Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk Results

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Posted on 19th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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The results from yesterday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk were posted, today.  They broke down the results by just about every category you would want; be it male/female or age group.  As I had written in my race recap, yesterday, They also had given us all a chip to attach to our shoes which allows everyone to get a specific time on their run, rather than just a gun time.  So I was able to see exactly how I stacked up against the rest of the race participants.

Here are The results of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk.  If you click on the male age group of 30-34 you will see my result – in all of it’s baseline glory.  There were 16 participants in my age group and I finished dead last.  My chip time (so the total time it took my chip to cross both the starting line and the finish line) was 40:21 – yikes.  That’s over 40 minutes to travel 3 miles by jogging and walking.  I finished 187th out of 234… Let’s cut this short and just say there’s a lot of room for improvement.  This was pretty much the exact baseline I thought I would see but needed confirmed.  I am way out of shape and need to keep this effort in the forefront of my mind at all times, right now.

Every day I am asking myself, the following questions:

  • Is today one of the minimum 5 days this week where I work out?
  • What will I do for my work out?
  • When will I work out?

… and while that doesn’t sound like much, it’s a big step forward.  That’s the first and last time I ever finish last in anything that I try – period.

Completed The Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk Today!

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Posted on 18th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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This morning I participated in the 2010 Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run/Walk in University Circle.  There were two events: The first was a 5K run/walk for adults and children and the second was a 1K that was geared towards families and young children. There was a pretty decent crowd there – somewhere between 500 and 600 people – and the scene was about as alive as you could expect for an early Sunday morning.  The event seemed to go smoothly and I would guess most had a pretty decent time.

The event was at 8:30 am with check in starting at 7:00 am.  You all know me and how I love mornings.  And this was a Sunday morning!  Needless to say it was difficult to get up and at ‘em but it was especially tough this morning after Taiji spent his night being completely disruptive.  Natalie and I think that he believed that we were leaving on a trip because certain suitcases and bags were visible upstairs and became upset and wanted to spend time with us rather than let us sleep.  Whatever the cause, he kept me up most of the night on a very inopportune spot and I wasn’t too pleased.

The second hurdle became finding an area to park.  I was unfamiliar with where “Wade Oval” is, exactly, so I simply aimed for the lot in University Circle that I was most familiar with that I felt was close.  This lot is opposite the Triangle Apartments, where Natalie and I lived several years ago and that turned out to be a substantial error.  It turned out that my chosen lot was a little under a mile away from Wade Oval and I had to hoof it over there to check in.  Since I borrowed an extra 15 minutes from the sleep gods this morning, I was running merely ‘on time’ rather than early and so I had to hoof it at a decent pace (kind of like a… oh-man-I-better-step-lively-to-make-it-to-class-on-time type of pace).  Once I located the place where the action was and checked in, I found out that there were no lockers or places to store gear like wallets, keys, phones, event registration papers or similar (all things that I had with me) and so decided to hoof it back to the car (now mixing in a little jog with my speed walk pace) while keeping an eye open for better parking situations.  Of course, as I headed back, I walked right past at least two parking areas right where the action was – D’OH!  I made it back to the car, put my stuff away and drove over to the better parking areas.  And, after 1.6 miles (just over half of a 5K distance, I might highlight), I was ready for a 5K!

As I left the car and walked past the main podium, a DJ had upbeat pop music pumping from some large speakers and a classically overzealous aerobics instructor (or similar) was on a microphone warming everyone up.  I declined to participate in this because I was already plenty “warm” after my treks from and back to the car.  Also, it was still only about 8:10 am and the sound of the instructor yelping through the speakers to get people to stretch and perform aerobic exercise was making me want to run back home and jump in bed.  So I simply headed over to where the run was going to start from and I stretched out the legs.

Everyone gathered at the starting area at about 8:25 – a group of what ended up being noted at 234 participants for the 5K (the 1K runners/walkers started later).  I put on the little strap they gave everyone that had a chip in it that would register your specific chips start and finish times and downed a bottle of water.  As I downed the water I was surrounded by a pretty diverse bunch of folks.  All age groups were represented for sure, and there were men, women, children as young probably 7 or 8 years old, black, white, hispanic, women with babies in jogging strollers, little old guys and ladied… literally, all sorts.  The competitor in me picked out a few that thought looked like those I should try to keep up with, a few that I was sure I wanted to finish well ahead of and a few that I thought were likely to be difficult to keep up with.  I didn’t care about the gents and ladies at the front of the pack who were going to finish this thing in 15 minutes or so – trust me.  I knew I couldn’t run all 3 miles and I knew it would take me over 30 minutes to complete the whole thing at best.  I was just trying to mark some of those who I had hoped would be similar.  As it turns out, I overshot those hopes big time.

