Monthly Archives: October 2010

Waterboarding your girlfriend: Not a good idea. A supermarket thought. And another amazing “30 for 30”

This is a pretty horrific story, but fascinating nonetheless.
A 22-year-old Nebraska man has been arrested for allegedly trying to waterboard his girlfriend. According to this story in The Smoking Gun, Trevor Case tied his girlfriend up, stuck socks into her mouth, and then put a shirt over her head and poured water over her.
Which is basically what the United States of America did to Khalid Sheikh Momhammad and other prisoners.
I hope Mr. Trevor Case, if the allegations are true, gets sent away for a long, long time. What a disgusting human being.

**Went food shopping Saturday, and once again got asked a question at the end that I never remember being asked before recently.
As the kid was bagging my groceries (I use the reusable bags, thank you, Al Gore), she placed them into my cart. Then she asked “Do you need any help getting these out to your car?”
Now, I’m a 35-year-old man, in reasonably good shape. I wasn’t walking with a limp, didn’t have a cane nearby or anything. So why is it that checkout baggers are always asking this question these days? I know they ask it of everybody, but I’m wondering, when did this become a thing? I don’t ever remember, as a kid, the baggers being this concerned with me getting my Tide and my blueberries out into my vehicle.
Was there a meeting somewhere among supermarket poobahs where they decided they were going to help you to your car? I’m just wondering.

**So, yeah, I know I’m a few weeks late on this, but life has been hectic. Anyway, I finally saw the fantastic ESPN “30 for 30” called “Once Brothers,” about former NBA stars Vlade Divac, a Serb, and Drazen Petrovic, a Croat, and how their relationship fell apart when Yugoslavia underwent its brutal civil war in the 1990s.
It’s truly a fascinating movie, as Divac retraces his steps through his life, and we learn so much about Petrovic, one of my childhood idols who was killed in a car crash in 1993, just four years into his career. The footage of them playing together early in their careers is breathtaking, and the music and the war footage are both haunting and spectacular in their scope.
Check it out on ESPN if you get a chance.

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Rove vs. Palin: Who do you root for in that one? And the luckiest people on Earth

There are some fights where you just don’t know who to root for.
Lakers vs. Celtics. Iran vs. Iraq. And Karl Rove vs. Sarah Palin.
If you haven’t been paying attention to this little feud that’s been going on for a few years now, let me catch you up: Rove, the evil genius that gave us the worst U.S. President in history, George W. Bush, is not a big fan of Mrs. Palin.

He sees her as an unserious candidate, a threat to democracy, all that good stuff. And Sarah, well, she sees Rove as a guy who ran up huge deficits under W., and is yesterday’s version of the Republican Party.
Just check out what King Karl had to say in this interview from the Telegraph of London:

Seriously, I’m only rooting for mutually assured destruction in this fight.

**Here’s something enjoyable for your Saturday: Found this on SI.com’s Extra Mustard on Friday. It’s a video of the “Luckiest People on Earth.” The first couple and the last one are my favorites:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The sheer genius of the “Hawaii Chair.” And Barack hangs with Jon

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My friends, some products speak for themselves.
Other products need the full Joe Posnanski treatment, which means an absolutely brilliant and hilarious deconstruction.
You know I love infomercials, as does Joe P. There have been some truly ridiculous ones over the years, but for sheer stupidity and uselessness, it’s be hard to beat the Hawaii Chair.

Watch, and then read Joe Poz’s take. My advice: Don’t drink anything while reading it, because it’s likely to come out of your nose when you’re laughing.

**If you didn’t see the President of the United States hanging out with Jon Stewart the other night on “The Daily Show,” it’s worth a few minutes of your time.
Stewart is a lot better interviewer than he’s given credit for, and Obama really does seem to try to level with him. Once again, I’m struck by the President’s sense of humor. Watch the opening segment and especially Stewart’s first question, which is hilarious:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The sad tale of “Rich Whitey.” A big weatherman Fail. And a hotel shampoo question that puzzles me

Spare a thought of pity for this guy today.
Rich Whitney is a Green Party candidate for governor of Illinois. Why anyone would want to be governor of Illinois, when it seems to be the most corrupt job in America, I don’t know. But anyway, Rich wants to be governor.
Except he may have a little problem on Election Day. Due to a typo on the ballots in 23 wards, he was called “Rich Whitey.”

