Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Survival of the Fittest

This season isn’t going to be about who can learn more techniques. This season’s winner isn’t going to be who can most elegantly perform a Viennese Waltz or impressive Mambo. This year is strictly going to be a question of the last person standing. Brooke Burke, the heavy favorite so far is nursing a foot injury that has slowed her down a bit, and now Julianne Hough is going to be our for a while due to surgery.

Here’s my summary of what I considered to matter at all last night as far as the dancing goes.

Cloris needs to go. And after the judges gave her straight 5’s, I don’t know how she can possibly stay another week?

While we’re at it, can we go ahead and lose Susan Lucci too? She constantly looks rigid and stiff. I thought she would’ve had a better grasp of how to flow and be elegant? Oh well.

Lance and Lacey are so hit or miss on following the rules that you never know with them. Last night, they seemed to be back on point and did a nice job. If only they’d have done that from the beginning…

Maurice Greene was all right, again. But when it comes down to the wire, he won’t be able to hang I don’t think.

Cody Linley seems to be getting a little more serious about his rehearsal time. But he keeps making stupid faces on the floor while he’s dancing? With his partner sidelined for a while, he’ll be dancing with Edyta, who we just can’t seem to make go away and stay away. I will feel bad for him though, on some level, if changing partners ends up costing him his spot on the show.

Warren Sapp is still ultra-smooth and I still think he’s going to be around until the finals.

Brooke Burke fought through an injury to score a 26 which included one 10 from guest judge Michael Flatley. Yeah…the Lord of the Dance.

But there are two points that I would like to make which have little to do with the dancing. First, I think the judges have flat out had enough of Cloris. After a scathing score, Carrie Ann made the point that she was upset that they lost Toni Braxton last week for “this”. The “this” in question would be Cloris’ lousy performance this week. But, secondly, I thought Michael Flatley did a great job as a guest judge. He was constructively critical without being an ass, and was insightful and interesting. I could easily lose Carrie Ann as a regular judge in favor of keeping Michael Flatley as a regular addition.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Everything I Really Need to Know, I Learned From Men's Health

When I’m killing some additional time at work, like a lot of people, I do some web surfing. I have my favorite sites for different reasons, and no, none of them are illicit or profane. But what has quickly become one of my favorites is Men’s Health magazine’s site. They have a section to search called “Guy Wisdom”. Women reading this blog are making jokes that you click on the link and “server error” pops up, I’m sure. But there’s some really interesting stuff in there. And I think the reason that I have enjoyed it so much is that the information is all supplied in chronological lists depending on their importance. They address a ton of topics in there, and I’ve read so many of them that they are running together. But here are some of my favorites from various published lists.

From: 17 Things Every Man Should Try

Leave work early for a midweek afternoon ball game. Tell no one. Go alone. Strive to notice the subtleties TV doesn't show: the third baseman cheating a step before the pitch; where the center fielder sets up; whether that sweet creature two rows over really likes baseball or is just there for her boyfriend. Toss the ticket stub on the way out; you were never there. We guarantee you'll remember this game longer than if you got permission from the wife and went with five buddies.

Be debt-free. Compounding interest is like a sorority girl on Ecstasy. She'll go both ways, but you get a hell of a lot more out of it when she's going your way.

Read a novel with more than 300 pages, written before 1950, set somewhere other than the United States.

You think you're tough? Say exactly what's on your mind when you're at your most vulnerable. We'll see how tough you are.

And my personal favorite and the one I probably struggle with the most…

Go a week without quoting anyone. When you consider movies, late-night monologues, sportscasters, bosses, wives, kids, founding fathers, regular fathers, Shakespeare, philosophers, and Homer Simpson, this suddenly becomes a lot harder than you thought, huh?

From: 15 Resolutions That Make You a Better Man

Have you noticed? It's a presidential election year, again. This time around, let's all remember that there's far more that unites us than divides us. So keep the conversation civil, your vote in perspective, and your humility in place.

Congratulations on finally going hands-free while driving. Now try going phone-free when backing out of the parking space, and iPod-free while changing lanes, smart guy.

