Re: Oh, China

1

That they were made by the Wuhan One Hundred Percent Gold Medal Corporation is pretty funny.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:42 PM
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Yes, I realize that's the joke. But it made me laugh.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:43 PM
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I liked the "what am I supposed to do? stop being so awesome?" line by Phelps. It's what I tell my parents whenever I inevitably disappoint them with my assimilationist ways.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:45 PM
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The rest isn't very funny.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:45 PM
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AWB,

This is no joke! It goes to show how poor the quality control is in China. I am certain they were not trying to poison anyone, but this was fraud nonetheless. And that poor Chinese gymnast who was lost? I knew they were not using OSHA requirements for their construction.

It is all fun and games until a drain hole is too big or someone tries to melt a medal.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:47 PM
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Andy Borowitz is a junkie and a sellout.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:47 PM
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3: Is that for real? The second half of that article made me think that I was reading the Onion.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:48 PM
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Not funny, but, "Wuhan, China's largest exporter of gold medals", sort of makes you wonder about the size of the world market for gold medals, and what percentage are made in China.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:48 PM
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7: What article?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:48 PM
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7: What article?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:49 PM
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The linked article. The linked article.

BG, Andy Borowitz is like the New Yorker's Sy Hersh. Investigative stuff, deep in the shadows.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:52 PM
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Is that for real?

The seven-pound gymnast should offer a clue.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:52 PM
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12: I missed that part. I have a horrid headache and only skimmed. The formatting on that is very effective. It gives it superficial credibility.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:55 PM
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I mostly thought this post was good for pulling Stras's chain.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:55 PM
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For some reason 14 makes me think of stras as an old fashioned toilet, such that I almost said "Careful! Don't flush him!"

Maybe I'm on acid or something, I don't know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:56 PM
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Eh, "Pétoche" (http://www.koztoujours.fr), c'est drôlement chouette de sympa de garder le MESSAGE que je dois faire passer à cette GROSSE TACHE qui vit, là-haut, sous les combles, LE MANIAQUE DE L'ÉLECTRICITÉ, qui aboie quand on lui parle et se tient toujours au garde à vous prêt à obéir, le MESSAGE étant : " ELLE... A DIT : "CALTEZ, VOLAILLES !" .
Merci pour ce fabuleux espace démocratique du chien (énième couplet)


Posted by: choz | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:56 PM
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In other Olympic news, China's hopes for winning more medals in women's gymnastics were dashed when one of their leading gymnasts vanished down a bathtub drain on Tuesday.

Awesome. (The best part about the whole underage gymnast controversy is that friggin' Bela Karolyi is getting to be the voice of reason about women's gymnastics. How many of his gymnasts ended up with eating disorders and think his training methods are too harsh?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 1:57 PM
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I haven't paid attention to gymnastics in aeons. There's a minimum age for female gymnasts? Someone said it was 16. I remember Karolyi training 13 year-olds.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:01 PM
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Sometimes I start to feel a little cocky because our side has Jon Stewart, Al Franken, et alia, while their side has "Mallard Filmore" and "Day By Day". Then, inevitably, I remember that Borowitz is on our team.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:02 PM
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19: yeah he always fucks up the pommel horse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:03 PM
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Knecht just showed us his gen et alia.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:05 PM
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Something I saw earlier today in Unfogged comments (I'm not saying what) caused me to Google "Cheney" and "pacemaker," and I came up with this bit of satire.

The writer obviously worked hard on this, but I think that beyond the headline, which is good for a giggle, the rest of it isn't really that good - and shows how tough it is to come up with Onion-quality satire.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:07 PM
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21: And now when he wants to flash us again, he need only use Ibid.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:08 PM
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22 is painful.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:09 PM
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Aww, you guys give it away too soon.

Yeah, the gymnasts must either turn 16 before the end of the Olympic year - or - have a national government willing to lie about it.

I hear Condi is giving a speech denouncing the fraudulent passports and Bush will get right on this after he stops Russia from invading Georgia. After he gets home from the Olympics. And after his vacation after that. Hopefully before his nap.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:10 PM
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22 is painful.

Especially since it suffers in the shadow of this.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:12 PM
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"This feeling...I've never felt it..."
"Is it love, Gob?"
"No, Michael. I know what an erection feels like. This is like my heart is hard."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:14 PM
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27: This Q&A is awesome.

let me know if you want to know more


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:17 PM
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This article bothers me for so many reasons that I can't quite articulate right now, other than that it really does smack of yellow peril China-bashing. Legitimate arguments about underage athletes are in order, but this was kind of creepy in tone, infantilizing the Chinese gymnastic team and stipulating that we Americans know what collective team spirit means and they don't! If the girls really are underage, fine, that's a legitimate concern. But if they merely "look" younger--well, Asian women are petite and look young for a long time. I occasionally get carded for R movies, and I'm 27.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:20 PM
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It turns out that they raised the minimum age for gymnasts to 15 in 1980 and then to 16 in 1997.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_controversies_in_gymnastics


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:20 PM
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But if they merely "look" younger--well, Asian women are petite and look young for a long time.

That article is totally annoying. But, I've got to say, my first thought seeing the one girl with lots of blue eye shadow was "There's no way in hell she's 16."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:26 PM
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If she's wearing makeup she must be much older, agreed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:26 PM
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29: Apparently in some competitions a couple of their competitors were listed as having birthdates that would have made them only 14 or 15. They did look really tiny, even for gymnasts.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:27 PM
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I can't recall what I looked like at 16. I know I looked 12 though. I didn't start wearing makeup until I was 19, and only with makeup and grown-up clothes do I look "my age."

I think I hated that "doll-sized" line in the article the most. Not that I myself am bird-boned petite, but yes, we Asian girls are so cute and pocket-sized. My sister in law is 4'11", and at the age of 40, is mistaken for my classmate sometimes when we're out and about.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:29 PM
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But, I've got to say, my first thought seeing the one girl with lots of blue eye shadow was "There's no way in hell she's 16."

Were you thinking, "Only a 13-year old would wear that much eye shadow! Any girl knows how to be more subtle with make-up by the time she's 16!"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:30 PM
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Heebie has thrown pearls before swine something white people like before people who don't like stuff white people like. I laughed as soon as I saw the title of the post, and laughed again at it being to a fake news source.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:31 PM
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It is really obnoxious that O'Rourke repeatedly compares various gymnasts to dolls and toys. At whatever age they might be, these gymnasts are fierce competitors with a lot of muscle and serious training. MO'R is usually better than that, I thought.

Mark Liberman is, as usual, brilliant in his response to my arch-nemesis David Brooks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:32 PM
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34: The article is really bad. Though I think it's trying to mock NBC coverage, which has been atrocious. (The Chinese gymnastics team are like sisters, except in one-child China, there are no sisters, so it's really special.)

Still, when you make 4'9'' Shawn Johnson look beefy and big, you're tiny.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:33 PM
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At whatever age they might be, these gymnasts are fierce competitors with a lot of muscle and serious training.

And they will CUT YOU if you fuck with them. grrr!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:34 PM
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When I was 16, I bestrode the earth like a god, my curled brown locks falling loosely about my shining face, my profile fit to be cast in gold; the girls all turned their heads* when I entered a room, and I never wanted for homosociality. My car was fast, my athleticism renowned, my opposition to capitalism complete.

*in my direction


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:40 PM
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I would have looked your way, W-lfs-n.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:42 PM
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my profile fit to be cast in gold
Just don't lick it if it's made in China.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:43 PM
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At whatever age they might be, these gymnasts are fierce competitors with a lot of muscle and serious training.

No joke about the muscle. Women's gymnastics is so fucking creepy; it's bizarre watching these kids with necks wider than their jaws.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:43 PM
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One of the Chinese gymnasts, the older one, may have looks like she just recently lost a baby tooth. I'm not the best judge of age, so I'll refrain, but the Chinese team *did* make the American girls look big and mature. And that's not how I normally describe 5'2" olympic gymnasts. It also caught my attention, reading an article this morning, that one of the American girls, who weighs 117lbs, outweighs another of the chinese girls by 50 lbs. I find that amazing.

On the other hand, it's weird that being 14 or 15 is an advantage. What an odd sport.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:44 PM
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5'2" olympic gymnasts

Isn't that awfully tall for an olympic gymnast?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:45 PM
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At whatever age they might be, these gymnasts are fierce competitors with a lot of muscle and serious training.

Which is why the makeup and the uniforms are such bullshit. They're athletes, and should be treated like athletes. Why not let them wear the men's uniforms? (This goes double for beach volleyball) That said, it seems to me that any sport requiring people to be 14 or 15 (and an extremely young-looking 14 or 15) to really compete at a world level is fundamentally fucked up.

Also, it is pretty funny how every announcer and commentator seems to be making constant snark about the Chinese team's age. Last night I remember hearing roughly "Well, we've been shown the passport stating that she's of age, and it's a moot point by now since the decision has been made and she's in the competition. But really, you viewers can decide for yourselves, does she look 16?"


