Piper's News Comments

Friday, July 15, 2005

Tour de France finally discovered by local newspaper

Now that the Tour de France is in its 10th stage (Monday, July 11), the local newspaper finally began listing it as a 'sporting' event in the TV section. While the times are only partially correct, at least the casual reader of the sports section is aware that there is television coverage.

On the positive side, one of the six TVs in the exercise room at the Community Center now is set to the OLN channel. Even better, OLN has replaced VH1 or CMT channels!

The Tour de France is argueably the second most popular sporting event in the world (behind World Cup Soccer). Yet the parochial views of the U.S. and its media, particularly sports media, have shunned it entirely until Lance Armstrong started winning.

Trivial sports question (circa. 1995): What is the only day of the year there is no major sporting event? Answer: The day before the baseball all-star game! Now, of course, there is the home run thing. But always there was the Tour de France, held during the first three weeks in July (when the all-star game is played).

It is ironic that in a recent poll, conducted by AOL and MSNBC (I think) to identify the Greatest American of all time, only two athletes made the final cut of 25. One was Muhammad Ali (once the greatest recognized face on earth) and the other was Lance Armstrong.

Time will tell about Lance's long term influence.

This writer is, of course, pro-bicycling. The whole bicycle/car issue can take on red state/blue state proportions when it comes to riding on public roads. Ultimately, it can come down to a matter of life and death for those of us who share the roads with cars. Again, time will tell

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Bombings - Religious Wars

As we absorb the recent bombing events in London, when will we stop using the sanitized, non-judgmental term 'terrorist' and start referring to these incidents for what they are -- an all-out religious war.

We have all seen the statistics over the past years of the perpetrators of these attacks--they are 100% Islamic background. We refer to these individuals as 'extremists', but it goes much deeper. We are not dealing with a 'few bad apples' here. We are dealing with a religious philosophy that denies the right of any other religion to exist.

The recent death of the Pope with the convergence of world attention upon Rome highlighted a fundamental difference with Islam. It has no central authority, no central leadership, no person or organization that can be held accountable. Rather it is a series of fiefdoms, warlords, and clerics that derive their power and authority strictly by fiat.

The same Internet that allows me to post my thoughts also allows these disconnected and unorganized 'religious cells' to spread their vitrolic words and pictures for all to see. It also allows them to conduct business in a non-traceable fashion, with no consequences for their actions.

So, what do we do?

I have no specifics other than to suggest we call a 'spade a spade'. Do we return to the Middle Ages and the Crusades? Only time will tell.