Sunday, August 31, 2008

Zabel Photo that Could be the Basis for 1000 Blog Posts

There's just something about this photo of Erik Zabel from the 2008 Vuelta a España that lends itself to exploitation by the blogosphere.

Perhaps it's the look on Zabel's face, which hovers at the intersection of shame, guilt, annoyance and pleasure-interrupted. Or the smirk on the face of the "holder" in the background to his left (if only we could see the face of his teammate). Regardless, I'm sure that Trdina will have a brilliant post on the matter by tomorrow.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

USADA sends their regards...

"...Your role in the worldwide elite athlete network helps ensure global harmonization of anti-doping regulations, and protects clean sport for all athletes. Due to the IST changes, this new process will be for your benefit and will help ensure your compliance.

Thank you,


Support Georgia

Fernando Alonso (R28) onboard F1 cockpit

Another great image here (though the R26, not R28):

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Monday, August 25, 2008

War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked

Published: August 26, 2008


"...But more than three years after coming home, Mr. Owsley’s days have been irrevocably changed by the explosions. He struggles to unscramble his memory and thoughts. He often gets lost on the road, even with directions. He writes all his appointments down but still forgets a few. He wears a hearing aid, cannot bear sunlight on his eyes, still succumbs to nightmares and considers four hours of sleep a night a gift.

Mr. Owsley is part of a growing tide of combat veterans who come home from war with mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, caused by powerful explosions. As many as 300,000, or 20 percent, of combat veterans who regularly worked outside the wire, away from bases, in Iraq or Afghanistan have suffered at least one concussion, according to the latest Pentagon estimates. About half the soldiers get better within hours, days or several months and require little if any medical assistance. But tens of thousands of others have longer-term problems that can include, to varying degrees, persistent memory loss, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, hearing problems and light sensitivity. These symptoms, which may be subtle and may not surface for weeks or months after their return, are often debilitating enough to hobble the lives and livelihoods of returning soldiers...."

Complete article, here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

You cannot kick the referee in the head.

Banned for life, and rightly so. Animal.

Jim Lampley said, "Matos was disqualified because… after all, it is the first rule of Taekwondo, you cannot kick the referee in the head."

Alberto de la Cruz at Babalu Blog comments on Matos' thuggery:

"What is an Olympic athlete to do when he is disqualified from a match for violating a long-standing rule?

Well, for the less nuanced, less sophisticated, less cultured, less ambitious, less intellectual athletes who have not had the good fortune of growing up in a totalitarian society where every aspect of life is controlled and decided by the omniscient state, you simply accept the ruling and make a mental note to be more careful the next time.

However, when you are a member of Castro's New Man Club, you take matters into your own hands. Or in this particular case; your own foot.

Unhappy with a referee disqualifying him for exceeding the allotted time for receiving medical attention during a match, Communist Cuba's Angel Matos attempted to explain to the referee--with a kick to the face--that as a full, card-carrying member of the New Man Club in good standing, he is not subject to the capitalist and imperialist rules imposed upon him by the bourgeois officials at the Olympics." - by Alberto de la Cruz at August 24, 2008 10:13 AM

Tennis Bro's!

Happy B-Day, Bro!
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.


"There's a great beauty in defense..." - Roger Federer, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008, pg W4.

Federer is celebrated for his approach to tennis, yet Evans and Contador are both insulted for adopting defensive postures on the bike.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho: How Can I Teach My Kids to Enjoy Work?

