Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jesse Ryder Dropped for Drinking

(Update3 : despite earlier reports that Jesse Ryder
had been completely dropped from the New Zealand
cricket team, NZC has confirmed it's just the third one
dayer that he and Doug Bracewell wont be considered

(UPDATE2: NZC states they have a non drinking
policy for players recovering from injury)

(Update: It would appear both Jesse Ryder and Doug
Bracewell wont be considered for selection for the
third one dayer, after consuming alcohol and then verbally
abusing a member of the public, it is unclear, if Ryder is
dropped fully from the team and not just the one dayer, earlier
reports had Jesse Ryder dropped from the team completly)


Jesse Ryder has been dropped from the
Blackcaps, the New Zealand cricket team.

New Zealand cricket has said he was dropped
for breaking a pledge saying he would give up

According to the media, after last night's heavy
lost to South Africa, he went out with friends and
had a heavy drinking session,  management of the
Blackcaps were furious and have dropped him.

Here's hoping he will get the help he needs, but
if can't be as a professional cricketer, he was
given more chances than any other cricketer
in history and never took those chances.

I wish him well for his new career, what ever
that might be.


You guessed it, yes indeed, the latest Modern Family
episode titled "Leap Day" gets ten out of ten for being
beautifully funny and at sometimes freaky.

The episode revolves around Leap day, and Cam's birthday
that falls on Leap Day. So according to Cam he's actually only

Mitch had planned a Wizard of Oz theme,  but then came to the
conclusion that a theme about a  movie with a Tornado in it,
wouldn't be right, because Cam's family farm had been hit by
one. So he plans a boat ride instead for the family.

The other story line was Phil and Luke trying to get out
the house, while, Claire, Alex and Haley were on their
monthly cycle.

That probably had tonight's episode biggest laugh and
one of the best visuals laughs of all time, when Phil got
Luke to put some fake blood on a finger and he would
pretend to rush him to the doctor, when in fact they
were going trapezing, (which was the original plan for
the whole family,) unfortunately Luke got the fake blood all
over him, and the girls and Claire freaked, (it looked like
something out of a horror movie) Everybody played it
so well.

The third story wasn't that major and revolved about Jay
thinking Gloria wants a man that fights.

I dont want to give too much away, but Mitch figures out
that Cam just wants a birthday of a ten year old.

Lovely, beautiful, freaky, funny, Modern Family is
without a doubt the best program on TV.

Well done to the writers/producers/directors and
most all the actors.

Ten out of ten for Leap day.

Jamaica 3 New Zealand 2

So a loss for New Zealand, in their friendly  football
match against Jamaica, 3-2. A great game
though and a wonderful effort, two penalties
that weren't given to NZ  by the ref, didn't help.

The New Zealand team known as "The All Whites"
(the team colours, despite wearing black for this match)
were unlucky to lose and could've well taken the game
out, they had flown from their professional clubs
from all parts of the Globe, the USA, England, Australia,
and just had one training one and 24 hours to get over
jet lag.

IMHO things are looking good for when they start
their world cup qualifying campaign  in June. So
many young players, and have we found  a star
in Rojas???

Time will tell and Fingers are crossed.

Roll on 2014.

Energy and Global GDP

Ed Morse of Citi writes a sobering commentary on oil prices in the Financial Times, and includes this comment:
The biggest problems, however, appear to lie in the impact of prices on the global economy. From a global perspective, total energy costs are about 10 per cent of global gross domestic product, a level last seen in the late 1970s. In the US, oil costs are above 4.5 per cent of GDP and for the world as a whole oil spending is 5.4 per cent of GDP, both creeping up to the record world level of 7.3 per cent.
Does anyone have a time series of world energy costs vs. GDP?

It's Electric! A Case of Fear and Loathing?

Zoomi Monterey E-Bike
Every once in a while I am asked why I do not write about electric bikes, and the answer is simple: because they do not interest me. Maybe in 40 years they will, but at the moment I do not find myself longing for a sweet e-assist ride. Still, I have nothing against electric bikes and their usefulness is readily apparent to me: cargo bikes and pedicabs, upright bikes in truly hilly areas, and bikes with assistance for the elderly and others who have a hard time pedaling on their own power. What's not to like?

Yesterday I was cycling across town and a middle-aged man on an e-bike was pedaling in the bike lane just ahead of me. He was going pretty slowly, so I passed him, not giving it a second thought. Then behind me I heard another cyclist passing him, and then I heard that cyclist shout: "Get the f- out of the bike lane you retard!" There was more, and the abuse was directed toward him riding an e-bike - which the regular cyclist did not feel belonged in the bike lane. That was not the first time I'd heard this sentiment. From Interbike last year, I know that the e-bike industry is trying hard to push e-assist onto the cycling market, and I also know that there is resistance among those who see e-bikes as a threat to "real cycling." But I figured meanies will be meanies and soon forgot about the shouting incident. 

Then this morning, I saw a link to this article in the Gothamist, debating whether a $1000 fine for riding an e-bike was overkill (the previous amount was $500). I had not even known that e-bikes were illegal in NYC, but apparently they are. It is illegal to ride them and it is illegal for bike shops to sell them. And now the city is considering a serious crack-down, because the food delivery guys on their "souped up" bikes are out of control, terrorising the peaceful citizens by going as fast as 30mph. 

What bothers me about the NYC situation is not specific to e-bikes. It's that instead of the government regulating public behaviour with strictly enforced laws, perfectly useful objects are criminalised. 30mph is a speed that any decent roadie can hit on their racing bike without the help of e-assist. Yet racing bikes are not outlawed in NYC as far as I know. If speed-demon delivery boys are causing problems, set and enforce a speed limit. But the blanket targeting of e-bikes is not logical. When posting a link to the Gothamist article, a bicycle blogger wrote: "NYC is flat and small enough that no one needs an e-bike here. Ever." What she means of course, is that she does not feel the need for an e-bike in NYC. Neither do I in Boston. But that line of thinking can just as well be applied to us by others. "Nobody needs to be riding a bike on the road!" is something I've heard too many times. The fear and loathing of e-bikes is just as irrational. 

If we're going to outlaw stuff, I personally would like to see a law for motor vehicles to be stripped of doors, since doorings are responsible for countless cyclist injuries and deaths in cities. Make car doors illegal and problem solved. Maybe NYC should get on that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hey Jesse Ryder, why don't you F off

Excuse my language here, but could Jesse
Ryder please just F**k off.

Could he quit New Zealand cricket and take
his rather large stomach and poor attitude
with him.

Could he please leave so we can never see him
waddle between the wickets again.

Could NewZealand cricket please stop saying one
last chance, when talking about Ryder.

Go away Ryder, please go away, my least
favorite cricket player before you, Stephen
Fleming may of had the third worst conversion
rate in cricket history, but at least he
scored some runs and was able to hide
the indiscretions.

Here's hoping this was your final match.

Time will tell.

Big Girl's Undies and a morning of Megastar moments

I am truly blessed to have in my life such wonderful horses. That is all.

Selle AnAtomica Titanico, New Version

Testing a Selle Anatomica Titanico, New Version
Last year I posted a review of the Selle AnAtomica Titanico saddle, just as the manufacturer was revamping their product. They have since sent me the new version of this saddle to try, and I am ready to post an update. I got the saddle in black, with copper rivets. I opted for the slotted version, to make it an equal comparison to the previous saddle I owned. 

Francesco Moser 2.0
I installed the new saddle on my roadbike and used it for about 450 miles over the winter. The longest single ride I've gone on over that time has been 55 miles. 

Testing a Selle Anatomica Titanico, New Version
For detailed information about the manufacturer, please see my original review. But to briefly recap, Selle AnAtomica is an American producer of leather saddles, known for their classic look, their "anatomic" cut-outs, their "watershed" (waterproof) leather, and the generous adjustable range of their rails. The saddles are available in a number of colours and there are separate models for heavier and lighter riders. There is also a non-cutout version available, though the cutout is said to be a crucial feature - allowing the two sides of the saddle to move independently, relieving pressure on soft tissue.

Testing a Selle Anatomica Titanico, New Version
All of these features have remained the same in the newer Selle AnAtomica models, and visually they look identical to the older ones. But there are two key differences. First, the rails are now made of cromoly steel (I take it they were made of hi-ten previously), which makes the saddles lighter.  Second, the standard Titanico model is now made of the heavier duty leather that was previously used on the Clydesdale model. This was no doubt in response to complaints of the saddles sagging prematurely.

