Tag Archives: Ryan Lochte

The restaurant that pays you not to use your cell phone. Two incredible plays get me ready for college hoops season. And my man Ryan Lochte, finding new ways to get hurt

NJcellphone.restaurant

I heard about this a week or two ago and meant to blog about it then, but kept forgetting. Still, it’s too good of an idea not to share.

A restaurant in New Jersey had had their fill of staring at diners sitting two feet from each other at the same table, only to ignore each other while playing on their electronic devices throughout the meal.

So they decided to make customers a deal: Surrender your cell phone to them when you sit down, don’t use it for the entire meal, and you’ll get 5 percent off your check.

I think it’s brilliant; in fact, other restaurants have been doing it too (I can’t find the name of the NJ restaurant, one of the rare times you have failed me, Internet).

Most people, sadly, probably don’t think it’s worth the five percent off the bill, to be detached from their electronic goddess for a few hours.

When I first heard the story, the owner of the restaurant in Jersey said about half her customers had taken her up on the offer.
I think that’s a pretty sad commentary, but hopefully it’s a trend: A little bit off the bill, for some peace of mind for the customers in and around the restaurant.

You’re eating, people, turn the damn phone off. That’s all I ask.

 

**Next up, the 2013-14 college hoops season tips off this week, exciting me to no end since I’m a college hoops junkie, as regular readers of this space know.

As I anxiously await the incredible doubleheader next Tuesday of Duke-Kansas (Jabari Parker vs. Andrew Wiggins, anyone?) and Kentucky-Michigan State (I hope Izzo destroys Kentucky’s young bucks), here are a couple of crazy plays I saw this week that should get you fired up.

First (above), a pretty awe-inspiring dunk from a College of Central Florida (it’s a JUCO that I’ve never heard of, and I used to live there) player named Javonte Douglas. Dude has serious hops…

Then there was this crazy shot by Kentucky freshman James Young, who while trying to save the ball from going out of bounds during a recent exhibition game, threw the ball into his own basket.

Hey, even if it counted for the other team, it’s still a hell of a shot!

**One of the most entertaining parts of my year when I was a sportswriter in Florida covering the rise of Ryan Lochte was chronicling the bizarre injuries he always used to suffer.

From skateboard injuries, to stepping on a pothole near UF’s campus, to drinking tap water in China the night before the Olympics (thereby giving him a stomach virus), Lochte had a wonderful knack for getting hurt in crazy and unique ways.

And it seems that Ryan has finally outdone himself this week. You may have seen this in the news: An overly enthusiastic female fan of the Olympic champion swimmer approached him at full sprint. The fan, obviously over-excited to see the superstar, slammed into Lochte and the two fell. On the way down, Lochte’s knee banged into the ground, causing the unfortunate injury.

Only Ryan Lochte could get hurt this way, trust me.

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Ryan Lochte’s reality show is gloriously awful. Steubenville shows where its misguided priorities are. And a news anchor’s really bad first day

If you’re looking for a gloriously awful new reality TV show to watch, boy have I got the program for you.

Sometimes you see a reality TV show and you wonder, “Are those people really like that in real life, or are they just acting extreme for the camera?”

Well, I can confidently answer that question when it comes to the new E! reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?,” which debuted Sunday night.

As I’ve written here several times before, I’m sort of a Ryan Lochte savant; I covered his every move for the Daytona Beach News-Journal from 2007-2011; Ryan’s from Daytona and I was the Lochte “beat writer,” which I meant I spent an inordinate amount of time talking to him, his family, his coaches, and studying swimming websites to an unhealthy degree (Hey, I was doing my job.)

So having said all that, I can definitely say that the Ryan Lochte on the show is exactly the same person as he is in real life.
Which is to say, he’s really, really dumb. Historically not smart. He makes Dan Cortese look like a MENSA member, if you get my drift.

And the whole premise of the show seems to be to let Ryan say and do as many stupid things as possible, while the people in his “Lochterage” (his word) laugh and humor him.

