Monday, October 31, 2011

TUESDAY

1. Google has seriously fucked their Google Reader by eliminating the sharing option. They are bound and determined to force people into using Google+. My response is to send my shit exclusively to Facebook now. I know some will miss the minimalist shares and the porn. It was good while it lasted.

2. Looks like Herman Cain is getting the character assassination treatment. Notice how this always happens precisely at the moment someone becomes the front runner?

3. Country:

Clean

Clean 2x20kg: 5
Clean 2x24kg: 5
Clean 2x28kg: 5
Clean 2x30kg: 5
Clean 2x32kg: 5, 10, 10, 10

Oa swing 32kg: 20/20
High pulls 2x20kg: 20

Push-ups: 3x 10reps
French press w bar: 3x 8reps
Biceps curl w bar: 7reps
Oa BU clean and hold 20kg: 1min/1min (=1rep/1rep, same as my old PR)

Today was a very fun session. Hand was better, so I tried some clean-only. I have a strain in one upper trap wich seems to be aggravated by heavy lock-outs. Which makes me think of my training lately... several small injuries and pains.

You don't have to be a fitness guru to realize that those aches and pains are the result of my training. Since March, or so, I have focused few reps and heavier weights (considering my fitness level, that is). It has been very fun, and I feel like I have strengthened some weak points such as grip and OH-lockouts.

I also got a break from the high rep sets which started to bore me. Still, staying low rep and heavy for too long leads to stagnation and injuries. And, now I will start with lighter bells and longer sets again. I will see if go for a light period for a month, or two. Or, if I start alternating light and heavy days during the week.

I just got this epiphany today, so I have not had the time to think through a plan yet. During winter, I will get back to the red ones again anyhow.

Sports (Law and) Economics

As was the case last year, the North American Association of Sports Economists ("NAASE") has organized a number of sessions at the Southern Economic Association's annual conference next month in Washington, DC. The entire program can be found here. The NAASE-sponsored sessions are highlighted here. Several papers will be presented that overlap with sports law. Examples of such topics include doping, salary arbitration, sports betting, and the valuation of elite-level college football programs.

The Everyday Spooky

Low Light, Cycling
I am going to be honest here: I considered doing a contest or a funny story for Halloween, but I am just not in the mood.

After a few days back in the US, I have to admit that cycling here has required some major re-adjustment on my part. Having initially set out with the same relaxed attitude I'd acquired after only a couple of weeks in Vienna, I immediately experienced a "welcome home" reminder consisting of close-calls with doors flinging open, drivers refusing to yield when I have the right of way, the works. Cycling here is spooky. Having not ventured abroad for over a year prior to my recent trip, I guess I've managed to trick myself into forgetting that.

Once in a while I write about how much conditions have improved here in Cambridge and Somerville since I began cycling in Spring of 2009. But just as often I question myself: Have they really improved that much, or have I just become more aggressive, less sensitive, and more willing to accept risks in response to the reality of how (bad) things are? Probably a bit of both, and it's so difficult to see objectively. Coming back from Las Vegas a month ago, cycling in Boston seemed like paradise. Coming back from Vienna, it seems like a war zone. 

While I maintain that I am "not an activist," of course I care about cyclists all over the world having safe and pleasant travel conditions. Everyday cycling should not be a scary experience, and some day I hope it won't be. 

A Great Way to Start the Basketball Season

This weekend I was honored to be a part of a father-son cookout to kickoff the St Gertrude boys basketball season.

It was an opportunity for Dads to meet the coaches, reminisce about the football season and just have some fun. Cornhole, basketball, burgers, smores, hot chocolate and a fire made up the menu.

After everyone was fed and settling in by the fire we had numerous men talk about great memories they have.

Coach Chris Willertz started us off talking about how he integrates SportsLeader into his public school wrestling team, how his opinion of his Dad changed as he matured and a great longing he had for a better relationship with one of his coaches in college.


Dads then shared about a host of different topics:

-The patient baseball coach who enabled a young man to have a memory he will never forget

-The man who never knew his father but had an Uncle who formed him into the man he is today and how much he appreciates him.

-The youngest of a family of 9 and how he appreciated his Dad making the special effort to play with him as he grew up.

-The memory of the non-athletic Dad who made numerous sacrifices to always be there for his athletic son.

-A man's fond memories of his high school football coach - how he is still a second Dad to him.


It was a fantastic way to show the boys that this season is about a lot more than basketball. It was a step closer to the goal of making the basketball community into a family ... 

Phil Goff Debate Disaster
















The first debate between Labour Leader Phil Goff and
Prime Minister John Key took place tonight, and Phil
Goff made some huge tactical mistakes.

He had to lose his wimpy image while sticking to the
issues, he went about it the wrong way. In interviews
before this debate, he said he wont play the person
but he will stick to labour policies.

He did the opposite, every time Prime Minister John
Key talked, Goff interrupted him and attacked him and
National. Key remained cool and calm thruout, and gave
out stats and hard data for his view point.

One may even say, Key Played Goff perfectly, he went
fishing, Goff bit, and Key reeled him in with calm answers.

I'm not a political person, but Key's ideas seem better,
and Goff came across as old Labour.

It wasn't a huge knockout, 60-40 to Key I would say,
but it could of been a lot better for the people of
New Zealand if Goff had of known, how to debate.

He doesn't.

Round one to National.

They are looking like a two term Government.

Time will tell.

[SOC]

I can feel the vultures circling. Apparently, it is getting out that I am single. I have been in total bachelor mode since May, and I have used the time well to work on projects and my fitness. I haven't had a single date since that time, and I have actually labored to keep it that way. My life since May has been monastic except for Friday nights at Hooters where I ogle ass I am never going to get. Last Friday, I passed on Hooters and went home for some rest. I am ending my Hooters habit in favor of doing the things that really matter to me.

This is the longest I have been like this in the last five years or so. Either I had a girlfriend or a string of dates. But I wanted to be where I am now for awhile. I felt like I was drowning in a dating abyss, and I needed some air.

I don't think I want to go back to all that bullshit. Naturally, this brings up accusations of being homosexual or the specter of celibacy. The conventional wisdom is that there must be something wrong with a man if he's not plowing some chick somewhere. But I don't care. I don't want to go back to that crap. That is the pure fucking truth there.

