November 17th, 2017
What Ever Happened To [...] #1027
Friday October 4th, 2013
[Good After-Morning to all of my friends, acquaintances, fellow Listservites and Listswervians, and to only a few of my sworn enemies. (You don't know who you are. :) Today is another BJF (Bad Joke Friday) and I'm just getting started. What prompted this little treatise today was this, as was, I believe, first posted on the Ultralist by my good friend Carl Asker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tD16uoogSEE. As you can easily see, that ain't no joke! That's *awesome* in fact. But it--and other recent "things" that I won't mention--will help serve today to build a bad joke, as follows…]
The Clinton Administraction Presents…
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO [racing, I mean REAL RACING]?
You know, the kind like Mo Farah and Kenenisa Bekele are doing in the video.
Oh, I know it still goes on (obviously) but… it seems like the TREND in footracing these days is to possibly pack the most peeps feasibly into the biggest venues politically for the biggest bucks financially amidst the hugest hype marketably but with the least amount of room to move, period.
Today's big races are like Exodus. Like Moses leaving Egypt. Like taking 25 percent of all towns' populations and putting them all-at-once upon the shut-down expressways of every big city in America (how 'bout Earth) all throughout the year (!) and then blowing the air-horn. AAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENH!!! "The Umpteenth Annual Big City (pick one) Marathon/Half-Marathon/10K/8K/5K/5th Avenue Mile/(and yes even)100-Mile/100K/50-Mile/50K/25K/Cross-Country Whatchamahcallit IS UNDERWAY!!!"
If you were shut out of all this wonderfulness, please send in your entries earlier next year (we'll spam you to death until you do) and don't forget to patronize our sponsors. Our, yes, many many sponsors, all of whom have everything to sell you to make this jam-packed oozing Israelite parade more enjoyable. Here, you might need an eight-hundred dollar wristwatch to help you. It keeps time in 30 languages and 24 different time zones and will call out your splits vocally and automatically phone all your friends while you're waddling. Then, when you get home later, it'll do your breakfast dishes.
What ever happened to racing? REAL racing! The kind that, you know, you first learned on the playground. That damn Sally in the fourth grade would scrape a line across the dirt with her shoe and "challenge" your so-called superior male ass to an all-out sprint to the streetlight. "Whuddo I get for winning?" you ask. "You can kiss me," she replies. "On your mark, get set, GO!" And she very handily proceeds to hand you your first humiliating DEFEAT as an otherwise supposedly superior male. No kiss, but plenty of derision from your fellow dufuses at the back of the classroom.
Being "chicked"! Hey, whatever happened to so-called "superior males" being peeved about being chicked? I can recall many peeps telling me (back in the old days) that guys just did NOT like gals to pass them. Many gals would tell me how male elbows would suddenly flail out to the sides whenever they were "just running their own race" but nevertheless running some poor "manly" sucker down. What happened to all the dozens upon dozens of heart-pounding RACERS to whom stuff like this used to matter?
These days when males get chicked, they expect a phone call; or, at the very least, her cell number. They wanna "text" or "chat" later in the race. Maybe meet at the finish. Share a brew or two in the beer tent. Stroll down the Midway and visit all the booths. Buy a pair of shoes together! Or, hey, an eight-hundred-dollar wristwatch!! Then later you can have supper at her place and your watch will do her dishes.
The whole thing is just like a circus. A carnival. Mardi Gras somewhere/everywhere (!) besides New Orleans practically every weekend of the year.
Whatever happened to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd PERIOD? OK, gold, silver, and bronze for the first three "superior" (ha ha) males as well as the first three outstanding kick-ass chicks. Isn't this how the Olympics works? International track meets? The World Championships?? Fourth, fifth, sixth, and yadda yad… get nothing. Zilch! Un gotz! They just repack their gym bags and head home.
These days, everyone in the entire circus gets a medal just for moseying a couple kilometers, passing (eventually) under the balloon arch, and smiling for the eight-hundred-dollar-a-gig professional photographers who'll later send you your proofs and an invoice.
Big bucks! These things aren't footraces; they're state fairs!!!
Whatever happened to foot RACES? I'll tell you what happened to footraces: chip timing.
Electronical gimcrackery is what happened to the old blood and guts from the Prefontaine Era. Nowadays EVERYBODY gets timed, whether you started your race on time, or not!
Now, I don't wanna say anything against chip timing, per se. (Nah, I ain't stupid! I am NOT gonna bite the hand that feeds me! ;-) I mean, it's a helluva lot better than stopwatches and notepaper. Or, as in the good old days, pushing the plunger on the Chronomix machine, tearing off everyone's bib tag, and stringing them on a coat hanger. (Kids today have no idea.)
But chip timing is, really, mostly for keeping track of all the finishers and their splits or split-second EXACT finishing times, carried out to about four decimal places. In other words: keeping track of all the gun-time finishes. That's it! But the abuse of this system comes when everybody in the circus wants their CHIP time!
Here's the problem with chip time. What it *can* do is record your own individual exact start time (i.e., when you finally do get to the start, and then cross the mats) and then of course your own individual exact finish time. The problem is: this is a race! The FIRST one crossing the finish line (remember Sally in the 4th grade?) is THE WINNER! But with chip time, that winner may not in fact have the fastest time. Right? Hasn't this happened already? Haven't there been big city marathons, in fact, that shocked the hell out of ALL the biggie promoters and big-salaried race directors when Hoozits Whutzisname happened to cross the starting mat a tad late, then ran a faster time than the winner did? He just couldn't pass that guy and break the tape first, but the electronical timekeeping has his ass running a couple of ticks quicker! Eh? Hah!!!
Now go back and rewind that video. You realize that, under chip timing, if Mo Farah had been a little slow to cross the starting line mat… but ran like hell and made up all kinds of time and clocked in at the clock (like it shows) just behind Bekele? Mo would've won the race!!!
( O_O )
But he didn't. Did he?
"your friendly neighborly eight-hundred--not dollar, but--year-old tunesmith and lute plucker, wordsmith and time teller, who used to need a tolling bell to tell what his finishing time was"
Yankee Folly of the Day:
So, with the government all shut down now, will we be getting a break in our federal taxes? Eh? Like the electric company: every day of no service equals a full day's discount off your bill!! (Doesn't it work both ways with government? SHOULDN'T it work both ways???)
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