Thursday, April 28, 2005

An Even Taller Yao Ming at 7' 9"

He's another really tall Chinese basketball player and has got plenty of Ming in him since his name is Sun Ming Ming. He's just about 7' 9" and weighs in at a meager 350 pounds. And yes, he really does exist. A basketball in Ming's hands looks like a grapefruit in ours.

The 21 year-old is training with former MD Terrapin Keith Gatlin in North Carolina, and of course doesn't jump to dunk. Not much else to say about him, except here's hoping he can actually play the game and not be in there just b/c he's tall and something to see (look at: Shawn Bradley, Manute Bol, Muresan, etc). I just wonder how his joints will hold up. He's only 21, but I can't imagine his body lasting a long time in the NBA.


If you like this article and want to read some more original, sometimes sports-related, and usually humorous material, checkout the rest of my blog at:

Where do the buffalo roam?...Pikesville, MD...That's where

Who knew that buffalo herding is part of a police officer's job description in an area like Pikesville. I figure most of the significant daily events in that town might be a burglary or some shoplifting, but buffalo? I never really thought of suburban Maryland as a hotbed of buffalo activity since it isn't the best place for them to roam.

It turns out they traveled some three miles until they were corraled in some tennis courts.

About ten buffalos had escaped from a farm and caused little property damage. Maybe this could become an annual event in Pikesville and call it "The Running Of The buffalos", or maybe not.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

She's From Canada, So There's No Excuse

Did ya hear about Caroline Marcil, the Canadian woman who slipped on the ice while trying to sing our National Anthem? Checkout the video here.

She was to sing it before an exhibition hockey game between the U.S. and Canada. Well, after getting stage fright and forgetting the words, she went back into the entrance tunnel to find a copy of the words. Upon walking back onto the ice and the small carpet where she would stand, she slipped and fell pretty hard. Of course, none of the hockey players behind her even made a move to help her up.

After a few seconds, she got back up and hurried into the tunnel and the game was played without the Anthem.

I understand that her stage fright would cause her mind to blank and forget the words, but there's no excuse for her falling on the ice because, um, hello, she's Canadian. Don't Canadians deal with ice and travel all the time? You'd think that they like walking on ice better than any other surface. I bet that they pour water on bare sidewalks in the winter just to feel more at home. In hindsight, maybe putting carpet on the ice was a bad idea because she didn't have much experience walking on the carpet since she only knows how to walk on ice.

I know she sang the whole song the next morning and all, but that goes down as one of the best worst (that's right, I wrote "best worst") Anthem performances ever. Right up there with Carl Lewis' rendition before a NJ Nets game where he not only paused b/c he forgot some of the words, but tried and failed hitting notes that no man should even think about going for.

Friday, April 22, 2005

It's A Matzah Rap Yo

An even better rap, this time about Matzah, ya heard!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Gym Rules That Everyone Should Follow

I got forwarded a list of gym rules that people should consider when working out. I haven't been a to real gym in a few years, but these still make sense to me. I've deleted a few rules from the original that weren't funny enough (believe it or not). Please enjoy this abridged version:

First, For The Guys:

1. Stop ogling the girls. It is human nature to look at beautiful things, and the more beautiful they are, the more you want to look. But come on - show some respect. Get a look, go back to whatever it is you were doing.

2. Stop ogling the girls. Seriously. Stop. I know you're a beast and have only six braincells, every one of them tasked with thinking about boobie. But for chrissake, have some decency, you jarhead. You're making them uncomfortable.

3. Stop ogling the girls. Yes, it's THAT bad a problem that I have to say it again.

4. Flex in the mirror at home. Sure, you need the mirror to watch your performance as you lift. And yeah, it's really cool to see yourself as you are all pumped and stuff... but must you do a full pose-down in the presence of everyone there?

5. If you sweat a lot, carry a towel. Wipe down the equipment you use. It's just respectful. No one wants to lay in your salty perspiration - if we did, we'd just walk up to you, turn around, and rub our backs on you like a bear would a tree.

