Taint Fair: The Mercurial Podium

Is there such a thing as an objective reality? Sure, there are certain aspects of life that are objective and non-negotiable: we all need air to breathe; we all need water to drink; and we all agree that scallion cream cheese makes a really bad toothpaste. Beyond that though, it's pretty much every person for hermself. ["Hermself" is gender-neutral for "himself" or "herself."]

I certainly acknowledge that the reality in which I live is a construct, and indeed I work very hard to maintain that construct. To say I live in a bubble would be inaccurate only because you can actually see out of a bubble; I live in sort of a mirrored and tinted bubble of solipsism and denial that filters out everything I find objectionable--which is to say pretty much everything. And one of the most objectionable things to me is sports.

In my world, there are no sports. (Though there is, oddly, a bidet.) Sure, I can't help notice the people who walk around in baseball caps or who plaster a team's name all over their car, but it doesn't make those sports any more real to me. Really, to me a team logo is like a Jesus fish or any other religious symbol--it's merely a sign of faith, and a reference to something that doesn't exist in any material way. There's little difference to me between, say, following baseball and keeping a kosher diet. Last night's Super Bowl is about as real to me as the Great Flood--though both are equally real to at least some people:

Incidentally, if you're wondering whether Noah took any dinosaurs on his eponymous ark, the answer is an empatic "yes:"

Wow. I wonder if Noah's Ark also had a bidet.

Anyway, there is one exception to my no-sports rule, and that exception is cycling. I do follow the sport of professional cycling (albeit in a leisurely fashion), and I do so for two simple reasons:

1) I like to ride bikes, so sometimes it's entertaining to watch other people ride bikes really fast;


2) I like it when the bike riding people have funny names:

Unfortunately though, in choosing one sport to pay attention to, I seem to have picked the dumbest sport in the entire world--one that makes even caber tossing seem sensible in comparison:

(He totally looks like he's "foffing off.")

So, why is cycling the dumbest sport in the entire world? Well, because a year and a half after the 2010 Tour de France and nearly a year after the 2011 Giro d'Italia, the guy who won both those races suddenly didn't win them anymore:

Sure, the "tainted meat defense" was laughable, but nevertheless I have to agree with Unfrozen Caveman Bike Racer's take on this one:

(Did Noah take cavemen on the ark? Their continued existence today would indicate "yes.")

Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the CAS ruling.

“Once again it’s cycling that pays the price,” Merckx told AFP. “It’s an excessive punishment. It’s bad for everybody, for the reputation of cycling, for sponsors.

“It’s as if someone wants to kill cycling. They took two years to make this ruling. It’s that that is not good.”

By the way, in the course of the interview Merckx dropped another bombshell as well:

Merckx added: “I’m neither an expert nor doctor."

Holy crap, Merckx is not a doctor?!? This would explain why he rarely wears a stethoscope, and also casts new light on his abysmally poor heart transplant success rate:

("Dr." Merckx was also a "cannibal" in the operating room.)

Anyway, like professional bike races, most Hollywood movies are also full of plot holes and improbable outcomes, but at least after you've sat through them the studio doesn't try to close those plot holes retroactively by sending you a letter like this:

Dear "Mission: Idiotic" Fan:

According to a panel of experts, it turns out that it is actually impossible for a human being to leap from the top of a 30-story building, grab onto a helicopter's undercarriage, and soar to safety. Therefore, after a year of deliberation, we've decided that protagonist Mike Hunt (as played by Tom Cruise) does not in fact survive until the end of the film and is in fact dead. Nevertheless, we hope to see you next summer at your local theater for "Mission: Idiotic XIII," which will star a lesser Baldwin brother to be determined at a later date.


Schlock Studios

As far as I'm concerned, they should reinstate Contador as winner, and on top of that the US government should refund all the tax money that they used on that pointless Lance Armstrong investigation, which as far as I can tell was a conspiracy designed entirely to boost the ratings of "60 Minutes." Then, just for fun, somebody should analyze the urine and blood of every member of the New York Giants. That should help put things in perspective.

Speaking of Lance Armstrong, a reader has just forwarded me an article from the "Globe and Mail," which contains the following passage (emphasis hers):

The whiff of taint surrounding the American, the most dominant cyclist since Eddy “The Cannibal” Merckx, stems mostly from the say-so of people like Floyd Landis, former Tour winner, convicted doper and ex-teammate-cum-stoolie.


Meanwhile, in other news, Europe is apparently experiencing a deadly cold snap:

There's certainly nothing remotely amusing about people dying of cold, nor would this story outwardly have anything to do with cycling. However, I couldn't help contemplating the implications of this quote towards the end of the article:

“Suddenly your walk home on Saturday night becomes this slightly epic voyage,” said Mr. Thomas’s sister, Orla Alexander, a magazine editor who lives in Islington.

I had no idea there was such a thing as "slightly epic"--I always just assumed it was impossible for something to be "slightly epic" in the same way it's impossible for a woman to be slightly pregnant. If, however, I've been wrong all this time and it is indeed possible for something to be "slightly epic" then it's only a matter of time before Rapha brands the concept and introduces some sort of charity ride line:

(Rapha Meh: half-shorts for short rides.)

If you're a charity rider who has been lamenting the lack of $200 DayGlo pinnies in the marketplace then you'll be pleased to learn your days of misery are numbered.

Speaking of cycling attire, the helment debate rages on, though I'm sure most of us would agree that no helment is better than a stolen helment (as forwarded by another reader):

Sacramento police responding to an alarm call at a bicycle store on H Street at 3 a.m. this morning saw a man walking in the vicinity, wearing a bike helmet.

The man, who police said had cuts on his arms, was detained while officers checked the business.

Police found the front window of the store was broken.

It also appeared that a helmet was missing, according to the Sacramento Police activity log.

Police arrested Nicholas Velieux, 30.

You know how it is: it's three in the morning, you're high out of your mind on several illicit substances, and suddenly you realize your head is completely exposed to falling asteroids and space lizard rayguns. So you do the logical thing and smash a bike shop window, and the next thing you know you're detained while a police officer "checks the business:"

(Checking the business.)

Still, it's better than almost being run over by an unmarked police car on a bike path:

To the two NYPD officers in the umarked going over the WBurg Bridge... (Brooklyn)
Date: 2012-02-01, 2:32AM EST
Reply to:

Hey guys, I know one of your buddies got shot last night, that sucks. BUT, you guys came so close to smashing into me head-on while you were driving up the bike path on the bridge and I was riding home form school, it was all I could do to swerve out of the way and yell "WATCH OUT!"

Thanks so much for telling me to fuck myself. Yes how dare I get in the way of your stupid fucking car in the middle of the bike lane. Keep up the good work!

At least they didn't also ticket him for swerving.

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