Friday, June 18, 2010

Why Soccer Sucks

Usually, I enjoy watching soccer. And then I see stuff like this:

A guy kicks the air in the direction of another player who looked liked he was going to throw the ball at the first guy. The second guy, without even being touched, flops down and writhes in pain, drawing a red card for the first guy from an out-of-position umpire. The first player is ejected, his team is now down one player, and the other team scores two goals to win 2-1. 

In any other sport, it would be considered at least unsportsmanlike and at best unseemly to flop down on the ground and writhe in pain without being touched.  Why do soccer players embarrass their sport like this?  I hope someday that soccer players will become as brave and manly as tennis players or bowlers, who manage not to writhe on the ground when people come near them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

God is Angry

If God's wrath is revealed through lightning strikes and other natural disasters, He or She is just swinging wild punches at this point. All three of these stories are getting airplay right now:

Fire on Containment Ship Halts Oil Spill Collection

Arkansas Flash Flood Kills 19

And the Pièce de résistance: 
Touchdown Jesus Destroyed by Lightning

Touchdown Jesus before God's Wrath:

Touchdown Jesus after (or during) God's Wrath:

I'll leave the theological implications of God being angry at oil cleanup efforts, Arkansas campers and Touchdown Jesus to the comments sections.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Some Ebert Frisson

knew my love of obscure quotes from an almost-forgotten 17th Century French mathematician would eventually pay off with some love from Roger Ebert:

Background: Roger Ebert wrote a blog post a few weeks back about frisson, a french word that means a brief intense reaction, usually a feeling of excitement, recognition, or terror. The article was about the internet, our increasingly short attention spans, the rewiring of our brains, and twitter's enablement of our collective and questionable daily search for frissons. In other words, another entry in a great series of blog posts Roger has been cranking out.

This particular post very much resonates with me, as I try to make progress on a book-length project while parenting three kids and constantly getting sidetracked by the daily frissons of the internet. It made me remember one of my favorite quotes by Blaise Pascal, so I included it in a comment to his article. The comment itself got some love by Roger, who made a comment to my comment that sitting quietly has never come easy to him.

He apparently liked the quote enough that he tweeted it.  This was a couple weeks ago.  Just two days ago, I set up a twitter account.  I didn't set it up to enter the world of tweeting, but to verify that, yes indeed, all the things that I told my 15 year-old daughter that she should not say on Facebook, she has instead been saying on Twitter. She calls it "spying on her."  I call it "parenting."  She's a great kid (like all my kids), but we sometimes have generational issues.

Anyway, I was catching up with my friend Pat Gabridge yesterday, and he congratulated me on being "quoted" by Roger Ebert. I had no idea what he was talking about until I searched my shiny, brand new twitter account, and found the quote above. Talk about a frisson.  I knew that being a good parent would eventually pay off. My twitter feed now consists of three people: Roger Ebert, Barack Obama, and my daughter. They are all quite prolific.

Believe me, I understand the multiple layers of irony of this blog post.  I am quoting someone who quoted me in quoting someone else on the topic of spending too much time noticing what everyone else is noticing. On the other hand, it is nice to get a small sliver of notice from someone I admire so much and who is well-known and respected by so many others.  On the other, other hand, this just underscores how addicted I am to the frissonedness of the internet. And why my long, book-length project is going sooooo slowly. After all, it takes time to write about yourself being noticed by someone quoting you quoting someone else.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Real Axe Market

I've always wondered who buys Axe. The ads for the body deodorant don't just subtly suggest that women will love you if you buy their product. They go for a more direct approach: If you buy Axe, thousands of scantily-clad, beautiful women will run you down to have their way with you.

Sure, the commercials are funny, in an offensive, sexist sort of way. But who would fall for this kind of advertising? Certainly no one with any experience with actual women.

Of course, that describes a decent percentage of young males. And once you throw skateboarding into the mix, it becomes obvious who they are marketing to: 11 year-old boys.

A product that makes you irresistible to the ladies and helps you with impossible skateboard moves? My son was sold on the spot. He bought some with his hard-earned allowance money. Not only does he love his Axe, but he is of the opinion that if something is good, more of it is better.

So, in addition to spraying it all over his body, he has also been known to use it:

  • On his clothes, as a substitute for washing them
  • On his bedsheets, as a substitute for taking a bath before bed.
  • Directly at his sisters, as a weapon when they annoy him.
The last bit seems counter-productive if girls love Axe so much that they will run you down on a beach to make out with you. But, like all boys everywhere, he does not consider his sisters to be girls.

So, I'm impressed that Axe has found a natural market. I'm just sad that my son's room now smells even worse than 11 year-old boy.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Heart of the Graystone

My oldest friend in the world (because I've known him since kindergarten, not because he is so old) has finally gotten his book published. That would be Mike Brown, or M.K. Brown if you believe book titles, or Brownie or Delicious Cipher if you believe blog commenter names. His novel is The Heart of the Graystone, an fantasy story about a young man who finds a jewel with magical powers, then the bad guys who are looking for it and then a full-on adventure after that.

So, do your part to fix the economy by buying more stuff. Specifically, buy Mike's book, available at Virtual Book Worm, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.