Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

LOL

February 10, 2017

dogWhen I think something’s funny, I don’t say LOL, I actually laugh out loud!  Here are a commercial (especially the horse watching porn and this family scene)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Kj-4F8pWfk
and an article from the New Yorker that had me laughing (especially the bathing suit):  Shouts & Murmurs, New Yorker February 6, 2017 Issue
Melania’s Diary 1/21/2017, by Paul Rudnick

…Then [Kellyanne] brought up the Tiffany gift box that I’d given Michelle Obama on Inauguration Day. “What was in that box?” Kellyanne demanded. I smiled in my alluringly mysterious way, which makes people wonder if I have wads of cash duct-taped to my body at all times, in case I need to flee the country.
“It was just a gracious parting gift,” I said. I will never reveal the box’s true contents, except in the pages of this secret diary: it was a framed photo of me modelling swimwear in a JCPenney catalogue, on which I’d written my cell-phone number and the words “Please come to visit. And never leave.”  http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/06/melanias-diary-1-21-2017

Just a Grimace

Yesterday it was 86° here in Tucson.  Today 87°,  20° above normal.  Must be the overheated political climate.

trump-vacationTrump’s Mar-a-Lago getaway could cost taxpayers more than $3 million
The president regularly hassled Obama for his travel. Now Trump is about to get a taste of his own medicine.
by Matthew Nussbaum 02/03/17

Trump’s multimillion-dollar trip, which comes just two weeks into his presidency, shows that Trump is not shy about engaging in the same type of jet-setting that he and other Republicans heavily criticized Obama for throughout his presidency…
“The habitual vacationer, @BarackObama, is now in Hawaii. This vacation is costing taxpayers $4 milion +++ while there is 20% unemployment,” Trump wrote on Twitter in December 2011 (when the unemployment rate was actually 8.5 percent).
“President @BarackObama’s vacation is costing taxpayers millions of dollars——Unbelievable!” Trump opined again on Twitter a few days later.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-mar-lago-taxpayers-234562

hidden_figuresFriends and I went to see a movie, Hidden Figures, the true story of the women who crunched the numbers for NASA. It was great!

Much better than La La Land, which we saw last weekend, and which has 14 Academy Award nominations.  A friend commented:  “…Why not get actors who can sing and dance?  It’s not like there aren’t plenty of them in LA…”  But hey, they have to keep the “Oscars so white”.

tom-bradyThis on Sunday, instead of watching the Super Bowl.  There were the controversies of Tom Brady having a Trump Make America Great Again baseball cap in his locker, and spending his four-month suspension sunbathing nude in Italy, but he was back, and the New England Patriots won, so who cares?  (Or as the Washington Post said, Tom Brady won this Super Bowl…)

Seen Today

February 10, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

This morning I awoke to rain.  When the sun came out a hummingbird zipped along the rosemary.  A friend called and said that there was snow on the Catalinas, but I can’t see them from my house; in the afternoon when I went out it was gone.  The clouds look foreboding; we may get more rain.

5:45 pm

A very large bobcat just walked across my bedroom patio, at least four times my cat’s size, with paws about ten times as large.  I was so engrossed in the newspaper that I only noticed the motion as he strode behind the chaise.  Of course I grabbed my camera, but he didn’t pause for a photo op, just continued through my fence to the wash.  My cat was sound asleep at my feet.

When I left the house at 6 pm the Catalinas were larger than usual, a rosy pink, with sharp shadows of dusty blue.  The grey-blue clouds above them were color-coordinated, illuminated to pink beneath by the setting sun.

Monty Python Accents

It’s not insomnia; I just often wake up in the middle of the night.  If I can’t get right back to sleep I turn on the radio, and at three in the morning NPR runs the BBC.  So the other night I heard two guys with Monty Python accents discussing Barcelona soccer star Lionel Messi earning an estimated $43.5 million.  I thought that this must be some Monty Python joke, or maybe part of my dream.

But, in the light of day, I googled him and found that his wages and bonuses were “only” $15.8 million, but he also had $27.7 million in endorsements1.  Then I googled highest earning American athletes including endorsements and found The 50 highest-earning American Athletes2.  Last year, the boxer, Floyd Mayweather, who was unranked a year ago, scored two huge pay-per-view paydays to earn $85 million without a single endorsement. tiger + girl

He beat Tiger, who only got $59.4M for 2012. ($4.4M in winnings, $55M in endorsements.  Guess the wife v. girlfriend brouhaha has blown over.  Nobody’s paying attention to his latest blond, a 22-year old!)

