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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gymnastics Wrap-Up

posted by on August 20 at 12:42 PM

Coming soon: Jen Graves and I liveslog some synchronized swimming. It's on at midnight or thereabouts Friday night. If you read us, you have no life. But it will be awesome. I had no idea synchro teams, like, did little '80s dances on the deck of the pool before jumping in. Ha.

I had a special request from a reader asking me to discuss the tiebreaking procedure on the uneven parallel bars, which NBC broadcast Monday night--I wrote a very long, technical post yesterday and then that transformer explosion happened, wiping out all my hard work. (I refuse to compose in another program. The reason is complicated.)

Continue reading "Gymnastics Wrap-Up" »

Monday, August 18, 2008

Not a Good Start

posted by on August 18 at 7:54 PM

I has planned to write a deep, in-depth slog post analyzing the Mariners-White Sox game tonight, but, frankly, it comes down to this reverse paraphrase of Yogi Berra: bad pitching loses to good hitting, and vice-versa. The M's had bad pitching, and bad hitting, and so. . . 13-5.

Will try to have something deeper to say about the game Wednesday afternoon, which I will attend live and in person. But will not live-slog, due to the fact that lugging my laptop all over town just ain't gonna happen.

And on another topic, let me just point out that the brother's idea of satellite hempfests mirrors my cogent advice for Critical Mass. Perhaps combine the two? Let everyone get high as shit all over town, then ride downtown to Pike Market, while eating handfuls of Doritos handed out by the homeless.

World Records

posted by on August 18 at 11:13 AM

OK, this is my last (or second-to-last) post about gymnastics, I swear.

But after the event finals in vault (go North Korea! what?) and floor last night, I went on a YouTube bender, calling up famous routines from the '70s and '80s to demonstrate to my friends how much the sport has mutated in the last thirty years. If there were world records in gymnastics, the current crop of athletes would be smashing them on every event, even without corset swimsuits and deeper pools or whatever they're blaming the speedy swim times on. It's insane how much more difficult it is to be an Olympic gymnast in 2008 than it was in 1976.

The most hilarious changes are on the uneven parallel bars. Check out Olga Korbut in 1972. Standing on the bar? GOOFY.

Here's He Kixin earlier this year (click here for English commentary; I can't embed it):

Or try Nadia Comaneci in 1976 (14-year-old gymnasts at the Olympics were A-OK then):

And Nastia Liukin now:

It's almost a different sport.

Finally, because you know you want to see someone dislocate their hip on purpose in an Olympic sport (check out the girl at 2:14), here's a disgusting rhythmic gymnastics montage:

The American team failed to qualify in rhythmic gymnastics, so don't expect much from NBC. But other channels should show a few routines later this week.

UPDATE: OK, it is simply a bizarre coincidence that Savage was scoping the rhythmic gymnasts on YouTube while I was composing this post. My opinion is that rhythmic gymnastics is circus performance with an extra helping of eating disorder, that athletes should not attempt to attain this level of flexibility without developing the muscles to support their joints, and that the group routines are fucking amazing. How do they get all the equipment to fall in different places at the right time? Crazy.

Straight Men Are Not Allowed to Watch This

posted by on August 18 at 10:17 AM

Because they are likely to have impure thoughts about the young women in this video and that would be wrong.

My reaction? Something that's not worth doing isn't worth doing well. But I'm more interested in hearing Annie and Jen's reactions.

Thanks to Slog tipper T.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sucky Sexson

posted by on August 15 at 4:44 PM

The Yankees can find no use for him either.


posted by on August 15 at 11:02 AM

Nastia on (off) the beam

Yesterday was some awesome Olympics, no? I especially liked Rebecca Soni stuffing the commentators' feet way up their throats and Ryan Lochte winning something, finally.

But it's a good thing for women's gymnastics, I think, that Nastia Liukin's balance, flexibility, and ability to actually listen to music won out over Shawn Johnson's little bitty power acrobatics. The artistry gap really made the difference, because both Americans turned in close-to-flawless routines.

