Half a year done

We’re midway through 2017. Let’s hope overall the second half is better than this joke of a first half with these idiots running things. Although we beat a fascist in France, and dealt a big blow to the near-fascist neo-cons in the UK. Meanwhile, on the running front, I’m just about at where I want to be for the year, I think 3 miles short overall. If I keep up my current distance I’ll go over 1600 miles (2575 km). My heel is getting better, my knee is still a little tweaked, but overall, halfway there, I feel pretty good. But my speed is not there right now, of course, injury right? I mean that’s the way it goes.
So I did run yesterday and Wednesday. Yesterday’s run was actually pretty good, but I am tired. I have done lots of miles over the last two weeks, so there’s so fatigue there. I’m also not doing well given that things are slow here. No one needs any help and the couple places that have, not interested in someone leaving at the end of September. That’s getting me down a little bit. It is tough here, I actually forgot how it all makes me feel. Unless I had a very compelling reason, I don’t think I could come back here full time. My friends and family are great and all, but it just isn’t the same.
The political situation doesn’t help matters for sure. The Traffic Cone Con said some really nasty things about a morning news show host yesterday, and it was unreal. I mean the baseless idiocy, the cruelty of these tweets was way beneath the dignity of the office he occupies (I feel illegally). I can be pretty mean to people sometimes, but this was so awful. He’s like a child who never got disciplined. He’s the most spoiled known human being in existence, no sense of propriety or decency. I’ve always known this, this is not a shock to me, it’s so disgusting to see people defend it or attempt to. It’s disgusting to see it being referred to as “leadership.” I have so many problems with modern “First World” nations and their policies in general. I don’t agree with any party, philosophically, ethically, I’m closest to the Greens. But the Greens (at least in the US) do nothing to actually build a movement and take over a system which needs to be changed. It seems like angry rich people just buying losing presidential bids. No attempt at local organization, you never see Green Party candidates for Board of Education or Town Council.
Well, the higher inequality goes the closer we get to violent revolution. That’s just what you see as you look through history. So I suppose there’s that. But I think that’s a fairly long way off at this point. So we will see and try to be patient.
All I know is I’ve been in the US for two weeks and I’m stressed out.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Line up together

The title will make sense later. I’ve been neglectful, lazy even! Trying to find something part time for the Summer still. Hey if anyone knows of anywhere that needs someone for the Summer, let me know! haha. Thursday’s run went well, Saturday I ended up not running due to rain and other issues, Sunday I got 15 in, but it was slow and tough. Yesterday I did some catch-up miles, and today I actually had the best run out of all of them. I couldn’t run in the mud on the trail around East Rock, it did rain pretty hard early this morning. Which made for a cool run, althought it was humid as the Sun was burning off the water. But I’ve been taking it easy the last few weeks and will continue to do so until I heal properly.
So I make no secret that I’m a rugby fan. I used to play and for an American, I’m actually not so bad at it. But just like football (not American Football, actual football) I don’t support the US team. Firstly, I’m not really American now am I? I’ve already had people on the internet complain when they disagree with me that I’m not “really” American anymore because I don’t always live in America. Because if you don’t have a real argument, just attack where your opponent lives. But anyway, when it comes to “The Beautiful Game” I’m an Italy supporter, but for Rugby we’re talking New Zealand. Not because they’re great, although they are, but because they clearly work hard and their skills are amazing.
Now, there are always problems with sport, they can be used to distract people. It’s usually too expensive for the average fan. Then there’s the whole issue of putting people on pedestals, protecting them from punishments for poor behavior due to their status in society, etc. But the fact is The All Blacks, at least seem, to bring the country together, and it’s a priority to them. I don’t live there, I only can go on what I see. I think it is due to the fact that a large percentage of the team is Maori, as opposed to the general population. Again, Europeans trying to wipe everyone out. Certainly on that front you can check out “Once Were Warriors” which is a movie which delves into. But they do try to get the country together and their latest effort is fantastic.
I think this one should be used by the whole world honestly. It’s a folk song from the 50s, in Maori. The lyrics are pretty simple:

Tūtira mai ngā iwi,
tātou tātou e
Tūtira mai ngā iwi,
tātou tātou e
Whai-a te marama-tanga,
me te aroha – e ngā iwi!
Ki-a ko tapa tahi,
Ki-a ko-tahi rā
Tātou tātou e
Tā-tou tā-tou e E!!
Hi aue hei !!!

