Monday, March 31, 2008

Things I don't understand #33...

...How we made it through the winter.
Yes, It's that time of year. The sky turns bluer. The sun turns sunnier. Breezes turn warmer. Grass turns greener. Love is in the air. And my old friend has returned. Sure, three official games have already been played, but today is "Opening Day". I believe that there will be something like 8 games televised today, and I can count on at least one being on until sometime near Columbus Day. Music to my ears. It's so comforting to know that there's something that will always be there for you. I must admit I've taken my sports true-love for granted in previous years. I haven't paid it the attention it needs or deserves. But if it will take me back, I promise to do better. It might have something to do with the fact that the team I follow, my hometown team the stRangers, have been downright dreadful lately(And that's saying something when you consider their history). But that's no excuse. It's a beautiful game, maybe even perfect.

Next week a friend and I will continue our tradition of attending opening day of said local team together. In recent years his two young sons have been added to expedition but, I'm still not sure who enjoys themselves more. Probably, the kids (they do get to skip school after all), but their father and I usually share an odd sense of glee (And that's just after enjoying a hot dog). Last year did produce at least one tense moment for me, though. Steve (my friend) had left to go rustle up some food for the boys. They had agreed(somewhat begrudgingly) to stay in the seats with Uncle Jason so as to expedite the food run. The youngest(who still wasn't sure if Uncle Jason was all he was cracked up to be, and who can blame him) informed me he needed to take care of some business, and I don't mean at the nearest ATM. I assured him that his father would be returning shortly (I actually did believe this). After about 2 minutes, things apparently took a bad turn, for at this point he began squirming in his seat (which is difficult when you legs are pressed so tightly together). He also appeared to be approaching the point of tears, and in between mini sobs would remind me (and the 10-20 people within earshot) that he needed to tee-tee (or pee-pee or whatever phrase is cleared in his family). In my best attempt at empathy, I promised his dad would be back soon (Where the hell is he?). You might be thinking, why didn't you just take him? Well, my lack of experience in this particular area (and probably feeble mind) left me with no idea as how to handle the logistical problems introduced. If I took him, I would also have to take his brother, because leaving a 7 year-old alone at a sold-out stadium didn't seem like a good idea. That also meant I would have to collect the backpack that had been prepared and the various coats and jackets. Lugging all that to the long line at the men's room while having to somehow get word to Dad that his kids had not, if fact, disappeared seemed like too much of a risk. The pleas continued, and grew in loudness and intensity. At this point, I was starting to feel the glares of the surrounding patrons as they were now sure I was cruelest man to walk the face of the earth. I mean who just makes a little kid sit there and suffer? Hello. Well, his dad did return. Come to find out, he had tried to also procure souvenirs which had delayed him those few minutes that allowed us to go from defcon 5 to defcon 1. Despite the bumpy start, the day was a success. The Rangers might have even won (probably not). But opening day is...well...opening day. And baseball is baseball.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Things I don't understand #32...

...Why the networks keep foisting inane sideline reporters on us.
I think this topic was actually suggested to me by a friend some time ago, but I'm not sure I fully appreciated it until recently. Don't get me wrong, I've been feed up with these "reporters" and their tired act for years, but not until the tournament started did I fully understand how very little I needed them. I realized in watching way too many hours of basketball last weekend that I never saw a sideline reporter. With so many games and so much stuff happening at once I'm guessing they decided they neither had the time nor the manpower to force feed us such drivel. And what drivel it is. I think I recall a time back when I was a wee lad that Lynn Swann(damn Steelers!) used to appear on my TV screen and let me know if someone was injured, and possibly even to what degree. You know, actual information that I could use. But those days are long since gone.