The first episode was atrocious. Watch Ryan hang out with his friends at home! Here’s Ryan on his motto: “I always say ‘Go big or stay home,’ he says with all seriousness (He better trademark that before some unscrupulous charlatan says he invented that phrase).

Watch Ryan go out on a date, where he meets his intellectual match: A woman who’s never heard of wontons and responds to Lochte pouring out his soul about commitment by saying “You have pretty eyes.”

The show is 30 minutes of hilarity for all the wrong reasons. I don’t know whose idea it was to put Lochte in a reality show, but they should probably have their head examined. He is so in love with himself, and so cluelessly unaware of how that comes off.

On the plus side, it was kind of cool for me to see his family, most of whom I’ve gotten to know over the years, be on TV and not just “cheering from the stands at a race.”

Seriously, if you really want to watch some hilariously bad TV, and watch Ryan Lochte scrape his brother’s car’s rims with a toothbrush, you ought to check it out on E!
I guarantee you’ll feel 10 percent smarter after viewing.

steubenville

**Next, a story that disgusts me completely. Remember a few months back the furor over the Steubenville High School rape trial, when two boys were convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage girl while she was drunk and semi-conscious?

Thankfully, the boys got jail time. However, proving that a small-town football coach is the most powerful man in town (especially when we wins titles), it was announced Monday that Reno Soccocia has been given a two-year contract extension.
Soccocia, oh by the way, knew about the rape shortly after it happened, and violated Ohio law by not reporting it.
And so after all the publicity of the trial, and the embarrassment the school and the town endured, the school board decides to give a leader of teenage boys who raped a girl a contract extension.

Absolutely, totally despicable. But sadly, not all that surprising.

**Finally today, let us all raise a glass in sympathy for poor A.J. Clemente. Clemente was on his first day on air at his new job on Sunday, as a television news anchor for the NBC station in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Clemente is in his 20’s, clearly this was his first big job, and he was a little nervous on his first night on the air.
So a few seconds before his TV debut on the station, without realizing the camera and microphones were live on him, A.J. let loose two profane words in a row, startling everyone watching and his co-anchor.

A.J. was understandably suspended. Then, after the clip went viral, he was fired. I think that was awfully harsh of the station; the kid made a big mistake, but to fire him? Not right. My man Jeff Pearlman is outraged about this; read his excellent post about why A.J. deserved another shot here.

An ode to running in Manhattan. A Nike commercial that got to me. And Olympic swimming is dramatic again

And now, something that may or may not make any sense: A brief ode to running through the streets of Manhattan, which I’ve been doing for the past few weeks after moving there:

Voices shouting, laughing, scolding, consoling. Feet hitting pavement at a brisk pace. Horns honking, insistently, like a mother telling her insolent child to clean their room.
The street signs whiz by in a blur, numbers climbing higher and higher as I run up 1st Avenue. Fifty-seventh, 58th, 59th, after a while you’d think the streets would all look the same.
But each one brings a different landmark that I haven’t noticed before: A bodega with a bright sign; a nail salon with a really bad pun in the window; a yogurt place advertising raspberry creme swirl, whatever that is.
I keep moving and the sounds change. Here’s a dog barking, a guy in a suit yelling about his stock problems. A woman yells at her small daughter to hurry up and cross the street.
Some of this I don’t hear; I’ve got headphones on and Eminem or Survivor or Bruce Springsteen enable me to tune out a lot of the noise.
But some of the city’s cacophony cuts through any soundtrack, and that’s what I love.

The city is alive and inspiring, and time flies and muscles stay energized when you pass by so many people, doing so many different things, making a joyful noise all of its own.

**As usual during the Olympics, the sappy commercials get to me and tug at my heartstrings. I still love this one from Procter and Gamble from four years ago, that they’re re-running during the London Games. This one above, from Nike, is new, and while it’s not about the Olympics, per se, it’s still goosebump-inducing.

The best ads play on our emotions; this one does it beautifully.

