A Different Kind of Halftime Show

My Superbowl half-time show would feature Yo-Yo Ma, a chair, his cello, and that is all. No lasers, no drones, not even a stage, just Ma seated at the 50 yard line.


The house lights fade to black as twenty spotlights follow a solitary, slender figure walking through applause to the center of the field. He bows, sits, and begins to play. What has he selected for us? The notes of J.S. Bach, perhaps will resonate from Ma’s strings and spruce top board. They fill the stadium, the air waves, and our hearts. At one tender and particularly exposed passage, the spotlights, too go out as one simple line of melody continues out into the night. The darkness now is pierced with pinholes of staccato camera flashes and of distant stars whose planets on some future starry night like this will many years from now receive a broadcast emanating from the Earth.

One by one, the lights return as the music crescendos, building in complexity of rhythm. Finally, Ma stands to thunderous applause. He deeply bows. Exiting the spotlight, the bow-wielding artist leaves only an empty chair and cello, shining like the Sun.


BiDitarod, the New Sport for Sporting Dogs

The BiDitarod is a sport combining Biathlon with Skijoring, at least four sports in one. Biathlon, itself a combination of Nordic skiing and shooting, together with Skijoring, a combination of Nordic skiing with dog mushing. The BiDitarod is Skijoring with a rifle.

Like the biathlon, the rifle is used (by the human) to shoot at stationary targets at 50 meters with a .22 caliber rifle. This is done between two and four times, depending on the length of the event. Between shootings, the human slings the gun to his back and skijors a looped course of several kilometers. For each of these Skijoring sections, the human is attached by rope to his dog, which helps pull him around the course.

But that is just three sports (skiing, shooting, mushing). To round out the event and keep the dog busy while the human shoots, the dog enters a corral stocked with rabbits. The team earns extra points for each rabbit the dog catches. The rabbits put on special helmets and pads so they are not harmed as the dog drops them into the Capture Basket. A clever dog can make up points for an inaccurate shooter, or give the human a bit more time to shoot more accurately. In Great Britain, as well as Australia and New Zealand, sheep herding is often substituted for rabbit catching. The dog that wins the most points for his partner is awarded the coveted Big Dog award.

Traditional BiDiterod events are followed by a hot meal of stewed rabbit or lamb in the Big Tent.

Enjoys long walks on beach…

broken shell in hand
carving words in firm wet sand
rising tide erased

smooth skin bronzed by sun
ever watchful lifeguard stares
only surface deep

plover scurries forth
on urgently churning legs
skirts the bounteous wave

2018/05/07 © paulGuernseyPlayer haiku

3 haiku, written after one of my “Beach Triathlon” workouts, and after reading the Introduction to

by Robert Hass

Hoping to get a deeper, more substantial grasp of what haiku was meant to be; hoping to read some true haiku, some truly good haiku and to Learn From The Masters. Really enjoyed the introduction, can’t wait to read more.

I have started work on my Poetry, a Definition series; The Final Word, but may have found something more fun than Proving Myself Correct, for now.

WordPress site “Tagline” changed to,
If you want more readers,
write better poetry and prose.

Vasa Haka

Norrut Åker Vi

We fly to catch the shining Gustav lad,
our future king, for he was right,
the Danish Prince grows soft and lies too close to France,
and now has lost his pleasure in the simple things,
the wind that moans through needled bough,
the crow that caws on high above the ridge,
the warmth of fire as night draws in with edges hard.

Norrut åker vi.

Up North, we pray to find our hearts, our souls.
Up North, where friendships still do burn,
Up North, where loyalty once owed is paid.

Norrut åker vi.

2018/02/19 © paulGuernseyPlayer haka

Here is my entry for the “Tuesday Night Poetry Reading” contest. It started out as a Haka for the “All Whites” Nordic ski team (1 member: me). It sort of evolved into an anthem for all Nordic skiers who aspire to enter VasaLoppet. It is also a “note to self” about this whole “sojourn” of mine to Northern Michigan. All Whites, because that’s the color of my ski outfit, and because I am a fan of the All Blacks, the New Zealand national rugby team. Thus, the need for a haka. Still have to work out the dance moves. 😊

Because anyone who wants to be “unstoppable” needs a haka:

Because I’ve been working way too many hours and may be approaching the limits of sitting in one place too long. The random becomes more welcome.



North American Vasa 2018 -063 days

17.3 km; 1:46:32; 239 m elevation; 09.7 km/h avg; SatSki PR roller ski elevation 239 m

PR roller ski elevation 239 m, pathetic, I know, but you try finding a hill on Florida’s coast.

A slight drizzle made me hesitate at the Stevenson Creek bridge this morning. I decided that the weather would not be wet like Thursday night’s ski. The boots sat in front of the fan all night long and were still not fully dry by Friday. My superb judgement got me home safe and dry, just before the actual rain began. #DryBoots #HA


The Memorial Causeway Bridge, from below, with the corkscrew just around the corner to the left and the Pierce Street Market just below the curve at far right.