The moment we took off running I went right in behind those I was trying to keep up with.  By about the quarter mile point I knew there was no way I could keep up with them and there was a gap between us of about 75 yards or so.  I was watching little old ladies leave my butt in the dust.  I then looked behind me to make sure I was still in front of those who I so arrogantly decided I would finish in front of for sure… and was somewhat pleased that they were still behind me.  I picked out a new set of folks to keep up with and kept on going.

Now, to be brutally honest, I can’t remember the last time that I completed a mile run.  On the treadmill downstairs (when I use it, which is embarrassingly rare these past couple of years) I typically do a half mile and then walk up an incline.  So completing a mile was small goal of mine during this event, as well.  About half of the folks that I wanted to keep up with had stopped jogging and the other half continued – a couple of whom started to distance themselves away.  I kept jogging and was really hoping for some kind of marker for 1 mile.  I was sure it was just up the street, but could never see it.  Eventually, a family group near me blurted out through the same heavy breathing I was exhibiting that they were sure they had run 1 mile.  In my pretty fair exhaustion I took that to heart and began walking, as did they.  We continued walking and eventually (somewhere 250 and 300 yards, I’d say) had to turn right, down MLK drive.  As we rounded the corner, sure enough, there was a young lady with a stop watch and a mile marker sign showing us all that we sold ourselves short in our quest to complete 1 mile.

Frustrated that I didn’t even complete the first mile, I started jogging again and trying to catch back up to the crew that distanced themselves from our pack a bit.  This group was three who looked in decent shape but were taking it reasonable and steady.  One of the three was a young lady (maybe right around college aged looking) who was pushing a jogging stroller with a youngster within.  I caught back up to those three and then slowed down to match their pace as best I could.  I hoped to stay right with them, but simply could not.  I jogged about another half mile and again had to stop.  Much to my mental displeasure, I was also passed by several of those I was so arrogant to assume I could easily beat – but there was simply nothing I could do about it.  I clearly misjudged them.  They were still jogging, while I felt like I was about out of gas.  I grabbed a bit of water at the hydration point and kept hoofing it.

While walking, I was passed by a couple of those that were behind me that were in my initial pace target group and they became my new rabbits.  For a bit of time, I jogged when they jogged and walked when they walked.  I would gain on them when I jogged and would lose a bit of ground when we were walking.  Jogging for any length of time was getting tough for me… maybe two tenths of a mile, and then walking again.  Plus, all of a sudden we were in a hilly part of the course.  I didn’t even think there were hills in University Circle except for in Little Italy.  Those hills sapped my energy something fierce for a while.  On the last ascent I grabbed a bit of water at the last station and heard them talking about only about a half mile to go.  I thought to myself, “All right… I’ve been walking long enough.  It’s a half mile: let’s GO!”

The last half mile was 2/3 uphill – the steepest uphill so far – followed by a flat push to the finish.  As I jogged uphill I quickly left those that were left that I was trying to keep pace with and gave them a little shout of encouragement on the way by.  As best I can tell, we all were jogging at one point and every one of us realized just how hard that hill was in a short period of time.  I made a trade with myself … that if I had to walk any of this hill I would run that much faster at the end, even if it meant pain or sickness.  I ended up having to walk up that hill for about 60 yards, so as soon as it flattened out I just took off running.  I don’t think I’ve ever ran that slow in my life, but it was all I had left.

I ended up finishing in 40:33 (I think I remember on the board as I crossed the finish line)… almost 41 minutes – yikes!  On Friday I had a thought that it might take me 45 minutes to finish in some sort of worst case scenario and I almost matched that.  I was not expecting any hills – completely my naivety – and those really took a lot of energy out of me.  I have no idea where I finished in terms of the entire group of folks but a lot of those I wanted to beat or keep up with took me to the cleaners.  I did a good job of leaving everything I had on the course, today, but I just don’t have enough in me right now – I’m so stinking out of shape.  This was exactly the base line that I was after.  I wanted it put right in front of me – this is how ridiculous you are, right now, Ben.  Well, I got it; loud and clear.

Overall, though, I had a good time and I am happy that I did this.  I was pleased to see a good number of people at the event as I think the hospital does a lot of good for Cleveland and in their research.  It was not very expensive and I ended up getting 3 water bottles, a t-shirt, lots of fruit to eat and bottled water to drink, and some info from some organizations around Cleveland.  If I could replay the event I would also like to do so without having a 1.6 mile event before hand due to my poor parking decision.   Asking a few more questions before I registered would have helped me out a lot, there.

