Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Last night was actually a pretty big night in baseball, because Matt Garza of the Tampa Bay Rays threw a no-hitter. Now there might be some of you out there who aren’t aware this has happened. Then again, there are probably a lot of you out there that aren’t aware the baseball season had even started.

It’s not really anyone’s fault. Sure they call it America’s Pastime, but that’s only because video games and recreational drugs weren’t readily available back then. It’s just that baseball can get, well… boring, especially for casual sports fans. Now I’m a hardcore sports fan and I love baseball, but even I admit that baseball sometimes puts me to sleep. Which is actually why I like it. There is nothing like watching a midday game on your couch, falling asleep after the second inning, and then waking up to infomercials for something called “Brazil Butt-Lift.”

The main problem with baseball is that it just moves so slow. I mean, think about what happens in the average at-bat. The batter will go through his routine, which normally involves adjusting his gloves, grabbing his crotch, swinging his bat, tapping his shoes, grabbing his crotch, filing his taxes, and then finally stepping into the box while grabbing his crotch. The pitcher will then go through his routine, which normally involves circling the mound at least five times like some sort of malfunctioning helicopter, playing with the rosin bag, grabbing his crotch, kicking the dirt, adjusting his grip on the ball, grabbing his crotch, reenacting the final scene of “Hamlet,” and finally staring at the catcher. The catcher then gives the pitcher his signs, which involves about five minutes of random finger pointing that makes him look like he’s trying to flick ants off of his inner thighs. And then, finally the pitcher will wind up and… the umpire will call for time, because he needs to grab his crotch too.

I mean the very rules of the game are meant to encourage mediocrity (just like our country’s educational system). Think about it, if a batter succeeds once every three times, he is considered awesome. Imagine if that were the standard for other professions, like say, brain surgeons. Plus there is the whole three strikes system and the fact that the season lasts what seems like the entire year. So you can see why many people have a hard time caring what the heck the Kansas City Royals are doing on a Monday afternoon in the middle of July (probably losing).

That’s why the game was fun back in the 90’s when they let the players use steroids and they use to hit homeruns out of the stadium every five minutes. I mean, last night’s no-hitter was a big story, but when you think about it, a no-hitter essentially means that nothing happened. Now I’m not suggesting that they bring back steroids, because I don’t appreciate that people who are already stronger and richer than me can afford drugs that make them even stronger and richer.

Another thing I don’t like about baseball is all the stats. Nowadays watching baseball feels like going through Algebra all over again in the sense that they are assigning random numbers to random collections of letters that mean nothing to me. To know if a player is good, I have to know his WHIP plus his OBP plus his OPS and his VORP plus his YMCA and PETA. For me, these numbers don’t tell me how good a player is. I want my announcers to be very simple. For instance, “this guy sucks.” will do. Or “this pitcher couldn’t hit the side of a barn with a bazooka,” or “he swings the bat like a little girl swatting bees in a phone booth.”

Actually, those last few statements were things that my coaches used to describe me when I used to play baseball. Okay, it was actually T-ball. For those of you who aren’t aware of what T-ball is, it’s like baseball for uncoordinated children. They put the ball on a tee and just let you swing away at it. And like everything I tried when I was a little kid, I was horrible at it. I once struck out in T-ball. Do you realize how hard that is? I mean you don’t even need to really hit the ball, you could just knock the tee over with your bat and you at least get a single. Although, in my defense, I wasn’t using steroids like those other kids.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Who Is Alex Trebek?"

So by all appearances, today started like any other Thursday. I woke up at nine, realized I have no job or classes, and went back to sleep for another three hours. But then I realized that today is in fact a joyous day that should be celebrated with smug smiles, pompous arrogance, snide comments, and annoying trivia. That’s right, Alex Trebek turns 70 today!

