Sports Wednesday: 2018-8-15 The In-gate is Open

As the sun sets on the ides of August, I bring you one of the most annoying things that can happen at a horse show: the open in-gate.  An open in-gate is exactly what it sounds like…the entrance to the arena is empty. Everyone is waiting for the next competitor.  The judge is annoyed.  The other competitors are cooling their jets trying to quash their nerves, worried that their trainer is going to put them in out of order.  There is gossip about the inexperienced trainer who is somewhere else, holding up the show.

In the end, the trainer arrives, the competitor enters the arena–the show goes on.  Everyone is polite,  an apology is offered, a laugh is shared.

I’m holding up the show, keeping the in-gate open. When I come back, ready to actually post, I will tell you how to enjoy a hunter/jumper horse show. Now may be a good time to hit the porta-potty or get a snack.  Just remember, the horse world is very small. If you say something about this missed commitment, it will get back to me and I’ll tell everyone about how you jumped that oxer backwards in the warm-up ring.


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Wednesday Sports: Ski Down K2? “Nie Ma Problem!”

So this góral named Andrzej Bargiel decided to climb K2 carrying his favorite pair of skis, then ski down. He asked his brother Bartek to bring up the snacks and take the drone footage. His brother said sure.

This was on July 22, 2018; a report made it into the August issue of Polish-American Journal. I was so relaxed and comfortable in my reading chair, despite ink glomming on my fingers from the exercise of turning the pages of the print edition, when this shocking report destroyed the peace of that athletic endeavor.

From the PAJ item:

Andrzej Bargiel, 30, has become the first person to ski down the world’s second-highest  mountain.  With skis in hand, the highlander from Zakopane climbed the 28,251-foot peak and skied back down to base camp intact.

He didn’t  use any oxygen.

The downhill “run” took him a little over seven hours. When you look at the drone camera footage, you can see that it was seven hours at steepness rating “Ridiculous”.

 Last year, he had attempted the same daredevil feat but had to abandon the bid due to bad weather. . .

There are moments in the footage when cloud obscures everything. What can you do if the cloud settles in for a few days as you sit there on a 45- or 50-degree slope of snow with a crevasse on either side?

. . . Three years ago, Bargiel became the first skier in the world to descend from the nearby 26,295-foot Broad Peak. He has now skied from the summits of five of the 14 highest mountains.

Here is another good compilation of the day’s footage.

The górale of the Tatra Mountains are famed for mountaineering and for the white-wooled sheep they raise. The traditional images are like these:

Nowadays, it’s bye-bye Tatras and hello Karakorums.

It’s a different look.

And there are no sheep to rescue on K2!

Is this nuts?  Of course it is admirable and valuable to pursue excellence and expand its definition. And of course, if someone has skills, he feels compelled to exercise them and perfect them. But suppose you had his talents: would you look around for an application of them that produced immediate practical benefit?  Or would consider it simply a good, even a necessity, to keep up and advance the traditional skills just so one’s descendants can do daring rescue ops on Luna some day? What do Ratburgers think?


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The San Antonio Spurs Can Go To Hell

Get a load of this: Spurs’ Lonnie Walker Says He ‘Will Never Celebrate 4th of July.’ From the article:

Lonnie Walker IV, the recently selected 1st round pick of the San Antonio Spurs, took to Twitter on Independence Day, to say that he “will never celebrate 4th of July.”

The tweet read: “Will never celebrate 4th of July. Know your history!! and stay woke.”

Between this and Gregg Popovich’s sub-literate anti-Trump blatherings, I have never before seen a team so determined to alienate their fan base.

After all, San Antonio is known as “Military City, USA.” Who is running the Spurs nowadays, Mullah Omar?


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Diplomacy, Machiavelli, and the Art of the Deal

Per EThompson’s recommendation in the comments to my last post, I will share James Day Hodgdon’s verse on Machiavellianism and diplomacy from American Senryu:

Cynics first dictum:
For persuasion to succeed,
Conceal the intent.

