Tennis Lessons

I played tennis today for the first time since I was seven years old. I learned the following three things:

  • I am not good at playing tennis.
  • If you smoke cigarettes(I do, unfiltered), playing tennis will damn near kill you.
  • Do not drink an entire quart of milk just minutes before playing tennis.

Olympic Observations: The Extended Live Weblog

[FOREWORD: This list is essentially an extended live-blog. Check back often for frequent updates.]

I, in tandem with my trusty DVR, am attempting to watch every single minute of the 2008 Olympic coverage across NBC, CNBC, MSNBC and USA Network in order. This is around 36 hours of footage per day. This undertaking should be an Olympic event within itself. Recording that much footage every day on my DVR means that I have to watch it quickly and delete it so as to not exceed the DVR’s storage limit. This venture has led me to get very little sleep and a very sore left index finger due to the fast-forward button. I love the olympics; what can I say?

Below is an ongoing compilation of observations from my obsessive viewing of the 2008 Olympics, most of which, you will not care about. Enjoy.

(this will be updated often, new entries on top)

  • China spent around 80-billion dollars on the Olympics.
    To help you digest that number, that’s 80,000-million. Holy crap.
  • Butterfingers!: The U.S. Men and Women both dropped the baton in their respective 4x100m-relay prelims. Thus, the U.S. will not be represented in the aforementioned final. This is first time this has happened since 1928. Get a grip, people. U.S. runner, Lauryn Williams, had this to say, “Someone has a voodoo doll on us.” –A thinly veiled poke at the Jamaicans, one might think.
  • Jamaican runner, Usain Bolt, is unbelievable. He is the new world record holder for the men’s 200m.
  • BMX: I am fully aware than most people are critical of this event being included in the Olympics. I have a very strong opinion to the contrary. I hope to not be too lazy to fully outline said opinion soon.
  • “Peeled/Ripped” Again: A male gymnast from The Netherlands peeled off the high-bar tonight in the event final. I’ll try to find a video soon. Until then, see the below bullet about gymnasts “Peeling” or “Ripping”.
  • Dear Shawn Johnson:
    Thank you for making me a small fortune with your phenomenal balance-beam routine last night. I never doubted you. My bookie had doubts but you will be happy to know that god has punished him for his lack of faith.
  • Women’s gymnastics, event final: The Chinese gymnasts have left the door wide-open for U.S. women gymnasts, Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin. I think we have a great shot at taking gold here. I am predicting Shawn Johnson for gold, no matter how nervous she looked to be in her warm-ups. Take my prediction to the bookies if you’re a betting man.
  • Women’s track, 100m hurdle final: Lolo Jones had the race locked down but clipped the next-to-last hurdle which slowed her down enough to slip off the medal podium.  Unfortunate at best. I really feel for her. 
  • Women’s gymnastics, event final: Nastia Liukin got robbed on uneven-bars. These judges have no earthly clue what they’re doing. There never should have been a tie to force the judges to consult the matrix. Absolute bullshit. Hogwash, I tell you!
  • Track: The U.S. Men swept the 400m hurdles final, 1-2-3 . Hell yeah! Angelo Taylor took the gold.
  • Men’s gymastics, event finals: Chinese gymnast, Chen Yibing, just tattooed the rings apparatus. No question. A French gymnast performed a seldom seen and oft thought impossible “Victorian” (think, upside-down maltese cross). Unbelievable. 
  • Women’s beach volleyball: May and Walsh just put on a clinic against Brazil in the semi-finals. They will face China in the finals for the gold medal. This should be good.
  • Track, women’s 100m hurdle semi-final: Did you see the Swedish runner who clipped the first hurdle and slammed to the ground? Ouch, seriously.
  • Baseball, China vs. U.S.: U.S. outfielder, Nate Schierholtz, went out of his way to plow Chinese catcher, Wang Wei, at home plate who didn’t have the ball. Ouch. The chinese coach went ballistic. So ballistic, in fact, that he got himself ejected from of the game. Oops. The plow at home plate was payback for the Chinese pitcher’s having hit five U.S. players already. Schierholtz had been hit by two pitches. China then hit another batter in the head and the Chinese pitcher was ejected from the game. 
  • Jamaican runner, Shelly-Ann Fraser, won gold in the women’s 100m sprint. Her celebration was priceless. She was one happy girl and she had every right to be.
  • British gymnast, Louis Smith, on the pommel-horse, just won silver, the first gymnastics medal for Great Britain since 1952. Welcome to the game, GBR, and a sincere congratulations to gymnast Louis Smith.
  • U.S. men’s gymnast, Alexander Artemev  put his balls on the line trying to perform a gold worthy pommel-horse routine but couldn’t find his balance. He could have cruised into a bronze-medal but he upped his diffucutly in order for a chance to cinch the gold.