The previous SA saddle I owned did sag over the first 200 miles, but after we tightened the tension it did not seem to be sagging again - or possibly it was, but very slowly. The newer version has shown very little, if any, sagging in the 450 miles I've ridden on it so far and has not required tension adjustment.

Testing a Selle Anatomica Titanico, New Version
In my review of the older model, I described the Selle Anatomica saddle as being the most comfortable saddle I've ridden, except when it wasn't. Most of the time the slotted design worked really well, with a wonderful hammocking effect. But once in a while, seemingly spontaneously, one of the sides of the cutout slot would decide to pinch my crotch and that did not feel good at all. The SA representative thought that the stiffer leather of the new model would resolve the issue, but the same thing happened this time around. Just as with the previous saddle, there was no break-in period and it felt perfect from the start, and I mean purrrrfect - no pressure on the sitbones, no pain, just pure comfort... until suddenly, in the midst of a 40 mile ride, the right side of the slot began to dig into my female tidbits in a most unwelcome manner. I'd try to adjust my position on the saddle this way and that, but to no avail. It would pinch pretty badly, until, just as suddenly as it started, the pinching would stop and the saddle would feel perfect again. To be fair, this has happened less frequently with the new saddle than with the older model, but it still happened.

I think Selle AnAtomica is onto something with their unique design, because I cannot stress how comfortable the saddles are when the mysterious slot-pinch is not happening. The waterproof feature is also quite handy - especially for someone like me who always forgets or loses saddle covers. All of that is very cool, and I am glad that they appear to have resolved the sagging issue with the new models. Maybe the slot cutout can be optimised or customised somehow, I don't know. As it stands, I cannot trust the saddle on super-long rides in case the cut-out starts pinching again. But it is also the only saddle I can trust to be comfortable out of the box, with no break-in period. Whether the version without the cut-out resolves the pinching problem without detracting from the saddle's overall comfort would require further experimentation. 

Harlem Ambasadors sue Harlem Wizards over LaMarvon Jackson

Back in 2006, we blogged about the Harlem Ambassadors taking on the Harlem Globetrotters in an FTC complaint over the Globetrotters'"use of arenas" clauses that allegedly prevented the Ambassadors from playing in certain arenas.

Six years later, the Ambassadors are back in sports legal news.  This time they have filed a lawsuit against the Harlem Wizards over the Wizards allegedly trying to sign LaMarvon Jackson, who the Ambassadors say was under contract to play for them.  The 6'6 Jackson didn't exactly have a big impact as a college basketball player -- he averaged just 1 point per game over two seasons at the University of Arkansas Little Rock from 2007 to 2009 -- but has apparently became a coveted professional comedy basketball player.  Or at least one worthy of filing a lawsuit.

Here is an excerpt from the Ambassadors' press release on the lawsuit:

Complaint against comedy basketball competitor is no laughing matter

* * *
The complaint, filed in DuPage County, Illinois Circuit Court, alleges that the Harlem Wizards tortiously interfered with a contractual relationship between the Harlem Ambassadors and a basketball player, LaMarvon Jackson.

“Just like a referee decides who’s playing fair and who’s breaking the rules on the basketball court, we need the court to make a similar determination,” said Dale Moss, President of the Harlem Ambassadors.  He added that “our goal is to protect the sanctity of our performer agreements.”  The Ambassadors are seeking more than $70,000 in general contract and punitive damages.

Both Harlem Ambassadors, Inc. and Harlem Wizards Entertainment Basketball, Inc. are independent professional basketball organizations and neither is affiliated with a league.  “If this were a league matter, the issue is so clear and so simple that a wise commissioner would resolve this in minutes,” observed Moss.
An aside: for law students looking for paper/journal topics, exhibition/comedy basketball could have some fertile legal ground to explore.

UPDATE:  Dale Moss, President of the Harlem Ambassadors, emails me with a "photo of Jackson in Ambassadors uniform, which we will prove is the rightful uniform."  Here it is:

Light LC & Stretching


LC 2x20kg: 5
LC 2x24kg: 5
LC 2x28kg: 5
LC 2x30kg: 5,5


Gasoline Intensity of The Economy

UPDATE 3/1: Please also see the follow up post here.

Following up yesterday's post on US gasoline prices, here is a comparison figure for UK petrol spending as a proportion of GDP over the period 1991-2010 (the period for which data is available) with petrol data from the UK government's DECC and GDP data from ONS (conversion factors courtesy BP).

