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NE Patriots are serial cheaters, so are their namesakes. The unfair advantage is an essential of Capitalism.

First the New England Patriots got caught spying on their adversaries, now they've been tweaking the air-pressure of their game balls to sneak a ballistic handling advantage. Rules be damned, Patriot quarterback Tom Brady prefers his ordnance two pounds psi shy, hollow-points --if you will-- which are also against regulation. For how long have the Patriots been manipulating advantages? And how else? They weren't satisfied with the home field advantage on Sunday. Maybe officials should bring protractors to investigate the Boston gridiron. A level playing field doesn't likely suit the Patriots either. OF COURSE it doesn't. Who expects sportsmanship from "patriots?!" Patriotism is the antisocial insistance on your own cultural superiority. American exceptionalism is an endorsement of tactical superiority, covert war, disproportionate force, drones, extrajudicial assassination, death squads, snipers, collateral damage, and torture. Formal US policy is to FLAUNT international law. American materialism profits from insider trading, extortion, usury, and corporate hegemony uber alles! Why would our surrogate Sunday warriors pretend there is honor among thieves? Of course America underinflates footballs to best our opponents. We also diligently deploy inspectors to ensure our intended defeatees can't recallibrate theirs. Meanwhile our leaders dissemble when plausible deniability stretches thin. Of course NFL officials are not discussing a Super Bowl disqualification for the recidivist Patriots. Instead they're weighing minor penalties, no doubt manageable, if not tax deductible. If America's best cheaters don't advance to the Super Bowl, the outcome would be hypocritical. Go Team! America Fuck Yeah! I'm kidding of course. Sack the quarterback, disqualify the Patriots, send whoever else to the Super Bowl, then march the entire US defense and offense departments to the Hague. UPDATE 1/23: While fans and media try to belittle the scandal (ie. "Deflate-gate" and "Ballghazi"), statisticians have noted a damning anomaly relating to the advantage gained from underinflated footballs. After the rules were changed to allow offensive teams to use their own footballs --Brady was among the quarterbacks lobbying for the change-- New England's ball handling superiority grew beyond the realm of probability. Probably all teams know that well-inflated footballs fly further but underinflated balls are easier to grab. Maybe the purpose of making a personalized array of game balls available is so offensive teams can exploit alternate characteristics as needed. Maybe the NFL understood this when they granted the rule change. Maybe the Patriots just couldn't pass up every opportunity to cheat, until the statistics made plain their greed. Whether by hubris or head-injury numbskulledness, Tom Brady and his receivers thought they coud break PT Barnum's rule too. The American Dream hinges on equality of opportunity and fair play, but of course Capitalism idealizes the unfair advantage. Btw I abhor the theatre of corporate sports, but when it exposes the reek of America's national character, I like to make sure to smell it.

Bystander video of Schumacher ski crash puts lie to “off-piste” connerie

When Formula One racer Michael Schumacher broke his crown on a French ski slope last week, Meribel resort spokesmen went into damage control mode by declaring the speed champion was skiing "off-piste". That's Anglo-French for off-the-trail or out-of-bounds. Initial reports mentioned the specific slope on which Schumacher crashed, but subsequent press releases amended the account to reassure tourists that this downhill interruptus occurred outside of the permitted area. Isn't that always the official line of resort operators and their insurers --ski accidents result when patrons stray where they're not allowed? This theme puzzles regular skiers who know the back country is usually thoroughly demarcated and sealed. It was no surprise then when a bystander video emerged which showed Schumacher's accident happening exactly where originally stated, on the Grand Couloir (trans: Big Corridor) between Mauduit and La Biche. Thus we discover the disingenuous definition of "off-piste". It means the piste's edge! Be it trees, rocks or cliff, it's the most probable thing with which a skier can collide: the border of a groomed slope. Saying Schumacher crashed off-piste is like saying his Ferrarir didn't crash at a racetrack, but rather against the track's wall; or like saying a person didn't fall from a building but rather died on the sidewalk. Now we know how so many ski accident victims got past barriers, substantial enough to deter most reckless impulses: They didn't, they crashed into them.

Super Bowl 2013 commemorates American warrior culture minus wounded vets

TV NATION- Can Americans no longer embarrass themselves? This year's pregame holiday extended to Super Bowl Eve with an un-ironic commemoration ceremony, an all-star gala tribute to football, acclaiming it a venerated touchstone of the American character, the public mob like drunken monks feasting the humanitarian contributions of the Spanish Inquisition. Football celebrates America's cultural blood lust, a surrogate for our preemptive senseless war making, whose shared cartoon violence is expunged of its real antisocial inhumanity. Probably owing to this season's pre pregame homophobia scandal, where collegiate casualty Manti Teo showed signs of early onset Mohammed Ali's disease, fans learned about the concealed football side effect of compounded concussions, akin to IED survivors' collateral brain damage. Next we'll probably hear that footballers' home lives spread PTSD. As football injuries become more difficult to hide from battle-weary audiences, fans will be calling for more Kevlar and then of course commensurate armor piercing anti-Kevlar. I already think football offensive lines look spectacularly under equipped without drones. Or would that position be pretended to play defense?