  • German women’s gymnast, Oksana Chusovitina, just won the silver medal in women’s vault. This gymnast’s story is mind-blowing and I’m hard pressed to think of a single athlete in recent history whom I admire more. Whether this is due to the fact that she is a 33-year-old Olympic silver medal winning gymnast(!!!) or the fact that she did it all to support her young son who has leukemia, I… I don’t know what to say. I’m so happy for her. At the same time, I empathize with U.S. gymnast Alicia Sacramone who just missed a medal. Alicia is a dynamic competitor and somehow came up short; maybe it was the pressure. Again, I don’t know what to say, but I bet that Bela Karoli does… Bob?
  • Spanish men’s gymnast, Gervasio Deferr, took silver and introduced the world of men’s gymnastics to the new era of tumbling with an inverted, direction-changing 1-and-3/4. Look it up for yourself. It’s fucking amazing.
  • Chinese women’s diver, Guo JingJing, arguably has more pressure on her than any other Olympic athlete, period. She rose to the occasion tonight and took gold in springboard. 
  • U.S. women’s diver, Nancilea Foster, had a diving accident, hitting the board when she was 14 years old. She broke her jaw, shattered her cheek, caved in her sinuses and needed seven teeth replaced. She is now in the 2008 Olympic finals standing on the springboard performing the same dive that injured her more than 10 years ago. Now that is a remarkable.
  • Finally, the Ivy-League educations pay off: The U.S. women won gold in Women’s-Eight Rowing.
  • U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps makes history again: Phelps, with the help of teammate Jason Lesak, has broken Mark Spitz’s record for the most Olympic gold medals won in a single Olympics. Michael Phelps won 8-for-8 gold medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics, beating Spitz’s previous record of 7 total gold medals. Well done, son.
  • Tunisia won their first ever Olympic swimming medal. Tunisian swimmer, Ous Mellouli, took gold in the men’s 1500m freestyle event. The U.S. swimmer fell apart but that’s excusable; I would have drowned.
  • Women’s Marathon: Romanian runner, Constantina Tomescu-Dita, dominated the women’s marathon, running most of the race alone. Constantina Tomescu-Dita, 38, is now the oldest gold-medalist in Olympic Marathon history. 
  • Track, men’s 100m sprint: I mentioned to my roommate that due to U.S. runner Tyson Gay’s hamstring injury, it would be smart for the other countries to intentionally false start in order to force Tyson Gay to irritate his injury further by repeatedly coming out of the blocks unnecessarily. Indeed, there was a false start in every sprint involving Tyson Gay. Consequently, Tyson Gay did not qualify for the finals. Cheating or gamesmanship? I say gamesmanship. 
  • Track, men’s 100m sprint prelims: First time Olympian, 21-year-old Jamaican runner, Usain Bolt, is setting records in the prelims with a brisk jog. I can’t wait to see this guy actually run! 
  • Trampoline: Deathwish.
  • Velodrome Cycling is on. Aside from the unbearable burning of the lungs and legs, it looks like a lot of fun to do.
  • Men’s Racewalking: If I saw someone doing this on the street, I’m pretty sure I would throw rocks at them.
  • Michael Phelps is now 7-for-7 in 2008 Olympic gold medals. Unreal.
  • Boxing: I am certain that I could write a universally acclaimed doctoral dissertation which details those factors most contributing to Olympic Boxing in regards to its propensity to suck goats. However, I’m going to reserve judgement for the time being. Clearly.
  • The women’s heptathlon prelims just started. I’m a huge fan of multi-disciplinary sports. This probably stems from my “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” personality type. (please forgive me for making yet another “Annie Get Your Gun” reference)
  • We’ve seen wrestling and boxing coverage so far. Tae Kwon Do and Judo are still to come. I wonder how many years it will take for the Olympic Committee to combine these disciplines and put Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the Olympics. I’m really curious; how long do you think, if ever? I mean, they did include snowboarding and BMX, after all.
  • Oh, sweet! The World’s Fastest Man (100m sprint) prelims are starting tonight. I was beginning to wonder it track & field was still in the Olympics.
  • I’m digging Men’s Singles Whitewater Canoe. I’m really impressed by their agility and power. However, I think that the agility which makes the singles event awesome is lost in the doubles event. Double’s Whitewater Canoe is like watching a school bus drive a formula-one track…zzzzzzz
  • U.S. gymnast Nastia Liukin was amazing in the women’s individual all-around gymnastics final. The judges robbed her on the first two rotations, but she came back to win the gold in spectacular fashion. I haven’t seen many athletes exceed her ability to maintain focus. It probably helps that her father/coach was an Olympic gold-medalist 20 years ago. Shawn Johnson won silver putting the U.S. in the top two spots. Good girls!
  • The nation of Georgia hired two Brazilian nationals to register for dual-citizenship and serve as their women’s beach volleyball team. Shouldn’t this be against the rules? No wonder Russia invaded them. 
