"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Thursday, September 01, 2005

what are all these poor people doing in our country?

Granted that I've only been around since 1972, but I can't remember the mainstream media ever having broadcast such images of such loss and poverty in the homeland before. Plenty of disaster and destruction, sure, but never as strong a statement about what it means to live without an economic safety net. What it really means to have no money to put gas in your car, or not to have a car at all. What it means to try to survive on a once-a-month aid check even under normal circumstances. I understand that there are differences of opinion about welfare and how it has been / should be reformed, but I can't help thinking that 37 million or so Americans have basically been given the finger by their government. Thinking back to junior high civics and assorted law school courses, I don't recall that giving Americans the finger was supposed to be a role of any of the three branches, though maybe I was dozing off during that particular lecture in ConLaw I.

There is a game called Jenga played with little wooden blocks. You stack all the blocks into a solid tower and then players take turns removing blocks one by one, carefully so the tower doesn't collapse because if it collapses on your turn, you lose. It gets exciting toward the end when you have a rickety, barely stable structure and you're looking for that last (hopefully) non-essential block to remove. Pretty easy at the beginning though. As long as your hand is fairly steady, you can pull out music and arts education from public schools, library funding, Section 8 housing assistance vouchers, Medicaid coverage, flood control.... Wait, what was I talking about?

Back to our regularly scheduled blog. Emily's Training this morning was brief but spirited. Rode my bike up to 5-Mile in the park which took about 15 minutes, then changed shoes and jogged for 10 minutes, then rode home. I was hopeful last night that the swimming wouldn't keep me awake, but I woke up at 2:30 and couldn't fall asleep for a couple hours. Maybe it was unrelated to swimming. My stomach was a little upset too. I just discovered a medical condition online called "Restless Legs Syndrome." Like a good Virgo of course I'm wondering if I possibly have it. "Do you have a creepy, crawly sensation in your legs at night when you attempt to sleep?" Well, quite often lying down my legs feel like they want to be running. Not so much crawly as jumpy. It's hard to sleep when your legs are trying to run off without you. I guess the chances that my jumpiness is a bonafide Syndrome are pretty slim though. Celia just said she thought she saw a commercial today for a drug to treat Restless Legs Syndrome. Come on! Ads for hayfever pills, ulcers and impotence are one thing, one can imagine a large population of suffering consumers, but sometimes one becomes suspicious about which came first, the drug or the diagnosis?

Maybe I could take up nighttime ultramarathon running like Dean Karnazes . Now there are some restless legs.

Swimming in Sycamore Pool in the morning! I'm going to try swimming around the perimeter this time instead of just up and back. I am a shark that must keep moving--restless fin syndrome?

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