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4.22: Selfless Sportsmanship at the Boston Marathon

Meb and Ryan running together

Meb and Ryan running together. Source

I just read this article about how Ryan Hall worked with the other American runners on the fly to help Meb win yesterday at Boston: “American Strong: The Untold Story of American Teamwork and How Ryan Hall Helped Meb Keflezighi Win Boston.” Now, we know that in a bicycle race such as the Tour de France, a team works together to help its strongest rider win a stage through drafting and attacking as a group—without that help, not even the “great” Lance Armstrong (asterisks for DAYS) would have won a single title. That’s just how it’s done. In a running event like the Boston Marathon, however, the top athletes are not competing as a team, not even the folks from the same country or training group; each runner is trying to take first place. Yesterday, world-class runner Hall realized he wasn’t going to win and felt pretty sure Meb could, as Meb has been tearing it up lately, setting all kinds of personal-best times (at 38 years old!). So in the midst of the race, Hall thought to communicate with the other Americans to essentially draft and attack, preventing an otherwise inevitable Kenyan win. For the first time in 30 years, an American won the Boston Marathon. And in the true spirit of America, that winner was also an immigrant: Meb’s family came to the US when he was 12.

I’m not particularly patriotic, but given what we went through last year (runners, spectators, Bostonians, Americans), I just think it’s wonderful that the 30-year losing streak was broken, if even for just this one year and the Kenyans take back over next year. I was fuming yesterday, wondering what the terrorists who planted those bombs even got out of it. What good did they do for their cause, targeting civilians like that? A highly vulnerable civilian population at that, given how spent the runners are when they cross the finish line? What was the point? Some folks lost lives, limbs, family members last year, and I wouldn’t say that an American win this year makes up for any of that, but, well, it’s a little something. And knowing that he got there through the cooperation of the other Americans who set out to beat him that morning makes it all the better.

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4.21: Boston Marathon Survivors

Well, this article puts plantar fasciitis in perspective: From Marathon calamity, newlyweds’ bond deepens. Its the story of a newlywed couple who went out on the course of the Boston Marathon last year just to cheer folks on, and between them lost three legs in the bombing. Today the Boston Marathon took place again; Meb won and no one got hurt. So that’s something.

Photo credit: CC Chapman via photopin cc

Photo credit: CC Chapman via photopin cc

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20 Commandments

So, God is on Twitter, and here’s what God tweeted today:

THE NEW 10 COMMANDMENTS

1 Laugh.

2 Read.

3 Say please.

4 Floss.

5 Doubt.

6 Exercise.

7 Learn.

8 Don’t hate.

9 Cut the bullshit.

10 Chill.

An excellent list! I like this very much, and decided to create a supplementary list of 10.

  1. Smile
  2. Donate.
  3. Say “thank you.”
  4. Forgive.
  5. Adopt a dog.
  6. Stretch out; do some yoga.
  7. Back up your hard drive.
  8. Get enough sleep.
  9. Be responsibly informed.
  10. Eat many vegetables.
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Here’s the 4-11

Mary J. Blige ain’t having that.

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10-Point Analysis of Babies vs. Tattoos

Oh my, over at The Ugly Volvo is just the most wonderful point-by-point comparison of getting a baby versus a tattoo, which uses as a framework the top 10 (usually unsolicited) pieces of advice people give you about getting a tattoo. You need to go read this right now: “10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER, EVER, EVER GET A TATTOO ACCORDING TO MY MOTHER (but having a baby is fine).” This article is so full of perfection that I can’t really add to it, except to say that I’ve had both a baby and tattoos, and the tattoos are far less maintenance. Also less maintenance: my dog. Which is why I also love Ugly Volvo’s An Open Letter to My Dog After the Birth of my First Child. Enjoy!

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9″ of Bowie

Duet on their 1994 tour

Duet on their 1994 tour

“I’m Afraid of Americans” is a song David Bowie wrote with Brian Eno that is about Bowie’s horror at American culture taking over the world. His apprehension doesn’t stem specifically from the qualities of American culture so much as from the concept of homogenization—really, this song could have been applied to England during its empire days, or to Rome for that matter. (I like how at the end of the song, he worries that “God is American.” So some evangelicals would have you believe.) Anyhoo, I found out that a rough draft of this song appeared in the movie Showgirls, hilariously enough, although at that time the line read “I’m afraid of the animals” (??). Later, Nine Inch Nails got a hold of it, remixed it, and made it a hit. Then they made the music video together (which you can see below), with Bowie making his way around NYC looking stylish, urbane, and slightly concerned (so, just like Bowie on any given day) while being chased by the glowering, menacing Trent Reznor (so, just like Trent Reznor on any given day).

These guys toured together in 1995 and formed a bond, which is not surprising, considering both are consummate, independent-minded artists. Here’s a wonderful account of that tour, during which they merged their bands and sang each other’s songs. During that tour, Reznor turned to Bowie for help with his drug addiction and describes the advice he received as “shamanish.” (That sounds about right, doesn’t it? David Bowie is an otherworldly creature, after all. He should really have an advice column.) When Bowie released his surprise album (The Next Day) last January, Reznor wrote a lovely essay in response, giving the album the ultimate praise of “when I’m sitting alone to listen to music, I reach for The Next Day.” Aw, that’s so nice! These guys! By the by, Nine Inch Nails released Hesitation Marks last September, and it is my favorite NIN in years; you can hear it in its entirety on Spotify or Youtube.

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The 8 Sins of Bull Durham

1. Lollygaging the ball around the infield.
2. Lollygaging your way down to first.
3. Lollygaging in and out of the dugout.
4. You know what that makes you? A lollygagger!
5. Thinking: don’t think; it can only hurt the ball club.
6. Announcing your presence with authority!
7. Striking everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist.
8. Holding the ball so hard. It’s an egg. Hold it like an egg.

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