Friday, August 22, 2008

Investigations, Private and Otherwise

Let's begin with 5:34 of guitar goodness from Mark Knopfler:

And now you know the inspiration for today's post title. This isn't one of Knopfler's better-known pieces, but I love the moodiness and semi-flamenco qualities of the guitar work (in places). Knopfler is simply one of the best...


I think a copy change just might be in order… due to recent events in Beijing:
Winner of four World Beer Cup medals and eight medals at the Great American Beer Fest, Abbey Belgian Ale is the Mark Spitz of New Belgium’s lineup - but it didn’t start out that way. When Jeff and Kim first sampled the beer at the Lyons Folks Fest, reviews were mixed at best. One of founder Jeff’s first two Belgian style homebrews (along with Fat Tire), Abbey is a Belgian dubbel (or double) brewed with six different malts and an authentic Belgian yeast strain. Abbey is bottle-conditioned, weighs in at 7.0% alcohol by volume, and pairs well with chocolate (or boldly served by itself) for dessert.
Don’t you?
I owe you an opinion about yesterday evening’s Happy Hour smoke, Gentle Reader. So: here it is.
What he said. The only significant difference in the review at the link and my experience being I had no problems whatsoever with the wrapper on my Titan. Nice photos in the review, too. The consensus opinion seems to be “great smoke, at a not-so-great price.” I’ll buy that…but not at $22.00 per.
Further to yesterday’s Happy Hour… I mentioned in yesterday’s post that Trippel is now The Beer of Choice here at El Casa M√≥vil De Pennington. There’s just one small problema. Given Trippel’s 7.8% alcohol by volume (ABV) content, and my current lighter-than-usual body state (“emaciated” might be the word I’m looking for), two of ‘em will put me dangerously close to Stage Five. I felt the warning signs after finishing off my first Trippel yesterday but had The Answer at hand, said answer being one single, solitary bottle of Mothership Wit lurking on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Mothership, with its 4.8% ABV, was much more fitting for the occasion and my diminished weight. And thus dinner was saved.
So… I take it back. Mothership Wit will be in regular rotation.
BEIJING (AP) — The International Olympic Committee said Friday it had asked gymnastics officials to investigate whether the Chinese women's gymnastics team that won the gold medal had underage athletes, saying "more information has come to light."
"We've asked the gymnastics federation to look into it further," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said. "If there is a question mark and we have a concern, which we do, we ask the governing body of any sport to look into it."
The IOC, which also asked the Chinese gymnastics federation to investigate, would not give details on what new information prompted it to act now, three days after the gymnastics competition ended.
Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen told The Associated Press they gave the FIG new documents on Thursday to try to remove the doubts about He Kexin's age, including an old passport, a residency card and her current ID card.
He said all these documents were issued by various departments of the Chinese government and that he felt there was nothing more that they could do to put peoples' minds at ease.
The FIG has said repeatedly that a passport is the "accepted proof of a gymnast's eligibility," and that China's gymnasts have presented ones that show they are age eligible. The IOC also checked the girls' passports and deemed them valid.
Earlier this month, the AP found registration lists previously posted on the Web site of the General Administration of Sport of China that showed both He and Yang were too young to compete. He was born Jan. 1, 1994, according to the 2005, 2006 and 2007 registration lists. Yang was born Aug. 26, 1993, according to the 2004, 2005 and 2006 registration lists; in the 2007 registration list, however, her birthday has changed to Aug. 26, 1992.
If the FIG would find evidence supporting the questions that the gymnasts are underage, it could affect four of China's medals. In addition to the team gold and He's gold on bars, Yang won bronzes in the all-around and uneven bars.
As for the IOC and the FIG finding evidence of the gymnasts in question being under-age and actually doing something? I’m not holding my breath. What we have here are two sanctioning bodies, one of which (the FIG) is already on the record as verifying He’s age, going up against a big-ass state bureaucracy, perhaps THE biggest bureaucracy in the world. And the IOC has characterized the inquiry thusly:
International Olympic Committee spokeswoman Giselle Davies said today that while she wouldn't characterise it as a formal investigation, the IOC had gone back to the gymnastics federation and asked for further clarification on whether He Kexin was eligible to compete at the Beijing Olympics.
But it looks like the accusations are pretty well-founded, judging from the registration lists uncovered by the AP. If the IOC finds the Chinese gymnasts are underage (and thereby disqualified), then the US women’s team would be elevated to gold medal status, and Nastia Liukin would move up to gold from silver on the uneven bars. There would be additional medal status changes, as well… given that Yang won two bronze medals.
And who broke this story and put it “in the news?” A blogger by the name of Mike Walker. Good On Ya, Mike. You deserve your 15 minutes.
(photo: FanIQ)
(No, I'm not up early [or late, even, as in "all-niter"]. This is a scheduled post, thanks to Blogger's oh-so-groovy scheduling feature. I love it.)


  1. I'll be very surprised if the IOC strips the Chinese team of their medals. Besides, why punish the athletes for decisions made outside of their control - hardly seems fair.

    Then again - the Chinese have been cheating thru this entire Olympics. While that may not be the fault of the athletes - and they certainly have no say over their lives anyway - the country needs to be publicly punished for being so deceitful.

  2. I feel sorry for those girls. If they are underage, you know they were exploited and coerced to go along with this by coaches and parents. Young teens have a hard time deciding what is right and wrong, especially if their adult role models say it's ok. If they are legal, the mental anguish.

  3. Kris... we're in agreement. As I said: I'm not holding my breath that anything will actually happen.

    Jenny: From what I understand, the parents had/have NO role whatsoever in this, or most any Chinese "sport." I've heard the girls were taken away from their villages/homes and kept in training camps, and here's an old article in Time that substantiates what I've heard. It's the old Soviet "athlete factory" model. While I feel a small amount of pity/sympathy for the athletes, ALL of what I feel for them is on account of their abuse by the Chinese system. What they do and what we do where athletics are concerned is radically different, to say the VERY least.

  4. The IOC said today there is NO proof they are underage.

  5. The IOC is gutless, and of course won't do a thing....politics and PC as usual.

    $22 a pop? I've smoked Don Carlos #2 by AF at $14(they are now about $11 per stick), but even those only on rare occasions. A fool and his money are soon parted at those prices...guess I'll stick with my $2 Indian Tabacs.

  6. You're WRONG, Anon. If you think you're right, give me a cite. Otherwise? Begone.

    Pat sez: A fool and his money are soon parted at those prices...guess I'll stick with my $2 Indian Tabacs.

    The Titan is a very good cigar, and I'd smoke one again... at five or six Yankee Dollars per stick. That seems reasonable, given the quality, and it's what I pay for my usual brand.

  7. I also read an article that the IOC had concluded it's investigation and was satisfied that the girls were of age--despite mounting evidence to the contrary. I'll find it and link it on my blog in a minute.

    The old Soviet athlete factory is exactly what is being revived in China. Children are tested and put into programs the govt thinks they will do best at, whether that's what they want or not. Our athletes may win fewer medals, but at least they are free to follow their hearts.

  8. Becky: I haven't been over to your place yet today, but the investigation was (supposedly) still going, as of last evening's newscasts.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.