Marathon Murdoc

Murdoc ran his first marathon yesterday. Ouch.

Sometimes, no matter how much harder you push yourself, you just keep slowing down. This was the case over the last few miles yesterday morning. I think I ran as hard as I could, and I didn’t make any significant mistakes. Though I missed my best-case goal by just over a minute, I’m quite pleased with my race.

My legs, on the other hand, are more than a little upset about things right now.

Regular blogging to resume shortly.

Hard-Hitting Political Analysis at Runner’s World

I don’t mention it much, but Murdoc is a runner. In fact, he’s training to run a marathon this fall.

Anyway, Runner’s World writes a bit about the fact that Sarah Palin is a fairly serious runner:

Not just a “oh, I go jogging once in a while” kind of runner, but a “I’ll get my run in or else” kind of runner. The woman named her first born “Track” for Pete’s sake, because he was born during track season…

Palin’s routine is to run 7 to 10 miles almost every day but she has been known to take time off, not during an election year, but during a pregnancy year (she’s a mother of five). She returned to work three days after giving birth to her fifth child, Trig, in April (is her husband a math teacher?) and is now back to running three miles every other day.

Though they talker her up a bit due to her running, they’re not closed-minded:

We’re not saying you should vote for someone just because they run (although this could be our chance to lobby successfully for wood chip running lanes between sidewalks and roads). So in the interest of fairness, we would now like to invite Democratic veep nominee Joe Biden to give birth to eight children, name one “Fartlek,” and run an ultra. Then we’ll write about him.

Some of the comments are, predictably, fairly amusing. The running crowd I’m familiar with is, largely, fairly liberal (ooops, they like to call it “progressive”) and Murdoc doesn’t really fit in so well. Environmentalism is a big draw, which is understandable, but they mostly seem fairly uninformed. I doubt many of them are gun owners, either.

UPDATE: Forgot the link earlier.

I could tell by the pixels…

Olympics Opening Ceremony Fireworks ‘Faked’ on TV

The Telegraph picked up a story in the Chinese newspaper the Beijing Times which explained that filming the 29 firework “footprints” from the air would have been impossible. So visual effects artists spent a year creating a computer-graphic simulation — inserted precisely at the same time the real fireworks went off — to bedazzle home viewers as if they were at the actual ceremony. The fireworks themselves were real enough, but if you were watching on TV, what you saw was a CG simulation of that reality, happening in real-time.

Also: Olympic opening uses girl’s voice, not face

A 7-year-old Chinese girl was not good-looking enough for the Olympics opening ceremony, so another little girl with a pixie smile lip-synched “Ode to the Motherland,” a ceremony official said–the latest example of the lengths Beijing took for a perfect start to the Summer Games.

A member of China’s Politburo asked for the last-minute change to match one girl’s face with another’s voice, the ceremony’s chief music director, Chen Qigang, said in an interview with Beijing Radio.

At this point, assume everything was faked.

UPDATE: Oh, and don’t forget the landlocked aircraft carrier, either.

Anti-Air Defense for the Olympics

olympic_aa_defense.jpg

Anti aircraft artilleries are being set up near by the regatta venue of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Qingdao, eastern China’s Shandong province, 28 June 2008. According to media, China stations ground-to-air missiles near Olympic Games venues to tighten security for the Olympic Games

My guess is that we won’t be seeing a lot of this on TV.

MLB.TV

I JUST SIGNED UP FOR MLB.COM’S PREMIUM INTERNET TV SERVICE. It took me about two minutes to decide to cancel.

Even though I checked the ZIP codes of home and work and both showed ‘okay,’ it tells me I’m blacked out for all home Tigers games. What someone is calling the “official MLB blackout map’ indicates that all of Michigan is blacked out for Tigers home games. I’m not sure that it’s an accurate map or that MLB.TV uses the same map, but if that’s the case MLB.TV’s ZIP Code checker needs to be fixed.

I also tried entering an Arizona zip code into my account to see if that would make a difference. Predictably, it doesn’t.

I called customer service and waited on hold for a while, then was told I’d be called back “probably within half an hour.” We’ll see. I’ve already sent an email directing them to cancel my service.

I tried to check out another game just to see what the quality was, but I’m getting error pages for all games now. Whether or not this has to do with my pending cancellation (or my zip code trickery) I don’t know.

According to the map I linked to, the entire state of Iowa is blacked out for home games for the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago White Sox, the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Minnesota Twins, and the St. Louis Cardinals. Blacked out for six teams despite not having a single one in the entire state.

Honestly, this isn’t 1981 any more. Major League Baseball is going to have to rework the way blackouts work if they want to enter the world of 21st century media.

I’m sure they’ll get right on that.

Traveling Today

avs.jpg

Murdoc is on the road (well, in the skies) today headed out to Denver for some day job training. Posting here at MO will continue to be a bit light, and if someone invites me to either tonight’s or Thursday’s playoff hockey game between Detroit and Colorado, all bets are off.

Oh, and readers may be surprised to learn that this West Michigan resident is NOT pulling for the Red Wings. Though it doesn’t look good for my Avalanche right now, I’ll be pulling for them all the way.

How about a little credit?

Danica Patrick Wins

That’s probably just a plastic trophy

Last spring we had the opportunity to go to the Indianapolis 500 courtesy of some good friends with tickets for great seats that they couldn’t use. My wife was pulling for Danica Patrick, (probably) mostly due to the fact that she was a woman in a male-dominated sport. I asked just how “competitive” could she be if she had never won a race?

This, of course, led to all sorts of enjoyable discussion. I wasn’t really trying to knock Patrick. I just wanted a little honest perspective.

Yesterday in Japan, finally, Patrick won an Indy race. It was her 50th race start.

Predictably, if you’ll excuse the mixed metaphor, racing’s goal posts have suddenly shifted.

Bob Margolis writes:

Putting Patrick’s victory in perspective

Danica Patrick’s first IndyCar win in the Japan 300 was more a triumph in public relations than auto racing.

It didn’t happen as the result of a final lap, wheel-to-wheel battle, one that many close observers of the sport feel she will never win.

It instead was more a battle between the race engineer’s computers on the Andretti Green team and that of her rival Helio Castroneves’ Penske Racing team. It was a matter of who would get the best fuel mileage in the final handful of laps of the 200-lap race.

Whoa, there, Bob.

What a jackass. Suddenly it doesn’t really count if you only win because you out-mileaged the other driver? Is Bob ‘Jackass’ Margolis suggesting that everyone who’s won a race on fuel strategy didn’t really win a competitive race? Of course he isn’t. He’s only suggesting that the women who have done it didn’t really win a competitive race.

What a jackass. (Is there an echo in here? -Ed.)

It’s certainly fine to be critical of professional race car drivers. But this isn’t the way to do it.

Jackass Margolis needs to make a list of criteria for a ‘real’ win right now and put it on the record so that he can’t jackass his way around to discrediting any future wins. Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it.

I have no idea what his motivation is, and it’s not my responsibility to find out. He does sounds like a whining sexist, though, to be honest.

In 2006 he said

“I still don’t think Danica Patrick will ever win a race in the Indy car series.

She’s just not a good enough driver.”

So I guess he’s got to find a way to not have been wrong. What a guy.

Today he writes:

Patrick’s victory may temporarily quiet her critics

but apparently not the jackasses.