For those of you who are worked up about the age of the Chinese gymnasts, the results in the all-around competition are instructive: When the Chinese coaches couldn't mix and match older and younger gymnasts, as in the team competition, the tiny size of the possibly underage Chinese all-around competitors became a liability. Jiang Yuyuan attempted Shawn Johnson's 2.5 twisting Yurchenko, a very difficult vault—but she's almost ten pounds lighter than Johnson, and she wasn't able to punch the springboard as hard or achieve the air time necessary to complete the rotation. Her fall on that exercise pushed her out of medal contention. Bronze medalist Yang Yilin, whose age is also in dispute, also had much lower scores on the speed and power-oriented events of vault and floor exercise. Combine that with her indifference toward dance, and she came up short. But if she were a little older? Who knows what might have happened?

You could almost eliminate the (under)age advantage in the team competition, it seems, by requiring that all three gymnasts compete on every event. Of course, that would've pushed out the 33-year-old German vaulter, too, and everybody loves her. The other possibility would be to go back to a capped high score that doesn't reward reckless escalation in difficulty—the open-ceiling start value being a misguided recent change that tends to benefit younger, more fearless gymnasts.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Football Post!!!!!!!

posted by on August 14 at 3:48 PM

Bellevue Ave has demanded that I do a football post, although I'm not really sure why.

It's still the snoozeriffic preseason and the only update I've got on the All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™ is that we've completed our draft. I'm not going to post a rundown of every damn team's lineup because that would take too much time, but AS08FFTLC (!!!) members should feel free to list them in the comments.

I ended up with both Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, who could end up doing amazing things this season, now that Brett Favre is with the Jets. Now, I'm a little worried about Old Man Favre. He's 38, he's been whining about his arm—although I think this is kinda being overblown—and he's the Madden '09 cover boy, which can only mean bad things.

Still, Coles and Cotchery could end up being this year's Moss and Welker, so I'm having a hard time trading either of them. That being said, if Favre get hurt, re-retires or just plain sucks this season, I'm fucked. I've got Santonio Holmes but my other backup receiver is, like, a third stringer for the Texans. Oh, and then there's the whole bye week problem too.

I did get Adrian Peterson though, so if he can consistently score 14 or more touchdowns a game, I think I'll be alright.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Don't Watch This

posted by on August 13 at 1:33 PM

By popular demand, the video of Hungarian weightlifter Janos Baranyai's performance in Beijing.

Here it is, but don't watch it. Someone (several people) sent it to me and made me watch it (literally), and encouraged me to post it, but I don't recommend looking at it, not at all. I'm warning you. It's gross.

The announcers are really pretty pissed that they were forced to watch it too—again and again, in slow motion.

Seattle Man Barely Busted in Beijing

posted by on August 13 at 12:50 PM


That's Mark Siano—local theater and comedy guy of Soft-Rock fame—at the USA vs. China basketball game in Beijing yesterday.


That's Mark Siano just a few minutes later. From his blog:

It is expressly forbidden to display political signs in Olympic venues, or on Olympic grounds, or anywhere in China for that matter. But I would not be deterred. (Damn it I blinked!)

He'd snuck down to the press-photography area to unfurl his sign, which was contraband. (Security, apparently, is insane and he couldn't have snuck it in. So he made his protest sign after he entered the stadium, from a Beijing subway map and some markers from a kids' souvenir shop.)

I let the sign out over the guardrail, and it took nearly 10 minutes for Chinese security to see it. In the meantime cameras from CCTV, CBC, and other organizations all took pictures of the sign. NBC refused as I kept yelling at them, "C'mon NBC, take a picture, it's an election year!"

The best part was that as the American athletes were exiting a few of them looked up to see my sign and they loved it. Cappie Pondexter (#4), pointed at it, smiled and mouthed what I think was "hell yeah!"


When security finally caught up with Siano, he talked his way out of being ejected and convinced them to let him keep his sign—otherwise, he'd get lost on the Beijing subway.

Mark Siano: smooth criminal.

Those Wrestlers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln...

posted by on August 13 at 7:31 AM


...that did a little solo jerk-off porn? They've been kicked off the team. The owner of the porn site blames a generational split for the trouble these boys are in:

I'm in my mid 40s, and my generation has a stigma about porn. The kids, the generation of the student-athletes, don't have that stigma. They really don't care. They've come from a Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee-Pamela Anderson sex tape generation, Myspace pages. The shame and stigma aren't there for them.

A lot of folks are tempted to cast the owner of as the villain in this piece—he is a pornographer, after all—but it's hard to argue with his statement. Every other young person with a camera phone is an amateur pornographer, and the exhibitionist streak comes standard with people under 30.

