October 2009 Archives

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

The National Football League has an identity crisis.  To be precise, they have many weak team mascots.  Too many big cats (Lions, Bengals, Panthers, Jaguars) and not enough stuff to actually elicit fear.  For example, are you afraid of a dolphin?  Me neither.  How about a packer? Does the prospect of squaring off with someone who places things in boxes make you tremble with fear?  Didn't think so.  And don't even get me started on the teams named after colors (Browns and Cardinals).  As Ocho would say, "Child, please."

The league has let far too many teams name themselves after birds and other animals.  Falcons, Eagles, Cardinals (again), and Seahawks (there is no such bird, by the way).  Do we really need so many avian-themed teams?  Clearly we do not.


I went to Tampa this past February for the Super Bowl.  Tampa's team is the Buccaneers, and so  their stadium has a pirate theme and even has a pirate ship right there in the stadium.  They fire off the cannons every time  the Buccs score (you may not have known that, since Tampa is winless and the guns have stayed silent virtually all season).  But as I walked around from concession stand to concession stand, stuffing my pie hole with Pieces of Eight chicken nuggets and Cast Away sundaes, I thought to myself "Genius!  They have managed to combine two of my favorite things in the whole world (well, three if you count the concession stands) into one seamless package."

It was at that moment that the Buccaneers replaced the Bills (another mascot of questionable  masculinity) as my second favorite NFL team.

Now, if the Buccaneers can make a convert of a guy like me (who grew up in Buffalo and cried each time they lost the Super Bowl), just imagine the potential that sits in front of a large number of other teams, if  they would simply dump their current themes.  For instance, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had very poor attendance for years and have been rumored to be pulling up stakes and heading for LA.  If the Jags become, say, the LA Ninjas, that would be a team I could follow!  The Washington Redskins have been under fire for years to change their name and their mascot.  How about the Washington Cyborgs?  How cool would that be?  The Browns (if it's brown flush it down?) could become the Zombies (or Undead, if you want to be more inclusive) and the Seahawks could become the Alien Invasion.  The Bills are probably moving to Canada or London when owner Ralph Wilson dies, so why not call them the Limey Bastards?  It would raise the intensity level of the game every time they came to the US to play, wouldn't it?

Sadly, my independent market research will be ignored by the NFL.  The Jaguars will morph into the LA Fruit Baskets or some else awful, while the Bills will turn into the Storm or the Express.  Oh well.  At least I'll still have my Batten Down the Hatches chili cheese dog to comfort me.

I'm Ready For My Close-Up, Mr. De Mille

A Ghost of Patients Past came in to haunt me yesterday.  When last I saw little Jackie, she was a 15 year old pipsqueak, newly out of braces.  I had just finished her orthodontics and bid her farewell.  She said "See ya, Dr. Doofus!" as she laughed and headed out the door.  She had hung that moniker around my neck two years prior.  My assistant was having a hard time placing a band around one of Jackie's teeth and had come to me for help.  I looked at the band and then at the tooth and said "You're trying to put that on the wrong tooth, and that's why it won't fit.  It needs to go on a permanent tooth and you are trying to squeeze it onto a baby tooth, doofus!"  Jackie was very protective of my assistant and shouted at me "Don't call her that!  She's not a doofus!  YOU'RE a doofus!  Ha ha! Dr. Doofus!"  

The name stuck.

Hence forth, every time Jackie came in for an ortho check, she asked me "How's it going, Dr. Doofus?" and had a nice giggle at my expense.  When she completed her braces and left my office, I thought I was free.  But now, here she was, ten years older and back in my chair, her mother by her side.

Her mother asked me how I had managed to stay looking exactly the same, even though I was ten years older.  And Jackie agreed with her and told me I still looked like a doofus.

I asked myself (sadly) "Am I to be ever known as Dr. Doofus?"

