Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another bronze medal performance.

I'm trying to figure out why it's necessary for woman volleyball players to wear those skimpy outfits. I can kind of buy into the beach thing, but the men don't wear bathing suits - they wear shirts and caps.
If it's the old "sex sells" routine, then maybe the woman basketball and indoor volleyball teams should wear bikinis too. Fair is fair.
What annoys me are the music clips they play between points. Would we suddenly lose interest if we didn't hear six seconds of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll?" Maybe so. I think what it demonstrates is that the Chinese have become westernized. If you didn't already figure that out from the smog and lack of human compassion, the music thing should have put the exclamation point on it for you.
Maybe it's because the suits are so darned comfortable?
There are an awful lot of Olympic sports that I'm clueless about. The scoring system in gymnastics is dumbfounding to the point that they need computers to figure it out. Plus, I'm never able to figure out which routines are good and which are second best. I think if a sport is so heavily dependent on judging then maybe it's more entertainment than sport. There's no question that gymnasts are great athletes, but I find it strange that their great feats are so heavily dependent on what judges think. I suppose that in order to compete one has to resign oneself to the fact that the best routine will not necessarily win.
Swimming is odd too. The breaststroke? What's that? The next time you're at your local pool, try doing a few breaststroke laps and see how long it takes for the rest of the swimmers to push your head under the water until you stop. That and the butterfly look made-up. Maybe it's because they are. It would be like track athletes having a skipping competition or a race where they ran three steps, hopped up and down twice and walked four steps. Nobody swims like that and nobody walks like that.
Sports are weird.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

There is no convenience fee for reading my blog.

I bought concert tickets this week. Xavier Rudd and Umphrey's McGee. The thing that bugs me about the tickets is the "convenience fee." $23 for the ticket and $7.35 for the convenience. A 30% charge for convenience. You could inconvenience me for a lot less. Then, they want to charge me for printing the tickets at home. $2.50 to use my printer. They don't charge anything to send them to me in the mail, which costs them 42 cents. You figure that out and figure out which option I chose.
The Olympics have turned ugly. Sweden's Ara Abrahamian had a disagreement with the referee and wound up with a bronze medal, which really isn't a metal, it's a coating. So, I guess he wasn't happy because he said he didn't come to China to win a bronze medal. If he did, I suppose he could have had a silver medal bronzed. So, he walked off the podium, which was easy because he wasn't very high up; took the medal off and dropped it to the floor where it lay for someone to pick up. So much for the Olympic spirit. The fourth place guy should have run out and grabbed it.
Did you see those Chinese woman gymnasts? They're supposed to be 16 years old, but to me they look like they should have 16-year old babysitters. The American coaches were pissed because they played by the rules and lost. From the looks of the American team they seem to lack competitive fire. I don't know beans about gymnastics and generally I don't care much for sports that are judged. A kid runs down a ramp, leaps off a springboard, spins around a few times and lands on her feet. Six. Another kid walks along a 4-inch wide beam doing flips and spins. Seven. Obviously, I don't understand the scoring system. I'd be an easy judge, mostly because they're so cute. If they had cat Olympics I'd grade them easy, too.
Do you think gymnasts ever trip and fall while they're walking around? If they do, do their friends make fun of them and ask, "Walk much?" I wonder what we called smart people before Albert Einstein became famous?
Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins says that the Phillies fans are "frontrunners" who love you when you win but "when you're going bad, they're completely against you." Really. How can we be frontrunners when the Phillies almost never win anything? They've won one championship in 123 years, and that was 28 years ago. Frontrunner would be a compliment. After 2007, their total record was 8,853 wins and 10,028 losses.
We're frontrunners. I wish these guys would just shut up, play the game and take their paycheck. When they start talking I start thinking that I don't want to spend any more money on thier games.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's crazy in Ohio

