As a general rule I detest 80s nostalgia, because it tends to focus on the aspects of 80s culture that I liked the least. But there is no denying that they were the Good Old Days. In the privacy of my own mind I often time-travel to that now-somewhat-long-ago era, and I always have a good time there.
One of these flashbacks was triggered the other day by the distinctly post-80s technomagic of my iPod. I like to listen to the songs on it in alphabetical order, as I am all too happy to discuss with anyone who will listen. Lately I have been in the Ns, and when a bunch of songs starting with the word “New” came up, it was hard not to notice that almost all of them were from the 80s. I guess we were kind of obsessed with newness back then—it was Morning in America after all, and while I never cared for Ronald Wilson Reagan 666, I have to admit that his version of America was pretty fun. There was a lot of energy in the air in them days. We were all going to be rich and excellent and sexy and cool… smash cut to Rodney Dangerfield on the back patio at Bushwood Country Club shouting “We’re all gonna get laid!”
And it was all bogus of course, all a big delusion that would come crashing down soon enough. But what a delusion. I don’t know if the kids today are still capable of feeling that way about the future. I hope they are, because everybody deserves the chance to be stupidly grandiose and optimistic until they are at least 18.
So anyway…won’t you join me in a quick 31-minute trip to the magical land of yesteryear? This may be a little heavy on the technopop for some people, but then that was the 80s in a nutshell, wasn’t it? Playlist and notes after the jump. (more…)
Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen: a very close relationship.
Re the Tour de France, Merle Baggard writes:
OK, glad it’s over. Please get back to more important subjects.
Merle likes to push my buttons, but I take his point. I do want to make just one more note before moving on, though.
The one thing that seemed to get people really emotionally involved this year was only tangentially related to the race itself. This was what has become known as the “falling out” incident involving longtime Tour commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. (more…)
And just like that, it’s so long to the Tour de France for another year.
So long to having my morning coffee as the broadcasters give the stage profile and make their predictions for the day. Some days I enjoy the contest between these guys as much as I enjoy the actual race. Nice to see Grandpa Phil take the title this year, although he was still griping about the rules even as he draped the final yellow jersey over his shoulders.
So long to idiot Frankie Andreu asking Alberto Contador complicated questions after the stage, oblivious to the fact that Contador doesn’t speak English worth a damn. (Why not give Contador a translator? Maybe there was no budget for it; maybe it was a sinister Yankee conspiracy to make him look bad.) (more…)
There were no miracles today. Just for a moment there, it looked like Andy Schleck was going to shock the world by beating Alberto Contador in the time trial; he was up by two seconds at the first time check, but as time went on Contador’s superior speed reasserted itself. In the end Contador bested Schleck’s time by 31 seconds, extending his lead in the Tour to 39 seconds.
Interesting, that, given that 39 seconds was the exact amount Contador gained in the controversial Stage 15. This will give fans something to debate for years to come: Is Contador’s victory tainted by the fact that he transgressed the unwritten rules, taking the yellow jersey due to a mechanical issue? I for one am inclined to say it is. You could say that Contador not only cheated Andy Schleck out of the jersey, he cheated us out of the prospect of the Tour entering its final day with two riders exactly tied, which I don’t believe has ever happened before.
I’m not sure what would have transpired in that case. It’s hard to gain time on the final day, which is always a flat ride into Paris. Someone might have ended up winning the Tour by a fraction of a second. But it would have been a dramatic stage fraught with tension, where any advantage gained would have been decisive. Instead, we will get the usual ceremonial procession with Champagne, and most likely a Mark Cavendish stage win. Oh well. Like the man says: Of all the words of blog and pen, the saddest are “it might have been.”
They tell me that Mark Cavendish achieves a top speed on his sprints of something like 74 kph, or 46 miles an hour. Some people, especially in my neighborhood, can’t go that fast in a car. This is why Cavendish wins stage after stage after stage; Stage 18 was his 4th this year and the 14th of his career.
To put that in perspective a little, Cavendish’s coach and mentor, Erik Zabel—a cycling legend in his own right—had 12 stage wins in a long and illustrious career. Cavendish is barely 25 years old and already has 14, maybe 15 if he takes the final stage in Paris as he did last year.
The record for most career stage wins is held by Eddy Merckx with 34, and you’d have to view Cavendish as a threat to this record, though Cavendish will never in a million years be the cyclist Merckx was. Merckx was a dominant all-around talent who won five Tours and might have won more if he hadn’t been punched in the kidney by a spectator. Cavendish is a specialist who struggles to get through the mountains without being eliminated; he currently sits 154th in the general classification, 3 hours and 49 minutes behind Alberto Contador. But in the last 200 meters or so that determine who is going to win a bunch sprint, Cavendish makes the other very fast professionals look like toddlers riding trikes. In Stage 18 he was without his leadout team but still shot out of the pack and won going away.
Contador still sits an agonizing 8 seconds in front of Andy Schleck, who was powerless to make any headway on a flat, straight stage. He did get to meet Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise, who presumably were in France to promote that movie they made together. They also stood on the podium with Contador at his behest. Is it worth having to put up with Tom Cruise if you get to hang out with Cameron Diaz? That’s a personal decision, I guess.