That got me thinking.  If someone were to make a movie of my life, who would play me?  It wouldn't necessarily have to be someone who looked like me, and the flick wouldn't have to necessarily be 100% true to life.  After all, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford played Woodward and Bernstein in "All the President's Men" and those two reporters look more like circus clowns than Hollywood actors.  And look at some of the other biographical and semi-biographical portrayals and the actors playing them.  Sharon Stone was tapped to play a woman languishing on death row in "Last Dance" even though the woman upon whom the story was based bears a much closer resemblance to Jason Alexander than to Sharon Stone.

If I have any say over the matter, I would choose Russell Crowe to play the Fat Kid in the epic film based upon my life.  It wouldn't be too hard for him.  He already played a chubby guy in that anti-tobacco company movie (and a genius in another).  He could channel some of his other roles into this one.  For instance, Crowe-as-Maximus-as-Fat Kid-dentist could strut around, and shout to his patients "Are you not anesthetized?  Are you not numb?"


If Russell is not available, maybe Val Kilmer would be up for it.  He has already played a dentist in the form of Doc Holliday (coolest dentist ever) and he has coolness to spare, which means he could give some to me and not even miss it.  Plus, if you've seen him recently, you'd think he was already prepping himself for the part (almost saying to me "I'm your Huckleberry")

val kilmer.jpg

However, like I said, Kilmer has already played an uber-sexy dentist and may not wish to venture into those waters again.  In that case, we'd have to settle for Daniel Craig.  He could play me with a suave sophistication that only someone with a British accent can pull off.  Having all that James Bond stuff he could draw upon, he could smoothly enter the scene and introduce himself as "Double O Doofus.  License to Fill."


Knowing my luck, the studio would get Jason Alexander to play me, and he'd be shouting "Serenity now!  Serenity now!" throughout the movie.  Then again, that actor and that expression would probably capture me the best.

Shouting "Hate!" In A Crowded Theatre

Poor Rush Limbaugh.  The conservative King of Talk Radio was dropped recently by an investment group looking to purchase the lowly St. Louis Rams.  After some racist comments were attributed to him - comments which he denied and challenged his accuser to prove - he became too much of a distraction and hinderance to the deal, and was shown the door.

Watching the saga unfold, it got me thinking.  It seems that the only sin for which one is vilified anymore is racism (or "hate" as it is now more commonly referred to.  More on that later).  I am old enough to remember Douglas Ginsberg was forced to withdraw his nomination to the Supreme Court because his past casual marijuana use had come to light (pardon the pun) and when Presidential candidate Gary Hart dropped out of the Democratic primary because it was discovered he was fooling around on his wife.

My, how times have changed.

Nearly all of the Seven Deadly Sins are passe' (with the exception of murder) and are now considered either irrelevant or none of the public's business.  Louisville Basketball coach Rick Pitino has admitted to impregnating a woman (not his wife), paying for her to abort the child, and then arranging to have one of his coaches - an employee of the University of Louisville directly supervised by Coach Pitino- marry the woman.  It only came to light after she tried to blackmail Pitino and extort a ton of money from him.  The coach is still employed by the University of Louisville, which has publicly stated that it sees no reason that his private dealings should cost him his job.

And how angry do you think Judge Ginsberg feels about being dropped for smoking pot when President Obama has admitted to not only regularly smoking marijuana as a youth but also experimenting with cocaine?  The country let out a collective "Meh. Who cares?" when Obama's drug use was revealed.

But not so with "hate."  Unkind words and even thoughts have been elevated to national crisis status while other misdeeds have become more acceptable and mainstream.  It has progressed (or regressed?) to the point of becoming ridiculous.  For instance, many colleges have instituted speech codes, outlining which type of speech is free and which kind will get you kicked out of school.  Nearly all of these rules seek to protect feelings of the audience.  Feelings.  Not bodily persons or property.  Feelings.  Institutions of higher learning are places for children to become adults by being exposed to the world.  They should not be places for our young adults to be coddled by the nanny establishment and shielded from people who may say things that are rude, crude, and socially unacceptable.