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:46 PM
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Of course you would have, BL. All the girls did.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:47 PM
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I probably shouldn't pretend that I'm not judging. As Cala said, their listed birthdates in previous competitions put them at younger. AFAIK, they had no incentive to lie then, and they have a huge incentive to lie now. It would seem naive, really, to actually believe these girls were of age.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:50 PM
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This goes double for beach volleyball

Seriously. Especially when May-Treanor and Walsh are OMG-SO-GOOD. I watched a few of their matches before watching the top US men's team and was shocked at how poorly the men seemed to play compared to the women. It was like a completely different game. I know beach volleyball seems like a BS sport, but it's only because the way it's advertised (bikinis on chicks y'all! they love their new hubbies!) demeans it so much.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:51 PM
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beach volleyball

We had several threads on this during the last olympics, I do believe. IIRC, evidence was offered that the women's uniforms were pushed by the players, and the rules actually state the minimum not maximum coverage of the clothing. The brazilians pushed hard for thongs or something.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 2:55 PM
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A relevant cakewreck.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:00 PM
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50: I thought about that, but then I saw the men playing in baggy shorts and a tank top and now think it has to sorta be bullshit. Are women immune to sand-in-underwear chafing? Or will only men shrivel in the sun's rays if they wear a banana hammock?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:01 PM
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They love to do close-up replays of the women shaking sand out of their bikini bottoms. "Looks like Misty's got a little sand in there! Heh."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:02 PM
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One of the Chinese women's synchro diving pairs were both 4'6". Which is only just taller than my 7 year old. They didn't look particularly young, but it's quite amazing to think of such tiny women being such excellent Olympians.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:04 PM
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29: But if they merely "look" younger--well, Asian women are petite and look young for a long time. I occasionally get carded for R movies, and I'm 27.

From my time in Taiwan, that's true. I doubt that Chinese make mistakes in guessing Chinese ages, but Americans don't know how to do it. The things you need to look for are different.

In my opinion it's partly biological and partly cultural. Taiwan Chinese (M and F) did not have a fetish about showing how sophisticated and advanced they were by being tough, cynical, and street-smart. They actually wanted to stay nice all their life.

/orientalism


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:11 PM
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My sister in law is 4'11", and at the age of 40, is mistaken for my classmate sometimes when we're out and about.

Not to claim that I know how it is for Asian women, but my mother, both sisters, and one or more aunts are under 5'. Short people are actually more or less OK; we hate all normal-sized people, but we're cowed and powerless and mostly just go about our lives.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:16 PM
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52. I know exactly what you mean. It's kind of creepy the way it parallels the way people dress at the beach. All the women in bikinis and the guys in long board shorts. What's up with that?


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:16 PM
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The article is also obnoxious about the American gymnasts:

On average 30 pounds heavier and 3.5 inches taller than the doll-sized Chinese gymnasts, they had the sheen of aging starlets, imbuing the scene with a peculiar Sunset Boulevard feel. From the start, we knew how this would end, with the young outshining the "old."
In . . . the floor exercise, all three American competitors . . . stepped out of bounds, as if the equipment were taunting them: You're too big and old.

So stupid on so many levels.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:17 PM
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we hate all normal-sized people, but we're cowed and powerless and mostly just go about our lives.

Preach it!!!


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:18 PM
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37: No, Bear. Brooks is my arch-nemesis. Go get your own arch-nemesis. Nastiest man in punditry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:19 PM
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I know beach volleyball seems like a BS sport, but it's only because the way it's advertised (bikinis on chicks y'all! they love their new hubbies!) demeans it so much.

I just think it's a more interesting sport. Indoor volleyball has too many people. Also, the sand makes for more awesome diving saves.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:20 PM
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37: No, Bear. Brooks is my arch-nemesis. Go get your own arch-nemesis. Nastiest man in punditry.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:23 PM
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My blog previous to ITNSII? was mostly about a year's worth of me vowing to punch Brooks in the face. I had to quit that blog because my hatred of Brooks was taking over the rest of my life.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:25 PM
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From Bear's link:

Question for Language Log: Is it correct that these sorts of experiments have been done over and over again, and the results reveal the same underlying pattern. Americans usually see individuals; Chinese and other Asians see contexts.

Answer:
In principle, yes. But first of all, depending on how the experiments are done and who the subjects are, the effects are sometimes small or non-existent; and second, in some of the experiments, young Asians show as much tendency to categorize as Americans, or even more; and third, "Asian" behavior is found in some other groups of subjects, for example working-class Italians; and fourth, nearly all the experiments are done with words, and when you test bilingual Chinese subjects in both English and Chinese, about half the effect sometimes goes away in the English version of the test. [And, I should add, an increased disposition to group things categorically (or "abstractly") rather than thematically (or "concretely") has been implicated in the world-wide trend towards higher IQ scores known as the "Flynn effect".]


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:25 PM
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61: Also, as one of the commentators said the other day, it's important to keep in mind how difficult the sand is for most people to move around on. A lot of indoor vball players try to make the transition to beach and find they just can't handle the sand.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:27 PM
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64 should also note that Liberman is doing a parody in the vein of Soviet parodies of media spin.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:29 PM
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57: Beach wear is worn for social/societal reasons. Athletic wear is normally worn for performance optimization reasons. That's why you don't see female soccer players running around in high-heeled cleats.

Even though men and women wear very different swimsuits when dicking around at the pool or beach, our swimming athletes wear virtually identical uniforms because they're the optimal equipment for swimming fast. Similarly, I'd imagine there's a comparable optimal outfit for maintaining ease of movement and comfort on sand in the bright sun despite lots of diving and jumping. When considerations of exhibition, of showing off the female body but hiding the male body, enter into the uniform equation, it cheapens the athletic accomplishments of the women and the hotness of seriously in-shape men.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:37 PM
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OK, AWB, Brooks is yours.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:46 PM
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67: Double-weird was how the men's volleyball team, while playing a night game, wore sunglasses frames without the lenses due to some kind of sponsorship contract that required them to be worn. I'm guessing a similar deal controls the men's and women's uniforms. What they wear can sometimes have something to do with performance, but I'm guessing a lot more of it has to do with sponsorship. In the swimmers' case, the suits seem to be marketed primarily on their performance qualities, so they're happy to wear them.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:51 PM
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I'd imagine there's a comparable optimal outfit for maintaining ease of movement and comfort on sand in the bright sun despite lots of diving and jumping.

I really doubt this. I can't see there being a difference in performance between loose shorts and bikini bottoms. Similarly, in tennis, between shorts, skirts, or, in Nadal's case, capris.

I'm sticking to what I believe is the simplest explanation; the men wear what they think looks good, the women wear what they think looks good.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:52 PM
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58--yep. You don't have to be 4'6 and 65 pounds to compete. What's annoying about the O'Rourke article is that two of those doomed, washed-up, post-pubescent Americans are actually favored in the all-around & I think have gotten the top scores overall so far. The U.S. suffered two injuries in qualifying (I think maybe the third & fourth best members of the team) & was depending very heavily on just three gymnasts, so they had lower overall difficulty. And one of them had a lousy day.

Not that falsifying passports is cool, and not that there might not be some promising 14 or 15 year old who would have put the U.S. over the top...I would think that the age at which you leave your parents & go to live at the gymnastics training center, & the actual training regimens, are more potentially abusive/injury-producing than the actual international competitions. But it's plausible that one drives the other & the parade of 70-pound, 4'4 girls can be pretty creepy.

As far as uniforms, leotards are pretty functional & they're not all sequinned & feathered & low cut and so on like figure skating. Maybe the leotard is actually the ideal outfit for performing gymnastics in & the men just refuse to wear them. Or, maybe it doesn't make that much of a difference in performance.

For a long time in swimming men wore speedos & women wore standard athletic one pieces that covered their tops--it's only since they developed these new supersuits that really affect the times that it's converged.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 3:54 PM
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Or, maybe it doesn't make that much of a difference in performance.

I was thinking a little more about this issue, and how good a counterfactual Nadal is. In the 70s and early 80s, men's tennis was played in tiny shorts, allowing, one might think, maximum free movement. But as racket technology heated up and the game got faster, shorts got longer. Baseline-style play, developing at the same time, also made the game more sprint-oriented. Today rackets are very powerful and the game is more physical than ever - and the most physical, sprinting, bending, jumping, dominant player is Nadal, in his long capris.

I'm also thinking the NBA is a good counterfactual here. Shorts have definitely gotten longer and baggier. The game, I suspect, is nevertheless even more physical.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:17 PM
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Obvious point that bears repeating: All performance issues and hotness issues can be solved by having all athletes perform naked and slathered in olive oil, just like the Greeks.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:30 PM
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||

What's up with the shooting of the Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman? Is this another hate crime against liberals, like the Knoxville Unitarian Shooting?

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:45 PM
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74: I'm sure he just crossed the Clintons somehow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:46 PM
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he U.S. suffered two injuries in qualifying (I think maybe the third & fourth best members of the team) & was depending very heavily on just three gymnasts, so they had lower overall difficulty.

One competed on a broken ankle. (One wonders, since she broke it before the start of competition, why they didn't replace her with an alternate.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 4:56 PM
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Sometime during the '70s heyday of the Olga Korbut/Nadia Comăneci young gymnast franzy, somebody (National Lampoon Radio Hour?) did a parody of two announcers doing an enthusiastic over-the-top commentary of a gymnastic routine. After a burst of praise one of them ends by saying, "...and Jim, I ... I just want to fuck her."