Now, sideline reporters come in two basic forms. The female reporter who's coming at you with prepared pieces about so-and-so who used to play Frisbee golf with his dead uncle and how those memories spur him to be the exceptional athlete you see today (i.e. Suzy Kolber or Pam Oliver[see above]). Or you get the ex-jock who just makes failed attempts at being funny (i.e. Tony Siragusa...yeah, that guy). The former(which is a large majority of the sideline reporter population), when they're not giving me useless personal interest stories, are usually trying to prove they belong be either adding their own commentary or just generally acting egotistical about their role in the entire affair (see Pam Oliver especially). There's also evidence to suggest that the ladies deepen their voice when they get on the sideline. Now is where I tell you something that will probably get me pegged as a sexist, but I think you need to hear it. You see, guys (about 85% of the sports watching audience) don't want to hear commentary about sports from the ladies. I'm sorry. We're not that enlightened (We are the type of guys who really like sports, after all). The moment we hear it, we either pay attention for points of comedy or just stop listening altogether. The result of all this is that we basically have no use for the female sideline reporter unless they happen to be attractive. Yes, it's primitive and crude and barbaric but, I am talking about men after all.

This in no way means that I have any tolerance for the second example as well. Maybe less. They should know better. But all these ex-jocks are so used to people telling them how great they are, I think they fail to realize how great they are not. I have been known to inadvertently change the channel at the mere sound of Tony Siragusa's voice. I actually think at the Superbowl they had three sideline reporters on duty. And by duty I mean...well I don't know. At one point, and my memory is real spotty here, someone who should have been on the field wasn't. I wondered if that someone was injured. I'm pretty sure had you been in close proximity while I viewed said bowl, you might have heard me yell at the screen that if only there were some sideline reporters to go report on such sideline activity. But no. They were too busy trying to decide if Tom Brady's romantic life was having a negative impact on his play. Maybe it was, but no one who cares about the game, any game, wants time wasted on these pompous, preening sideline starlets. So enjoy these games without them, because I'm pretty sure your respite will be short.

And finally, no talk of sideline reporting could be complete without mentioning that great day when Suzy Kolber ran into the very drunk and very frisky hall of famer, Joe Namath. Strug-gle-ling...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Things I don't understand #31...

...pregnant men.
Yeah, you read that right. Go ahead and read it again if you want to. Seriously? This is what we've come to? Listen, I think I've done a pretty good job for the most part dealing with this "new world" in which I find myself. My Baptist, small town upbringing did not necessarily completely prepare me for everything that this life might have in store. Like having a drug dealer and a transvestite living in my dorm in college. Or having a boss that's a woman...or one that's gay...or both. That people might view the existence of God as a bad thing. That some might view the existence of cream gravy as a bad thing. Heck, I've even grown accustomed to the idea that some women instead of saying, "Thank you," will seethe and look at me with scorn because I bothered to open the door for them (Yes, I know you can do it yourself but, even though my mom lives 100 miles away and my grandmother is in a nursing home, there's still the remote possibility that they could come around the corner at any moment and remind my that, "You were raised better than that!" And well, I would rather you go first anyway. What? No I didn't mean anything by that either. I just meant that...Ok, fine if we find ourselves on the Titanic and it's going down I will allow you to give up your seat on the lifeboat to me. Are we good now?) In most cases, I handled each scenario with aplomb (the cream gravy thing still kinda throws me). But there was always one thing on which I thought we all were clear.

The women are the ones having the babies. Not so much, Jason (Yeah, third person So a "man" in Oregon got himself pregnant. Neat trick. If you're thinking this is some sort of April fools joke, we're about a week early. It seems that Thomas used to be a woman but had a sex change operation to become a man. He got legal and everything. Thomas got married, but his wife is unable to have children. Luckily, despite the sex change (don't we need to get a little pickier about the definition of that particular phrase?) , Thomas kept his "reproductive rights". So now I've got to somehow reconcile a pregnant man with my (incredibly enlightened) worldview. Where's Dr. Phil when you need him? But doesn't this just really prove that not even our government requires commitment from it's citizens? So you have the surgery and take the hormones and all that that requires, but no one ever says, "It looks like everything is in order here Mr. Beatie. Oh, by the way you don't happen to have any organs that might allow you to birth another human, do you?" No? I'm the only one thinking that? Yeah, I know. I've still got some work to do.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things I don't understand #30...