Hodgson explains:

“Polls show that the title ‘diplomat’ draws a reaction of great respect among the public. How puzzling! From the time of Machiavelli through Metternich and beyond, diplomacy has been associated with duplicity. Can it be that the triumph of the diplomat lies in his ability to use tools associated with duplicity to fashion a humane result? Possibly.”

Like Ronald Reagan with the fall of the Soviet Bloc a generation earlier, Donald Trump has made great progress toward a goal once thought impossible: peace on the Korean Peninsula.  Trump’s success is a direct result of spurning the conventional wisdom and hidebound ideologies of both the left and right.

That observation is just as applicable on the domestic front.  Buckleyite conservatism is the political equivalent of prevent defense in American football: ceding ground to the opponent for the purpose of achieving victory.  Such an approach has not worked and will never work. One cannot win by continuously retreating.  Any ideology that advocates such must be rejected outright.

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She Only Talks That Way To The Cat

Like Mark Steyn, I love cats and am not afraid to admit it.

In my life, I’ve had three: a Japanese bobtail named Woody, a calico American shorthair named Lindy (named after Green Bay Packers head coach Lindy Infante), and a Maine Coon named Dusty.

Sadly, they all passed to their eternal reward years ago, but their memories live on. I know my life would have been poorer without them.

So, what pets bring or have brought joy to my fellow Ratburghers’ lives?


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The Green Jacket

I’m a little wistful this afternoon missing the glory days of Tiger Woods (dysfunctional personal life aside). He was fun, he was young, and I loved the Tiger Fist Pumps  …

However, congratulations to a fine young American today for this:

The Clinching Putt: 2018 Masters Champion Patrick Reed 

It’s hard enough to earn the right to even play on this course let alone win on it!!


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George, Stick to Baseball

I just read this from one of my former favorite writers. He used to never disappoint. Things change. I am talking about George Will.

Here is the article.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/02/billy-graham-legacy-neither-prophet-nor-theologian/

What I found so confusing is Will not understanding the different “positions” in the “game”. It was like saying “Hank Aaron neither pitcher nor coach” as if that meant something. Billy Graham was what he was. He wasn’t a prophet. He wasn’t a college professor teaching theology. And he wasn’t a pastor. He didn’t “play” those “positions”.

I still enjoy when George Will writes about baseball.


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Assault rifles age limit helps Christmas shoppers

I saw a bunch of articles in the past few days that mentioned one initiative proposed to help forestall future mass shootings by mentally troubled youths.  The proposal is to raise the age limit required for a youngster to attain before he is allowed to purchase an “assault rifle” on his own.

In their rush to press forward any and all limitations on guns, eager beaver journalists rushed to state capitols all around to get soundbite quotes from politicians.  In red states they tried to buttonhole Republicans, looking for quotes that could be used during electioneering later this year.   In my state, they raced around the Tennessee capitol and got a number of GOP officials to opine on some proposals that they might be willing to consider or at least permit debate on.  I was amused, sort of, by some of the Surrender Caucus saying their usual weaselly things.

I laughed out loud, though, at one passage.  This is from an article in the dead tree pulp edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal that soiled my driveway this morning.   I did not check, but since it is probably behind their paywall, I transcribed by favorite section below.  The article has a byline by Joel Ebert of the USA Today Network.

House Speaker Beth Harwell said she was unfamiliar with the issue regarding bump stocks and wanted to study it further before reaching a decision.   “I’m certainly, with the President of the United States supporting it, it certainly makes it high profile and gives it credibility.  I’d have to study the issue a little bit more” she said.

Harwell declined to answer a question about raising the age to buy assault weapons, noting that she recently purchased one for her son.   “When that’s the only thing he wants for Christmas, what do you do, right?” she rhetorically asked.

Har har har har, hoo hoo hoo.   Journalists want to raise the age for her son to purchase the weapon she just gave him for Christmas.   Of course; this is a great answer.   It is already really hard to find good Christmas gifts for teenage sons, so, if they cannot buy the assault rifle they want, it simply goes under the Christmas tree.  Win-win!

Representative Harwell is running for governor of Tennessee.  This just makes me even more inclined favorably to her candidacy than before.   I don’t know her sons’ ages, but I have no doubt that Tennessee is a more safe place because they are armed.