August 01, 2003

Armstrong: "Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever."

I've never been an adherent to the notion that sports are a metaphor for life, or even that sports can teach us lessons in life. On the other hand, some people who do sports can come back and teach us.

Lance Armstrong has written a new book and has the first chapter available online.

My favorite line: Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.

To me, just finishing the Tour de France is a demonstration of survival. The arduousness of the race, the sheer unreasonableness of the job, the circumnavigation of an entire country on a bicycle, village to village, along its shores, across its bridges, up and over the mountain peaks they call cols, requires a matchless stamina. The Tour is so taxing that Dutch rider Hennie Kuiper once said, after a long climb up an alp, "The snow had turned black in my eyes." It's not unlike the stamina of people who are ill every day. The Tour is a daily festival of human suffering, of minor tragedies and comedies, all conducted in the elements, sometimes terrible weather and sometimes fine, over flats, and into headwinds, with plenty of crashes. And it's three weeks long. Think about what you were doing three weeks ago. It feels like last year.

The race is very much like living—except that its consequences are less dire and there's a prize at the end. Life is not so neat.

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July 29, 2003

Beat Bobblehead

Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night? — Jack Kerouac

Tell me you don't want a Jack Kerouac Bobblehead.

The Lowell Spinners ball club is giving them away to the first 1000 fans through the gates on August 21 (Kerouac was from Lowell). I might be tempted to get up there if they were playing the Batavia Muckdogs that night. But I guess I'll wait till they show up on ebay.

To compare the original with the bobblehead:

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Welcome to the 21st Century, Kids!

Signs of the zeitgeist: the Playmobil HazMat Team.

Priceless description on the website:

Oh, no! Hazardous waste has seeped out of a barrel and onto the village sidewalk! No need to worry, the Hazmat Crew has arrived. The street is secured with a road warning sign and the Crew begins clean up with their powerful vacuums. Dressed in protective uniforms and armed with hazardous material equipment this sidewalk will be free of this hazardous substance in no time.

Notice: This set doesn't come with actual hazardous waste! Kids will have to supply their own.

Saw this on Brian Floca's desk. Thanks, Brian.

P.S. Check out the arms trader. Another warm and fuzzy feature of modern life.

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