...How movies like Ghost Rider ever get made. (Yes, we now return to the general nonsensical buffoonery that you've all come to expect)
Really. You're telling me this got by writers and directors (in this case the same person), producers, studio execs and numerous other supposed motion picture gatekeepers and no one thought to say, "Uh...has anyone noticed that this really sucks and doesn't seem to make any sense?" No one? Oddly enough, I got a urgent memo from the Department of Flimsy Premises a mere three minutes into this travesty, but I sallied forth. Despite what some might say, I do not shirk from commitment. Afterall, this movie featured such noteworthy actors as Nicolas Cage playing the title character who starred in Face Off and Con Air. Or Eva Mendes as Ghost Rider's love interest, who made such epics as Hitch and 2 Fast 2 Furious. (As an aside, the more I see of Eva Mendes' "acting" the more I'm convinced that the major reason she continues to get movie roles is her ability to fill out a dress.) Also there's Wes Bentley playing the devil's son, Blackheart, whom I'm sure has been in something since American Beauty but there's a good chance no one has noticed. And let's not forget the devil as played by Peter Fonda, who was produced from Henry Fonda's sperm and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame. How could all these "great" actors go wrong? Surely they wouldn't lead me astray. Oh, but they would.

First I'll give a brief synopsis so you've got some idea how the story goes (I assume I'm the only one of us dumb enough to sit through this):
When the motorcyclist Johnny Blaze finds that his father Barton Blaze has a terminal cancer, he accepts a pact with the Mephistopheles, giving his soul for the health of his beloved father. But the devil deceives him, and Barton dies in a motorcycle accident during an exhibition. Johnny leaves the carnival, his town, his friends and his girlfriend Roxanne. Years later Johnny Blaze becomes a famous motorcyclist, who risks his life in his shows, and he meets Roxanne again, now a TV reporter. However, Mephistopheles proposes to Johnny that he will release his contract if he becomes the "Ghost Rider" and defeats his evil son Blackheart, who wants to possess one thousand evil souls and transform hell on earth.
How could this be bad, right? Yeah. Well, the first problem is that we spend a tad too much time in the build up. The first 20-30 minutes are spent with teen Johnny Blaze(Ghost Rider) and Roxanne. By the way, isn't your future already set if your name is Johnny Blaze? Don't you pretty much either have to have a career doing something that requires you traveling in excess of 200 MPH or setting stuff on fire? (Luckily, Ghost Rider gets to do both!) I mean Johnny Blaze, tax accountant just doesn't have the same flair. Then another quarter hour is spent showing us how Mr. Blaze has become the greatest motorcycle daredevil of all time. No matter how big the jump or how horrific the crash he always is okay (Another pet peeve. For his last big feat, he "sets" a new world record by jumping a football field goalpost to goalpost. 300 feet they kept saying. Well, a football field from one goalpost to the other is not 300 feet. It's 360 feet. The posts are at the back of each endzone, which are 10 yards long. The field from post to post is 120 yards...WHICH EQUALS 360 FEET!!!) So it's over 45 minutes before I get my first look at the actual Ghost Rider(I thought I was promised flaming skeletons on motor bikes, people!). And I got to be honest, not all that great. Plus, every time the Ghost Rider rides, everything lining the streets or in close proximity seems to be consumed by flames. Bad gas mileage is one thing, but this? I'm pretty sure Al Gore would not be pleased, no matter what evil you might be trying to thwart. Questions I still had at this point in the picture: What is his(Ghost Rider's) actual purpose? What's so great about having a contract for souls? Does he(Ghost Rider) have super powers? What are they? Honestly, I had very little idea what was going on. It was at this point that the undertaker shows up in the form of Sam Elliot to finally give us some background on the Ghost Rider and his function (I'm glad they only waited an hour!). Sam Elliot was probably the only thing worth watching in this whole mess (and well, maybe whatever dress Eva Mendes might have been filling), but even he was forced to deliver some moments of cheese. So, the Ghost Rider apparently is supposed to return those who have escaped Hell and collect contracts for souls in his downtime from being head truant officer of Hades. Fine, whatever. Let's get this going, already.

