Monday, March 31, 2014

Maks is catching on.

Got a better copy of this. As I just watched it, I had to take back the idea of not saying anything until tomorrow. My main question isn't just where did the Foxtrot happen, but where did the dancing happen?

Meryl actually walked this dance. I could see if it were contemporary, where you sort of walk around lyrically in between emoting and lifts, but this is Foxtrot. She was striding through the parts where she wasn't death dropping and kicking. I get when you've got somebody who's not really a dancer - and she's not - you break it up so they don't have to sustain a through line. I get it. But the part where we're to believe she was actually doing the assigned dance, she was walking and striding. No rise and fall. That's what I'm going to gif tomorrow.
Look at Meryl foxtrot.
One wonders what went on in training, and at what point
Maks realized he couldn't teach her to actually dance.
Break out the bag of schtick (He had Kirstie Alley
on the floor in one of their dances too. Of course, she
was 60.)

And this:

8 straight seconds standing dead still. I recounted. 14 seconds standing in one spot on the floor. 7 seconds not even changing position, just lip hovering. I bet even Marina would be hard-pressed to beat that. You go, Maks.

This guy's older than Meryl - it's John O'Hurley from Season 1, doing a foxtrot. I don't think he has a gold medal at home, but he's not taking a load off in the middle of his routine. I'm putting it here so the rise and fall can be observed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's not like Moirville is subtle

It's not random. It doesn't work like that.

And not for nothing, but let's remember a triple play of family events right after the Olympics last time and consider how it's setting up right after the Olympics this time. That didn't stop Scott from putting the Jessica sham on blast or Je taiming Jessica on facebook.

P.S. - this just occurred to me, so file it under the category of "Slow-witted":

Scott and Tessa could be being cagey about their retirement plans in order to keep the spotlight on themselves and Moirville. Yes, I think they want to stay in, but there's the need to stay relevant as well. Moirville went big the past two seasons, and went grabby. But Moirville isn't really good at saying "That's enough." Keeping the issue open keeps VM (and Moirville) in the spotlight.

Look at Shannon Woodhouse's follow-up:

Look at that follow up. Even "good friends" is a lot to see when you're watching from another table. What's the "can't say more than that." There's more to say but I can't say on twitter? Or couldn't tell if it was more?

This is such b.s. Imagine you work in an institution and at the next table is someone else who works there, dining with her well-known son, her husband and a guest. You get on twitter and tell the world the son is there with a well-known guest, and you put your name on that tweet. You don't ask permission to tell the world your colleague's business or her son's business. You know it's just fine you're putting news about a colleague onto the cybersphere. When a stranger on twitter follows up with a question, you are happy to expand and you are unnecessarily cryptic about the status of the famous son and his friend. Shannon Woodhouse is a freaking adult, a grown person, not somebody who just left school. This was a set up.

Please with this.

P.S. - Recapping DWTS tomorrow night - am not watching in real time so will wait til the videos are up on and elsewhere. I do know the scores so far - Meryl on top of the leaderboard. I'm anxious to see if it's the routine or the dancing (Maks got Willa Ford tens for Foxtrot once so it's not always dancing. But if he got Meryl to really do it, good for them. With Willa he pretty much held her up.)

I think there's bizarre score inflation for this season. I recently checked out the season where Zendaya/Val danced and that team got 8s for better stuff than they're giving 9s and 10s for this season. Maybe they're inspired by DW's ice dance career.

My work here is not done

So ISU president Speedy Cinquanta is looking ahead to his 2016 departure, and, as he notes in a recent communique, time's a wasting. A lot has been accomplished, but there's more to be done if the sport is to be irrevocably be stripped of its credibility before his final sayanara.

He shares his thoughts:

There's still time to make figure skating worse

Read that. Does anybody think a penetrating intellect like David Dore's would have trouble controlling this guy?

I don't know why Speedy's plans are so conservative. I've got some ideas:

For pairs:
Divide the rink in half and compress the routine.Two pairs teams compete at the same time, one at each end. Judges compare tricks, and the audience is on the edge of their seats in case one of the throws sends a lady sailing to the wrong end of the rink, decapitating the other guy.

For singles:
No more singles. Singles relay. One by one each skater in each flight races after the other onto the ice and does their opening pose and preliminary stroking. Repeat as each follows the other with their next sequence or element. Only half the footwork is done per turn, because the audience doesn't have the attention span for all that shit at once. The spirals can be completed in one go cause they're pretty.

For dance:
Two teams on the ice at once, but the rink isn't split. At a point to be determined by blind draw at each event, the teams must switch partners before a key, easily apprehended element such as the dance spin or the twizzles. The voting is factored so that the skaters are scored individually, not as a team. At the medal ceremony, it could be Alexandra Paul standing up there with Alex Shibutani.

Monday, March 24, 2014

She's tight with the music all right

I won't be able to gif this until tomorrow, so for now:

Gee, they thought Meryl lost timing a couple of times.

You don't say.

Imagine being an Olympic-gold medal possessing ice dancer on DWTs, getting a dance that goes right to your specialty, which is being tossed, flipped and flung like a sack of laundry while warp-speed flinging out your legs below the knee and your arms from the shoulders out, and the judges can only cough up one extra point from your debut. Meryl is really bad. How can a solid, built-like-a-fireplug, slam-into position, under five feet tall, teen gymnast be a better dancer than a gold-medal draped ice dancer? Shawn Johnson was Yulia Zagoruychenko compared to Meryl. Meryl is terrible!

No rhythm at all, no musicality. Her shoulders, head, back and hips are rigid. She's had two super fast, athletic dances to help her get her feet wet before the slower, dramatic, more controlled, more graceful stuff starts, and she can't pull them off.

