Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Kudos to Missy Franklin, Rising Star in USA Swimming

In a day and age when athletes are known more for their ego than their craft, Missy Franklin is a breath of fresh air. Full of optimism and spunk, the world watched as she set a new record in the women’s 100m backstroke final, and was moved to tears as her country’s national anthem played atop the Olympic podium. All that, and she’s only 17! If London 2012 is a glimpse into the post-Phelps world, then it’s looking like a bright future for Team USA!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weighing-in on Blade Runner & the Olympics

Oscar Pistorius is a South African sprinter known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs." Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder for sport class T44 in the 100, 200 and 400 metres events and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Ossur. In 2007, Pistorius took part in his first international competitions for able-bodied athletes. However, his artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, have generated claims that he has an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. (Source: Wikipedia)

Call me a purist, but I believe the Olympics should be for those good enough to compete as they were born, without any technological enhancements whatsoever for any reason.

Once you get into the case by case basis, medically-approved or not arguments, it gets into a dangerous gray area and people will ultimately try to take advantage. For example, if you say that Pistorius is allowed to compete with his unique story (however inspiring it is and however hard he has worked), then what's to stop you from allowing an athlete who ran over his own legs on purpose so that he can replace it with titanium legs to run faster? That may be an extreme example, but perhaps not if strict standards of qualification are not enacted and unenforced.

I don't buy the whole net advantage/disadvantage thing that analysts have "supposedly" pegged on Pistorius. To say that he has an advantage validates the idea that no technological enhancements should be allowed. To say that he actually has a disadvantage just shows that current technology is not up to par (though at the rate of innovation, will surely be compensated in the near future.) Furthermore, to leave the decision of whether or not he can compete in the Olympics up to medics/scientists would be a denigration to his talent.

To those who say that he has had a lot of courage and heart to make it this far, I don't disagree. To those who say that he should be allowed to compete in the Olympics because of it, I caution to think hard about the precedent being set. That's why the Paralympics were started, to allow athletes with physical disabilities like Pistorius to compete in a similar environment/setting. (Besides, if you wanted so bad to see if a physically disabled person could beat an able-bodied person, then why don't you hold a separate competition where the Olympics champions compete against the Paralympics champions?)

When a blind runner decides to enter the Olympics, he should be able to do so, only if he does so without aid. When an amputee decides to enter the Olympics, he should also be able to do so, but only if he does so without aid.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Godfather, by Mario Puzo

cannot believe I hadn't put this higher up on my reading list. three days of spellbound misery (read: pure enthrallment) later, I'm itching to get my hands on the film trilogy...

irony, capitalism, and crime - three images this saga brings to bear. if agatha christie had an italian son, his name would be mario puzo.

not unlike the dear friends of the don in this novel, who couldn't bear turn away from their godfather, readers will not be able to turn away from the page.

from robin hood to the western cowboy to the "godfather"-led mafioso, this novel marks a turn in american pop culture. out of the wit of puzo comes a new rogue hero. a criminal in the legal sense yet still a man of principle - who knows what he believes in, what he does not, and is steadfast to his word.

many a second generation immigrant can identify with his own michael corleone within - of wanting to break from traditional ties to the homeland and becoming thoroughly american, of striving to be accepted and respected in upper echelon society, of building a foundation for his offspring such that they would never have to face the same hardships of their forebears.

while the story is an obvious commentary on capitalism as much as it is a narrative about underworld crime, what's most curious is its own ironic trajectory. that it quickly rose to acclaim and ultimately became an icon in american life and literature is something its author perhaps did not intend. (or perhaps that was woven into the outcome all along, who knows?) but for the don and his consigliere, puzo and his audience, the message is clear - reason is, and has always been, the engine. friends and family, the power behind its construction.

Rating: 5 / 5

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain)

Amélie est la personnification de la joie de vivre. Le directeur Jeunet est un expert sur la représentation de la jeunesse. Normalement, on recule à la simple description - deux heures de temps, de dialogue minimal, de film étranger sous-titré... Pourtant, dès le générique d'ouverture, qui montrent les pitreries d'un adorable jeune Amélie au jeu, à voir l'esprit imaginatif de l'adulte Amélie au jeu, ce film tout à fait rivets et sans effort charmes. C'est un must!

Rating: 5 / 5

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Never chase love, affection, or attention.

Never chase love, affection, or attention. If it isn't given freely by another person, it isn't worth having.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Pre-Boarding Announcement from the Steve Harvey School of Practicality

Welcome to Think Like A Man Airlines, flight 24/7.

Prior to boarding, please make sure to check your baggage, as there is no space on board for skeletons in the closet. All eligible, non-crazy bachelors are now welcome to line up on the right-hand side for pre-screening.

There are two exits on this aircraft: one friendly, the other, not so much. All passengers seated in an exit row must be over the age of 18, be willing and able to assist in the event of a real or non- emergency, and must do so in a drama-free manner. Smoking, drugs, and violence are strictly prohibited in the cabin. Any individual who violates proper treatment code will be immediately ejected from the aircraft.

We ask you now to turn off all Blackberry's, blueberries, strawberries, and any other electronic device that may or may not get in the way of date night conversation. In compliance with relationship regulations, I will now demonstrate the following safety briefing while we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight to Happy Coupledom, USA!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Camping in Trees in Germany

tell me this doesn't look like the coolest...

XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail

Runners are a friendly crew, especially to other runners. We may be crazy in doing what we do, but we take pride in caring for our own. And never have I realized this more than today.

This morning, I competed in the XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail run, and after all that hard work of climbing up and over the mountain, I sprinted perhaps a little too fast down the other side. Right at the 2-mile marker on a hairpin turn, I mis-stepped and sprained my left ankle. Story of my life. Up until then, I was on pace (or so I thought) to win my age group. "Wow, maybe I will actually finish dead last for the first time ever," I thought. I was wrong. Turns out, I wouldn't finish at all. A mile and a half later of limping down the single-track path, I had to be lifted out by the paramedics.

What really amazed me, though, was the camaraderie and caring shown today by my fellow canyon climbers. After I fell, almost every person who passed me slowed to give a slap on the back or words of encouragement. Several even offered to stop their own race and walk with me to get help. The shooting pain in my ankle might have had something to do with it, but their collective gesture moved me to tears.

Yes, it sucks that I'm going to have to rehab for awhile. "Maybe it's a sign," a friend suggests in consolation. "Maybe that race wasn't meant to be." At first, I wondered how it could be possible that I wasn't meant to compete well today, given how prepared I was both physically and mentally. But then, I thought, "maybe it is a sign. I've put in a lot of miles over the past few months, and maybe I do need a breather." In any case, I've gained a renewed appreciation for the sport and for those who participate in the sport, and am ever more excited to get back and fit and ready to race! (Mental note - this one's definitely getting stored in my training arsenal as firepower.)

Philly Marathon, beware. Come November, you're going down.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Smart" TVs

in a world of phones that talk back, it may be possible that one day soon, our TV sets will be able to do the same. never having had to stream through the internet, I recently connected through to Crackle and Hulu on my PS3 for the first time, as I've decided to cancel cable due to the fact that I'm never home. while the content streamed quickly and with few glitches, I was unaccustomed to the standard definition, as HD has now become the default choice for most. notwithstanding, it served my purpose of content surfing, and for no cost, I certainly couldn't beat the price.

which leads me to wonder - with only 14 million or so American households now connected (Parks Associates, market research), at what point will the value proposition of "smart" TVs be more attractive to consumers (on the whole) than what they currently use/have?