third time is the charm, maybe

I enrolled in a beginner’s aikido course last May, and took about 8 classes before I broke my clavicle in a bicycle accident. Then, after getting clearance from my orthopedist, I went back to aikido in August and re-injured my still-fragile collarbone. X-rays, poking, prodding, and the doctor came up with a new figure: three months. In January, I went to see the doctor again, and he cleared me for action. I’ve been procrastinating since then.

I remember really enjoying aikido when I was doing it last year, but mostly now I have a familiar feeling of dread when I consider trying it one more time. I think it’s equal parts worry about hurting myself again and fear of coming in as a novice for the third time. When I first started, the feeling of beginning, of honestly admitting that I had no idea and accepting instruction — these appealed to me. Now I’m no longer a true beginner, but I’ve got to start all over anyway.

I’m still not sure I’m actually going to start again in April. At this point, it feels like something I ought to do, rather than something I want to do. Am I trying to talk myself into it or out of it?

why can’t I just let this go?

So, what’s new with R. Kelly? Well, he performed here in Chicago last night, and the local papers had coverage. The Tribune even had a paragraph that seemed to speak right to me:

Kelly will go on trial here in Chicago for charges relating to child pornography, and as lamentable as the charges are, Kelly has put on a pair of blinders that have allowed him to become one of the premier songwriters and singers in all of pop music, let alone R&B. But the show nonetheless carried the air of an implicit defense. [emphasis mine — tew.]

So the Trib’s got a theory about the mask thing, and there is someone out there on the internet who has made a life-size mannequin of R. Kelly. Scroll down a bit to find the pics. There’s also some sweet RoboCop content there for Phil’s Phanatics if you’ll scroll down even further.

crazy theory #2: bush environmental policy an amazing success

Everyone knows that we can’t have both environmental protections and a healthy economy with plenty of jobs. If we try to save the environment, we’ll end up throwing people out of work: timber loggers can’t log, coal miners can’t mine, oil barons can’t bar, etc. I think we’re only weeks away from hearing someone posit the converse to this theory, the brighter side to the 2.3 million jobs that went missing in the Bush administration: obviously, the environment must have gotten that much better!

crazy theory #1: super enormous flypaper

So maybe you’ve heard of the flypaper strategy and maybe you haven’t. In a nutshell, it’s the idea that by occupying Iraq, we can redirect terrorists who would normally be killing civilians in America, or say, Spain, into attacking our troops on the ground there, who are better equipped to deal with that kind of thing. Leaving aside the problem that the soldiers in Iraq aren’t really all that well equipped to deal with terror attacks, and ignoring that the flypaper strategy is obviously not working, a radical thought occurred to me the other day:

If a low-intensity American occupation of Iraq is good for drawing terrorists out of their spider-holes, think how amazingly effective all-out civil war in Iraq would be! Rampaging mobs in the streets, sectarian massacres, brutal reprisals — what terrorist wouldn’t want to participate! I’m predicting now that if Iraq turns into a horrible, bloody mess, you’ll hear at least one person try to find the silver lining in this wise.

my reading material warps my mind

I was warned by my friend Bob last night that I need to read the Economist with more salt grains. I guess Salon’s got some new article saying the Economist needs to be “debunked” again. Well, I read the article Salon refers to, and I thought it was pretty awful, but I think it knew how awful it was. It seemed almost apologetic in explaining how tenuous the data was that supported its conclusions. I got the feeling that most everyone looking into the issue of global economic inequality has really no idea how to get a decent handle on the problem. I understand the Gini coefficient — but after that it’s all a blur in my mind. Also, depending on the day of the week, I either have no idea what the consequences of income inequality are and or I am fighting mad about it.

Maybe the article was actually a cynical piece designed to make me think that a clear issue is actually cloudy. All I know is that as soon as I hear or read the word “globalization” I get tired. And when I see the words “International Monetary Fund”, I start to get cranky. Also, I am really tired of hearing about Argentina. That’s right, Argentinians, I’m sick of your whole country.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I really like reading the Economist, because it’s well-written and topical, but I fear that it’s turning me into either a Tory or a befuddled idiot incapable of rational thought.

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