Tuesday, February 28, 2006

It's Miller Time

Did the Olympics produce a bigger ass than Bode Miller? Check out his comments after going 0-for the Olympics and you be the judge:

  • “It does matter that it’s the Olympics. I just did it my way. I’m not a martyr, and I’m not a do-gooder. I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here.”
  • “The same people who recognize I came out with no medals should recognize I could have won three.”
  • “Me, it’s been an awesome two weeks. I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level.”

Saturday, February 25, 2006

McEarth: Over 6.5 Billion Served

At 7:16 PM EST today, the earth's population will hit 6.5 billion people. This is about double the size it was in 1960, nearly four times the size in 1900, and it will hit 7 billion in about six years.

I'd like to buy them all a Coke. Should cost me only $6.5 billion if I use the machine at work.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Oh, no: Why do I hate thee?

The Olympic Shroud of Turin

Some stray thoughts on the Olympics as they pass quickly, just within my peripheral vision:
  • Best named Olympian: Austrian downhill gold-medalist Michaela Dorfmeister. Seriously. Dorfmeister. Kinda like Fred "The Dorf" Dorman from that scene in Fletch. Or something from a Rob Schneider sketch. Honorable mention: Finland's ski-jumper Matti Hautamaeki.
  • Worst named Olympian: Apolo Anton Ohno. Never liked his name, certainly despise his wispy landing-strip facial fuzz and his general attitude. Can't put my finger on it, but if you look closely enough at the guy there surely is something worth despising.
  • Curling: Not a sport
  • Ice Dancing: Gay
  • Two-Man Luge: Gay
  • Men's Figure Skating: Are you kidding?
  • Lindsey Jacobellis: Who told all these kids the Olympics were all about goofy fun and style? What's wrong with these X-Games rejects? Bode Miller (but perhaps not his sponsor Nike) was all shrugs and no-big-deals after his no-show in Turin. They're just there "to have a good time" and work on inscrutable "personal goals" when everyone else seems to, you know, go for the gold and shit. Jacobellis got carried away down the home stretch of a sure gold medal when she caught some rad air and pulled a backside method, caught a gnarly edge and tumbled off the course for a silver. (Don't even get me started on the stupid names for snowboarding moves or the athletes' privileged, free-spirited shredder lifestyles.) "It's just a race," she said Saturday. "I know it's the Olympics and everyone's trying to get a reaction out of me. I made a mistake. It happens. I was very happy to still come out with a medal after making such a goof." No, honey. It's not just a race. It's an Olympic gold-medal race. Come to win, beat the commies, the nazis and the French and wave that flag. Stupid X-Gamers.
  • Bryant Gumbel caught some heat for this editorial bit at the end of a recent "Real Sports" on HBO (emphasis added):

"And finally tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those that don't like 'em and won't watch 'em. In fact, I figure when Thomas Paine said, "These are the times that try men's souls," he must have been talking about the start of another Winter Olympics.

Because they are so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like try not to be incredulous when someone tries to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing.

So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.

Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a 'kiss and cry area' while some panel of subjective judges decides who won.

And try to blot out all logic when announcers and sports writers pretend to care about the luge, the skeleton, the biathlon, and all those other events they don't understand and totally ignore for all but three weeks every four years.

Face it, these Olympics are little more than a marketing plan to fill space and sell time during the dreary days of February. So, if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, and we can move on to March Madness, for God's sake, let the Games begin."

Critics complain that a white man making similar comments about black athletes would be quickly and loudly fired. Or that you could just as illogically complain about the lack of white people on a basketball court or winning track & field medals in the Summer Olympics.

But all this does is exemplify the touchiness of our culture when anyone mentions race. Though Gumbel is an insufferable, priggish ass who allows his fame to gain him entry to exclusive golf clubs around the world, he is still (all evidence to the contrary) a black man. And he has a right to prefer watching people of his ethnicity (or gender or prissy speaking style) participate in sports.

