Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beaujolais Nouveau

I remember in college discovering the beaujolais nouveau -- the November bottles of that year's wine. We (my roommate Jay and I) felt quite in the know to be tasting Georges DuBoeuf when it first hit the shelves. I do think I must have realized then that the primary attraction was the artistic label.

I got a bottle last week for the sake of nostalgia, and now I wonder what it was we liked. While this would go well over lettuce with olive oil and salt, it's not much for drinking.

Apologies for going off topic, but I'm staying off my feet for a couple of weeks. Maybe my next post will be a discourse on the mint- and peanut butter-flavored Oreos that have been on sale at the grocers recently.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In Praise of the First Sale Doctrine

Much of intellectual property law (and life itself as depicted in the late 90s Broadway musical Rent) seems to be devoted to pushing us from an ownership society to a licensing society, particularly for information. If we complete the move to a download nation for music, entertainment, and information generally, we lose the ability to control the further disposition of the physical property of the CDs, books, newspapers, and other hard copies that contain the media in question. Its one of the many reasons, I have resisted the Kindle so far. Plus I just like to browse actual CDs and books in actual stores, although that is getting more and more difficult.

The first sale doctrine is a slender legal reed to resist the tsunami of legal, technological, and economic forces leading to the ascendancy of the digital download and the restrictive license but ts still a good one. I love sharing books with friends. I love even more heading to Reckless Records (made famous in the film High Fidelity) and trading in my no longer wanted (or uploaded without restriction) CDs, DVDs, and even video tapes to emerge with some used treasure to add to my permanent collection. Yesterday was such a day where unwanted showtunes, older items from my daughter's collection, and other just plain lame CDs amounted to $26 in trade, and only a few dollars more got me the entire series of The Prisoner, possibly the most visionary television show of all time. It might even be a metaphor to what happens if "they" get "their" way and the first sale doctrine completely is swamped by contractual and legal restrictions on the right to buy stuff and dispose of it as we please.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Too much food, too much pain . . .

Well, Thanksgiving was wonderful.  The whole family got together on Martha's Vineyard.  The turkey was local and very tasty.  Then, since we were all together, we celebrated Chanukah on Friday.  So, between the turkey and the latkes, the last remnants of my fitness dribbled away.  I thought about going running, but my heel was stubbornly out of sorts.  The only exercise I mustered was 1500 yards in the pool . .  Hopefully this is a "bottom."  Time to start clawing my way back for some winter races .. .

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Trotting

The good news is that the weather held and the race went off on a muddy 40 degree day but with no rain. More good news, I finished in the top third of the 8K race and the top third of my age bracket. The bad news is that the race now has over 7000 runners and walkers and seemingly made no effort to separate the two groups. I spent way too much time and effort dodging runners, walkers, mud holes, and runners who stopped mid stream in front of water pools. Time was way behind my 10K pace off a couple of weeks ago. Also finished about 30 seconds behind a 9 year old which kind of hurt.

Now off to turkey and ham at my sister-in-law's home. Already foresee awesome nap later in the day. Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tortoises and Hares

I had an inauspicious start with a weak stomach preventing my absorbing any nutrition. The bottom came in the fifth hour, when I swapped leads with a woman wearing a hula skirt. Many times I nearly quit, and I might have, had a low moment arrived when I was near an exit point - but luckily enough, I always felt strong at the aid stations.

I went to a 8'/2' run/walk cycle, with the idea that forcing the walking when I didn't need it kept me from collapsing into a walk when I wanted to be running. I dropped all nutrition but coke, gel and electrolyte tablets. My stomach came back and I started moving. I could tell it was getting better when it was all I could do to keep up the 2' walk; at about mile 38 I went to a 9'/1' cycle, and at mile 42 I was running steadily.

Then it got really fun. Usually I'm the guy getting passed by the more careful runners, who hold something in reserve for a strong finish. I can't claim any higher maturity yesterday, as it was illness that kept me slow in the first half, but I did reap the benefits. The guys and gals I had seen go by over the last 42 miles were coming back in a steady stream.

With a mile to go one guy passed me, running really strong. I tried to give chase but settled for sitting 50 yards back. When we rounded the corner where the course marshall said 800m to go, I realized there was more in the tank. We finished in a jumble, he first, a (52 year old!) woman next and me just after her. I was off goal by 21 minutes, but 35 minutes better than the last time. And kind of like an awful trip to the links that ends with a birdie, my recollection of the race could not be rosier.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Earning the Nap

A clean crisp 42 degree day, bright sunshine with a bit of a breeze. I did a fast 7 miles past the golf course, around the harbor, through the nature preserve, and out to the end of Montrose pier and back. Half the time the wind held me back, half the time it pushed me on. In true Chicago style that was not the case one way or the other, but almost randomly no matter which way I was running. Back home once stretched and showered I was enveloped in that feeling that means oncoming nap. Not your average paltry 30 nap inadequate catnap but the mind numbing 90 minute stunner when you are dead to the world and rather unclear where and when you are upon awaking. 60ish tomorrow, but can't wait for the next chance to break out the gloves and extra layer and go for the burn (or nap).