Colorado cycling event 99 percent cop

You may have had a front row seat along Colorado Avenue to witness the USA Pro Cycling Challenge time trial, but did you expect each rider to be overwhelmed by motorized vehicles, or that you'd spend the entire day, especially the pre-show, eating CSPD's exhaust?

If you have to ask for whom the fat lady sings, it is not for Tahrir Square.

--And to really mix my malaprops, she sings for them that bought her. If there was one variable which got away from the underdogs of Egypt's Jan25 Revolution, it was who would referee the endgame. While Hosni Mubarak's stunning defiance Thursday night looked like a Hail Mary pass hoping to provoke the protesters to mayhem, as a defensive strategy he was moving the goalposts. Anticipating a capitulation, the Tahrir Square demonstrators made clear it was the entire regime which needed ousting, no Suleiman, no Emergency Law, an inviolate list of demands. Mubarak's insulting buffoonery focused the great beast's wrath like a rodeo clown. When the announcement came he was stepping down, who could not help but raise a cheer, drowning out the earlier precautions. Mubarak played Egypt like a fiddle, as he burned it, while the fat lady of state media called the game over. It's not over until the fat lady sings So opera advises American football, in reality a game governed strictly by elapsed time. The expression describes the mutual sense that every competition has a natural denouement. Actually another false notion, as this feeling is not often shared by the side fallen behind at the final score. I've convoluted ask not for whom the bell tolls-- and if you have to ask how much it costs--, Hemingway and Bugatti I believe, to stress the obvious, that Wagnerian sopranos are kept in furs by the wealthiest of patrons. As epic as might be your struggle, unless you transcend the stage to torch the theater, the status quo raises and lowers the curtain. Without seizing the state media, if even that had been possible, and without staging a narrative to compete with Mubarak's Greekest of tragic high dives, the Tahrir Square revolutionaries became mere players to please the king. How could we have missed the grand theatricality of Mubarak's televised last stands, lighting and makeup dialed to Bela Lugosi? Anyone who knows to dramatize a campfire tale by holding a flashlight under his chin also knows they don't do that for their profile pic. In all three of his televised responses to the Jan25 reformers, Mubarak could be paraphrased to have said "over my dead body." It was a road map his adversaries probably should have heeded. Where is Mubarak now? He's not gone, he hasn't even left Egypt. We are informed Mubarak has stepped down by the same henchmen who told protesters "all your demands will be met," then meeting none. We learn now that Egypt's Supreme Council of the Military is trying to clear Tahrir Square. It's outlawing those who would cause chaos and disorder, and forbidding labor unions to assemble or strike. It's refusing to end Egypt's emergency law, or to release the unknown thousand detained during the protests. What of Suleiman and the regime's other cronies? We have only Mubarak's doppelganger in an army cap. Field Marshall "Happy" Tantawi, takes to the microphone with no other agenda it appears than to restore Egypt its accustomed sonorous normalcy.

O, Give me a home, where the Buffalo roam

...and I'll show you a house that's not clean But let's skip to the main issue... Non-pet animals being used as mascots. Now, I had seen on the commercials last year that the CSU football team uses a live Bison as a mascot. Admittedly it's a younger calf, and held by two sturdy ropes attached to two sturdy cowboy-looking types. But seriously, have any thoughts been given to what kind of liability would be incurred if that small(er) TeTonka were to bust loose and, as wild beasts typically do when faced with huge numbers of screaming humans, panic? Jump into the stands maybe. Maybe turn on her suddenly Former handlers or the football team that's chasing behind her onto the field... I don't spend a great deal of time studying buffalo, just that their real name is bison or in Lakota "Tonka" and maybe one of our Sioux friends can correct me and I'll cheerfully accept, I think the "te" part refers to the male. I did learn from observing them day after endlessly BORING day that they on most occasions don't do a damn thing but eat, shit and move on, repeat as necessary. They're even worse than watching cattle. Watching Grass Grow. I went to Job Corps way back in the 70s. Was at a J.C. Civilian Conservation Center called Treasure Lake. The center wasn't within a day's walking distance of the lake. I was there 6 months and never saw the lake. Somewhere in between Lawton, Ft Sill, Altus, Altus AFB and Indiahoma, OK.on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. I chose to go to that center over three others, because of the Bison. The brochure said "The Worlds Largest Surviving Herd of American Bison!" and I, being just turned 16, wanted to see the buffalo. First month I was there they didn't show up. Then I saw them. Lots of them. About 10 or 15 thousand of them. The herd is larger now, I'm sure. In the olden days there were millions of them. Then, somebody found out their weakness. Probably "Buffalo" Bill Cody. An extermination campaign was launched, kill off the food supply and starve the Plains Indians into surrender. They have this bad habit, you might ask "How bad was it?" and I might just answer "incredibly stupid". It worked when the only hunters were the wolves, humans armed with spears instead of repeating rifles and grizzly bears (more on grizzlies later) The herd would be divided into smaller and smaller herds and the leader of each was not a Bull, but a cow. If any threat appears, the hunter usually would go after one of the smaller and dumber animals. When we're talking Buffalo, though, "dumber" is a relative term. The lead cow would notice that one or more of the others was being attacked and take measures to correct it. Run or run somebody through with her horns, either one. The other cows would take their cue from the Leader. If the LEADER was the first one killed, then