**Finally, some Olympic thoughts from a wacky Wednesday in London…
— Say it with me now: Olympic. Badminton. Scandal. You’ve never seen those three words together, have you? But it’s true: eight players were disqualified for intentionally trying to lose matches, in order to get better seeds in the next round.

You’ve got to see the video of these teams trying to lose matches; click here for a bizarre two-minute “highlights” video of each squad trying to lose points on purpose.
— Haven’t seen that much of the Olympic tennis, but my eyes opened wide when I saw that washed-up Lleyton Hewitt nearly beat No. 2 Novak Djokovic before losing. A Federer-Djokovic Olympic final would be sublime.
— Another amazing finish in the pool in the 100 freestyle; American Nathan Adrian beat some Australian guy nicknamed “The Missile” by one-hundredth of a second.
I don’t know how you live with that, losing gold by such a tiny margin. If it were me, I think it’d eat me up inside.
— Big day in the pool Thursday; my man Ryan Lochte swims two finals, one in the 200 IM against Michael Phelps, the other in the 200 back, about 20 minutes earlier. It’s a brutal back-to-back but Lochte’s done it before. I predict he gets one gold, one silver out of it.

Michelle Obama, the First Hugger. Good ole’ Mitt offends yet more people. And Jonah Lehrer, fabricator.

Another great night at the Olympics Monday night. Seventeen-year-old Missy Franklin, a few months removed from high school swimming season in Colorado, wins her first-ever gold. And to do it 15 minutes after swimming another race is just … mind-bogglingly difficult.
My man Ryan Lochte struggled again, coming in 4th in the 200 free. And did you see this craziness with the South Korean fencer who lost on a B.S. call when the clock froze, and then refused to leave the playing arena? She got totally and completely screwed, did Shin A. Lam. I feel awful for her. Just check out this picture (below):

On a happier note, the above video I saw Monday made me smile. After Team USA’s men’s basketball team won its game over France, each member walked over to where First Lady Michelle Obama was sitting and gave her a big hug.
Really cute stuff.

**Good to see that future presidential loser Mitt Romney continues to insult people all over Europe as he continues his disastrous tour. It’s a good thing people are paying attention to the Olympics, Mitt, and that Europeans don’t vote in our election.

The latest Mitt-saster (I’m trademarking that phrase right now) came in Israel, where Romney said in a speech that “cultural differences” were the reason Israelis were so much more economically successful than the Palestinians.
Sure Mitt, it’s that, AND also the fact that the Israeli government heavily controls the Palestinian economy with taxes and other restrictions.

Look, I don’t expect the Mittster to solve the Middle East problems or anything. But Jesus, this guy is so unprepared to talk about anything except for why Barack Obama is the devil.

**Finally, it kills me as a writer when stuff like this happens, but I think it’s important to publicize it, if only to show that the vast majority of us don’t do things like this.
Jonah Lehrer, an accomplished author and magazine writer for The New Yorker, and a man who until recently was considered one of the best journalists in his field, has been exposed for making up quotes.
Lehrer admitted in an interview that quotes he attributed to Bob Dylan in a recent book, that’s been on bestseller lists, were made up. He either added words to quotes or simply quoted Dylan when the great singer/songwriter said nothing of the sort.

Lehrer resigned from The New Yorker Monday, and his editor, David Remnick, called it a “terrifically sad situation.”

I ask the same question of Lehrer that I would ask Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass, Mike Barnicle, and so many others: Why? Why would you do something this monumentally stupid, with so little upside and so much downside if you got caught?

Just another black mark on a wonderful profession.

