Sunday, April 30, 2006

When gravity attacks...

There’s never a dull moment with these aging rock stars. It seems while on vacation in Fiji, Keith Richards, the 62 year old guitarist for the Rolling Stones, was climbing a coconut tree…and fell off. According to the doctors treating him, Keith suffered a mild concussion. My question is, how can they tell? I’ve seen him interviewed on television several times before and I barely understood a word he said.

Although Keith gave no reason why anyone as rich and old as he is would be climbing a coconut tree, I’ve come up with a few possible explanations…

1. He was going to hang himself, but forgot the rope.

2. Was just trying to find out if the spider that bit him was radioactive.

3. Addicted to fresh coconut milk.

4. Heard that Dick Cheney was hunting nearby and panicked.

5. Wanted to prove that gravity is just a scam created by "the man".

6. The transplanted chimpanzee liver is starting to have strange side effects.

7. Trying to impress cute dolphin he met while swimming.

8. Thought he saw a kitty stuck up there.

9. Hides his money in trees because he doesn’t trust banks.

10. Mick Jagger has taken up the art of voodoo.

11. Mistook tree for a really tall woman.

12. The ghost of Brian Jones dared him to do it.

Then again, maybe there are some things we aren’t meant to know.

Friday, April 28, 2006

For sports fans only...

I’m not sure when it happened, but the term "soccer mom" seems to have gained a place in the American vernacular and it does seem that a fair number of suburban kids are playing the game. This has led some people to claim that soccer will eventually be extremely popular in this country.

As I’ve stated before in this here blog, I no longer watch a lot of sports. However, I did watch enough in my time to come up with a theory (who am I kidding, I’m a fountain of crackpot theories) that explains why these people are probably wrong about soccer ever catching up to the big three…baseball, football and basketball.

My theory is simple (hey, if you want complicated I’m sure there must be a physicist with a blog somewhere) and it goes like this:

As far as the typical American sports fan is concerned, the quicker the pace of the game the higher the score should be and conversely the slower the pace of the game the lower the score should be.

The problem with soccer is that although it has a lot of fast paced, back and forth action with the players running around like the energizer bunny on a caffeine binge, the score is always very low. I’m talking single digit low…2 to 1 or 1 to 0 are typical scores after 90 minutes of play!

It’s the same story with hockey, where the pace is even faster, not to mention the teeth shattering brawls. I’ve tried watching once or twice before and I was certain I was going to pull an eye muscle trying to keep up with the action. If it wasn’t for the puck occasionally (and I do mean occasionally) winding up in the net, I’d swear these guy are just swiping at thin air.

Still awake? Good…basketball on the other hand has a lot of the same type of quick paced, back and forth action as well as a lot of jumping up and down by men who are only slightly shorter than your average oak tree. But, and this is a big but, it’s not unusual for one or both teams to score 80, 90, or more points. That’s the kind of points to pace ratio that sits well with the American sports fan.

Now, compared to the sports previously mentioned, baseball is played at a pace comparable only to a tortoise with a bad ankle sprain (assuming they have ankles), but according to my theory that’s ok because the scores are relatively low. Yes, I know that every so often a team will go crazy and score 20 runs, but even the highest scoring baseball game doesn’t come close to the point totals in basketball.

"Where does football fit into all this?" I hear you ask…assuming of course anyone has actually read this far. Well…it’s sort of in the middle, with a slower pace and lower scores than basketball, but a quicker pace and higher scores than baseball, it fits my theory perfectly…hence, it’s popularity here in the states.

"What about rugby, Australian Rules football and cricket?" To be honest I’ve never watched any of those sports and don’t know a thing about them, so I guess it’s possible that any one of them could poke a big hole in my theory and then it’s back to the old drawing board. Damn you and your probing questions!

One final personal observation about soccer…I was watching a match on TV and every once in awhile the entire crowd would start to sing in unison. I’m not talking about some simple chant like USA…USA, I’m talking an actual song without any musical accompaniment and with the precision of a well rehearsed choir. I don’t know how they all know when to start, but to tell you the truth…I found it a little creepy.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Blame it on the brainfreeze...

According to a recent article in the news, the ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s issued an apology to anyone they might have offended. How does a company that makes something as benign as ice cream offend anyone? It has to with the wacky names they tend to give their products…you know, Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey and so on.

Well, they decided to call one of their new flavors "Black and Tan", which as it turns out was the nickname of an auxiliary British police force serving in Ireland in the early 1920’s, so brutal and violent that they are still remembered with hatred.

