Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence Day Follies

As it should be, it's been hotter than blazes here in the Inland Valley over the holiday weekend.

Sunday I was down at the Farmer's Market before 0930...the mercury was already uphill of 80°F and rising fast. I grabbed my heirloom tomatoes and fled to the relative cool of the Ancestral Digs in time to bid Sister K a safe trip home into the Big Valley Inferno.

I made Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwiches for brunch and settled in to view the Giants vs Detroit Tigers game. Just watching the broadcast from scorching hot Detroit made me feel the heat. Alas, the Tigers won, spoiling the Giants' sweep.

Earlier Sunday morning my alarm roused me at 0500 to watch the Team Time Trial LIVE from France. Damn if the heat hasn't been keeping me up too late to stay awake at 0-dark-hundred! I fell back to sleep before Phil and Paul could even introduce the course. I woke up in time to see the last three teams stop the clock. My favorite team this season, Garmin-Cervélo, one of four American teams on the Tour this year won the day! My fantasy team, TeamCorduroyPlanet rose from the ashes of the cellar up a couple of steps to 37th overall.

Garmin-Cervélo's Dave Zabriskie added the Captain America helmet to his National Time Trial Champion kit.
I watched the Primetime replay and it was wonderful, colorful and productive. Defending champion Alberto Contador lost a few more seconds to my pick Andy Schleck in the overall or GC (General Classification) as Garmin-Cervélo enjoyed their first TdF Stage Win. 

Fourth of July...from the ridiculous to the sublime...


Sunday I failed to keep the eyes open to view the TdF LIVE again...and again I woke up in time to watch the sprint finish LIVE...

Team CorduroyPlanet's (read Team Garmin-Cervélo's) sprinter Tyler Farrar became the first American to win a stage of the TdF on the Fourth of July! It's a Big Deal for the French riders to win on Bastille Day, le Quatorze Juillet (the 14th of July), that celebrates the Storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution, so we Americans can have dreams along similar lines, too.

After the Tour broadcast ended, I tuned in the quintessential 4th of July Event on TV...

                   The 96th Annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs 
                         International  Hot Dog Eating Contest

Ladies and Gentlemen, now for the Most Famous Four Words in Sports...


Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Contest is Pure Americana meets the Ugly American, and I could care less who eats how many, how fast, where they ate 'em, or why they ate 'em. I'm down with Nathan's Contest because the contest Announcer and Chief Raconteur George Shea is an orating machine, and a National Treasure.

Shea was born with the "Gift of Gab" and honed his craft in Law School. Today when introducing the contestants, Shea said, almost in passing, this about today's winner Joey Chestnut: "His DNA is a blueprint for a Modern Archangel"

Unfortunately, ABC-TV (parent company of ESPN2, who broadcast the Hot Dog Contest) doesn't feature Mr Shea and his Over the Top Oratory, instead opting to have their motorsports motormouth, Paul Page yammer over the mostly disgusting video, drowning out the real phrase-smith's witticisms.

At least ESPN2's "Smartest Guys in the Live Truck" have the good sense to feature Shea's Eaters Introductions. Sometime after the holiday ends, Shea's Play-by-Play should show up on YouTube. Perhaps I should lobby the NHRA to resume drag racing on 4th of July Weekend so Paul Page will have somewhere to be besides Coney Island during the Hot Dog Eating Contest!

Every year I fire off an email full of impassioned constructive criticism to ESPN, and every year I'm treated to Paull Page droning out True Genius yet much for my being the Everyman.

Continuing in the less-than-sublime sports vein, I enjoyed the Giants vs San Diego Padres game from AT&T Park in spite of the Giants' loss. Pablo Sandoval hit a two run into homer McCovey Cove, only the 56th Splash Hit ever.

During the game, I installed my new garden thermometer on the redwood tree outside my bedroom here at the Ancestral Digs, and watched it rise instantly to 90°F. By the time it started to cool off, the results of today's Stage 3 were posted to my fantasy league. Team CorduroyPlanet rose again to 19th Place. Thanks to my sprinters Tyler Farrar and the "Manx Missile" Mark Cavendish. I expect to cover most of the sprint stages with these guys, the two best sprinters riding today.

Now I'll watch the Prime Time replay of Stage 3. Thanks VersusTV!

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