1http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/20/report-messi-tops-money-earnings-with-435m/
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forbes%27_list_of_world%27s_highest-paid_athletes

Battle of the Blade Runners 2012

September 11, 2012

Yes, I know this is old news, but I continued reading about the Paralympics through yesterday.  You know I’ve been following Oscar Pistorius1, the first “Blade Runner”.  After running in the Olympics, he ran in the Paralympics.

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, above left, came in fourth in the 100m final at the Paralympics after, from left, his countryman Arnu Fourie, American Richard Browne and Briton Jonnie Peacock, who took the gold.

Oscar Pistorius was defeated in the 200m by Brazilian Alan Oliveira (who had longer blades).

Oscar Pistorius won gold in the T44 400 metres with a time of 46.68 seconds, breaking the Paralympic record.

 JIM WHITE’S CHOICE – THE OSCAR PISTORIUS EFFECT

 My favourite Paralympic moment did not involve any competitors. The glories of Sophie Christiansen, Sarah Storey and Jonnie Peacock notwithstanding, it happened as I came out of the stadium after enjoying an evening of Paralympic athletics.

 The night had concluded with Oscar Pistorius cruising to victory in the 400 metres heats, cheered to the line by 80,000 giddily enthusiastic spectators.

 Confronting me as I left was a sight that will live with me for some time. A young lad of about nine was dashing around showing off his pace to his parents, his siblings and anyone who was pacing. He was quick too. Very quick given that in place of a right leg he was wearing a blade.

 If ever there was indication of the inspirational possibilities of sport, there it was. Imagine what a lift to that young man’s self-confidence has been induced by watching Pistorius’s feats.

 Instead of being conscious of his disability, the boy will have been encouraged to believe that he can compete equally with the two-legged lads in the playground.

 The very fact the youngster was wearing a blade rather than a flesh-like prosthesis for a big night in the stadium was indicative of what the South African has done: he has made a blade cool.2

Interested, I continued reading about the Paralympics.  (I have no working television, but I understand that very little of the Paralympics was shown in the US.)

Britain’s David Weir became the greatest wheelchair racer of all time.

USA archer with no arms, Matt Stutzman, won silver at the Paralympics.

Mexican swimmer Juan Reyes has no arms and only one leg so uses his incredible abdominal muscles to push himself across the pool.  He won his fourth Paralympic gold in succession in men’s S4 50m backstroke.

Our country ranked poorly in metals.  China was way above the competition.  Britain did well as the host country.  So we took fourth place in total metals, behind our old rival, Russia, but also got beaten in the Golds by Australia, and Ukraine (Ukraine!?!)  Considering how many of our Vets have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with missing limbs, you’d think we’d spend more time and money working with our disabled.

Country

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

China

95

71

65

231

Great Britain

34

43

43

120

Russia

36

38

28

102

United States

31

29

38

98

Australia

32

23

30

85

Ukraine

32

24

28

84

1https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/the-ovens-a-dry-heat-too-%E2%80%8F/
and https://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/the-future-is-already-here/

2http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/picturegalleries/9532109/Paralympics-2012-Magic-Moments.html?frame=2334099

The oven’s a dry heat too…‏

August 11, 2012

Drove to Phoenix Thursday for my daughter’s birthday.  When I got out of the car was blasted by 115° heat.  They’ve issued a heat advisory, recommending that children not be outdoors.  My granddaughter is in a year-round school (first grade) and the kids are not going outside for recess; they’re being kept inside in A/C watching movies.

My daughter’s electrical bill for July was almost $300 even though they keep the house (2,000 sf) at 81° (84° if she is working all day and the kids are in school and daycare).  Way too warm for me.  I turned it down to 78° when I babysat Friday morning for the boys.

Tucson’s highs have “only” been 106°.  Advantage of high heat: if you hang your sheets outside to dry they’re dry in 20 minutes.  Disadvantage: everything else.

