Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympics [Tape Delay]

Every two years the Olympics roles around--once during the summer and once during the winter. Generally, the sports featured in both the summer and winter games are not sports that garner much attention outside the Olympics. However, as the games approach, the sports consumer, and even the passive media consumer, is inundated with stories about skiers, skaters, runners, swimmers, throwers and boaters--most of whom no one has ever heard of.

The media blitz promoting the Olympics is so heavy that audiences are literally frothing at the mouth in anticipation of sports they only watch every four years. How can you possibly choose not to watch? After all, this festival of sport only comes but twice a decade, surely you must plant yourself in front of the TV. That may or may not be true, but in either case, good luck trying to watch any of the events live.

Getting your Olympic fix on tape delay has rarely annoyed me in the past. I generally wasn't too disappointed that I couldn't get ping-pong live from Bejing or ski jumping live from Torino. However, I was pretty annoyed when the Michael Phelps swimming events were promised live, but wound up being televised live on the east coast only. Then I was downright furious when I stood there watching the race with the word "live" displayed in the top right corner of the screen despite the fact I already knew Phelps had won.

These winter games in Vancouver have been no different. Everything is taped, edited and packaged for prime time in New York. However, this time the Olympics are on the West Coast. In fact, Vancouver is less than a seven hour drive from the television on which I watch the tape delayed Olympics--but I still can't see any of the events I want to watch live!

Perhaps I shouldn't be so upset that the Olympics don't come on live. I grew up skiing and watching downhill blows my mind. However, the truth remains, that for most people the Winter Olympics only represent a demonstration of the various sleds a human can strap to their body to travel down a mountain. NBC recognizes this.

Accordingly, NBC has packaged the Olympics like a show and not a conventional sporting event for years. They plug Bob Costas and Al Michaels into their usual roles and replay Al Michaels "do you believe in miracles" after every commercial break. Then they infuse some patriotic fervor with nice American story lines and national medal counts as if the athletes care about it. Finally, they splice together a highlight real of the major events from the day and replay it as the Americanized dramatization of sport.

Sure there are some live events from time to time. I caught curling on USA the other day while I was eating lunch. I also noticed there was women's hockey on MSNBC not too long ago. However, that is only if you reside on the West Coast (you know, where they Olympics are taking place). There has been far more televised live on the east because the afternoon events in Vancouver fall neatly into the prime time slots on the east. At least the United States/Canada hockey game was on live Sunday at 4:00pm PST. Well of course it was; the game was scheduled to take place in prime time on the east. Moreover, it was only available live on MSNBC on the West Coast. So for any fans on the west that wanted to watch the game in HD, they had to wait for the tape delayed coverage on NBC because MSNBC doesn't come in HD.

Tape delaying the Olympics is a time honored tradition. However, it has become insulting to the 21st century sports fan. We live in a world where we expect to know sports results as they happen. If you don't want to know the results of a premier Olympic event before it's televised (ie: downhill racing, snowboard half pipe, figure skating etc.), you need to hide under a rock. You certainly can't go online, and don't even think about going to --unless Tiger Woods is giving a press conference about cheating on his wife. Which, by the way, you could have watched live on ESPN, CNN, Fox News or any other cable outlet.

NBC has completely zapped any drama from the Olympics. Can you imagine if the World Cup were tape delayed? Can you imagine if you knew ahead of time Bruce Willis was dead in The Sixth Sense? No, it would be pointless to watch. NBC doesn't delay their coverage of Wimbledon, but they still insist on their presentation of the Olympics.

On a day when Shaun White's visage was featured in the center of discussing the half pipe, not even his gold medal winning show could be shown live to West Coasters. Shaun White is easily the most recognizable winter athlete at the games and probably the most famous winter athlete of all time. He laid down a gold medal clinching run his first time down the pipe and had the gold in hand before his final run. What did he do for a victory lap? He laid down the Double McTwist 1260 (that only he can land)--the same trick he slammed his head into the wall with during practice at the X-Games. The crowd went nuts, the announcers went nuts, Shaun went nuts--and what did NBC do?

NBC taped it and replayed it several hours later.

The Monday Roast: Nickelback

1. What button do you press to make your voice sound like that? Boom, roasted.

2. Your fan base consists of leftover fans from Three Doors Down. Boom, roasted.

3. Your lead singer looks like a love child between Sammy Hagar and Matthew McConaughey. Boom, roasted.

4. You said yourself that you "never made it as a wise man." Boom, roasted.

5. The nicest review you ever received from Rolling Stone said you were "[b]razenly consistent, if unimaginative." Boom, roasted.