My life goes better without a chick in it. I have more money, more time, and more enjoyment. I get in better shape. I write more. I enjoy being at work more. I feel like a tremendous burden has been lifted off of me. Why would I want to go back to some woman's bullshit?

I like this monastic existence. The vultures can circle, but I am going to ignore them. Love is such a crock of shit that I just don't want that toxic garbage in my life anymore. It feels like being liberated from some bad addiction. And I'm too busy to feel lonely. I have so much I want to do, and I have the freedom to do those things now. I am staying in this state of being for as long as I can.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jesse Ryder Injured Again



















Seriously Jesse?

Your injured again?? This time a right calf strain?

Do you think that perhaps if you actually trained during
the off season instead of eating a ton of McNuggets.
you might of avoided injury.

Shame on NewZealand cricket, for offering this guy
a contract, shame on New Zealand cricket for
giving  Ryder so many one last chances.

Also shame on the public for thinking it's  a bit of
a laugh having an out of shape sportsperson in
our national team.

I'm kinda guessing Ryder will be injured for a long time,
then when the ICL comes around, he will be fit again, and
will ask NZ Cricket for another contract.

He doesn't deserve one.

Lets hope he has played his last match for his country.

Time will tell.

NBA No Full Season BUT...















There won't be a full regular 82 game season, BUT
there will be an NBA season, players, owners, and
the NBA itself are ready to sign on the dotted line, after
123 days of negotiation.

Basketball fans can rejoice and  an announcement will be
made this week with the season starting in December.
How's that for a Christmas present to global sporting
fans!!!

The season may be a sixty game season, which means
not a long on harm has been done to the world's second
most popular sport.

Again, I cannot wait, the players must be itching to get
back into action, I know the fans are!!!!

Roll on December!!!

Memory for a Lifetime

Here is a note from a good friend of mine, Gary Stegman. We are both volunteers with a boys club called Conquest which focuses on building boys into men through virtue - much like SportsLeader. I am honored to know his son personally. 

It is so awesome to see young boys embracing virtue with such strength.

Many grown men and women would not have the same perspective and virtue to react the way this 10 year old did. Maybe a good lesson in humility for all of us.
...

Hi Lou,

I wanted to share this story about my 10 year old son, Chris, that brought a tear of joy to my eye and made me think about how much our kids can influence us.  

(It also was a pretty cool proud Father moment)

Chris’ team made it to the finals of a soccer tournament a few weeks ago.  The game was a hard fought contest with regulation ending in a 0 – 0 tie.  

The overtime consisted of two 5 minute periods and then, if still tied, a shoot-out to determine the winner.  The first overtime period ended without either team scoring.  

Then Chris’ team scored with just a minute gone in the second period.  The kids were elated, but getting very tired.  Then, with less than 20 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, the other team scored to tie the game.  

On to the shootout…  each team missed a couple of shots and made a couple of shots.  

It came down to the last shooter for Chris’ team.  He needed to make it to tie the game.  If he missed, the other team would pull out the win.  

The player to take that final shot was my son, Chris.  

He lined up the ball and gave it a hard boot but the shot went wide left.  His team had lost.  

After a few seconds dealing with the disappointment that I felt, I searched the field for my son thinking I would need to console him after the miss.  

Lou, this is where I saw the image of my son that will stay with me for a long time.  Instead of Chris lying on the ground in disappointment or hanging his head, he was running across the field with his head held high clapping for the other team.  

He was able to quickly realize that the game was hard fought by both sides, and, instead of wallowing in his own disappointment, he was able to celebrate what was a great game between two talented teams.  

I admitted to him later that I don’t think I could have handled what happened with the same character and strength.

Before the shot, I was hoping to have a memory of my son putting that ball in the goal.  However, I realized after the game that I would have soon forgot that memory.  Instead, I have a wonderful memory of an example of the character that my son possesses.
Gary

[U.] Shizzy in the Hizzy



don't be in a tizzy. u-man's in the hizzy delivering up the shizzy my nizzies. break out some love for the U-DADDY motherfuckers.

you into lady gaga? think she's kinda sexy? want to get some smush action on that hot bitch? THINK AGAIN. lady gaga is a MAN. straight k to the NUTS! check it out:



time for the scoop on the ROTHSCHILDS. motherfuckers own you:



planet x is real. nibiru exists. super k to the grille:



more nibiru k bombage:



this cheddar will make you feel better:



u-man's nuts is empty now. CREAMPIE between them legs. clean yourself up while the u-man cuts out this MOTHERFUCKER. keep the pimp hand strong and SHIT ON THE HATERS. peace out.




Saturday, October 29, 2011

St. Louis Cardinals win World Series

Behind series MVP David Freese the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the World Series with a win over Texas in Game 7, 6-2.


Food Fight



I have spent virtually this entire day researching on one subject--FOOD. The spur for this action came from my latest dust up with Karen De Coster. Karen had defriended me on Facebook after an earlier dust up because she is a high strung psycho bitch. After all my dust ups with her, I get discreet emails from people who know her who tell me they have the same experience with her. The woman has issues. But she allowed people to subscribe and comment on her public updates using the new Facebook feature which I did. This led to a complete ban, so I can no longer read or participate in any of her Facebook postings. (I follow the opposite policy even going so far as to deliberately friend people who will disagree with me. This makes me stronger.)

Karen posted something incredibly stupid to the effect that libertarians should eat low carb or else they aren't true libertarians. I merely restated what KDC said a little more bluntly, and I got the KDC death penalty. This was probably more for past transgressions than the current one. Remember, this is the same woman who will chide you for being thin skinned if you can't take her criticisms. But what she said did get me back on this subject to review and see if there is anything to her beliefs. I have spent considerable time reading and watching videos of Gary Taubes, a BBC special on the Atkins diet, and hilarious videos from a militant Aussie vegan named Durian Rider. I come to this issue with a certain degree of skepticism and open mindedness because it is a complex issue. I will simply relate facts that stuck in my head and state the conclusion that I have reached.

