Thursday, January 12, 2006

Barefoot in Singapore

Well, the week of my vacation has arrived! Last Monday my wife and I traveled to Singapore to stay with some friends of ours there.

Today, Thursday, I ventured out for a barefoot run. I haven't figured out how far I went yet. I'm guessing about 5 miles or so. The sidewalks and streets are amazingly friendly to bare feet. They've been going through one of the worse monsoons in the past 15 years - lots and lots of steady downpours. They all complain about it and how "cold" it is. I'm loving every bit of it. The sidewalks get a thorough flushing every few hours, leaving them squeaky clean. The temperature has dropped to a comfortable 82 F degrees (about 27 C). The Singporeans are practically shivering in their sandals, I'm loving it.

Today when I started out it was very humid, dry, but the air was very heavy. After my turn around point a couple of clouds must have collided, because suddenly we got a torrential downpour. I loved running through all the new puddles, watching the locals tip-toeing around them. I was wet to the skin, but it was a warm rain, like having a personal shower while running. I got quite a few stares - they were probably surprised to see an old, chubby white guy running with no shoes. I ran down to an area called Little India. They didn't seem surprised to see me at all. Some of these folks walk on coals and pointed nails, so I was just a rank amateur by their standards!

I met an old bearded holy man. He offered to bring me "good luck" for only a dollar. I wish I had something on me to give him - I can always use a little more good luck! We walked and talked for a bit. He asked me how long I exercised each day (a couple of hours). He observed my bare feet and commented on how good it was for the ankles and knees, but warned me about not stepping on glass. I thanked him for his concern and went on my way - feeling just a little bit more lucky despite not having a dollar to give him. I'm thinking of loading up with some money tomorrow just to try to "get lucky".

If today was any indication of how tomorrow's run is going to be, I'm looking forward to having a good time - lucky or not!

Vancouver Barefoot, aka
Singapore Barefoot

Friday, January 06, 2006

Thoughts on a Different Subject

I read on another blog somewhere, this:

"It's amazing to me how many men don't wash their hands after using the restroom at the mall or other public places."

I confess I am sometimes one of those men. It depends on what I went in there to accomplish. If we're talking about going #1, then I may or may not wash up afterwards. I supposed it depends on whether there are other people in there at the time. If someone else is there, I will do a quick rinse afterwards, a kind of ritual hand-washing, not intended to sterilize my hands but to give the impression that I am being sanitarily consciensious. If we're talking about #2, then I will always wash my hands with a good scrubbing, the way a health nurse would teach.

Does this gross you out?

I think other guys understand why men might not wash. Women probably don't get it. Here's why:

I shower every morning before heading out for the day. I consider myself clean, even on my privates. I never put them where they don't belong, so I am not afraid of disease spreading. Going #1 is not inherently dirty. Urine is biologically sterile. I'm careful when I "go" so I don't have a problem with the flow going anywhere but where it is supposed to. Guys know that going #1 is basically a clean and simple operation for them, no fuss, no mess.

So where's the need for meticulous hand-washing afterwards?

Some will say its because you touch the handle when you flush. There is no reason to believe that the handle of a urinal is any more or less dirty than the handle on a car door, a door knob, or a telephone. In fact, its probably a lot cleaner. Bathrooms get scrubbed down with powerful disinfectants very frequently. Handles (or hands) in other places rarely get such a thorough cleaning.

There's always the valid reason that it just makes good sense to wash our hands frequently, and so we should take advantage of the opportunity when its convenient. That may be true. However, how many times has a person gone into a bathroom only to adjust clothing, check hair or make-up, and not washed their hands, even though its convenient?

I think the whole concept of hand washing after using the bathroom is part of the difference between men and women. Women were generally taught about their privates as being that non-descript place "down there" without really differentiating between one orifice and another. They were probably taught that this region is dirty, as a motivation to get them to learn to wash up afterwards. For women, going #1 and going #2 involve approximately the same amount of preparation, fuss, and clean-up.

Men are taught about their private orifices being more distinct and separate. Going #1 is no big deal; simple access, do the job and zip up, no wiping, quick and efficient. Going #2 involves more preparation, fuss and clean-up, so it stands apart as a distinct experience for men, with a much more dirtier connotation to it than going #1.

So, the emphasis on the need to wash hands after using the bathroom for men, at least speaking of going #1, is more of an objective standard (to pass public muster) than it is a subjective one (are my hands really contaminated?)

I believe hands are much more likely to become contaminated by simple contact with other surfaces and especially by other people's hands. How many times have you seen someone cough or sneeze into their hands and NOT rush off to wash them?

Now, just to give the ladies something more to be worried about: Men's urinals are usually not very well designed to prevent the dreaded "splash back." When we go #1, there is often some amount of spray that gets deposited on our pants, usually in the area between the crotch and the knees. Its not much, but there can be a fine mist left behind. I don't know of ANY men who rush home and change their pants after going #1 because of a little splash back. Its something we don't think about - and its probably something that women have never even considered! So, instead of worrying about our hands, perhaps you should be more worried about our pants instead!

Here, this ought to really gross you out: How often are you concerned about the cleanliness of the bottoms of your shoes? You walk through all kinds of spittle, feces, urine, tobacco juice, animal hair, organic matter, etc. etc. and it gets all over the bottoms of your shoes, more so if your shoes have any kind of pattern on them. Do you scrub the bottoms of your shoes as often or as thoroughly as you wash your hands?

Then you go home and walk on your floors and carpets with those same dirty shoes. Then you, your kids or your pets lay down on those filthy, contaminated floors and roll around in it. Ewwww! Before you critize someone like me for not washing their hands after urinating, check your own soles for cleanliness!

Enough on this topic! I'm washing my hands of it, ... er, getting it off my chest...

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Born-Again Bigotry

It has apparantly become chic to practice bigotry against Christianity.

Too often the general public condones or even applaudes outright "faith-ism" against Christians by a vocal few who want to make a name for themselves. Somehow it is not okay to ridicule minority groups, but it is okay to ridicule majority groups. If a little bit of bigotry is unacceptable - how is a whole lot of it okay?

It used to be that the occasional anti-religious primadonna was viewed generally with a roll of the eyes and a shrug of the shoulders, with some reference to practicing free speech. Now such views are being generally accepted. Consider the public uproar over whether to call a decorated tree a "Christmas" or a "holiday" tree; the pledge of allegiance; what greeting stores should use to their customers in the period just before December 25th. These may all seem rather trivial in and of themselves, but they are indicators of a current trend that seems to be growing.

Now, NBC has scheduled to run a weekly show called The Book of Daniel which appears to be yet another bigoted attack against the religion of Christians. There is a movement afoot to call and protest to the local NBC affiliates and to the sponsors of this show.

I support this counter-protest. Imagine the public uproar if they were to try to run a weekly show making fun of or slamming niggers or fags! We would not tolerate it. Yet here is a show that is a direct slam against religious people and practices. We should not tolerate it, either.

Faith. Power to the People.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Sometimes I have ideas for what I think would be good bumper stickers. I posted one a while back about the war in Iraq. Here is another one:

Monday, January 02, 2006

"What lies behind us
and what lies before us
are tiny matters
compared to what
lies within us."
---Ralph Waldo Emerson