Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oldish Article in The Atlantic

It's been a while since we lawyer/law professor types got to be preachy.  Here's an article in the Atlantic, dated by a couple of weeks now, saying to medical doctors "they're coming for you, too."

Here's the closing line:

"As the story of Big Law indicates, competition can be good, but only when it truly brings out the best in us." 

OK, agreed.  Now help me to understand how to know where the line exists and I can condense six weeks of Rule of Reason classes into one day.

Monday, February 24, 2014


I never thought I'd be so thrilled to hear "you have torn cartilage." Mine is the "torn horn" type.

Photo credit.
Why thrilled?  The cure is surgery.  My doctor has performed some 2000 of them.  And he says full recovery in 6-8 weeks.

The lesson:  I went to see the doctor in November when rest was not working.  I futzed around with the MRI and did not get in until early February.  I'll be getting surgery in mid-March.  Had I moved at the appropriate pace, I might have had surgery before the holiday and been back in the swing of pain-free running by now.

On the other hand, four-or-so months off and an almost certainty of a marathon-free year can't be all bad.

NB:  This explains my staccato of "I ran pain free!"/"I can't walk!"  Apparently meniscus tears hurt or not more or less at random.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Antitrust and House of Cards

Here is a spoiler alert.  Season 2, Episode 6 of Netflix's House of Cards has a serious antitrust and regulatory element.  Let the scholarship begin. 

Didn't expect to see This on My Run Yesterday

Gotta love flamingos and the Lincoln Park as the last free public zoo in the US and a great component of any winter run.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Forget about cable, let's talk about peanut butter pretzels!!

While we were all wintering on the couch in front of the Olympics, apparently ConAgra snuck in and cornered the market for peanut butter pretzels.  This NPR piece tells the sad story.  The story raises a question that has puzzled me before, particularly in connection with intellectual property, whether antitrust is an appropriate mechanism for dealing with the "back end" problem when one enters into a joint venture with a monopolist.  It is a perennial problem for software designers who build apps that Microsoft/Google/whatever, develop a market, and then are unceremoneously ejected from the platform.  The classic example is Real Audio (who??) the media player before Internet Explorer . . .

Here, interestingly, the monopolist is ConAgra, but the platform is Trader Joe's. 

I ran!

Well, the non-running streak is over.  I went for a short jog this morning in the fog and drizzle under the BQE, through Brooklyn Bridge Park, past a long line of Jehovah's Witnesses on their way to their communal prayer breakfast, past a car that looks as old as I feel, and then I was home.  I went slow.  It didn't hurt.  It's great to be back, even heavier, slower and with no aerobic base. . .

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Another six miles

My colleague M__ passed on the club run, which had the effect of feeding me to J__, a 2L with a goal (and a credible shot) of breaking 1:19 in the Indy Mini-Marathon this coming May.  Six-or-so miles in I huh huh huh encouraged huh huh J__ huh huh huh to continue huh huh without huh huh huh me.  Turns out four to five months on the couch takes its toll!  It also turns out I still love everything about this sport.

Gets the heart pumping . . .

Frequent commenter D__ shared this with me recently.  Posting before I finish reading it.  Gawd do I love a well-written running story.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


28.  Sunny. Not too much wind.  First chance to run outside since he Polar half in January.  The park was mostly ploughed so did a 5 miler down to Fullerton and then back up to Irving Park and home. Not an impressive run and way too slushy and wet out but felt great.

I keep forgetting that I do better tired rather than stressed.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fear of Running -- Newton's First Law

My non-running streak continues.  This is a bit surprising. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the foot doctor cleared me to run on Sunday.  It is now Monday.  I'm still on the couch with my feet up.  What's up with that?  Part of this is because it's cold, miserable and slippery outside.  Part is because I'm getting a lot of work done sitting in my comfy chair with my feet up.  The larger part, though is fear of a setback.

This is an odd reversal.  When I first got hurt, I was reluctant to stop running for an extended period of time for fear of losing my conditioning, built up over a long period.  Now, having invested over a month in resting my foot, and most recently, close to a week in being an absolute couch potato, I'm nervous about starting up too early and restarting the inflammation cycle I'm trying to break.

I have definitely made progress. My foot no longer hurts when I walk barefoot (at least after the first few steps in the morning).  I definitely have not licked it entirely.  All of the key spots are still tender, though much less so.  Right now, I'm feeling invested in healing, rather than training.

Inertia takes you as you are . . .

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ironman responds to the market

I received this e-mail today:

I am excited to announce a new program we are piloting for our IRONMAN athletes in the United States and Canada. Today we will launch the North American Transfer Program as a new option for our athletes.
This program was designed in response to athlete feedback we've received over the years. We understand that you want to race with us, but sometimes life gets in the way, injuries happen, weddings pop up or your job takes you across the country. With the transfer program, we hope to address these issues by allowing IRONMAN athletes to transfer to another open race in North America. If you have a simple date conflict, you can move sooner or later in the calendar. If you have an injury, you can move down to a 70.3 distance or postpone to a later race. We're trying to give you every opportunity you can to get in a race with IRONMAN and keep you happy.

A slightly altered version of this program has been available to our athletes in Europe for a few seasons and we are endeavoring to bring the most applicable elements to North America. That said, we ask you to remember that this is a pilot program and there may be some bumps along the way.

We're excited to try something new to give our athletes additional options and serve you better. Additional details, including rules of the program, can be found here. Questions can be directed to transfers@ironman.com. I look forward to hearing your feedback about this new program and seeing you at the races.

- Andrew Messick

This is a new thing for Ironman, which for years had an embarrassing refund policy.  The result was that you had to sign up for a race a year in advance (or it filled up) but might well have life circumstances get in the way.  Very early notice entitled you to ~25% refund, but no opportunity to transfer and no way to get most of your money back. 

The long-course market is becoming competitive.  Competitors Rev3 and Challenge are getting good traction in North America and overseas and there are myriad races that are not parts of larger series.  Nice to see the industry leader finally bowing to consumer demand.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Somewhat Amusing

If training this year is slow, at least I can enjoy a hangover reward from 2013.  I just got this e-mail today.  It appears I am ranked 796 out of ~18000 in my age group around the world for "Ironman Overall."  I have not a clue what is the ranking algorithm, although it clearly includes a bump for the number of races run.  Thus, I am 1670 of ~10,000 in the world in full IM races but much more competitive in overall -- even though my finish in Tahoe was much more competitive than my average finish in the two races (Tahoe plus Timberman) that I ran.

Congratulations Max on becoming a Silver IRONMAN All World Athlete.     

Your race performances in 2013 earned you a place in the Top 5% in the world in your Age Group for IRONMAN Overall, IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3.

To celebrate your achievement, we would like to send you a small gift by mail. Please follow this link to update your current mailing address with us by March 1, 2014.

Details on our point system and your rank placement in your age group can be found here.

Again from all of us at IRONMAN, congratulations on your stellar performance in 2013. We look forward to seeing you at the races this year!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us at agr@ironman.com.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Run

No attempt at crafting a lyric title this time.  Just the word "run" is poetry enough.

On the first day with temperatures above freezing in what seems like months, I joined the school running club for 6.2 miles from school, around the downtown canal, along the White River (aptly named this winter!), and back across campus on mixed pavement, slush, snow, and occasional ice-and-water.  J__, J__, and I broke off the front of the pack.  Thankfully they still respected my age, infirmity, and weakened lungs.  Good conversation, a comfortable pace, and a comfortable temperature.

I concentrated on careful leg turnover and a light touch on the ground and for the first time since maybe last July I'm done with a run and feeling none the worse for wear.

Readership be warned:  excessive blogging under the header "today's run was awesome!" may be on the return.

Comcast-Time Warner

Looking forward to discussing Comcast-Time Warner merger this evening on Chicago Tonight on WWTW,

Will also be doing 400 word op-ed for Tribune on the topic.  Since its due tomorrow by 2PM that will be next blog post.

What are the odds of a consent decree that looks a lot like Comcast-NBC Universal and doesn;t do a whole lot for competition?

Foot Dr.

Well, the foot doctor grudgingly cleared me to run a bit, starting Sunday.  I promised to (1) not run every day, (2) be careful, (3) stick to the treadmill, and (4) to avoid hills, holes and acceleration.  Next appointment in two weeks, orthotics, I think. . . Woohoo!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cutest Antitrust Email Ever

Hopefully this is real and not one of you messing with me.


Hi Dr. Waller,

My name is Alysse and I am a seventh grader at Riviera Hall Lutheran School located in Southern California. I am doing a research project on Anti-trust laws, Standard Oil, and John D. Rockefeller and wish to ask you two questions. From my research, I feel that you would be someone experienced enough to offer insight into my topic.

Please respond to the following two questions:

1. What is the main reason why an antitrust lawsuit was filed against standard?

2. Why did John D. Rockefeller go into the oil business, and how did the business become so big?

I am so grateful for your input. I chose this topic because I wanted to learn about it and research it, and your input would be so valuable to me.

Please respond to this as soon as you can, and I appreciate your time helping me with my project.


Alysse Hatakeyama

Monday, February 10, 2014

MRI and What's Next

I've been rather quiet relative to the past 4 1/2 years on this blog because I have not had a run, or a ride, or even a swim that I'm just dying to gush about.  Prediction:  that is about to change.

Today was my MRI.  I will bet $10 (takers?  You are probably safe -- I bet on the Broncos last week) that the diagnosis is "tendinosis."  I will move quickly to blame co-bloggers on a theory of electronic contagion.  Tendinosis is, of course, a degenerative problem in the tendon caused by overuse, the cure for which is less use.

My cure will be different use.  I'm planning to run in two ways:  shorter and faster and longer and slower.  I want to find some trails that disappear into the woods and do not emerge until long after the batteries on my iPod wear down.  The next day I want to set a few PRs in distances that I deeply fear, like the 10K, 8K, 5K -- even 2 and 1 mile.  I'd like to win my age group a few times and run long miles with no competitive goal whatever.  I hope to break last year's record of three runs with co-bloggers.  Four?  Even five?

I've now been in off mode since early October when I ditched my plans to run the Rehoboth Beach marathon.  I think I have decided that the way back to "on" is to redefine the term, for a while at least.  Breaking three hours can wait until 2015.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Competition Law

Okay, I know I usually only post here about running, or, more recently about not running.  But today I'm going to post about competition law.  I have been wondering recently about the status of the antitrust course in the modern law school curriculum.  When I was in law school everybody took it.  But that was back in the 1980s when folks didn't yet realize that the Reagan revolution was permanent.

By the time I went on the teaching market, I proposed to teach antitrust, but most schools' priorities were elsewhere.  One school that made me an offer said they didn't think there was sufficient student interest to even offer the course.  Since Spencer left Brooklyn many moons ago, the hole has never been filled.  Indeed, the gap has existed for so long that my colleagues don't even realize that it exists.

In my view, antitrust is foundational.  It is the one place in the law school curriculum where we expose law students to the basic economics of business regulation and market structure.  My fear is that our students get haphazard exposure to these topics at best.  The modern paradigm is financial services regulation, which is devoted to preventing fraud rather than addressing market structure.  Students get bits and pieces of theory about global markets in an international trade course, but there are too many other things going on in that course for that to be sufficient.

I guess my question for the group is whether this is a problem at one school, or is it a deeper problem in the law school curriculum??