Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Kids are Back!

After 2 and half weeks with my parents, Danger Boy and Whiney Girl are coming home tonight. Does it make me a bad dad because I've enjoyed the time without them?

Thanks, I didn't think so.

It sounds like they are ready to come home and have had enough of the daily newspaper Q&A sessions and being berated for putting their elbows on the table. My mom was kind enough to inform me she has "upgraded their social skills." No need to read between the lines there.

I think my mom mis-remembers what I was like at 14. She must have an image of me as Little Lord Fauntleroy. I only dress up like that now on very 'special' nights.

Their grandparents have bought them all their school clothes and school supplies, including new backs. We'll just have to put them on the bus in the morning. Nice eh?

For all the readers of "Dialing Under the Influence", the Last Chapter is up. I hope you enjoy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Not so Desperate Republican Housewife Governor

Before you read this post, head on over to Two Dogs Running and read Part One of Mama Dawg's emotional account of her personal Battle of New Orleans.

Yesterday was the last day of the Democratic Convention and the best coverage I saw was over at the House of Lime, and is linked below (I had no idea linking it would have it show up on Dogs & Jeans. Am I being rude? I just don't know all the etiquette).

Barak's address was delivered with excellent oratory skills, as expected, but he didn't really say anything (also expected). I've already lampooned the empty political platitude thing, so wasn't sure what to do today.

And then this morning happened.


What was that sound you ask?
That was the eruption immediately after Obama's staff told him John McCain picked as his running mate 44 year old Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She compliments McCain's strengths and contrasts his weaknesses, is a true Washington outsider but with executive experience , fought lobbyists and special interests groups. You thought Hillary was tough? Try being a woman in Alaska, much less a successful female politician. She has a nice looking family and even has a son serving in Iraq, for crying out loud.

That was the sound of Obama's dreams of reaching the White House dying (this time around anyway).

That was the sound of McCain knocking it out of the freakin' ballpark.

Update 14:00 PST
If nothing else, looks like we have got a dialogue going, judging by the comments. Maybe a healthy debate on the issues will keep the campaigns from getting too negative.
You all have been very polite in your discource and disagreement. the political flacks that work for McCain and Obama should take notice.

House of Lime: Weird Politics

House of Lime: Weird Politics

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama Boldly Supports Being Nice

Before readers get all huffy and blast the emails threatening me with a late night clubbing in a dark alley, let’s be clear: I like Bill Clinton. Whatever platform or activities I may or may not have disagreed with, I think he’s a heck of a guy and a dynamite speaker. He’d be on the top of my list as a dinner companion (along with Amy Sedaris, George Foreman, Matt Damon, Meryl Streep and former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz).

Last night’s speech was delivered with style and élan, and his endorsement of Barak Obama was clear. However, his reasons why America should support Obama were less than compelling. It seemed to be simply a catalogue of positive things in life that Barak (and everyone else except for Charles Manson) could get behind.

See if you disagree:

  • “As president he will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries.” Sure, we should all get along in the playground. Sesame Street says “Cooperate”.
  • “He will put us back in the forefront of the world's fight against global warming and the fight to reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.” Who in their right mind would support increasing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons?
  • “Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hard-working people need good jobs, secure, affordable health care, food and energy, quality education for their children and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming.” So, if I support someone else, I am against children and families?

But fear not Faithful Readers. Dogs & Jeans' crack research squad has uncovered some of the exciting, ground breaking policies to be enacted by an Obama Administration that are designed turn America around and create the warm and fuzzy nation of which Mr. Clinton speaks.

Yes, the Republican nominee may have celebrated more Birthdays than Obama, but the Democratic party has determined birthdays are fun and will fully support the celebration and the general merriment associated with birthdays. Furthermore, Barak recognizes America’s diverse cultures and acknowledges bar/bat mitzvahs as "extra special."

Kittens are soft and fluffy. A Democratic Presidency will promote the advancement of cuddling and playing with kittens using balls of string or ribbons. From now on, all of Obama’s campaign ads will be made by the same people who brought you the Cottonelle kitten.

Rainbows, along with sunshine, gentle summer breezes and fluffy white clouds, provide essential elements of American culture. Barack Obama commits to preserving our inherent right as a nation to fully enjoy such aspects of our heritage free from persecution.

While the Republicans have sought to restrict a person's access to laughter and all things humorous, an Obama government will encourage participation in such laughter-inducing activities as jokes, riddles and limericks. States will retain the right to sanction tickling and mild horseplay.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Take Me to Your Democratic Party Leader

Last night I watched Senator Hillary Clinton’s speech at the DNC, despite AMC showing “The Hunt for Red October”. My commitment to the Electoral College must be significant even though they rejected my entrance application.

It was a good acceptance speech, it’s just too bad she waited until nearly halfway through to remember it wasn’t her who was getting the nomination.

But that’s neither here nor there.

Still a good speech full of stirring language, a vision of the future, honor for the past, a promise to rebuild, fear that another eight years of a Republican White House will doom us all forever. There was even a quote from Harriet Tubman (you won’t hear that in Canadian politics).

Unfortunately with all of that, I was left with two overarching sentiments:

  1. Cedric the Entertainer wore that orange pantsuit better; and
  1. Hillary may be a robot.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not questioning her commitment to America, her desire to serve or her ability to lead. I simply fear that she may stop working at full capacity if she gets wet.

Here are a few quotes and images from the speech and maybe you will see what I mean:

“My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.”

“Now is the time to unite as a single party with a single purpose.” (with Dennis Kucinich)

“We need a president who understands that the genius of America has always depended on the strength and vitality of the middle class.”

