Bike Trip

Well, over the past year or so I have spent most of my time sitting on the couch watching TV or sitting in front of the computer writing this blog and leaving acerbic comments on posts of assorted topics, and I have grown unacceptably fat. Helena seems to want to put an end to all that, and has arranged our weekend accordingly. Today, we went on a long (for me) bike ride, along the river on the trail that leads by the zoo and out of town, and there was a detour bit I didn’t like much, as the bike path was no more than a dirt groove atop a ridge that itself was only a couple meters wide. A bit vertiginous, but a lovely view, and one of the few things that made it a path never traveled before. Saw some sheep and goats. People skating with their babies in strollers. A dog fetching sticks. Everybody out in the world on a lovely day, just like in the old times. Even one guy swimming in the river.
We stopped for raspberry lemonades and klobasa, and then took the ferry from Klecany to Roztoky, and caught the train back from there.
Tomorrow, she’s got a day of hiking in Česky Raj planned, and then Tuesday going up to the cottage to help with some yard work.
We’ll see how long she can keep this up.

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Current Binge

Normally, I prefer not to watch again something I have watched before, and I have never understood the mentality of people who say, proudly, “I’ve seen that film 56 times, I just love it so much!” After one viewing, you know how it ends. After a few viewings, you’ve probably got the best lines memorized and you can play the whole thing back in your head. Where’s the tension? Where’s the mystery? What’s the point?
But, Netflix is so out of anything I want to watch that, a couple days ago, I decided to watch the first couple of episodes of Travelers and, by golly, I was sucked right back in. After only two days of watching, I’m at least halfway through the 3 season series. If you’ve never seen it and are into science fiction at all, I highly recommend it.
One thing I noticed this time around was how closely the COVID pandemic was mirrored by their plague episode. Time compressed, of course, because problems have to be solved in a one hour episode, but there were many aspects of it they got exactly right.
But, it leads me to more questions. Why are we so obsessed with dystopian futures? They outnumber utopian futures in science fiction by about 99 to 1. The Star Trek universe is about the only major exception, and they encounter other species that are going through their own dystopian futures just about every damned episode.
If we had a perfect world, without war, hunger, poverty or pollution, where would be the tension?

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Thoughts on Emma Raducanu

Up until about a week ago, I’d never heard of Emma Raducanu. That is not surprising. I’m not a huge sports fan, and tennis less than most sports. But that’s not really the point of this blog.
I just read an article about how she has fans in many nations, is sort of a cross cultural icon and, as such, a harbinger of a future where people of all races, languages and nationalities mix with each other and get along and dance happily barefoot in the meadow together, among the waving flowers on a warm, spring day.
Fair enough. She was born in Canada, calls England home, her mother is Chinese and her father is Romanian, and she speaks both of their languages in addition to English. She is not as completely unique or groundbreaking as the article suggested – they love Tiger Woods in Thailand, even though he didn’t grow up there, and in world football and ice hockey almost every player has fans both in the city where they play, and the country they are from.
Nonetheless, the article made a good point and I was glad to see it.
I’d also like to raise another point, though. With athletes as with musicians, and other people doing amazing things, we can be proud of them just because we are fellow human beings, and they are doing things that raise the bar, elevate the game for all of us.
Sports transcends borders. Music transcends borders. Great literature, or great art, transcends borders. Brilliant scientific discoveries and technological innovations transcend borders. All good and beautiful things transcend borders.

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The Point of Religion

I was just reading a tweet and it started off with a complaint about Rabbis being so persnickety with the rules of Kosher and I thought she (the tweeter) was going to touch on one of my favorite beefs with religion, but it ended as a comical thing, like why are all the bagels mixed together in one bag and everything smells like garlic?
Which is funny, and everyone needs a good laugh now and again.
But the way I see it, any religion that emphasizes dietary rules, or whether or not one gender needs to wear a hat, or whether the correct posture for prayer is kneeling down, standing up, or lying flat on your face facing southeast (northwest for Australian Muslims), is a religion that’s missing the point.
None of those have anything to do with being a better person, and if being a better person isn’t the whole point, then what is?
But, as a heathen non-believer, it’s not my call, and I expect that religions will continue to adhere to their silly rules about what people can eat, what people can wear, and what day of the week they don’t want to work on. Maybe fewer with each passing generation. When you’re forbidden to eat something, and it’s sold pretty much everywhere you look, available at a low price to everybody in the world but yourself, there are going to be a few rebellious Jewish youth who eventually stray and bite down on that cheeseburger. A fair percentage of them are going to say “Holy fuck, that’s good!” because, truly, there are few taste sensations in the world that can surpass a good cheeseburger.
And then they will question everything.

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Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories are the biggest straw man among all the straw men that get employed in almost every argument, sooner or later. It is repeated, over and over, with a sneering expression, until everybody’s against it, whether or not they know what it is. Rather like socialism.
The definition of conspiracy is two or more people talking about something they want kept secret from everybody else. If you’re planning a surprise party for someone, it’s a conspiracy.
Of course there is a conspiracy on the part of wealthy people to maintain poverty and keep the world down. Rich people know other rich people. They work with other rich people, they live in the same neighborhoods as other rich people and their children go to school together. So, they are talking with each other all the time and, being rich people, they are often talking about how to make more money. They’re not going to sit around and talk about how to make life better for their employees, or how to change the world. They’re pretty content with the world just the way it is. So, there is conspiracy on the part of the rich. But it’s not the Elders of Zion. Rich Jewish people get along just fine with rich Christian people. Money is their true religion.
Of course governments conspire to keep things secret. We know that from the fact that they keep lots of things secret, and another term for secret is ‘covered up.’ When they refuse to release documents for 20 years, and even then they are heavily redacted, it is clear they do not want to share the truth with the general public. That may be the truth about 9/11, or the truth about the Kennedy assassination, or the truth about corruption, or the truth about powerful people’s sex lives.
If they are keeping information from the public, it’s because there’s information they don’t want the public to see. It means they are covering things up. Things which people would hate them for if they knew about. So, we should hate them. Even if we don’t know the exact reason, we know there is a reason.
Call me a conspiracy theorist if you wish. I am one.

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