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On Football

I don't know how much longer I can keep this up.

A lab that's been specializing in testing for chronic traumatic encephalopathy found it in 87 out of 91 former NFL players's brains, when tested posthumously. Now, this is a somewhat skewed sample, since people who feared they had it were more likely to donate their brains, but there's "somewhat skewed" and then there's "well, if we assume they're finding it 3 times as often, that means 1 out of every 4 NFL players is going to end up with a severe brain injury..."

And, to top it all off, the research pointed not to concussions as the culprit, but the every-play-banging-heads-in-the-trenches. So reducing concussions, while good, is not going to solve the problem.

(That it showed 134 out of 161 people who'd played at high school*or above had it was also not encouraging)

How much longer can I continue to support this sport? It is honestly becoming an ethical issue here, and not an easy one. After all, I grew up on tales of the Formula 1 of the 50s and 60s, when the odds were very high (I'd have to calculate them, but they were in the 1/4-1/6 range, IIRC) that a driver would die in a crash. But I also grew up with Jackie Stewart as one of my heroes, *because* of his massive efforts in favor of driver safety -- and with another of my heroes (Niki Lauda) as an example of what safety could do, and what it still needed to do.

So it's not like I haven't followed dangerous sports in the past. (Admittedly, I was 8-10, which is not exactly the age of clarity in moral reasoning) But this feels different -- because here, it's not "We'll take 1 in 4 of you"; it seems more like "We'll take all of you, it's just a question of how much."

Can football be saved? I don't know. Perhaps it needs to become something more like rugby or Aussie-rules football, but I'm not sure pride or self-interest is willing to let it get there.

Can I keep watching it? I don't know. When I play a silly little cartoon-football game on my phone, and wince when players seem dizzy after a hit -- virtual players, mind you -- I suspect the answer is "Not for much longer."

Then again, I am always reminded of a story about the great Tazio Nuvolari. When asked by a reporter if he expected to die behind the wheel of a racecar, he said yes. When asked how he got the courage to get behind the wheel, then, he asked the reporter if he expected to die in bed. When the reporter said "Yes..." Nuvolari asked how the reporter got the courage to lie down every night.

The sacrifices one is willing to make for one's goals -- be they political, athletic, artistic, what-have-you -- have always been a subject of great interest -- moral, aesthetic, etc. -- to me.

Now I have to ask what sacrifices am I willing to participate in other people making, even to the extent of watching on the TV, or playing out little versions in electronic form on my laptop.

I don't know.

* Personal note: I played one-quarter season of high-school football, and have always been a poor header of the ball. I suspect my risk is low.

Dim Sum Poems

So, this year, I was invited to a long-running Xmas morning dim sum get-together with some friends. What I did not know, until roughly 24 hours before, was that it was often a tradition to bring little somethings to exchange as gifts.  At that moment, I was still busily assembling half of my Xmas present for the twins (hand-bound books for them to write in or have me write in for them), and so had no time to do anything.

I was immediately told that since I was a late addition, and didn't know about the tradition until now, I would certainly be excused from bringing something -- indeed, that no excuse was required; it was not a requirement, just something some people did.

However, those of you who know how I am about gifts would know I would not let that sit. And, as it happened, I had many sheets of nicer-than-laser-printer white paper, a stamp with a fancy "S" on it -- for use on Simone's book -- and a very nice Faber Castell Artist's pen.

So: I took those sheets, folded them in half along the long axis; on the outside was the title, and on the inside of each, a hand-written poem on the subject of Dim Sum, with the S stamp and date for signature.

So, presenting to anyone who might be amused, the "Formal Poetry Dim Sum" cycle -- for, like dim sum itself, here's a collection of small bites. ;)

Cut to save precious f-list space; those pixels aren"t free, you know! ;)Collapse )

Belated notice

For those who have not seen it elsewhere, Lori and I are getting divorced.

I am currently living away from Chetwood House. The kids are with Lori and Guy.
The proximal cause of this was my lying about tax lawyers.

My main concern right now, honestly, is the happiness and stability of the kids. Everything else is secondary.

I thank those of you who have already been supportive, of me, of L&G, and of the twins.

Meme for BART

http://cheezburger.com/7862715648 -- feel free to redistribute, or alter as further as you like.

Today, I am garrulous.

A minor note: if my reading of the numbers is correct, twice as many people watched the successful end of the Texas filibuster as were on the SCOTUSblog liveblog waiting for word of the announcement.
Any sufficiently powerful piece of infrastructure or code management software cannot be both complete and consistent.

(Yes, git and puppet, I am looking at you.)

Signs of the imminent death of LiveJournal?

It's 3 full hours after the DOMA/Prop 8 ruling, and I don't see a single post on it on my f-list.

I figure this means one of a few things:

1) That LJ is dying more rapidly than expected.
2) That LJ is not dying, but has lost a place as a passer-of-news.
3) My F-list has gotten much less activist/queer,
4) I am generalizing from too little data.

My guess, based on the fact that I also saw nothing here about the death of James Gandolfini, is a combination of #2 and #4.




What the blue-eyed, furry-tailed, batwinged bugfuck?

I can hypothesize. I will. Right now, I'm just going WTBEFTBWBF?

This is the day of Dr. Who postings...

Later today I'll be posting my thoughts on what's been wrong with Dr. Who these past couple of seasons. But, since we're coming up on the Big Season Finale, which has been producing some hyperventilating speculation, I'll toss out my (almost certainly wrong) ideas, and thoughts, on the Big Reveal.

Put behind a cut because, well, quantum spoilers*Collapse )

*Quantum Spoilers, since I don't know whether there are any under there, or not.  And I'd hate to spoil someone inadvertantly.