Monday, August 30, 2004

Why I Respect LA: My Running Diary of the VMAs

Every year, I look forward to MTV’s annual Video Music Award broadcast. Despite some recent debacles, it’s still the only Awards show worth any attention, and this year they’ve moved it from the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC to Miami’s American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat. Clearly a step down, but with the GOP convention in NYC this week, I thought I’d cut them a little slack. Maybe I was wrong. Anyway, I thought I’d provide my running diary of the evening, in honor of Bill Simmons. Without further ado, here are the highlights (or lowlights) of last night’s broadcast:

5:30pm CST: And we’re live with the pre-show! A cool perk of having the VMAs in Miami this year is that American Airlines Arena is situated right on the water, giving celebrities the opportunity to literally arrive on the red carpet on a boat. A nice touch, I thought. This is going well. Of course, P-Diddy arrived on a bazillion-dollar cruise ship looking like Ricardo Montalban on Fantasy Island. I’m anticipating three more outfits from him before the night ends.

5:33pm: Holy crap, it’s Kurt Loder! Apparently he’s not suffering any side effects of the unfreezing process, having been stuck in MTV’s cryogenic holding tank with Downtown Julie Brown and Adam Curry for some time now. Good to have you back. He’s still the only person on MTV that can be taken seriously. They really shouldn’t have him and Sway in the same broadcast…ever.

6:00pm: In case you were wondering, LL Cool J’s new album drops tomorrow. I wasn’t wondering either. In his defense, LL has surrounded himself with a harem of women who all have fully-functioning televisions on their t-shirts. You have to see this to understand. Highlight of the night so far.

6:03pm: Finally, we’re inside. The VMAs are always dependable for brilliant opening sequences. This year we’ve got a solo Usher singing his latest, "Confessions" while it rains on him (and only him) on stage. Literally. They must’ve dumped 600 gallons of water on him during the course of a two-minute performance surrounded by a plethora of live electronic equipment. Doesn’t he have an agent that supposed to prevent things like this from happening? Thankfully, he’s rescued by the opening notes of "Yeah" and the melodious tones of Lil’ Jon, who quickly borrowed the Montalban suit from Puffy. A nice performance overall, with the eventual return of a dried-off Usher to do some of his Michael Jackson moves. Unfortunately, Usher’s mic stops working during the performance. Amazing.

6:12pm: From the ceiling descends Will Smith to the sound of his 1999(?) hit "Miami." It was only a matter of time. Luckily, he’s only there to introduce the city’s new favorite son, Shaquille O’Neal, who emerges from behind a curtain shouting "CAN YOU DIG IT?" On the plus side, Shaq seems to have kept his promise to get in shape during the off-season and looks trimmer than he has in years. Note to the Eastern Conference: be afraid.

6:15pm: It’s starting to become apparent that putting on an awards show in an arena rather than in a theater is a bad idea, as a dizzying array of camera angles, moveable stages, flying platforms, mic troubles and bad sound are making this production very hard to follow. More on this later.

6:24pm: Every time I see Matthew Lillard, I die a little inside.

6:29pm: Ladies and Gentlemen, Jet, Hoobastank, and Yellowcard! Wow. Well, at least the guy from Jet can sing his own song. It’s unusual to hear a lead singer’s voice crack during a performance by a multi-platinum band, but Hoobastank’s managed it just fine. Really one of the worst televised performances I’ve ever seen. The talent level at these VMAs is astoundingly low. Maybe if they’d had it in LA…

6:47pm: Here to hopefully remedy that is Chicago’s Kanye West, who marches out to his strange hit "Jesus Walks" but manages to recover with a nice version of "All Falls Down." The performance is punctuated, though by a unrecognizably fat and unfortunately off-key Chaka Khan. Yikes. I’m starting to think that Chaka, Gloria Gaynor, and that woman who sang "Turn the Beat Around" all had a disturbing pact with the devil that gave them fame and fortune in the 70s in exchange for their girth and talent in the 2000s. Someone should research this.

