Sports humorist takes on Trump and his habit of cheating at everything

I have played golf once in my life, at a junior golf course in my hometown when I was, like, 11.

Probably needless to say, I do not read Golf Magazine. But there is an interesting interview (or, at least parts of the interview) in it with “sports humorist” Rick Reilly, author of a new book called “Commander In Cheat” in which he talks about the former President Orange Menace’s habit of cheating at golf:

Golf Magazine: You seem to firmly believe that golf is a game of honor.

Reilly: Yes. And Trump doesn’t offend me so much as a voter as he does as a golfer. We don’t cheat each other. The way I learned the game was to call your own penalties. If you cheat, then you despoil the game. Nobody should be able to say I shot 68 when they didn’t even break 80. I get lying about politics, but golf, you should never get to lie about golf.

Are you ready for the book to be called “fake news” by him?

I’m hoping.

What was playing with him like?

Well, he took a gimme chip-in, which I had never heard of. People say, Okay, so he cheats at golf. Well, yeah, but it goes deeper. If you’re going to cheat at golf, you’re probably going to cheat at business. And if you cheat at golf, you’re probably going to cheat on your wife. And if you cheat at golf, you’re probably going to cheat on your taxes. Tom Watson said he saw Gary Player bend back a weed at the Skins game and he never spoke to him again.

By all accounts, Trump is a pretty good golfer. So why lie and exaggerate?

Exactly. He has a good swing. He’s probably an 8 or a 9. That’s pretty good for 72 years old! Why do you have to cheat? I tried to make this book apolitical, I tried to make it about golf. He’s wrecking it. He’s leaving a big, wet orange stain on the game I love.

LOL at the “wet orange stain.” Also: eeew!

A picture of Trump cheating at golf. How do we know he’s cheating at golf in this picture? Because, as one sports humorist writes, Trump cheats at everything all the time. It a natural state of being for him, whether it be in sports or politics.

A primer on e-bikes from The New Yorker

I’m considering buying an e-bike, and I’m not alone. Over 500,00- e-bikes were sold in 2021, the last year for which sales figures were available. But those numbers were expected to grow to at least 565,000 in the year just ended.

But the market is confusing as hell right now with some domestic e-bike manufacturers you might recognize (Trek, etc.) and a dizzying array of foreign manufacturers who sell through everyplace from Walmart to Amazon and beyond.

So I found this articke in the current issue of The New Yorker interesting and helpful. It has a lot of basic e-bike information that I did not know (or fully understand) before, along with a lot information about NYC-centric sellers that will likely only interest New York City residents.

Here we must break for a lesson on how e-bikes work. Every e-bike has a battery and a motor, and, if you don’t know that, may I recommend my class on the invention of the wheel? The motor delivers power to your crankset by one of two systems: the pedal-assist and the throttle control. (Crankset, n. 1. the metal arm and surrounding components that connect the pedal to the wheel 2. informal. your neighbors in 8-G.) The Citi Bike is a pedal-assist. It will help you, but only if you help yourself. Pedal daintily and the boost it supplies will be commensurately unenthusiastic; pedal with more vigor and it’ll send in the Marines. Cheaper pedal-assists have a cadence sensor, which, unlike the torque sensor on a Citi Bike, is binary and, when activated, can feel like a passive-aggressive shove. The motor shuts off when your speed hits eighteen miles per hour, a limit agreed on by Lyft (the operator of Citi Bike) and the Department of Transportation. Most e-bikes cut off at around that speed, the exact m.p.h. determined by the relevant state or municipality. In New York City, the speed limit for pedal-assist-only bikes (Class 1) is twenty m.p.h., and the same goes for Class 2, a pedal-assist with a throttle. Class 3 bikes, which are also pedal-assist and throttle, can travel up to twenty-eight m.p.h., but New York City law requires the rider to wear a helmet. If you find this interesting, you should join the City Council’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure while the rest of us talk about throttles.

Throttles provide power regardless of what the pedal is or isn’t doing. They are to regular bikes what Roombas are to brooms (pedal-assists being Dustbusters). A throttle control is functionally a gas pedal on your handlebars, operated either by twisting one of the grips or by pushing a thumb trigger. Now, if they just had air bags and a cup holder . . .

Patricia Marx, the article’s author also notes:

Let’s say you’d like an e-bike but don’t want to spend the money, or you already own a bike. One option is to buy an electric-bike conversion kit—essentially, a motor, a battery, and electric controls that you add to your analog bike. Most of these kits require you to swap out one of the wheels, a process that, according to instructions I’ve read, resembles performing a head transplant with a screwdriver.

If you think that sounds like a fun D.I.Y. challenge, I hate you. Luckily, there’s an alternative to this alternative. It is CLIP, an upgrade that you clamp onto one wheel of your bike which instantly electrifies it ($549). It’s bigger than a barrette but not as big as a breadbox, and as easy to use as both. No tools are required. If, later, you’re not in an e-bike mood, it takes a second to remove. This matte-white device weighs a little less than a cat (eight pounds) and looks like a sleek version of the boot that traffic cops stick on the wheel of your car if you’ve forgotten to pay your parking tickets. It contains a battery and a four-hundred-and-fifty-watt motor, and its two arms hug either side of the front wheel. A bike with CLIP installed can be ridden for fifteen to eighteen miles (or about forty-five minutes) on a single charge and travels up to fifteen miles per hour. CLIP can be preordered for shipping this spring, the initial run of a thousand having sold out.

I tried a prototype at the CLIP headquarters, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s New Lab building. Dating from 1902, the building was the machine shop for every significant ship launched during both World Wars. Now it is home to more than two hundred startups. At the ferry dock, I was greeted by Somnath Ray, CLIP’s C.E.O. and founder, a boyishly charming Indian architect whose résumé includes creating electric rickshaws, unfortunately at a time when the world wasn’t ready for them. Ray chaperoned me to the CLIP offices, on the second floor, passing one groovy venture after another. He explained that CLIP works via “friction drive”: “Think of it as a smaller gear driving a bigger wheel. CLIP is the smaller wheel and can deliver just the right amount of torque to the wheel.”

Because it was a weekend and the Yard was empty, I was able to take a test ride back and forth along the concrete floor in a corridor downstairs. I pedalled, felt a nudge, then pressed a red button on the handlebar and got a burst of juice. Whee!

All in all, a helpful article.

The New Yorker: Hell on Two Wheels, Until the E-Bike’s Battery Runs Out

E-bikes have gotten so reliable that major corporations have started using them for deliveries in warmer climes.

Leaving former Marine Paul Whelan behind in Russia is probably doing American society a favor

There’s a lot that’s been written and said about the situtation with Brittney Griner’s negotiated release from Russia and the fact that left behind was former Marine Paul Whelan, whom Fox New and the right-wing echo chamber are describing as “an Iraqi war veteran.”

And that is true as far as it goes.

But what Fox News, Elon Musk and others in the right-wing commentariat are failing to note up front is Whelan’s full history, as Wikipedia says:

He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in 1994. He took military leave from Kelly Services to serve with the Marine Corps Reserve from 2003 to 2008, including service in Iraq. He held the rank of staff sergeant with Marine Air Control Group 38 working as an administrative clerk and administrative chief, and he was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After a court-martial conviction in January 2008 on multiple counts “related to larceny”, he was sentenced to 60 days restriction, reduction to pay grade E-4, and a bad conduct discharge. The specific charges against him included “attempted larceny, three specifications of dereliction of duty, making a false official statement, wrongfully using another’s social security number, and ten specifications of making and uttering checks without having sufficient funds in his account for payment.”

Whelan was a terrible Marine who received a Bad Conduct Discharge. He’s not a hero. He’s no longer recognized by the federal government as a veteran. At the very least, the idea that he somehow deserves to be treated better than Griner is totally bogus.

Not only that, but Trump, Musk and all the others weren’t even interested in Whelan being in prison until a black lesbian basketball player was released before him, making me suspicious that it’s less about the Whelan/U.S. Marine part, and more about the black lesbian part.

Or, as attorney Ron Filipkowski noted on Twitter:

This hand wringing about Paul Whelan by right-wingers is really just a combination of trying to score points on Biden, and the fact that the right-wingers all hate the idea that a black lesbian WNBA player deserved to be freed as much as anyone else.

The sport of bodybuilding is killing its competitors

The sport of bodybuilding does not, as do other sports, require its competitors to be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.

Gee, I wonder why:

Bodybuilders around the world are risking their lives and sometimes dying for the sport they love because of extreme measures that are encouraged by coaches, rewarded by judges and ignored by leaders of the industry, according to interviews with dozens of bodybuilders, coaches, judges, promoters, medical professionals and relatives of deceased athletes.

The Washington Post investigated the deaths of more than two dozen bodybuilders, focusing mostly on those who died leading up to or in the aftermath of competitions. A review of hundreds of documents including medical and autopsy records, police reports, 911 calls, emails and text messages, along with interviews with more than70 people, reveals the devastating consequences of a sport that for years has operated under the halo of health and fitness.

Several of the industry’s top coaches, without formal training or medical licenses, supplied their clients with illegal steroids or other illicit substances; instructed them on dosages for using performance-enhancing drugs; or advised athletes not to seek medical care beforecompetitions, The Post found.

Unlike other professional sports, the IFBB Pro League, the largest professional bodybuilding federation in the United States, does not routinely test athletes for steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.There’s no health insurance or union to protect athletes. Nearly allsteroids are illegal without a prescription in the United States, but bodybuilders say they are easily obtained and widely used by competitors.

Jim Manion, who runs the IFBB Pro and an amateur organization, the National Physique Committee (NPC), declined to answer specific questions and issued a company statement: “The health, safety and welfare of all our competitors has, and always will be, of utmost importance to us.”

But bodybuilders and coaches say the risks have intensified in recent years as contest judges increasingly reward athletes with nearly impossible-to-achieve physiques. Those who’ve warned against the dangers say they have faced pressure to stay silent and suffered backlash from federation officials and coachesafter speaking out.

Bodybuilders typically spend months preparing for competitions with strict diets and hours of workouts often fueled by stimulants. Many add to that a cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs to build muscle and fat burners to get lean.

You want to know another population that uses steroids to excess? Gay men.

I’ve known so many gay men over the years who used steroids. I did, too. Their use was discussed openly at the gay gyms to which I belonged.

I have one friend who was facing having to take steroids the rest of his life — I haven’t spoken to him about it in years — because he did them for so long so heavily that his own body’s natural production of testosterone was unable to recover.

But this particular bill is coming due for many of the people I’ve known who injected steroids heavily.

I had one friend, super educated and smart, who was so bulked up in his chest, back and shoulders that his arms looked weirdly tiny as he walked with them pushed out from his body, T-rex-style.

He had a massive heart attack in the middle of his Boston gay gym and died on-the-spot.

He was in his early 40s. Everyone tsk-tsked “how young he was” to have such a thing happen, even though all of us who knew him at all also knew he was pumping himself full of steroids without even trying to also do the post-cycle round of other drugs to try to counter the effects of artificially elevating his testosterone levels so high for so long. (Is PCT — post cycle therapy — even still a thing?)

Social media has made the need to be muscular even worse, from what I gather. The pressure for all young men to be jacked — not just the gay ones anymore — is everywhere on social media.

I work at a university, and I see it in the undergraduate men. They are far more jacked than they’ve ever been.

I’m not judging. I did it. But there is a price to be paid eventually.

I stopped doing that stuff just as soon as my contemporaries started presenting with serious, life-threatening cardiovascular, liver and kidney problems. And that doesn’t even include the psychological toll of messing with your hormones that much.

Anyway, the WaPo piece — co-written by my friend Jenn Abelson — is disturbing and good.

I was prepared to hate this op-ed about Tom and Gisele

The headline over this New York Times op-ed is “Marriage Is Hard. Just Ask Tom and Gisele.”

I’ve never been so prepared to hate something. So much so that I almost didn’t read it at all.

But the piece actually makes some very good points about marriage and the expectations within it of women and work. Even when you’re famous enough to go by one name:

For women like Ms. Bündchen in marriages where both partners have interests outside of the marriage and household, roles often shift based on availability, income, health and whatever they agreed to in the partnership. They also shift according to societal expectations, and even wealthy women like Ms. Bündchen, who can afford child care and outside help and has more control over her time than a lot of working women, are still subject to the old biases — that their role is essentially supportive and their own ambitions secondary.

They are, in video game lingo, “non-player characters,” or characters who have no meaningful narrative or agency outside of the role they play in allowing the players of the game to achieve victory. They cannot meaningfully win themselves.

If it was never going to be her turn, I don’t blame Ms. Bündchen for opting out of the game entirely.

Good piece. Read the rest.

FWIW, I’ve always thought Tom Brady, as talented as he is at football, would be a terrible husband. Just too self-involved and right-wing.

Tom and Gisele in happier times.

Nobody should be shocked that Tom Brady is pals with Ron DeSantis

I have never liked Tom Brady as a person. This put me in a distinct minority of Boston-area residents, so I didn’t say it out loud much because it’s a stupid thing about which to pick a fight with friends, family and acquaintances.