Argentine players lose to their bosses, New World Order is Old World Order

Team Argentina unfurled a banner before Saturday's match against Germany, against FIFA regulations, but it wasn't the one above which calls attention to the organization of grandmothers trying to lift the veil on Argentina's Disappeared, some of whose murderers still occupy high office. This picture was taken during an earlier practice session. Instead, before today's game, the Spanish-speaking Argentines were joined by their German-speaking adversaries to hold a sign in English: "SAY NO TO RACISM." It reached American and British viewers, but could the message have been more innocuous? The admonition resembled "Just Say No To Drugs," Nancy Reagan's pseudo-urbane theme of America's War On Drugs, an attack on the lower class that continues today and couldn't be more racist. Note how two dark-suited gentlemen unrolled the English banner while FIFA line judges enjoin a handful of players from both teams to form the backdrop. About the "bold letters" television commentators described the cause of the brief delay as "something we all believe in." Will we learn from those in the stadium that the Argentine team had unfurled its anticipated banner, but the TV cameras were kept aimed at a FIFA diversion? One might be excused the impression that the soccer game that followed, Argentina's catastrophic loss to Germany, appeared to have suffered a similar negotiation. Half of the excitement of an Argentine ascendancy was anticipating the mouthpiece it would give coach Diego Maradona, beloved star and great fan of international upstarts Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Maradona hasn't been speaking truth to only Argentina's power. The Argentine dribblers dominated the Germans at every turn, but none seemed disposed to coordinate a goal. At keep-away, they surrendered the ball to Germany only four times. The South American quarterfinal losses to Netherlands, Spain and Germany confirmed that as sports mirror life, the New World Order is the Old World Order. The Ghanian Black Stars are out, and the Dutch rise from the ashes of South Africa.

FIFA vuvuzela horns may prove to be thin-skinned America’s best friend

Gearing up for Saturday's World Cup match between the USA and Ghana, media talking heads are already preparing US viewers for the home field advantage that will favor the remaining African team in contention. Convenient actually, because by chance our A-Team is booed in any arena it sets its invader's foot. The now maligned South African horns have so far masked a third world animosity that might put most Americans over the edge. The nerve of those ingrates, to boo, hiss and whistle the emperor's freedomTM fighters?

Soccer offsides rule is agreement not to score behind your opponent’s back

The US pretends the International Criminal Court doesn't have jurisdiction over its war crimes, and thinks the same immunity should shield us from FIFA referees I guess.   The USA-Algeria match today was hard fought, admittedly team USA displayed an offensive edge. Rooting for Team Weasel Empire doesn't automatically make you a Nazi, but I'll be curious to hear firsthand accounts of the hostility our compatriots faced in the stands. The silver lining to a US victory is that eventually our sportscasters will have to apologize to American TV viewers about the constant booing whenever USA gets the ball. Vuvuzelas may turn out to be a fortuitous annoyance for Western broadcasters. They mask the dynamics of how the spectators are really responding. I was slow to realize what I was hearing during the USA-Algeria match, a consistent switch from boos to cheers whenever the ball changed hands. I'm surprised I didn't see more commentary about it. Honestly, the TV talking heads spoke of the US supporter presence being "huge," and didn't bat an eye at the eruption of disapproval when Landon Donovan scored the last minute goal to net a USA victory. The next match pits the US against Ghana, which sets up a plausible excuse for why the entire stadium will be cheering against the USA. Much as I'd like to see an African team advance, I hope the Americans survive, because the more American stateside see our athletes jeered and booed, the sooner our sorry imperialist swagger can face abrupt self-reflection. Eduardo Galeano's SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW offers a great explanation of the Offsides Rule. Simply put, it reflects the gentleman's agreement not to go behind your adversary's back. What sport is there to kicking at an unprotected goal?