She's doing nothing differently in terms of dancing than she did on ice, where judges apparently thought she was so "tight" with that music they wish they had +10's - referencing that section of the guidelines that deals with "tightness" that I can't seem to find anywhere.

This performance has nothing to do with the difficulty of transferring from ice to the floor. She wasn't on the damn floor half the time. This is - she can't dance.

I think the judges are being kind, and were kind last week. They're giving her points for the energy and the fitness. For now they're focusing on her total lack of musicality and her imprecision. Dear God wait til they get to her alignment and her rigidity. Baby steps. Don't want to pile on.

I don't know if I've ever seen an ice dancer with such a stiff, brittle back, who is all knees down, and then arms, no torso, no hips, can't phrase, and has no sense of time. I don't think even Maria Butyrskaya was this tight.

Butyrskaya had better edges too.

Meryl "dances" like one of the exercise obsessives in some high intensity, high impact jazzercise or aerobics class - you could break your face on her muscles, and your jaw drops at the zero body fat, but she has no rhythm whatsoever and walks funny. Little spastic scurrying feet, oblivious to any timing but frantic, is not dancing.

And why not watch Kristy Yamguchi on her first DWTs episode (not a dancer, a singles skater. And a pairs girl), years removed from her competitive prime, and in her thirties:

Okay, waiting for Charlie. And gifs tomorrow.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why are people in figure skating so concerned about perception?

I haven't subjected myself yet to the interview where Tessa Virtue wishes people would not focus on the scandal, the better to bring credibility to the sport.

Tessa Virtue, ladies and gentlemen.

You know what would bring credibility to the sport, Tessa? If the sport had credibility.

The language used when skaters talk about how the public sees figure skating is always so sketchy and WTF.There was Sinead Kerr jumping onto twitter complaining that VM interrupting their 4CC's Carmen hurt the "perception" of the sport.

What actually hurts the perception of the sport, and will continue to hurt the perception of the sport, is that it's fucked up and corrupt, secretive and shady, and lacks all accountability.

What hurts the perception of the sport are communiques as dead honest and earnest as this one, from South Korea:
"We had to be extremely careful with our action because filing a complaint may adversely affect our relationships with the ISU and international figure skating judges, which could put our athletes at a disadvantage at future competitions," the statement read. "However, after deliberating over what would be the best course of action for our people, we decided to appeal with the ISU."
The ISU Constitution and General Regulations state that "no protests against evaluations by referees, judges and the technical panel of skaters' performances are allowed." The ISU also states that protests against results "are permitted only in the case of incorrect mathematical calculation."
However, under Article 24 of the ISU Constitution and General Regulations, complaints may be filed with the ISU's Disciplinary Commission "within 60 days of learning of the facts or events which constitute a disciplinary or ethical offense." The KSU and the KOC said they believe the composition of the panel in Sochi was in violation of the ISU's ethical rules.
What? WHAT? Is South Korea saying that if its complaint is taken amiss, the ISU may see to it that South Korean figure skaters skating according to the rules of CoP will have their scores fucked with in retaliation? South Korean skaters' levels and GOE and components  - the stuff that quantifies what a skater did on the ice, and nothing more or less - will instead actually reflect the ISU's displeasure with South Korea filing a complaint?

Tell me more, South Korea! How does the ISU get this done, exactly? You file a complaint, suddenly your skaters aren't making the final flights. Who issues the directive? It's not "The ISU". It's not a whole bunch of judges individually reacting as one to this complaint and individually deciding to jack your skaters' scores. It's a person. Somebody has to tell them to do it. Who?

Why are the public faces of the sport - the skaters -  more concerned with how the sport is perceived rather than how it is? Why are they eager for a disconnect between perception and reality?

Perception: Tessa and Scott interrupted their program and were allowed to go back and finish! How is that fair?
Reality: Tessa and Scott interrupted per the ISU's own rules.

Why wasn't THAT explained instead of all the oh oh oh oh oh oh hurting the perception! The ISU has/had a rule. Tessa and Scott were within that rule. Instead of the incredibly shady shade thrown left and right immediately suggesting Scott and Tessa were faking, how about explaining that they acted according to the ISU's rules on interruptions?

Why so assbackwards, skaters who threw shade? A little quick-triggered and oversensitive, are we?

Desired Perception: Judging is fair, DW brought it and skating is a wonderful, legitimate sport.
Reality: The results in ice dance have been predetermined for at least the past two seasons (and probably more). Any comparison between what DW did on the ice and what the ISU rules say they ought to have done on the ice in order to get the scores they received demonstrates that without a doubt. The sport is corrupt.

If figure skating were a real sport, staffed by officials who didn't use the mafia as their role models, someone like David Dore would register a strong objection/protest to South Korea's suggestion that the ISU would ever ever retaliate against a Federation's skaters for that Federation filing a complaint about a competitive result. But I bet it doesn't bug them. I bet nobody in the media who followed DW/VM and Slotnikova/Yuna Kim is going to go - wow, a whole entire Fed just announced, humbly, that the governing body of this terribly legitimate sport will possibly retaliate against the Federation's athletes on the score sheet if it doesn't like that the Federation filed this complaint.

They'll just let that statement sit there, and continue to tell us how on point DW's scores were versus VM. Scores that have no relationship to what was skated only happen when Russians are on the ice or on the judging panel.The ISU itself is A-Okay.

Obvious relational associations and logical implications are disregarded in the media coverage of these events. Just leave em there on the ground.

To conclude, let's note that the Korean Skating Federation has just told us that the ISU is perfectly capable of controlling/directing the international judging community to score a skater and event per an agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with the skater's performance on the ice (retaliation, or say, directing a particular team towards a gold medal at the Olympics). Not at one event, but systematically, going forward. However did South Korea receive the impression this was possible?

