and sometimes, that can lead to tension from their spouses. Running is quite enjoyable, so it’s easy to speak of your running partner in glowing terms. The other thing is when you run, the guards just go down. You’re might be running in the woods or on the streets in the dark alone with them some time, after all. If you can’t trust them a lot, then you wouldn’t be running with them. Hence, it’s quite easy to talk about everything. Any of these things could easily lead to jealousy and/or suspicion, especially if you share your running partner’s secrets with your partner, making him/her wonder what’s going on out there. Your partner wouldn’t understand lest s/he ran.

Hot bodies at the races
Runners don’t always have the hottest bodies, but as a whole, they’re far better off than the general population. Even the round ones are a bit toned! If you look at it as a mass, you know if you mix enough hot bodies together, something’s bound to happen. If you look at it from an individual point of view that your partner is running with a fit running partner, possibly one fitter than you since you don’t run, it’s a factor that can’t be ignored. As well, fitness tends to increase sex drive, provided you don’t overdo it and ruin your marriage that way. More sex drive in among more hot bodies, and given some races are approaching two women for every man registered. Hmmm.

Not so hot bodies at home
If one partner got fit while the other one isn’t doing so well, the contrast not only becomes obvious, but so do the question of why you stick with this other person when you have so many other better options around you. This question becomes more accentuated for women if, after having kids, say, and putting on weight, she brings herself back to a high level of attractiveness and her husband is only getting worse physically. Women might not stray as much as men, nor as easily, but guys face temptation when their wives have kids and maybe not coming back to her original physique any time soon, if ever for some. Attractive physique isn’t everything in a relationship, but it is an undeniably significant factor. Women stray less, less easily, but there are many more (2:1 to men ratio) to pad the absolute numbers. Men stray more, more easily and have lots more choices. Hmmm.

If you’ve ever done a distance race that challenged you to any extent, you probably know the confidence boost you get with it. The longer the distance, the bigger the boost. Finishers often have this look about them that those not running wished they had, or could experience even if they knew the feeling themselves. But this doesn’t just last for a while after the race. It transfers well into life. Fred Lebow, who may not be great at statistical rates as in Part 2, is definitely one for anecdotes. Fred tells this great story in the New York Times in Jan 1988 of a woman runner accused by her husband of having an affair with a male running partner. ”She wasn’t,” Lebow said, ”but when she finished the New York Marathon and the husband was not at the finish to greet her, she said: ‘That’s it. If I can run New York I can live without him.’ ” They got divorced, and the woman ended up marrying the running partner. In reverse is a story about a Manhattan attorney who had to sneak out of his apartment to run because his wife could not accept his compulsion. One spring day, he packed his running gear in his briefcase and flew off to run the Boston Marathon, returning that same day to give the impression that he had simply been to work. Soon enough he had his freedom: he and his wife got divorced. These stories are not atypical, even if they were extreme. I’ve known lots of women who got so much confidence from running they’ve gone on to change their lives in drastic ways they told me they would never have had the courage to do until they started achieving goals in running. A few changed everything from jobs to husbands, some both, with a cross country move as a bonus.

Lack of confidence
This would appear in the partner not running, or keeping fit in some other way. Jealousy or suspicion, or worry from it, could stem from lack of belief you can keep your partner because he/she is fitter, quite possibly happier, and is surrounded with viable options to substitute for you should they make the choice to do so. For some, especially men but possibly women who were once athletes, this lack of confidence might be from the fact that they no longer even hold athletic “superiority” that were such a key part of their identity. It is tough for some macho men to not be seen as fit as their wives, destroying some of their manliness and manhood. It could be worse than them losing their jobs that was also a big part of their identity because they could get another job. Getting that athletic supremacy back would be a much tougher challenge since his past resume won’t be of any value, and his wife is getting better all the time. Women once athletic suffer a different way, I believe, not in that they lost any part of their womanhood, just a matter of self-image being just a shadow of what they used to be. As if aging didn’t do enough to their looks, if not child-bearing, they also have to deal with loss of one of the dominant aspects of their image. Lost of confidence in any form will make one less attractive to another unless the other was a predatory type, but that’s not relevant here.