As an athlete, he’s obviously in a class by himself. And I felt sorry for him during the entire made-up Deflategate scandal because it was clear he did nothing wrong and was being targeted by an NFL commissioner who was always jealous of the attention Brady received in popular culture.

I even started supporting, in my own small ways, the Patriots during this time because I had moved back to Red State America and it made the wingnuts crazy to say out loud in a public setting, “Tom Brady is the greatest athlete who ever lived.”

I don’t actually believe that, of course. It was just a way to get an amusing rise out of a certain kind of person.

I have always been confused that people in the Red State America hated Brady so much — it was partly the ultra-liberal Massachusetts thing, I guessed — because Brady is clearly, ideologically speaking, closer to Mississippi than he is to Boston.

He was wise enough, and financially savvy enough, to keep his mouth shut about this most of the time, despite his (and his coach’s) very public flirtations with Donald Trump — even after Trump was revealed to have racist, fascist tendencies. Brady and Coach Belichick did some sly stepping away from Trump after Jan. 6, but I’ll guess this was strategic more than it was that either man is no longer in Trump’s camp politically. I’m sure they’ll both secretly vote for Trump if he runs again.

So none of us should be shocked that Brady appears to be good buds with Ron DeSantis (R-Weimar Germany):

Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion, has for years been the subject of public affection from former President Donald J. Trump.

But according to Tim Michels, the Republican nominee for Wisconsin governor, Mr. Brady is now on texting terms with another Republican seen as a White House contender: Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.

Mr. DeSantis attended a Green Bay Packers football game last month and spent part of the game texting with Mr. Brady, according to Mr. Michels, who hosted the Florida governor in Green Bay and told supporters in Wisconsin last week about their time together. Mr. Brady first expressed support for Mr. Trump in 2015, when he was quarterback of the New England Patriots. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.

“I took Governor DeSantis to the Packer game at Lambeau Field,” Mr. Michels told a gathering of the Lake Country Patriots, a far-right group, on Thursday at a brewery in Oconomowoc, Wis. The New York Times was denied entry to the publicly advertised event, but obtained a recording of Mr. Michels’s remarks.

Mr. DeSantis, who on the day of the Packers game had appeared at a rally for Mr. Michels and Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, “had never been to Lambeau Field before and he wanted to go,” Mr. Michels said. “We’re sitting there, you know, we’re watching the game and all of a sudden, I look over and he’s texting and he says, ‘How do you spell Lambeau?’”

Here is a thing I used to say in Boston out-loud that got me in trouble: Brady will run for national office eventually, and he will do it as a right-wing Republican. Possibly (probably?) as a full MAGA right-winger.

People in Boston used to tell me I was nuts for thinking that. I don’t think so many of them think it’s crazy any longer.

Plus they all hate Brady now because he went to Florida, so Brady’s former supplicants in New England all talk shit about him anyway.

DeSantis (left) and Brady.

Celtics coach, who might have brought team to a championship in his 2nd year, is suspended by his own team

It is a different world out there, and even an up-and-coming winning NBA coach isn’t above the rules that say you should not be going within your organization for romance, especially if the people whom you go after work under you in any way. For a coach, that means you basically cannot be involved with anyone at work.

The Boston Celtics late Thursday suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the 2022-23 season for what the team called “violations of team policies,” rocking one of the preseason NBA title favorites a month before the new season begins.

The team did not specify the violations. Reports by ESPN and The Athletic said that Udoka was facing disciplinary action over a consensual relationship with a female colleague. The Celtics statement did not elaborate on the circumstances.

The team appeared to leave open the possibility that Udoka had coached his last game with the Celtics.

“A decision about his future with the Celtics beyond this season will be made at a later date,” the 46-word team statement read.

The Celtics did not name an immediate replacement for Udoka.

“I want to apologize to our players, fans, the entire Celtics organization, and my family for letting them down,” Udoka said in a statement reported by ESPN. “I am sorry for putting the team in this difficult situation, and I accept the team’s decision. Out of respect for everyone involved, I will have no further comment.”

The suspension jolted the league and shook a Celtics team coming off an unexpected appearance in the NBA Finals in Udoka’s first season as their coach. The expectations for Udoka’s team have been high for the season that begins next month: The Celtics were the betting favorites to win the championship as of Thursday morning.

Considering how long society ignored, or even celebrated, workplace lotharios, it is good that people can now lose their jobs over these issues, no matter how powerful those people might be.

Boston Celtics Coach Ime Udoka, whom everyone now assumes will lose his job.