A few years back, Dr. Laura Schlessinger came under heavy fire for her criticism of homosexuality.  Dr. Laura (as she is known) has a popular radio show, in which she dispenses tough advice which is based upon her sense of religious morality.  She pulls no punches and sometimes the listener can be very uncomfortable listening to her show as she lays into callers.  Many of her liberal critics wanted her pulled from the air.  Their argument always started thusly: "Just as it is illegal to shout 'fire!' in a crowded theatre...." and got more asinine from there.  Shouting "fire!" is dangerous because it leads people to act rashly and suddenly to preserve their own well-being, and can cause a dangerous crush of people trying to save themselves.  No stampede was ever incited by some yahoo going into a crowded theatre and yelling "homosexual!"  But still, people try to silence those with whom they disagree by using fire in the theatre example.

This attempt to shut up opponents nearly always bypasses the arguments central to the disagreement and heads straight for the motives.  "Racism" doesn't carry the punch that it used to, so it has been replaced with "hate."  It also covers a wider range of politically-favored groups such as women, minorities, homosexuals, etc, and so is more useful a tool with which to bludgeon.  If the motives of the opponent can be sufficiently discredited, then the argument they are making becomes irrelevant, and they lose the right to speak freely.  they are, after all, haters, and why should they be afforded the right to spew their hate?

See, once we were OK with come restrictions on free speech at school and at work (sold as a way to make the classroom and workplace a more positive place), it became an invitation for more restriction.  And it doesn't just happen with the Left trying to silence the Right.  Conservatives have been trying for years to get a constitutional amendment banning flag burning.  Burning the American flag is the ultimate anti-American political statement.  It is political speech and should be protected by the Constitution, not outlawed by it.  At the same time, I am all in favor of those who burn Old Glory receiving the Rick Monday treatment, since they would seem to be inviting it.

So, is what happened to Limbaugh a great tragedy?  Hardly.  On the contrary, it is the perfect result of the perfect free enterprise system at work.  A man who makes a living through political speech is considered by others to be too controversial to do business with.  Rush shouldn't complain.  He should be happy that somewhere, at least, the free market system works, unfettered and unencumbered by the government.  Even if it means that he gets shut out of owning the Rams.

Free Balloon Boy!

Young Falcon Heene had the nation's attention for roughly four hours this week, as he was thought to have climbed into his parents' homemade helium-powered UFO and taken off.  Of course, my first thought was "Oh no! I hope that little boy gets home safely."  Then I thought "I hope he's having fun up there at 15,000 feet."  Like everybody else, I followed the drama as it unfolded, and was horrified when the ballon crashed but the boy was nowhere to be found.  Early stories had reported that the compartment little Falcon had climbed into was not securely fastened to the ballon, and we all thought that maybe the lad had plummeted to his death.


A few hours later, we found out that it all was a hoax, as Falcon was discovered hiding in the attic above the garage. Like everybody else, my mood quickly soured and turned into uncontrollable rage.  "What's wrong with that kid?  Doesn't he know that the next time a six year old child really is carried off by a home made flying saucer and sent racing through the stratosphere in low-earth orbit, nobody's going to care, since we'll all believe it's fake?  Where are my torch and pitchfork?!?!"

Then something happened.

As any good investigative journalist would, I did a little digging into the Heene family.  Apparently, this is not the clan's first brush with notoriety.  The Heenes were featured on "Wife Swap" not once, but twice.  Check this video out.  It's 9 minutes long but well worth the investment.  If you don't have that kind of time to devote, just watch the first 45 seconds, during which we learn that Falcon's dad is a "fringe scientist" (that's Hollywood speak for "cuckoo for Coco Puffs") who is trying to prove that humans all descended from aliens.
br />

Not content to humiliate himself on national television, Dad Heene has also been active posting YouTube videos discussing his reptilian beliefs:


There's more.  Oh, there's a lot more!  But I think you get the idea of what Balloon Boy has been dealing with his entire life: crazy, crazy parents.  So, it's no surprise that Falcon would wish to climb into a UFO and float away.  

