Friday, February 17, 2006

greatness courts failure

I'm not actually watching the Olympics, but I do read the sports pages. And I've noticed that the sportswriters who are covering some of these high-profile American flameouts are being merciless:

"I didn't feel my inner peace tonight," Weir said. "I didn't feel like my aura is white today. My biorhythms were a little off. I was black inside."

Whatever. Truth is, it's all Weir-speak for this:

I choked.

Fine, so Johnny Weir is a little eccentric. But you know what? These are amateur athletes. It may say "USA" on the helmet or the uniform or whatever, but really, they're not over there for us (depsite what NBC would have you believe).

They don't owe us anything.

Yet this particular Philly scribe treats a 21-year old who's not getting paid as he will Tom Gordon the first time "Flash" blows a save opportunity as a Phillie.

Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong with that?

The AP said Lindsey Jacobellis' "hot dogging" board-grab was inexcusable because it cost her a gold medal.

"Inexcusable"? I'm thinking a good rule of thumb for sportswriters is that they should quit if they ever start sounding like middle school teachers trying to give detention time to the athletes they cover.

And obviously none of these scribes have ever seen Tin Cup, in which Kevin Costner's character blows his chance to qualify for the US Open because he refuses to lay up (at least, that's how I remember it). He keeps trying - and failing - to make it over a water hazard that makes the world's best pro golfers pee their pants. Don Johnson's slimy character lays up and secures a forgettable finish near - but not at - the top of the leaderboard.

"Greatness courts failure," Costner's character says. Everybody remembers his spectacular failure, and he wins the respect of the golf community (not to mention Don Johnson's girlfriend, played by the comely Rene Russo).

So if Jacobellis wanted not just to win but to excel - to give a performance for the ages - who can blame her if it didn't work out? If she's OK with herself after taking her shot at greatness and falling short, who are we to criticize her? (And frankly, given the nature of snowboarding, how can we criticize her? This is not Leon Lett dancing at the end of his fumble return; this is an entire sport based on showing off).

In general, who are we to get offended when an American amateur athlete fails to bring home the gold?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

nerd humor gives me the giggles

I don't really read Something Awful too much anymore, but I saw this earlier this morning, and it's given me a case of the giggles. It's a performance self-appraisal written by a disgruntled replicator repairman on board the Enterprise from "Star Trek: The Next Generation":

Those assholes only ever call me when something breaks. My chest never beeps and then says "Ensign Dupree, we are under attack, what do you think the replicator can do." I would say "a whole hell of a lot," because holy crap, it's only like the second most incredible technology ever made.

I think my favorite "incident" the repairman describes is the one that induced the giggles:

Turns out Wesley decided he wanted a "giant rubber vagina" (direct quote from Lt. Barclay) and it came out of the replicator a bit more suddenly than Wesley had expected. One end of the thing got wedged in the replicator slot and the other end ballooned out of the replicator and pinned him to the floor of his room. The engineering team had to set their phasers to shame to get him out of that predicament.

There's just something about the visual of Wesley Crusher ordering a "giant rubber vagina" from an Enterprise replicator that tickles the funny bone of my inner nerd... which, quite often, is also my outer nerd.

The rest of the article is giggle-inducing, as well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

happy valentine's day!

With a tip of the hat to I-Mockery.

I can't really talk long, as I'm leaving early today and I've got lots of work to do. I just wanted to thank Mensch and Terry for the love w/r/t a most dangerous game.

Happy Valentine's Day!

a most dangerous game

(Note: While it may seem similar to recent events, this story is fiction - pure, quickly written, poorly worded/structured non-sensical fiction. Any similarity to real people living or dead is purely coincidental, and hopefully hilarious... but I'm not counting on that last one).

Jack Wellington's car pulled up to the Aldrin Ranch with a cloud of dust in tow. Though he was about to complete his eighth decade on God's good Earth, the distinguished Texas attorney today felt the energy of a young graduate who'd just conquered the bar exam.

As Wellington's driver lowered the back passenger side window, the dry Texas heat rushed into the car - bringing with it familiar scents.

Quail. And gunpowder.

