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    Posted by Dan from Madison on 5th July 2011 (All posts by )

    The worst part about riding your bike through the Pyranees in southern France is the awful views at the top of the mountains. This from the top of the Tourmalet.

    Posted in Europe, France, Photos, Sports | 6 Comments »

    O Hare Terminal Five

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 5th July 2011 (All posts by )

    I recently went on a bike trip to the Pyranees in France. I trained for this for over six months, slaving away in my basement on a trainer as well as doing other workouts in the hostile winter here in exchange for two weeks of payoff on the mountains in France. Everything went wonderfully on the trip (more on this later). I was pretty excited when I was packing and leaving. It was the sort of feeling that you got in college when you knew you were going to ace a test. All the preparation and pre-work was done, it was simply time to perform.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Personal Narrative, Sports | 7 Comments »

    The Moral Bankruptcy of International Organizations

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 30th May 2011 (All posts by )

    In the category of “headlines so obvious that you can’t believe you haven’t seen them sooner” here is a BBC article titled

    Qatar’s Bin Hammam accused of buying 2022 World Cup

    While I am far from a football expert I wrote about it here in particular how the greens that protest everything under the sun didn’t seem to mind NOT using some of the dozens of world class stadiums already built for football (soccer) around the world and let Russia and Qatar win the next 2 world cups, which required the construction of many more stadiums, which strikes me as completely the opposite of being “green”, but I can’t follow their logic anyways.

    Back to the Qatar bid which seemingly MUST have been based on bribery because no logical set of criteria would award this tournament to a bidder that

    1) had a non-existent history of success and barely even participated in the sport on the global stage
    2) had no facilities to utilize
    3) would likely have to play games under the blazing sun in virtually a furnace
    4) would have to truck all fans in from around the world to attend the games

    But of course we know why they won as is stated in the article above.

    Suspended Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has made public an e-mail that claims Mohamed Bin Hammam “bought” the 2022 World Cup finals for Qatar.

    I do like Australia’s response to the final outing of this obvious outcome.

    Meanwhile, independent Australian senator Nick Xenophon has demanded that Fifa refunds the Aus$45.6m (£29.6m) they spent on their unsuccessful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Xenophon said: “It appears corrupt and highly questionable behaviour goes to the core of Fifa. “Australia spent almost $46m on a bid we were never in the running for.”Now we hear that bribes may have been made to fix the result for who will head up Fifa.”

    Finally let’s just drop the pretense of these international organizations being for anything other than the interests of those that run them. That goes for the Olympics too. Want to reward Russia for their fine behavior in the international stage, including the invasion of Georgia and general meddling in all the states on their borders? Give them the winter Olympics, in a facility that isn’t even built (no bribery there, either).

    Posted in Sports | 11 Comments »

    Madison Update

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 4th April 2011 (All posts by )

    I have taken a few weeks off of my protest photos and videos because basically I have a life to live and kids to raise – and for some reason the direct deposit monies from the ChicagoBoyz home office in South Florida haven’t been getting through to my bank account.

    We do have a lot of developments here though and I would like to get you up to date with them if you are at all interested, along with a few personal stories.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in China, Diversions, Elections, Leftism, Politics, Sports | 12 Comments »

    Does Egypt = Thailand?

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 30th January 2011 (All posts by )

    I have been practicing Muay Thai for almost four years now. I read a variety of information sources about Muay Thai, and sort of live that life – I guess you could say.

    Over the years of commenting on different blogs and boards I have become friends with more than one professional Muay Thai fighter actually in Thailand, along with many people who go there to train in Muay Thai for pleasure, and some people who go to Thailand to report on the Muay Thai scene.

    When the protests in Thailand erupted a few months ago, I was of course scared for the many acquaintances that I knew were over there, on the way there, or on the way back. The shots of the violence in the streets were a bit scary. I admit they weren’t anything like the tanks in the streets of Egypt, but the riot police was called in to Bangkok and the army was “on call”.

    Over and over my friends in Thailand reported that not only were they not concerned about the rioting, but that outside of a small, few square mile area of Bangkok that you were really in no danger at all. Outside of Bangkok life was proceeding as usual, and many people didn’t even know what was going on outside of their small towns.

    I wonder if it is this way in Egypt. I haven’t heard reports of any city blowing up besides Cairo, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening, of course. I guess time will tell.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Media, Middle East, Sports | 5 Comments »

    FIFA And the Greens

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 10th December 2010 (All posts by )

    FIFA is the international body that selects the host city for the Football (Soccer, to us) World Cup. Recently they made the decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

    Soccer is huge in Europe, as are Green mandates and an obsession with global warming among the intellectual class. Nuclear and coal plants are routinely pilloried in the press and there is a large investment in alternative energy as well as the purchase of carbon offsets.

    In reviewing the Russian award, from wikipedia:

    “The Russian bid proposes 13 host cities and 16 stadiums, thus exceeding FIFA’s minimum requirement. Three of the 16 stadiums would be renovated, and 13 would be newly constructed.”

    Let’s think about the vast amounts of resources and construction that will be needed to build these soccer stadiums, especially since they aren’t needed today (they have obviously gotten along fine without them for decades) when there are a multitude of stadiums that already exist that could be used throughout the rest of Europe. All of this construction represents a waste and you’d think that the recycling collectors and global warming zealots would raise a stink about this.

    Even worse is the 2022 bid award to Qatar. While Qatar recognizes that these permanent stadiums aren’t needed and plans to donate portions of the five stadiums being built to other countries after the game, the stadiums will be built with some sort of outdoor air-conditioning technology needed in order to bring down the daytime temperature into something that spectators can stand. I can’t imagine how outdoor air-conditioning on this scale can be remotely environmentally friendly, and that additional power generation capacity will be needed in order to meet this need.

    It would seem that the best way to conserve resources would be to utilize existing capacity rather than to build new capacity, from scratch. Or maybe that just applies to things less important than soccer.

    Posted in Europe, Sports | 5 Comments »

    Illini At Wrigley Field

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 21st November 2010 (All posts by )

    Dan and I went to the Illini at Wrigley yesterday and it was a lot of fun. I obtained these tickets by purchasing four end-zone season tickets from Northwestern for $384, which allowed me to buy up to 8 seats for this game. An excellent trade, especially because I took my parents to the Northwestern home opener (they are alumni) and others had a great time with the Iowa game and my brother took his son to the Purdue game and toured the campus.

    I thought there might by a fly-over so I recorded the end of the national anthem, sung by Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison, which was great. There was no fly-over but here is the video nonetheless which gives a good feeling for how close we were to the action on the field.

    We were in the end zone that the offense played away from because of the bleacher walls. This didn’t impact the game as badly as we thought it might; we did see some cool drives that started deep in their own territory as well as the TD return by Northwestern. At that point it was obvious how many Northwestern fans were in the seats relative to Illini fans; they were the clear majority. The seats were absolutely right by the field which was fantastic for us and we really liked the view.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Photos, Sports | 4 Comments »

    Passport Service and Post Workout Recovery Bleg

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 6th November 2010 (All posts by )

    Next summer I am going to France to ride my bike in the Pyrenees on some famous mountains that are featured in the Tour de France from time to time. Also on the agenda is a race. It has been a long time since I have been out of the country; my passport was expired so it had to be renewed. I decided to do it by mail.

    The government was pretty efficient! I sent my old one in on October 21 with the required forms (and $110!) and received my new passport yesterday, November 5. Exactly 15 days door to door. I think that is pretty damned good for a government agency. If you need to renew a passport, perhaps this is not a busy time of year for them. On a sad note, the dollar is getting killed right now and this vacation is getting more expensive by the day – I bought some euros a few months ago, but apparently not enough. But currency markets are funny, we will see how it goes.

    On another note, I have jacked up my workout regimen (more) so I can be competitive in the race (165 km with a finish atop the Plateau de Beille) and I have been looking into post workout recovery supplements/drinks. I have read conflicting information that says I should take these drinks immediately after working out and also that I should wait until the next day. Any info you have on this subject would be appreciated as to what and when I should be doing after my workouts to supplement my muscle development.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Customer Service, Sports | 8 Comments »

    Media Bleg

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 20th October 2010 (All posts by )

    I started blogging at my “homebase”, Life In The Great Midwest on November 20, 2004. Here is my first post:

    My first post, I guess, should be a quote from one of my heroes, Ronald Reagan.
    “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”

    LITGM is an immense collection of posts about different subjects. It has been a small group blog for some time now. We have a lot of fun there and I have made a lot of wonderful friends. I also blog at some half dozen other locations.

    People have different reasons for blogging. My main reason was to keep my (admittedly poor) writing skills sharp and to keep up on new technology as far as the sharing of ideas goes. I know that my writing will never be as good as someone like Ginny, but I do try my best.

    It will be interesting to see where blogs end up in another five years. Frankly I am surprised that they have lasted this long. Best buggy whip around, I always say.

