Sunday, February 26, 2006

Perception (More Olympics).

When the Chinese figure skating pair fall, regroup for a total of four minutes, and then skate an otherwise beautiful performance and wind up getting silver, they are said to be courageous and true Olympians.

When Sasha Cohen falls (admittedly twice, but wasn't that worse for her nerves and self-esteem?), gets right back up, and then skates an otherwise beautiful performance and winds up getting silver, she is said to have "squandered her gold-medal chance."

No one even thought Cohen had a chance at gold until they watched her short program. How can she have squandered her chance when she was the underdog in the first place?

Oh, media, you crazy.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Eff you, Bono.

Oh, vomit.

Bono Among Nobel Peace Prize Nominees

Go drive up concert ticket prices some more, you hack. Some day I will finish my rant post on U2 and Bono, and they will fear my wrath!

I've said all I've ever wanted to say on Bob Geldof and Live 8 here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Things That Make You Go "Hmmm" (Or: More Olympics).

This article is v. interesting. A compelling argument, but I don't know if it's convinced me. Mostly because when people say "Such-and-such isn't a sport," they don't exactly have his criteria in mind. If his was the definitive definition of "sport," then, yeah, I'd get on board.

Why figure skating is not a sport by Dan Wetzel.

    But figure skating is a competition, not a sport, and it has nothing to do with how difficult or entertaining it is. It is simply a matter of how the winner is determined. It is the same for gymnastics, diving, beauty pageants or anything that chooses a champion solely by human judging.

    A sport needs to have a quantifiable way to determine a winner and a loser. There can be no debate about the scoring system. A ball must go into a goal or through a hoop; a runner must reach home or finish before the others. The winners run faster, jump higher, score more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Speaking of the Olympics.

Like most people, sure, I was impressed with the performance of the Chinese figure skating pair during their performance. If you don't remember, Zhang Dan (the woman) fell during a throw and was injured, but eventually the pair finished the routine and won the silver medal.

But not too impressed because, guess what, they fell in the first place. Although, I suppose I shouldn't be too harsh about that, because it was an unprecedented "throw quadruple Salchow." Whatever that is.

So, yes, I admire the athletes for getting back out there and putting on a great performance even though the woman must have been in pain. I think Zhang Dan showed amazing courage and perseverance. They (actually, she is) are what Olympian athletes should be.

I do, however, question whatever rule let them take a little time out before finishing their routine. Lots of skaters (and other athletes) fall during a performance, but never before have I seen someone be allowed to stop their performance, skate around the ice a few times, regroup, and come back and finish the routine. That does not seem right to me. What makes them so special? People get disqualified in speedskating for false starts, no do-overs for them, but figure skaters are allowed time-outs?

So, yes, impressed with the athletes, but not so much the institution. I think some changes in rules need to be made.

Interesting reading: "Jury is out on skating's latest judging system."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Vanity Fair and Sexploitation.

"Johansson, Knightley Bare All for Magazine."

It's not so much the posing-nude-on-magazine-covers that I have a problem with. It's the two-women-posing-nude-with-a-fully-clothed-man that bothers me. That smacks of something, and hello, mindless drone of the patriarchy if you think it doesn't. Vanity Fair turns my stomach. The cover isn't the only instance of this, either. Here's an excerpt from the article: "Another shot depicts a fully clothed George Clooney as a director filming a large cast of women wearing skin-tone underwear." Interesting.

And then, of course, a big deal is made out of Rachel McAdams backing out of the shoot (it should be noted that she didn't know they were going to ask her to pose nude, so it's not like she went back on her word) when this woman should be APPLAUDED for refusing to allow herself to be sexploited. And don't anyone dare call her a "prude," which I know is a word ignorant people like to throw around. She has been topless in a movie before. Not that I agree entirely with that decision (You never see men having to strip down and show any truly intimate parts, so most nudity in films is just more evidence of sexism. Personally, I think people are sexier clothed, anyway. Leave something to the imagination.), but that, at least, had a purpose, unlike the entirely gratuitous nudity on the Vanity Fair cover. "They" say it's "provocative" when it's the same old cover shot that basically shows nothing.

Tom Ford, the fully-clothed man on the cover, had this to say: "I said to them, 'When you're 70 you're gonna look back and say, 'Thank God for this picture - look how amazing I was.'"

