Saturday, August 30, 2008

Adam's Magnan's marathon; post 2

So today I covered 18 km in some 02:52h. It was easier, in some respects than last week. However I've stressed my thumb because of the awkward layout of my keyboard and mouse.

What has this to do with my training? Well I stop to do push ups, pull ups and other exercises each kilometer, and this minor injury stopped me from fully exerting myself. Fewer reps because my forearm would buckle.

I'll shoot for 20 km and completely circle arrondisment LaSalle next weekend. After that I'll try adding 3 kilometers per week until I can run 35 kilometers. At that point, the actual marathon will follow a week of tapering.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Idiot's veto

This is Roger simon's take on the Obama terrorist cover of the New Yorker magazine. He criticises the critics of the cover, and of satire in general as asserting...

Idiot’s Veto: If a single person might not get a joke, then you should not tell the joke. All humor (and everything else) should be reduced to the lowest common denominator just to make sure nobody misunderstands anything-Roger Simon,
The "idiot's veto", along with "the self-licking ice cream cone" characterise what is wrong with so much political activity, especially on the progressive side.

Money is power and power corrupts; Even social funding

Some people wonder about my ambivalence towards public moneys. Then I read an article like this one:

"I remember sitting one day in a swanky Old Montreal boardroom with a dozen more established black community leaders, Quebec's public security minister, the chief of police, and maybe the mayor - I forget - and for a few minutes, I felt that our little upstart group had arrived.

Then came the eye-opener. Some of the same community leaders who talked the talk when the cameras were rolling didn?t quite walk the walk when the hors d'oeuvres were being passed around.

Some of the same people who, five minutes earlier, yammered on about the "racist" authorities, were exchanging cheek kisses with those very authorities as they politely chewed on smoked salmon.

Soon after that meeting, our group received a relatively lucrative grant to put on a conference on racism (which was a failure), and with the money purposely left over the then-homeless group rented an office in NDG, purchased a brand new colour TV (to monitor news reports, see) and fed office hangers-on with a seemingly endless supply of pizza.

Some of us were appalled, tensions grew, people began to quit and the group eventually consumed itself.

Money can seduce as well as it can corrupt.
-Anthony Bonaparte, The Suburban
I wish that NGO's and worse yet QUANGOs(quasi- Non-governmental Organisations) didn't so often turn into 'self-licking ice-cream cones'.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Adam's Magnan's Marathon

So my running project, that I've been working on since spring, is to run a Marathon. That is to say, I plan to run 42km. Today, I ran 16km in 2:27. The overall pace is slow partially because I stop to do exercises every kilometer, and because I'm pushing my son in a jogging stroller. These wont figure into the actual race.

However, trying to coordinate my training with an scheduled, organised marathon, like the Montréal Marathon has proven very difficult. So I decided to create my own personal race, which starts where the St.Remi tunnel crosses beneath the Lachine canal, and ends a five minute walks from Magnan's restaurent. The route that follows the Lachine canal bike path, loops around Lasalle once then goes half way around the circuit. At that point I will head east to Wellington street. The route continues to Center Street, in Pointe St. Charles, where I continue on to about three blocks from Magnan's.

The goal is to finish the run, in a time under four hours, and then celebrate with a Surf & Turf dinner at Magnan's. As the time approaches I'll update and also set an event on Facebook. Given my progress, we're looking at sometime in early November. I haven't generally talked about it, because I've been jinxed at four previous attempts at competing in a marathon( two broken toes, one nasty bronchial infection and a move to another city). However, my fitness is good, my training is progressing and life is reasonably stable. Fingers(and toes) crossed!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In the future you wont say "Going Forward"

Jargon is annoying to we who pride ourselves on our excellent skills as writers and speakers. To everyone else the response is "Jargon? It's all good".

"For nearly a decade I wrote a fictional column in the Financial Times about a senior manager who spoke almost entirely in business cliches. Martin Lukes talked the talk. Or rather, he added value by reaching out and sharing his blue sky thinking. At the end of the day he stepped up to the plate and delivered world class jargon that really pushed the envelope. After eight years of being him I came to accept the nouns pretending to be verbs. To task and to impact. Even the new verb to architect I almost took in my stride. I didn't even really mind the impenetrable sentences full of leveraging value and paradigm shifts. But what still rankled after so long were the little things: that he said myself instead of me and that he would never talk about a problem, when he could dialogue around an issue instead."
taken from Are You Going Forward?Then Stop Now by Lucy Kellaway
No it's not "all good". It lets one sound like they are thinking when really they are avoiding it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Freedom to blaspheme: a partial victory for freedom of expression

Ezra Levant won the Complaint against him, filed with the the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities. The complaint centered around the Western Standard newspaper's publishing of the controversial cartoons of the prophet Mohammed which first appeared in Denmark.

[Levant] does not consider this a victory, though.

"This censor approved what I wrote," he said. "His decision is not that I have freedom of speech. His decision is that I have his approval. I'm not interested in his approval. The only test of free speech is if I can write what he disapproves of with impunity. That's what freedom of speech is, to piss off some second-rate bureaucrat like Pardeep Gundara and know that you have the right to do so, because you're in Canada, not Saudi Arabia."

This should be of more concern to Canadians, as there are attempts to remove blasphemy from the protection of free speech rights. This could in turn effectively muzzle any dissent regarding religion-driven policies- abortion rights, women's rights and protection of minority religious rights to free expression.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pandering part deux: The "in-and-out" scheme redux

Richard Cleroux neatly presents the Conservatives' "in-and-out" scheme and why it is corrupt. He also asks why so many of the MPs and candidates involved were from Quebec.

Despite the obliviousness of the core tory supporters, at some point, to qoute a great conservative "you can fool some of the people, some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time". Down south, the goal of the Bush administration was to fool enough of the people, enough of the time to get elected. This strategy has been embraced by the Conservative minority government up here in Canada. There is still hope that the Conservatives have stepped over the line enough times to start losing support among those still angry with the Liberals or worried about the Greens.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Soft Federalists: The Tories pander to sovereignists for votes

This was the Mulroney maneuver: Throw common cause with the Souverainiste movement, in exchange for electoral success. That ploy won Brian Mulroney his first government but provided resources that resurrected the then flagging Parti Quebecois. Many of those Quebec nationalists who supported Mulroney went on to abandon him and form the Bloc Quebecois.

Now Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party is doing the same:

Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Jonquiere, Que.) said in an interview with The Hill Times ... that in the two Quebec byelections scheduled for September and the next federal election, the Conservatives' strategy is to remind Quebecers of the achievements of the Harper government in the province—recognizing the Québécois as a nation, getting Quebec a UNESCO seat, and addressing the so-called "fiscal imbalance."

Say what you will about Stephan Dion- he is a Canadian Federalist, through and through. How does the Conservative party claimed to be pro-Canada; They court the Quebec Souverainistes every chance they get.

What is in the Conservative 'cool-aid' that get's people to deny the very blatant hypocrisy of this government? Why do people describe the Conservative party as fiscally conservative? They doubled the national debt under their previous governance and reintroduced a deficit after years of decreasing government debt. The government sets the terms by which we live, do business and raise our families. Why do people still support a party that can't even follow it's own policies?

"If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country."
-E.M. Forster