Side bets
Despite “side bets”, like purchases and such towards the hobby, cited in Part 2 of not being a factor in serious leisure divorces, if you buy enough shoes and new running clothes frequently, pay lots race fees and take trips constantly, I guarantee you’ll hear about it unless your partner has some equivalence! “Non-factor” like stuff I don’t like stepping in!

The compound effect and other factors
So you have your identities being eaten away, your confidence, the gap between you and your spouse widening, little things like side bets to big things like shared workload creating conflict. If that weren’t enough, they’re all working together. They’d be more or less pending what other stresses you both have, like if only one had a job, or you had five kids compared to, say, one. The other stresses, I don’t doubt, contribute significantly one way or another. I’m just not sure if runners with one kids would walk away from a marriage more easily than one not willing to separate to jeopardize the lives of five kids. But it probably has something to do with it. I don’t know about you, but all this is enough to convince me an additional stress source from running, as good as running might be, could skew divorce rates among runners.

Please come back in Part 4 for some thoughts on what to do to counter some of these factors I’ve suggested as contributing to divorce among runners. That’s thoughts. Not advice. I’ll throw in some contemplation to marry a runner or  not which, as a single person and avid runner, slips into my head from time to time.

Perhaps, then, you can advise me! ;-)

Flesh-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.7



Book and Theory Background

Daniel J. Levitin wrote an absolutely brilliant book called The World in Six Songs, supported by a great website with the many music samples referenced, among other great related material.

My basic paraphrasing of the concept is this. All the songs in the world could be fit into at least one of six categories providing an evolutionary benefit to humanity, often ultimately tied to our social nature.

The book and website offer far more detailed interpretations, of course, but I will expand on my paraphrasing with each post and the associated topic.

Daniel J. Levitin and The World in Six SongsIn a series of posts, I will describe each of the six categories in brief, one at a time:

  1. Friendship
  2. Joy
  3. Comfort
  4. Knowledge
  5. Religion
  6. Love

I will describe what the categories are about because they are not as limited in scope as the category names suggest. I will then supply one of my choices and ask all readers to do the same if they so wish. In the seventh post of the series, I will offer the chance to put the song choices all together so readers can read the entire set on one post. I do this because it would be a long post to describe all six categories at once, but to have all the answers in one place might be nice.


This post focuses on Songs of Religion

July 30th add-on in italics, from Dan Levitin in a summary article
Religious ceremonies and ritual go hand in hand, with music frequently accompanying a ritual. Music acts as a retrieval mechanism to guide the movements and words of a particular ritual, and ritual can allow people to stop worrying and focus on the task at hand. Music is also tied to religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals where acts can be performed as a community, providing social bonding.

Songs of religion are not simply songs about religion. In fact, the songs of knowledge post showed how the Oral Torah was really a song of knowledge, not religion, even if its lyrics were all about religion. Songs of religion are really ritual songs intended to give meaning to something greater than just the subject itself. Furthermore, this meaning is attached to a belief system that establishes some sort of “social” order, both, less and more than us. It is this search for meaning, a self-conscious act of awareness on our part, for our place in this order which truly separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, it is what we embrace in this search, in turn, that has benefited us in evolution.

In our search for something greater that is part of our religious beliefs, we embrace sets of rituals that exist in all religions. Religion gives meaning to these rituals that have little meaning on their own otherwise. Just look at rituals in religions foreign to you and see how you feel about them compared to those in your own. However, those not familiar with your religion would have no different overall reactions to rituals in your religion. Pages 194-195 has a great list of 11 rituals universal to all religions, though, which is an absolutely fascinating read!

Now, the rituals of religion come in two flavours: self-rituals and group rituals. Self-rituals tend to be of the type which promotes survival, like not murdering others or coveting their mates which could cause conflict among us that is not good for survival. Rituals also mean the actions get repeated, which helps survival if all the actions were good for survival. As for religion’s role, religion gives self-ritual self-meaning, like what it could mean for someone in their current and/or afterlife. Religion also monitors external and internal states for danger in guiding rituals to be done at various times throughout life.

Like it does for self-rituals, religion gives group rituals group meaning and monitors internal and external states to the group. This is the more important benefit to evolution when compared to the self. This is because group rituals promote group activities, which not only protect us from ourselves but also from other factors of harm to us, and better than individuals could do alone. Group rituals are essential to religion because one cannot find a place within a greater social order if there were no one or nothing else around oneself to create this social order.

Finally, all rituals, with their meanings given by religion, are intended to reduce ambiguity in life by changing the state of the world into something more exacting. It also lets us move on with our lives with the direction given so we don’t subject ourselves to situations not beneficial to our survival.

At this point, I would like to insert a note to say that while the general big picture descriptions of religion described in the World in Six Songs are beneficial to evolution, when it comes to the main organized religions in human history, I’m not sure I would concur. I think modern organized religions have become so warped from the spirit of religion’s concept I would debate whether it has had net benefit on humanity or net hindrance. Ironically, this has been since we supposedly have become “civilized”. So much wrong has been done in the name of organized religion, or hidden by it, that I really do think we could do better without it. I think we’d be better off if we only embraced religion in its intent rather than its meanings that it often has no business giving. Organized religion is just a pretense to guide us as if those leading it knew what were happening when they have no idea.

Songs associated with rituals mean there is a time and a place for songs of religion, with consequences. Thus, funeral and wedding marches count, but not national anthems or Christmas carols. There are places and times for national anthems, football fight songs and Christmas carols when you could break out in one or the other, and there wouldn’t be much problem. Try the same with funeral or wedding marches, especially the former, and there might well be. Children’s songs where participants move parts of their body selectively also count as songs of religion because of their ritualistic nature. This practice to develop motor coordination through repetition when we are young and learning is also of benefit to us evolutionally. Finally, gospel songs are religious songs, and it was mentioned that Dan Dennett had suggested that atheists should have pro science gospel songs as atheism doesn’t have gospel religious songs — a thought I, both, like and found tremendously amusing.

Audio sample of songs from the Religion chapter in The World in Six Songs can be found on the website. No direct link was available, but click on the Songs menu option and appropriate page number range link carrying pages 189 to 228. Please note that not all songs are meant as samples of Religion songs. Some are just referenced material in the book text.

Overall, I found this chapter on songs of religion to be very profound and deep, as it should be considering the subject matter. Despite the long post, I have only touched upon the many things Daniel Levitin touched upon for which there is much to think about each.


Author Daniel Levitin chose


My choice for Song of Religion is

Lacrymosa , by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from his incomplete Requiem (funeral music), K. 626, that is magnificent from beginning to end.

It seems the current opinion is that only the first 8 bars were actually written by Mozart, with the rest under instruction for completion. However, listening to it, sounds like the instructions were pretty complete to me.

I have had the pleasure to sing this piece in choir and, well, let’s just say when you hear this piece with all the parts around you, singing one part, that’s when you really “get” the genius of Mozart.

I have also heard this version sung whereby the choir stopped at where it was thought Mozart stopped composing (I believed that version was about 8 bars into the vocal section), and they just stopped dead and walked off. It was so moving, the reminder that Fate doesn’t care for what we do and stops where it wants, that I cried in realizing the finality of it all.


Frederic Chopin’s Funeral March, from his Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, also works well. This version is by Vladimir Horowitz. Masterful!
(the music, not video which is just black which might be appropriate but boring as heck)


Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu from his Requiem is also a favourite of mine. I have also sung this in choir. Sissel Kyrkjebø does a beautiful job here!


I don’t know what to say about all the funeral music selections here. I LOVE classical funeral music for some reason. It gives me such peace and lets me focus incredibly well. I especially like writing anything I need to focus and be concise on to it. Obviously, I don’t blog to it. :-)


What is your choice for Song of Religion?

Please leave your choice as a comment.

Lyrics and YouTube/audio link would greatly enhance your answer so readers can know more about your choice. They are not necessary, though, and not possible if no lyrics or version exist.

You can include songs you wrote as a choice, too!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.7


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