6. If you cannot bench 315 lbs, don't get your buddy to sit there and "spot" you while the ladies pass by just so you can rattle the plates. Really, this one isn't too huge a deal - you want to damage yourself, fine by me - you're an idiot and deserve the pain. It's just frustrating to sit there and watch you trying to showboat for a crowd what doesn't give a shit.

7. Unless your name is Lee Haney, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Joe Weider, don't give unsolicited lifting advice - Unless you see someone who's risking SERIOUSLY hurting themselves. And even then, be polite about it.

8. Just because she's female does NOT mean she needs or wants you to spot her. Leave her alone and go back to your machine.

9. Wear a goddamned shirt, you prima donna. To clarify: Shirts consist of a torso and sleeves. If you've cut off half the torso to show your abs, you've failed at rule 14. Same if you've cut off the sleeves. And if you've EVER spent money on a spaghetti-thin single strip of cloth that goes over each shoulder and meets a 2" wide peice of fabric around your waist, you're a disgrace to humanity and should IMMEDIATELY proceed to the vascectomy clinic to save the human race from your spawn.

10. SHUT UP. No one cares what you bench, used to bench, will be benching, etc. and so forth. Write it in a journal at the gym, and if you really need to talk about it, read it aloud to yourself when you get home.

11. Grunting is understandable and ok - yelling is not. Quit trying to draw attention to your Herculaean efforts by screaming like a banshee.


Now, because I am not one, I don't really know much about the rules for women as they apply to other women. But I do have a few guidelines for you gals.

So, For the Girls:

1. QUIT ENCOURAGING THE GUYS. Christ... this is the GYM. It's not a single's bar, quit treating it like one. I'm ESPECIALLY talking to those of you who laugh and flirt and flip your hair all over the place and blatantly poke your ass out when there's a guy present, and then get all pissy and angry when his eyes become glued to it. Wonder why the guys break rules # 1-3 in their list, making you feel so gosh darned uncomfortable? It's in part because you broke this rule. And while I'm at it,

2. NO MAKEUP. you come here specifically to get sweaty, and the last I checked, Mabellyene has not a single product geared toward gym use.

3. Closed-toed shoes only, please. I know you're a girl, and as such, you're not supposed to stink, but your toes sweat just like mine do.

4. Wear appropriately fitting workout clothing. Before you leave the house / locker room, look in the mirror again. and again. Ask your friends. Ask them again. It's one thing to wear close-fitting workout-specific clothing and spandex. Its another thing entirely to wear those clothes one size too small because you think they tighten your flab and make you look like J-Lo from the back. THey don't - if your ass and legs looks like a chewed wad of bubblegum out of spandex, they look that way IN spandex.


And then, there are a few things that really apply to everyone in general.

For everyone:

1. Passing wind is a natural occurance, especially if you are exerting yourself. If someone lets one or 2 fly, or burps a little while running, just grow up and let it slide. That said, don't go farting all over the place. If you ate something last night that didn't agree with you and your intestines are blowing like the foghorn of an icecutter, STAY HOME AND RUN AROUND THE BLOCK. If one's coming up and you can at all help it, sneak off to the corner or in the locker room and do it there.


3. If you take it out put it away. Pick up the dumbells when your done with them. Remove the plates from the bars and put them back on the rack. Hang the jumpropes and weightbelts back on the hooks. Don't be a gym slob - pick up after yourself.

I think everyone will agree that these rules are not out of line. In fact, I think everyone would agree that they are really very simple and direct. AND NECESSARY. Please share them with anyone you know that attends a gym or otherwise works out. Encourage your local gym manager to visit this site, print them out, and post them on the wall, or if you're brave enough, just do it yourself. And if you have a rule you'd like to add, please let me know in the comments.

It's just something that really, really needed to be said.

Finally, a cell phone booth

Yep, that's artist Nick Rodrigues with his own cell phone booth. He calls it performance sculpture and while it evokes plenty of headturning, I wonder how long until public places start offering small booths so people may speak on their cell phones and not bother everyone else. Checkout his interview here.

