And just to show you that cycling doesn’t have the over-competitive streak all to itself, recent revelations have rocked the usually discreet world of vowels, consonants and blanks. Yes, the dark side of competitive scrabble has raised its head and Allan Simmons, National Scrabble Championship winner, has received a three-year ban for cheating!
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I’ve commented in the past about Team Sky TUE (therapeutic use exemptions) debacle and Sir Bradley of Wiggo’s supposed asthma condition and was intrigued to see if the Beeb’s documentary ‘Britain’s Cycling Superheroes: What Price Success?’ was going to shed any more light on the murky subject. And do you know what, it did, but not perhaps in the way British Cycling wanted it to.
Notwithstanding that within only a generation the digital revolution has transformed society beyond anyone’s prediction, I’m delighted to report that, to me at least, sport remains true to its old staples of kicking a ball of various size and shape either between two sticks, over two sticks or hitting it into a small hole and over a boundary rope with said stick. So, it was with some alarm that, along with other insomniacs, my eyes were half-opened early this morning to a world I truly did not know existed: eSports.
At the risk of preaching to the converted and stating the bleedin’ obvious, we all agree that Tiny Hands Trump has dreadful taste, is semi-literate at best, does not understand world politics, wears his silly red tie way too long, tweets incoherently, is in cahoots with the Ruskies and, one year into office, still has to release any tax returns. In short, he’s a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, potty-mouthed procrastinator, racist, ‘birther’ and sexist bully.
The leaked ‘Paradise Papers’ have shown us that Bono owns a Lithuanian shopping centre even more dreary than most of his songs, that the Queen helped finance the recently punished quasi-loan-shark business, BrightHouse, that multi-millionaire and Union Jack waving-at-every-opportunity Lewis Hamilton swerved any VAT payments on his £16.5m private jet with the finesse of er, an F1 champion and that there really is no good reason to watch the terminally unfunny Mrs Brown’s Boys.
Men know when they are abusing their position of authority. I know it. You know it. But it hasn’t stopped an inordinate amount of clap-trap being spoken about the recent emergence of sexual harassment and humiliation claims. Why did these young women go to Harvey’s lair in the first place? Why did they accept that dinner invitation? What was the appeal of Michael Fallon’s undivided attention? Why didn’t such-and-such speak out earlier? Why did they stay with that company? Why didn’t she resign or at least stand-up for herself?
To my mind, many of today’s sporting events appear over-planned, over-organised and often over before they start. Everyone’s competing to the bleep of their fit-bit, to their coach’s advice in their ear, to their nutritional plan of the last six months or to the rigged scam of the betting syndicate in the east. So, when something out of the ordinary happens, I must confess, I rather delight in it.
I suspect we’re all aware of the telling story that many of the world’s leading technologists are weaning themselves off their own product and making conscious decisions to send their offspring to elite and very expensive Silicon Valley schools where all tech is universally banned from the premises. In a world where the average US smartphone user taps, swipes or touches their lovely, shiny device up to 2,617 times a day, this is certainly a case of the tech titans not drinking their own kool aid.
I’ve just read a thoroughly depressing article concerning the future of human communication. Apparently, within three years we’re all going to adopt wristbands that enable us to compose and send emails & texts just by thinking about it. An electromyography armband is currently being developed that intercepts signals travelling from the brain to the muscles in the hand and automatically, intuitively converts it to the message you want to send.
There’s nothing quite like a new car. The smell of the leather seats and the feel of an untouched steering wheel. Crisp, precise controls and fresh carpets. Lovely. Last year, British households borrowed over £30bn to upgrade their car and sales of new motors surged to a twelve-year high. The US love them even more and their total auto loan now tops $1trn. Ten years ago consumers were bingeing on credit card debt and look where that got us. Have we now merely dropped the ‘d’ and is a credit car crash just around the bend?