Welcome! (I guess...)

For those of you who by some extremely unlikely set of circumstances happened to stumble upon this page, I apologize to you. For those of you who intentionally came to this page - yikes! As the title of the weblog indicates, these are my Ramblings About Whatever. There is a chance that I will ramble about just about anything (as I am in this introduction), but only a select few topics will actually make this site. Enjoy! (I guess...)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Diary of the Adventures of Superman as a Boy if He Could be a Boy Again

Superman is without a doubt the greatest superhero ever created. How do we know this? Well, Superman is the most powerful superhero and that naturally means that he must be the greatest. Let’s see, Superman can fly, he has super breath, x-ray vision, heat vision, virtual invulnerability, super speed, and so on and so forth. But those are only his most commonly used abilities. Did you know that Superman is capable of time travel? It’s true! He did it in Superman: the Movie, and in the course also violated many laws of physics. Superman is also capable of creating illusions of himself (he did it in Superman II) and telekinesis (okay maybe he didn’t do this himself in Superman II, but one of the other Kryptonians did so and this must mean that Superman can do it). And then of course one can make the claim that he is capable of actually replicating himself (did it in Superman III), but this may have actually just been a war within his own head without Clark Kent and the evil Superman actually fighting. But I have not mentioned Superman’s greatest power – one that is always overlooked. His greatest power is his ability to wear red briefs over full body covering blue tights. This ability no other superhero has been able to duplicate.

Whew! That was a mouthful. Superman often wonders what life would have been like if he had not been such a boy scout, but rather, was “bad to the bone.” Luckily enough, I have discovered Superman’s very own diary about these subjects, and now I present to you an excerpt from the Diary of the Adventures of Superman as a Boy if He Could be a Boy Again…

04-24-xxxx - Those bastards! I guess the cat is out of the bag, as they say. So these jerks have discovered that kryptonite is not actually radioactive. So obviously if kryptonite is not radioactive, it's only a matter of time before these geniuses figure things out and realize that I'm not really weakened by the stuff. I mean seriously, they should have realized this beforehand. I'm Superman, for heaven's sake, nothing weakens Superman. And just to be clear, Superman has realized that Superman has not spoken about Superman in the third person enough, or at all, in Superman's diary, and so Superman will have to do so more. But again, once these idiots make this discovery, they're bound to wonder why Superman would possibly pretend to be weakened by kryptonite and in the process allow people to remain in danger. The answer is quite simple; Superman has learned that to some degree, chicks are attracted to vulnerability, even hot chicks. If chicks believe that Superman is vulnerable, they will be drawn to Superman...err, Superman means they will be drawn to Superman even more than they already are. So if a few people have to experience danger for a little bit longer while Superman pretends to be vulnerable to kryptonite, then so be it. As long as it helps Superman get the hot chicks... Besides, Superman only really likes saving hot chicks anyway. Oh yeah, and chicks, those of you who wear lead lined clothing because you don't think Superman's x-ray vision can see through lead, ha, ha, ha, gotcha!

For some reason Superman thinks Superman needs Superman's red briefs...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Operation Navigator

I'm sure you all have seen this very touching commercial showing NBA superstar, and reigning NBA Finals MVP, Dwyane Wade showing how noble a spirit he truly has while helping out those less fortunate than himself. While I was watching this commercial recently it occurred to me that in some respects I am less fortunate than Dwyane Wade, and I have always wanted a 2007 Lincoln Navigator. (Or at least I have always wanted one since I learned that they were not discontinuing the Navigator model for the 2007 year, and I realized that apparently NBA superstar Dwyane Wade was giving them away.) And so after careful analysis, I developed a multi-step plan whereby I would obtain my coveted 2007 Lincoln Navigator.