So Johnny pursues Blackheart and his band of merry spirits, but is erroneously arrested(honestly, the police's evidence was weak and very circumstantial) for the murders that the devil's son seems to have no qualms about committing. He breaks out of jail (this was surprisingly not that difficult for the chief agent of the prince of the underworld who is aflame and impervious to bullets). The bad guys figure out Ghost Rider is in love ("But now we know he has a weakness.") and kidnap said love (shocker). Ghost Rider then teams up with the undertaker who we discover was the last Ghost Rider who had been "living" surreptitiously for over 200 years (why this is possible is never explained, BTW) while protecting this contract that's so freaking important. Oh, the last Ghost Rider was the one who originally flipped the devil the bird and sent this whole preposterous plot in motion (but Sam Elliot spit and said,"Knucklehead." So, I'm cool with it). So, the Rider meets Blackheart to trade the contract for the girl (1000 souls for one dress-filling lass still seems steep), but he has a plan...he has a plan. Yeah, anyway he wins (with the help of his best girl even though he told her to, "Run!") and everyone is happy...except the devil. Because Johnny tells him he can keep his soul because he's going to use his powers (flaming skull and fancy motor bike that somehow responds to audible commands from afar) for good and battle the devil and his sinister ways (You take that, you Author of Evil, you!). You've got to leave room for a sequel, you know. Which reminds me, I can't wait for Ghost Rider 2.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Things I don't understand #29...

...God's love.
(Admittedly, this topic is probably far too weighty for a place such as this...)
Sitting in church last Sunday listening to the sermon I was struck (finally, some might say) by the gravity of the scripture (Romans 8:31-34) as it relates to this day (Good Friday). It asks, "If God is with us, who can be against us?" My pastor (Dr. Denison) pointed out that the word "If" would probably be more accurately translated to "Since" or "Because". The question is not whether God is for us or not. He is. The question is, "Who can be against us?" In the following verses we are given more evidence of this one-sidedness. He was willing to give up his own Son for us (v. 32). Then another question, "Who will bring any charge?" (v. 33) And even if they did, God is the one who will be judge. And in case we need more convincing of God's bias towards us, Jesus--the one who died for our sins-- will be there pleading our case. How can we lose?

At that moment, I realized that God is continually working on our behalf. Pursuing us. Wishing us well. Despite the fact that at our best we are moderately loyal and adequately faithful(hopefully). That goodness is always a work in progress within us. Despite the fact that we are quite an insufferable lot, God loves us. Loves us so much that on this day, God allowed his only Son to die in our place. I am not a father, but I've yet to find one that didn't have considerable difficulty even conjuring up the idea of allowing his son to die when he had the power to stop it... much less die for one that actually deserved it. God loved me and you so much he not only allowed it but put this plot in motion. So if you question whether God loves you, whether God is for you, today is your proof. We shouldn't need it but we do. In some ways, this might should rank "Good Friday" as the most important of days for us lowly humans. Of course, Sunday(Easter) is pretty big, too. As Paul says, "...if Christ has not been raised,...useless is your faith" (1 Cor. 15:14) But the existence of Good Friday removes all doubt, God loves us. He loves me. He loves you. So Happy Good Friday...and Happy Easter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Things I don't understand #28...

...How this became one of the biggest sports days of the year.
Actually, the next two may be the biggest. It's rumored that these two days cost employers more money in employee down time than any other, as workers become distracted by games or by just trying to keep track of their "bracket". Many are known to take extra long lunches and some have just decided to take vacation days rather than deal with the temptation (I must plead guilty to both at some time in my past). What I find odd is the interest and affection that many men and even quite a few women (hey ladies!) hold for this tournament. A large majority of those caught up in "March Madness" would probably have to admit to not watching one regular season game. Now some of you out there might try to blame the seeming disinterest in the regular season on the fact that "so many teams"(65) get into the tournament thus rendering the regular season moot. That's all well and good until you take any time to look at the numbers and realize that 19% of D1 teams make it in. On the other hand, in the NBA and NHL 53% of teams make it to the playoffs. The NFL lets 38% of its teams in. Major League Baseball, which is considered miserly compared to it's professional cohorts, still allows 26% of its teams to compete for the championship. So one could argue, that of all the "major team sports" that America follows, the NCAA basketball tournament is the most exclusive...except for college football which lets less than 1% of teams compete for a championship (Don't get me started).

In the end, the best explanation I can come up with as to why these three weeks are so golden is a combination of the packed schedule and the somewhat intangible fact that it always seems to deliver. Whether it be big upsets or buzzer-beaters, intelligent team basketball or one-man shows, the tournament always gives us something. Sure, sometime Friday night after watching around 20 hours of first-round games predominantly played by teams I don't care about and in some cases didn't even know existed, I might think I can't watch any more... that is until Saturday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Things I don't understand #27...

...What I'm supposed to do when "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" comes on at the same time on the same night.

I know, right! This is ridiculous. Who's in charge of scheduling in TV Land*? Obviously, I'm not. Because if I were, tragedies such as this would never occur. I just thank God that "The Bachelor" and "Big Brother" weren't on, too (Although, with this injustice, I'm starting to wonder if God is still paying attention.) How is one expected to choose between the elegance of deaf girls and 400lb magicians or the magical (yet, obviously necessary) re-workings of Beatles tunes by twelve people I've never heard of...still. How could I possibly be prepared to pick between watching scantily clad women twirl around or guys with questionable sexual orientation belt out the hits (Ok admittedly, that's really kind of a no-brainer).

Sure, in some ways the shows are the same. The mysterious back-up band lurking in the shadows. The over-the-top pageantry for each contestant. The faux-suspense-building delays orchestrated by hosts of questionable relevance (really, where do they find these guys?). But in other ways, they're so very different. For instance, one has a panel of three judges. One is guy who sometimes likes the performance, sometimes doesn't. Another is a girl of mysterious ethnic origin who likes everything. And the third is a crotchety dude who hates everything and delivers his critiques with a British accent. Oh wait...uh...well one of them has professional athletes. And I'm sure there's other stuff that's different about them, too. But how can I be expected to find those if they're both on at the same time? I can't. So that's why I watched the Mav's game instead.

Some might think that because I was able to include some random details about these shows that I actually watch them, even if my public persona demands that I deny such. This is not the case. I have seen approximately 20 minutes of A.I. (short for "American Idol") since it's inception and about 7 minutes of D.W.t.S. (uh...yeah, I think you got it) since it's birth. In both cases, most of that was me suffering through 30 seconds waiting for the show I actually wanted to watch start. I will admit there was one time where I thought I could watch a whole 10 minutes of DWTS while I waited, but after about three minutes I was so ashamed of myself I was sure my neighbors would hear and report me to the authorities. At which point, they would have no choice but to castrate me for my crimes against manhood. I would have had to relent, for I could not think of any reasonable defense. I then dived for the remote. Instead, what this should do is go on to prove that these catastrophes of pop culture are so pervasive that one cannot somehow be collaterally ingrained with such useless knowledge without finding a large whole, climbing in it, and covering it with a slightly larger rock. I am not that fond of rocks, so instead I carry this needless info inside my skull.

(*This in no way refers to the Nickelodeon run network)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Things I don't understand #26...

...How the microwave works.
Or maybe how it's supposed to work. Now, over the years I've figured several things out as far as the glorious invention of the microwave goes. Like (1)never leave bread in there for longer than 10 seconds. It just turns to a rubbery lump. (2)If you hear an explosion emanating from the microwave, go ahead and stop it. And (3)anything warmed with a filling, especially a chocolate filling, should be considered dangerous and treated with the utmost respect. But what I can't seem to get a handle on is the method of attack the microwave seems to sometimes take.

A lot of times, it appears that a bowl of food will actually be warmer near the bottom than the top, where the food is exposed. Add it seems that some foods take much longer to warm up than others despite what intuition might indicate. I obviously can't grasp exactly how the waves emit or what molecules are going to being polarized and in what order. Case in point, last week I went to warm up some left-overs consisting of chicken enchiladas and beans(yes, my life is one big gourmet festival). I assumed (yes, I know what happens when I assume) that the enchiladas would take much longer to warm than the beans considering the density of the flour tortilla, chicken, cheese and sauce conglomeration. I figured the beans with their large surface area would need much less time. Both had been refrigerated but considering the previous facts entered into evidence, I decided to microwave the enchiladas for a minute, then add the beans to the plate for an additional minute. So it went off without a hitch, right? Uh, notski. When I pulled the plate out of the "oven", the enchiladas were sizzling, they were definitely ready to be digested. The beans? Uh, they were not so sizzling. So when I gave them the tried-and-true and very scientific "stick my finger in the middle of it" test, I discovered that they were cold. Not "cold" in the not warm enough sense, but "cold" in the "these were just flown in from the arctic" cold. Huh? A spoonful of beans spends an entire minute in the hallowed arena of the microwave and comes out cold? At that point, I was afraid subjecting my tasty food to the horrors of electromagnetic waves and all that implies might cause some sort of nuclear enchilada holocaust in my kitchen. I'm not saying it was likely, but safety first, right? So I soldiered on and enjoyed my enchiladas with a side of cold beans. And if I were to be faced with this predicament again, I now have no idea what to do.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Things I don't understand #25...

...How you're supposed to find out about new music.
I will plead guilty to being a bit of a music fan, but it seems that it becomes increasingly more difficult to find the new stuff out there. Unless you want to spend hours upon hours scouring the web or attend SXSW, of course (Why am I not at SXSW right now?). The cause of my greatest consternation in this area is caused by the fact that even though I live in the 5th largest media market in the country(Dallas), there is not one music radio station worth listening to. We're hoping with the return of the "Eagle" maybe the "Edge" will cut the heavy metal and return to some level of respectability, but it seems like a pipe dream. Because I haven't really listened to music radio in 5 years, I had to find other methods. For a while I used the reviews in the newspaper as a possible source, but then they fired half their staff several years ago and did away with such trivialities as music reviews, so screw me again. I've heard quite a few of those in the know like Pitchfork, but for some reason I find it off putting and don't go there as much as I probably should(As soon as I figure out why, I'll let you know.) Our good friend Lex has his new album recommendations, which is also helpful. There's also, which allows you to view what I might be listening to over there to the left, but I must admit I still have yet to grasp its complete value.

My biggest source of music has come from my subscription to emusic. And because emusic has gone to great lengths to position itself as the home of indie rock, well guess who finds themselves as somewhat of an indie rock fan (Hello! Hey, over here. Yeah, me.) I never envisioned myself as indie. I'm guessing most who know me just choked on something at the thought of me being called "indie" anything. Anyway, emusic offers more than its fair share of free downloads. Along with the occasional free offerings from labels (indie labels of course), the site also offers a free download of the day (*Note* To access that feature, you must download a browser toolbar, but I think it's worth it.) Even with my access to the site and other efforts, I still feel like a lot of the times I do find something new that I like it just happened by accident. One of my recent discoveries came from my own iPod. I put it on shuffle and walked by it later and thought, "I really like that. Where in God's name did it come from?" I had downloaded it months earlier (from emusic) and had not paid it enough attention.

So I thought we could help each other out a bit. I'll point you in the direction of some places I've discovered that offer free downloads and maybe you can do the same. Also, I guess if you already have an emusic* account, we could trade nicknames and be able to check out what we each decided was download worthy (Mine's Farky. Shocker, huh.). So here's a hand full of sites I've stumbled upon:
Square productions
And to be oh so very timely; SXSW offers many free downloads of bands performing this week here.

Finally, I thought I'd leave you with my proudest discovery of the last 6 months. One of those "How am I just now hearing this?" moments that makes you wonder if your abode is doubling as a large rock. And then you go find multiple albums worthy of you time and adulation. The band in this case was Spoon. And I will leave you with their newest release, "The Underdog". I dare you not to like this song. I DARE YOU.

(*If you don't have an emusic account I'd be glad to introduce you. What? Will I get something for getting you to join? Ah, don't worry about that.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Things I don't understand #24...

...What I'm supposed to do when this shows up in my inbox.
Don't get me wrong, I've become accustomed to getting my fair share of inquiries and mandates to lengthen my penis(I really don't think that many people should be worried about such things). But this? This is too much. Why would I ever be concerned about this?

(I used to think Sarah Chalke of Scrubs fame was kinda hot. Now I don't now what to think.)

Wedgie-Free!!! Is that really appropriate email content? To all the guys I guess I should say, "Sorry." To the ladies...would a congratulations be in order?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Things I don't understand #23...

