Friday, March 20, 2015

5 Things on a Friday: Madness

It’s gonna be kind of a different blend of stuff this week.  The news is simultaneously boring and depressing, and on top of that, I’ve been busier than Hell.  It hasn’t been a bad week of anything, but my daughter Emma turned ten on Wednesday, and between that and a few other things, it’s been tough to find time to read, write, sleep, and think.  That’s fine, but it definitely adds a degree of difficulty maintaining the blog.

1. Madness
Our older daughter Hannah performed in her spring show over the weekend.  She’s almost twelve, and she covered Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel.”  I thought she did great.  But even more than Hannah’s performance, I enjoyed seeing what some of the older kids were doing.  Hannah’s still developing her own voice and her unique style, but some of the girls were seasoned high school performers who put together outstanding pieces.
My favorite of the girls covered Muse’s “Madness”, which is a song that I’d never heard of but which I now can’t get out of my mind.

2. Ultron is coming!
"I'll be back!"
No wait.  That's a different movie.
3. Jesus Take the Wheel
This was Hannah’s performance.  I shot it on my phone, and I think it sounds okay, but lucky for us, one of the other parents recorded it using a professional caliber microphone.  If you’re interested in seeing the limits of your iPhone, try listening to both recordings.
In 2012 Tygart, as head of Usada, compiled a 202-page dossier that accused Armstrong of running “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
That led to Armstrong’s being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. He was also barred from any sport that follows the World Anti-Doping Agency code, a punishment that effectively ended his career as an athlete.
Armstrong responded by accusing Tygart of “an unconstitutional witch hunt” and of making “outlandish and heinous claims.” His legal team filed a lawsuit against both Usada and Tygart in Texas, and lobbied Congress to eliminate the organization’s funding. Both moves were unsuccessful.
Armstrong wants to come back, so that he can compete as a top-level triathlete.  I hope they keep him out.  First because what he did was reprehensible, and what’s worse is that he supposedly forced others to do it, too.  The excuse that everyone was doing it died on the vine a decade ago.  He had many chances to come clean, but instead he went after the people who were trying to get to the truth.  His tactics were hideous, and they remain so.  Perhaps worse is the fact that he’s even older than I am, and frankly, I’ll never believe that he can compete at the highest levels of our sport—at our age—without serious pharmacological help.  Since he’s already got a track record as far as that’s concerned, it strikes me as disingenuous to lift a ban that he earned in full.
Look, guys will dope to win local charity races.  As a society, the last thing we need to do is condone that crap. 
We all get older, and with that comes the necessary process of finding new ways to succeed and excel.  Sure, I can still put down a sub-one minute hundred butterfly, but who gives a shit?  That’s not bad for 40+, but it probably wouldn’t place at a respectable high school dual meet, nor does it need to.  After a while, you’re just not the same athlete.  That’s okay.  How many medals does one guy need?
For Armstrong, sport is business.  Whatever risks he takes, he takes with the expectation of financial gain.  Okay, I get it.  I don’t agree, but I understand.  The problem, though, is that he markets himself as an aspirational figure, and when he gets out there and says, “See, if I can do it, you can too,” the implied message is that the end justifies the means.  We know he is a filthy doper.  If we forgive him now, we’re endorsing his lifestyle, and there are folks—adults!—who will take this as implied consent for their own filthy cheating.  The same people who will cheat to get an advantage in the stock market will cheat to get an advantage at a charity race, and that’s just terrible.  I do not condone it, nor do I condone anything that might make it seem even potentially, marginally acceptable.
5. More Daredevil

Oh man, this is gonna be my new favorite thing, I can already tell.

Spring starts today.  Thank God.  It's been a long, cold winter, and I don't mind telling you that I've struggled with it from time to time.  It's gotten a little better, finally, in the last couple of weeks, and yesterday I not only rode my bike into work, I also ran at lunch.  That was something of a seasonal watershed.

That said, I'm not on the bike today because it's supposed to snow.  All things considered, I suppose that's about what I should have been expecting.

If you're looking for something to read, I highly recommend Sneakatara Boatman & the Priest of Loki.  That's my book, of course, but I'm proud of it, and I certainly think it's worth the extremely reasonable $2.99 price I've given it.  

Sure, we'll always have the blog, but the book is an actual story--a collection of stories, really--and it's a little tighter and more focused than what you see here.  Plus, the proceeds go to support my kids' college fund.  I don't know that I'd call that charity, per se, but it's a fund that could definitely use your support.

My family at Emma's tenth birthday party.
Don't you want to support their college dreams?
If you've got questions or comments, drop them below.


  1. I'm surprised you hadn't heard of Muse. Madness is a good, if somewhat sappy song. Starlight is like that too, but Hysteria and Supermassive Black Hole are good workout songs. Maybe Uprising too.

    1. Y'know Axel, I am not hip in any way. For what it's worth, I still like Guns 'n' Roses. Not just their old stuff. I like their new stuff, too. Chinese Democracy is one of my favorite running albums.

    2. Y'know Axel, I am not hip in any way. For what it's worth, I still like Guns 'n' Roses. Not just their old stuff. I like their new stuff, too. Chinese Democracy is one of my favorite running albums.