"Mr. Wellington," said a slender man clad in bright orange hunting gear. "I work for the Vice President. My name is Klaus von Richtover. I'll take you to the party."

"Well, thank you son. Much obliged," Wellington said as he hoisted himself out of the car. He usually didn't Texas his speech up too often, but he liked to see if he could impress people who were obviously not from the area.

"Of course," von Richtover purred. He drew the corners of his mouth back towards his ears. 'That must be German for 'smile,'' Wellington thought, allowing himself a small chuckle.

von Richtover quickly pivoted and turned toward the driver. "See that you stick around," von Richtover told the man in the black Cadillac. "Mr. Wellington is a very special guest."

The driver gave von Richtover a deliberate nod, and the car slowly pulled away. A cloud of dust seemed to form out of nothing, following the Caddy around a bend and out of sight.

"Well, let's get a move on, son," Wellington said. "Those quail aren't gonna plug themselves."

"No," von Richtover replied, his lips once again thinning in an approximation of a smile. "They most certainly will not."

Though he was easily twice the age of von Richtover, Wellington strode quickly towards the hunting grounds, forcing his new friend to break into a slow jog.

"Mr. Wellington," von Richtover said. "Perhaps we should slow down. If you're lucky, this will be a long day for you."

Wellington gave the younger man a hearty laugh. "I haven't seen Dick since the Austin fundraiser. I told him I'd deliver him Texas," he chirped. "I wanna shake his hand and give him a howdy-do."

"Oh, he's very... eager to do the same, Mr. Wellington. Very eager indeed."

The pair soon found themselves surrounded by brush. Before long, they came upon a pith-helmeted man, otherwise dressed entirely in khaki. His back was turned, and the sun glistening off his shotgun barrel forced both newcomers to squint.

"They say a 28-gauge shotgun is a 'ladies'' weapon," said Dick Delaney, Vice President of the United States of America. "But you know I've had 11 heart attacks, Jack."

He turned around, revealing a dumpy, bald, bespectacled middle-aged man. "Thank you, Klaus, that will be all for now." Klaus bowed neatly before trudging through the brush on his way back to the ranch.

"It's a beautiful weapon, isn't it, Jack?" Delaney continued. "No recoil at all. It's good for the heart. My wife can tell you, I don't really like the idea of dropping dead in the middle of a quail hunt."

"I understand, sir," Wellington said. "Let me just say that it's an honor-"

Delaney quickly interrupted him, as if Wellington hadn't spoken at all. "But I'm not opposed to a little danger out here, Jack." The vice president's upper lip curled into a sneer. "It's a shame your boat had to run aground on my island, of all places. A shame, indeed."

Wellington was now thoroughly amused. "Uh, your car service came to get me, sir."

"We're surrounded by thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean on all sides," Delaney continued. "It's just you and I, old friend - no longer shackled by the laws of Man."

"We're in Corpus Christi, sir," Wellington replied.

"During the Great War, I quickly learned of the most dangerous animal of all," Delaney said. "Do you know what it is, Jack?"

"Is it Man?"

"It's Man," Delaney continued. "Shocking, I know. But one learns much when he faces the constant threat of horrific Zeppelin attacks by the Kaiser's men. One learns that only a man possesses the cunning necessary to make a hunt truly worthwhile. And since you're trespassing on my island, Jack... I shall hunt you. For sport. But make no mistake; I expect and hope that you'll be able to turn the hunter - me - into the hunted - also me, but in the future.

"I'll give you a thirty-second head start," Delaney explained, turning away from his guest. "There's a jungle out there. I believe you'll be able to find everything you need to turn this contest to your advantage."

Wellington didn't want to offend the Vice President by cutting his joke short, but he felt it necessary to exchange formal pleasantries. "Sir, let me say what an honor it is to be here, and how honored I've been to be a loyal Mush-Delaney supporter."

"Oh, we're always glad to have you, Jack. Perhaps I'll have you for dinner tonight," Delaney replied. "Twenty-five seconds."

Wellington forced a chuckle. "Uh, Mr. Vice President, where's the rest of the hunting party?"

"Twenty seconds," Delaney replied, looking at his watch.