Line up together people
All of us, all of us
Stand in rows people
All of us, all of us
Seek after knowledge
and love of others – everyone
Think as one
Act as one
All of us, all of us
All of us, All of us!!
Hi aue hei !!! (best I can figure not knowing Maori, this is kind of like “Yell it from the mountaintop”)

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run so can you!


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Putting in some work today

The run went pretty well. I had some good conditions, cloud cover, low humidity (relative to what it has been), good temperature. I was able to keep a decent pace through most of the run. Seeing as I was short of where I wanted to be on miles today, I took a turn that sent me up a decent hill at the end, and that’s where I lost steam. It’s ok, I’m still breaking in the new pair, my ankle is still healing, so all in all I’m very pleased.
Got back to the family home, washed up, ate a good lunch and then picked up my 16 year-old niece to take her driving. She needs lots of practice. I was fortunate growing up, my paternal grandfather was a truck driver and that he was retired before I was born, when we’d visit on Summer vacations he would set up obstacle courses for me to tackle on his tractor. My father was always teaching me about driving, my sister too. We learned from a very young age, and we got practice too. Given how tiny I was as a child, my grandfather even had blocks I could tie to my shoes so I could reach the pedals on the tractor. I always realized I got a special experience there and it paid off, I passed my driving exam without an error on the first try. I’ve always felt confident behind the wheel and have skills many other drivers do not.
The rest of my family, I believe, takes this experience for granted. My niece did not have this experience. She needs practice, she needs instruction, she needs help. But most of all, she needs patience. It’s not always easy and of course you don’t want 2000 lbs of metal and plastic going out of control, and you certainly don’t want a few thousand dollars of car crashing into things. But today was good, a little stressful for me, and I’m very tired but good. Given that it was her first lesson with me, she did well. I’ve certainly had worse lessons with people in the past.
I think in general, apart from lacking humility, many people lack true patience. I have to say I did lose my patience with her when she drove up on a curb as a bus was coming down the lane in the parking lot we were in. Yes, I started her in an empty parking lot. I did lose my patience, I felt bad but she also understood. But she made other mistakes, even if I thought they were silly or due to being inattentive, I stayed patient. How else can someone learn if you’re always jumping on them for the slightest infraction. So I took it easy and just calmly explained what needed to be done. She will learn in time.
Patience, humility, these are virtues we should always look for in life. If people aren’t showing them, we should probably steer clear. It doesn’t matter the situation, except one. Ha, of course I’m going to give myself an exemption! Seriously though. when it comes to climate change, we don’t have time for patience, when it comes to direct threats to survival, when you know what needs to be done, you just have to put the plan into action. I think when it comes to survival, particularly of the biodiversity of the planet, then yes patience needs to be foregone.
Other than that, in life, equal parts humility and patience are needed. In teaching, in caring, in politics, in science, in art, in every single thing we do. This is the key, this is how we learn to excel. This is how we become the best we can be, and it’s how we bring out the best in those around us. I lack patience sometimes I know, even beyond the instance I’ve excused myself from. My exception there does cover fascists and racists, because they have often exhibited their desire to kill, so survival is an issue there. But with some other forms of ignorance I am less patient than I should be. When people are just plain ignorant, or draw false conclusions, I get too upset sometimes. I need to work on that. But as I always say, our only real job in life is to be a better person than the person we were yesterday.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Breaking in part 1