There's nothing wrong with talking on your cell phone in a restaurant, etc., but when done loudly enough or in a confined area, it gets plenty annoying. It was about 10 years ago when cell phones weren't as present as they are now and places where you never thought of making a call, like an elevator, still pertain even with cell phones and their reception capabilities.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Perhaps I should just cut off my nose

Spring has to be the best season of the year. Temperatures remain between 65 and 80 so you can be outside without breaking a sweat from the great humidity that is still a few weeks away. Of course, if you're unlucky like me, spring also means allergies for two months. On Monday, I was driving by a mower on the GW parkway when I got a whiff of the cuttings and felt it in my nose. I had hoped it was just a random occurrence and would go away. But alas, a few days later and here I am talking about the horrible evolutionary result known as allergies. Mine are strong until mid-June when all of a sudden they're not a problem anymore. Right now I feel like crap with my nose running and a sneeze every 30 minutes.

It's always the same time of year for me and my allergies. Back in high school, I once took an AP chemistry test and blew my nose, sneezed and coughed my way through it. Not that having a clear head would have improved my score, but everyone else probably didn't appreciate the background noise.

Maybe I should just do all my work upside down so gravity can't do its part and pull the mucus (what a great image) out of my bed. Actually, none of this would happen if the stupid sun didn't do it's part. If you need more info, just read this post.

No surprise to me, but the mid-Atlantic region is a hotbed of pollen activity right now. Green is the worst, red is the middle and yellow is the place to be to avoid pollen. You can check your own pollen count at The map below is the current pollen situation for all us Americans.

I went to Shoppers last night for some last minute groceries and started looking for the Claritin-D.

I must have circled the pharmacy aisle three times until I realized what that empty area on the shelf used to have. So all soldout of Claritin, I decided something was better than nothing and went with Alavert. It's chewable and a bit minty so it freshens your breath at the same time! It's two products in one! Well, I chewed that pill 3 hours ago and my symptoms have subsided enough so that things are manageable, but it's no replacement for Claritin.

Until I can get some Claritin, I just have to grin and bear it (poor me). I'm making a promise to myself not to rub my eyes (as much) this year. It just makes it itchier (sp) and doesn't really solve the problem. I've thought about cutting off my nose to make it stop running, and while that would provide some of the temporary relief promised by these allergy medicines, once the pollen subsides, there's that whole issue of putting it back on. So for now, I'll take my drugs, blow my nose and remain angry at pollen. Beautiful flowers or not, it's tough to deal with.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Kids In Jail, Silly Tourists, and Oh Yeah, Beautiful Flowers

The much awaited Cherry Blossom 2005 (CB2k5) experience was just like CB2k3, but this time I've got pictures and a blog to record some keen observations. Not much surprised me this time around since the flowers looked the same, tourists flooded the tidal basin, and I had to hold back my urge to push people into the tidal basin (I kid, I swear, sort of).

The day began by parking at the Iwo Jima Memorial since my friend and I were better off walking across the Memorial Bridge than trying to move my car, let alone park it somewhere on the other side of the river.

Crossing the bridge wasn't too difficult since most CB2k5 visitors didn't venture too far off the beaten path. Of course outside of this area, every major intersection, bridge, pathway, walkway, waterway, skyway, runway, and blade of grass required expert walking skills to avoid those crazy people called tourists. Just saying that word makes me sick like I'm allergic to them that only gets worse and worse as this post continues.

I recognize I did a very touristy (sneeze) thing by participating in CB2k5, but I'm sure I walked briskly, pushed enough people out of my way, and regularly jaywalked enough so I would not get confused with a tourist (cough). I am much more a DC-area local enjoying the town, than some interstate traveling, "I'm sure we'll get a really close parking spot around the tidal basin around 1 PM", "gosh, there are a lot of important buildings in DC" tourist (fever).

(Unfortunately, most of my closeup pictures are a tad out of focus.)

After jaywalking an intersection or two, my friend and I made our way to the first set of cherry blossoms along the warter (if you don't like the tri-state accent, talk to NJ's own Tony S). This wasn't a high traffic area which was certainly nice, but only meant all the tourists (runny nose) were scrunched together right around the tidal basin. Heaven forbid their hotel front desk attendant didn't let them know there were other areas with trees about 100 feet away. It's fine though b/c the rest of CB2k5 or any other year for that matter really tests your patience with slow walkers (see my post about WSSW's to get some idea) and your ability to withstand claustrophobic anxiety. Plus, the desk clerk was probably looking out for us locals anyway.

