Daily Archives: September 10, 2009

A great Obama speech, breakfast keeps kids virgins, and my wife’s new Mark Harmon obsession



Thursday is here, and time for another “grab-blog”, a word I just coined to describe a grab bag kind of blog, a smorgasbord of stuff in my head this evening:

** So Barack Obama gave a great speech Wednesday night, really making his case for health care (of course, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson had to show his manliness by screaming out “You Lie,” which was among the most disrespectful things I’ve ever seen in the presence of the President. Just disgusting. Can you imagine the outrage on the right if a Democratic Congressman had done that?)

But for my (limited) money, his speech to kids on Tuesday afternoon about hard work and staying in school was equally phenomenal. Check it out here.

I will say, though, that he repeated a myth that sadly still lives on: He said Michael Jordan was cut from his high school team. Having lived and worked in Wilmington, N.C., Jordan’s hometown, I know this story is 100 percent false. As explained to me by Chuck Carree, who covered Jordan in high school for the Wilmington Star-News, what happened was that the varsity coach at Laney High school, Fred Lynch, told Jordan he wouldn’t play much on varsity that year. So at tryouts, he suggested Jordan play JV, which is what Michael did.

This story has been mis-told so often, even Jordan and Lynch tell it like the cut story is the truth. But it ain’t so.

**So there were two phenomenal stories I heard this week on the brilliant NPR quiz show Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me (a weekly must-listen for my wife and I; Charlie Pierce and Adam Felber just kill me).

First, apparently some enterprising researchers in Japan did a study of 3,000 people and discovered that those who ate a good breakfast when they were teenagers lost their virginity 1 1/2 years later than those who didn’t.

I’m a little baffled by this story, as it leaves me with many questions, the foremost being: Was my daily bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch the reason Kristen Eck never gave me a date? Could I have been gettin’ some all through high school if only I’d have been hungry until lunch? And what are those kids who don’t eat oatmeal or toast doing for those 15 minutes in the morning?

— The other story from Wait Wait that I loved was that of the administrators of Thorpe Park in Surrey, England, declaring that roller-coaster riders will no longer be permitted to throw their arms in the air during the ride when its hot out. Why? Apparently the stench of B.O. has been annoying other park-goers.

God, there are so many jokes to be made here. Like, I would expect this would happen in France, but England? And, given that we’re talking about a roller coaster here, this sure gives new meaning to the term “the smell of fear.”

**OK, so, Mark Harmon. My wife is a wonderful woman, but from time to time she gets temporarily obsessed with things. Like two years ago, she was constantly wanting orange soda, all the time, for like three weeks.

Currently, my beloved is spending every waking moment watching reruns of the CBS show “NCIS.” I have no earthly idea why; it doesn’t seem to be a particularly interesting or creative show, the acting from what I could tell is dreadful, and well, it’s been on forever and she’s never cared before.

I do know she thinks Mark Harmon is kind of hunky, so maybe that’s it. But seriously, she’s watching like three episodes a day. I’ll start to worry if a DVD of “Stealing Home” arrives in our mailbox.

**OK, so I’ve been watching several hours a day of the U.S. Open (here’s my new blog about Melanie Oudin’s exit Wednesday) and I just can’t take it anymore. I have to vent about this Chase commercial that they show every six seconds.

Here’s the premise: Guy and a girl are out on a date, and they go to a restaurant. Woman asks if guy has ever been here before, and he says “no.”  Then he notices on the menu that it says “cash only.” So while the woman is reading the menu and talking about every item on it out loud, our guy gets up, leaves the table, leaves the restaurant, dashes across the street to a Chase ATM, gets money out, then dashes BACK across the street, back into the restaurant and sits back down.

The whole time, the woman hasn’t noticed he’s left; when she finally asks him what he wants, he’s just sat back down and says “the halibut.”

So this is what I’m thinking: Why would a guy want to go out with a woman who is so bubble-headed and full of herself that she doesn’t even notice that you’ve LEFT THE TABLE? Wouldn’t that be a sign that maybe this chick is a little self-absorbed, that she’s just reading the menu and talking to you while you’re not even there?

If I’m Chase commercial guy, I’m dumping this girl and finding someone else.