HE SAID: Athlete Pet Peeves

January 28, 2010

So I’ve been watching lots of sports lately: the Australian Open, NFL Playoffs, NCAA Bball is heating up with conference play, and a female just won a male professional bowling event, wild times all around!  In addition to being forever frustratred by Favre (sounds like a great book title with unnecessary alliteration), some other things have really pissed me off lately.  So I’m going to take this opportunity to unburden myself in this space.

Pet Peeve #1 (with acknowledgement to ZS) – Most of you don’t watch tennis, but I do.  The last couple years I’ve grown to really like Andy Roddick, but stop going to the towel after every effing point.  It just delays things and annoys fans.  As an aside, I just googled “andy roddick toweling off” and realized they will probably send me gay porn sites now.  Sometimes google is too much.

Pet Peeve #2 – Celebrations in the NFL have run rampant for the past decade or so, and it’s high time they get called out.  I’m not talking about after you score a TD, or break a 45 yard run, make a one handed leaping grab, etc etc…But hey, Ray Lewis, when you make a tackle after a four yard run, no reason to jump up and down like you just got away with murder (get it, he DID get away with murder once)! The NFL is so backwards, they penalize a guy for spiking the ball after a TD, but do nothing when a guy does some stupid dance after a basic tackle.

Pet Peeve # 3 – Can we get first baseman miked up at all times? Or at least get transcripts of conversations had at first base?  Nothing intrigues me more in sports than what the eff is being talked about when A-Rod gets a base hit and stands next to Kevin Youkilis.  I imagine it’s something along these lines: A-Rod – “See how hard I hit that ball? Maybe Derek will finally make out with me!” Youkilis simply shakes his head.

Pet Peeve # 4 – Fans.  More than half of them suck.  If we could rid the world (or at least the sporting world) of about 65% of both the Yankee and Red Sox fanbase (those that wear the pink hats and have never heard of Daniel Bard or Damso Marte), the world would be a better place.

Pet Peeve # 5 – Pretty much the entire NBA.  While I admit, for some reason I can’t stop watching – I’m sick of the traveling, I’m sick of the tattoos, I’m sick of the general thug theme.  In light of the whole Gilbert Arenas shitshow, I found myself realizing that I just wasn’t that surprised by the story whatsoever.  I’m not tired of Rajon Rondo though.

Pet Peeve # 6 – Stop talking about Tiger Woods for just one effing day.

SHE SAID: Athlete Pet Peeves

January 28, 2010

This is one of the posts where I feel like, as the responder, I’m at a disadvantage.  Jeremy has been fuming for weeks now, compiling evidence for his post, and I am sitting on the couch oblivious to his angst, and now I have to post.  Premeditated irascibility is an advantage.

So, off the top of my head, here are my pet peeves.

1. Crying.  I’m not talking about someone tearing up after winning their first Grand Slam or an amazing athletic achievement. I’m talking about getting knocked out of a tournament, not performing as well as you had hoped, and crying about it.  As Tom Hanks said in League of Their Own, “there’s not crying in baseball!?”  Only, apply that to any sport or competition.  It’s okay to be pissed, upset, disappointed, etc.  But, Do.  Not.  Cry.

2. The Fox transformer football icon.  It’s not cool, even my five year-old son who loves Transformers thinks it’s lame.  Ditch it.

3. Grunting in tennis.  While I fully support an athlete doing whatever they need to do in order to perform at their best, when you’re still grunting as your opponent is hitting the ball, or the female spectators are thinking “I’ll have what she’s having”, I think it’s gone a little too far.

4. Olympics coverage.  In the past, we have one channel broadcasting whatever event they think will bring in the most viewers.  While I understand that there are people who have put an inordinate amount of time into figuring out how NBC is going to garner the largest audience who are probably incredibly good at doing so, I also know that there are many of us who are not that thrilled about watching hours of footage on Apollo Ohno or three weeks of figure skating.  I propose a change.  Throughout this latest Australian Open, DirectTV has offered six channels of tennis footage and it has been awesome.  A viewer can watch all six channels at once with a running score under each shot, or pick one to focus on.  Don’t feel like watching women’s tennis but want to watch the Open?  DirectTV is your answer.  It’s also answered my Olympics coverage issue.  NBC, or whoever is airing the Olympics.  Might I suggest you do something similar?  Let those of us who want to watch something other than figure skating have that choice!  And I’m not talking about showing Bode’s run and a heartfelt vignette about his youth and adolescence in a cabin in the white mountains and then cutting back to the fascinating coverage of Sasha Cohen’s pre-skate ankle taping.  Give us a chance to watch an entire event, or at least show all the American competitors.  Call DirectTV, figure something out.  You’ll make more money.