More at Towleroad.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies and Baseball Attendance

posted by on August 12 at 10:55 AM

In a comments thread a few days back about baseball, Fnarf argued that Cubs fans invariably support losing teams, citing the attendance for 1947, when the 6th place Cubs drew 1,364, 039. Apart from the fact that the Cubs were then not the "loveable losers"--a meme that doesn't start till the 1970s--and were just a season removed from winning the pennant in 1945, that reasoning doesn't stand up.

The problem with such arguments is that factors other than a team's success will influence its attendance: like how big a city the team is located in, ie, how many people they can draw from. To spare you non-sports/urban demographics fans, the rest is after the jump. . . and can be continued live at Slog Happy on Thursday!

Continue reading "Lies, Damned Lies and Baseball Attendance" »

Rubbed Out of College Sports

posted by on August 12 at 10:07 AM


A note to other college athletes tempted to make a little online porn: Do it for the love the art and not for the money.

The owner of a Web site featuring gay pornography says the University of Nebraska athletic department has contacted him in an investigation into Internet photographs that allegedly show two Cornhusker wrestlers naked or partially clothed. John Marsh of Los Angeles is owner of

The pictures appear to show, separately, Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan, but Marsh wouldn’t confirm their identity, citing his policy to protect models.

He says he’s working with the school to maintain the athletes’ eligibility. NCAA athletes aren’t allowed to use pictures of themselves for commercial purposes.

So Donahue (pictured above) and Jordon are only going to get kicked off the team if they cashed a paycheck, which they most likely did. College wrestlers that get off on showing off for gay men post videos to XTube for free, they don't normally do professionally shot wank-sessions for pay-to-download gay porn sites.

Via Queerty.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Hate to Say It...

posted by on August 11 at 1:29 PM

... but I agree with Bela Karolyi. There's no way to verify gymnasts' ages, so you might as well drop the age requirement altogether.

Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin in 2007--supposedly, she was 15 years old at the time.

Gymnastics damages girls' bodies more the longer they train at an elite level. Since it's impossible to require that young girls not train at the highest level they can manage--even if they're not permitted to compete--you might as well make it easier for them to compete at the Olympics early and then retire. Besides, it sucks that the age window is so narrow now for Olympic gymnasts. If you happen to be 15 in 2008, you'll probably be too old for the sport by the time the next Olympics rolls around.

Bad News and More Bad News For 'Hawks Fans

posted by on August 11 at 12:43 PM

[Seahawks] leading receiver Bobby Engram will miss six to eight weeks with a cracked bone in his shoulder.

The Seahawks also cut key run-stopper Marcus Tubbs after he failed a physical.



No, This is the Greatest Wrestling Video Ever...

posted by on August 11 at 11:56 AM

...says Slog tipper Matt. A wrestler asks for a chair and the crowd obliges:

Wrestlers Need A Chair And Fans Deliver - Watch more free videos

Wrestling With a Moral Quandary

posted by on August 11 at 10:13 AM

Two members of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's wrestling team—both nationally ranked wrestlers, one a national champ—have been caught with their pants, er, wrestling snigglets down. UNL's Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan appeared in solo jerk-off porn for a gay website, The school is "investigating."

You can see both boys in action here.

And you can see Donohue in action here:

And you can see the best wrestling action ever here:

Man, you gotta love the way that boy crosses himself after the match. If he's throwing wood, man, it's the wood of the true cross.

Via Towleroad.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bottoms Up

posted by on August 9 at 3:03 PM

You heard about naked gay soccer. You wondered about naked gay soccer. But unless you went to the Rain City Soccer naked gay soccer game today—like my hung over ass—you missed shirtless tops versus unclad bottoms running across the playfield at Cal Anderson Park.


Slog comment anchor Jubilation T. Cornball, playing for team no-pants, was on the winning team (which included lots of hot guys in briefs). Here he is in victory pose, wearing a tutu.


Condolences to the hot shirtless tops, and cheers to the junk-flapping bottoms.

Friday, August 8, 2008

How We Learned To Start Worrying and Hate Authoritarianism

posted by on August 8 at 2:07 PM

The opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics reminded me most strongly of Blade Runner. Not in a good way.



The filthy air made every light cast a shadow. It was difficult to make out the spectators on the far side of the stadium.

So began the first modern Olympics in an authoritarian state, since the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (depending upon how you wish to count Moscow in 1980, or Sarajevo in 1984.)