I can understand why a liar like Tessa would be reality averse, valuing perception over truth but I don't think she should be doing psa's about it on Strombo.

P.S. I found this 2011 article: David Dore and figure skating that quotes both David Dore and Christine Brennan. David Dore is described thusly: "One of the smartest and most profound international officials in figure skating today."

Gee I wonder what THAT pre-interview was like.

The topic is the International Judging System.

"Everybody has an agenda and you have to play your own game."  explained Dore.

"The new system is still undecipherable for civilians" said Christine Brennan.

Let me ask you Christine. Did you ever make a first-hand attempt to understand the new system or did the word "factored' pull you up short. Did you ever give yourself a boost by learning anything about blade work, steps and turns? Or did you look at it and go shit, that's a lot of decimal points and small type, nobody's going to understand it cause I don't!

"These are really difficult times for figure skating in terms of the sports media," said Brennan. "[Coaches and officials] need to think about ways to make it [more] interesting."

The thing with Brennan is she gets all her stuff from the people whose perspective is overcooked from being inside the sport too long. She doesn't act like a journalist and get that bird's eye view.

Does the "Ice Challenge Competition" discussed in this article actually happen?  It seems to be a competition for former champions and medalists, like the old pro comps.

Like any community, the inner workings of the ISU are complex and sometimes challenging, but it can work if you know how to work with it.  "The culture and concept of the ISU is that it’s a team," said Dore, who urged coaches to be smart, innovative and creative in terms of utilizing the IJS.

Uh huh. I don't exactly understand what is being said in this paragraph.

Okay, I figured out why that last paragraph is a WTF. This article isn't making sense. It's not explaining, connecting, or linking the supposed issues it's addressing into a coherent statement.

Let's look:

1. As I understand this article, it's saying the "new" judging system is a marketing challenge because the general public doesn't understand it and it takes longer for the scores to pop up when skaters are in the kiss'n'cry.

Okay, I see. But then there's this:

2. "Everybody has their own agenda and you have to play your own game."

What does that have to do with the UJS. Agenda in what respect? Agenda about what? Play your own game about what?

and let's look at this:

3. "Like any community, the inner workings of the ISU are complex and sometimes challenging, but it can work if you know how to work with it."

Yeah, no. That's not "like any community." Furthermore, complex generally means there are multiple components, not that nobody knows what the fuck is going on. How come this author (and Dore) aren't laying out what the "inner workings" are, what is so complex about them, and telling explicitly what the challenges are? How does one learn to "know how to work with it." What are examples of people who have successfully worked with it? What did they do? What challenges were presented? What is the wrong way?

I understand that might be a tough challenge when nobody's telling us what "it" is.

IOW, bullshit bullshit bullshit. They're telling us nothing here.

P.S. I also suspect it's likely that the Letter of Inquiry the ISU sent after Virtue Moir interrupted Carmen at the 4CC's was the ISU simply capitalizing on the event to throw shade on VM and enable the DW narrative. If the DW trajectory weren't the agenda, no letter of inquiry would have been sent.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Here's Charlie

After these, we can get to canadablue's Davis White and Virtue Moir gala comparisons.

I got the chance to watch some of the others, namely, Danica McKellar, Candace Bure and Amy Purdy. All were better than either Davis and White by a fair amount. McKellar's spins were stronger than Meryl's - balanced, controlled, in time with the music. Purdy had the best topline, and, of the three, I think was the most natural dancer - damn her for having Derek (I love Derek but I feel 6 trophies would be some kind of wrong). Bure kicked Charlie's ass in contemporary, but Charlie and Sharna had a prettier and, I guess, more audience-grabbing number, and I think Ballas worked a static frame a little too much - they didn't really use the space.

Let's watch Charlie go:

I thought this was leading to a vampire
interpretation, but false alarm. Look at Charlie act!

Has it been pent up inside him all this time?
He's almost hungry.

Right there he's now looked her in the face more
times than his entire career with Meryl.
 Not even waiting for the part specially
choreographed for him to look her in the face.
Just like it's a regular thing.
Sharna phrases very well and is very musical herself. You can't say that about all the pros. They all dance in proper time, but they don't all phrase well, although I won't start airing out my opinions as to who does and doesn't. But the fact that Sharna acts well when she dances (the music affects her rhythm which feeds the emotion in the narrative) gives Charlie a template right on the floor with him that is giving immediate feedback he can feed off and work with.

On the ice, he has to work with a static partner using what becomes a static template created off ice by his very musical coach (Marina), a template that has "set" the rhythm by timing the choreography to certain beats and musical highlights in their program music. Once they take it out on the ice, he's working by rote.

The other thing that gives you a "Hmm, that's different" feeling watching Charlie work with Sharna is we're used to DW re-setting after everything. Here Sharna's movement and the choreography kept evolving after she exited a lift. She didn't stop to wave her arms around, pose, jump in place, or slide on her knees. She could actually enter a lift, execute the lift, exit the lift, and off the exit transition into another choreographic phrase. We don't see this with DW, and suddenly the familiar DW lifts made sense and came alive as choreographic storytelling aids.

This is the part where Charlie showed tempo
variation in his actual movement. I was stunned.
It also reads to me like: "I can dance!
I can dance! I'm doing it."
There's a "Yeah!" kind of vibe going on,
like something is busting out.
"You didn't think I could!"
Look at Charlie, holding the moment after
the actual dance is done.

Sharna kind of stepped all over Charlie's "beat" by hopping in glee the instant she hit her last mark. Come on Sharna, you're the pro. Let Charlie enjoy himself - he never gets to do this in his day job.

BTW, what happened to Charlie's asthma? You'd think between the stress of doing something new (dancing), the challenge to his equilibrium posed by looking at his partner, and adrenalin, he'd be doubled over a bit, but he seems just fine.