Step 1: Find a basketball court with chain nets, or if one cannot be found with chain nets, purchase chain nets and replace existing cloth nets with chain nets.
Step 2: Cut rim into two pieces so that one piece hangs from the second piece by chain net. (I don't think that the cloth net would be able to support the rim.)
Step 3: Gain the trust of local parents. (This step may be a bit involved, but likely it could be accomplished by attending a couple of PTA meetings.)
Step 4: Alert Dwyane Wade to my plight - sort of. This would be accomplished by purchasing a ticket to a Miami Heat basketball game and carrying a sign that says "Hey Dwyane Wade, I have a run down basketball court with a rim that is cut in two, being partially suspended by a chain net. Also, I know a lot of kids who are counting on me to coach them on this court. By the way, the court is located at _____, and a new basketball stanchion can only fit in a 2007 Lincoln Navigator."
Step 5: Exploit children. And this is probably the pivotal step. Once I have convinced the parents that I'm a good guy, I'm going to have to convince the kids that I'm a good guy as well so that the ruse will be believable in the eyes of Dwyane Wade. I must therefore resort to the time honored way of getting children to do anything that you want them to do: bribery. Now, it's been a while since I was a child myself, and so I am unsure of the exact current bribery rate for children. However, upon studying up on the subject, I think it is two packs each of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, or maybe three packs. By giving the children three packs each of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards (yeah, I had better make it three) I can certainly convince them to not only show up to the basketball court, but also help place the basketball stanchion upright. I'm not sure what the current child wage laws are, but I think that the probably should receive about $45 each for this work. Advantage me.
Step 6: Catch the car keys when Dwyane Wade throws them to me.
Step 7: Drive off in my 2007 Lincoln Navigator.
Step 8: Call parents to pick up their kids from the court after I've had a couple of beers.

Expert Testimony

It seems that we people have been neglecting a most valuable asset that we have at our disposal. And what might this asset be? Why this very valuable asset is the donkey, of course! Yes, that's right folks! It has recently been discovered that the horse's cousin, which is generally only considered to be useful as a pack animal, acting as an improvised horse for small people, children, or monkeys, and for ass humor, is quite a bit more versatile than originally imagined. Donkeys are now known to be capable of acting as expert witnesses in trials. You can read about it here.

And the great thing about this story is that it was not someone who was drunk or high who decided to put the donkey on the stand, it was a lawyer. If no less than a lawyer thinks that putting a donkey on the stand to help them win a legal case is a good idea, then we must certainly have been underestimating donkeys' capabilities. And apparently the donkey performed admirably as the case was settled due in no small part to the donkey's stirring testimony, it appears to me. But you're probably wondering what else donkeys are good for doing. Fear not, I have a few.

I think that donkeys should be considered for color commentator roles on sports broadcasting teams. In particular, I'm talking about Monday Night Football, and again in particular, I would like to see a donkey replace Joe Theismann. I feel that if a donkey can provide expert testimony in court, then donkeys surely know more football and can come up with more coherent commentary than can Theismann. Also, I have a feeling that donkeys would be more than capable of acting in the role traditionally performed by husbands/boyfriends in Lamaze classes. I know this would have to be a joint decision by the couple, and so I'll speak to the ladies first of course. Ladies, do the guys really provide that much support here? Are you really sure that you couldn't get the same level of support and understanding from a donkey that is capable of acting as an expert witness in a legal trial? And guys, do you really think you're helping matters? And do you really think your wife/girlfriend wouldn't be far happier and relaxed if instead of being at the class you were getting Monday Night Football commentary from the donkey that replaced Joe Theismann? I know it's a tough decision to make, but if you need advice, I'm sure that consulting a donkey may be the way to go.

And finally, in keeping with the donkey-as-witness legal theme, I'm quite certain that a donkey could make an excellent US Attorney General...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Where is Lou?

Lou Pearlman is on the lam, folks, and someone needs to do something about this. For those unaware, it has recently come to light that Pearlman, through some sort of elaborate scheme (the details of which I do not wish to elaborate on here), successfully bilked some 1400 people (many being senior citizens) out of an exorbitant sum of money. In this case, "exorbitant sum of money" means $317 million. Additionally, it seems that he was successful in stealing $150 million from banks. It is obviously highly unfortunate that such a con artist was able ruin so many people. Just adding the two totals listed earlier that he accumulated through his scams, we are looking at $467 million. However, I argue that this total severely underestimates how much he has swindled innocent people.

If you have read the linked article (or at least part of it), you are aware that Pearlman is responsible for the creation of such groups as the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. I truly don't believe we should overlook the damage that Pearlman did by introducing these atrocious acts to the US in particular, but the world in general. Let's face it, folks: these groups, and their cousin boy band groups, were horrendous. It is very comforting that at this point they seem like things of the past and will hopefully never again rise to prominence. Of course hindsight is 20/20, and there is likely a tiny minority who would defend these altogether weak groups as true musical talents, but there were people (including myself) calling these groups the hacks that they were during their heydays. So I think that it is completely legitimate to add to that $467 million that amount that Pearlman bilked out of consumers who wasted their money buying albums created by these hacks.