Down to sports, empires are tribal

American World Cup viewers tuning in to watch their team face England on Saturday might be excused confusion about their adversary's flag. Instead of the British Union Jack, English fans waved a red and white standard usually only glimpsed in movies where knights fight dragons, crusades, or Braveheart.   That's the red cross of Saint George, dragon-slayer, minus the diagonal white-on-blue X of Scotland's Saint Andrew and the red X of Ireland's Saint Patrick. Where British dominion is concerned, natural resources and labor are commonwealth, assertion of athletic dominance is forever England. But the England team crest, with the three lions passant-guardant, dates to lionhearted King Richard, the early realm's warrior expansionist. Technically the heraldic cats are léopards, because the royal houses ruled in the language of the French, and these three show the empire's spots: Team England's badge invokes the era when "England" included the conquered Scotland, Ireland and Wales. As far as world onlookers cared, the first round pairing of USA versus England was an intramural match among conspiratorial members of the Coalition of the Willing. At best one could only root for the good cop colonizer. Early enough in the game, a score fumbled past England's goalie portended the Gods' ambivalence over the outcome. Like Olympic teams, the FIFA contenders are groupings of soccer all-stars whose day jobs mean playing side by side, for either Man United or Real Madrid apparently. It's hard to expect that team allegiances would defer to nationalism any more than to the federation's television revenues. The achievement of a tie for match USA - England guaranteed to string along the barely interested American TV audience. England, Scotland and Ireland were grandfathered into FIFA because, despite not being standalone sovereign nations, they originated the competition. Indeed Britain invented football, whose spread across the world is owed to European colonialism. Sovereignty is no small distinction when it comes to legitimizing sports teams. Taiwan and Tibet are not recognized by China for example, as the Korean halves reject each other, as the US might object to Puerto Rican or Hawaiian bids for succession. Today a pretense of sovereignty is enough to field a national soccer team. Take Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel, for example, and I needn't stop there. By what standard are they independent entities versus US client states? They have their own flags, for all the US cares, and I daresay American pride would be sacrificed for the political gain of either of these puppets excelling their master in sport. A success in sporting circles would only bolster the facade of their indigenous national sovereignty. Does it say something about the difference between contemporary empires and past, that the US doesn't need to stamp the red, white and blue unto its colonial projects? Nor dominate them in the arena? We can contrast America's far-flung possessions and occupations with the British Commonwealth, whose flags closely mimicked mother Britain's theme. But I'd like to clarify Ireland's representation on the British flag. The cross of St. Patrick whose outline

We live among gods and demigods

I know a someone who's studying Greek mythology. He isn't very impressed and told me so, probably baiting me. He fixed me in the eye and said "Put it this way, I'm not going to care about it in college." It was all I could muster to reply "Maybe." I feigned not being sure myself, which was puzzling, telling him that he would find that Greek Gods had an odd habit of popping up in almost every academic discipline, especially Western literature, as if that would have mattered to him. Then I made a bet that the names of gods had come up in his favorite reads, Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side. Nope he said. He wouldn't have noticed, his mother chimed in, if he didn't know them. If he wasn't going to do it, I thought I'd write his paper. I thought about how content I felt having coaxed he and his siblings through attending a staged Odyssey, aided by a large and embarrassingly aromatic bag of m&ms. Surely Odysseus in the flesh was a head start I didn't have. And I thought about how to have explained the gods further. They were more than themed superheroes, they were Gods. Do you capitalize gods in the plural? We spell it He, but not Them. Do we have their like in the Virgin of Guadalupe or St. Francis of Assisi? The Saints I guess, were not long ago role models: St. Bernadette, St. Joan, St. Barts (just kidding), St. Nick. Of what import gods? As goes God, so too The Gods? How do you explain the meaning of the classic gods, their relevance to Greek and Roman lives, in this age of monotheism? We're not even that, we believe in a plurality of single gods. The best of us tolerate all, but believe that in their multitude of identities we're only talking about one. A singular omniscient deity would have been strange to the Greeks, just as a committee of squabbling immortals would seem horribly inutilitarian to us. My quandary extended some because in actuality monotheism was a framework I was imposing. In a single boomer generation, most of us now inhabit a secular universe, where religion is mostly lipservice to tradition. We may or may not talk to our consciences, God resides in us yada yada, but for the practical purpose of talking about God or gods, it's academic. So what's the difference, one god or three, I'm thinking of the holy trinity, or a last supper full, or a whole class of 300 BC, many of whom are no longer on speaking terms? Then it occurred to me that today's secular ungodly society probably resembles that of the Romans or Greeks more than I thought. We're an empire, as they, decaying into unholy fetishes. We're post-sacrilegious decadence. And we've gone this way before: I'm thinking of the gladiators and slavery, indifference to inhumanity and carnality, form over function and spectacle. Our consumer culture is the golden calf and very likely