Friday, November 19, 2010

Could be Perfect

The weather report calls for 61 degrees and mostly sunny tomorrow in the region around Boonesboro, Maryland. It is hard to imagine better conditions for a long run. The JFK kicks off at 7 a.m. and, if things go according to plan, by 3 p.m. I'll be eating pizza and cheering others across the finish line. Of course, there are many, shall I say, "variable expenses" in an 8-hour day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Responding to Max

Your thought experiment intrigues. Parker himself ponders some aspects of these questions in the new sequel to Once a Runner called Again To Carthage. Perhaps we should have the first ever RWR Blog Book Club and then discuss on line. Unless of course you and Ted prefer A Duel in the Sun about Alberto Salazer's epic (and waterless) run back in the day at the Boston Marathon.

More generally, the quest for possibly unobtainable perfection, accomplishment, or recognition is a universal question that haunts us all. It is the stuff of dreams, heartbreak, and novels. It is also about as existential as it gets. But it is what drives most of us forward to the finish line even if someone else gets their first.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I finished an extraterritoriality symposium at Southwestern yesterday evening and had 36 hours to kill. Who leaves Indianapolis for Southern California in November and returns home immediately? I didn't quite know what to do. Los Angeles is not, I learned, on the ocean.

This morning I cabbed it to LAX. I rented a Jeep Wrangler. I drove to Santa Barbara. Tonight I'm at a non-descript Ramada not far from downtown.

I hit the one running store in town for a hand bottle and some advice. The proprietor was just the kind of guy I've always wanted to be. Young, tan, unassuming, and exceedingly fit. And, dare I say, envious that it was I and not he who was headed for the trail. After I convinced him even easterners can run hills (surprisingly hard to do!), he sent me up Cold Springs Trail, a four-mile climb from Montecito to the top of a ridge.

I was looking for a trail run. This was that, until it wasn't. It became a full-on mountain run, with one climb so steep I could only keep from sliding downhill by rapid-stepping 2" at a time. I ran over ultra-technical rock gardens. I walked some steep stretches. I opened it up when it flattened and cooled off in the trees. I turned around to experience the view of the Pacific, and the Channel Islands, and the oil rigs(!). It was shirt-off weather, but plenty cool in the shade. I passed some other people, friendly to a one. I reached the top and looked over into the next beautiful valley; tacked on a couple of miles on the ridge-top road; gazed at the peaks getting higher to the east. With the sun lowering I headed back to the trail down.

There I saw two guys who were really, really dressed the part. Compression tights. High-end trail shoes. Tricked-out camelbacks and those cool granola-looking ballcaps. Sweet shades. The kind of guys I've known all my life, who have always been just a tad cooler than I. (I'm dressed in my racing flats, a Tuck business school ballcap, round glasses -- i.e., like a professor traveling for work.) We exchanged pleasantries. I said "take it easy, guys" and started down. I didn't think -- and when I did, I felt a little sheepish -- that we were going the same way, and the likely inference was that I thought I was faster than they.

He had to say it. "We'll see who outruns whom." I stammered a joking apology. Then we chatted for a few switchbacks about an upcoming local ultra. Then we hit a flat, and I let it go. Downhill trail running is different from any other running sport. It's closest to skiing. You separate your legs from your body; the legs follow the trail and the body follows the fall line. You don't pump the arms; you carry them high and wide, and use them to counter the centrifugal force from a turn.

And you know when the ground comes it will come hard and unexpectedly. You won't have time to think of how you will fall; you will have time exactly to realize you kicked a rock and then to realize you are on the ground. Often, just where you don't want to be. I remembered as I ran the scene in Born to Run, when Jen Shelton opened it up on the Tarahumara in Copper Canyon only to eat dirt and get passed by the group. There were parts of this trail I knew I couldn't afford to blow. On those parts the rocks were too big, to sharp and too many to avoid breaking something. But I was grooving, the light was fading, and it had been a slow run up.

I hit the ground. Three times. Hard.

As I lay on the ground the third time, just a few switchbacks above the Jeep, feeling the legs to be sure there was no injury, I couldn't stop smiling. I'm now bleeding on the keyboard, an ice pack on the knees, and wondering how and when I can get back here.

I grew up in Alaska. I've lived in Idaho. I ski every year in Utah, Wyoming or Colorado. I've hiked in the Alps. And yet I know that _this place_ is paradise.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thought Experiment

In "Once a Runner" -- which Spencer lent me, and I promptly bought in duplicate -- Quenton Cassidy drops out of life, moves to the wilderness, leaves his girl, and runs full time until he emerges heroic at the end to defeat John Walton in the mile race at Southeastern University. (I never thought until I wrote it out here just how Biblical that sounds!)

