Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pink Jerseys and Elephants

Pink Jerseys

      That time of the year has come when the vibrant country of Italy is blanketed in the color pink for three weeks as the madness that is the Giro d'Italia courses through her ever varying and alluring terrain. The clothes are pink, the fountains turn pink, and even a few sheep in the lea are dyed pink in honor of the Giro.  Aside from the beauty of the landscape and the podium girls, that which fascinates me most about this race is the passion of the fans and the unpredictability of the racing.  For as sure as the sun will rise in the east, something improbable will occur in the 3 weeks of the Giro that will never occur at the Tour de France or Vuelta e Espana.  I have watched this, my favorite race, for a number of years before my curiosity was piqued enough to stir me to an investigation of the reason for the unique color choice of the Giro.  Most of the great cycling races were staged (pardon the pun) as an attempt to sell newspapers back in the day, and the Giro was no exception.  Promoted by the La Gazzetta dello Sport, the premier sporting newspaper of the country, the inaugural race was held in 1909.  La Gazzetta was printed on, you guessed it, pink paper, and thus we have our rationale for la maglia rosa, or pink leader's jersey of the Giro d'Italia.  


      As has been the recent trend of starting grand tours in foreign lands, the grand partenza for this year's edition of the Giro is none other than the Netherlands, which if you read this blog with any frequency, you'll recognize as the birthplace of gin.  It would seem that there is a pleasing commingling with gin to nearly everything which I enjoy musing about-perhaps that is just me.  I think the Dutch were just as pleased when local Tom Dumoulin took the opening time trial to don la maglia rosa.  It would appear that Dumoulin and I are somewhat opposites, as he actually wanted to go to medical school, but was not accepted and ended up becoming a professional cyclist.  I, on the other hand, like to fantasize about becoming a professional cyclist, but not having sufficient talent, settled on a career in medicine.    A professional cyclist on the Pro Tour seems like an odd second choice of professions for Dumoulin, but he'll certainly make a lot more money on la bicicletta.  A truly amazing individual is Eric Heiden of US speed skating fame who accomplished both feats.  Following a spectacularly successful speed skating career, which is also a Dutch national pastime, he entered the realm of pro cycling, riding for the 7 Eleven team and racing the Giro in 1985.  After his sporting career, he actually went to medical school and became an orthopedic surgeon.  

Phantom Pachyderms

       Pink jerseys are one thing, but pink elephants are an entirely different thing indeed.  Both short and long term sequelae of alcohol consumption have both been associated with the euphemism  "seeing pink elephants."  The modern adage "everything in moderation" has it's roots in ancient times.  The saying mhden agan (meden agan) was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi. It means "nothing in excess".  In Aristotle's Rhetoric it is attributed to Chilo, one of the Seven Sages of ancient Greece.  Pertaining to alcohol, the implications are far too obvious.  Short term is the dreaded hangover, due in large part to the accumulation of byproducts of alcohol detoxification by the body.  Long term is the withdrawal from the state of alcohol dependence and the onset of Delerium Tremens.  And so enjoy your Martini responsibly for it is a potent libation to be savored, and not overdone.  

And so I sit back each night and watch my recorded Giro episode, sipping a martini, preferring the fight for the pink jersey over the appearance of pink elephants.

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