“Just think of what America will be as we transform our energy agenda.”

“Nothing less than the fate of our nation and the future of our children hangs in the balance.”

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ted Kennedy Random Speech Generator

Welcome to Dogs & Jeans coverage of the 2008 Democratic Convention: "Change for the... well, just because we think change is a good thing." The proceedings opened with a speech by long time and esteemed Senator Ted Kennedy. I didn't see it because "Fist Full of Dollars" was on AMC. But I'm sure it was filled with empty platitudes about renewing our commitment to make a better country, uniting behind the causes of equality and justice, reaching for the stars or the moon.

In fact, I've heard so many of Ted Kennedy's Convention Addresses, I have developed a handy little Ted Kennedy Random Speech Generator. Select any numbered option and you've got yourself an oration guaranteed to bring a hall filled with idealistic college students and nostalgic retirees to their feet. Feel free to use it at your next local rally, corporate event, or wedding shower.

"Ted Kennedy inspired me to go into politics."
Pres. Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853

"My fellow:
  1. Democrats,
  2. Americans,
  3. Liver transplant waiting list members.
I am here tonight to talk about:
  1. Change for America,
  2. To embrace our best ideals,
  3. To try desperately to be relevant to the electoral process one last time.
And I ask you to give your support to:
  1. Elect Barak Obama for President of the United States,
  2. Our brave men and women in uniform,
  3. The New England Patriots for another undefeated season.
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

As I look ahead, I am strengthened by:

  1. Family and friends,
  2. Our shared love for this great nation,
  3. Brown liquor and Vicodan.
(Something about how long he has served in the Senate and the great people he has known and worked with from both parties)

For The Democratic party and for America this is a new season of:

  1. Hope and prosperity,
  2. Justice and equality,
  3. The Office.
Change does not come without its challenges for us to:
  1. See the true potential in every American,
  2. Break the shackles of the past that limit our vision of the future,
  3. Understand your wireless bill.
We can meet these challenges with:
  1. Barack Obama
  2. Faith in each other,
  3. A really comfortable pair of slacks.
(Somehow compare Barack Obama to one or both of his brothers by a timely reference to the space program and the civil rights movement)

Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you.

Together we can bring to an end the old politics of:

  1. Race and gender,
  2. The haves and have-nots,
  3. Only getting oral on my birthday.
This November, the torch will be passed again to:
  1. A new generation of Americans,
  2. A Barack Obama presidency for America,
  3. The travelling cast of “RENT”.
Together for you and for me, our country will be committed to this cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on. Blah, blah, blah."

Speaking of Fists Full of Dollars, Hillary speaks tonight. I'll watch that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama-mania is Pulling Me Right Back In

After only one day to recover from the Olympic Blogging events, it looks like I will be busy for the next several weeks. So many Bloggy friends of Dogs & Jeans have asked me to apply the same jackassed wit to the Democratic and Republican Conventions I couldn't resist. So starting tomorrow, Dogs & Jeans will be your official number one source for inane (and likely politically incorrect) commentary on the continuing struggle to control the Free World.

In the meantime, here's a quick update on the non-Olympic things that have transpired in my life over the past fortnight:
  • The Crow has not been around for the past two weeks. I figure he found himself a nice lady crow and has gone off to explore this new relationship. It's hard on parents when the kids don't call though.
  • Danger Boy and Whiney Girl have been with my parents for nearly two weeks. It's the first time they have ever had the kids out to visit. Despite Dad's ailment, they have seen nearly every tourist attraction, museum and animal park in a 300 mile radius. Grandma and Grandma have bought the kids all their school clothes. They go out to dinner at restaurants every night. Boy, are those two going to be disappointed with real life when they get home.
  • I moved in with my old college roommate whose wife left him a few months ago. He was 'kind' enough to set me up on a double-blind blind date last Friday night. Both ladies were very nice and attractive, despite him having found them on Craigslist. Although I was very clear with "my" date that I had no interest in dating, they are coming over again this Friday for a BBQ. Why won't women listen? My buddy is evil.
So that's my news. Tomorrow we examine the quasi-democratic process that is our fundamental right of representation. Only I'll make it it funnier.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

An Olympic Goodbye

After two weeks of amazing performances and 11 posts of questionable taste, I say "So Long" to Beijing (I wouldn't say "So Long" in Beijing because you never know who will answer - but I bet I owe them money whoever they are). It has been a time filled with controversy, weird outfits, amazing performances, strange events, sexiness and general jackassery. Thank you to all the supporters and frequent posters. You all are too many to mention but every time I didn't feel like coming out of the corner at the bell, knowing you were out there helped me put the gloves back up. (Mama Dawg deserves special mention for the kind words and frequent towel rub-downs)

It has also distracted me from my screenplay postings, but the penultimate episode of "Dialing Under the Influence" is up today.

But to go out with a shred of class I'd like to nominate one athlete for the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for Sportsmanship: Natalie du Toit from South Africa. She had been a competitive swimmer, nearly qualifying for the 2000 Sydney games, when an auto accident resulted in the loss of her left leg below the knee when she was 16. She began training for long distance swimming only several months later. She is the only amputee to ever compete in an open, able-bodies category in Olympic history. On Aug 20, du Toit placed 16th in the 10K swim, out of a field of 25 other swimmers. Fuckin' A.