While this may be the first public incident for Ben and Jerry’s, I have managed to obtain a top secret list of names for new flavors that were considered but ultimately rejected as to controversial or inappropriate…

Mussolini Mango

Tranny Banana Surprise

Neverland Ranch Boys ‘N Berries

FEMA Fudge Up

Iraq Attack

Abu Ghraib Grape

Dixieland’s Vanilla Dreams

Cannibal Caramel Crunch

California Mudslide Mocha

Deadeye Cheney Chocolate Chip

Weapon of Mass Deliciousness

Santa’s Big Red Sack

Don’t forget that no one is supposed to know about this…so keep it under your hat.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

This product is brought to you by...

I recently saw a commercial on television that took me by surprise. It was for a product called Bayer Complete Insect Killer…that’s Bayer as in Bayer aspirin. Now, I don’t know about anyone else but I found it very strange to think that a company that I’ve always associated with pain relief is also selling products that kill…even if it’s just lawn destroying insects.

I don’t know if selling products completely unrelated to what a company is most well know for is common practice or the wave of the future. But in my usual delusional desire to get a piece of the action, I’ve come up with a list of product ideas that some well known companies might want to consider…

Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia Mortuary Services: Perfume scented embalming fluids and pastel colored caskets…they’re a good thing.

Hallmark’s Blended Scotch Whiskey: Because only a maudlin drunk would be moved by the "poetry" printed on those cards.

Mrs. Butterworth’s Home Pregnancy Test: If it turns blue you’re pregnant, if it turns red you’re not and if it turns a golden brown it’s time for pancakes.

Fisher-Price Body Armor: Brightly colored, washable and able to stop anything up to a 45-caliber bullet.

Chanel Mace No.5: Really sends a message to that obnoxious blind date that you’re not interested.

Ferrari’s Male Enhancement Pills: Because lets face it…if you bought one of these cars, then you probably need them.

Exxon Plant Fertilizer: Finally…a use for all those animals killed by those huge oil spills.

Quaker Oat’s Quick Drying Cement: If you’ve ever tried to get oatmeal out of a bowl after it’s hardened, you know this idea is a natural.

Goodyear’s Steel Belted Condoms: When you REALLY can’t afford any "accidents".

Pillsbury’s Weight Lifting Equipment: Of course, that pudgy, out of shape mascot Poppin’ Fresh has to get buff or get out. Maybe he could benefit from Folgers Anabolic Steroid Crystals: Just add water.

Remember corporate America, as always, all I’m asking for is ten percent and an office with a window…

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dear diary...

It occurred to me that the tantalizing view into my soul in my previous post may have left readers more curious than ever about me (stop shaking your head no and just play along). So to give you some idea of a typical day in my life, I present a page from my diary…

I awake at the crack of dawn after a good night’s sleep…or was it another sleepless night spent smoking crack till dawn? Probably the former, anyway, I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock for another hour or two of sleep.

11:40 am: OK…I forgot I don’t own an alarm clock, just one of those little devices that replicates the sounds of the ocean. That might explain all those nightmares about drowning.

11:45 am: Jump into the shower.

11:46 am: Discovering there's no hot water I jump out of the shower, shrieking loudly as I do so.

11:48 am: Answer the door wrapped in a towel and explain to my 78-year-old neighbor, the widow Jansen, what had happened and apologize for screaming as though someone was trying to murder me.

11:50 am: Politely turn down the widow Jansen’s offer to check me for "cold water trauma", apparently a little know hazard that she says killed her first husband.

12:02 pm: To the kitchen to make breakfast or brunch or whatever the hell you want to call it. Bacon, eggs and an English muffin has always been my favorite breakfast…at least it was the last time I could afford all that stuff…so a bowl of Cocoa Puffs it is.

12:10 pm: Sat down at the computer for my next online ukulele lesson from the Don Ho institute.

12:30 pm: Turn on the TV and start flicking from channel to channel every thirty seconds or so as usual thanks to my ever decreasing attention span.

4:25 pm: Drop the remote and run to the kitchen to put ice on my thumb, which feels like it’s on fire. Worry that I might have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

4:55 pm: Stop by the office of my friend who is a doctor…ok, he’s a proctologist but without insurance I don’t have a lot of options. He reluctantly takes a look at my hand and tells me it’s not serious, probably just a cramp. After I insist on something for the pain he finally writes me a prescription and I head to the pharmacy.

5:10 pm: Halfway to the drugstore I read the prescription he gave me and it says " one Band-Aid for the big baby". Some friend…I consider reporting him to the AMA.

5:33 pm: Stop at Momma Nuchek’s Coleslaw Emporium to pick up dinner.

6:42 pm: Read a few chapters of "Yoga for the Semi-invalid" by Yogi Parahansagraba.