The United States--and our form of self-governing, divided power capitalism--is in decline. The Chinese new combination of authoritarian capitalism is on the ascent. Our time on top is dwindling. The Chinese, and despotic forms of government, will succeed us. So goes the dominant thought in our culture, one that should be thoroughly enforced by GE over the next few weeks of Olympics coverage. Authoritarian capitalism: it's the future!


Left or right, liberal or conservative--everyone cannot eat up enough of the notion that repressive, undemocratic, imperious governments are more successful than our, now quaint, notion of a government of the people, by the people in which the law is king and all is overseen by a vigorous judicial system.

On the right, you have the Unitary Executive neo-con movement--epitomized by "I'm my own branch of government, beyond reach" Dick Cheney. Extra-judicial detentions, torture, denial of oversight and a private security force above the law--all the trappings of an authoritarian state. Most of the discussion of these horrors assumes a trade-off: Yes, it's all horribly corrosive to underlying principles of the Constitution. But, such tools just work better than things like Habeus Corpus, warrants, proper trials, Judicial oversight and civilian police operating under strict rules and supervision.

Truth is, all of these special powers have netted us no benefit. None. Nada. Zip. The new authoritarian system has performed far more poorly than the old civilian judicial system. Compare the results of the recent trial of Bin Laden's driver--detained, tortured, tried and convicted under the despotic system--to the results of the trial of the shoe bomber--under constitutional civilian law, courts and oversight. The system of checks and balances, of laws and rules, of openness and transparency simply works better. It's not a matter of style, but results. We are less safe when abandoning the principles laid down by the founding fathers.

The left's insidious embrace of authoritarianism might be more terrifying.

Take Michael Pollen's loving, vigorously anti-science, embrace of serfdom at the end of the Omnivore's Dilemma that underlies his shallow, and ultimately hollow, stance against empiric discovery of nutrition and agricultural science. (I dislike Pollen's analysis, but in retrospect think I'm being unfair here. So, away it goes!)

Even more telling is Jared Diamond's description of China in Collapse. After 19 pages of detailed accounting of the environmental horrors of present-day China, he ends on a strange hopeful note. Yes, China's rapid development over the past two decades has ridden on an unsustainable wave of environmental degradation. But, with one wave of the authoritarian magic wand, the government of China could reverse this trend--like they did with the One Child Policy. This logic was already weakened by Diamond's own accounting. Yes, population growth had been dramatically slowed--but not household growth, nor growth in resource consumption or pollution.

In the months and weeks leading up to the Olympics, the Chinese government has done exactly what Diamond wanted. The wand has been waving, ever more vigorously as today approached--ordering drivers off the road, factories closed, pollution to halt, the rain to fall. The full peremptory force was activated and the skies over Beijing (just one city, for only a couple of weeks) could not be cleared.

(The pollution of Beijing, as viewed from a satellite.)

With all the bitching on the left and right about the EPA, and all the wrangling and compromising that goes into crafting environmental regulations under a democratic government, the United States has done a vastly better job of containing pollution than China (or any other authoritarian state.) Period. There is no magic wand, no way of forcing a desired outcome--only hard fought compromise by all.

On the left, it's assumed that the past decade has gone so poorly not because of the ever larger levers of power handed to the president, but the man wielding them. While watching these Olympics enfold, I suggest you consider the levers of power themselves are the problem, that no man or woman can be a success, for us all, with such power.

This Weekend: Naked Gay Soccer

posted by on August 8 at 11:31 AM


Well, not entirely naked (though the organizing group did supply me with a photo racy enough to require placement behind a jump). At tomorrow's Shorts vs. Shirts game, Rain City Soccer players will either be topless or bottomless, but not—NEVER!—both.

As Rain City says:

"Shirts vs Shorts, what the hell is that?"...It's a soccer game, in the heart of Capitol Hill, in the middle of summer, where you can either wear a shirt, or you can wear shorts, but you can't wear both. Team Shirts team can wear normal underwear, jocks, thongs, whatever as long as it shows off some skin, likewise for Team Shorts. There will be festivities afterward at the Elite.

If you wake up in the mood to watch a bunch of sporty gays run around and kick things in their underpants, show up at Cal Anderson Park at 10:00 am tomorrow.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What do Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Brett Favre Have in Common?

posted by on August 7 at 1:36 PM

Sports fans, in case you spent your morning under a rock: Brett Favre is now a New York Jet.