...How it is that all women can dance.
The thought struck me as I was watching a movie last night and a man --one who happened to be an international spy-- asked the woman he was trying to seduce to dance. Her reply was basically to ask him if he could dance. Well of course he could! He's a spy! But the exchange brought a couple of questions to mind. 1)Why is it assumed that men can't dance? (Yes, I know because we can' least try to play along) And 2)why is it assumed that all women can? (Yes, because they're really starting to chaff me.) But really, the woman in question was a bit uptight and had the potential to be awkward and gangly. Yet, in the course of history has anyone ever thought to ask such a query of a woman? I doubt it. Now I'm sure this is probably some corollary to my declaration that women are "pretty and soft and smell good" but I'm having trouble fitting it in. Plus, I've witnessed numerous women in various attempts at athleticism and the results were...well let just say it didn't remind me of dancing. So where does this seemingly innate ability come from? Why do they want to do it so much? And why are men the exact opposite?

Now I'm not saying that I never dance, but it's not something I ever crave. And if there's not sort of woman angle it never crosses my mind. And when I do dance, it's somewhat of an iffy proposition. I'm a bit of a lumbering galoot, but luckily I have good feet for a big man. Nonetheless, I can't think of a single male friend who's would be called a good dancer. And most guys probably remember any good dancers they've come across (if I ever run into that Michael guy again I might have to sock for what he tried to pull with my girlfriend that one night). You might also be thinking that not all girls can the Seinfeld where Elaine embarrassed herself. But wasn't part of what made that funny the fact that it seemed so improbable? They might be out there, but it's just a blip on the screen. And really, I guess if one of us is going to get the talent to dance it's much better suited on the ladies.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Things I don't understand #22...

...Why God likes to screw with me. (Yes, this is just another post about what an idiot I am, but I can't name every post that so...there ya go.)
There are actually several areas of my life where I think God is getting a fair amount of entertainment, but right now we'll just focus on one. This involves my long and arduous battle with trying to stay fit. Some friends and family are aware of my somewhat regimented workout schedule that includes the Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday jogging requirement. And it must be done outdoors. I hold great disdain for the treadmill. I just get way too hot. So some of my friends know my schedule, but obviously so does God. Because every time I get ready to run, I have some sort of new and exciting weather event to deal with. I've been known to say that if you want to know if the weather's gonna be bad, just check to see if I'm supposed to run. If I am, it's gonna suck. As an example, over the last two weeks, I've had to put up with 3 wind advisories, 2 bouts of rain, and snow on the ground. Now in the intervening days, it's been down right balmy. But today may have been the ultimate example.

I knew it was supposed to be chilly, so I was already outfitted in my cold weather gear. Basically, if it's below 50 I go with a long-sleeve shirt. Today, it was 45 but I sensed a bitter north wind, so I also added some light gloves. Well, sometime between me getting the paper and then leaving for my run, there was a development. For when I walked outside it was raining. I am now convinced that God did not want me to run today, but I wasn't so at the time. I paused and squinted at the rain. It was steady, but not heavy (not light either). I was sure it was just a momentary shower, so I thought,"Screw it," and took off. About 1000 ft into it, I realized I had probably miscalculated. At about a quarter mile I found some slight shelter under a tree and stopped to go over my options. I could just turn around and settle for a half mile run. Despite the rain and bitterly cold north wind(a lovely combination), I decided that was the wuss' way out. I tried to think of another route that would still provide me an adequate work-out, but I was stumped. Then the devil appeared on my right shoulder. "You can do it," he said. "Look, if there's a tree here, they'll be trees along the way. I won't be that bad." I thought for a moment and it seemed that, yes, there would be trees. "But," God said(obviously God is on my other shoulder),"What about the rain?!...and the wind?!... and the plummeting temperature?" Valid reasons to turn around. "But those are just excuses, plus, if you don't care about your own fitness, who will?" And with that I was off, again. I tried to run toward tree cover, but quickly realized that I had been tricked by the Prince of Darkness. Plus, it's still kinda winter, so the few trees there were might have been suffering from a leaf shortage. By the midway point, my legs were a nice red color, and I was completely soaked. Shirts, shorts, shoes, and socks. Plus, the water constantly running down your face doesn't help with the whole breathing thing. So, right after this, God decided to mock me for my foolishness. His method of communication was a loud crack of thunder. Yeah. I'm an idiot, but I'm not a complete fool (Maybe). If I think there's a chance of lightning, I don't go out. But here I am, a mile and half from home, and God's getting a good chuckle out of me because now I don't know whether to run toward the trees or away from them. I schlepped along, rain and thunder and all, and started to feel quite heavy. Near the end, I had to run pass several cars, and boy did they get a kick out of me. For that one moment, they were sure that here was one person is the world that was obviously dumber than they were, and they were right. So as a lesson, if your Heavenly Father is telling you not to go running, don't, it's not worth it. Unless you count beating your personal best time by almost a entire minute, which I don't .

