Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Could Be Married

This was supposed to go up last night...stupid blogger.

A little rant to start off the night. I really wonder what part of the gene pool I'm living with. I'm in the unfortunate position of having to do all my shopping Wal-Mart. I really don't like giving money to the evil empire that is Wal-Mart. Among the items I get is some pickles (whole dills for me, none of those spears) and a bottle of wine (Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon). I'm checking out and the cashier puts these two items in the same bag. C'mon now! The only two fragile, glass, and not to mention heavy, items I have and she puts them in the same bag?! Mensch?!

Anyway after that I tune into one of the few programs (and only comedy) I habitually watch, How I Met Your Mother. I love this show. The characters gel, it is well-written, the humor isn't forced...it's a real treat if you haven't seen it. Last night's episode really got me. The star of the show is Barney Stinson (portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser). Barney is a classic womanizer who's sole goal is to bed any and every woman he meets...oh yeah he's got his own catch-phrase. A very likeable and enjoyable character. Oh yeah, how sweet is it that NPH is gay and his character is the totally hetero-womanizer. Very cool.

Anyway last night's episode featured Barney's gay brother coming to visit. Its not the fact that his brother is gay which provided the fodder, but the fact that he's black (portrayed wonderfully by Wayne Brady). We see that Wayne is everyway the same as his brother and they have quite a bond where they each benefit from each other (I know there's some fancy word for this). Through the course of their night out trying to pick-up women/men, Barney discovers that his brother is in a relationship and they're going to get married. It's not gay marriage that bothers Barney...no, but the issue is MARRIAGE itself. Barney had visions of him and his brother as perpetual bachelors and living their lives to bed every man or woman available and the idea of his brother getting married destroys these visions. Of course Barney comes around when he finds out his brother and his partner are adopting a baby. Fast-forward to the wedding and we see Barney with his new nephew and soon-to-be apprentice. Side-note, Ted and Robin are currently dating, but during "old Ted's" (Bob Saget) voiceovers, he always refers to her as Aunt Robin -- ie we know they are not going to work-out. But at the wedding (a year? later) the appeared together. Although when Marshall and Lily leave they both state separately that they each want to stay longer but then are seen dancing together. Its nice to know that as viewers we don't have to worry about will-they or won't-they stay together (see: Ross and Rachel). Anyway, great episode and be sure to tune-in if you haven't.

As a college-educated, fairly intelligent (I guess), 20-something, I'm supposed to be on-top of politics and the latest issues that hit the homefront. One of these is gay marriage. People ask me, "MOL, what's your stance on this?" From what I've been told its a hot-button issue. First off, we've got much bigger things to worry about then who marries who. Second, if two men or two women want to get married, how is it going to affect me? It's not. Third, having gay friends, if they want to get married, I'm going to be all for it. So yeah, I have no problem with it...let's talk about social security (friends it won't be there when we're at retirement age), government fiscal responsibility, or the state of education in this country, now those are the things we should be talking about.

Another reason I'm in favor of gay marriage is the economic aspect. Think about it. Gay marriage means that florists, wedding-planners, caterers, DJs, etc will all have more business. Yes that also means more weddings to attend and more gifts that we as guests have to purchase. Then honeymoons and all the other associated costs and this means more money into the system. I'm not an economist, but this all seems like a good thing. Then, as it is the case with "traditional marriages" there will be gay divorces. Now again, there are lawyer fees and associated costs to deal with. More money into the system. All of these people are businessfolks -- they're all looking for new customers. Its a pretty easy concept to grasp. Of course where I'm currently living, I'm probably in the extreme minority here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Let's Get Physical

So it appears that schools are now starting to ban Tag. Tag. That's right, the game where basically you run around a lot and someone is "IT" and tries to tag the others. Pretty innocent game that we all played as a kid. But apparently "they" (ie administrators who think they know what is best for kids) say it singles out kids and reveals a hierarchy of the good and the bad. This is inline with schools banning dodge ball because "the strong prey on the weak." Also, these people think that there is the chance that someone might get hurt. Millions of school kids have grown up playing these games. I doubt any of them have had "severe mental trauma" due to them; likewise anything physical that happens are your ordinary bumps & bruises.

There are two things that really get me when these things happen. One is the fact that we, as a nation, are growing increasingly fatter. These games serve a simple purpose where the kinds run around and burn calories. Those of us in the industry would refer to this as "aerobic exercise." Its a basic tenet of living an active lifestyle. Kids these days (I can't wait until I'm a grumpy old man) come home, watch TV, hop on the internet, and play video games. There is no more just running around outside games. Then schools are cutting recess and phys ed...add to this the wonderful nutrition options, and it's no wonder kids and our society are fat. I'm not asking all kids to be in travel sports teams with overzealous parents (thats a topic for another day), but being active for 30 min a day can do wonders for a kid.

The other thing that bothers me is that one of the reasons they've banned these games is because these games result in a pecking-order of the best to the worst. They (the administrators) want the kids to know they are all equal and on a level field. One of the things in life is that we're all separated from best to worst in everything we do -- school, athletics, looks, income, jobs...nothing in life is equal and we're all on various parts of the Normal Curve with all these things. Yes, it's not fun for a little kid to lose, but if they find out at a young age how to deal with not being the best & losing, it'll serve them better later in life. It also helps to motivate them to find out what areas (sports, school) they are good at. Life is all about dealing with rejection in some way or the other. Whether its the girl you asked out, or getting turned down a bunch of times before you get a job, or applying for a mortgage...we find a way to deal with it. This reminds me of that South Park episode where they were putting on a Christmas show/pageant at school. In order to not offend ANYONE it went from a show about Christmas and Santa to this "interperative dance" number where everyone was dressed in black dancing to European techno music and it had NOTHING to do with Christmas. Its things like this that make me wonder if this country is really headed in the right direction.

Monday, October 16, 2006

I Was Never Cool in School

A couple of updates...looks like FNL isn't getting the ratings NBC has hoped. It's a lot better then its competition of Dancing with the Stars (sorry sisters/mom). Tuesday at 8:00, give it a try. Other TV stuff, I'm a big fan of How I Met Your Mother, but The Class is just awful. That doesn't, however, stop me from watching it. It's one of those things where I know I'm not enjoying it, but I keep going anyway just to see if maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. My conclusion -- it must be a very long tunnel or there is no light.

CFB...MSU got destroyed by OSU on saturday. Not a big surprise, however...John L is as good as gone. Of course this means a new coach that will bring in a new feelgood era of perpetual mediocrity. Whenever MSU plays OSU it gets me thinking about loyalty to a team. I was raised as a Buckeyes fan. Throughout the Cooper years where we'd be just good enough and then lose to Michigan and then to current Tressel-ball era which has resulted in 1 National Championship and one of the premier programs of the last 5 years...it's been fun. Two years ago, however, I entered Grad school at MSU and suddenly I'm a fan of a Big 10 school that I actually attend. So when MSU plays OSU, who do I cheer for? Well despite being an OSU fan, I have no ties to the school and actually attended MSU. That being said, I feel that after all these years I should cheer for OSU. I came to the decision that I'll cheer for OSU except when they play MSU. Of course MSU sucks so royally this year, the point is moot.

As a fan of OSU, I'm actually cheering for Michigan to win. I want that on November 18, there is a colossal matchup that surpasses all the hype that will surely precede it. Of course, UM has to survive the #2 jinx that has seen 4(?) #2's lose over the past month or so.

Well, I've had some requests to discuss a certain topic. Yes, I made my official competitive debut as a collegiate swim coach. It was a long weekend that involved 2.5 drive friday afternoon and then back that night. We got back at 12:15 and then had a 6am departure saturday morning for an 8:30 am meet. It was originally scheduled for 12:30 but for some reason that I don't understand, a top-10 football team is much more important then a swimming meet. There were some good swims, and I know where we need some work. It was a long weekend and the kids did a lot of swimming and were tired. That said, I was pleased with the last relay, although I have to get one of my swimmers to take his 100 out faster -- 25.0/25.7 were his splits. And yes, we do team warm-downs despite the complaints. It's good for them. I was pleased with how things went. I keep telling the kids -- we train for february. We use these meets and progress reports to let us know how the training is going and to work on little things like turns, breathing patterns, and stratergery. Then when we get to conferences, everything is cake.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

It's Friday Night

This was supposed to go up last night...we'll give it a try now.

Well no, it's only tuesday. But I'm sitting here watching the 2nd episode of "Friday Night Lights." I had no interest in it until a week or so ago and was hearing so many good things about it. I watched the first episode and color me impressed. I haven't read the book, but I saw the movie and thought it was so-so, nothing special. I wasn't giving it much of a shot so I tuned in and I think I'm hooked. It's one of those "inspired by" things where it is based on the book but the book is non-fiction so in all actuality the only things similar is the fact that it's about a town in Texas who live and die by how their high school football team does and the harmony/disharmony (racial or otherwise) that exists within the team and the town. Anyway, how many football shows have their been? Uh....Coach? Well that was a 1/2 hour comedy and didn't really focus on football itself. So its a TV show about football...big deal. But it's filmed like a documentary so it goes against the grain of the traditional drama. The big reason I like it is that in my new career as a coach I have a lot more perspective on the individual personalities on an athletic team. Being an athlete is one thing...but when you're a coach you have all the personalities to monitor and keep tabs on. The show also has a lot of subtle take-home mesages that, as a coach, I just eat up. If you haven't watched this show, give it a try, especially if you've ever been part of a team. It's pretty good stuff.

