Sunday, July 29, 2012
Olympicoma
I have spent the past fifty-plus hours in an Olympicoma, defined by Bone-a-pedia as "an extended state of lethargy induced by four channels of nearly non-stop Olympic programming."

But it's a good lethargy.

Whilst watching Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, my hair idol, dispose of another opponent this afternoon in men's beach volleyball, I began to ponder my own Olympic dreams.  Sure, my greatest athletic accomplishments have been documented.  (Note: That becomes a better read the more bored you are.)  But much like most areas of my life, I've always felt there was something missing.

And while I think we all agreed a couple years ago that my best shot was in curling, I've yet to actually throw a stone.  Or even attend a curling game.  So at this point we have to realistically ask: What if curling doesn't work out?

Therefore, I've been scouting these 2012 games for a sport in which I could excel.  At first I thought maybe archery.  After all, I really like the hats.  Then they said it takes fifty pounds of pressure to pull back the bow.  On every shot!?  Good heavens, I can barely do fifty push ups.  Wait, is it barely, or hardly?

So I've decided it would be better to suggest some new events that might be added to the games, any one of which would in all likelihood allow me to realize my Olympic dream.

Co-Ed Water Polo (In Shallow Water) ~ I specify co-ed because I would feel more than a little uncomfortable in a pool having physical contact with fourteen guys all wearing our Speedos.  But throw a few girls in there and I might be OK.  And shallow water because, look, we all know how to swim, no one needs to prove anything.  Plus, it would be much less tiring.  So, either shallow water or we all wear arm floaties.  I'm fine with either.

Words With Friends ~ Since purchasing an iPhone a few weeks ago, I'm like 40-2 in Words With Friends!  Plus, this would make for great TV.  Imagine the drama, as players sat across the table from one another and played on their phones: "Oh no, Jim.  It looks like the Montenegro contestant has lost service!"  "I think you're right, Rowdy.  My Montenegrin is a little spotty, but I believe he just cursed his cell provider.  And quite colorfully, I might add."

NFL Two-Minute Drill ~ This is a football toss game they have at our Chuck E. Cheese.  I can always achieve the Hall Of Fame bonus, which is like fifty tokens.  It also makes an alarm go off, which was a little embarrassing the first few times, what with a couple of kids standing around and their parents already giving me the stink-eye because I'm hogging the game.  But I got over it.

Nerf Free Throw Shooting ~ I once made 42 free throws in a row on my Nerf goal.  And that's without even practicing very much.  I have no idea how that stacks up with the world's greatest Nerf free throw shooters.  And therein lies the tragedy.

Competitive Napping ~ Granted, this wouldn't make for great television.  But are you gonna tell me the steeplechase is winning its time slot every night?  (FYI steeplechasers, the water is in the same place every lap . Go around it to save time.)  I see competitive napping as a program of four or five events, similar to gymnastics.  You would have couch napping, desk napping, the power nap, napping with noise.  Competitors would be judged on length and soundness of nap, speed in getting to sleep, ability to sleep through an alarm, volume of drool, etc.

Wiffle Ball Field Hockey ~ As I assume none of you know what this is, let me explain.  My sister and I would play this using Wiffle ball bats and a tennis ball.  You just hit the ball with your bat and try to get it past your opponent's goal line (which for me was an invisible line running in both directions from the basketball goal in our backyard), all the while trying to keep your opponent from getting the ball past your goal.  I dominated!  Of course, I was like fourteen and my sister was seven.  (What?  I let her win, occasionally.  Had to, or she wouldn't play anymore.)

Paper Football ~ I once scored 128 points in a paper football game against my friend, Archie, during 10th grade biology class.  I might've scored even more, but Mister Whitmore caught us playing and threw our football in the trash.

Scene-It Seinfeld ~ Since getting this for Christmas a few years ago, I'm undefeated.  I'm sure you're surprised.  No one will play me anymore.  I'm not even kidding.  Actually, I'm not entirely undefeated.  That's because sometimes -- and I've never revealed this to anyone before now -- I play against myself.  It's pretty intense.  A lot like that scene in War Games when Matthew Broderick makes the computer play tic-tac-toe against itself.  Except the DEFCON level remains unaffected.

Are you listening IOC?  And if none of those work, I have others:  Putt-putt.  Air hockey.  Boggle, obviously.  Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Just imagine, sitting in your living room, watching a still-good-looking-as-ever Bob Costas covering the 2016 Games in Rio.  And you hear him refer to Bone as the "Michael Phelps of Co-Ed Water Polo - Shallow Water Division."

I think that's a dream we all have.

"There's nothing I know of in Rio / But it's something to do with the night / It's only a whimsical notion / To fly down to Rio tonight / And I probably won't fly down to Rio / But then again, I just might..."

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Has the whole world gone crazy, or is it just me?
I'm not one to follow the news too closely.  Watching NBC Nightly News about once every three months is usually plenty to keep me depressed for a year.

But it's nearly impossible to have not seen something about Penn State and Aurora, Colorado, the past few days.