Probably stupid to try to convey it in writing, but it did a good job of capturing the creepiness of the whole phenomenon, the gushing TV reception in particular.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 5:11 PM
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From the same site, this one is good:

McCain Makes Historic First Visit to Internet


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:15 PM
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#77: I remember listening to that in 8th grade and just about laughing myself to death. An awesome skit.

The thing is, the announcers started out like ordinary sports commentators and gradually became more lecherous with each comment, until finally one bursts out and says, "Boy, I'd like to f*** her!" The other commentator, who is a woman, replies, "Well, Don, I'm no lezzie, but..." Finis.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:19 PM
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All about China's fake Olympics


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:23 PM
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||

Ack, I just got a political phone survey, and I suddenly blanked on whether Voinovtch was a Republican or Democrat (Hey, I've lived in this state for less than a year) so I gave him a rating of "moderately approve."

I also listed health care as my main concern this election, in part because I've been teaching it and it is a big deal, and in part because Obama is so much closer to reality than McCain on this issue it has to swing in his favor.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:30 PM
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during the '70s heyday of the Olga Korbut/Nadia Comăneci young gymnast franzy

My favorite was Korbut's teammate Lyudmila Turishcheva, who famously put paid to the uneven bars at a World Cup meet. Michael Pfleghar's contribution to the 1972 Olympics documentary Visions of Eight includes an adoring tribute to her.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:33 PM
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Fuck, I really am why American voters come off as uneducated. After I selected health care as my issue I had nothing to say about nursing homes and hospitals in Ohio.

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Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:34 PM
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Interesting. the Formidable Girl from the Formidable City.

that city? Grozny. Though she was not Chechen.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:35 PM
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81: I think if you're healthy, it's perfectly consistent to have the political position of "I don't know anything about local health care services, but I have strong opinions about national health care policy." We could all use to learn a few things.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:50 PM
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86

No joke about the muscle. Women's gymnastics is so fucking creepy; it's bizarre watching these kids with necks wider than their jaws.

After reading someone here say that Phelps was freaky-looking, I actually looked at him (on the television) last night, and well, the guy's built about as strangely as gymnasts. Since he was the only male swimmer who got any camera time, it's possible they all look like that -- extraordinarily narrow hips, very wide shoulders by comparison. Long torso.

I did not find this creepy, however. Rather, fascinating.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:53 PM
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Phelps is completely hotttttttt. Still won't get me to give two shits about sports, though.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:54 PM
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79: I remember listening to that in 8th grade

Good, that means I didn't just dream it up in my demented little mind. And yes I think you are right that it was a man and a woman. Not finding anything online.

One of the things that really brought it home to me (and I think the world) was how poorly Olga Korbut, the '72 darling, "came off" against Nadia at the '76 Olympics given 4 years of added physical maturity. (I know it was more complicated than that, Korbut was injured, but it really illustrated what was happening to women's gymnastics.) By 2020 someone will probably inscrutably CGI a nymphette over the routine of a mature female gymnast.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 6:57 PM
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I am probably not the only person here who thinks that children, meaning anyone under 18, should not be engaged in Olympic level competition.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:00 PM
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Michael Phelps' head is the part that is very strange (his head, and its relationship to his body). It is certainly a boon to his attractiveness that his job involves wearing very little clothing.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:01 PM
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I'd go 16 on that, I think.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:02 PM
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Phelps isn't actually very cute--he's got an average face, at best--but it's definitely a case of an incredible body making that completely irrelevant.

86: The swimmer physique seems to be exactly opposite the cyclist physique (tiny upper body, gigantic legs). I have dated both swimmers and cyclists, because I'm an equal-opportunity perv.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:08 PM
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In the US 18 is becoming a conventional line for adulthood, and it is probably as good as an arbitrary cut off can be. I understand that in the uk you can show your boobs to the world at 17, and I don't see anything intrinsically wrong with that, but it would be nice if we were all on the same page here.

My basic thought is that "having the maturity to appear in pr0n" and "having the maturity to deal with world-class competition" (whether it is the Olympics or classical music or whatever) are about the same.

Both should come some time after your first beer, but that is another issue.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:10 PM
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extraordinarily narrow hips, very wide shoulders by comparison. Long torso.

From what I have seen & remember, Phelps looks a little more normal than most. Still freaky. I just now wondered about a "rack effect", self-racking by constantly stretching your arms over your head.

79:Nadia was about the time I quit watching women's gymnastics. Look at Ludmilla above, then Korbut, then Nadia. Somethin' happened, right then.
Either a discovery about the physics of the sport, or a change in judging standards, but that's the period it all went wrooooong.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:10 PM
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92: So you really have to do the Iron Human thing to have any balance?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:11 PM
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||

Time to fess up: I didn't actually hit a motorcyclist; I've been reading this book that Blume gave me, which is just unspeakably awesome, and completely validates all my stupid personal pet theories about driver psychology and traffic flow.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:11 PM
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16 works for me, because I think there comes a point where you are removing too much of the person's feasible career span. A given Olympics (that is, summer or winter) only comes every four years. If you just barely miss the cutoff age for your first one, then under the eighteen-or-older scheme, you will be almost 22 when you are first eligible, which is really pushing it for these baby-person sports, and you will certainly never ever have the chance of a second chance--and you will certainly be busy sacrificing your childhood to the training in any case. Maybe I'm nuts, though.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:15 PM
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96: The book actually sounded pretty dull when the au was interviewed on [some random NPR show]. Is the author the same Tom Vanderbilt who used to write for The Baffler? Was he just showcasing his most boring material on NPR to appeal to squares?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:20 PM
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which is really pushing it for these baby-person sports

Yeah, it's the existence of these that I'm objecting to.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:22 PM
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98: possibly I'm really interested in boring things, but boy am I finding it fascinating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:24 PM
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Blume is encouraging Sifu to hit motorcyclists? With all due respect, she always has seemed fairly sinister to me.

I actually think that 14 or 16 should be the age of emancipation, but I'm famous for thinking that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:24 PM
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Michael Phelps' head is the part that is very strange

I haven't seen him very much. His head seems small, is that it? In comparison to his shoulders; and his ears stick out a bit, but that tends to happen when you have a buzz-cut and low body fat. I guess maybe he has a long face, not sure. I didn't think he was unattractive in the face, in any case; but again, haven't seen much of him.

94: Bob, now you're interesting me. The other male swimmers have even weirder bodily proportions? Maybe I will have to watch this swimming. Phelps has, like, no butt.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:26 PM
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Two contrarian things:

1. Why is it creepy/weird/disturbing/whatever to have primo athletes in X sport be 14, 15 year old girls? As opposed to 18 year old boys, or 2 year old horses, or whatever? If what you want out of sport (as these threads always seem to lean) is to measure people who are The Best at x physical activity, regardless of Politically Correct issues like social construction o "sport" or what have you, well, apparently the fact is that for sports that require energy, flexibility, and balance combined with strength, 14-15 year old girls are the best. Blame nature.

2. Beach volleyball uniforms, I've decided, don't bother me on "omg so sexist!" grounds. I mean, it's BEACH VOLLEYBALL, people. It's a competitive version of a sport that's usually played by people ON BEACHES. Where the traditional costume is, duh, swimsuits.

The uniforms *do* bother me on "omg skin cancer" grounds, but that's different


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:32 PM
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What's up with the shooting of the Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman?

If anyone knows the answer to this, they're keeping that knowledge close to the chest right now. Obviously it's possible that this was a personal vendetta. I don't want to insinuate that I think there is, I have no idea at all. But I don't see any immediate reason to think this is politically motivated - the Arkansas Dem party has been out on a long picnic for months now.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:32 PM
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||

I mean, you can act as a low-pass filter for the oscillations involved in a traffic jam by setting your speed halfway between the higher uncongested speed and the lower jam speed? Awesome!

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:33 PM
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Most of the other swimmers on the team are more classically handsome than Phelps, but there's a weird phenomenon wherein some people look less attractive in a swim cap, some much more attractive. Phelps is the latter. Plus, I think people are responding to what a boy-next-door he seems to be, with the shy smile and loving his mom a lot. Of course, by that measure, it should be universally acknowledged that Cullen Jones is far hotter, but (a) the world is unfair, and (b) all those gold medals seem to be tipping the hottness scales.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:34 PM
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The uniforms *do* bother me on "omg skin cancer" grounds

You slay me, B.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:34 PM
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105: that does sound interesting. More interesting than what Vanderbilt was saying on NPR.

Also, the internet confirms he is the same Tom Vanderbilt that wrote for The Baffler. I should run a second google search before asking questions of anyone.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:36 PM
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Phelps swam in the 2000 Olympics at 15. Was that "creepy"? I believe Park Tae-hwan was 14 when he disqualified himself at the Olympics by jumping too soon.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:36 PM
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And you know what? I really like Nancy Pelosi.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:37 PM
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there's a weird phenomenon wherein some people look less attractive in a swim cap, some much more attractive

Surely this lines up with the "who should shave their head/who shouldn't" distinction.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:38 PM
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106: Oh. I haven't seen or heard much about any of them. I found myself fascinated by the bodies of the female gymnasts last night as well. And will be, no doubt, by those of the male gymnasts. Physical excellence does unusual things to the body, and I think that's what I respond to.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:39 PM
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I was going to add 109 but figured it had already been covered. Thanks, AWB.