Other happenings...well I'm living in a state that has the oldest (I'm about 98% sure) senator in the nation and he's running for reelection this year. He was born in 1917, his name is all over EVERYTHING in this state...this means he'll be 95 by the time his term is up, providing he's still alive. Anyway, in the midst that is the mid-term elections we're all subject to those political ads. One has this senator talking about how he's proposed/pushing a bill to allow for silent prayer in school. HELLO?! McFly?! Seriously, do we need a bill for SILENT prayer? I'm pretty sure that this happens regardless if there is a law about it or not. I know for a fact that I've done this more then a fair share of time whenever I've had a test/exam/paper -- just asking for a little guidance and success. But really, a bill? C'mon, anyone else out there that finds this completely ridiculous?

OK, it's Wednesday now. Overheard while walking home this evening:
Female co-ed "The best day ever was when I found out I could use my Old Navy card at Gap and Banana Republic!"

Continuing the theme of TV shows from above, I'm currently watching 30 Rock. You know NBC has two shows on the new schedule that are behind-the-scene views on a fictional late-night TV show...both based on SNL. One is a drama (Studio 60...) while 30 Rock is a comedy. I'm really digging 30 Rock right now. Tiny Fey is great...seeing Alec Baldwin as a smarmy (is that even the right word?) network exec is great...and Tracy Morgan was always underrated on SNL. He's playing the "wacky/outrageous/crazy movie star" and he may actually break-out on this role. Overall (for the time being) it seems that NBC has some quality shows on its network and may be coming back from the low point they were at a year or two ago.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An Island in the Sun

The Lost premiere LiveBlog. Spoilers below!

Just like last year we open up with an unknown person (Julie v Desmond) while and old song playing (Downtown v Make Your Own Kind of Music). She's in a book club and there appears to be an earthquake. And its Henry Gale!!! Henry Gale flashback alert! And they see the plane go down!! Is this the island? Ethan is back! Wow! It looks like middle-America on the island! It's the others and what a beginning!

I'm really looking forward to the character development of Henry Gale/whatever his real name is. He's got the sinister bad guy look down pat.

Hula music playing and Jack is looking like an iggle and spying/stalking Carol Vescey...ooops his wife? Well she was having an affair...now he wakes up on the island in some sort of prison. Damn Others! There appears to be a glass/plexiglass barrier. Kate is awakened ina shower by it appears to be Zeke. Why are the Others so hostile? They did something to her as she has a bandage on her arm. Sawyer has that "I'm pissed off I'm in jail" look and starts talking to some kid. I bet he's a spy for the Others. And Sawyer just gets shocked? and flys across his cell. Jack meets Juliette...could she be the new love for him?

Promo for the new Clint Eastwood Iwo Jima movie...Flags of Our Fathers. We're starting to get into Oscar time. That one looks like a good one. Of course epic war movies usually due well.

Jack and Carol Vessey...er Sarah are meeting to settle their divorce and then head to Stuckeybowl with Ed and Phil and the gang. I keeed, I keeed. Back in the cell, I see flashbacks to his blonde ex and now there is another blonde in front of him who is being very nice with him. Yes, this is definitely his new love interest.

Kate showers and all her clothes are gone....with a locker that says "wear this." Hmmmm....it's a sundress and it appears to fit her to a T. Henry Gale looks to be wineing & dining miss Kake. For being on an island in the middle of nowhere, they certainly have some nice dishes and kitchen items. Ohhh he's threatening her with no coffee if she doesn't put on the handcuffs...and she listens to him! I don't think that's much of a threat, but apparently coffee is quite the commodity around here. Henry's playing psychological games with her...and the next two weeks are not going to be fun for her. I have a hard time believing that. Kate has shown that she just be the toughest of the Losties out there. She has quite the checkered past and I'm sure she can hold her own. I wonder if the Others know everything about her.

About halfway through and so far so good. Good stuff. Of course I'm not looking forward to the ending that answers one question, but opens up 3-5 more.

And it's Jack's dad who's having the affair with his wife?! Scandalous. No wonder Jack is so pissed off and everything. Jack hears something in his cell and it sounds like just what his dad said..."Give it up Jack." I'm a believer that Jack's dad is alive on the island. Yeah that's a little far-fetched but look what happened with Locke's legs. Juliette is being pretty friendly and gives Jack the 'ol "you can trust me" line. I definitely see these two getting together before the hiatus.

Sawyer is talking with the kid and I think he's convinced the guy is an Other....and somehow they escape. Run Sawyer Run1!!! And kind Julie shoots him with a stun gun and he's back where he started. I guess Julie isn't so sweet and innocent afterall.

I got a phone call and Jack has confronted his dad. And now there is a flood in the cell...and no one is going to die because you don't kill off main characters during the first episode. How where did the water come from? Julie packs one hell of a punch. Yeah these Others are some tough folks. I really wonder what happened with them.

Another promo for The Nine with some nice background music. Reminiscent of Sigur Ros or Godspeed You! Black Emporer or Explosions in the Sky but they were featured in Friday Night Lights last night

just a few more minutes left so that means get ready for the big ending. Sawyer is messing around in his cell and figures out the contraption and wins a fish biscuit! Whooo! Now he sees Kate in her dress and they both start feeling a little randy...no but these two are hooking up this year.

Jack realizes he's in an aquarium and underwater...in the Hydra station. Wow, they've got quite the dossier on Jack. How do they know all this stuff...she has his autopsy report? All with me now...WTF?
And Sarah gives us tonight's money line "It doesn't matter who he is, it's who you're not." That hurts.

And this is all part of their plan...because? Well it appears that Henry Gale's real name is Ben. i liked Henry Gale better.

Well, that was a good episode. It didn't have the "cliffhanger ending" which is nice because it's hard to be a fan and deal with that every week.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Why Don't You Quiet Down?

Anyone that knows me, knows I'm...well, how do I put this...I can be unique at times. Call them personality traits, quirks, eccentricities (nah, I don't like that one), or whatever. We all have them, some may argue I have them more then others (I'd love your feedback on this). This is who I am and most of you seem to put up with it.

I started a new "project." Most of us have a jar (or something similar) where we put all our loose change. These jars seem to accumulate more change then they lose. For students they can be a blessing to save quarters for laundry and raid snack machines. At some point we're faced with the daunting task of trying to get rid of these coins and this usually entails going to the bank and making rolls of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Then the process begins again. It's a vicious cycle.

A couple months ago I made the decision to take matters into my own hand. I've been making a concerted effort to use change when paying with stuff. Yes it takes a couple of extra seconds to pull out the requisite coins...but I'm making progress. It's also nice to receive just bills as change rather then a handful of coins. Usually its the cashier who gives US the change...I'm giving THEM change.

The second part of my project is to give support to the penny. Yes, the good 'ol copper Lincoln penny. The coin which we all collect and seldom use. Its often seen as a nuisance and people (including lawmakers) want to get rid of it citing its lack of importance and cost to manufacture. The debate rages on. I believe in the penny. I believe we should all be using pennies in our cash transactions. I'd much rather get a nickel/dime/quarter back instead of 1-4 pennies. Plus there is the fact that so many people "horde" pennies and don't use them...by me (and others) actively pushing people to use the penny, they get back into circulation and the cost goes down. Yes I know I'm one lonely blogger and this is read mainly by my family and friends...but I encourage you to use the penny. Take the time to pull out 1-4 (or even more!) pennies out of your pocket and get them back into circulation. I make a habit of always having at least four pennies in my pocket for when I go shopping. This way I can ensure that I get non-pennies back. In the scope of my project, I try to take enough change to make sure I only get bills back.

I realize that at some point I'll be rid of all of my change. Then I'll just reach an equilibrium point where I've always have some change in my possession but I'll be constantly using it. In closing, I want you to use the penny and give it some love as it is a valuable part of our history and our culture.

That said, you can now commence making fun of me.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Come Gather 'Roud People

So we here at MOL have a new look. I got a tip a couple days ago that the blog was looking a little...well off. So I decided to take some time and fix it. First thing you'll notice is the new colors. Really no reason for this. I was fooling around with the layouts when I was trying to fix the thing and ended with this one. I like it...of course if you like the old blue/grey template, lemme know. In the chaos that was my blog this past week, the links I had got lost. So I took the time to update them and revise the list a little. You'll notice that instead of arranging the links by group, they are all together. I also took a couple out that haven't been updated in awhile and added a couple more.

I'm sure some of you are awaiting my reaction to last week's Notre Dame/MSU game. If you want any single game to define the John L. Smith era in East Lansing, it's that one. A classic MSU meltdown. Having only followed the Spartans for the past couple of years, I'm not that in-tuned with the program...but in these 2-3 short years, there are a handful of games that follow the same path. MSU gets out to a lead and is dominating. Then we get to the 4th quarter and the team just implodes. Michigan 2 years ago, Michigan last year, OSU last year, and then this debacle. No no no, Notre Dame did not win the game -- MSU lost it. How do you give up 19 points in the 4th quarter, at home, at night, in a monsoon? It's rediculous! Some teams get to the 4th quarter and no matter if they are winning or losing, they are able to do what needs to be done. Sparty gets to the 4th quarter and one feeling sets in -- fear. Fear. They are afraid the no matter what kind of lead, they'll end up losing. And it comes down to the coaching. time to sign the petition, as John L. Smith will NOT be back next year (especially after the loss to Illinois...ILLINOIS!!!). Of course, this means we get to look at what other coaches will be out of a job and maybe, just maybe, we can get someone (yeah right) who will be able to lead the Green and White to the promised land. If you've got 15 minutes to spare, listen to this guy (via Deadspin). That gives you a good idea of how all us Spartan fans are doing. Sidenote: I'm still looking for a YouTube clip of John L. Smith's halftime interview from the OSU game last year. For those that didn't see it, MSU totally mismanaged the clock & their timeouts. What should have been an easy (well, our kickers sucked last year) 3-points resulted in a blocked-field goal returned for a TD. The sideline reporter got him right after that and what resulted is one of the all-time classic interviews. It is not often where you get a coach right after such a momentum-swinging play.