*Special thanks to our San Diego correspondent for his contributions to this roast.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Raging Confession

At first I thought I wanted to confess everything. I thought I wanted the world to know I've been living a lie and that I was being someone else. But then something changed and it changed quickly. With said change, I need a rant.

First, I will share my transgressions.

For the past two weeks I have pretended to be someone I am not each Sunday and Wednesday night. I have pretended to be 18 year-old, University of Arizona freshman Seymour Crentist, playing Arizona Intramural Basketball for team Alef Bet #8. I would use Seymour's Cat Card (school identification), hand it to the intramural administrator, pretend to be distracted with something across the court, get written onto the roster as #11, and then dominate. It worked flawlessly for three games. Until it didn't.

This is not the first time I have attempted to be someone else for athletic purposes. Last year I was Shmish Tockins for a half before being ejected for grabbing the rim. Yes, ejected. When I was asked my name for documentation and presumably suspension purposes I responded, "Michael Johnson," and stormed out of the building. I was three people in that moment: Tockins, Johnson, and myself.

And is it even worth mentioning the countless times I have been "whoever's Cat Card was available" to gain access to the U of A Rec? For goodness sake, I was once Shmatherine Billiard. Do I look like a Shmatherine?

So back to my confession. I share this not with a heavy heart, fear, or shame but rather anger and frustration. Technicalities erupted and circumstances were such that my Seymour had to be re-added to the Alef Bet #8 roster. Or so we thought. When team captain Milldoe went to re-add Seymour, he was told it was not possible and that Alef Bet #8 would forfeit its three victories.

Well this was where things changed and I knew that a confession was no longer appropriate. Not only was my opportunity to play center for what was to be the greatest Alef Bet #8 team in history, but also my teammates were stripped of three hard earned victories. Ok, so what if we won our first game by 25+, our second by forfeit (which we later determined to be 40-0 because, just like in baseball, we received one-point per minute), and our third by 21. This team was firing on all cylinders and had one-way tickets to Glorytown. Unfortunately, AZ IM wouldn't punch our ticket.

And this is why I no longer consider this a confession but rather a rant, a wakeup call to collegiate recreation department personnel - especially those enrolled at the school. It's called "The Rec" for a reason: it is RECreational. Hell, the definition of rec-re-a-tion is “a pastime, diversion, exercise, or other resource affording relaxation and enjoyment.” Sounds a lot like your job.

So to the card swipers: put your head down and keep studying. Especially the douche bag who wouldn't let me into the UCSD Rec, summer '05, despite my baseball team picture being on the wall 6 feet behind him.

To the gym attendant who actually enforces the towel rule: seriously?

And finally, to the intramural people: lighten up guys. OK, so we were viciously cheating the system. But what if we weren't? You just deprived a sweet freshman named Seymour a chance to play based on technicalities and ultimately your error. That's not cool and certainly not affording anyone enjoyment.

But I get it. You’re just doing your job. And you’re probably good employees; following all the rules, doing what you’re told, ultimately mitigating any and all personal responsibility. Kudos to you.

I'm sorry we owned your system.

NOTE: Some of the names in this story have been altered for the protection of the innocent.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Monday Roast: Miller High Life

1. You are the champagne of beers because the only champagne I buy is $3.99. Boom roasted.

2. Ever seen Miller High Life on tap? Boom roasted.

3. Remember the man laws? How do you explain Miller Chill? Boom roasted.

4. You don't even bother making super bowl ads anymore. Boom roasted.

5. You've claimed your price is delicious, but never your product. Boom roasted.

Western Sitings on the East Coast: Costco

"Clueless in Costco"
by Timothy Egan

Costco is a brilliant concept, but it's not news. It's been around for, oh... a quarter century or so. Some of the gushing posts on New York-based Web sites after Costco opened on East 117th Street have all the breathless urgency of a tourist who has discovered bagels in boulder. (Click the title to read more).

Like this article? Want to read more by Timothy Egan? Check this guy out:

Timothy Egan worked for The New York Times for 18 years--as Pacific Northwest correspondent and a national enterprise reporter. He is the author of several books and part of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning team that wrote the series "How Race Is Lived in America"

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where Should Margot Go?

"Maybe I'll move to the west coast for my year off; the west coast is like a different country for me."

--Margot Dickson

Margot is an aspiring young lawyer who is taking a year off before starting work at a law firm next year in New York City.

So where should Margot go? East Coast? West Coast? China? I want to hear some comments! And be sure vote in the nifty poll on the right.

