Saturday, February 27, 2010

This Could Earn Me A Pulitzer

So if you’re in a four-man bobsled team, and you’re not the driver or the brakeman, your job is to run, push, and jump into the ice jalopy. That’s it. Run and push, sit. The running and pushing lasts all of two seconds, the sitting slightly longer. Since I once helped push-start a car, I consider myself something of an expert on these matters. I even engaged in a little bobsled training last night while watching the Olympics. You can too. Just stand on the side of your couch and practice hopping over the armrest onto the seat real fast. I did this multiple times while exclaiming “Look! I’m a bobsledder!” In addition to honing your bobsledding skills it provides loads of entertainment for your fellow Olympic-watchers (especially the 20th time you do it). Last night we saw a few bobsled teams flipped over on the dreaded 50-50 Curve (or as the announcers call it: THE 50-50 CURVEAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!).

The flipped over teams went barreling down the track on their heads. Fortunately, no one appeared injured. This speaks to the importance of helmets. Cruising down the ice chute on their heads these teams were able to maintain some pretty impressive speeds and finish the race without noticeable head trauma. Way to go helmet designers right? Well, I believe there is a larger message to be learned from this. No one is talking about it publicly yet, but the whispers in the bobsled community are growing louder. Dramatic innovations in bobsledding helmets are being created in top secret bobsledding labs all around the world. There might even be such a facility in your own community, tucked away and out of sight. Perhaps deep underground, accessible only by password via your local bowling alley or donut shop proprietor, there could even be a top secret bobsledding lab right next door to your own home! What are they up to? Well, here’s the scoop: Helmets are being manufactured with running blades. In the event of a flip over bobsledders will be able to cruise down not just on their heads, but on running blades attached to their helmets. When all four bobsledders align their heads they will essentially create a complete sled blade enabling them to continue their run smoothly in the event of a flip over. Obviously three blades on each helmet are required, a little unwieldy, but certain to provide the biggest innovation in bobsledding since the development of sledsuit butt-webbing.

You haven’t heard about this through NBC because they are in collusion with the bobsledders. As an Olympic investigative reporter I’m tracking this story for you. If you have any tips please report them to me. Do not trust any other news organizations! Perhaps you have seen suspicious bobsled activity in your neighborhood (like odd tracks in the snow that might lead to a secret bobsled lab) or suspicious lycra suit fragments? Report all information regarding secret bobsledding activity directly to me.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cause It Was Ladies Night!

And the feelings right, la, la, la, la, la! I don’t know anymore lyrics to that song, but feel free to sing quietly to yourself if you do. Every Winter Olympics we are collectively cajoled into giving a shit about Ladies Figure Skating and every year I watch like the obedient ‘Merican citizen that I am. This ritualized behavior results in me, every four years, thinking: a) what the fuck was that? b) are my triple-clutz jokes still funny? and, c) who names their child Richard Button? I am still left pondering these issues, but let’s review the final six skaters. Oh, but due to the occasional, yet overrated, need for sobriety I watched the skating sans chemical enhancement. Which means I was: a) bored, b)unable to remember any of the skaters names and, c) compelled to think of things in the form of lettered lists. So here was the lineup:

Red with tights that didn’t match her skin color girl (USA): Not good. Not good at all. Sorry, I feel a twinge of guilt (see what sobriety does to me?!?) trashing some teenager, but this girl needs to focus her efforts elsewhere because figure skating is not her strength. She was painfully NOT graceful on the ice and I couldn’t help but wonder if she had some crazy Mormon underwear on under her skating outfit. You know how some Mormon women have that pale, larval, grossly wholesome look going on? She had that in spades. Not good. (yeah, I said it)
Green Cleopatra Robot (Japan): With the right choreography this girl could be a contender. What is the right choreography you ask? The robot dance. You know what I mean, who among has never engaged in a little robot dance? That herky-jerky suite of movements that never ceases to be funny while drinking could really be her dance genre. On an additional choreography note, if you are going to dress up like Cleopatra you HAVE to “walk like an Egyptian” during your footwork sequences. Everyone knows that. Automatic 15 point deduction, sorry Robo-skater.
Blue Graceful (Korea): She rocked! I Kim Yu Na, she rocked it. Gold medal.
Pippy Long-Sleeves (Japan): This lady was good too. Very graceful. Silver medal.
Turquoise (Canada): She gets a free pass. Her mom died. Bronze medal.
Red & Black (USA): She has potential but had the unfortunate position of skating after Blue Graceful and Pippy Long-Sleeves got the crowd all fired up and Turquoise got everybody all misty-eyed. It was like being scheduled to give your conference presentation following the biggest crank in your field who gave a paper trashing the previous paper, which was delivered by the biggest most famous person in your field. What the fuck are you supposed to do?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Todeigh At The Olympics