Some estimates suggest that the Backstreet Boys have sold somewhere on the order of 90 million albums. Let's play a game. We'll use what I think is a conservative estimate and say that those albums cost $5 each. Well, $5 multiplied by 90 million equals $450 million. That's nearly as much money as Pearlman cheated out of those 1400 people and those banks combined. (Here, of course, I use "nearly" in relative terms. A sum of $17 million is after all rather large.) Now, I can't find totals for 'N Sync record sales, but sadly, I believe the total was not insignificant (meaning that the total was more than zero). However, I failed to mention that Pearlman had a hand in the formation of other groups such as O-Town and LFO. This amount of evidence should already be enough, but I do believe I would be remiss if I did not point out that Pearlman is ultimately responsible for introducing the horror that is Aaron Carter. So please, let's not underestimate the damage that this man has done, which I contend that people are currently doing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Supporting Sanjaya

I suppose that I'm commenting a bit late on this issue, but I am 100% behind the idea of Sanjaya winning American Idol. I am clearly no fan of this show. I have never really understood what the appeal is to it. Originally, from what I can remember, the big buzz that caused people to develop interest in the show was the insulting nature of Simon Cowell. And Cowell is certainly quite adept at verbally abusing people. Some may say that Cowell is harsh (and I would tend to agree), but particularly after the first season of this show, no one can have gone on the show and claimed that they did not know what they were getting into. It's kind of analogous to how no one can book Paula Abdul for an interview and them claim that they had no idea that she would appear to be drunk during broadcasts of the interview. But honestly, I really cannot understand why people still tune into this program. The only excuse that I would possibly buy is if you live in a one room apartment, you have a television that is permanently stuck on the Fox network (no remote control available), your television stand is located in a pen of angry, rabid coyotes, preventing you from accessing the power cord, and your electricity bill is paid automatically. You get the picture.

Even though I think that all of the competitors in the show are lacking in talent, I think that things became a good deal worse when America decided last year that this guy was their idol. Do you need me to provide you with a definition for idol? According to definition 3 of idol, it is "any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion." Great job America. You love Taylor Hicks. That American Idol produces mediocre musical acts is a problem (don't you think that America does this on its own without this show?), but I've argued for years that perhaps a bigger crime that this show has perpetrated on this country is the introduction of such people as Ryan Seacrest as celebrities (please explain to me what talent that guy has). And then of course we have William Hung. This guy had no talent. Everyone knew this guy had no talent (except maybe Hung himself), yet America allowed him to become some pseudo-celebrity for way too long before people finally said enough. You're a hack, you can't sing, we're not going to buy your album, and we are going to boo you when you come to arenas.

And so now we come back to Sanjaya. I have not watched the show and so I cannot say that he sucks any worse than all of the other competitors. However, the fact that the people who are truly fans of this show are so pissed off about Sanjaya gives me hope. It gives me hope that evidently there are people like me who are out there who are willing to sabotage the results of this program (note: I cannot be actually accused of doing this myself since I cannot envision a scenario in which I would actually cast a vote for this program). And so, I wish you the best of luck Sanjaya. I want you to win so that hopefully this show goes away forever.

UPDATE: Nooooooooo!!!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Diary of the Adventures of Superman as a Boy if He Could be a Boy Again

Superman is without a doubt the greatest superhero ever created. How do we know this? Well, Superman is the most powerful superhero and that naturally means that he must be the greatest. Let’s see, Superman can fly, he has super breath, x-ray vision, heat vision, virtual invulnerability, super speed, and so on and so forth. But those are only his most commonly used abilities. Did you know that Superman is capable of time travel? It’s true! He did it in Superman: the Movie, and in the course also violated many laws of physics. Superman is also capable of creating illusions of himself (he did it in Superman II) and telekinesis (okay maybe he didn’t do this himself in Superman II, but one of the other Kryptonians did so and this must mean that Superman can do it). And then of course one can make the claim that he is capable of actually replicating himself (did it in Superman III), but this may have actually just been a war within his own head without Clark Kent and the evil Superman actually fighting. But I have not mentioned Superman’s greatest power – one that is always overlooked. His greatest power is his ability to wear red briefs over full body covering blue tights. This ability no other superhero has been able to duplicate.