Thoughts from the first few wild days at the Olympics. And “The Dark Knight Rises:” A ridiculous but entertaining flick

It’s been a pretty wild first few days of the Olympics, hasn’t it? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like a whole lot has gone on the first few days, since Queen Elizabeth jumped out of an airplane on Friday night. It’s been exhilarating and sad and awesome.
Tried to watch as much Olympics coverage as I could, so some quick-hitting thoughts on what has gone down the first 48 hours or so:

— Gotta start with my man Ryan Lochte, who as I’ve said before, I covered for 3 1/2 years when I worked at his hometown newspaper in Daytona Beach, Fla. He was phenomenal Saturday in the 400 IM, cruising to a gold medal and leaving Michael Phelps in the dust, in fourth place. It was stunning to see how far off the lead Phelps was; NBC had to widen the camera shot just to get him in the frame for the last 100 meters. It was a dominating, no-doubt win for Lochte, and I was happy for him.
Then Sunday night, swimming a race he never swims (the 4×100 freestyle), Lochte was overtaken on the final lap by France and the U.S. had to settle for silver. I’m sure Lochte will get criticized a little, but silver’s about what the U.S. expected in that event.

— My every-four-years rant: Dear NBC: It’s 2012. Stop tape-delaying LIVE events and holding them for prime time. Frustrating trying to watch races on the computer and have it keep freezing. I mean, I know why they do it (advertising dollars go up in prime time), but come on, you can’t tape-delay sports in 2012! Thank you.
— So, the Opening Ceremonies: On a weirdness scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 43. Dancing doctors and nurses? Rings of fire in the sky? The Queen skydiving (OK that part was cool)? God bless the Brits for going for it, but man, it was hard to follow.
— I found the men’s team archery on Saturday wildly interesting, after never watching the sport before. It’s amazing how quickly you get invested during the Olympics; I was yelling at the TV for that U.S. guy Kaminski to PLEASE hit the gold “10” number at the end. At the finish, the heavyset Italian guy got the 9 point shot (is it called a shot?) he needed, and the U.S. had to settle for silver.

Still, it was exciting.

— NBC showed no compassion for poor Jordyn Wieber Sunday night; the American gymnast was the huge favorite to win the all-around competition, only because of Olympic gymnastics’ bizarre scoring system of only 2 competitors per country making the finals, Wieber didn’t make it.
So NBC decided to show her crying on camera a bunch of times, following her as she walked off the floor, then stuck her in front of America for an interview. I know, I know, it made for good TV. But I felt really bad for her.

**So I rarely ever see big summer blockbusters, but my fiance and her family really wanted to see “Dark Knight Rises” Saturday night, so off I went. It was … entertaining and ridiculous and everything a summer blockbuster is supposed to be.
And while I was highly confused for much of the flick, and laughed at its ridiculousness at many points (here’s one question: So Batman’s got all of these high-tech weapons and a cool vehicle and all that, and his enemy in the film is also pretty futuristic, and yet how do they settle their differences? By punching each other really hard in the face), it was still worth the price of admission.

Couple thoughts:
— Anne Hathaway was really good in this. I don’t usually like her in movies, but she was a superb Catwoman.
— Christian Bale spent much of the money looking sad and frustrated. He does that in every movie, right?
— I know it was a few thousand miles, and a week, away, but I’m not going to lie: Sitting in that theater watching that movie Saturday, I thought of the Aurora shooting. I tried to rid that image from my mind, but it kept coming back.

Still, all in all, a pretty good flick with some cool special effects and a great plot twist toward the end. There was even some humor thrown in so the whole thing wouldn’t be so dark.

If you’re a Batman fan, I’d say go see it.

“The Newsroom” was a train wreck; but “Episodes” comes back strong. Lochte and Phelps kick ass again. And the woman suing a Little Leaguer for a bad throw.

Good news and bad news from my TV watching Sunday night.
First, the bad: Man, that was one sorry, confusing, ridiculous mess of an episode of “The Newsroom” last night. The few parts of the premiere that were problematic blew up big-time in Episode 2, and so many new problems developed.
SPOILER ALERT: STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET, AND SKIP DOWN TO THE SWIMMING PHOTO.