Yep, everybody’s least favorite TV host is still alive (or for those of you who think he is a robot, operational). Why don’t I like him? For one thing, he is a Canadian and he tries to exploit the elderly by convincing them they are going to die so he can sell them Colonial Penn Life Insurance. But I mostly hate the way that he acts so arrogant on the show. Whenever people get a question wrong he smirks at them and tells them the right answers as if they didn’t what color the sky is. I mean, if he were like a Harvard professor and he wrote and researched all of the questions then he could be all pretentious when people get them wrong. But no, he just reads a card somebody gave him, which only requires the ability to read. Technically you could replace Trebek with a third grader and nobody would notice the drop-off.

Now, it’s not that I don’t like Jeopardy. If for some reason I find myself with nothing to do in the middle of the afternoon (like I forgot to go to my classes again), I often play along with the show. Not that I am any good at the show. On a good day I will get maybe one right, and that’s only because I scream “Who is Shakespeare?” after every single clue I don’t know the answer to and that normally gets me at least one point.

For some reason they never have trivia on anything that I know anything about. For instance, they tend to do a lot of things that involve very highbrow forms of entertainment, like plays and poems and classical music and crucifixion. I am lots of things, and cultured is not one of them. There are monkeys in the San Diego zoo that know more about the fine arts than I do. They also like to do a lot of history and geography, another two of my weak points. I have a habit of assuming that any place that I have never heard of is a city in Brazil that exports cocaine. Which could explain why I thought Rihanna spoke Portugese (I mean, where the hell is Barbados if it isn’t in Brazil?).

Now, if they asked questions about sports or oldies rock then I would be awesome. I remember on one show they had two categories: Body of Music and Great College Coaches. I got every single question right. Okay fine, I got every single “answer” right. You happy now? Geriatric Jeopardy diehards? That’s one thing that always bugged me about the show; that you had to answer in the form of a question. And by the way, does the question have to make sense if the answer is right? I have always wanted to get on the show just so I could answer using the wrong question form.

Alex Trebek: “It’s the number after five.”

Me: “Where is five and three-fifths?”

Alex Trebek: “It’s the main ingredient in pumpkin pie.”

Me: “Who is tofu?”

Alex Trebek: “They invaded Poland to start World War II.”

Me: “Why is PETA?”

Of course, I have acknowledged that I will never get on the show. Not only am I not smart enough, but I am also not boring enough. They always have that part of the show where we find out the interesting lives the contestants lead. And by that I mean “What they do when they venture out of their parents basement to visit the library.” I mean Alex will sit there and genuinely pretend to be interested in the time Janice over here accidentally got the wrong change back from her waiter and … GASP! ... didn’t tell anyone! What a rebel. Also, they would probably kick me off the show for drawing pictures of cows during final jeopardy.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but recently they’ve tried to make the show a lot more hip and happening. The set looks different and even that iconic theme music is now all electric guitarish. The next thing you know, game shows will have models to stand next to the big board and flip over the clues. Wait, what do you mean they’ve already done that? They have models on Deal or No Deal? Wait, on The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune too? Why the hell am I wasting my time watching Alex Trebek age? I’ll tell you why, and in his honor, I am going to answer in the form of a question. What is a mustache? Wait, you mean he doesn’t have that any more either? Forget this. I’m going to go watch Family Feud.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lindsay's Jailhouse Blues

It’s been a rough few weeks for celebrities, which means that it has been an awesome few weeks for me. I love watching celebrities’ lives fall apart like feta cheese. Mainly because I hate celebrities. They have tons of money, good looks, yachts, and access to all the good drugs; all things that I do not have. So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out Lindsay Lohan is going to jail today.

Of course, because the legal system in America moves slower than BP’s crisis team, I have completely forgotten what it is that Lindsay actually did to land herself in jail. I mean, aside from the rampant DUIs and drugs. Maybe someone is finally punishing her for Herbie Fully Loaded. No, I’m pretty sure it was the DUIs and the drugs. Apparently she was given a chance to stay out of jail, but she kept missing her alcoholism classes. Although in her defense, she always had good excuses, like she was in Europe drinking and getting kicked out of clubs.

