Blame It On Rio

So I’ve been watching the Olympics this past couple of weeks.  Or trying to.  What with all the commercials and commentary and human interest pieces designed to get chicks to sit down and watch sports I think I might have seen a long jump.  And dressage.  Dressage.  Don’t get me started on stupid Olympic sports <coughcough rhythmicgymnastics coughcough>.  What kind of person is it that devotes years of their waking spare time to dance around with a little rubber ball?  And why isn’t Prancercising an Olympic sport?

Not to get on a rant here, but I’m about done with the Olympics—and it’s not just because I don’t know whether or not to capitalize the ‘the’ in front of it.  I alluded to the main reason for my apathy in the above preceding and foregoing paragraph, but more and more I am finding the Olympics downright unwatchable.  Thank you, various networks of NBC.  I’ll bet you didn’t know the Olympic theme had words.  Cue the tympani…

BUM bum bum-BUM bum bum-BUM bum bum-BUM bum

One! Sport!
And now a commercial!
Human-interest piece,
Here’s a Ryan Seacrest commentary…

One! Sport!
Another commercial!
Human-interest piece,
Watching all but what you want to see.

The other night I watched for 40 minutes and saw 16 commercials, one swimming heat, and 12 minutes of Michael Phelps walking around in Beats and a parka.  Click.

My real Olympic malaise originated when they said it was okay for professional athletes to compete.  The Olympics hasn’t been the same since.  (And speaking of malaise, does Malaysia even have an Olympic team?  I’m sure they would easily medal in the all-around circular house building.  What? Circular house building is not an Olympic sport?  But BMX biking is?  I don’t get it.)

Sure, we win more medals now that the pros do it.  And sure, the Russians and the Chinese and the East Germans sent their professional athletes anyway.  And sure, they won a bunch of medals.  But the beauty of it was we weren’t sending our best.  We were sending college kids or people who had real jobs up against their giant doped-up statist bipeds.  We were underdogs so when we did win, it was much sweeter.  Now we are expected to win, which is much less interesting.  We beat the Russians in hockey last Olympics but so what?  We watch the same guys play each other in the NHL all the time.  It’s sad that we will never again have a ‘Miracle on Ice’ to inspire young kids to drape themselves in an American flag.  In fact, these days I find myself quite often rooting against the Americans—a statement which will no doubt get me beaten up at the next Trump rally.

I unequivocally root against the USA in basketball.  I don’t care if Carmello Anthony gets another medal or not.  He’ll be fine.  I also root against Michael Phelps.  He has enough medals.  Let some Hungarian kid have a chance, why don’t ya.  Phelps is a great swimmer, I get that.  But I have more respect for Mark Spitz than Michael Phelps.   Spitz won seven gold medals in one Olympics and set a world record in earning each one.  And he did it all with a mustache that resembled a small fruit bat.  But then he quit and went to work.  Has the hairless Michael Phelps ever had a job?  Where does he get his money?  Does he contribute to society?  And why does his back have all those little circles like he keeps wandering onto a racquetball court?

Everyone thinks Phelps is going to retire from swimming after this Olympics.  I’m not so sure.  He is the best swimmer in the world, still.  So why quit?  He gets to travel around the world on someone else’s dime and when he gets there, does little more than hang out by the pool.  What is there exactly to retire from?  That is retirement.  I guess he could run for congress…

And why is it that swimmers can win a gajillion medals for sixteen different events of different lengths and strokes when all they are really doing is one thing: swimming?  No wonder swimmers win all those medals.  Volleyball players for example have to play a bunch of games for two weeks for the chance at a single medal.  Doesn’t it make sense to have a bunch of swimming events and then total up the score to have a single winner?  I think to be fair they should do all the sports like they do swimming.  There would be volleyball, speed volleyball, one-armed volleyball, three-legged volleyball, header-only volleyball, etc., all with 21, 19, 17, 15, and 13-point games.  And maybe one medal for just a single-player, one-point sprint match.  That would probably be my sport.  One serve and back on the couch.  With a pizza.

And the squandered money that is spent to host the Olympics is almost enough to make Nancy Pelosi jealous.  Almost.  You mean to tell me that impoverished, crime-ridden Rio de Janeiro doesn’t have a better use for $30 million than to build an artificial white-water kayaking course?  Or a hippodrome?  I watched a bike race today and there wasn’t a single hippo in the whole place.  What a waste.