For the first time, Wellington felt fear shoot its way up and down his spine. "Sir, this is some sort of joke... yes?"

"Oh, good sport is no laughing matter, Jack," Delaney said. "Fifteen seconds. I would get moving if I were you."

Wellington quickly began looking for cover. "Sir, I've given you everything! Money, votes!"

"And if this day is mine, you'll be giving me a whole lot more. Precious organs, hair, lifeforce," Delaney droned, his upper lip curling once again. "Ten seconds."

Fear completely took over Wellington's brain and told his body one thing.


As the 79-year old took his first step, he was startled by something exploding out of the brush. He instinctively recoiled.

"Time to die, Jack!" Delaney whirled and fired. The smell of burnt powder stung his nose as he watched Wellington crumple to the earth. As he closed his eyes to savor the moment of victory, the vice president heard a single quail making its escape.

He smiled and slowly walked to where Wellington lay.

"This is extremely uncomfortable," Wellington said, tiny pellet marks covering his face and neck. "I think I'd like to go to the hospital."

"Ironic," Delaney said, staring into the distance. "We matched wits for what seemed like ages - two clashing titans were we. And in the end, he was brought down by his fear by one of nature's lowliest creatures - the cage-raised quail that he almost stepped on. Also, his hubris was his downfall... yes, hubris. That sounds good, too."

"Makes you think," Wellington said.

Delaney removed a large wooden horn from his hunting pouch and blew a single, majestic note into the late afternoon sky. Within seconds, von Richtover was upon them.

"Klaus," Delaney barked. "Take Mr. Wellington's body inside for preparation. We'll be taking the heart, the scalp, the eyes and oh... let's say... the pancreas. I'm in a fun mood today. Stick the rest in the black Caddy and let the driver take care of it. Tell him if he makes pemmican for the children, to save some for me this time."

"Can I go to the ER now?" asked Wellington.

As the German carried the trophy back towards the ranch, the vice president stared into the setting sun.

He sighed.

'Sometimes I get so bored,' he thought to himself.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

sore-ass sunday buzzed blogging

Kris and I have finally made our way to the couch, after 1) digging a car out of snow on Samson Street, 2) digging a driveway out of snow in Delaware and 3) digging kitten vomit out of carpet, bedsheets and hardwood floors. Each and every one of our muscles are sore, and we're going to get our buzz on, and nobody's going to stop us. In fact, we'd like to thank our main enablers, Mr. Duboeuf and Mr. Yuengling (and yes, Mr. Jacuzzi).

Cool Shit:

- Jon Heyman of Newsday says that the Mets' ballpark plans are being heavily influenced by PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Kris and I went to PNC last summer to see the Mets play the Pirates (you can probably find some of the pictures by following the Flickr links at left), and we both loved loved LOVED the park. Watching a ballgame there is a complete and total joy; I felt that if they were going to try to build Wrigley Field today, it would be PNC Park. So kudos to the Mets - as my boss has been known to say, "if you're going to steal, steal from Tiffany's."

- This afternoon, while driving along South 26th Street on our way to the George C. Platt Memorial Bridge, I-95 and - ultimately - Delaware, Kris and I saw a deer walking along an overpass. It might just be the coolest thing I've ever seen within the Philadelphia city limits, and I've lived in Philly for almost eight years now(!). It made me think about the weirdest things I've seen since I've been living here...

- A guy fake getting hit by a car (just about my first day ever in Philly)
- A guy's car getting towed (on my way to 7-11); said guy trying to get into the tow truck and drive away before getting pulled out and beaten by the tow truck driver (on my way back from 7-11)
- A homeless man defecating in public (on two separate occasions; and yes, they were two different homeless men)
- Ed Rendell and Morgan Fairchild drumming up support for Al Gore... together... on Locust Walk (around Election Day, 2000)
- Rocky Balboa getting filmed two blocks from my house (two weeks ago at Irish Pub, which I'm assuming means Rocky was trying to hook up with a chubby 24-year old yuppie automaton in tight black hoochie pants)

What are some of the weirdest things you've ever seen in Philly? Hmmmmmmm?