Thursday, December 28, 2006

Terminator 4: Ski Pole Versus Femur (The Real Story)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Left-Over’s last post got me thinking more and more about this whole “Arnold broke his femur” story. Here is the most descriptive explanation I can find of the injury, from the man who witnessed the accident.

Adi Erber, a ski instructor who often skis with the governor when he visits Sun Valley, told the biweekly Idaho Mountain Express that Schwarzenegger's pole got caught underneath his ski and the governor tripped over it while standing near the half-pipe on the Lower Warm Springs trail.

"He fell on his ski pole, and the impact broke his femur," Erber told the Express.

Having done a fair amount of skiing myself, I decided to break it down:

This is a ski pole:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And this is a femur:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

If the two come together with opposing force, it doesn’t take a structural engineer to guess which one is more likely to break. I’ve broken a ski pole, and it snapped like a twig! I still have the handle in my garage as a souvenir of the experience. It wasn’t pleasant, but only the pole was broken.

For reference, I weigh 155 lbs and have 17.5 inch thighs surrounding each femur!

These are Arnold’s approximate measurements (from a page of one of his archived websites).

Nickname: The Austrian Oak
Born: July 30, 1947
Birthplace: Tahl, Graz, AUSTRIA
Residence: California, USA
Height: 6' 2"
Arms: 22"
Chest: 57"
Waist: 34"
Thighs: 28.5"
Calves: 20"
Off Season Weight: 260 lbs
Competition Weight: 235 lbs

The numbers are probably somewhat different today than from his competition days, but you get the picture – someone nicknamed “The Austrian Oak” having thighs more than 2 feet in circumference, should not, even at age 59, have a femur that is more brittle than a ski pole!

Published reports of his surgery also include an additional hint as to what really happened:

The procedure was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Ehrhart, who also. . . repaired President Ronald Reagan's broken hip in 2001.

So Arnold’s operation was performed by the same guy tapped to repair the 90-year-old Reagan’s broken hip? A specialty, perhaps?

My guess as to what really happened? Arnold tripped over his ski pole and fell – probably onto an icy slope where his hip hit the ice and shattered like a wine glass - much like my grandmother’s hip shattered when she tripped over her walker (like Reagan, she was also approaching 90 at the time!)

But Arnold, the man once known for proclaiming his desire “to be the best-built man in the world," could not admit to an injury more common in 90-year olds, so he says he “broke his femur!”

At least he could have gotten his instructor to say he was injured "while ripping a sick 540 Reverse Tail Grab on the half pipe while moshin' to Green Day on his I-Pod!"

No! Although numerous articles pointed out that the Sun Valley trail named after Arnold is a black diamond “expert” run, Arnold’s injury happened while he was standing on the Lower Warm Springs Trail, which is listed on Sun Valley’s interactive trail map as a green circle “bunny” slope!

Can you say "fragile?"

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Arnold's Broken Hip???

Has anyone else wondered if Arnold actually broke his hip instead of his femur? After scanning several articles about the incident and subsequent surgery - I have my suspicions about what actually happened.

The ski instructor who was with Govenator at the time is on record stating that:

"He was trying to take off again and he tripped," Adi Erber, a ski instructor who was with the governor, told the Los Angeles Times. Erber described the fall as a "freak accident."

The femur is the largest and strongest bone in the human body. It would be pretty difficult to break just by falling over. However, many elderly people break their hips when they loose their balance and land awkwardly. Despite Arnold's strange tan, and even stranger orangey hair color - he is 59 years old. He's no spring chicken.

The Governors press office seems to be keeping a tight reign the details of the incident. I can only guess that they decided a "broken leg" sounded much better to the incredibly vain Schwartzenegger than a "Broken hip".

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

George Explain Your New "Surge" Strategy to this Little Girl!

Heather Martin - When Are You Coming

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Whammo Speaks For Me!

This has been flying around the internets lately, and for good reason! I’ve had the opportunity to see Austin's Asylum Street Spankers perform this song live on a couple of occasions, so I’m glad that they are getting wider attention for this gem.