Commentary in today's Wall Street Journal:

Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2008; Page W13

"Recently our family moved from the suburbs to 20 wooded acres in the country. This is not because I have a deep love for nature, which is where God keeps the snakes and poison ivy. We moved because of an old-fashioned sense that our four boys will benefit from hard work. Perhaps it was too many passes by videogame display cases crowded by overweight mouth-breathers. Or seeing the glacial pace of slump-shouldered teenagers corralling carts at the grocery store. Whatever the impetus, my wife and I concluded that living where there are fields to mow, trees to cut, predators to kill, equipment to maintain and adventures to pursue would be good for our children...Ironically, it's that scruffy, godless rabble-rouser reviled by capitalists -- Karl Marx -- who offers a helpful work philosophy where traditional fonts of conservative wisdom fail. Marx saw humans as naturally creative: "free conscious activity constitutes the species-character of man." Furthermore, humans want to craft loveliness: "Man . . . produces in accordance with the laws of beauty."

What Marx opposed were working conditions that stultify the mind while divorcing the laborer from a final, satisfying product. Marx railed against work that goes against man's "essential being," such that he "does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind." Anyone who thinks that description applies only to 19th-century factories hasn't labored in a fluorescent-lit cubicle.

Sure, Marx advocated common ownership of property, which he might have been cured of had he observed children around a bag of cookies. And there is the fact that millions of humans have been enslaved or slaughtered by his intellectual progeny. But toxic governance prescriptions aside, Marx certainly had his finger on a truth, I think, about humans and labor. Left-leaning theologians like N.T. Wright and Miroslav Volf, meanwhile, agree that work should be seen not as a pietist's grim duty or as an avenue to wealth but as a way of participating in God's creative order. Liberal Tom Lutz's "Doing Nothing," a book that ostensibly sets out to justify Slackerism, likewise has a beef not with work but with purposeless work..."

Full Text here.

Analysis to follow.

Accepted into Grad School - Can you Type MBA?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Shady Grove

PJ, Joe, Joe, Amber, Jerid, Beth, Bill

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bush and Georgia

August 13, 2008

[From today's Wall Street Journal; commentary to follow.]

On June 13, 1948, the day after the Soviet Union took the first step in its blockade of Berlin, U.S. General Lucius Clay sent a cable to Washington making the case for standing up to the Soviets. "We are convinced that our remaining in Berlin is essential to our prestige in Germany and in Europe. Whether for good or bad, it has become a symbol of the American intent." The Berlin Airlift began 13 days later.

Sixty years on, U.S. credibility is again on the line as the Bush Administration stumbles to respond to the Russian invasion of Georgia. So far the Administration has been missing in action, to put it mildly. The strategic objective is twofold: to prevent Moscow from going further to topple Georgia's democratic government in the coming days, and to deter future Russian aggression.
* * *

President Bush finally condemned Russia's actions on Monday after a weekend of Olympics tourism in Beijing while Georgia burned. Meanwhile, the State Department dispatched a mid-level official to Tbilisi, and unnamed Administration officials carped to the press that Washington had warned Georgia not to provoke Moscow. That's hardly a show of solidarity with a Eurasian democracy that has supported the U.S. in Iraq with 2,000 troops.

Compared to this August U.S. lethargy, the French look like Winston Churchill. In Moscow yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, acting as president of the European Union, got Russia to agree to a provisional cease-fire that could return both parties' troops to their positions before the conflict started. His next stop was Tbilisi, on the heels of a visit from Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

If both sides agree to a cease-fire, Mr. Sarkozy promises that Europe will consider sending peacekeepers to enforce it. We trust he will find volunteers from the former Soviet republics, which see the writing on the wall if Russian aggression in Georgia is left unchallenged. The leaders of Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia flew to Tbilisi this week in a show of solidarity.

NATO also met yesterday and denounced the invasion, while stopping short of promising military aid to Georgia. Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the allies "condemned and deplored [Russia's] excessive, disproportionate use of force," and demanded a return to the status quo ante.

The NATO leader also said Georgia's potential membership remains "very much alive" and that it would be a member of NATO one day. Georgia and Ukraine's applications come up again in December, and perhaps even Germany, which blocked their membership bids earlier this year, will now rethink its objections given that its refusal may have encouraged Russia to assume it could reassert control over its "near abroad."