I think the official times and results are to be posted in the coming days so I’ll get to see exactly where I finished up.  I’m guessing it won’t be pretty, but… hey… it’s a start!

Registered For Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run This Sunday!

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Posted on 15th July 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Health & Fitness

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Good morning!  So, I’ve decided to do it.  I’ve registered for this Sunday’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight Run in University Circle.  The cost is $16 (including a small registration fee) and it’s being put on by Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital with Aetna as one of the prime sponsors.  I fully intend to take advantage of the fact that it is a run/walk because there’s no way I can run 3.1 miles from start to finish.  I hope to get a great look at just how horribly out of shape I am in and finishing in the middle of the pack would be a victory, I think.

3.1 miles… wow.  Thinking about it, I’m not sure if I have completed 3 miles since my high school football days – honestly.  When I was in college I was in great shape because I was at the rec center every opportunity I got but, even then, I was only running a mile at the beginning of my workout and a mile at the end.  I’m going to need every bit of energy I can muster.  And, actually, my biggest challenge of all might just be getting there.  The event is at 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday, with check in and packet pick up starting at 7:00.  It’s about a 35 minute drive up there and I have no idea where to park.  So I’ll likely be leaving at around 6:30 am … on a Sunday.  Those hours just don’t exist for me so I hope I can pull it off (the event AND getting up in the morning… or maybe those should be the other way around).

Since I’ve signed up for this, I’ve decided that I want to take note of working out before hand.  I don’t think I want to work out on Saturday at all and I probably will end up counting Sunday’s activities towards this week’s goal of 5 days.  So I will probably manufacture two days off.  Right now I’m thinking of taking today off, then working out tomorrow and taking Saturday off.  We’ll see how Natalie feels… she could encourage me one way or another.  For instance I could go real hard working out, today, and then take Friday and Saturday off to recharge – I’m flexible, here.

Big Chill Tickets Arrive!

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Posted on 24th June 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | University of Michigan Sports

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Our tickets came in the mail, today, for The Big Chill – a CCHA hockey game between the hockey teams of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University being held outdoors, in Michigan Stadium, in December of this year. 103,000 tickets have been sold for this game, so far, easily setting it up to be the biggest hockey game crowd in history.

Our seats are the same new club seats that we will be using for the football season and are located in section 302, on the south/southeast side of the stadium. Interestingly, we received these before we received our football tickets, even though the hockey game isn’t until weeks after the last home football game. Now, I can’t wait for the game to get here. It’s going to be quite the event.

Go Blue!

Public Library Card Obtained

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Posted on 9th June 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies

I went ahead and applied for a Cuyahoga County Public Library card, today.  It’s been years since I’ve had a library card and used a public library.  If I recall correctly, I would have to say that the last time I used a public library was somewhere around 1994 and I couldn’t even tell you what I used it for – probably research for a paper in high school or something.  Of course, in college, using the UGLI at the University of Michigan was common.  But that was a massive library and a full online catalog and, let’s face it, I simply had to use it.  This time around, I’m looking to investigate the catalog to see if I can at least preview some books before buying them or read some books without having to buy them.  So I went online, filled out the application and my new library membership card is on its way to me.

My primary goal, here, is to get my hands on a number of books that I really don’t want to buy, but do want to read.  Mostly, these would be reference books about business, investing, do-it-yourself books and fix-it manuals, and others might include cooking, travel and some IT books that are expensive and out of date as soon as they are published.  This came about after seeing some books that I thought I wanted to buy but which ended up being examples of situations where you are looking at one book that is part of a series.  So I’m standing there thinking that I surely don’t want to buy all of the books… can they really all be worth the money?  Why do I want to buy 4 books so I can get the value I am looking for out of the one?

So we’ll see what happens.  I’ve been browsing the online catalog for the library and it seems they do have a large percentage of these books that I am looking for at branches that are all pretty quick access to where we live.  I have a card number and my cards will arrive in the mail, shortly.  Might as well start getting some value out of those tax dollars we’ve spent funding the thing with, eh?  The experience is set to begin, soon.

SEC Staffers Caught Watching Porn While System Crashed

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Posted on 23rd April 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | In The News | Politics - U.S. National

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By: AP

Via: @

Senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were being paid to police the financial system, an agency watchdog says.

The SEC’s inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees looking at explicit images in the past five years, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The memo says 31 of those probes occurred in the 2 1/2 years since the financial system teetered and nearly crashed.

The staffers’ behavior violated government-wide ethics rules, it says.