1. There are two warring camps--Vegan vs. Atkins.

The vegan side say that carbs are not the problem. It is the fat. Fat comes from animal products. Eliminate animal products, and you won't be fat. Or as they put it, "The fat you eat is the fat you wear." Atkins and Paleo people say the opposite. The carbs are the problem because they produce an insulin response which turns those carbs into fat. The moderate viewpoint is that excess bodyfat and obesity come from a simple imbalance between calories in and calories out. This would be the American Heart Association, the AMA, and others. Who is right? This is hard to tell because both sides marshal facts to support their viewpoints. I have tried to pick apart these facts to tell what is true and what is not true.

2. You can and will lose weight on a low carb/high protein diet.

There are many people who have done the Atkins diet and the Paleo diet, and they have lost weight. Vegans can argue forever about this, but you can lose weight by eating sausage and eggs for breakfast while cutting the carbs. The reason for this weight loss is not the reason Atkins/Paleo people cite. The trick is to be able to consume more calories than you can burn, but this will never work at weight loss. I watched a BBC program where they studied the issue, and Atkins people actually consumed fewer calories just like any other diet. The reality is that you can lose weight on almost any calorically restrictive diet. They all work the same. The first law of thermodynamics will always hold. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It can be bread and water or steak and eggs.

3. The Atkins/Paleo diet works by making people feel sated.

The advantage the pure carnivores have is that they can eat without counting calories or exercising portion control. They feel full long before they have gone over their need for calories. This is why that program works. It automatically reduces the caloric input without the pain of constant hunger. The Atkins/Paleo people claim that it is fat that creates this satiation. They were wrong.

4. Protein is the secret.

Protein is what produces satiation. This was what the BBC program discovered. They did an experiment with secretly introducing fat into people's diets to see if it made any difference on their portions. It didn't. They ate as much as the control group and got fatter because of the extra calories. The take away is that it doesn't matter if you eat the potato baked or fried. You will feel the same after eating both, but you will get fatter on the french fries. The vegans are correct. The fat you eat is the fat you wear.

The secret to the Atkins diet is not the fat but the protein. For some reason, eating more protein makes you feel fuller and decreases hunger and appetite. This is where the vegans are wrong, and why I always felt famished on my vegetarian diet. But unlike the Atkins people, I don't think sausage and hamburgers are the answer either. If fat makes you fatter but doesn't satisfy you, I think it makes sense to eat lean meat. This would be poultry and fish.

5. Simple carbs will make you fat.

This was the unfortunate side effect of Dr. Dean Ornish's vegetarian diet advice. The idea that you merely need to eliminate animal products from your diet, and you will lose weight is utter nonsense. You have to remember that you can eat cake and drink soda all fucking day and still call yourself a vegan. This is essentially what people did when the low fat advice hit the public. Atkins people say that people starved of fat turn to simple carbs such as sugar and white flour to try and fill themselves up. But as I said, it isn't the fat that makes you feel full. It is the protein. Without protein, you get hungry, and you are prone to eating a lot of crap because it is available. Plus, the crap tastes good.

6. You can lose weight on a whole foods vegan diet.

Vegans who don't eat donuts lose weight. By choosing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, vegans lose weight. The Paleo/Atkins idea that carbs are bad is simply false. But I have done a lot of reading from ex-vegans, and they all confessed to craving bacon and steak while vegan. Those cravings never went away, and their health wasn't all that great either.

Conclusions

My conclusions on this crap are still the same as they were before. I think both the carnivores and the herbivores are extremists who get it right and wrong for various reasons. You need a balanced diet that is low in fat and simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. I believe in what I can only call a semi-vegetarian diet. Basically, you get protein from poultry, fish, and eggs. You get carbs from complex whole grains. You avoid anything fried. You avoid desserts, sweets, and sugary soft drinks. Fat and sugar which abound in processed foods are calorically dense. They are easily digested making it much easier for you to overeat. The secret is to eat fiber rich foods and lean protein. This will reduce hunger while also reducing weight.

People want a magic bullet on this stuff which is why they go to extremes. You can choose the ketosis and bad breath of the Atkins/Paleo diet, or you can pick the constant hunger and food cravings of the vegan path. The reason these paths ultimately fail is not because they don't work at losing weight but because people can't stick to them. Extreme diets are not the answer.

UPDATE: I have received requests to post links and videos, so here they are. The list will grow as I try and put up everything I watched and read on this subject. Check back often.





The Grass Is Greener... On the Marsupial Bicycle Bag

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
With the gloomy weather outside, this seemed like a good time to feature the most unusual pannier I have been asked to review so far: the Grass Shopper from Marsupial Bicycle Bags.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
I received this pannier shortly before leaving for Vienna, so I took it with me and tested it on Jacqueline.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
If you are wondering whether this is what it appears to be, the answer is yes: The pannier is constructed from Astroturf (single piece, folded and riveted).

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
Made in England, these bags can be purchased directly from the manufacturer online, with prices starting at £50.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
The Grass Shopper is available with a variety of (faux) flower attachments and matching inner linings. I chose the poppies with the red lining. The bag arrived with the flowers in a little packet inside, and an envelope full of green zipties, requiring a bit of DIY. I felt like a kindergartener engaged in an arts and crafts project as I sat on the floor with my housemate arranging the poppies and attaching them to the bag. The nice thing about doing this yourself, is that you can spread the flowers into any configuration you want and every bag will look a bit different. 

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
The Grass Shopper is available in one of three configurations: as a pannier with hook attachments (the version I got), as a pannier with strap attachments, or as a KlikFix compatible front basket. The hooks on my version are plastic and very similar to the ones Basil uses. Some racks' tubing diameter will be too thick for these, so be aware.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
Inside the bag is an expandable waterproof lining that can be pulled closed with a drawcord.  There are no compartments, as it's intended as a shopper. The interior was spacious enough to swallow my workbag whole with room to spare.  

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
An optional shoulder strap attaches via plastic hooks. A leather tab in the rear can serve as a tail light attachment.

