Friday, July 27, 2012

Best of the Week #69

Happy Olympics Opening Ceremonies Friday!

My week took a turn for the crazy yesterday (which included a 4 hour meeting in which my job may have been redefined – in a good way). I have also run 41.5 miles in the past 7 days and not slept much more than 6 hours per night…so I'm wearing my sleepy-pants (or skirt, as the case may be), but currently enjoying oatmeal with apricots ginger and cinnamon, and totally psyched it’s Friday!

My most popular post this week was the truly epic Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (I challenge you to make these and not eat them all!), and the friend I first made them for is having her baby shower tomorrow – congrats to Salamah and Seth and there soon-to-be born baby boy!

Now onto more important things: who’s excited to watch all the sports, get inspired, cry during the national anthem, and just generally think all things Olympics for the next two weeks? THIS GIRL.

This is a pretty Olympics-heavy Best of the Week, since that’s what I’ve been reading about…

Looking forward to this tonight: “London Olympics Opening Ceremony to Feature Long-Awaited Battle Between Mary Poppins and Voldemort.”
  • Olympic ceremonies are always weird, in a big budget pagan Mentos commercial directed by Baz Luhrmann sort of way — interactions are exaggerated, characters behave in bizarre ways while donning costuming designed by drunken sewing prodigies.
  • According to reports from people who have seen Opening Ceremony rehearsals, Friday night's spectacle will involve famous British literary characters kicking the everyloving Olympic shit out of each other, finally culminating in an epic battle between Mary Poppins and Voldemort. Probably don't drop acid before you watch the London opening ceremonies.
I totally agree: “The Best Race in the Olympics.” All my running friends will love the article, even if you don’t agree that the 5K is the best race.
  • And, in fact, it’s one of the themes I want to chat with you about—particularly concerning my favorite event, the five thousand metres race. It’s one of the most fun to run, and it’s certainly the most fun to watch. It’s long enough that there’s time for real strategy, but it’s not so long that you get bored. The last mile is often amazing. (Here’s Kenenisa Bekele in the 2008 Olympics, which he finished with a final mile of about 3:58; here’s Lasse Viren outkicking Steve Prefontaine in 1972.)

"Don’t Even Consider Talking About the Olympics: What’s behind the shocking suppression of free speech at U.S. political conventions and the London Games?"
  • Know that wherever you go and whatever you do, you will enjoy, at the Olympics “the biggest mobilization of military and security forces seen in the UK since the Second World War.” According to a report by Stephen Graham in the Guardian, “More troops—around 13,500—will be deployed than are currently at war in Afghanistan. The growing security force is being estimated at anything between 24,000 and 49,000 in total. Such is the secrecy that no one seems to know for sure.” There will be an aircraft carrier docked on the Thames, surface-to-air missile systems, and a “thousand armed US diplomatic and FBI agents and 55 dog teams will patrol an Olympic zone partitioned off from the wider city by an 11-mile, £80m, 5,000-volt electric fence.” Throw in the new scanners, biometric ID cards, number-plate and facial-recognition CCTV systems, and disease-tracking systems that will long outlast the games, and you have a sense of what’s to come in terms of big public events.
And finally, Swimmer Ryan Lochte is “a scalding hot goon.” AND looks like a puppy. (source)

Not Olympics related at all: I went to this event on Tuesday at the Holocaust Museum -- sat in the 10th row and saw Hillary speak up-close!
  • Two thirds of Americans believe that genocide is preventable, and almost 70 percent think the United States should act to prevent or stop genocide and mass atrocities in other parts of the world, according to a new poll commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (more detailed findings here:
  • The poll on American attitudes towards genocide was conducted by the polling firm Penn Schoen Berland on the basis of a telephone survey of more than 1,000 Americans between June 30 and July 10, 2012.

Another read-out on the event: "Foreign Policy Experts Discuss Ways to Avert Future Genocide"
  • She and others who appeared at the symposium focused on the practical steps that might be taken to identify places where genocide can occur and to pre-empt it. The risk of mass killings goes up in nations where resources are scarce and governments are fragile or autocratic, they agreed.
  • No one minimized the challenge. “We must remain open to the possibility that the past is not necessarily a predictor of where and when mass atrocities will occur, or the means by which they will,” said Chris Kojm, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, a government agency, which will release its first estimate on the threat of genocide and mass killings later this year.
  • But he said that there were certain reliable indicators that genocide or mass killing would occur, including unmet demand for food, water and energy, and that the report would look at those factors in assessing risk.
This is a great chart on Storing Fruits and Vegetables (PDF). Did you know you should store basil at room temperature in water????

Best read of my week, about the running of the bulls in Spain – “The Bull Passes Through.”
  • We don’t try to convince him to reconsider because this is not the kind of thing you can fault someone for skipping. And if we convince him to do it and he gets hurt, we have to pay a doctor to fix him and a therapist to fix us.
  • This is not a race. No one is PR-ing today. No one is qualifying for Boston. Speed doesn’t much matter because something like a dozen bulls are being released at the sound of a rocket, and they are going to catch whomever they want.
  • The bulls come next to me, not at me, and their momentum carries them left, and they are the biggest mass of living matter I have ever seen…
This is intense and interesting (don't be scared, the photos aren't bad at all): "I took secret photos of my abortion to empower and educate women."
  • Experiencing my own abortion and photographing the result was a sobering experience. As a woman, I reckon with the power of images every day. But after my abortion, I realised images are literally being used as a weapon to petrify and assault viewers into fear, shame, and isolation. The protesters' heartless use of lifeless foetus images made me feel cheated, lied to and manipulated. It was just propaganda: intended to shake the core of my deepest biological, intellectual and emotional foundation.
This NYT Style article about a polo player and model is super-silly. “Galloping Into a World That Stretches Beyond Polo.”
  • ‘Hey, this is what I do. I’m in one place for a couple months, and then I leave. I’m really a modern-day gypsy.’ ”

And finally, one more running picture from Wednesday night's time trial - SpeedyKate and Mollie - someone is going the wrong way!!!

That is all. Have a great weekend!