Got out and ran this morning. Took it super easy the last few miles. Only my second pair of Asics GT-2000, so I have to break them in properly still. But it was definitely better with the new shoes. We’ll wait to see how the ankle feels in the morning, but I am now on the road to recovery. I can’t wait to be able to really turn on some speed and be confident that something isn’t going to tear in the process. I have decided to try to increase mileage a little this year, and increase speed.
It was a decent day to run, I definitely enjoyed it. I ran by the courthouse with my name on it. Thought of how my ancestors, either directly, or by lack of care caused the deaths of the natives in the area. It was kind of heavy. I was thinking about it, because as I pass people on the sidewalk, I tend to make myself as small as possible, and I felt like I got some side eye from a woman. I didn’t mean to insult her or make her feel like I was acting strangely. She was wearing a hijab, and I hope she doesn’t think that’s why I drew my arms into my body. I just didn’t want to accidentally have my arm swing hit her and wanted to make sure she had as much room as possible while I was running down the sidewalk.
That’s what got me thinking about the other thing, because I passed the courthouse right after. I thought it was a good metaphor. Maybe the way to make up for all that is to take up as little space as possible, from a sociological standpoint. How else can one make up for all these past sins? You can’t. You have to step aside and let those who have been pushed down over the generations catch up. You must stand aside, you have to be humble, you have to show you’re sorry, not say you’re sorry. Apologies aren’t words, words don’t fix anything.
In that, I had even earlier in the run seen several signs on lawns which read, in a few languages, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” Now, regardless of the gentrification and other problems we have in my city, that is one thing that is cool. All in all this is a fairly inclusive place. There are still shitty people doing shitty things. There’s poverty and bullshit, but at least people generally let people be themselves and respect and accept that. Now, if we can just lift up those who have been kept down for so long. There’s lots of work to be done.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Guess who’s back in the mother-f*ckin’ house!

When I got off the plane on Friday I had a massive headache. Got through passport control and customs, met my ride and got on the way to mom’s house. Traffic was atrocious and as we progressed my headache increased, then my stomach started to hurt. I tried my best to stay calm but the pain eventually overcame me and we had to make an unscheduled stop at the Milford Rest Area. Throwing up in a bathroom on I-95 in the middle of Friday rush-hour traffic is now something I can check off the list. Alcohol wasn’t even involved. But I was not feeling well at all and slept as soon as I got home and cleaned up. I was beat on Saturday, so I didn’t bother with a run and today there was no way I was going to have any pace for a race. It’s super-humid here and the Sun is just now starting to try and show itself. So I went out and took it easy giving New Haven a giant hug today! I took it easy the last couple miles, I really need to buy new shoes tomorrow.
Since I neither have a scale, nor a blood pressure monitor in Italy, I did my first checks today. I’ve put on a few pounds over the past few months, so I’ll work on dropping that before I go back home. My blood pressure isn’t good, it isn’t bad, but it isn’t good. It hasn’t moved from where it has been the last few years. In all seriousness, if I just quit drinking it’d be fine, but meh I need to enjoy life too. It’s a fine line and if my blood pressure were getting worse I would consider further adjustments. That it’s staying where it is tells me it’s nothing I need to worry any more about than I already do. Plus it’s blood pressure, worrying about it will make it worse.
There’s so much I was thinking about today. New Haven is my first city after all, it’s where I was born. So much of it has changed through the years and yet so much stays the same. See the same types, or same people even, running about their day as I went through. Saw some new things, new stores, new constructions, but old buildings too, Rubber Match is still there, how, nobody knows. Still have homeless folks out there doing their thing. But lots of people waving back and smiling. Some nice ladies even moved out of my way, even though I asked them not to as I was jumping into the street to not bother their walk and conversation. It’s funny how different running here is, but I wouldn’t trade it for runs down a lungomare, watch the waves from the Adriatic crash up against the shore.
But I still remembered exactly where to turn to get to the distance I wanted and just kept moving. Every now and then I’d have to stop for traffic of course, but so be it. All-in-all it was a good first run back, and good to see my favorite, the Triceratops statue out in front of the Peabody Museum. Also, are they ever going to finish building shit on George St.? Most people have no idea what I’m talking about here, but it’s local New Haven things. Although, if you come to visit, the Peabody Museum is fantastic.
So it’s Father’s Day here in the U.S. and it’s time for me to head over to my sister’s house and hang out and do family stuff. The kids will be happy to see me and I’m sure the others will too. Although, at this point I really want a nap, that humidity just sucked the life out of me today.
Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Winding down

