Every Third Sunday in May
The  K12 Bay to Breakers has been run 97 times since 1912

The ING Bay To Breakers  is an annual footrace which takes place in San Francisco, California. The name reflects the fact that the race starts at the northeast end of the downtown area a few blocks from The Embarcadero (adjacent to the bay) and runs west through the city to finish at the Great Highway (adjacent to the Pacific coast, where breakers crash onto Ocean Beach). The race is 7.46 miles (12 kilometers) long, and is run on the third Sunday in May.

The rationale in 1912 was to cheer up the locals and inspire visitors to return to the City after the terrible earth quake and fire had destroyed much of San Francisco. The first run that year only boasted a hundred or so participantsa, but as time went on the annual participation has grown to over 60,000 people, young and old, male and female, local and national, even international. It also has become a funfest alike to New Orlean's Mardi Gras.

It used to be sponsored by the Hearst family-owned San Francisco Examiner, but in more recent years has been taken over by a Dutch Bank named ING ( Internationale Nederlanden Groep) with its well known orange lion logo.  

Here is some Youtube footage:


and another asspect:


And for those who need scriptural justification for nudity--a minor but inevitable part of the race--here it is:

Gospel of Thomas
(37) His disciples said, "When will you become revealed to us and when shall we see you?"
Jesus said, "When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments
and place them under your feet like little children and tread on them, then
will you see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid."

No need for clothes, no need for closets, no need for secrecy or subterfuge--let honesty and nakedness be your sign. Hell, I even saw a naked emperor hiding in the bushes somewhere along the Panhandle--and every other block all along the route I walked (for I'm way too smart to try running even half of the route) there were bands, and people dancing, even drinking a few and then some. It was the kind of flowing party our Bonobo cousins would have loved!

OK, so I woke up yesterday, the Third Sunday in May 2008 around 7.30 AM with a sense of urgency, took my shower and then watched the professional women runners take off exactly four minutes to eight--four minutes ahead of the men and the main body of runners--for that is apparently what they need to level the running field. And indeed the first one to reach Heartbreak hill and win the $5000 premium was one of those women. Heart Break Hill is that cruel Hayes Street uphill fight that starts on the corner of Buchanan and Hayes, right where Louis and I used to live on the second floor above Palestinian-Christian Freddy's grocery store back in 1978 or so, and from where we would watch all that crazyness  from our corner bay windows as the newbies in the crowd sighed a collective ohmygod as they viewed the long steep incline that climbs wearily, moeizaam, mühsam, all along the south side of famous Alamo Square. Here is an interactive Bay to Breakers route map:


There are four long blocks along Buchanan, Webster, Fillmore and Steiner, then the street mercifully cuts into the hill between Pierce and Scott, to finally level off at Divisadero, where the route turns south for a block, then west again to follow the Panhandle and Golden Gate Park all the way to the Breakers on the Great Highway Beach. That one block stretch of Divisadero between Hayes and Fell is perhaps the epicenter, to epikentron as the Greeks would say, of the flowing party--and the corner of Hayes and Divisadero is where Louis and I eventually found ourselves watching the tired crazy crowd from the baywindow of the  second floor flat at 695 Hayes--for the few years that we actually lived in one of our own properties, from 1986 - 1989.

In between those times that we lived at the beginning and then the end of Heartbreak Hill, we too experienced a lot of crazyness and heartbreak, though it had little to do with the Bay to Breakers footrace. But that's another story. 

By the way, has anyone taken note that there are usually a lot of Kenyans winning prizes in long range footraces? It seems that even half-Kenyans have that ability to run and win in their DNA..., like Barack Obama, for instance.

The other night I was watching  Scully: The World Show - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and was struck by his guest's insight about the three different kinds of change offered by McCain, Clinton and Obama. The guest was called John, like myself, but I can't remember his last name, except it was Italian, something like Parisella, or something similar. I'm sorry, but I will fill it in when I find out or remember again.

Anyway, Scully's guest said that McCain offered transitional change, Clinton transactional change, while what Obama offered was transformational change. I could not have put it better myself!

One could also say it this way: McCain offers simple change, Clinton change to the second power, and Obama change to the third power. What I mean by that is that transitional change is simply change when a different person is going to do the same things the same way. The transition from Bush to McCain would be a simple transitional change. He would continue to do the same things, in the same way.