Much as it respects and owes Georgia, the U.S. is not going to war with Russia over a non-NATO ally. But there are forceful diplomatic and economic responses at its disposal. Expelling Russia from the G-8 group of democracies, as John McCain has suggested, is one. Barring Russia's long desired entry into the World Trade Organization is another. Russian leaders should also be told that their financial assets held abroad aren't off limits to sanction. And Moscow should know that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi on the Black Sea are in jeopardy. A country that starts a war on the weekend the Beijing Olympics began doesn't deserve such an honor.

The Georgian people also deserve U.S. support. One way to demonstrate that would be a "Tbilisi airlift," ferrying military and humanitarian supplies to the Georgian capital, which is currently cut off by Russian troops from its Black Sea port. Secretary of State Rice or Defense Secretary Robert Gates should be in one of the first planes. After the fighting ends, the U.S. can lead the recovery effort. And since the Russians are demanding his ouster, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili deserves U.S. support too. Moscow wants a puppet leader in Tbilisi, and U.S. officials are playing into Valdimir Putin's hands with their media whispers that this is all Mr. Saakashvili's fault.

Reshaping U.S. policy toward Russia will take longer than the months between now and January 20, when a new President takes office. But Mr. Bush can at least atone for his earlier misjudgments about Mr. Putin and steer policy in a new direction that his successor would have to deal with. If that successor is Barack Obama, this is an opportunity to shape a crucial foreign policy issue for a novice who could very well go in the wrong direction.
* * *

The alternative is ending Mr. Bush's tenure on a Carter-esque note of weakness. To paraphrase General Clay: Whether for good or bad, how the U.S. responds to Russia's aggression in Georgia has become a symbol of American credibility. By trying to Finlandize if not destroy Georgia, Moscow is sending a message that, in its part of the world, being close to Washington can be fatal. If Mr. Bush doesn't revisit his Russian failures, the rout of Georgia will stand as the embarrassing coda to his Presidency.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To write or not to write (a book) + How an Anti-Doping Control was Defeated

Several times it's been suggested to me by everyone from friends to members of the mainstream media (and friends in the mainstream media) that I should write a book about my "life story." The saga of Yuliet's escape from Cuba and flight across Europe before being kidnapped and forcibly repatriated is terrible - but compelling - and my insights into the dark world of doping in sport (ie., what really goes on and how it happens) are two segments of what could be an engaging (if short) read. Think an American version of "Breaking the Chain", except not just about doping (and with a better cover)!

Love, betrayal, international intrigue, Apache gunships, juvenille humor (for that I'd consult Burt Hoovis), crime, punishment, redemption, confusing sentence structures, gratuitous use of foreign would be a classic in our time!

Until then, I thought I'd provide you all with an anecdote about one way in which I saw an anti-doping control defeated...BUT - I'll have to get back to this later as I have a meeting in Robinson in 45min.

Spanish Word of the Day - anteojos

anteojos, noun
glasses, spectacles

Spanish spoken in Latin America often differs in vocabulary from Spanish in Spain, just as American and British English differ. Some basic and useful words are different in the two areas, such as the Latin American word for glasses, los anteojos.

Usaba anteojos de carey.
He wore tortoiseshell glasses.

anteojos de sol

anteojos oscuros
sunglasses, dark glasses

In Spain the word anteojos has a quaint, old-fashioned ring to it. The standard term there is las gafas.

La mujer hermosas lleva las gafas de sol.
The beautiful woman [in the photo above] is wearing sunglasses.

Llevaba unas grandes gafas de diseñador.
She was wearing large designer glasses.

El abogado se quitó las gafas.
The lawyer took off his glasses.

Content By
© HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Made the trek to Ohio yesterday for Obžínky. Despite missing the parade after leaving late, and getting rained on, I'm glad I went - though I wish I'd had more time there to catch up with my Uncle Frank (my mom's brother) and my other relatives on my mom's (Czech) side of the family.