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
To be perfectly honest, I am not entirely sure how to "review" this bag. It is obviously meant to be a fun item, for those who are into colourful and quirky accessories. In that respect, it certainly succeeds. Me, I prefer a more classic style, but I know plenty of women who'd love it. From the standpoint of functionality, the choice of materials actually makes a great deal of sense: The bag is waterproof and durable. However, as a bag intended to be a shopper, I felt it was missing handles. The shoulder strap didn't quite do it for me, as it would start to slide out of adjustment and expand (lengthen) when the bag got too heavy. I would also suggest replacing the currently offered hooks with the R&K KlikFix system, which is compatible with a wider range of bicycle racks. 

Marsupial Bicycle Bags, Grass Shopper
When I rode around Vienna with the Grass Shopper, it was a great hit with the cycling ladies, and before I left I gave it away to a local reader who fell in love with it. Marsupial Bicycle Bags are a fairly new business and I wish them the best of luck with these fun and cheerful bags. The choice of flowers and the attachment customisation options are nice, allowing the owner to put a personal touch on their bag. It's difficult for me to judge whether these are too wild to appeal on a large scale, but they will certainly brighten up a gloomy day in an instant. Not a bad idea for long urban winters.

One Is the Loneliest Number

The glorious baseball season is over. The Eagles are 2 and 4. I am not Canadian. So where is the NBA?

Commissioner David Stern just announced the cancellation of all November games and the Player’s Union Chief, Billy Hunter, announced no new talks are scheduled. What’s the holdup? The league composed of millionaire owners is at 50 per cent of revenues and the millionaire players are demanding 52 per cent.

This circus of a dispute is at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and those who are working find their assets and homes have lost significant value, And at a time when the Occupy Wall Street protesters are being gassed in Oakland for asserting that the 99% of the population has been gouged by the top 1 per cent, whose members include both the owners and players in the National Basketball Association.

Now let’s think you 1 per centers: how can you resolve your differences and return to your jobs of providing entertainment in the form of guys running back and forth trying to put a little ball in a bucket. I am no genius nor a labor lawyer, just a litigator who has settled quite a few cases. Here’s a wild idea. Each of you take that 1 per cent that defines you, add or subtract it, and settle at 51 per cent.

And, by the way, while you’re at it, don’t raise the minimum eligibility age.

Mr. Zola goes to Washington

Warren Zola, a contributor to this blog and a sports law and sports business expert at Boston College's Carroll School of Management, will be speaking to Congress on Tuesday, November 1, at a roundtable discussion entitled "Hype or Hypocrisy?  The Impacts of Back-Room Deals, Payoffs, and Scandals in American Collegiate Student Athletics."  The discussion will take place between 1 and 3:30 p.m. in the Congressional Visitors Center and Auditorium.  Jeremy Schaap of ESPN will moderate.  Congressman Bobby Rush, who we've blogged about before, has put together this panel.

It sounds like an excellent event and best of luck to Warren.

Once more lc

LC 2x20kg: 5
LC 2x24kg: 5
LC 2x28kg: 5
LC 2x30kg: 10x 3reps (long rests)

LC 2x20kg: 10

Push-ups: 4x 10reps
Overhand Biceps curl w bar (thumbless)
Bar hang: 1min

Stretch

The cold is better so I did some lifting, copied Tuesday's session. 

 

Review of England’s Performance in ODI Tour of India


By Zaheer Haque - Cricket Blogger
England
arrived in India only weeks after their emphatic home Odi series win against India.
England may have felt that this was a great opportunity to win an Odi series in India.
These were merely thoughts for England as they were humiliated in every Odi game of the Series and were whitewashed 5-0.  It was very painful viewing for all England Supporters.
One needs to examine why this series for England was a complete disaster and a living nightmare.
I think it was idiotic for ECB to agree to this Odi Series. This is because Englandhad been playing non-stop cricket over the passed year.
England team couldn't even make the excuse of being a tired team.  Those who played some were new to Odi others returning from breaks.
The biggest reason why England was humiliated was lack of methodology in both batting and bowling.
England's batting was very predictable in the entire series. They lost early wickets then Jonathan Trott came in and made substantial contribution throughout the series. He was supported by Kevin Pietersen who made decent contributions. The rest of the batsmen however struggled in batting friendly wickets.
England's bowling was both embarrassing and humiliating. The choice of some of the bowlers selected who weren't accustomed to these wickets was a fundamental mistake. They lacked variety in the bowling unit as a whole and weren't a match for the Indian batsmen.
In my opinion it was a PR disaster. Imagine how many Englandsupporters flew to Indiaand travelled to all the games to watch.  Also the home supporters must have been disappointed for the non contest.
I hope ECB and England Management examine these findings and find viable solutions to make sure it never ever happens again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winter Follows Me Around

Snow in October?...
When I complained about the unseasonably cold weather in Vienna, the Co-Habitant comforted me with tales of 60 degree temperatures back in Boston. Imagine my dismay when I came home to this. 

Snow in October?...
Snow, in October! I went for a 25 mile ride wearing layers of wool and a down vest, my nose running the entire time. 

Snow in October?...
The sun helped me warm up, but even as late as mid-morning there were some icy patches on the Minuteman Trail, and cycling over slippery wet/ frozen leaves was especially treacherous. 

Snow in October?...
But I realise that I've reached a level of being comfortable on the bike where I will actually cycle over slippery leaves and frost-covered brickwork intentionally, just to see what happens. So far, nothing. Once my rear wheel skidded a little, but that was all. I am trying to develop a feel for traction on a fixed gear bike, so that I can be more confident once it starts snowing properly... but I am not sure I understand it.

Snow in October?...
Last winter the transition from riding a roadbike almost daily to not at all was very difficult for me, and I am trying to mentally prepare myself this time. I had been counting on at least another good month of cycling before the snow, but apparently nature has other plans and I will have to adapt (i.e. get the trainer out from under the bed). Of course I will still keep cycling for transportation, but last winter that did not feel like enough. What are your winter cycling plans?

What Game Photographers See



I received this note from a parent/booster member of the Eastern High School football team in Louisville, KY - Matthew Smith.

As coaches, we don't always hear about the good things about our players and our programs from "outsiders" ... many times just the complaints.

The more you teach virtue, the more the good starts to flow.

