Monday, August 23, 2004

Shoot the Whole Day Down

Shoot the Whole Day Down

Didja know that Rhapsody has no Boomtown Rats? Not that I'd normally mind too much, but there are times I'd like to start my day with "I don't like Mondays," and the Tori Amos version isn't quite the same (although Tori Amos kicks ass). Here's why I don't like Mondays:

The Quarter Approaches

I'm behind as usual. The spouse still can't understand what I do with my day -- although when the spouse asks, it's not, how's the book review going? or how's the new class coming? but rather, when are you going to re-finish the deck? I admit I am the world's worst procrastinator (although my student with the incomplete is pushing that -- two weeks overdue, they're shutting down the Blackboard site on Wednesday, and she's now dumping all this grading on me just as my crunch is is hitting crisis level. Still, I know that, if I'd got my act together a bit earlier, this would not be a problem. On the other hand, this is my first year as a full-time, no running from job to job, academic, with a summer where I can justify not working as a waitress or something. How can I learn how to do this right, if I have to fight the, "but you have the Summer off!" battle?

Proud Extremely Embarrassed to be a Murcan

Paul Hamm is an embarrassment. Paul Hamm is a big, fat (well, really, little and muscular) LOSER. Really. Paul, you little whiner, you DIDN'T win Gold. You weren't good enough on the day and it sucks, but get over it. Dude, aren't you ashamed of yourself? Look at this!
“I shouldn’t even be dealing with this,” Hamm said Sunday after failing to win medals in event finals for pommel horse and floor exercise.

or even, much worse in my opinion,
Hamm simply wants the dispute to be over. He doesn’t feel his gold medal has been marred.

“I personally feel I was the Olympic champion that night,” he said. “If you’re going to open the door to changing the rules, you’re going to open the door to doing everything. That’s why we have those rules in place.”

Paul, you won on a math error. You weren't really the Olympic champion. But here's the deal -- you got to feel that you were for a while. You got to feel that you were really lucky, too, because ... um ... remember the vault? It should have taken you out. It didn't. But you didn't give a championship performance, and you must know it. No one had a clean night.

So please, Paul, be a man. Be a mensch. Be a sportsman. I'm not the only one who thinks you should give up the gold with grace and dignity (although it's a bit late for that, isn't it, you twit). Mike Celizic thinks so, too, although Not for the same reasons:
He [Hamm] may already have missed his chance to show the world that Americans still believe in sportsmanship and to generate the kind of goodwill that this country will never recover, no matter how many times the White House issues statements about how much better off Iraq is now than it was before we brought peace, harmony, democracy and full employment there.

That's a bit hyperbolic -- clearly it's wrong to even imply that Hamm has the ability to make a difference that could right the wrongs wrought by the latest war against Iraq. He's unfortunately right in that Hamm's actions will probably play badly in Korea after the Apollo Ohno fiasco, but that shouldn't be a concern for Hamm. He shouldn't give up his medal for international relations. He shouldn't give them up to make the US look less arrogant, either -- although he should know he's an embarrassment to a lot of us already, and will only begin to retrieve his reputation by giving back the medal.

But dammit, he should give it up because ... well ... it's the right thing to do. It saddens me that this is even a question for him. It's not like the Koreans are asking for a change because the cameras caught something that the judges didn't. I can see how winning a protest on those grounds would rock the sports world.* But that's not the case here. The judges goofed on the math and Paul Hamm should act like a man, not a baby. 'Cause as much as I believe that we shouldn't force our athletes to be international relations experts, they do represent the country. Our tax money (I believe) helps to give them prizes for winning. They have an obligation to make us proud, not to win.

*Just think what might have happened in the 1998 World Cup, had the referees had access to Simeone's attack on Becks, or in 86, when England went down to the Hand of God. And look at what happened to Beckham when England came home. He was in the right, but still not the hero. Just to remind you, Paul Hamm is in the wrong.

I love Ali G -- Spoilers coming up

So last night, we were watching Da Ali G Show. For those of you unacquainted with the show, it's a piss-take on everything. The hugely funny Sascha Baron Cohen, in the guise of characters Ali G, Borat, and Bruno, interactswith and interviews real people. Ali G is the best, because Cohen clearly does some research so that he can deliberately misunderstand his hapless interviewees -- people like James Lipton, John Gray, Naomi Wolf, and last night's Andy Rooney.
The funniest moment last night was when the Bruno character -- the best gay Eurotrash character I've ever seen -- went to Daytona Beach for Spring Break and got these college wrestlers to "teach him to wrestle", scream at the cameras, and show off their nether cheeks, only to find out they were being filmed for "Austrian Gay TV." The saddest was when Ali went in to talk to Andy Rooney. Rooney came off as a cranky old man who thinks far too highly of himself. He started in on Ali for slaughtering the English language, and then, when he could have taken the piss right back, he got up and terminated the interview. Another crybaby. The sad thing was that Ali G gave Rooney the opening to say something both true and useful. He asked Rooney if it wouldn't make more sense to write the news in advance, so that people could avoid all the terrible things that happened. Rooney got all pissy, and then, when Ali G asked if it had ever happened before, had the newspapers ever got it wrong by writing something in advance -- perhaps over an election? -- Rooney, the experienced commentator, chose to have a hissy instead of taking the "Dewey Defeats Truman" option. Pathetic little man. Da Ali G Show is in the worst possible taste (although I still think it ranks behind South Park), but I think some of the satire is brilliant. It's a good note on which to end the week.

Lordy -- is that the time? I have an online class to prep!

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