I would definitely characterize the day as "bittersweet." It wasn't sad to return to Taborville, so much as it was poignant and a reminder that time waits for no man. Everything was smaller than I remembered it, there were no familiar faces apart from my family's and those captured in fading pictures tacked up on the "DTJ Historical Archives" board in front of the hall.

I did finally get to order a beer on my own at the lower bar in the hall (instead of stealing swigs from my uncle's) and of course I chose a Pilsner Urquell. Could it have been anything but?

Standing in front of my Babi's dilapidated cottage was heart-breaking, but to experience that emotion is only possible because of all the wonderful memories I have from the time I spent there growing up. I miss my father and my grandmother dreadfully, and I can't ignore how old my mom is getting, but my life is made up of a rich tapestry of experiences that I'll always treasure. Loss - and by that I don't just mean death - will always be part of living, and the challenge is to push through the sadness and fight to get back to a state of balance.

Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. -- 2 Corinthians 4:16

Cuba, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Boston, Bellevue Borough, China, Italy and Bethel Park. Just a few compass points on this map that I'm unfurling. I wish I'd done a better job of appreciating some of the stops along the way, but there is no going back, and only hope for the future.

In the meantime, check out my Obžínky photos here.

And to avoid being totally morose, I'll admit that something funny did happen yesterday (though it was painful as hell): a wasp stung me just under my right eye when I was about 30 seconds away from the safety of being inside the Audi after we'd decided to jet. Holy smokes - that hurt, but I'm glad it made PJ laugh...

I'm reprinting a post from 2006 which explains a bit about DTJ Taborville:

Sunday, November 05, 2006
DTJ Taborville

For those of you who don't know what DTJ is, I'd like to take a moment to give you a brief explanation.

The initials DTJ stand for "Delnicke Telocvicne Jednoty" or "Workers' Gymnastic Union". DTJ as an organization is a part of the great Labor Movement as the translation implies. It is an International organization, whose program consists of training the youth of the world to enable it to take part in the great movement for a better and more just organization of human society.

A Little History

The DTJ organization was formed by a group of tailors in Prague, 1897. The group was sympathetic towards the Social Democratic movement of that period. Gym work was started immediately, classes being held wherever room could be found, mostly at the Inns.

The first DTJ group to be formed in America was founded in Cleveland, Ohio by members of the Lassalle Senior Club in 1909. Soon after another group was organized in Chicago, Illinois. An organization affiliated with the DTJ is the American Sokol of New York. Although the D.A.S. has a sick and death benefit provision in its program, there is possibility that it will come in closer contact with the DTJ of the future.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Berlin in Our Times

For another perspective on the 2008 Olympics, consider the writings of Manuel A.Tellechea:

"The kindest way to describe what is going on in China today is global amnesia. In a nation where "prosperity" hinges on the enforcement of the genocidal "One Child Policy," famines rage unnoticed in the countryside and workers are exploited by plutocrats more powerful than the robber barons because they do not have to contend with ballot boxes or assuage public opinion, the world has converged -- ostensibly in the name of sport -- to celebrate the debasement of man by the State. It has happened before and will likely happen again. It is a pleasing fiction that sport promotes harmony among nations. Sport, in itself, is neither nobler nor more inspiring than any other human pursuit. It is the purposes to which sport is put that can be noble or inspiring, or, as in the case of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, base and despicable..."

That is the post I would have written if I was as accomplished an author as MaT, but since I'm not, I reproduce his words here.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Tumi, Tape, Priceless

Tumi bag at a discount: $200.

Your bag as a prop in your friend's sex tape: Classic.

Having your name called out: Priceless.