By the way, Whammo is the guy with the cowboy hat and the ponytail!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Photo of the Day

Vice President Dick Cheney - Out enjoying a day of fishing . . .

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

. . . with his friend, Dick Whittington!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Is the Argument Over Global Warming Misdirected?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Noted intellectual giant, James Inhofe was at it again, with Wednesday’s hearing entitled "Climate Change and the Media."
(Inhofe) convened a hearing with witnesses who share his view that the media has hyped coverage of climate change. "Hysteria sells," the chairman grumbled at one point. "Scare tactics should not drive public policy," he said at another, pressing his view that rising Earth temperatures are mainly a natural, cyclical phenomenon.
One of the benefits of living with a scientist is that I am often called to challenge my initial (sometimes emotional) reactions in favor of a careful weighing of the available evidence.

In our discussions of “global warming,” my partner has frequently made an argument that, in light of Senator Inhofe’s repeated denials of the presence of global warming, makes a lot of sense.

The argument is that the focus should not be on "the presence of global warming,” but on “the increase of greenhouse gases.” The rationale is that the scientific evidence for global warming is inconclusive enough to continue allowing people like Inhofe to make arguments against it. Because we are talking about millions of years of history and cyclical weather patterns, it is not possible for either side to definitively “win” the debate.

On the other hand, there is clear scientific evidence that greenhouse gases are being produced at skyrocketing rates (click here for source). There is clear evidence that such gases trap infrared rays that could heat up the earth like the sun heats up the inside of a car. This makes it a debate about chemistry and physics, rather than a debate about history!

One way of looking at the issue is in relation to the decision on whether to eat trans fats – a topical comparison considering the City of New York’s recent ban on their use in restaurant food preparation. If you want to convince someone to restrict the intake of trans fats in their diet, you would not try to argue that scientific evidence proves they will have a heart attack in the future. That would be silly, and easily ignored by anyone who is determined to use history (I haven’t had one yet! Other people have eaten trans fats and not had them!) to maintain their current diet.

On the other hand, a scientific factual presentation of the existence of trans fats, and how the body processes them, leaves little room to argue that they should not be eliminated from the diet whenever possible.

People like Senator Inhofe are always going to be able to find historians to present a feasible-sounding (to him anyway) argument to maintain our current diet of greenhouse gas production.

But let’s see him produce some scientists who would argue that increased production of greenhouse gases doesn’t increase the risk factors for a global climate heart attack!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Real Iraq Policy

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Looks like Josh Marshall agrees with my earlier assessment on Bush’s real goal regarding Iraq:
One other point we shouldn't go too long without restating. With his policy of no troop increases and no troop decreases, let's all understand that President Bush's real policy is stasis -- no 'winning' or 'losing' or escalating or withdrawing. It's about fighting any fight, carrying any burden to keep kicking this can down the alley until January 2009 so he can say the disaster he created is someone else's fault. That's not hyperbole or trash talk. That's really the policy.
Or, as I put it:
Bush has already gone on record as saying he believes we will be in Iraq beyond the end of his presidency. His recent call for “one last big push to win in Iraq” is yet another indication of his “run out the clock” strategy. He is going to make sure that when it comes to leaving the chaos created by his war, he’s not going to be the decider!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How We Should "Go" in Iraq!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

On the Eve of the official release of the Iraq Study Group report, I’d like to return briefly to the recent Pentagon review that came up with a set of possibilities that have been dubbed “Go Big,” “Go Long,” or “Go Home.”

“Go Big” refers to the option of dramatically increasing troop levels – an unfeasible proposition considering current troop availability and the additional cost that would have to be absorbed by a rapidly increasing national debt.

“Go Long” refers to the option of basically continuing to string things along with the current, or slightly reduced, troop levels - in the hope that some sort of miracle will result in something we can eventually claim as “victory." It is an option perhaps more appropriately named “Go Fish,” except that the card we would be hoping to draw has probably already been removed from the deck!