In this post I introduce a new concept (at least new to me and to Google) -- the gasoline intensity of the economy -- defined as the amount of total spending on gasoline as a proportion of total economic activity. (More precisely, the gasoline expenditure intensity of the economy.) Successful innovation in energy will lead to sustainable reductions in gasoline intensity of the economy. Reduced gasoline intensity means less economic vulnerability to increases in the price of oil resulting from a greater efficiency in the use of energy, both of which are desirable outcomes.

A few points to note:
  • The UK spends about 100% more than the US on gasoline as a proportion of GDP (in round numbers, the US is at about 0.3% and the UK 0.6%, for the 2010 data)
  • Assuming UK petrol consumption is constant in 2011 and 2012, and GDP in 2012 = 2011, then the index above increases to 75 in 2011 and 82 in 2012, or about the same as it was in 2001.
  • Thus, since 2001 US spending on gasoline as a proportion of GDP has increase by about 30%, while UK spending is about the same level
So the bottom line for the US in comparison to the UK is mixed -- The US spends about half as much of GDP on gasoline than does the UK.  At the same time, over the past decade US gasoline intensity has increased by about 30% while UK gasoline intensity is about the same as it was 10 years ago.

It has been frequently pointed out on this blog that gasoline in the UK and Europe is as much as twice the cost of that in the US. No doubt pricing helps to explain the improvement in gasoline intensity in the UK from about 2000 to 2009, and the recent reversal is explained by a combination of economic stagnation (if not contraction) in the UK coupled with increasing oil prices. It is important to observe that increasing oil prices have proportionately less impact in the UK because the relative change in prices will be smaller, as they start with a much larger base. My guess -- and it is only a guess -- is that economic recovery in the UK is likely to be accompanied by a resumption of improvement in the gasoline intensity metric.

The performance of the US with respect to gasoline intensity since 1983 suggests that after about 15 years of improvement, the US has been moving in the wrong direction. This provides some evidence that gasoline prices are not too high, but too low -- by exactly how much we can certainly debate. Those who'd like to argue the other side should address the following (a) whether you accept that decreasing gasoline intensity of economic activity is a desired outcome, and if yes, then (b) if pricing is not an appropriate tool to influence this outcome, what you would recommend instead.

Q & A

Q: What would you do if you won the lottery?

Surprisingly, I have never really answered this question for myself. I have considered how people could keep from losing or blowing the winnings as they often do. I have also said that winning wouldn't change me or my lifestyle. I would still keep working my job. I would still live in my apartment or buy a modest home with some sort of workshop out back for various blue collar and artistic endeavors.

The lottery represents a windfall of sudden cash, and the appeal of those tickets is the entertainment that those daydreams create. I don't play the lottery because I'd rather buy a cup of coffee or a candy bar or something. But the daydream is an entertaining mental exercise.

A friend of mine suggested how awesome it would be if the lottery winner took all the cash, made a pile, and burnt that shit up. What a spectacle. I said that the person would be arrested for destroying the currency which makes it even more radical as fuck. That act of destruction would be such a statement and even indictment of conventional thinking that it would at least have people talking about it for decades. But it also cuts to a fundamental truth. Money has no intrinsic value. It is simply a medium of exchange. Burning it is not a destruction of wealth because the wealth it could purchase would already exist. It would also have the same effect as giving it away since that destruction of currency would increase the purchasing power of the remaining currency in the hands of the public. Of course, matched against the printing presses of the Federal Reserve, it would be like spitting in the ocean.

Money is simply the right to determine the direction of the flow of wealth. When you have a lot of money, it isn't that you suddenly have a lot of purchasing power. You have the power to make decisions and make those things happen. The problem is that people make very lousy choices with that power. I am watching Bill Gates do exactly that with his billions. He should have stuck to software.

I don't know what I would do with all that cash. Money flows to those who make the best decisions with it. Winning the lottery is simply an experiment in watching money flow to those who don't make good decisions with money. Sometimes, a rich person wins the lottery, and people say that is a waste. They want to see some poor person win it and then blow the living shit out of it on a thieving posse of friends, shyster accountants, con artists, bling, hookers, liquor, and blow. I know that I don't make great decisions with money because I would already be rich if I did. This is why I choose not to spend but to save. I would put my money in index funds and savings and live my life almost exactly as I live it now. I would essentially be leaving my money with those people who already make good decisions with money. My life is sweet now, and the really sweet things I want can't be bought.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Office: Classic Scene

Major Changes at The Office

I think my love affair with The Office is over. It's been
a great eight seasons, but if the Rumors are true, I think
I will give season 9 and beyond a miss.