Hillary would offer change x change: change to second power: she would take over from Bush and start doing different things, but in the same old way: that would be transactional change.

Barack offers change x change x change, three dimensional change, or change to the third power, transformational change--for he would take over from Bush, do different things and do them in a different way. 

I think that in our heart that's what we the American People--and the world--want at this stage. 

Scully's mystery guest compared that to the transformational change brought about by FDR, JFK and Reagan--three well recognized transformational presidents. I completely agree that Obama will be such a transformational change maker. Not only that, I believe he might blow the other change makers out of the water, for he will be the kind of president that the rest of the world can look to as one of their own as well. Someone truly, indeed even uniquely American, but at the same time sharing in his DNA, his background so much with the rest of the world.

It is in this context that we must understand the statement by Yusuf, a spokesman for Hamas, indicating that they like Obama. This is what Yusuf said--and he seemed to endorse the call for transitional change:

"We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the elections," said Yousef. "I hope Mr. Obama and the Democrats will change the political discourse. ... I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principle. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance,"

In diplomacy it is important that you stick to your guns, but do so in a manner not calculated to humiliate your opponent with your arrogance and defiance. This is especially true when you are dealing with an ancient culture that has had to endure its share of humiliation over the past few centuries. Behind Hamas is indeed Iran, a country that has very legitimate grievances against America and Great Britain dating back to the time of Mossadeg:

CIA: Overthrow of Premier Mossadeq of Iran   --   Iran Crisis  - 

Why do they hate  --  Unintended Consequences and Unlearned Lessons

The story of TR's son Kermit Roosevelt's involvement in this mess as a secret CIA agent reads like a cloak and dagger story that goas a long way to explain our present sad relationship with Iran, as well as the miserable  situation in that ancient country we in the west, America and Britain in particular, are so largely responsible for. A simple acknowledgement of our responsability in the souring of our relationship with the Iranians would go a long way.

The way Bush went about things this past week was exactly the wrong way to go: the outcome was that Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, one of our chief Arabian allies, went out of his way, at Sharm El Sheikh, to show Bush that he was insulted--receiving him with a minimum of protocol: AFP: Bush's brief Egypt visit shows up cooler ties

CAIRO (AFP) — US President George W. Bush is to make a lightning stop in Egypt on Wednesday at the end of an eight-day Middle East tour, in a sign of the cooling in ties between the two allies.

The US leader will spend only three hours at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for talks with President Hosni Mubarak, a presidential source said, on a stop that is seen as more protocol than politics.

"President Mubarak shares the general discontent with Bush's policies in Iraq and Israel," Mustafa Kamal al-Sayyed, a politics professor at Cairo University, told AFP.

"He will receive (Bush) warmly but won't share his ideas," Sayyed said, noting that, in a keynote speech in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Bush made no mention of Egypt in a list of Middle East countries moving towards democracy.

Unfortunately, Barack has to deal with an American electorate that could easily be manipulated by the Republican side when it comes to Hamas--a terrorist organization he never endorsed or planned to talk to, unlike apparently McCain himself, when he said in an interview some time ago that the U.S. might have to deal with Hamas. His negative remarks towards Hamas must be understood in that manner--and even Hamas seems to understand the domestic delicacy of the situation.

On the other hand, the perception on the part of Hamas and Iran that they might be dealing with a truly transformational American president, like the JFK--whom Hamas spoke so well of, and his willingness to at least talk to some members of the Iranian government--and not necessarily Ahmedinejad, who is not as important or as popular as some of us in the west assume (at least according to my Iranian friend Brahm) would potentially open up a very fruitful dialogue--for no one wants to create a completely unacceptable and unstable situation in the Middle East--on either side of the divide--with the sole exception of Al Quaeda, who could thus be by-passed.

It is almost time for me to call it a day,  but let me finally mention PARAG KHANNA who was interviewed this week by Charlie Rose. He is a very impressive, intelligent and handsome  young guy, who apparently has been an advisor to the Obama campaign for some time--and whose writings on the Middle East and other topics have been drawing a great deal of attention and admiration--his latest book: The Second World - Empires and Influence in the New World Order. See also: Parag Khanna | The New America Foundation

Alright--with that I will close for now and get myself home, for it has been a long day. Goeienavond iedereen.

Here is a picture of Parag--which sounds almost like Barack: