Tag Archives: WGOM featured

On doing things, not great but better than not at all

So, in the interest of living life I've decided to do things. My last fitness? post centered around the new class of drugs and the results I've seen. I was kinda shocked with the response from the community. Many thanks to all of y'all for gentleness and grace which brings me around to the second edition of On Doing Good, Not Great.

A good friend lives in Vegas and last spring we went out for 5 days to get lost in the desert, gamble, see some art, and catch up with old friends. We had a great time doing some of the more tourist stuff you can do in a tourist city. At one point I asked my man how he found living in Vegas.  He just chuckled and said, "I love it, there is always something happening in town that I'm not going to go to". I hadn't summed up living in Nawlins* quite like that but it hit home. We got back form Vegas and we decided to do some more things that were out of our comfort range.

I decided that I don't want to work for the current set of clowns I work for and signed up for the first of 4 semesters of Chemistry. Whoa Nelly. I'm taking names and calculating moles but it's not without great effort. Thermodynamics isn't really my friend but we're on speaking terms. (in truth, math is my main hurdle - I can hack the algebra but any calculus results in much swearing) I'm currently sitting on a 99% for lecture and a 96.75% for lab (GD post lab questions due at midnight when lab ends at 10 pm .... I'm a tired old man....GOML) I'm pleasantly surprised with. my ability to learn new things again - funny sometime I stopped applying myself and .... welp .... here I am.

I went to 2 concerts in 2 weeks - nutty for me now, but I once went to at least a show a month. In my youth I went every weekend to see a punk band lay waste to my future hearing. (BTW, Kurt Vile is in pretty great form right now....)

Today I went way outside my comfort zone and joined an Aikido Dojo and got my ass handed to me. I'm not sure how long I'll practice but the initial course is 6 weeks. I'm going to see it out even though I'm pretty sore (in a great way, minus the hard roll I took on my left knee). Dr. Chop asked me to describe my first experience with Aikido and I think full contact yoga sums it up nicely.

For a long stretch, not helped by the pandemic but definitely there before covid, I felt like life was happening at me. Taking the drug has reduced my mass by nearly 21%. No joking, that's EEEFFFFFFing bananas (though, to be fair to me, I still don't see it...). I would never have thought of practicing a martial art before the jab.

I have no idea where any of this goes. Maybe I get through the chemistry and I lack the will or desire to go further. Maybe I won't be able to walk tomorrow because I'm old and frail. But I do know that I've reconnected to doing things and that feels pretty great.

Anywho, I hope y'all are finding joy in these uncertain times.


*no one says this

Road Bling #1 – What Am I?

From biking in the area, and the Running-All-Hartford-Streets project I began on Jan 29th, I've collected numerous items I call "road bling" - shiny metal objects that I use to make race-medals for various events with friends.   Several of these are of unknown function.  This series is to let you engage in investigative forensics on these road/street enigmas.

What Am I? 

Bo’s Running Hartford

One of my friends recently completed running all of the streets of West Hartford - took her from Jan-Nov last year.  She used a map+spreadsheet to track her work and plotted it out on a map of the city.  Cool project.

Yesterday, during my run, I decided to run all of the streets of H’istan.  So I found a good street map of the city, went to FedEx, and had them print it out poster size: https://themdc.org/app/uploads/2022/09/HartfordStreetMap2022.pdf

This morning, I began my challenge in SoWendHa (South West-End Hartford), and did 3.2 miles covering 5 complete streets and parts of 8 others.  This neighborhood is predominantly Puerto Rican, Portuguese, and Brazilian.  My finds included some historical curiosities, awesome road bling, and a Portuguese bakery with almond-crusted croissants.

In thinking about the overall task, I’m looking for completeness (every street, entire street) as well as efficiency (not covering the same stretch more than necessary), but I need to take into account that I can only do 3-5 miles each time out.