7:02pm: Carson Daly is out to introduce the only two people in the building more uninteresting than him, John Kerry’s daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra, joined via satellite by the Bush twins, all to a rousing chorus of boos. The Kerry girls are visibly shaken, to the point that Vanessa has to whisper "Just go on" in her sister’s ear. Happy to be in New York, Jenna and Barbara quickly do their half of the "no matter who you vote for, just make sure you vote" spiel and get the hell off camera. Is it okay to boo a candidate’s daughters? I don’t know for sure, but it certainly exposed a weakness in the Kerry girls. Their lack of poise disturbs me, and I’m considering voting for Bush now. After all, Barbara Bush once ran up to me and handed me a condom. True story.

7:11pm: Okay, so for some time now, the Gap has had this running ad where the guitar lick from "Are you gonna go my way" plays behind some hot chick walking down a hall and striking a pose. Turns out the chick is Sarah Jessica Parker. "Disappointment" doesn’t cover this one.

7:16pm: Finally, Dave Chappelle shows up to rescue the broadcast. Wasn’t he supposed to be hosting all night? Can I sue MTV for false advertising? Anyway, all he’s doing is introducing the next performance, which happens to be Lil’ Jon, the Eastside Boyz, the Ying Yang Twins, Petey Pablo, and Fat Joe and the Terror Squad. I was actually looking forward to this one, solely due to my love of Lil’ Jon and the Ying Yang Twins. Surprisingly, as the camera pans around the audience, we’re bombarded by the number of other hip hop stars, including Usher, P Diddy, and Bruce Willis (I’m not kidding) who seem to know EVERY WORD to "Get Low" and "Lean Back." Did I mention that Bruce Willis was sitting with P Diddy, partying like the two of them are lifelong best friends? Skeet Skeet Skeet! Now THAT’s comedy.

7:34pm: Here come the Olsen Twins! I think Mary Kate looks worse now than she did before she went to rehab. Her dress also looks like she just had sex on TV and is now wearing the bedsheet. Do people really do that? I always wondered.

7:38pm: As Jessica Simpson is wrapping up her rendition of Robbie Williams’s "Angel," (painful, by the way. Someone owes Robbie an apology) I notice that the people on the floor in front of the stage, that appear to be waving lighters in unison, aren’t waving lighters at all, but instead cell phones with the screen lit up. I don’t know what to say. Especially since they’re all holding my exact same phone.

7:41pm: And now, the award for Best Soundtrack to a Video Game! At this point, I think they’re just trying to piss me off.

8:15pm: In one introduction, LL Cool J just compared Alicia Keys to Marvin Gaye, Prince, Notorious BIG, Beethoven and Bach. By the way, his album drops Tuesday.

8:18pm: Finally, a positive step—Alicia is joined onstage by Stevie Wonder and Lenny Kravitz, and the three of them do a pretty impressive rendition of "Higher Ground." If you look closely, though, you’ll notice that Kravitz is wearing what appears to be an entire bird of prey on his back, with the feathers sticking out past his shoulders. Maybe this is the latest Falcon Twist? Anyway, this performance is further proof that I need to find a black woman to mother my children. I’m looking to guarantee that my kids will be spectacularly attractive and talented, and all biracial people all seem to fit those categories (even half-Jewish ones!). Now accepting applications.

8:47pm: Mandy Moore and Marilyn Manson (don’t you love MTV?) introduce us to the Polyphonic Spree, which appears to be what’s left of the Branch Davidian Glee Club. I don’t have any idea what to make of this, except that every so often MTV tries to introduce us to some bizarre fringe musicians. It didn’t work with those Russian guys with the ridiculous hair 10 years ago, and it’s not going to work this time. If you’ve got space to fill, just throw Lil’ Jon up there again. Trust me on this one.

8:57pm: Dave Chappelle is back onstage with a montage to wish Jay-Z luck with his retirement. Between Beyonce and Social Security, somehow I think he’ll manage.

8:59pm: Now pop princess JoJo is going to introduce some Olympic medalists… blah, blah, blah. You know how old JoJo is? Thirteen. I’m not kidding. Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: it’s not okay to trick people like me into turning on MTV and seeing some cute starlet, and then tell me she’s thir-freaking-teen years old. I’m telling you, society is turning all young men into pedophiles against our will. See: Lindsey Lohan.

9:10pm: Motherhood has been good to Gwyneth Paltrow, who is happily showing off her glorious new C-cups. Thanks Apple!

9:17pm: Finally, the Outkast is back to close their 17th awards show. Even Andre 3000 notes, "Okay. For the millionth time, ‘Hey Ya,’ God Dammit."