What else do I have to say? Well the OFOMOL (Official Female of Metamorphosis of Life aka my girlfriend) have been dating for one year now. Being in a long-distance (and inter-continental) relationship is not the easiest thing in the world. Luckily she's one of the most understanding and wonderful women in the world. We've got a great thing and we're both committed to making it work out. Even though we are thousands of miles apart, I wouldn't want to be with anyone else.

That's it for now. Time for some football.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Speaking in Tongues, Its Worth a Broken Lip

OSU outplays and scores a convincing win over Texas.
I was thinking that Texas was going to pull it out, but I am happy with the result. I was surprised at how flat UT was. They are the defending national champs and for OSU to come into Austin and do what they did...I think it comes down to prep from the coaches. One thing you know from Tressel is that the team is always ready to go. Even in loses, the games are close and the kids are prepared. UT lacked that fire & intensity that we saw from them last year.

Elsewhere, Matt Trannon (if you didn't know, he plays basketball too!) caught 14 passes for 141 yards, scored 2 TDs, and threw a TD pass in MSU's rout of EMU. They head to Pitt next week and then take on the Fighting Irish in 2 weeks. There are two certainties when it comes to MSU football: 1) they are going to get your hopes up early only to be dashed in the 2nd half of the year and 2) they ALWAYS show up for the ND game. The Irish are currently #2 and (provided they beat UM next week) will be coming into the EL 3-0. For whatever reason (it boggles me), the Spartans always play well against ND and have actually beaten them consistenly over the past 5-10 years. I'm looking for an upset that will put the Irish (and their ardent followers) in their place. I even found a new shirt to buy for the occasion.

So I go to buy said shirt. Its 2006 and internet commerce has been going strong for the past 10 years. I've bought a fair share of items over the net and I've never had a problem. Put in your credit card and boom, you're on your way. Most portals allow you to ship items to addresses that do not match those on the credit card. This is great when you are send gifts. This also is convenient when you have recently moved. Such is the case with me. Not all the addresses on my various mailings have been changed, nor has my new ATM card come yet. Well I go to checkout at Spreadshirt, but I need matching addresses. Mensch! OK so then I go online to change my address for my VISA. Well my new address is a funny thing, as I live at a half-address, XX 1/2. Well, for whatever reason the code doesn't like the forward-slash and I can't put in the full address. I tried with a decimal point and I still get the message about how I can only use alpha-numerics. Maybe one of my computer saavy readers can fill me in on why this is the case. I was able to change Discover Card and Sports Illustrated addresses with no problem.

Frustrated, I decide to call customer service. This is always one of the things I look forward to least -- punching countless numbers and saying "yes" or "no" when prompted. Then being put on hold while listening to countless repeats of "Company X kisses your ass for being on hold for so long and cares about you." Usually if I'm on hold for longer then 5 minutes, I hang up. For whatever reason, I get taken care of quickly. OK, this is good. Until I hear the operator and realize my call has been outsourced to some unnamed foreign country (hint: it sounds a bit like the state west of where I'm from). And of course he speaks with a fairly-heavy accent. Heavy enough that I have to concentrate on what he is saying -- not a good thing when you are in "customer service." So I tell him I need to change my addy -- fairly simple, right? Well he asks me if I've filled out the proper paperwork.....paperwork? What are you talking about? I moved from point A to point B and I tried to change my address with your company but I couldn't. I told him no I hadn't and I had no idea what he was talking about. I then tell him my address with the infamous "half" in there. This sounded as it confused him and he asked "how do you write that?" Uhh...just like it sounds. Yes I know that a half address is not the most common thing, but its not the first time in my life I've encountered it. So then I tell him the rest of the address and we get to the state and I say "West Virginia" and he asks me how to spell "Virginia." Dude, you're in customer service for a US company, you should know how to spell things say like the 50 STATES! Even if he doesn't know how to spell it, shouldn't there be a drop-down menu to select "WV"? Ugh. There were a few times when I really had no idea what he was saying and asked him to repeat it. Then after we were done he tries to get me to enroll in some program sponsored by the credit card company. I say no and he issues the reply "Let me speak on experience..." and I say no again and like a horny male teenager he still doesn't get it and presses further when my third and final stern "No" takes care of him. Did I ever tell you I hate calling customer service peeps...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

White Light, White Light Goin' Messin' Up My Mind

I'm sitting here watching the MTV VMAs...I'll try and do the 'live blog thing...of course no one is actually reading this right now so it'll be a "live blog read at a later time."

OK, Jack Black is a pretty cool guy and can be funny...but what was up with the opening? I realize that it was supposed to have all this excitement and fire and explosions and there were none. Right, I get it, it's ironic. But it wasn't funny. Not even on the ironic side. Then he intoduces The Raconteurs, whom not many people know. Add that Lou Reed is playing with them and most people are thinking "Hey, isn't that Jack White? Did the White Stripes break up? Where's Meg? That Jack White is kinda creepy. Who's that old guy and why doesn't he know the words? Must be a new song..." Yes, Lou Reed is rock & roll icon, but aside from musicphiles, the majority of people watching the VMAs have no idea who he is. The audience definitely gave a courtesy clap.

Lil' Kim
Boy, a year in jail really does a number on your boobs.

Best Hip Hop Video
*Crosses Fingers* No Black Eyed Peas, No Black Eyed Peas, No Black Eyed Peas....Dammit!
Two awards and Kanye is 0-2.

Ohhh Shakira featuring Wyclef. That's what makes the VMAs so special, all these people you'd never expect performing together. It's great.

Cast of Jackass
I love these guys. Can't wait for the next movie. Look it's Wee-man's wee-weenie.

Raconteurs are back sans Mr. Reed. I guess it's past his bedtime.

Commercial for some movie with Napolean Dynamite, Billy Bob Thorton, David Cross, Todd Louiso, Ben Stiller, Horation Sanz...School For Scoundrels, this looks good.

LL and 50
50 cent has 8 bullets in him and is still alive...figure that one out. Kelly Clarkson wins and LL & 50 accept for her. Another round of courtesy claps.

Lil Jon and some rapper I don't know...introduce Pharrell and some other rapper I don't know, although looks and sounds like Ludacris. If I don't get that one right, there goes my street cred.

Sarah Silverman...she's got that quasi-funny, semi-attractive thing going, but is overrated due to her relationship with Jimmy Kimmell...anyway she's talking about Lance Bass. Yeah I was gone for three weeks in Germany and find out Lance Bass is gay?! Didn't see that one coming...

Hey, Kyle from Tenacious D is there...isn't it funny how JB always has to intruduce KG as the other half of TD? Never fails. Now they riff on it. I hope they play later.

Jessica Simpson...isn't getting any more attractive. Anyway we get the best Dance video, I don't care about the Pussycat Dolls...they are talking to much, where is the orchestra?

Chris Brown...don't know who you are but he intro's OK Go who are doing a sweet treadmill-dance video thing. I know the bald guy is just the bass player, but he's the coolest. Nothing rocks more then four indie guys doing a choreographed dance routine. Jamiroqui, take that!

Paris Hilton...you know her song isn't that bad, I think that, because it's her, we all expect bad things. Did she get Jack Black introducing her as "a leading producer in independent film"?

Ohhh, Nicole Ritchie right after Paris, how scandalous! Anyway her and Nick Lachey do best pop? video. Madonna shouldn't be allowed to sample ABBA. No one should. And Pink wins, whoo hooo! Pink is one of the most manly women I've ever seen.

Snoop Dogg
You can never get enough Snoop, that is for sure. I hope he's still being Snoop when he's a geriatric. You know what? I don't know any of these rappers save 50. I'm so outta touch with what's cool.

I have no idea who is singing. Do you sense a theme here? Gosh, I suck.

Sarah Silverman, still not funny

Jared Leto and Amy Lee...
can we get anymore pseudo-goth, dark, and disturbing than these two? And I'm just convinced that Jared Leto was talking with P. Diddy. That is the 2nd time a Moonman breaks. Is MTV having budget problems? And since when can people drink during/onstage?

"Hey this song sounds semi-familiar" thinks half the audience as the Raconteurs play "Steady as She Goes," their "hit."

Ringtone of the year
This is a category? Seriously? Again, no Black Eyed Peas, no Black Eyed Peas, no Black Eyed Peas...Yes! Oh wait, this guy is from Linkin Park? I get it now.

Panic at the Disco
I'm trying to figure out who these guys sound like. Or maybe they just sound like every other "emo" band. I do like their costumes, however.

Best New Artist
Oh no, not Fegie. Go back to Kids Incorporated and play a keytar. But who is this little girl? I like how Fregie can barely lift up her legs to dance because her dress is so short. Very classy, very classy. I have to be honest here and say that I do like that "Angels and Airwaves" song.

Jack White looks uncomfortable at the prospects of being in a band with Jack Black.

OMG OMG, Britney & K-Fed!!! OMG OMG!!!! You know, they actually look decent. I'm disappointed. Beyonce wins, good for her.

Kanye West...ohhh what is he going to say? Damn, nothing controversial. He just talks about Hype Williams receiving the Video Vanguard. The shiny suits were great, they defined late-90s Rap videos. Missy Elliot is having some car problems...I always like when live events don't go as planned. It's perfectly fine to show your blemishes.