What if Quenton hadn't won that race? A plausible outcome was a very good mile, reflective of months of work and sacrifice, but that failed to establish Quenton as the U.S. favorite for the next Olympic games. What if he had put down a very respectable 3:58.

For how long should Quenton continue to pursue his dream once a wise person would realize the hopes of greatness are unrealistic? Does a 3:58 miler return to the woods in the hopes that he can next year run 3:57? Does he put off life because one day he may become a household name, even when the odds of that are vanishingly small?

When he realizes he is never going to be a world-class athlete, is he disappointed that he tried? Or even if he makes it -- was it worth it? What if by then the girl is gone and other realistic opportunities have disappeared?

I'm not a miler, and if I was I wouldn't be fast. But these are serious musings. I'd love to hear any thoughts.

The Happy Music Gene and Glee

A friend of mine has claimed I lack the happy music gene. I have never questioned this but never thought this was a bad thing either. 20 miles into a marathon I am not particularly interested in listening to girl groups from the early 1960s or cheerful Broadway show tunes. Metallica and the latest Norwegian death metal sounds about right. When I go to concerts James Taylor or Carole King is of little interest but Judas Priest or Zeppelin definitely rocks. Pink Floyd is about right for any occasion.

But then Glee changed all that. I watched the show with my family, my daughter bought the discs and/or downloaded the music, and suddenly I am sped along the running to cheery mashups of Stop in the Name of Love and Free Your Mind or Living on a Prayer and Start Me Up. Redos of Journey songs are suddenly hot again. I hesitate to admit I have even enjoyed the Glee versions of Total Eclipse of the Heart, I'll Stand by You, and (shudder) I Dreamed a Dream (from les Miz).

What gives? Have I suddenly discovered a long dormant happy music gene? Have I developed one for the first time from environment factors (nurture not nature?). Even worse, what if it isn't the happy music gene afterall but the cheezy music gene? That would of course explain why so many of the greatest hits of the 70s were already on my iPod.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

NYC Marathon

Okay, so the good news is that today I claimed my automatic admit for the 2011 NYC Marathon.  This isn't exactly a badge of honor.  In the old days I used to qualify by running 9 races . . .  This time I did it by losing in the lottery three years in a row.  Hey guys, what do you think of Antitrust Marathon V, NYC??

Monday, November 8, 2010

NYC Marathon -- Couch Potato Edition

Okay, so I applied for the NYC Marathon and didn't get in this year.  It's my third rejection in a row, so I've got a guaranteed entry next year.  Woohoo!!   I've abandoned my plans to run the Philadelphia Marathon in two weeks because of lingering Achilles issues.  So, I counted it as a victory when I went for a slow 9.5 mile run with a colleague yesterday morning.  Then I settled in to stretch and watch the Marathon on TV.  Usually I feel a pang of regret when I watch the big show on the television. This time, I was guilt free. 

Great race!  How about that Shalane Flanagan. . .

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Comparative and International Antitrust

I'll be teaching this course as a 2-credit quasi-seminar next spring. I know Spencer has taught something similar (though I think in 3 credits, if my research is accurate). What text is best? Any advice on dealing with students who haven't taken the basic antitrust course?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Discretion/Valor II

This morning was the Hot Chocolate 15K the last big race of the year downtown. It is known for the terrific technical running jacket in the goody bag and the hot chocolate at the finish line this year by Ghiradelli. Got the bib and the jacket at the most inconvenient expo location possible in downtown Chicago (and uninteresting exhibitors as well).

For less noble reasons than Max, I too took a pass. The race was at 7:30, the temperature was below freezing, I wasn't feeling well, there were 30,000 people (mostly for the 5K that goes first causing even longer wait in cold), the dog ate my home work, etc. Instead I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Now I am taking the dog for a walk and going to do my personal 15K in a spiffy new running jacket along a nice sunny 45 degree lake front.

Okay Ted, your turn.


This morning was the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. It is the third running (I think) of the only marathon that starts and finishes in downtown Indianapolis. My colleague Peter is the race treasurer; Alex, the spouse of another of my colleagues, is the incoming race president. I am stuck in the midwest this weekend (wedding in Cincinnati), I badly need the miles (JFK 50 mile is 2 weeks away), and I really enjoy running marathons. What's a guy to do?

I didn't. Rather proud of myself, I must say. Tried out the legs on Thursday after being brutalized in the Marine Corps Marathon last Sunday, and they're not quite all there. It's cold here, and rain was a possibility for this morning. Instead I awoke just in time to imagine how my heart would be in my teeth if I were in the starting corral just then; had some coffee and did some holiday shopping on Amazon; and cruised out for an easy 10, cheering and congratulating the runners I saw. Maybe next year. Maybe.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Actually I tied my PR.

99 573 SPENCER WALLER 53 10/21 52:50 8:31 CHICAGO IL