The Chart of Dorian Gray

Marie called last night to catch up and see if my pencils are sharpened and my Trapper Keeper is shiny. I reported positively on the one school event I have yet attended (orientation), and then we covered the Health Report.  Marie, for reasons unknown (and surprisingly not traceable to her husband or two children – I kid, people, I kid) has a mysterious pain in her… bottom.

Me?  On top of unwisely playing soccer last night and feeling a dreaded "pop" and then pain in my calf (if I were a racehorse, I would have been shot long ago) I visited the doctor last week.  The University of Maryland has deemed that any potential disease vectors – um, students – need to produce their childhood vaccination records.  Since I am well beyond my teen years and the doctor who kept his hand loosely on the tiller of my youthful health retired about a decade ago, neither my mother nor I had any notion as to whether or not these documents even exist any more. I was instructed by the Health Center at UMD to visit my doc.

I like my doctor.  Dr. Y is very no-nonsense with a droll sense of humor: my kind of medical professional.  She is vaguely tut-tuttish that I don’t have the documents necessary, but tells me that there is no problem – I just need an MMR vaccine booster, then she’s free to sign the paperwork.  And since we’re at it, when was the last time you had a painful tetanus booster, anyway?  Um.

Then she squints at my electronic chart and notes that I’m going to be 40 next year and it’s been a while since I’ve had a blood panel done.  Tippity-tap, she orders that up on her computer screen like a waiter at a chain restaurant.

Result: I get an MMR booster and a cholestorol check.  Will someone tell me whether I’m entering kindergarten or early middle age, please?

The semantics of winning

2004 Gold Medal winner of the 200-meter dash, Shawn Johnson:

Coming to the 2008 Olympics here, I don’t feel like I’m the defending champion.  I don’t have to defend the 2004 medal – that’s mine.  I own that.  They can’t take it back.

Yessir.  Take that, commentariat.  Every race is new.

“I do not think that word means what you think it means.”

Yesterday, Constantina Tomescu won the Olympic Marathon.  As with any gold medal win, it was a remarkable achievement, but it was made even more remarkable by several factors: her age (she’s 38 – the oldest Olympic marathon winner), the early lead that she carved out and maintained to the finish (almost a minute), and her overall speed (halfway through she was running just over five minute miles).

Sports commentators are not always the most articulate people in the world, but one repeated idea really struck me the wrong way.  As she ran, the commentators reviewed her performance in the 2004 Athens Olympics.  Suffering from heatstroke, she had pulled up and walked for a bit, eventually finishing 20th.

Because of this, the commentator said several times that her run yesterday represented a quest for "redemption" on Tomescu’s part.  Redemption?  She was ill (and speaking as someone who has had the precursor to heatstroke, heat exhaustion, it’s no joke).  She still finished.  What is there to seek redemption for?  His word choice (not an isolated one – he repeated himself several times) made it seem that she had to atone for some criminal act.

The bombast of Olympic commentary is bad enough without this sort of nonsense.  And winning Olympic gold is remarkable enough that it doesn’t need to be tarnished by commentating like this.

Ad Bored

I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics, and even with the TiVo, there are a few ads I haven’t been able to avoid. The first defines the type of ad I would like to ban, because it is a crime against nostalgia:

Yes, that’s a collection of recreations of iconic scenes from "The Breakfast Club." I have a hard time describing the visceral loathing I feel for this ad. Marie and I used to have this movie memorized, but the target market for this ad probably hasn’t heard the words, "So it’s sorta social: demented and sad, but social. Right?"  So the target market probably just thinks this is a bunch of kids doing dopey things to the accompaniment of a moldy oldie.  Good one.

Contrast that with the United Airlines ads called "Sea Orchestra" and ‘Heart" (memo to United – let people embed your video).  I’ve actually stopped ba-booping through blocks of Olympic ads and rewound to watch these.  They’re original and actually relate to the thing being advertised, and I hate to say it, but these advertisements are entertaining.

Which is more than I can say for the continued harping on the Chinese gymnastics age scandal.  Al Trautwig made a particularly ugly comment the other evening, snidely inviting the viewers to judge for themselves as to whether some of the Chinese gymnasts looked old enough.  Excuse me?  This isn’t "America’s Top Sports Scandal."  If the Chinese cheated, it’s not going to be voted on via telephone by the US viewing public.  The only thing this does is make Al Trautwig look like a first-class wart.

Sometimes people don’t actually suck.

A story of real sportsmanship .

It Must be October

Frantically busy? Check.

Crossing as many fingers and toes as would still allow us to get on with normal human activities in order to mystically help the Red Sox? Check.

Hauling out sweaters with glee as the weather is finally chilly? Check.

Making more of them? Check.

Sweater in progress

Gratuitous cute cat photos featuring Milo in unlikely poses? Check.

Cute cat in unlikely pose


The Consolations that the Green Monster Brings

James Taylor singing the National Anthem at Fenway.  Ah, the World Series in Boston.