Yeah, Rich Whitey. I love it. Can’t imagine any African-Americans NOT voting for a dude named Rich Whitey.
If only there were other guys on the ballot named “Poor Cracker,” or “Wealthy Latino.”
And yeah, I ran that picture of George Jefferson above because he was the first person I ever heard use the word “honky” to describe a white guy. And as a kid, I thought “Honky” was a damn funny word.

**When goofy weatherman stunts go wrong: Check out this video of a local TV weather guy doing a stunt with a pumpkin: Hang in, it gets good about :30 in:

**OK, this is another of those musings from my brain:  So you know how they give you those little bottles of shampoo when you check into a hotel? Well, of course you do. So let’s say you use only half the bottle during your stay. When the next guy checks into that room, he’s given a full, brand-new bottle.
So I wonder: What do they do with the rest of your shampoo bottle? Do they combine it with some others and make it into a full bottle? Or do they throw it away? Give it to a homeless shelter?
Inquiring minds want to know. The first correct answer gets my eternal thanks. And the rest of my next shampoo bottle when I’m in a hotel again.

Celebrities charging to know a baby’s name? And LeBron jerseys for the homeless

Two sort of but not really sports-related stories for your Wednesday pleasure:

I’m pretty much immune to disgusting celebrity behavior. The debauchery of Lindsay, Paris, Rusell Crowe, etc. pretty much go in one ear and out the other.
But this … this strikes me as wrong on so many levels.
Australian tennis great Lleyton Hewitt and his drop-dead gorgeous wife, Bec, announced the birth of their third child, a girl, last weekend.
Great news, lovely couple, yawn.
Except here’s what got my attention: If you’re a fan of Lleyton and/or Bec and want to find out the baby’s name, you have to subscribe to a text messaging service and pay $2 a message.
Seriously. I’m not making this crap up. You have TO PAY money to find out what the bleeping kids name is!
Yes, Hewitt is one of many athletes abroad (I’ve yet to hear of this being big in the States) who use Text A Star, a personal, behind the scenes look (yeah, right) at what goes on in celebrities’ lives.
This is what Hewitt sent out regarding the baby, via his website:

 “Bec, Mia, Cruz and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family last Tuesday. Mum and baby are great! Dad, big sister and brother elated.
“The name of the new addition will be sent through Text a Star later in the week.”
And somewhere up in heaven, Alexander Graham Bell weeps silently.

**So LeBron James, a man who in one summer went from the most beloved player in the NBA to the most loathed thanks to the worst public relations a person could ever have, started his new career with the Miami Heat Tuesday night.
And his Heat lost. But who cares about that. I love this story: LeBron’s old Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys were being burned or thrown away by angry Cavs fans.
So an enterprising dude named Chris Jungjohann decided to start a collection of unwanted LeBron jerseys, and shipped them off to Miami.
To be given to homeless people.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Click the link and definitely check out the photos, they’re hilarious.
This reminds me of the story I read once, about what happens to all the old and inaccurate Super Bowl and World Series T-shirts that get printed up and never used. Before a championship game, T-shirts bearing each team’s name and logo are printed.
When the losing team loses, all that gear is shipped off to foreign countries, never to be seen in the U.S. again.
So somewhere in Africa today, there are kids walking around with “Buffalo Bills, Super Bowl Champions” T-shirts. And feeling very happy about it.

The ultimate website for lonely guys who love computer games. And the Walkman, R.I.P.

I’m not sure if this story will horrify you, or make you wish you were a video game geek (if you aren’t one already).
I just heard about a new website called Game Crush.com. It’s basically porn for “Grand Theft Auto” fans. You log on, pay a fee, and you get to select one of many pretty women (Called “PlayDates”) who will play the computer game with you, give you companionship, and make you feel like a million bucks.
I don’t know if this is sad or great. Sad, because these men are basically paying girls to play with them. Or great, because this is obviously a brilliant idea not unlike any other sort of escort service, where a man is paying a woman for her time and interest.
Let’s just say if I were a teenage boy again and had access to my parents’ credit card, I’d probably be on Gamecrush.com quite often.
Of course, what do the guys do when the girls beat them at “Call of Duty 4” or something like that? Does that make them feel even worse, because, well, she’s a pretty girl AND she can kick virtual ass, and you’re just sitting there still lonely.