107: Why? The women are so tan! And malignant melanoma in young women is up! Ahh!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:41 PM
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If what you want out of sport (as these threads always seem to lean) is to measure people who are The Best at x physical activity, regardless of Politically Correct issues like social construction o "sport" or what have you, well, apparently the fact is that for sports that require energy, flexibility, and balance combined with strength, 14-15 year old girls are the best.

Thing is, I can't understand why anyone would be so fixated on measuring "people who are The Best at x physical activity" apart from "Politically Correct issues like social construction o "sport" or what have you." It seems to me you are either simply engaging in a competition over X because people have traditionally engaged in a competition over X, or you are dealing with political and social constructivist issues. Further, simply taking tradition at face value is for chumps.

This is, I suppose, part of why I don't get sports.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:43 PM
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The darkest day this century for skin care came when the dermatologists' lobby got France to pass that anti-burqa law.

Phelps swam in the 2000 Olympics at 15. Was that "creepy"?

Yes.

I believe Park Tae-hwan was 14 when he disqualified himself at the Olympics by jumping too soon.

I would have found it more difficult to cope with that sort of thing at 14 than at 18.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:46 PM
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Cullen Jones loves his mom.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:46 PM
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Surely this lines up with the "who should shave their head/who shouldn't" distinction.

You bet. I never had the guts to do it. Too much pressure.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:46 PM
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||

Another tidbit: the number of miles women drive per day is strongly correlated with family size. The number of miles men driver per day is basically constant no matter the family size.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:46 PM
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In a better world, "loving your mom" would be a competitive activity, with waaaay more social status than "runs faster than anyone else over a distance of 50 yards."

But noooo.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:48 PM
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I would have found it more difficult to cope with that sort of thing at 14 than at 18.

Very true. I was really happy that he won the gold in his first race this Olympics. I can't imagine how much that ate at him for the past four years.

All I meant, though, was that you hear a lot of tut-tutting about young women athletes starting too soon, but on TV, there's not much tut-tutting about young immature boys facing that much physical and emotional stress.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:49 PM
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119: There are porn awards, but that's not a category, either judged or measured.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:49 PM
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||

Arkansas police are cautious:

State Police described a chase of roughly 30 minutes and 30 miles that ended in the suspect's fatal wounding. State Police on the Pine Bluff freeway got news of the wanted vehicle at 12:06 p.m. and spotted it at Dixon Road a few minutes later. They gave chase and followed when the driver took the turnoff to Sheridan.

Before it was over, four LR police cars, three state cruisers and Grant County deputies joined the chase. Five miles north of Sheridan, the suspect evaded a spiked puncture strip and roadblock. He was forced into a ditch near Sheridan, but kept driving. Sheridan police began shooting to disable the car, but, even with flattened tires, he kept driving on Little Creek Cutoff to its intersection with Highway 46. Finally, after multiple rammings by three police cars, as shots were being exchanged, the pickup came to a stop. The police say the suspect opened fire and officers returned the fire, finally mortally wounding him. That brought the chase to an end about 30 minutes after it began. Multiple weapons were seized, including a revolver, rifle and semi-automatic weapon.

|>


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:50 PM
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116: Awwww.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:50 PM
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117: I shaved my head to a 1/4 inch once in graduate school and the maintenance man from the building came up to me and said, in a quiet voice, "You know, Bob, getting rid of the hair is nice and all, but aren't you worried the darkies will think you're some kind of skinhead?"


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:51 PM
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I won a gold medal in loving W-lfs-n's mom.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:52 PM
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I shaved my head razor bald once, and it was kind of fun, but boy did I look scary.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:52 PM
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Cullen Jones loves his mom.

Aww. North Kackalacky represent!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:53 PM
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All I meant, though, was that you hear a lot of tut-tutting about young women athletes starting too soon, but on TV, there's not much tut-tutting about young immature boys facing that much physical and emotional stress.

"Young women athletes" basically means gymnasts. I have not heard any tututututing about young female swimmers either.

I don't think there are any men's sports in which having any pre-pubescent attributes is actually an advantage. that is to say, women's gymnastics does stand alone in terms of creepiness.

Whereas being a top swimmer or high-jumpist at 15 means you have become physically mature early, and also possess extremely youthful amounts of energy.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:53 PM
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125: That's like the Special Olympics, Bave. She gives everybody a medal.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:54 PM
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105: OK, now I want to read this. I spent much of my time in Houston traffic jams speculating on what mass driver behavior would best help the situation and then what kind of public education you could do to make it a social norm. (Something along the lines of the "If you lived here you'd be home by now" with "you lived here" replaced with "everyone drove like this".)

Chapter 7, "The Inexorable Dynamics of Traffic" in this book, Critical Mass, How One Thing Leads to Another by Philip Ball is a good read and describes some work by this guy, Dirk Helbing, on traffic flow.

For instance, Helbing has a 'phase diagram" with axes of "Inflow on Main Road" and "Inflow from on-ramp" with areas: Free traffic, Moving localized clusters, Pinned localized clusters, Triggered stop-and-go, Oscillatory congested traffic and Homogeneous congested traffic.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:55 PM
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Wasn't Summer Sanders an Olympian at 16? Nobody was concerned about the creepiness of that, just like Phelps.

also tennis players.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:55 PM
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She gives everybody a medal.

And how!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:56 PM
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possibly I'm really interested in boring things, but boy am I finding it fascinating.

Uh, Sifu, would you, er, um, mind lending me that book when you're done reading it?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:56 PM
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I think that we should make lemons out of lemonade and stake out all women's gymnastics competitions to catch pederasts and ephebophiles and lock them up. The Patriot Act gives us the power to do this.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:56 PM
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She gives everybody a medal.

"gold medal" is calling to mind both "golden shower" and "pearl necklace" right now.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:57 PM
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130: yeah, this book has mentioned Helbing already.

133: Blume has dibs, but we'll keep you posted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:59 PM
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127: Also, an English major! Is there any measure by which Jones is not adorable?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 7:59 PM
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He sounds articulate! And he's a swimmer, so he's clean!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:00 PM
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He's likeable enough.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:01 PM
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I just discovered the exclamation point key on my keyboard!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:01 PM
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Peter's not right.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:01 PM
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And I'm Blork Landerss-style.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:03 PM
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Philosophy majors are more adorable than English majors, especially when you find out at random that some minor celeb you like was a phil major.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:03 PM
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"Minor celeb you like" was supposed to point here


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:04 PM
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I was drunk earlier, after a four-winery tasting tour, but now I want cheese and crackers and the rest of the bottle in our room, but my LAZY ASS HUSBAND won't go fetch me any of those things.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:04 PM
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So I'm cat-sitting, and (a) I wish I'd brought some weed, but (b) the cat ran in a half hour ago with a half-dead mouse in its mouth, and the mouse escaped and ran under a big stuffed chair, and the cat's been waiting for it but it hasn't come out yet. I'm supposed to put the cat out for the night (to roam the hallway and roof deck), but I'd rather have it catch the mouse. Advice?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:05 PM
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103: The Best at x physical activity, regardless of Politically Correct issues like social construction o "sport" or what have you, well, apparently the fact is that for sports that require energy, flexibility, and balance combined with strength, 14-15 year old girls are the best.

In general this may be true, but Women's Gymnastics is a poor example. It is one of those "judged" sports (like figure skating) where the social construction elements play a significant role, and Korbut is credited with starting (and Comăneci cementing) a swing towards higher judging of the kinds of things that a 13-16 year-old could specifically do better than older athletes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:05 PM
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Put the cat out and leave the poor goddamn mouse alone?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:06 PM
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Get astrolflorper another beer!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:06 PM
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Fetch it yourself, bitch. He's your lover, not your waitstaff.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:06 PM
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Whereas finding out that a minor celeb you like is an economist is intensely bothersome.

although I know there are good economists out there.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:06 PM
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Advice?

Pick up one end of the couch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:07 PM
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Alternately, turn the chair on its back and let the cat go for it, but know that you will have the death of a very small, helpless creature on your hands and that my son will make sure you're first up against the wall come the revolution.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:07 PM
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Advice?

Go get some weed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:08 PM
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106:I haven't really been watching closely, but at a glance I thought Phelps had a little broader lower chest than some I had seen and didn't look quite so elongated...triangular...stretched.

My body is exactly like Phelps', if a refrigerator had landed on him.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:08 PM
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150: He's my husband, and we have no cheese or crackers in the room, and I'm hungry. I'd get it myself if it didn't involve going out in the 90+ degree weather and probably driving the car. SO THERE.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:09 PM
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I really wish the mouse had been left alone in the first place, B, but now I'm sure it's near death, and I don't want it to die in my bed.