5. VS (or the channel formerly known as OLN).  For those of you who do receive this channel, you know how amazing it is, despite the terrible name change.  Bull riding, bike racing, hunting, it’s got it all.  Anyone interested in watching competitive road biking, has done the annual pilgrimage to VS in order to check out their amazing coverage.  For some reason, this channel gets in disagreements with DirectTV and DishNetwork and the like, over contracts, pricing, what have you, and I randomly find that while I have sought out the package that includes both NESN and VS, that package no longer includes VS because of some dispute between VS and my carrier.  I would like to say, after years of this repetitive bickering, FIGURE IT OUT.  Also, please stop letting another channel carry the bike racing on Sundays.  The coverage is not nearly as good and it’s annoying to settle for lackluster coverage.

6. Crossover.  Just because you are an amazing athlete, it does not mean you can subject us to your writing, acting skills, or the like.  Think of how much better off this world would be without The Rock’s latest movie The Toothfairy, or any of his movies for that matter, the badly written autobiography’s (even a ghost writer can’t help most of these), or Shaq’s album.  The only exception I can think of is the Foreman grill – perhaps the best way to make a grilled cheese ever.

As for the toweling off, while I’m not a Roddick fan 90% of the time and I agree that his overuse of the towel is needless, I do get why one would use extensive towel time when playing Federer on one of his tears.  You need to take time between the points because once he’s on fire, you’re five games down in a set in no time.  Towel off between each point.  It’s your only hope.

SHE SAID: American Idol

January 25, 2010

So it’s that time again. My television watching is getting interrupted with shooting stars, giddy teenagers holding microphones and the affected singing of overly gelled and highly scripted “singing sensations.” American Idol. It’s back. Apparently FOX is trying to one up the Halloween franchise and make more sequels to a mediocre original than ever before.

There isn’t one thing about this show I like.  These kids often times can’t hit the notes, screw up the song, sing too affectedly, or at the very best, give an overwhelmingly uninspired performance that is celebrated. Seems about right for FOX programming. If I wanted to hear bad renditions of songs I like, I would teleport back to college and attend more a Capella concerts (as a viewer, because yes, I was in an a Capella group*). And I certainly don’t want to hear bad renditions of songs I don’t like. That is just torture. And yet a lot of people I know and respect subject themselves to this week after week, season after season.

And then the judging. Paula Abdul (entertaining as hell because who doesn’t like to watch a heavily medicated, drunk train wreck try to come off as genuine and intelligent about the topic at hand but I’m sorry, when did the singer of Opposites Attract become an informed music critic?) paired up with Randy (annoying – strop trying so hard to come across as an in-touch black man and you might come across as an in-touch black man) and Simon (of course America villanizes the one person on the show who knows something about music and performing who is willing to tell the vast majority of applicants that they are not as amazing as they would like to be and to go home and figure out some other options) make up the trifecta that leads the American audience through the nightmare that is AI. I guess it’s better than Paris, Britney and Celine-things could be worse.

I hate that there are actual people out there trying to make it in the music industry while these instant gratification addicts audition image and talent (both rated equally on American Idol) and completely alter themselves as the stylist recommends a few weeks into the show and sell out to whatever genre needs a new star that year.  The industry is already awash with fraudulent entertainers trying to pass themselves off as the hippest definition of cool to whatever target audience they are trying to appeal to … do we need fourteen year-olds with an entourage of salaried FOX employees telling them how to cut their hair and what color eye liner to apply in addition?  Then, cue the seasonal fade to oblivion as America moves on like the fickle audience we are until the promotion of the next season or the obligatory record release brings the forgotten face to our screens in a heartfelt, falling star filled montage once again.

I hope once Simon quits this show it shrivels up without it’s villain or pill popping bobble head idiot. The world will be a better place without it.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I was also in the hand-bell choir while in college. White gloves and all. Look up “cool college student” in the dictionary and you’ll see me.