Three hours later, it’s clear that the reason this show was broadcast live from Miami is that no self-respecting city (like LA) would’ve hosted it. Really a new low for MTV. And yet, I can’t wait for next year. Damn you, MTV.




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Friday, August 27, 2004

the wienerschnitzel is worth it

Okay, I'm well aware that I'm relatively unremarkable and that there exist about 80 million people on this planet that are significantly more brilliant than I am. Then some German guy comes along and figures out a way to grow a new jaw bone in somebody's back muscle, remove it, and then safely attach it to his previously jawless face, while I haven't even read an entire book in weeks. Now I feel completely worthless. Danke schoen, jerk.


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live to blog another day

Wow. I feel like I should be a young, heroic John Kerry, calmly guiding my Swift Blog straight into the barrage of enemy fire to reach out my hand and rescue this site from the waters of Max’s political carpet-blogging. Instead, though, I think I’ll be the GOP version—take my shot in the ass like a man, claim my purple heart and get the hell out
of the way before someone gets seriously hurt.

I’m a believer in due credit, though, and Maxi deserves his for two reasons: first for his surprising Zappa-esque prolificacy, and second for his "Scary Kerry" titles, which conjure youthful memories of watching WWF Wrestling live at Municipal Auditorium while screaming "SCAAAARY SHERRRRY" at both the Million Dollar Man’s manager and, often, my unfortunately-named mother.


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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Scary Kerry (or Bad August Part 1)

John Kerry has had one of the worst months of campaigning in American big league history.The Democrat's convention, you'll remember was exactly one month ago. The convention was not bad. I thought they did a decent job of putting their moderate face forward (during primetime which is the only time anyone but junkies saw any of it).Die hard dems were probably disappointed to not get the much ballyhooed "red meat", but die hard dems are not voting for Kerry anyway. They are voting against Bush. Nothing intrinsically wrong with that, I think, but it does free Kerry up to not have to pander too hard. Send the right signals, wink and nod, keep your wing quiet; that is the plan. That is why the line about not messing with the constitution was so perfect: moderate Middle America Joe at home hears it as a call to protect the constitution while an important group in you coalition, gays, hears it as a condemnation of an amendment against gay marriage. That line was Kerry's sweet spot.Kerry shows a video with clips of him in Vietnam, brings out some vets, and hits the theme hard with his "reporting for duty" speech.Then, it all goes south. Item 1: The salute. I don't know anyone who saw it and was impressed. Some laugh, some shrug, some are mildly embarrassed for him, but this was not a winner moment. For me this was the equivalent of the excessive affection Al gave Tipper on stage 4 years ago.


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Bad August Part 2

Item 2: This.The picture was bad enough. The fact that his campaign let the picture be taken was worse. The fact that they tried to suggest NASA was up to dirty tricks was even worse. But the height of the ineptness was that they gave the picture and the story two extra days of airtime by fighting it instead of dropping it.This happens so often it is absolutely stunning. A story so small and stupid that the press would be embarrassed to mention it twice gets days of airplay because the politician's hacks come out and question some trivial aspect of it. Note to spinners: no one gives a damn whether Kerry posed for the photo or whether some NASA flunkie released it on his own. The issue is the photo not its origin. Similarly, it doesn't matter whether information about George W. Bush's drunk driving record came from a democrat in the sheriff's department. The issue is the record. Deal with it and go forward. By avoiding the issue and questioning the process you are implying that you can't deal with the issue and giving the story traction.


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Bad August Part 3

Item 3: advertising.To husband his resources Kerry decided not to run ads during the month of August. I'll give him this: no guts, no glory. You gotta throw the long ball sometime and Kerry did it here. Rather than try to build some momentum on the heels of the convention, Kerry decided to hold the cash for a blitz in Sept and Oct. But....It is August. Every august the press runs stories on... well on ANYTHING because for some cosmic reason nothing happens in August. This is THE month to make some waves 'cause the talking heads have nothing but time. Here is a hint: talk about Iraq. A lot. This is the one spot where people are unsure about Bush. The press would trip all over their dicks to spend the whole month talking down Iraq. Instead Kerry closes up shop the exact instant that the Swift Boat Vets take to the airwaves.