Tomorrow is Obžínky (Obzinky), one of two Harvest festivals celebrated in Czech folklore. Back in the day, before I gave my life to the bike, I wouldn't have missed Obžínky for the world! I don't remember the last time I made the trek to DTJ in Taborville, Ohio for this special day, but tomorrow I'm going back!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Sanction Ended last month

Chris Mayhew, whose interest in me is like that of an obsessed schoolgirl (and who is such a p*ssy that he whispers insults to me under his breath as he pedals quickly by me on his bike when he spies me at the pseudodrome, rather than straight up tell me to my face to f*ck off - which anyone with a pair of balls would do - but which no one except Adam Myerson seems to have), incorrectly thinks my doping ban is still in effect.

Sorry buddy, but it's already passed.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Chris Mayhew"

> To: "John Verheul"

> Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 12:05 PM
> Subject: You guys gonna welcome Papp back to racing?
>> His unbanned day it tomorrow, I believe.
>> --
>> Chris Mayhew

Mike Friedman says something intelligent

U.S. Cyclists Are Masked, and Criticism Is Not
"The cyclists were the first athletes to be seen wearing masks or doing anything proactive to combat the effects of pollution."

Mike Friedman, quoted in the NY Times:

“This is really a surprise, because I didn’t think it was going to be such a big deal,” Friedman said. “Why we wore the masks is simple: pollution. When you train your whole life for something, dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s, why wouldn’t you be better safe than sorry?"

Exactly. Regardless of how much production China does for US companies, I don't understand why we would risk our Olympians' health and performances in order not "offend" the Chinese government. I mean por favor - this is the same government that developed the mobile execution bus to more swiftly kill its citizens and harvest their organs for sale on the black market...

(Note: photo above is of Bobby Lea, and not Mike.)

Monday, August 04, 2008

To Absent Friends

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

My Love for the Castro Regime

I was just thinking, as I'm wont to do (haha), and I want to reiterate the fact that the Cuban government is one of the most evil plagues to ever have been wrought upon a country. Anyone supporting said regime or otherwise arguing that it is somehow "not as bad as people say" should be compelled to live like a state-supported athlete in Cuba for a month. Even the much-vaunted Cuban baseball players still experience conditions during their training, recovery and competition phases that aren't fit for ANIMALS!

Anyone trying to place blame for the suffering of the Cuban people on the United States instead of on the Castro regime should be compelled to do graduate research in Cuba on ... oh, I don't know, some facet of the relationship between Cuba's intake of foreign exchange and it's expenditures on domestic infrastructure development. Of course this research would never happen because someone foolish enough to blame anyone other than Castro&Co. for the suffering of the Cuban people would obviously be so stupid and mentally defective as to most likely never have graduated from high school, let alone college.

The only blame that can be assigned to the United States for the state of affairs in Cuba is for our not having overthrown the illegitimate Castro regime via military intervention when the moment was right, and then for completely losing OUR b*lls and moral legitimacy (reference Val’s attempted emasculation of Cuban men) by allowing Castro to hold power thanks to our practice of benign neglect (as opposed to actively fighting against totalitarianism in our hemisphere as we once fought communism in Eastern Europe).

Can you imagine tossing an East Berliner BACK over the last wall segment of the Berlin Wall and into an anti-vehicle trench so that he could be slaughtered by East German guards? Granted, the West allowed Peter Fechter to bleed out and die after his unsuccessful escape attempt, but for the most part we ("The West") didn't do the GDR's dirty work for them and kill those who succeeded in making in past the Iron Curtain.

But now we do Castro's dirty work by mopping up those few brave souls who do - against all odds - escape that island prison.

So to all members of the Cuban state security apparatus who are reading my comments and planning to use them as justification for continuing to persecute my family - f'ck you. If I can't get my hands on you and the Cuban people can't string you up from a lamppost in this lifetime - in some other existence what is left of your spirit will not be renewed and you will rot in a hell of your own making. Hijos de putas.

Cuban Athletes vs. non-State Supported Athletes

Example of the special privileges and enhanced material conditions experienced by state-supported athletes in Cuba (Photo (c): Chris Milliman, 2005) vs. non-state supported athletes in other countries.