The Blog Readability Test

This Blog is at a High School Reading Level.Clearly I keep the reading level down so you can understand what I’m saying. I also type slowly because I know you can’t read fast…

DipNote, like Opinio Juris who introduced me to the link, is at the Post Grad reading level.

Test your blog or your favorite (or most annoying) blog.

Most of my shortlist blog roll is at the high school level, which is why we get along, except for Small Wars Journal’s blog. They are at the Genius level.

The new black for the stylish soldier or insurgent?

Just two, three years ago, the big talk was 5.11s. Seems there’s a new black now. From Noah, Care Bear Body Armor:

By now, you’ve probably seen — and are so totally over — the Hello Kitty AK-47.  Luckily, the genius gals at ("combin[ing] the girliness of glamor with the practicality of military expertise") have a whole lot more hardware up their frilly, sequined sleeves.  Like a carbine, festooned with My Little Pony.  And a claymore mine, inspired by Martha Stewart.  But I think this cuter-than-cuter piece of protective gear is my favorite item in the GlamGuns arsenal:Carebeararmor

Not sure how to categorize this post. Cultural Warfare? Public Diplomacy? Military Diplomacy?

Prince Llewelyn and his dog Gelert

No time to even ponder a meaty post for your Monday morning reading, I’ll offer the story below and let you consider if I’m suggesting anything by it or not.

Before the story, I recommend you get on the CivMil conference webcast. I’ll watching when I can with a few questions ready for the panel. And now for something different

In the short time I lived in Wales two years ago, I read about the famous legend of Prince Llewelyn and his dog Gelert which stayed with me.

Llewelyn was very fond of hunting and in the summer he lived in a hunting lodge at the foot of Snowdon. Although he had many dogs, his favourite was Gelert, not only because he was fearless in the hunt but he was also a loyal friend and companion at home.

One day Llewelyn and his wife went hunting and left their baby son with a nurse and a servant to look after him. The nurse and the servant go for a walk in the mountains leaving the baby alone and unprotected.

Llewelyn is absorbed in his hunting, but after a while he notices that Gelert isn’t with the pack. The Prince knows something is wrong as Gelert is always at the front of the pack. He reasons that the only place Gelert would go is back to the lodge, so he calls off the hunt and heads back home.

As the party is dismounting, Gelert comes running out of the lodge towards his master, covered in blood and wagging his tail. The Princess, calling her child’s name, faints. Llewelyn rushes into the baby’s room to find the cradle overturned, the bloodstained bedclothes thrown all over the floor – and no sign of his son.

Filled with anger and grief he draws his sword and runs Gelert through. As the dog dies, he whimpers and his cries are answered by the sound of a baby crying from behind the overturned cradle. When Llewelyn pulls aside the cradle he finds his son unharmed and the bloody body of a huge wolf next to him. Gelert had in fact killed the wolf as it tried to attack Llewelyn’s son.

Filled with remorse, Llewelyn buries Gelert in a meadow nearby and marks his grave with a cairn of stones. The village of Beddgelert ("Gelert’s grave") owes its name to the dog.

Bad News and Good News

First the good news, as expected USC beat Nebraska. Sorry Dan and Mike.

And now the bad news, Jimmy dropped out of the AC100 just after the 50 mile check point last night almost 12 hours into the race. I haven’t been able to talk to his crew…

Update: Jimmy skipped some of the fundamentals, like laying out a strategy for each leg, this year that he nailed last year. He’s feeling good and is stronger for the effort and, more importantly, he’s not selling his running shoes and will be back at it very, very soon.

Tour update: Rasmussen and Cofidis are out

Damn. Damn. Damn. I noted earlier that Rasmussen missed four tests over the last two years and was on thin ice. Today, after today’s grueling 218.5km ride with two beyond category climbs, two cat 1 climbs, and a cat 3 climb, Rabobank kicked Rasmussen off the team. His Tour is done. The reason: he lied about his whereabouts when he was supposed to be tested. As the BBC reports:

The Danish Cycling Union said last week Rasmussen had been warned for missing two random controls earlier this year and banned him from September’s world championships and the 2008 Olympic Games.

It later emerged he had already been warned twice by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for missing two separate random tests in the past 18 months.

Rabobank manager Theo de Rooy said he was aware of the missed tests and revealed he fined Rasmussen 10,000 Euros (£6,720)….

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: “The important thing is not that he has been sacked by his team but that he will not be at the start of the stage tomorrow.

“We cannot say that Rasmussen cheated, but his flippancy and his lies on his whereabouts had become unbearable.

“I at the very least do not feel that I have been dishonoured.

“One cannot mock the Tour de France impunitively like those riders,” he added, referring to Rasmussen, Moreni and Vinokourov.

It is unclear if Team Rabobank will start tomorrow.

And, the rider who tested positive after Stage 11 was Cristian Moreni of Team Cofidis. The team of Brit Bradley Wiggins, who had been doing well, withdrew from the race   

“One mindless individual has put everybody at risk and it is a shame.”

