Harold Camping, the dude who calculated May 21, 2011 as the Rapture, must be kicking himself for not claiming the circumstances applied only to the southern Four Corners region.
We might have believed him. With fires burning all around, smoke causing the skies to appear as in The Fifth Element, ashes floating in the air and people wearing masks for outdoor exercise, the area bears an uncanny resemblance to select descriptions of Hell. It’s bringing me down, man.
Oh, wait. I’m thinking of the Apocalypse.
As for Camping, who accepted a reported $80 million in life savings and other properties from believers, karma seems to have caught him: he suffered a stroke a month after his falsely predicted Rapture date.
NON JE NE REGRETTE RIEN: The Tour de France begins July 2, broadcast on Versus. Be there. Alberto Contador reportedly will, though whether his results count for anything remains to be seen.
This year’s broadcast teaser is, “No Regrets,” eloquently sung by Edith Piaf, otherwise known as “that crazy Mexican singer” in the movie Bull Durham. Incidentally, she wasn’t crazy nor Mexican, though Wikipedia suggests she had quite the colorful life.
Before we move further with the Tour de France, tribute must be paid to Wouter Weylandt, who crashed and died this past May in the Giro d’Italia, Italy’s version of the Tour de France. On a downhill stretch, Weylandt looked over his shoulder to see behind him and came close enough to a stone wall to clip his bike, sending him to the road and fracturing his skull:
Some team officials said Weylandt could have been traveling as fast as 50 miles per hour. Jonathan Vaughters, team manager of the Garmin-Cervélo squad, likened the crash to jumping out of a car at that speed wearing only your underwear.
THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS: Here’s an intriguing piece, including a list of Tour de France podium finishers and whether they’ve been implicated or charged in various doping scandals. Most of the key names are there. Good to see Sastre and Evans are not (look for Evans in this year’s Tour).
Most notable of all, however, is the absence of 2010 Tour runner-up, Andy Schleck.
Someone leaked a Union Cycliste Internationale “hit list” (who to watch for doping). Essentially, if you’ve won or heck, even ridden in the Tour de France, your name is on it.
Duh, Lance is on the list – with this by his name:
A 2005 re-test of samples from the 1999 showed 16 samples to be positive for EPO. Six of those reportedly belonged to Armstrong. Due to several breaches of laboratory protocols and rules governing the handling of samples, the UCI cleared Armstrong of any wrong doing.
Former teammate Tyler Hamilton recently claimed on “60 Minutes” that Lance used EPO to win one or three Tours de France. So far though, only guys who’ve been caught and/or with books to sell are outing Lance. When George Hincapie says it, it’ll be credible. Oh wait – he did! Or didn’t he?
Man, bicyclists be crazy. Anyhoo, moving along.
HEAD TRIP: Jumping to the National Hockey League’s 2011-12 season, I suppose we shouldn’t be shocked Jaromir Jagr is returning. He’s only 39. Mike Modano is still in the NHL. At 41, he’s just old enough to play in Detroit with Lidstrom and Draper.
Scary, this concussion thing. Whether you’re a fan of Crosby or not, it seems a monumental waste to sacrifice such a young a player with undeniable superior skill and entertainment value.
According to this article, head trauma leads to things like the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It discusses the case of former NHL enforcer, Bob Probert, who would have been 46 this July. He’s survived by his wife Dani, who will tell you it doesn’t end well at all.
TIMBITS: Here I thought race horses gotta pee bad due to diuretics. Turns out a lot of champions are boozers, downing frosty mugs o’ Guinness with their oats. The suds are cited as an appetite stimulant, though other nutrient claims include iron, calcium, B vitamins and fiber. I’ll take two, please.
Only last year, a wise decision was made to push the Tour of California from February to May due to inclement weather. Tempting fate, Day 1 of this year’s race was scheduled for Lake Tahoe. Fate complied, and the first day of the race was cancelled due to a blizzard.
Congrats to the Mudbugs for earning the 2011 Championship by defeating Colorado, who immediately announced it was ditching the Central Hockey League for the ECHL. The Mudbugs trumped that by announcing they’re ceasing operations altogether, as are the Mississippi RiverKings, while the Odessa Jackalopes have converted to an NAHL Junior A team.
Props to Rory da Man for taking our minds off Tiger.
In closing, may your summer be filled with activities resulting in callipygian (look it up – it’s worth it).