Christina Aguilera...*yawn* is this over yet?

Again Lou Reed. Why is he on MTV? At least they are playing the one song of his that is the most popular. Ohhh, I think I'll grow my hair like the guys in AFI. One side short...one side long. And Lou Reed gets no props from the audience and awkwardly sunters to the rear of the stage. Poor guy. In 20 years no one will remember AFI but people will still [hopefully] remember Lou Reed.

Commercial break...hey it looks like Bob Dylan is doing a Gap commercial...sell-out. Oh wait, it's for Apple, so that doesn't make him a sell-out, right? right?

More Black Eyed Peas? Someone drop a bomob on them or something. What is KG doing back there? Who is Kyle Gass anyway? And I don't understand Jack Black's schtick. He's not really funny, of course as I write this him and KG do an awkward fat-man hug. And now Tenacious D sing.

Fallout Boy win Viewer's Choice. Whooo.

And it's Al Gore!!! Wow, what a surprise! Remember when the VMAs were uncool and had surpises at the end of the show like Guns & Roses playing a couple years ago?

And now the Raconteurs cover the Buggles and sing "Internet killed the radio star" How clever.

J. Lo comes out looking...I don't even know. And Panic at the Disco wins Video of the Year. Very anticlimatic. And some guy commandeers the microphone...now THAT's what I'm talking about! Anyway in 10 years people are going to look back and say "Panic at the Disco?" Who?

Hey speaking of Guns and Roses, it's Axl! Axl, Axl, when is Chinese Democracy coming out? And he introduces the Killers wh ile speaking about how he just met them and came out just to do this. Suuure. Anyway, the Killers are a nice guilty pleasure. I'll admit I dig them and I'll probably be buying their new record.

That's it. Finally it is over and I can go to bed. Thank you for all who made it through my first live blogging experience.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I'm Back to Save the Universe

Hey gang, it's been awhile. I know you all have been checking in daily and anxiously awaiting my return. I bet a little smile even came across your face when you dropped on by and said "hey, a new post." Such is the life of my faithful readers. I appreciate it, I really do.

Thank you all for the feedback about various travels and experiences with pay-to-pee toilets throughout Europe. I was under the impression that it was just limited to Germany, but I was sadly mistaken. First time in my life, how about that? Of course I didn't even touch upon their hygiene habits and lack of using deodorant.

I know it seems like I've ripped on Europeans a lot, but really it was a couple of these small things that bugged me. I really had a wonderful time. A lot of people who know me well (read: the family) know I'm not that forthcoming with feelings when it comes to relationships. I can tell you that after my 3 weeks in Germany, the OFOMOL and I are as close as ever and we are both confident and committed to making this thing work.

One thing that I really liked about Europe was the SMART Car. I can be pretty jingoistic when it comes to my feelings about the country I live in. One area I certainly don't identify with is the culture of gas-guzzling, over-priced, accident-prone, bigger-is-better SUVs. As I've started a new (well my first "real") job, I'm looking to buy a car soon. I only have a couple of requirements when looking for a car -- within my budget, reliable, and gets good (great) gas mileage. But when I saw the SMART Car....whoa nellie! I think I've seen these somewhere, probably on some Discovery Channel/TLC/etc show that was filmed in Europe. But to see one up close and driving around, I was amazed! This thing is so anti-American it isn't even funny! I think that's why I like it, it is so different. How would we respond to this car in the US? Well, looks like we'll be finding out in a couple of years. It will be interesting. Both the New Beetle and the [new] Mini Cooper were hits when they were released in the past decade. But both of those were revised versions of classic cars. If I was living in a major metropolitan area, I would certainly entertain the idea of getting one. I could totally see this being a "trendy" car purchased by yuppies and indie-hipster (provided they have the income) types.

I found a neat little site over the weekend, Improv Everywhere. They are a group of people, headed up by Charlie Todd, who performs with the Upright Citizen's Brigade. He organizes public "gatherings" and kind of plays pranks on unsuspecting employees, shoppers, and random folks of the public. Go to their website and check it out. Just to give you an idea, one mission involved a group of people all dressing in khaki pants and blue shirts. They all went into Best Buy and stood at the end of an aisle. If asked by a customer about an item, they answered the question. Of course this provided amusement for employees and shoppers but management didn't like it. BTW, their page is down, so I can't put up links right now. Another mission they coordinated a multi-person 5-minute "skit" that was played out repeatedly over the course of an hour in Starbucks. Take some time to read their missions. If you appreciate this kind of humor, you'll get a kick out of it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

There Was a Checkpoint Charlie

A fair warning to those faithful readers of mine who don't like to read: This may be my last update for awhile due to me travelling back to the states and then moving next weekend, so I plan on writing a lot.

Well I'm having a great time here in Germany. I've noticed a couple of cultural differences, however, that absolutly drive me crazy. The first and foremost is the fact that they make you pay to use bathrooms. Is this insane? It doesn't matter where you are -- public, private, museum, department store...there is someone's who's job it is to patrol the bathrooms and make sure that people pay the requisite 0.50€. Talk about a job that sucks! Going to the bathroom is a natural human process and they are charging us to take care of this multi-daily task? I don't think so! Being a man, it is a bit easier as we can just go wherever we want...but still. I mean, if someone is going to make me pay to go to the bathroom, I'm going to make sure I get my money's worth. I'll take Moby Dick in there or something and cozy up to do some reading. I think a great protest would be for a bunch of students (cause they love to protest) to go into bathrooms and just stand in front of the toilets. Do this all day to protest charging for bathrooms. Germany is the only country that does this.

The second gripe...well its not really a grip because it's not that big of a deal is German's adversion to crossing against a traffic light. What do us American's do? We come to a street, look to see if any traffic is coming, and as long as there is no traffic, we'll cross. We really don't care if the sign says "Don't Walk" or not...no traffic is a go for us. Germans on the otherhand will do their civic duty and wait for the sign to change. It is really something to see an empty street and a bunch of people on either side waiting for the walk sign to appear. Speaking of walk signs, being in the former GDR, I'm privy to a rather neat cultrual phenomenon, that of the Amplemannchen. The Amplemannchen is the crosswalk signal from the former GDR that is much more exciting than it's FRG counterpart, and a lot more exciting then the boring WALK/DON'T WALK we have in the US. Being in Dresden, I've also seen the female version Here is a pic of the Amplemannchen:

Other then these two things, Germany is great. One thing that Germany is known for is it's beer, and I'm more then happy to report that I've been drinking my fill. Radeberger and Feldschlößchen are the two regional beers I've been drinking the most of. Something that is really hard to get used to, as an American, is the lack of open container laws. Every day I see people having a beer walking down the road, riding the tram, or hanging out wherever...you can drink any place you like. It's great! And beer is usually one of the cheapest things on the menu, so why drink pop or water when a beer will be cheaper! I love it!

Yesterday I went to a European Soccer match. We went to the 1. FC Dynamo Dresden game. The Dynamo (procounced Du-Na-Mo btw) play in Germany's 3rd league, but it was still quite fun. I was quite impressed with the fan support. I mean I would equate this (any soccer snobs, please correct me) to attending a minor league baseball game. Small stadium, cheap seats, & a level of play below that of the Bundesliga. But the fans come out in droves! Colors of yellow, maroon, and black were everywhere! The fan section I would equate to the fan sections at NCAA Football and/or Basketball games. The fans stand the whole game and cheer and chant and yell and sing. It is great! I was patted down as I entered the stadium and I don't ever recall havind gone through that in the US. I was also told that people throw batteries onto the field at opposing players....hmmm, sounds familiar. I can only imagine what it would be like attending a game in the Bundesliga or the Premiership. Gotta put that one on life's to-do list.

We went to Berlin last weekend and that was quite something. Most of us remember the Wall coming down and what it meant...but there is a real history to the Wall and what it stood for that many of us don't know. It was real humbling and educational to read about it and how events played out. The thing that I never really thought about was that the Wall was around and containted the "free" West Germans while the "non-freee" East Germans could travel where they liked (except for West Berlin that is). The other thing that the OFOMOL told me is that East Berlin was a city where East Germans wanted to live because they could receive TV channels from the West and they had some of the best living situations; West Germans, on the other hand, didn't want to live in West Berlin (it was isolated, who could blame them?) and incentives were offered to get people to live and work there. Then in 1989 the Wall came down, David Hasselhoff came for a visit and Capitalism spread across the land. Now they make a buck by selling stuff from those by-gone days. Karl Marx must be rolling in his grave when he sees this:

OK, I fly back to the states on Wednesday. Hopefully I get home with the least of delays and there are no terrorists on my plane...if not, I'll do my best to take them down. I move down to the sticks on saturday. Look for details in the coming weeks about my place down there. I appreciate the comments, so keep them coming.

Friday, August 04, 2006

No One Else Would Know

Second Radiohead lyric in the past three posts...oh well, OK Computer is very applicable to travelling.

Not being a native speaker and knowing all of 50 words in German, watching TV hasn't been that exciting. There is CNN International to watch, which is in English. Although I can only watch so much of the conflict in the Middle East. The other channel I've found interest in in Eurosport. Yes, everything is in German, but sports are pretty universal and I can figure out what is going on without knowing that the announcers are saying.