Actually, they're going to look back and say, "My God, look at how much I let myself be objectified for the amusement of men."

Also? Sure, they look amazing. If by "amazing" you mean "chalky corpses." How sad to take two usually beautiful women and make them look like lifeless mannequins.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sport Rivalries.

I love the hijinks of rival fans.

This weekend me, my brother, and some of his classmates went to the Kent State vs. Akron basketball game. Not only is Akron our biggest rival, but before this weekend, we both also happened to be tied for first place. Needless to say, it was a big game. I was worried for a bit, but we won 63-57. Woot. Good effing game. Crowd of 6500+. That's over sell-out.

That Akron. They think they are so clever. A bunch of Akron students (read: 180 of them) tried to pose as KSU students. They all came to the game wearing blue Kent shirts and tried to sit in our student section. The ticket people were wise, though, because they knew that KSU students always wear the gold, not the blue. So they made them change seats.

I, however, had never really been to a game and didn't know this. I saw all of these students in blue shirts cheering Kent, and then after the first time-out, I saw that these students were all cheering for Akron. I was, like, wtf, did I imagine them cheering for Kent earlier? No. During the time-out they had switched their shirts inside out, and they now read things like "Can't Read, Can't Write, Can't Beat Us" etc. (Kent/Can't, right? They didn't invent that.) But we did beat them. So there.

KSU vs. Akron
Originally uploaded by swessell.
Rivalries are fun. When the Akron players' names were read, our band all pretended to read newspapers. It was funny.

As a treat, I will share some more rivalries.

Harvard University Says: "We Suck."--A group of Yale students hijack a Harvard game when they display placards that spell out "WE SUCK" instead of the traditional "GO HARVARD."

"Steelers fans roam free inside Browns territory."--The Browns vs. Pittsburgh rivalry is the stuff of legend. A friend asked me if it were acceptable for a Browns fan to root for the Steelers during the Super Bowl, and I told her ABSOLUTELY NOT. If any Browns fan did, move out of the state. Now. All of these Pittsburgh fans are coming out of the woodwork now that they've "won" the Super Bowl, though. This article talks about Pittsburgh fans hanging out in Cleveland bars.

Here's the most relevant excerpt, that cracks me up (Potopski is a Steelers fan):
    Miller, the waitress, came by with a round of drinks for Potopski's table.

    "They're from a Browns fan," she said.

    "Ah, vodka," said Potopski, raising his glass in a rare display of Browns-Steelers friendship.

    He took a sip.

    "This isn't vodka, it's water," he said. "Yep, that's a Browns fan for you."
YEAH, PUNK. That is a Browns fan for you. So you were HANDED a Super Bowl win by the OFFICIALS who had Terrible Towels in their pockets instead of yellow flags. Whoopdedoo. Why don't you get the hell out of this state, ya damn traitors?

"Browns fan who ran onto field in jail for Super Bowl"--"The fan who ran onto the field at Cleveland Browns Stadium during a Steelers-Browns game was sentenced Tuesday to spend Super Bowl weekend in jail." He should be glad he didn't have to watch the Steelers be handed a Super Bowl win by the referees.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Steelers vs. Seahawks.

...I haven't been this disappointed by a defeat since that putz Kerry blew the presidential election. I'm not much of a Seahawks fan, but as a Northeast Ohioan, it's my duty to root for anyone but the Pittsburgh Steelers. You can bet everyone I watched the game with was in Browns gear. I find it interesting that every damn call went to the Steelers, even a v. questionable "touchdown" by them in the first half.

I want to work for Budweiser. Their commercials were all ace. Cute or hilarious and positively clever, all of them.

All Super Bowl commercials can be found here. My three favorites, in order:

Do you know what needs to stop? Damn washed up, old British "rockers" playing the effing Super Bowl. Last year Paul McCartney and this year the Rolling Stones? No. Just no. Having the Rolling Stones was especially an insult to Detroit, the home of Motown. Mick Jagger needs to just die already. ("He is dead. Don't you know it's just someone pulling the strings?" -- said by a friend of the Brother's). Mick Jagger's "dancing" makes me want to vomit. Get effing Bon Jovi or The Boss to play, man. Get people to perform at the Super Bowl who actually know what the hell football is and who could actually still even hold a damn football.