Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reasons I will no longer watch the Olympics

Because the Chinese beat us at pairs figure skating. I read somewhere that half the people in China don't have running water. Yet somehow they managed to find enough of it, freeze it and still kick our butts...because I don't understand how one bobsled can beat another. Take a sled and push it down a hill. Why does one go faster? And what does the guy in back do other than push? He jumps in and then does NOTHING. You shouldn't get a gold medal for being a passenger...because curling is not a sport. It's shuffleboard with brooms...because nobody at NBC had the guts to ask Shani Davis the question on everybody's mind: why do you have a bug up your butt?...because Bob Costas' hair gets darker every day...because I don't need to see Matt Lauer laying on top of Al Roker while riding a luge...because everybody except the gold medal guy fell in men's ice skating. Hey, I could fall while doing a quad toe loop. Why aren't I in Torino?...because Bode Miller was a loser even before he came to Torino; he just reinforced it during the Games... because the girl who hotdogged in the snowboardcross and lost the gold medal blew it by not facing the cameras and saying, "I screwed up. Kids, if you're watching, don't do what I did."...because I will always know the results of every single event before the NBC broadcast occurs, unless I live in a cave or unless the next Olympic site is in my backyard... because I neither shoot nor cross country ski so the biathalon seems useless to me...and because I don't want to look at snow when I can just look out my own window and see far too much of it. Bring on the Spring Olympics!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Random Thoughts from the Road

KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE - Sitting in my hotel watching the Grammys. Dave Chappelle just introduced Sly Stone, who supposedly has been a “recluse” for 19 years. Some advice for Sly: If you don’t want to be noticed, lose the white Mohawk and the purple coat. .. Chris Rock beat Larry the Cable Guy for best comedy album. Having those two in the same category is like inviting Bill Clinton and the Tri Delta sorority house to the same dinner party…I still can’t believe Larry the Cable Guy is Dan Whitney, the guy who started doing comedy with me in West Palm Beach, Florida; the guy who hung out at my apartment in Florida, and later in Chicago; the guy who was the most high maintenance houseguest I’ve ever had..Jamie Foxx has now won an Oscar and a Grammy in the same year. I’ve lived in my neighborhood for seven years and still can’t win the neighborhood golf tournament…I’ve stayed in three Marriotts in three different cities this week and the toilet hasn’t worked in any of them…are there any bald people in Tennessee? Everybody seems to have lots of hair – and perfectly coiffed. And what’s the life expectancy in that state? Forty-three? The main breakfast ingredient seems to be cheese. Your cholesterol count triples before you even get to work…I was going to see Brokeback Mountain last night but I didn’t think Tennessee seemed an appropriate state to watch a movie about gay cowboys…the only other time I felt uncomfortable in a movie theatre was when I saw Goodfellas in New York City. When Ray Liotta smacked his wife around, the audience cheered…people in the South smile too much. It’s nice at first but eventually I feel like I’m talking to a state full of used car salesmen…I still laugh out loud when I watch ‘Airplane.’ It may be the only movie where it’s impossible to choose a “favorite line.” And I still see things I’ve missed in past viewings. I watched it about eight times before realizing that the ambulance carrying the sick little girl crashed after she made it safely off the plane.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Can we go now? How about now? Now?

The clock said 8:30 a.m. Or did it?

The digital age has allowed clocks to be within eyesight from just about anywhere. In my house, I can always see the time. All I have to do is look at the toaster oven, the VCR, the DVD player, the clock radio, the PC, the washing machine or the iPod.

Problem is, they can’t agree with each other.

I think my wife is behind this. Like most women, punctuality is not her strong suit. Men are often called lazy but we're way ahead of women when it comes to getting our butts in gear and heading out the door.

It’s almost as if she is afraid to be on time. If, for some strange reason, the planets line up and she is actually ready at the appointed departure time, she will check her email, review her eBay listings, or wipe crumbs off the kitchen table. Then, checking the clock and seeing that we are now 10 minutes behind, she’ll announce that she is ready.

At least she realizes that tardiness is a fault. However, her way of correcting it is to set the clocks head five minutes.

“Why do you do this?” I ask her. “You know what the time really is by looking at the clock and subtracting five minutes. All you’re doing is adding math to the situation.” It’s like hotels that don’t have a 13th floor because of the negative connotations associated with that numeral. Do hotel employees really believe the guests on the 14th floor have no idea which floor they are really on?

The primary target for our tardiness is church. Our church service starts at 10 a.m. which, for the Schwems, means 10:10. Every Sunday we fly into the parking late and park illegally over a portion of blacktop adorned with horizontal yellow lines that say, “don’t park here.” Yet my wife drives a Lincoln Navigator, which lives by its own set of rules namely, “this car can go wherever the hell it wants.”

At 10:12 a.m. we march down the aisle, usually in the midst of the choir’s performance. Because all the pews are taken except the very front one, our tardiness is noticed by everybody. It’s simply impossible to avoid detection when you are late for church unless you can manage to sneak into the balcony without the sound of your shoes on the steps. This flaw has definitely been noticed by church personnel as we are no longer asked to be ushers, greeters, offering collectors or anything else that requires showing up before the rest of the congregation.

I have no patience, sympathy or compassion for anyone who is chronically late. It may be the one affliction that can be cured without drugs, counseling, 12 step programs, trips to the Caribbean or intervention from Dr. Phil. Yet I feel tardy people find punctual people annoying. After all, the first person to arrive at a party is looked upon kind of strangely by the host. Why is that? Somebody has to be first! Don’t sweat it. The next time the Schwems throw a party, come at 7:30 if that’s what the invitation says. I’ll be ready.

My wife will just be getting out of the shower.