The Friends of California Libre...

23 February 2006

Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler Encore

Greetings, friends,
Yeah, in case you doubted it, I am especially cheering for my fellow CALIFORNIANS in Torino, just before jetting off to Mardi Gras:

They'd better get ready for competition from the Arab world, if there are any Arabs left by the next Olympics:
Dubai desert gives way to ski resort

Since keeping the national medal count is so anal, I must include my own; as of the date of this screed, CALIFORNIA has won three medals, thanks to bobsledder Valerie Fleming ( of Foster City, hockey player Chanda Gunn ( of Huntington Beach, and snowboard trickster Shaun White ( of Carlsbad, who was born the week I started my senior year at Berkeley. You shred, dude. A few of the men's hockey team are from California, and of course waif Sasha Cohen ( of Corona del Mar is fighting the Russians toe-to-toe in figure-skating.

I'm on my way to Carnival in New Orleans, so all transmissions will go dead from this end. You can reach me at my cell or by leaving a message at (323) 661 6038. It's unlikely I'll be checking my e-mail, certainly not this account, but you are welcome to try at

I am inspired by the Olympics to announce that 2006 should be known as the Year of the Overreaction. First of all, of course, there was the rather silly performance by Lindsey Jacobellis (, who was far away in the lead during the woman's snowboard cross, and crashed doing a trick. What was even more ridiculous was the press reaction, a bunch of bitter old men at NBC who labelled this one of the most embarrassing moments in sports and continue to hammer away at anything that denies the US even one gold medal. I think Ms. Jacobellis, who is after all a cute blonde 20-year-old, summed it up in three words: "Snowboarding is fun." She was winning, she did a dumb trick, she crashed and only won a silver medal. Big deal.

Not as serious as this clown:
Rare Ferrari Destroyed in Malibu Crash

I will add, however, that two of the other women in the race crashed, one of them seriously, and only for that reason would I say a trick was in bad taste, and so she paid for it.

No one, at least that I've seen, interviewed the woman that won this event, Tanja Frieden ( of Switzerland. Since she also happens to be the girlfriend of Seth Wescott (, who won the gold medal in the men's snowboard cross, I thought everything worked out fine, and I hope all the athletes were celebrating while the NBC anchors freaked out on camera.

The television reporters also tried to freak out a little on two of the short track skaters, Apolo Ohno ( for not returning the hatred that the South Koreans seem to have for him, and Allison Baver ( for not making it to the finals. Again, neither of them seemed to care much, and good for them.

Finally, the reporters were completely nonplussed by Shani Davis ( the first (and obviously pissed off) African American to win a solo gold medal in the Winter Olympics, in the 1500 metre speed skating. Even though he won this event easily and holds the world record at this distance, they could only talk about his poor relations with his (white) teammates, and sent down a fussy (white) reporter to interview him; when he gave her a dose of what we calls here in LA serious attitude, she blurted out, "Are you angry about something?" Yeah, lady, I grew up on the South Side of Chicago and decided to dedicate my life to a lily-white sport like speed skating, meaning I've been dealing with you racists for years. But I'm not angry. Anyway, I predict no matter how many medals this man wins, you will never see him on a Wheaties box.

In a similar spirit of overreaction, I should mention our friends in Pakistan and even a government minister in India have offered large sums of money and a new car for killing the Danish cartoonists who drew some rather poor comics of the prophet Muhammed:

My extreme Berkeley education does not permit such challenges to a cartoonist to go unanswered; cartoonists are the bedrock of Northern Californian society. If the Muslims keep killing each other in these "cartoon riots", we will soon be finished with them. Personally I would rather take a shit on the Koran and then kill myself in world without cruel, apostate cartoons, especially if my family can split the $1,000,000 reward (and a new car). So for you Muslims who googled this screed: FUCK YOU.

Here's how they do protest in the Crescent City:
Big Easy Ushers in Mardi Gras Jawing
The Associated Press

And here's why:
In Mississippi, Time Now Stands Still
By Michael Powell
The Washington Post
Louisiana in Limbo
The New York Times Editorial
The Land of 10,770 Empty FEMA Trailers
By Johanna Neuman
The Los Angeles Times
The Big Easy? Now It's Limbo Land
By Linton Weeks
The Washington Post
Death of an American City
The New York Times Editorial
Post-Katrina Promises Unfulfilled
By Spencer S. Hsu
The Washington Post
A City Fears for Its Soul
By Manuel Roig-Franzia
The Washington Post
New Orleans fears Mardi Gras strain on health care
Goodbye, New Orleans: It's Time We Stopped Pretending
By Mike Tidwell
Orion Online
Katrina: After the Storm
By Christopher Hayes
In These Times
White House Declines to Provide Storm Papers
By Eric Lipton
The New York Times
The Bush administration, citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response.
Republicans' Report on Katrina Assails Response
By Eric Lipton
The New York Times
Mayor: New Orleans Will Seek Aid from Other Nations

Two Top Papers Ask: Is the World on a Path to Doom - With an Assist from the White House?
Editor and Publisher

And finally, here are two ways to kill lots of time while looking at pictures of Mardi Gras; first, tapping on your keyboard (thanks, Dr. Brad):
And this is a cool tool, find an unknown song by tapping the rhythm of
the melody on the space bar, works sometimes:

And second, Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sabre Dance" as rendered by the Marimba Ponies (click on the picture, if you've got broadband; thanks, Geri and Miles):

Happy Carnival!

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