Monday, August 18, 2008

Something Else That's Wrong With Baltimore

From a self-instructional book of piano lessons I'm amusing myself with these days
(sharper image after the link, if needed):

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No Ties

I think it's a good development for presidential candidates to not wear ties. Kennedy didn't need a hat, and I hate ties. Yep. Ties are stupid and bad. Especially in hot weather. No ties. Jesus didn't wear a tie. Did I mention that I don't like ties? Fuck ties. Oh, and by the way, fuck ties.

No ties.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Olympics: A Modest Proposal

I'm a sucker for the Olympics. I always have been, for some reason. I remember the jet-pack guy from Los Angeles '84 -- where else does that shit happen? Perhaps it was that I was exposed to the pageantric immediacy of the opening ceremonies to the 1978 Pan-American Games hosted in my country when I was but a very young man (I could see the fireworks both through our front door and ON TV AT THE SAME TIME -- Puerto Rico is very small) that impressed into me a sense of caring, even though I absolutely don't give a shit for sports, organized or otherwise (other than biking, if it's me doing it).

Because of this, I was tempted to write something laudatory about the opening ceremonies in Beijing last week, which was literally the greatest show on Earth, EVER. I knew it was going to be, almost 20 years ago, when I first heard that China was vying for the Games (I mean, if there is one thing the Chinese have down is how to organize 20,000 people into a hell of a spectacle). It met and exceeded expectations.

However, instead, here I am, writing about how the Hungarian weightlifter fucked up his arms. I don't actually have the details of what happened, or just how "horrific" (I love it when that word is used in a straight-news headline) the injury was, because I absolutely fucking refuse to be exposed to pictures, video or any sort of detailed description of what it's like to have your elbow(s) "bent the wrong way". I'm just sorry I glanced at the headline off whatever news web site it was. I not only have a low threshold for pain, I have a low threshold for READING about pain.

My first instinct is to suggest that perhaps young, healthy people shouldn't be encouraged to put their bodies at grave risk of permanent injury while the whole world is watching; young people are already susceptible to peer pressure without the notion of "Well, the last guy lifted 300kg over his head and lived; what are you going to do for me today? And by the way, all possible boy / girlfriends you will ever meet for the rest of your life are watching".

Of course, where do you draw the line? We can't just exclude outright any event from the Olympics which may result in injury to the competitor. On one end of the scale we have (ironically) something like Archery which, while it involves actual weapons, they are not pointed at any person at any time, and thus are 100% safe. On the other end of the scale we have something like Gymnastics, and specifically events where you are expected to do things like a double somersault 8m twirl in the air and land on one foot on a beam 10cm wide (which has in the past sometimes resulted in the twirler landing head-first on the judges' tables, to much commotion and only sometimes in their walking away from it).

I believe the answer lies, to borrow a strategy from demographic marketing, not in segregation but in segmentation. Currently there is the Olympics, and then there is the Paralympics, the Olympics for people with disabilities. I would like to propose that there should be formed an Events Body called the Proto-Paralympics, which, of course, will be a showcase of sports events that are likely to be the source of athletes who can then compete in the Paralympics.

"Petty and spiteful", says my husband, upon being read aloud that last paragraph. "Towards whom?" I ask. Quite far from being a censor, nor a chider, I would really just like to have some assurance that I don't have to see someone self-braining as they "dismount" from anything (what a lovely euphemism for flinging oneself head-first towards the floor).

Oh, and as a rider to my proposal, bring back the speedos, for fuck's sake.

[Pretzel Vitruvian Man courtesy of]

Something I may or may not recommend depending on which ad is shown: