maybe a bit too existential
I may have recommended it, or in any case I strongly recommend it to all who haven't read it-- I happened to be recommended it after I had read a handful of Ray Chandler's excellent Philip Marlowe detective stories set in 1950s LA, and stylistically they are very similar, which I mean to be a complement towards Lethem. Lethem doesn't seem to have a single style, but the mid-century city-story is one he does very well. (see also "Motherless Brooklyn")

Also, I haven't every really watched Top Gear, just heard about it as it is one show that's popular in the TV-uploaded-to-internet scene, so calling it a motorhead show might be a mischaracterization. It's definitely a show about cars, but considering the video evidence, it might be light enough to be widely accessible to non-motorheads.
--LAN3 Sun Feb 12 23:01:39 2006
If you like audio books much, I gather there's an audio version of Motherless Brooklyn read by Steve Buscemi-- somehow I had a sample from the first chapter, and it was a great listen.
--LAN3 Sun Feb 12 23:03:03 2006
Back for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary I (and my parents) volunteered as ski-jump distance measurers. At that time (don't know if it's still true, or if they've gone high-tech) a row of people would be standing off to the side of the landing area, one every metre who would then judge whether the jumper landed in front of them or a half meter lower.

Anyway, that WWoS "agony of defeat" guy tried to bail out for some reason (panic attack maybe). But there's no way to do that. You've committed as soon as you push off the seat on the ramp. Heck, you can do yourself a lot of hurt even if you don't jump and simply slide off the end of the ramp. (BTW, ski jumpers jump with their heels, not with their toes. Try it sometime.) There's a "safe landing" zone which the organizers try to get all of the jumpers to land in by where they set the starting seat. The problem in '88 is we had Matti Nykenen cruising to the bottom of the hill and Eddie "the Eagle" who could barely clear the top. Very tough setting the seat to make it safe for both jumpers.
--ericball Mon Feb 13 11:28:36 2006
hey, that's really cool that you have such an insider's view

The Yahoo link says he was trying to slowdown when he lost his balance.

I was thinking that there are some events that are "universal", where theoretically the track/areana conditions shouldn't matter too much, so you can have objective world records...stuff like the speedskating. Then stuff like downhill skiing, it's highly dependent on the track, so you can't really compare. Maybe skijumping is less "universal" and more subjective than I thought...which makes sense, it's would be kind of hard to say "your mountain must have this specific angle at this specific point..."
--Kirk Mon Feb 13 11:36:05 2006
Heh...Eddy The Eagle... check out
--Kirk Mon Feb 13 15:04:27 2006
Even speedskating isn't universal. Canadian Cinty Klassen got bronze partly because the ice was "slow".
--ericball Tue Feb 14 16:26:15 2006
Yeah, I should have been more specific; there are some sports where the course is what it is, like the shape of a mountain, and others where you try to get the course as close as possible to some theoretical ideal.

But even in the latter case there it might not be an exact science.
--Kirk Tue Feb 14 16:54:49 2006
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--wsoftqma fnskz Sun Jan 18 04:20:01 2009

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