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21 February 2006 — Free Skate (8)

Why is ice dancing my favorite sport in the Winter Olympics? Because you get moments of pure brilliance, like the one I just saw: the French couple's free dance was simply amazing. (I'll post a link to it here if I can find it online.)

"What are they, in the French Revolution?" I asked Kris as the pair took the ice. He was wearing a puffy shirt; she was wearing a poodle skirt (without the poodle). Their clothes were bloody. Their skin was covered in ashes.

"No way," said Kris. "They didn't wear clothes like that during the French Revolution. You're thinking of Les Mis."

But, of course, I was right. They skated to the Les Mis soundtrack. Perhaps they weren't the most technically adept couple, and they made some mistakes, but damn if they didn't have fun. I had fun watching them. They skated with passion. Their lifts were amazing. They sang along with the music.

Who cares if they're going to finish 18th; I loved their performance.

This is why ice dancing is my favorite.

Some things you should know: I'm only mildly interested in other figure skating events, which I often find absurd. It's not like I'm a figure skating aficionado. Also, the ice dancing competition is spread across three events: the compulsory, the original, and the free skate. The compulsory is rather tedious, the original is good, but the free skate — which is what's on tonight — the free skate is a fantastic fusion of music, theater, and athleticism. It just may be the apex of human achievement!

Enough hyperbole. I'm going back to the competition...



I've seen a lot of stuff over at YouTube during the past few months, but I've never tried to link to any of the videos until now. It's easy! Below is a clip of the famous Torvill and Dean "Bolero" routine from the 1984 Olympics. The announcers keep bringing this up; it's a good reference point.


Perfection? Indeed!

As I say, the apex of human achievement.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2007Music for Nine-Year-Olds   In which I attempt to make a mix CD for a 9-year-old girl.

2005Garden Science   In which I put my astronomy education to use calculating the eventual sunlight coverage of our garden.


Comments
On 21 February 2006 (10:28 AM), Concerned Citizen said:

From Wednesday, February 15, 2006 ยท Last updated 4:14 p.m. PT

Houston eyes cameras at apartment complexes

By PAM EASTON
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

"I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" Chief Harold Hurtt told reporters Wednesday at a regular briefing."

and also from posted 2/14/2006 11:30 PM Updated 2/14/2006 11:34 PM

Daley wants security cameras at bars
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"


On 21 February 2006 (10:36 AM), Paul said:

Dave,
What actions are you taking to mitigate the erosion of your Fourth Amendment rights. I can only think to speak and vote against legislation that resembles the regulations being proposed in the two articles you forwarded to JD.

JD,
The ice dancing video was spellbinding. I would have loved to hear the commentary from Dick Button in this case.

The Concerned Citizen


On 21 February 2006 (12:27 PM), Dave said:

Paul-
To answer your question, I think that the best thing I can do is continue to point out to as many people as possible that these attitudes and activities are becoming more common and that the end result will be govermental intrusion into nearly every part of our lives. Why not have a camera on top of our TV? Doesn't the government have the right to know if we're fomenting revolution in the family room? And if we're not fornicating in front of the TV, what have we got to hide, especially since we're only having sex for the purpose of creating more little humans?

The unfortunate fact is that many of the decisions are not made by people who can be influenced by me. People in Chicago and Huston don't care about my opinion. But people in Portland, Salem and Eugene might and I can act to prevent these type of things from happening by voting and speaking locally.

In some respects education is the most important thing, however. In many instances folks don't understand the wider ramifications of things that are happening. For example, people may be in favor of having video cameras and audio pickups to capture crime occurring, but they don't realize that the only distinction between them and a "criminal" is that someone in authority has labelled something or someone a criminal act.

The Brandon Mayfield case is a good example of that here in Oregon. If you're not familiar with it read about it. But in a nutshell, following the Spanish train bombings a couple of years ago a bag was found that had a partial fingerprint. That fingerprint was tentatively matched to a Portland attorney. Normally I would assume that this would not have caused anything other than a closer look at the evidence. However, in this instance Mr. Mayfield was/is a defense attorney, is Muslim, had defended other Muslims against the government's accusations of terrorism, and had represented convicted terrorist wannabe's.

As a result, the government came into his home and office (without telling Mr. Mayfield) and conducted extensive surveillance and wiretapping of him. They knew that he didn't have any "bomb making materials", that he hadn't left the country at any point, and that he didn't do anything illegal. None the less, the government filed charges and he was jailed for a period of time.

Let me emphasize something. He had done nothing wrong. Period. The Spanish police shortly after their initial identification said that Mayfield was not the source of the fingerprint. None the less the government persisted.

Only when outside experts were brought in and severely criticized the FBI's handling of the print analysis did the government finally do the right thing and dismiss the charges. In the meantime a perfectly innocent man was jailed, had his business severely impacted and was subjected to the humiliation of being accused of killing a group of people in one of Spain's worst terrorist acts. To the best of my knowledge the government hasn't even issued a heartfelt apology (although Mayfield is now suing them).

You may wonder how the government had Mayfield's fingerprints to compare to in the first place. As a lawyer in the State of Oregon in order to be admitted to the bar he was fingerprinted and a background check was conducted. My understanding was that those fingerprints were to be used solely for that purpose, so I'm at a loss as to how to explain how Spain was able to use them many years later.

Frankly, this type of intrusion is something that worries me a great deal. The government wants to know what we're doing, who we're seeing, what we're purchasing, what we're reading and who we're talking to. It's installing video cameras everywhere, your cell phone can be tracked, your purchases monitored, your library records seized, your home searched and bugged, and your telephone calls listed to. All without your knowledge.

Yesterday's Oregonian contained an editorial that related an incident in a library in Maryland (or Virginia, I forget which), in which uniformed men walked into the local public library, announced that no one could look at porn on the computers and proceeded to start questioning a patron about what he was looking at. The librarian immediately called the police and instructed them to leave. The police showed up and escorted out the uniformed HOMELAND SECURITY officers who had decided to take action against looking at bad things on the computer.

The US gov't is reclassifying declassified documents from the 1940's and 1960's. Here. Things like US plans to drop leaflets into Communist bloc countries. You know, the highly sensitive things. Some American UNSCOM inspectors "knew" where to look for WMD's in Iraq because God and clarvoyants who'd seen it in a dream told him where to look. I'm not kidding.

Why doesn't this worry anyone?


On 21 February 2006 (10:36 PM), Andy Baio said:

I really wasn't expecting this, but I was moved by the performance. Captivated, even.


On 22 February 2006 (08:52 AM), Paul said:

Thanks for a great response Dave. I had an unrealistic expectation that you would be able to point me to the web site whereby I could unsubscribe to government intrusion.

Though I remember the ugliniess that Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 painted in their stories, I don't remember what hope they gave to conquer the oppressive actions of "the government".

If you had the inclination to create a blog for this issue you may find a loyal readership. At the least keep forwarding this type of flotch to JD.

Thanks again for your response.


On 23 February 2006 (09:59 AM), Nikchick said:

Thanks for posting that great clip of Torvill and Dean. Mezmerizing!


On 24 March 2006 (02:10 PM), gracie said:

im only 14 but since i watched dancing on ice on tv on saturday nights i have wanted to watch the original peice of boler with torvill and dean. i couldn't believ it when i found it. i love it i watched it ovre and over again. its good how they are so in tune with each other nonne of them go too early or too late they are perfectly on time. they deserved the twelve 6.0's and the six 5.9's on their score.


On 24 March 2006 (02:10 PM), gracie said:

im only 14 but since i watched dancing on ice on tv on saturday nights i have wanted to watch the original peice of boler with torvill and dean. i couldn't believ it when i found it. i love it i watched it ovre and over again. its good how they are so in tune with each other nonne of them go too early or too late they are perfectly on time. they deserved the twelve 6.0's and the six 5.9's on their score.