Things I Like Thursday

Today is Thursday, and Thursdays are for swimming. I always do the exact same swimming workout whenever I hit the pool (500 yards of kick and pull drills, then I swim a mile with about 700 yards of hard swimming sprinkled in fartlek-style) but it always manages to wear me out and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Because I started off my day with something I really enjoy, I thought I’d share two other things that have been liking lately:

1) Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash has a new memoir and a new album so she’s been making the rounds of the public radio programs I listen to. She always comes off as incredibly charming and down-to-earth in interviews. I downloaded a preview of her memoir to my kindle, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet (I’m still devouring Oryx and Crake). What I HAVE gotten around to doing is listening to her new album, “The River and the Thread,” every single day. It is SO GOOD. Every single song is incredibly catchy and poignant. I put a link up to “Modern Blue,” which is my favorite for this current moment, but the whole album is great.

2) Russian Oligarchs.

OK. Bear with me for a second. I did not conk my head on the bottom of the pool during an ill-advised flip turn. This is about the winter olympics. Let’s put aside for one moment the rampant corruption, blatant propagandizing, and general aura of sleaziness hovering around the winter games. It’s the olympics in Russia for crying out loud: corruption is what we signed up for. The overt homophobia coming from the Putin administration is alarming, upsetting, and warrants its own discussion. This is not a post about what I DON’T like. This is a positive post, and I am positive that I have learned something very strange and wonderful about the sentiments of the soviet super-rich.

First up: The oligarch Mikhail D. Prokhorov is funding the Russian Olympic Biathlon Team:
I love this. Biathlon might be my favorite Olympic sport (cross-country skiing and shooting? SO COOL). I think the athleticism required to skate-ski 10K then get your heart rate low enough to accurately sharp-shoot is more impressive than ANY football game. The russian biathlon team was in trouble, until Mikhail swopped in to save the day with a big old pile of rubles! Now they get flown to meets in private jets! It’s strange and wonderful….and because it’s Russia it is probably rampantly corrupt. For now I’m going to ignore that and fill my brain with positive images of Biathletes sipping Bollinger 

Example number two why Russian Oligarchs are secretly awesome: Oleg V. Deripaska is funding a dog shelter to rescue the stray dogs in Sochi:

Apparently Sochi had a HUGE stray problem that was made MUCH worse during the hectic and rushed lead-in to the games. The government responded to the strays with a mass extermination campaign. Efforts to prevent the gruesome slaughter were ignored, and undercut by a lack of resources. Enter the Oligarch! He has financed an organization called Volnoe Delo (“Good Will”) to build a temporary shelter, provide much needed care, and attempt to find homes for these animals. I’m so glad that something is being done to stop the cruel and alarming mistreatment!

Now I fully admit that I know nothing more about these oligarchs than the content of those articles. I have no idea how they actually MADE their money, and something tells they didn’t get rich by holding bake sales. I have no idea how the people who work for them are paid, or if their companies are environmentally or socially responsible. However, even with those GIANT caveats, there’s still something heartwarming about russian billionaires stepping in to help out biathletes and puppies. 

I hope everyone had a FANTASTIC thursday! Go give Rosanne Cash’s album a listen, you won’t regret it. Oh and leave a comment about things that YOU are liking lately. I want to hear about other cool stuff!

Disclaimer: All of the opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone. I was not compensated by Rosanne Cash or Russian Oligarchs to say nice things about them. If Rosanne Cash or a Russian Oligarch is reading this blog all I can say is: Hi! I am so flattered, I admire your work! Please consider donating to my fundraiser for the Seattle Humane Society!

6 thoughts on “Things I Like Thursday

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  1. Morning swims are the BEST. Thanks for the inspiration to jump back into my swim routine. And, no mention of the Olympics should be made without a nod to the horrific and barbaric Sochi dog extermination problem. I know this is a country that survived such things as Peter the Great killing his own son, the siege of Leningrad during WWII, the forced famine of the Ukraine…..just by way of example. But geez…..Here's to Volnoe Delo.


  2. Russia is such a paradox to me. I guess any country is much greater than the sum of its parts, but I alternate between being completely inspired and completely infuriated with the trickle of news that comes out of the Kremlin.

    Morning swims are SO great- did you find that you got to know people, if not by name, but by swim cap and lane preferences? I always share my favorite lane with a nice woman who does the australian crawl, and an older gentleman who does a million different form drills. Have you been on the bike much this winter? How's Henry doing?


  3. Hey Sam – I am indeed starting to recognize people by their caps and strokes. I continue to be inspired by some older folks who just shred the water. I have also found that breath control drills have really taken my general fitness to a way other level. Who knew that holding your breath underwater was really good for you?! I would like to find more people to swim with for motivation and inspiration, but it really is sort of a solitary sport in ways. Well, Paul tends to chat at me a lot. Amusing, but not optimal for a work out.

    Henry is doing really well — although for us it has been a HUGE struggle. His problems are pretty simple, but getting a farrier to correct them has been a challenge for the last year. His hoofs are simply too long. Long story here — but I think we are on a good path now. Major lesson for me here in fighting with my farriers to do what my vet says. I have learned how to be assertive, dammit. Thanks for asking about the little guy!

    Russia truly is a land of contradictions. I have always been fascinated by their history. Fantastically brutal, and somehow they keep plugging along.

    As for the bike — YES I have had some amazing rides this winter. I was lucky enough to get a custom frame this year, and it has been a total game changer. It is so much more comfy, and so completely responsive. Way, way cool.


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