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Bad August Part 4

Item 4: the Swift Boat Vets.So it turns out the story of the month is the Swift Boat Vets. Here is my perception of how the month of August played out (and remember: perception is reality in the world of politics):

Week 2: swift boat vets charge Kerry with lying in their first ad (the charges are vague: "I was there, Kerry isn't telling the truth"). Kerry's response: (insert crickets chirping WAV here).

Week 3: swift boat vets all over TV; charge that Kerry gave aid and comfort to VC while our boys were rotting in Hanoi Hilton. Kerry response: (a jumble of) these guys are liars, some of these guys have said nice things about Kerry in the past, some of these guys have said mean things about Catholics and Jews in the past, Bush lied, Bush is behind these guys, Bush bad no vote Bush, that kind of thing. Here is the deal:
1. as Bob Dole pointed out (a phrase I never thought I'd utter) there are over 250 of them. Are they all republican right wing hatchet job liars? Is that a normal ratio of vets: 250 repubs to 12 dems? They are all liars isn't going to fly outside the offices of the New York Times.
2. The fact that some of these guys have backed Kerry in the past carries some weight. They should be called to account for that. Maybe we can call shenanigans on those guys. Maybe they have a decent explanation (something like: I served with the guy so I thought I'd back 'em. Some other friends reminded me of his anti-war comments and I changed my mind about him). Don't know if it is true, but it makes sense. Call 'em on it. What is their answer?
3. One dude told some pretty dumb jokes about Catholics and Jews. The key to ethnic and racial humor: be funny. He isn't. What does this have to do with his feelings towards Kerry. If you think he hates Kerry becasue Kerry is a dirty papist, say so. If it is just a smear, well it is a smear.
4. Bush people are behind this. It turns out a guy who sent money to Bush sent money to the SBVs. Also this week a lawyer doing work for both resigned his post. OK, first: what do you expect? Yeah, people who like Bush will fund people who don't like Kerry. This time around the Dems should have a real firm handle on that premise. For every pro-Kerry (truly pro-Kerry) person you find me, I can find you 10 anti-Bush people. Guess what? They give money to Kerry and to anti-Bush groups. I guess attack ads have no merit unless they are paid for by supporters of the person being attacked. It is a nonsense arguement.But it is a nonsense argument (like 1, 2, and 3 above) that totally ignores the substance of the issue and focuses on the process. Unless the process or the witness is completely incompetant in some way, this never, ever kills the issue. But it does always prolong it.So in the last two weeks, Kerry has been forced to take back the claim that he spent Christmas, 1968 in Cambodia (which is a double shame as it added a Nixon slam to the angst ridden hero story he had going there) and is now backing away from the claim that his first purple heart was a result of enemy fire.

Week 4: new swift boat ad goes directly at the Christmas in Cambodia story. Kerry sort of took back the Cambodia thing in the sense that maybe it was really January 1969 or maybe sometime in the spring, but it definently happened unless it didn't and he was just patroling the river that separates Cambodia and Vietnam or maybe not.Meanwhile, he reverses course and decides to run ads in August after all. So he puts on an ad using John McCain as a surrogate. Decent ad. Makes its point. But then he has to pull it at McCain's request higlighting the fact that McCain is not on his side. At the same time, Bush is sucking up to McCain by threatening to sue 527s, thus highlighting his connection with McCain.


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Bad August Part 5

Note for Future Politicians:Here's how to handle this issue. Imagine for a second that the record is on your side. Slam dunk this from day one. Kerry waited over a week because the story was on the net rather than on the networks. Mistake. There was a fevered pitch. The SBV book was number two on Amazon.com, Drudge is doing his WORLD EXCLUSIVE siren bit, conservatives are e-mailing the link to the ad to each other at a rate matched only by the silly Jib Jab thing. If you have the facts: go on TV, slam them as trash peddlers, and produce the evidence.The problem, of course, is that Kerry doesn't have all the facts on his side. In fact, one clever aspect of the first SBV ad is that it didn't give Kerry a clear target. The vague charge "kerry is not telling the truth" acted to freeze Kerry in place for a while. He knows he has been exaggerating his stories for years. It seems like exaggerator and stoic silence are the two modes most frequently seen in vets. He is the former. But he can't respond to the charge until he knows what they are calling him out on.Once the charges become clear they must be disposed of. If you don't have the facts, plan two is to deflect the charges terminally. Not: Bush lied. More like: as a young man I spent time in Vietnam including time spent near Cambodia. I believed at the time that we had ventured into Cambodian territory on at least one occasion. If so, it was done as the result of a direct order. It is possible my memory is incorrect. If so, I am sorry for the mistake. Or this one: I served in Vietnam and three times I was wounded and applied for a purple heart. The decision to grant purple hearts was made by others. If I was awarded them incorrectly, I would like to dedicate them to the memory of my fallen band of brothers. Just kill the issue, see.Kerry will kill the issue, I think, in the first debate. Whether by knockout or by subsequently saying: "this has been addressed let's move on" is for the future. But Kerry's actions in August represented the worst of both worlds: ignore an issue you'll have to kill eventually, letting it eat at you all the while.Bad August.