But this is still the California justice system, which is about as tough on celebrity criminals as Fox News is on Republicans. So they tried to give her a second chance and put some sort of anklet on her that is supposed to be able to tell if a person is drinking alcohol. You know what I think? If they have that sort of technology, why don’t they just make a shock collar for alcoholics like the one they try to use on dogs? Whenever the collar detects alcohol, it shocks the person. Sure, I don’t think it works on dogs, but that is because dogs are stupid. Alcoholics are slightly smarter. Plus, even if it doesn’t work, I think it would be entertaining to watch a bunch of people sitting at the bars twitching and seizing randomly.

So anyway, the bracelet of course detected that Lohan drank alcohol. For some reason, this came as a surprise to Lohan, as if it were some sort of conspiracy to get her. I can see how it probably happened. Some person jealous of her fame and emaciated good looks decided to hand her a drink that they told her was “lemonade.” Or she doesn’t know how to read and thought the bottle said “juice” instead of “vodka.” Yet the judge apparently felt that drinking alcohol when you were specifically told not to while wearing a device that is designed to catch you drinking shows a lack of respect for the law. It probably didn’t help that Lohan wrote “f**k you” on her nails during her hearing.

And yet despite all of this, she will probably only spend about twenty of her ninety day sentence in an actual jail and the rest in rehab. Apparently women’s prisons are overcrowded, so non-violent female criminals are released early. This just screams sexism. You never hear about guys getting out of prison early because they can’t fit any more of them. They probably just start making them sleep two to a bed (if they aren’t already). And is nobody else scared that apparently female criminal activity is so rampant that they are overcrowding prisons?

I also don’t get the whole thing where you go to rehab instead of jail for using drugs. They make it seem like addiction to drugs is some sort of involuntary affliction that they were just unlucky to have, like being short. I frankly think jail is a good a place as any to rehab. I mean, they aren’t supposed to be doing drugs in there, right?

I think we should let me be in charge of prisons. I have a brilliant idea that would solve a lot of problems. We would take an entire state that nobody is using at the moment (Kansas comes to mind), and build a huge wall around it. We then proceed to make that state one big prison state. Regardless of what crime you commit or what gender you are, you get sent into this state, and there would be no rules or laws in this state. For one thing, this would stop lots of petty crimes. Nobody wants to get sent to the same place as serial killers for robbing a candy store. And then we could put hidden cameras all over the place and make a reality show about it. At least that way Lindsay Lohan would finally be a Hollywood star again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dude, Where's My Car?

So I have spent the past few days shopping around for a GPS unit for my car, since I have become painfully aware in the past few days that I have no sense of direction when it comes to driving in Colorado.

Although in my defense it is not just my fault. As usual, there are women who are mainly to blame. I get lost mainly because these women send me out into the night with a set of directions that skipped an important step. So instead of getting me to the highway, their directions landed me in the middle of an abandoned construction site on a dead-end road. I was certain I was about to get abducted (which makes me think that they knew what they were doing with the directions the whole time).

Whenever I get lost following their directions (which is inevitable), I try to call them, but that rarely helps. You know that stereo-type that men never ask for directions? It isn't because of our egos, it's because we have learned that normally it just gets us lost even worse. Here is a conversation that I had while trying to get instructions from one of them:

Maddie: “Do you see a big house? Or a brick wall?”

Me: “Only a neighborhood filled with them.”

Maddie: “Well it’s right next to… Oooh look at the bunnies!! Do you see the bunnies?”

The next time I tried to call them, I had to sit and listen through about five minutes of screaming since apparently a spider had entered their room. So you can see why I’m thinking of getting a GPS. But from all of my experiences with GPS, I don’t know if they are any better. While I was up in Silverthorne for a birthday party, we tried to find a park to play some whiffle ball (which is way more fun than you would think by the way). Our GPS originally told us that there was a park two miles away. But then in the middle of our drive the GPS told us that our destination was now seven miles away, which either meant that we were playing on a magical floating infield or our GPS was on crack. We followed it anyway, but we started to get suspicious when our route started to take us into the mountains. Sure enough, the GPS had taken us to a National Park, which as it turns out did not have an infield.

It’s better than the GPS brand TomTom, which the aforementioned women have. Not only does it not have some roads in its system and try and get us to turn off of cliffs, but gives all of these directions in a British accent. The last thing I need when I am frustrated behind the wheel is a British accent talking to me. I want a GPS that has Morgan Freeman or Optimus Prime giving me directions. Actually, scratch that, I want Arnold Schwarzenegger giving me my directions.