    To the meat of this post. It seems that I have now come full circle. I have decided to write a small book, and I hope that my blogging over the last 6 years will help me with the writing of it.

    The subject matter will be how physical fitness has changed my life. I am now an upper end amateur athlete, and I participate in running, strength training, cycling and Muay Thai kickboxing. The changes in my life have been nothing short of amazing and I not only want to share my story with others, but I want to help others receive this gift.

    I want to give the information away for free and my initial idea is to put up a website where people could download a copy for free by clicking a link for a pdf file. I don’t know much about print on demand books.

    Any help our commenters could provide here would be greatly appreciated as to what you think would be the best way to distribute this. I hope to get it done by Spring and have made it my winter project.

    I just hope Jim McCormick doesn’t review my book, as his review will most likely be better and longer than my text :).

    Posted in Book Notes, Media, Sports | 11 Comments »

    Bike Parkour!

    Posted by Lexington Green on 9th September 2010 (All posts by )

    Posted in Diversions, Sports, Video | 3 Comments »

    The Invention of Curling

    Posted by Shannon Love on 24th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Prompted by an Instapundit link to a THE BEST SPORTS CALENDAR EVER!!!!!!

    … I now present “The Invention of Curling”

    Scene: Scotland circa a long time ago.

    Duncan: “Och, Angus tis winter! There’s nay work, nay hunt’en and nay fight’en. We’re bored.

    Angus: “Oh, aye, we’re bored.”

    Duncan: “We’ve got naught to amuse our persons with save a frozen pond, some smooth river boulders and our wimmen’s brooms.”

    Angus: “Oh, aye, and we’re drunk.”

    Duncan: “And we’re drunk.”

    End scene.

    Yes, like all winter sports, curling began as a drunken bet. (Come on, you can’t tell me that the luge, ski jumping or ice dancing were invented by sober, thoughtful people!)

    Yet, now there is something relentlessly bourgeois about curling (and it’s not just because the players wear polyester slacks and sensible shoes). Curling is a sport of thought and patience. It is the sport of moderation. It’s the sport for people who get up in the morning, every morning and quietly go forth to make the world work.

    I find it endlessly fascinating and I can watch it for hours. I was born in the wrong clime for I should have been a curler. I tried Texas style curling by shoving armadillos across the hot asphalt at discarded tires…

    … but it’s not the same.

    Posted in Humor, Sports | 7 Comments »

    Olympic Luge Death, NBC’s Cold Heart, and Liability

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 13th February 2010 (All posts by )

    Yesterday I heard about the death of Georgia’s Nodar Kumaritashvili. He was doing a training run on the luge when he lost control, went airborne, and slammed into a pole at a speed of approximately 90 mph. There is video, but I will not link to it. You can find it if you want. It is somewhat disturbing.

    And how would I know that the video is disturbing? Because NBC, while crying their crocodile tears, showed this guy dying over and over and over last night. I had my children in the living room to have a peaceful night of watching the Opening Ceremonies and had to scramble for the remote while NBC kept showing the replay of the unfortunate athlete’s death.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Law, Sports | 12 Comments »

    Worthwhile Analogy

    Posted by David Foster on 10th December 2009 (All posts by )

    Imagine that some of our Congresspeople–Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, and Robert Byrd, for example–formed a professional sports team. Baseball, basketball, football–take your pick.

    Would anyone invest money in such a team? Would anyone go to watch it, for any purposes other than mockery? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

    Well, the average Congressperson probably knows far more about sports than he knows about business. Almost certainly, he watches sports on TV…he may well have played himself in his younger days…whereas the typical Congressional knowledge of business is comparable to a baseball-watcher who doesn’t understand the difference between balls and strikes. Yet this Congress, with the encouragement of the Administration, is arrogating to itself the power to micromanage every business in the country in excruciating detail.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Political Philosophy, Politics, Sports | 2 Comments »

    Two Cycling Books – A Dog In A Hat and Bobke 2

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 9th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Over my vacation I brought two books along and completed them both. My only problem was that I completed both books on the first two days of my vacation, leaving me to get some supplementary reading material on the vacation.

    The first book I read was “A Dog In A Hat” by Joe Parkin. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is the story of Joe Parkin, who at an early age leaves the USA and moves to Belgium to be a professional bicycle rider.

    From the descriptions Parkin provides, professional bicycle riding is to the Belgians and Euros like professional football is in the USA. And I mean American football. Members of cycling teams in Europe have trading cards and fan clubs.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Sports | Comments Off on Two Cycling Books – A Dog In A Hat and Bobke 2

    Mini-Book Review — McDougall – Born to Run

    Posted by James McCormick on 8th August 2009 (All posts by )

    McDougall, Christopher, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (2009, 287pp.)