Now that I'm all verklempt (I get like that), I'll say goodbye to the 2008 Games and "Hello" to the 2012 Games in London with one more humorous post:
Reasons London was awarded the 2012 Olympics over Paris, Moscow, New York and Madrid:
- I.O.C. members thought British cuisine items Toad in the Hole and Bubble and Squeak were competitive events.
- Michael Vick endorsed Paris.
- Due to economic collapse, Russian steroids now just unrefined horse urine.
- Theme of New York opening ceremonies: "What Are You Lookin' At?"
- Some members of Royal Family can be used in equestrian events if horses fall ill.
- Concerns Vladimir Putin would steal medals to add to his Super Bowl ring collection.
- Britain's cold rainy climate helped by global warming.
- Committee unable to think clearly because they are still too upset that Winnipeg was not in the running to host.
- London now declared a Tom Cruise-Free Zone.
- France? After the '92 Albertville fiasco? Are you serious?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Have the Olympics Warped You Too?

(Disclaimer: Do not read if you are at all bothered by the objectification of women for the purposes of satire. Or if you have a lousy sense of humor. Or are from Belgium)

There is an episode of Friends where Chandler and Joey received unscrambled porn for free. They were so concerned they would lose it, they never turned the TV off. After several days of interrupted adult entertainment, each man noticed their world view had changed. They became disappointed when a casual visit to the dry cleaners or a trip to the photocopy room did not result in an offer of sex. Exposure to porn had warped them.

I am finding a similar situation with the Olympics. After nearly two solid weeks of viewing tennis, gymnastics, track, beach volleyball and diving, I am disturbed to see the women around me are not wearing unnecessarily tiny bathing suits, skin tight leotards or showering out in the open.

It's not just appearance, the behaviors displayed have left me disappointed with the real work. In Beijing, female teammates are very demonstrative physically with each other, congratulating after every single point, won or lost. There is significantly less inter-female hugging going on at my workplace, in stores on on the bus. It's a real let down.

Even the Olympic coverage is now slightly less satisfying; I need the stimulation to be increased. The close-ups need to be closer, the slow-motion replays need to be more languid and accompanied by Barry White music. A wind machine would be a nice touch when a fencer removed her face mask and casually shakes out her long mane of hair. Then blows a kiss to the camera.

Now I'm just spit balling here...

When the divers shower after each dive, maybe they could wash each other's hair.

When the heptathelets group hug after a race, maybe they could give each other back rubs, perhaps have a glass or two of chardonnay and talk about how fed up they are with their boyfriends.

Ah, it's probably not the Olympics fault. I just need to get laid...

(Comeback tomorrow. I have a REAL post about insprirational moments of the games)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You'd Think They Could Have Sent a Bus or Something

Inner Monologue of a Women’s 20K Race Walker

(Preface: Yesterday I saw the saddest sight at the Games so far. Walker after walker unceremoniously disqualified and left at the side of the road to walk back in the rain. This is one of their stories)

Start: This is so exciting!. I can’t believe all those years of training have led up to this! Walking here, walking there. Refusing lifts from friends just so I could walk some more . Even this rain doesn’t seem so bad. At least it’s not snow. LOL

500m: Damn these are some fast chicks! They said the competition would be tough, but wow. Oh, well. All part of the experience right?

1K: I’m hitting my stride now. My shoes got soaked faster than I thought. The leader is moving ahead, but I’m still in with the group. Hey, is she running?

2K: Okay, I’m sure she’s running. And this one is too. Bitch! Oh, now she’s stopped. Now the Japanese girl is running. Wait, she’s stopped. What the frig?

3K: Aid station? Very funny. Can’t you see I’m soaked? It’s like racing in a fucking aquarium out here.

4K: So they are all running, these whores. As soon as we pass an umpire every bitch in the pack starts to jog. Five or six quick steps then they settle down. Damn! Why didn’t anyone explain this to me?

5K: A quarter of the way and I’m still in it. Look at me Ma! Top of the World!

5.5K: Uh oh. Gotta pee.

6K: This is bullshit! I can’t even see the leaders. Hell, I can’t see the road it’s pissing so hard.

7K: That’s it! I’m going to run. One, two, three, four, five, six. And back to walking. Hey! I caught up a little. This is awesome!

7.5K: One, two, three, four, five, six. And back to walking. Made up another place. Oh, there’s an umpire. Hello Mr. Umpire. No Sir, no running here. Just walking along. Sucker!

7.6K: One, two, three, four, five, six. And back to walking.

8K: One, two, three, four, five, six. And back to walking. The rain doesn’t seem so bad when you are making up ground like this. One more girl and I think I’m top ten. I sure could use an Charleston Chew right about now though.

9K: One more kilometer to half way. And I’m cruising. Another umpire. And we’re walking…

9.5K: Back to running. One, two, three, four…WHAT!!!!! Red card?! Where the fuck did you come from? Out?! I’m Freaking Out?! Jesus Christ! I’m out in the middle of the goddammed Chinese countryside you mother fucker. What do I do now?

10K: “Walk back” he says. That’s what I was doing already, you moron. Middle of nowhere in the rain. What a stupid sport this is. (sigh)

11K: Rice paddy

12K: Old person on bicycle

13k: Rice Paddy
(it goes on like this for the rest of the 20K)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Blogging Continues - Drug Testing Imminent

Good Golly (and I don’t use that expression lightly). Mama Dawg of Two Dogs Running has written the nicest letter about me since, well, ever. Compared to her praise, my mother was merely fond of me. Once the Olympics are over (and I stop being so damned self centered) I’ll be posting an homage to the woman to whom I’ll soon be paying a 15% agents fee.

Speaking of Olympics, I should have thought twice about committing to write something funny about the Games EVERY BLOODY DAY! You think the decathlon is exhausting? That’s only 10 events. What was I thinking?