One channel was showing some Penn State students yesterday as they reacted to the sanctions being levied against the school by the NCAA.  Their faces were aghast.  I couldn't help but wonder had they been as heartsick about the horrific allegations (and eventually conviction on 45 counts) of child sex abuse by assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.  And were they bothered at all that their beloved head football coach, Joe Paterno, was implicated in concealing the allegations for years?  I hope so.

Twitter was overrun yesterday with the same thing:  How dare the NCAA punish Penn State!  What does this mean for the Penn State football program?  Those poor football players!  One deeply disturbed person (immediately unfollowed by me) was already making jokes about the situation. 

But I think the moment that stands out most to me came last week when throngs of people gathered around Paterno's statue to show their support for the coach and voice their opposition to the possibility of the statue being taken down.

Really?

Look, I get it.  No one is a more rabid football fan than I.  Few things are more important to me than football.  But the few that are, are pretty damn important.

KIDS. WERE. MOLESTED.  And you're out there staging an all-night vigil -- NOT for the victims, mind you -- but for some statue?

I was glad they eventually decided to remove the statue, because all I could think about was the victims and their families turning on the TV every day, and the slap-in-the-face it must have been seeing those people out there demonstrating.

Then there's the Colorado shooting.  And again, I use Twitter for my example.  One of the people I follow has posted no fewer than four pro-gun messages in the wake of this tragedy.

I'm sure you know the ones I'm talking about:  "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."  And "If the people in that theater had all been armed, this wouldn't have happened."  Like I'm sure a hundred people all firing guns in a dark theater would have turned out real well.

And look, I know there are just as many anti-gun messages out there.  This is not at all intended to support one side of the issue or the other. 

It's just... people died.  And the initial reaction of some is to use the occasion to push their personal agenda?  I just want to ask them, what if that was your son or daughter, or brother or sister?  Would you still be rushing to turn this into a political issue?

When did the world become so desensitized?  Or maybe it's always been that way, and the internet just gives those people a voice now.  Or maybe it's just me.  Am I the one that's crazy?

I just feel like the victims in both of these tragedies-too-terrible-for-words almost become an afterthought sometimes. 

Whatever happened to mourning the dead?

Can't we simply be sad for awhile?  Is that still OK?

"How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair / And how we cleaned up the air / How everybody learned to care..."

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Monday, July 16, 2012
In and out of the doghouse
The Free Dictionary defines the phrase "in the doghouse" as an idiom meaning "in great disfavor or trouble."

Ah, yes. We've all been there.  Some of us more than others.  A lot of times we're not even sure how we got there. But this much is for certain:  Every man since the dawn of time who has ever purported to be in a relationship with a woman has found himself in the proverbial doghouse.

To wit, I don't think the following scenario is very far-fetched:

Adam: "Um, honey.  Uhh, I'm not sure how to tell you this."
Eve: "Spit it out, Adam."
Adam: "Cain shot Abel today."
Eve: "WHAT???  YOU were supposed to be watching them!"
Adam: "Yeah, um, I, uh, dozed off under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and, uh.... I'll just get my staff and go sleep with the animals tonight."
Eve: "Yeah you will!"
Adam (mumbling): "I want my rib back."
Eve: "What was that?!"
Adam: "Nothing, dear."

Today as I was googling "how to get out of the doghouse" (What?  Today is National Get Out Of The Doghouse Day.) I came across this article.  It's the Top 7 Ways To Get Out Of The Doghouse, from AskMen.com.  So I thought I would go down the list, one by one, and share my thoughts on each.  You know, because I can't imagine that not being intellectually valuable.

7. Encourage A Conversation - I like that "courage" is the root word of encourage, because it takes a lot of courage for a man to do this.  Is courage the right word?  Bone's advice: Skip on to number six.

6. Make Her Laugh - Ah, yes, a Bone specialty.  If this one fails for me, I pretty much know I'm up Radiation Creek without a hazmat suit.  Bone's advice: This is probably OK for the small stuff, like running over her cat.  Accidentally, of course.  Not sure it works so well on the bigger stuff, like making out with her best friend.  (And FYI, that cat always hated me!) 

5. Buy Her Flowers - Clearly, AskMen.com, as well as most major holidays, is sponsored by Big Floral. Bone's advice: Flowers alone aren't going to cut it.  There will have to be a "talk" involved at some point.  You know it.  I know it.  Just try and have a ballgame going in the background on the TV when said talk occurs, and power through. 

4. Cook For Her - This, I can do.  You may even find you enjoy cooking.  In fact, many of the great chefs of our time are men:  Emeril.  Guy what's-his-name from the TGIFridays commercials.  Chef, from South Park.  Mel, from Mel's Diner on Alice.  I think my point is made.  Bone's advice:  Don't tell her what you're cooking.  That way when she asks, "What is this? Mutton?" you can just nod yes, even if it's not.