The view from the corkscrew.


A stranger took this shot of me under the Memorial Causeway Bridge near the Pierce Street Market

Downtown Clearwater was hosting a 5 km event this morning which  officially closed my bridge for a spell. I did an extra “bluff climb” lap and unofficially bypassed the corkscrew to make it up the first ascent against the descending throng. Well, less of a throng, and more of a small mob. The “Cold Front” most assuredly kept many locals from coming down.

But the bridge was dry for my three round trips and I made it home in time to shower, shave and get changed [business casual] for American Power and Gas’ office Christmas Brunch up in the Crystal Ballroom of the Fort Harrison Hotel. [roast beast, perfectly cooked whole salmon, cheese, cheese, cheese, eggs Benedict, scalloped potatoes, salad, salad, salad, kielbasa, bacon, fruit, pie, pie, pie!]

Memorial Causeway Bridge, fom Crystal Ballroom balcony

Here is the view of my Memorial Causeway Bridge from the balcony off the Crystal Ballroom of the Ft. Harrison Hotel. Doesn’t look like much of a hill, does it? But it is the best I have to work with here in flat, flat, flat Florida.

2018/01/27 -049 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon [OMG!]
2018/02/10 -063 days North American Vasa Festival of Races

[click links for race maps]

North American Vasa 2018 -065 days

[T-065 days] rollerski 10.1 km; 1:02:28; 094 m elevation; 10.7 km/h avg; ThuSki
[T-066 days] rollerski 16.3 km; 1:25:55; 158 m elevation; 11.4 km/h avg; WedSki bridge climb 4x
[T-067 days] rollerski 15.8 km; 1:22:29; 040 m elevation; 11.5 km/h avg; TueSki circles
[T-068 days] rollerski 02.0 km; 0:24:45; 007 m elevation; 04.8 km/h avg; non-strenous walk
[T-069 days] rollerski 15.8 km; 1:25:08; 131 m elevation; 11.1 km/h avg; SunSki bridge climbs 3x
[T-070 days] canoe 04.1 km; 0:52:59; 003 m elevation; 04.7 km/h avg; Dunedin Christmas Boat Parade
[T-070 days] rollerski 20.7 km; 1:51:08; 051 m elevation; 11.1 km/h avg; SatSki
[T-071 days] canoe 02.0 km; 0:31:09; 004 m elevation; 03.9 km/h avg; FriCanoe

[T-065 days] Finally, another “cold” front. This one has brought more clouds than cold. Rain, too. Skate roller skiing on smooth, wet concrete and pavement, I had to be a bit careful about keeping my weight over my leading ski. Is this what skate skiing on snow is like? Perhaps. Just 2 bridge climbs tonight. Did they feel more “natural?”
[T-066 days] The goal is to make climbing feel more natural. The strategy is to do more consistent climbing, while gradually adding more climbs and more elevation.
[T-067 days]
[T-068 days] A “non-strenuous” walk
[T-069 days] Climbing again. It was hard, but I did it. No more “strenuous” exercise till after Tuesday morning’s [routine] blood draw; 24-48 hours; drink lots of water plus a 12 hour fast.
[T-070 days]
[T-070 days] Flat ski, out to the circles, including the Duck Pond Velodrome. Willing to go 20 km, but not willing to confront climbing.
[T-071 days]

2018/01/27 -051 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/03 -058 days White Pine
2018/02/10 -065 days North American Vasa Festival of Races
2018/02/24 -079 days Birkebeiner

North American Vasa 2018 -071 days

14.4 km; 1:13:17; 133m elevation; 11.8 km/h avg; 52.2 km/h max; FriSki bridge climb 2x
canoe 02.5 km; 3m elevation [What? Where were the rapids?]; FriCanoe

PR max speed [roller ski]: 52.2 km/h

A moonlit canoe trip with my wife and Lovely Assistant, Susan, out into the Intra-Coastal Waterway and up Stevenson Creek to the Pinellas Trail Bridge. We saw some pretty Christmas lights, marveled at the calmness and watched the fish jumping in the creek. The fish were way less active, now that the Full Moon approaches. The Full Super Moon of 2017, no less. The tide was very high.

I passed my boss (who Nordic skis, both skate and classic) and his wife on Osceola Avenue on my way skiing back from the bridge. “How many miles are you going?” he asked.

“About 10 tonight.” I replied. Time to tighten up the form and Look Mar·vel·ous!

2018/01/27 -057 days Noquemanon Ski Marathon
2018/02/03 -064 days White Pine
2018/02/10 -071 days North American Vasa Festival of Races
2018/02/24 -085 days Birkebeiner