Ice Angel with LED Wings

Here’s something to make you think cold, if only for a few minutes.  (Watch the video, it’s fun):

Interactive artist Dominic Harris, together with Cinimod Studio, have created modern day snow angels with digital manipulations. This playful interactive installation, ‘Ice Angel’, allows the participant to become both the performer and the portrait subject.  As the user moves [his or her] arms a new wing shape appears, unfurling from the shoulders, moving and displacing virtual snow. ice-angel

Grass

One present I got my daughter (should have gotten a photo of the look on her face when she opened the package), was KUSA Grass Flip Flops.

Love the feeling of bare feet on freshly mowed grass?  Why not have that feeling anywhere, anytime.  KUSA flip flops give you the opportunity to do just that.1

Finding that photo led me to this interesting photo of a path of grass.  Get onto the web site for a string of photos of the path.

The Never-Ending Grass Pathway in France

In celebration of the 10th year anniversary of French village Jaujac’s art and nature trail programs, visual artist Gaëlle Villedary created a seemingly never-ending green carpet that connects the village to is natural settings.  Using 3.5 tons of natural material, the installation ‘Tapis Rouge’ (Red Carpet) is a 1377 foot long grass pathway that not only goes over slopes and stairs, but also under the split roots of a tree.2

2012 Olympics

As my friends and I had done in San Diego (more about that trip in the next blog) every night from 8am until midnight, at my daughter’s we watched the Olympics in the evening.  Mentioned the tattoos (my daughter is replete), the swimmers and divers and gymnasts having few, more on the volleyball players, and she said that the orange stripes on the lower back of the Chinese diver and swimmer that I thought were weird tattoos are kinesio (or just ‘k’) tape.3

CountryMedalists      

Total

United States

41

26

28

95

China

37

25

20

82

Russia

18

22

28

68

Great Britain

26

15

18

59

Germany

10

19

14

43

America seems to have pulled out (at least for today) not only in the total medal count, but in the gold too, finally overtaking China.

The home court advantage is working.  Even though England was also fourth in medal count in 2008, they now have more total medals than they did in China (59 v. 47) and more golds (26 v. 19).

I watched the London Opening Ceremonies and especially liked the scene when James Bond retrieved the Queen, they got into a helicopter, flew to the arena and made a parachute jump to the arena. Of course, it wasn’t really Daniel Crag and Her Majesty, but it was fun.

I have seen Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian, with 22 medals, and Missy Franklin win three golds in swimming, but decide against millions in endorsements so that she can swim on her college team.  (Phelps collects an estimated five to seven million dollars each year in endorsements.)

Gabby Douglas, who started off so brilliantly, is another who shall do well with endorsements.

Douglas, a 16-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., who did not come from a life of privilege but from a background in which her single mother has struggled to pay the mortgage on a condominium, will leave London not only with her medals but with the opportunity to become a millionaire. Thanks to those golds.  And that smile.
Though Douglas failed to win a medal in her final event Tuesday, finishing seventh on the balance beam, she is still the first American to win team and all-around gold in the same Olympics.
…she should make between $2 million and $4 million in endorsement revenue per yearfor the next four years.”
4

Some countries (especially communist ones) put lots of money into training their athletes.  During the Cold War it was East Germany and the Soviet Union.  Today it’s China, of course, Germany, Russia, South Korea, and surprisingly, Australia.5

The United States does not invest in our Olympic athletes, just our football stadiums.   Some companies help out: Nike has poured money into distance running.  (Notices all of those swooshes?)  Rich kids can train, but those less fortunate might go under – Ryan Lochte’s parents had their home foreclosed, gymnast Gabby Douglas’s mother declared bankruptcy, and John Orozco got a job to help his parents pay the mortgage.  (Read about Orozco’s travails here: men’s gymnastics)  But if the athlete wins, then they reap the endorsement profits.

Unusual competitors

The events have been great, and yes, I loved Usain Bolt and his antics as he effortlessly became the first man to successfully defend both 100 and 200 sprint titles in the Olympics, and I was impressed that Bolt and his Jamaican teammates are the first Non-Americans to complete a clean sweep of the 200 meters.

I enjoyed watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in their tiny bikinis win a third consecutive gold medal in beach volleyball.  (How can two people cover and entire side it usually takes 6 people to cover?)  Missed the tennis as my friends didn’t subscribe to that cable channel.