If the city streets were perfect squares, and tiled the plane perfectly, I could take inspiration from something like the Dragon Curve (which doesn’t cross it’s own path).  Four of these, each rotated 90 degrees, completely tiles the plane. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_curve

But a city is not a perfect plane - has dead ends, boulevards, greens, cul-de-sacs, islands, curves, roundabouts, etc.  And I need to return to my car after each segment.

When I go to a museum, in order to see each piece of art, I follow a simple pattern of go to the left, until a room is completed, then take the next left turn, etc.  This gives me completeness, but would not take into account segment lengths.

Any thot’s on how to approach this?

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I have some free time on my hands this week so I've been going over the events of the last nine day that led me to where I am today - still alive and getting well again. This recounting includes reviewing lab data, imaging, and notes in MyChart, recalling doctors post-operative conversations and doing some digging on WebMD and Mayo and Cleveland Clinic websites. It's been something of a revelation for me.

Last Tuesday began like any other workday lately. I got up, had breakfast, showered and dressed, then headed down to my office to work. Because my wife is on mandatory overtime through the end of the year her in-office requirements are waived so she was also working from home that day, which would not have been typical as she tended to work Monday through Wednesday in the office and Thursday and Friday at home. Sometime around mid-morning I started to feel some abdominal cramping. Nothing major right away and I brushed it off as gas pains, but they didn't relent, and in fact just got worse. Eventually I found myself in the bathroom trying to get something, anything to pass through my colon but no dice. My wife offered to take me to the ER but I declined, still thinking whatever it was would pass. But no, it just got steadily worse and worse, I vomited a few times, and within an hour of so I was thrashing around in bed, moaning and sobbing through the pain. Luckily, my wife is smarter and less obstinate than I am about these things and she called an ambulance.

I don't remember much about the ambulance ride, didn't notice if they used a siren or not. I remember being cold, very very cold, and the road being nothing but washboards. Last Tuesday was a very busy day in the ER, so busy there were no beds available when I arrived. They put me in a reclining chair in a hallway with no triage or evaluation that I can recall, but to be fair I was only lucid some of the time and out of it the rest. I'm not normally one to cause a scene, but I absolutely caused a big one in that hallway, my speech and behavior were so extreme that the ER nurses were asking my wife what drugs I was on. She was having none of that, though, and told them point blank they were barking up the wrong tree and had better get me some medial attention because it wasn't going to get better without it.

It turns out the condition I experienced, mesenteric ischemia with intestinal infarction, is relatively rare and can be quite deadly. Only about 200,000 people in the US go through it every year. If not treated within 6-12 hours of onset the mortality rate is about 70-90%. Folks like me with a coronary artery disease comorbidity have an elevated level of risk.

When I eventually got into an ER bed and had an initial evaluation, they told me flat out my vitals were horrible and my labs were worse. At some point a nurse did validate what I was going through, telling my wife the doctor said it's one of the most painful things a person can experience. Eventually the doctor came in and said I needed immediate surgery and without it I would die. I deferred to his authority and concurred with his diagnosis. My blood pressure was up to 255/140 with a pulse of 40. My body temperature was around 92 degrees, but I was sweating so hard the thermometer stickers they put on my forehead kept falling off so they had a hard time getting a good reading on that, even with an oral thermometer. I was septic and going downhill like a runaway bobsled.

Once the medical team decided on a course of action things moved pretty fast. They needed imaging so at that point they finally decided to start treating the pain. It took every last measure of will power and strength I had in me at the time to hold still enough for the nurse to get some Dilaudid into my IV. That took the edge off enough for me to get some level of control over myself again and off we went for a CT scan.

Generally speaking, vascular issues like clots and vessel blockages are primary causes of this condition. My CT scan showed some stenosis in the main vessels feeding the bowel, but the consulting vascular surgeon decided that did not appear to be the cause of the ischemia, which is actually a very good thing in terms of long-term prognosis. Instead, the whole thing started 14 years ago when I ignored, then endured similar abdominal distress until my appendix ruptured. It took a long time, but eventually scar tissue from that surgery completely encircled the bowel, cutting off the blood flow. Then just for good measure, the small intestine collapsed at that spot and two parallel sections twisted around each other creating a complete intestinal blockage. Picture a ring bologna hanging in a deli window and that was my gut.

