Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Under Armour, a Michael Phelps Sponsor, also sponsors Duck Dynasty! - Will USA swimming get dragged into this?



I had never watched an episode of Duck Dynasty till their bearded patriarch began shooting his mouth off in an issue of GQ Magazine. Therein were 12-ugly-quotes which I found to be crass, unmeasured and piously judgemental.

Duck Dynasty is an amazingly successful show which caters to 14.6-million viewers thereby generating incomprehensible amounts of money for its cable network A&E. This scripted show is ostensibly designed for affluent urbanites to laugh at Louisanna Hillbillies and the rural poor to adore.

One of the shows sponsors is Under Armour (UA) and they also sponsor USA Swimming's very own Michael Phelps. When Philip Robertson went of on his pious rant about gays and how alluring vagina's are, UA quickly pulled out a tired and disingenuous PR phrase to get them out of the proverbial "hot water." It went something like this:

The Advocate:
“The recent comments in the GQ article are not reflective of Under Armour’s beliefs and do not represent our point of view,” Under Armour told the Business Journal. “As a company, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect.” 
Duck Dynasty currently averages 14.6 million viewers and has become a merchandising empire – raking in more than $400 million in related retail sales – it seems unlikely that A&E, or the quack pack’s advertisers, will dump the most popular reality show of all time..." 
[Link]

My rebuttal to that PR gem is, if you believe and are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect, then why are you paying people who don't? But then it gets worse; much worse.

Phillip Robertson, in 2009 suggested that men marry 15-16-year-old girls because it is the smart thing to do. Is the deep south actually that 3rd? - NO, it is not! But, pedophiles and their fellow "travelers" are. Young girls to these people are nothing more "sexbots and chefs" and their "men" are their "overlords."  See the video above.

This is absolutely unforgivable but let me "land this plane" quickly and explain why this suddenly has brought both Michael Phelps and USA Swimming into this mess.

It is my belief that Michael Phelps will be coming out with his own signature suit line via UA just like the deal Michael Jordan has with Nike. (Do you see where this plane is landing now?) If Phelps does do a signature line deal with UA he will suddenly have a "dog in the fight" and will have to defend his business unit that endorses a reality star that advises men to marry and sexualize 15-to-16-year-old girls.

What if UA wants to sponsor a USA Swimming event or the governing body itself? How will USA Swimming look trying to help UA sell swimsuits to 15-year-old girls when UA sponsors a pedophile talker like Philip Robertson?

The sex abuse scandals are not far behind USA Swimming (if at all) and this fiasco will be political fodder for GLADD and other groups to possibly talk about their policies and who they take money from.

Oh the tangled web we weave. Phelps should have stayed with Speedo or gone to Arena. More professional in nature, policy and branding.




What Happens to Your Body During a New Year's Polar Bear Plunge? - Not pretty!

Bumped into a article about a cold water study that piqued my interest: A must read for any of you "polar swimmer cubs" thinking of taking the plunge tomorrow. Be prepared.

By the way a polar bear swim for me without a wetsuit on is 65-degrees! Any temp lower than that is not a water temp, it's lousy ice skating.

From KMBZ.com
Blood Chemistry: 
"... Still, the excessive breathing can change your blood chemistry," said Dr. Thomas Traill, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. "Breathing too much can draw carbon dioxide "off" your bloodstream, which changes the pH of your blood and decreases its levels of ionized calcium.

"When ionized calcium goes down, muscle membranes don't function properly," Traill said. As a result, muscles quickly weaken or can even cause a swimmer to become temporarily paralyzed, he said. "You hear every now and then of people falling out of boats and drowning in cold water when they're only a foot from the dock," Traill said, attributing this to the uncontrollable hyperventilation. "The important thing for the polar bear swimmers is that they shouldn't do this alone, and they shouldn't do it out of their depth. ..."

[Link]

Monday, December 30, 2013

59.3% of child deaths in Bangladesh are death by drowning


People in Bangladesh have it so incomprehensibly difficult that our homeless population most likely have five-or-ten-times the standard of living that the average citizen has there.

From Wikipedia: "...Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries with 150 million people, 26 percent of whom live below the national poverty line of US $2 per day. In addition, child malnutrition rate rates of 48 percent, in condition that is tied to the low social status of women in Bangladeshi society.

Bangladesh needs sweat shops but that is another topic for an econ blog

This article from The Atlantic states how swimming lessons are becoming a national issue and here is why:
"... Seventy-five percent of drownings happen within 65 feet of home, and a horrifying 7 percent of young victims drown in buckets (large storage vessels are common in Bangladesh, where there is often no running water). Below age one, pre-term births, asphyxia, and sepsis are the most common killers of newborns. All this is occurring in a country that is mostly at or slightly above sea level, and one of the most vulnerable in the world to rising water levels and climate change. ..."
[Link]

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Copa Nadal Race: Spanish Revelers take part in a 104-year swim tradition in 56-degree water.