I’m still watching. I figure getting completely burnt out on sports I never watch is all part of the Olympic experience. What happened tonight? Well, some Swedish dude won a gold in x-country. Mary Carillo went sled-dogging. There was skiing, the visibility sucked. Lindsey Vonn crashed, Mancuso had to stop her run, she skied over to a crashed Vonn, it was weird. Then they made Mancuso re-run, she did, landed in 18th place, and then she cried while Vonn took off to get her hand x-rayed. The second run was canceled due to shit weather. Which, if you were watching this in primetime like me, suddenly explained why the night’s lineup seemed so lame- you take away the skiing and you’re left with more speedskating, some bobsleigh (that makes it sound more interesting) and some free style skiing aerials (fuck that sport needs a better name).

Speed skating offered the usual parade of ping-pong ball hats and 80s sunglasses but the Womens Relay was an impressive throwdown by South Korea. They beat China. Well, they beat them until the ref’s disqualified South Korea at which point they lost big time. The call was complete bullshit and the 10 minute monologue entitled “Who Paid This Ref?” that I yelled at the tv did not reverse this verdict. China won gold, Canada the silver, and the ‘Merican team won bronze (even though we were soooooo far behind we got lapped). Korea won damnit. With all the authority vested in me as an Olympic commentator, I award Korea the gold medal (if China refuses to give it up, Plushenko should give Korea his platinum). Moving on, bobsleigh was weigh boring. I saw the “too tall Jones” the “snowboard in space” and the “mom gets credit for the happy meal” commercials for the hundredth time. But the Olympic crowds are get rowdier (I suspect most of the bobsleigh crowd is weighsted) and the announcers are all running on fumes. It’s enough to keep me interested.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Swiffer Sweeper Why Aren’t You Sponsoring The Curling Team?

Some things just go together. Much like The Captain and Tennille, me and scotch, Joanie and Chachi, Swiffer Sweeper and curling are an obvious match. They just go together. It’s plain as day. Their union requires no explanation. What’s needed here, and I mean literally right here, is some brilliant and seamless segue into what doesn’t go together. Readers, you need to insert this brilliance yourself. Go ahead, take a minute and think up some text that could be inserted here that would change the course of this paragraph. Many of you are writers so just work your magic. I’m tapped out. Interspersed with my Olympic viewing marathon I am also watching the various shenanigans going on in my Department. I watch both safely ensconced in my saBATtical cave and today I feel the need to rant about one of my colleagues. So gone on now, take this little shred of Olympic coverage I’ve tossed out and work it into a train of thought about things that should never, ever, ever go together. Ready?

Listen up Professor Deadwood, you and Department Head DO NOT go together! You haven’t done a damn thing since I’ve been here, that’s almost seven fucking years. To be honest, I don’t even care. If you want to be non-productive, fine. But, just fucking embrace your role as deadwood. We’ve all given up on you completing any research, teaching a decent class, or even serving some general “senior colleague” advice-giving role. We all put up with your notorious lack of organizational skills, your inappropriate comments, and the general dislike we all feel toward you. We do this because many, many years ago you did some things. Nothing fantastic mind you, but enough that we can all see a little bit of ourselves in your younger self. Your accomplishments are just enough for us to try and maintain a degree of collegial respect until you retire. So what has gotten into you? All of a sudden you want to be department head? No fucking way. You are stirring up all kinds of drama. Why are you inventing problems, pretending to “know” things, spreading rumors? You and Department Head are a frightening mix. Nobody will support you. Your “strategy” for gaining our support is NOT working. Part of me fears that you have dementia and need some help and part of me wants to kick your elderly ass.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Team America!

Fuck Yeah! As stated beautifully by Naptime Writing in the comments of my last post:

“Do not forget...DO NOT forget...that your patriotic duties include getting all jacked up for the medal tallies, in which the accident of one's birthplace is deemed the most important category against which we compare success. If your country, wherein you pay taxes with the athletes who appear in those tallies, has more medals than another, you are clearly, as a citizen, a world-class athlete.”