I'll probably take your advice, though.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:09 PM
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148: Sure it will crawl away and die behind the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets and you can find it by its smell later. Tried and true method.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:10 PM
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People worry about young women in high-level athletics more than they do young men for a lot of reasons, including:

1. There are a lot more of them. I gather women mature earlier. Or something. But a crap-load of athletics--tennis, swimming, gymnastics, etc.--have really young (14 onward) female athletes competing at the highest level. That hasn't traditionally been true for men.

2. I seem to believe that women have been experiencing a rash of injuries or later-life ailments, and that some people connect this to the young age. I remember the story as involving gymnasts. I don't know how this relates to #1. Maybe they mature well enough to do the sports, but not enough to survive the sports.

3. A related story is told about emotional maturity. That is, the women don't learn any because they miss out on the formative experiences of high school, I guess. I have no idea what that's rooted in.

4. Young women, often away from their families, under severe stress of competition, with male coaches. Yeah, no chance that goes wrong. Also happens with guys, I'm sure, but with nothing like the frequency. In any case, I've heard this story as a personal one so often that I now just assume that it happens constantly.

5. Maybe related in some odd way to #3, you hear a ton of stories about women getting short-term gain/long-term pain coaching that is harmful. Mostly around weight. My recollection is that the very successful UT swimming coach got busted for just this. I suppose the same thing happens to men as regards steroids, but...nobody (inc. me) cares that much. I have no idea why. Maybe because we think it affects primarily pay sports, so it just seems like an economic decision.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:10 PM
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It may already be dead. In any case, there's nothing you can really do if it *is* dying. Let the poor thing die in peace, and warn the people you're cat-sitting for that if they start to smell something funny, well....


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:11 PM
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You have to drive to your kitchen? Ah, California.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:11 PM
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I mean, it's BEACH VOLLEYBALL, people.

How true. I think it may be my least favorite sport of all time.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:12 PM
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and probably driving the car

I love driving my car. It's small and fast and full of loud music and I can smoke in it. I'd finish cheese and crackers for an excuse to drive to the grocery store. Because I also love grocery stores. They're bright and colorful and air conditiony.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:12 PM
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The traffic guy is guestblogging for Powell's.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:12 PM
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159: You forgot sexism. People worry about women because omg, they're girls! They need protecting! Especially if they're young and cute!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:13 PM
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Should the special olympics be limited to those over 18?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:13 PM
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114: Thing is, I can't understand why anyone would be so fixated on measuring "people who are The Best at x physical activity" apart from "Politically Correct issues like social construction o "sport" or what have you." It seems to me you are either simply engaging in a competition over X because people have traditionally engaged in a competition over X, or you are dealing with political and social constructivist issues. Further, simply taking tradition at face value is for chumps.

Alas, I had to read this several times.

As a start, it's certainly true that the standards for judging gymnastics, even the types of gymnastic events, are mired in tradition. I seem to remember that the judging of figure skating went through an upheaval a number of years ago, but I don't remember why. In the case of gymnastics, people are still clearly fascinated by what these kids can do. It's one of the sports-oriented spectacles that remains accessible to the general public.

Wouldn't it be remarkable if someone invented new gymnastic events?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:13 PM
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We're on vacation, assholes.

Apo, will you marry me?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:14 PM
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B, are you commenting while camping?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:14 PM
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165 is of course true, but it may also be true that girls may be more poorly served by the rigors of elite athleticism at a young age than boys are. In terms of long term physical damage, susceptibility to a variety of psycho-socio-cultural body/eating disorders, and relationships with mentors.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:14 PM
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Apo, will you marry me?

You'll have to move to North Carolina.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:15 PM
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heebie wins for the thread's most provocative question!

and yea, B, you are a shirtty camper.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:15 PM
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170: But that's not a reason to protect the girls from elite athletics, it's a reason to address the things that prey on girls.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:16 PM
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169: No, we were camping over the weekend. Now we're in Napa, and we went on winery tours this afternoon and now Mr. B.'s big plan is to watch tv and read and hang out in the room. Whereas I am restless, but willing to hang out in the room if there's something to much on. But nooooo.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:16 PM
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167 pwnd by 147. You people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:16 PM
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....the formative experiences of high school, I guess....

As though they were good for people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:17 PM
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It can be both a reason to address those thigns and to feel deeply ambivalent about the reality of elite girls athletics.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:17 PM
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174: you could go buy cheese and crackers


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:18 PM
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Whereas I am restless

Perfect! You can go expend your restless energy on cheese buying.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:18 PM
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B, your sophistries and my laziness may have saved a mouse's life tonight. And it would be so cute if you and Apo had a double wedding with Blume and Sifu!


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:18 PM
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You could go find a vending machine.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:19 PM
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165:

I'm totally evening out the genders in the other direction here. Granted, the urge to protect girls is a product of TEH PATRIARCHY, but my instinct is to extend equal protection to boys.

I have no argument or semblance of reasoning here, so I will simply recount a sequence of emotional states. My little boy shows some aptitude at music, which I am totally encouraging. At some point, I naturally end up asking myself "What if he turns out to be some sort of freakish prodigy? Do we enter him in the Van Cliburn competition? Let him appear on pedophile classical music show?" No way. Let him learn to enjoy playing music for its own sake, and deal with fame and competition later.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 PM
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I'm eating sympathy cheese and crackers this very minute, B.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 PM
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180 presents a rather terrifying vision. Not for me, I could go smoke pot with Apo 'round back. But I worry for Blume.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 PM
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172: I am actually an excellent camper, and took care of everyone's fucking food needs during the camping trip. PLUS washing the dishes in a big pot after every meal and then flushing the used water down the toilet so as to not attract bears. Also things like sunscreen and bug spray and getting ice and making sure we went on vacation in the first fucking place. I am much more outdoorsy than you people would suspect. You can all kiss my age-defying butt cheeks.

You'd think the *least* my husband could do would be go get some snacks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 PM
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You could make pretend cheese and crackers out of the pamphlets they leave on the little desk. Then host a tea party with the pillows.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 PM
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173: Or we could do neither--one is wrong and the other is hard--and instead just worry publicly about it as a form of CYA. Which is what I think most of the public worrying is really about.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:20 PM
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185, remarkably, was originally posted in 1958.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:22 PM
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180: Yes! Re. saving the mouse. I'm not ever getting married again, though, not even to Apo.

There is no vending machine: it's a fancy b&b. They have cookies. But I don't want sweet crap. I might end up going out for my own cheese, yes, but boy howdy will Mr. B. be in trouble if I am forced to do that.

184: Ahem, I am RIGHT HERE. I can hear what you're saying.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:23 PM
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I don't think women used the f-word in the '50s.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:23 PM
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185: I am soo glad you are going to be taking care of me in Denver. I'm not anxious at all anymore. I might not even pack.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:24 PM
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My grandma probably did. But in the 50s, national parks didn't require you to flush dishwater and so forth; you stayed in fancy resorts and let the bears forage from the garbage cans while you snapped pictures.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:25 PM
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190: Women did. Ladies didn't.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:25 PM
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167: I seem to remember that the judging of figure skating went through an upheaval a number of years ago

You are probably thinking of when they eliminated what were known as school (or compulsory) figures, literally tracing patterns with your skates (about 1990).

An ongoing controversy in figure skating is the banning of some of the more athletic moves such as flips. For instance, Surya Bonali, a black French skater, could do one, but she was not allowed to do so in competition. She did have great attitude though:

Having lost any chance for a medal during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan due to a fall on a triple Salchow jump, Bonaly decided to end her amateur career with a symbolic gesture: with nothing left to lose, she performed her signature back flip -- an illegal move under International Skating Union rules -- in front of the judges. She then proceeded to finish her program with her back facing the judges.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:26 PM
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My grandma probably did.

Maybe she was a time traveler.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:26 PM
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191: Denver is a city. Everything and anything you need is available. Why bring heavy suitcases?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:26 PM
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184: Ahem, I am RIGHT HERE. I can hear what you're saying.

I doubt that! I'm 'round back, smoking pot with Apo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:26 PM
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One thing I'm not bringing is a heavy laptop because the credit card insurance people are FUCKING WITH ME.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:27 PM
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Don't bogart that, dude.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:27 PM
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Good grief, B., in future plan ahead. I will be wine-tasting? Later I will want cheese and crackers. Check. Lay in some cheese and crackers. Camper, indeed.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:27 PM
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192: no way, you camped in your airstream and took pictures of the bears that way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:28 PM
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Old-fashioned women who take care of everything can read you boys's minds.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:28 PM
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200: In future, I will plan ahead by marrying someone who isn't so lazy.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:29 PM
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When I got home after a week away and had no phone line and no internet and a dead cell phone, I felt like I was camping. By the time I thought to go to my neighbor's house to ask if they had a paper bill I could look at to call the phone company, I felt like goddamned Macgeyver.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:31 PM
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I swear, B, the difference between you and my three year old is minimal. You are both particular about your underwear: He has to have his Spider-man boxers; you need to have a properly fitted bra. And you both insist that people bring you shit you can get yourself.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:32 PM
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204: yeah that dude could never spell really. All those gadgets and yet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:32 PM
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I am much more outdoorsy than you people would suspect. You can all kiss my age-defying butt cheeks.