The Copa Nadal, is a 200-meter swim race with a 104-year history. According to Gawker The Copa Nadal Race has only skipped three years when the Spanish Civil War interrupted proceedings between 1936 and 1938.

Go discuss at Gawker: [Link]

From Barcelona Yellow:
"...The Barcelona Christmas Swim has nine different catagories with a limit of 130 swimmers in each. Registration is usually open until 18th December. There are usually around 450 swimmers and always among them some swimming Santas, who brave the chilly harbour water temperatures, which are about 13 degrees Celcius [That's about 56-degrees] on Christmas Day in Barcelona. 
[Link]
Loving the polka dot "tech suit." There is a picture of the guy from the front out there too.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Our sport is overwhelmingly caucasian - Swim culture hasn't exactly embraced those of African descent!

[Edited to correct typos]

Our sport is overwhelmingly caucasian! Asians & hispanics are making remarkable contributions as well but those with dark-brown skin have been culturally discouraged from participation.  Even in the last 5-years we have seen witnessed pool incidents where those with dark brown-skin have been ostracized from the pool.

Whose fault is that? Ultimately, western culture and our own founding fathers who often wrote and said many disparaging words about Africans and their culutre. When someone like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson, men whose heads are carved into a mountain like "godly icons", speak such bigotry, those words will resonate for centuries. But here is what they did not know...

The African gene or the negroid gene is the dominant gene of humanity. This has subsequently been proven via mitochondrial DNA analysis and it has become widely accepted by anthropologists that all races have traces of negroid ancestry. (Dominant genes do not mean racial superiority so don't call me racist or an apologist.)

Just recently a monogamous negroid couple gave birth to a caucasian offspring. No cheating or promiscuity was involved. The DNA was checked and validated to have come from both birth parents. To be blunt this is something caucasians can't do, nor can any other race. This is what makes the African negroid gene the parent of humanity: [Link]

There is no superior race just genetic diversity. (Culture is a different topic unrelated to race) Light skin does better in the snow, dark skin excels during a hot day on the Savanna.  Think Maria Sharapova in a Russian mink walking in the snow in Saint Petersburg versus the late Hakeem Olajuwon strolling through the forests of Nigeria on a hunt. Flip the locations for each individual and both would be more miserable than the other.

Pick any professional sport and the participation those of African descent is overwhelmingly high. It's a shame that blacks do not have the same opportunities or cultural desire to go swimming. I suspect the reasons are related to the above photo; abject prejudice and bigotry. For centuries the "fathers & mothers" of humanity have not been accepted or wanted and who wants to go swimming where they are not wanted?

This trend continues today.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

All swans are white! - That is till you see four black swans surfing in Australia



I call this a "black swan event" don't you? I knew black swans existed but I never knew that black swans could surf.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

A diver turned into a 13-foot tall bronze: "How I Made The Golden Mean Sculpture" by Carole Feuerman



Some of the greatest masters in history, Vermeer, Caravaggio, and even Rembrandt traced their subjects using prisms and mirrors to cast reflections onto their canvases so as to get an exact replica of what to paint. If you want to see a reference to back up this statement please see this snippet from the movie Tim's Vermeer: [Link]

This 13-foot tall bronze by Carole Feuerman is extraordinarily ambitious and I commend her for sharing the process she used for producing this artwork. In fact, this piece took over 8,000-hours and was quite educational for me to watch. Now with that out of the way I have to say that the final result was simply disappointing.

Metal and stone are quite beautiful unto themselves but the painting or PVD coating of this bronze (unclear how she coated it all in black) is just simply overwrought with racial undertones. To be more clear, what disturbs me is that she put a white athlete into "black face"and then "pimped him out" with a gold-plated cap invoking cultural images of "ghetto fab."

She openly states that her intention was to illustrate something about the athleticism and grace but to this viewer she only celebrated the diver's skin tone and vanity.

Why not use a diver of African descent and why the gold plated cap? It just looks so garish and crass and erases the purpose of the composition. Since gold is such a rare earth element the cap becomes a de facto focal point and for this viewer...(not to beat a dead horse but since the horse is dead anyway)... it conjures up all sorts of "hip-hop clich├ęs" that just makes me want to take the palm of my hand and place it right into my face.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Don Schollander - First To Win Multiple Swimming Golds - Tokyo 1964 Olympics



Don has a great stroke but the start dives back in that day looked very... What is the word? - Yes, the word is theatrical the same way a "triple-take" with rotating head and overly surprised look as seen in farcical comedies.

Love the girl in the stands trying to look dignified while holding back tears. Carpe Diem, girl! (Click that link now!)

ERROR - Mixed up [Richard] Shoulberg with Don Schollander - I thank an anonymous poster for pointing out this egregious error. Here is the former text as reference to the error: I wish him well and I hope that his administrative leave from Germantown Academy is a temporary exile only and that nothing sinister or the more usual swim "poolitics" was involved.