Whew! That was a mouthful. Superman often wonders what life would have been like if he had not been such a boy scout, but rather, was “bad to the bone.” Luckily enough, I have discovered Superman’s very own diary about these subjects, and now I present to you an excerpt from the Diary of the Adventures of Superman as a Boy if He Could be a Boy Again…

04-13-xxxx - I must admit that I did have a lot of fun hanging out at Bayside High School. And just as I knew I would, I ruled that school! Slater turned out to be a big time wuss, and soon after I got there, I was getting all of the chicks and pretty-boy Zack was getting none. I guess I probably didn't need to use my heat vision to set aflame all of the gel that he had in his hair and horribly disfigure him (you know, because I was going to get all of the chicks anyway), but whatever. Eventually I got a little bored with the whole Bayside scene because none of these kids seemed to have any real future, except maybe Screech, who I figured might end up in amateur porn one day... So Bayside sucked and I decided I had to come back to my own time, so I got out my tights, my red briefs and so on...

I was a little bored when I got back of course because I'm Superman. I'm a tough guy. When you're the greatest being in all of history (and I know this because I can use my red briefs to go forward in time as well as back in time) very little excites you. But then I heard from someone that this place called Orange County, California had some hot chicks and I was like crap, I was just there! Once Bayside started to suck, I totally should have just flew down south to the OC. (I guess I probably could have done this after Beverly Hills started to suck as well, but whatever.) So I put on my blue tights, and got out my trusty red briefs, and I was off.

But when I got here, I was terribly disappointed. First of all there were no dudes that could compete with studly me. I mean Seth and Ryan? Come on; these guys are jokes. And since Ryan passed as the tough guy of the group, I knew I had nothing to worry about. I mean, as tough guys go, Slater would have wiped the floor with this Ryan dude even though Ryan is from the mean streets of Chino, CA, and though Slater's mullet would suggest otherwise.

And this is what passes for hot chicks in Orange County, CA? Summer? Marissa? I mean seriously, I was out there flying around when Marissa died in that car accident. I mean, I could have saved her, but I thought to myself, Marissa really isn't hot enough for me to save her. Dude, I'm seriously tired of the wusses in the OC and these tremendously not hot chicks. I have to get out of here.

Now where are those red briefs...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sweet Imitation: Fake Sugar

I came across this very interesting story. (Okay maybe it is not nearly as interesting to you as it is to me, and yes, I am exceedingly proud of myself for finally discovering how to put a link to another article within the text itself.) But since you may not be very fond of reading something of extensive length, other than that which I have written (goodness knows that I shudder at such a thought), I will as briefly as I am able describe to you what is at issue. By the way, I like to call this:

Sweet Imitation: Fake Sugar

Essentially this story boils down to the fact that the maker of the sweetener Splenda and the maker of its competitor, Equal, are engaged in some big court battle because Equal's maker, Merisant, claims that Splenda's maker, McNeil (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), is guilty of false advertising in its description of Splenda. Essentially, Merisant wants McNeil to be forced to change its advertising campaign, and perhaps forfeit some profits, because McNeil has given the impression that Splenda is natural and/or that McNeil improperly claims that Splenda is made from sugar. Wow, what a tough call - who to support, who to support? Actually, this is not such a tough call. This court case seems like utter crap, and I'm firmly behind the good people who make Splenda.

There are a number of reasons behind my support of McNeil. First of all, my aunt works for Johnson & Johnson, or one of its subsidiaries, and I figure that if ever she decides to do the right thing and disowns my cousins, her two daughters, then I must certainly be one of the first in line to receive her inheritance. In view of this, what's bad for Johnson & Johnson could be bad for my own personal possible future inheritance, so I say, let's go McNeil! Show those Merisant bastards how it's done! My personal greed aside, let's continue to examine my reasons for supporting McNeil.

