Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Countdown

"Even though Exxon Mobil's profits declined by four percent during the last quarter of '06, they still set a yearly profit of $39.5 billion, which is an all-time record for any U.S. company."

--The Boston Globe, February 1, 2007


"When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honors are things to be ashamed of."

--Confucius, Chinese philosopher, 552 BCE

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Flute Boy

Turn on your speakers for this. I think this is amazing, 'cause I can't even walk and chew gum at the same time.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Kobayashi

Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi is a 29 year-old Japanese competitive eater and a member of the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). He holds the world record for hot dog eating as six-time consecutive champion of Nathan's Famous hot dog-eating competition. The record of 97 Krystals hamburgers was set by Kobayashi on October 28, 2006.

He is the top ranked eater in the world according to the IFOCE. He is the longest and current reigning world champion in competitive hot dog eating. And look at his abs!!!! How is this even possible???

Genetics can be a real beeyotch!
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Myocardial Infarction Infraction

I thought this story was heroic:

An 80 year-old woman sitting alone in her home watching the Super Bowl is assaulted by a stranger who tries to lead the woman to a bedroom. After some pretty quick thinking, she fakes a heart attack and tells her would-be rapist that her medicine is in the car in the garage. After they retrieve the meds, the assailant flees, only to be picked up near the house by a police officer on routine neighborhood patrol.

Go Grandma!

Meanwhile, in semi-related news, thousands of Chicago Bears Fans experienced authentic heart attacks at the outcome of Super Bowl XLI.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Night Visitor

The other night, I was laying in bed. The bed is in the corner of the room. My head is on the same wall as the bedroom door, which leads out into the hallway. The door was open - all the way. The only light spilling in was from a night light the hallway. But it is a very dull light, as if the bulb was on its last few minutes of burning.

As I laid there, back against the wall, I suddenly saw the figure of a man quickly glide into my room. "Who the fuck is this?" I thought. He disappeared into the darkness, but I could hear him open a drawer and rattle around a bunch of objects, like in a utility drawer. The man closed the drawer and rushed back out of the room into the hallway. He remained darkened in what little amber light that was provided.

And I laid in fear.

Before I had time to think let alone move, he came back into the room and went back to the drawer. I heard all the objects, which sounded like metal, slide forward in the drawer as he pulled it open. And I wondered to myself, "does he know I am here? If I make a noise, will I startle him? What is he searching for?"

I couldn't see him in my room. But he was in there, rummaging around, looking for something in the pitch black space. He pushed the drawer closed again and I heard him heading back towards the door, which was about three feet from my head. As he approached the door, I (inadvertently?) made a small sound. It could have been a cough, or perhaps a gasp, but he heard it. And the man stopped at the doorway, startled.

He slowly turned in my direction, and noticed, for perhaps th first time, that someone was in the room with him. And also, for the first time, I saw what he has been rushing in and out of the room to retrieve - what he has been getting into the drawer for. The amber night light in the hallway shined on a knife blade he was holding in his hand.

He squinted at first trying to find me in the darkness. And when he finally made out my form, his eyes widened, and then squinted again. He turned in my direction, with the knife, and slowly walked toward me.

And then I woke up. And thus goes my dream cycle for the past two weeks or so. I think I need a change in my medication.
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Monday, February 19, 2007

Some Words From Dop's Dictionary

ASSHOLE: A person who does not shovel snow from the sidewalks in front of his dwelling and/or business.

DIPSHIT: A person who does a half-assed job of shoveling snow from the sidewalks in front of his dwelling and/or business.


There is no excuse for having uncleared sidewalks in the winter. Old? Hire someone. Work a lot? I've seen people shoveling at 11PM. Health problems? You all know my health situation and my ass is out there shoveling every time.

No excuses, Assholes and Dipshits!
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Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Most Feared Man In America

At least he is to the lowest form of human being -- the child sexual predator. Chris Hansen has teamed with Perverted-Justice.com (also known as PeeJ), an organization dedicated to identifying adults willing to have chat room sexual encounters with minors. Taking it a step further, Hansen then confronts those men who physically show up at a determined location in order to have sex with an underage boy or girl.