Long time no see Tanith and Charlie out and about in
public together. Here they are again, just like
an actual couple.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Where did the time go?

It's DWTS premiere night - I had no idea until this afternoon - and I just wanted to make these observations:

Meryl and Maks preview rehearsal:

Charlie and Sharma preview rehearsal:

Nobody uploaded Charlie and Sharna to youtube

Doesn't matter. If you've seen Meryl/Maks you've seen Charlie/Sharna because it goes like this:

Maks/Sharna: Who has the edge, you or Charlie/Meryl?

Meryl/Charlie: Charlie/Meryl.

Maks/Sharna: Let's rehearse a bit!

Maks/Sharna:  Not too bad, but there is room for improvement.

Maks/Sharna: But you can spin/flex your legs, can you not?

Meryl/Charlie: I mean, well <shrug> like this, or should it be one foot or two? I can't really do the splits but maybe you mean kinda this? 


Meryl Charlie: So that was okay?


We're going to be choking down a lot of humble bragging on this show, aren't we?

"Yes." [modest shrug] "We can move our bodies on the floor just like everybody from novice on up! It's no wonder we got gold."

Depending on your rooting interest/and or interest in seeing Meryl actually dance (versus being told she's actually dancing), this is concerning:

Meryl's hips are tight and she mostly seems to be changing around her feet placement as Maks dips her from various angles, versus "dancing." She's not using her torso, core - only limbs. She's a knees down and shoulders out type of dancer. But we shall see. It is only a snippet.

And Charlie:

That's another thing. Although Charlie was the more diffident partner between him and Meryl, Meryl didn't exactly set the ice on fire (so to speak) with her dynamic performance energy. It was more like slap on that smile, raise those eyebrows, re-set it, re-set it, re-set it, and don't let it leave your face even if your partner drops dead. So it's not like she showed him up. They sort of matched. She was just a bit better, but not miles better.

Sharna seems to throw herself into performance. I'm wondering if Charlie will attempt to actually engage (his body language seems a little eh up there), and if he doesn't, if he'll be called out on it or if the judges will just pretend he did it, just like when he skates.

P.S. Apparently Meryl said dancing is hard cause you're "stuck" on the floor. I disagree. I think you can hop, scurry, skip and knee slide on the floor just as well. Granted, Maks and Sharna are not Derek, and Derek can get away with giving his partners 7 seconds of the actual footwork while filling in the rest with lunging, sliding, running on tip-toes and hopping. But perhaps for this one season, they'll both be honorary Dereks.

P.S. - Wow, Erin Andrews has an incredibly annoying voice.

Meryl's done. Let's take a look.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Evaluating Strategies for Evaluating Sources.

I googled, and ended up reading Evaluating Strategies for Evaluating Sources, as I was following with interest the discussion of the FSU moderator's assertions in the comment section of the post below this one. I'm always interested in declarative statements from our educators. Says the FSU moderator:
The first standard for evaluating a source is assessing the qualifications of that source. The second one is assessing the possibility of prejudicial bias.
For the moment, let's not look at whether or not this is the first standard. Let's set aside that, despite Prancer's topic sentence, there is no consensus about what the first standard may be (There isn't. I did a lot of googling about it.). Let's set aside the notion that "qualifications" will determine the validity of someone's opinion, apparently sans context, and while discounting primary evidence available to all.

Immediately what comes to mind is "how does one assess the qualifications of that source"? If one is unfamiliar or insufficiently informed on the subject/issue/whatever, how does one evaluate? And by "qualifications" does she mean "credentials"?

A bunch of credentials appended to somebody's name doesn't tell us anything in itself - otherwise, every verdict at every trial would be prompted by "expert" testimony, and there would be no way that the prosecution could produce an "expert" who contradicted the defense's "expert."

"The second one is assessing the possibility of prejudicial bias." Alrighty. How does one assess that? Is it easier to assess if the expert's prejudicial bias conforms with your own? When that's the case, clearly there is no prejudicial bias.

Christ on a cracker. We're talking ice dance. In ice dance, there is a rule book. Anybody literate can read it and understand that words stand for things, and therefore, see for themselves what the rules mean.Then, anyone who is not vision impaired, and with the rules in mind, can go see the skating and see if the skaters are doing what the rulebook says should be done.

With DW, we're not talking qualitative or quantitative subtleties.

Prancer continues to post about figure skating as if it's an unsee-able, arcane, untranslatable discipline that one can only understand via specially trained emissaries who cross the great divide, break down the secret code, and report back to the hoi polloi. The task becomes, can we trust these emissaries.

Jesus fucking Christ Prancer. You're an academic. Read the rulebook. Look at the skating. And don't be a dumbass.You're coming off like Matthew Broderick in the Cooter episode of 30 Rock.

From a fansite about the Cooter episode:
Cooter insists the roof isn't leaking, when it obviously is, even offering to show Jack the study that shows it. Then he insists there is no recession even though the office doesn't even have pens.
Cooter insists the roof isn't leaking because the study says it's not. Cooter insists there's no recession despite not having basic supplies because headquarters says there is no recession.

Prancer? You know how we assess the qualifications of those who wrote the study? By noticing the study says the roof isn't leaking while the roof is leaking.

See? No need to even muster up the fee for a database searching the credentials of those who produced the study.

The comedic/farce component of this 30 Rock episode is any moron can see for themselves that the roof is leaking.You don't need a freaking source.You just need to understand, for yourself, what a leaking roof is.

Prancer.The roof is leaking.

I did some googling with the search phrase: "What is the first standard for evaluating sources."

I got CUNY's web page (City University Of New York) which says:
The information literate student evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. 
Well, Prancer is self-admittedly lacking an evaluative criteria she failed to mention - a knowledge base. OTOH, she might have a value system, a value system which informs her that she prefers DW - or at least is irritated by the fans of Virtue Moir. The real problem here is pseudo rationality. Not to mention that one's "value system" can actually mean the bias/prejudice resides in you, and in your evaluative conclusions, and not in the thing you're evaluating.