CINCINNATI, Ohio - An Ohio man who says he doesn't trust paper money has delivered enough coins to cover half the price of a brand new pickup truck. Employees at a dealership in the Cincinnati suburb of Springdale say 70-year-old James Jones plunked down 16 coffee cans full of coins Tuesday for a new Chevrolet Silverado. Salesman David Crisswell says employees spent 90 minutes counting the collection of dimes, quarters, half-dollars and dollar coins, which covered half the $16,000 price of the pickup. Jones and his wife Betty wrote a check for the other half of the cost.
He doesn't trust paper money but he expects the car dealer to trust his paper check? I guess this shows how desperate Chevy dealers are to sell those worthless Silverado's. Try taking that crap into a Toyota dealership and buying a Prius with coffee cans full of coins. Your ass is out the door to the nearest bank.
I'm guessing that the bank wouldn't take his change and let the car dealer take a check for the entire amount. Sure they would. He "doesn't believe in paper money?" What year is this? You people in Ohio is crazy, yo.
Meanwhile, I made another of my frequent trips to the local grocery store. My mind wandered as I watched the cashier (I'll call her a cashier, even though she really isn't) roll the items across that glass screen and listen for the beep before rolling the next item across the screen. It doesn't take a skill other than hearing to do the job nowadays, but they don't make that much money either. I had some sympathy, since she was wearing a badge that said, "IN TRAINING TO SERVE YOU BETTER" which gave me an added amount of patience as she counted my change. You go girl.
When I was a kid (when dinosaurs roamed the earth) cashiers had to read the price tag (what's a price tag?) and punch buttons on a cash register (hence the name cashier) and apply either "taxable" or "non-taxable" to items based on their designation. There was a time when shoppers (me) had to separate the taxable from the non-taxable items on the conveyor so that the cashier (there's that term again) could pick them out easily - because she (usually a she) was making minimum wage ($1.75 an hour) and didn't want the hassle of separating your toilet paper from your chicken parts. That's how it was.
So, the guy who doesn't trust paper money would have fit right in back in 1968 when people of that generation lived through a crisis called The Great Depression (when great didn't mean good) and felt that their mattress was the best saving device.
I have a jar full of change (which I call the Giant Jar of Change) and I'll use it for something less than a car, but before I do, I'll take it to the local bank (next to the local grocery store) and have it counted (free) and deposit it in my checking account (also free). That's just how I roll.
Call me strange (go ahead) but I'd feel guilty asking employees to sit and count change for an hour and a half to indulge my ridiculous belief system that includes paper money and the value of time.
I'd think that a truck was worth at least that much. By the story, I'd assume he doesn't carry paper cash. He should try paying for the gasoline with a jar of change and see how far that gets him.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Five rants and six flowers.

BEIJING (AP)—One little girl had the looks. The other had the voice. So in a last-minute move demanded by one of China’s highest officials, the two were put together for the Olympic opening ceremony, with one lip-synching “Ode to the Motherland” over the other’s singing.
The real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, with her chubby face and crooked baby teeth, wasn’t good looking enough for the ceremony, its chief music director told state-owned Beijing Radio.
So the pigtailed Lin Miaoke, a veteran of television ads, mouthed the words with a pixie smile for a stadium of 91,000 and a worldwide TV audience
That, combined with the phony fireworks display makes the opening ceremony kind of a sham, don't-cha-think? In a world where technology is King, it's a shame that we feel as though we have to use it. Meanwhile, we're deciding that certain people with talent aren't attractive enough to be shown on television. Is this a world we want?
I may have said this before, but New Jersey's cell phone driving ban is a toothless law that is unenforcable. When I have a spare moment I'm planning to sit at the nearest intersection with my camera and snap photos of all the drivers I see talking on the phone while driving. They have no fear of being caught because no one is around to catch them. Perhaps a few nicely framed photos of talkers and their license plates will wake up local law enforcement?John Edwards lost a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention. He likely blew a chance at a possible Cabinet post in a Barack Obama administration. I'm constantly reminded of the line from "Fargo," where police chief Marge Gunderson goes over the events leading up to the arrest of the lone perpetrator still alive, and says, "And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it." Edwards gave up the rest of his career for what? A little bit of pussy. I just don't understand it.
I have at least two readers from Ohio who may find this interesting...
XENIA, Ohio - Burger King Corp. said Tuesday it has parted ways with an employee who was recorded taking a soapy bath in the restaurant's utility sink. The nearly four-minute video, which was posted Thursday on, shows the unidentified employee taking the bath to celebrate his birthday. The sink is used to clean large pieces of equipment, said Greene Health Commissioner Mark McDonnell. Bacteria or viruses on the skin could have potentially contaminated equipment, but there have been no reports of any customers becoming ill.
Not yet.
McDonnell said he dispatched an inspector to the restaurant, but at that point the restaurant had sterilized the sink.
In order for me to eat there, they would have to replace the sink. I'm just sayin'.

