Olympics VII

Beach Volleyball: You gotta hand it to the ladies. That is one amazing streak. They really did look unbeatable. In fact, they didn’t lose a single game on their way to the gold medal. That’s impressive. The men may have had a loss along the way but they certainly earned that gold. Phil Dalhausser really is an incredible player. His height masks how good he is. It’s easy to think he there’s just because he’s 6’9″, but he chases down loose balls, serves like a monster, and sets ever so sweetly. If I had been 8 inches taller, I would have been Todd Rogers. I was sneaky the same way. I suppose I had to be, I could barely get over the net even in my best days.

Speed walking: A ridiculous sport. The athletes look like overgrown ducks. Sure it takes athletic skill, traveling 20K is always difficult. But that doesn’t make it a sport worthy of the Olympics. This is like being the best flashlight tag player in the world. I understand that you’re the top of your profession but it’s a dumb profession. As a side note, I’m surprised this is not a sport that can get you a college scholarship. Seems like it would be a good way for schools to meet their Title IX obligations.

Synchronized swimming: Like every red-blooded american male, I have heaped no end of scorn on this sad sad excuse for a sport. I must admit though that I really enjoyed the team version this time around. I was blown away by how high they throw each other without being allowed to use the bottom of the pool for leverage. I could still only watch two routines, but that’s two more than I expected.

False starts: The rules need a little revision. Right now there is an incentive to false start because you can mess with other runners at no cost to yourself. If you false start you should be disqualified, end of story.

Relay Race: Oh c’mon America. How many years are we going to blow it this way. Look, if this was the gold medal race that would be one thing. But this is a qualifying round. The top four teams make it. When you are already in the lead you should be making absolutely sure that the pass goes smoothly even if it costs you a couple tenths of a second. Simply unforgiveable.

Olympics Links o’ Interest:
Sex at Olympics Village

Incredible panoramic picture of Bejing Olympic Stadium just before the 100M dash.

The IOC is investigating the age of some of the Chinese gymnasts. If China was trying to show a new face to the world, it’s not working very well.

Links o’ Interest

So many links, so little time.

Ice-Scream

Tapestry-shopped

Greatest Prank ever, it’s on you America!

Ikea meets Escher

Telescopic Text

I’ve been a loser since I was 12 years old

Top 10 Olsen Twin jokes from the Bob Saget roast. Say what you want about Gilbert Godfried, he never pushes the boundaries of good taste.

Watch for bikes

What’s wrong with this layout?

Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Peter Pan arrested

A line has been crossed with this commercial

The Pick-up Artist gets sued. But not for what you think.

25 Sesame Street Celeb Visits

I’m leaning towards… The rest of their cards are funny also. (E-cards, when you care enough to hit “send”)

Worst defense ever – GOP senator burns himself with Maher

FAQ on USB 3.0.

Wow! Amazing computer generated facial animations. I literally can’t tell this from real.

Spaghetti Cat

Constant Setting: a real time display of Flickr sunsets from cities where the sun is setting at the moment.

In praise of Paris Hilton

Drawings by Mike McGrath of his Vietnamese captivity. (Many of them look identical to our current “enhanced interrogation” techniques)

Is McCain another Bush?

Using the Socratic method to teach binary arithmetic to 3rd graders. This transcript is great.

IM conversation of the democratic VP hopefuls

Links o’ Interest

Warning: Home Depot Scam

Obama about to punch McCain

9/11 divorce

A light show with building windows. Must be computer controlled, right?

If he dies, it will be in style

More political music mashups. Obama, Bush, and Tony Blair.

That skyscraper in Dubai, 2008. Wow.

Hockey fan karma, he gets his

Who is Jennifer!?

Stock investing in a nutshell

Insanely steep stairs

What do McCain and Obama’s blogs have in common?

What kind of economist are you? I’m a Liberal Neo-Classicist (Rubinomics)

What else could we have gotten with the $3 trillion spend on Iraq?

Why Tuesday? The movement to make voting on a weekend. The origin of why we currently vote on a Tuesday is fascinating.

In 1845, before Florida, California, and Texas were states or slavery had been abolished, Congress needed to pick a time for Americans to vote. We were an agrarian society. We traveled by horse and buggy. Farmers needed a day to get to the county seat, a day to vote, and a day to get back, without interfering with the three days of worship. So that left Tuesday and Wednesday, but Wednesday was market day. So, Tuesday it was. In 1875 Congress extended the Tuesday date for national House elections and in 1914 for federal Senate elections.

Infographic comparing McCain and Obama tax plans

Poker Update

The cards didn’t run great, but I had a few good hands. My premium hands held up in big pots. I didn’t bad beat anyone, they didn’t bad beat me. Nothing special. Ended up in third place for $60, which is pretty good for eleven people and five rebuys.

Running Total: $86

Olympics VI

They showed 90 seconds of the hammer throw. 90 seconds! That’s the kind of event I want ten minutes on.

