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 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.