Dope

Lance Armstrong taking the Pete Rose approach:

As long as I live, I will deny it. There was absolutely no way I forced people, encouraged people, told people, helped people, facilitated. Absolutely not. One hundred percent.

His choice of words here is interesting even though his grammar is abhorrant.

Personal opinion: People who say “100 percent,” regardless of context, are attempting to blow smoke up your ass.

My thoughts on this whole “Lance Thing” are scattered. You may not care at all, gentle reader. Be assured though that Armstrong’s handlers care deeply what you think, and for good reason. His legacy is at stake and by proxy, so is his charitable foundation. In fact, in the New York Times article mentioned below, there is this sense that his people don’t care what his transgressions are/were since ‘his good acts outweigh his bad ones.’ Sounds like a sideways admission of guilt to me.

Interesting excerpt from the great NYT article on the subject:

Jay Coakley, a sociologist and the author of “Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies,” said that he had no doubt that Mr. Armstrong was guilty of doping, but that it did not matter. For athletes, he said, the line between performance enhancement and medical treatment has become so fuzzy that it is impossible to discern.

“Deciding to use performance-enhancing substances and methods has nothing to do with lack of morality,” Mr. Coakley said. “It has to do with normative structure of elite sport, and the athlete’s commitment to his identity as an athlete.”

Such a great insight. It leads well into an NPR story I heard days later that chronicles Katherine Hamilton’s decision to opt out of sports entirely:

“There is an untold story,” she said, “about all the thousands … who make a conscious decision, that are really great athletes doing the right thing, working really hard — and they just drop out because they’re just not willing to do the things to your body and to go down that road.”

In other words, athletes who don’t just say no to drugs, but no to sport[.]

Doping may be a (very) roundabout way to help cancer patients, but it’s also the apparent cause of other types of societal illness.

[Bruce Weber and Juliet Macur @ the New York Times via the Browser]

[image via correct-weight-loss.net]
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September 16, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. 2 comments.

New York to Berlin

Overnight flight.

Cristoph Niemann tried to make the best of it.

[…]

[Christoph Niemann @ the New York Times via Kottke]

September 12, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Comics. Leave a comment.

Bad Churchill

Turns out (the great) Winston Churchill was a bit of an imperialist murderer.

He gladly took part in raids that laid waste to whole valleys, writing: “We proceeded systematically, village by village, and we destroyed the houses, filled up the wells, blew down the towers, cut down the shady trees, burned the crops and broke the reservoirs in punitive devastation.” He then sped off to help reconquer the Sudan, where he bragged that he personally shot at least three “savages.”

Obama apparently kind of hates the guy. For good reason too.

George W. Bush left a big growling bust of Churchill near his desk in the White House, in an attempt to associate himself with Churchill’s heroic stand against fascism. Barack Obama had it returned to Britain. It’s not hard to guess why: his Kenyan grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was imprisoned without trial for two years and tortured on Churchill’s watch, for resisting Churchill’s empire.

Obviously, dude wasn’t all bad. Hitler repulsed him for good reason.

He may have been a thug, but he knew a greater thug when he saw one — and we may owe our freedom today to this wrinkle in history.

[Johann Hari @ the New York Times via the Browser]

[image via solarnavigator]

September 1, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

Chongqing Dog Days

Epic recounting of a rainy evening in the fastest growing city in the world.

My bout of anguish began a few weeks back on a wintry night in central China, in the restless megalopolis of Chongqing. I was cold, wet and seeking refuge.“What’s that?” I asked my resourceful interpreter, Xiyun Yang, pointing to a steamy, crowded establishment with a big red neon sign (the Chinese approach is, when in doubt, make it gaudy).

“You don’t want to know.”

“I think I do.”

Some thoughts about the morality behind the particular animals we choose to eat, but the real draw here is the narrative.

“It’s a dog restaurant.” It was then that I noticed the image of a puppy with floppy ears beside the Chinese characters.

I gave Xiyun a long, hard look. “Dog’s really good,” she said. “I love it.”

[…]

“When the dog meat is being simmered, even the gods become dizzy with hunger.”

[Roger Cohen @ the New York Times via the Browser]

[image via dojmg]

August 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.

Election Criteria

We’re on the cusp of election season and I think I have a new prerequisite if a candidate wants my vote:

You must have seen all five seasons of the Wire.

I got this idea from the new Mayor of Reykjavik (the capital of Iceland), Jón Gnarr. This guy used to be a punk rocker, a comedian, and an actor, but now he’s running the show. Gnarr didn’t win a majority, but did garner a plurality. In seeking out a coalition partner he,

… ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of “The Wire.”

There it is. I’ll get my prospective ballot ready and e-mail the contestants one by one. I can’t think of any better selection criteria given the wide-spread duplicity of the average politician (i.e. I don’t trust their proclamations).

[More about Mayor Gnarr via Kottke & The NYT]

[image via Televisual]

August 13, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Reading. Leave a comment.