Thursday, February 11, 2010

NASCAR: An Open Letter

Dear Dale Jr.,

Please don't fucking suck this season. I don't think I can take another year of blown engines and DNFs.

A Loyal Fan

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2009, You Will Be Missed

Guess what kids? We have entered the second decade of the 21st century. Before we can begin, however, a little housecleaning is in order for 2009. Since I was not on top of updating my blog for most of the year (shocker!), this post will serve as the Reader's Digest version of another great year.

- Flabongo Bowl: I spent Valentine's Day in Phoenix with a bunch of kickball friends drinking. The only thing lacking was bagging an Arizona State co-ed; all the more reason to go back sometime.

- Kickball: We secured yet another bid to the national tournament in what is becoming almost a routine achievement. Also, our regular season unbeaten streak came to an end at 20+ games. That didn't matter because we won our first post-season championship.

- I was best-man in my little brother's wedding. It was miserably hot (106 degrees with 90% humidity), I had to deal with over 12 hours of flight delays, but it was well worth seeing him happy. Oh, and I delivered a killer toast.

- In September I went to Germany & Austria for two weeks and fell in love (with the country). Oktoberfest was epic, the food & beer was amazing, and the people were cool. A return trip is order, with a little more self-control being exercised during Oktoberfest.

- In October I went to Vegas twice: first for kickball nationals, then two weeks later for a bachelor party. Needless to say, I spent a good chunk of change and had a good time. And I'm still convinced that stripper wanted to run off with me...

- I went ice skating for the first time ever on Thanksgiving Day in Pershing Square. Despite wearing skates that were two sizes too small, only one fall was witnessed, resulting in a small bruise. It was fun but served as further proof that large individuals do not belong on recreational slippery surfaces.

- The Yankees won their 27th World Series. Oklahoma lost another National Championship game, then proceeded to lose five games during the regular season. The US soccer team came within a half of winning their first major cup and Junior completely self-destructed. It was once again a roller coaster ride for my sports teams.

Overall 2009 was a pretty good year. Hopefully 2010 can live up to the hype.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taxing Fat People

There is a growing push in this country to excise taxes against 'bad' foods as means to quell the so-called 'obesity epidemic'. Supporters like to point to the drop in tobacco use after the application of heavy taxes as proof that taxing unhealthy foods could help bring our spiraling health care costs under control. While this is all fine and dandy in theory, the reality is that this is an overly simplistic view of an extremely complex problem.

Why do we consume unhealthy foods such as partially hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup, and refined sugar, even in the face of overwhelming data indicating how we are slowly killing ourselves? There are a couple of reasons. First, our access to abundant food resources (re:high fat) have only recently come about; so recent that we have not been able to adapt our pre-programmed needs to consume what we can while it's in front of us. While those needs can be curtailed by flexing some will power, not everyone has that level of self control. Second, unhealthy foods are by and large cheaper than their healthy counterparts. This is the point that most proponents of additional taxes on food seem to overlook. Someone living in Harlem on food stamps will probably have a tough time justifying organically grown chicken when they can get a double cheeseburger at McDonald's for a dollar. And lastly, there is the issue of taste. Sugar make things taste better. So does fat. And so does salt. Most people will make that argument all day long, no matter how much you try to dissuade them.

This whole argument really only comes down to one thing: money. People who are able to stay in good health do not want to pay for those who for whatever reason cannot. Taxing unhealthy food (and using that money to subsidize health care) could help shift the financial burden of treating obesity related diseases to those who are more likely to develop them over time. However, those people more than likely are not in a position to lead a healthier lifestyle in the first place. And just to play devil's advocate for a moment: what happens if someone who is perfectly healthy develops coronary heart disease? Or Type-II diabetes? The bottom line is that each individual is different. Adding a tax to the cheeseburger someone grabs in a hurry is not going to solve our national health care issues; rather, it will only place a bandaid on a system that is fundamentally flawed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Summer Already, But...'s not 100 degrees yet here in the desert. What gives? Sure, I enjoy highs in the low 70's just as much as the next guy, but the lack of heat this late in the year has me worried. Not because my electricity bill has appreciated the air conditioner sitting idle. Rather, because after growing up in the Midwest, a cool start to the summer usually means only one thing: the rest of the summer is absolutely miserable. And when you are in the desert, that means 115+ degrees. At least there is no humidity, and it cools down at night. But still; 115 degrees is 115 degrees no matter how you slice it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Obligatory Classic Rock

If you do not like Bob Seger, then I don't trust you. Period. Even though 'Against The Wind' was released in 1980, it could technically be considered classic rock now (especially since Red Hot Chili Peppers have been getting play on classic rock stations). Every time I hear this song I think of some guy heading off into some great unknown, pickup truck half-filled with the remnants of unfulfilled dreams, trying to pick up the pieces of his life and make sense of it all. Sometimes the pickup even has a gun rack. Why? Because that is what I grew up with. Note: all the live versions were of horrible audio quality, so this is the best I could do. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tiananmen Square

Today marks the 20th anniversary of student protests against government repression at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. For many people this event can be summed up in one statement: tank man. Even though I was in elementary school at the time and did not completely understand what all the fuss was about, the image of someone willfully being run over by a tank was enough to realize that something was wrong. Of course, the Chinese government denies that anyone was hurt during the protests.The enusing two decades have seen some interesting changes. While China has embraced captilism, they continue to maintain strict Communist rule over their citizens aided by technology. Case in point: a quick search on Google for ‘tiananmen square’ turns up several photos of tank man and other protest-related images. However, using the same search on (Google China), one cannot find any references to the “June 4th inicident”, rather an almost blank screen due to ‘site maintenance’. And when questioned about the events of June 4th, Chinese students who are roughly my age had no idea what they were being asked about. Somewhere George Orwell is turning over in his grave.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obligatory Classic Rock

In the interest of having at least a weekly update (and to prey upon my laziness), I am going to start posting embedded clips of classic rock. So this week will feature arguably the greatest guitar player ever, Jimi Hendrix, performing one of my favorite songs ever, All Along The Watchtower. This is actually a cover of a Bob Dylan song. Interestingly enough, Dylan credits Hendrix with improving the song, even going so far as to perform the song more like Hendrix as time went on. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Gym

Once upon a time, I used to love to exercise. That was during high school and college, though, when I had hours of free time to pick and choose when to work out. Now that I am in the real world my time has been severely constrained and working out in an empty gym is not an option anymore. And while public gyms do have their benefits (nice equipment, lots of eye candy), they harbor several of my exercise pet peeves.

Cell phones: If you can't put down your cell phone for an hour or so, you don't need to be at the gym. Go home and quite hogging the equipment I have been waiting 20 minutes to use.

Huge bottles of water: Unless you're running a marathon, you don't need to drink a gallon of water in less than an hour. There are water fountains everywhere, so you won't die of dehydration.

Beach muscles: If your arms are bigger than your thighs, you're not well-muscled; you're a douche. There are these things called squats. You might try them sometime.

Groups: I understand that most people like to exercise with a partner (I don't). But this is a gym, not a social club. It doesn't take 15 minutes to do two sets of curls, so shut up and actually work out.

Maybe one of these days I will have the space available for a home gym. Until then, I will just have to deal with the idiots at the gym who claim to work out.