Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (10/25/05)

Ugh. My wife is sick, and it's taking a toll on me. Before you think I'm an insensitive person, realize that I am taking care of her and myself as well as working as well as being an insomniac. Ugh. It was a long day.
Because my wife is sick, I'm not sure I'm going to the game tonight. We'll see.
Well, without further ado: HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT!
Spike Lee

I watch Real Time With Bill Maher. I admit it. I find him funny. Anyway, he had Spike Lee on as one of his panelists and asked Spike about the new
NBA Dress Code. Now, Spike Lee is about to turn 50 years old. He's been making movies for a long time, and he even has a new documentary about Hurricane Katrina. He responded that he doesn't really have a problem with the new dress code. He also let out that he isn't a big fan of the "Gangsta culutre in hip-hop."
Now, I'm a white guy, so I can't really talk too much about African-American culture (I also believe that as a guy, it's not really my place to talk about abortion...a woman does it, so it's hers to talk about...but that's for another time). However, here's my problem:
On the one hand, I understand the new NBA dress code, and I don't really disagree with them. No headphones? Fine. The players need to look nice? Fine. The players are representatives of the league and thus should look good.
On the other hand, this is a bunch of white guys telling mostly African-American men how they need to look in public. One owner, Mark Cuban (a white dude) disagrees with the dress code, but went along with it because the league told him to do so. This seems to be the only league with this kind of dress code. On off days, baseball players aren't told to be dressed in business casual.
Why do I bring up Spike Lee, you ask? Well, only one day after making those comments on Bill Maher's show, Spike was called the new version of "Uncle Tom." Many members of the "Gangsta" community that Spike disagreed with called him a, "Cosby." Cosby, as you may or may not remember, talked about how the new generation of African-Americans are not well educated and embarassing. At the same time, he railed against the neo hip-hop community. Lee, who has been an activist for years, is now being considered a traitor to his own race? What the hell is wrong with people? He doesn't agree with something. That's his opinion. Is he spending money to eradicate all traces of neo hip-hop in African- American culture? No. Just because he feels that it can be a bad influence doesn't mean he's against black people. Nor does it mean he's an "uncle tom." It's disappointing to hear this.
Hey, I don't like how neo hip-hop is influencing white people, does that mean I'm a traitor to my race? Anyone?
Anger and the Computer Geek
I played tennis this past weekend against a guy who looks a lot like this. While he seemed mild-mannered, he immediately turned into the angriest person I have ever played against in my whole life (only in tennis, however). Every shot I called out, he questioned. He aimed for me when I was at the net. You're supposed to pass the opposing player, not take off a limb. At one point, I dove for a shot at net and popped the ball up. I could see this flash in his eyes, and he looked between me and the ball with this look of blood lust. He meant to smack that ball at me and hurt me. When he hit the ball, it just missed my head. He laughed after the ball got by and said, "Oh shucks. I just missed." Now, I can't really blame him. At one point, my mother jokingly offered me a quarter everytime I hit the guy teaching me tennis. Back to the point however. I knew he was a computer geek, because that's how he introduced himself to me. I asked him what he did for a living. His response? "Well, I do computer work. It's kinda hard to explain to people who don't know." Wow, way to underestimate my intelligence, dude. I know this guy is put upon at his job (he told me), and I know he's in a marriage where his wife and kids don't respect him (again, he told me. I had to hear a whole story about how his sons enjoy playing tennis against him and hitting him with the ball).
I used to be as competitive as this guy. If I didn't win, then I got angry. Hell, one year in college I wanted to win at Trivial Pursuit against my friends, so I "borrowed" the question cards and memorized ALL of them. I wanted to win. When I was a kid, I was so hardcore about wining that I would beat myself up if I didn't win both mentally and physically. Luckily my sisters beat the crap out of me and worked on breaking my ego. It made me a better person (seriously).
I mentioned last week I have been feeling really angry lately. Now I watched this guy as we played, and I saw myself. I heard the way he talked to himself, the way he moved when he hit the ball into the net, and more. He was just like me. During the first set (which he won easily), I was just like him. I was so angry, and my head just wasn't in the game. I was thinking about my wife, my life, hospitals and doctors, and more. After losing the first set, I walked to the bench, took a drink, and just looked at this guy. He was slumped over, shaking, and talking to himself about work. I saw myself, and I was shocked. I felt so stupid.