Without my knowledge I happen to be here during the European Swimming Championships. This is great as Eurosport is broadcasting them. It is not that they are just broadcasting the finals of each event...no, they are showing most of the preliminary heats, semifinals, and finals of all swimming and diving events. This is amazing! How often are we treated to swimming on TV in the states? I know they show the NCAA Division I National meet every year, but that is on tape delay a week or so after the competition takes place. Other then that, the only swimming on TV we get is every four years with the Olympic Trials and the Olympics. Not only is Eurosport showing everything, most of it is LIVE! None of this tape delay BS where, in the age of the internet, you know who has won. Its really great! I wake up in the morning and while we're eating breakfast, I get to watch prelims swims of events. Even with the distance events of the 800 and 1500, they show practically every length. I remember watching Olympics in years past where they would show the start and then the last 100 of the 1500. It was beautiful to watch the German women destroy the world record in the 800 Free Relay last night as the anchor brought it home in a blistering 1:55 and change.

Those of us that are involved in the sport of swimming often complain to the lack of attention our sport gets outside of the Olympics. This is because networks choose not to broadcast meets such as Nationals; if they do, it is on tape delay and takes away from the excitement of watching the event live. Part of the reason for this is ESPN's near monopoly on sports coverage. Yes there are other networks that cover sports, but ESPN is the only 24-hour sports network and is watched in more homes then any other network. How great would it be instead of watching a radio broadcast (yes, they actually film the inside of the radio booth...very exciting TV) of Mike & Mike in the morning, they broadcast live events such as swimming, track and field, or even the EPL. Instead of watching Skip Bayless and Woody Paige argue non-sensical points, we could actually be watching real sports events. What a concept! There are very few US events (well, those that ESPN covers) that take place during the day and based on the success of the 2006 World Cup, the EPL could do very well.

I've started to tire of ESPN and it only sucks because there really isn't a viable alternative. It reminds me of when MTV started broadcasting shows instead of videos. ESPN needs to broadcast sports, instead of another talking head. But keep PTI, that is one of the few shows that works.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Wir Fahr'n Fahr'n Fahr'n Auf Der Autobahn

Spent the good portion of sunday sight-seeing and being a good little tourist. We started the day by going to church in downtown Dresden. I've been attending Catholic masses my whole life, but this was my first one in a foreign language. I knew the procedure and what was going on, but gosh if I had any idea what they were saying. If the church ever needed an argument for a return to Latin celebrations, this is it. It was a bit ironic that in an old historical church, they use electronic boards to indicate the number of the hymn. I'm pretty sure I've never seen THAT in any other church before. Of course I would have been happier had they spent a bit more money and put pads on the kneelers...I do not enjoy kneeling on just wooden kneelers.

Dresden is probably most famous for the firebombing that took place there at the end of World War II. The former GDR lacked money (one reason communism is maybe not so good) to rebuild many of the historical buildings in the city that were destroyed, so they remained in ruins until reunification. The city is still in the midst of rebuilding and renovating the buildings, but it is amazing what they have done so far. They've mixed old bricks that were salvagable with new ones to completely reconstruct these buildings. It is all pretty amazing. We certainly do not have historical buildings like that in the U.S.

One thing I do like to joke about with the OFOMOL is how I'm visiting a former Communist country. Growing up in the US (and the West) we have certain stereotypes about Eastern Bloc countries and how life was so bad there. Talking to her about it, and learning from her mom, life wasn't bad...it was just different. They were not lesser people. The citizens were not tortured or treated badlz. Some western Germans still think this, and that is a shame.

I have taken some pictures of Communist things -- some buildings and murals that still stand, and I even saw an old car from the GDR. Another reason that Communism may not be the best way of governance -- people had to wait 10+ years for a car. And tropical fruits were unavailble...they could only visit other Easter Bloc countries and even this was hard...although they did have "free elections" where the people could vote for whoever they wanted. Then there was the Stasi -- no one knew who was a member and they mointored for anti-government behavior. So yeah, Communsim was not a good thing. On a good note, I even touched one of the buildings and I am happy to report that I did not catch Communism.

It is nice to see all of these buildings and symbols as they remind all of us that History is filled with not-so-great moments. We should look back and learn from these things so that we can create a more better world.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Taking Off and Landing

Well I made it safe and sound to Germany. I survived my first overseas plane flight. Before leaving C-town I got a bite to eat while watching the Tribe lose (damn they suck) at Max & Ermas. I got a turkey sandwhich and washed it down with a Sam Adams Summer Ale. While doing this I decided to do a little reading. My current book of choice is "Swimming Fastest" by Ernest Maglischo. An 800-page behemoth that details anything related to training swimmers. So here I am at the bar, enjoying a sandwhich and a brew, while reading & highlighting this book. The fellow next to me was a bit surprised and made some comment about the size of the book and its subject matter. During the rest of the trip whenever I brought it out, I received a couple of strange looks.

We were an hour or so late getting out of Detroit due to some inclimate weather. After taking off I quickly got comfortable and began watching movies, playing games, eating, drinking, and trying to sleep. I watched most of V for Vendetta and The Benchwarmers. I wasn't impressed with either movie. The last two hours of so of the flight seemed to take longer then it should have and we had to circle around Frankfort before we landed.

During my layover in Frankfort I noticed a couple of things. First off, people are allowed to smoke in the airport! This is pretty crazy as us Americans are pretty used to smokers not being able to light-up in most places. I got some coffee and it wasn't served in a styrofoam cup. No, I got an actual saucer and mug. What a concept! My flight to Dresden was about an hour late getting off the ground because we had to wait for the plane from London. Finally we took off and I arrived safely at my final destination, Dresden.

I went to get my luggage and waited to see my big blue suitcase. I waited. Then the belt stopped and I realized I had suffered the greatest of fates of an air traveller -- that of the lost luggage. So I went to the woman and asked "English?" and she spoke it! Yes! I told her where I was staying and would hopefully see the bag soon.

Then there was the moment of truth, the reason for my trip. It had been 7 weeks weeks since we last saw each other. I walked through the door and saw the OFOMOL looking as beautiful as I remember. That was a fantastic moment. We took the train and arrived at her place.

In order not to talk too long (ha!), I'll save my observations of European life until later.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

It's the Eye of the Tiger

Tiger Woods wrapped up his 11th Major win by capturing his 3rd (repeating his victory from 2005) Open Championship. Here he is, 30 years old, now sitting tied for 2nd on the all-time list of victories in the Majors. The number to beat is 18, held by the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. I am a big Tiger fan and enjoy watching him dominate the game. I have no love for Hefty, Els, or Vijay. I want to see Tiger, in his sunday red, give us yet another classic performance. We are used to the Tiger who pulls out driver and kills the ball for 300+ yards, often finding the rough. He's got a great all-around game that he is able to recover these shots. This weekend was different as he kept the driver in the bag and chose to tee-off with an iron most of the time. He sacrificed distance, but damn was he accurate. Every hole he was hitting it right down the fairway. This is a mature Tiger who played a smart game this weekend. Hefty could take some advice (see: Winged Foot, 2006 US Open)...but don't because I like seeing you suffer.

Anyway, #11 got me thinking. He's got 7 to tie Jack, 8 to surpass him. It seems pretty inevitable that he is going to do this. It is rare that in a lifetime you get to see someone achieve a major historical sports achievement. Baseball is a sport that is filled with hallowed records -- Babe Ruth's 714 and Henry Aaron's 756 immediately come to mind. Pete Rose's 4256 hits, Nolan Ryan's 7 No-nos, and Hack Wilson's 191 RBIs are some others. Football and basketball are less number-oriented. When someone throws for 30000+ yds or scores 30000+ points, it gets hard to relate to. Records with smaller numbers are perceived as bigger and we understand them.

I wasn't there for Aaron to pass Ruth...I can only listen to what the historians and folks from the Worldwide Leader tell me. I do know that Aaron, being a black man who was going to surpass the most significant sports record established by Babe Ruth, had to deal with racist comments and hate mail. There was also some media pressure on him...but the media circa 1974 was a different being then it is today. Now we have a black man (in a white man's sport) chasing the most hallowed record of the game. I would like to say that in the 21st century that Tiger will not be subjected to such racist commentary that Aaron was...but the cynic in me realizes that there are probably some folks out there who will not like the fact that Tiger take's Jack's record. Jack Nicklaus is the Babe Ruth of golf. Sure there was Arnie Palmer before him, and there were others before Ruth...but Babe Ruth is the name that defines baseball and Jack Nicklaus is the name that defines golf. It will be interesting to see how Tiger deals with the pressure, once he gets to 17. One thing that he excels at is playing under pressure. There is no one else who is cooler and more collected when the pressure is on him.

Tiger will surpass Jack, this much I know. Whether he ends up with 19, 21, or 24 majors, we don't know. But for this generation, Tiger passing Jack is our version of Aaron passing Ruth. Let us enjoy the ride, as these things happen only on a few occasions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Just a Little Pinprick Please

I gave blood today. 27th time I've done it. I also realized during the procedure that I've been giving for 10 years now -- that's 2.7 times a year. I try to give every 8 weeks, but last September was the last time I donated. Personally I feel it is one of the easiest and most valuable ways to "give back to the community." I save lives, I give blood.

