Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Josh Vinyard, Metro Rail, Gay Republicans and more

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

SPORTS: You should see what breaker Josh Vinyard can do. From my story in the Statesman: “The dancer lands on one hand, then twists his floating body into a shape that resembles a phrase from Arabic script. He hesitates, holding that shape midair while rotating on the one hand that supports his entire frame. Betraying a sly smile, he hops, not once, not twice, but several times on that one mighty palm. Breakers have long tested their mettle through nimble footwork, fearless drops, suspenseful freezes and gymnastic power moves. Austinite Josh Vinyard, 22, who dances under the name Elusive when he’s not performing stunts for movies, TV shows and music videos, takes all those skills to a level that takes even the jaded observer aback.” http://shar.es/U56mf(Watch the Kelly West video. Really.)

TRANSIT: Improvements planned for MetroRail. From Ben Wear’s story in the Statesman: “Capital Metro, looking to provide more capacity for a commuter rail line that is basically maxed out during rush hour, will spend about $27 million over the next two years to add a second track at three stations as well as to improve signal and crossing equipment. The work, paid for by an $11.3 million federal grant and the transit agency’s general revenue, also will include track modifications in East Austin and other places to increase speed, and modifications to Capital Metro’s six trains that will make them sturdier. The federal and local money will also be used to repair or replace aging bridges and track on parts of the Capital Metro line outside the passenger rail corridor.” http://shar.es/U56BN(Still haven’t ridden yet.)

POLITICS: Gay Republicans run for U.S. Congress. From an AP story: “Three openly gay Republicans are trying to make history this year by becoming the first from their party to be elected to Congress, but none of them has an easy path to Washington. Candidates in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California each must defeat a Democratic incumbent and overcome brushes with hate and confront divisions within the Republican Party about how they live their lives. The Republican Party is trying to soften its tone on divisive social issues, but many religious conservatives see homosexuality as immoral. In New Hampshire, Dan Innis’ husband persuaded him to run for the House of Representatives. It didn’t matter that Innis, a former business school dean, faced an aggressive Democratic incumbent, Republican colleagues who oppose his right to marry, and history — no Republican ever has been openly gay when first elected to Congress.” http://shar.es/U5hgX(Yet another twist in the American story.)

TECH: How to spot a narcissist online. From Julie Beck’s story in the Atlantic Monthly. ” It’s not hard to see why the Internet would be a good cave for a narcissist to burrow into. Generally speaking, they prefer shallow relationships (preferably one-way, with the arrow pointing toward themselves), and need outside sources to maintain their inflated but delicate egos. So, a shallow cave that you can get into, but not out of. The Internet offers both a vast potential audience, and the possibility for anonymity, and if not anonymity, then a carefully curated veneer of self that you can attach your name to. In 1987, the psychologists Hazel Markus and Paula Nurius claimed that a person has two selves: the “now self” and the “possible self.” The Internet allows a person to become her “possible self,” or at least present a version of herself that is closer to it. http://bit.ly/1huT3Pv(It’s not always easy to tell if they are doing it for the attention.)

SPORTS 2: Reading Peyton Manning. From Brendan I. Koerner’s story in The New Yorker: “As a fervent Colts fan, I learned long ago that Peyton Manning’s first-quarter body language must be studied with great care. This is particularly true on a game’s initial offensive drive, when Manning probes the opponent’s secondary for vulnerabilities and gauges how many seconds of protection he can reasonably expect from his line. If he fails to move the chains a bit while conducting his surveillance, Manning’s shoulders will often curl forward a few degrees, or he’ll worriedly knead the lining of his hand warmer. Once he makes it to a bench, he’ll crane his neck to either side, as if looking for a poltergeist to blame for his slot receiver’s third-and-seven drop. All of these small signs of frustration portend a game in which Manning will be prone to miscues.” http://nyr.kr/1h9NF3r(A different way to read sports.)