16-year-old Jessica Watson completes solo circumnavigation, flunks geometry

When 16-year-old Jessica Watson arrives in Sidney tomorrow, she will be the youngest person to sail around the globe alone. The precocious Aussie will be denied an official record however, for the same reason the Olympics enforce a minimum age for gymnasts, protecting suggestible minors from overzealous parents ostensibly. The snubbing might seem an unenforceable formality, but it turns out Jessica comes up short on another technicality, the same principle which holds that girth is measured at the waist. The "circum" in navigate refers to circumference. Let's take nothing away from the young adventurer who's proven herself plenty brave, a capable sea-person, and undeniably a class act. Criticism of her geometry or vocabulary is aimed really at her internet fans who are now raining expletives on sailing officials who would deny her a world record. Just as we credit her home team for media, communications, and consultation, readers of her blog know that Jessica set her autopilot to daily coordinates provided to her. Thus it was Team Jessica which charted the interesting compromise. While no one expects round-the-world sailors to follow the equator, circumnavigation at minimum requires traversing an orb over its circumference. You cannot, as an extreme example, run a few paces off the South Pole and call yourself a circumnavigator. Soon we'd have swimmers circumnavigating the North Pole. The de-icing of the Northwest Passage likewise will be providing new shortcuts for would-be record breakers. Jessica Watson's ability to traverse the south seas owed entirely to techncal innovations which have yielded stronger crafts and better storm avoidance. The latitudes formerly named for their impenetrability, the Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and Screaming Sixties, are now open to sporting pursuits. Making the straight shot across all longitudes there is a distance a fraction of the equator. As a result, ocean racing adjudicators have decided that a proper circumnavigation should mean at least 21,600 nautical miles across the seas, a distance that approximates the width of our planet. Did Team Jessica miscalculate? More likely it was an expeditious decision to enable a finish before the youngster's 17th birthday. Going the extra distance would have added extra days to Jessica's sixteen years. The course was thus plotted to make Sidney at greatest haste. Which meant setting their own interpretation of a circumnavigation. To do this, Team Watson contrived a simplification of the minimum requirement: crossing all longitudes and passing over the equator twice, which their sailor dutifully did. Their explanation to Jessica's fans sounds officious, but is not universally accepted as equivalent to a full circumnavigation. Can you measure a waistline by passing the tape around one leg so long as you extend it up through a belt loop? On a globe such an approximation comes up short. Level of difficulty to sail it, still enormous, but a foreshortened route. Actually, Miss Watson's Burmuda rig will have traveled 23,000 sea miles taking into account her drift and the tacks required to work the wind, but her charted course accumulates to only 19,000. Imagine shortening the

Norway ties USA for Olympic gold

Does it matter really in transnational games between warmonger countries? Nearly all Winter Olympic participants are NATO occupiers of Afghanistan. Though Norway was among several who condemned the Iraq invasion, its oil company is complicit in exploiting Iraq's oil. The gold medal tie between a nation of 309 million and another 1.5% its size is contingent of course on the outcome of today's hockey match-up, a sport just as all-white as cross country skiing. It's hard to imagine Kenyans not leading the pack if someone would jest give them skis. The 50k cross country ski event is known as the King's race, because the winner is king, metaphorically. It reminds me of my grandmother's "queen for the day" award to my best-behaved cousins. The real king doesn't of course participate in the race, but lends gravitas to the champion among his best trained men. The biathelon throws a rifle into this pursuit event, for those who having difficulty relating competition sports to military preparedness training. Norway's winner is named Northug, which draws a not inappropriate allusion to Norway's historic contribution to modern Europe. After Rome's collapse, it was the Vikings who restarted the West's imperialist economic growth model.

Suomi hockey team beats Slovenska for bronze at 2010 Jeux Olympiques

What does it say across the front of the Finnish hockey jersey "SUOMI?" Is that an acronym or an internet initialism? While it could be enthusiasm for Olympic mascot Sumi, Suomi is Finnish/Saami for what they call their country. Apparently the Finns didn't get the memo about bringing Olympic text into uniform English-compliance. Swedish jerseys use the abbreviation SWE for example, even though they spell their name Sverige. Similarly Austria, AUT, which otherwise goes by Österreich, and Japan, who spell it Nippon. Norge, Polska, Nederland, Espańa, Schweitz/Suisse, Belarus, Latvija and Kasakctah are perhaps close enough not to confuse American television viewers. Other hold outs are Hungary's Magyarország, Germany's Deutschland, and Russia's ?????? -even the Asian nations know to romanize their Olympic alphabet. When in Rome, even the Greeks speak English. It amazes me that American interviewers expect Olympic athletes to speak English. Where they don't, their names don't even get a mention. South Korean speed skaters are referred to only as "the Koreans." Chinese free-style ski jumpers were given English nicknames so their "Chenglish"-speaking American coach could tell them apart.

Remember the horrendous scandal and the Media Blitz(es) That followed?

Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina... Used government money to finance Argentine Tryst. A full Seven Hours every day for a month analyzing the story and berating him.... woops didn't happen... Sorry. Senator Larry Craig, (R) Idaho (I da pimp! bad joke) practicing the unsafest of all Sex Acts, random anonymous sex, in a Mens Room at the Minneapolis Airport, Married, family man, cheating on his wife. They followed him everywhere, then when he disappeared they staked out his boat, his house, his mom's house and his kids school trying to get pictures of him... ooopsie... That didn't happen either. Bob Allen of Florida, State Representative, (R) in a men's room repeatedly, so afraid of Black Dudes raping and robbing him that he followed them into the John and paid them 20 a piece to fellate them... Married, Cheating on his wife... When he went in to Sex Rehab the National Enquirer poked cameras into every opening in the fence looking to catch a picture of him. Nope, not that either... My favorite, Vitter of Louisiana getting caught with his diapers down... He of "Family Values" and Unimpeachable Morals fame. All of them, when they apologized, did so clearly, succinctly and humbly, then submitted themselves to the questions of the repor... Wait a minute. None of them apologized, at all, ever. Since they were all members of the Bu'ush Regime and active supporters of the War Of Terror, their actions DID affect more than just their families and thus, they DID owe America an apology. Not merely for being Sexual Hypocrites, but for the God-Damn 8 year killing Spree "their" troops have been engaged in. That's pretty damn major. All of them made a big hoo-hah over criminalizing Sex between Consenting Adults and de-criminalizing Hate Crimes. (not just the Hate Crimes against gay People either) None of them bothered with Rehab, none of them hounded and their families hounded for what's now 3 Freakin' Months, mon... nothing at all like what a guy who plays the dorkiest game in existence for a living is subjected to. People PAY the government officials for leadership and for being Role Models for their kids. It's one of the Job REQUIREMENTS for Christ's Sake. But a guy who plays a game for a living, is really required to do nothing but smack a very small ball with a very crooked stick into a very small hole that's anywhere between 75 and 200 yards away. And do it consistently. It doesn't matter if they have a messed up politicial, social or personal life. Some of the courses he plays on had never had a Black golfer in any of their tournaments EVER when he started. Some of them at the time still forbad blacks to actually play there, pay to play there, with no chance at winning money. So why the anger? Are they really such shitty parents that they need a middle aged black man who they've never met to be a Role Model for their piglets? Since WHEN? Would they walk into the Midnight

Johnny Damon the myth of sports news

Local news on TV gets a scant few minutes of coverage, where the story of the day vies with weather to edge out everything else that isn't fluff. In national news, interviewees can seldom get an answer in edgewise before they're rushed off for the commercial break. "That's all the time we have" ends every news story, yet the day's sports story is paraded before sport desk after sport center. I used to envy the attention Americans gave to sports, until I saw the scrutiny was illusory. For example, Johnny Damon's double stolen base in game four of the World Series. It may stand as the most memorable moment of the series, giving Sunday's game to the Yankees. Damon beat a tag out at second, but continued running because the ball was behind him and there was no adversary guarding third. As I write, I already remind myself of the SNL skit about Norwegians staging their own translation of an American TV crime show. In the spirit of being an outsider I'd like to add that Fox Sports has chosen unfortunate replay graphics, featuring stars bursting from the center of the screen. Most cutaways leave closeups of baseball players, almost all of them chewing and spitting. The graphics seem to erupt from their mouths. The fact that no one was on third wasn't immediately clear to the television audience, for whom third base was out of camera frame. I thought for a minute I was spectating a Playstation game, where a specialist I know can always rundown the pickle, but Damon strode unchallenged to the abandoned base. None had seen such a thing before, such was the hyperbole. With what looked like impulsive genius, Damon confounded fans and critics who'd been comfortable to agree with Damon's own self-deprecating image as a dumb jock. Johnny Damon's stolen third base was the talk of the post play-by-play. It turns out the Phillies had made a Mark Teixeira shift which left the base exposed. The very semantics offer a clue to the real story, but the jocks dropped it there. The final analysis for the viewers? I'll put it in layman's terms: the Phillies had shifted their players in anticipation of batter Mark Teixeira, who hits to a very consistent hole in the outfield. The shift left the Phillies third baseman to cover second, and the pitcher, if warranted, to watch third. But the pitcher wasn't watching, and as Damon passed the third baseman on second base, he calculated that he could outrun both of them to the empty base. Great story, no one is credited an error, New York shorn Johnny Damon emerges a strategist, and the authenticity of the surprise of adrenalin rush which Damon gave the viewers is affirmed. But might not the media team calling the game have served the audience better if they'd called the Phillies' unusual position shift? The sportcasters deserve the error on this play, but mostly I think for their lack of post game candor. Both infield and

Federer finds sweet spot below the belt

Tennis Grand Slam tournaments are for fans of Lexus, Chase, Netjets and JP Morgan, apparently. JP Morgan executive Mary Callahan Erdoes was even on hand during a commercial break to "thank the fans."   But at today's US Open, Roger Federer showed that Heineken drinkers aren't above circus hijinks. Federer scored the second to last point of the men's semifinal round with a swing between the legs. Note he is looking at neither the ball, nor the court, making not just a save, but placing a return beyond the reach his opponent. Physical intuition.