Damn straight! Suck it Canadian hockey fans! Go USA! These colors don’t run! Or curl, or bobsled, or men’s luge, but let’s not get picky. U-S-A! U-S-A! Hey world: Guess who’s winning the medal count? ‘Merica! And you know what you can’t make ‘Merica without? ME! Otherwise you’d just be left with ‘Rica, which could imply Costa Rica I guess, but do you see any ‘Rican athletes kicking ass on the slopes? No sirreee. In fact it’s as clear as the beautiful aquamarine ocean waters that I would very much like to be swimming in that tropical countries suck at the Winter Olympics. Ha! Unbelievable. You lazy beach dwellers just aren’t badass enough to compete with ‘Merica! Learn to ski damnit. And guess what higher latitude countries: We are crushing you too! Just because your entire population is the size of only one of our awesome states is no excuse. Pull yourselves up by your lederhosen! But thanks for showing up athletes-from-loser-countries! The more attractive among you can enjoy fornicating with our athletes. (But please keep in mind that any children resulting from such unions should be educated in your country, not mine. Oh, and any required medical care is best dealt with in your country too.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I’ve made it a week. One week’s worth of Olympics. Can I keep it up? Am I strong enough? Have I trained hard enough? Am I ready to push into week two? Can I keep my momentum? Have I doped enough? Has my curling hat arrived yet? These are the questions I must ask myself. It all comes down to one thing: Do I have it in me?

I’m in the best television viewing shape of my life. I’m ready for this. I just have to get through the bobsledding (or bobsleigh if you prefer). It’s my toughest leg of the Olympics. It’s a fucking soap box derby on ice. What does one say about that? I’m trying to do my patriotic duty. (I consider my patriotic duties to entail voting, paying my taxes, showing up for jury duty, and watching the Olympics) Bobsledding will not break me! But what the fuck? It’s not a sport. Those sleds look ridiculous. There must be more efficient designs; I simply do not accept that the modified bat-mobile is the best option. And why bother with the unitards? Do you really need a skin tight suit to ride in those ice jalopies? There is the two-man and the four-man bobsled, can I suggest an additional race? I call it the “clown-man” wherein you cram as many untitarded people as possible into the sled, earning points for both speed and comic impact as the athletes de-sled (or de-sleigh if you prefer). Oh, there’s curling on. Yes!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Norwegian Wood

The Olympic village should be turning into a big pile of sex about now. Before the Olympics started, I read a few things about the atmosphere in the Olympic village. Here’s an example. As far as I can tell, as soon as an athlete finishes competing, they start fucking their fellow athletes. So as more events are completed, more and more athletes join the party side of the village. I imagine that for once in their lives they can relax— relax in an atmosphere filled with equally hard-bodied ultra athletic superhumans like themselves. I’m sure there’s a few goody-two-shoe athletes wholesomely reading the bible (Hmmmm. Training 20 hours a day or Jesus. I wonder which one is responsible?). But most athletes must feel like they just entered the best dating scene of their lives. A village full of people in peak condition who have been depriving themselves of all good kinds of fun for four damn years. Then poof! You’re done! P-A-R-T-Y. This is a rather interesting atmosphere. So very Olympian. Have fun athletes!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Make The Call. Make The Call Now!

The Olympics have inspired me to pursue my own dream. Not the dream where I’m in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (where in addition to badass martial art skills I have all kinds of great sex), not the dream where I discover that I’ve forgotten to attend a class for the entire semester and magically appear at the final exam completely unprepared, and not the dream where the MacArthur Genius Grant folks show up at my door with a giant Publishers Clearinghouse style check. Not those dreams. This dream:

I’ve tacked this up at my local ice-skating rink. I can’t wait for destiny to call!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NBC Skating Fail?

I guess we have to talk about men’s figure skating. I watched the “short” programs last night and I am somewhat at a loss for words. I could discuss the ridiculous costumes (e.g., Skeletor, and those horrendous “overalls”), make a few Dick Button jokes (a la hey baby what do you push for a good time?), or tackle the mysterious judging protocols. But you know, I am left troubled, two things really bothered me. First up, Yevgeny Plushenko. NBC aired on of those “athlete bio” thingies. Apparently Plushenko is a figure skating badass— he’s won all kinds of titles and has dominated the sport. The bio however made me think the motherfucking Cold War was still going on. NBC presented him as some Russian thug determined to crush the American spirit. The dude’s an ice-skater, a competitive ice-skater, must we turn him into some evil Ruski for wanting to win?