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Reason #148 why it sucks to be Canadian

Imagine the uproar if an American politician, say Tom Daschle, called the French "bastards". A diplomatic bru-ha-ha would ensue with much apology and kow-towing. Now imagine he followed up by calling the French and those who support them "idiots".

Got it in your head? Good. Now imagine it was actually a Candian saying it about the U.S.

What hurts worse, Canada? The fact that no one here gives a damn or the fact that it only gets reported in the "Oddly enough" section of Reuters.


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Follow Up Survey: Earth Still Round

Survey: Health Care Costs to Rise in 2005


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The Buzz

So anyway, I have this fascination with looking at Yahoo's buzz charts. The buzz chart represents the ultimate in "who's hot". Marketers may care about what stars 14-21 year old girls swoon over, but I prefer the big picture: what are folks looking up when they go online.

The "winners" don't interest me much: wow, people are looking up Paris Hilton; I'm shocked. It is the "decliners" that I find oddly appealing. "Fort Wayne Airport" is down 82% in the last day. Also losing big are "Entertainment Gossip" and ESPN Baseball" What? Why were they up to start with? Who the hell goes to yahoo and searches for Fort Wayne Airport? Why would a flood of people look up "Entertainment Gossip" one day and then 80% fewer look it up the next day?


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Brit's knees

H-man,

I like the way you assume more people have had access to rolo bites than have had access to Britney.

I know you are an optimist, but assuming that Britney has only "shared the wealth" with Justin, Jason and Kevin seems a little much. I think she has been passed around enough to qualify as proof of a compassionate God.


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Stand by your man, even if he occasionally rapes somebody or has sex with other men

Okay, I know this is old news, but I just heard another clip of that New Jersey Governor's resignation speech on the radio (in fact, Howard Stern was playing it with Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes's "I've Had the Time of My Life" in the background. Brilliant.). It got me to thinking-- what's with these political wives standing by their husbands smiling like freaks as they are humiliated, embarrassed, and otherwise mistreated in front of a national audience? Would anyone in America object if any one of them made other "Girls' Night" plans on the evening that her husband comes clean? There are really only two conclusions to be drawn from this:

Less Likely Theory:

These are women of astoundingly low intelligence. I find this hard to believe. I've been lucky enough to have grown up friendly with several political families, two of which had sitting governors at one time or another. The wives were capable, smart, friendly and generally likeable. One of them had (in the governor's mansion, no less) a small under-the-counter freezer that was perpetually filled with Push-Up Pops. Clearly she was a genius. On that fact alone, I can't imagine that either of them would stand beside her husband like a drooling idiot as he discussed his gay escapades in the State Legislature. But maybe they would...

More Likely Theory:

Somewhere on the East Coast, probably at Yale, there exists an underground, top-secret federal facility that genetically engineers Sham Brides for up-and-coming politicos. With remarkable attention to detail, political women are conceived, bred, raised, and otherwise manufactured from Matrix-esque human watermelon patches through top finishing schools. The scientists even put in perfect little touches when necessary, such as an easy Texas accent, a talent for managing not-for-profit agencies or law firms, or even a monumental family fortune. I wish I could've been there as a young, gawky (and gay) Jim McGreevey paced slowly up and down the aisles of the Sham Bride showroom, carefully examining each "woman," running his finger along their curves, conscientiously checking them for tiny nicks or imperfections. I'm sure it was quite a sight.