    I’m a miserable runner, and apart from a brief time in graduate school, I haven’t run since high school. Walking has been my exercise alternative. Nonetheless, a childhood spent in the Boy Scouts and a youth spent doing prehistoric archaeology have given me an abiding interest in the discipline of hunting, especially the role of dogs in human culture and the tradition of persistence hunting practiced by the !Kung bushmen. In Born to Run, magazine writer McDougall has managed to bring together a tale of endurance running, sports capitalism, evolutionary biology, and Mexican ethnography to create a compelling reading experience. Maybe, just maybe, it’s an insight into who we were.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Book Notes, Sports | 2 Comments »

    Soccer vs. Baseball

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 28th June 2009 (All posts by )

    When I grew up I played a little bit of soccer. This was a long time ago and I was not particularly talented. Our team was better than most in the Chicago area because two German-born children of the coach of the long-defunct Chicago Sting also played alongside us and clearly led the team. I’m sure as actual German soccer players 30+ years ago they must have thought our soccer skills were absolutely pathetic, in contrast with European standards of the day.

    There have long been debates on the (low) popularity of soccer in the United States, along with hand-wringing about the cause and various opinions on all sides. I haven’t paid too much attention to the debate but I was on vacation in Italy when the US team tied Italy in 2007 and I did feel good at the time (it was quite a shock to the locals, I’ll tell you).

    Over the years soccer has grown as a youth sport and also as a competitive sport. The Chicago Fire soccer team actually is able to draw a decent crowd. In Chicago we have a vast foreign born population and whenever there is an important match on overseas our local bars pick up the games on satellite and are packed full of hard drinkers in bar wear for their favorite team.

    The US beat Spain recently in a huge upset that did get some press. To say the team from Spain was favored is to vastly understate the scale of the upset; some compared it to the US defeat of the USSR in 1980 in ice hockey.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Sports | 15 Comments »

    What Happens in Dover, Stays in Dover

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 13th May 2009 (All posts by )

    Something just happened that has slipped under many radars. Delaware has de-criminalized sports gambling. A bit. For the state.

    In Delaware they have decided to run sports betting, on parlays basically. No word yet on if they will be allowing straight up bets against the spread. This ESPN story, which was done before the legalization is OK, but very funny in parts.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Sports | 5 Comments »

    Chicago’s Pain, My Gain

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 12th April 2009 (All posts by )

    Looking at the latest Intrade figures, Chicago is looking like the odds on favorite to get the racket known as the Olympics at this point. As an interesting footnote, it only took three comments to figure out why Steven Levitt’s neighborhood was looking so clean as of late.

    This is great news for me, as the City of Chicago will absorb all of the debt, traffic, and mayhem that the Olympics will bring and I will get the benefit of being able to watch three of the Olympic cycling events from here in Madison. I will also not need to buy a ticket for either of the road events, which pleases me greatly as I never want to give any money to the Olympic racket. No new facilities will need to be built, and there will be minimal traffic hassle here in Madison. I will also get to watch the athletes train, and ride the courses, an added bonus.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

    Posted in Chicagoania, Sports | 2 Comments »

    Money (Basket) Ball

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 14th March 2009 (All posts by )

    Michael Lewis is a great journalist and author of several books that are highly recommended by Dan and I. “Moneyball” tells the story of the Oakland A’s, and how they used statistics and a novel view of baseball to win a lot of games on a small budget, as well as the story of Billy Beane, who went from a can’t miss, 4 tool prospect to an MLB bust, and then on to revolutionize baseball as manager of the A’s. “The Blind Side” explained the evolution of the left tackle in the NFL from an also-ran to one of the most important positions on the field, along with a lucid an excellent description of the evolution of passing offense, which sadly enough has apparently never been read by our beloved Chicago Bears. The book also featured Michael Oher, who was plucked from total obscurity to starting on Ole Miss, the only team that knocked off eventual NCAA champion Florida last season. For non-sports related items, Michael Lewis also wrote the famous book “Liars Poker” which explained the rise of bond trading at Salomon Brothers and is a Wall Street classic.

    Recently Michael Lewis wrote an article on basketball that appeared in the NY Times magazine – to find the article go to the NY Times site and type in the title of the article in the search engine – “The No-Stats All-Star”.