We shouldn't be too hard on him - we need to help this kid out.  After all, who can blame him for wanting to take his chances tethered to a free-floating aircraft, handing himself over to the whims of the wind and gravity rather than having to live with a crackpot dad and loony tunes mom?

Free Balloon Boy!

Most Annoying Word Ever?!?! Pffffft. Whatever

A recent poll by the good people at Marist College concluded that the nearly half of Americans detest the word "whatever".  I know.  It is shocking.  I can think of 100 words and phrases far more annoying than "whatever."  My list would included such inanities as: leading expert, breaking his silence, his/her, and maverick.  Those all need to go.

There are a lot of words to hate.  But this is not one of them.  "Whatever" is the most perfect word ever invented.  It can fit nearly any situation and convey almost any emotion.  For example:

Indifference: "Are you ever going to get out of bed and get a job.  You are a lazy bum!"  "Whatever, dude"

Contentedness: "Do you want a Twinkie or a Ding Dong for dessert?" "Whatever, dude"

Annoyance: "Sir, you can't keep standing up to do yoga stretches in the movie theatre" "Whatever, dude."

Mockery: "Your blog is informative, or, whatever."

See?  It is nearly the perfect word.  Kinda like the Swiss army knife of the English language.

Now, some people have taken this thing of beauty and tried to destroy it.  I am speaking, of course, of Valley Girls, who have chopped it into two separate and distinct words (pronounced "what (pause) EV rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."  These people must be mocked into irrelevance, lest they destroy my beloved favorite word.

I will grant you that it is not universally, 100% of the time appropriate.  For example, if you are leading your team to a Super Bowl win, and the other players in the huddle ask "What play are we running?"  the last thing you want to be saying is "whatever."  And if you're an airline pilot on final approach and ask the tower "Which runway is clear for me to land?" you probably don't want to hear "Um, yeah, whatever" back from air traffic control.  But, barring extreme examples like those, the word fits in almost anywhere.

So, for the people who took the Maris College survey, I have only one response for  you:

You may have seen the news recently how I, the Fat Kid, was recently named the MVP of Super Bowl 44.  Not 43, the one just played in Tampa (in which the hated Pittsburgh Steelers managed to beat my beloved Arizona Cardinals on an amazing throw and catch in the final minute of the game) but the one coming up next year in Miami.

How did I do it, you ask?  Simple.  I was inspired.  

But before I get to the inspiration part, let me tell you what I did to get the award.  I went to the NFL offices in New York and told them a whole bunch of bad things about Arizona quarterback, Kurt Warner.  "I'm sure he's a fine man.  But he failed to lead his team properly and lost focus.  It's time for new leadership."  Then I pulled out replays of every incompletion and bad throw that he made in the Super Bowl.  "I wouldn't have made that throw" I told them.  "Look here, at that interception just before the end of the half.  Clearly he did not make the right call.  Everybody knew that Harrison was ready to jump the route on Boldin.  I would not have thrown that pass."  "What call would you have made?" they asked me, but I was too clever for them.  "I don't want to get pinned down on specifics and theoreticals, not when there's this much at stake.  Just know that I would not have thrown that interception."  That seemed to impress them.


They tried to throw some technicalities at me, like "You don't even play football, let alone start for a Super Bowl-calibre NFL team."  Clearly they did not recognize the gravity of my argument.  So, I pointed to the television and shared with them the story that lit the fuse, inspiring me to seek out this lofty prize.

See, you don't get to become The Fat Kid without watching a ton of television and eating lots of snack food (they don't give this job to just anyone - you have to earn it!) and in between reruns of "I Love Lucy" (it was the episode in which Lucy concocts some crazy scheme and it goes totally awry and Ricky comes home, sees the mayhem, gets angry, and starts shouting in Spanish, and Lucy ends up wailing.  You know  the one I am talking about, right?) and "Sponge Bob Squarepants", I managed to catch part of a news story.  Apparently, our esteemed President Obama has won some sort of award.  

The Nobel Peace Prize, to be exact.

