Thursday, August 17, 2006

An Interesting Day in the Media

I'm a news junkie, and today the habit is getting fed with some very interesting news.

First up, a US Federal Judge has ruled that President Bush's NSA surveillance program is unconstitutional, and in even simpler language, flat-out illegal. This is a slight sign of sanity from the US, and I am actually rejoicing in the news. Bush has long held himself above the law, aruging he can do whatever the hell he wants with the pretext of fighting terrorism. I read a lot about his eavesdropping program and it seemed clearly illegal, but I had about given up on the US ever reigning the Bush adminstration in. Well, it doesn't get much clearer than the judge's words: The program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III." Hell yeah! Finally it's clear that actual freedom counts for something in the US, and that turning into a police state to fight terrorism is no victory for actual freedom. It's time to impeach George Bush, a fitting end to the worst presidency in US history.

Second, I lived down in Boulder when a little girl named Jon Benet Ramsey was murdered. It was huge mainstream news and tabloid fodder for years. We all speculated about the case--I used to ride my bike by the house regularly on the way up to the mountains, it was beyond weird. Today some psycho teaching school in Thailand confessed to the murder. It all seems a bit weird to me and I'm curious what actually happens in the long run, but if true this confession answers some questions and removes the huge cloud of suspicion that had lingered over the heads of her parents.

Now it's time to go climbing, but the net is pretty damn interesting this morning.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In praise of pointless behaviour

I've done several stellarly pointless things lately. The first involved a bouldering session up an obscure drainage. It wasn't Bishop, it wasn't Joe's Valley, but it was a super fun afternoon. My bud has created terraced landings with engineering skills that would have make any red-blooded man grin. Perhaps one day archaeologists will spot the terraces and wonder about the obscure religious rituals practiced by early twenty-first century Bow Valley residents...

Paragliding yesterday was also really, really pointless. On launch I loaded a sleeping bag, food for two days, insect repellant, maps of the entire Rockies for 300K in every direction and a big bag of food into my paragliding harness. Perfect cumulus clouds filled the sky, it looked epic, and I planned to go big. There are a couple of deep wilderness flights I've wanted to try, the kind where you could spend a couple of days walking out if you couldn't find the next thermal and went down deep in the range. This year has been frustrating for big flights at Golden, but finally base was high and it looked ON. I launched and spent the next hour scratching 20 feet over the trees before landing in the normal LZ with all my gear. I tried again later that day and sunk out again, the first time I've ever failed to get up reasonably high when launching mid-day from Golden. I'm pretty goal oriented--pick a mission that looks cool, do it. Yesterday no mission was accomplished, in fact it was the least rad paragliding I've done in years, and it was super fun. We did handstands in the LZ and threw the ball for Chili until she and we collapsed. Somewhere in there is a metaphor--Chili has chased the ball thousands of times but still goes at it with total abandon and joy. I've sat in LZs around the world and still like it. Both activities are pointless, but it's the sheer fun of doing them that makes them worthwhile. Someone made the point that a lot of the world is a mess, and that we're incredibly lucky to have days where we can do exactly what we want all damn day. Doing something pointless is the finest expression of luxury and freedom that I know.

So here's to doing pointless stuff, whatever it is.