8:02 pm: Check phone messages…just two, both from the widow Jansen. Sort through 284 e-mails, all spam, and then stare at computer screen while trying to think of something to post on my blog.

9:47 pm: Wake up with a jolt, wipe drool off keyboard and promise myself I will definitely think of something to write tomorrow.

10:25 pm: Make myself a nightcap of NyQuil and ginger ale and stagger off to bed. It’s been a full day and the crack of dawn awaits…

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

To meme or not to meme...

If you are a regular denizen of the blogosphere then you know that memes are all the rage now. Being the "with it" kind of blogger that I am, I couldn’t let this meme thing pass unnoticed. So, here are 12 things you didn’t know about me…The Drive-by Blogger…

1. When I was eight years old I was shocked to discover that contrary to what I thought, my friend was real and it was my family that was imaginary.

2. I believe that relish is Satan’s own condiment.

3. In high school I made the unfortunate decision to start sniffing glue. I was cured of this bad habit however, after having the wing of a small model airplane stuck to my nose for nearly a week.

4.I had to give up a promising career as a landscaper after being savagely attacked by a rabid gopher.

5. When it comes to shampooing, I always lather and rinse, but I never repeat. I guess it’s just the rebel in me.

6. I’m convinced that Shirley MacLaine owes me money from a previous life.

7.On my first and last hunting trip I bagged an eight point buck…and by bagged I mean wounded it just enough to make it really angry and chase me up a tree.

8. I almost worked at one of those Renaissance fairs, until I found out that the job of "codpiece inspector" had nothing to do with checking on the quality of the fish in "ye old mess hall".

9. One of my friends used to complain that he had actually invented the "Atkins" diet before anyone else. This turned out to be partly true…unfortunately, his version of the diet consisted of eating only people named Atkins.

1o. I may be married to a woman from a tiny island nation somewhere in the Pacific Ocean…either that or I co-signed a loan to cover her country’s national debt. Either way I should have hired a translator.

11. I was once in People Magazine’s 50 most beautiful people issue…not all of them… just the copy I bought and pasted my picture into.

12. Although I consider myself something of an amateur scientist and I have watched almost every documentary that was ever made about evolution, I still giggle whenever anyone on the screen says the words "Homo erectus".

Now...wasn’t that enlightening?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I hope she brought her crystal ball...

We are in luck today because my dear friend and world renowned psychic Madame Putwonovaonya has agreed to be interviewed by yours truly…

TDB: Welcome Madame Putwonovaonya and thank you for coming.

MP: You’re welcome…can I have my dog back now?

TDB: Ha ha, what a kidder. Madame P. lets start at the beginning. When did you first realize you had these amazing gifts?

MP: Since I was about six or seven years old. I used to think it was much earlier because I always had this vague memory of someone from the spirit realm trying to speak to me while I was still in the womb. However, the spirits have since convinced me that it was just my mother breaking wind.

TDB: Fascinating…Tell me Madame P. what is the range of your gifts? What can you offer those who come to you for help?

MP: Oh, I do horoscopes, seances, exorcisms and the occasional bachelor party.

TDB: You give psychic readings at bachelor parties?

MP: Uh, right…readings…yeah, lets go with that.

TDB: Madame P. why is it that despite the fact that predicting the future is a large part of what you and other psychics do, none of you ever seem to see the really serious catastrophes coming?

MP: You see, sometimes the enormity of the event is so great that our psychic vision can’t take it all in, we’re just too close. You know the old saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees? It’s something like that.

TDB: Well that certainly sounds convenient…uh, I mean reasonable and it brings me to my next question. Why is it when you or one of your fellow mediums is in contact with the "other side" everything is so vague? It’s always something like "I’m feeling a strong male presence…goes by the name of Mark or Max…something starting with an M. Is there someone here who had a grandfather, father, uncle, older brother or cousin who’s name started with an M…anyone…?". Why can’t any of you ever just come out with very specific information, you know… names, dates and places?

MP: My dear, simple friend there are several reasons for this…

TDB: Somehow, I thought there might be.

MP: First of all, many of these people are in a transition from this world to the next and often don’t even know that they are dead.

TDB: Really? How odd…I would have thought that if the funeral didn’t tip them off, the burial would have made it quite clear.

MP: Also, there are dark forces on the other side and you don’t want to go shouting your name and location all willy-nilly. You never know who or what is listening, so the spirits only divulge a little at a time.

TDB: The other side sounds like a combination witness protection program and waiting room for ghosts. What are these dark forces you mentioned?

MP: They include everything from your garden variety demons to ancient, nameless entities so evil you wouldn’t even wish them on Geraldo Rivera.

TDB: Madame P. are you ever tempted to use your powers to do things like win the lottery or break the bank in a casino?