Not only is my favorite new character, Robert Calfornia
played brilliantly by James Spader saying Goodbye, but
we also say goodbye to Kelly, and what must be a huge
shock, we say goodbye to Dwight.

Yes Dwight is going, his character will still be seen in his
own spinoff, but he is leaving the office. This must make
Office fans feel numb, I just hope they do Dwight Justice
in his last episode.

The real kick in the teeth though is, who they are going
to write in as the main character, Catherine Tate, the
most unfunny person in the History of the office, what
a kick in the teeth to the fans, an what an insult to
the long term actors who's hard work has made this
show work over eight years.

I'm not sure  what they are thinking with making Catherine
Tate the centre of show, the ironic thing is, its Toby (Paul
Lieberstein) that has made the decision, and he has bought
down the Office.

I wonder what Michael would say??

Warriors Could Get 60 Thousand

That would be something. The biggest League crowd in
New Zealand history would be a heck of a way to start
a season.

A win would even be better.

Roll on the 2012 season.

Harvard law School Sports Law Symposium on March 23

I'm looking forward to joining many others for what should be a fantastic symposium at Harvard Law School on Friday, March 23.  Here are the details:

Spring 2012 Sports Law Symposium - Friday, March 23, 2012

Professional Sports in America:
Labor Peace BUT...

Harvard Law School
Friday, March 23, 2012

Harvard Law School’s Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law will host the 2012 Sports Law Symposium on Friday, March 23, 2012.  CSEL’s 2012 Sports Law Symposium will focus on the legal and business issues surrounding the recent collective bargaining disputes in the three major leagues and the issues that must still be worked out.  The overarching theme of the symposium will be:“Professional Sports in America: Labor Peace BUT...”

The event is free and open to the public.


9:00 – 9:30 am
Continental Breakfast
Ames Courtroom
9:30 – 10:45 am
NBA Collective Bargaining Panel
Ames Courtroom
11:00 am – 12:15 pm
NFL Collective Bargaining Panel
Ames Courtroom
12:30 – 1:45 pm
The Concussion Crisis in Professional Sports and Presentation of the Professor Emeritus Paul Weiler Scholarships and Writing Prize
Ames Courtroom
2:00 – 3:15 pm
MLB Collective Bargaining Panel
Ames Courtroom
3:30 – 4:45 pm
Performance Enhancing Drugs Panel
Ames Courtroom
5:00 – 6:00 pm
Keynote Speech
Ames Courtroom
6:15 – 8:00 pm
Symposium Reception
Austin Rotunda

 *Panel Compositions subject to change

This year saw the NBA season cut short by failure to reach agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBAPA and the League.  While an agreement was reached, labor peace is by no means assured.  With negotiations recently completed in the NFL and upcoming in the MLB, collective bargaining remains an important topic.  With representatives from the NBAPA, the NBA, and third parties, this panel will explore the major bargaining difficulties each party faced, how agreement was finally reached, and what might lie ahead for labor relations in the three major leagues.
  • TIME: 9:30-10:45am (Ames Courtroom)
    • Moderator: Professor Michael McCann (Professor of Law Vermont Law School,, NBA TV Legal Analyst)
    • Mike Zarren, Esq. (Boston Celtics Assistant General Manager and General Counsel)
    • Yared Alula, Esq. (NBAPA Counsel)
    • Jeff Mishkin, Esq. (Skadden Arps, former NBA EVP and Chief Legal Officer)
    • Darren Heitner, Esq. (Wolfe Law Miami, P.A./CEO Dynasty Dealings, LLC)

Over the course of this past summer, thirty-one NFL team owners and the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) agreed to a new 10 year Collective Bargaining Agreement.  This panel endeavors to elucidate the issues regarding rookie and retiree benefits that the new agreement has not sufficiently addressed. In the case of the former, the new wage scale forecloses any possibility of a number 1 draft pick reaching a deal that remotely resembles what Sam Bradford (the number 1 draft pick for the 2010-2011 season) had been able to  secure: a six-year, $78 million deal. In the case of the latter, the settlement of the Carl Eller suit filed by retired players following the adoption of the new agreement has led many retired players to believe that they have been left out in the cold. 
A number of retired players along with draft eligible prospects not covered by the previous CBA, led by former Hall of Famer Carl Eller, had filed a class action antitrust suit against the NFL (Eller v. NFL) on the following grounds:

·       The NFLPA intentionally bargained for terms that contravened the rights of retired players against the NFL; and
·       The NFLPA failed in their “fiduciary duty” to retired players by bargaining for current players’ rights at their expense.