Dateline NBC has been airing To Catch A Predator for a few years now. The shows both repulse and fascinate me. While I cannot understand the idea of having sex with someone who hasn't even begun puberty, I am curious to find out what drives these men (and it's always men on this show) to this desire.

Of course, most of the predators deny knowing the age of the person they are meeting, even though Hansen whips out copies of their Instant Message exchanges, and then uses the predators' own words against them. Almost all of the predators are repentant, and most say they visited the location just "to talk" - even though they show up with condoms, with lube, with alcohol, and, in one man's case, completely naked.

Some people argue that this show violates some kind of civil rights. Flashing these men's names and faces on television before they have been convicted of anything is supposed to be wrong, somehow. But the show is humane in its treatment of the predators. Hansen represents me - wanting to know what motivated these men to want to commit such an act.

Personally, I consider Hansen a hero. It can't be easy to stand in a kitchen or living room and try to have a mature conversation with a man who was seconds away from sexually abusing a child. But Hansen does so without judging (for the most part), and then steps aside to let the law do the right thing.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In Other News

On the same day that Anna Nicole Smith died, a man in Chicago slipped on some ice on a CTA platform, fell onto the train tracks and was subsequently hit by a train and killed, thus closing the train line for several hours and delaying the commutes of thousands of people.

There was nothing on the Chicago news channels about this that night, because the focus was on the death of a woman who was famous for ... nothing.

Personally, I don't care if Anna Nicole Smith lived or died, or even how she died for that matter. But I do have some concern over the safety issues of a commuter train system that millions of people, including myself, use every day.

And so should the Chicago news channels.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Altoids & Anti-Valentine's Day

Altoids fans will be pleased to learn that the company has launched several Altoids Curious and Original Chocolate Shoppes in the spirit of Valentine's Day. Actually, they're anti-Valentine's Day. Each of the three temporary "pop-up stores" is billing itself as a "sanctuary from all the romantic overtures" for the "lovesick, lovelorn and Cupid-wary."

The stores are located in Chicago (of course), Miami and New York, and each has free activities, such as "Therapeutic Crafts for the Broken-Hearted" and "Love Stinks" needlepoint kits. They also stock samples of Altoids' new Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints and are passing them out with free lattes. Chicagoist stopped by their local store and reported that it also stocked "cupcakes from Angel Food Bakery, anti-Valentine's Day cards and a variety of other Altoids and V-Day related schwag."

Everything in the stores, in case you haven't gotten the picture yet, is free, so it's definitely worth a stop by if you live in one of the three cities mentioned.

And if you do have a loved one with you today (like I do - hey hon!), then Happy Valentine's Day.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Clearly, People Don't Listen

The other night I am sitting at home and my phone rings. I don't recognize the number (it's out in the suburbs) so I let it go to voicemail. By the way, my voicemail message - in my own kinda deep voice - is:

"Hello, this is Dop. I can't take your call right now, so please leave a message."

So about an hour later, I checked the message just in case it's from someone I might actually know. Here is the message that was left:

"Wanda, did you tape 'Criminal Minds'? Let me know..."

And here's the clincher:

"... it's Mom. Bye."

So I am thinking - either Mom is completely hard of hearing, or Wanda needs to lay off the cigarettes. Cause if Wanda actually sounds anything like me, she must have been smoking for say, oh, 50 years. And this isn't the first time something like this has happened.

I recently changed my cell number from the one I had back in DC for the last 6 years to one with a Chicago area code. And since then, all different kinds of people have been leaving messages for - well - all different kinds of people. Yet every person who leaves a message has to listen to me first. But still they leave messages for their friends, associates, or in Wanda's case, daughters.