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Things I don't understand #21...

...What to do when I get a haircut.
So today I did such. I got my ears lowered. So there's a couple of points of confusion for me here. There first is what I tell the person as to how I would like my hair cut. Now, if you live in the big city(like me), and you're a guy(like me) you probably end up at on of those generic prosuperfantasticcuts places(like me). That probably also greatly increases the chance that the person doing the cutting is not of American decent, thus introducing the added excitement of a language barrier. Even without the need for a interpretor, I'm usually at a loss as to what to tell them when I get the question,"So what would we like to do today?" I'm a guy! It's really not that complicated. Many times my reply is," know...shorter." Here lately, I've gone back to a relatively short cut that employs the use of clippers. This makes it somewhat easier, because I can just tell them what size guard to use and away we go. But...but then, like today, I get a question about the top. And sometimes, like today, I even get a specific question like,"So you want me to take a half inch off the top?" I have no idea. Unfortunately, my clairvoyancy does not extend into the realm of cosmetology. Is a half inch alot? Maybe we should take a whole inch. I haven't the foggiest. Most of them time I just nod my assent out of frustration and exhaustion of the entire subject.

Then we enter part two of my confusion. Does the person cutting my hair expect me to talk? I feel slightly uncomfortable not talking to someone that close to me who happens to be working on my head...with sharp objects. But there are a couple of obstacles here. First, I'm not there very long. If I'm still in the chair 15 minutes after sitting down, I start wondering what's taking so long. If we make it to 20, I start deducting from the tip. Once again, I'm a guy, it's not that hard. Obviously, you ladies out there probably go in thinking it will be at least an hour, so it turns into a regular afternoon tea. I've even been fortunate enough to get caught in one of these scenarios(don't ask), and after an hour and half, suicide seemed like a positive outcome. But as we've covered. This guy here...not a chick. I don't need to make friends at the hair cuttin' place. I need my hair to be shorter than when I went in. Another issue that inhibits me and the stylist sharing snappy retorts is that there is usually something very close to one of my ears making some sort of humming or buzzing sound. Today I think four different types of clippers or shears or electric razors were used. If you're talking to me, there's a good chance I can't hear you. Plus, let's not forget the whole language thing. I usually just end up sitting there with failed smile counting the minutes. And then I leave...and try to delay thinking about it until next time.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Things I don't understand #20...

...why asparagus makes know...your pee smell funny.
I'm sure half of you are saying,"Oh, yeah. That's true. Why does that happen?" The other half of you are probably thinking I'm just about as crazy as you already assumed I was. If you weren't aware, it's true, this very odd side effect. I discovered it several years ago. I had just had a side of the green veggie with a meal. It was probably the first time I had any measurable quantity. The next morning, I noticed it. If you don't know what it smells like, it's hard to explain. It's just weird, kind of sweet but kind of sour. In any case, it's quite strong. I freaked out. I immediately ran to my computer to search the to try to figure out which type of cancer or bird flu caused your urine to attack your olfactory senses in such an outrageous fashion. I then noticed in one of my searches something about asparagus. It was then that I was reminded (have I ever mentioned I'm a genius?) that I had enjoyed the dish just hours earlier. What I found put me at ease, but didn't really quell my confusion.

Get this. Not only do they(doctors or the such) say that only about 50% of humans experience this phenomenon, but they really have no idea what causes it. So it's also something they don't understand (I wonder what number this is in the scientific community?). There's even something odder than that. Sure they don't know what causes it; but even more so, they(quacks) are not even sure if the asparagus changes the odor of the urine for 50% or if only 50% of us can smell it. Thanks a lot guys. Good luck curing cancer.