It was written by SEC Inspector General David Kotz in response to a request from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The memo was first reported Thursday evening by ABC News. It summarizes past inspector general probes and reports some shocking findings:

  • A senior attorney at the SEC’s Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office. He agreed to resign, an earlier watchdog report said.
  • An accountant was blocked more than 16,000 times in a month from visiting websites classified as “Sex” or “Pornography.” Yet he still managed to amass a collection of “very graphic” material on his hard drive by using Google images to bypass the SEC’s internal filter, according to an earlier report from the inspector general. The accountant refused to testify in his defense, and received a 14-day suspension.
  • Seventeen of the employees were “at a senior level,” earning salaries of up to $222,418.
  • The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.

Read the rest of “SEC Staffers Watched Porn as System Crashed” @

Canceled Home Phone Land Line Service Today

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Posted on 18th March 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies

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We canceled our home phone service today due to extreme lack of use, overly-present charitable gift solicitation and AT&T’s apparent lack of interest in preventing third-party and unauthorized services from being added to our account by individuals other than account owners.  We use our cell phones for everything and our home phone was a nice 5.8GHz cordless unit we’ve had for a while but which wouldn’t work in the case where the power went out anyway.  We also have cable for high-speed internet and don’t have a fax machine outside of scanning and emailing documents.  Consequently, there was simply no value to be gained from paying the $26 or so a month for a home phone line and thus we have it no more.

It’s not unreasonable to say that nearly the only people who ever call us on our home phone are solicitors looking for donations.  We’ve been on the do not call list since we had the phone number at our house but had unwittingly given it to a charity group when making a donation a few years ago.  That was a huge mistake that I will not be repeating that again.  Eventually, our phone number had been passed around to what seemed like a hundred different organizations and all of them were just looking for money for their group.  Perhaps the most annoying of these is “MPI” a professional solicitation group that feels like nothing more than a call center full of people trying to collect donations for somewhat reasonable groups like the Fraternal Order of Police, but also odd-sounding groups such as retired fire chiefs… and then worthless organizations like monkeys who have lost their bananas, Slinkys who have lost their tension and ice cream eating veterans of America with brain freeze, amongst seemingly and endless list of others.  The moment we gave to one (FOP) we were being hounded by all the rest (though obviously I’m kidding about the Slinkys).

Now telling a solicitor “no” is nothing new and, while it might be a little annoying, isn’t a reason in and of itself to cancel a phone line.  No, the bigger problem that I had with the phone line was the yearly phone slamming (cramming and other terms have been used, too) that was happening on our line where third party services were being added to our account without our authorization.  There’s a huge marketing “industry” out there of fraudulent businesses and agents that, using nothing more than your name, address and a junk email address, sign phone numbers up by submitting them to billing websites.  The hope is that you will either not check your bill and so pay for the service or that they can sell you on keeping the service when you call to cancel it blindly.  AT&T knows this (all phone companies or even telco installers know this) and yet will not let you prevent this from happening by adding any feature to your account.  So every year we would get one bill that came across at about double what our regular rate was ($26 for basic service looks obvious when you are billed for $45+ after the junk service has been added) and all for a phone we didn’t use.  Plus I can’t tell you how annoying it is to call crap services like those and have to cancel your account, demand your money back (most of the time you will have to pursue that end vigorously) clear your name and data from their system (which you can really never confirm by reasonable means) … it’s quite an unwanted hassle.

I have no idea why we waited so long to cancel our home phone service – that’s about $300 a year for at least 2 years (if not 3) that we could have kept in our pockets.   And I can’t even count the number of cranky solicitors we had to talk to during that time.  And I haven’t even mentioned the issue about our phone number being just one digit off from a local pizza delivery place – oh yeah, big fun there.

So if you’re looking to call me or Natalie use the cell phones.  And if you’re looking for a donation to your esteemed retired chess players with arthritis united foundation you can seek funding elsewhere.

Playing Fantasy Baseball This Season

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Posted on 14th March 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies

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I’ve decided to play fantasy baseball this season – it will be the first time I have played any fantasy sports games in a number of years after getting bored with them during the initial explosion of online fantasy sports sites.  A friend of mine, Greg Nicolai, announced on Facebook that he was looking to start a league and for those interested to contact him.  It sounded good and so decided to give it a go, again.

When I first started playing fantasy football and fantasy baseball I was consistently winning my leagues and the sites were in their early stages of development – very basic and the games actually required a lot of web browsing and time to research players, etc.  The time I was putting in was a lot, the reward was essentially zero and the challenge was minimal.  I think it was a combination of the early websites lacking features and time saving elements and a lot of players who weren’t yet very strong at fantasy sports, yet.  So I’m hoping this venture poses a nice challenge and that it’s fun to interact with at least a couple people who I might actually know.