As I try and relax with my remaining days before I start my Summer travel, I’m getting a little lazy. I need to watch out for that, but it’s not as bad as last Summer. I also hurt less, even though my Achilles tendinitis is not getting better (fat chance of that happening as I keep running on it in shoes past their mileage!). Yes I know, totally my own fault. But, as stated, this actually doesn’t hurt as much as my hamstring did last Summer. So the kinesio tape I got isn’t the KT tape brand, and so far even though I have to cut individual lengths I am preferring it. It’s adhesion is superior to this point, and it supports just as well. The only drawback is having to cut each piece. But how lazy does one have to be to complain about that? But I have been lazy, and haven’t updated. I did run on Thursday. It was a pretty good run, far better than today where my chest hurt so much (skin, not anything internal) that I basically walked the last 5 miles.
So the UK Snap Election had interesting results. When May called the election she had a 20+ point lead in all polls. In just a few weeks’ time that lead evaporated. But even the polls just before election day were showing the Tories up 4-10 points. That UK polls almost always have a bias toward the Conservatives; that is to say they under-perform in polls, apparently British people are shy about saying they will vote for Tories, it looked like they would still walk with a comfortable majority. They were talking about a Labour blood-bath. Corbyn was “too Left” and not well supported by the party establishment. But he won, well he still lost, but he won. Labour shocked the world, and what looked to be a comfortable majority for the Tories turned into a major embarrassment for May and the Conservatives.
Young voters came out in unheard of numbers, 75% turnout, to support Labour really to support Corbyn. People want government that works for THEM. That is the point, supposedly, of government. But the Conservatives on all sides, think government is about what it was always about, keeping the people in power in power. Conservatives talk about helping “business”. What the fuck is “business”? Why does it get representation. We need it? Do we really need business? What is the virtue in making money for the sake of making money? I really have searched my entire life for someone to explain this to me. Money, a man-made thing, is not a goal. I think by and large this is what people understand without understanding it. That feeling so many have that “something is wrong”. They can’t put their finger on it. I think this is one of the main things. Money isn’t real, it doesn’t mean anything, and yet we’re trained to work our entire lives chasing it.
It may not be a conscious thought for everyone, but I think at the end of the day they understand we are not living a “natural” life. I see so many indications of this, people doing things like the “paleo” diet, and all this other “get back to nature” nonsense. (Yes, that’s all nonsense) They’re striving to bring themselves back to a natural-feeling mental state though. But they’re so trained that everything is external, that they look to diets, or where they go, what events they attend, etc. Then they take selfies to show the world how “earthy” they are or whatever. But that’s not it. We have to look inside, we have to find the mental state that is natural. We have to look to science to teach us how to be human again. We have to raise our children that way, and we have to destroy, not modify, not enhance, not repair, destroy the system which causes us this pain. This existential angst that we then enforce upon others we deem “less worthy” due to a myriad of factors, chief among them being their physical difference to us, followed in short order by what version of “God” they believe or don’t believe in.
It’s not normal and it’s not natural. Competition is not the human way. We are social animals, that is abundantly clear. Like all social animals we have our own way of doing things, but in general, with an abundance of resources, it would make sense that we would look to aide all. Yet we don’t, instead we create a shortage. We produce more than enough food for everyone in the world. We have more homes than we have people living in them. We have a surplus of everything. Yet we sit here and talk of deficit, we have homeless people, children starving in the streets, we have wars and famine, and we talk about bad choices people make. It’s not those who are suffering who have made bad choices. It is those among us who have made us believe we have some sort of resource deficit and that those who are suffering deserve their suffering. I think even people who subscribe to this idea, know deep down there is something wrong with it. I believe that fuels their shittiness toward the less fortunate. Like if they can be cruel enough it will wash away the guilt. I’m not sure, I’m not a psychiatrist. But there is a deficit, a moral deficit in that we believe that somehow Syrian children deserve what they are living through. That somehow African people deserve to work in Cobalt mines as slaves just so we can take a few dollars off the latest iPhone.
That is the reality of the world right now. So many believe there aren’t enough resources to go around, and those who have said resources are worthy due to their “Fill in the Blank”. In reality, there is more than enough for all, and in the drive to create even more we willingly destroy the only place we can call home. In the same instance, we blame those who suffer due to our false deficit and insist they are to blame for their own suffering. I think people get this on some level, even if they don’t realize it. I think if we move our politics in this direction, toward rectifying this situation, toward destroying this system, and helping ALL people, destroying racism, sexism, bigotry, religious hatred, etc., not only will more people vote, but a kinder, more natural humanity will come together, and maybe we can actually fix things before we are all doomed.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Apparently, it was global running day