Hey all you Spartans out there, this one is for you! The CWRU has announced/unveiled its new Spartan logo. Apparently their old logo was too similar to the Michigan State one. Hmmm, I never noticed the difference. Afterall the CWRU Spartan is facing left and the MSU Spartan is facing right. Side note, if you do a Google Image Search for "CWRU Spartans" the wise being that is Google ask's you "Did you mean MSU Spartans?" D'oh! As long as they don't use that damn square, I'm happy. Although the square has grown on me and I do prefer it to the old sunburst. There was a rumor floating around a couple of years ago (this was when the square was unveiled) that the school was thinking of changing its mascot and it was going to be something along the lines of the Rough Cats. Rough Cats was going to be an amalgamation of Red Cats from Western Reserve College and the Rough Riders of Case Institute of Technology. Here is a nice page on the mascot history of CIT/WRC/CWRU/Case. You don't know how many times I've seen a blue and white "Spartans" shirt here in EL and think "Hey, that just may be a CWRU shirt" and then realize that most of the folks here probably have no idea about CWRU. Although I was driving today and saw a window decal on a car with a blue and white spartan head. I'm convinced that car is a CWRU grad. So I don't leave her out, my little sister graduated from UNC Greensboro, who also just happen to be the Spartans. I'd love some comments on which logos are the best.

Most of my faithful readers (you guys rock) know about the recent developments in my professional life. It's official as my new place of employment has issued a press release about my hiring. It's pretty surreal to see your own name on an official release like this. Part of me is like "is this actually happening?" Since I'm paranoid about things I say on this here blog coming back to haunt me, I try to keep things pretty anonymous. Of course, it wouldn't take much work to figure out who I really am. Anyway, you, my faithful readers, are a smart bunch and I know you can find the press release on your own.

A week from now I'll be on my way to Germany.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I Think I'm Turning Japanese

What is the over/under onto when Zidane becomes part of the vernacular? I.E. "You've just been Zidaned!" or "Watch it or I'll Zidane your ass!" Do you find it ironic that the best futbol player of the last 10 years is going to be known for his little headbutt more then his skills on the pitch?

Disclaimer: the following section contains adult content and reader discretion is advised (that's for you mom & dad)

As a native Clevelander, I have to weigh in on a little matter. For those who do not read Deadspin religiously, there is a certain fella by the name of Mike Cooper who has becomes somewhat of a legend there. Here is his story in a nutshell: he got caught pleasuring himself in the Berea library. Gonzo journalist Carl Monday confronted him and library about it. This resulted in a $500000 bond for Mr. Cooper. Cooper was sentenced on friday and guess who was there to report on the matters? Good 'ol Carl Monday. Of course neighter Coop nor his family wanted any part of it and hilarity ensues. Watch the videos...part of me wants to think it is some elborate sketch comedy show, but no, it is all too real. Really the fun from the whole episode(s) come from teh family's reaction.

Coop should have taken another tactic. Usually when confronted by folks such as Mr. Monday, the accused just want to hide. Usually this is justified as crimes such as cheating mechanics, money lauderers, and the like need to be taken care of. Mr. Cooper, while what he did was quite inappropriate, he wasn't hurting anyone (I'll let my readers complete any double entendres). He was doing something that we all (so they say) do, but he just chose a public library to do it. Anyway, Coop should have defended himself right there in front of Carl Monday. Monday wants that reaction, he wants to chase down people and embarass them. Cooper should have taken the offensive and said something like "Yes Carl, I masturbate. So what? I made the mistake in the place I chose to do it in, but I do it, and I'll continue to do it. Let me ask you something, when was the last time you jerked one off? Do you like to drive around in your newsvan, and then ask for some "alone time?" From the looks of it, you're not getting any at home. I peg you for a 3 times a day guy at least. Are you a righty or a lefty? Do you use oils or lotions?" And then if he really wanted to, he could just go on from there and make it extemely vulgar and start to involve his wife and kids. Afterall, Monday got Coop's parents on film. I think that if Coop had did this, Monday would have NO IDEA how to react. It would be especially great if Coop was a nice, conversational tone when speaking those lines. Coop could have even gotten a buddy to come running up with a videocamera and film Monday as he walks away. I'm sure Monday would be hella pissed. Then Coop could just yell "You've been served!"

Friday, July 14, 2006

I Know - Its Serious

Just some random stuff today. I've been on a bit of Smiths kick the past couple of days. Unfortunately I only have the compilation, Louder Than Bombs which is lacking some of their essential tunes, namely, How Soon is Now?, The Queen is Dead, and Girlfriend in a Coma. Well I really wanted to hear the last song so I made a request to the Impact. That's one of the great things about college radio, they play your requests, and do it in a quick manner. Anyway the DJ announces she's playing this song for me and wondered why I was requesting it. Yeah the lyrics are a bit grim (hey, its the Smiths) and it would definitely be filed under Sad Bastard Music. Sometimes we want to hear a song for no reason more then we just want to hear the song, thats all. There was no meaning here, and I definitely do not want my girlfriend to be in a coma. BTW this is a great read about why the Smiths should never reunite.

Every once in awile I like to stop and thank all of you who read my drivel on a regular basis. There are millions of us bloggers out here just trying to get heard by anyone other then our friends and family. People actually write some good stuff; it does take a bit of time and effort to discover it. I'm continually updating my links over on the right as I discover more more blogs that I find value in. So I encourage you to check those out (and their links) and if there is something you like, leave a comment -- trust me, we love it when random folks leave comments.

For example, Tortured Fans put up a great video the other day that I commented on. Through other comments, I found thatchick who publishes two blogs: Dude, WTF and 9th Layer of Hell. Both of these link to other NEO-centric blogs. Reading some of the titles (BitterFans, Disappointment Zone, God Hates Cleveland Sports, The Burning River, and The DiaTribe) of the sports blogs, there is no reason not to believe that Cleveland sports fans are bitter, cynical individuals who want nothing more then a championshp. Side note, we just want one championship -- not a dynasty or anything like that, just one where we can say "Yup, we were on top." The I found Random Thoughts where I left a comment (if it appears) about the breakup of Weezer (it's about time!). So you see, blogging and commenting is the gift that keeps on giving, that is unless you are Mike Cooper.

Aside from the literary blogs, I'm all about the music blogs (audioblogs). Really that is how I discover new music. Check out some of those sites, and download some of the stuff they put up. You'd be surprised (or not) by the quality of stuff out there. And if you don't like the song, you can just delete it. Although I've kept everything I've downloaded in the past 18 months or so -- I'm at like 400+ songs all from the audioblogs you see on the right. And Pitchfork has even gotten into the act, launching their "Infinite Mixtape" earlier this week. There are a lot of keepers in there. Stop listening to the radio (if you haven't already) and start tuning-in to the bloggers.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

If You're Gonna Play the Game, Boy, ya Gotta Learn to Play it Right

The World Cup wrapped up thIs past weekend. Every 4 years the worLd comes tOgether like nothing elSe to celebraTe the Beautiful GAme. This is the one true sports competition where the world stops what it is doing to tune in. Sure there are the Olympics, but those are dominated by a few countries. The World Cup celeBrates the diversity of our planet. Futbol/Football/Soccer is one of the few sports that are played worldwide. It is a team sport that encourages teamwork, yEt also rewards individual expression. For one month every four years, the world stops to watch, listen, celebraTe, and party.

Watching the Italians win on Sunday and seeing the exuberance in the players' eyes and then the celebrations going on in Rome and throughout Italy got me thinking. We Americans are newcomers to this sport. It is rather surprising considering the "melting pot" of cultures that make up this wonderful country of ours. We can dominate in almost any other sport, but when it comes to Soccer, the rest of the world laughs at us.

Not this year...no not this year I said. The US was coming off a run to the quarter-finals and thanks to a non-call on a hand-ball in the box, would have made it to the semis in 2002. This year was supposed to be the coming out party for US Soccer. We had a maturing class of youngsters that was supposed to work with crafty veterans to have an even better 2006 World Cup. Not only were we supposed to be competitive, but we were going to knock off some perennial powers. I drank the Kool-Aid -- we were finally going to go from World Cup doormat to a contender and finally assert our superiority in the Beautiful Game.

Then disaster struck. We all know what happened to the US, so I don't have to repeat it. Although tying (albeit on an own-goal) the eventual champs has to count for something, right...right? I reflected on the World Cup and the egg laid by the US Squad. Well, we didn’t do so well, not at all. We didn't assert our superiority...no, the world asserted what they already knew -- we still have a long way to go until we can contend with the likes of France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and Italy. And maybe this country of ours, that I'm very patriotic towards, has room for improvement in more then just soccer. Yes we are the economic, political, and athletic leaders of the world, but that doesn't mean we are better then or superior then everyone else. We may have more opportunities throughout our lives, but that doesn't make us better. Its what we do with those opportunities that count.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

If I Don't Get My Football Back

Currently watching the World Cup final. I can't believe this has been going on for a month and I've barely commented on it. Few of you know that in my journey to athletic greatness (finishing 416 out of 20000+ at Boston is my idea of greatness, but really this is meant tongue-in-cheek) began back in 1st(?) grade when my parents told me I was playing soccer. I had no idea what this game was and the first year or two consisted of 15 or so elementary kids chasing a ball around aimlessly. Well as we grew in the game, the team improved and we became a respectable team. Most of the team was a grade above me (they did it by birthyear -- since I'm a December baby, I was one of the younger ones on the team), we didn't have a team after 7th grade. I went on to play middle-school football and then continue swimming through HS and college. Anyway, soccer holds a special place in my heart.

Watching the final game here, I notice that Italy are wearing Puma unis while France is wearing Adidas unis. I know I have shared this with some of you, but I thought I'd put it out here for everyone. The two companies share a rich history. Adi Dassler (founder of Adidas) started his company back in the mid-20th century in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Side note, the proper pronunciation of Adidas is with the accnet on the 3rd syllable, not the 2nd like us Americans do: a-di-DAS instead of a-DI-das. Anyway, Adidas was a family company run by Adi and his brother, Rudolf. At some point in the 1940s the brothers had a falling out. It was such a falling out that Rudolf moved across town and started his own company, Puma. To this day, no one knows what happened between the brothers, and it is likely we never will. There was an attempt in the 70s by Phil Knight (of Nike fame) to reunite the two families, but it didn't happen. Here is a nice article that explains it some more.