Pre-op was kind of blur, and all I wanted was the pending anesthesia that had become the only light I could see at the end of my tunnel. As they rolled me off to surgery, I wondered if I would make it out of the woods, but somehow the fear of continued pain pretty much wiped out the fear of death. I was ready for it to end one way or another. I'm neither proud nor ashamed to admit that now, it just was what it was at the time.

I am not a religious man, though as a natural born seeker I've studied religions my whole adult life. Religions are manmade institutions and while I respect any faith that passes the muster of being based on altruism and empathy and compassion, rigid dogma and doctrine are not for me. I have a personal relationship with my personal conception of what I consider a universal deity, and that's enough for me.

We call this time of year the season of miracles. You simply can't deny that otherwise unexplainable things happen from time to time, and when the outcomes are especially good we call them miracles. I've always been reluctant to attribute them to divine intervention. Today I find that reluctance at an all-time low. I do believe in miracles, and I believe that forces beyond my comprehension can intercede on my behalf. I believe it because this is not the first time I have been in dire situations that against the odds turned out as well as I could have hoped. I believe in miraculous intervention now because I choose to believe it, and because it's a much more interesting and exciting possibility than random chance or coincidence have to offer.

Happy holidays, my friends. I wish you all the depth of gratitude for life that I feel today, and an abiding faith in love and humanity and our capacity for kindness and generosity. Cling to the ones you love like your life depends on it, because indeed it often does. Peace be with you.

The World’s Greatest Online Magazine Presents The Half-Baked Podcast: 17. You Win Some, You Lose Seven In A Row Some

The Wild did win on Tuesday, so that kind of ruins the title, but that's okay.

It's been awhile, friends, but we're back (at least for the next quarter to half year). DG, DK, and hj kept our focus on the Wild, the changes behind the bench, and the issues with those on the bench. We start with the beginning of the season, the miserable start, and the circumstances leading to the removal of Dean Evanson (which is still very hard for hj not to pronounce as "Evanston"). Next, we take a look at his replacement and feel wanting. Then we go further up the ladder and try to decide if we grudgingly respect Bill Guerin or just respectfully grudgen him. We even close with a little bit of light through the clouds. Please mash that subscribe button and enjoy.

On being better, not great

I've struggled with weight my entire life. When folks were bing nice they called me husky, when not being nice they called me lots of other things. Later in life I became big man. (Seriously, everyone who wants my attention on the street calls me big man (an aside, there is this bellman who works at a hotel between two of my museum's buildings. I see him all the time. A couple years ago his house burned down. Tragic. Right before thanksgiving. I passed him some cash as I've been there and it's a terrible place to be. We chatted about the kind of crushing loss that comes from losing all your shit and how you're glad to be alive but all your time is consumed with figuring out how to get the basics of life covered. Anyway, months later he asks if I know any furniture restorers - I do. I give him the names of a couple guys. A couple months later he calls the museum and is transferred to my desk because he's forgotten the names I gave him. He say, hey, do you work the a heavy set fella? I say, that would be me. He says oh, not heavy set, healthy guy. big man...................))

I've counted carbs, watched weight, drank less, ate only white foods, had a can of green beans a day, didn't orange Julius but might have if I was a bit older, and lost hope along the way. I've exercised, biked to work, strength trained and beat myself on the cardio machines. I work a pretty active job, but now that I'm management I spend a lot more time at my desk.

Enter a bad trip to the doctor. I generally do not shy away from knowledge, though being diagnosed as diabetic kinda crushed me. Moral failure. (I know, I know, not really but that's the thought process). Enter a deepening depression already deep enough with the state of the world. I fired my PCP for a variety of reasons but high up on the list was the way they delivered the news - phone call and an email telling me to pick up a prescription. No follow up. No information. No referral. Just take these pills for the rest of your life, you're fine.

