Thursday, 26 July 2007

Le Tour de Farce?

I love my cycling, and even though I'm an offroad kind of rider, I thrill at the abilities of the TdF competitors, the efforts, the pain, the speeds. Why, I wouldn't mind buying a roadbike myself (and would have picked up an ebay bargain today if SWMBO had given the OK). But the TdF?

Dear me. Still no winner from 2006.

Now to 2007, and what happens? Rasmussen, the current leader, kicked out. Vinokourov and his team Astana kicked out. Both had been performing brilliantly, Vinokourov providing fans with a stunning form reversal after a bad ride (just like last year's "winner" (subject to court decisions), Landis). Other riders testing positive. Who else is to go? Will the winner be the winner this year, or will more accusations and litigation follow? It makes me wonder about previous winners as well - did they just use methods of cheating undetectable at the time?

I guess it's good news for the squeaky voiced Aussie, Cadel Evans, who 's now jumped back to second place. But... because of all the other cheats, his achievements will always have us wondering. Has he just got a better pharmacist? I hope not.

[edit] And could 80% of the competitors really suffer from asthma, requiring them to use asthma preventing... steroids... and other drugs which open their airways? Amazing how many elite sportspeople suffer from asthma. When I was a kid, the asthma suferers were the weedy ones who couldn't play much sport because they had breathing difficulties. Now they're able to compete at an elite level, and make up the majority? Hmmm... I'm not slagging off the people who genuinely have asthma -their use of mediation allows them to live much more complete lives than they could have otherwise, and being unable to breathe well was truly debilitating.

Cycling, especially road cycling seems to be rotten to the core. But should we point the finger? We've loved the performances. We demand higher speeds. We expect super human efforts day after day. We treat winners like gods. And it's not just cycling. Swimming, track, field, weightlifting, etc, etc, etc, all have shady pasts (and probably presents). What about footy (any variety)?

Elite sport is business. Big business. Just like in regular business, winners can be set up for life. If they "bend the rules" a bit - aka cheating - or lose their memory (eh Mr Bond), they can make even more money. Politicians lie and cheat for their own benefit and to retain power. Any wonder sportspeople also cheat?

I think it's human nature, and that's a sad thing.

Bugger it, I'm going for a ride.

Tony F

Monday, 16 July 2007

postscript to getting older

two posts in one day!

Caught up with a bunch of old school mates the other day. We're gradually turning 50. well, the old ones are... ;^)

Funny to see them all again, after all these years. The tall skinny bloke is now tall and umm... well, he's not skinny anymore. But his son was even taller than he was. Another tall bloke looks like he's shrunk - and I know I haven't got any taller. Most of the longhairs are rapidly balding. Those with hair look like they've all seen a ghost. Belts were generally tighter, and I swear I could hear the popping of joints.

But underneath the external changes, we're still much the same. The same jokes, the same attitudes, the same silliness. Maybe we haven't really aged at all.

Meh. Just the right amount of beer was drunk, lies were told, and reminiscences were reminisced. Beauty.

Tony F

Water restrictions

People are mad, aren't they?

Here we are, living on the driest continent on earth, having suffered through one of the most serious droughts in history. All sorts of plans to ease the crisis were floated . Dam levels were at record lows, and water restrictions have become a way of life in many areas of Australia, including cities. Some of us scoff, having grown up with water restrictions, but that's another story. Now we've had a bit of rain (yes, enough to cause floods in some spots...), and it looks like the drought might finally have broken.

Why, Warragamba's back to just over 50% full! That's about seven months worth of Sydney's water needs.

So what happens. We're demanding the end to water restrictions. A few weeks of rain, and we don't need to worry anymore. Seven months? That'll last for years! Dammit, we pay our taxes, we should be allowed to water our drives and pamper our exotic gardens, no matter how unsuited to the climate they may be. Don't you tell me to mulch or plant natives!

Sigh. Driest continent, people.

Yup, we're a queer bunch.

Tony F

Tuesday, 3 July 2007


It's not Dr Who, and my son reckons it's a bit lame, but I'm finding myself hooked. I just wish that the hero didn't look like a taller version of Tom Cruise! And I never realised how sensual learning to shoot a gun could be until that scene between Captain Jack and Gwen. For now, I'm giving it 4 stars - what about you, Margaret?

And is it just me, or are those Welsh accents sexy? ;^)

Oh yes, and gappy teeth!

Oh, alright, it's Gwen!

Tony F
ps: don't tell my wife, I'm still in trouble about Rose Piper from Dr Who. Oh well, at least Gwen is brunette.

Monday, 2 July 2007

getting older

It was my son's birthday last week, and suddenly I felt considerably older. My son is now two years older than I was when I got married, and we waited a few years before he came along. When I was that age, I used to think my Dad was getting on, and now I'm older than he was! And to make it worse, my youngest son is about to reach the age I was when I married! sigh...

Mornings see creaky joints and shuffly feet, opening jars can be an almost insurmountable problem, my hair is rapidly disappearing (even if it has lasted longer than Dad's), muscles are turning into flab, and arthritis is a fact of life. I'm even getting friendlier with my doctor, who tells me I have to give up this, cut down that, lose weight, etc, etc, before referring me off for more tests and specialist appointments.

Even worse, I remember the show that included Controversy Corner (the title of my last post)!

But I can't complain. I can still do most things I could do when I was younger, it's just that they're harder to do, and are usually accompanied by more grunting, and my muscles abuse me mightily the day after strenuous exercise. Actually, I can complain. It's just that it doesn't do me any good. ;^)

Besides, I reckon the only available alternative to growing older doesn't appeal to me at all. =8^O

Tony F