So today’s Dogs & Jeans Olympic entry is a collection of Seinfeldian random thoughts:

Olympic kineseo tape
Random Thought 1: What’s with the multicolored tape wrapping the participants to near mummification? I consider myself a pretty avid sports watcher and I have never see this until the Beijing Games. Black, red, blue, red and yellow bands running up down calves, thighs and shoulders. It’s like they got drunk at the Guggenheim and bumped into some wet Kandisky’s.

Random Thought 2: Can anyone believe no medalists have tested positive for anything yet? No joke here, I'm just surprised that training, diet and clean mountain air alone has shattered nearly every record on the books.

Random Thought 3: I was shocked last night to learn BMX is now an Olympic sport. Are you freaking kidding me? BMX is a child’s past time like skateboarding, jacks and spilling Kool-Aid all over the kitchen floor so you have to pull out the dishwasher and clean underneath so you don’t get ants, goddammit!

It’s hard enough for athletes to justify taking time from school, working “flexible” underpaying jobs and putting their lives on hold for four years for most sports. But to ride those tiny bikes around at the park with a bunch of 11 year olds? How do their poor parents stand the shame?:
“Has Jeremy passed the Bar yet, Sylvia?”
“Oh Hello Marjorie. No, he’s…um…he’s pedaling an undersized bike without gears over some piles of dirt at the playground.”
“Ahh,” (awkward pause, she checks her watch) “Well, I’ve got…stuff… to do. Bye”

Pheobe Cates sexy bikiniRandom Thought 4: You can’t be shy to be a diver. Diving is the only sport where the athletes are taking shower after shower out in the open. Could we get kind of a Phoebe-Cates-Fast-Times-at-Ridgemont-High slo-mo on some of them? I recommend some of the other athletes spend a little quality shower time during their events. The female beach volley ballers are already dressed for it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the heptathletes wet either. Don’t bother suggesting any male showers either; we’ve all seen Michael Phelps glistening muscles quite enough, thank you very much.

Random Thought 5: Should anyone inform the IOC that trampoline is just diving without the splash? Was it really necessary? Are these people that couldn’t make it as gymnasts? And why do I need to trim my eyebrow hairs weekly once I passed 40? For crying out loud, what’s wrong with me?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Judging Controversy Remedy

Day after day we are seeing very questionable judging in gymnastics at the Beijing Games, despite a complete overhaul of the marking system. Last night, Nastia Luikin was awarded with the same marks as the Chinese gymnast, despite a superior performance, and subsequently awarded second place in the ‘mysterious’ tiebreaker.

As part of Dogs & Jeans ongoing effort to improve the Olympic experience, here are some signs an Olympic Gymnastics Judge might be incompetent:
  • Each time the bell sounds for the next rotation she shouts, “Another Round on the House!”
  • Keeps posting the number ‘7’ upside down.
  • The IOC employs a special assistant to prevent the judge from removing her pants.
  • Refers to the Floor Exercise Apparatus as the ‘indoor patio’.
  • Her seeing eye dog is actually a raccoon.
  • Keeps arguing with her imaginary friend about setting fire to the vault.
  • Shows of her tumbling skills in the ladies washroom.
  • Refuses to take off her flamboyant hat because “pirates always keep their heads covered. Arrrr!”
  • Has two marking books: “Chinese” and “Everyone Else”

Monday, August 18, 2008

If Hemingway Was at the Olympic Games

After a week of Olympic coverage in which some broadcasters have a looser grip on the English language than a Parole Board has on a repeat offender, we long to hear the literary giants.

Jack Kerouac on Rowing:
A mad dog dash off the line in whale spout sprays of steam as oars thrash the lake surface like migrant children chasing pennies, six crews lunge toward the finish line as each man tears at his oar handle, rushing back for another stroke in time with his crewmates as though their souls are joined by gossamer threads, driving and releasing, driving and releasing until the unquenchable desire of tumbling boats push across the line and are silenced.

Margaret Atwood on Women's Balance Beam:
These female athletes competed in an event designed to demonstrate their suitability as mates in this showcase of feminine grace and flexibility. But these miniature dynamos have usurped the overseers and exerted control on an apparatus the men fear to attempt. Where there is delicacy expected, they show power; where docile instead they are bold. The indomitable spirit of woman lifts each higher than a double-back dismount. Medals were awarded to only three nations, but the true winner is each little girl who can see in herself the steely strength to forge her own dream.

Ernest Hemingway on Flyweight Boxing:
The two men enter the ring. The Bulgarian a rhinoceros, the Mexican a tiger. They circle twice, looking for a weakness. The Mexican jabs. The Bulgarian blocks. He feigns a right then a left hook. He scores a point. The Mexican responds with another jab, then a left cross. There is blood. The Bulgarian is stung like a bull tormented by the banderillas but he makes a desperate attack. His gloves drop and the Mexican steps in for the kill shot. Through the middle comes the Bulgarian with a body shot. The Mexican is stunned. He cannot react. A right uppercut finds its mark on his chin. The Mexican goes down. He is still. Above him stands the Bulgarian who lives to fight another round.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Enhanced Olympic Performance Enhancements

We are heading into Week 2 of the Summer Games, and just like after the presents have been opened on Christmas morning, there is a feeling of ennui that sets in. The swimming is now done, perhaps the biggest swimming performance we have ever seen. Is there any need to hold this event again? I recommend we just change the name of the event to Phelpsing. For example: “I’m going the get a new phelpsing suit for spring break,” or “You kids have to wait half an hour after eating before phelpsing!”, or "Mom, Jeremy's peeing int he phelpsing pool again!"

