My schedule’s been all bollixed up these days, and I keep missing my 10 a.m. exercise class, Pumping Iron for Cougars and a Few Fat Girls Like Me. So last night I went to Pilates for the first time. Mat Pilates, aka the kind you do in a class, as opposed to the one you do on the special machine, which is called a Reformer.
“Despite the somewhat medieval name,” begins the About.com article about the Pilates Reformer, and that phrase says it all. Isn’t every exercise program an attempt at reform, as it was practiced in the medieval age? Pilates, I found, will reform you fast. Whether you will be aware of your reformation is another matter, however. It depends on whether you can see through the film of sweat pouring into your eyes as you observe your teacher holding herself in the shape of a V, balancing as lightly on her butt as a bird balances on a wire. “Hold it for a moment,” she purrs, holding it for several moments.
The teacher had a lilting accent that I suspect was Brazilian. Those Brazilian babes invented the naked bathing suit, and I guess this is how they stay in shape for it. All I know is, my ass was thoroughly kicked, and today I’m swallowing ibuprofen.
Yoga is like this, too. I used to think of yoga as a gussied-up form of stretching. Due to my freakish anatomy — I’m all torso, with an inseam of about 18 inches, a human basset hound — I can easily get into plow position, even without a warmup. About 10 minutes into my first yoga class, struggling to balance on one leg, a sheen of perspiration popping out all over my face, I thought, goddamn, so much for relaxation. I also lack the ability to do the things yoga teachers are always crooning about: Find your center and empty your mind. The only place I ever successfully emptied my mind while using my body was on horseback, and the feeling was so wonderful, and fleeting, that I’m still suspicious of it. (Nothing like jumping eight fences at a good clip and then having no memory of it to flip you out.) Find me a person who can empty their mind at will, in a darkened room with yoga music playing in the background, and I’ll show you a person who needs some more to think about.
The reaction to Ted Kennedy’s passing was about what you’d expect — and yes, Roy did the roundup — but for sheer amusement, yesterday was a good day to see why I keep Rod Dreher in the folder called Idiots.
At 7:14 a.m.: The tragic life of Ted Kennedy: All the potential for greatness he possessed he squandered because of his inability to transcend his own all too human weaknesses. Chappaquiddick was only the worst of it. He did, of course, achieve a kind of greatness, and one shouldn’t try to take that away from him. But it’s hard to think of him this morning without thinking about what might have been had he been able to bear the burden of history and his slain brothers’ legacies. He could have done so much more with what he had been given.
Commenters pile on, say, essentially, WTF? At 2:51 p.m., When Ted Kennedy redeemed himself: You never really know about people, do you? …I’m glad it’s up to God to judge the eternal fate of human souls, because only He can know the whole story.
At 6:28 p.m., Ted Kennedy as Don Draper. It’s the best of the lot: But given how accomplished Kennedy was as a legislator, I do wonder how much we have lost because a Ted Kennedy is not really possible today — meaning how many talented but deeply flawed men never go into public life because they couldn’t survive the moral judgment of the public regarding their personal sins and failings, and no longer have the protective veil of social hypocrisy to shield themselves.
Hours later, still more: On abortion, a once-Catholic Ted Kennedy. He used to oppose abortion, then “grew in office.” I guess he was right the first time then, eh?
For a much better take, I prefer Lance Mannion’s Ted and me. I excerpt, but just go read.
Off to cougar class. If I can still move.