Camping doesn't have toilets, B.


Posted by: REI-ified | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:32 PM
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205: I propose that henceforth acting like B is tonight be known as "acting like a B-year-old".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:34 PM
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Denver is a city

more like a strange agglomeration of prefab boxes on the couple of occasions I went to it. They apparently have good skiing though (or possibly, mediocre skiing and a dearth of things to talk about other than skiing).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:34 PM
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MacGyver, whatever. Way to ruin it.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:35 PM
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It's unfogged! I'm just trying to fit in, make people like me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:35 PM
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209: good skiing. Okay public transit, supposedly interesting baseball stadium, um, wide roads.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:36 PM
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Bonaly had great moves and fantastic energy but wasn't femmy enough. Everybody should google up one of her videos.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:36 PM
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by the way, these "get me cheese and crackers" comments are going to look really eerie when they show up as evidence in the murder trial.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:36 PM
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He has to have his Spider-man boxers; you need to have a properly fitted bra.

Oh yeah? Is it painful for him to engage in reasonable physical activity without his Spider-man boxers?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:37 PM
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215: climbing walls is agony.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:37 PM
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The Brown Palace.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:37 PM
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The Brown Palace Hotel has set the standard for downtown Denver hotels for more than a century. Knee-deep in tradition and historic ambience, we've continually renovated and modernized the entire structure to meet the needs and cares of today's traveler.

As a result, The Brown Palace has been attracting the city's most prominent elite ever since. Everyone from presidents to royalty have slept at this exclusive hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado. Experience the finest in modern luxury accommodations and personalized service - all in an exceptional setting:


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:40 PM
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165 is of course true, but it may also be true that girls may be more poorly served by the rigors of elite athleticism at a young age than boys are. In terms of long term physical damage, susceptibility to a variety of psycho-socio-cultural body/eating disorders, and relationships with mentors.

Aren't girls supposed to be more emotionally/mentally mature than boys at a given adolescent age? Or is that just what they told us to make us feel better about girls getting all the good grades and only wanting to go out with older boys?


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:40 PM
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(or possibly, mediocre skiing and a dearth of things to talk about other than skiing).

No, apparently conditions conspire for some of the best skiing anywhere - massive amounts of constantly refreshed powder combined with a lot of sun to keep things comfortable.

more like a strange agglomeration of prefab boxes on the couple of occasions I went to it.

The actually-urban part of Denver is about what you'd see in an Eastern city 1/4 or even 1/8 its size, but those parts are, in fact, pretty nice. The "rivers" are kind of a joke, but they have nice trails alongside them.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:40 PM
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Is it painful for him to engage in reasonable physical activity without his Spider-man boxers?

If you believe him, existence itself is painful without his Spider-man boxers. And not the white ones. The blue ones. That he has been wearing all month.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:41 PM
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In Louisville, Kentucky, says John T. Edge..., the Brown Hotel "has been the epicenter of the social whirl. Debutante parties, Christmas balls, weddings by the score."

The Hot Brown Sandwich, Edge says, was created by the hotel's chef a few years after the place opened and is "the ideal hangover food." Click through to the recipe, and see if you agree.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:42 PM
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Denver: two lovely rivers running through the city, a reasonably nice warehouse district, easy access to hiking and cheese and crackers, not only good transit but also excellent bike lines, surprisingly good year-round weather (though too dry), relatively affordable housing, excellent steakhouses (I'm told), a very effective mayor with a very funny name, and some other stuff I'm forgetting. Including skiing, which isn't so great since the drought began eight years ago.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:42 PM
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The Tattered Cover bookstore, one of the nation's very best.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:43 PM
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220: The rivers are not a joke. Well, maybe they are to someone who lives where you live. But for western rivers, they're really quite nice.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:45 PM
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As a Canadian, Ari always sticks up for the poor and worthless.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:51 PM
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And they have bears! Just outside of town.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:52 PM
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227: they have bears in town, too.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:54 PM
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The bears don't know it's a competition.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:55 PM
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The bears don't know it's a tight buns competition.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:55 PM
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These are actually pretty nice recommendations on behalf of Denver. Not that I ski. Not after those incidents. I don't know anyone near there to speak of, though, in order to visit.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 8:55 PM
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228: Real bears in town, ya perv.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:02 PM
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Now we're in Napa

You're in town and you don't let us know? I'm hurt, B.

But before you ask... no, I won't bring you cheese and crackers.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:02 PM
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a reasonably nice warehouse district

Meaning what, that you can find something to answer any storage need?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:07 PM
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220: No, apparently conditions conspire for some of the best skiing anywhere - massive amounts of constantly refreshed powder combined with a lot of sun to keep things comfortable.

Utah ranks a bit higher on this scale, but yes Colorado is pretty good. Beats Sierra Cement.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:12 PM
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234: you don't spend any time hanging out in and around warehouses?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:16 PM
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Obviously Ben does not know the meaning of "warehouse."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:20 PM
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My first interpretation of "reasonably nice warehouse district" was that it meant "nice area where dilapidated warehouses have been converted to expensive condos". But maybe it means gay bars or skate ramps or something.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:22 PM
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Skate ramps! I bet that's it. And break-dancing contests on sheets of cardboard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:24 PM
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Phelps swam in the 2000 Olympics at 15. Was that "creepy"?

A little. What I specifically find creepy about women's gymnastics is a) the fact that they're as built as they are at such a young age (and yeah, I find it creepy when male athletes are that built at that age too) and b) the tension between the femme-y/little-girl-y accoutrements (like makeup and glitter) and their builds. They're serious physical specimens; let them own it as much as the male athletes do.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:28 PM
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The Tattered Cover, LODO (warehouse district), the zoo, the Brown Palace, urban rivers, some other cool stuff.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:30 PM
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96 has prompted the fastest comment-to-purchase time I've ever experienced. Thanks, Sifu and Blume. Well, actually my dad thanks you. I'm sure he'll enjoy it.

reasonably nice warehouse district reminds me of the period of time (maybe it's still going on) when the New York Times was absolutely incapable of publishing an article with the words "meatpacking district" without including "trendy" in front of it. Eventually I started to read it as "Trendymeatpackingdistrict."

Boy, that was annoying. Especially if you know anything at all about meatpacking.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:30 PM
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As a Canadian, Ari always sticks up for the poor and worthless.

And more power to him, is what I always say.

Actually, polar bears are a bit scary when they're not trapped behind glass in a state of incarceration. They will kill you (it's nothing personal, of course, they just don't know any better).

And speaking of incarcerated behind glass, when my dad was a kid, they took a road trip up north to visit the home of Dionne quintuplets.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:30 PM
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Not sure what ari meant by it -- maybe something like a garment district and the peddling of various foodstuffs -- but to me it means a slightly underground art and music scene. Artists' studios, open studio tours, start-up galleries, film showings, parties that can be either late-night (with bands) or early evening (with cookouts). All in rather run-down facilities.

These usually get bought up later and become yuppified or transformed into condos.

On preview: sounds like that's basically what ari meant, but 15 years later.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:36 PM
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All I meant, though, was that you hear a lot of tut-tutting about young women athletes starting too soon, but on TV, there's not much tut-tutting about young immature boys facing that much physical and emotional stress.

That's true, and probably largely due to people being paternalistic towards young women. On the other hand, Phelps appeared in the Olympics at 15 and is now cleaning up at 23. The Korean guy came back and won a gold. They probably each have another Olympics or two in them.

Women's gymnastics is much harder on the body, requires the physique of a very young woman/old child, and even the best of the best get one, maybe two Olympics. I don't find the sparkles creepy, but the idea that this kid has probably been starving herself so she won't get hips or a period, and if she misses her mount onto the beam? Well, that's it, we're on to the next little starlet.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:40 PM
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Emerson, I think what you're trying to say in 213 is that she is not white. Yeah, sure, a more flippant attitude and less girly-girl, but I think the sport's (and the media's) reaction to her was much more about race than anything else.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:42 PM
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but the idea that this kid has probably been starving herself so she won't get hips or a period, and if she misses her mount onto the beam? Well, that's it, we're on to the next little starlet.

She had her chance.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:48 PM
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Bears taking initiative.

Canadians. You don't see any of this kind of thing from those sissy bears in Colorado.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 9:59 PM
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246: In my experience, her race might have been primary, but her muscular athleticism as opposed to more petite gracefulness and her defiant attitude came into play as well. (And given her treatment on the first two by the sport and the media, the third is understandable.)

245: in all of these sports there are people who "fell off the beam" in one way or another all the way up to the top of the pyramid, and many after years of work at very early ages. In many ways that is just the way it is in a competitive venture like sports. The amount of denial instilled into the children and to even a larger degree their parents may be a lot higher. One of the irksome things to me about the various human interest stories is that there are 100 heartbreak ones that were similar but ended before Beijing. (To be fair there are also a slew of similar stories about athletes who did not make it to the top, but had fun, gained fitness/confidence/skills/whatever along the way.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:04 PM
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245: The amount of denial instilled into the children and to even a larger degree their parents may be a lot higher

Higher than what?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:05 PM
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250: Good question - I think I meant than in other competitive ventures in life. A lot of this is fueled by the youth sports coaches (not the volunteer moms & dads), many of whom are hustling as hard as they can to try to to find some way earn a living from their sport. The hopes and fears of parents is what they turn into coin.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:10 PM
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249: I think the age in gymnastics here makes a difference. If one finds out one isn't destined to be a competitive swimmer at 13, that person probably doesn't have pins in her ankles from injuries due to 7 hours of training at the gym.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:19 PM
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Re 245, I agree that some part of the creepiness (to the extent that I feel it) of women's gymnastics does specifically come from the idea of delaying puberty as long as possible, of sexual maturity being a huge disaster and the end of a career.