Arnold GPS: “Get to the exit ramp!! DO IT! DO IT NOW!”

I want to know how the heck GPS works anyway. I mean, is there a satellite orbiting space whose sole job is to track where I am at the moment? I’m not going to lie, considering the negative things I’ve said about NASA, I’m a bit concerned about the government knowing where I’m driving all the time. They might launch a missile at me (of course, this is NASA, so the launch would probably be delayed).

Speaking of people who have a hard time finding their way around, I stumbled upon a story the other day about people who are trying to design a car for blind people. Now I’m not saying this is a bad idea. I’m saying this is a horrible idea. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be blind; of all the disabilities in the world it is the one that seems the worst. But as much as I appreciate that they want to live as normal a life as possible, some people were just not meant to drive, like Lindsay Lohan. I think they are just trying to copy my idea, which is to design a safe car for women (it has no tires or ignition). I mean, knowing I’m driving on the same road as the elderly, teenage girls texting, and drunk people is scary enough. But blind people? I’m not saying they won’t be safe, but how are they supposed to know people are flipping them off in traffic?

What would solve this if somebody invented a car that drove itself, and I could just sit down and listen to music and fall asleep. But until then I think I’m going to stick with the bus.

Friday, July 9, 2010

King James Ransom

I’m not sure if you heard, but LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat last night. Haha that was sarcastic of course. There is not a person in the world right now who doesn’t know that. People who couldn’t tell you the difference between Pau Gasol and Big Foot know (by the way, the key is that Gasol is hairier). I bet my friend back in Hawaii Little Chris knows this, and this is a guy who in November of 2008 was unaware that we were having a presidential election.

We of course can thank ESPN for this. ESPN has a subtle way of telling you what they think is important. That is, if you are the type of person who thinks getting hit by a speeding freight train is subtle. They barrage you with a constant 24/7 blanket of coverage on whatever happens to have their interest at the moment. If you did a push-up every time they said the word “LeBron” in the past two days by now you either look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or you would have died. Then of course, there was his decision to announce his decision on a one-hour show (called, creatively, “The Decision”), which I’m sure had executives at ESPN practically wetting themselves with glee wondering what kind deed they did to have a golden ratings egg fall into their laps.

But then again, can you really blame them? This story has a better plot line than 85% of Michael Bay’s movies (especially now that Megan Fox isn’t in Transformers 3). On one hand, you have his hometown of Cleveland, a good old-fashioned Midwest city full of bad luck, downtrodden citizens, and cold winters. On the other hand you have Miami, a city with great weather, fake boobs, and Cubans on yachts. When you think of South Beach, you think of Miami Vice and Don Johnson strutting around town flirting with beautiful women and driving convertibles. When you think of Cleveland you think of… the Drew Carey Show?

So I’m not that surprised that he chose Miami over Cleveland (plus I heard Paul the Octopus predicted it). I mean, I understand being loyal to where you were born, but I was born in Hawaii. It’s a lot easier to for me. If I were LeBron I would choose someplace with a beach over a landlocked state any day. And of course all of you are like “But Mitchell you chose to go to school in Colorado instead of Hawaii.” That is because I am a study in bad decisions, and that’s why nobody gave me a one-hour show to announce where I was going to school (although the cheers I got from my family when I said I was going far away were much louder than anything LeBron got).

Still, it was sort of endearing to watch the city of Cleveland try and get him to stay. And by “endearing” I mean “sort of sad.” Watching grown men fawn over him like tweens at a Twilight showing just made me wonder about the state of our society when one athlete can do that to entire cities. So it probably shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise when he had the nerve to have his own show, seeing as we’ve spent the last three weeks stroking ego like… okay better not to finish that sentence.

Anyway, I wanted to watch just to see how in the world he was going to fill an hour with a decision that basically took him five seconds to actually say. As it turns out, they did it by asking him every possible question that nobody in the world would have thought of asking him at that moment. It was like we had a show to finally uncover the JFK scandal and the host was asking the FBI what type of plants they decorate the office with.

