Monday, January 3, 2011

Confused season

This time of year it is not unusual to find trees in full Fall glory next to others about to grow new leaves. With plenty of rain, the whole canyon is deep green and the scenery is looking more Hawaiian than ever. Unfortunately that myth gets shattered as soon as one steps outside in the 50 degree (10C) weather. But then again temperatures are expected to reach the low sixties (15-17C) later in the week so hold your fire.

2011 early sunshine
Apparently the trees are not the only ones who are confused this time of year. Neo-pro Vincent Baestaens of KDL Trans rode his first cyclocross race of 2011 in the U23 category instead of the Pro field. Baestaens, who was in theory allowed to ride in the U23 category had picked up a Pro race number so he was called in by officials and had to explain himself to the jury afterwards. To add insult to injury the young rider finished in only 18th position in the U23 group. 18th in cyclocross is like being in another race.

This type of category or "Cat" confusion is easy to relate to for those following the American race scene. Here it is always a toss-up (or some would say a matter of tactics) to see where a racer will end up. Will he feel good and ride the Pro-1-2 field? Or perhaps he is a little under the weather and will opt for Masters 35, 1-2-3? Or is it a really down day and will he ride Masters 45 as a last resort? Of course it would be a real downer having to admit that he really belongs in the 50 or 55+ category.

Cat confusion

Nor should one be surprised to find a "Cat 5" racer beating the "pros" in an uphill time-trial. The whole cat- system makes about as much sense as the list of forbidden substances.

That said, it occurred to me that magical thinking is not just limited to the drug enforcers. American radio and TV also have a list of forbidden words, also known as the seven dirty words, or the Filthy Words. These are the *bleep* words that cannot be spoken. The seven words list dates back to a 1972 -not safe for work- George Carlin show.

The list has since grown exponentially and there are now whole dictionaries of bleep words. The situation has become so ambiguous that we now refer to these words as the A-word, the B-word, etc. But even that is not enough. I am sure that pretty soon we will have to start referring to the A1-word, the A2-word, the A3-word and so on.
Is summer over?


Spring time
Speaking of confusion, the stock market is starting 2011 with a big rally. The Wall Street crowd is no doubt happy the new Republican congress is set to repeal the not-yet-implemented health care reform law. That is sure to please insurance companies and other healthcare interests. The patients on the other hand are too confused to comprehend what is happening to them.

Now is probably as good a time for optimism as any, since our long term prospects aren't nearly as rosy. The foreclosure dam is about to burst and that will keep everyone's fortunes underwater for a while to come. Amidst the confusion, the band on the Titanic keeps on playing...

No comments: