shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


making records

Lance Armstrong has done it now, bar hell or highwater--"it" of course being something no one else has ever done, winning six Tour de Frances in a row. The scene was something else; estimates range from 500,000 to 900,000 people lining a little less than 10 mile section of road. Many of them had been there for weeks and many of them had scrawled rude things on the roads: Lance EPO, Lance SUCKS, that sort of thing, not that there weren't also cheers for him, but EPO was a dominate theme. (EPO being the drug he's accused of using, but you know, there's absolutely NO evidence that's ever happened and the man, and all cyclists, undergo the most rigorous drug testing of any sport in the world. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.) But his ride yesterday just blew everyone away, including a Sheryl Crow seen biting her nails in the back seat of the team car at the start, and the sad thing is: he missed beating Marco Pantani's record for climbing Alpe d'Huez by one second!

If you're in the mood to read about Lance today, you shouldn't have any problem doing so. (Bright side of a dark cloud: the fact that Tyler Hamilton had dropped out and the other big challengers have also either dropped out or lost the name of big challengers meant we could actually just cheer for Lance, and how can you not? When he's obviously just worked harder for this than anyone else on the road.) But you might want to check out Michael Specter's New Yorker profile from 2002's Tour or Robert Lipsyte's Page 2 ESPN column, "It's All About the Pain," just posted yesterday. The amazing thing is not that he's won his sixth, it's how decisively he's won it. Wow.

Now, let's just all hold our breathe and think good thoughts for Little Tommy Voeckler in the White Jersey (Best Young Rider) competition. He lost a lot of time yesterday. And his dad was lost at sea for god's sake!

(Also, really looking forward to having my life back. Sorry, Paul and Phil. Not sorry at all for you Vonnegut nightmare Al Trautwig.)

In other, sorta records news, Stephen Hawking lost a bet and is redefining the way science views black holes and he managed to do it all in one speech. (Kind of old-fashioned, that, the way I imagined science happened when I was in high school and everything felt like it had happened at meetings full of European scientists.)

The announcement marks a U-turn from Prof Hawking, who had argued that anything swallowed by a black hole was forever hidden from the outside universe. It has also lost him one of the most famous bets in science: in 1997 Hawking and fellow theoretical physicist Kip Thorne made a wager with John Preskill at the California Institute of Technology, who insisted that information carried by an object entering a black hole was not destroyed, and so could be recovered.

"I'm now ready to concede the bet," Prof Hawking said yesterday. At stake was an encyclopedia - "from which information can be recovered at ease" - of the winner's choice. "John is all American so naturally he wants an encyclopedia of baseball. I had great difficulty finding one over here, so I offered him an encyclopedia of cricket as an alternative," Prof Hawking said. "But John wouldn't be persuaded of the superiority of cricket."

Science fiction writers, start your engines. (Justine, you and Professor Hawking would obvs get along famously.)

worm  "Teenage Lobotomy," The Ramones

namecheck  Mandy "Hang in There" Helton


  • At 5:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    You can not test for EPO. You can not test for human growth hormone. Many close to the sport say it is probable that every professional cyclist takes prohibited drug.

  • At 7:10 PM , Blogger Christopher said...

    Hmmm. Since they posted anonymously and then didn't sign off, I can't tell whether the previous commentor is being an idiot, a jackass, or both. Given the convincing nature of the arguments put forth (can't test for EPO? can't test for human growth hormone? that would seem to be news to the scientific community) and the sophistication of the grammar, I guess I'll go with idiot.

    --Christopher Rowe


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