There's nothing that happens after 11:30 p.m. that can't be replied to or TiVo'd the next day. Hit the pillow for some restorative sleep, then hit the ground running tomorrow, while others are still trying to find their legs (and their Starbucks gift cards).

From: 19 Things You Should Never Do

Keep a home-run ball hit by the opposing team. Or one hit by any player on the juice. We don't care if it's worth millions. Throw it back or you're a traitor.

Talk salary. The more you make, the easier it is to cheapen your image.

From: 25 Things Worth Waiting For (This whole list is outstanding)

The day your strength catches up with your ego. Needing a spot on the first rep doesn't impress anyone.

Your second reaction, after the first thermonuclear flash of anger.

The new business cards with your new title.

The rare sequel, season finale, or Super Bowl that actually lives up to its hype.

From: 40 Unwritten Rules to Live By

Never ask a woman if she wants to have sex by asking her if she wants to have sex.

Yes, speak softly and carry a big stick. But don't mumble. And don't swing the stick.

Do not get a visible tattoo larger than your penis.

Never buy anyone a gift at a kiosk.

Never make any sort of generalization concerning gender, even if it's so true God himself would back you up.

Never suggest to another person at the gym that he's not working hard enough to accomplish anything.

From: 18 Things Worth Fighting For

Your favorite band/movie/team/political party/religion—which, you've just been told, sucks. It may indeed suck. So what? Someone just ground your passions under his heel. Let him have some.

Your right to leave the bar as early and as soberly as you want. You will be called many names. You are none of these things.

A free phone. They get a check every month for 2 years? Yeah, free phone.

The remote. A guy we know broke his leg fighting for the remote. And he'd do it again.

They have so many published lists of great ideas. And yes, it all seems simple with some interjected humor. But a lot of them make a lot of sense on some level or another. And even if the goal was just to get a grin, chances are it worked. So they must be doing something right.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Slow News Day...

It’s a slow news day today. How do I know it’s a slow news day? I know because everyday I’m at work I find time to catch up on the state of affairs by reading msn.com. I’ll take it over a newspaper any day of the week, mostly because I can read it at my desk and no one thinks I’m rude for breaking out a paper in the middle of a workday.

In the midst of the events of the past few weeks and I’m sure the next few months, there has been headline after headline about the bank bailout and the upcoming election. They also have the latest Hollywood headlines and such, but national news and whatever crisis is prevalent always takes center stage. Today is no different.

So how do I know that today is a slow news day? Because one of the links on the scrolling headline banner on msn.com today has to do with a buyer’s guide to purchasing lingerie. No kidding.

I don’t know how women go about buying lingerie? My primitive male mindset suggests to me that they go into a store, see something they like, maybe try it on to confirm that they like it and that it fits, they buy it, and take it home. I’m sure there is plenty of comparison shopping and holding things up and numerous other hoops that are jumped through to facilitate the transaction. But appealing to the lowest common denominator, see it, like it or not, try it on, still like it or not, buy it or start looking again.

Want to know how men buy lingerie? No, this is not some twisted allusion to going to Hustler Hollywood and buying something trashy, edible, or both. I mean the real kind. Something you’d get your wife or girlfriend at Victoria’s Secret. Something elegant, flattering, and attractive. Men have a see it buy it mentality. Women will comparison shop all day for lip-gloss. Men will make a long-term purchase based on packaging and pretty colors. But shopping for lingerie, assuming you’re really trying to make an effort and not trying to get a cheap thrill by walking around lacey things all day, happens very differently in several steps.

Walk and forth in front of the store trying to convince yourself that you are not a pervert for going in without a woman present. Not only does your mom not count, it’s a little weird.
Summoning your inner strength, enter the store. Nothing will be where you think it would be, and the layout will make no sense causing your to walk around like a little lost child further illustrating that you are a novice.

Find something you think would be attractive.

Find something the recipient would think is attractive.

Reconcile one item against the other until a decision is made.

Root through the items you have approved until your find the desired garment in the necessary size.

Hold up several different styles and sizes, and with a puzzled look on your face, look at the butts and breasts of everyone walking around trying to estimate appropriate size vs physical proportions. You’ll probably be having a conversation with yourself at a low mumble at this point.