**Saw a brief story about this on the TV news today and it made me sad. Sony has announced that it is officially discontinuing the Walkman, the original hand-held music device that we all grew up loving so much.
My Walkman went everywhere with me as a kid. I wore out my Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and Belinda Carlisle (hey, don’t make that face) tapes, and would be crestfallen if my Walkman wasn’t working.
I blogged about a really cool experiment last year involving a Walkman on my boy Pearlman’s site; a British writer gave his 13-year-old son a Walkman to see what he and his friends would make of it. It’ll make you cringe, but it’s pretty hilarious, too.

R.I.P., Walkman. You will always be a part of my youth. Though I’ll never figure out why I had to change the damn batteries like every 12 minutes.

Another insane week in the NFL. David Silver on “Housewives?” And a great story about the 11 lost on Deepwater Horizon

I truly think the lifespan of men who gamble money on NFL games goes down every year.
Seriously.
Every season, this stuff gets less predictable, and more insane. I bet on the NFL through fantasy football, but that’s quite a bit different: I can rely on my big stars every week, even if their teams aren’t that good (eh, check that. Thanks for those four INT’s Sunday, Drew Brees, star QB of my fantasy team this year).
Sunday, the following happened:
— Cleveland, the second-worst team in the league, beat the Super Bowl champion Saints.
— The Buffalo Bills, who are awful and winless, nearly beat the Baltimore Ravens, falling 37-34 in OT.
— The Oakland Raiders, who go entire months without scoring 50 points, scored fifty-freaking-nine on Sunday to beat Denver. Fifty-nine points!
— The referees again screwed up and cost a team a game, as the Miami Dolphins recovered a fumble in their own end zone at the end of their loss to Pittsburgh, only to have the refs change the call and give the ball back to the Steelers. Who of course then kicked the game-winning field goal. I’d be more outraged, but it was the Dolphins, so I’m happy they lost.
All I can say is, I’m so glad the Jets didn’t play Sunday. Who the hell knows what would’ve happened to them.

**OK, I gave up watching “Desperate Housewives” after last season, because it just got so ridiculous.
But I caught a promo the other day for Sunday’s episode, and holy crap, David Silver from “Beverly Hills 90210” is dating Bree? That’s just so wrong. What would Donna Martin say about all this?

**Tom Junod is another of the handful of writers who I love so much, I’ll read anything they write, even if I know I don’t care about the subject matter.
Several years ago he wrote one of the greatest magazine articles I’ve ever read, about bullying and his experiences as a bully (check it out here).
Last month in Esquire Junod wrote a beautiful story about the 11 men who died in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf. We heard so much over the past months about the environmental costs, and the financial costs, of the spill.
But these 11 guys, it’s like they were forgotten. Nobody seemed to talk about them. Junod did an amazing job learning about their lives, their jobs, and their families.
Check out his fascinating story here if you want to read some fantastic reporting and writing.

The most unobservant parents of the year. And the Cheez-Its bandit strikes

I’m not a parent of teenagers, at least not yet.
But I’m pretty darn sure, in the handbook they give you when kids are born, that Shlomo and Jeannie Rasabi’s recent behavior isn’t on the approved list.
Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure they win the prize for most clueless, idiotic parents in a while.
Our friends Shlomo and Jeannie, of Boca Raton, Fla., were arrested last week after a party thrown by their son resulted in 500 kids, nearly all of them underage, resulted in teens passing out, throwing up, and exhibiting other fun behavior.
While the party was going on, The Smoking Gun reports, the Rasabi parents were locked in their bedroom. When cops interviewed him, Shlomo claimed “I didn’t even know all these kids were here, they all brought alcohol into the house.” The 59-year-old added, “It was never supposed to get this big, I was in my room the whole time.”

Jeannie Rasabi, 43, told investigators that she had planned the party, but “I was in my room the whole time because my son wanted me to stay there for the evening so he could have the party.” She also claimed, “Everyone brought their alcohol into the house.”
Of course. How could the parents, locked in their room, possibly have any idea that there are 500 kids drinking and partying in their house? I’m sure the walls are very thick, they each had headphones on, and they had NO IDEA the chaos that was downstairs.
Seriously, shouldn’t some people have their parenting license revoked after something like this?

**Staying in the state of Florida, I give you the Cheez-Its bandit. Yes, we all love Cheez-Its, the crunchy snack they give you on airplanes and that we all buy in the supermarket once in a while. (Well, not all of us. I’m pretty sure my mother has never eaten a Cheez-It.)
In Jacksonville a few weeks ago, a man robbed a house and was seen by a neighbor leaving with a box of Cheez-Its in his hand. The neighbor took a quick photo of him, and the woman who was robbed, Ricki Bower, identified the box of Cheez-Its, saying “Those are mine.”
I love the quote at the end of this story by Bower, referring to jewelry that was also stolen:
“The jewelry was my mother’s. She is deceased, and I would love to get that back because it is irreplaceable. He can have the Cheez-Its.”