Given that the District Court consolidated the retirees’ class action lawsuit with Brady v NFL, the players’ class action antitrust lawsuit against the NFL following the decertification of the Players’ Association, and the suits were dismissed once the NFL and the NFLPA reached an accord, this issue remains unsettled at this time.   Not only will this panel will discuss the aforementioned open items, this discussion will also look back at the issues that led to the newly adopted CBA.
  • TIME: 11:00am-12:15pm (Ames Courtroom)
    • Moderator: Professor Glenn Wong (UMass Isenberg School of Management)
    • Professor Matt Mitten (Professor of Law Marquette University Law School, Director National Sports Law Institute)
    • Professor Patrick Rishe ( Contributor, Associate Professor Webster University)
    • Jeff Pash, Esq. (EVP and General Counsel NFL)
    • Pete Kendall (NFLPA permanent player representative)
    • Joe Nahra, Esq. (CAA Bussiness & Legal Affairs Attorney, NFLPA Staff Counsel)

 The mission of the Sports Legacy Institute is to advance the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.  SLI was founded on June 14, 2007 by Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu in reaction to new medical research indicating brain trauma in sports had become a public health crisis.  SLI has formalized groundbreaking neuropathological research by partnering with Boston University School of Medicine to form the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.  SLI Co-Founder and Medical Advisory Board chair Dr. Robert Cantu and other panelists will discuss SLI’s research and address the concussion crisis as it relates to the NHL.  Professor Carfagna will also present Professor Emeritus Paul Weiler Scholarships and Professor Emeritus Paul Weiler Writing Prize at this time. 
  • TIME: 12:30-1:45pm (Ames Courtroom)
    • Moderator: Professor Peter Carfagna (Lecturer on Law Harvard Law School, Chairman/CEO Magis LLC)
    • Tim Fleiszer (Representative Sports Legacy Institute, Partner at Gil Sports Management)
    • Mark Moore (Author, Saving the Game)
    • Dr. Robert Cantu, MD. (Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at BUSM, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Co-founder and Medical Advisory Board Chairman Sports Legacy Institute)
    • Dr. Judith Edersheim, Esq. MD (Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry Harvard Medical School, Co-Director of the Center for Law, Brain and Behavior)

While the NFL and NBA collective bargaining disputes led to litigation and cancelled games, on November 22, 2011 Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced that they had reached a new collective bargaining agreement without any missed games or practice time.  The agreement allows play to continue without interruption through the 2016 season, and the end of the agreement will mark 21 years without a strike or lockout.  This panel will explore the reasons MLB has been able to maintain labor peace for such an extended period of time and discuss issues that may threaten this peace in the future. 
  • TIME: 2:00-3:15pm (Ames Courtroom)
    • Moderator: Professor Lisa Masteralexis (Department Head, Mrk H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst)
    • Paul Mifsud, Esq. (Senior Counsel MLB)
    • Damon Jones, Esq. (Washington Nationals General Counsel)
    • Mary Braza, Esq. (Foley Lardner)
    • Matt Nussbaum, Esq. (MLBPA Assistant General Counsel)

PANEL #5 - Performance Enhancing Drugs
Performance Enhancing Drugs have been getting a lot of attention lately throughout professional sports. They caused arguably the biggest scandal in Major League Baseball history and the issue still rears its ugly head every time Hall of Fame ballots are cast. That problem will only grow in significance as the all-time homerun leader and several other top players of the '90s and 2000s approach eligibility. Baseball isn't the only sport that's been rocked by steroids recently, and in every sport dealing with them a similar set of legal and regulatory issues arises: how should the sport regulate their use ex ante? How should the sport's authorities punish those who break the rules? What is the appropriate role of the government, if any? What role should the courts take in hearing suits brought by aggrieved players claiming false accusations or faulty tests? Our panel will explore these issues from the perspectives of several different professional sports and several different positions within the sports world.