Frustratingly enough, the courtesy of Sham Brides is not solely extended to politicians. Top athletes, entertainers or businessmen are also sometimes accorded this privilege. See: Vanessa (Mrs. Kobe) Bryant, Cookie (Mrs. Magic) Johnson, Joumana (Mrs. Jason) Kidd. And then, compare the poor souls who, for whatever reason, angered the powers that be and whose Sham Bride was withheld: Donald (Mr. Ivana) Trump, Chuck (Mr. Tawny Kitaen) Finley, Lionel (Mr. Diane Alexander) Richie, Andre (Mr. Left Eye Lopez) Rison. I think it's clear who, among the American elite, fell out of political favor.

I'm not saying this is proof of anything. I'm just saying that, if this blog becomes suddenly and suspiciously unavailable, don't let the truth die with me.


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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Tiny Miracles

Well, Maxi Pad brings up an interesting point. My gut reaction is that I am more inclined to offer Mini Rolos than Britney as evidence of the existence of a compassionate deity. For if God was truly a loving God, then he certainly would not have invested so much of his awesome cosmic power into only one individual who can be intimately enjoyed by so few. Wouldn't a loving God have spread the wealth beyond Justin Timberlake, a redneck and a deadbeat Dad? If anything, Britney is evidence of a vengeful God who abandoned his creations for more worthwhile or fanciful pursuits in heaven.

Now we enter tiny Rolos into evidence. Each individual bag, even, provides enough little miracles to share God's love with at least two dozen others. And there are literally millions of bags. Doesn't that sound more like the creation of the God that the Judeo-Christians have been pitching the world for five thousand years?

Just as any good, sustainable religion does, I believe tiny Rolos offer more questions than answers.



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Olympic nonsense

So I'm flipping through news stations last night and come across Bill O'Reilly jabbering about the USA's gold medal count. "The US is leading the medal count, and I think I know why" he begins (I'm quoting from memory, so apologies in advance).

Wow, I wonder what blazing insight BOR has on the Olympics. Short answer: we have freedom rather than socialism. To be fair: he has to make his case in 45 seconds, of course he is going to steal some bases. On the other hand: WTF.

He uses as an example the fact that Australia has won more medals than Canada despite having 10 million fewer citizens. It makes some sense to note population and to choose as examples countries with somewhat similar cultural backgrounds. But the idea that Australia is a free-wheeling capitalist country while Canada is socialist is absurd. Both countries are ranked as free by the Heritage foundation, both have a great deal of socialistic tendencies from the point of view of an American, and Australia actually scores worse than Canada in terms of the fiscal burden of government on its citizenry.

How about this for an alternate explanation: Australia is a warm country where people can pursue summer season sports year round. Canada is a colder country with a short summer. Canadians are encouraged by circumstances to focus on winter sports. In fact, a look at the 2002 winter Olympic results show that Norway and Canada both finished in the top 5 in the medal count. But maybe BOR has an explanation for why socialistic countries succeed in the cold, harsh, bitter world of winter sports.

Not everything is about politics. I'll give you the last word...


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On a Rolo

Hey H-man,

So rolo bites represent a possible proof of divinity but Britney doesn't? I sense she is slipping on your list of pop tarts.

BTW, you need to check out Prairie Farm's Vanilla Blast ice cream. Vanilla ice cream with rolo bites, fudge, and choco covered peanuts.



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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Tiny Rolos

Though it's become cliche to say in this particular era, where Britney's kabbalah and Travolta's Scientology seem annoyingly ubiquitous, I consider myself a pretty spiritual person though I'm not very religious. My Jewish upbringing taught me to believe in a loving God, and the fact that I just capitalized the G in God points me to the conclusion that some of it stuck with me. Every now and then, though, something happens that makes me wonder if some higher power isn't existing out there in the ether, looking down upon me and grinning broadly. Today I tasted, for the first time, mini Rolo bites. And now I know that this grand drama in which we each play a small role has a director after all; and he has a plan. I'm just happy to have a cameo.


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Quote of the day

From an MSNBC article in which John Kerry alleges direct ties between the Swift boat vets and George W. Bush's campaign:

“Out of desperation, the Bush campaign has picked the wrong fight with the wrong veteran,” said Jim Jordan, former Kerry campaign manager who now runs an outside group airing ads against Bush.