If you were not aware, the compound that makes Splenda sweet is sucralose, an artificial sweetener that is produced when chloro substitutions are made for three hydroxyl groups within the sucrose molecule. Now, sucrose is what most people know to be ordinary table sugar. It is a disaccharide composed of the two monosaccharides glucose and fructose. But guess what; scientifically speaking, glucose and fructose themselves are sugars - simple sugars. To that extent, it would be 100% accurate to claim that something is made from sugar if it contained glucose but not fructose, and fructose but not glucose. However, the case of Splenda is slightly more complicated. Since both the fructose unit and the glucose unit of the molecule have at least one hydroxyl group replaced by chlorine (fructose has two, glucose one), it becomes slightly difficult to say that sucralose is in fact made from sugar. But, as I understand the process, sucralose is synthesized by starting with sucrose in its natural form and replacing the hydroxyl groups with chlorine. That in and of itself is enough for me to agree with McNeil that Splenda is made from sugar. And for those still skeptical, what if I told you that in the process of making sucralose the hydroxyl groups that were replaced with chlorine were actually added back in when formulating the rest of the Splenda product? Would you agree with me then that Splenda can in fact back up its claim to be "made from sugar"? Well, I'm telling you that this is the case. Now, some of you may be wondering about the veracity of that last statement, but don't worry yourselves with trivial matters.
McNeil and Splenda are the winners (and should be in the court proceedings). Merisant, and separately the Sugar Association, are mad because they just cannot compete with Splenda. In the case of Merisant, they are just mad because their Equal product just isn't selling as well as Splenda and that the aspartame in Equal might just cause cancer. (Look! I did it again!)
So do what's right, choose Splenda. (In the interest of full honesty, I actually use real sugar, but you should choose Splenda.)

Is a Kinkajou Some Sort of Pokemon?

I had intended to write about this a bit earlier, but was unfortunately distracted by other things. To start off with, I'll link you to a disturbing article: http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=876b29a5-88e3-41f6-881e-d0db67ad3895&k=57078. Are you finished reading it? Good. It seems that an animal which has in various news reports been described as a spider monkey, or a lemur, or the prevailing identification, a kinkajou, escaped from a zoo in Mexico City. Let's be honest here, there does seem to be quite a bit of confusion about what this animal actually is. Given this fact, and although it might be now accepted that the animal is actually a kinkajou, I'm just going to assume that it was a spider monkey (or some other monkey) because this is helpful to my premise. And before you ask, my premise is that things are becoming a lot more dangerous, a lot faster than I imagined.

Let me once again refer you back to my declaration of predictions and resolutions for the new year. I've already detailed how my prediction about Kevin Federline receiving custody of the children he co-produced with Britney Spears came true, but as we turn to the resolutions, it is clear that I have been rather lax through the first few months of the year. Taking you back to what I wrote on December 20, 2006, "I will continue to uphold my status as defender of monkeys. Some are no doubt aware that I am a staunch defender of the rights of monkeys. It is true that monkeys are genetically among the closest relatives to humans and as a result, they hold a special place in my heart...It seems that every day monkeys are becoming closer and closer to their cousins, we humans...more recently I have alerted you to the fact that there is a new and grave threat facing monkeys, and this threat is the typewriter. Now I am not denying that a typewriter in a monkey's hands can produce wonderful results, but it can also have the disastrous results of producing exact duplicates of Kevin Federline compositions. Therefore, as the self appointed supreme defender of monkeys, I have decided drastic measures must be taken. We must destroy all typewriters, or rather, I resolve to destroy all typewriters in the coming year."

Now, let's look at the evidence. This monkey showed incredible cunning in escaping from the zoo, its prison. Just as humans do not ordinarily enjoyed being caged, this monkey decided that he or she had had enough. Sure the escape that the monkey plotted was not as elaborate as that of say Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, but let's not be so hard on the little critter. I think that he or she is evolving rather nicely and should not yet be expected to formulate such incredible schemes, or write such incredible screenplays. The important thing is that the monkey was demonstrating progress. As further evidence of this, we can look to what the monkey did after making his or her bold escape. After the escape, the monkey realized that he or she would not get far on foot, so what did the monkey do? It boarded a bus. And there was no mention of the monkey actually paying the fare for the bus, so we must assume that the monkey did not do so. This monkey (clearly intellectually superior to just about every other monkey I have ever had the pleasure with which to cross paths) then proceeded to sit next to the bus driver for about an hour until some lady blew his or her cover.

The only thing that I can say about this lady is that the world owes her a big thanks, and in particular, I owe her a big thanks. We may never know where this crafty monkey was ultimately headed before being discovered aboard this bus, but I have a feeling that the monkey was headed toward a typewriter. If not for the intercession of this courageous woman aboard this bus, this monkey might at this very moment be reproducing the writings of Kevin Federline on a typewriter in between throwing feces all around the room. I have destroyed exactly zero typewriters so far this year. I need to kick this project into high gear starting immediately.