The ‘artistic’ gymnastics is over and all the tiny people return to Middle Earth, medals in hand, only to be replaced by rhythmic gymnastics. That’s like wanting to see Cirque de Soleil but instead getting the JV cheerleading squad from Alta Dina Middle School. I just can’t get into the ribbons, hoops and bowling pins being tossed around. I keep waiting for the little car full of clowns to show up.

I'm hoping to have more comments on questionalble uniforms but unless the sailors are competing in butt-less chaps, material might be slim. Even the 100 meter dash in track and field is over and there is nothing left to watch but all the reports on drug testing failures. So, in my continuing effort to make the games more interesting, here is Idea Three: Make Everything Synchronized.

Synchronization came to the Olympics in 1988 like a choreographed dance/fight scene from West Side Story. After Ben Johnson was stripped of his medal in Seoul, Canada’s Carolyn Waldo won the first legitimate gold for her country in synchro swimming, partially salvaging a nation's disgrace. Who'd have thought a once proud nation of hockey players, soldiers, explorers and lumberjacks would require the aid of a 20 something girl in a bathing cap and nose plug?

Since then synchronization has entered nearly every venue from diving to trampoline.
I say let’s keep it up. Who doesn’t want to watch synchronized boxing, team handball, badminton and pole vault?

If that doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat, here’s Idea Four: Make Everything Equestrian.

If Animal Planet is one of the most popular cable networks, imagine how Olympic viewership will increase by requiring all athletes to be on horseback: equestrian baseball, rowing, taekwondo, cycling and beach volleyball. The possibilities are endless. Personally, I can’t wait for equestrian 10 meter platform diving. Just getting the horse to climb the ladder will be fascinating.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Phelps Forces World Record Line to Retire

And Other news from the Games
Beijing Week 1 Summary:
In a surprise move, the Green Swimming World Record Line has announced it’s retirement from international competition. Citing chronic fatigue brought on by Michael Phelps, the World Record Line will not compete again after the swimming event ends this weekend.

“It’s not just Phelps’s pace in the Finals, he’s setting records in heat and semi’s,” panted The Line. “With other swimmers, I’m at least within an arm’s length the whole race. With Phelps, I’m like a whole body of open water behind. Sometimes there’s one or two more guys ahead of me too.”

“And he get’s to rest but I have to go again right away for a woman’s event. Or a relay, or medley. I’m just getting too old for this shit.”

The Green World Record Line has been dogged by controversy in recent years. A 2 year suspension for Excessive Pixilation was issued after The Line failed a random test at an NCAA meet shortly after the Athens Games. At last year’s Pan-Pacific Qualifying event, The Line was disqualified for two false starts during the women’s 200 IM. “That was a tough time for me. I’d just broken up with a Picture-in-Picture Frame and I was doing a lot of JAVA code.”

Chinese Bronze Medalist Gymnast Returns to the 4th Grade
After placing third in the Women’s Gymnastics All Around competition, Yang Yilin joined her gold medalist teammates by returning to elementary school. According to Chinese Communist officials, Yang was happy to see her friends again and resume the simple life of a ten year old.

“They are glad to have the pressure of Olympic competition over for now and can spend some time enjoying school, playing and spending spare time working in the People’s Nike Factory.”
In a related story, the US Women’s Gymnastics team may have had to settle for the Silver Medal in team competition, but did earn nearly $75 babysitting their Chinese rivals over the four days.

Ashlee Simpson Fired as Ceremonies Coordinator
Following allegations this week that segments of the Olympic opening ceremonies were staged or pre-recorded,. Ashlee Simpson was fired as the event coordinator. Speaking through a translator an official with Chinese Olympic Organizing Committee declared, “We were unaware that children would not be singing glorious anthems to the peoples republic live. Her deception has brought great shame on our nation.”

Evidence surfaced earlier this week that the little girl who “sang” during the broadcast was lip synching for another, less attractive child. The fireworks display shown around the word in fact had taken place on a different night when they would actually be visible through the smog.

“Without Ms Simpson, the closing ceremonies will see a more traditional, less disgraceful capitalist display,” stated the Official. “Many of the People’s tanks will circle the track and usher all foreigners out of the stadium.”

Simpson could not be reached for comment but her spokesperson indicated she would be taking some time off to have someone do her thinking for her.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympic Outfit Reveiw: Part 1

Yesterday’s post included some pretty highbrow concepts in Developmental Biology. In contrast today’s post will be mostly about hoo-has and wee-wees. I’m calling it Part 1 because I figure I’ll have a whole bunch of other criticism once Track and Field starts. I know much of the fun about sports is all the cool gear, but at the Olympic level, it’s pretty crazy.
women's beach volleyball BrazilBeach Volleyball: I used to think the shorts women wore for indoor volleyball were ridiculously small, until they introduced Beach Volleyball. Finally they have developed a sport women can do in their underwear. Wearing so little increases the risk of getting sand in places God never intended sand to be, but I figured it was necessary because the clothes interfered with returning the ball. Or maybe there was an aerodynamic element I was not aware of. Except that men players wear baMen's beach volleyballggy shirts and shorts like a bunch of color-coordinated skateboarders.
Shockingly, there is a double standard at work: increase viewership through sex. However I dispute it’s success. On paper, fit sweaty women wearing next to nothing sounds like a 13 year old’s wet dream, but in practice? Women't beach volleyballNot that sexy.

