Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Of Pin-ups and Pomegranates

Last night, I happened upon a story about the bike Mark Cavendish used to win several of the sprint stages at last year's Tour.  The folks at Scott bicycles had a special bike painted for Cav called the "Sprint Air Force" complete with WWII era paintjob of a pin-up girl wearing a Union Jack kilt and faux rivets to make it look like an old bomber.

The site of this conjured up a memory that I hadn't thought upon in quite some time.  It involved a rare but inspired moment of vandalism when I was in undergrad.  I was studying in the Biology school's library on a Sunday afternoon and felt a sudden call of nature that only the ingesion of two dozen Pizza Express breadsticks and cheese sauce the night before can bring.  I made a mad dash to the men's room (the remote one on the third floor - not the one closest to the library) thus ensuring sweet solitude and privacy.  I jumped into the last stall and as I was sitting there, I noticed that the plaster on the wall adjacent to the toilet had a smooth, matte finish, and was this brilliant, off-white color - almost like a bleached parchment.  In a moment that was likely to be my closest experience to divine intervention, much like Handel's inspiration to write the Messiah, or Mozart's motivation to pen the Requiem for Mass in D minor, I grabbed a No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil and began to draw a reclining nude woman on the plaster wall.  To this day, I have no idea why at that moment, I had to draw a naked woman, but I did.  However, I tried to draw her in the style of the classic WWII era pin-up girls - just like the one found on Cav's bike.

Never before, nor since, had I partaken in such a blatent act of seemingly quasi-perverse graffiti.  As I admitted this to the COMO CYCO Good Eggette and Editor in Chief (GEEC) last night, I did so initially with tremendous zeal as the memory of drawing my Venus of the Bathroom Stall flooded back, but was quickly overtaken with some trepidation, as I worried what she might think of me.  She asked what became of the drawing.  I told her that I had left it in place and returned to check on it a week later.  What I saw amazed me.  Not only had the custodians left the Venus in place, but there were a string of comments written below....Most were positive and encouraging.  The GEEC then said quite non-chalantly, "It was your first blog."  And indeed, perhaps it was.  I had offered something up that I found interesting rather anonymously for the approval or disapproval of the masses - and then watched the response.  This is, after all, the point of blogging - isn't it?  Well, that and getting free shit....

Speaking of which, several weeks ago, I received an email from Ryan at POM Wonderful, makers of all things pomegranate, asking if I would be interested in trying some pomegranate juice since I had provided some recent commentary on the Garmin-Transition Team for which POM Wonderful is now a sponsor.  I said absolutely and a couple weeks later, on my doorstep arrived a case of 100% Pomegranate juice to try.

Aside from my in-depth knowledge of cheese, I am in no way, shape or form, a food or beverage critic.  Neither am I a nutrionist.  And prior to the white box labelled Mr. PooBah showing up on my doorstep, the grand total of my experience with pomegranates had consisted of my high school French teacher bringing one to class as a demonstration of French fruit. It was during that same class that Pat Todaro stole it from Madame Moser's desk before we could eat it and threw it at Mark Hendershot's head.  So other than the flight dynamics and bursting strength of pomegranates, I know precious little.  As such, any comments I make about POM wonderful should be taken with a grain of salt the size of, well, a pomegranate.  When I opened the box, the first thing I encountered was a note from Ryan detailing all of the wonderful attributes regarding this misunderstood fruit.  I will not go into excruciating detail here, except to mention one of the most interesting things I learned from the data sheet.  Did you know that "Many scholars now suggest that it was the pomegranate, not an apple, depicted in the biblical Garden of Eden?" 

So here in my hand was the juice of the forbidden fruit of biblical proportions that was experienced first in the Garden of Eden?  Having never tasted a pomegranate, I decided the only way to enjoy this loss of fruit virginity appropriately would be to do a biblical re-enactment.  Thus, I stripped down completely naked in my kitchen and after girding my loins with a lettuce leaf, I shotgunned an entire bottle, and then shouted "Damn you, EVE!"  I then read the label which said that it was supposed to be refrigerated and shaken prior to drinking.  Still....pretty damned tasty.  Oddly enough, I did actually then start to feel a sense of shame at my nakedness....but that might have just been because my dog was staring at me.

And not to flog a flaccid penis, but look what else I discovered:

This article, published in the International Journal of Impotence Research (2007) by Forest et al documents that although statistical significance wasn't quite acheived, there was a general trend for men who suffered with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction to have improved marks on some erectile functional scoring systems after drinking pomegranate juice for 4 weeks versus a placebo.  These effects are attributed to the antioxidants contained within which rival and may even surpass the quantity found in red wine.  These same antioxidants have a host of other potentially positive physiologic effects on the cardiovascular system. While reading this paper, I came across a note made regarding adverse events experienced by those study participants:

"The following adverse events were reported while on POM: diarrhea, flatulence, hyperlipidemia, nasal congesion and hypertesion.  One patient reported anxiety while on placebo."

Well I can say with all honesty that other than my naked shame, I experienced no adverse events in the form of diarrhea, hyperlipidemia, nasal congestion or hypertension....and the flatulence may have been entirely attributable to the burrito I had for lunch.  Good stuff, that POM!  Thanks again Ryan - and good luck with the Garmin-Transition partnership.

Pedal on!


  1. Can you recreate your first ever blog art?

  2. I guess I'm glad to be more of a runner than a cyclist after reading this post.

  3. Melalvai: without a doubt I if only I could find a nice bathroom wall in my building...hmmmmmmm

    TE: P-shaw, I say. Run if you will, but to ride to is to set your soul there's more cool shit to tinker with.

  4. I think it's the best brand. Cavendish has been doing the best effort to improve their marks and styles. I think it would be nice if you can add some illustrations about it.