Everything has a day, I got the stupid badge from Strava, because it’s a mindless thing to do now. It was a pretty fast run, as I wanted to get back and wash up and make a simple dinner. Less bugs last night, because it was drier so that kept the little bastards at bay. It’s been so hot and I’ve been sweating so much though, than basically my entire chest is chafing now. It was a bit painful. Today I’m just going to Body Glide the crap out of myself and hope that works.
Also, I was hoping my KT tape would survive the 3 days it’s supposed to, but alas, it was too hot and again, way too sweaty. So I had to buy a new roll this morning. There’s no way I can get through all the miles I want to without it, until I get back to the US and get new shoes. Irresponsible of me? Damned right! So between my train ride into Bari and the bus ride to the place I need to work this morning, I searched the shops for KT Tape. First, I went into a “sporting goods” store. Which is no more than sports apparel around here. They told me to try the Sanitaria, the Sanitaria told me to try the Farmacia. The Farmacia has it, but €16 a roll! That’s outrageous. However, as I said, I need it right now. Oh well, that’s that at least I can tape myself up and run tonight, and it should stick better because it’s not all old and stuff. That was the problem with the last rolls, they were pretty old and I guess the glue degraded.
The weird thing was the lady behind the counter asked if I wanted blue. They only had blue or pink it seemed. She gave me blue, but I told her it didn’t matter. It doesn’t fucking matter what color the kinesiology tape it. It is there to keep me from tearing a tendon or muscle, so what if it were pink? So much of this world is so silly now. In retrospect I should have insisted on the pink, just to make a point. But I was in a rush to make the bus by that point, so practicality dictated the situation.
The good news is, when I finish up this afternoon I don’t have anything until Monday morning but cleaning, packing, and the beach. More cleaning and packing than I’d like. But I’m starting to put a plan in motion to not return to the US after this Summer. Honestly, the airfare between here and JFK isn’t totally exorbitant, even if the return flight is a little inconvenient. With me living here, so I have space for people to stay, it really is not that burdensome, and food is cheap. So there’s no reason for me to have to cram my ass into a fart tube every few months, when people can easily come visit me. Of course, with my friends and family’s track record of visiting me, I still doubt it will happen but I insist on trying. For the first time in a while I’m feeling real anxiety. I don’t want to go back. At this point, even if Donnie Dirtbag is dragged out of the White House in chains, the stain on the nation is too great.
Ever since 1861, the US has been fighting a Civil War. I know we say it ended, but it’s the same battles always. The ended reconstruction by killing Lincoln, they instituted apartheid to keep their former slaves living in slave-like conditions anyway. After that system was broken, they started undercutting the North to take as many jobs as possible. By slashing taxes, busting unions to make cheap labor forces, this is all to try and damage the North, to hurt the people, to pay them back for “ruining” their economy. Their economy based on the idea that some people were property. This is the problem. Trump is the symptom, he needs to be removed, but overall the disease has to be cured.
General Sherman’s greatest fear was that the people of the South would not learn their lesson, they did not. There is no humility, no shame in them. How can you not be ashamed of yourself when you actively seek to hurt other people? How can you not feel sorry when you have spent your life trying to harm others, in a selfish grab for more for yourself. Anyone who thinks they deserve more than another human being should feel shame. It hurts me so much to see what is happening, and how the whole top tier of the government hasn’t been slapped in irons yet is beyond me. It is absolutely disgusting.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Tuesday Ten K

