When we finally come up for air after this weekend it will be a six-day weekend for the kids. In the meantime, the little jackals will continue to mercilessly pummel me with half-assed little kid snowballs before waiting until my back is turned before attacking with some arcane martial arts punch and/or kick.
Someone (for the love of God!) open up the schools! My body is officially a giant wound.
Hopefully, there will be nothing to dig or defend against this weekend so some of us can recoup from a week of beatings given out by Mother Nature and my offspring. In the meantime, there’s plenty to keep an eye on this weekend and strangely, none of it has anything to do with the pro teams from Philadelphia.
Oh sure, spring training opens next week, but that’s largely ceremonial to begin with since nearly every player has a.) been working out at the training facility already, or b.) been working out on their own with their trainer/guru/wife/teammates. But then again, baseball is pretty much all ceremonial. There’s all that whiny, metaphoric Opening Day stuff that should make anyone with any association with baseball want to stuff their head in an oven. At least were at a point in the game’s history where we can laugh at the rituals, traditions and rituals. With the drugs, bad behavior and institutional racism that dot the game’s long history, a little ceremonial pining for dates on a calendar isn’t all that bad.
Speaking of ceremonies, apparently the winter Olympics begins in a couple of hours or something—it’s tough to tell. Since all the snow earmarked for the folks in Vancouver has been transplanted on top of us, sane people are winter-ed out. Besides, what are these events? The luge? I did that when I woke up with a head cold and wanted to clear my nasal passages. Ski jumping and free-style moguls? Whatever… I did moves better than those the first time I ever put skis on my feet. No, I didn't try to make those moves, but that's just a technicality.
Big deal, right? Apparently the winter Olympics are a big enough deal to shut down the NHL for two weeks right in the middle of the season. Can you imagine that? The season was motoring on as its wont to do in February and then all of a sudden the players leave and join different teams for two weeks… and nobody cares! Remember the last time the NHL took a break for the whole season back in 2004-05? Remember? They called it a “lockout” or something?
No, I don’t remember it, either.
Nothing against the winter Olympics, but I doubt I’m going to watch. In fact, the only way I’ll watch is if I slip on some ice, luge down the hill in front of the house and end up in traction in the hospital. If that happens (and only if that happens) and I can’t reach the remote (because I’m in traction and my wife LOVES the pagaentry and the costumes of the ice skating), maybe I’ll watch. Hopefully that Johnny Weir will be skating, too. I like that dude because he fits into a the long line of flamboyant, trash-talking athletes like Reggie Jackson, Larry Bird, Terrell Owens, Michael Jordan and Dick Buttons. Johnny Weir is also from the southern end of Lancaster County, which is a part of the country that put the “thump” into “bible thumping.”
It is both perfectly logical and incredibly insane that Johnny Weir is from Lancaster County, Pa. Please don’t ask for an explanation. If you know, it makes sense.
Speaking of trash-talking flamboyance, the NBA All-Star weekend takes place on Saturday where they will dunk, shoot and then play the All-Star Game in a football stadium in Dallas. According to reports, they are expecting 92,000 people to show up, which commissioner David Stern says will be the largest crowd to see a basketball game “in the history of the world.” However, Allen Iverson will not be amongst the attendees at the All-Star Game even though he was voted in by the fans as a starter. No, we’re not going to get into the pros and cons of fan All-Star voting and/or Iverson’s unworthiness to participate in the weekend’s events designed to celebrate the majesty and the egos of the best players on the planet. The truth is the NBA has the best All-Star Game going simply because they don’t do that whole bit where every-team-must-be-represented schtick that baseball does. Who wants to see the best player from a bad team?
No, making it to the All-Star Game in the NBA is significant. It carries some weight because only 12 guys get to go. In last summer’s baseball All-Star Game, Zach Duke was selected to be in the game. Oh sure, 2009 was his best season because he went 11-16 with an ERA below 5, but in the NBA an MVP candidate (Brandon Jennings, a stretch, but hey… he’s a candidate) is relegated to the rookie game.
Nevertheless, the concept of the All-Star Games and putting sledding on TV and calling it the Olympics is pretty old fashioned. You know, old fashioned like the mail delivery that led to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue to be shoved through my door.
Look, even a beat-up and tired dude like me knows old-fashioned when he sees it and this time it was shoved through the mail slot in my door. So when I walked over to pick up the pile of magazines and junk mail on the ground, I saw Brooklyn Decker staring coquettishly from behind a bank statement. But rather than going for the rather flimsy-feeling magazine, I went for the bank statement. After all, in this age the fact that the bank is actually telling me I have money is the biggest turn-on.
Look, as one of those so-called red-blooded Americans, I like half-naked women as much as the next person. Think about it... what else Americans really do well any more. There's all-you-can-eat buffets; whining about the weather; spiraling, out-of-control credit debt; and scantily clad men and women. That's us.
But c'mon, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? In 2010? Really?
Poor Brooklyn. She looks so hip, young and fresh on the cover of a magazine sold to a demographic filthy with men in their 40s. Is there anything less hip than that? Worse, in the age where we can see anything at any time with our onDemand and high-speed Internet connections, what's the point of the swimsuit issue? Is it for the exotic settings or top-level photography? The product placement for bathing suits that only 12 people in the world can squeeze in to?
Whatever it is, the formula doesn't seem to work anymore. Call it an anachronism to a different era when things like swimsuit models weren't ubiquitous. Back in its heyday, the swimsuit issue really cornered the market for such things. There was no Maxim or any other so-called men's lifestyle magazines littering the newsstands the way they do now. Actually, in the halcyon days of SI's swimsuit issue, it was all or nothing. If a guy wanted to see that sort of thing he had to go to the back corner of a drug store and reach to the highest shelf where they kept the Playboy and Penthouse wrapped in a brown paper bag (or at least that’s what I’m told).
Yes, the good old days. Sigh!
Yet here we are in the digital age and Sports Illustrated is sticking to its guns. Just like it does every year, the magazine offers up freakishly air-brushed and pushed up women dressed in impractical swim wear. Or, barring that, body paint.
Yep, been there, done that.
Maybe Sports Illustrated already knows its swimsuit issue is tired, yet keeps trotting it out there (and giving it away for free on its web site) because it can. Think about it, are there any other companies whose egos are so out of control that they can fly staffs of people to remote points on the globe in order to take pictures of women next to nothing? When times were flush it was no big deal, but in this economic climate? Really? These days when folks are losing jobs and their homes, sweet, little, hipless Brooklyn strutting around in the Maldives in her fancy britches might be a little excessive.
Can't they just blue screen or Photoshop in the beach? Hell, they airbrush out everything else, right?
Can they brush out all the snow while they're at it?
 Am I allowed to lock them in the garage until the snow melts or school is back in session (whichever comes first)? Is that wrong?
 Is there a more perfect name for a champion ice skater than Dick Buttons? Silly question… the answer is no.
 You know, besides Bank of America, Bank of New York Mellon, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Merrill Lynch & Co., Morgan Stanley, State Street Corporation, Wells Fargo & Company, and Goldman Sachs