Clearly, people just don't listen. Or aren't paying attention which is just as bad.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Scooters

I know that for some people, these things are a necessity. So why is it that every time I see someone riding one of those scooters, I automatically think they are lazy and not handicapped?? I guess it doesn't help that just about every person I have seen on a scooter, or at least the ones I remember, seem to be mildly to grossly obese. Granted, when you get heavy, I imagine it's harder to be pedestrian. But why do I visibly roll my eyes and quietly groan every time I pass someone on a scooter?

The thing is, I can see my mother using one of those things. Correction - I can't actually see her using it. She has bad knees and it sometimes takes her a good 20 seconds to get out of a chair. Long walks with her have resulted in her knees swelling to 1/3 their size and her massaging them in pain. But my correction centers on the fact that she would rather die than be seen in one of those scooters. And I can't really blame her.

These scooters have gotten a bad rap because people have substituted them for actual walking. My Aussie friend Luke told me that when he went to Disneyland while visiting the US, he was amazed at the number of scooters in the park. He said it seemed like one scooter for every 5 people. He also said you would never see something like that over in OZ - that scooters there are the exception rather what seems to be the rule.

I guess it also doesn't help that there seems to be an air of entitlement amid those who are riding rather than walking. These aren't wheelchairs - which I have no problem making room for. I've actually been "beeped at" on the sidewalk to get out of the way so that a scooter can ride by me. And once, when I was visiting the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, I saw a woman park her scooter at the steps of Ben & Jerry's, climb the 10-12 steps, and get back on her scooter with her triple mint chocolate chip in her hand and ride off. And that just irked me.

Once again, America is putting her embarassments on display. Not only are we the fattest country on the planet, as well as the greediest, we are also the laziest - one being the direct result of another.

As if the world needs another reason to hate us.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Black Dress

What is the deal with black male comedians dressing up in drag for movies? Tyler Perry's done it a few times for his Medea series. So has Martin Lawrence for his Momma's House series. And Eddie Murphy has done it for his Nutty Professor series, and is doing it again in Norbit. Remember Jamie Foxx's Wanda on In Living Color? And Miguel Nunez in Juwanna Mann? And the Wayans Brothers in White Chicks?

These characters aren't even positive role models for black women, let alone women at all. Lawrence's character Shenehneh on his TV series was downright offensive. Why did women not picket his show for this? Why is the fat, black woman portrayed in movies as over the top and offensive and no one says anything about it? I remember seeing Dave Chappelle on Oprah saying he had to refuse to wear a dress for his show once.

I think that the increasing popularity of having black men dress in drag is something worth examining. And its not just for one movie, these characters are both recurring in a series, or given spinoffs. When a black man puts on a dress, is it a way of eliminating his oh-so-threatening black male sexuality? Or does it make him less dangerous in a still all-white run Hollywood?

If I was Murphy, this would NOT be the movie I wanted out in theaters the same time I am nominated for an Academy Award.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

February 7th

To understand what this blog is all about, click here.

2006 - Dinner at Maxim's downtown with The BF, then shopping at Club Monaco and the gym afterwards.

2005 - Back in DC, dinner with Ex#5 at Dupont Italian Kitchen, then pick up Ashley at the airport from his annual 10-day ski trip to Whistler.

2004 - In New Orleans with Ashley and Brandon a week before Mardi Gras (veiled attempt at getting me away from Ex#4). Walk around French Quarter and see parade at night. Hang out in OZ.

2002 - See friend Bob's play "Murder in the Cathedral" with Ashley, Kevin F., and Michael. Then go to Cobalt.

2001 - Dinner at Mr. Henry's on the hill with Steve and Jason (Steve leaves for France in two days, Jason leaves for Peace Corp in a week).

2000 - JOIN A GYM! Join Gold's Gym in Rosslyn.

1999 - Work 11-6 and then meet Ex#3 for dinner at California Pizza Kitchen on Connecticut Ave.

1997 - Dinner at Luna Grill with Al, then meet up with David to see "Beautician and the Beast"

1996 - Dinner with college buddy Ron in Rockville, MD.

1995 - Birthday dinner at my parents' place for brother Mike, and prep Dad for knee surgery the following day.

