Monday, April 20, 2015

If you aren't afraid of mimes, you should be

A very short weird tale I wrote - The Discussion of Mimes - has been produced as a podcast over at Pseudopod.org. Hope you enjoy. And tell your friends. And tell your friends to send me money. And tell your friends to put me in their wills.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Alcohol - Mankind's Best Friend

Ever notice that when people quit drinking, they always replace it with something grandiose; martial arts, crazy adrenaline sports, zealous religion (including zealous AA religion).

People don't do this with other addictions. No one takes up MMA just to keep from getting beaten up by Joe Camel.

Drinking is so great it is nearly impossible to replace it with anything else. Certainly there is no replacement as cheap, convenient, or quick. It is cheap: whether it is Dom Perignon or PBR, you still get a buzz. Even expensive whiskey or wine is still cheaper than therapy (and much more likely to improve your mood). It is convenient: you can buy it almost everywhere. It is quick: only takes a few small sips to feel better about problems at work, your flight being delayed, the person who dumped you. Talk about instant gratification. A counseling sessions lasts 45 minutes. You can down two life affirming Smirnoff sips in 45 seconds.

And booze is the gift that keeps on giving. You can't go skydiving every day. You can drink a glass of wine every night.

I saw Bobby Dall, bass player for Poison and former drunk, talking on Behind the Music about replacing drinking with playing for 10,000 people. That's great when that's your alternative, but for the rest of us, to get a rush the choice is either drinking and feeling invincible or riding an exercise bike for an hour. No surprise that Guinness wins that battle.

This irreplaceability is the greatest possible advertising for alcohol. You don't need all those beer commercials with hot chicks and Jeeps. All you have to say is "Budweiser - You'll miss it so much you'll climb Everest."

They call drinking a disease, but really, the disease is life. Drinking is the cure.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It Takes Pseudo-Science to Sell the Sweet Science

Boxing is the most dangerous and dramatic sport of all, yet for some reason boxing is the only sport where the athletes have to give themselves nicknames to make the sport sound more dangerous and dramatic. Names like The Bronx Bull, The Hispanic Causin' Panic, Lights Out, Hitman, Boom Boom, Touch of Sleep, The Snuff Film Director (OK, I made that one up). There have been no less than 65,000 fighters who've used some variation of the nickname "Sugar."

But really, shouldn't it be the wimpier sports that need nicknames to heighten the drama?

Golf:

Rory "Don't Ask about His Backstory" McIlroy

Tiger "Left Little Red Riding Hood dying in the" Woods

Figure skating:

"Battling" Brian Boitano

Kristi "Yo Mama" Yamaguchi

Tonya Harding...actually, she's the one figure skater who already IS scary.

Chess:

Grapplin' Gary Kasparov

Bobby "The Fatal Flank" Fischer

Not only does boxing evidently need nicknames, but the fighters have to stage fake fights at press conferences to build up hype for their real rights. Without fake punches as part of the buildup no one will pay attention when the genuine punches start getting thrown. And the antics leading up to those fake press conference fights are only half a notch above pro-wrestling story-lines.

Michael Jordan didn't have to pretend to hate John Stockton's wife to generate hype for the Bulls-Jazz Finals. Montana didn't have to pelt Elway with a football to get people to watch the Super Bowl. It is a testament to how peculiar MAN is that fighting, the oldest and most primal sport of all, can't just be allowed to speak for itself.