Friday, June 24, 2011


At every tennis Major (save the still chaste Wimbledon), at some point some female player wears an outfit so skimpy it gets commentators asking: "Is this outfit too skimpy?"

But are today's skimpy outfits really any more revealing than the tighty-whitey short-shorts the men used to wear? If Connors's and McEnroe's shorts had been any more revealing they would have qualified as x-rays.

I'm sure those questioning today's outfits would argue that the revealing attire of the Williams sisters and Maria Sharapova are made to pique the "prurient interest," whereas Connors and McEnroe were just wearing utilitarian garb (as though men can't play up sex appeal). From there the complaints would fall along familiar battle lines; conservatives griping about the women no longer being ladies and progressives griping about the women being objectifed.

For the conversatives who say these outfits are a sign of modern decay, remember that in ancient Greece, the Olympians competed naked.

For the progressives; sex appeal is the only edge female athletes have on men. Sports are about competition, and sex is the only way women can compete with male athletes for attention. Forget about retiring jerseys. Start retiring sports bras.

What the controversy comes down to is that these scantilly clad players are women, and women showing skin always brings out the Keystone Skin Cops. The men could string their rackets with their small intestines and no one would blink.

At least the women wearing the least clothing are among the most dominant. If the critics had their way, these heroines would dress more demurely and risk being overshadowed by the Anna Kournikovas of the world. Progressives especially should champion the minimal clothing, because the outfits of the Williams and Sharapova increase their star power; meaning they will be seen by more little girls who will then be inspired to pick up tennis rackets themselves. You want fewer girls playing with Barbie? Let Serena, Venus, and Maria compete tennis-wise and looks-wise and living Barbies who can't hit with the big girls (Kournikova) won't steal the entire spotlight (when Kournikova played, they may as well have hung the net between two stripper poles).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Tattoo Who

I do not have tattoos. They're not a turn-on, and more importantly, I don't like the evidence they leave behind. Because when you get a tattoo, what you're doing is timestamping your body with a statement of who you were at a certain period in your life.


When I'm 40, I don't want people to know what I was like when I was 20, because then I won't be able to lie about how cool I was. I want to be able to tell whoppers like:

When I was 20, I was making money in stocks, I was making money in real estate...I was so loaded the government labeled me too big to fail.

Meanwhile my forearm will say "Food $tamps 4 Life!"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cave Rain Man?

I just watched my first full length 3-D film: Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a documentary about the Chauvet Cave, which is a cave in France containing the oldest cave paintings yet discovered. Far from sloppy blobs, the drawings offer quite detailed portraits of horses, birds, bears, etc.

Some of these drawings are estimated to be 32,000 years old, more than twice as old as any previously known drawings. Some are quite detailed. For instance, there is a striking portrait of a rhino that seems to be running, as evidenced by the flipbook-like style of the artwork.

When these drawings were produced (and they weren’t produced all at once; there is speculation that some were done 5,000 years apart), daily life was torturous enough to make waterboarding seem like an episode of Double Dare. Europe was covered in glaciers. Freezing to death was a constant threat. Bows and arrows weren’t around, so in order to eat, man had to grapple with formidable beasts at fairly close range. Yet despite these hardships, MAN still felt the need to express himself. Procuring meals that were only modestly rancid and minimizing his frostbite wasn’t enough. He had to contextualize his existence through art. He had to say something about being here.

Mostly, these expressions were just straightforward depictions of what he observed; realistic treatments of the animals he encountered. The artists apparently felt no need to identify themselves. We see no signatures on the artwork. We see no cigarette holders left behind by snooty cave art critics. It is kind of refreshing.

And we see no drawings of humans. Not exactly. There does appear to one humanoid-animal drawing with religious overtones, one that seems to chime with the ancient fertility cults. And most significant to me, there are lots of handprints, all evidently done by one guy. We know it was one guy, because this gentleman had a crooked little finger that seems to recur in all of the handprints. He of the Crooked Pinky made several impressions of his hand on different walls.

So at a time when simply remaining alive from dawn until dusk was a grand achievement, when obtaining even the most basic components of sustenance was a risky and complicated endeavor, The Crooked Pinkied Artiste still thought it was worth his time to record his handprint again and again and again. As Cave of Forgotten Dreams makes clear, the Chauvet Cave offers us MAN’S oldest known attempts to capture his surroundings, as well as some of his early gropes at religion. And in the handprints of this single crooked-fingered doodler, I see the world’s oldest recorded neurotic.

My handprints can be found all over Twitter:!/greatMikePayne

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Um waiter, the fly in my soup isn't a tsetse!

I have decided that food snobs are the most obnoxious snobs of all. Food snobs—FOODIES—are fast becoming the new metrosexuals.

When did food snobbery become a national pastime? People used to bond over awful food experiences, like eating Ramen Noodles in college. Now they bond over their hatred of people who don’t “get” flatbread.

And foodies always become the giddiest over the silliest dishes, like toast. "Okay, my perfect recipe for toast? Here goes: pita bread, with pesto, butternut squash, vegan bacon, and horseradish made from Secretariat!"

Yeah, that's no longer toast...

Foodies also won't just accept that you don't like what they like. If you tell them you don't like falafel, get ready to hear: "You don't like falafel?! Oh, that's because you just don’t know how to fix it!" or "You're just not going to the right restaurants!"

What are you, the hummus whisperer?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Savage Truth

Famed pro wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage just died. This week I watched comedian Mike Lawrence do a bit about how all of the Super Bowl QBs were still alive, while pro wrestlers die quite frequently. Given that both professions frequently result in serious injury and have massive drug/steroid cultures, it is interesting that pro football seems to prove far less fatal.

Could it be that football is much more of a meritocracy, whereas pro wrestling, like the rest of showbusiness, is random and maddening, and thus more likely to trigger self-destructive meltdowns? I would also guess that like every other sector of showbiz, pro wrestling attracts troubled misfits who need exaggerated praise to fill some void in their souls. Unfortunately, no set of tights will ever be tight enough to hold back the sadness.