London’s mayor Ken Livingstone, who watched Wiggins in the prologue, said: “This is deeply disappointing for Bradley Wiggins, who has had a fantastic Tour de France.

Perhaps this new tactic of withdrawing the whole team and not just ejecting a rider will put more pressure on teammates not to waste everyone’s time. Sponsors will definitely put a lot more pressure on riders to be clean.


Tour de France

This morning’s Vs coverage began with a rant by Al Trautwig on moral scandals in sports this month alone and in general. From the historic homerun record about to fall to a known steroid user to the sick dog-killing quarterback. He referenced the known use of enhanced performances in Ironman and recent allegations of their use in golf.

Missing from Al’s monologue and the following discussion by the rest of the Vs commentators was any reference to the allegations and suspicion against race leader Rasmussen, who was jeered when signing in for today’s stage. Rasmussen, who missed four tests in the past two years, was dropped from his national team last week. The Tour organizers have said if they would have known this, Rasmussen’s team, Rabobank, to withdraw him before the race start.

Alexandre Vinokourov may be innocent, but two tests on two days showed a positive and unlike Lance Armstrong, there is no undercurrent to take him down or friction between the ASO/L’Equippe and the rider. This is terrible news, but unfortunately the use of illegal enhancements is endemic by the peloton and must be addressed, even if it can never be completely cleaned up.

What happened? His dad’s blood is one allegation, which Vino smartly countered:

“I heard that I made a transfusion with my father’s blood,” Vinokourov said. “That’s absurd, I can tell you that with his blood, I would have tested positive for vodka.”

I haven’t heard anyone mention the terrific impact the withdrawal has had on Andreas Klöden.

At this time, we’re waiting to hear the identity of presumably another rider who tested positive on Stage 11.

On a positive note, if you’re online now, listen to live Eurosport coverage here. Listen to the the audio of their TV coverage while watching a GPS-feed map of lead, chase, and peloton. It’s sweet, plus the commentary is constant, deeper, and overall superior to some other options you may have.

Matthew Yglesias thinks VSs TDF coverage is lacking… yup

A bit off-topic, but Matthew Yglesias wrote Friday that “bicycle racing — at least as broadcast by VS — isn’t a very interesting television sport.” He’s right. When broadcast by VS, TDF isn’t very interesting and hard to follow. You just can’t get into a rhythm  with the frequent, repetitive, and long commercial breaks. This year’s coverage is better than last year’s, which was far better than before. But still, it sucks. For example, on Sunday’s exciting Stage 8, what happened to Robby McEwen? Stuart O’Grady? Bare mentions during the race, no real comment, and nothing even in the “expanded” (condensed really) coverage in the evening. (McEwen’s out because he missed the time cut off. O’Grady crashed about the time Levi’s chain skipped, got back on the bike, but left for the hospital complaining of back pain.)

Sadly, the VS coverage must be supplemented by the TdF site (stage 8 specific), Eurosport, Pez Cycling (don’t miss the distractions). My recommendation is if you are watching live, is to watch the live feed from VS, mute it, and listen to EuropSport’s live audio (caveat: that was my recommendation in the past, I haven’t listened this year). Phil and Paul are descent (I like Paul’s reality, Phil’s color gets old), but they leave out so many, too many important details. Al and Bob are descent (Bob’s good), but again, too many details are missing. More Bob’s would be good and that’s what you get (got?) with EuroSport coverage.

It’s almost funny that EuroSport has literally start to finish coverage and rarely if ever leaves the scene (they’ve figured how to put commercials in the corner or bottom of the screen) and yet it isn’t boring like VS’s abbreviated, commercial’s over action, coverage. PLUS, EuroSport TV has these cool after-event Q&As w/ a bunch of cyclists at once, in addition to the one-on-ones VS shows. Last year this time I was in Madrid and watching in German (I have some competence), which was way better than VS any day.

Yglesias, you’re right. VS does not make TdF very interesting. If you can get past it the limitations of US coverage (and its fanciful color that leaves out many of the real nuances), it’s a very exciting sport.

Better yet, is being there, riding in front of the race, and hanging out to watch the swag caravan and then the race go by and snapping photos as you cheer. There’s no matching riding the Alps or watching the Tour in person.

(photo credit: MountainRunner)

Not on Bush’s Watch

Albanians certainly do like President Bush, so much so they wanted to share their well known skill. Pay attention to President Bush’s left arm, his watch actually, :50 in or with 3:10 left, depending on your counter… (h/t Iskra) 

DHS and Sigma

I’m in Hawaii this week on a family vacation, so obviously it’s very light on the posting (and thinking). I didn’t complete my post on the DHS conference to my satisfaction before leaving the mainland, so I never posted my comments on that and related subjects.

In the gap of my post on the DHS conference, some brief comments on my two panels (Science as Diplomacy and Blogging on Technology), and my two+ hours w/ the guys (and gal) from Sigma, read Jason, Paul, and Michael’s posts on Sigma until I return next week.

I’ll have that Mai Tai now…