You know how it is. You actually need to use your own brains, your own powers of observation, and your own reasoning process, to work this stuff out. I realize that for some, this can be a pain in the ass.
P.S. I'm adding this quote from the Vassily Solovyov interview linked in the comments section below, because it is part of the persistent question asked on this blog:

The judging games. It is a mystery to me how ISU manipulates their scores. There are only two possible scenarios. Either they tell all nine judges and three technical specialists how to score people ahead of time. Or their scores are just neglected, and there is someone else sitting by the computer, clicking away. Because some things that happen in figure skating are just beyond belief for me.

Namely "Who" is "the ISU"?

There is no such thing as an animated, talking/communicating abstract entity. "They" have names. The ISU", to coin phrase, is people. Who are the individuals manipulating the scoring, who are the people who make sure that, for example, DW's scores stay ahead of VM no matter how DW skate (and no matter how VM skate), no matter what's in the rulebook. Even setting aside the corruption aspect of things, who are the deciders? Where does it start, and with whom, when VM "hear" something about an element that needs to change lest it negatively impact their scores/levels/is ruled illegal even after being competed legally?

Even Vassily Solovyov - he's not naming anybody. Yet. "The ISU" has to be a person/persons, with names, with identities.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Skating skills

(This is a test run of the skating skills post embed. It might appear or disappear depending on if the embeds worked to show the entire video.)

Before I start, I want to link this again. Skatinganalysts blog.

If anybody in media ever visits the dubemoir blog, there is no excuse to not read skatinganalysts blog. It's linked on the side bar too.

The media doesn't understand technique? I'm sure the usual suspects want to, or they wouldn't be writing about figure skating year after year. Now they can understand technique. They can go there and read about it, with on point gif and video illustrations created from video of Davis White's and Virtue Moir's 2013-2014 performances, and performances from many more, accompanied by clear citations to the relevant rules that governed the scores they receive. You will see how little relationship there is to how DW were scored and what they actually did and didn't do on the ice.

Unless the skating itself - the technique of it, the skill of it, doesn't actually interest them, which can't possibly be it. They're professionals.

Here's an illustration of Charlie's wonderful back outside exit edge on the first choctaw in the Olympic team event free dance at the beginning of the diagonal step sequence. They got level 4.
That's not a flat from Charlie. That's skating while
Davis White.
Skating analysts blog has gifs and video of this moment, and many other moments, not just a screencap.

For now, I'm linking Davis White versus embedding. The embed issue now is, I uploaded the Davis White video onto veoh myself, and did not upload the Virtue Moir video, but the embed code still embeds the Virtue Moir video with a Davis White link slugged below the video. Same thing when I embed from canadablue's veoh. I don't know why that is, as I uploaded to veoh from a daily motion download, not by downloading canadablue's veoh and re-uploading to the oycanada veoh account. But still, the embed of Davis White doesn't want to embed Davis White.

Here's the link to Davis White (for now), until the embed issue is resolved:

Davis White Skating Skills Video

and - omg, it appears as if Part 1 successfully uploaded to the blog. Fingers crossed, stay tuned for Part II.

"Skating" Skills, Part 2.
videos from canadablue.

Part 3.

See the title cards. These aren't suggestions. These are the criteria that determine how a judging panel should score a program. Read them. How it says "this" gets the highest scores. Watch Meryl and Charlie get 10s and +3s for doing none of it, for doing what is explicitly discouraged in the rules that govern the scoring. The rules don't simply say we prefer that you do it this way. The rules also say, explicitly, don't do it the way Meryl and Charlie are doing it.

I'm putting Davis White up first because everyone knows Virtue Moir do it right. They out CoP, CoP. Even DW fans, for all the crap they've slung, know Virtue Moir DO it. DW fans don't argue this. They just look for any imperfection in VM, because they pretend DW and VM are starting on a level playing field. They're not. DW aren't on the field at all. A VM mistake is irrelevant until and unless DW actually skate their fucking program by the rules. Until they do, nothing VM do or don't do on the ice is relevant to an outcome that has DW on top.

I'll explain it - they're married and have a three year old daughter

Not hard to explain at all.

Their relationship isn't difficult to explain. But they have lied their asses off for years, and keep upping the ante. Maybe that's the toughie.

So far, this post-Sochi phase reminds me of the last Olympics, when Tessa and Scott were everywhere together, all the time, until they decided it was enough and resumed shamming. I wonder if they have a new girl in mind this time. In the past, I've wondered if they'd switch it up and have Tessa be the one with a long-term sham love interest. But after seeing the reality show, I know that ain't happening for fear that someone, somewhere, whom nobody knows, may have a fleeting thought that Scott could be gay. People can have that fleeting thought even when he has an official girlfriend, but at least Moirville covered every base. And we all know there's nothing more convincing than overcompensation.

See? Everybody bought it.


Other thoughts: when the reporter in the video above was all jolly about going home to "celebrate" two silver medals, it just made my stomach clench. Or my jaw clench. That is nothing to celebrate. I hate this "let's put it behind us/ and slap on a smile." The entire sport pro-actively decided to commit a sports crime. You don't make nice about that. This sport has a problem. People in the sport don't think it's a big deal. Everybody wants to enable this. But it's flat out wrong to "move on", IMO.

While trying to find a way to put those Skating Skills videos in the draft post (I'm breaking them up but still having trouble both embedding from my own photobucket image host AND uploading), I keep seeing large segments of the program Meryl and Charlie performed in Sochi. Not only does it suck as a non-skating package of bullshit, but they didn't deliver it well. They were incredibly, incredibly sluggish, and none-too-steady on their feet.