MP: Never, the spirits make it quite clear that we are not to use our gifts for personal gain.

TDB: But you do charge your clients a fee, don’t you?

MP: Yes, but it’s just enough to put food on the table and pay the rent.

TDB: Would that be the rent on your house in Malibu or the one in The Hamptons?

MP: For your information, that house in Malibu happens to be a school where I teach others to develop their own psychic powers.

TDB: I see…and how many students are enrolled now?

MP: Well, at the moment none, but that’s because I’m having a thermal regulated hydro meditation unit installed.

TDB: Do you mean a hot tub?

MP: Whatever…look are you implying something?

TDB: Of course not…well, we have just enough time left to mention your new book "Kiss me I’m Psychic: a hot chick’s guide to the paranormal." I must say that I think it’s the most compelling literary work since Suzanne Somers epic poem "Ode to my ThighMaster".

MP: Thanks…I think. Listen, about my dog…

TDB: Madame P. it has been a pleasure talking to you…but I’m sure you already knew that.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ah, those mad hatters...

What is it about hats that have caused people at various times in history to completely loose all sense of proportion? I’m not talking about esthetics here…I know that fashion changes and outfits that Liberace would have found tacky were considered everyday wear in another time.

I’m just talking about the size of the hat relative to the size of the head on which it sits. For example, from about the last decade of the nineteenth century to the first decade of the twentieth century, women’s hats grew to a size only slightly smaller than an ottoman (the foot stool…not the empire). These creations were so large they had to be held in place with oversized, dangerous looking hatpins, presumably stuck through the hair and not the scalp.

Men have not been exempt from this phenomenon. Consider the famous stovepipe hat that not even Lincoln, as tall as he was, could pull it off (the look that is…I’m pretty sure the hat came off). Then there’s the sombrero, the design of which probably had it’s roots in providing protection from the sun, but it still ended up with way more brim than is needed for the job.

Of course, it’s not always a case of the hat being too big, sometimes it went wrong the other way. The pillbox hat immediately springs to mind, though how women were convinced to wear a fashion item that was clearly inspired by an organ grinder’s monkey is a mystery to me. In previous centuries Asia has also produced some variants on the tiny hat, so these mysterious lapses in millinery proportions transcend borders.

Historically speaking the world’s military forces have also produced the occasional doozy, but I don’t include them because the general public didn’t wear them and the men who did had no choice.

Oddly enough, no other fashion accessory that I know of has ever been affected by this tendency. I’ve never heard of people wearing gloves or shoes that are three sizes too big or too small. "What about those boots with the eight inch heels from the early seventies?" I hear you ask. Well, they don’t count either because again, other than Glam rockers and Frankenstein’s monster, most people never wore them.

All in all, hat sizes seem to have settled down, but I have this dreadful feeling that it would only take one really popular celebrity wearing an absurdly proportioned hat to start it all up again. Let us hope that the fashion police stay vigilant and long live the baseball cap!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Take me out to the ball game...

I don’t watch sports as much as I used to, but every once in a while some sports related news item will catch my attention, the most recent one involves baseball. It seems that relief pitchers from two different teams are using the same theme song as they make their entrance on to the field. Apparently, this is the baseball equivalent of the old cliché of two women showing up to an event wearing the same dress.

Now I thought it amusing enough that some players even have theme songs, but funnier still is the fact that this business caused an uproar on sports-talk radio. By the way, I don’t believe in Hell, but if it does exist I’m sure that at least one of the outer circles is reserved for everyone responsible for talk radio of any kind…but I digress.

Anyway, while reading about all this I remembered something even stranger having to do with relief pitchers (at least I think it’s a memory and not a hallucination, but whenever the distant past is concerned I’m never completely sure).

Years ago relief pitchers were actually driven from the bullpen to the pitching mound. Now for anyone not familiar with baseball, let me explain that we are talking a distance of approximately four hundred feet…give or take fifty feet.

The vehicle they were driven in was usually something like a golf cart except that the top half would be shaped like a giant baseball or a giant baseball cap or stranger still a giant baseball wearing a giant baseball cap. Some teams took this idea even further and used a real car…a genuine automobile to chauffeur the pitcher to the mound, at which point he would take off his team jacket (which I can only assume he was wearing because the driver kept the AC on full blast during the long ride in) and start to pitch.

Harder to believe still is the fact that no one at the time seemed to think this at all strange or unnecessary, at least I never heard anyone say so. I can’t for the life of me recall when this practice came to an end or if I was even following baseball anymore when it did. But whenever you hear someone talking about modern athletes being spoiled, remember these valiant men who must jog (or at least walk really fast) those four hundred or so feet before they can hurl a single pitch.