Gay pro wrestling star is ready to be the role model the sport needs

Pro wrestling is a mystery to me, mostly because I don’t understand the fans. These people shell out a lot of money to watch these matches and I’ve never understood the answers to these questions: Do most of them know it’s a sham and they are going along with the spectacle and showmanship of it all? Or do they actually think that, because these (mostly) guys do actually hurt themselves during their over-the-top wrestling match performances, that all of it must be real?

I’m not knocking the fans of pro wrestling, any more than I’m knocking my many friends who adore Project Runway, The Amazing Race or RuPaul’s Drag Race. All of those shows run disclaimers at the end during the credits that specifically state that the producers of those programs may have taken steps that affect who wins and loses based solely on what makes the program more watchable.

OK, not in so many words. But that is essentially what all these programs do. It’s “reality” showbiz-style.

Yet everyone I know who watches these shows puts all of that in the back of their minds as they immerse themselves in outcomes they deep down know are probably fixed.

So, back to wrestling. Which I bring up because a story caught my eye this morning.

It’s from the pro wrestling-obsessed YouTube channel TSC News via, and it involves AEW wrestler Anthony Bowens, one-half of a hugely popular tag team in the AEW. (The AEW, for those who do not know, is the wrestling promotion company that is giving the WWE a run for its money.)

Anthony Bowen is gay. And he doesn’t care who knows it. In fact, he wants to be wrestling’s first superstar gay hero. Says Bowen about the warm reception he’s received:

It’s great and it’s one of the things that attracted me to come into AEW when I came here as an extra before I was signed. I saw people like Sonny Kiss and Nyla Rose just walking around being themselves without judgment and people being inclusive with them and there was no fear for them at all to be themselves and that was super important to me for wherever I would land at the time.

There’s never a time where I’m at work where I’m consciously thinking about it, it’s something that’s openly celebrated. I bring it up openly in front of my friends and co-workers, so we’ve come a long way in terms of inclusiveness in locker rooms and such. Fans from time to time, we still have got work to do but it’s been overwhelmingly positive.

I take that responsibility of being an out athlete very seriously because I’d like to show that you can be a successful openly gay professional athlete without it being the center of attention, without being the center of focus. At times, it is important to bring it up. For next week in particular, Max and I are gonna fight for our lives in this match and we also wanna bring home gold and if we do, I end up being AEW’s first gay champion, which is something that I would be super proud of. So I’m going to have some extra inspiration underneath me for that match.

I think I’m probably safe in predicting that any pro wrestling match has more Trump fans than Biden fans, but that’s just a hunch.

Having an out-and-proud man of color in that sport is a watershed of some sort, though I don’t follow the sport closely enough to know how much of one it really is. It certainly feels like an important line to cross.

Anyway, you can watch Bowen’s entire TSC interview below. He seems very likable. I love him merely for having a framed Simpsons still above him while he is being interviewed.

Tickets for Trump’s Saudi-backed golf tournament are going for $1 on StubHub

Given that Donald Trump has failed at just about everything else he’s tried — Trump steaks, Trump vodka, Trump Airlines, Trump casinos, Trump “University” and, of course, the Trump presidency — it stands to reason that his inaugural Saudi-backed golf tournament would be less than stellar. Everything the man touches fails.

This is what the Wall Street Journal, once reliably in Trump’s orbit in every way, had to say:

The golf itself, meanwhile, wasn’t exactly supercharged—light crowds were spread across much of the vast grounds here on the first day of the tournament. Tickets for the Saturday session were available on for as little as $1.

And Mr. Trump, well, acted like he owned the place.

The high-profile group for Thursday’s pro-am round produced an unusual scene: at least a dozen golf carts, including Mr. Trump’s with the presidential seal, were on the same hole. It was also a rare glimpse into Mr. Trump on the course after rounds during his presidency were typically out of view from the press.

Mr. Trump also took liberties that others might not feel comfortable doing at a prestigious country club. He took out divots on some practice shots. On the second hole, he also drove his cart up to the edge of the green—which left some confusion because not everyone, including Mr. Al-Rumayyan, had yet to hit their shots. After they called out to him, Mr. Trump backed up.

One dollar a ticket. LOL.

Trump cannot ever seem to get out of the way of everyone else just trying to carry on with business about which he is oblivious as he screams “Me! Me! Me! Me!” from the sidelines.

Note that this tournament was meant to be a big “Eff you!” to the PGA, which pulled its prestigious tournament from Trump’s golf club in the wake of Trump inciting a seditious insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

There is never not a good reason to run this picture, which may or may not be real, showing Trump with poopy pants.