10-15-09 - Yoga and Government

I went to a Yoga class the other day. I keep trying to get into it periodically because every time I talk to people about my back problems they say "you should do yoga", so I feel like I have to do it just to exhaust my options. It sucks pretty bad in many ways, but I guess it was good for me. I can tell I used various postural muscles that I don't normally work. I'm pretty good about doing PT and my exercises and so on, but left to my own devices I fall into that human trap of just doing the things that feel good to me; it's good to have someone force me to do the things that just feel awkward and unpleasant and like they're not really good for me, but actually are.

On the down side, I hurt myself a bit because I tried a back bend. It's a freaking beginner class, way too many students, most super out of shape, and the dumb teacher first leads us into shoulder stands. I don't think *anyone* should ever do shoulder stands, even if you are fit and flexible enough to do them without hurting yourself, it's still not actually good for you to bend the neck forward that hard and put so much weight on your neck. In any case certainly beginners should never ever do them. So I spend like 5-10 minutes in fucking child's pose because of the fucking inappropriate shoulder stands where I'm just sitting there being annoyed, and then he leads us into back bends. I know I shouldn't try a back bend with all my problems but I'm sick of doing nothing so I go for it. And I hurt my neck. Yeah, dumb. Now I hurt.

I see trainers in the park sometimes doing those "boot camp" things, and they have a bunch of newbies doing straight leg lifts for abs, which is almost as bad. Shoulder stands are just horrifically bad for the neck, they squeeze the hell out of your discs. Straight leg lifts are horrifically bad for your low back unless you are already strong and flexible enough. Fucking personal trainers are so incompetent at their damn jobs.

That reminds me, I ordered a cocktail last night, and it's always such a harrowing process for me. I don't want to order something that the bartender isn't good at making, but it's hard to just ask them straight out because they often lie to save face, or get offended or think you're a snob or whatever. I want to ask "if I order a Collins will you use mix or make it from scratch?" "how much ice and soda do you think belongs in an old fashioned?" "do you know what a real daiquiri is? will you squeeze fresh lime juice?" it's like I have to give them a job interview before I can order a drink because you know, god forbid that a fucking bartender actually know how to make drinks, it's only like their job that they do every day. It would help if people would just admit that they suck and tell me what they can actually do. Like if the bartender would just tell me "look bub I can't really mix a drink to save my life, you should just order a beer" I would be like "cool, thanks" and I would be happy about it. One of the things that's always pissed me off is restaurants that actually have one or two really great dishes that they do well, and then like twenty other dishes on the menu that are absolute shit. That would be fine if they would just admit it, I'd be like cool, gimme those ones you do well. (or even better, just don't even put the shit on the menu; I'd love to see more places that had super tiny menus, like maybe 5 dishes total and all executed perfectly). Sadly in the real world if you ask the waiter what the best dishes are you will more often than not be led astray.

(aside : I once had an idea for a small restaurant; call it "Braise" or something like that. Everything would be cooked ahead, and we would only do stuff that was like a 4+ hour cook, stuff like braised short ribs, cassoulet, whole roast pigs, legs of lamb; different each night, sometimes maybe just one dish, like one night we just do huge batches of paella on an open fire and everyone gets a plate of paella - the point is to do stuff you can't do in normal restaurants because they have to be able to fire individual orders one by one, because we have such a limited menu we can put more time and money into each dish)

I don't really know what we hope to get out of Afghanistan, and I think sending more troops is a mistake. Politically it's a nightmare for Obama, because if he pulls troops out it will get worse there and he will be seen as causing that, but if he keeps going or puts in more troops he'll be seen as getting us stuck in a quagmire (since nothing good will come of it; there's no end point). The fact is Al Qaeda is long gone from Afghanistan already. The entire modern culture of Afghanistan is built on either corrupt tribal warlords or extreme Islam (Taliban) - no military action is going to change that, you can only push the people to one side or the other, there's very little middle ground of reasonable people. You can't ever defeat the Taliban when a big chunk of the population wants them there and they will come right back across the Pakistani border. The alternative to the Taliban is supporting the warlord factions, which is basically what we've done so far, which leads to antagonizing the population and creating more Taliban because they see the corruption and excesses of the government and have no faith in the democracy.

King County recently has been run by a temporary executive Kurt Triplett. The government around here is a huge fucking mess. The city, county, and state services all overlap and conflict. The cities also often choose to purchase services from the county or state rather than provide them themselves (stuff like fire, police, animal control, etc). There're no income taxes and there are lots of voter initiatives limiting how the governments can raise & spend money. The city of Seattle and King County are both run by councils, and the Mayor and County Executive act a lot like a national president in the sense that they "enforce the law" as passed by the councils, and they propose budgets to the councils, but the councils have to okay everything. It takes forever to get new funding for anything, because it has to be proposed by executives, approved by one or more local councils, then it often by law has to be approved by voters and/or the state government too.

I've been listening to local politics on the radio during drives lately. Triplett is pretty impressive; he wasn't elected and he's not seeking re-election, he's running King County in the interrim. He's intelligent, speaks directly to the issues, doesn't talk a lot of nonsense politics, and is being forthright about the situation, which is basically that King County has a massive budget defecit, and the retarded voters won't okay tax increases, and they also don't want service cuts. It's really encouraging to hear someone like that talk directly to the issues.

Then you get to listen to the candidates running for his spot - Hutchinson and Constantine. They both seem like pretty big toolbags who refuse to talk to the reality of the situation, they keep saying they are somehow going to save services and not raise taxes. However, there is a big difference between the two - Hutchinson is just obviously a moron who has no ideas and never says anything but a bunch of political nonsense and tries to hit irrelevant emotional keywords like "politics as usual" and "elections bought" and all that shit. She evades any questions about cutting services or says she won't, but also insists she won't raise taxes, and as soon as someone tries to pin her down she squirms and dodges. It's revolting. The fact that she's ahead (presumably just because she used to be on TV) is pretty fucking sickening.


castano said...

> idea for a small restaurant

Isn't that what Chez Panisse does on Monday's?

cbloom said...


soal said...

hutchisen used to also be on the board of the discovery institur=te

old rants