Monday, April 14, 2014

Sayonara

I'm thinking this blog has outlived whatever usefulness it ever. It's gone from being a labor of like to just plain labor. Thanks for reading, all three or four of you.

Dan

Good News and Bad (Steely Dan Edition)

The Good News: Steely Dan is touring this summer (see here).

The Bad News: They're coming nowhere near Central Indiana.

Josephine van Zeben, on "The Allocation of Regulatory Competence in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme"

Hot off the presses from Cambridge University Press. Order your copy before they run out!





Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paris-Roubaix

Congratulations to Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma Quickstep) for winning a very exciting edition of the Paris-Roubaix. Terpstra was a cat among the pigeons, a non-favorite within a very select group of favorites, which included Cancellara, Sagan, Vanmarcke, Wiggins, Thomas, Dangenkolb and Stybar. Who would have expected Terpstra to win from out of that group? But he took advantage by launching an attack only six or seven kilometers from the finish. Instead of working to chase him down, the favorites just starting looking at each other and slowing down. Dagenkolb finished second and Cancellara third, about 20 seconds after Terpstra.

Was Terpstra the strongest rider in the race? Maybe, maybe not. But it's not always the strongest rider who wins. Sometimes it's the smartest rider who wins. Terpstra must have known he couldn't win a sprint out of that group; and he also may have realized that, if he attacked, the group might not be so eager to chase him, a relatively minnow among the sharks. Terpstra also undoubtedly benefited from good teamwork, in particular the earlier attacks of Tom Boonen, which softened up the field and created some early gaps. Unquestionably, Boonen was one of the two or three strongest riders in the field on the day, but he may have gone too early and the little group who took with him were unwilling to work together consistently to stay away.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Great Example of the Dangers of an Uninformed Electorate

Here in the New York Times. Not surprisingly, most Americans have little idea where in the world Ukraine is located. More interestingly, those who cannot locate Ukraine on a global map are far more likely to support some kind of US intervention there.

For readers who don't know its location, Ukraine is here:




Sunday, April 6, 2014

This Weekend in Cycling: A Mixed Bag

I hadn't thrown a leg over a bike in two weeks before venturing out on a 25-mile solo ride up to Morgan-Monroe State Forest and back yesterday. Beanblossom, as always, was a struggle; but particularly for the first time after a brutal winter. Nevertheless, it was nice to get out on the bike and to have that satisfying dull ache in the limbs after a good hard ride (no matter how easy I tried to make it).

Today, I drove up to Indy for a ride with a few friends that was billed as a "moderate pace," 30+-mile ride because one of my friends was just recovering from bronchitis. For the first 10 miles, we averaged around 24 mph, albeit with a very helpful tailwind (from the east). At that point, I was feeling pretty good, my legs were loosening up from the hill climbing the day before, and my heart rate was behaving itself.

After we turned north into a crosswind, we were still going about 21-22 mph, and I started feeling my legs competing with my respiratory system to see which one was going to give first. From that point on, I had to keep slowing down the whole group (which fortunately consisted of just five riders). Eventually, I urged them to just keep going; I knew where I was and was content to coast back. But being my friends, they wouldn't hear of it (which hardly lessens my feeling guilty for slowing them down).

Note to self: No more rides in Indy - even moderate-paced rides with friends - until I have a lot more miles in my legs, and much better fitness. The chief problem is that I just can't get in as many rides, especially longer rides, as I did before moving to Bloomington. I'm never going to keep up with those guys when they start to hammer, but I should at least be able to stay with them when they're taking it (relatively) easy.

Hypocrisy in Three Sentences



Eric Pickles, the UK's Current Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, advises "militant athiests:" "We have an established church. Get over it. And don’t impose your politically correct intolerance on others.”

Fabulous Fabian Repeats in the Tour of Flanders

Cancellara turned on the power on the penultimate claim of the day. Vanmarcke rode his wheel, and the two of them quickly reeled in the two-man breakaway. The four leaders came to the flame rouge together, and Fabulous Fabian took the sprint victory.

An exciting finish to a thrilling edition of the Tour of Flanders, filled crashes, mechanicals, pave-covered climbs, and hard, hard racing.

Another Big Game, Another Thrashing: Everton 3 - Arsenal 0

This week, Arsene Wenger insisted the Gunners were not out of the chase for the Premier League championship. After today's game, fourth place is in serious doubt.

The first half began like the game was a playoff contest for a Champion's League spot, which in a way it was. After Arsenal created some decent chances, Everton took the lead in the 15th minute, when Thomas Vermaelen either fell asleep or forgot that he's allowed to clear crosses with his feet. Either way, he allowed the ball to go through to Lukaku, who's shot was parried by Szczesny only tobe parried home by Naismith.

Between Everton's first goal and second goal in the 35th minute, Arsenal registered not a single shot on goal, while Szczesny was forced into several saves. He could not, however, save Lukaku's brilliant solo effort in the 35th minute. He took a long pass from the center of the pitch on the far left side of Arsenal's final third, and dribbled past two Arsenal defenders across the top of the box before placing an unstoppable shot past Szczesny inside the far post.

After that, Arsenal seemed to dominate possession, and created a few chances (or half-chances); at least they got one or two shots on goal. For the most part, Everton appeared content to soak up the Arsenal pressure and look for opportunities on the counterattack. The half ended with Arsenal trailing 2-nil.

Arsenal started the second half on the front foot, in attack. But it wasn't long - the 61st minute to be precise - that they were down 3-nil and the game was to all extents and purposes over. It was at that point that I switched off the sound and turned up the volume on the Tour of Flanders displayed on my computer.

Once again, throughout the match, Arsenal's overall lack of team speed was apparent. Everton are certainly not the fastest group of players on the planet, but time and time again, both in attack and defense, they appeared faster than the Gunners. The absence of speed up front can be explained by Walcott's injury and Oxlade-Chamberlain's absence (he came on in the second half and created Arsenal's best chance of the match, albeit in the 85th minute, when they already were trailing 3-0). Podolski, Giroud, and Rosicky are hardly speed-demons. But the problem is even worse in defense, especially with Koscielny out with injury, and the relatively speedy full-backs always pressing up the field. That puts a great deal of pressure on the central midfielders to work back on defense; Arteta and Flamini have the will and the ability, but not the speed.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Arsenal go on to win the FA Cup (which certainly should not be presumed) but fail to qualify for the Champion's League? That might vindicate Wenger's oft-stated suggestion that CL qualification is tantamount to a cup in its own right. And it might finally seal his decision to retire. There's no question that the Gunners need more team speed and quality, especially up front and in the holding midfield position. Their poor performances in virtually every big game this season further suggest they require new management.