HE SAID: American Idol

January 25, 2010

In many respects, you are right, Nifer.  American Idol is overkill at this point, and while you and I wish FOX would cancel the show and replace it with something like an hour straight of “The Cleveland Show,” the problem remains that its ratings are still off the charts.  People watch the show, quite effing religiously.

I was thinking the above couple of thoughts and then realized A. “The Cleveland Show” is garbage, I think Fox should pour its resources into making ’24’ into the show it was the first five seasons or so and B. most people are stupid.  I’m not saying that all people who watch American Idol are stupid, I’m saying most people in general are stupid.  Thus, logically, it stands to reason that American Idol survives because our nation, collectively, is not a smart one.

BUT, and obviously, this is a huge ‘but,’ then you have moments like this (for those too lazy to click on the link, it’s the Pants on the Ground dude).  This shit is genuinely funny.  You can’t help but laugh at it.  And while generally there aren’t moments nearly as funny as this one, there are plenty of times I’ve seen those prelim episodes and found myself laughing a bit.  So, yes, I admit it…I catch some AI.  Typically those first few episodes will be my secondary or even tertiary option, depending on the amount of sports that are on.  And while your comments on Randy are spot on, I do find Simon Cowell entertaining enough not to want to throw rocks at.  But if you could lay off Paula Abdul, I’d appreciate it.

Do I wish the winners and runners up on American Idol weren’t actually famous, and didn’t make millions of dollars for typically having little musical talent (at least compared to bands like this or that – shameless plugs, I know, but it’s my blog post and I can do what I want)?  That being said, there are enough entertaining moments in the first few episodes of the show to make it worthwhile, which is more than I can see for most of the crap that fills our airwaves.  Why people would watch the serious episodes and actually waste time calling or texting to vote is waaaay beyond me though; but there is lots I don’t understand, like why Ronnie from Jersey Shore wasn’t on the short bus in middle school, but that’s a whole different story.

HE SAID: Swimming Pool & Beach Attire

January 20, 2010

It is hard to actually write about this topic without some feeling of guilt.  I thought about writing this last week when I was on vacation in Maui, and one couple came down the pool in horrific attire, and it frustrated me.  But then I had lunch at the pool bar and saw the devastation in Haiti, and realized I was in no real position to complain.  So, to our faithful readers, before you read on, take a minute to at least think about donating.  I’m not going to sit on a pedastal and tell you that you MUST, but at least think about it – http://www.redcross.org/.

That being said, if ESPN can go on reporting sports scores and Fox News can go on creating their own news, Nifer and I can continue or sometimes witty banter about relatively mundane subjects.

Now, many people think tackling what guys should wear is simple – wear a regular bathing suit, not speedos.  While this may be rule #1, it is not the only thing to think about.  Take a look at this guy to our right…he is wearing a ‘regular’ bathing suit.  But guess what, he also has more hair/square inch than most apes.  My advice, wear a shirt.  The most obvious complaint from a gentleman like this would be “but then I can’t get color.”  First off all, sun can lead to cancer, so consider it a medical issue.  Secondly, no way sun is getting through that effing hair anyway, so what’s the difference?  Just spare everyone and cover rug on your back up.  And with regards to the shirt, the bigger you are, the looser the shirt.

Females can be a bit more complicated, mainly because there are so many more options.  Full coverage one piece, sexy one pieces, granny bikinis (bikinis that leave lots to the imagination), string bikinis, thong bikinis, yada yada yada.  It also becomes a bit more complicated for women because no matter how terrible a body might look in a certain type of bathing suit, they are not as hairy (hopefully) as guys, and thus have every right to want to get some color on as much of their body as possible.

But seriously, certain women should not be in bikinis.  And believe me, I’m not trying to further the typical American notion of all skin and bones, the fact that some people in our country think Jlove Hewitt is fat bewilders me; and my goal is not to given females eating disorders (not that I am so narcossistic as to believe anyone reading this would actually let it have an effect on their lives).  All that said, the chicks to our left DO NOT belong in bikinis.

And don’t think I’m sitting on my high horse just preaching this.  I practice as well…I found a very unpopulated part of the pool area on my first day knowing that my ghostly white skin would not only freak people out, but would honestly probably give people eye damage without proper sunglasses.