The votes are in! Of twenty voters, one person thinks Margot should stay on the East Coast; thirteen people think she should head to the West Coast; no one thinks she should go to New York City; and four people think she should go somewhere else entirely.

Thanks for voting!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Life Decisions

Have you ever made a life decision? You know the kind: deciding to move to a new city; ending a serious relationship; going back to school; or moving in with a significant other. Making life decisions is tough work, but after deciding to move to Portland, Oregon I have decided making life decisions are some of the most liberating, thrilling experiences in your life.

For starters, Portland is a kick ass place. It is the type of town with a culture and community that could only be fostered on the west coast--where a zeal for life's joys is truly appreciated and nurtured in even the most square and cynical. Many people are not familiar with this town. After all it sits nestled away in the northwest hiding in the shadow of San Francisco and Seattle. However, just like those other west coast Meccas Portland overflows with good food; teems with young adults; embraces art and varied architecture; and has strange and wonderful traditions. Not to mention there is a greater beer selection in Portland than anywhere else in the nation--perhaps the world. In fact, there are more than 28 different breweries in Portland and countless bottle shops. This is no coincidence. Oregon was one of the first states to repeal prohibition era laws against brew pubs and it has never looked back. (You can be sure that anyone who hangs on board W.C. Homer will be treated to countless beer reviews in the coming year).

But anyway, back to life decisions. I'm a kid who is threatening to be an adult. I'm 25 years old and I've been in school every year since I was 3. No one ever told me that I was going to be in school for two decades and when I was finally done I wouldn't have a job and no one was going to tell me where to go or how to get there. Needless to say, staring that prospect down is daunting. Toss in the fact that this homer is shackled with some impressive student loans and has to pick a state to take the bar exam in and we're in full blown life decision mode.

A life decision is never (or not often) made on a whim. Sometimes there is a "fuck it" moment and you just pick up your things and go. But even then, there is usually a long time spent thinking, struggling and agonizing over the decision. Needless to say, trying to decide where the best spot for a jobless young lawyer with student debt to take a bar exam and set up shop required some agonizing. Where are the most opportunities? How will I pay back my loans? Do I want to live at home? With my parents?! Will I ever have a job? Will the economy ever come back? Ugh! For months I set out to answer all these questions before I made a decision about where I wanted to live.

Eventually I settled on the idea that I would pick a place first, move there, and make things happen. This story was easy to propagate to meddling parents at Christmas parties, who only asked about my story so I would ask about their kids, so I went with it. However, behind the scenes the agony was palpable.

Then one dark morning on a highway between Eugene and Portland the answer hit me like Chris Brown: I want to live in Portland. Then the epiphany started rolling in: that was the only thing I needed to know; the job market sucks everywhere; living at home would be trying; I'm just a dude looking for a job (who isn't?). All I need to know is where I want to live and the rest of the questions no longer need to be addressed. Then a few hours later I found myself standing with my friend high above Portland at Pittock Mansion (see below) on a crystal blue day in the best mood of my life.
It took me some time to realize why I was so happy that day, and felt lighter and less burdened than I could ever remember. I came to realize that for three years I had been in one of the most homogenized, self comparative environments known to man: law school. For three years all I've done is hang out with law students. Nothing seems unique in law school, least of all me. We're all vying for the same jobs and we all spend our days thinking and talking about the same things. The result was that I constantly felt that I brought nothing to the proverbial table. In my law school environment there was nothing I could do that someone else couldn't do and usually there was nothing I knew that someone else didn't know. I felt like a brain washed soldier with a crew cut.

Now all of a sudden, my resolution of a life decision had me traveling to a young, hip, up and coming city. I was going to be one person among a sea of diverse interests and backgrounds. Suddenly my background would be unique to someone else at a party. Suddenly going to school for 22 years would be different. Someone would be curious about the fact I went to law school. All of a sudden I felt my soul emerging, I was about to become an individual again. Soon I could grow out my crew cut and exist in a population of people with different stories and varied dreams. It was all at once liberating, exciting, refreshing and scary.

The liberating individuality I was overcome with was certainly due in large part to being cloistered in an educational and social vacuum with--in the grander scheme of things--unvaried people. That is not to say I have not made some close friends and met interesting people. However, no matter how much of an individual one is, when we're all law students our immediate, interests, thoughts and desires just don't vary that much. I am also aware that social vacuums and lack of variability can be the result of being in any place too long and retreating into the heart of your comfort zone. However, right now my mouth is watering at the thought of adventure and my heart is lighter than it has been in years.

