Miscellaneous and Useless Information


Ariel Hsing has had a great run at the Olympics as a member of the U.S. table tennis team. She was the only American to make it past the first round, she upset a former world champion in the second round, and she pushed the eventual gold medalist to the limit in the third round before losing in six tight games. And she’s friends with Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

Did I mention she’s from the San Francisco Bay Area and is only 16?

After back-to-back party conventions, the Olympics seem like old news, but here’s my reaction anyway. They were clearly a triumph for China — all the controversies from denied protests to lip-syncing girls faded away, and the actual competition dominated the headlines. I was proud how well the Chinese people conducted themselves during the games, and I also found myself rooting for China, even though I detest its government. The pecking order for my cheers: the United States first, then Taiwan (or “Chinese Taipei”), and then China. Taiwan won 4 bronze medals this year, 2 in men’s taekwondo, and 2 in women’s weightlifting (!!!).

This year, I watched the Super Bowl at a party where almost everyone was for the New York Giants. I wasn’t strongly for either team. On the one hand, when I lived in Connecticut, I rooted for the Giants. But this year, I was leaning towards the New England Patriots, because I wanted to see history made. Instead, I saw a different type of history: one of the greatest upsets in pro football history. I can’t truly imagine how absolutely crushed Patriots fans are or how elated Giants fans are.

But I can’t say I was surprised: I watched the Giants come close to defeating the Patriots in their last regular season game, and I also watched them defeat heavily favored Dallas and Green Bay. The Giants played scrappy, bare-knuckled football and made plays when it mattered most; they deserved to win the game. This Super Bowl was one of the best I’ve seen.

24-23! Holy moly, I didn’t give Stanford a chance. As a Cal fan, I think the competition for this year’s Big Game just got a lot more interesting. And Cal’s prospects for the Rose Bowl also opened up even more.

Last weekend, I went to see the Cal-Washington basketball game at Berkeley. Before that, I had seen four sporting events: a Yankees game, a Mets game, an A’s game, and Cal at Stanford basketball. In every case, the home team lost, and only in one case did I want the home team to loseWeight Exercise. But this time, Cal won at home. Finally! I was starting to think I was cursed…

I have a really hard time believing that Floyd Landis doped up. And here’s why:

Woohoo! Another American wins le Tour! In my last posting, I assumed everyone knew what Floyd Landis accomplished last week, but I’ll spell it out here.

Another inspiring example of never giving up, while you still have a chance.

Not only that, Landis has a condition called avascular necrosis in his hip (we’re talking bone-on-bone) and will have hip replacement surgery within a few months. Most people with his condition can barely walk.

I’ve been watching the Tour de France all month. (Its timing works perfectly with my schedule: wake up, watch the last 30 mins while eating breakfast, then go to work.) Can you believe Floyd Landis? From washed up yesterday to a stunning comeback today. I’m really pulling for him to win — it would propel his achievement from an extraordinary single-day race to a legendary tour win.

This is the first year I watching the last two weeks of the Tour every day. On the west coast it’s perfect timing: wake up at 7, watch the last hour of the stage on OLN, then get to work by my usual time. And I got totally sucked in — even when it was clear that Lance Armstrong would win his 7th, Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen did a good job of keeping each individual stage interesting, and it gave them a chance to talk about riders besides Lance.

Diehard cycling fans foam at the mouth over OLN’s coverage (see the discussion boards at VeloNews). But I’m not diehard (otherwise I would have been waking up at 4:30), so I enjoyed it. So I’m set for next year’s tour, since the field will be wide open, and now I know the names of cyclists to look out for.