New PCP is a great doctor. Very communicative and very interested in long term enjoyment of life. Says, hey, let's work on some of this. Try to lose some weight. Take it seriously. I do and I did. Problem is that that I just don't lose the weight. Doc says my A1c is climbing a bit despite my efforts at diet and exercise. Says, look, there are these new classes of drugs on the market. Lots of concern tho, no long term understanding regarding  life time drugs or if lifestyle change means you can taper off them in a year and maintain health gains. We weighed the risks and rewards and I chose to jab myself every week (though I've already been injecting shit to kill the hives* so what's another couple jabs a month)

The crazy part is that almost instantly everything changed. I guess I had no idea how much time I spent dealing with or thinking about food. I love to cook. Cooking is an expression of both love and creativity. That isn't what I'm talking about when I say that I didn't know how much of my life was dominated by food thought. Almost impossible to describe.

The weight fell off of me at first. My best friend in NOLA left in June. We kinda had a nawlins** bender before he left which I'm sure didn't help my overall health picture. I started the course of drugs in July and when I saw my man at the MN state fair on Labor Day I was down ~20 pounds. He was shocked. I was shocked. I am shocked.

In the 4.5 months since I started taking a drug designed to control blood sugar (and taken by lots of folks who want to lose the extra 20 pounds) I've lost a considerable amount of weight, but I've also changed almost every aspect of my life. I still drink too much, if I'm honest, but I've been far more active, I eat considerably more healthy than I did prior, and my a1c is low enough to be considered elevated but not diabetic - though I'll carry that diagnosis for the rest of my life.

Lots of stuff to unpack. I have many mixed feelings about the drug. On one hand it's effing amazing in the ability to control sugar and food noise, on the other have I failed so hard I need to be on a drug to bring me back from the edge????!? (also, I don't engage with fast food or 'ultra' processed foods that often, but I am certain that the food scientists addicted millions to their products and now Lilly is here to provide a cure in the form of another addiction) I get that some folks see these drugs as cheating. I didn't engage with this for vanity. The visible change, tho, is what drives people to ask what/how/are you? and say things like you look great (thanks, but that implies I also looked like shit previously...) All to say that when you're big man people have opinions and do not hesitate to share them.

I'm continuing to shrink a bit. I've been lifting again to maintain muscle. Thinking about going to a strength trainer. My life is largely the same but very different. Colleagues and strangers all treat me differently now that I'm not big man anymore. Strange to wander around as a different human in the same skin.

*thanks covid

**no one says this


The Minnesota Twins have now completed 63 years of baseball and it is year 12 of putting my pet project on the WGOM site. For the first time since I started this list in 2005, I can actually give significant bonus points for postseason heroics as the Twins went 3-3 in playoff games (and 1-1 in series) ending their 19 year streak of 18 consecutive playoff game losses.

2023 was a fun season for the local fans as the Twins won the AL Central, dispatched of the Blue Jays in the Wild Card Round before falling to the Astros in the ALDS. There was quite a bit of movement within the top 300 list as well as 9 newcomers adding to the list. This year's newcomers are Pablo Lopez, Bailey Ober, Ed Julien, Willi Castro, Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Donovan Solano, Matt Wallner, and Michael Taylor.

In the top 100 Twins, there was some movement amongst the returning Twins. The top current Twin is still Jorge Polanco who moved up 6 spots to the 30th spot. Behind him at 38 is Byron Buxton, up 1 spot from a year ago. Max Kepler jumped 20 spots to #40 and Carlos Correa moved up 32 spots to 87.

In, the 101-200 range, Sonny Gray moved up 154 spots to land at #101. Ryan Jeffers moved up 96 spots to #155. Kenta Maeda returned from a lost injury year to move up 22 spots to #165. Joe Ryan moved up 31 spots to 169. Jhoan Duran moved up 113 spots to 177 and fellow bullpen partner Caleb Thielbar moved up 13 spots to 189. Newcomers Pablo Lopez and Baily Ober skipped the 200s and jumped in respectively at 124 and 170.

