Monday, December 31, 2018

Blog in Review: Top 15 Posts of 2018

The 80/20 Rule is a basic business guideline.  It says that any business will get 80% of its revenue from just 20% of its offerings or services.  For example, we should expect McDonald’s to earn 80% of its revenue from just 20% of its menu items.  This makes sense; almost everyone orders either a Big Mac or a Quarter-Pounder with Cheese.  Really, most of the menu is revenue neutral; the only reason to even offer a lot of that stuff is to make it easier for Big Mac lovers to bring their non-Big Mac friends into the store.  It’s the Big Macs that are keeping McDonald’s in the black.
Happy New Year!
Blogging is the same but moreso.  Much more than half of this blog’s readership has come from a handful of posts, and the rest is here either to entertain me as a writer or to give legitimate fans of my writing a reason to come back on a semi-regular basis.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Swimming: 3200 Yards of Ugly (and a Skiing Story)

We went skiing for the first time this week, and it was great.  By which I mean it was a little icy, and I bit it a few times, but it's never a bad day out on the mountain, especially under the kind of bluebird skies we saw Thursday morning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

#SBRLLR: Afterword

My wife Sally and I conceived this book as a joint project.  We wanted to show off our partnership as one of the world’s great love affairs.  I gradually came to realize, though, that Sally doesn’t quite have the time to write a whole book about her formative years, and even if she did, the resulting two-volume biography would read like The Winds of War.  Part of me still wants to do it that way, but I wonder who would read two hundred thousand words about a couple who are not famous and not looking to become famous.  
It seems like a tough sell.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Swim, Bike, Run, Live, Love, Repeat

“I want it all.
“I want it all.
“I want it all.
“And I want it now!”
― Freddie Mercury from Queen’s, “I Want It All”
I trained through the fall and into the spring, improving my fitness while remaining conscious of the fact that I could no longer afford the kind of single-minded devotion that had made me a champion in the pool.  I wanted to race and do well, but I needed to be a good father and a good husband, and I needed to find meaning in my professional work as well.  I had to find balance.  I ran Brian’s Beachside Boogie, an off-road run-bike-run duathlon, in the spring of 2009 and followed it up in June with the HealthNet Olympic Triathlon at Connecticut’s Indian Well State Park.  This was my first Olympic distance race, and it proved to be much more of a struggle than I’d expected.  I finished in just over three hours, realizing in the process that I would need to recommit to training longer before my next Olympic distance race.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

#SBRLLR: Losing My Father (Part 2)

We buried my father in Arlington Cemetery with full military honors.  A giant Marine Corps band showed up in their red dress uniforms, complete with a horse-drawn caisson.  The Marines took my father back in the end, and I walked away from the cemetery content in the knowledge that my dad was again with his people, that he was where he wanted to be.  He was buried in formation alongside all the other soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who’ve faithfully served our nation in its times of need.48  His funeral was truly moving.  But it was sparsely attended, however, because my father’s drinking had driven so many of his old friends and colleagues away.