relativity, completeness and Jose the bull

Since I switched my approach from trying to hit winners to just getting the ball over the net, I’ve won more matches. But, jeez, sometimes the points go on forever. Thirty or forty stroke rallies at times. I was thinking about this as I read an article in today’s newspaper about injuries in tennis. There are, of course, those bone jarring rackets that propel balls off them as if they were rocket launchers, and there are those corkscrew pretzel strokes on the forehand side that generate tremendous torque. Watch Federer hit a forehand some time. But there are also slower surfaces to lengthen the points and increase the popularity of the game. Combine that with the shortest off season of any major sport and you have lots of injuries.

Since I’ve already talked about injuries so much and since I’ve already told you more than enough times that you have to work your core and butt muscles because the power in your stroke comes from your trunk and butt, not your arm, I’ll go on to the rest of the newspaper.

I was very interested in the latest “victory” by bloggers. The chief news executive at CNN resigned after making off the record comments at the World Economic Forum accusing the American military of shooting at and killing journalists in Iraq. High volume activities by bloggers contributed to the resignation. If a blogger had unearthed proof that Jose Canseco really did inject Mark McGwire’s toches with steroids in an Oakland Athletics locker room bathroom stall, I could see that. The blogger would be adding some badly needed truth to a story that could desperately use it. But I’m a little horrified that bloggers are forcing the resignation of a journalist with twenty three years of experience when they likely have very little journalistic experience at all.

This segues very nicely into another article. A professor emeritus at Princeton has written a book titled, no lie, On Bullshit. He makes a distinction between liars and honest people and one full of bull. A liar and an honest person are concerned about the truth. One attempts to uphold it while the other attempts to get around it. If you’re full of bull, though, you don’t care about the truth at all. You just want people to fall for your spiel or version of the events.

Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and even Jose Canseco, at times, having been setting major league records for bull. It’s not just lying because a liar would not have told the grand jury the truth. It’s a new category that could possibly be explained by yet another article in today’s paper.

This article discusses a book about the relationship between Albert Einstein and Kurt Godel. Einstein is famous for, of course, the theory of relativity. Godel is famous for the incompleteness theorem. I’m sure major league baseball players never thought they were carrying out two of the most important discoveries of modern science. Relativity theory states that a clock traveling near the speed of light will appear to keep time slower to someone standing still. They might not have been hitting balls at the speed of light but steroid users certainly managed to slow time down and extend their careers. The incompleteness theorem says that, within a given system, there will always be propositions that cannot be proven to be true or false. Who was watching McGwire and Canseco go into that bathroom stall? How can you prove that you didn’t do something?

Someone should create a charter school called The Jose Canseco High School of Sports. The entire curriculum – science, history, politics and literature – would be studied through the world of sports. Biology will include the pitfalls and benefits of steroids. It’s kind of like sex education, the more you know, the better off you are.

Practice and Competition Report: played two and a half sets with M, 6-2, 6-1, 3-3
Solutions Analysis: looking for a solution to the problem of wanting to win. I beat M handily in the first two sets (a weekend fueled by psychoactive chocolate and sex on the part of my opponent may have contributed to my win but I’ll take it). When we started the third set I worried about not playing well because I didn’t want my opponent to regain any momentum. Instead of thinking about getting the ball across the net I was thinking about how badly I wanted to win. Therefore, I lost momentum.
Success Analysis: I focused on getting the ball over the net and won both sets. I have not beaten M in both sets for a long time.