Favre's also the Madden '09 cover boy, so a career-ending injury shouldn't be too far off. Perhaps at the hands of a Jersey crime family.

Hopefully Ol' Man Favre will play long enough to rack up a few more highlights. I'm so fucking tired of seeing this clip every time ESPN talks about his "legacy."


posted by on August 7 at 9:57 AM

OK, with Steinbacher gone, time to slog more sports (and no, I don't consider Fantasy Football a sport, I consider it a form of masturbation--not that there's anything wrong with that).

From the comments thread on my last Mariners post, from Eric F

If the reward of fans who never stop packing the ballpark no matter how bad a team gets is 99 years (and counting) between MLB championships, I'd rather be the fair-weather variety.

This assumes that the only reward for going to the game is winning it all, in which case every year all the fans of 29 teams are deluded. (And by the by, the Cubs only started selling out all the time after the 2003 NLCS run.) The game itself is the reward: I'm a Cubs fan, but a die-hard fan of the game of baseball, and will watch it anywhere I can, any time I can. In a five-day span between August 20 and 24, I will go to six games in five parks (the Cell for the M's-Sox, then the Cubs that night and the next day, then A-league games in Appleton, Wisconsin, Clinton, Iowa and Peoria). Going to these games isn't just about the win-loss record of the home team, it's about the game itself.

And at RonK who claims that the Cubs and White Sox cannot match the M's average July attendance of 26,000+: what kind of crack are you smoking? Just follow the link provided by Jane, and you'll see that the White Sox are about 500 "fans" per game ahead of your M's, while the Cubs average 40,000. Try to bone up on the old math skills, buddy. Percentage-wise it's even worse, as the Cubs sell 99% of their tickets, the White Sox 73% and the M's 61%.

Finally, I see no notice for a Slog Happy this month, when I'll finally be in lovely Seattle for the Second Thursday. If one isn't officially organized, let's have an ad hoc one someplace with a ballgame on the tube.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

If It Wasn't Official Before, It Is Now

posted by on August 6 at 4:37 PM

According to some bloggers in Oklahoma, a technical slip-up on the NBA's team schedule homepage has revealed that the Team Formerly Known as The Supersonics has officially been rechristened as the Oklahoma Thunder.


It was rumored before, now it appears to be official.

And now, some real thunder!

Meet Your All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™

posted by on August 6 at 12:52 PM

After sifting through about a zillion emails, the All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™ is ready to go.

We've got:

vooodooo84's Rightwing Feminists

Wisepunk's Spikers

Whitney's The Ahmadinejad Show

Mikki's Dingbats

Hasselbecks Hairline

Poptart's Tight Ends

Elswinger's Evergreen Stoners

Steve's New Orleans Taints

David's Green Giants

Hochuli's Guns

Murgen's Slogaholics

and Hass's Thunderbolts

There'll be a postgame wrap-up every week for the three of you who care.

Thanks to everyone who asked to participate. If this doesn't go too badly, we'll try again next year.

Feel free to root for or against your team of choice in the comments.


What happens to this...


...when Favre goes to another team? I know this is a ridiculous question, but still.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Team Mask

posted by on August 5 at 2:40 PM

Athletes have begun to arrive in Beijing for the Olympics, and they're arriving in anti-pollution masks:


... four track cyclists on the United States Olympic team stepped off their flight wearing masks over their mouths and noses.

The masks were designed by Randy Wilber, a 53-year-old scientist for the U.S. Olympic Training Center, who has been fielding bizarre questions from athletes for months:

Should I run behind a bus and breathe in the exhaust? Should I train on the highway during rush hour? Is there any way to acclimate myself to pollution?

Wilber answers those questions with a steadfast, "No."

"We have to be extremely careful and steer them in the right direction because the mind-set of the elite athlete is to do anything it takes to get that advantage," he said. "If they thought locking themselves in the garage with the car running would help them win a gold medal, I'm sure they would do it. Our job, obviously, is to prevent that."

The IHT has a great story the air and the Olympics, including boxers who jog in their hotel hallways instead of the street, runners from last year's test Olympic events hawking up black phlegm, and one politic America athlete who said:

If the Olympics were in Los Angeles, we would probably wear these masks, too.

Give that cyclist a job in the embassy.


How the Mariners Suck

posted by on August 5 at 12:12 PM

At the request of Slog Commenter Doug, who wrote in the Critical Mass comment thread:

If you want to lecture Seattle on how shitty our baseball team is, then fine.