So even if the competition were a form of performance art where teams present choreography while running around on blade flats executing random strength moves, Davis White didn't do it well. They wobbled and hesitated throughout, and had trouble covering any ice even when they intended to cover ice.

I want to say something about David Dore as well. This is, of course, only speculation. But when I focused on him in an earlier post, I was not saying he sat on his ass and let this happen. I was saying he's the guy responsible for this, because who else would it be? Cinquanta who knows nothing about figure skating? It's Dore. He put this in motion. It was his call. And there's a reason Skate Canada cooperated, because Dore goes way back with all of those people.

P.S. Dear God, I just listened to some morning interview and it can be lifted 100% from freaking 2010. I think Tessa's implying she's got a bf while Scott implies he broke up. Did they just take this from Ben Mulroney's 2010's book promo?

Monday, March 10, 2014

I just did an entire Skating Skills post using canadablue/waltzflower's great videos, and the embed codes didn't work. I think because the videos are private - that nullifies the embed when you go live.

I'm downloading the first one now and will upload when it and the DW one are done and switch those out for the embed code IF the files aren't too big for blogger, and it's entirely possible the files are too big for blogger. I will persevere because the title cards alone are important. And worth a stand alone post.

Meantime, some Dancing With the Stars observations and remarks:

Here is Couple 1. I feel like they go together like ice cream and bacon. They're a complete WTF to me. Maybe because Maks is sort of a babyish, overbearing douche who works a Teddy Bear act underneath, and he tends to need some personality with him in the room, and I'm not sure he's got that here.

If I didn't feel that DWTs has used "M&M" to death already, I'd figure that would be this team's un-portmanteau. In terms of the styling, I will go out on a limb and say I think DWTS is going in the right direction and thus far doing a better job than whoever styled Meryl for ice dance. It helps that she's wearing super high heels to lengthen the leg line (which, granted, was not possible in ice dance), and the heels and spray tan help make her legs seem curvy (yes, the knees jut out, but at least there's some contour to combat it). Then they shirred the shit out of the dress, to create some curve and soften the angles and sharp corners. Fluff the hell out of the hair and, IMO, where figure skating always went in the wrong direction, and DWTs is going in the right direction - go monochromatic with her make-up, not high contrast with it. We want to keep things easygoing, not startle people.

On the dancing side, is he going to be holding her up the entire time, because here it sort of looks like it. She's in a pose and he's got her braced. How familiar.

Wow, you can see this guy's a dance champ in every inch up there. The detail. The alignment. The energy extending to his fingertips. The open chest and shoulders and the stretch throughout his body.

Going by these photos there's going to be as much clutching on the dance floor as there was on the ice.

I'm interested because it's another way to deconstruct DW's smoke and mirrors. They skated in two dimensions. Derek Hough is a genius at dancing in two dimensions, but I don't know if the pro partners tasked with Meryl and Charlie have the knack.

I've done a little scanning around the web, including TWoP (, and I don't think the DW fandom is going to split their votes. They're going to leave Charlie to his own devices.

Finally, I hope Meryl/Maks and Charlie/Sharma will be allowed to find their way without constantly battling the shadow of this cut-with-a-knife chemistry and soul-to-soul connection:

Because this was seventeen years in the making.*

They should be allowed to make their own mark.

*What kills me in the gif isn't even the eyes. It's the whole face, including the kill me now mouth. That's not about equilibrium.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


This is just a blog issue.

While setting up the skating post, I ran into this when using the dailymotion links to waltzflower and canadablue's videos:

"oycanada" did and was logged in, btw, and re-logged in, only to loop back to this page when the URL was pasted into the browser.

If anyone knows of a workaround or other tip, it would be appreciated.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I'm leading up to a bigger point, but let's review. In the reality show, we got this:

True believers Tessa and Kate worship at the Church of Hall & Oates.
Then after the Olympics, it was this:

Hey Tessa - favorite music?:

"OMG, this is so embarrassing. I don't even
know the answer to that right now."
Scott: "Hall and Oates"?
Tessa: "What am I into?"
Besides her blowing past Hall & Oates, why is she asking him what she's into? How the hell would he know?

After all:

We keep our lives separate, separate separately.
We are very different people. Totally.
Separate people. Who live separately.
They don't even know how much
they're going to miss each other
when this is all over and they go their
separate ways even more than they go
their separate ways now.
"May I hef nuh glash chrdnny."*

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Dancing" with the ... Stars

Sharna Burgess, Charlie White, Meryl Davis, Maksim Chmerkovsky

I used to be an avid viewer of Dancing with the Stars, although in recent seasons, not so much. I don't think I've ever seen Sharna Burgess in action.

I've certainly seen Maksim Chmerkovskiy before, and no doubt he thinks he has a ringer.

Normally I'd say, boy is he in for a surprise, but the tricks available to Davis White that helped them pull off the gold medal heist at Sochi are available a hundred fold to Maksim C. Meryl has stamina, she's more than accustomed to performing under pressure live, and she's used to fake dancing, which is something they do a great deal on DWTs. I'm thinking Maksim C might be surprised at just how much faking will be required to pull this off. He doesn't really have a dancer here. He's also kind of bad at what he does. His taste in costumes and make-up for his partner trends toward the drag queen and his choreography can lean to the literal and labored. He's not often been successful in drilling rhythm and musicality into his partner. He's best with partners who have natural rhythm. But this is DWTS; if the pros have a partner who know how to train and perform by rote, that's can be as good as doing it, and Meryl Davies certainly has experience there.

For Charlie, clearly some of this is right up his alley - he can skip all over the stage in quickstep with his hair and tails flying. I'm interested in is the rumba and other romantic dances, to see if the problem in the past was Charlie couldn't relate, while moving, to Meryl - or couldn't relate, period.

