Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Live for the moment! Sounds great. Except if I did that, I would not save for retirement, I would not have bought a home instead of renting and breakfast this morning would have consisted of half-dozen donuts from the new Dunkin Donuts store a couple blocks from me. (Or it would have back when my capacity for donut consumption was much greater.)

Instead, for breakfast this morning I washed down vitamin pills with a protein shake then ate tuna (out of the can) with a side of fat free yogurt. And that was after going to the gym, which is another thing that I would never do if I thought only of my immediate comfort rather than my quality of life years from now.

Some weeks I go to the gym every day. And I hate it every one of them. It's hard, it hurts and I spend every minute wishing I could quit. Afterward I'm always glad that I didn't. Nothing else I do the rest of the day will be tougher than what I put myself through at its outset. Most days, anyway.


While at the gym I subjected myself to a particularly torturous device: The television. Two of them hang from the ceiling and face the cardio machines. Both had on the NBC Today show while I warmed up on the elipsis machine. The top story at in 7:30 half-hour was NBC White House correspondent David Gregory's attendance at last night's white tie dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth.

I stated that correctly. The story wasn't the event itself; it was the reporter's presence there. Gregory proudly showed his wife's invitation with autographs from people sitting at her table. He recalled his favorable seating that gave him a good look at the president's interaction with the queen. NBC rolled video of Gregory and his wife entering the event -- twice!

While Gregory did recap the details of the queen's visit, I wondered: How much of an impartial observer could he be when he was a proud participant in the event? This did nothing to dispel the popular impression that the big media are much more closely connected with the powerful elites than they are with their average viewer and are much more enamored with the perks of the job than doing the job.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I'd have made a better reporter if I worked harder to make myself the center of the story or if I aimed more at becoming part of the "it" crowd rather than telling stories about it.


Coming out of the gym this morning I smelled fire. It reminded me of Pennsylvania winters when I could smell the smoke from people's fireplaces. It was an odd juxtaposition: The smell telling me that I should see frost and feel cold; My eyes showing me a sunny Florida morning as I stand perfectly comfortable wearing a tank top and shorts.

I wondered if we were having wildfires. We had some at this time last year that shut down a stretch of I-75 that I drive to work. The smell was not strong and I forgot about it as I jogged home to get ready for work.

I noticed it again when I came downstairs ready to leave. I didn't connect it to what I smelled outside the gym earlier. I thought something in the house was on fire. I unplugged the computer and the audio video system, as if that would solve the problem, then walked outside and saw the smoke. So something is burning, just not my house, I assured myself as I got in my car.

A radio report told me the fire's source: Georgia. Yep. Wildfires hundreds of miles away have sent smoke all the way here. It could stay here for another day. People with breathing problems have been advised to stay inside and the clouds occasionally obscuring the sun are not the normal water vapor kind.

Better than (A) being stuck in a Pennsylvania winter or (B) my townhouse burning down.

Smokescreened Sun

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