The league is a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league, a site I have not used before so I don’t know what to expect – and I like that.  I need a little of not knowing what to expect in my life, these days… I think.  Greg has entitled the league “The Show”, so I guess I have to say that I hope to one day make the show!  The draft is coming up quick, so I’ll have to let you know how I do.


Sony Playstation Network Problems Frustrate Gamers

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Posted on 1st March 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies


Playstation Network Problems
Playstation Network Living In Shades Of Gray, Today.

Sony Playstation Network users came upon an interesting problem, today, as it appears that the Playstation 3 consoles built prior to the “thin” revision all believed that 2010 was a leap year.  Woops.  The Playstation Network blog updated users about the situation earlier, today.  For everyone freaking out (addicts), Sony says that the problem should be corrected within 24 hours.

What else will be changed within 24 hours?  Oh yeah, the PS3 systems will no longer be looking for a date that doesn’t exist anymore.  Wow what a great bug fix – just let it run its course!

Update:  Sony Playstation Network blog says the network service has been restored – now that everyone’s PS3 says it is March FIRST – still a day behind.  But hey, Sony says users can adjust the clock setting manually.  Wow, ain’t that special!  All it took was a post from the Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media to get that solid message across.

In essence they are saying, ‘We know that a problem exists… it will fix itself after it doesn’t get fixed at all but the clock is no longer looking for a date that doesn’t exist.  Now get lost and if you really must have the clock set to the right date and time you can do it yourself. If we feel like doing a firmware update later maybe we’ll let you know about that.’

Golf Today – Heritage Palms Royal Course – Shot … Unknown

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Posted on 16th February 2010 by Ben Krasner in Day to Day Goodies | Golfing

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I’ve grown fond of our short February trips to Fort Myers in part because (a) we force nicer weather upon ourselves and (b) we get to play a little golf in February – something that wouldn’t happen in Cleveland, Ohio, regardless of any possible miraculous weather system moving in on the shores of Lake Erie because all the golf courses are closed until the spring.  There’s a lot more to the trips down south but those two reasons are easy and relevant ones to point to, here.  However, today’s golf outing would test the limits of those statements in every way.  (Signal whiny Floridian to come to the microphone!)

Golfing at a pre-scheduled afternoon tee time of 4:00 PM, the concern weeks in advance was whether or not it would be too hot to play comfortably and what clothes to bring.  Today, after a week where the weather struggled to stay in the ‘mild’ ranges, our concern took a 180 and was more pointed towards what to wear golfing that would keep us warm enough.  The sun was out and it was making for a pretty day – warm in the sun, cool in the shade.  Then the cold front came… bringing with it steady 20-25 mph winds, clouds and a significant drop in temperature.

We wanted to hit some balls at the driving range to see what would happen with the wind.  With it blowing right at our faces we quickly found out that it wasn’t about hitting anything long or well but more about hitting it square and straight into the teeth of the wind.  I did okay on the driving range.  As it turned out, that’s pretty much where I should have stopped.

I lost two balls … in the pond just in front of and to the left of the first tee box.  For some reason I changed my swing to something more of a punch stroke to get the ball low and straight into the wind.  That turned out to be a disaster and it was to get no better from there.  I carded a 10 on the first hole, followed by a bogey 6 on a par 5 that would prove to be the highlight of the day.  After a disastrous 7 on a par 3 at number 3, which included another lost ball, it was clear that the wind had taken its toll on my mentally as I just wasn’t swinging the club right at all.  If we needed any more proof the 9 on the par 4 at number 4 sealed the deal.  From then on, scoring was optional and I was reduced to just finding any reason to keep swinging the club.  By this point, the sun was blocked by the clouds and the temp had dropped to a level where we started trying to figure out what the wind chill would be because we were all so cold.

We know Natalie finished with a 50 – that’s the only score we completed for the round.  I know I had 50 – but I didn’t have a score for a par 5 and a par 4 along the way.  So I’m sure I would have ended up with at least 64 and that would have equaled the worst round I’ve ever turned in.  I lost 9 balls in total, today, and I hit a house – the ROOF of a house – while blading a shot with a PITCHING WEDGE… that’s nothing short of ridiculous. And I didn’t even get to light up the cigar.

If it weren’t for the fact that there are palm trees on the courses at Heritage Palms, I would have sworn we were playing golf in October back home in Cleveland.  It was cold enough at the end to lose feeling in your hands and feet.  Our noses were running, eyes tearing up from the wind, hands/wrists were stinging at any mis-hit… it was pretty bad.

But HEY!  We were golfing in February in Florida!  Right?  Good times.