I'm kind of surprised at the repeat of the "direct from the rink to DWTS" move here, as it didn't seem to work especially well boosting Evan Lysacek's celebrity profile even though he did well.

Over on another message board somebody objected to the idea that Charlie and Tanith hid or downplayed their relationship during the past season, seeing as how Tanith was right there in the stands talking to Charlie's folks. Yes, because being in the stands at the arena so fans can see you is the exact same thing as being on twitter or talking it up in your nationally syndicated interviews. Charlie and Tanith weren't hiding. They were keeping it out of the spotlight while amping up the spotlight on Davis White.

P.S. - I want to add this about Dancing with the Stars.  DW spent almost two years spinning a new narrative that they shared chemistry "you could cut with a knife". Charlie's own girlfriend hyped up their "soul-to-soul" connection. What that shit had to do with ice dance nobody said, but they wanted to cover every base.

My speculation is that Meryl and Charlie fans are fans of the duo, and what they see as the dynamic between the duo.  But after all this bullshit the past two years, Meryl and Charlie exit Sochi and immediately sign up with DWTs where they're each paired with sexy, glamorous other partners and are going to compete against each other instead of dancing with each other.

I love Virtue and Moir. They actually dance. Because of that, I confess I might be curious to see how Tessa danced with a DWTs pro, because she's exactly on their level, she's as much a professional dancer as they are - she really is. I'd kind of like to see Maks try to teach her and learn she's better at everything than he is, including choreography.

And I'd be interested to see if Scott were able to adapt to a partner who wasn't Tessa - looking into their eyes, for example, seems as if it would be a challenge. Also, Tessa is the one who disciplines his frame, at least in pattern dances.

So I'd be curious, but maybe not eight weeks worth of curious. Maybe one dance worth of curious. I want to see them dance together, not dance with other people. I'm a fan of the team.

I wonder how excited DW fans actually are that their first project subverts the entire narrative of the Olympics and hooks them up with other people, pitting them against each other. We're talking contemporary dance with other people (which is lyrical, romantic, emotive, story driven - Charlie drew the DW assignment), the rumba (which ain't the ice dance rumba pattern but a slowed down cha cha rhythm that's colloquially considered the bedroom dance) and all kinds of romantic stuff done vis a vis someone besides each other. How much does this venture really thrill their fans?

If DWTs plays to form, Meryl and Charlie will finish the premiere with identical scores.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Oops. Scott: "A big part of our - my life now and Tessa and I's career is to give ...."

Let's just overlook the grammar and be grateful the two are keeping up their friendship after Sochi. I bet him and Tessa will find themselves giving back in all kinds of ways.

Also, this:

new photos of Scott and Tessa

Beautiful "new" (to us) photos of Scott and Tessa by their official portraitist Myra Klarman, who, in her preview of this photo set, goes on quite a bit to tell us she has no idea what the future holds for these two, reminisces about the first time she was contacted to photograph them in 2008, and is a bit vague about something to do with not photographing real couples, but then shares a  link that apparently explains how her silly ideas were cleared up back then (didn't click on it but my guess it's to that odd New York Times article), and then says one reason she delayed publishing the latest photos was she didn't want her relationship to Scott and Tessa to end, nor did she want the relationship BETWEEN Scott and Tessa to end (although what bearing her photographing them or not would have on that last, I have no idea) ... all just as if Myra Klarman has never in her life taken a portrait of Infant, Baby, Toddler, or Little Moir. Why Klarman has decided to natter on in this vein this time when she's never stooped before is a mystery, but depressing.

Klarman says she took these photos in September.

For some reason this photo shoot didn't make the reality show. I thought those cameras followed them everywhere.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I'm encountering a few glitches downloading/playing waltzflower's videos, so in the meanwhile, I wanted to highlight the blog with this link to its current article:

Davis White hijacked to gold

it features this quote from fsu:
"D&W OTOH can do some fast tricks and have quite a lot of stamina. They never hold an edge long enough and she has never straightened her free leg in her career, so they cannot show any lines. Therefore they need programs in which they run around the ice like headless chickens, too fast for us to notice all that toe-pushing, free-foot dragging and the rest of the mess. At the end of the program we are completely breathless, don't know what has hit us and decide that it must have been quite something. JMHO of course."
 and the figure skating analysis itself notices this:
it seems the judges are marking them with a different set of starting base with their GOEs. As long as they did them they start with +2s. As an example, for their straight line lift this year I still fail to see how it is better than P/B and V/M (from Carmen). Yet they have received better marks and GOEs even with Meryl's leg oscillating and Charlie's skates wobbling to maintain balance just because it's Davis and White doing it.
 and this
Meryl and Charlie have a solid PCS cushion regardless of what they do on the ice even when they were not the best in any of the PCS criteria listed above. Not to mention, they always receive credits even with poorly executed technical elements like those un-synced twizzles.
 and a great quote from a friend of that blog's, requoted in part here:
Incorrect skating technique is not a style choice. Ignoring clear technical errors is not a style choice; it's ignoring the damned rules! Coming down on a flat instead of an edge when you're supposed to be on an edge isn't a style choice. It's a mistake. Doing 5 revolutions when the rulebook says 6 are required for a feature to count for levels is not a style choice. Side-stepping, toe-picking and hopping is not a style choice when it comes to properly getting yourself down the ice. Rocking on your blades in a lift is not a style choice! Bad skating is not a style choice, it's bad skating."
If the wrong edge is a style choice, why do the judges mark down other skaters for a wrong edge? It's just their style of the day!

Of course this ignores the times judges have marked down skaters when they were on the correct edge.