(Who am I kidding? It’s still pretty sexy)
Brazilian women's beach volleyball bums sexy

Swimming: This Olympics has seen the domination of the
swimming shark skin suit
“swim skin” suit introduced in Athens. The number of new world records shows it’s fast, but now we’re
going in the opposite direction of Beach Volleyball. Swimmers are covering up more skin while everyone else is wearing less.
But it’s a vacuum-sealed tightly squeezed “cover-up” that reveals more camel toes than a Moroccan market.women's swimming shark skin suit
The worst part for men is that in many of the TV shots, the guys look like they are wearing a ladies’ one-piece from JC Penny. Also not that sexy.

Other sports with uniform problems:
Water polo: I know it’s a safety issue because of all the grabbing, but isn’t there something they can wear that doesn’t look like a baby bonnet?
Water polo head cover
Equestrian: Speaking of hats, what’s with the Top Hat? I’m all for tradition but get serious. If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he’d wear a Colt’s ball cap instead of the top hat. As for the rest of the outfit, we all know you have to be rich to compete at horseback riding but you don’t have to rub it in.
Olympic equestrian outfit
Fencing: They are more covered up than an Iditarod racer. If it’s really that dangerous, put a wine cork on the sword so you can at least wear a T-shirt.
Olympic Fencing uniform
Judo: I have yet to see anyone make it through a match with their robe still tied up. It’s not a housecoat People. You’ve been giving the belt a try for over a 1000 years and it’s not working. How a bout some buttons? Or a zipper? Even a few Velcro tabs.
Finally, to you cyclists out there, bike shorts are black. There is a reason that they are not red.
Olympic cycling bulges
"Any of you American foxes would like to see our bulges?"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Paedomorphism versus Neoteny in Chinese Gymnastics

Catchy title huh? What are Paedomorphism and Neoteny you may ask?

Paedomorphism is a biological term which refers to the retention of juvenile characteristics into an adult form of an organism. Neoteny is the suppression of development which results in a sexually mature organism with juvenile characteristics.

I was going to comment on athlete’s outfits today, but after watching the women’s gymnastics last night, I’m sure the Chinese are doing something to produce a whole team of 16, 17 and 18 year olds who appear to be 9, 10 and 11. It really should be Little Girl’s Gymnastics.

"Raise you hand if you need someone to take you to the bathroom?"

Apparently the Chinese government is able to produce documentation proving their ages (shocking!). This suggests they have either perfected the technique of removing the pituitary glands of gymnasts age 10 (an example of neoteny) or have created a population of childlike adults through selective breeding (an example of paedomorphism).

Anyway they are doing it, it's cheating. So to help out the IOC who have not to noticed there are a bunch of underage girls competing as adults, here are some handy tips to tell of your lady gymnasts are too young:
· Their sticker books contains pictures of ponies instead of the Jonas Brothers
· The state fair carnies won’t let them on any of the ‘big’ rides
· Leotards come from Baby Gap
· They can’t drive in the passenger seat if your car has airbags
· The tooth fairy still makes regular visits
· The gold medal is heavy enough to pull them over
· Question: “Who is your favorite actor?”. Answer: “Dora the Explorer”.
· They arrive at the competition in a stroller or backpack
· Gatorade is in sippy cups
· Some of their training takes place in a Jolly Jumper
· Their last period was…never

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Judges Flock to Soup Kitchens

The readers of Dogs & Jeans are an imaginative, if somewhat bloodthirsty, bunch. The responses have been enthusiastic to yesterday’s post suggesting participants be drawn at random to compete alongside the Olympians. Rhea may already have started the petition. I find it a little disturbing that several people casually suggest firing all manner of projectiles into the stands (arrows, javelins, disci). This is mentioned under the veil of incompetence on their parts, but I fear a lust for violence may actually fuel their fantasy.

Several would like to see the addition of low risk “sports” like chess and poker, and the elimination of boxing if we all run the chance of participation. Add shuffle board and mahjong and soon the Olympics will resemble a seniors’ Alaskan cruise.

Congratulations to the US men’s gymnastics squad and their surprise bronze. I’m sure the women will live up to expectations tonight as well. Today’s suggestion is inspired by years of viewing gymnastics, diving, figure skating and other judged sports:

Idea Two: Eliminate All the Judges.Humans make mistakes, but Olympic judges make colossal gaffs. In boxing they miss awarding points more often than a WWE referee misses a folding chair swung in the ring. I’ll be watching a guy’s head being knocked back and forth like a metronome and there is no score change.

And bias? If the judge doesn’t like your music, costume, routine, hair, gender, shoe size or country of origin, rest assured you will finish off the podium no matter how good you are technically. And they hold back marks if this is your first competition so higher marks can be given to athletes who are ‘expected’ to win.Half the time, spectators are shocked when a popular performance is not the winner. Patronizingly we are told we just don’t understand everything that goes into a routine. That’s why I like track; I understand running fast. Gymnastics and diving are so specialized, and generally obscure, only the judges can tell when there are mistakes anyway. All the flips and spins look the same to me. Then they compound degrees of difficulty in to the marks to really screw it up. Figure skating is the worst offender as it combines all the elements of judging problems and throw fraud and kick-backs in for good measure.

No matter how sports organizations tinker with the process it doesn’t really change because judges are still involved. Even some sports that don’t require judging, like ski jumping and moguls add “style” points to ‘adjust’ the final mark.The solution is to get rid of judging and use the only subjective measures: distance and time. Sports can use either, or have two categories, the way swimming has different strokes.

Here’s how it would work:‘Artistic’ Gymnastics: Each event has a set number of moves: flips, tumbles, cartwheels etc. Whoever does them fastest on the apparatus or covers the most distance in the floor wins. Easy.