I went through my day, after my alarm didn’t go off and I woke up just in time to get a shower, eat, make lunch and make the train. Only two classes a day, for four days this week, and then next week I only have one class on 2 days and then back to the US for the Summer. I’m a couple miles behind where I should be for June (already) so I took an extra mile tonight. What is the deal with bugs? When you’re in your home and a fly comes in and is bothering you, it’s impossible to swat them. When you’re out running, you’re like a bug vacuum. It’s like they all get depressed and decide to suicide run you. Flies really annoy me, but I feel lucky they weren’t mosquitoes.
So today I’ve been troubled by so many of my Facebook friends posting things about “beach bodies”. I realized, I think I always knew, but the idea hit me that this is a completely wrong way to think about it. People start about New Years talking about how this year will be different and they’ll be “ready” when beach weather comes. But people need to trash this idea. First off, just be happy with what you are happy with, you don’t need to conform to anyone else’s idea of what beauty is. But, if you really do want to be, whatever body style you want, then you can’t look at it as a “beach body”. You have to turn that into your everyday lifestyle. You can’t ebb and flow, you have to stay consistent, it’s the only way to get there. If six-pack abs, or a size whatever are going to make you comfortable and happy with yourself, then you have to figure out how to change your lifestyle, your diet, your workout regime to fit that. It’s a shift of consciousness.
This is why I keep my vanity out of my running, and I generally keep it out of my life. Sometimes I get bothered by the fact I don’t have chiseled abs, etc. But the fact is that I am much healthier than I was, I’ve come an amazingly long way, and I am generally happy with myself. I understand that most of the way I see myself in the mirror is shaped by years upon years of absolutely hating myself. I did, I hated myself. All the comments, all the bullshit I put up as an adolescent from my “peers” about how I looked or what I thought or all of that shit (trust me, I remember shit, there were some people who were really mean) got to me. I thought there was something really wrong with me. I still have times where people get to me a little bit. There’s actually something that bothers me that I have no one to talk to about, I completely understand even for me who way overshares, it’s TMI. Overall, I’m happy and the rest of it, if someone has a problem with it, that’s their problem, not mine. I work very hard and have been for years, and come from the literal brink of death, to having a couple very respectable marathon times, and several respectable times in other distances, including a 2nd place age group finish in a 5k.
So if you want to look like a magazine insert at the beach or whatever, then go for it. But you can’t think of it as something just for a certain time of year, it has to become a lifestyle for you. If you think of it as a “beach body” you will fail. Maybe one Summer you’ll get there, but the rest of the time you will disappoint yourself. You have to go without, you can’t cheat, there’s no magic bullet here. The world is filled with things which claim to be a magic fix, but they’re just snake-oil. Even the stuff that may really work requires sacrifice, it requires dedication. Exercise and diet, they have worked for ages.
So you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do that or not. If you’re not there’s no shame in it. There’s nothing wrong with you the way you are. If you are healthy, you are healthy, be happy with that. If you are not healthy, then aspire for health, not for vanity. Notice I don’t say beauty, I say vanity. They are different things. Don’t be vain. If you are, you can’t be beautiful. So be healthy, be happy, be yourself, and people will be drawn to that positive outlook.
That’s what we need to do, work to be healthy and happy, and keep the #PMA . You don’t have anything if you don’t have your health!

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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Sunday Runday