This is at least somewhat irrational: while most other sporting careers do not end at puberty even if they start before it, I don't feel the same about women long distance runners' bodies even though they also have very low body fact and (reasonably often) amenorrhoea.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:21 PM
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Josh, somehow I failed to realize that you are in Napa. I totally suck; had I known/remembered that, I would certainly have demanded that you entertain us gotten in touch.

Also, haters, I got up and put my shoes on and said "fuck it, I'm starving, I'm going out to find food" and Mr. B., of course, who lacks a will of his own, decided suddenly to come along. Anyway, we went and ate tapas and I had yet another glass of wine, which was perhaps not such a great idea, and now I feel like a cross between being five months pregnant and being Mr. Creosote.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:22 PM
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Re. creepiness, I am still going to be contrarian and point out that we don't react to stories of male athletes doping with "concern" for their health the way we do re. women and gymnastics, or ice skating (or ballet, actually).

What's *really* creepy is the way Rob is projecting his issues about his son's underwear onto me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:25 PM
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Josh, somehow I failed to realize that you are in Napa.

We're not (although we're not *that* far away). Mostly I was giving you grief.

Have you been to Taylor's Refresher? If you're up by St. Helena, you have to go.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:28 PM
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Yeah, there are other sports with high risks of injury & otherwise fucking up your body with crazy training regimens, & other sports where the competitors are very young. The combination in women's gymnastics may be unique, though.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:31 PM
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255: We might, though, if they were taking the steroids at nine. Surely part of it is just that they're pretty female athletes, but we don't get the same concern in any of the other sports, even when the women are cute.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:32 PM
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We're in Napa proper, and no, we haven't, and now we can't because we have to leave at like 7 am tomorrow in order to be home for a 3:00 house inspection. Sigh. But next time I'm thinking maybe St. Helena, because it looked like it had cute shopping.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:33 PM
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(also, I am informed by Al Trautwig or whoever that Olympic gymnasts are like giant pandas, very rare, and like pandas they should be cherished. China really brings out the stupid in sports announcers.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:33 PM
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Canadians. You don't see any of this kind of thing from those sissy bears in Colorado.

Oh, we've gone all soft on the bears since Trudeau first introduced that ursine welfare policy back in the mid-70s. Freaking swedenization of Canada. We have only ourselves to blame for the break-and-enters, not to mention the killing sprees.

I remember (for real) seeing a bear cub sitting on a traffic median on a main thoroughfare of Ottawa. They shot it (I mean, they shot it with a tranquilizer gun [sissies!]), and released it in the Gatineau hills. If that bear cub went on to murder your own mother, what would you say? eh? Should have put it behind glass where it belonged, I mean, it's not like bears have rights to habeas or anything.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:34 PM
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Can I just say that I find the music at the beach volleyball matches really bizarre? Not that they need to be all inscrutably Asian with their choices, but it's really weird the extent to which it sounds exactly like a match in Santa Monica would sound.

I mean, Christ, they're playing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" right now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:35 PM
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We're in Napa proper

I am so very very sorry.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:36 PM
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100% ex recto, but i have a sense that cuteness plays a role in success in gymnastics that it doesn't in other sports, like swimming, where the scoring is more objective. yeah, yeah, they have scoring rules, but it all seems pretty subjective to me.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:36 PM
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262: I like the music! Precisely b/c it sounds like, hey: beach volleyball.

263: Really? It was a v. last-minute decision. What's wrong with Napa proper?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:37 PM
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I find beach volleyball really weird, and men's beach volleyball mystifying.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:37 PM
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it's not like bears have rights to habeas or anything

Not yet.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:38 PM
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We're in Napa proper

So dinner was at Togo's or Jack in the Box?


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:38 PM
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Um, no; we went to a tapas place that was quite nice, actually.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:40 PM
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Are they going to be playing the exact same music at the 2016 Olympics?

Real sports don't need music.

And by the way, we noticed the other night than the male gymnasts don't have music for their floor exercise. Why is that?


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:41 PM
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Real sports don't need music.

Au contraire.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:43 PM
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My point exactly.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:45 PM
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Your heart is a small, shriveled nub, isn't it?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:47 PM
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271: "Best in show" is not "real sports," B.

(Hey, whatever happened to Olivia Newton John's husband, who apparently disappeared under suspicious circumstances somewhere in the South Pacific or something? Inquiring minds want to know.)

Dear God, that dog's trainer or mistress or peoplefriend (or however we're supposed to call her) is actually dressed like the main female lead in the musical Grease. It's a subculture, I guess.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:55 PM
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The women's floor exercise w/ choreography and music used to be really fun to watch--honestly, it's easier to distinguish between a more & less graceful routine than figuring out who's added an extra half twist to their double pike or whatever. But since it's become all about the difficult tumbling & the choreography sucks these days, they might as well drop it. Incorporate the dance into the score & do it well, or just do it like the men's, spare me the lame synthesizer music & hand motions & hip jerks.

I'm not sure whether the new scoring system is to blame for this, or the fall of the Communist bloc.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 10:57 PM
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Yeah, I sort of hate the dancy parts of the floor exercise, especially when they do a clumsy two-turn pirouette and then pose. These girls are not built for dancing. Let them tumble!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:00 PM
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The Communists hate music, and they just want to spoil it for the rest of us by winning all the medals.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:04 PM
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What's wrong with Napa proper?

It's mostly an issue of opportunity cost. The City of Napa is a perfectly pleasant farming community, but that's not usually what people go to Napa Valley for. Plus, it's not really close to the interesting parts of the valley.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:07 PM
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255: I agree with you. I am trying to verbalise, but not defend, my reaction to the idea of an elite gymnastics career. I am sure it's gender biased conditioning.

I think with me personally there's some body issue things going on with me, in that as a little (actually, giant) girl I was the wrong size for almost every physical activity that looked fun to me (including but by no means limited to gymnastics). But almost everyone is pretty wrong for elite sports.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:23 PM
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My body is exactly like Phelps', if a refrigerator had landed on him.

bob, this is easily the funniest thing you have ever posted. The mental image is fantastic.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:26 PM
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269: You lucked into one of the few places to eat, then. I worked there for a year and the lunch options su-huuuuucked.

Next time, St. Helena or Calistoga.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 08-13-08 11:32 PM
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You people are victims of what we call maya. You have heard of the French Laundry. and your image of it blinds you to the culinary beauty of the Central Valley, which is 20 min away, and has the best food in CA.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 12:14 AM
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282: On the contrary. I had empanadas at a Salvadoran/Mexican place at the Merced Truck Stop, and I am not even kidding when I say they were outstanding. I would seriously go out of my way to eat at the Merced Truck Stop again.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 12:46 AM
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You truly are down with the gente, B.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 1:06 AM
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the culinary beauty of the Central Valley, which...has the best food in CA

Um, do tell. Please. On tenterhooks here.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 1:07 AM
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my reaction to the idea of an elite gymnastics career

Did anyone see the staggeringly assholish blog post over at Salon? They have a team of people blogging the Olympics, including this woman who was, apparently, a world class (or damn near) gymnast. This post is all about how she thinks non-elite athletes are pathetic for even thinking that they know anything about sports, or athletics, or being a world-class asshole. 280 angry comments in response.

TBH, it seems that a lot of the comments are too angry, but, you know, dish out, take, etc. It's a pretty provocative piece, anyway (hint hint, front pagers).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 1:23 AM
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286: I can identify with it, albeit not athletically. Tell people you're a poet, and they're all like, "Me too!" and start blathering about the doggerel in their journal or the poem they just published through the National Library of Poetry. And you put on the most polite face you can and sort of smile and nod and think, "Yeah, fucker, you didn't have to make conversation with Karen fucking Connelly for seven hours. I've been in the shit, poser."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 1:42 AM
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I was practicing 12 hours a week by the time I was 7, traveling up and down the New Jersey Turnpike each weekend for competitions.

That's hardly traveling. Why don't you talk to some truckers? They can tell you about traveling. Weekend loser.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 1:57 AM
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I was practicing 12 hours a week by the time I was 7, traveling up and down the New Jersey Turnpike each weekend for competitions

"In the past, I did lots of really stupid things. And for that reason my opinion is more valid than yours now!".

I think I'll call it argumentum ad Hitchens, although it would be fairer to name it after David Horowitz.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 2:14 AM
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266: It's unsettling, although perhaps predictable, that beach volleyball has eclipsed regular volleyball in Olympic renown.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 2:16 AM
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"In the past, I did lots of really stupid things. And for that reason my opinion is more valid than yours now!".