OK, Seattle, how shitty is your baseball team? Well, not the shittiest in Major League Baseball, what with one more win than the hapless Washington Nationals (think the W on their caps might make them all stupider, like the other W in DC?). But however shitty your team is, I am sad they won't be playing at Safeco when I visit next week. Why?

Because any time I have a chance to see Ichiro play, I do. I've gotten the impression from M's season ticket holders that Mariners' rooters tend to be fair-weather fans, abandoning the park in droves when the team is not in contention. This is a mistake, as the beauty of baseball is not just in team wins, it's also in individual performances.

A bold prediction: Ichiro will be the first Japanese- born player inducted into the Hall of Fame five years after his retirement. He recently compiled his 3,000th career hit (combining his Japanese and American records) and with his Rookie of the Year award, his multiple 200-hit seasons, and his record 262 hits in a season (breaking a record that lasted 84 years, far longer than Ruth's 60 homer season record) make him a mortal lock for Cooperstown. He is one of the greatest players ever, and worth the ticket price alone.

Maybe you just shouldn't buy any concessions when the team sucks. . . then again, that's when fans most need their beer, to cry in.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Fantasy Football Follow Up

posted by on August 4 at 1:51 PM

I got about 30 email responses to my post about starting a Slog fantasy football league, but it appears a number of you have crapped out.

I sent out an email to everyone that inquired about the league and so far, I've only gotten about eight replies.

So, if you want to be a part of The Stranger's All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™, shoot me an email today and tell me:

1) The name you post under on Slog (if you have one)

2) Tell me whether you've ever played fantasy football before or know anything about the NFL. Who's the number one player you'd like to draft?

3) Send me a sentence or two to convince me you're not going to crap out halfway through the season. I want people who're going to see this through, be willing to trade players and actively manage their roster.

Finally, if you've got a preference for which site you'd like to see us use—ESPN, CBS, Yahoo?—let me know.



Photo of dirty, cheater Patriots via Brian.

UPDATE: Thanks to everybody who emailed. We've got our 12. More soon.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Laughed, I Cried, I Winced in Horror

posted by on July 30 at 3:48 PM

Athlists shows us 20 ways to die trying to dunk a basketball.

Here's #6—the goofiest entry, but I wanted to ease you into things.

See all 20 near-death hoop experiences here. (And thanks for the heads up, MetaFilter.)

Today in the Olympics

posted by on July 30 at 12:02 PM

The women's breaststroke.

Organizers of the Beijing Olympics have set up a sex-determination laboratory to evaluate “suspect” female athletes, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Sunday. The lab is similar to ones set up at previous Olympics in Sydney and Athens, and will draw on the resources of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital to evaluate an athlete’s external appearance, hormones and genes. …

Despite decades of rigorous testing of women athletes, only one known case of gender cheating exists in the history of the modern Olympics — and it was not uncovered by a sex-determination test.

Internet high dive.

Since the Olympic Village press center opened on Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages — among them those that discuss Tibetan succession, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse.

A government spokesman initially suggested the problems originated with the site hosts, but on Wednesday, he acknowledged that journalists would not have unfettered Internet use during the Games, which begin Aug. 8....

As recently as two weeks ago, Jacques Rogge, the International Olympic committee president, proclaimed to Agence France-Presse: “For the first time, foreign media will be able to report freely and publish their work freely in China. There will be no censorship on the Internet.”

In older news, Tug of War used to be an Olympic sport.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Bike Store Survey

posted by on July 29 at 2:13 PM


Photo by cloverity in the flickr pool.

You don't need the New York Times--or any of a hundred small-town newspapers that have run likewise stories--to tell you that cars are out/bikes are in. Not if you work above a bike shop. There is seemingly a new bike in the window at Velo, the bike shop below The Stranger's offices, every day. The other day there was nothing in the window--and they weren't just faking people out. "We're selling 13 or 15 bikes a day on weekends," says Velo sales associate Annie Gillberg. "Our mechanics are having trouble keeping the shelves stocked." (There's currently a 6 to 9 day wait for tune-ups at Velo, even though they have several mechanics and a tune-up is a one-hour job.) Ben Atkinson, a mechanic at 2020 Cycle, says the shop has been "absolutely insane"--not so much with new purchases as with repairs on bikes that people haven't used in years and just hauled out of the basement. Wayne Fujiki at Gregg's Cycle says "racks are flying out the door"--lots of new customers retrofitting old bikes, "putting racks on them to carry stuff to work." He repeats, "Rack and panniers have been going crazy." Erica at Recycled Cycles says, "It's really busy in here. A lot of people who come in say they want to start commuting," and are buying bikes to ride to work.

