The first Olympic wrestling match was in 708 B.C. and the last Olympic wrestling match will probably happen in 2020 A.D.
A ruling was handed down yesterday from the executive board of the International Olympic Committee decrying that the sport had been voted out of the games during a recent closed door committee meeting in Switzerland. Fine and noble sports like speed walking, table tennis, badminton, and trampolining will continue unabated. I know America’s many high school speed walking programs will breath a sigh of relief at that one.
Ok, now that I have that one jab out of the way, I’m really going to try my hardest not to disparage other sports too much. They aren’t really the problem, and their athletes surely train hard and sacrifice much to reach the Olympic level.
The problem is that eight people on this fourteen person board decided that wrestling no longer deserved a spot on the Olympic roster. Why? No one knows except for those eight people since everything is done by secret ballot, but the prevailing theories are: Continue reading
This is awesomely terrifying. Awesome because you mark your target, the math is calculated for you, the trigger is automatically pulled when your muzzle is optimally aligned with the mark you painted on your target. Anyone can reach out and touch an enemy at great distances without a lick of training. Pick it up and voilà: you are a sniper.
Well, yes and no. When needed, our military’s sniper teams can already reach out and touch someone at great distances with one shot effectiveness. Remember the Maersk-Alabama? Three SEALs, three shots fired simultaneously from the deck of a ship bobbing along the seas, taking out three enemies at once. Based on reports from places like Afghanistan, we’re lucky to have enemies who, for the most part, don’t even try to be accurate: spray, pray for Allah to do the rest, and blend back into the scenery. Imagine this kind of technology in the hands of our enemies. Unlikely for the short term, of course, but it could be a frighteningly effective force equalizer in the next generation of conflicts–one that stands to benefit our enemies more than us.
…still, it is pretty kickass.
The worst part of my day used to be my commute, until the truth dawned on me:
For thirty minutes today I sat in a beautifully upholstered leather chair. I was able to adjust the chair’s settings so that it perfectly cradled my frame, just as I like it. Even though it was freezing outside, I was sheltered from the elements, warm and toasty. Not only that, but there were friendly people, politely offering to play me their favorite music—all of them different, but beautiful in their own way. I could have had whole orchestras playing grand symphonies for me right there in my seat, or beautiful women singing love songs to me, or the most talented rappers in the world entertaining me with their rhymes. When I wanted peace and quiet, these kind folks totally understood where I was coming from and left me to my own thoughts. Did I mention that this amazing chair of mine with all these entertainment options was actually capable of moving around? It’s true. With only the slightest gestures, I was able to bring it up to amazing speeds and command it to transport me great distances! I covered close to twenty miles in those short thirty minutes. And lest you think it was dangerous to go that fast, this wonderful chair had amazing protective devices encapsulating it. These devices would shield me at every possible angle from all but the most catastrophic collision. The wonders of this chair don’t stop there. Seriously! Here’s the best part: it was just one of five chairs within this amazing protective compartment. There were similar spots for several friends to relax right along with me.
Voilà: my commute viewed through a different lens: a luxurious experience that would be the envy of kings only a hundred years ago. In fact, when viewed the right way, my commute sounds more like a spa day than chore. And indeed it starts to feel that way!
As Louis C.K. has noted, it seems that “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” Not me. I love it.
My daily hour in the car is awesome. Forget the other vehicles on the road and the construction and the idiots who don’t know how to drive. They are still there, of course, and they probably always will be, but so long as they don’t crash into me, they don’t have to be an impediment to my enjoyment of the wonders of our modern existence.
How fast is the fastest person in the world?
Well, according to the record books, Usain Bolt can cover 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. That’s on flat ground, in calm weather conditions, near sea level, with no chemical assistance whatsoever (presumably).
It is insanely fast, but is it that really the fastest that the human body can go? What if we gave him a tailwind? What if we let him run on a downhill slope? Put the track at a higher elevation and the thinner air density might allow him to shave off a few more hundredths of a second. Load him up with a full arsenal of modern performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and who knows what could happen!
The most distasteful aspect of steroids or PEDs or blood doping or whatever seems to be that their use destroys the level playing field. It’s the unfairness of giving some people a pharmaceutical advantage while others play by the rules that really bothers us. But there will always be cheaters. There will always be people who will use every advantage available to them, legal or not. In other words, no matter what rules, regulations, tests or penalties you enact, the playing field will always be uneven. Our current system creates an arms race between the dopers and the anti-doping agencies in which new ways to circumvent the tests are invented practically as soon as new tests are created to catch the cheaters.
So what if we leveled the playing field in another way? What if we make PEDs legal? Continue reading
There exists a continuum of sporting extremeness, which ranges from the “So-tame-they-probably-aren’t-sports” category (e.g. ballroom dancing, darts, fishing) to the “So-extreme-they-probably-aren’t-sports” category (e.g. whatever these guys are doing in this video). The act of simply watching this video lies somewhere between downhill skiing and whitewater rafting on that continuum. So click play, make it full screen, and feel the adrenaline surge through your system, you daredevil you.
Anyone who does anything remotely physical as a hobby knows that the occasional scrape, bruise, fat lip, or black eye happens from time to time.
As an avid Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner, myself, I get beat to crap all the time in all sorts of crazy ways—knuckles get the skin the torn off, odd limps emerge, and at least one body part (and usually more) is injured at any given time.
I used to dread showing up at the office looking like Ed Norton’s character in Fight Club. Shiners are not exactly “business casual” and they always elicit concern at first, followed quickly by stale jokes. I’m told that if you work with the wrong kind of asshole, the conversation might even lead to boasts about how their kid is a seven year old black belt in some McDojo.
After a couple of years of this happening though, my black eyes sort of go unnoticed now (or at least unremarked upon). Everyone knows that I like to choke people and try to break their bones as a hobby, and my co-workers no longer see this part of my personality as incongruent with my easy-going, nice-guy office demeanor. Just as your skin sort of toughens up after a few years on the mat, so too does your attitude on battle scars. Nowadays I just try to match the color of my shiner to the color of my ties and have some fun with it.
As we say around here, “Every black eye tells a story.” Continue reading
If you’re looking for a way to help your community, have a good time, and/or put some hair on your chest, firefighting is an awesome way to do all three. Check out how they do it in Detroit, where they see more working structure fires in a year than my little volunteer company will see in my lifetime.
One of the great truths of life is “no one owes me anything.”
Not if they are my parents, or my best friend, or even my wife. They don’t owe me things on my birthday, at Christmas, or any other time. And yet–and yet!–from time to time wonderfully kind people go out of their way to make me happy. They give me things, and help me when I need it, and show me kindness.
Time for me to stop being an ungrateful bastard and show some goddam gratitude…and by me, I mean us–all of us, which includes you too. Continue reading
Today is the perfect day to make resolutions: Tuesday.
That is to say that any day of any week is a perfect time to decide to change your life for the better. There is no need to wait for milestones or birthdays or calendar dates—if it comes to your attention that your life needs a change, change it!
Make lists. Make action plans. Tactically think about how to make your new behaviors a habitual part of your day. Making desires into habits is the key. There have been whole books written on the subject, but the idea is simple. Continue reading