1994 - Dinner and movies at friend Micheal's in Winchester, VA.

1993 - Auditions for Jelita's one-act play. Dinner at Denny's with Ex#2 and Kathy V.

1992 - Tamara's One-Person Show at Shenandoah with reception following at Cabaret.

1991 - Go out to JR's, meet and begin dating Justin G. The weather is an unseasonable 75 degrees.

1990 - Travel to DOE subcontractor in Beltsville, MD with boss Denise. Dinner at PoFolks with friends Jeff and Micheal.

1989 - Visit friend Nancy W. at her Peachtree office in VA. Dinner with cousin Brad at his place on Conn Ave.

1988 - Loan appointment at Liberty Bank. Meet friend Mark at the mall for dinner (there's an asterisk by his name which means "sex" - although I don't remember).

1986 - Assist local volunteer fire department with hoagie sale fundraiser. Mail taxes. Out with girlfriend, Crystal.

1985 - Friend Chris teaches me to drive a 4-speed. Take W2's to tax office.

1984 - Senior year at Beall. Pizza at Off-Broadway Pub at 5:00 with friends.

1983 - Cub Scout meeting at 4:00 (teach Bobcat class).

1982 - Sophomore year at Beall. Two-hour delay to school due to snow (school cancelled following day).
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Tuesday: Two Cents Day

There is buzz going around these days about how the NAACP and some U.S. postsecondary officials are condemning college parties that are themed "gansta parties". That is, mostly white kids get together and wear gang gear, grills on their teeth, and drink malt liquor out of paper bags. The NAACP complains that these antics conjure the worst racial stereotypes.

I say: Suck it up. Yes, it's probably not the right thing to do, but I don't see where anyone is really getting hurt by it. Especially since its a real thing.

Stereotypes exist for a reason. And it's not as if these parties are making fun of anyone, per se. The black community created the gangsta lifestyle; they endorse it and, yes, they even promote it. So if a group of people want to get together and be "gangsta", I don't see why that is wrong?

At an off-campus "Bullets and Bubbly" party throw by University of Connecticut School of Law students last month, pictures showed students wearing baggy jeans, puffy jackets and holding fake machines guns. I mean, doesn't this sound like an album cover for 50 Cent? It's hardly making fun of someone when its an accurate representation.

And I can't even see where anyone is being made fun of when the gangsta lifestyle is exactly that - a way of life. It's a choice that is made by every adult who lives it (no one is born a gangsta). Maybe a party based on the gangsta life is a little crass, but it can't be considered racial insensitivity when it's being accurately played out.

I don't hear the state of Kentucky complaining when kids get together and throw "white trash" parties. And for all I care, fraternities can even throw "gay" parties, where they sit around, flirt all night, get drunk, and give each other blow jobs.

Oh wait, they already do that.

If blacks in America don't like the way they are being represented, they need to start doing a better job of reprezent'n. Just my two cents.
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Happy Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada on February 2 each year. Tradition states that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow on this day, winter will continue for six more weeks. If, however, it is a cloudy day and the groundhog sees no shadow, winter will soon end.

The irony of this is that Spring arrives approximately six weeks from that day anyway. Most likely, this began as folk humor, in the same vein as the old saying "six of one, half a dozen of another".

In any case, many people who look for any reason to celebrate, and who are also weary of the winter weather, find a bit of fun in the annual event. Several communities even have newsworthy events each year that typically feature groundhog characters that have been named for the occasion. Probably the most well-known of these characters is Punxsutawney Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Punxsutawney held the first Groundhog Day celebration on February 2, 1887. News reporters gather each year to document the festivities and to announce the pending weather verdict to the world.

Although Groundhog Day is celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada, its roots began in Europe. On that day, a Christian holiday called Candlemas, involved another animal and its shadow - the hedgehog. When the Pilgrims carried the tradition to America, they couldn't find a hedgehog, so they substituted the groundhog instead. And thus was born the Groundhog Day tradition.