PS: The US tied Italy on an own-goal....does this do anything to change our crappy performance in the WC? i.e. "Well, we did TIE the champions...."

PPS: What was Zidane thinking? Sad way to see him go.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mustache is Authority

Well its official. I've booked my flight, and I'll be travelling to Germany to visit the OFOMOL for about three weeks at the end of July and beginning of August. There were some days when we didn't think it was going to happen, but due to some recent developments, I'm now able to go see her. This is great news and I really look forward to seeing her and Europe, since I've never been. Fear not my faithful readers, I will be taking my laptop with me so I will post occasionally when I'm there.

I was in the Land of Cleve last weekend for the 4th of July holiday. The weather was kinda wacky. Lots of on and off rain that produced plenty of morange. I did spend plenty of time with the niece and nephew. Maddy is quite a little swimmer and is already learning the basics of breaststroke. Needless to say, I'm quite a proud uncle. Elliot still insists that the OFOMOL is his girlfriend (sorry buddy) and took time to learn a little German: "Du bist susse."

I've decided to experiment a little...he he he. I've decided to grow a mustache over the next three weeks before I go to Germany. I got the idea from some guy I saw on Leno/Letterman/Conan a week or so ago. He challenged his buddies to grow a mustache for a month and made a documentary about it. There is part of me that would like the mustache to make a comeback. Personally I think there is way too much negative steretypes that go with it -- people think you lookelike a 70s porn star or a child molester. Time to put some positive spin on the above-the-lip facial hair!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

No Woman Can Resist a Man Who Looks Good in a Speedo

And with a title like that this post has to be good...right?

First off, I appreciated the feedback on the pet post. I have no problem with pets per se, its just when (like Mr/Ms Anonymous pointed out) folks care way more about the well-being of pets when there are plenty of humans out there that need help...that bothers me. Here is a nice editorial I found in USA Today yesterday.

So I went for a swim today. I've been doing this on a pretty regular (3-4 times a week) basis this summer. Luckily for me I get to swim outside in a SCY pool, which totally rocks my world. I get to be outside and I don't have to deal with a 50-meter pool. It's a six-lane pool, but they only have four lanes for workouts and the other two are for whatever (ie older kids to play in). This means that every once in awhile I have to deal with sharing a lane. The key to not sharing a lane is to swim down the middle and do lots of butterfly. Folks (recreational swimmers) get scared by this as butterfly is hard to do and go off in another lane. Anyway, I grab my toys and stand at the edge of the pool, getting ready to hop in. Then I notice a couple of boys (lets say 12-14 years of age) looking at me. They've got this look on their face that says "ewww, what's with the weird guy wearing a speedo." I've realized at that instance I've made them totally uncomfortable. Of course, I'm not the one that is uncomfortable. No no no no no. I've been swimming for a good 15 years...trust me fellas, I don't have a problem wearing a speedo. You guys are the ones that can't accept that young, non-European (sorry sweetie) guys wear these. And I'm not even wearing the traditional brief (well...I am, but that's underneath) as I've been donning the vastly underrated square-leg suit.

This leads to another concept that you swimming folks may appreciate. I'm involved with a group of young swimmers. I've noticed the proliferation of the jammer (that pic is for the ladies and my non-traditional male readers) as the suit of choice. No one wears the classic Speedo-style brief anymore. I get the fact that as a young swimmer starting off, wearing a Speedo is not the thing you want to do (we were all there fellas, right?). But gradually you accept this, deal with it, and then become comfortable with it. Then you realize that being a swimmer you have a pretty good body and don't mind wearing the Speedo outside of swim practice. Up until a few years ago, thats all we had, and we didn't mind. Now that jammers are out, these kids don't have to deal with the body image/confidence in wearing a suit that we did. Call me old-school, but I'll take a regular suit of a jammer any day, and I'm sure most of my swimming friends will too. The thing about the jammer is that at some point (as long as they stay with the sport) these guys are going to have to wear a real brief suit. It is much easier to wear one starting out then put it off and deal with it later. It's like asking a girl out -- the more you think about it and stress over it, the worse it will be. Just do it baby! Side note, I'm so used to wearing the Speedo-style suit that I actually feel weird wearing trunks/board shorts.

The other thing about the jammers and the boys I work with is that they wear them until they are too-stretched out. The point of wearing a real (not "trunks") swim suit (brief or jammer) is that it is tight to reduce the amount of drag on your body. These jammers have pretty much become trunks, they are that stretched out. The traditional jammer is only supposed to come down to the top of the knees. These suits are stretched so they come down below the knees and almost look like leg-suits. Of course the one high-schooler is ok in my book as he goes jammer-less with a square-leg suit.

I say down with the jammer and all wear square-legs!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Here In My Car

A little while ago I was out and about doing some errands. I was at the Post Office and noticed a car with a bumper sticker that said "My cat is smarter then your honor student." Those that know me know I'm not a big animal person. I've seen other bumper stickers that say "My dog is smarter then your honor student." OK, we get it, you are a cat/dog person lets take a look at these accusations a bit further.

So you say your pet is smarter then my honor student? I beg to differ, lets take a closer look here. What is your pet's GPA? Have they averaged straight As for the duration of their education? How about AP tests -- have they taken several of these and received college credit for them? I think not! Honestly, I would think that if given an integral to solve the cat/dog would really have no idea what to do. OK, calculus is hard, so let's focus on English. How many of the classics has your pet read? Can it identify the imagery, symbolism, and themes in books such as The Scarlet Letter, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Great Gatsby? I'm guessing probably not. I bet your pet doesn't even know how to read! How about US History...can your pet defend several causes for the American Revolution? How about US Policy as it affected reconstruction of the south? Your pet has no idea, does it? OK, I'll give you one last chance, how'd your animal do on the SATs/ACTs? Now these are multiple choice tests so there is some statistical liklihood of the pet getting some questions correct but I'm willing to bet that even the folks who finish in the bottom 10% of a graduating class will score higher then your pet. So get over it. Your animal is not smarter then any human. It's just a dumb animal who you care way too much for.

That same day I was driving home and was behind a car that had a license boarder that said "I'd rather be at a Clay Aiken Concert." Clay Aiken? Forizzle? Seriously! Clay Aiken! does that guy get respect from anyone? What has he done lately besides finish 2nd in American Idol? Worse off, it was a guy who was driving and it was a Camaro! I guess that debunks the whole Camaro-driving stereotype (classifications --> Section 1 --> 02).

But things got worse later that night. My buddy Teets came up for a visit and we were at a local watering hole sitting outside, enjoying the summer evening and some fermented beverages. Shortly a couple sat down next to us. The guy started conversing with us (I don't know why) and said that I look like the aforementioned Aiken. Because I've got red hair and I'm white doesn't mean you should compare me to that no-talent ass clown. Then the guy wouldn't shut up. He's one of those people that'll talk to anyone but, unfortunately for him, he has nothing worthwhile to say, so it just becomes annoying and obnoxious. He was there with his wife who wasn't bad looking. He definitely got the better end of that deal. But we were wondering what she is doing with him as she seemed pretty normal. Luckily for us they didn't stay around too long and we continued our night in peace.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I Don't Know What's Wrong With These Kids Today

In the lockerroom yesterday at the gym after I swam 5000 yards....

Kid 1: The guy missed the kick
Kid 2: The Czech goalie is really good
Kid 1: No, the guy missed the kick
Kid 2: No, no, the Czech goalie is REALLY GOOD
Kid 1: No, the guy just missed the kick
Kid 3: Jeez Mark....

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Tis the Season

Well it is that time of the year again. When Hollywood rolls out the hype machine for all the summber blockbuster movies. Unfortunately, the last couple of years have been overwrought with either sequels or remakes of a) movies that don't need to be redone/reinterpreted or b) crappy tv shows. It is getting harder and harder to find fresh new material on the silver screen. Factor in the cost of tickets and refreshments, it is likely you can spend upwards of $30 to sit there for two+ hours and see a complete work of trash. Instead of this happening to you, I encourage all my readers to use their money to support independent films. Chances are you'll get an original and entertaining story.

A couple weeks back, the OFOMOL and I decided to take a risk on a small, low-budget film, Michelagelo's Message. Chances are if you blinked, you missed it. It wasn't in theaters long and didn't do much. Of course that is not surprising since it was based on a book by the same name that sold very little. The author, David Black, was able to option his novel into a screenplay. This was a strategic move by him because the movie challenges the basis of Christianity and the Catholic Church.

The plot focuses on the paintings and works of the artist (not the mutant ninja turtle) Michelangelo, particularly the Sistine Chapel. The movie contends that this work (and others that he did) are more then merely objects of art. There is a system of messages encoded into these works. Whoever is able to "decode" these works will discover the secret of Christianity. The movie also talks about how Michelangelo was part of a Brotherhood of Secrecy. This brotherhood knew the true origins of Christianity and used this to gain leverage and money within the church.