Finally, after all of America yelled at their TV “Just ask him WHERE already!!” he announced that he was “taking his talents to South Beach.” I just hope that it ends up better than most of the aspiring models who say that before they end up at a strip club. But he should be happy because apparently he and Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh had some sort of three-some bromance going on for awhile now. Of course, money might be a problem, since at the moment the team has a total of four players signed and no money left. Maybe that’s why LeBron held his press conference at a Boys and Girls Club; he was recruiting.

The only question left is what the heck ESPN is supposed to talk about now. I presume football will be next. In fact if there is one positive about this whole situation, it is that I haven’t heard a thing about Brett Favre, who is normally ESPN’s favorite topic. The only problem is that you just know that somewhere Brett Favre is saying to himself “Hmm, a one hour show to announce a decision. Now why didn’t I think of that?” Of course, with as wishy-washy as Favre is he might have to have multiple shows. He could probably make an entire season’s worth: “Brett Favre: Indecision.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

You’ll have to forgive me, but I’m in a bit of a mourning period. You see, my phone just stopped working the other day. And this is not just any phone; I had this phone for four years now and I loved it like a family member (actually, since it didn’t argue with me all the time, probably more). I loved it because it was simple. It was one of those phones you flip open that actually has buttons and did two things: called people and hung up on people.

But sadly they don’t make phones like that anymore. When I went in to the store, I asked them if they had the same model of phone and they laughed at me like I asked them for spare parts to a Model-T or something. Apparently they only make fancy little smart phones now with touch screens, which I hate. What sort of people would look at a phone and instantly think “Yeah, these buttons are just an inconvenience. You know what will make a phone better? Making it impossible to dial.”

I’m not exactly sure who decided touch screens were a good idea, but I’m assuming that these people had very skinny fingers. I watch other people use these touch screens like they were born to use them, whereas I look more like a chimp trying to smash ants. I tried having my first text conversation last night and the people on the other end thought I was drunk my messages made so little sense. Plus once you’re done, the screen is all smudgy; it looks like a dog tried to make out with your phone.

As with all of society’s problems, I blame this on Steve Jobs and his darn iPhone. People used to be fine with phones that just called people and, if you rolled in the high class, played snake. Then the iPhone came out, and now you are a caveman if your phone doesn’t have GPS, games, books, and thousands of applications more useless than claustrophobic chimney sweeps. I guess you could say that people can use their phone when they get bored, but I prefer to just take a nap when I’m bored (which could explain why the people at the DMV are always so angry at me).

What’s ironic is that the one thing the iPhone doesn’t do well is make calls. I had a friend who has an iPhone, and one day they didn’t answer any of my calls. As it turns out, this is because they were too busy playing Scrabble and then their battery ran out. That’s like getting stranded in the middle of the woods with a dead car battery because you were using the headlights to read Twilight novels.

Sorry if I come across as very technophobic, but that is because I am. My family is not what you would call cutting edge. I mean only a few years ago we still had a camera that used film and a computer that used floppy disks. And cell phones for us were no different. My parents didn’t get one until I was in high school and I didn’t get my own cell phone until I was a senior in high school. And it was one of those old brick shaped cell phones that could use to knock out an elephant if you threw it at its head.

I was one of those kids that constantly had to borrow other people’s cell phones if I needed to get in touch with my parents. Of course, this was a moot point since my parents never answered their cell phones anyway. My dad is good now, but my mom is still horrible with cell phones. My mother is under the impression that a cell phone is a one-way communication tool. If she needs something, she will incessantly call you but never leave messages. But the second you try to call her back, it turns out that she has turned her phone off. It doesn’t matter that she just tried to call you five seconds ago.

I will say that is one drawback to the cell phone era: people always expect you to be in contact with them. Before cell phones, me being 3000 miles away meant I would hear from my parents every five months when they went to Vegas. But now? My mother will call me for things like this:

Mom: “You know your sister didn’t turn in one of her assignments. This is your fault.”

Me: “Huh?”