If they were Cool Ranch Doritos, I don’t think she’d be quite so forgiving.

The haircut ritual. And the fascinating concept of “weed dating.”

So I got a haircut Thursday, at my usual place.
The banter was good, we had a few laughs, and 20 minutes later I walked out back into my daily life.
But while I was in the chair, a place where I usually practically nod off, or plan the rest of my day, I started thinking about the futility of my fight against my hair.
Or more accurately, the loss of it.
Every time I get a trim, I notice a few gray hairs sticking out of the sides, but that doesn’t bother me so much.
It’s at the end of the cut, when the barber holds the mirror up behind my head, and I get to see my large bald spot in the mirror, that I get sad.
Oh, I use Rogaine and have tried other “cures”, too, but really, there’s nothing bringing my hair back. I’m not going for a transplant, and I don’t think my head will miraculously grow.
For me, and for other balding dudes like me, we come to accept what we have and be grateful it’s not worse. We crack jokes and we pretend not to notice that our forehead is getting bigger. 99 percent of the time, we don’t think about it.
Until that one moment at the end of the haircut, when we’re reminded of what we once had. And what’s no longer there.
When I was a kid a friend of the family named Sandy Katz used to admire my thick curly hair and joke “Save some for me at the barber next time.”
I would laugh. Now, I feel like saying that to some other young punk with a thick head of hair.He doesn’t know how good he’s got it.

**Yeah, I know.
“Weed dating” sounds like it would be two strangers in a room, getting stoned, and then seeing if they like each other before the bag of Cheetos runs out.
But sadly, that’s not it. Weed dating is a new social event in Vermont, where single farmers of the opposite sex get together and weed a row of produce together. Then, when the row is done, they switch it up and they each get a different man or woman to weed with.
It’s so easy to make jokes here. Do people who meet this way make out on the back of a tractor, instead of in a car? Could the pick-up lines be anything like “If you think that husk of corn is long, tall and strong, you should see my …”
But seriously, I commend the brains behind this operation for trying something like this. It can get lonely out on the farm.
Not that I’ve ever, you know, actually lived on a farm.
But I can imagine it’d get lonely.

The new sport of chess boxing (seriously). Two great “Modern Family” lines. And the mysterious smell.

I’ve heard of a lot of crazy sports before, but this one might be the strangest I’ve ever heard of.
Started in Europe about 10 years ago, and now huge in London, I bring you … chess boxing.
A sport where you box your opponent for three minutes, then stop, take off the gloves, and play four minutes of speed chess.
Then they go back in the ring, for round 2. The whole thing goes on for 11 rounds, and if no one wins, there’s some kind of points system at the end.
It sounds nuts. But listen to this story, on NPR’s “Only A Game,” and it all starts to make a little more sense.
I love that, as one of the guys says in the story, you’ve got a total physical challenge mixed in with a total mental challenge, in the same sport.

Check the video at the top of the page of what it looks like; fast forward to around 2:00 to get to the good stuff.

**Another great episode of “Modern Family” Wednesday night. Man that show brings the funny every week.

Two lines I totally loved from this episode:
1. Mitchell, talking about the repercussions if they don’t get 1 1/2 year old Vietnamese-born Lily into preschool right away:
“Leave it to the gays to raise the only underachieving Asian in America.”
2. And then Cameron, at the end of the episode, in the waiting room at the prestigious preschool, after seeing their “two gay men raising an Asian baby” angle upstaged:
“Disabled interracial lesbians with an African kicker? Did not see that coming.”
Such a great show.

*So I’ve recently moved into a new place, and there’s a weird smell.
At first, I thought, well, every house has a weird smell at first, and then later on you get your own smell, and it’s all good.
But this smell is different. For one, it smells like dog food. For another, it only smells in the kitchen (right when you walk in through the garage) and in one of the hallways.
In the other rooms, it doesn’t smell at all. And there’s no carpeting in the kitchen, so that’s not what’s making it smell.
Very mysterious. It’s not overwhelmingly bad, but you can definitely smell it. And of course I checked, there’s no dog food in the house.
Anyone with suggestions about what the hell the smell could be, I’m all ears (and nostrils, at this point.)