    In this article, Michael Lewis takes on basketball the same way he took on baseball and football, above. He is attempting to do what the best journalists do – tie in the “human element” with an original analysis of a complex topic. The key to Michael Lewis’ writing is that his human element actually matters and isn’t just fluff to glue the story together.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Sports, Statistics | 2 Comments »

    Legalizing Sports Betting

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 14th March 2009 (All posts by )

    For a long time I have wondered here and elsewhere why there is no state sanctioned sports betting. It isn’t like gamblers aren’t betting on sports in areas where there is no legal way to do so.

    From what I have heard, you can simply walk into pretty much any bar and get “parlay cards“, or bet on games online.

    Since these activities are already going on, why have states been so anguished about setting up organized betting for them? We all pretty much have lotteries where we can bet on RANDOM numbers, so why not on sports games? Vegas has dialed in the sports betting ratios and how to run a sports book long ago; there aren’t any real secrets in that realm. Set the spread so you get half the bets on one side, half on the other and collect the “juice” or “vig“. Simple as that.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Markets and Trading, Sports, Taxes | 10 Comments »

    ChicagoBoyz Physical Fitness Series Continued…

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 24th January 2009 (All posts by )

    Even a simple playground can provide the tools for a great workout.  I did this workout myself today, and can report that it is moderately challenging.  Harsh language in video.

    Posted in Sports, Video | 3 Comments »

    “New” Workout Systems

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 4th January 2009 (All posts by )

    This video is insane.

    That woman was doing those presses of her body weight and it is very demanding. It takes complete physical fitness of almost all parts of the body to accomplish fifteen of those reps.  Arms, back, legs.

    She does Crossfit, an interesting workout system.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Sports, Video | 3 Comments »

    Fringe Benefit – Will Palin Make the Country Healthier?

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 7th September 2008 (All posts by )

    Much has been said already about Governor Palin.  I want to concentrate on her looks.  Which is easy to do for most heterosexual males.  She is well put together.  I like the glasses, I like the skirts, I like the fact that she is an in shape ass kicker of a female. 

    The comment thread in this post got my attention.

    Here is what Helen, our friend from across the pond said:

    And talking of who looks good. You know what makes me mad: how does a woman who has had five children get away with wearing a pencil skirt? Sheesh.

    Mitch replied:

    Sorry, Helen, but she apparently does it the old-fashioned way: by keeping to a physical regime that would kill most men of her age, let alone of mine. Let us of normal pudginess admire her, and let those who dare, emulate her. Not me, thank-you-very-much. The First Dude doesn’t look much like a citified metrosexual ponce, either, so perhaps it’s just as well they found each other. If they had found one of us regular types, somebody could have gotten hurt.

    I am fortunate to have a wife whose figure recovered quite nicely and quickly after bearing two wonderful children.  Many women I have known are not so lucky and struggle with their weight all of their lives after having kids.  It looks like Palin may have taken the issue into her own hands and decided that she would be in shape, doing it the old fashioned way – exercise.  A quick dose of Google reveals a few interesting things.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics, Sports | 7 Comments »

    You Don’t Say!

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 21st August 2008 (All posts by )

    Seriously – they weren’t 16?  Great blog here detailing the hacking.  The internet does appear to be forever, even in China.

    Posted in China, Internet, Sports | 2 Comments »

    Wall Street, Pro Wrestling, and Seventh Grade

    Posted by David Foster on 17th August 2008 (All posts by )

    A couple of years ago, Sallie Krawcheck, then CFO of Citigroup (now Chairman & CEO of Citi Global Wealth Management) was asked how being a woman had affected her career. Her response:

    I think it’s an advantage. I grew up in Charleston, a very genteel, very Southern city, a gorgeous city. I will say there’s something about going to an all-girls school in Charleston that’s tougher than Wall Street. You don’t know what it’s like. I had the glasses, the braces, the corrective shoes. I was half-Jewish, half-WASPy. I couldn’t have been further outcast. There was nothing they could do to me at Salomon Brothers in the ’80s that was worse than the seventh grade.

    The current issue of Fortune (8/18) has a profile of Meredith Whitney, who was one of the first securities analysts to recognize the seriousness of the subprime/CDO situation. Ms Whitney is married to a professional wrestler. From the article:

    Another eye opener for Whitney has been how gracious most wrestlers are–at least when the cameras aren’t rolling–in comparison with the viper-pit culture on Wall Street. It sounds absurd–the world of high finance being less collegial than an industry in which employees belt each other in the face.

    If we put these two assessments together, we get:

    Pro Wrestling

    is nicer than

    Wall Street

    which is nicer than

    Seventh Grade

    Posted in Business, Education, Sports | 9 Comments »