Monday, July 11, 2011

I lasted only two minutes

PLANK, dammit, what were you thinking?

Geez it's hard to type when a cat is trying to "help" you.

Timing of workouts is a bit tricky this week. I ran Sunday. I'm trying to run 3x a week and not run 2 days in a row. I can't run on Thursday, at least I'm assuming that trying to run after a BBQ where they hand out two drink tickets is probably not a good idea. Plus, weather this week doesn't look good, as in potential thunderstorms. I'm not going on the bike trainer in July. Notnotnot!

So tonight was core, while listening to Ideas on CBC. I know for some people, CBC makes Stalinist propaganda look like harmless right wing baby talk. But the very format of Ideas appeals to me, in that the host asks a question, ONCE, and let's the guests talk at length. Let me revisit that, since there are two important points:

  • Asking the questions once. One of my least liked things about radio announcers is that they typically ask a question twice. At least. And they do so in a way that all but compels a certain answer, or at least makes it clear what answer they are looking for.
  • Letting the guests talk. Beyond the actual news, traffic reports and the bare minimum of topic introduction, I don't want to hear the host talk. I know he or she is reading from a script, and I don't want to hear it. I figure if they went to the trouble of bringing in a guest, they should let that guest talk. With rare exceptions, that guest is more interesting than anything else on the program.
I was listening to several people talking about the limits of free speech. On many shows this would have descended into a shouting match in minutes, with the host encouraging it and butting in often. Sadly, this is what many listeners want. (I'm talking to YOU Chat 660 Chorus network!) These guests disagreed with one another, but all recognized that there were nuanced arguments for and against. Free speech is particularly circumstantial, and they discussed a number of different circumstances, and nuances. Politely. Respectfully. Disagreeing, or admitting that while they agreed in a general sense, some specific cases were troubling. Discussing those particular cases, and analogues of them. They brought up various cases of law and court decisions to show how they supported a general case, or how they believed the justices made a mistake. It was very interesting, and I admit I paused my workout a couple of times as they teased out some subtle distinctions. 

It was a pleasure to listen to reasoned discourse, from people that not only knew what they believed, but why, and could support it with a line of cogent reasoning. And even better to hear someone that disagreed point out what they viewed as flaws in the argument, or how it was not applicable in certain circumstances, or how that line of reasoning would lead to a perverse result if applied to another circumstance. I almost forgot there was a host.

For the record I'm of the opinion that free speech is good, but recognize that there are limits. It isn't an unfettered right. Limits to free speech need to be carefully thought through, and should be as minimally intrusive as possible. As the guests point out, in Canada and other western style democracies there are few restrictions on political speech, while in less civilized countries those rights are restricted. The problem isn't in restricting speech that people agree with, it's in deciding if speech that people disagree with should be restricted. Some religious groups believe that being offended, or blasphemy are grounds for restricting speech. I disagree. My take on it is that you shouldn't be offended when other people decide your free speech proves you're an idiot. Last I looked, there were no laws against being idiots. Nor against being offended.

It has never been easier for people to distribute their opinions, and never easier for other people to find those opinions. Many of those opinions are uninformed or ignorant. No pejorative meaning intended, simply that some people don't understand the laws of thermodynamics, for example, and rant about how it's a plot that the scientific world doesn't take them and their perpetual motion machine seriously. Neither do we have a problem with speech that is factually incorrect, though it may take a while for the remedy to run it's course. The problem comes when the speech is not popular, or even hateful. Does Bishop Phelps have a right to say in his pulpit or in the general public space that deaths in combat are God's judgement because the USA is going soft on gays? I'd say he has that right, repulsive as that speech is. (See my earlier statement about proving yourself an idiot.) Other people can disagree and they can have a fine argument. But does he have a right to say it at the funeral of one of of those combat deaths? I would say not. The mourning family and friends are not the people that made the laws Phelps disagrees with. Our society expects a certain level of decorum at funerals, and in most cases grant the family a higher degree of privacy for a time. 

Back to my workout. I'm feeling a bit tight after the run yesterday, but not bad. Stretched lots. Did some core, as in plank. I started the stop watch, and closed my eyes. I haven't timed my planking self in a long while. I had no idea what to expect. I opened my eyes when it was starting to get hard, and was astonished to see 1:38 on the clock. I clenched my butt and abs even harder, determined to hang on. The last couple seconds clicked over and I dropped to my knees at 2:01, just getting to the point I was thinking about regretting supper. Love it! Proof positive that the core is getting stronger!

The plan is to run on Tuesday, and try to get on the bike Wednesday. Or another core. Thursday is a rest day. (burp) Run Friday, bike Saturday maybe run after, run Sunday if not on Sat. That's the plan.

The hard part of the day today was not listening to a 60's soul band playing at a Stampede Breakfast. Under other circumstances I'd have said they were pretty good, and I'd rather listen to them than a bad country and western band. No, it was a conversation thread on Julie's FB page, talking about the Vitamix blender. All I can think about on that topic is the one demo where they make up a green smoothie. I admit the Vitamix pushes buttons in my techie heart. I admit it's a workhorse. I admit that demo had all healthy stuff getting mixed in, all of which I've eaten. I know there are people out there that practically worship at the base of their Vitamix. But that green smoothie was exactly, EXACTLY the colour of pond scum in the quarry on my grandfather's farm. Neon green. I gag just a little thinking of it.

What's your Vitamix story?

Any opinions on free speech?


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