Today is my Birthday

19Jan09

This is going to cost me a few miles. Nonny and Drew helped out with the decorating.

This is going to cost me a few miles. Nonny and Drew helped out with the decorating.

Every night, Lulu and I go to sleep listening to a radio show called John Tesh: Music and Intelligence for Your Life. It is a guilty pleasure: the music is awful and most of the “intelligence” is hopefully stuff you learned a long time ago. But before I get all haughty and superior about Mr. Tesh’s efforts, let me say again, I listen every night.

For my birthday and as a tribute to Mr. Tesh, I hope you’ll indulge me by reading a few of the things I learned over the past year that I found interesting.

In a recent issue of Runner’s World, 63% of respondents to a poll said they would never take a pill to PR. My guess is that means that 37% would.

Before Beijing, I asked Michael Phelps what he thought about as he trained for five hours a day in the pool. His response: “The black line.”

While shattering the world record in the 100 meters, Usain Bolt took 41 steps to cover the distance, his competitors took 44.

In 2004, the pharmaceutical industry spent $60,000 per doctor to promote their drugs. Think about that the next time your physician reaches for her script pad.

As a child Francis Ford Coppolla was stricken with polio and spent over a year in bed. To while the hours away, he created imaginary worlds with puppets, watched huge amounts of television and tinkered with electronics; all of which would later aid him in his film career. Though the circumstances were tragic, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation all owe a debt to that creatively fertile period.

In World War I’s Battle of Verdun, there were 250,000 deaths and 500,000 men wounded. It ended in a stalemate.

Why do so many people hit “The Wall” at mile 20 in a marathon? The body only carries roughly 2,000 calories of stored glycogen, a simple, fast burning sugar. 2,000 calories is what it costs the body to cover 20 miles. After that, if you haven’t replenished your glycogen, you’re burning fatty acid to fuel your pace and this process is grossly inefficient.

I asked Michael Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, what he thought were the differentiators between Michael and the rest of the world. At the top of Bowman’s list was the large volume of aerobic training Michael did in his prepubescent years.

127 million Americans are overweight, 60 million are obese according to the American Obesity Association. The South has the largest percentage of obese people, the mountains of the American West has the smallest.

Michael Moore made a documentary excoriating the deficiencies in US health care, it was called Sicko. By his own estimate, Michael weighs between 300 and 350 pounds. Is it possible there are simple solutions to our health care “crisis”?

In 1900 there were 1.6 billion people living on the planet. In 2009, there are 6.5 billion. Why is this statistic not part of the global warming discussion?

Nastia Liukin lost the gold medal in the uneven bars on a tiebreaker. Her father Valeri, shared a gymnastics gold medal in 1988, before they instituted a tiebreaker.

The average American couple has sex 66 times a year according to the National Opinion Research Poll. Do yourself a favor, crank up this number!

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