Mom: “She takes after you. You are a horrible influence and a bad example.”

Me: “I’m four time zones away and haven’t talked to her in months. John Travolta has more influence on what she does.”

Then there are other people who can contact you that you don’t want to talk to. Like sales people. Sales people are under the impression that people like to buy things at 2 in the morning. The only thing I want to be doing at 2 in the morning is sleeping. I just wish there was a way for me to call them when they are sleeping. I’m sure there must be an app for that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

UFC: Ultimate Face Contorting

I’m excited for this weekend, because it is the UFC fight between Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title. For you pacifists out there, the UFC stands for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. They basically put two dudes in a ring, where they proceed to try and see who can cause the most brain damage to the other person. There are basically no rules in the UFC, and they only have small gloves as opposed to the large ones they use for boxing. This means that these guys get to display their creative side when it comes to deciding how they want to hurt the person in the cage with them.

Those of you who don’t get why this is exciting clearly have never watched a fight or might be a member of a religious sect that frowns upon senseless violence. There’s just something about two people just trying to beat the snot out of each other. And it’s not like this is a new phenomenon. I mean, the Romans made dudes kill each other for entertainment, and they got a lot of things done as a civilization. Just remember that when people tell you that American entertainment today is too violent. At least we don’t feed people to tigers (unless you count Sigfried and Roy that is).

There was a while when boxing was the big fight sport, but then Mike Tyson just went crazy and started biting off people’s ears. It’s sort of sad to think that an entire generation of kids will forever just know Mike Tyson as “that guy who sang the Phil Collins song in ‘Hangover.’” Anyway, it took UFC awhile to get really big, mainly because it was highly illegal almost everywhere. Today, there is a time limit on matches and some rules (like no hair-pulling or punting people in the face while they are down). In the old days, that wasn’t the case. They just put two people in a cage with no gloves, rules, or time limits and just told them to beat each other up until somebody gave up or became unconscious.

I first became a fan of the UFC because of a fighter who lives on the Big Island, B.J. Penn, who was the lightweight champion until three of the dumbest judges in the world robbed him of the title a few months ago. Penn was born with two rocks for hands (and judging by the punches he can take, another in his head) and no bones in his body. How else can you explain this (go to the 2 minute mark). Penn’s flexibility has made him one of the best in the world at jiu-jitsu, a skill which by now you have heard at least one idiot in a Tap-Out t-shirt reference. But in case frat boy didn’t explain it well enough, jiu-jitsu is the art of bending people’s limbs in a direction they were not meant to be bent and trying to deprive your opponent of oxygen.

But as good as Penn is, Brock Lesnar is in a whole other category. In fact, he might be a member of a completely different species, presumably the one that includes Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman. He looks like a villain from a James Bond movie. The man was put on Earth for one reason only: to hurt people. And he is very good at it. And his opponent, Shane Carwin, is no pushover either. He has won every one of his fights by a knockout within four minutes. Just think about that for a moment: no man on Earth has been able to be in the same cage as this guy for five minutes without ending up staring at the canaries flying around his head.

The other reason the UFC is great is that it gives men another excuse to get together and drink and eat and enjoy a sporting event. The camera often pans through the crowd, and all of the people there have one thing in common: they are very drunk. My roommate and I have hosted viewing parties several times, which we refer to as “Man Night.” This is sort of ironic, since the only two people to have attended every single Man Night besides myself are the Mosher sisters, which leads me to believe that women are crazy and just enjoy violence.

On a side note, they just announced a ban on vuvuzelas at all future UFC events because UFC organizers aren’t stupid, so I don’t need to watch it on mute. This is good, because one of the announcers is Joe Rogan, and it’s pretty hilarious to listen to him talk about fighting knowing he hosted Fear Factor. Plus he dishes out tons of sexual innuendos the whole night, like “he likes it on top, from there he can really pound away.”

But if Joe Rogan sex jokes and violence isn’t enough, there are always the women. Like boxing, the UFC has card girls, who happen to look like this. And then there is this girl, who is actually a fighter. She’s actually very good, but I want her to retire before she does something to that face of hers. That would be a real tragedy.