Virtue = Strength, Lou

...
I had the pleasure of shooting photos for the Bryan Station/Eastern game Saturday.  I was fortunate enough to get many good shots. The shots that impressed me most won't make anyone's highlight list.

One of your players (#5) was tackled, way out of bounds, penalty flag thrown. The player was thrown into an elderly fan standing on the field on Bryan Station's sideline. What most impressed me is that player, #5 & another, #12, stopped and took the time to help him up and ask him if he was okay.

If your coaches were yelling any instructions, your kids, classy gentlemen, did not notice. They took their time, to not only help the guy up, but I heard them ask repeatedly to verify that he was okay. They took their time to listen to his answer. And not until then, did they hear or seem to care about anything else and return to the field.

Tell your coaches and parents that I am most impressed that, in addition to coaching and raising these very gifted athletes, they are coaching and raising an exceptional class of men to send out into our world upon graduation.

And if you deem appropriate, let your athletes know that, though they may rarely hear it, the truly great things they do off the field, like helping someone up and waiting until they knew they had done all they could do, is noticed and appreciated.

Well done,

Mike V.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Liberaltarian Mirage



Libertarians and conservatives have been allied quite awhile on common issues. Think tanks like Cato are quite chummy with folks at The Heritage Foundation. Ron Paul runs as a Republican. Fox News throws us a bone with letting Judge Napolitano have a show and make appearances on other shows. And conservatives at least pay lip service to cutting government even if they don't actually do it. For good or ill, libertarians have managed to work on common issues with conservatives and those within the GOP.

There are some who think a possible alliance can be made with progressives and people within the Democratic Party. These would be former Cato staffer Brink Lindsey or the guys over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians who pursue "free markets and social justice." Whether it is merely a PR change or major concessions on philosophy, these people propose an alliance between liberals and libertarians that is called "liberaltarian." This is nothing new. The libertarian hand has reached across the divide many times only to pull it back with teeth marks on it. To date, no significant alliance has ever worked between the two camps. Cato purged Lindsey, and I agree with that move. Matt Welch said the liberaltarian movement was "probably dead on arrival." I tend to agree.

The interesting question to me was a fundamental one. If libertarians and liberals both agree on social issues and being antiwar, why are liberals so utterly unapproachable in finding common cause on the matters where both agree? In other words, why are leftards such complete and utter dickheads to libertarians when playing nice would help them win?

To answer my question, I needed to answer the flip side to the question. Why are libertarians and conservatives seemingly joined at the hip? Why are conservatives willing to work with libertarians where liberals are not? My best answer is that there is not much difference between the two on a philosophical basis. Conservatives embrace the free market economics of libertarians and practically stole it. Both Friedman and Hayek feature prominently in conservative thought. Reagan was a big fan of Mises. So, why is there anything such as conservatism?

A conservative is essentially a libertarian who believes in God. I used to be a conservative. This was back when I used to be a Christian. When I became an atheist, my evolution towards libertarianism was inevitable. I've always believed in free markets. But I used to believe that the government provided an important moral framework and spur to individual virtue. Without government to tell you that something is wrong, you would just do whatever the fuck you wanted. The ensuing chaos would result in anarchy and the need for an authoritarian to come in and set shit straight. Government was an agency of God's common grace to keep things from falling apart. Liberty is merely a consequence of good order. Or as the Federalist Papers put it, "There is no liberty without self-government." I now realize this to be an error as people repeatedly demonstrate the virtue lacking in our public leaders and law enforcement. Order is a consequence of liberty.

The division between libertarians and conservatives is essentially a philosophical one. On the basis of philosophy, any division is actually minor since they are simply different ideas. In the realm of ideas, it is easy to go along on matters of agreement and save disagreements for other times. But what about the division between liberals and libertarians?

The temptation is to think that the divide between liberals and libertarians is also philosophical, but this isn't true. Granted, there are philosophical differences, but this does not explain the reluctance of liberals to side with libertarians on legalizing drugs or ending the war. It also does not explain how they can give their own president a pass on these issues when he has shown himself to be ultraconservative in these areas and to be a virtual carbon copy of the previous Republican administration. This is not a difference in ideas. It is a difference in psychology.

I interact with a lot of leftards on Facebook and in the real world. They are the most intellectually disingenuous people you will ever encounter. They are narcissistic, vain, petty, and stupid. I think Rush Limbaugh is a fat bag of hot air, but I can have a more reasonable conversation with him than I could with any leftard. This is because that convo with Rush would be a philosophical one. I would argue that drugs should be legalized, and he would argue otherwise. Then, he would offer me a Scotch and a cigar, and I would decline because I don't smoke or drink.

The leftard divide with libertarians is not a philosophical divide but a psychological divide. Conservatives and libertarians come to their positions as the result of thought and reflection. Liberals come to their positions as the result of their feelings. They feel the way they do and no cool detached reasoning will ever change them. This shitheadedness extends so far that they can't even make an alliance with those promoting the very things they claim to believe in.

The leftard worldview is identical to that of the younger sibling. Older siblings tend to reflect a more conservative outlook in their behavior as they often must delay gratification or assist in being a parent to the younger siblings. I don't know if birth order is actually reflected in later political affiliation, and that would be an interesting study. But looking at the way siblings behave, you can see that younger siblings have an almost pathological obsession with fairness even if they are actually spoiled with benefits in relation to their older siblings. Even if they were to benefit more from an unequal distribution than an equal distribution, they want the equal distribution. They would rather have everyone be equally poor than unequally rich. It is madness, but this is the way they think.

I tend to be individualistic, so I hardly pay any attention to other people in relation to myself. I enjoy talking to a wide variety of people, and I take an intense interest in them. But this interest is much the same as an entomologist's interest in maggots. I am detached from people in a way that I don't either look up or down on others. The result is that I am irreverent to authority and status while befriending outcasts, nerds, losers, or what have you. I can ride in another man's BMW and feel not one single desire to own one myself. As such, I always take the deal that is best for me as an individual without regard to how it may improve someone else's lot. This is why the success of others does not provoke envy in me. I am too self-absorbed to care.