First of all, even for me, a veteran of Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue, those scenes moved way too fast last night. Second, and a major problem, is the completely idiotic storyline of McKenzie and the emailing issues. Who the hell, first of all, uses an asterisk in email anymore?
And could that have been any more predictable, that she would soon write something awful and send it to the entire company?  And then Will’s reaction to it was over the top and public.
Third, they have made both Will and McKenzie, the two leads, very unsympathetic characters, and Maggie, Sorkin’s cute, plucky heroine (think Donna in “The West Wing”) is too ditsy and crazy to be likable by the audience (and come on, Sorkin, she dated the governor’s press aide in college? You can do better than that.)

I’m worried for this show. The premise is great and the cast’s terrific, but that was pretty awful. I hope the next show gets back on track.

Happily, though, Sunday night also brought back the return of “Episodes” and “Weeds,” both on Showtime. Can’t discuss “Weeds” yet because I haven’t watched it, but “Episodes”  is a show I have repeatedly touted and will continue to tout until all you people watch it.

Matt LeBlanc plays a version of himself, starring in an awful sitcom translated from England by two hilarious British writers. Season 1 was terrific, with the season finale last year being laugh-out-loud hilarious in several parts. Season 2 got started off strong as well, with a lot of different plot developments resulting from the season finale.

I really hope they don’t keep Beverly and Shawn apart for long, because so much of the first season’s greatness was their comic timing. But sadly it looks like they won’t be a couple for much longer.
Watch this show, please. You won’t regret it.

**Now on to the swimming. If you didn’t watch any of the U.S. Olympic Trials over the past few nights, you missed some great stuff. The two greatest swimmers in the world, Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, went head-to-head four times in finals. Phelps won three of ’em, but all were close. These two are so far ahead of every other American swimmer it’s not even funny; can’t wait to see them battle in London.
Also, 17-year-old Missy Franklin is so fast and seems so sweet outside the pool; I love that a guaranteed Olympian swam for her high school team this year.
And Dara Torres, age 45, is competing tonight to make her 6th Olympic team. No words to describe how inspirational that woman is.

**Finally today, proof that America may not have the craziest citizens in the world, but we’re in the top 5: A woman in New Jersey is suing a Little Leaguer for $150,000 for accidentally hitting her with an overthrow during a game two years ago.
As the kid’s father said, incredulously: “They’re little kids. A lot of them don’t know how to throw.”

I hope the judge throws the suit out, then throws her in jail for wasting the court’s time. Disgusting.

Despite what you’ve heard, “The Newsroom” is damn good. Colbert on immigration. Ryan Lochte fires the first salvo.

I can’t remember the last TV show debut I was as excited about as “The Newsroom.”
For one thing, I couldn’t avoid hearing about it; HBO promoted the holy hell out of the new one-hour drama, on commercials, on billboards around New York City, on social media, everywhere.
But really, the biggest reason I was pumped? Aaron Sorkin, the brilliant if a little crazy creator/writer. He made one of the greatest shows of all time with “The West Wing,” two other pretty damn good shows in “Sports Night” and “Studio 60” (which I know a lot of people hated but I loved), and has written the brilliant “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men.”

I would watch anything Aaron Sorkin has written. He has a gift for words and speaking patterns like few others ever have, and he always shoots for the highest of heights.

Before I watched Sunday’s premiere, I read several negative reviews of the new show. It’s too preachy, they said. It doesn’t get cable news close to accurately. The characters aren’t likeable. Yada, yada, yada.

Then I watched it. It was terrific. (SPOILER ALERT COMING HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET, SKIP TO THE VIDEO BELOW).
Yes, the first half-hour was a bit sanctimonious and smug. Jeff Daniels’ Will is eminently obnoxious, and Sorkin’s writing was quite a bit over the top here in setting the scene.
But about halfway through the episode, the show started to cook. Sam Waterston is fabulous as a “I don’t give a damn anymore” network news head. Emily Mortimer is a worthy foil for Daniels as his new producer (and, since it’s a Sorkin show, his former love interest. The man loves nothing more than workplace romance).
And yeah, it’s very easy in hindsight to see the way this newsroom decided to cover the Deepwater Horizon spill as a serious event immediately as the correct way.
But as I continually said to myself as I read reviews that said “this isn’t what really happens:” It’s a TV show, people! It’s entertainment. If Sorkin showed what digging and gathering on a story like this really looks like, 90 percent of the audience would be bored.