Will you join me?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Spears-Federline Rankings - April 5, 2007

There are very few people who have not heard of Kevin Federline and Britney Spears. As to whether this fact is a good thing or a bad thing is up to one's own interpretation. (It's a bad thing.) But with all that has been going on in the lives of these two very talented individuals, I thought that it would be worthwhile to periodically provide updates of the current rankings of the two. So, what follows are the current rankings between the two, with short explanations given for each. First place votes appear in parentheses.

Rankings for April 5, 2007

Note: I do realize that this is a little early for the newest Spears-Federline Rankings, but major developments have occurred that necessitate an interim and immediate ranking to be issued.

1. Kevin Federline (1) - Kevin Federline retains the top position in the rankings for a number of reasons. Chiefly amongst these reasons is the fact that Mr. Federline did prove the committee correct in one of its New Year predictions. For those unaware, and long before the inaugural Spears-Federline Rankings, the committee had this to say on December 20, 2006: "Kevin Federline will be awarded custody of the kids. What seemed completely impossible two months ago is reality now. The train wreck which is Britney Spears has reached massive derailment, even more so than Lindsay Lohan. And as evidence of this, Lohan has recently sought the aid of a former US Vice President to help her escape her rut, whereas Britney Spears has sought the aid of Paris Hilton. Sure, Britney still has a couple of very powerful arguments she can make about Federline to the judge to try to gain custody. These arguments are (1) Federline did not want custody of his other two kids, and (2) Federline is a former backup dancer for a boy band, but alas, I think that it is game, set, match for Federerline." Sure, the train wreck that is/was Britney Spears did escalate into the massive casualty realm (akin to the train colliding with a dam after derailment and the subsequent flooding drowning many thousands - including people stuck up in a trees retrieving parrots), and this part was not truly predicted. But according to this linked story, http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17387062/, Federline will have custody of the kids for four days of the week. Since the last time I checked the week had seven days, and I have heard nothing said recently to suggest otherwise, I'm going to have to assume Mr. Federline does indeed have majority custody of the kids. This keeps him firmly entrenched at number 1 in these rankings. But just in case you needed additional convincing that Mr. Federline should stay number 1, reader Katie had this to say of the last rankings: "Additionally, Kevin now has his own search engine...this is obviously just another important reason why he should be #1 this week. The best part is that when you search you can win Federline related prizes. (http://searchwithkevin.prodege.com/)" Did you get that? The guy has a search engine where you can win Kevin Federline related prizes just by searching. That sounds like number 1 material to the committee.

2. Britney Spears - After making a hard charge at the number 1 spot in the previous rankings, Britney Spears actually loses ground in these newest rankings. Surprisingly enough, the fact that she did lose majority custody of the kids helped her cause. Since the committee awarded Mr. Federline points for helping to make the committee correct in the New Year prediction, it is only fair that the committee similarly award Ms. Spears credit for proving the committee correct as well, i.e., losing custody of the children. But if you read further into the article linked above, you will realize that this was a humiliating, landslide loss for Spears, the likes of which make difficult to find a historical comparison. According to the article (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17387062/): (1) the prenup awarded Federline $250,000 for each year of marriage, but Spears upped this to $500,000 to speed up negotiations and (2) Federline will receive $25,000 in child support from Spears each month per child until each child is eighteen. And he even had her believing that there was a chance that they would get back together after she finished rehab. (Why was this a big selling point for her?) Folks, how can I truly make a comparison as to how much of a beatdown this was? True, Ms. Spears is not the brightest individual who has ever existed, but she was monumentally worked by an atrocious wannabe rapper, former boy band backup dancer, who by the way is an idiot. At this point I don't think that the committee itself would, nor does the committee believe that any judge in his or her right mind should, have any objection if Mr. Federline used some of this money that he is to receive from Ms. Spears to commission some sculptor to create a statue depicting this figurative asskicking that Mr. Federline just meted out to Ms. Spears. Ms. Spears has apparently said that Mr. Federline is her "biggest mistake." You don't say...

Due to these most recent events, it is tough to say when the next ranking might be released...

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ode to Baseball

Oh, but I'm not done with my sports updates and commentary! As you are all no doubt aware, baseball season has started up again. You are all aware of this because baseball is the national pastime. It is our nation's favorite sport.