Just felt like scaring up some good news, bike-wise, to counterbalance all the acrimony over the Critical Mass mess.

(With reporting by Julia Mullen Gordon.)

Let Me Be Your Fantasy (Commissioner)

posted by on July 29 at 1:36 PM


How many of you would be interested in participating in an all-Slogger fantasy football league?


UPDATE: It appears that at least six people on Slog like football. If you're one of them, email me and I'll get back to you about some sort of plan.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paul Hamm Is Out

posted by on July 28 at 11:02 AM

Paul Hamm is off the US Gymnastics team, thanks to the bum hand. Sad.

His replacement is going to be one of the alternates--Alexander Artemev, Raj Bhavsar or David Durante. Slog votes Raj, right?


Friday, July 25, 2008

About That Gay Day at the Mariners

posted by on July 25 at 8:17 AM

I've been a bad, bad blogger. I did a followup interview with Rebecca Hale, Director of Public Information for the Seattle Mariners, back when the lesbians-kissing-at-an-Ms game debate was still roaring along. She was getting back to me about the possibility of having a gay day at the Ms. Hale told me the Ms were open to the idea. Quickly, from my notes...

"We would be delighted to do the same kind of event that the Giants do, the Twins do, we just need someone to work with us on it, to promote it. We could do a t-shirt, a cap, some of the different kind of promotional items. There are a lot of options… We just need to get with someone who can take a leadership role on organizing the event."

Hale needed a gay community group to step forward and organize the event. (ERW? SMC?) She also pointed out that some of the gay nights listed at this site are defunct, or were one-offs. Toronto's gay days were cancelled for lack of interest, according to Hale. I intended to call the Giants and the Twins to see if they relied on gay community groups to organize their fully funct gay days, but I got busy, then distracted, and then went on vacation.

Anyway, seems relevant to this debate, and wanted to put it out there. Okay, back to the beach for me...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's Games Time

posted by on July 15 at 4:19 PM

Today, the official Beijing Olympics web site entered "Games-time status." I don't know what that means, but I know we're getting close. Mark your calendars! August 20 and August 23 are the synchronized swimming finals.

And this, my fellow synchro fans, I think we can agree is a creepy, creepy building.


The Games start August 8.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Goodbye Richie Sexson

posted by on July 10 at 10:54 AM

From the Seattle Times:

The Mariners released first baseman Richie Sexson today. The move was announced by Lee Pelekoudas, the team's vice president and general manager.

"We felt that at this time it was in the best interest of the ballclub, and in Richie's best interest, to make this move" Pelekoudas said.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nadal vs. Federer

posted by on July 9 at 12:02 PM

Another day, another excuse to post a picture of Rafael Nadal. Sloggers seem divided over who's hotter: Nadal or Federer? Time for a poll! That's Federer on the left, Nadal and his sweaty Spanish-speaking armpit on the right.


Who Would You Rather Do?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I Am So Glad I Live in the Age of Sacha Baron Cohen

posted by on July 8 at 1:33 PM


The Smoking Gun offers a thrilling behind-the-scenes glimpse at how Sacha Baron Cohen goes about getting such amazing shit on film.

Lured by $1 beer and the prospect of "hot chicks" and "hardcore fights," thousands of Arkansans were duped last month into appearing as extras in comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's latest staged mayhem. Cohen and his confederates organized cage fighting programs on consecutive days in Texarkana and Fort Smith. Both cards ended with two male grapplers (one was identified as "Straight Dave" and wore camouflage) tearing each other's clothes off and, while in underwear, kissing down their opponent's chest. This man-on-man action triggered Fort Smith fans to throw chairs and beer at the ring, according to one cop present at the city's Convention Center.