Lacrosse fought & equipped by warriors

Need another tipoff that the sport of lacrosse is early combat training? The leading equipment purveyor is Warrior Sports. This photo was taken at the 2009 Jamboree in Denver Colorado, where teams of little white boys converged to declare state champions. The sea of white was interrupted by a single black team, a girls team, I conjecture because women's lacrosse is played more like field hockey, necessitating much less protective gear. From sticks to heads, to helmet, to Kevlar, every element of Lacrosse gear had a starting price of $120, going up. Schools don't have budgets to support both football and lacrosse armature. Lacrosse leagues are sort of the charter schools of youth sports: only those with disposable incomes need apply. If African American youth dominate you school sport programs, why not take you Anglo-Saxon tykes to fields where they can dominate each other without a challenger's interruption? But I digress. Lacrosse is for tots who already harbor an innate itch to thrust handguns forward, but have to be taught that, in every useful gunfight save those of James Bond, standard issue is an assault rifle, which necessitates both hands, and best represented in early boot camp as its earliest belligerent incarnation: the stick. Kids like lacrosse because they get to swing their sticks at others with wild abandon. It's especially fun, I'm told, when you really hate your opponents.

Spain reaches French Open final after all

In the second game of the final match of the 2009 Roland Garros, a spectator leapt unto center court where he tried to drape Roger Federer in a flag. Television didn't want to dignify the antic with explicatory coverage, as if the interruption was another Basque ETA outburst. It turns out the red and blue standard wielded by the nimble interloper represented Football Club Barcelona. Streaking is dead, no place for a logo.

Borel & Mine That Bird moon horseracing

To watch the replay of Calvin Borel's ride at Churchill Downs is more captivating than it was live. Even anticipating the 50 to 1 upset, Mine That Bird's final stretch weave from last place to first looks like an athletic feat for Maradona. It happened so fast, Mine That Bird was mentioned only once before the end of the race, even then it was almost an omission. Borel was so far behind, laying back after getting squeezed coming out of the gate by Papa Clem and Join In the Dance, that the broadcast announcer missed him entirely, declaring that "the last of them all is Mr. Hot Stuff." Midway through his next phrase he corrects himself to add that "--well behind the rest of them is Mine That Bird." From that point, Mine That Bird's wild ride is ignored even beyond his breakthrough into the lead. As Borel bursts into contention along the inside rail, the announcer erupts "Pioneer of the Nile!" by mistake, or if even because he was looking elsewhere. It isn't until Borel pulls to a several length lead that Mine That Bird gets a credit. Such was the upset. Seen from the aerial view, the finish was not a surprise at all. Accelerating into the last turn, Borel and Mine That Bird wove between the others like they were plotting the shortest line between points. The speed differential reminded me of a Grand Prix racer when he's passing the cars he's already lapped. As the improbable pair began gaining, their momentum seemed all but irresistible. Watching the replay, you can see Borel's attack, and marvel that it escaped the attention of all the professionals who usually weigh in so liberally with effusive expertise. Horse racing is a legitimization of eugenics, meaning that when there is money on the line, genetic supremacy is hard science. That is perhaps what is so invigorating about the Churchill Downs upset. Calvin Borel, the physical personification of a toothless street-corner imbecile, and Mine That Bird, a horse sold for a price less than your average Paint, trained outside the gated enclaves of Kentucky. RACE RESULT with ENTRY NUMBERS: 1. Mine That Bird #8 2. Pioneer of the Nile #16 3. Musket Man #2 4. Papa Clem #7 5. Chocolate Candy #11 6. Summer Bird #17 7. Join in the Dance #9 8. Regal Ransom #10 9. West Side Bernie #1 10. General Quarters #12 11. Dunkirk #15 12. Hold Me Back #5 13. Advice #4 14. Desert Party #19 15. Mr. Hot Stuff #3 16. Atomic Rain #14 17. Nowhere to Hide #18 18. Friesan Fire #6 19. Flying Private #20

