Wednesday, September 27, 2006


So, Frodo got kicked out of Harvard, then joined a soccer gang. I thought this was a good move, though the obvious plot point of him having to kick ass to get rid of the nancy-boy hobbit rep was sadly overlooked. And why not cast Sam as the opposing gang leader? I tell you, i barely laughed during the movie and they missed comedy gold on the casting alone!

Update: Apparently it wasn't a comedy. The British accents aren't hilarious to everyone, I guess. But if it's supposed to be a true-life drama, why do all the brits have good teeth?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Learning with the Stars!

We love our reality shows, game shows and stupid celebrities, and I've found a way to combine them all -- "Whose Hypotenuse Is It Anyway?" The general idea is that you take a topic (i.e. "tuna vs. chicken"), a pair of celebrities that have shown either general or specific ignorance: say Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton, and you lock them in a room with books and sufficiently hilarious teachers (Dennis Miller has time) to teach them the topic of the week. At the end of the show, there's a test, and the winner gets a seaweed facial, Hummer, Dolce & Gabbana Razr, etc., and the loser has the choice of a) another week of learning or b) swimming 30 feet in a shark-infested tank. Obviously the budget will be high to accomodate so many hungry sharks, but I think it could work. Here are a few "guests" and their subjects to learn:

1) Newt Gingrich and Ted Kennedy, Ethics
2) Dr J and Shawn Kemp, Condom Usage
3) Shawn Bradley and Gerald Ford, Running without Tripping on One's Own Feet
4) Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds, Hush Money to Flunkies
5) Ralph Wiggum and Donald Rumsfeld, What's a Battle?
6) Mel Gibson and Billy Martin (via Seánce during Sweeps Week), Knowing When to Say When

Sunday, September 17, 2006

No Kids, Please

Last weekend I played another tournament with Mother Tongue, the English native speakers' team in the (Step?)Fatherland, and it was fun. Though, as usual, I found something to be annoyed by. One of the guys on the team had a son who can throw and catch. He's very young & small -- about 4 ft and maybe 8 or 10. So his dad lets him play a point or two in a game where we're getting whomped. Not such a problem for our team -- when you're down 9-0, replacing half the team with drunken spider monkeys won't bring down the level of play too much, but it was clearly awkward for the other team. They're cool, though, even when the 6ft+ guy guarding the kid catches a throw a foot over junior's head (and is good-naturedly booed for it). But then his dad lets him play in a tight game inside the last 5 minutes. What the hell? What happened to "he can play a few points if it's a blowout"? No asking teammates if it's ok, all of a sudden we have 6 adults and a minor on the line. Next day, another close game late, same thing. We're up by one and the dad lets him play. Grrrr. Should we try to throw to him knowing that it's a 60-70% chance of a turnover? Or should we be "nice" and try to get him the disc?

The worst part is for the other team. It's not fair for the person covering the kid to just stand around & do nothing, but they're going to feel bad if they D or score this little kid. It's bad enough that this happens in a game that's already been decided, but this makes it hard to cling to even a façade of competitive athleticism.

My question is, why is this OK in ultimate? You'd NEVER see a parent have their rugrat join in a game of football, basketball, soccer, tennis, etc. Instead, they take the socially accepted route of pushing the child into the sport of choice for the parent and browbeating/berating/guilt-tripping them until they grow too disgusted to play anymore. Or until they have to take performance enhancing drugs to match expectations. Either way, it's worked for decades. So, if you've got a kid that you think can play in ultimate tournaments, ask yourself if you're ok with all of these scenarios:

1. The opposing team will offer them alcohol.
2. JT, or someone of his ilk, will say something along the lines of "That throw is f***ing bulls***! Why the f*** are we throwing that g******** s*** still? Are we h**** w***ing morons? *&&%^^$$#&%, son of *&**$"* directly in front of your child (note: if your kids aren't playing but are only on the sidelines then such language is f***ing uncool -- otherwise it's free f***ing speech, biatch).
3. The same kinetic energy in "incidental contact" between two 6ft, 200 lb+ men go for a disc is transferred to your child.
4. The person guarding your child D's/intercepts all throws to them, then tries to score on them due to the blatant speed/height mismatch.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dave Barry is a Funny Man

I recently finished rereading "Dave Barry Slept Here" and it is hi-larious. It mocks history books consistently, as well as most of the major figures of US history. Here is an excerpt:
The seeds of the Civil War were sown in the late eighteenth century when Eli Whitney invented the “Cotton gin,” a machine capable of turning cotton into gin many times faster than it could be done by hand. This created a great demand for cotton-field workers, whom the South originally attempted to recruit by placing “help wanted” advertisements in the newspaper:
ATTENTION SELF-STARTERS! Are you that special “Can-do” kind of guy or gal who’s looking for a chance to work extremely hard under horrible conditions for your entire life without getting paid and being severely beaten whenever we feel like it, plus we get to keep your children? To find out more about this exciting career opportunity, contact: The South.
Oddly enough, this advertisement failed to produce any applicants, and so the South decided to go with slavery.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Solution to Soccer's Corruption Woes

Recent headlines of soccer have focused on Zidane, fixed matches in Italy & Brazil, and bribes to managers to get them to buy players at sketchy rates. I have the solution and it allows a legitimate fantasy-football aspect to the beautiful game.

Each team in a league gets instead of a salary cap, a bribery cap. This can go to anyone at anytime, with the two restrictions that the bribes a) MUST be paid and b) the recipient must be publicly identified within 24 hours of payment. Then fans could have fantasy leagues to pick out the best refs, players, agents, etc. to accrue money over the season as well as argue over which calls were paid and which ones weren't. An think of the fun when Man U and Chelsea BOTH pay off the same ref before a game. While there will still be other bribes going on, at least this will allow us all to enjoy the major ones. Of course, Bayern Munich will soon be griping that Milan and other Italian clubs have a higher Shadiness Cap level than they do...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This Spam is Amazing!

I've now received 3 copies of this "This Watch is Amazing" spam in the last 2 days. Citi's spam filter can weed out emails from my friends, including REPLIES to my own email, but it can't weed out this crap. ugh. We should be paying these spammers $0.25 (or whatever they get per spam sent) per al qaeda member they find. Clearly these guys can break through the toughest defenses!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sign No. 17 It's Time for a Career Change

When you're an American talking head for an NFL show and the British guy on the show is more thoughtful, knowledgeable and insightful about the game you're broadcasting. C'mon! He's BRITISH! Same thing goes if there are Brits announcing soccer for US networks that can't at least hold their own with their American counterparts.

Watched the 2nd half of the Carolina-Atlanta game last night, and apparently Fox has decided to take their student interns from the summer & give them announcing jobs. I think it's spectacular. Of course, Fox (via Sky Sports) stuck with the game to the bitter end, not even breaking away for HIGHLIGHTS of at least 2 game-winning plays during the interminable last 2 minutes. Ugh.

The one bright spot is that the Sky Sports announcers do a MUCH better job of keeping fans apprised of the NFL fortunes of their favorite NFL Europe players. Anytime one of them did anything (or nothing) they'd remind you that "John Doe played for the Amsterdam Highrollers last season."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gilette Stock up 12% Upon Winning Guantanamo Contract

Gillette will be supplying personal hygeine products including, but not limited to, back hair trimmers, combs, and a rumored experimental bed head repellant. The contract is estimated to be worth $100 million dollars.

I can't see this guy's picture without cracking up. The other captives either have mugshots (some of which make the claims of "no torture" seem shaky) or no pic at all. But Khalid here is lookin' fine!
It Runs in the Family

"Ask not what your beer can do for you; ask what you must do for another beer." -- Teddy Kennedy

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Life, in Miniature

Everyone asks me how my life here is different than in the USA. The major things remain constant: I'm a smartass, my apartment is a mess, etc. The big change is the scale of my life. In Dallas, to do anything required at least 20-30 minutes of driving. Driving 100 miles in a day is just part of life. Here in the Dorf my life rarely goes outside a 3 mile radius. If I can't walk somewhere in 15 minutes, I consider it a long way away. It's like I've been turned into BigEd or another of the Dallas-ites with a inside 635 LoJack on their ankle. Like this weekend. I went to Essen for the Friedrich exhibit (note to Casey: this is recent), all of 30 min & 20 miles away, and it was a big excursion! I think my horizons and my daily commute are inversely proportional

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Big Exhibit

I finally made it to Essen for the big Caspar David Friedrich exhibit. It was a bit disappointing, to be honest. I like his work, but the majority of the exhibit was his drawings and sketches. His paintings fall into two categories -- a) kind of dark & brooding and b)nature with wispy clouds/fog. Which probably drove the 18th cent. goth girls wild, though his stubborn refusal to shave his out-of-control mutton chops no doubt prevented him from capitalizing. He is the quintessential German painter: romantic, a bit depressed, and he personally invaded France twice.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Remember The Alamo! As usual, the Onion makes me laugh.