The promotion of the faux matches was a work of art unto itself:

The June 5 Texarkana promotion was adverstised as "Red, White, and Blood." The June 6 matches in Fort Smith were dubbed "Blue Collar Brawlin'" as seen in this poster. Ads on Craigslist—like this one—noted that attendees had to be over 21 and suggested that fans arrive early "for $1 BEERS!" Cohen & Co. underwrote the cost of beer, which usually sells for $4 at the Fort Smith facility. "Blue Collar Brawlin'" drew about 1500 fans, who were greeted by signs stating that the event was being filmed. Attendees were also not allowed in with cameras or cell phones and some were asked to sign releases.

Thank you, Smoking Gun. (And thank you, Sacha Baron Cohen.)

Another Excuse to Post a Photo of Rafael Nadal

posted by on July 8 at 10:24 AM


More analysis on the gay marriage/sports championships connection from Hugo Schwyzer...

Since we’re talking about the possibility that Rafael Nadal’s dramatic Wimbledon triumph yesterday is linked to the Spanish legalization of gay marriage, let me continue the theme started last week, this time with a tennis angle:

Spain legalized gay marriage in June 2005. Rafael Nadal’s first French Open title? June 2005.

January 30, 2003: Belgium legalizes gay marriage. May 2003: Justine Henin wins the French Open, her first Grand Slam victory, the first ever for a Belgian player of either sex. It was the first grand slam played after Belgium legalized gay marriage. Henin goes on to win a series of titles, and is soon joined by fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters as a grand slam champion.

The evidence continues to pile up, folks!

There's still time to legalize gay marriage before the Olympics, folks. I expect the Chinese will do it—they're seeking every possible advantage. And we should keep an eye on Olympians from California, which of course just legalized gay marriage.

UPDATE: Bad news, homos. The evidence of absence (of a girlfriend) isn't proof of the absence of evidence (of a girlfriend).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rafael Nadal and This Morning's NYT

posted by on July 7 at 11:26 AM


Man, I wish Rafael Nadal won Wimbledon every goddamn day. Wouldn't it be nice to see his picture spread across the top of the NYT every morning?

Yesterday Sloggers were discussing Nadal's victory—and debating his sex appeal—here. And I'd like to point out that Nadal's triumph is yet more evidence, per Hugo Schwyzer, that legalizing gay marriage is good for sports teams. Nadal's not a team, of course, but less than three year's after Spain legalized same-sex marriage Rafael Nadal becomes the first Spaniard to win Wimbledon since 1966. Coincidence? I don't think so.

If we're serious about taking Olympic gold in Beijing, well, America ought to legalize same-sex marriage ASAP.

UPDATE: Oh, and did Nike get it's money's worth or what? The picture I took of the NYT is a little fuzzy, but there are Nike swooshes on Nadal's socks, armbands, and headband, and they're all as clear as day on the cover of the NYT this morning. Now I'm off to buy some shoes—but first, one more picture of Nadal...


And a little video here.

Happy Rafting! (Ignore the Corpse)

posted by on July 7 at 8:31 AM


From the Associated Press:

Police say white water rafters going through the tricky Blossom Bar rapids on southern Oregon's Rogue River may see the body of a California woman who drowned there last week but cannot be recovered.

The waters remain too rough for safe removal of the victim. Rafters are complaining about the ever-present corpse. Full story here.

Upsetting update/background from Slog tipper Ryan:

My cousin, a rafting guide on the Rogue River for eight years, told me about this story three days ago. His company Arta wasn't responsible for the accident, but knows the company involved. What was left out:

Helicopters aren't the only way to get to the body. Powerboats that commonly go down the rogue for tours are able to get to the body and one such boat tried to remove the body. It was too tangled to remove without risking ripping the corpse in half.

Oregon BLM [Bureau of Land Management] had agreed that dam levels could be altered for a half-day time period so that river levels could be lowered to get the woman out. The sheriff's department refused to ask for the levels to be lowered and the BLM cannot lower levels without a proper request. It would potentially take 4 hours for one person with bolt cutters and a saw to get her out if the levels were lowered.

The woman was a mother of three. The other rafter had her kneecap torn off by the accident. She was medevaced out within hours. The dead woman is visible from the water and her hand is above water line. Tour groups walk around this rapid now.

Basically, the sheriff's office is lying. Expect something to be done as its in the news now. The woman drowned 6 days ago. This is a really disturbing case, especially considering how callous the sheriff's department has been in handling it.

Eep. Stay tuned.

Update from Slog commenter Truthteller: The woman's body has been recovered.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Brevity Is the Soul of Basketball

posted by on July 3 at 12:02 AM


A thirteen-word response to the news.