SHE SAID: Swimming Pool & Beach Attire

January 20, 2010

Bathing suits are like religion.  Maybe paying a little less attention to what others are wearing or observing would have resulted in less war and bloodshed and centuries of misunderstanding.  At one point in time, wearing a boy short bikini bottom would have gotten you rounded up and at the very best, killed quickly.  Jams, once the height of popularity were suddenly considered the cloth of the damned.  An infant, found floating down a river in a basket donning a speedo was found by a compassionate woman who speedily changed him into a pair of board shorts and because of this, his life was spared.  He later went on to spearhead the tankini movement.

Do not take your bathing attire lightly.  You will be judged.  And mightily so.

And that’s just the half of it.  Don’t get me started on ugly people, or imperfect bodies.  People like that shouldn’t even go out in public.  It’s embarrassing for humanity and there’s a new study out from doctors in Australia suggesting that if you are exposed to such an atrocity for even a short period of time, your lifespan is shortened by 10 years.

Picture a beach scene … you’re scanning the horizon moments before laying down to catch a few z’s in the sun.  The woman behind you is about to get up and move because your bacne is ruining her ocean view.  And the little boy collecting sea shells just started staring at your toe jam and matching bunion will spend years of therapy trying to get over it.  Your lack of a tan is too blinding even for the protection offered by polarized glasses – this is in spite of the almost full body coverage of your freckles.  And when you sit up like that, your stomach fat wrinkles.  Stop it.  It’s gross.  You’re ruining the beach for everyone.

We should have a voting system where those around you can opt on whether or not you have the right to wear a bathing suit in public.  Whether they want to be forced to view your body and all it’s hang ups.  It’s the humane thing to do.

Jeremy and I would never know the feel of sun on our bare skin again.

SHE SAID: US Airways

January 12, 2010

I don’t know the stats on how often this happens, but this past holiday season, I had the misfortune to be on a flight that was overbooked.  No, no one I know lost a limb or had a freak holiday baking accident, so I realize how petty my complaint is in the overall grand scheme of things.  But let me tell you how frustrating being third on the standby list is when you bought your ticket weeks in advance and were at the airport to check-in more than an hour in advance (this is Burlington, Vermont, not JFK – usually an hour is more than enough time).

I arrived, innocently thinking my biggest issue was going to be my golf clubs, and was informed at the counter not only that I was on the standby list, but that all remaining flights until Tuesday were booked.  It was Sunday morning.

I won’t go into depths about the rudeness of the woman I was dealing with behind the counter because I’m assuming that she had people screaming at her all morning about how infuriating overbooking is and so some bitchiness is to be expected.  But I did inform her, probably not for the first time, that overbooking was a terrible business model and that people were making plans based on the ability of her company to follow through with little details like having a seat on a plane for someone who has purchased a ticket.

I was inconvenienced.  The couple in front of me needing to get home to their child was pretty livid.  The woman going to meet her husband, in the states on break from a tour in the middle east, was in tears.  The scene at gate 8 was not a happy one.  A passenger who had just landed, whose bag had been torn to shreds in transit on US Airways, felt the need to use profanity at a high decibel and swear he was never traveling on US Airways again.  This outburst made me feel better for two reasons.  I felt better having not lost my temper, but he also said everything I was thinking and trying to refrain from saying.

I understand that airlines need all the money they can get right now.  I understand that air travel companies are hurting and while I grumble about having to pay $40 for a checked bag … I get that they need the money and I can deal with it.  I am okay with not getting meals too, they were pretty nasty to begin with.  I even understand delays.  As long as I get where I’m going, I can wait.  It’s usually still a heck of a lot faster than driving or taking a bus or walking.

But when someone has bought a ticket, planned a vacation or a trip, all the details that go with someone planning on being somewhere, you can’t tell them that you oversold the flight and they will only get on if someone else has opted to get off the plane.  Don’t sell them the ticket!  It’s not like they don’t know how many seats are on the plane.  And while I know if I got there earlier to check in I would have made the flight, I still think it’s ridiculous and that me having spent money and gotten my confirmation email should be enough to get me on the plane.  Would we tolerate ordering something on line, getting the email about it being sent and then hearing someone got to the post office to pick it up earlier and so it’s gone?  This policy should not be tolerated.

I vowed never to fly US Airways again.  Instead, I got to my destination on JetBlue, an amazing airline that doesn’t oversell their planes, offers more leg room, delicious Blue chips and individual TVs.  The ticket was a little more expensive, but I wasn’t charged for my checked bag and JetBlue did this amazing thing and got me to my destination.