  • TIME: 3:30-4:45pm (Ames Courtroom)
    • Moderator: Professor Warren Zola (Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs, Carroll School of Management at Boston College)
    • Bob Arum, Esq. (Founder and CEO Top Rank Promoting)
    • Adolpho Birch, Esq. (Sr. Vice President of Law & Labor Policy NFL)
    • George Hanna (Senior Director of Investigations MLB)
    • Dan Mullin (Vice President and Director MLB Department of Investigations)
    • David Cornwell, Esq. (DNK Cornwell)


1. I must apologize to my readers for not being more consistent as a blogger. I have a hernia. Or something.

2. When Santorum talks about courageous and principled stands that went against the popular grain, I have to wonder. Does Rick think he is more radical or principled than Ron Paul? And does a principled stand on a trivial issue like contraception really fucking matter?

3. Their minds met before their bodies.

4. Beauty is nothing more than a fresh perspective on an ordinary world.

5. I don't know if I care to read the latest Berskhire letter to shareholders. I think the only wisdom Warren spouts these days is to have friends in government.

6. Is a strategic alliance a good strategy for libertarians? Will have to watch and see. Definitely something not seen before in the history of politics.

7. The Office has jumped the shark. Stop watching it now.

8. A study indicates that wealthier people are more dishonest than poor people. That is some shocking shit. Maybe those rich fucks are screwing us after all.

9. But not these guys.

10. Ernest Borgnine cures hernias.


These SOC posts are where I write whatever comes into my head, but I am finding this particular edition to be problematic because what I am thinking about is not something I want to write about. I can't stop thinking about it, and I can't write about it. Talk about mas problemas!

This presents a mystery for people. What the fuck is Charlie thinking about that he can't write about? Could it be his job? Does he have hemorrhoids? Is he on the run from the law? There is this huge blank left for people to fill, and they fill it with their imaginations. This is a trick minimalist writers use to make stories seem fuller than they are. You have the tip of the iceberg while the rest remains submerged. The reader does the work of imagining it.

This trick is why old horror movies that use shadows and darkness are scarier than modern movies that rely on CGI special effects. No effect can compare to one's imagination. When you write a story, you need to leave room for this expansive imagination. Don't answer all the questions. Don't make all the descriptions. Paint with a few broad strokes and let the people do their thing.

I often wonder if the same technique can be used in painting and art, and I think it can. In fact, this seems to be what modern artists like Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp did with their work. They did not explain the work. They just made it and let it be what it was. This obviously leads to a reputation for inscrutability among artists which is often frustrating and smacking of elitism. What the fuck were they thinking when they made this?

People who are overt in their message are didactic. For instance, a novel like Uncle Tom's Cabin is didactic as it paints a world of black and white that is simplistic. I hate this shit. I don't mind it in my nonfiction, but I want my fiction to not be on the same level of a Sunday School lesson.

Shakespeare was good at this morally ambiguous writing. His most famous example is Hamlet with the melancholy Dane vacillating between action and inaction. Why doesn't he just put a sword in his corrupt uncle? But he can't. And things don't end on a happy note.

In modern times, I have to hear people crap on one of my favorite movies, No Country for Old Men, that has a less than satisfying ending for many people. I think that was what Cormac McCarthy was trying to do. He left the loose ends, the mysteries, and the fucking randomness of it all. The fact is that you can put together a string of purely random events, and people will form it into a narrative. People make stories out of things that aren't stories at all.

The biggest example of this storytelling is the concept of historical inevitability. The Marxists drowned in this particular Kool-Aid as they saw the worker's state being something that was just going to happen. It was inevitable. Then, the Soviet Union collapsed. There was nothing inevitable about it at all. We can laugh at these fools, but we make the same mistake when we yield to pessimism and say that tyranny is inevitable or that freedom will triumph over statism. But history shows no such patterns. Any such patterns are merely distortions.

I am learning to take things as they come. You need to hold things with an open hand. It could be yours. It could not be yours. Instead of trying to control it or predict it, perhaps we should just let it be as it is. Try not to overthink things. Let events proceed as they will.

This loose hold is difficult. But I learn this through my creative endeavors. I write these SOC posts with no idea where they will end. I do the same thing with my fiction now as I leave many of my stories open ended. I don't answer all the questions. I just let it be what it is. I find this leads to more surprising results than anything I could ever plan.