3. Listen To Her - I'm seriously beginning to wonder if AskMen actually asked any men at all for this article.  Because this sounds an awful lot like they only asked women.  Bone's advice:  See if you can just cook twice and skip this one. 

2. Leave - Oh no.  This doesn't work.  The idea, according to them, is to give her space.  It has been my experience that giving her too much space is often what got me into this situation in the first place.  Bone's advice:  Replace this one with "Pretend Nothing Is Wrong."  That's pretty much how I live my entire life anyway.  After a few days, you can even turn things around on her with a carefully placed, "Why have you been so grouchy lately?"  Women love that.

1. Say I'm Sorry - As I understand it, to put it in golf terms, this is like yelling "Fore!" after you hit a bad shot.  You raise your arm, say the magic word, and all is forgiven.  Now the article says to specify what exactly it is you're sorry about.  Well I don't know about you, but half the time, I don't have the slightest clue what I'm apologizing for anyway.  Bone's advice: Stick to two words: I'm Sorry.  Popular addendums like "I'm sorry your entire family is crazy" or "I'm sorry you can't stand for me to be happy even for one day" may seem like good ideas at first, but I have found they don't always translate so well.

There you have it.  Some of the very secrets that I have employed which have helped to keep me unmarried, lo, these many years.  May they produce even better results for you.

I can pretty much guarantee each will get you out of the doghouse, one way or the other -- either back into good graces, or perhaps more likely, out of the relationship altogether.

In closing, I would just say that I feel the doghouse has gotten a bad rap.   Therefore, I like to refer to it as the Canine Castle, or even better, hanging with Snoopy Dog. Whatever basement/garage/shed serves as your doghouse, spruce it up a bit, try and have a big screen TV out there.  Enjoy a day or two of space.

And for crying out loud, spring for some flowers, say I'm sorry, whatever you gotta do.  Because, let's be honest, no one else is gonna put up with you.

"This doghouse here is mighty small / But it's better than no house at all / So ease it on over / Drag it on over / Move over old dog 'cause a new dog's movin' in..."

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Saturday, July 07, 2012
Blackberry cleanse
Day four...

I feel almost completely disconnected from society now.  Even more so than normal, I mean.  Friends I once had daily contact with, I haven't heard from in weeks.... or, days.  Last night, I managed to scrounge up some mushrooms for dinner.  (And fish and rice.)  Were they poisonous?  Who knows.  (OK, probably not, as I got them at the grocery store.)

Such is life with no cell phone.

My Blackberry bit the dust on Wednesday.  Died on the 4th of July, someone should make a movie.  Since then I have withdrawn further and further into an isolated, text-less, cell-phone-less existence.

When something you have relied on so heavily is taken away, you can't help but start to ponder things.  Things like, I never realized how texting has almost entirely replaced instant messaging in my life.  I used to have like 186 friends on AIM.  Now, there are five people signed into my Gchat.  And four of those are orange.

I still have a landline, but no one calls.  Or if they do, I don't know it, because they would be calling my Blackberry, which isn't working. And I can't call anyone, because years of reliance on cell phone directories have erased my memory of virtually all phone numbers except immediate family members.  And/or it's long distance.

I suppose I could email someone and ask them to call me.  But I'm not that desperate.  Yet.  Also, sometimes people act like they never got your email, even though it's clearly in your "sent mail" folder and there was never an issue with them getting any of your emails before when they complained because you're still Rickrolling them once a week, but as soon as you send one asking if they want to hang out, all of a sudden they're having Gmail issues!  I mean... I've heard.... that happens.... to other people.

Spending all this time alone, thinking about all the calls and texts I'm missing... it can, uh, make a man crazy.  How bad has it gotten?  Today I almost struck up a conversation with a telemarketer.  Almost.

What's next?  Speaking to someone face-to-face?  I shudder at the thought.

I'm sure some of you might be asking, "Bone, why in the world do you still have a landline?

What can I say?  I have trouble letting go.  Of course, I also have trouble committing, which is kind of a rare combination.  It's not easy being me, OK?

Still others of you may be wondering, "Bone, why don't you just get a new phone?"

Well, that would be the easy thing to do, wouldn't it?  It's just that I dread going to the phone store.  It's like we Blackberry customers have become anathema now.  When I bought mine, the guy was doing everything he could to talk me into another phone, any other phone.  And that was 18 months ago.  I can only imagine he and his good-time iPhone buddies laughing it up after I leave this time.

Also, it's been a welcome break for my Texter's Thumb.  *flexing thumbs*  I can really tell a difference already.

Besides, this has now mutated into some sort of masochistic exercise in self-deprivation.  You see, there comes a time in a man's life when he needs to strike out on his own, remove himself from society for a few days, and see if he can survive without all the modern-day amenities. 

So for the past four days, it's just been me and the bare necessities: my laptop and my TV. 

How long can a person live like this?

As my number of Gchat friends online has now dropped to three, I'm guessing not much longer.

"Open your eyes, you might see / If our lives were that simple, we'd live in the past / If the phone doesn't ring, it's me..."

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