Which is the sort of thing that prompts thoughtful questions from the New York Times's sophisticated readership:
LV San Jose, CA 1 hour ago
Is there any possibility that advanced life forms (including humans) existed on Mars and they moved out to earth as Mars became inhabitable? Seems to me it is at least as plausible as life originating from comets.
No. No there isn't.
All else aside, do you really think it's possible that humans migrated to Earth from Mars yet have never uttered a peep about it since? Please. People can't even ride their bikes for an hour without uploading a bunch of data about it, so if interplanetary gentrification were really a thing I can assure you that you'd never heard the end of it from the elderly.
("From Mars we moved!")
Nevertheless, I admit there is a certain elegance to the theory that ages ago we were so advanced we could fly from Mars to Earth, yet we've since devolved to the point that we now make videos asking our fellow humans for fifteen hundred bucks so we can sell them spray bottles containing cleansing foam:
Oh, come on. Who the hell cleans a Surly anyway?
Meanwhile, I recently received the following request from a reader:
Can you do something funny with this photo from cyclingnews.com?
I'm sorry, I find nothing amusing about one man diligently kneading another man's posterior. Plus, I was far less amused by the grab-ass than I was by the fact that Ivan Basso apparently still races bicycles. You'd think that his biological passport would have landed him on the no-fly list years ago. Remember the time he stole Michael Rasmussen's blood right out of his body for a transfusion, reducing the Dane to an empty sack of translucent skin covered with moles?
("Hey, who took all my blood?")
"I didn't see anything," replies a comparatively flush Ivan Basso:
"In this society, where everything is quick, not many have the courage to take risks, so that they forget their true history,” he explained. “I decided to make a choice to go against the current, to return to the work of my grandparents and my great-grandparents. I'll be a grower of blueberries in my city.”
That's not at all where I thought he was going with that. I thought he was going to say he was becoming a drug dealer, like his sister Elisa
In any case, I suppose the young guys always have something to learn from the old dogs. For example, here Sagan marvels at Basso's surprisingly dexterous prehensile buttocks:
They say Basso once fought off an onslaught of Shaolin monks armed with nothing but a fighting stick and some thong underwear:
Speaking of the joke that is professional cycling, for some reason it's news that Alexandre Vinokourov's Astana team is lousy with drugs:
MILAN (VN) — Italy’s most notorious doctor, Michele Ferrari, visited team Astana prior to the 2014 season in which it won the Tour de France with Vincenzo Nibali, according to a new report.
“In November 2013, one year ago, at the team’s first meeting for the 2014 season … a truly special guest arrived in the evening: Michele Ferrari,” reported Italy’s sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport Monday. “That evening, stationed outside the hotel, investigators photographed Ferrari speaking with some members of the team.”
For his part, Dr. Ferrari (how is he even still a doctor anyway?) has an ironclad alibi, which is that he hasn't been to that particular town since his "epic" 1994 waffle bender:
Ferrari was quick to post a denial on his website, writing, “I feel obliged, albeit very reluctantly, to once again deny the latest MEDIA BULLSH*T with regards to my presence (“during the night”, or even in broad daylight, if you prefer) at the Astana Team Training Camp in Montecatini (I’ve been in that town, if I remember correctly, in 1994 to taste the famous waffles) last year in November.”
Though recent photos suggest otherwise:*
*(Disclamer: This may not be Ferrari.)
Not only that, but a subsequent raid revealed some damning evidence in Ferrari's hotel room:
It's fairly obvious from the blueberry residue that Ferrari is treating Basso as well.
Nevertheless, we should give Astana the benefit of the doubt, since I'm sure their doping culture was eliminated after Johan Bruyneel cleaned house a few years back. Here's an account from Bruyneel himself:
I never tested positive during my twelve-year pro racing career (during which I won two stages of the Tour and wore the yellow jersey once – as well as rode off a hundred-foot cliff during one of the race's most spectacular crashes). No cyclist has ever tested positive for illegal drugs while riding for my team.
I thought that by changing Astana, I might help to change the sport. I accepted the job, then repopulated the team with trusted staff and riders, including Contador and Leipheimer, and instituted an independent drug-testing program, at a cost of 700,000 USD per year, that lets us conduct our own, internal controls on our athletes.
Ah, yes. Trust, thy name is Leipheimer--or, more accurately, "Letle Viride:"
At this point, as far as absurdist theater goes, cycling outpaced 1980s wrestling years ago and is now neck-and-kneck with with the cinematic oeuvre of Troma Films:
(Tame in comparison.)
It must suck to be a "journalist" who has to pretend to take the sport seriously.
Lastly, via the Twitter I found myself listening to this story about Australia and its stupid helment law:
And while listening I became intrigued by the awesome vintage helment propaganda song which plays in the background. Here it is:
My favorite lyric is this one:
"Heroes wear helmets, they never ask why."
Yes, questioning things is for communists and traitors:
Just put a plastic hat on your head and shut up.