Something unplanned has happened in my life, and I am just going to let it run where it will. I find myself surprised each and every day. Things I thought were so aren't like that at all. And I could explain it, but I think I will leave you guessing. This is because I don't really know myself. I am going to let it be what it is and enjoy it for what it is. The only things that are inevitable are change and motion.

Revisiting the KHS Green

KHS Green
If anybody out there has been reading this blog from the beginning, you know my fondness for the KHS Manhattan Green. A simple, inexpensive steel 3-speed, the KHS Green is the bike that got me back into cycling after a 12 year hiatus. For months I had been visiting local bike shops, but in 2008/2009 there was not much choice out there. The KHS Green was the first bike that I felt comfortable riding. I rented it from Cambridge Bicycle, rode around Boston, and experienced the born-again moment that led to this blog. Ultimately I did not buy this particular bike, because I wanted something with more features and fell in love with lugs. But the happy memories of its simple ridability remained with me, and it is the bike I suggest to anyone who tells me they have a tiny budget. At the moment the KHS Green retails at $365. For that price you get:

KHS Green
a welded steel loop frame, made in China, size 14" or 17" in subdued black or silver colour schemes,

KHS Green
set up with 700C wheels, city tires, fenders,

KHS Green
upright handlebars, sprung vinyl saddle,

KHS Green
partial chaincase,

KHS Green
3-speed coaster brake hub,

KHS Green
front v-brake, ergo grips, bell,

KHS Green
large rear rack, platform pedals, kickstand,

KHS Green
and a "cafe" lock.

KHS Green
It is my understanding that Cambridge Bicycle contributed to the design of the KHS Green, and that the New England based distributor was instrumental in these bicycles coming to exist as well. Maybe that is why there are so many of them in the Boston area (though this begs the question why it has "Manhattan" in the name...). 

Gazelle & KHS Green
KHS Green bikes are so ubiquitous in my neighborhood in fact, that I have made a game of snapping pictures of them. They are usually black, and are left parked overnight on the streets with abandon. Here is one locked up next to my Gazelle. And here's another. And another. A friend of mine has one. A neighbor has one. I've even seen two seemingly unrelated ones locked up to the same rack at the grocery store. The ones from a few years back are a bit rusty, sure. But they appear to be fully functional and well-used. 

KHS Green
It's been nearly 3 years since I rode a KHS Green, so I thought it would be useful to refresh my memory and see what I think of the bike now. After all, I've gained considerably more cycling experience and have tried many different bicycles in all price ranges.

I rode my own bike to Cambridge Bicycles, left it with them, and then took the Green around town on some of my typical urban routes. Clipping my pannier to the rear rack was easy, and I carried all my stuff just like when riding my own bike.

Test Riding a KHS Green
The bike I rode was quite small, because they only had the 14" size in stock, but it was ridable with the saddle all the way up. There was no toe overlap for me on the 14" frame - but it was very close and whether you experience it may depend on your shoe size and how you hold your foot on the pedal. My positioning on the bike was bolt-upright, with a short reach from handlebars to saddle - though of course on a larger frame it would be somewhat different. The seat tube angle felt fairly steep, with the sensation of the pedals being directly below the saddle. I started riding in the bike lane along the very busy Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, rode home to Somerville, circled around and returned via the MIT campus where I snapped these pictures. All in all it was about a 4 mile ride on busy roads and side streets.

The bike felt fairly easy to ride, with the 3-speed hub being more than sufficient for the urban environment. It does not have the luxurious ride quality of a Dutch bike, but it is not terrible over bumps either. It is not a fast bike, but fast enough for local commutes and errands. The brakes and gears worked without problems. Nothing rattled or came loose during my test ride. The bike rides as it looks: simply and with no frills.

KHS Green
The KHS Green is missing lights, but otherwise it is fully equipped for transportation cycling. While I cannot personally comment on its durability, the dozens of exemplars I have seen parked around Boston don't look too shabby and I have not heard any feedback about component failure tendencies. Having test ridden the bike 3 years after I last tried it, my impression has not changed much. It is not a gorgeous or an especially fast bike, but it is perfectly decent and functional. With a price tag in the mid-$300s, it is a great deal if you are in the market for a step-through city bike on a tiny budget. Many thanks to Cambridge Bicycle for the test ride!