Anyway, it’s not as good as his other work yet. But “The Newsroom” has definite potential, and cracklingly good writing. Can’t wait to see it again next Sunday.

(And for Sorkin zealots like me, check out this amazing video of how often he re-uses certain dialogue with his characters.

**The major Supreme Court ruling Monday on Arizona’s wildly overreaching anti-immigration law was a good thing; most of the law was struck down as being way too stringent and unenforceable (though I loved Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer still trying to claim her side won here).

After reading about the ruling for a while, I got tired and went looking for something much more enjoyable: This Stephen Colbert take on immigration. Much funnier.

**Finally, since I used to cover Ryan Lochte for a living (I worked for his hometown paper in Daytona Beach, Fla.), I still am very interested in the incredible upward arc of his career.
He’s been beating the greatest swimmer of all-time, Michael Phelps, for about two years now, and Monday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials he did it again, besting Phelps in the 400 IM.
No, it doesn’t mean as much as the Olympics. But this is the first step in what will be an awesome duel in the pool in London in about a month.

Paul Krugman nails the media, accurately. A strange story of a woman who disappeared in her own home. And Lochte slays Phelps in the pool.

This is one of my biggest complaints about the national media in the past 15 years: They are constantly putting forth this “false equivalency.” What I mean is, even if one side of the story is SO clearly making more sense, and more truthful, than the other side, the Wolf Blitzers and Brian Williamses of the world present both sides as if they’re exactly the same.
And it drives me up a freaking wall (as it does Bill Maher, who frequently rails about it on his show). It’s happening now with this debt ceiling crisis, as Barack Obama has bent over backwards and then back again trying to get a deal done, offering everything but naming Sasha Obama’s first-born child John.
Meanwhile, the Republicans, who have once again successfully moved the middle of the debate so far to the right that it only looks like the middle because they’ve taken such an extreme position (you followed all that, right?), refuse to budge on anything.
And yet, the media continues to portray this as a civil disagreement between two sides.
Paul Krugman, the brilliant New York Times columnist, put up a blog post Tuesday that sums this up perfectly. Check it out please; he makes the point far more eloquently than I could.

**And now, for no particular reason except that I stumbled upon it on YouTube Tuesday night, is Billy Crystal, as Sammy Davis Jr., from the 1980s. People forget how utterly brilliant Billy was:

The best stories are the ones you can get lost in.
They may not have the most profound meaning or carry the most important news of the day, but they suck you in and make you think about how things happen.

Michael Kruse, a very talented writer for the St. Petersburg Times (who is leaving the paper soon for a new gig, I hear) wrote this heartbreaking story about a woman in Brevard County, Fla. named Kathryn Norris, who died in her house and wasn’t discovered for 16 months.
She literally, as Kruse writes, “went missing inside her own home.” It’s a really good story that’s worth your time today.

**Finally, my man Ryan Lochte, a six-time Olympic medalist in swimming who I covered (fairly obsessively) for four years at the Daytona Beach News-Journal, scored another huge win over Michael Phelps Tuesday. At the FINA World Championships he beat Phelps in the 200 freestyle final, the third time he’s beaten the greatest swimmer ever in the last year.
Lochte is ascending, while Phelps is finally coming down from the mountain. It’s been so cool to watch this rivalry develop the last few years, as Lochte got closer and closer to Phelps’ heels. For the moment, he’s definitely caught him.
My last story for my old newspaper (sniff, sniff) ran last Sunday, a profile of Lochte previewing this week’s worlds. If you’re a swimming fan, check it out here, and here’s video of the race:

Learning to swim. At 35

Me and swimming? We have a tortured history.
I learned as a little kid, like most people, but really didn’t like it. When I was first taking lessons my Mom and I would go together and I sort of was bored, and then the whole class would go over to the diving board and we’d each take turns jumping in, while the instructors were in the water to catch us.
I was terrified, so I used to cut the line backwards, letting other kids go six or seven times while I hoped no one would notice. (Eventually, someone did).

