- I’ve been watching the Tour de France the last two weeks. Did you know when one of the front running riders falls or gets a flat tire, his competitors will slow down and let him recover and/or repair and allow him to catch up? They have an honorable sense of desiring to win against an opponent who is at his best; they consider it bad form to take advantage of another’s misfortune. It is beneath them as professionals. I like the attitude. It’s not very American, I’m afraid, but I like it nonetheless. Similarly, in football (soccer to the nyekulturni amongst you), if a player is badly injured, the opposing team will kick the ball out of bounds so the player can be treated. The injured player’s team, upon restarting, will then give the ball back to the team that played it out in the first place. These examples of sportsmanship are not an example of written codes, but of unwritten points of honor that have somehow survived into the 21st century, as unlikely as it may seem.
- Is anyone else getting to the point where you have no idea who the host or musical guest is on Saturday Night Live? I don’t often watch the show, because, well, it’s notoriously, brazenly unfunny anymore, but the few times I tune in, hoping against hope they’ve hired some writers with a tenth of the talent they had 30 years ago, I feel like the unhippest old guy in the world. Because I just don’t know who these people are. Part of me laments the passing of the days when I was hip to all this jive; the other part knows deep down it’s just as well.
- Bobby Fischer was arrested in Tokyo for trying to illegally leave Japan. That seems a bit odd, the whole idea of illegally leaving a place. If the person is leaving anyway, what does Japan care how he does it? Anyway, Fischer will more than likely be extradited to the United States to face charges of playing chess in Yugoslavia 12 years ago. Really. He could do a decade in federal prison because he went to Yugoslavia and whupped up on Boris Spassky. Again. He was apparently violating a U.N. boycott of Yugoslavia. And you know how tough the U.N. can be. It seems silly to me to be arrested for playing chess, no matter where you set up the board. We don’t have any real criminals to chase down across the globe? Now don’t get me wrong: Fischer is an anti-Semite and an America-hating nutjob. But he doesn’t deserve to go to jail.
- For some reason, I was downloading examples of classic German technopunkwave music this weekend. You know, old Bauhaus and Kraftwerk type stuff. I find it really amusing to listen to. Kinda like Weird Al songs. The only exception is “The Metro”, by Berlin, which is one of my all-time favorite 80′s songs. It stands on its own merits, with not a hint of “novelty song” stigma attached to it. I mean, a song with a line like “I remember hating you for loving me . . . Riding on the metro-oh-oh“, you just have to like it. They don’t write ‘em like that anymore folks.