  • Have you guys seen this video wherein U.S. gymnast Alicia Sacramone knocks a dude out cold with a left hook? I’m pretty sure I’m in love with her.
  • Men’s Gymnastics: Men’s high-bar is the most spectacular event in the Olympics. Period. My jaw and my floor are now close friends. This opinion may have something to do with me having been a competitive gymnast trained by Coach Steve Nuno (see: Shannon Miller; 1992, 1996 Olympics). Forgive my bias because I’m right.
  • Chinese male gymnast, Hiroyuki Tomita, just “peeled” or “ripped” from the rings. This happens occasionally in gymnastics but is rarely caught on camera (I can’t find a good example on YouTube). “Peeling” most commonly occurs when a gymnast loses their grip on the high-bar or rings while generating (whipping) centrifugal force in preparation for a dismount or other dynamic element. When the gymnast loses their grip on the bar/ring, their body is slung-shot through the air in a rag-doll state. The athlete, spinning out of control, loses all bearing on direction (up? down? sideways? where am I?) and usually ends with a sudden and violent impact with the ground. This is a particularly terrifying feeling for gymnasts, who’s entire lives are based around their physical fortitude and knowing up from down and sideways and how to transition from one to the next to the third.  I’m glad the gymnast was uninjured, aside from some obvious whip-lash. “Peeling” happens to every gymnast, eventually. It happened to me twice and I will never-ever-ever forget it. Did I mention that I used to be a competitive gymnast?
  • ::Michael Phelps’ Breakfast:: “(3) Fried Egg and Cheese Sandwiches w/ Lettuce and Mayo, (3) Pieces French(Freedom?) Toast, (3) Chocolate-Chip Pancakes, (1) Bowl of Grits.”’s Breakfast:: “(1) Scotch, (4) Tylenol.”
  • I totally have a crush on swimmer Natalie Coughlin. She would be turned-off by my breakfast.
  • Men’s Synchronized Diving: China is now 4-for-4 in diving gold medals. *sigh*
  • Women’s Synchronized Diving: I’m kinda happy that Mexico beat the U.S. women to take the bronze in the 10m platform contest, Mexico’s first diving medal. Good for them. I mean, if Mexico is going to beat the U.S. in diving, they totally deserve it. Also, China is now 3-for-3 in diving gold medals. They’re so good; it hurts. Speaking of, are Olympic athletes required to prove their gender? Just askin’.
  • I’m fast forwarding through every tennis match. I like tennis but I can watch world-class tennis anytime; I don’t need to watch it in the Olympics. I’m also fast-forwarding through all the soccer matches because I don’t really like soccer (though I will pretend to like it in mixed company).
  • Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Jason Kidd are all on the floor together. Good luck, Angola.
  • Archery: Keepin’ it real. Olympic archers must use traditional-style bows. No magnification-sights or compound-bows allowed.
  • Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay: OWNED
  • U.S. vs. China, women’s basketball: The Chinese women aren’t too good at basketball, but they’re fearless and tough-as-nails… and tiny. This made for a highly entertaining game when they played the U.S. women who are huge and great at basketball. Highly, highly entertaining stuff. Final score was 108-63. China gets an A+ for effort; they never gave up.
  • A U.S. woman won gold in the shooting event (think, Annie Oakley). I forgot that shooting was an Olympic sport. Cool.
  • China vs. Poland, women’s indoor volleyball: Chinese player got a nasty black eye from a teammate’s elbow. Those girls are crazy-tough and play like their lives depend on it. I love it.
  • Synchronized diving is actually pretty cool. Synchronized swimming? Crap.
  • Water polo seems like the hardest thing ever. It’s amazing how high they can get their bodies out of the water when they’re shooting the ball.
  • Badminton at the world-class level is incredible. The birdie(shuttle) travels over 200 mph.
  • Indoor volleyball is amazing. Beach volleyball, not so much.
  • Weightlifting: Some individuals can lift and hold 450+ pounds above their heads.
  • It seems that every U.S. rower has an ivy league education. Rowing is for rich people.
  • Doing an iron-cross is really fucking hard.

Life Lesson: Strippers -vs.- Regular Girls

At my buddy’s bachelor party this weekend, I learned an important lesson about the difference between strippers and regular girls.

(Scene: Interior. A popular strip club in Manhattan, NYC):

A stripper is sitting on my lap and grinding her lady-parts onto my man-parts. I’ve heard the kids call this a lap-dance.  Being the gentleman that I am, I treated the lady with respect and looked her square in the eyes the entire time, making sure not to stare at her naked breasts which were rubbing on my nose. Her boobies smelled like sunshine, glee and baby powder, but I resisted their temptations. My instincts told me  that staring at this professional woman’s fun-bags would somehow demean her existence.

As it turns out, my instincts were entirely wrong. This became clear as the stripper says, totally flustered,

“Please just look at my tits, dude!”