Friday, July 28, 2006

Floyd, Je ne comprend pas.

Please Floyd. Say it ain't so. You're not a cheater. You didn't take steroids during the tour de France. Just say it's not true and I'll believe you.

And you know why? Because I do believe you. I don't think you won the tour by taking steroids. This so called "positive" test just doesn't make sense and I'll tell you why.

1. All of your previous tests were negative. How can you go through 16 stages of the Tour de France and not test positive and then suddenly have a positive test on stage 17, your fantastic come from behind victory?

2. Why would you take steroids only for stage 17. Steroids help build muscle and strength over a long period of time. You would get no benefit from a single steroid dose the day before the stage. You know that. You're not stupid.

3. You're not stupid. With all the controversy surrounding allegations against Lance in the past and the current allegations against the top riders who were excluded from the tour this year, it would be foolish to attempt any kind of doping during this years race. Right?

To paraphrase Johnny Cochran: It makes no sense. It does not fit. If it does not fit you must aquit.

Let me tell you what I think is going on: Warning: conspiracy theory ahead!

A. This could just be a case of testing error. The lab made a mistake. Hopefully this is the case and the backup sample will test negative and you'll be exhonerated.

B. For some reason your body naturally produced a high level of testosterone that day. I think this is feasable. Possibly this was your body's way of reparing itself after crashing and burning the previous day.

C. Someone intentionally rigged the test. Your urine sample was switched. Or spiked. I find this theory the most attractive of all. The French are very upset that a Frenchman hasn't won the Tour de France in 21 years. The last Frenchman to win was Bernard Hinault in 1985. Even more upsetting is that Americans have won 11 Tours in that time period! Greg Lemond, Lance Armstrong and now you. We all know the French hate Americans (even though we've saved their asses from annihilation time and again). I think they'd do anything to taint an American victory and create a scandal. Including falsifying drug tests. They tried to do it to Lance and failed. Don't let them do it to you. Who knows, maybe the whole doping scandal just before the tour that eliminated Jan Ulrich, Ivan Basso and other leading contenders from the tour was an attempt by the French to remove the competition so Christophe Moreau would have a better chance to win.

What can I do to help?

Well I'm afraid not much. But I'll tell you this. I'm no longer buying any Bordeau. It's California Cabernet all the way. And French cheese? Forget it. White cheddar from Ireland from now on. And my Serge Gainsbourg records? Into the trash!

And if by chance you did cheat and take steroids. Well, it's OK. I forgive you. After all, everybody does it.

Party on Floyd!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tour de France

As an avid cyclist I have been watching the Tour de France religiously the last 2 weeks and what an unbelievable tour it is.

First, many of the top contenders were kicked out, including Jan Ulrich and Ivan Basso, because of a doping scandal before the race even started.

Next there was the surprisingly bad performance of the American contenders in the opening time trial (with the exception of Floyd Landis). George Hincappie, Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie all had bad days. Bobby Julich crashed on the time trial, broke his wrist and was out of the tour.

The Discovery Channel team, winners of the last 7 tours with Lance Armstrong are struggling mightily. Currently the highest place Discovery rider is Jose Azevedo in the 19th spot, 34 minutes behind the leader. What a huge fall for a once dominant team. The team leader, George Hincapie thought it might be his year to take over for Lance and win the yellow jersey. He's currntly in 32nd place, one hour and 7 minutes behind.

Then there was stage 12. With Floyd Landis starting the day with a small lead, Oscar Pereiro and Yaroslav Popovych went on a breakaway and the peleton let them go. They finished 30 minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group and Perieiro went from 28 minutes down into a 1 and a half minute lead over Landis. Incredible.

Stage 15 saw Landis get the lead back from Pereiro on the famed L'Alpe d'Huez and it looked like he was in total control of the race.
Then, the unthinkable happened yesterday on stage 16. Landis cracked on the last climb, La Toussuire, and lost 8 minutes to Pereiro and dropped to 11th place. It looked like the man whom many had picked to win the tour had dropped out of contention for the yellow jersey.

But hold on. Stage 17 and another crazy day. The final day of big climbs in the Alps, and Landis attacked. He rode away from the peleton up the first climb of the day, the Col de Saissies and ended up winning the stage by almost 6 minutes over Carlos Sastre. He gained back much of the time he lost yesterday and now is in third place, only 30 seconds behind Pereiro and 18 seconds behind Sastre. With the individual time trial to come which is Landis' speciality it looks like he's once again the leading contender to win the race. But who knows. So many crazy things have happened in this years tour it's impossible to predict the outcome for the last few days. I can't wait for the time trial!

One of the great things about the Tour de France is it makes me want to go out and ride my bike. Not that I don't ride a lot already. I'm just more excited about doing it. I watch these amazing athletes perform day after day and it motivates me. I push myself a little harder. I ride a little farther. I truly believe that professional cyclists are the best, most fit athletes in the world. They endure long hours of incredible suffering on the bike. What they do is amazing. And despite what many might think, the sport is quite dangereous. Serious crashes occur every day in the peletons. Or riders crash on the steep descents. I think those descents are crazy. They can reach speeds of 60 mph on a bike! I lose my nerve at about 40 mph. At 45 mph I think I'd fill my shorts.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pirate of the Caribbean or Death Camp Refugee?

Number one son has been talking about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead
Man's Chest
for months. So of course we had to see it on opening night. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Almost as much as the first one. And the boys thought it was great. They're ready to go see it again (which we probably will do. We saw Star Wars Revenge on the Sith on 2 consecutive nights)

Then I see these photos of Kiera Knightly at the movie premier.

What happened? Where are her breasts? It looks like she took the title of the movie "Dead Man's Chest" a little to literally. Either that or she got a bad case of scurvy during filming. It looks like she hasn't eaten for months.

All I can say to this is Arrrrrrrrrrgh! Somebody give that woman a sandwich!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

shock the man

Well, this one is a little bizzare but strangely compelling.

Jason Mitchell is conducting a social experiment. With a dog obedience shock collar. He used this collar on his dog but after trying it on himself he felt guilty because it hurt so much.

Now he's giving you the opportunity to shock him. Or not. It's all up to you. You can buy shocks in varying levels of intensity from 1-4. Or you can chose to save him from the shocks by buying "saves".

He records all of the shocks on video which you can view either live on his web site or on a podcast at the end of the day.

I bought a level 4 shock and watched him do it. He had to do three level 4's in a row yesterday. He seemed to handle them pretty well but after reading some of the comments on his blog I think it hurts more than he's letting on. I felt bad about the shock so today I bought a level 4 save.

It's an interesting experiment. It gives you a glimpse of human nature at work. So far the shocks outnumber the saves 21 to 7. That's not surprising. I think most people have a slightly morbid or sadistic streak in them. That's why the media reports the bad news. The plane crashes. The murders. People are drawn to that more than they are the happy stories. That's why we slow down at car crashes and gawk. I think it would be great if there was a sudden outpouring of "saves" and Jason never got shocked again. But it won't happen. It's more fun to watch him squirm than to sit there and do nothing.

Then again this whole thing could be a money making scheme. Maybe it hurts less than he lets on. Or maybe he doesn't shock himself at all but fakes it. Who knows. I tend to think the thing is legit and it will be interesting to see how it develops.

I just want to know one thing. Where are the "Save Jason" T-shirts?