I think I'll call it argumentum ad Hitchens, although it would be fairer to name it after David Horowitz.

Actually, it's Churchill; when he moved from the Conservatives to the Liberals for the (I think) 1906 election, his Conservative opponent published a pamphlet of all the rude things WSC had said about Liberals in the past.
His response: "When I was a Conservative I said a lot of very stupid things. And I became a Liberal so that I would not have to go on saying very stupid things."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 2:36 AM
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And I became a Liberal so that I would not have to go on saying very stupid things

But he did, though. Apparently voluntarily.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 2:48 AM
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Hmmm, good spot, but the Churchill example lacks the element that you find in Hitchens, Horowitz and this writer of using past idiocy as evidence of present sagacity. It's the difference between "I was blind but now I see" and "I was such a credulous moron I couldn't even see that the Chicago Black Panther Party was turning into a crack gang, which demonstrates that I am an excellent judge of the bona fides of political movements".


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 3:26 AM
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(Ma/rc Mul/holland has a couple of hilarious anecdotes about how the Christian Fellowship at his university often used to do big speaker meetings where a reformed INLA or IRA man would give a weeping confessional about how he had been reborn in Jesus and given up the Armalite. The overall impression was "why on earth do they think we are going to join their church on the say-so of this obviously dysfunctional and broken individual?" )


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 3:29 AM
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Re. creepiness, I am still going to be contrarian and point out that we don't react to stories of male athletes doping with "concern" for their health the way we do re. women and gymnastics, or ice skating (or ballet, actually).

I dunno, Tommy Simpson was a Big Deal in cycle racing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 3:30 AM
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re: 294

Oh, you know him too?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 4:23 AM
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only via his (sadly seemingly defunct) blog and the Aaronovitch Watch comments section, but I wish I did - he seems like a real mensh.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:01 AM
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I'm wondering if the issue in the article linked at 286 is not so much being a former athlete as being from New Jersey. I work with two former (minor-league) professional athletes, and they're both very nice people who have nary a harsh word for anybody. I also deal with people from New Jersey who are not athletes, and they sound a lot like this woman. (To be fair, people from Long Island are slightly worse.)


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:12 AM
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re: 297

He's a friend of a friend. His girlfriend also used to work at my (soon to be former) college, so I've met him a couple of times socially and had a beer or two. I wouldn't say he's a personal friend, though, he may not even remember me.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:23 AM
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the Churchill example lacks the element that you find in Hitchens, Horowitz and this writer of using past idiocy as evidence of present sagacity.

There is a further quality that distinguishes Horowitz from Hitchens, which is that Horowitz the memoirist wrote uses his own past moral transgressions to indict the movement he once supported, along the lines of "I can attest that the Left are a bunch of liars and manipulators, because I routinely lied and manipulated on their behalf."

This makes it even harder to take Horowitz seriously than Hitchens (although more and more that's becoming a hair-splitting distinction).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:54 AM
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my (soon to be former) college

In employment or are you ending your graduate work? IIRC, you've suspended the latter for some time now.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:59 AM
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300: "I can attest that the Left are a bunch of liars and manipulators, because I routinely lied and manipulated on their behalf."

I agree in theory, but then wonder if you feel the same about David Brock of Media Matters, whose Blinded by the Right is basically says the exact same thing. (And I find that I do give him credibility, perhaps wrongly.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 7:37 AM
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I don't know that this is true, but I'd thought that a large part of the concern about adolescent female gymnasts was the idea of long-term physical damage -- that the sort of diet and training you do to stretch out the period in which you have the kind of pre-adolescent body that can compete as a female gymnast leaves you with premature osteoperosis or something in your 20s.

I don't know that it's a really defensible distinction, but there seems to be a difference between competing young because you grew up young (Phelps, at 15, able to compete on a level playing field with grown men) and competing young to catch a developmental stage before you grow out of it. I'm not sure what to do with this distinction, but there's something there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 7:58 AM
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The problem with Horowitz isn't that he switched, or that he used to be a bad guy, but just that he's still being a bad guy. His game is to send rightwing ideologues to spy on teachers, and then to pressure universities and colleges to fire professors he disagrees with (and hire affirmative-action conservatives he agrees with). (Disrupting universities was, in fact, one of the bad things 60s radicals did.)

Horowitz also ditched a defunct movement and latched on to a going concern.

In Brock's case you could watch the transformation. He was commissioned to do a smear job on Hillary, and he wrote what turned out to be a fair-minded book on Hillary. His transformation wasn't to start doing smear jobs on Republicans instead.

Brock's Media Matters stands or falls on its own merits. A few times I think that he has exaggerated something he found, but by and large his work simply consists of examining media transcripts and finding slander, serious misrepresentations, jokey threats of violence, wild and unjustified accusations, and so on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:02 AM
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JE gets it exactly right - Brock has renounced both his positions and his tools, in a way that Horowitz hasn't (and couldn't).

And Slack, I cringed on your behalf at the thought of all the non-poets who cozy up to you. Thing is, there really is a qualitative difference between dabbling in poetry and being a poet, in a way that there isn't between being a recreational athlete and being an elite one. Once you cross the threshold to actually training regularly for whatever your sport is, it really becomes a difference in degree. For poetry, wannabe poets everywhere are more like fifth graders writing haiku than they are like Billy Collins.

Writing poetry in your spare time (pace, Wallace Stevens) and calling yourself a poet is like playing on a beer-league softball team and calling yourself a ballplayer.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:46 AM
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(pace, Wallace Stevens)

Festival of counterexamples! Would all participants in the festival of counterexamples please make their way toward the starting line for the Grand Parade!

TS Eliot, Philip Larkin.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:58 AM
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I quit writing poetry because I came to believe that everyone who reads poetry also writes it. I decided that if no one wanted to read my poetry except in order to oblige me to read theirs, maybe I was in the wrong biz.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 8:59 AM
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(Although I would agree Wallace Stevens is particularly unusual in that he was also generally regarded as having been a genuinely excellent insurance man too and probably the country's leading expert on surety bond claims. Bonus fun fact: Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer learned most of what he knows about finance while researching a PhD on Stevens; the insurance section grew and grew, apparently).


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:04 AM
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The author of the article has a book out about how awful gymnastics was to her. It seems to be important to her that no one else can possibly understand how much she suffered. (Which makes writing the book about it a little strange, but I guess she has to deal with the issues somehow.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:12 AM
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Festival of counterexamples!

Well, obviously. I didn't know the interesting tidbits in 308, but I know of Stevens as a poet purely on the side - his associates had no idea. Probably wondered about his "13 ways of looking at a surety bond claim," tho'.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:16 AM
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Congratulations Mongolia


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:20 AM
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Tuvshinbayar Naidan, Askhat Zhitkeyev, Keiji Suzuki, Movlud Miraliyev, Przemyslaw Matyjaszek, Henk Grol, Levan Zhorzholiani.

The opening round consists of name-pronunciation duels. When "Keiji" and "Henk" are the only names on a list you recognize, that's quite a list.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:27 AM
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I've been sitting here watching the Olympics for so long, my Askhat Zhitkeyev just fell asleep.


Posted by: Bill Simmons | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 9:30 AM
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You people are victims of what we call maya. You have heard of the French Laundry. and your image of it blinds you to the culinary beauty of the Central Valley, which is 20 min away, and has the best food in CA.

In terms of decent lunch options, Napa has a handful of expensive places where the food doesn't warrant the price, that sports bar/burger place next to the river, that Chinese place across the street from the sports bar/burger place, and Genova Deli. Oh, and the elusive and inconsistent taco truck.

The Central Valley has Armenian food, Jelly Bellies and Pea Soup Andersen's, all of which are tasty but only one of which can be found within 20 minutes of Napa. I eagerly await your tales of the culinary delights of Vacaville.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 10:45 AM
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||

Musharraf is expected to resign in the next few days.

|>


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 11:36 AM
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314:Pervez gets to vote on "worst President ever" ballots, along with Blair, Saakashvili, etc etc etc.

If the Pakistani military is ok with it I am not gonna worry overmuch.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 12:21 PM
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re: 301

I'm finishing my graduate work. I've restarted after a hiatus. I finish in October.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 3:24 PM
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That's great ttaM. Was it hard to get started again? A friend has just done this with a nearly 10 year gap.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 3:33 PM
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re: 318

Not really. My gap wasn't that long. I didn't officially pause it even, I just restarted in time to make the extant deadline for revisions [7 terms from when the first exam took place]. I'm finding it hard to get as much done per day as I would have done 2 years ago, unfortunately, more due to everyday life intruding. But progress is steady. I'm sure I'll get it all done in time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 4:58 PM
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further to 319.

I didn't do much in the intervening 2 years [on the thesis] but I didn't completely stop either. I've kept up with reading and things. But I haven't written anything in 18 months.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 4:59 PM
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I'm sure that helps (not having completely stopped). I hope it goes smoothly ... the last push can be a real pain but it's nice to be done!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:12 PM
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re: 321

Yeah, it's hard going, but it will be finished.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:14 PM
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Talk to Kotsko and Kaufman.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 08-14-08 5:29 PM
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