The bottom line is, that when faced with a life decision you will never know beyond any shadow of a doubt that one decision is better than the other. The important thing is, that once you make that decision you must embrace it with enthusiasm, hang on, and keep your eyes wide open; because the ride will be a journey you may want to tell your grand kids about some day.

I know there will still be set backs. Many obstacles await as I try to execute my life decision, but right now I am basking in the glow of being a young man on the way to the Rose City. I also know there will be other life decisions in the future, but I hope I look back on this one as one of the best, because right now it sure seems to be. Either way, at the very least, I'm still in the West!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Monday Roast: Political Facebook Status Updater

1. Ask yourself: would I share my opinions on healthcare reform in a bathroom line? No? Boom Roasted.

2. I’d rather know that the kid I went to Pre-School with and is now living in rural Pennsylvania is “not feelin real good” than be subjected to your politics. Boom Roasted.

3. Just because John Stewart put his two cents in doesn’t mean you should. Boom Roasted.

4. Just because Bill O’Reilly put his two cents in means you shouldn’t. Boom roasted.

5. No one cares. Boom roasted.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Pink and Red Alert

Dear Males,

We find ourselves right around the corner from the annual celebration of love, chocolate, pink and red drug stores, and strange stuffed animals: St. Valentine’s Day. Good luck, gentlemen.

Evolving from early pagan traditions (how is it that we’re so unoriginal that everything stems from pagan something?), Valentine’s Day became commercialized very fast. You wanna talk entrepreneurial? In 1797 a British publisher wrote The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. This was a compilation of sappy prose for the wanker unable to write his own panty dropping verses. Today, it is an overwhelming, billion-dollar industry, albeit with its heart in the right place.

To those of us in relationships or already locked into the expectations of this glorified love-fest, play it safe. I recommend not getting her jewelry because she’ll never wear it unless she picked it out and I recommend not getting her movie tickets because that’s just lame. Dinner and a hand written card – thoughtfully written of course – should do the trick. If it doesn’t, re-evaluate her. And if it takes a commercialized holiday to bring out your inner Romeo, re-evaluate yourself.

As for the rest of us, we must be careful. This is a sensitive time and no one should mindlessly get himself into a regrettable, clingy situation. First and foremost, do not text message anyone. This is the devil’s creation and nothing (or everything) good ever comes of it. There are two weekends between now and Unfulfillable Expectations Day, don’t go out. Do not intoxicate yourself around the opposite sex; you will say things you regret. Do not sign on to Facebook; you will look at your ex’s profile, become sad, and likely text. DO NOT TEXT.

And if you think you’re above hiding yourself, able to navigate these choppy waters alone, marinate in this anonymous anecdote. Attending a seemingly harmless and humorous Valentine’s Day singles party, said unnamed man quickly realized that he had walked into But when he inevitably woke up next to his “soul” (evening) mate on his host’s love sac where he’d sworn his love and removed half his clothes before passing out, well, he found himself feeling lower than ever before. And in deeper than he ever wanted (no, that’s not what she said).

Let us not be cynics, but realists. If Hollywood and Hallmark can romanticize February 14 to unmatchable levels, let’s not fight that fight. Listen to the advice of a wise friend of mine:

No man has ever succeeded on Valentine’s Day.

There is never a winner. Men either survive or are crushed

in a sea of tears, emotion, and over-inflated expectations.

This is an uphill climb not worth embarking, unless you must. And if you must, be understated but bold. If you mustn’t, carefully pass this fragile time.

So if you’re worried that you’re too entwined in pop celebration, here are a few noteworthy things to cherish on February 14:

  • Arizona’s birthday, the 48th State, 1912
  • The nationalization of the Bank of England, 1946
  • Oregon’s birthday, the 33rd State, 1859
  • The Death of Dolly, the first cloned mammal, 2003

If these are insufficient to meet your celebratory needs, I am certain that someone at any local dive will celebrate something with you.

Ultimately, love is good and great. Manufactured love, not so much.

Good Luck,

The Homers

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Roast: Arizona State University

1) In the past two years your football coach has had more players convicted of murder than winning seasons. Boom roasted.

2) Your most famous alumni is Barry Bonds. Boom roasted.

3) You gave Eddie Basha (grocery store mogul and gubernatorial runner up) an honorary degree but not Barack Obama (President of the United States of America). Boom roasted.

4) Did you know there is a second week in the NCAA basketball tournament? Boom roasted.

5) Does anyone choose to wear maroon or gold, or were you also drunk and stupid when you chose to go to ASU? Boom roasted.