Monthly Archives: February 2005

guaranted language: Giambi’s deal with the devil

The New York Times reports that the Yankees were so desperate to sign Jason Giambi to a contract that they deleted references to steroids in the guarantee language of the contract at Giambi’s request. The guarantee language in a baseball contract says things such as, “we can terminate you if you are a bad citizen or you jump out of airplanes or try to strangle your coach.” The Colorado Rockies terminated Denny Neagle’s 19 million dollar contract after police arrested him for solicitating a prostitute. Neagles’ grievance against termination will be held in April.

The article shows an image of Giambi wearing a suit designed to make him look as big as possible. Do baseball uniforms come with padded shoulders I wonder?

The Yankees have the same problem as major league baseball, and the players who took steroids. They made a deal with the devil. The players made a deal with the devil because they are likely to suffer long term health problems from taking the steroids. The Yankees made a deal with the devil and now they are now strapped with a 120 million dollar contract for a questionable player. Baseball made a deal with the devil by turning a blind eye to steroid use so they could reap benefits from the season home run record. Now they will likely have a new record for career home runs set by an admitted steroid user: Barry Bonds.

By the way, doesn’t a contract have to be reviewed by the league before it is signed? O.k., so steroids were not illegal in Major League Baseball when Giambi did them. But they were according to the government else there would be no Balco investigation. And clearly steroids were included in the guarantee language otherwise there was no need to delete them.

It’s not just the players who have totally lost face. The teams themselves and the league look just as bad.

how to psyche yourself out

I lost the second tiebreaker 7-0. Ouch. I kept telling myself that I was not going to lose this tiebreaker at love, there was no way, it’s not gonna to happen. But whenever I try to psyche myself up I play even worse. It takes me out of the task at hand which is, of course, to hit the ball over the net and into my opponent’s court. It also puts greater pressure on me which interferes with my flow. Lanny Bassham puts it this way: trying too hard is the biggest factor in poor performance.

Trying too hard – what does that mean? Flow – what is that?

Here’s an example. Your opponent has just hit a short ball and your eyes get really big. You know you want to come into the net and hit the ball deep into the corner and force them to pass you. But by the time you’ve gone through all of these thoughts, you’ve completely run past the ball and have to turn back and take a weak swing to get it over the net where it lands short and puts your opponent in the same position you were just in. What happened? Once the point starts it’s too late to think. Timothy Gallwey’s book, The Inner Game of Tennis, explains it like this: in order to get to the ball, get into position to hit it and send it into the corner on the other side of the net, well, let’s just say that it would take a fast supercomputer a long time to calculate all of the angles and arcs and coefficients of friction necessary to pull that off. The conscious mind, the one that’s thinking, “I’m gonna get to the ball, turn to hit it, send it deep into the corner….”, it’s hopelessly outmatched. My tennis instructor, Sean Brawley, certified by Gallwey, explains that a one inch change in the angle of your racket can send the ball seven feet beyond the baseline.

The point is that the brain is a supercomputer beyond all supercomputers and the instructions are carried out because you’ve practiced the approach shot to the point where you don’t have to think about it. If you decide you need to raise your game and put pressure on yourself to do better, it just interferes. What calculation is involved in doing better? If you mentally rehearse your next shot and remain calm, your little supercomputer can carry out its instructions

There are some players who seem to do better when they have a fit. John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors are two that I know about. Most of the time, though, they pulled a tantrum when the momentum was going against them and the goal was to unnerve their opponent, not themselves.

Practice and Competition Report: hit with someone for an hour and a half and played three sets with T, 4-6, 6-7(7-5), 6-7(7-0)
Solutions Analysis:
1. Looking for a solution to the problem of running backwards for a lob instead of turning to my side and sidestepping so that my racket is in position to hit the overhead.
2. I am learning to place the ball safely. Before my current emphasis on getting the ball into my opponent’s court, I would try to hit a deep shot in the corner and often it would go out. Now I try to hit the ball into the court near the corner.
Success Analysis:
1. I returned serve very well.
2. I hit a lot of first serves in. I lost rhythm on my serve at one point but I was able to regain it.

here we go daddy again, another wardrobe malfunction

An ad for showing a woman in a sexy t-shirt who happens to suffer a slight, and we do mean slight, wardrobe malfunction in front of a government censorship committee was pulled due to objections by the NFL after airing only once during the Super Bowl.

Girls Gone Wild, a highly popular series of videotapes showing college coeds stripping for the camera, aired a pay per view event at halftime of the Super Bowl. The event promised plenty of wardrobe malfunctions. The CEO of Girls Gone Wild and a few of the girls gone wild appeared on The Loose Cannons, a sports radio show, to promote the event. Mychal Thompson, one of the loose cannons, objected to their presence and refused to appear with them.

LA Couples holds weekly swinger parties in a large warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. Men must be accompanied by a woman. Women can turn up alone. I once spent an evening volunteering at the wine bar. More than eighty couples and a handful of single women filled up the nightclub area. People milled around and chatted each other up. There were some shy couples, there were some bold couples. Groups moved to the dance floor and various combinations of couples and singles went off together to the Doctor’s Office Set or the Arabian Set or the Jail Set or any other of over thirty theme rooms set up for creative sexual fantasy.

Tantra and other ancient sexual practices have been around since long before Christianity. Just because conservative Christians tout abstinence doesn’t mean it’s the only alternative. One thing you learn from the study of tantra is that you cannot repress sexual energy. It’s kind of like a Whac-A-Mole arcade game – if you whack one mole, another one just pops up somewhere else. That is probably why Hustler has a huge building on Wilshire Boulevard and Girls Gone Wild has sold 90 million videos. I was riding in an airport shuttle one evening and a fellow traveler told me a story about an older co-worker who was called to the Hustler building to install some computer equipment. The poor man was deeply embarrassed to discover that the equipment in question was a webcam pointing up the skirt of a Hustler secretary during her working hours. Now I ask you, isn’t that pretty desperate?

I contend that the fascination with porn is fed by a lack of alternatives. If people felt comfortable going to swinger parties or other private sex parties or more people knew about yearly pagan ritual orgies held in the woods or more couples watched HBO’s show Real Sex and were willing to rent a theme room and have themselves videotaped playing out a scene, there’d be a wider variety of erotic adventures and products available and porn would no longer out-picture everything else sexual. We have plenty of medical help for our sexual shortcomings but not a lot of instruction. I did a Google search for sexual advisors and it returned a long list of sexual harassment and sexual assault advisors.

Mychal Thompson believes that it’s wrong for college coeds to lift their shirts. He believes that an eight year old shouldn’t have to watch a satirical ad about a wardrobe malfunction. I think women should have the same right to go topless as men do and I hope we’re sophisticated enough that our entertainment can interest an eight year old and amuse an adult at the same time.