There wasn't much to note in this area since it seemed this was where the locals like ourselves knew to go to avoid those wacky tourists (streptococcus throat). Nobody in this section shook trees to get their own blossoms, climbed trees for the cheesy yet very illegal picture, or littered. The trash bins weren't even half-full (or for you negative people out there: half-empty) since we already knew there wouldn't be enough trash bins for all the garbage, we just didn't bring any with us. Certainly the trash bins around the rest of thetidal basin overflowed in the high traffic areas. I'd say the average bin was piled with litter about 8 inches over the lip, so I have to give the tourists (dry eyes) credit for their garbage tower construction engineering skills.

Finally it was time to grin and bear the mine-filled area known as the tidal basin. If you're claustrophobic, this is not the place for you. One minute you're walking with some distance between you and the strangers in front and the next minute they're all over you with no place to go, like a bunch of zombies that take over a town in a cheesy horror flick who finally engulf the last family that miraculously survived that long.

(Better pictures get more space.)

It was in the tidal basin area that my friend and I came up with some fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. After reading the activities, you should write down your guesses for the answers found later in this post. My friend counted the number of people picking their noses, I looked for kids that should have been put in the slammer for climbing trees or picking cherry blossoms, and we both tried to stick our heads in as many pictures as possible. This is our turf and we had to protect it!

Actually, we didn't go out of our way to get in other people's pictures, but every 5 feet someone was taking a picture so it was unavoidable. I only felt bad for those with old school cameras since they couldn't erase that bad pic. All the more reason to go digital my friend. You got by with those old cameras that were so CB2K, but not now.

I find it funny that people south of the tri-state area are very passive walkers. While they have more slow walkers than the North, it's their follow-the-rules mentality that stops everyone in their tracks at random places. If you're walking along and someone is taking a picture of their friend next to a tree on the warter's edge, these passive walking tourists (hives) will stop where they are until the picture is done, while any forward (hardy har har har) thinking walker would just walk behind the photographer on the grass and keep moving. Believe it or not, it's not necessary to walk every inch of the sidewalk. In fact, it's pretty nice walking on the grass where you're really surrounded by the trees. There's nothing wrong with taking a little area to stop for some pictures as evidenced below, but there is something wrong when the people in front of you don't see the wide open grass to the left.

Walking on the grass really increased the number of times we could tally nosepickers and kids just asking for a $500 fine. By the way, our totals came to 3 nosepickers and 8 kids in the trees. If we had actually stopped and peoplewatched for even a few minutes more, I'm sure those numbers would have skyrocketed. In fact, here's one violator now. His face has been blocked to protect the guilty.

Another thing I've noticed about the tourists (chills) is that few choose to try a different path than the person in front of them. At one point we were crossing one of the small bridges. As we got 1/4 of the way across, the foot traffic slowed to a crawl. It was then that we decided to make our move to THE OTHER WALKWAY ACROSS THE STREET. Are we the smartest people in the world? Not really, but we do know that less people means faster walking. Look for yourself.

I'm convinced there's some sociology experiement going on here with a sort of "herd mentality", but really, it's not like the cars were moving much faster so crossing the street wasn't out of the question. I guess it's fine really since it just meant a faster commute for us outside-the-box walkers that not only observed an open sidewalk on the other side, but actually walked on it. Incredible, really.

Thanks to all this walking, we were getting really hungry and began getting a whiff of some great cinnamon, and it couldn't have happened at a better time. Before we knew it, we were in the heart of CB2k5 and found some cinnamon roasted almonds. Though the line was long, it was worth it as we finished these in about 22 seconds. I love the sign they posted "This is what you smell."

It was time to make the return hike so we made our own path away from the trees and tourists (puke). On the way back, one of the cars stuck in the massive traffic jam in the area thanks to the volume, decided to drive over the marked crosswalk and block all of us pedestrians. My friend made the comment "Now that is the most asinine thing I've seen all day." She was right on so many accounts and it was what everyone else was thinking. Of course, her reward was someone pushing her into the stopped car as they walked by. She was fine, but really, who does that? I guess they confused the crosswalk with a mosh pit.