Again, the media is as invested in the corruption of figure skating as the ISU. The only corruption the media will pretend exists is if a perceived "friend of N.A." loses to a Russian. If you're Russian, you are always suspect. Suddenly there are leaks everywhere. If you're N.A. and dirty deals are happening, everybody, including the figure skating media, conspires to shut down discussion.

BTW, I don't know the big deal about Shawn Rettstatt, and why he's he who must not be named, or people speculate the problem is he'd sue. The guy grossly lowballed Tessa and Scott at every competition where he was on the panel or he did not. That would have to come out in any lawsuit, no? Seems he'd be the one in the hot seat in a libel suit.

I don't think lawsuits are the problem. I think he's connected and powerful inside the ISU/USFSA and any mere member of the media or commentariat who runs afoul of him would find themselves in Siberia, so would any coach training elite level skaters in the USA. THAT's the problem. It's not legal. It's political.

The figure skating analysis blog is very funny and VERY specific. With that blog, and with discussions that have sprung up elsewhere on major skating boards, there is absolutely NO excuse for anyone in the media to carry on with the pretense that they don't really understand technique. Right, Steve Milton, Christine Brennan, E.M. Swift, Rosie DiManno, Phil Hersch, Lynn Rutherford, Dave Leese (I think DL pretends he does understand skating, but based on everything he's ever said, he doesn't.)?

Of course, it's uncomfortable to know technique because then you have to report how people are skating instead of reporting spin. You end up in that squirm-making position Tracy Wilson has occupied all season. It becomes reporter/subject and not cozy buddies elbowing up to the bar and gossiping their faces off until it's time to file whatever you've pulled out your hind end. You're all friends! Groupies don't rock the boat with the famous.

Technique is observable. You can read the figure skating analysis blog, go to the video and see immediately that what the blog says is true. You can go to the rulebook and see that based on what DW do on the ice, they don't deserve the scores they received, let alone Olympic gold.

The information is there. The media refuses to acknowledge it. It's too good a gig - money for nothing.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

This Thing of Ours

Two of these things are not like the other three.
BTW - I am going to put up waltzflower's video(s) later tonight or tomorrow.

This post, though, looks once more at the secrecy with which figure skating operates, not just behind the judges' panel but within the organization itself. And more than secrecy, the vague. And how this vague is accepted not just within the sport, but by the media that covers the sport, that legitimizes figure skating as a sport.

Law enforcement and the media call traditionally structured crime organizations of Italian origin the "mafia," or "national crime syndicate," but these organizations historically called themselves "cosa nostra" - "our thing".

I've also been thinking about David Dore:

David Dore is the ISU vice president. He's a figure skater. The ISU president, Ottavia Cinquanta, is a speed skater. Cinquanta doesn't know figure skating, nor know, from what takes place on the ice, if a figure skating event is judged fairly or unfairly. Cinquanta's more like Lynn Rutherford: "The protocols did the same thing before, which means the protocols this time are fair. So shut up."

Dore does know figure skating. I think he's more influential about how figure skating is judged on a grass roots, skater-by-skater basis, than Cinquanta.

About Dore, wikipedia says (yes, I know, but one must start somewhere), first, that he was a Canadian skater, then an international skating judge (seven World championships and the 1984 Olympics), then in 1972 he was "a director" of the Canadian Figure Skating Association (now Skate Canada) and then its president from 1980-1984. He's got a long long long history with Skate Canada.

From wikepedia:

"Dore was at times a controversial leader, known for promoting policies whereby CFSA's national team athletes and coaches were expected to work directly under the control of the central organization. He has also been criticized for failing to support Canadian judge Jean Senft when she acquired evidence of judging corruption at the 1998 Winter Olympics."

"Dore resigned from his paid position at Skate Canada in early 2002 in order to become eligible for an elected position with the ISU. He was elected the Vice President for figure skating at the 2002 ISU Congress and was re-elected in 2006. He has become known as a strong supporter of Ottavio ("Speedy") Cinquanta's policies, such as the adoption of the ISU Judging System and keeping the identity of figure skating judges secret."

I know many people are more familiar with the ISU structure and history than I am, but it's not as if the ISU makes it a simple matter of search and click to get the lowdown on who's who, how it's structured, and who the players are below the very top. For instance, it's easy to find the ISU president, not so easily members of the governing councils. There's more transparency in the actual cosa nostra, actually. Just google. With the ISU, not so, especially when it comes to what the skaters "hear" and who decides what it is skaters should "hear". The who, what, when, where, why and how about that is impenetrable.

This somewhat older article (2012):

Lame Duck

mentions that at the time the article was written, Cinquanta is a lame duck, and that, while Dore is his logical successor, Dore is getting on in years (me: you'd think that would make him a shoo-in with the ISU), he's eligible for the presidency in 2014 only, and not if the elections are delayed until 2016, which is what some people apparently wanted, for the express purpose of preventing him from becoming president.

I'll amend this post as I acquire a clearer picture of things, but the above article (again - 2012) also mentions that former Skate Canada president Benoit Lavoie and French Fed member Didier Gailhaguet are among the aspirants for the presidency. Lavoie himself not long ago resigned Skate Canada in order to throw himself into the embrace of the ISU. We can be sure he made that decision only after devoting himself 1,000% to the best interests of Skate Canada and its figure skaters during his tenure at president, and never once let himself be influenced by a desire to curry favor with the ISU, where his future lay.

Here, let's observe that, for quite some time now, and for all of Scott Moir's public support, Mike Slipchuk has sounded cavalier in almost all of his public commentary. The results of a given competition hardly engage his interest. He was near-dismissive about what happened at the Olympics to Scott and Tessa, didn't seem especially fussed by Patrick Chan's disappointing skates, and I don't think uttered a peep of complaint about the GPF either. He's not pressed about anything. He's been super laid back for a long time, even though he's not the one getting fucked.