Okay, you all got me. I'm just kidding. I view baseball as being largely a joke. What irritates me about baseball is how there is this constant and obsessive coverage of it. Let's get one thing straight people (and by people here I mean baseball "experts" and whoever else those people are who are paid to comment about baseball on places like ESPN) , the baseball season ends when the World Series ends. There is way too much attention and importance placed on the stupid baseball winter meetings. Who cares about the winter meetings?! During the winter, football is going on. During the winter, hockey is going on. During the winter, basketball is going on. These sports are actually in the drives for championships, but for some insane reason people are providing too much coverage about guys discussing the right price for some free agent washed up pitcher. (And here's a hint: the right price that is settled on is invariably too high.) I don't believe you hear nearly the amount of discussions about the other leagues' off-season dealings as you hear for baseball, but maybe I'm wrong and I view it as such because I despise baseball.

But in addition to my disdain for the seemingly ceaseless coverage of the winter meetings, why is there such a big deal made when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in early February? Do you know what's going on in early February? The Super Bowl is going on in early February. Hockey has passed its midpoint and teams are jockeying for playoff position. Basketball has passed its midpoint and teams are jockeying for playoff position. Perhaps the only other of these sports where an overwhelmingly big deal is ascribed to the start of its preseason is football. But this fact for football is almost acceptable since football has actually reached a point where its popularity has clearly outdistanced that of any of the other sports. It is almost acceptable.

However, the thing that perhaps annoys me the most about baseball is how unbelievably overrated the players are as athletes. I'm not saying that each and every one of the players is overrated individually as an athlete, but rather that collectively they are. Or to be more precise, I'm saying that the athletes in the NFL, NBA, and NHL are collectively superior to those in MLB. And how can I be so sure? Well, quite simply, you have more incidents of baseball players playing well into their forties and being dominant well into their forties than you have for the other sports. As an example, Roger Clemens won the National League Cy Young Award in 2004 for being voted as having had the most outstanding pitching season in that particular league. Do you know how old Roger Clemens was in 2004? Roger Clemens turned forty-two during the 2004 season. But Roger Clemens is one of the all-time greats, so maybe that explains it. But wait one moment. Michael Jordan played his last season during the 2002-2003 NBA season, and it is almost sacrilege to say that anyone other than Jordan was the greatest basketball player in the game's history. Jordan turned forty during that season (two years younger than Clemens was during his 2004 Cy Young season), but he did not come anywhere close to being named MVP. In fact, he was to some degree a shadow of his former self. He did make the All-Star team, but this was probably more of a courtesy, a thanks for the great memories, than was it really deserving. Would you care to guess which of these two athletes, Clemens or Jordan, was named by ESPN as the greatest North American Athlete of the Twentieth Century? It was Jordan. And where did Clemens fall on this list? I don't know, but it wasn't in the top 100 (http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/athletes.html).

Now, why reference the Jordan comparison? It's quite simple - if Jordan is regarded by "experts" as being one of the greatest (if not the greatest) North American athlete of the Twentieth Century and his skills had clearly eroded by the time he entered his early forties, than what does that say about a game where a forty-two year old pitcher can be considered the best pitcher in one of the leagues? It says one of two things: either the players of that particular sport really aren't collectively great athletes (since the Jordan example would seem to indicate that athletic ability erodes with age), or it says that an alarmingly large number of those athletes are on drugs, steroids perhaps.

Think about it; what other "sports" can you think of where older athletes can compete on the same level as younger athletes? The examples that come to my mind are golf, auto racing, poker, and professional wrestling. In the case of professional wrestling, the events are staged. In the case of those other activities, how often are the competitors considered greatest athlete material? Rarely, if ever. Baseball had its era, but it is no longer great in comparison to other sports. Let's acknowledge this fact and not pretend otherwise.

Semper Paratus

So I happened to be in the gym yesterday and there was a BREAKING NEWS story that was being covered by one of the local news stations. Fortunately this was not the type of breaking news story that informs you that Anna Nicole Smith is still dead, but it was still of the "you're wasting my time by telling me this" variety.

I'll link to the story here: http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=local&id=5180881, but I'll also provide a brief synopsis. This guy has a bird that flies out of the window of his house. So the guy pursues the bird, who has flown up into a pine tree nearby. The guy climbs one pine tree and recovers the bird by climbing onto a second tree on which the bird is perched. The only problem is that once on the second tree, the man is unable to get down and he is thus stranded some sixty feet up in the air. Fire department ladder trucks could not get him down, nor could fire department helicopters. Eventually the US Coast Guard had to rescue the man. The man spent nearly four hours in this tree.

