Archive for February, 2010:
Unless you live in the lowermost states in the US, then you are familiar with the term “Snow Day”. (In Florida, kids get out for “Hurricane Days” – this seems like far more fun than the paltry ‘snow days’ I got as a kid.) Sadly, Snow Days almost no longer exist for adults, which takes a lot of the fun out of snow. There’s also the issue that adults understand about cold. (Cold receptors are found to be missing in most children under sixteen.)
If you live in an area that gets winter snowfall, then you know that there are certain cycles to the years. Light years and heavy years maintain a reasonable pattern – for example, in my state of Tennessee we get heavier snows about once out of every three years. Apparently, us Tennesseans also develop a good case of “Wuss” during these same years.
It seems that this year’s unusual snow fall is due to an “El Nino” weather pattern. (I’m sorry, doesn’t the term “El Nino” refer to Jesus? Does this mean that Jesus is responsible for our snow? And who is “La Nina”? Because she is the responsible party for next year’s weather.) And this year has dumped a load of extra snow on us.
Let’s clarify, in Middle Tennessee we have our own definitions of “a lot of snow”. Here we usually get about two inches over the course of the ‘winter’ and we usually don’t get that all at once. Due to our inability to plow all our roads – most cities have only one plow, and this plow is usually an attachment on the front of a trash truck – we usually call snow days when we get any accumulation. And I do mean any!
Well, the 2010 Winter Olympics are underway, and that means it’s time for color commentary. As with any Olympic Games, there is just so much going on that it’s hard to keep track. There are the standard opening ceremonies, and the standard opening ceremony technical issues. The US snowboarders are wearing a uniform that looks like ripped jeans, which I personally like, and the speedskaters aren’t wearing the Colbert Nation capital “C” on their foreheads like the Sports Illustrated issue led us to believe. I think this may be due to a ruling against any kind of advertising on the uniforms. No, the advertising must stay in commercial time and places where it is sanctioned by the IOC. (That’s International Olympic Committee, for those of you not up on your mid-winter three letter acronyms (or TLAs, as we like to call them.))
Regardless, there’s still plenty to do. Anyone playing the Apolo Ohno drinking game could get hammered. Drink when they say his name, chug when they show his life story, and make everyone else chug when they warp the story for their news. Already, they have showed the interview where Apolo says that the fact that the Olympics is in Vancouver was a factor in his decision to return. Bob Costas later said it was “the reason he’s back.” Yeah, that’s not what he said. Also, they talk about how he left the sport, partied, got endorsements, won Dancing with the Stars (which I thankfully missed.) Then Good Ole Bob talks about Ohno’s continuous and unflagging devotion to his training. (Um, as a journalist(ish) shouldn’t Mr. Costas know the meaning of words like ‘continuous’ and ‘unflagging’. I’m thinking of sending him a pocket dictionary for his birthday.) None of this seems to be Ohno’s fault, including the fact that 19-year-old American JR Celski has been heartily dissed. Three times Ohno’s Silver was announced with no mention of Celski’s Bronze. I think it’s because Bob and his cronies all have their faces pulled too tight. Perhaps facelifts were one of the IOCs new rules?
When I was a toddler, parents put kids in playpens to keep them from getting into things. While the contraptions themselves have been redesigned and are now squishier and easier to assemble, they are basically the same thing. Yet, call it a ‘playpen’ and you will be subjected to rude stares and shocked ‘how-could-you?’ faces. No! We no longer ‘pen’ our children. Or we do still pen them, but we call it a ‘play-yard’ and it’s all okay.
There’s more to this parental terminology – like the famous “we don’t believe in spanking” phrase. I always wondered about this one. Do these people believe that spanking doesn’t exist? I assume they mean they don’t believe they should do it to their kids. So they put their kids in the corner. No, wait. They would never do that. They put their kids in the corner, but call it ‘time out’. Yes, that makes it good.
I’m waiting for when these kids grow up and play in professional sports. The coach calls a time out and all the pro athletes cross their arms, huff and pout about why they are being punished.
There’s more to it than just the names we assign. It’s in the way parents talk to their kids, too. For some reason, we think it means more or works better if we don’t say ‘be quiet’ but say ‘use your inside voice’. Really, it means nothing if you don’t at some time say to the kid ‘go on. Use your outside voice.’
Let’s start with a little history – the term “vegetarian” may not come from the word ‘vegetable’. Some say it’s from the Hindu term for ‘to enlighten’. I think this may be a typo, perhaps they meant ‘to lighten’. Look, I’m a proud omnivore, and here’s why.
First, you vegetarians need to get together and make a freakin’ decision. Do you eat fish and chicken or not? According to Websters, Random House, Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (hey, it’s what I had on hand), the term means ‘eats no meat, fish or fowl.’ Yeah, they all say ‘no fish or fowl’ – so don’t tell me you’re a vegetarian, then say, ‘but I eat fish’.
Also, that ‘fish and birds are okay’ thing isn’t right. It’s flat out discrimination. Even if you are a vegetarian, you know or are one of those people who think it’s not okay to hurt the animals. So why is it okay to hurt the birdies and the swimmy things? Because they aren’t as cute?
Humans have this problem where we seem to think cute things are closer to God. That’s BS. Didn’t God make the ugly things, too? I don’t recall any points in the Bible where it says it’s okay to eat the ugly things, or any point where any of the disciples said “But I can’t eat it, it’s sooo cute.”
When I say bunny, you say . . . playboy. Oooh – you have a dirty mind.
Okay, there are a ton of things you might have said there. Cute, cuddly Easter bunnies. Bugs bunny. Peter Rabbit. Jessica Rabbit. Beach bunnies, ski bunnies, buckle bunnies, you name it. Some are even furry animals. But I bet when I started with ‘bunny’ you didn’t think ‘biofuel’.
Yup, it’s the latest trend: burning bunnies for fuel.
Biofuel is a term used for things we burn or package for any kind of heat or energy source that comes from an animal or plant (i.e. non-petroleum or fossil) source. Usually this includes inedible organic trash like watermelon rinds and paper type products. Now that term is getting expanded to include cute fuzzy things.
Okay – let’s clarify here – no one I heard of is actually throwing live baby bunnies into a fire. But if you look up the articles, a large number are accompanied by a picture of two to five baby bunnies, perfectly alive and cute looking. *shudder*
Two things that taste great together. Just kidding. But really, bridges and beer have more in common than you might guess.
In both cases, it’s really easy to lose count of how many you had. On a whim, I decided to count how many bridges there are on my drive home from work. (No, I didn’t have any beer. And luckily, unlike beer, bridges don’t actually make you lose count as you go.) I was incredibly surprised – on my twenty-two mile trip I passed over a whopping 27 bridges. They are freakin’ everywhere!
Now, I did have a little wiggle room here – let me explain. I have already admitted to living a bit out in the boonies. But, scientifically, this is good. It shows that the crazy high number of bridges I passed wasn’t because I was in – or out – of the city. I passed through dense city, suburb and boonie areas and all were roughly equivalent in the amount of bridges. (Yes, I counted and did the averages. So sue me, I’m a geek.)
Another thing that beer and bridges have in common is expiration dates. As only a few beers print them on the bottle, most of the time you are left guessing. I have yet to see an expiration date stamped on the side of a bridge. And, like beer, many bridges are good for a while past their expiration dates – but that all depends on how you keep them.