I have heard of this award, but I wasn't quite sure, so I did a little research.  I thought maybe I had learned about it when they awarded it to Mahatma Gandhi.  Oops.  My bad.  He never won it.  "Too much of a political figure" the Nobel Committee claimed.  I discovered that in order to be considered for the 2009 award, one must have been nominated no later than February 1.  That was less than two weeks into the Obama Administration, hardly enough time to unpack the moving boxes and pick out drapes, let alone win a Nobel Peace Prize.  The Nobel people claimed that they were awarding the honor not based upon Obama's past accomplishments, but rather on his future potential to do good.


I figured that if the Nobel Committee can award the Peace Prize to a guy who had done nothing in his life to deserve the honor (and, to his credit, the President stated in his acceptance speech that he had not yet earned the Peace Prize) and had simply won an election, why couldn't I follow suit?  I stated my case and seemed to be getting nothing but resistance from those pinheads at the NFL offices (all they cared about was "stats" and "accomplishments" and I was all, like, "whatever, dudes") when I whipped out the old "potential" argument that worked for Obama.  "Compare Kurt Warner and me," I told them.  "Kurt has won a Super Bowl and two league MVP trophies.  He has thrown for 300 yards or more in nearly half his starts, which is most in the league, while the next closest guy has only done it in one quarter of all his games.  I, on the other hand, have done jack diddly squat in my life, unless you count playing video games and making rude noises.  Kurt's already played his hand.  What else can he accomplish?  How much better can he possibly get?  What potential does he still have?  None.  Nada.  Zero.  While I have nothing but potential.  Lots and lots of potential."

Yes, lots of potential.  And that, as we all know, is waaaaaay better than accomplishments.  Just ask the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.

The Fat Kid Comes To The Rescue

I have been learning about Florida lately.  I used to think of the Sunshine State as a big swamp populated by geezers, gators, and people too stupid to fill out a ballot properly or count a hanging chad without consulting CSI:Miami.  Oh, and Mickey Mouse lives there, too.

But a few weeks ago, I learned of a group of progressive-thinking students at the University of Florida. Their efforts to prepare the masses to cope, survive, and even thrive after a disaster changed my whole perception of the state.  I am talking, of course, about the U of F's Zombie Survival Plan.  It was a very thorough document, dispelling such misconceptions as using garlic and sunlight to combat zombies (those only work against vampires.  If you thought it was soooo obvious that garlic would not thwart a zombie, remember that these were people who had trouble filling out a ballot).  It gave me hope for the younger generation.  "These guys get it," I thought to myself as I pored over the plan.  "Everybody should read this."

Then it was gone.  Vanished.

Apparently, the powers-that-be at the university - probably under pressure from The Umbrella Corporation - pulled the document from the school's website.

Never fear, gentle reader, for The Fat Kid has seen, like, a jillion zombie movies and can use what he has observed in these flicks to offer you insight into planning your survival after the undead rise and civilization falls.

Rule #1: You should find a group of misfits to align yourself with.  The group should include a crazy redneck who's (obviously) well-armed and likes to shoot at anything that moves, hootin' and hollerin' while he launches projectiles from his over-sized pickup truck.  It should also include an athletic woman with a mysterious past.  At first you discount her as the first one to go, but as the movie, errrr, time goes by, she'll emerge as a real badass.  Also essential is the lone wolf dude, who invariably will be in constant conflict with the badass chick, until they profess their love for one another (usually right before one of them is abducted by the zombies and the carried off and - inexplicably - left uneaten and still alive when your group mounts a rescue).  The sleazy lawyer/businessman guy with a shirt and tie, who always wants to be in charge when he's clearly incapable of being in charge is also a must.  He will be the first one eaten.  The fat dude who has never fired a gun before in his life but probably can figure out how to bypass any security system is a nice accessory to have.  He usually provides comic relief, and you aren't really sure if he will make it to the end.  Of course, the group will have more members, but they will all be zombie fodder and won't make it to the final stand.

