Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Running in the sun

Last night we got a light sprinkle.  Not quite enough to soak into the ground, just enough to piss off the garden, and just barely enough to make this morning cooler.

Of course, had it come 5 minutes earlier, while I was running, I’d have appreciated it even more.  That would have been a nice relief.


The current running plan involves my lovely wife tagging along on her bike while she pulls the kiddo in the bike trailer.  She naturally rides at a slow enough pace that I can keep up with her and it provides the added bonus of a pace “rabbit” to keep me honest about my speed.  Not too fast, not too slow, just right and steady as she goes.  It will also provide much needed information for my closest and best advisor as to whether or not I’m going to be in a place where I can become ready to run the marathon, and consequently whether or not I should bother to sign up.  When/If we work our way up to longer run/rides, she can carry the drinks.  Very, very clever, yea?


Anyway, sign up day is about 3 weeks away and I’m still mostly undecided.  I’m certain that I like the idea, but less certain about whether or not I really, really want it enough to reshuffle my schedule with school, work, the garden, duties as an elder, duties as a father, other side projects, etc.


Events in Iran have unfolded just about as our fears predicted (not our worst fears, mind you, it could be much, much worse).  The oddest thing is that the regime might have legitimately won the election, even without massive ballot stuffing and the suspected widespread fraud.  The mullahs could have avoided all this by simply letting the electoral process go forward.  And supporting the protesters with even the slightest bit of rhetorical “atta boy”?  Nope, not gonna happen.  We wouldn’t want to, you know, challenge the status quo.  Pax via dictum, you know, as opposed to si, se puede.  Makes you wonder what might happen if people here were to take to the streets to protest the oncoming taxation tsunami …  oh, wait, that did happen and they were ridiculed as small minded idiots.  I remember.  In that context, turning your back on protesters demanding more representation from their government makes sense.  Chosen Ones must look out for each other.


Here’s the thing about our food system (or, really, just about every logistical system in the US).  If the current industrial system for getting food from the field to the fryer didn’t exist, somebody would invent it.  It’s extremely efficient and grew up, if you pardon the phrase, organically by individuals seeking to add value to their enterprise by consolidating farming operations, transportation operations, processing operations, and distribution operations.  It really makes perfect sense if you look at it from a logistics point of view.

Unfortunately, looking at it from that point of view takes all the humanity and life out of the process, as well, and you have what seems to be heinously atrocious conditions within processing (butchering) facilities.  The animals are not viewed as living organisms but rather inputs to the operation and resources to be maximized and managed.  Quality of life is an irrelevant variable when you’re looking for maximum yield.  That’s just how it is.

And this is where that activist government involvement that I generally oppose is not a bad thing.  The best systems are not actually the best systems for the population.  Yes, getting the meat from the field to the fryer in the most cost effective manner possible is great for commerce and good for my wallet, but it’s not necessarily good for my health and, in the long run, may end up being WORSE for my wallet by forcing me to pay for the meat in other way—doctors bills, fuel bills, cost of land—and bad for our culture by disconnecting us from where food comes from and what food is.  Food is not merely an input to our system, otherwise we could subsist on nutrient rich artificial filler.  Food is actually something that is supposed to sustain us, if consumed in the proper mixture, and entertain us by providing a cornucopia of flavors, colors, textures, and scents.  That’s what food IS…  it doesn’t have to be an inconvenience that interrupts our busy days.  Otherwise, we could just plug a tube into our gut and never have to stop.  Until it kills us.


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