Monday, September 20, 2010

In a Nutshell

I began my blog with the idea that years from now I'd be able to look back on my life and relive experiences through photos and written details that maybe dropped from my internal hard-drive during the aging process. I want to be able to understand the road my life has traveled by observing how my thoughts have evolved over time. There's actually meaning and importance to me in those small details I muse about.

I haven't done much contemplative writing for a while. It seems my main focus has been on stuff we've been doing as a family; activities and such. My blog gets a fair number of people perusing it now and I wonder if maybe I'm being less candid because of that. I don't want it to be that way. If I ever do begin writing from a 'what will people think' perspective I'll have to stop.

I've written nothing about the oil spill in the Gulf or the proposed Mosque near the site of the terror attacks on the Twin Towers in NYC. I've talked little if any about health care reform or the massive amount of debt we're accumulating as a country. To be honest, I think I invested too much of myself during the last election and I don't want to do that again anytime soon.

In a nutshell...

The Mosque? Let them build it. Defining all of Islam by the actions of a few people (yes, a few hundred out of 1.6 billion is significantly less than a drop in the bucket) is disingenuous at best. We're either a country of free people or we're not. I tried to get on board with those who send me emails denouncing all of Islam and with those who post links ridiculing the proposed mosque but I can't.  I'm a Christian but I in no way want my faith associated with that of the minister in Florida who set aside a day last week to burn the Qur'an. I don't believe that peace loving Muslims feel any different when they're lumped in with radicals who've co-opted their religion.

Health care reform? Republicans had 8 years of dominance to begin to fix the problem but were too busy instilling fear in the masses and chose to do nothing. I was glad when Obama took it on but disappointed when his call for town-hall meetings was met with nothing but angry shouts from the right that made any reasonable discussion impossible. What harm could come from actually debating the problem? Everybody keeps saying that we can't continue on the road we've been on. Let's do something.

The budget? What a mess. Too few of us can comprehend the numbers being bandied about. The interest to service the debt of the stimulus will cripple any hoped for recovery and likely have the opposite effect than the one that's intended. Both parties share in this debacle as do we all. We keep hearing that we can't raise taxes or let the Bush tax cuts expire because of the negative impact it will have on the economy. Is there any proof of this? If one listens to Rush or Hannity you'll hear over and over again how lower taxes only help to put more money in the hands of those who will invest it and create jobs for all. It sounds reasonable enough and I bought into it for years never once questioning the logic. During the Clinton years the individual tax rates for the highest earners was 39.6% while the number of private sector jobs increased by 21,844,000. During George W. Bush's administration tax rates on the highest earners were cut significantly but there were 673,000 fewer Americans employed in the private sector. How can that be?

I went from being 'hard right' just a few years ago to 'anything but republican' which is where I remain today, still skeptical of anybody in a position of authority who pretends to know better than others and more skeptical than ever of those who have theirs and fight to keep it that way at the expense of all else. There was a lot of self reflection that led up to that change.

I got up off the all-night shift Thursday morning and spent a couple hours playing catch-up with the day while considering soft-pedaling my way through 35-40 miles in the afternoon. As I was preparing my water bottles Tammy suggested I enjoy the day and stay out for a long ride. I hadn't considered that option. The temp was in the mid 50s with light winds. I told her I'd maybe take her up on that depending on how I felt once I got into my ride. I didn't get away until after 1:00 but quickly found my rhythm and liked how I was feeling. I began doing some computing to see how far I could stretch the ride to get the most from it and chose a route that I could shorten up if need be or one that I could easily extend if I was riding well enough. I arrived home 101 miles later with 5 minutes of daylight to spare but I had to make a strong push the last couple hours to beat sundown. It was a very good day on my bike.

I'm so blessed to have a partner who encourages me as Tammy does because I get a sense from a lot of guys on some of the cycling forums I frequent that they have significantly less time for their bikes.

My neighbor and coworker Mark has been slowly catching on to the cycling bug. We've ridden together a few times in the past month even though I'm typically one who prefers to ride solo. I'm happy to help Mark get started. We went out early Saturday morning and he managed his first ride over 60 miles which is quite good considering how little he's ridden. I spent part of the ride encouraging him to consider the Minnesota Ironman ride in April for his first century (100 miles). I need to be careful not to push him too quickly or he could be lost among a sea of others I mentioned earlier and that wouldn't be good.

Mom went in last week to have her heart shocked into a more normal rhythm. The procedure took only a few minutes and was successful. Her heart has been operating so inefficiently the last few months but we're hopeful that now that it's pumping as it should her energy levels will become more normal. She's still very tired much of the time.

Tammy and I made it out to both the Lakeville Art Festival and the Renaissance Festival on Saturday. We couldn't believe the amount of cars parked outside the Renaissance Festival. For as many as there were the grounds inside absorb the people real well. I don't see me as ever being the type to dress up for the festival as so many others do but Tammy would like to. She wants to make costumes for us both and possibly Charlie too for next year. Charlie gets no say. I do.

1 comment:

Gorio said...

In a nutshell:
Its not a mosque, and its not at ground zero. Its a cultural center, and there are other mosques in that neighborhood. Once again its Fox news stirring the pot for ratings.....