If you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot of spiders out this time of year. I know because I feel like I’ve killed about a dozen of them in the past month. As a male I was trained at an early age to dispose of these creepy, eight-legged insects because like every other household, females won’t go near them.
It reminds me of an old Jerry Seinfeld joke where he talks about women not minding pouring hot wax on their legs and removing hair; but being afraid of a spider. How do they think the spider feels when he looks up at a giant standing over it? I don’t think he or she is pretty confident in that situation, but if it’s a female standing there, I think they feel relief in the fact that they have a few moments to hide before husband, boyfriend or brother moves in with a tissue or fly swatter.
Well now all the females have another species of spider to worry about. Trogloraptor or cave robber as it’s known in English, is the new species of spider that was discovered in a cave outside of Grants Pass, Oregon. Amateur cave explorers discovered the creatures and sent them to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Scientists there said that the spider was so different from any other they’d encountered that they decided to create a whole new family to put it in.
The spider, which is reddish brown and the size of a half dollar, was first discovered back in 2010. The spider’s species name — marchingtoni — honors Deschutes County sheriff’s Deputy Neil Marchington, who was on the first Western Cave Conservancy expedition in 2010 to collect the spiders in Grants Pass.
A curator of spiders at the American Museum of Natural History compared the excitement surrounding this find for spider scientists to the discovery of a new dinosaur to paleontologists.
Meanwhile, millions of wives, girlfriends and sisters collectively sighed as now they have to worry about yet another type of creepy critter roaming the earth.
Lance Armstrong stops fighting doping charges
Lance Armstrong waved the proverbial white flag on Thursday by declaring that he would no longer fight charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDS) throughout his cycling career. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that it will be stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, all his other race results and ban him from the sport for life.
Call me cynical, but this doesn’t surprise me at all. Just this week we’ve had two major league baseball players get busted for PEDS as well as three earlier this season. During the Olympic games, nine athletes were banned for doping offenses and who knows how many more did it without getting caught.
But the question following Armstrong’s ban is, does anyone care anymore? The USADA based its decision on results of blood tests taken from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 as well as 10 eyewitnesses, including some former teammates. I have no doubt Armstrong did something he wasn’t supposed to do, but in a sport riddled with doping problems, can anyone blame him?
Yes he is a cheater, but let’s not forget that Armstrong has raised millions of dollars for cancer research following his own diagnosis and recovery from the disease. So what if he needed a little help getting over those mountains in France. In the end it made for a great story and Live Strong was born following his run of success.
As mentioned earlier, two baseball players were busted for doping this week too. Now that I think about it, I became a baseball fan because of steroids. During the summer of 1998, I like many others became captivated by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as they dueled to break the home run record. I have fond memories of that summer as well as Barry Bonds breaking their records only three years after that.
After so many years now of baseball, football, olympic and cycling doping scandals, I’m sure many people like me have become desensitized by the whole thing. We just assume everyone is doing it now. Taking away medals and records makes for a dramatic headline, but in the end it just seems like a pat on the back for these committees.
Is there any honesty and integrity left? Maybe a little, but as someone who has followed sports for twenty years now, I’m accustomed to seeing stories like these. None of it shocks me now and none of it will in another twenty years.
Hollywood director passes away
Earlier this week, shocking news broke that director Tony Scott had taken his own life by jumping off of a San Pedro, Calif. bridge. The motive behind Scott’s Aug. 19 suicide still remains a mystery, but the tragic news of his death was felt by fellow actors, directors and fans throughout the world.
Many can argue that his older brother, Ridley Scott, was a more accomplished filmmaker, but Tony leaves behind a signature visual style that was truly unique.
Whether it was the aireal battles in Top Gun, the shootouts in True Romance or the experimental visual edits in his later films (Domino and Man on Fire), Scott was a kinetic action director who knew how to keep an audience on the edge of their seats.
One of the common themes in his films was the ordinary man unwillingly thrust into an impossible situation. This is probably the most effective plot element in an action movie because it makes you root for the hero because he’s just like you. Scott knew this and that’s why he was often able to produce such entertaining movies.
My personal favorites from Scott’s resume include the pulpy, romantic gangster film True Romance, the paranoia spy thriller Enemy of the State and his last film, 2010’s Unstoppable; a workmanlike action movie about a runaway train. Did he have as many misses as he did hits? Sure. But you were never bored watching a Tony Scott movie. How many Hollywood directors can claim that?