Siege Diaries 7/27/2021

Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: What is better than virtue?

The associated meditation really restricts “virtue” to the four Stoic ones: Justice, honesty, discipline, and courage. These are all important virtues to me, but I think it goes wrong by discounting some of the others, especially things such as hope and charity/love. The meditation states “there is never enough love.” And surprisingly, the meditation does not mention kindness, which is often specifically listed as a Stoic virtue and is rather close to the virtue of love or charity as discussed in the seven Christian virtues. And that’s where I think the meditation falls down, since it focuses on love as a thing you get, rather than a thing you give.

And it reminded me of this song.


Now that SMASH is over, a bit about the Olympics:

As I think I’ve written about before, I am a complete Olympics junkie, dating all the way back to the 1976 Montreal Olympics. I love the sports, the stories about the cultures of the host cities, the drama, the idea of people coming together from all over the world for something positive–all of those things. I’ve bought the Team Canada gear, first from Roots, and then from HBC.

I’m increasingly over it. Normally, I’d be posting bits about Canada’s medallists in Facebook, trying to catch coverage of my favourite sports (although there are fewer of them in the summer), just enjoying the distraction from the regular news. And I’ll admit I am still getting excited about Canadian medals.

It’s not precisely the pandemic that’s deflated my Olympic dirigible, though that’s part of it. I’m happy to see the athletes finally get a chance to compete. It is, and has been for some time, the demonstrably horrid International Olympic Committee. It began with all of the politics around bids, moved into all of the doping controversies, and lately has been particularly centred on issues of race and gender. For instance, the Caster Semenya rules–rules specifically designed to keep this woman, who happens to have a naturally high level of testosterone, out of her specific events. And the regulations are worded in a way that implies that she isn’t an actual woman. As has been pointed out, many other athletes have been born with body shapes or features that predispose them to being phenomenal at their chosen sports–and no one has ever said that Michael Phelps, for instance, should have been penalized for these naturally-occurring body shapes. I certainly can understand the IOC’s stance in some ways–I grew up in an era where Eastern Bloc athletes, both men and women, were suspected of doping violations–but this isn’t doping. Nor is it a case of a trans athlete “trying to put one over”–Semenya isn’t trans. (She might possibly be intersex, but that’s immaterial to the discussion, as she has never been considered or considered herself anything other than female. Many intersex people live for years without knowing that their genetic makeup is something different than they assumed. I know at least two people in this situation, and no, you can’t tell by looking at them.)

Add to this the corruption of the IOC and the skeevy practices of too many recent host cities, and I end up with an event that leaves a bad taste in my mouth, even as I love watching the athletes and the abstract idea of the Olympics, as much as I have wonderful memories of past events. Come winter, I’ll probably be watching a little more actively again–depending on how the pandemic goes–but at this very moment, I’m mostly taking a pass, and I don’t know that I will ever buy another Olympic team t-shirt from the Bay. Maybe the IOC will clean up its act, but I’m not counting on it.

The scroll I completed this weekend is off in the mail. I’ve started embroidering my first Cat of Brutalism (and have determined that one of my pieces is going to need to be bigger if I am going to get good detail on the cat.). I’m also going to order or purchase some photo paper for the printed part of these pieces-but I’ll check my drawer here first to make sure I don’t already have what I need.

The antique carved pelican I acquired from a friend was delivered today. I also bought tickets for another Coffee Concert at the Shaw in August, as well as a Duke Ellington show that both my husband and I will attend–I will be taking a day off, and we’ll be going down to NoTL for the day before the performance at 4 pm. Other than that, it was a lot of taking things slowly and cleaning up after all of the SMASHing.


Here’s a piece about some of Shostakovich’s most fizzy, wonderful music.