Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mississippi River Trail trip

My daughter Beth and I just completed a short tour along the Mississippi River Trail, from St. Charles Mo to Quincy, IL.

The trip writeup is on the crazy guy site,

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Is jogging right-wing?

I'd never really thought of particular athletic activities as being
left-wing or right-wing, but here's a British MP commenting on a French
president to set me straight:

"The President of France goes jogging! Choc horreur! ..., the very act of le
jogging - or le running as it is now more fashionable to call it - is a
cultural humiliation. It is, in the first place, an offence to national
honour, they say, that the President of the Republic should totter back into
the Elysée Palace looking like a sweat-drenched miniature version of
Sylvester Stallone.
"But as you would expect of French philosophers, they make a deeper point.
Jogging, they say, waving their Gitanes angrily at the camera, is a
Right-wing activity. It is all about the management of the body; it is about
performance, and individualism, and the triumph of the will....

"...I am not deterred by such jibes, nor by the accusation that jogging is
Right-wing. Of course it is Right-wing, in the sense that the facts of life
are generally Right-wing. The very act of forcing yourself to go for a run,
every morning, is a highly conservative business."

The author, Boris Johnson, is MP for Henley


American presidents

In terms of American presidents, it's hard to say jogging is associated with either side. GW Bush jogs. Clinton jogged. The whole presidential-fitness emphasis began with Eisenhower, the most centrist of modern American presidents. After his heart attack(s), Dr. Paul Dudley White, his physician, got a bully pulpit to emphasize the health value of exercise.

Well, let me amend that. The public association of presidents with exercise began with Eisenhower, but Truman was famous for his brisk walks. These walks continued long after his presidency ended.