Not In My Name

As the above links attest attacks on Mosques, other Muslim buildings and Muslims themselves have increased significantly since the Woolwich attacks. The people doing this are often trying to induce wider conflict between Muslims and everyone else. But they are not acting this atheist’s name. All communities and especially religious ones have extremists in them (and it is all too easy to dismiss people with the tag). If we let the extremists in the wider community goad us into conflict with ordinary Muslims then we all lose and only the extremists win.

I hold no candle for Islam or any other religion but that doesn’t mean I am against religious freedom. I cannot expect my freedom from religion to be maintained by trying to ban other people from following their religions. Education, reason and evidence and maintaining the secular space where all can meet and debate and atheists and humanists demonstrating they can live moral, contributory lives without religion are the ‘weapons’ we can and should use. With humour, generosity and humility (which comes hard to many atheists, but we must try. Where it’s warranted).


The Vicissitudes of Gout

Last year the penny dropped that my sore toe wasn’t a niggling running injury when the toe on the other foot began to hurt too. The GP confirmed my hunch and so to get rid of it and hopefully avoid a kidney stone I reformed my diet, again (I’m gluten and lactose intolerant, sadly). Things have been going well, the other toe is now pain free and the original one very much better.

I’ve recently had a bout of flu and was feverish for three days which made me dehydrated and that made my right kidney hurt and a new penny dropped. I couldn’t avoid a kidney stone because I already had one at diagnosis. In the latter stages of a long run I had felt my right lower back and thought it a muscle strain.

Diagnosis is like that, the most likely scenario is the one we naturally look to and there are good reasons for that too. As I’ve aged I’ve pulled more muscles and tendons in the last ten years than the previous 25.

In keeping with the realities of life as a middle aged runner I instituted some back strengthening exercises, largely latter planks. Which have done me no harm and probably something I should have been doing anyway. I’ve added it to the list of exercises I do to stave off pain and strengthen those muscles I used to be able to take for granted. All this knowledge of muscle anatomy has it’s uses.

So, I now must face the fact I have a kidney stone, it’s rumbling away right now so I shall have to drink something. I’m always drinking something. At least the GP took me seriously and I have been blood and urine sampled and had my kidneys and bladder x-rayed. The NHS here in Scotland can be efficient.

I know I’ve got off lightly and there are other horrors I could be enduring. But that doesn’t lessen my chagrin that the thing I had tried so hard to avoid had already snared me. I had better be on my best dietary behaviour then. It’s a good thing my wife likes chicken.


My wife and daughter reckon I should start to blog. Personally I don’t see that I have any more insight and contribution than many of the bloggers out there, but maybe they are right, so here goes.

This will be a blog about life, science and the news as well as running, gluten intolerance and gout. The latter two mean there may be recipes.

In case you are wondering, I’m the same Muscleguy that posts on CiF and various other places on the web. I like to stand behind my words, so if you want to take me up my words elsewhere I guess this is the place to do it (dons flameproof suit and checks the bunker door is secure).

So now I need to go away and think about what I should write about first.