In the 201-300 range, Nick Gordon and Jose Miranda experienced set backs and dropped 10 spots (to #217) and 8 spots (to #233) respectively. Trevor Larnach moved up 20 spots to end at #276. They're joined by newcomers Ed Julien (226), Willi Castro (245), Royce Lewis (258), Alex Kiriloff (265), Donovan Solano (274), Matt Wallner (292), and Michael Taylor (294).

Falling out of the top300 this year are Ray Moore, Joe Crede, Jim Lemon, Johnny Briggs, Brian Buscher, Rick Lysander, Gary Serum, Bobby Mitchell, and Mike Morgan.

I stole the idea from when Aaron Gleeman started his top40 list almost 20 years ago, but just decided to expand to a nice big round 300. The below quote is his, and the rest is an excerpt from a book I put together at the 50 year mark. I’ve updated the list and stats through 2023.

“The rankings only include time spent playing for the Minnesota Twins. In other words, David Ortiz doesn’t get credit for turning into one of the best players in baseball after joining the Red Sox and Paul Molitor doesn’t get credit for being one of the best players in baseball for the Brewers and Blue Jays. The Twins began playing on April 11, 1961, and that’s when these rankings start as well.”

I used a variety of factors, including longevity and peak value. Longevity included how many years the player was a Twin as well as how many plate appearances or innings pitched that player had in those years. For peak value, I looked at their stats, honors, and awards in their best seasons, as well as how they compared to their teammates. Did they lead their team in OPS or home runs or ERA for starters or WPA? If so, that got some bonus points. I factored in postseason heroics, awards (gold gloves, silver sluggers, MVPs, Cy Youngs), statistical achievements (batting titles, home run leaders, ERA champs, etc), and honors (all star appearances), and I looked at team success as well. If you were the #1 starter on a division winning champ, that gave you more points than the #1 starter on a cellar dweller. I looked at some of the advanced stats like WPA, WAR (as calculated by fan graphs and baseball-reference.com), WARP (as calculated by Baseball Prospectus), and Win Shares (as calculated by Bill James). For hitters, I also looked at OPS and the old school triple crown statistics like batting average, home runs, stolen bases, and RBI (and not only where you finished within the AL in any given year, but where you appear on the top25 lists amongst all Twins in the last 63 years). For pitchers I looked at strikeouts, innings pitched, win/loss percentage, ERA as well as ERA+). If there was a metric that was used for all 63 years of Twins history, I tried to incorporate it. I tended to give more credit to guys who were starters instead of part time/platoon players, more credit to position players over pitchers (just slightly, but probably unfairly) and starters over relievers (and closers over middle relievers). There’s no formula to my magic, just looking at a lot of factors and in the end going with the gut in all tie-breakers. Up in the top25 I’m looking at All star appearances, Cy Young and MVP votes, batting average or ERA titles or top10 finishes, etc, and placement in the top25 hitting and pitching lists in Twins history as well. In the middle 100s, it’s more about who started a few more years or had 2 good seasons rather than 1 with possibly an occasional all-star berth or top10 finish in SB or strikeouts. Once you’re in the latter half of the 200s there are none of those on anyone’s resume, so its basically just looking at peak season in OPS+ or ERA+, WAR, Win Shares, and who started the most years, had the most at bats, or pitched the most innings. What the player did as a coach, manager, or broadcaster is not taken into consideration for this list, so Billy Martin, Tom Kelly or Billy Gardner weren’t able to make the top 300 since they were poor players and Frank Quilici and Paul Molitor didn’t improve his status due to his managing career.

Feel free to pick it apart and decide in your opinion, who was slighted, and who's overrated. Columns are sort-able if you want to see how each player ranks by any of the metrics or "years as a starter" or their last year with the team to see the more recent players.