Second, Johnny Weir. I thought the announcers completely ignored him. Look, I don’t know jack shit about figure skating, but as a semi-conscious human I’ve inevitably picked up on the fact that he had some tv show, made some comments about his living conditions in the Olympic village, is considered “outrageous” etc. I don’t know what’s up with all that (feel free to fill me in if I’m missing some pertinent information here) but I thought the dude skated well. Usually the broadcasters lavish all kinds of attention on the American athletes, but they completely ignored Weir last night. When he first stepped onto the ice, knowing only that he has garnered considerable off-ice publicity, I thought he might suck. That he might be a lousy skater and the broadcasters were intentionally withholding additional publicity. But the dude did good! Why no in depth analysis? Why no extensive discussion of ALL the American figure skaters? I felt like he was snubbed. Why? I am left with the impression that because he is honest about who he is (a gay male figure skater who likes his crazy costumes, uhm, is that really so unusual?) the stalwarts of American figure skating dissed him. Am I missing something? Did he not skate well? Is there more to this story? Am I off my rocker?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hit & Flop

I am digging the curling. I watched a little curling during the last Olympics, but I didn’t pay much attention. It was something of a mystery to me when I first started watching. What’s an end? What are the symbols displayed on the screen? What’s the strategy? Fucking fascinating. On top of all that, these athletes seem like the bowlers of the Olympics. They are the “athletes” that don’t seem so “athletic”, the ones who really do eat at McDonalds, and are the only ones eating the chocolate pudding in the Village cafeteria. The commentary is sooooooo serious. They compared curling to chess. Yeah. What? I’m not really seeing that comparison, but I’ll keep watching.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Speed skating. I’ve been told a thousand times now (thanks NBC Olympic coverage) that it’s HUGE in the Netherlands. But you know where it’s NOT Huge? Here. Right here. Speed skating, much like trampoline jumping, ski jumping, and about 80% of all Olympic sports are sports I never watch. But right here, right now, I am getting a little bored with speed skating. It’s far too early for me to burn out on a sport. How many events are there? It is kinda interesting. They go really fast, it’s rather graceful when they are really cruising, it’s obviously difficult, there’s some interesting strategy going on with the passes, and they crash sometimes. These are all good reasons to enjoy speed skating, but I am rapidly losing interest.

Moguls. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Juuuuuuuuuuump. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch, Ouch. Juuuuuuuuuuump. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

A thousand years ago…this blog would have DRAGONS! Fucking retarded. Yeah, I said retarded. Have you seen these stupid Olympic programming segments made by Dreamworks to promote some stupid dragon movie? Yes? Then you get what I’m saying. No? Trust me, it’s retarded.

Snowboard cross. This is pretty damn fun to watch! On a random note, I once signed up for half-day individual snowboard lesson. I showed up at the appointed place and discovered that my instructor was a student in one of my classes. Fortunately he was enjoying my class and I tried hard to be a good student. It was a good time, but it was weird. (That’s the kind of random factoid Bob Costas won’t provide you ladies and gentleman! )

I better get back to my Olympic viewing. Which goes better with pairs figure skating; scotch or grain alcohol?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympic Coverage Update

Does anyone else think that athletes in the biathlon should wear assassin outfits? They could wear tight little ski unitards designed to look like movie assassins. Seeing them ski and shoot just reminds me of James Bond/Jason Bourne style shoot ‘em up craziness. And did the announcer say the biathlon course was sprayed with urea? Go ahead, let your mind run with that little nugget for a minute, let the “golden moment” jokes flow.

Do the mogul skiers pick the music that plays during their run? If so, way to go Michelle Roark! Eye of the Tiger is a fine choice.

Why aren’t we seeing all the medal ceremonies?

Canada could you just win a damn gold medal already! (UPDATE: YEAHHHH. They did it.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Welcome to my 2010 Winter Olympics Sports Spectacular! Let’s forget for a moment the flaccid torch column disaster and move onto happier moments. Like when those three columns got enormous erections that carried the fire of the Olympic loins to an explosive fireball finish! That was awesome! Except for that one torch column, you know, the one that couldn’t get it up? Geez that was embarrassing. Performance anxiety I guess. I’m sure it’s never happened to that column before, just an off night. As a person who doesn’t give a flying fuck about the majority of these sports and who has a hard time buying the “Olympic athlete backstory saga designed to make you care about them*” tone of Olympic coverage, I still feel compelled to watch.