Life isn't fair. I'm not sure when this insight came to me, but I was definitely young when it happened. I lost two cousins in a plane crash when I was six or seven, and I remember that I got my cousin Michael's Huffy BMX bike. The significance of the bike was that I never rode it without thinking about him. The tragedy of his death was unfair, and I had benefitted in some way by getting the bike. I did not feel guilty about this because I did not cause that tragedy. But it made me mindful that people die, and I will die, too. Many of the things that happen to us both good or bad are often undeserved. As a consequence, I learned not to worry about what was fair or unfair. Later on, I got a dirtbike for Christmas, and I had a friend at school who was so eaten up with envy that he begged his dad to buy one for him, too. That was the first time I saw the stupidity in it all. The reason was because I thought that guy was cool as fuck because he could draw. I had admiration for him, and he had envy for me. But I thought he was way cooler than me.

I would like to say this is just childish crap, but adults carry on exactly as children do. Their eyes are always on others and what they have. I like to look at exquisite architecture and the design of fancy cars. I enjoy them aesthetically, but I recognize that others only see shit they want and can't afford. That has to be one suck ass way to go through life always envying and resenting the good fortune of others. This is the epitome of the leftard mindset.

Libertarians and conservatives are quite fine with an unequal distribution of wealth. This is also why they are easy to make alliances with because they are selfish, greedy, or virtuous enough to see the benefit in the alliance for themselves. Leftards are not like this. They cannot make an alliance without considering how it may benefit someone else and how unfair that is. This is why there can never be a liberaltarian alliance. It may benefit libertarians in some way, and leftards can't have this.

When George W. Bush was in office, the antiwar left was very vocal. Then, that voice disappeared when Obama took office and has continued the same wars and expanded them into new countries. This does not matter to the leftard because Obama is one of them. This shows that their unwillingness to make alliances is not because of uncompromising philosophical integrity. In fact, you will find that leftards are one hypocritical bunch. Even on social issues like legalizing marijuana or gay marriage, they are quite hypocritical considering that Obama has stymied both with his policies.

The truth is that leftards really could give a shit about the social issues they should agree with libertarians on. The reason they make a big deal about them at all is for no greater purpose than to antagonize social conservatives. Basically, if conservatives are against it, leftards are for it. This is why leftards would howl if there were mandatory HIV testing for gays but would be quite fine with smokers being tested for nicotine. If that seems schizophrenic, it is because they are purely in opposition to conservatives. For myself, I think both are bad ideas, but leftards will accuse me of being anti-gay anyway because they can't deal with libertarians.

The fact that some people get rich while others don't looms entirely in the thoughts and mindset of the leftard. This is fundamentally unfair, and they hate anyone who does not see this unfairness. Conversely, they will love anyone who sees this unfairness even if they do nothing about it or act contrary to it. Anything that will serve to demonize the rich becomes fodder for them to use. Every fact is turned in such a way that conservatives and free market types come out as the loser. It could be environmentalism, imaginary threats to public health, perceived intolerance of minorities, etc. If you doubt this, look no further than the sexist remarks leftards toss at women like Palin or Bachmann. All black Republicans become racists and called "Uncle Tom." If the Republican Party came out for marijuana legalization tomorrow, leftards would say that the Republicans wanted to push an unsafe product on the marketplace for the sake of corporate profits.

The liberaltarian mirage is that libertarians can make an alliance with the Left on social issues and foreign policy. The reality is that this alliance can never be had because the Left doesn't give a damn about these things. They never did. These issues are merely convenient tools to demonstrate that the fundamental capitalist system is unfair. Every ill among humanity is caused by the unequal distribution of wealth. Leftards have no compassion. They are not concerned with the welfare of others. They are concerned with their own welfare. This is not a vice, but it becomes one when you become a sniveling whiner complaining about how unfair it all is. As long as some rich guy takes it in the shorts, social justice will be achieved.

The lack of compassion among leftards is well documented. They conveniently forget the many human rights abuses of Stalin and Mao. They even did this while they were happening. Democrats have a lower record of charitable giving than Republicans. And rich leftards like Michael Moore and Bono seem to have no problem enjoying their wealth while condemning the greed of others.

There is no philosophy, coherence, or compassion to the leftard mindset. It is simple envy. This staggers the mind, but there it is. These are not people who came to a conclusion after an appraisal of the facts. These are people who had a conclusion and use any fact true or otherwise in the support of that conclusion. Life should be fair even if that fairness is uniform misery. And there can be no alliance with libertarians because libertarians do not share the fundamental envy that unites all leftards. If the Republican Party came out for drug legalization tomorrow, leftards would say that they wanted to push an unsafe product on the marketplace for the sake of corporate profits. For the leftard, there are only two choices. You can either be on the side of Greed, or you can be on the side of Envy. Libertarians will always be on the side of greed to the leftard, and this is why no alliance between the two will ever occur. Matt Welch is right. The liberaltarian alliance is DOA.

---
NOTES

1. The Liberaltarian Jackalope

2. A Liberaltarian Purge?

3. Liberaltarians by Brink Lindsey

4. The Left's Race-Baiting of Herman Cain

5. Dataset of the Day: Who is more Generous? Republicans or Democrats?

Enter With Caution

I have an essay up at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as part of a roundtable on the subject, "When politicians distort science."  My essay begins, "Here we go again . . ."

Please have a look and please come back here with comments, critique or questions. Along with Robert Socolow and Randy Olson we'll be engaging this roundtable discussion for the next month or so, with new pieces coming out every week.

Which Bike for Long Rides?

Randonneur Flying, Hanscom AFB
After I wrote about completing my first 100 mile ride on an upright bicycle with an internally geared hub, I've received emails from readers asking to elaborate on the difference between doing long rides on a roadbike versus an upright bike. Previously, I had written that I prefer to ride a bicycle with drop bars for rides longer than 30 miles, and that I prefer to wear cycling clothing on long rides. Yet here I was riding 100 miles on a city bike wearing street clothing. Did I change my mind? Am I saying that roadbikes are unnecessary after all?