Rhythmic Gymnastics: Cancelled. Everyone just go run around with the ribbon in the playground. You know that’s what you want to do anyway.
Figure skating: Same as gymnastics, So many axles, flips, loops and lutzes. One winner for speed, one for distance. maybe and all-around combined champ. No more stout, angry middle aged ladies from former Soviet Republics marching around skating rinks in fur coats playing God with the athletes.Diving: First one in wins, last one in is a Rotten Egg.

Boxing: Points are only awarded if someone says “Ow”. Otherwise, you keep going until someone is knocked out or quits. After 4 rounds they must remove the gloves.Tomorrow’s Topic: Inappropriate Outfits

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympic Performance Enhancements

I have always loved the Olympics. I eat up all the stories: tragedy and triumph, overcoming obstacles, broken records and broken hearts. So far, the Beijing Games have exceeded my expectations, although the bar was pretty low given the conditions of the atmosphere (both political and oxygen bearing) over the past few months. The come-from-behind win by the US men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay team over France was particularly thrilling.

That being said, I think there are improvements that can me made to enhance the spectator experience. Over the quadrennial, I’ll share some of my thoughts. Here is the first installment:Idea One – Get Some Skin in the Game
Athletes are now all such finely tuned competitive machines, it is impossible for the average person to comprehend their physical prowess with TV coverage. There is no real frame of reference for the viewer. The person who comes last in the final looks like a bum compared to the winner, yet is in better condition that 99.999% of the rest of us at any time in our lives.

I propose leaving one lane, position or seed available in every event to be drawn at random for a participant from the audience. Having Joe and Jane Public line up alongside the likes of Michael Phelps or vault following Shawn Johnson would bring into sharp focus how amazing these competitors are.Plus there would be a spin-off benefit by increasing tension in the audience with everyone hoping they don’t get selected. People would pray to get picked for events like Archery and Table Tennis instead of, oh I don’t know, Heavyweight Boxing or the Marathon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Thrill of the Mundane

Sassy Stephanie from Our Piece of Quiet has tagged me with the ever popular "7 Boring Things About Me." I have spent the weekend racking my brain to compile seven items from they myriad of dull aspects of my personality. After much consideration, I submit the following for your catalogue of personal minutia:

1. My first year of high school wrestling was 10th grade at 127 lbs. I won one match in my first tournament and didn’t win another for the remainder of the year. A1 and 27 record. Over the subsequent years I gradually improved to .500 but was never going to set the world on fire. My coach once said I was one of the best technical wrestlers he ever had, but I was too nice a guy to ever keep up the pressure on someone to win. That characteristic seems to have continued.

2. I can wear the same size pants I wore in college.

3. I won a workplace talent show 4 years ago in the “Funniest Act” category doing a stand up routine I had done a t a few “open mics” at a local comedy club. The prize was a $100 gift card to a swanky steak house. I took my wife for our wedding anniversary.

4. One of my many jobs over the years, was to conduct population surveys of Grizzly Bears. It’s not as exciting as it sounds. I never came into contact with any, as it was hair collection through passive ‘trapping” and DNA analysis. The most dangerous event of the whole experience was my wife’s response to my coming in the house after I had spilled a 5 gallon bait canister of rendered fish on myself.

5. I can never decide which I find sexier: a woman’s bum or breasts. The circumstances never seem to be consistent. I guess I’ll just call it a tie.

6. My feet appear to be unnaturally small. The rest of me is average size, but my shoe size is 8½. It’s surprising I don’t fall over more often, since my feet are really not much larger than my ankles. To compensate, I do have long toes. They are like little fingers. Could I be any more attractive Ladies?

7. For some reason, my parents chose to have only one child. I don’t take that decision personally, but it would have been nice to have a sibling now I’m an adult. The biggest issue now is my parents have no idea how to handle standard sibling bickering if the kids ever go to visit.

In the search to get to know bloggers better, I'm tagging Lane Boyz Mom, A Lovely Disturbance, Robyn and my newest blog friend Life on the Tail of a Comet.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Is it Academy Awards Season Already?

I have won my second award and it Kicks Ass!
I feel like Tom Hanks. It's not enough to win one Oscar, you win another one a year later, even though he never won any awards for his best effort: "Volunteers". Or maybe it's like the Toronto Blue Jays winning back-to-back World Series in '92 and '93. I'm too flustered to think straight. I might even cry when I thank Rita Wilson for everything she has done for me. And Peter Scolari.

It's colossal! But I'm still wearing jeans to the Vanity Fair After Party.

So according to the definition of the Kick Ass Blog Award here's what my very kind nominee Blarney of The Blarney Spot thinks about me:

Do you know any bloggers that kick ass?

Maybe they've got incredible, original content. Or they're overflowing with creativity. Is it someone that helps you become a better blogger? Or a bloggy friend you know you can count on? Or maybe it's someone who simply inspires you to be a better person... or someone else who sends you to the floor, laughing your ass off.

Whatever the reason may be, I'm sure you know at least a couple of bloggers that kick ass. Well... why not tell 'em so?