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Monday, August 23, 2004

Quick NFL Perspective Update

Just now, in a Monday Night Football sideline interview with Michele Tafoya, Priest Holmes declared that his father was the reason he decided to return to the Chiefs this year. His 50-plus-year-old father, a Master Sergeant in the Army, voluntarily returned to active duty in Iraq training troops, and Priest wanted to "make that same sacrifice." I know I'll sleep better tonight.


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hair removal and the appeal of thai massage

Yesterday I discovered a nose hair. It's my first, and I've been struggling internally for the last 24 hours or so with the reality that it's not my last. For now, I'm choosing the delusion that it's wasn't really a nose hair, but merely an overanxious mustache hair that strayed from the herd. Just let me live there for awhile.

Today I got a haircut. Having moved from home 6 years ago exactly, it's been some time since I've had a regular hair removal specialist. Being a gambling man, I prefer the adrenaline rush that accompanies walking into a Great Clips and placing my follicular fate in the hands of a complete stranger whose particular lack of scissor artistry drops her price to $13 (or less, if I have a coupon). Occasionally I'll recognize someone who's cut my hair before, but more often than not, it's both of our first times working together.

There's something intimate about someone running their hands all over your head and ears that necessitates conversation. I hate small talk, which makes this entire process really unappealing and generally the end result is twelve to fourteen minutes of complete silence. As I was sitting in the chair today, counting the seconds until I could bolt out of there in a cloud of sideburn dust, I realized that there aren't that many industries in which the practitioner is required to put their hands all over the customers while simultaneously talking to them about their Labor Day plans. Most of them involve pretty advanced schooling. Doctors have to. Dentists do too (see Bill Cosby: Himself for the ultimate exploration of this ludicrousness). Chiropractors, physical therapists, palm readers, masseuses. And then I realized why I find Thai massages so attractive. It's not the prospect of the "happy ending," but rather the hour-long happy journey, in which neither party has the ability (and therefore the pressure) to communicate with the other. An hour in which I don't have to make small talk with a professional who is putting her hands all over my back is priceless. Regular macroeconomics do not apply here--this market will bear whatever it has to.


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The televised sports evening of 8/21/04

Two things I chose to watch instead of the Olympics:

1) Game number one hundred and twenty-three of a one hundred and sixty-two game season in which the Cardinals lead their division by 14 games. Did I mention they were playing the Pirates?

2) A Colts and Jets preseason affair which included significant minutes from a Grey Cup quarterback and a kid named Sorgi. Can they put an incentive in an NFL contract that encourages the use of "orgi" in more names? Note to Colts executives- you are one concussion away from the Sorgi era at quarterback. Good luck with that.

I thought about exploring what it cosmically means that I chose to watch the 50th-72nd best players on the Jets roster instead of America's aquatic pride and joy. But then I realized that I know it cosmically means two things. Thing number 1: I see swimming as a means of escape from sharks, or occasionally hippos. That's about it. Not so much on the sporting aspect of it. Thing number 2: there should be global legislation preventing cute 22-year-old girls from growing freakishly large Lat muscles. Whom do you contact about that? The Hague? NATO? The IMF? We've only got four years to work this out before another human atrocity. Just picture it. Beijing, 2008: young Amanda Beard finishes her 100m breastroke final in first place, securing her third gold medal. With one hand clutching the side of the pool, she raises her right arm to wave to her fans, and billions of viewers no longer have to turn away, comfortable in the knowlege that Amanda's back is not 14 inches wider than her front.

Up-to-the-minute news flash: According to a story on ESPN SportsCenter, Donald Trump officially has the most awkward golf swing ever. Now that's reality television.

Now back to my original story:

I spent a significant amount of the second half of the Colts-Jets switching to drag-motorcycle racing on ESPN2 so that I could catch a Titans score on the bottomline. And the results are in--there officially exists an extreme sport in which I could compete on a national level with no more than 6 months of preparation. The premise is this: driver mounts strange motorcycle with elongated twelve-foot training tail. Green light, so now driver accelerates his motorcycle to approximately 170 mph for about 2.5 seconds. Driver attempts not to die within that designated time frame. That's it. Race over, we have a winner. If this whole professional blogging gig doesn't pan out, I now have a failsafe plan.


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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Are You Into Fat Married Guys?

If you are, then you're just the type of reader we're seeking here at NotSoMuch.


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