When it came to summer camp, my friend Marc Feigelson and I would “cut” the instructional swim period and go hang out in the locker room. Neither one of us can exactly remember what the hell we did in there, but it sure beat instructional swim.

As I became an adult, I pretty much forgot about swimming. I knew I could do it passably enough (i.e., I wasn’t going to drown anytime soon), so who needed any more than that?

Then I moved to Florida, where you can swim year-round. I loved the exercise of swimming, and of testing my endurance. Unfortunately, my swimming skill had faded even more (how can you fade from nothing? I wondered.)

My form was awful. I didn’t put my head in the water for fear of getting water up my nose (I really, really hate water up my nose). I could barely kick. I swim in sort of a herky-jerky motion that doesn’t look much like swimming. More like I’m spasming, actually.

I wasn’t getting any better, I was exhausted after only a few laps, and I think i hurt my shoulder at one point.

So finally, at age 35, after a lifetime of being embarrassed, I’m learning how to swim. For real. I’ve signed up to take four 1/2 hour lessons, and last Saturday was my first one.

A friendly lifeguard named Caroline (who was born when Nirvana was big, I sadly realized) first taught me about breathing. My whole life, I never knew you were supposed to exhale underwater. We worked on that for a while, and then on some kicking (man, did my hip flexor hurt), and then tried to put three things together at once (arms, breathing, and kicking) and it didn’t go so hot.

But hey, it was my first lesson. I’m super excited for lesson No.2 this Saturday. Finally I will be able to channel my inner Ryan Lochte and swim like a regular grown-up person.

If I get this swimming thing down, maybe next I’ll tackle staying calm during Jets games.

Nah. That’d be way harder than swimming.

My man Lochte destroys Phelps. An awesome wedding dance. And a reporter gets a fly in the mouth and goes nuts

I don’t usually write about stuff on here that I’m writing for the newspaper, but I’ve got to give a few words tonight to my man Ryan Lochte, who just demolished the legend Michael Phelps in a pair of swimming races this weekend.

I’ve written about Lochte, from a suburb of my current town of Daytona Beach, on here before. He really is one of the strangest but oddly endearing athletes I’ve ever been around. He’s a cross between Spicoli of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and Wooderson of “Dazed and Confused,” a goofy kid who just happens to be the second-best swimmer in the world at a time when the best swimmer in the world is, the best swimmer ever.

His latest brainstorm outside of the pool was designing and selling those lime-green rhinestone sneakers pictured above. Not sure how many people could pull that look off, or who’s want to, but hey, everyone’s got their own taste.

Anyway, Lochte has played second fiddle to Phelps forever, but at the U.S. nationals this weekend in Irvine, Calif. (home of my best friend Clay Pandorf, who just got Skype so now I can see his cute baby, yay!) he soundly defeated Phelps in both the 200 IM and the 200 backstroke. Shoot, Phelps got fourth in the backstroke. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Phelps finish fourth in a race.

It’s the first time Lochte’s beaten Phelps in a major meet. Now, it’s not the Olympics or anything, but it could be the beginning of a change in the dynamic of their rivalry.

Check out my story on Saturday night’s big win for Lochte here.

**As you know there are a few things we love on this blog (weird minor league food promotions, “The West Wing,” strange mascot stories), but one is definitely cool wedding-related videos.

This was from a few weeks ago, I think; it’s one couple’s take on the famous “Evolution of Dance” video that was a ginormous YouTube hit a few years ago. It’s just five minutes of joy.

**This is from two years ago, but my cool and hilarious friend Jenn Goodwin just put it on her Facebook page Saturday, and I laughed really hard.

Watch how a TV reporter loses his mind in five seconds (Warning: Not Safe for Work).