But I also like to follow the unusual competitors.  There’s the South African woman who underwent lots of testing to prove that she wasn’t a man:

South African runner Caster Semenya took second place in her Olympic debut Wednesday, three years after a gender controversy sidelined her career and overshadowed her victory in the world championships.

I also watched for the runner from South Africa with prosthetic legs.  (See my blog with him at the end.6)

Oscar Pistorius rocked back and forth near the start line Saturday as the public-address announcer introduced him as the Blade Runner. An Olympic Stadium camera cooperated by panning to the pair of carbon-fiber prosthetics that he wore with his track suit.

The IOC this year successfully pressed Saudi Arabia and fellow Muslim nations Qatar and Brunei, the last three countries to refuse to send women to the Olympics, to end their bans. 

Saudi Arabia sent a female judo fighter, 16 year old Wojdan Shaherkani, and a racer, Sarah Attar, a dual Saudi and American citizen, the first Saudi Arabian women ever to compete in the Olympics.   (Attar was born and raised in the United States.)  Neither woman won, but theirs were Symbolic Victories.

The slowest runner in the last women’s 800-meter heat brought the Olympic crowd to its feet Wednesday morning for a sustained ovation.  As Sarah Attar sprinted toward the finish nearly 45 seconds behind the winner, the cheers were recognition for the first Saudi Arabian woman to run track at the Games.
…Saudi Arabia, governed by Islamic law, prohibits women from driving and requires women to receive permission from a male guardian to work, travel, study, marry, and access certain medical care.
7

Four women competed from Qatar for the first time.

An historic run for Qatar’s first female Olympic track athlete, Noor Al-Malki, was ended by injury.
The 17-year-old failed to finish her 100m heat after appearing to pull a hamstring as she came out of the blocks at London’s Olympic stadium.
Al-Malki, dressed in a maroon running suit and cap, limped off the track with the help of officials after bursting into tears. 

Other Qatar athletes were Bahya Mansour Al Hamad, Shooting, and Aia Mohamed, Table Tennis, suitably covered for Muslim women.  Qatar swimmer Nada Mohammed W S Arakji, however, wore a normal bathing suit.8

Brunei’s first woman Olympian is runner Maziah Mahusin, who also who carried the flag for the small Asian nation in last week’s opening ceremony in London.  (Here she had her photo taken with one of her idols, our – Jamaican, but moved to the US at age 12 – gold medalist, Sanya Richards Ross.)

There’s one woman from Afghanistan, Tahmina Kohistani, a runner.

…at home in Afghanistan, her daily training sessions are conducted to a soundtrack of catcalls from hundreds of abusive men.  Whenever the sprinter trains for the 100 metres at Kabul Stadium, crowds soon appear to jeer and hurl insults at her and question why a woman would even think of taking to the track.9

Iran allows a few inches of skin to show, as well as a bit of hair, as seen in this photo.

Iran sent  54 athletes to the London Games, including eight women competing in table tennis, hammer throwing, kayaking, rowing, archery, taekwondo and the women’s 10m air rifle.

Unfortunately, our 323-pound weightlifter, Holley Mangold, (whose brother is Jets center Nick Mangold) was hampered by a wrist injury and failed to medal, but she’s only 21, so look for her in 2016.10

Now I’m back home with no working TV.

1http://kusashoes.com/
2http://inspir3d.net/2012/07/20/the-never-ending-grass-pathway-in-france/
3http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/that-weird-tape-olympians-have-on-their-bodies-does-it-do-anything/260615/
4http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/07/sports/la-sp-oly-gabby-douglas-marketing-20120808
5http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/aug/08/olympic-arms-race/
6http://notesfromthewest.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/the-future-is-already-here/
7http://articles.boston.com/2012-08-09/news/33120953_1_female-athletes-islamic-law-girls-and-women
8http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/05/201252613532359412.html
9http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/athletics/9433279/London-2012-Olympics-Afghan-athlete-Tahmina-Kohistani-is-learning-to-smile-as-she-finds-freedom-to-enjoy-her-sport.html
10http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/06/sports/olympics/olympic-weight-lifter-holley-mangold-finishes-10th.html