Realize that you’re not sure what the necessary size is. It doesn’t matter because even if you knew, it wouldn’t be easily available.

Decide on a size.

Second-guess yourself several times until a member of the staff comes to help you. Because life is not without a sense of irony, chances are it’ll be some 19 year-old hard body who is looking at you like you’re a sicko in spite of the fact that there is clearly a wedding ring on your hand.

Discuss your choice of style and size with this person, yes the one who clearly thinks you’re a pervert, which will prompt the rest of the sales staff to rally around you to offer their opinion. Of course you’re the only person in the store, so everyone’s free at the very moment.

Make your decision, purchase the item, leave and resolve never to do that again. Not never to buy something like that again, but not to do so without having a better grasp of sizes and variations depending on the cut.

This is a great process to undertake if you feel, at some point; like your head is getting too big and you need a dose of reality. You can make any number of decisions. Color, cut, material, whatever. And with each and every decision there lurks a wrong answer and a subsequent mistake to be made. Ultimately, there is one and only one golden rule when it comes to buying such things. You can pick an ugly color, lousy cut, cheap material, doesn’t matter. All you have to remember is when it comes right down is when in doubt, err on the side of buying one size too small.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The First 10 of the Season

It seems to me like the producers of Dancing With the Stars really learned something from last season, and that is to pick contestants with a longer learning curve. We are down to 9 people in the contest now, and I can only imagine the nerves and concern and emotion going through their minds. It would seem wrong to sit and criticize from a far…but let’s do it anyway.

Susan Lucci looked pretty good last night. But 61-year-old joints can only take so much movement and jostling no matter how good they may look. But unless she falls down, takes a swing at a judge, or exposes herself on national TV, she’ll be around for another week or two.

Lance Bass gave his best performance yet in my opinion. They followed the rules and tried to cater to what the judges wanted. He still didn’t get great marks, but he’s moving in the right direction. The frustrating part is that his lack of success so far isn’t him, it’s his partner/teacher. I don’t think she’ll be back next season.

Maurice Green is doing pretty well. His partner just annoys me.

Warren Sapp looks super smooth. He is easily one of the most natural performers on the dance floor, and has learned very quickly. He also has a great personality and is very likeable. I think he’s a virtual lock for the final two or three.

Cody Linley needs a big ol’ dose of act right. He looked pretty good until he thought it was in his best interest to play his partner’s leg like a guitar. He still irritates me, but he’s got all the tools to do some real damage in this contest. To bad he, himself is a tool.

Toni Braxton should’ve done a whole lot better. Len said it best, that gimmicks and props were the last ditch efforts of desperate dancers who just aren’t that good in the first place, and those just aren’t things that she needs.

Cloris Leachman did a freaking crab walk with her partner, who incidentally said that he has to create choreography around what she is able to do…or not do. Oh yeah, she STILL can’t shut up. Time to go.

Rocco DiSpirito…well he’s trying. I truly believe that he’s doing the best he possibly can. He’s not taking himself too seriously, which is good. But I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep up the pace to stay ahead of the curve for much longer. He’s going to have to rely on people screwing up rather than him getting better. He’s still got my votes, most of them anyway. But were it not for the fact that Cloris was completely retarded this week, he’d probably be on his way out…and he still may.

Brooke Burke was just lovely. She looked great, danced well, everything. She took the highest scores of the season so far, including the fist 10 which came from Len. Although after seeing the behind the scenes stuff, I’m a little surprised that she didn’t smack Derek in his fresh little mouth. I’ve always liked him on this show, but when he used the phrase “No I’m not going to hear you right now because I’m the one who knows what he’s doing” he would’ve deserved a slap.

Misty May Treanor has taken her leave. A rupture in her Achilles tendon has forced her out of the competition and into surgery. In showing the injury taking place, you could actually hear that rupture take place over the music being played. Yeah, it was that bad. I don’t think that she had the juice to win, but she was going to go a long way, most likely the final 4 or so. But hopefully she enjoyed the time she had on the show, and her volleyball career won’t be too badly curtailed.