All in all, it was a nice time at CB2k5 and I would certainly do it again. Sure the trees are the same and the tourists will always do silly and asinine things, but it's also a great outdoor experience that wouldn't be as much fun without'em. A blog about the beauty of the blossoms is nowhere near as fun as one about these animals that are really just cicadas with money that come out for one week every April.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

I swear (hope) the wait is worth it

This weekend's weather was so great that I just had to get outside and be active. While I did walk around the tidal basin, checkout the cherry blossoms, and took some pictures, I haven't had a chance to finish my post Believe it or not, the grand cherry blossom post will be available for your viewing sometime tomorrow evening. It's still in "draft" form since it's not finished, but it's getting there.

Friday, April 08, 2005

New Michigan Speed Limit is 100 MPH

Someone hacked into the electronic message board over a Michigan highway and told drivers the speed limit has been increased 30 miles per hour.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Star Wars Geeks Lineup At Wrong Theater

Do ya really have to be first in line for this movie by getting there a month before it opens? Well, if you're going to get there early, make sure it's the right theater! Give me a break.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Illinois Just Didn't Hit Their Open Shots

Last night's championship game sure was exciting. From Illinois' comeback in the second half to the last 2 or 3 minutes, it was a fast-paced, mostly well-played game. After Illinois' series of 3's to cut into UNC's lead, I mentioned to my roommate that they just can't keep up the great outside shooting. Well, IU really struggled in the first half, got hot in the first half of the second half (still with me?) and then cooled off at the end.

It's too bad for IU after a stellar regular season. They were a very likable team and now have the dubious honor of winning the most games in a season without a championship. It's hard to deny the amount of talent on UNC, but it's as if they didn't play hard defense because they were running a potent offense and figured they could just score on the other end anyway.

Illinois put up 40 3-pt shots last night. When you shoot that many, you figure some were forced, which is partly true, but many of their looks were wide open. IU wasn't going down low b/c that's not their game and Sean May was clogging things, but would it have been that tough for UNC's guards to get a hand in the face of some of IU's shots?

The only saving grave for IU is the shots were there down the stretch with pretty open looks. All 5 of their last shots were 3 pointers that weren't bad shots or forced, so they went down swinging and the shots just didn't fall. It happens. Nobody's to blame for that since it just wasn't their night. Losing Augustine to 5 fouls in 9 minutes didn't help things since he wasn't around to at least disrupt Sean May's 10/11 FG shooting, but there's no fault here. UNC is the champ and will probably lose half their team to graduation and the NBA, but for this past sesason, the most talented team came through when it mattered most.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Is An Extra Hour of Daylight Worth a Bad Night of Sleep?

I recognize that I haven't been posting here as often as I and you, my adoring public, would like, so I will do my duty and post more frequently. Most posts will be shorter and may be as simple as an interesting link, but nevertheless, a new post will exist just about everyday.

I really like daylight savings time (DST) except how it messes with everyone's sleep for the first day or two, and of course the earlier sun glare. Who doesn't enjoy an extra hour of daylight? It takes care of any remaining winter doldrums and makes me think about exercising outside. Of cousre, thinking about exercising outside and doing it are two entirely different things. Thanks to my tricky right knee that's still giving me trouble, outside exercise will consist of walking and not running, but it all helps.

I had some trouble falling asleep last night and owe it all to DST (and a 90-minute nap I took in the afternoon). I figure my body has a clock that figures when it is correct to sleep and get tired based on how long it has been since the sun went down. Well, thanks to DST, it's all out of whack and an hour behind, meaning I fell asleep around 11:45 instead of the usual 10:45.

As I drove the GW parkway this morning, I was running about 10 minutes behind my average commute time checkpoints when I hit some traffic when the speed limit goes down to 40 MPH. I don't think I've experienced a backup that early on the parkway. I figure it's because the sun is at a new angle and probably makes the sunglare slowdown occur earlier than normal.

Since I'm not going to wakeup earlier to avoid the sun glare issues, I'll just have to suck it up like everyone else, but of course I'll still complain because that's everyone's right to do when there's traffic.