No white hurdler has been exluded from participating in the Olympics because of his race. Neither has any black ski jumper. But the latter example belies the root causes of economic and social disparity that so often accompany race in this country. Black folks in the city just don't have the time, money or inclination to spend their lives perfecting their slalom skiing cred.

This is not by design. It's just how things are. And Gumbel's comments weren't necessarily intended as a social critique. He was expressing his preference. Much like the judges scoring Johnny Weir's flamboyant swan outfit or the backside method air of privileged shredder snowboard chicks.

As for me, I prefer a track, a gun and a stopwatch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Harold and Kumar Go to South Plainfield

Cheap dates line up for a candlelight Valentine's Day dinner at White Castle in South Plainfield. Less expensive than a heart-shaped tin of melty chocolates, and looks about the same when you're finally finished with it.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Hallmark Day

Give that special someone something she will most certainly not appreciate, either these Star Wars themed cards from somethingawful.com or these from i-mockery.com. RIP Phil "Unlce Owen" Brown.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Home News Special Delivery

Tales from Middlesex County told by your friendly neighborhood blogger in old-fashioned print last week include:

  1. A New Brunswick ESL program for families
  2. The New Brunswick mayor's state of the city address (replete with cooking analogies as though written for a middle school student council secretary candidate's campaign)
  3. A non-update on the missing $400,000 in Highland Park tax receipts
  4. The restart of the county's Raritan River dredging project
  5. The hopeful start of a youth lacrosse program in Monroe
Coming this week: a Rutgers evolution symposium! More dredging! Stories about snow! Gratuitous exclamation points!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

What a Dick!

Vice President Dick Cheney shot his friend while quail hunting this weekend. His friend should have known better than to wear a towel over his head while quail hunting with the vice president.

Best quote from an eye witness:

"Fortunately, the vice president has got a lot of medical people around him and so they were right there and probably more cautious than we would have been," she said. "The vice president has got an ambulance on call, so the ambulance came."

Of course it's the size of the Dick that matters

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hey, Crazy Muslims Angry Over Cartoons: Here's the Hitch

All you need to read about the uproar over those Danish anti-Muslim cartoons can be found in this brilliant piece by Christopher Hitchens on Slate.

Damn, I hate when I agree with that guy.

Whopper XL

I know I'm a little late to comment on the Super Bowl, so I'll dispense with any talk of the poorly played game, questionable officiating and Jerome "I'm from Detroit with a nickname playing off the size of my ass" Bettis.

What struck me were all those stylish black & white still photos of the players posing with the Lombardi Trophy. If I were a player before the game you couldn't pay me enough to even touch that thing. In hockey, some players wouldn't even dare look at the Stanley Cup before earning the right to drink from it the hard way. Instead, we get shots of Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselback cradling it like a baby and jutting it into the air with their best Belichick/Brady impression. Think any of those Seattle guys have those pics stuck on their refrigerators at home?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Think-Of-Something-To-Do-And-See-That-Task-To-Completion!!!!! (copyright David Cross)

Tool Time in Jersey

Tim Allen is a convicted drug dealer and Larry The Cable Guy is a private school grad born in Nebraska.

What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, really. But both were on my mind when writing this story about a home improvement expo yesterday in Somerset. Kept intact by an angelic editor.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

100 Reasons I Don't Read Many Novels

Because even intellectuals and dilettantes love lists, here's the American Book Review's list of the 100 Best First Lines for Novels.

Personally, I prefer these. All of them written by yours truly (that's me) without the subsequent novels. But this way, you can fill in the rest on your own.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Democracy For Dummies

Hamas: No Pieces of a Child Left Behind After We Teach Him To Explode

Pushing The Envelope, Please

A Newsweek roundtable interview with directors Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Ang Lee, Paul Haggis and Bennett Miller turns out far more funny and entertaining than anything I've grown to expect from Newsweek. Even better in print than listening to it live might have been.

Screw Carrie Bradshaw

Finally, the New York Post has hired someone worth reading on occasion. This story by Mandy Stadtmiller (a brilliant blogger as well) investigates those micro-moments when the perfect date suddenly shifts into a wall. (requires that evil NY Post registration)