Rule #2: Forget armored vehicles - your group must travel in a school bus or similar, impossible to defend vehicle.  This provides an opportunity for some "Oh no, we're surrounded by zombies!" action scenes, as well as a convenient way to reduce the size of your group by having the zombie fodder people eaten when the bus gets ambushed.

Rule #3: When you encounter zombies wanting to eat you, shoot a hundred bullets into their torsos and then yell to your companions "They're still coming!"  Whatever you do, do not aim for the head.  That would be way too easy.

Rule #4: When it's dark, everyone is asleep, and you hear a noise outside, make sure you don't wake anybody up and alert them.  Instead go outside by yourself, unarmed, carrying only a flashlight, and call out "Is anyone there?" while you wander further and further from safety.  It's probably just the wind.

Rule #5: When you encounter another group of humans, check to see if any or all of them fit into the categories listed in rule #1 and can be plugged into your group.  If they don't - or if your group already has the proper slots filled - then this new group is most likely a motorcycle gang who likes to attack and torture other humans.  Avoid them if you can, which (of course) you can't, so you'll have to fight them.  After you defeat them, you'll find something of value that is the key to your survival.

Rule #6: One of your group will engage in hand to hand combat with a zombie and get injured.  He will hide the injury and deny that anything is wrong.  But over the next few days he will get sick and start the process of zombification.  Do what they do in all the movies and pretend not to notice.  Simply ask him "Are you feeling OK?"  He will reply that he is, but then at a key moment will start to attack you.  At that point, act surprised and shoot him. By this time, you'll have figured out to aim for the head. 

Rule #7: By the time you make a last stand, your group will have dwindled in number to just a handful.  The sleazy lawyer/businessman will be long gone, as will the crazy redneck.  Most of the zombie fodder will also be gone, but there will be a few left (including the fat dude) to make the last stand more interesting.  Instead of going to an armored, defensible facility, head to the nearest shopping mall, roadside motel, or deep-in-the-woods cabin.  Whatever you do, make sure that the only thing standing between you and a horde of flesh-starved zombies is a bunch of wooden planks and nails, as these are easily torn off as the army of the undead pour into your fortress.  One of the fodder people will stand too close to the door as it is compromised and will be immediately grabbed by a hundred hands.  Let him go.  It will buy you time to head out the back door secret escape - usually into an air duct or down into the sewer, where you will be pursued by only one or two zombies, which you will easily dispatch.  Forget asking yourself why the hungry horde did not try to enter through this back way and instead opted for the front door.  All that matters is that you escape out this back way.

Rule #8: Civilization is over.  Make the most of it.

Yay For France! No. Really.

Roman Polanksi is toast.  

The French director was nabbed in Switzerland on charges of rape and fleeing the country, as outlined in my previous post.At first, the French government was outraged that he was picked up at the behest of the American government without the French having been notified.  They demanded his release and vowed to oppose efforts to extradite Polanksi to the US.  Their protestations were joined by others, especially by Hollywood elites who normally claim to hold the moral high ground on women's rights issues.  Apparently to them, a thirteen year old's rights are not nearly as sacred as their right to view "masterpieces" of film by this reprobate (who moved on after this sex crime by having a fling with a 15-year old Nastassja Kinski).  Debra Winger scoffed that the arrest was a result of "philistine collusion."  Who do these unwashed people who live in Fly-Over Country think they are, anyway?

When normal people (and even a few in the movie business) started to push back and call for Polanski to be held to the same set of standards that applies to everyone else, it seemed to break the lemming-like hold that Group Think has over the artistic.  As the facts were revisited and discussed, support started to melt.  (To read the transcripts of the grand jury testimony, see here for pages 1-18 and here for pages 19-36).  Noted French director Luc Besson said that he loved Polanksi, but that the law was the law, and he should have to face the judicial system just like everyone else.  Then others in the arts started to voice, however tepid, their desire that he not be freed.

And yesterday, the French government did a 180 from its initial calls that he be released, and said that they will support efforts to extradite Polanksi to the US.  And for that, I stand up and say "Yay!" for France.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2009 is the previous archive.

November 2009 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.