The short answer is that I think it's all a matter of context. I never did - and still don't - claim that one type of bike is categorically "better" than another. Instead, I think that any cyclist would benefit from considering their specific set of circumstances, preferences and abilities - and planning accordingly. Here are just a few factors that I think are worth taking into account:

Terrain
Having experienced both, I cannot stress enough how different it is to cycle on hilly versus flat terrain. There is a reason why I did not attempt a 100 mile ride on an upright IGH bike in Boston (and don't plan to), but was comfortable doing so in Vienna: With Vienna as the starting point, it is possible to choose a fairly flat route along the Danube River. Starting from Boston, there is no direction I could possibly go in where I would not encounter hills. Based on past experience, I know that to cycle in hilly New England, I prefer to be on a derailleur-geared roadbike with drop handlebars, and to wear cycling-specific clothing. And based on past experience, I know that the same degree of cycling-specific preparation is not necessary for the flat Danube cycling path. In fact, I regularly encounter cyclists there who are in the middle of a cross-country tour, riding upright bikes laden with panniers. It works for them, as long as they do not deviate from the river trail. On the other hand, I almost never encounter cyclists riding anything other than roadbikes in the hilly areas outside Boston.

Of course, your definition of flat vs hilly could be different from mine. After all, there are those who complete Paris-Brest-Paris on upright bikes. Essentially, only you can know whether you would be comfortable tackling a particular route on an upright bike - bearing in mind that climbing one hill on the way home from work is not the same as climbing hill after hill over the course of a long ride.

Pace 
Not all cycling is the same, and a "100 mile ride" does not really describe anything other than milage. Do you prefer to ride fast or slow? Do you have a time limit in mind? Do you plan to take frequent breaks, or to cycle with as few interruptions as you can manage? On the upright bike, I did my 100 mile ride in 10 hours including breaks (8.5 hours not including breaks). Had I been training for a randonneuring event or even taking part in a charity ride, that kind of timing would be unacceptable. I knew that I had all day and was fine with cycling at a leisurely pace, so none of that mattered. But had I wanted to cycle faster, I would have chosen a roadbike even on flat terrain.

At least for me, speed also informs my clothing choice. When I cycle fast and in a roadbike position, I tend to get overheated quickly. For that and other reasons (fluttering, chafing), I prefer to do fast rides wearing cycling clothing, whereas for slower rides street clothing is fine. Again, your experience here may differ.

Companions
If you plan to cycle in a group, large or small, it is worth taking into consideration what types of bikes the others will be riding. If everyone else will be riding a roadbike, chances are that you will not be able to keep up on an upright bike. If everyone else will be riding an upright bike, it is an entirely different story. I did my 100 mile ride alone, so there was no issue of keeping up with others.

Comfort
Everyone's idea of "comfort" is different. Some have back, neck or shoulder issues that make it difficult to ride a roadbike. Others report being in extreme discomfort after too much time on an upright bike, finding that their weight is not distributed sufficiently, or else the handlebars don't allow for enough hand positions. To a great extent, these things also depend on a specific bicycle's geometry. That is why it is also important to build up to longer rides - so that you have some warning at what point a particular bike becomes uncomfortable. I knew that I could ride a Bella Ciao bike for 30+ miles without discomfort, and I decided to take the chance. After 100 miles, I did find the limited hand position insufficient and tried to wiggle my hands around as much as possible to compensate - which more or less worked, but was not ideal. Less weight on my butt would have made me more comfortable as well, though lowering the handlebars helped.

Preferences
I know that many of my readers simply do not like roadbikes and do not like the idea of riding in cycling-specific clothing - so they want to hear that it's possible to complete long rides on an upright bike while dressed "normally." If that is your situation, that's fine. Simply start with that premise and take it from there. If you live in a hilly area but aren't a strong enough cyclist to tackle the hills on an upright bike, then it could be worthwhile to travel to a flatter region in order to complete the ride: Do some research and then take the train or drive to a suitable location, if that's what it takes. Why not?

I love all kinds of bicycles and am excited by the myriad of possibilities out there for different cyclists, different types of terrain, and different riding styles. From relaxed family touring along river valleys on upright bikes to pacelining up mountains on aggressive roadbikes, anything is possible. And I think that's great. If you have any tips based on your own experience, please do contribute. What is the longest ride you've ever done, and on what bike?

Germany's Energy Transition: Carbon-Free to Carbon-Full


Der Speigel asks whether Germany's ambitious energy transition is going according to plan. From the graph above, which is for Bavaria, it looks like Germany had better stock up on carbon offsets, because something looks to give and I suspect that it won't be the lights going out.

Bill Clinton on Intelligent Design

The ever-quotable Bill Clinton surveys the recent debates among the field of Republicans vying for the 2012 nomination and renders his verdict:
I believe in God and know what they mean about intelligent design, but looking at those debates I had to wonder.
Masterful.

Who Am I?

In the past few weeks I have come into contact with a number of coaches who have lost pretty much all perspective on what youth sports are about. They have forgotten that kids want to PLAY sports, that kids develop little by little, that they build confidence through little gains on the PLAYing field.

It seems many coaches don't have the time or interest to develop players. As you can see by the examples below ... these two football players have developed over many, many years. Quite a few people looked past them, did not seem to think they were worth their time ...

Let's be a good example to our comrades in coaching that the purpose of sports is to build virtue, build willpower, build young men and women who will be excellent citizens who will serve others.
...

This young man attended High School in Houston, Texas, where he threw for 7,139 yards and 53 touchdowns in his high school career, and rushed for another 2,085 yards. He was also co-valedictorian of his graduating class in 2008. Regarded as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, he was listed as the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2008. 

Yet in the recruiting process he only received offers from Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Rice, Virginia and the school he chose.

He is now unanimously considered to be the #1 draft pick in NFL this coming year with many calling him the most amazing player they have ever scouted.

Who am I?
Andrew Luck

...

Despite his record-setting statistics in High School, he garnered little interest from Division I programs, with only an offer to compete for a scholarship as a walk-on from Illinois. He declined the invitation, and considered quitting football to study toward law school. 

He was then recruited to play football at Butte Community College in Oroville, a local junior college in California. In his freshman season he threw 28 touchdowns while leading Butte to a 10–1 record, the NorCal Conference championship, and a No. 2 national ranking. While there, he was discovered by a Division 1 coach who was actually recruiting someone else. 