So that is the basic premise of the movie. There is more but I won't bore you with the minutie, after all I'd like you to see the movie also. Now before seeing this movie, I had never heard of any of these things. It is amazing that we are first finding out about it. I'm not the best Catholic in the world (who is, but that's what confession is for) but I do go to church every week (mostly) and try to live by their teachings. I'm shocked that I've never heard any of this before. I knew the church is powerful, but to keep all this underwraps for 2000 years, kudos to you! Yes I know that this is a work of fiction, but the whole story is extremely believable. Some may argue that the connections are convoluted and that there are assumptions made everywhere that shouldn't be. But you know what? I'm convinced. I know that the author [David Black] has no historical religious educational background, but he's watched numerous specials on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, so I'm willing to accept what he's given us as fact. He's done his homework. It is a shame, however, that he hasn't been able to exploit his book/movie to fill his own coffers.

So I encourage you to read this book or see this movie. The more people that do, the more will be convinced, and we can start to put pressure on the church to reveal the truth behind their teachings. I never knew a movie could affect me so much, but this one has. I hope it has the same impact on you.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My Bed is Pulling Me

It's 1am on a saturday. I'm working on a mix-CD for the OFOMOL. She moved back to Germany last sunday so I have nothing better to do then stay up, surf the net, and refuse to go to bed. So this will be a hodgepodge of stuff from me.

I was just checking some random webpages and decided to check one of the blogs I link to, Philalawyer. I was intro'd to this blog back in Jan/Feb of '05 by Anne. The anonymous author gained quite a following from its inception in late 2004 through the spring of 2005. Then, in an air of mystery, he was gone. Never to be hear from again...or so we thought. Well folks, he's back. He offers a glimpse into the world of lawyers and his many shenanigans during law school and as a practicing lawyer. He can be offensive at times, his posts have sexual tones to them, some may even call him misogynistic, and he is deeply cynical toward his job. His posts can get a little wordy, he goes off on tangents, and those of us not involved in law may not get all of the legalese. But he does write quite well and if you enjoy black humor, I encourage you to check it out.

Paul Lukas, the long-time writer of ESPN's Uni Watch column has started a daily Uni Watch Blog that I now link to. He covers any sports-related uniform news. He really goes in-depth into the minutia and subtleties of anything you can think of. As he's expanded, he's given props/criticisms to uniforms of high school and colleges. I'm still waiting, however, for him to analyze swimwear (yeah right) and offer up his opinion on the Kenyon Purple Fuzzy warm-ups.

Last, but not least, the World Cup has started. As soccer was the first sport I embraced as a youth, the game has a special place in my heart. It will be an exciting 4 weeks that should take more time out of my life then I'd prefer it to. Such is life. It is truly an event like no other. The Olympics have so many different sports to garner interest; American football, basketball, and baseball are not particularly global games -- basketball has really become a lot more international the past 10-20 years, and baseball is popular in the Americas and Japan. But the World Cup is the one event that is a global event. As for my predictions...well I'm not going to take any risks here and I'll predict a Brazil victory. The US is going to have a tough go-at-it, but I'm expecting them to get out of their group. I keep telling my European friends that sometime in the near (2010 or 2014) the US will win the World Cup. When that happens, the rest of the world will not know what to do. This is the one sport where they (the rest of the world) has been able to dominate us. When we win (it's going to happen, and sometime soon) it'll show the rest of the world that yes indeed, those yankees are as good as everyone else, if not better. Of course, when that does happen, I'd prefer that Bono does NOT do the voiceover.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Even Your Emotions Had an Echo

This is for all of you who haven't heard this song or seen the video. This song is quickly on its way to becoming THE song of the summer. You know how it is. Every summer there is some song that just rises from the ether to be played everywhere and anywhere -- for good or for bad. This song, fortunately, has the benefit that it is enjoyed and appreciated by both the masses and the hipster critics. Of course in another month I'll probably tell you how sick I am of the song. But in 10 years when VH1 is doing "I Love the Aughts" you will hear this song and immediately be reminded of everything you did during the summer of aught-six. I am actually thinking of picking up the CD. I listened to most of the tracks the other day and Barnes and Noble. By "listening" I don't mean I stood there for 45 minutes and listened to the whole CD. Of course that would be cool. No, I listened to snippets of each song. They definitely have a winner there. And for those who are interested, here are the lyrics for the song.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hipsters Unite

Do You Have Hipsters? Thanks to my buddy Matt for this one.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You're Hanging From the Balcony Upon the Riverboat Glass

Yesterday was Memorial Day so the OFOMOL and I decided to head to the Queen of American Watering Places, Cedar Point. We originally scheduled this trip for two weeks ago, then again this past friday, but both days were overrun with bad weather so we settled on the holiday yesterday. As it is quite a drive from the EL to the Point, we awoke at the ever-so-pleasant time of 6:30 to allow enough time for travelling. A quick stop at McDonald's for some coffee provided a prime chance for MOL to complain. Going through the drive-through, an order of two coffees and a OJ was ordered. We sat in line and got to the pay-window. We waited more and pulled up to the get-the-food window. I notice the minimum-paid worker just pouring the OJ then I see her making some coffee. She then mentions "I just had to make some more coffee. It is going to be a few minutes. Please pull up and I'll run it out to you." OK, this place is McDonalds. It is 7:30 A.M. and you are out of coffee? Didn't you foresee this coming? I mean, isn't it someone's sole job to make sure there is always hot coffee ready? C'mon folks! So then the coffee is a *bit* hot. By bit I mean, it was a solid (no joke) 45 minutes for the coffee to reach a temperature to drink.

Anyway, we took some crazy roundabout way to get there and didn't end up in the park until 11 or so. OFOMOL has never been here (well, duh), and the last time I was at CP was CWRU Senior Week 2002 (that was a fun time!). It's been a few years. The weather was hot and the sun was out. SPF 45 was applied liberally to prevent this poor redhead from looking like a lobster.

We started out with a ride on the ride that seems to get crappier every year, Disaster Transport. I liked this one a lot more when it was Avalanche Run. Then it was the first intense ride of the day, Wicked Twister. This is probably one of the underrated rides at the park. The linear induction motors provide quite the rush as you head straight up and down. We walked onto the Corkscrew for a nice ride going upside down a few times. After this we wound up close to Top Thrill Dragster. We stopped and watched in awe as the trains sped up and over the 420 ft hill. We checked the wait -- 1.5 hours max. After a bit of persuading, I convinced her to go on.

The line went fairly quickly, but the sun was bearing down on us. As we approached the platform, OFOMOL was getting a bit nervous about the extreme conditions we were about to undertake. The fact that the US Measurment System (yay English units!) means nothing to her, didn't help. I tried to do the conversions in my head and estimated the height at ~130 m and max speed of 200 km/h. The nervousness increased and repeat statements of "I'm not going to do this" were spoken. I did my best to reassure her -- the whole ride only lasts 17 seconds! We were next to ride when they had to release and re-do the lap bars 3 times on the riders prior to us. We got in and I told her I'd hold her hand and tried to distract her. She was not looking forward to this ride. Then it was our turn and the next thing now we were headed at 120 mph up the monster phallic tower and then back down. It was quite the rush and afterwards the OFOMOL mentioned how fun it was.

We took a break on Paddlewheel Excursions. This attraction is just an excuse for the workers to tell corny pun-filled jokes. The irony of it is that I remember hearing the same joke when I was 12 years old when I was there with my dad. No joke. Another walk-on ride at the Gemini. I notoriously lose on this ride, but OFOMOL chose the red train and we won! Yay! We pondered taking a break by hitting one of the water rides. Since White Water Landing has been removed for future expansion, our only choices were to get absolutely soaked by the ever-so-clean CP water. I talked OFOMOL out of it, and even though it was a hot day, we were much more comfortable not having to wear damp clothes the rest of the day. We hit Mean Streak and Wave Swinger in the back of the park.

Due to whatever reason, Millenium Force was not in operation yesterday so we rode the triumverate of Mantis (not the most fun on the legs/nether regions), Iron Dragon, and the Wildcat. Heading to the Wildcat, OFOMOL asks "isn't this a kid's ride?" I reassured her and as we rode it, she enjoyed it a bit. She enjoyed it so much in fact that we rode it a second time before we left for the night! OFOMOL was geting a bit overwhelmed. We took a break on Cedar Downs and the Turnpike Cars. She didn't realize she could actually steer the car! That was a fun time. The Blue Streak and Raptor were next before our dinner break.

It was around 6:30 or so and we were plum tired! I told her I wanted to ride Magnum (it's my favorite) before we left and we headed to that area of the park. You never have a bad time on that ride and she asked "why didn't we do this one earlier?" I recalled to her that we could have but she opted out of it. I rode the Witch's Wheel while she sat and we hit the Magnum again.

We headed to leave and she mentioned that I promised her to win something for her. You know those games. The workers make it look so easy. Then you dish over a couple bones to try. You get oh-so-close and convince yourself you can do it. The next thing you know, you've spent $20+ for your $5 mini Brian. I said a quick prayer as we headed to the games area. I chose an easy-looking bball game. $2 for a shot. Why not. I took two shots and made one -- got a mini basketball. Not necessarily what OFOMOL wants. So I forked over another Jefferson and nailed the shot. We upgraded to a pink stuffed dog -- her favorite color and animal! The day was complete and we headed out right around 8.

The whole experience for OFOMOL was pretty intense. The parks over in Europe are not like this and there are maybe 4-5 rides to go on. Not the 13 (+2 repeats) that we did yesterday. She was amazed at the sheer height, speed, ups, downs, and twists of all the rides. She used a new english word that she learned to explain it -- megalomania. That was very apropos. I did explain to her that Cedar Point is not the typical amusement park. My analogy (that she understood quite well) was this: You can run 100 marathons, but none of them are as good or quite like Boston; You can visit 100 amusement parks, but none of them can measure up or compare to Cedar Point.

Coming soon: a discussion on milk!