So I’ve come up with a marketing motto for this Olympics that I’m sure the committee would have purchased from me had I not procrastinated and come up with it three years late:

Rio, 2016:  Meh. 

Genius.  Cue the tympani…

I Saw Dead People

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A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Paris with some time to kill and instead of purchasing Nintendo stock like I should have been doing, I decided to fritter away my time at a sidewalk cafe eating batter-fried foods.  I found finding French fritters a frustrating fiasco however, and so I elected instead to head to the local cemeteries, as I have been dying to get into them for some time and take selfish selfies with the post-mortem celebrities interned therein.

The first cemetery I went to was the more renowned Père Lachaise (pictured above), which is a French term for ‘two matching Lachaise’.  Père Lachaise is chocked full of superstar corpses, many of which are tied to French history and culture.  Thanks to my public school upbringing, I was familiar with exactly none of them as they were named neither Napoleon nor Gérard Depardieu.  There were some names I recognized however, and I put together a quick Wander Around and Stumble Upon strategy to miss almost all of them and take up as much time as possible making U-turns and backtracking.

Like most Ugly Americans, the first grave site I visited was that of Continue reading

Hillary Dillary Dock

FBI director James Comey made an announcement last week that actually had nothing to do with the fact that his last name would be a great slang term for Donald Trump’s hairstyle.

“What is that?”
“It’s a Comey.”
“I wish I had a Comey.”

Instead he made the shocking and yet entirely expected recommendation that there be no prosecution of Hillary. You recognize the name, I’m sure. Hillary has become a single name icon not unlike Madonna or Cher, partly because nobody is sure whether to say ‘Rodham’ anymore or not. When someone mentions ‘Hillary’ you no longer think Duff or Swank. There is truly only one Hillary.

Anyway… Continue reading

Shocking News, Friends: I’m Coming Out

I suppose it’s time.  After many years of living with my secret, I am coming out with it.  I know my friends and family will be shocked, and I’m sure my parents will be disappointed but I cannot hide it any longer.  I just hope that those who truly love me will continue to accept me for who I am and not be too quick to judge, though I know that will not be the case for everyone.  So here it is:  I am Identity Fluid.

I wasn’t always sure growing up what was ‘wrong’ with me.  It wasn’t until I saw in the news the likes of Elizabeth Warren, the potential vice presidential candidate who identifies herself as Native American when she isn’t really, or the likes of Rachel Dolezal, the Spokane NAACP chapter director who identifies herself as Black when she isn’t really, that it hit me.  It doesn’t matter who I am; all that matters is how I identify myself.  President Obama has decreed that this is reason enough to let me use any bathroom I choose.  And it turns out that for me, my self-identity changes depending on my mood or circumstances.  Thus, I am Identity Fluid.  It’s a thing.

Take the example of Continue reading

Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used to Be

Prolific congratulatory offerings are in order for the conTIMplating household!  My extraordinarily talented and formerly red-headed daughter, Thing 2, graduated from high school last week!  Thank you. Thank you very much.  That’s one reason I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been busier than Josh Earnest after Obama goes off teleprompter.  This is because as the end of the senior year approaches, everything leading up to graduation is The Last One:  The Last choir concert; The Last theater performance; The Last prom; The Last suspension; etc.  And being the good parent I am I felt I should be there for The Last One.  I can’t just sit around and blog or go out and play golf and miss The Last One like it was The Second-to-Last One.  Well, maybe a quick nine.  I can be a little late.

Unlike Thing 1’s graduation, which was highly celebratory in nature, going through the process of graduating my concluding offspring made me a bit nostalgic for the tight-rolled pants and leather ties of my own commencement.  I suppose it was due to the compatible similarities of the two events, detached only by the passage of 30 years:  both were in early June in un-air-conditioned arenas where friends and family sweat it out on bleacher seating; both of us were the youngest in our family to graduate leaving the distinct probability of parental empty nesting; and both were as a member of a quartet of inseparable friends taking part in one last official and emotional milestone together.  (If I knew what an emoji was, I would insert it here.) Continue reading