The coach was very surprised to learn that this QB had not been recruited out of high school. Because he had a 3.6 grade point average and SAT score of 1300 when he left high school, he was eligible to transfer after one year of junior college instead of the typical two.

Now professionally, he is the NFL's all-time career leader in passer rating during both the regular season (101.9), and in the post-season (112.6) – among passers with at least 1,500 and 150 pass attempts respectively.

He also owns the league's lowest career pass interception percentage for quarterbacks during the regular season (1.89%).

He is considered by many to be one of the NFL's top 3 QBs.

Who am I?
Aaron Rodgers

NBA SEASON TO BE SAVED!













The 2011/2012 NBA season is to be saved. A deal is about
to be reached, this means the season will go ahead.

Dirk has reason to be happy and so do all the rest of the
International stars of Basketball in the world's second most
 popular sport.

With the Olympics coming up next year also, it will be great
that the players will get to play in the league in the world as
a buildup.

With now over 100 international players in the NBA this
comp has a truly global reach, that other sports outside
Football can only dream about.

So get ready for King Lebron and Dirk, get ready for the
most alethic sports stars on the planet. The NBA is back.

The announcement should be made on Thursday/Friday.

I love this game!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Johnny Depp gives Ricky Gervais a piece of his mind






B.A., Sports Performance, University of Florida*

Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post proposes a very different reform for college sports: Allow athletes to major in "Performance of Sport," building around participation on the team a (hopefully) rigorous curriculum looking at history, law, ethics, policy, and business of sports. Jenkins discusses her proposal on a Slate podcast. Sports, she argues, should be like drama or music or dance or art, all of which are accepted as intellectually and academically worthy enough to be integrated into the life of the school. All are pre-professional majors--athletes (at least stars in top-level football and men's basketball programs) are in college to prepare to be professional athletes, just as theatre majors are in college to prepare to be actors.  The similarity extends further in that, like athletes, theatre or music students bring unique extra-academic talents to the mix and spend significant time outside the classroom practicing and honing those skills. A further similarity is that all come to a school less for the school than for the person at the school (a coach or a particular cello teacher) and may be tempted to change schools if that person leaves.

This is an interesting idea. Arguably, major basketball and football schools already do a poor-man's version of this with majors such as "Leisure Studies," although these do not go the full step of awarding academic credit for playing on the team. But is Jenkins right that this would eliminate much of the corruption in college sports? Under her model, "the worth of an athletic scholarship would suddenly be clearer. We could stop worrying about “exploiting” athletes and whether to pay them. Yale drama undergraduates don’t get a cut of the box office — their recompense is first-rate training for the stage. They aren’t exploited. They’re privileged." Jenkins makes a slightly different point that I also agree with: We actually treat student-athletes worse than regular students (including students in performance majors) by not allowing them to work, to perform professionally away from school, make money off their images, etc.

The devil is in the details, as Jenkins recognizes in the Slate conversation. First, I am not sure this takes away the pressure to share the money with athletes (at least football and men's basketball), which still make money and produce fame and recognition for the university. That we are forthright that the students are majoring in being athletes does not change the fact that they are making money for the school and may want a piece of it. And the analogy to theatre or music breaks down because those departments are not connected to billion-dollar television contracts. Are players going to be any happier that they are receiving scholarships but no salary to be football players than that they are receiving scholarships but no salary to be Leisure Studies majors?

The big risk is that some universities would not take this major seriously, that it would be a series of gut courses that will allow student-athletes to slip by without having to do any real work. This somewhat ties into the fact  that many athletes are less prepared for college than their classmates and that schools typically give more admissions leeway for athletes than for cello players. So how easy would it be for some schools to create a major to further protect (and keep eligible) its more academically marginal players.  On the other hand, all departments have such courses that all students in all majors take advantage of (at Northwestern, there was a basic statistics course in the Math Department nicknamed "Math for Medill," for all the journalism majors using it to satisfy a requirement). And athletics is not the only area or reason for which such admissions benefits are provided.

Jenkins said she has received many responses from university professors who like the idea. It will be interesting to see if the idea catches on. Thoughts?

* I picked UF at random; not trying to pick on anyone.

The Things That Really Matter



Another team made the effort to see Courageous over the weekend - Wyandotte HS FB in Michigan. Thus far they have the "winning" photo.

They had a great discussion afterwards.

Here below is a note from one of the Dads from a school near Chicago.

If you can, I encourage you to make the effort to bring your team and their Dads to see this.

Virtue = Strength, Lou

Coach Cemeno,
I’m writing to thank you for coordinating the “field trip” to take the entire Providence Catholic H.S. football program and their fathers to see Courageous this past weekend. I admit, the initial thought of burning a Saturday afternoon to see a movie didn’t exactly fit into my busy schedule. However, having had the experience with my sons and seeing their reactions, I can’t think of a better way I could have spent my time.

Courageous now ranks atop my list of all time favorite films, not because the special effects or cinematography are so mind boggling, but because its content is so poignant. There was a point mid-way through the movie that I feared my 8 year old wasn’t old enough to understand the true message of the story. Then, he leaned over to me, tears streaming down his face, and said, “Dad, this is the best movie I have ever seen.” His tears were of joy and an understanding, even at such a young age, that life on earth is about far more than serving ourselves. He truly began to grasp the power of faith.

The room was filled with giant burly football players, sitting next to their buddies, but you could tell leaving the theatre that every one of them had been deeply affected. While some of them may have been hiding their red eyes, I heard many say openly, “Man, I cried… that was an amazing movie.” They were right. This is an amazing movie.

Courageous grabbed a hold of me and most everyone in that theatre. It made me realize the world is moving very fast these days and I spend far too much energy trying to stay on pace with it. However, when all is said and done, the only things that really matter are my God, my family and my contribution to helping others. This is the single most REAL movie I’ve ever seen and my hope and prayer is that families across the world will invest a couple hours to experience it themselves. While the movie is certainly not gender exclusive, it speaks so strongly to every father alive. I am a better man for having seen it and I am making it a point to recommend it to anyone that will listen.

Again, thank you for your effort to bring us together. I am forever changed because of it.

May God bless you,

Dave Stolarek