White Flight from football to assault rifle

Ryan dons the rest of his gear in the car. Pads, armor, helmet, even mouth guard. I adjust the rearview mirror downward until I see his small frame in the backseat. We're only halfway to practice and he's already biting down, breathing through his nose, focused straight ahead. It's the same routine for football, except today he's got a lacrosse stick across his knees. In his grip, I should say. When we pull the car to the edge of the parking lot, he jumps and literally hits the ground running. From my height he gives me the sense I'm a helicopter pilot who's dropped soldier reinforcements to join the team on the pitch. There's a steep hillock between Ryan and the field, but his charge never slows, he ascends like a Cavalry of One, his stick brandished like an assault rifle. Would an M16 be held any different? The difference between football and lacrosse is that your little assault squad is armed. In 1763 a band of Chippewa Indians seized Fort Michilimackinac by feigning a game of baggataway, the Native American origin of lacrosse. The Indians pretended that an over-spirited drive led players over the fortifications and within minutes they'd stormed the ramparts. In a spirit of honoring American Indian tradition, like the harvest celebration of Thanksgiving, American dads are pushing a new sport unto the youth athletic season. Because the first early adopters where also the first white men to hit the New World, the sport now has a Mayflower WASP identity too. Lacrosse has an exotic appeal in spite of its New England tradition. It's sort of field hockey gone aerial, full court jai alai with armor, East Coast blue blood rooted with the authentic red bloods, the original old money land owners. Is that what's behind the lacrosse resurgence? As Ryan's team wrapped up the other day, they passed baseball diamonds and could not hold back from chanting "lacrosse, lacrosse" toward the children playing baseball, as if to instigate a cross-sport rivalry. Lacrosse teams are still relatively scarce. On weekends they have to cross neighboring metropolitan regions to play each other. How many sports programs do you need to round out your kids? Boys have baseball, football and basketball, among the big team sports. Neither of which are the biggest sports internationally. Soccer and handball. Curiously both those require little equipment. They are perfect for the Third World, but imperfect for consumer cultures which have wheels of commerce to drive, especially in recreational pursuits. Which could explain why Lacrosse teams have to traverse great distances to encounter adversaries. The usual cross town rivals can't pony up the money for this game. Lacrosse is White Flight from football. Most schools have barely enough money to keep their athletes in football gear, let alone a completely redundant lacrosse kit. And so the only kids playing lacrosse are from families who can afford the hundreds extra for the specialized equipment. Added bonus, there are no players bringing a black athletic advantage to the game. Like the

Ask Alex Rodriguez how he does Tic Tacs

A-Rod held a press conference to explain his now admitted steroid use, a mistake he blamed on his youth, when he was 24-26. While the "Boli" which Rodriguez got through his cousin, over the counter in the Dominican Republic, remains a mystery. Rodriguez claimed he did not know it was a steroid. Asked why he kept the twice-a-month for-three-years injections a secret, he admitted he knew "We weren't taking Tic Tacs." The comparison might be a dismissive reference to the innocuous breath mint, but it implies a small pill taken orally, doesn't it? For your breath. Can you inject a Tic Tac? Maybe it's time to ask: what in professional sports circles is a "Tic Tac" injection?

Is there a sumo in your future?

I used to avert my imagination on the subject of Sumo Wrestling. Probably I still do, visualization wise. But the bigger than grotesque spectacle has suddenly fascinated me, as a historic predecessor of the wide world of sport of our future. How odd that a tiny bonsai-grown island people fixate on professional athletes multiple times a normal human size. It seems so inorganic, to cheer for man-hippos, instead of competitors made from our own image. After all, we cheer for home teams, not cross town rivals. But sports fans are coming round once again to see their hero athletes for the super humans they need to be, to impress us with their superhuman feats. Might I suggest that for a brief democratic period, baseball offered more than an illusion, that a neighborhood hero could emerge from the most unassuming physique. Today Americans recognize that professional athletes are no longer improved versions of us. Real winners are crafted by genetics and unimaginable dedication, for their superhuman destinies. Our insistence that athletes cannot use steroids therefore seems to me awkwardly unreasonable. Doping levels the playing field, for aspirants up against genetics. That viewers recognize the well demarcated expectations of the differing athlete body types, became no more clear to me than in this year's Super Bowl, when a Steelers linebacker carried the ball from end zone to end zone, dodging not only his pursuers, but the book maker's handicap as well. Even Saturday Night Live parodied the feat, although their urban comedy cannot be said to snub the NFL certainly. Weekend Update portrayed the beleaguered James Harrison as still out of breath, a full week after SB XLIII. It seems even SNL knows that non-sports watchers would recognize that Harrison's 100 yard triumph was over and above what a non-running football position could be called upon to do. It could almost have been an ordinary Japanese man facing a Sumo. That would be populist fantasy, but not sport.

God loses Super Bowl XVIII

(We should be able to express it here without causing offense--) Thank God Kurt Warner lost the Super Bowl, or we'd not be hearing the end of Warner's praises to his god for the victory. Odd-makers since before the statistics were kept have recorded that God has proved powerless against flood, famine, and every permutation of human misery. Now we can add the Pittsburgh Steelers to the formidable list.

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