When I walked out to start the second set, I just let it all go. I figured out a way to just stop thinking: I let a song take over my brain. Seriously. I started whistling quietly. The song? My Blue Heaven. I don't know why, but it took over and that was the only thing I heard. It was the first time that I didn't have multiple things going through my head (see below to read more about my brain). I served better, and I played better. I ended up winning the next two sets, but not without dealing with his anger.
Maybe this is the first step to dialing back the anger, but only time will tell.
Minnesotans Forgive those Vikes
Oh, I'm so disappointed in Vikings fans. Here are people crying out that the team needs to b
e broken up, that something needs to be done to punish these guys, and that it sickens them to think about it....And then the team beat the Packers, and, as one fan put it, "All is forgiven." That's a sad commentary folks. Hey, you're a rapist...but you're also our best player...win and we forget the sin (hmm, I sense a sign at the next home game). So let's hit a few of the problems here:
First of all, if you REALLY want to "hurt the team" or "get revenge" as so many people put it, then you need to NOT watch the game, NOT go to the game, or NOT listen to the game. If you want to the players to take notice, hit them where it hurts: the bank. No ratings, no revenue, no money. In the new millenium, it's all about the dough, isn't it?
Secondly, realize that Minnesotans, beyond being HUGE fairweather fans, are neither the best nor the worst fans when it comes to sports. They're near the top for hockey, but those crafty Canadiens are better and more supportive. Below is a list of the worst fans in four leagues.
Baseball: Hands down it's the Chicago White Sox fans. One fan slapped a player's wife, two other fans jumped out of the crowd, charged the Kansas City Royals' 1st base coach, and beat him.
Ever hear of Disco Demolition Night? It went from destroying Disco records to beatings and burnings. Yankee fans throw batteries. White Sox fans throw darts. Ouch.
Football: Hands down it's the Philadelphia Eagles' fans. They booed Santa, for cripes sake. They threw snowballs at their OWN TEAM! These guys are just finicky, they're down right vicious. They will throw batteries at fans of the other team.
Basketball: This was a tough one, but after careful consideration, the answer is Detroit. I hadn't thought about it, but years ago I went to a Pistons game with my mother. We sat almost all the way up at the top of the Palace of Auburn Hills. Even up there, when the team started losing, people attempted to throw things at the opposing team. Hell, about five years ago, a few Pistons fans figured out where the opposing teams were staying and phoned in prank calls about dead wives and such. That leads to...
Hockey: Maybe I'm biased from where I grew up, but the worst fans in the NHL are on the Island. That's right NY Islanders fans are the WORST in the NHL. Why? Let's look at the track record. They boo their own team for no reason, sometimes after they score. "The Islanders are winning? BOOOOOOO!" This is a team that had something called "the Santa Skate-Around" where children could skate on the ice with guys dressed as Santa. One fan took off his coat to reveal a NY Rangers jersey (the hated rival) and was beaten. Not only punched, but they found cuts on his body...from skates. That's hardcore hate, folks.
Am I disappointed in Vikings fans? Oh hell yes. They win, you forget about the troubles. If they lose every game for the rest of the season, will you still profess love? Probably not, I'm betting.
A Sports Conspiracy: I just find it fascinating that Major League Baseball seems to be helping the Chicago White Sox. Three blown calls helped them get in and win the first two games of the World Series. Now, the Houston Astros aren't allowed to close their roof for tonight's games. That benefits the White Sox. Last year it was the Red Sox, now it's the White Sox. Yet there are no ratings. Perhaps this is a conspiracy, or perhaps it's just a mercy killing to end such a long season.
And finally:
My Brain:

I had a student ask me the most random question: "How would you describe your brain?" I didn't understand the question at first. What the hell does that mean? So I asked, "What do you mean?" She explained to me that some people refer to their brain as a car, a house, a kitchen, a machine, etc. I had to think about it. What is my brain like?
After a minute, it dawned on me. I guess I had always known. My brain is like a radio. The more I thought about this, the more I realized why I can't sleep at night.
Imagine your brain is a radio. Most radios can only get one station at a time. Occasionally a second station flares in for a second, but more often than not, it's one station.
For me, there are four stations coming in clearly all at once. Seriously. I'm constantly multi-tasking while thinking or doing anything. Hell, while I write this, I'm also on the phone talking to someone, making a grocery list, and working out the "to do" list for the rest of my week. What's worse is when everything goes quiet (such as when I try to sleep). That's when I get restless because not enough is going on.
When I was covering the Film Studies class, I almost went nuts. Watch the film...that's it. So I had to work on other things while the film was playing.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe it means I'm crazy. I don't know.
Then again, what do I know? I'm the guy at the Wild games who's watching the game, writing in his notebook, talking to his neighbors, and writing lesson plans...all at once. I could be wrong.

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