“Go Home” refers to complete troop withdrawal, and would undoubtedly leave years of continued violence and chaos before there would be any hope of improvement - solidifying a legacy of failure in Iraq for Bush/Cheney and, unfortunately, the American people who put them in power.

A fourth option, which I call alternately “Go Wide” and “Go Real,” is the one I hope the American people will eventually choose, although it seems a remote possibility. Both elements would need to be present for it to work, and it goes like this:

“Go Wide” refers to expanding involvement in Iraq peacekeeping efforts to include a true international coalition that would work in partnership, using military, financial and diplomatic means to clean up the mess. It is basically the option that should have been used in the first place, if it had been considered necessary by a real coalition to remove Saddam from power and enforce peace long enough for a democracy to take hold.

Unfortunately, “Go Wide,” on its own, is no longer feasible, since no other country would be willing to help clean up the mess made by Bush/Cheney as long as these arrogant pricks are at the helm! That’s why we would need to include another element.

“Go Real” (a variation of “Get Real”) refers to the act of accepting 1) that we (the American people) have a problem, 2) that we created the problem, and 3) we will do what is necessary to rectify the problem in order to be worthy of accepting help from the international community.

It is very simple. We need help from the rest of the world in order to clean up a mess we made for ourselves, but that also affects them. In order to redeem ourselves, we must admit that we made a mistake by allowing Bush/Cheney to pursue an unnecessary war, using unnecessary and probably illegal means. We must remove them from power and turn them over to the International Criminal Court, where their deeds can be judged according to international standards. We must apologize, and then hope we can form a real coalition to enforce peace in Iraq, more along the model of what was accomplished in the Balkans.

I’ve written before about the possibility of Bush and Cheney taking over the cells once inhabited by Milosovic, Etc. Rumsfeld and others have already been charged with war crimes (PDF) in a German court. Ultimately, although discussion of war crimes and the tactics underway in Germany may seem pointless to some in this country, it may be the case that embracing them will be the only way for the American people to recover from the disaster of Iraq!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No Traveler Left Behind: A Guide to Passing the ATS Exam

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

As an American who has traveled abroad 5 times in the last 26 months, this recently revealed program got my attention.
Without their knowledge, millions of Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders in the past four years have been assigned scores generated by U.S. government computers rating the risk that the travelers are terrorists or criminals.
Virtually every person entering and leaving the United States by air, sea or land is scored by the Homeland Security Department's Automated Targeting System, or ATS. The scores are based on ATS' analysis of their travel records and other data, including items such as where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor vehicle records, past one-way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered.
I’m not sure how I scored during my recent trips, but using careful investigative techniques and some common sense, I’ve been able to put together the following list of tips that might help improve your ATS score:

Where You are From: Good: Provo, Colorado Springs, anywhere in Texas; Bad: San Francisco, New York, Boston.

How You Paid for Tickets: Good: American Express Corporate Card, Gift of Jack Abramoff, Sale of stock options; Bad: Rolled up wad of dinar, barrels of oil, gay sex (not applicable if you are from Colorado Springs.)

Motor Vehicle Records: Good: Hummer H2, Ford Escalade with gun rack, 69 Chevy Impala with Jeff Gordon decal; Bad: Volvo Bio-Diesel, No registered auto (just a bicycle.)

One Way Travel: Good: Never left U.S. without returning immediately after 7-14 day luxury cruise; Bad: Multiple “one way” flights out of the country while returning, presumably, via open-water swim.

Seating Preference: Good: Two adjoining - to fit extra large derriere; Bad: In cockpit, next to pilot.

Meal Ordered: Good: McDonalds’ Big Mac and "Freedom" Fries (supersized), 40 oz. Steak (extra rare), Gefilte Fish (farmed with dolphins); Bad: Vegetarian, Puppy steak, Chicken with extra bones, preferably sharpened.

Happy Traveling and good luck with your scores!