OK, doing well. Glad I woke up early enough to get down to Bari and get into the Castle for free, because they’re doing lots of work to the castle and only the inner courtyard and three rooms of the keep are open to the public. Which is totally weak. Two of the halls are used as art exhibits and one is, not even full of artifacts, but plaster casts of artifacts from the major churches and buildings around Puglia. So that wasn’t impressive, but the Cathedrals (which all this time I hadn’t visited) were fantastic. Plus I can say I went to church today, even though I just went and took pictures during Mass. Ha! In all seriousness though, and don’t worry, I don’t use a flash. But now I have even more pictures to sort through. I took over 300 yesterday, and I haven’t downloaded what I did today yet.
So I got back, had some lunch, then decided to go for a run. I am a little behind my “schedule” for the month already, so I decided to just do a half, and if I was feeling good enough, I’d go for 15 and catch up. But that did not happen. If I had waited about an hour or so, it probably would have been better, but the Sun was so strong. I didn’t know I could sweat that much, I truly mean that, I’m not exaggerating. I sweated through Body Glide and almost sweated off my Band-Aids. I’m a little raw right now. Given the situation, and that I took my singlet off at about 7.5 miles (12km), I’m ok with my time. Right around 10 minute miles with a fair amount of walking. So what went through my head today, you may ask. Oh boy…
I worried about my friends in London. Most of them are not really “going out” types, but still. I was also enraged by Orange Shitlord’s response to immediately call for his “Travel Ban” again. Again, also enraged by the fact that when it’s a European country, when it’s a “Western” country we immediately get on the pity wagon, and send our “thoughts and prayers” (like that’s working). Yet when it’s not a Western country, we completely don’t care. They’re having massive problems in Indonesia and The Philippines, we hear almost nothing about it. There was no outpouring of support for Kabul. I also never hear any talk about how the Bush Administration would tout their strategy of destabilizing the region to bring about democratic revolts. I totally remember them saying that.
As I said, we don’t care when it happens “to them”, and that’s horrible. I care, I don’t know anyone in Afghanistan, I don’t know anyone in Syria, nor Iraq (directly), nor anywhere else, but I care. I want it all to stop. I don’t have answers, I know just stopping interference won’t end things. We created this. We intentionally sought out these dictators, propped up these regimes which visit this violence on the world. The US, the UK, Russia/Soviet Union, Europe, we all did this. In the 60s, almost the whole Middle East was as diverse and “advanced” as any Western country, then we started installing dictators and regimes we wanted. They did exactly what we have been doing in the US, poor quality education, leaving people vulnerable to “snake-oil salesmen” and the like, con-men basically. We have created this, to what end? To keep oil prices low. It’s pretty much disgusting.
On that note, let’s pivot to Bill Maher. When he first started coming around, I admit, I found him funny. Then he started getting TV shows, and I realized what an asshole he is. People call him a “liberal” and many times he takes liberal stances. But in general, he’s just a stupid asshole. Well, he really hit it out of the park the other day by using the full-on “n-word.” Look, it’s never ok. Full on never ok. There’s no such thing as a “pass” on this one. There’s no such thing as context here. It is a word that has been used by Europeans and people of European descent for centuries to oppress Africans and people of African descent, knock it the fuck off. This isn’t a free speech issue. Insofar as, nobody should accept or tolerate this. But here’s the amazing thing, it will totally be tolerated.
Let’s put this in perspective, man is harassing two hijabi women on mass transit in Portland stabs 3 people killing 2, and Trumpster Fire and the GOP are silent. Last night in London, before anyone really knew anything, Orange Twitler was already tweeting about how we need his travel ban back. Kathy Griffin holds the bloody effigy head of Trump up in a photograph and they lose their damned minds. Even after 8 years of effigies of President Obama being hung, burned, abused, likened to apes, etc. Tad Nougat claiming her personally would murder President Obama, and Shitlord invites that no-talent shitbag to the Oval Office. CNN immediately fires Griffin from their New Year’s Eve coverage. But Bill Maher, nothing will happen to him. Why? We can’t even agree that #Blacklivesmatter , I seriously doubt enough people even think #Blackfeelingsmatter . But it’s not just the GOP not caring on this one, it’s the entire White Establishment. Sure, most of the Democrats will get behind and say supportive things about #BLM but in the end it’s just lip service. One of the big reasons Hillary had trouble and ended up losing, is because of a speech she gave ages ago in which she called adolescent gang members “superpredators, who need to be made to heel.” Now, while she never directly says that African-Americans are the gang members, the implication made by Priebus and Trump was enough. Not properly addressing this issue turned down so many people. It’s like nobody considered that, even though the GOP attack line wasn’t true, that they were the ones who equated “gang members” to “African-Americans”, it required attention, clarification, and apology to anyone who may have been offended by this.
Most politicians don’t care about anyone, but they particularly don’t care about African-Americans. But that’s par for the course for most of the world and anyone from, whether recently or historically, Africa. So many Africans here are shocked when I ask them where they are from and can talk to them about their home, or even know where their country is on a map. Not just Americans, Europeans are completely ignorant about this. The point being, we don’t seem to care at all, and so Bill will keep his job and it will be business as usual, even though he needs to knock off his shit. But more than that, we all have to start being decent human beings to each other. Which was my final thought on my run. I want to learn to say “hello” in as many languages as possible. Just one word, but surely it is the most important word. To greet someone, I think, is the most important thing.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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The “neo” problem

So I woke up super early, put 5 miles in and got my shit together to catch the 8am train to Lecce. With so much free time I’m exploring a little. Lecce has some wonderful ruins and also many lovely Baroque buildings, and you know me, I love a good architecture/art pun. Really any pun.
So the other day someone accused me of being an “arrogant asshole” and not positive, because I accept the climate reality and think people who prioritize economy over environment are foolish. I suppose there is a certain amount of negativity built into the idea that we may have already crossed the point-of-no-return, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. But it means we don’t have time to mess around with this stuff anymore. As every models’ prediction on the effects of climate change are off on the orders of years, if not decades, meaning things are moving much faster than we thought they would, really shows we don’t have time for this bullshit.
That’s not negative, that’s saying that we need to move forward now. We can’t ease into this one. I’ve said before, if we can’t fix it now, the same technologies help us move off-road for as long as we have to for our survival. This is the responsibility of all humans.
But we keep most people in the dark, and why, corporate profit. I get why people want to believe in conspiracy, wide-spread conspiracy, the bilderbergs and a that mess, they need to believe there are some misanthropic puppet-masters, but in reality profit is sufficiently evil in itself, and requires no “pentaverate” (reference So I Married an American Murderer).
Let’s look at this morning, where I saw a friend post a story from an non-reputable source (brightfart) about insurance company Aetna, leaving my home-state of Connecticut. Of course the “news” site is blaming the Governor (who has already announced he’s not running for re-election) and claiming he “begged” them to stay. Here’s the problem, corporate tax rates are relatively low everywhere. Non-union states have been undercutting union states for years, companies have been gladly making the move to lower wages. It’s not about taxes. They are all making record profits, CEOs make orders of magnitude more than workers, the stock markets are at record highs, investors get their dividends. Don’t give me horseshit about needing more profit. So, as companies staying in the US have been working to lower wages and increase the burdens on those same people they undercut, and encourage to not stand together in a union, they get these free trade deals.
Free trade allows companies to exploit areas with even lower wage workers and move production to areas with very vulnerable people to maximize profits and lower wages even more. The host country can’t raise taxes to aide the workers who are being exploited, and the import country can’t raise taxes to send foreign aide to help, nor can they raise taxes to help those unemployed by the business moving.
We were sold free trade as a way to raise up the downtrodden in areas on the fringes. They would make more money and demand would be made for high tech widgets, that the better educated, better equipped country could provide in return and everyone wins. Sounds like a great plan in theory, but in practice it does not work. Robert Reich used to buy this line about free trade, and he has since awakened from that dream.
The fact is the businesses just do what they always do, exploit the lowest cost labor pool, maximize profits, and screw everyone else. The Gettys or the Rothschilds aren’t sitting there calling CEOs and sinisterly wringing their hands, this is just profit. This is what the system tells us is the greatest good. But it’s inherently evil. When you then throw in the racism which built the for-profit system, you have the same people who have always been exploited, still getting exploited, and the newer people being exploited believing that those far worse off than they are, are to blame for their plight and do not deserve any better.
How do we break this grip? Why did free trade fail so miserably? It can’t just be racism and profit? Well, it kind of is. But it’s not. The racism did have a major part to play. See, while the borders were opened up for companies to freely cross as they pleased, people still are not (save in Europe, which while there are problems, they’re not nearly as severe as elsewhere). By opening up the borders for production, but not for people, we doomed globalization to failure. Sure, if you’re an amazing doctor, or are doing cutting edge research, getting papers to work in a country where you can live comfortably is easy. But New Balance isn’t going out of its way to bring over the best shoe assemblers from their Chinese factories into the US. Nabisco doesn’t have research grants for their cookie sorters. But if you’re going to pick lettuce or clean hotel rooms, you can “cross” the border, we won’t give you status but we need exploitable workers, and we’ll make sure you never get status, by exploiting racist fears across our nations.
What this achieves is that people cannot leave their areas, people can’t move I search of a better situation, they can’t go to where the best paying jobs are, even though companies can move around to maximize their profits. How is this right, how is this fair? How is this “free trade”? It’s not. It’s corporate colonialism, globalism for companies, another handout to businesses as they are prioritized over actual people.
It’s not some widespread conspiracy, it’s lazy people using the simplest approach. Why, to achieve profits. These magical things that somehow make it all justified. That somehow while their great-grandchildren are gasping for air, they won’t curse our time for doing nothing while the world burned. That somehow money will feed their offspring when plants no longer fruit and water is unpotable. But I doubt these “captains of industry” even think that far ahead. As I’ve said, I don’t think they even see past their own lifetime. Passing the buck down to the next generation, like we’ve always done.
We say that for everything that seems uncomfortable, don’t we? “oh, we can do that later,” or “let the next generation take care of it.” We can’t pass it down any further. We must take responsibility for our past and put an end to the practices which threaten our very survival. It’s a gigantic task, and it will necessarily be uncomfortable and difficult.
It amazes me in a world where so many people pride themselves on their strength and health and all the things which make on “alpha” as soon as you start talking about real substantive changes, which will cause real difficultly for those so comfortable in their lives, they immediately start defending themselves against such discomforts, and look for excuses why someone else should live in pain while they have their venti lattes.
You want to show how tough you are? How strong you are? Stand up now and draw a line, say this is it today is the day I start demanding we fix this world. And keep fighting until we fix it, or we die trying.

Have fun, keep running, and remember; if Gil can run then so can you!


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