Tag Archives: Iran

Two 20 mile runs two days in a row

Screenshot from 2014-01-11 21:44:41This is the first time I’ve ever done this, running 20 miles two days in a row. I usually do one 20 mile run per week, occasionally two. However, due to the extreme cold and icy conditions earlier this week I did little running then, so I thought I’d make up for it on friday and saturday when the temperature went up.

The 20.61 mile run on friday was my first ever run to the state of Connecticut. It felt thrilling crossing the New York/Connecticut border, though I realize it is just an arbitrarily drawn political border that means practically nothing of geographic or cultural significance, but it was still fun. Sure, I realize it also represents a border between New York and New England, but there are many towns in New York that have a New Englandish feel to them.

It was snowing for about the first 1/3 of the run, then it rained a little during the rest of the run. It felt great “introducing”(though I am not the first) joggling to the people of Connecticut. The people who saw me were amused and impressed, especially the kids.

It took me 4:18 to complete the run to Stamford, Connecticut, due in part to the wintry conditions though it was almost 40 F. There was so much slush and big ice patches in some spots. I also had a backpack full of juice, and a bunch of energy bars on me. I slipped and dropped the balls a few times.

2014-01-10 12.44.00

The Putnam Cottage

I ran mostly along route 1, also called the Boston Post Road, which is the most direct way of getting to Connecticut. There’s lots of interesting historical sites on route 1, both in New York and in Connecticut. One of the more interesting ones is the Putnam Cottage, in Greenwich, Connecticut. It is named after Israel Putnam, the American revolutionary war general, who made his daring escape from the British close to the cottage. General George Washington also stopped here with his troops in 1776, when it was used as a tavern. Going east from Greenwich, you will enter the city of Stamford, which is where I ended my run and took the train back home. These days the city of Stamford appears to be booming, with so many new businesses sprouting up all over the place.

The run the next day(saturday) was a 21.28 mile run on the Putnam* trail to Elmsford/Little Iran and back, a route that I’ve done countless times. The temperature was in the mid 50s during this 3:19 minute run, though there were occasional ice patches and big puddles on the running path. There was a light rain during most of the run. I was able to run almost like it was spring because of the unseasonably high temperatures and because most of the ice and snow from last weeks storms have melted. I feel a little sore due to the 2 long runs 2 days in a row, but I believe I will recover relatively quickly. I think even my ability to recover has improved.

I saw many red cardinals while running up to Elmsford, it’s always a joy to spot them and hear their birdsong. How are you keeping fit this winter? I hope you’re all doing fantastic and are as fit as ever!

A word of warning: Do not try running two very long runs 2 days in a row unless you’ve done enough training. This can greatly increase your risk of injury. If you want to be able to do this, build up to it slowly, start out with one 20+ mile run once a week, then add a second 20+ mile run many days after, then slowly bring them closer together.

* Named after the same Putnam mentioned before but it is called “Putnam” because this used to be a railroad route that connected New York City with Putnam county in upstate New York.

Were jugglers once a persecuted minority group?

Is this juggler hiding in the woods to escape persecution? Or does he just love juggling in the outdoors?

Is this juggler hiding in the woods to escape persecution? Or does he just love juggling in the outdoors?

Juggling has a very ancient history. In the very least it goes back to ancient Egypt, and it is probably as old as civilization itself. It probably doesn’t predate civilization since cavemen had no calories to spare for something like juggling.

The origins of jugglers aside, were we ever persecuted? According to “A History of Juggling” at Juggling Magic:

Jugglers went through some tough times – after the fall of the Roman Empire and the arrival of the Middle Ages, jugglers were sometimes persecuted and seen as dirty scoundrels or even thought to be witches.

“Dirty scoundrels”? Sounds like we had it really rough. Not quite like the Jews or heretics, but this does sound like bigotry that could inspire violence. However, not everyone agrees that jugglers were looked down on and persected in Europe during the Middle Ages.

According to Arthur Lewbel(2002) in “Research in Juggling History

Another modern misconception is that medieval church considered juggling to be a black art or a tool of the devil. In fact, I have never seen any evidence that the medieval church ever specifically persecuted jugglers or juggling. If anything, the examples in Fletcher [3] and the appearence of jugglers in the margins of illuminated manuscripts would suggest the Church’s approval of juggling.

This directly contradicts the first quote. Indeed, the first quote cites no evidence to back its claim that jugglers were persecuted in Medievel Europe. Now it is possible that they may have been persecuted briefly in a few areas but we have no evidence of widespread, systematic persecution. If anyone ever did persecute jugglers in Europe, it probably would have been radical Calvinists or Puritans due to their very austere, artless approach to Christianity.

"Ship of Fools" - By Hieronymus Bosch, depicting a jester in painting very rich in symbolism.

“Ship of Fools” – By Hieronymus Bosch, depicting a jester in painting very rich in symbolism.

Since there is some overlap between court jesters and jugglers, let’s look at what jesters went through during the same time period. Though being a court jester is not the same thing as being a juggler, some jesters were jugglers. This profession fell in and out of fashion during the Middle Ages, largely dying out by the 19th century as nobles turned more toward music and imperialism for entertainment. While it fell out of fashion at times, and some jesters were jailed for telling bad or inappropriate jokes, they weren’t systematically persecuted.

When the radical Puritan military leader Oliver Cromwell overthrew and executed King Charles II and became King himself of Britain in all but title, his court has no use for jesters or jugglers, unlike previous rulers. There is no evidence he persecuted jugglers, though it was harder to be an actor or performer in Cromwell’s Britain due to the Puritans’ belief that the performing arts were inherently “sinful” and “pagan”, leading them to shut down just about all the theatres. In many ways the situation in Britain after the radical Puritan “Roundhead” takeover was similar to Iran after Khomeini took over in 1979. On the other hand, at least Cromwell allowed the Jews to return to Britain, having been expelled a few centuries ago on the orders of an anti-Semitic monarch.

I haven’t done a lot of research, but in more modern times, it doesn’t look like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or any other murderous, oppressive regimes persecuted jugglers. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anything about Stalin sending jugglers off to the Gulags. As an aside, if being bigoted against jugglers was more widespread, what would these bigots be called? “Anti-jugglites”? “Anti-jugglerites”?

So no, there isn’t any reliable evidence that jugglers were persecuted. If we were, would you pity us?