But as I was watching this story, it was still very early in this man's Tarzan adventure. I think that the man had been in the tree for maybe about an hour when I saw the report. At the time I was hearing the report, the newscasters were saying that the man had climbed into the tree to retrieve his pet $2000 parrot. By the time of the final report it was revealed that this bird was in fact an umbrella cockatoo, which is a variety of parrot.

There were a number of concerns that I had when watching this report. How in blazes was this breaking news? So some full grown adult gets stuck in a tree and you dedicate an inordinate amount of news coverage to this story? Come on, that's ridiculous! To make matters worse, this was apparently the top news story for this particular local station (ABC 13) when they did their nightly news report. So there is nothing else more important going on in the world than some local idiot stuck in a tree trying to retrieve his bird? Wow, things must be going absolutely splendidly in the world then.

Another concern that I have is whether or not the Coast Guard officer/enlisted person who responded to this call initially laughed uncontrollably in the phone for about twenty minutes after hearing the situation before even thinking about reacting. That would be the proper initial response. And the next response should have been, "we'll be right over to get the guy out of the tree, but there are about five cats trapped in trees in the park that we have to save first."

But without a doubt, the biggest concern that I have is how is a parrot worth $2000? Okay, so the umbrella cockatoo is classified as a vulnerable species, but to me that hardly means that it should be worth $2000. I could maybe see this thing being worth $2000 if it could maybe act as your interpreter if you took a trip to France, or maybe it would be worth that much if it could decipher the Rosetta Stone, but even among parrots it is considered a poor speaker. So you have a bird that is not even really endangered, that cannot even really speak one language that well, and has not proven to be in any way, shape, or form a champion breeder and it is worth $2000? Seriously, there are some problems out there.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Go Buckeyes!

I thought that it might be appropriate to provide some sort of sports commentary this morning. And obviously any sort of sports commentary on this day has to start with the Florida Gators - and how much I am sick of them. To start off, I do not want to diminish their accomplishment last night in any way. To win back to back titles in any team sport is a difficult task, and this Florida team is definitely a special group. (It could be argued that they probably should not have lost all year, and certainly not five times.)

But this misses the point entirely. The Florida Gators are annoying. The chomp-chomping is absurdly irritating. And I believe that after this year long period of good cheer that the Gator fans have experienced, they could stand to experience some humility. (I know that your basketball team has won two consecutive national titles, and that your football team just recently won a mythical national title, but please, calm down.) Let me introduce you to my plan to ensure that this occurs.

First of all, things will probably take care of themselves on the basketball front. Billy Donovan is likely out of there, headed to Kentucky, and it is almost unfathomable to imagine that Horford, Noah, and Brewer will stick around another year. They came back this year to prove something, but I don't believe that coming back next year would prove a thing. Gator basketball fans should savor this win while they can because it appears destined to all crash next season. But I propose that we give it a helping hand to add to the humiliation. And so I propose that all of the top basketball recruits in the country follow Billy Donovan to Kentucky. If Donovan were able to lead Kentucky to a national title, and in the process go down to Gainesville and demolish Florida on their home court. Now I am no Kentucky basketball fan. People who know me well know that I have rooted against Kentucky for years because one of my college roommates was a big Kentucky Wildcat fan, and very little pleased us more in college than seeing him throw fits when Kentucky lost. But I can put aside this history in favor of seeing some much needed humility being brought to the basketball courts in Gainesville.

Football would seem to be a lot less of a concern than basketball since for one thing, there are so many subjective factors that go into winning the mythical national championship. Additionally, since Florida plays in the greatest-college-football-conference-in-the-history-of-the-sport-for-always-and-forever, or the SEC for short, they could easily find themselves with two or three losses and have not a prayer of winning the mythical national title. However, we are seeking ultimate humiliation here, and what could be more humiliating than the Old Ball Coach leading the University of South Carolina Gamecocks to the mythical title, while in the process bringing the Gamecocks into Gainesville to deliver the kind of beatdown to the Gators that once would have made those very same Gators' fans proud? The answer is nothing.

I know all of this is an impossible of dream of sorts, but it is what I want to see happen. And one should never stop dreaming. But I don't want to act as if there was nothing positive to take away from last night's game. The most positive thing that I took away from the game was when they showed a split screen of Florida football coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, who were both in attendance at the game. I thought that it was classic how Meyer was laughing it up and having a good time while Tressel had a very concerned look on his face. I love that Jim Tressel face and it is quite refreshing that we had to wait less than three months from January 8 to see it again.