I happened along a Little League softball game on ESPN between a girls team from Illinois and a team from New Jersey. Ten members of the Illinois team were wearing faceguards in the field. The announcers said it was because they attended a game where a kid was hit in the face with a line drive and had some fractures. It spooked the team to the point that the coach requested that infielders wear faceguards.
I'm thinking that we're being a little over protective with kids these days. Is it necessary to put faceguards on kids? Why not put them in rubber suits and pad the ball and use a soft bat while we're at it. I had a hard time watching the game with fielders in armour. I don't think it prepares someone for adulthood when they are over-protected as a child. They're going to grow up thinking that they'll never get hurt doing anything, or worse, that they'll never take a chance because they're afraid. Are these the kind of children we want to raise?
My downstairs neighbor grows these beautiful flowers. I don't know what they are, but I know they're beautiful.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ketching up

I'm still reveling a bit in the afterglow of a very nice day on Saturday, strolling the streets and snapping photos. Thanks for your kind words and for indulging me. Just one more bit of advice. If you're visiting our fair city (I don't know what that means) and you want a cheese steak because you've been told that you need to eat one if you visit, do yourself a favor. Stay away from anything that says "Philly Cheese Steaks" unless you're in the Reading Terminal Market or at Citizen's Bank Ballpark. Then, you can visit Rick's Steaks. His ancestors invented the thing and you'd be failing yourself as a human eating consumer if you didn't stop and indulge. Forget that nonsense you hear about Geno's and Pat's. They're carpetbaggers. Go downtown or to the ballpark and get a real cheese steak. Hear me now and believe me later.
Meanwhile, old John Edwards has admitted (kind of) to an affair with another woman. Shocked? Me neither. I'd be more shocked if I found out that one of these guys has been loyal to his wife for 25 years. Mostly, they're "do as I say and not as I do" types and we need to take it with the requisite grain of salt when they tell us about their ideals and hopes and dreams. Those take a back seat when it comes to extra-marital affairs. To my way of thinking, if it doesn't impair his ability to govern, it should be nobody's business.
I wish I had bought it, but I saw a book once that detailed presidential dalliances going back to George Washington. They all do it folks, and the sooner you get over it the better off you'll be. They're just glorified college kids who never got over the buzz of being a big shot.
I'm finding it odd that I can't give a damn about the Olympics. Michael Phelps - Michael Phelps - Michael Phelps. He swims. I get it. Mark Spitz is pissed because he wasn't invited to the games. Buy a ticket, dentist.
I'm still a bit taken aback (aback?) by the way the Internet (capital I) has gotten such a foothold in a society that still has blinking clocks and superstitious beliefs. Click this, Google that. We say those things and think nothing of it. I'm 50 and close to that hill we're supposed to be over and I find that it's a comfortable existence, yet there are others (including my 84-year old mother) who still pay their bills by money order and can't imagine having a cellular telephone. Odd, I say.
The Internet is like Kleenex now. It's a commodity, to the point that my local county is considering wireless WiFi (you have to know what WiFi is) because the Internet is a way of life and they consider it a utility like natural gas or telephone service.
Bravo I say, but I still wonder how it got to be so much so soon. 18 years ago, I had Prodigy Internet service, but I can't for the life of me figure out what I paid $9.95 a month for. Elementary chat rooms (where the Dave Matthews Band was a hot topic), lousy news coverage and something called e-mail. What good was e-mail if I was the only one who had it?
In less time than it takes to become a legal drinker, the Internet has taken our lives over to the point that we're surfing at work and people are getting fired for surfing at work.
I guess it's the same as the television revolution. When I was a kid in 1964, we had a color television. The rest of the neighborhood had black and white, and even though there were only a handful of color TV programs, we got to watch them. Thanks, dad.
It's all a matter of your perspective and place in history. How about a nice red pepper?