So, what IMPORTANT Olympic coverage can I offer you? Well, I watched the entire opening ceremony last night- that’s dedicated journalism people! There was a horrible duet by Nelly Furtado and some dude that was bad, real bad— and some old dude gave a really boring speech that seemed to be guilt-tripping athletes into being on their best behavior, oh and there was the erectile dysfunction incident I mentioned earlier. I’ll be honest; it felt like work at times. But damnit I’m watching the Olympics! Bring on the flags! The weird outfits! The judging controversies! The specially designed and crafted medals!

The opening ceremony had some cool parts. The beginning was focused on Native peoples who had some kickass costumes. I was digging it. Then I don’t remember what happened (we’ll just call these commercial breaks) but then all the teams came marching out in the classic Olympics alphabetical procession. The parade-wear this year was pretty boring (Ethiopia looked good, Germany looked insane). They were welcomed by a line of dancing wholesome people wearing my down comforter and my long underwear top. Which is pretty weird- like the costume designer just scooped the shit off my bedroom floor and sewed it together. Hmmm. Then we moved into the opening ceremony performance round. Some cool whale images, some annoying fiddling, a dude flies around the prairie for too long, a bad duet, um. commercial break Oh, they repeated a quote by the president of Brazil. Lula was quoted by Reuters saying Rio didn’t win the "Olympics so gringos can come here to win our medals.”

You don’t hear smack talk like that about the Olympics very often. KD Lang rocked the house, more people hung from cables, and then, some other stuff? commercial break Then we got to the formalities portion of the show. There was a minute of silence for the luger Nodar Kumaritashvili **. Oaths were read, speeches were made, some song was sung. We then proceeded to the torch-lighting (the ultimate Olympic opening ceremony moment). Four Canadian athletic VIPs stood around waiting while the torch column refused to rise (Gretsky looked like he was on the verge of an anxiety attack). But it all worked out, the torch was lit! Then we found out that the Olympic torch has to be widely visible, so even though they just lit a torch, the torch was inside a building and hence, didn’t count. So off we went with Gretsky to light another torch! But this one counts! Well, that’s pretty much all I remember. It was a good show overall. Oh yeah, and some slam poet read a poem . Hey, I didn’t love the poem but major props to Canada for including that! Good work Canada! Anyone else watch?

*The “Olympic athlete backstory saga designed to make you care about them” has two primary varieties. The first is the “triumphant comeback/redemption” version, wherein an athlete’s backstory must involve serious injury, and/or death of a loved one, and/or childhood hardship (e.g., poverty, parental divorce, illness), and/or retirement from the sport. The second primary variety is the “hot chick” which requires only that an athlete be hot, female, and willing to sex it up for the cameras. All “hot chick” athletes will get enormous television coverage (even if they kinda suck and have no chance of winning). Minor “Olympic athlete backstory saga designed to make you care about them” types include anyone whose major competition is a known asshole and can appear as the more “righteous” option and anyone from a tropical island that has dreadlocks and no fucking chance of coming in anywhere but last place (most successful when the athlete also looks like a stoner).

**Ugh. Horrible, horrible accident. Will they cancel the luge events? That track can’t be safe. I heard a commentator suggesting that less experienced lugers were the only ones at risk, essentially saying that the really good lugers could “handle it”. That’s NOT cool. You should not have a track that people can go flying off of and landing on metal and concrete. If you hold the event and don’t change the track, I don’t want to watch. I’ll watch skiers bite it, skaters falling on their asses, and hockey fights. I realize that at this level of competition serious injury is always a possibility. But this luge track seems sketchy.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Re: Fauxmatting Guidelines

Well golly Mr. Fake journal editor! I’m so flattered you want me to write an article for you! As you so kindly mentioned in your email, I AM up to all fucking kinds of FASCINATING NEW research! Which would you prefer, my ramblings on late-night scotch and chocolate consumption (now known as “scotcholate”) or my stream of consciousness 5.8 million word piece on how fucking tired I am of cold ass weather? Both accurately reflect the FASCINATING NEW research I’ve been up to! I’ll get them in the mail ASAP so you can send them off to your fake reviewers and I can add these fine articles to my fake vita. This is just fabulous really. I wanted to spend my sabbatical exploring some “new areas” so to speak (Ha! I probably said that in my sabbatical request! Total BS) and your publication of my FASCINATING NEW research will really help out my career! Fantastic. Oh, one quick question: how many finger paintings can I include with each manuscript?