I wish they’d set up some of the events more. I love volleyball, but they don’t even tell you when you’re watching a gold medal match or a pool qualifying round. It’s pathetic enough that we have to watch trials and heats of some of these events at the expense of other sports, could they at least tell us what’s going on?

Olympic Edition Links o’ Interest:
The 5 moments from the opening ceremony China doesn’t want you to remember.

Proving the Chinese gymansts are 14, a Google detective story. Part One and Two.

The real medal count, minus the events with subjective judging.

The funniest? sweetest? most pathetic? swimming trial.

The very young Michael Phelps

Seriously Phelps, watch the attitude

Olympics V

(Almost caught up… only a few hours behind)

I feel like I should say something about Phelps. I can’t think of anything. It’s amazing he’s incredible and so on. I was desperately hoping Mark Spitz would launch into a tirade on national TV about how shabbily he’s been treated and Phelps is overrated and is his day they didn’t have these crazy swimsuits etc. No such luck.

I don’t like his Mom and her reactions after the wins. Sure she’s proud. Sure she’s happy. But surprised? Astonished? Mouth hanging open like Mother Teresa just parachuted in? No. It’s Michael Phelps for goodness sakes, half of these races he hasn’t lost for years. Get over it and show a hair of dignity.

When Phelps retires, do you think he’ll gain 80 pounds in the first year? He’s been eating such huge amounts of food for years. Maybe he’ll have a second career as a Subway spokesman.

At last they’re showing minor sports. I’ve just watched shotputting (awesome) indoor cycling (awesome) and badmitton (not so awesome). During badmitton the announcer said of a winning point, “It hits the tape and lands like a butterfly with sore feet!” Ah, the poetry of badmitton.

I like the heptathalon. There really is something amazing about being so good in a variety of sports. The strange one is shot putting. “Ok, you have to run fast, run fast again, run while jumping over something, jump high, jump long… and it says here you’re supposed to huck this big rock as far as you can.” I think they should have more variety. They should compete in a round of golf, slam dunk contest, uneven bars, kayaking, darts, the dozens, Magic, World of Warcraft, rock paper scissors, etc. And of course the shotput.

I just watched a commercial for Bounty. The family discussed how many sheets it would take to pick up the spill they had just made. In the corner it said, “Not a competitive claim”. What does that mean? I think it means they’re lying and you aren’t allowed to hold them to what they’re saying. Has there ever been another ad to say this?

Equestrian: It’s funny that it all takes place in Hong Kong, 1200 miles away from the action. It’s like the organizers said, “You really want to do the whole horses thing? Okay… but we’re not having you weirdos near the actual athletes.” What is with the outfits? How can you call yourself a sport when you’re wearing those ridiculous red jackets? And is there any other olympic sport that depends on an animal? I think it’s kind of cool but let’s have some consistency. Add falconing and the Iditarod. Maybe some piegon shooting, enough with these clay substitutes!

Later update: They did an extended interview with Phelps and his Mom. I have to walk back my snarky comments about her. That mother did something right. Great family. Somewhere the Dad who abandoned them is kicking himself over and over and over.

Steeplechase? I like little events, but that is just plain weird. The water jump is about as random as you can get. I had a vague impression that steeplechase was something horses did. I still think I may be right.

The New Muttroxmobile

My cover as a stereotypical yuppie grows ever deeper. Yesterday I got my first luxury car (entry-level, but give me a break). I’m the proud owner of the 2005 Acura TL below.

acura

I’m starting to learn my way around the car buying thing. The last one I got the dealers to compete amongst themselves. For a new car that’s the winning strategy. It doesn’t work for used cars since they aren’t fungible. But I was finally able to use connections through work (thank you Geaster!) to get one from auction. Saved a couple thousand that way.

Ah, who cares. I got a new car. Goes fast, looks pretty. I just hope I can keep from getting pulled over for speeding before I get the official tags and insurance.

Anyone want to buy a used VW Passat? Very low mileage, but some child-related food stains that won’t come out and a nagging feeling that the whole thing is going to fall apart within a couple months…

Olympics IV

Nope, those Chinese gymansts are not 16. Who’ve thunk it? The interesting part is that there is nothing to be done about it. If China says they’re 16 that’s the end of the story. If we call China a liar we get nowhere.

Why do divers shower after every dive? To keep their muscles loose. What is the little jet of water at the side of the pool for? It creates small ripples that gives divers visual cues to see where the surface of the pool is.

Did you see the coverage about the weightlifter who turned his arm backwards? Good gory stuff.

backwards elbow

I need to update my sport ranking system with a new criteria. To whatever degree a sport is judged on artistic merit, it isn’t a sport. Art is fine, but it isn’t sport. I tuned it to an equestarian event yesterday. There was no jumping and galloping or turning, it was just showing off the horses. Like a dog show — that’s an Olympic sport? Figure skating requires enormous athleticism but the costumes and the emoting take away from the sport. Likewise girls gymnastics with the little freaky dance moves in the middle of floor exercises and all the garbage with the ribbon. That ain’t sports. If you want to do that stuff, aim for this, not the Olympics.