Erg fun.

Everyone else calls a rowing machine a rowing machine. Rowers call it “the erg,” short for “ergometer,” which I think means, “a machine that measures work.” Because that’s what rowing is — work. There’s a reason the guys down in the galley in those old movies are rowing with a whip on their shoulders. The difference between hiking and backpacking is the difference between “something you can do all day” and “something where you actually consider drilling out the center of your toothbrush to save a gram or two of weight.” And the difference between working out on an erg and on a treadmill is like that.


Because I want to take a rowing camp this summer, and maybe get out on the water, now that I’m in a city with decent rowing space. The woman who runs the camp suggested I take her erg class, that maybe it might clear up why my back hurts whenever I row for longer than 10 minutes. Well, of course it did — my form is lousy. My form is always lousy. I’m convinced my body was made for sin, not exercise. It’s too long in the torso and too short in the leg, and whatever I do, some coach is always telling me, “It’s your form.” So now I get to practice on the erg, only slow and careful, with an eye toward muscle memory. Muscle memory — I ask you. All my muscles remember is that they’d rather be lounging in a nice Adirondack chair with a tall cold one.

On the other hand, our family tends to live into the ninth decade. I should start smoking again.

No bloggage today — yet. I spent the day scouring tax forms and checking the smoke signals on the Albom story. I keep thinking it’ll die any minute, and then it grows legs. As Drudge says: Developing.

Posted at 6:47 am in Uncategorized |

12 responses to “Erg fun.”

  1. mary said on April 13, 2005 at 10:17 am

    Having Oprah bestow her friendship upon someone is maybe not such a great thing. Sure you make a lot more money, but there’s a price to pay in credibility. Oprah liked that Mars and Venus guy, and she launched Dr. Phil. The Mars and Venus guy turned out to have no degree that would make him particularly expert about the dynamics of male female relationships, and Dr. Phil is now Dr. Phil who sells his books for an hour a day. I don’t think Oprah seeks out self promoting mediocre people, but her “friends” become them. It’s not a new phenomenon I know, but the whole Oprah machine makes me uncomfortable. There’s self righteousness and a lot of money involved, and that’s a bad combo.

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  2. ashley said on April 13, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    Mitch Albom is as overrated as Australian wines. Let me save you several gut-wrenching hours…here’s the entire story of “Tuesday’s with Morrie”: While alive, live.

    There, now thing of all the time you’ll have to wax poetic about the Red Wings.

    Man, I hope the curtain does come crashing down on him. The best thing he wrote in the past decade was “Hit Somebody” with Warren, and even it had major flaws. “A Czech at the blue line looking for a fight?” The last time the Czechs fought anybody, Jan Hus got burned at the stake for it.

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  3. Connie said on April 13, 2005 at 4:01 pm

    Oh no Ashley, you mentioned Jan Hus, the topic of my college senior year history thesis, and now I will be thinking Hussite thoughts all day. Oh no. At least it’s not the pope.

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  4. Danny said on April 13, 2005 at 4:19 pm

    Connie, at least it’s not “hussie” thoughts all day.


    You’ve been a great audience. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

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  5. ashley said on April 13, 2005 at 5:30 pm

    Hey, at least I didn’t mention his buddy Jan Zizka, the one-eyed military genius.

    Don’t forget to tip your waitresses and bartenders.

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  6. harry near indy said on April 13, 2005 at 8:49 pm

    funny that a daily news writer is criticizing the free press.

    just wondering, nancy — do the papers snipe at each other in print?

    i used to watch albom on this sportwriters/ pundit show sunday mornings on espn. it was just as bad as the mclaughlin report.

    he and the late dick schaap were the only two tolerable ones on it. it also had an insufferably smug and self-righteous mike lupica and some bozo from chicago who was fat of body and of head.

    and speaking of jan huss, i usually tip the waitresses and bartenders when i get my czech.

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  7. mary said on April 13, 2005 at 9:39 pm

    The New York Post snipes at the New York Daily News all the time. Since the NYP is a Rupert Murdoch publication, it only seems appropriate it would do this. There’s only so much news it can distort, and it has to fill columns with something.

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  8. ashley said on April 14, 2005 at 8:01 am

    Man, I miss Dick Schaap. If you ever get a chance to watch “Flashing before my eyes” on ESPN classic, do it.

    Now, it seems, most all sportswriters and every single sports TV guy is worried about their Q rating and not much else.

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  9. ashley said on April 14, 2005 at 8:04 am

    My favorite Dick Schaap quote: “The guy who ought to be commissioner of baseball is Fidel Castro, because he speaks Spanish, he’s had a lot of dealings with Washington, and he played the game.”

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  10. Nance said on April 14, 2005 at 9:45 am

    I’ve had only a couple months’ experience reading both papers closely, and I’d have to say the sniping is rare to non-existent. They’re very competitive, but compared to the drama between Eric Zorn and Neil Steinberg in Chicago, Berman’s column was pretty remarkable.

    Which is one reason I’m surprised at the staying power this Albom story seems to have. My money’s still on Mitch, but the depth of feeling the offense has stirred bespeaks something else entirely — how much he’s disliked by his own colleagues. A huge chunk of that is simple jealousy, but not all.

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  11. brian stouder said on April 14, 2005 at 11:53 pm


    I mean, really.

    I have seen a few references to “Albom” hereabouts, and I never got around to google-ing him to see what the story was, and now Nance helpfully posts a link…. and he’s on the griddle for inserting some ‘pre-reporting’ on a couple of NBA players who ended up missing the MSU game?


    This strikes me as the sort of technical error TV news makes with some frequency. They produce obit pieces BEFORE the notable person dies, or they prepare glowing video packages for the winning candidate BEFORE she actually wins her race, and then VOILA! – we’re ready to roll! But sometimes the packages air prematurely, or inaccurately, yes? Sometimes, the event they proclaim simply never happened at all, despite that the flashy bit of video prowess wowed everyone when it flickered across the TV screens of 7.2 millions American homes.

    And is this an example of dishonesty?


    Ah – but the ink stained scribblers of the world are held to a higher standard, I suppose

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  12. Nance said on April 15, 2005 at 10:19 am

    I’m going to stick up for obits done in advance. Important people sometimes die after a long illness, and sometimes after a split-second car accident. And sometimes — the nerve of them! — they die at five minutes to deadline. A prepared obit not only saves the news outlet’s ass, it gives the deceased the obits they deserve.

    This is a long-standing practice in journalism. What isn’t is how to keep them off the web before the person actually, you know, DIES. Although I don’t see how it could be so difficult.

    Many times I’ve written two versions of the same story. The classic case is when you’re waiting on a jury — you write two “tops” for the verdict story, with all the background afterward. When they come back from deliberations, you slap the appropriate one on and whammo, you’re in business.

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