So in the interest of being democratic, I have decided to award it to 5 bloggers to whom I did not award the Brilliant Weblog Award I received earlier. Here they are, kicking ass and in no particular order:
  1. Steph from The Loop. Seven (count 'em), Seven kids. They loaded up the Bronco and headed down I-95 to relocate in Florida. Now she shares a newcomer's experience in a state as different from Maryland as Garth Brooks is from Edie Gourmet (don't bother trying to decode the simile - you'll hurt yourself).
  2. Middle Aged Woman from Unmitigated. Reader her is like watching genital surgery on the Discovery Channel. I know I'll see unpleasant things but I can't look away. Neither will you.
  3. Jenn who is keeping all the balls in the air at Juggling Life. She doesn't hide anything including the soft-core pornography available at the rental cottage. Plus I unconsciously stole one of my kid's nicknames from her. Sorry Jenn
  4. Weith Kick over at, well, Weith Kick. A brother blogger who knows how to make a good taco. And you ladies know what that means don't you? That's right; his Mexican food is excellent (the secret is pickles).
  5. Cat Scratch of Ranting Diva. Any woman who feels comfortable writing 'fuck' so often and always in the right context is someone I want to read. Plus I'm a little afraid of her.
So there you have it, a new batch of winners. Take a bow all of you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

There's Never a Rimshot When You Need One

We were swimming at the Swimmin' Hole after work today. It was hot and sunny and you could taste the pinnacle of August in the air.

I was about to dive from the cliffside (a good 3 feet above water level) when Whiney Girl asked loud enough for all to hear:

"Dad, did you get a tattoo?"

Without a pause, Danger Boy responded for me, dripping with sarcasm:

"Yeah, he got a mole tattoo."

Who knew Potential Melanoma Comedy existed?

On a more serious note, Episode 7 of Dialing Under the Influence is now posted. Feel free to drink and read.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Action Heros Never Age, But I Sure Did

Life has it’s milestones: first birthday, first car, High School Graduation, getting laid for the first time (not necessarily in that order), marriage, kids, retirement, death. Then there are other, more subtle moments when realize time has passed without an event.

The first time you realize the girls in Playboy are younger than you is one. When you are sneaking a peak at Dad’s stash, they are WOMEN. Then one day you realize they are girls barely out of their teens. You note their birth date and realize you were working that day. And you were hung-over. Then you put down the magazine and walk away, feeling shame.

I just passed another of these age events for which there are no Hallmark Cards.

Like many of you Movie Buffs, I have been sharing some of my favorite films with my kids as part of a 20th Century Cultural Education Program. This is not to be confused with Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution (I bet the Chinese won’t bring that uncomfortable subject up during the Olympics). For the most part, the kids have been loving my picks and many have stood the test of time (except Blazing Saddles – but that fiasco is for another post).

The biggest problem is this trip down memory lane has left me feeling not so much nostalgic as OLD. Really OLD. All the leading characters I remember from my youth were all younger than I am now. Guy’s I remember thinking, “Wow, I’d like to be a Man like that when I’m grown up”. Well I grew up, passed them and I’m still not a ‘Man’ the way I’d imagined. In fact, an element of what made their character’s so great was they were “over the hill”. For example:

Harrison Ford – 39 years old in Raiders of the Lost Ark. A real man’s man. Did what he wanted, got out of any scrape, but with the wisdom of experience not the bravado of youth. I couldn’t attempt one sixteenth of his activities at my work without submitting 21 different forms for approval by five distinct committees.

Bruce Willis – 40 years old in Die Hard With a Vengeance. The running joke in Die Hard III was how old John McClane was. Every collision and fall hurt him like an elderly cripple on an afternoon outing from the nursing home. He wasn't suffering because of his age; he was suffering because he was being shot at, blown up and dropped from helicopters for crying out loud! At least I still have more hair.

Steve McQueen - 38 years old in Bullitt. Granted McQueen always looked kind of old, even when he was 25, but he was so damn cool. In Bullitt, he didn't give a shit about anything but getting the job done. "Look, you work your side of the street, and I'll work mine." When am I going to be confident enough to tell off my boss like that? Or drive my Mustang like I've made a deal with the Devil?

Chevy Chase - 37 in Caddyshack. Not an action hero, but his character Ty Webb was also cool. He had it all: money, women, a phenomenal golf game and a hip abuse of drugs and alcohol. At 37 I had none of those and am still falling short in all categories. My only hope is the booze.

Clint Eastwood - 41 years old in Dirty Harry. Clint had already shot up the Ol' West in the spaghetti westerns and even sung his heart out in Paint Your Wagon by the time he threatened his first punk in San Fransisco. I haven't killed anybody, Mexican or otherwise, or sung to Jean Seburg yet.

Sean Connery - 41 in Diamonds are Forever. This one really hurts. Connery had already been shown the door from the Bond movies because he was too old. George Lazenby did one film and when they brought Connery back, he was soft, grey and old. He looked like Jill St. John's faculty adviser. Sir Sean has spent the rest of his acting career playing crusty old guys. Did anyone else find the suggested affair between he and Catherine Zeta-Jones in "Entrapment" creepier than Hugh Hefner and and his trio of 'girl friends? Some future.

Kevin Costner - 41 years old in Tin Cup. The whole movie is about wasted talent and getting one last chance. Hello? He's only 41. So I've squandered my potential; I always thought there would be more time. Are really telling me I have until the end of the year to get my shot? Rene Russo was 42 at the time and nobody said anything about her being at risk for not fulfilling potential. Where's the old double standard about biological clocks when you need it?

However, there is salvation to be found in America's Greatest Actor: Paul Newman. Newman was 42 when his first big character was played: Cool Hand Luke. He was just getting into the swing of playing cool, tough, indestructible, chick-magnet guys who weren't the least bit old: Butch Cassidy, Judge Roy Bean. Harry Gondorff in "The Sting". Hell, he wasn't called old in the movies until "Slapshot" where they told him to hangf up the skates. He was 52 then! Nobody plays professional hockey at 52, not even Chris Chelios. (And don't email me about Gordie Howe - it's not the same thing)

So the lesson is be like Paul Newman and to Hell with everybody else. Does Joanne Woodward have a younger sister?