Monday, June 29, 2009

All hail Dr. Ivo

No one's ever going to accuse me of choosing my sports allegiances wisely. Oh, sure, when you grow up in Cleveland, you root for Cleveland teams... unless you're a pathetic front-runner whose name rhymes with Smebron Smames and decide you like the Yankees, Bulls, and Cowboys instead! But I think this stubborn allegiance to teams that have a preternatural ability to build up your hopes only to crush them in the most painful way imaginable translates into bizarre preferences in other sports. How else to explain my ridiculous current infatuation with unlikely tennis "hero" Ivo Karlović?

Dr. Ivo (GREAT nickname!) is a gangly 6 ft. 10 inch Croatian giant with pretty limited mobility and an all-around game that's mediocre at best... but he's through to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon based on one thing: an absolutely blistering serve. It's not just the speed that kills opponents; the angles and bounce are obscene owing to his height and almost supernatural wingspan, and when his mechanics are on, as they've been over the past few weeks, his accuracy is surgical. I watched his match against Top 10-ranked French player (and uncanny Muhammad Ali lookalike) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Dr. Ivo was actually blasting aces past French Muhammad Ali (FMA) on his second serve. He's that confident in his serve. Playing against Dr. Ivo right now is like playing a game of service chicken: get ready for a tiebreaker and pray you can return a couple of his bombs for a mini-break, or else you're done. That's exactly what happened to poor FMA, who was reduced to guessing which side of the court to cover, like a soccer goalie facing a penalty kick.

What's not to like about Dr. Ivo? He's got a great nickname. His serve is the biggest weapon in all of tennis. He stutters (yes, you read that correctly: he stutters!). He looks even more drawn in and skeletal than Ivan Lendl, one of my all-time faves. And as if all that weren't enough, his post-victory celebration routine is delightful, especially when it's performed in front of thousands of shocked British matrons. Here's the final-set tiebreak against FMA, including Dr. Ivo's little Ron Jeremy victory dance, and with some patriotically biased, exuberant commentary courtesy of the Croatian Sports Network:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fun with Facebook

I've been on Facebook for a few months now, thanks to a friend who moved to another state and insisted I sign on so we could stay in touch. At first, I didn't think too much of it and hardly ever checked my profile or inbox, until my niece Sophie advised me that many of my relatives, including some from Uruguay, wanted to become "Friends." Lo and behold, Facebook has turned out to be a pretty convenient way to maintain contact with not just far-off friends and relatives, but also with local yokels. Sure, exchanging Facebook shouts with your officemate as you're literally sitting in the same room is somewhat gay... but still fun, especially when we're discussing our loser boss and how disgustingly pungent his breath and B.O. are, all while he's also in the room!

There are, of course, several drawbacks to internet social networks. One of my many pet peeves with Facebook is
the "like" button. There ought to be a "don't like" button to go with this. Friend X posted a link to his awesome new website? I "like" this. Friend Y posted a photo of his two-year-old daughter clad in a hat and binoculars and nothing else? Since I'm not a Catholic priest, I "don't like" this! Now, if it had been a similar photo of his bra-burning wife... nah, she's like a sister to me, and since I'm not from Kentucky, I still "don't like" this. Here are a few more Facebook "like" and "don't like" shenanigans:

Applications / Games:

I love birthdays but suck at remembering dates, so the Birthday Calendar application is an absolute
Godsend. The movie rating app is pretty cool too, especially when you compare your ratings with those of your friends.

Don't Like:
Just about everything else. No, I will not join your "family" in Mob Wars. No, I will not buy you a
Margarita using Drink Buddies (what the hell is that, anyway???). No, I will not play Pet Society with you. Please go away.

Groups / Causes:

I love to hate Turks. They are a repugnant, greasy, foul-smelling, and amoral breed whose national
pastime is forced sodomy. Joining a "Turkey sucks!" group, gleefully bashing the murderous bastards, and then laughing at their pathetically incoherent replies is nothing short of delightful. I also like the sports team groups.

Don't Like:
Just about everything else. (I sense a running theme!) No, I will not join the "Britney is the
best!" group. No, I will not donate to the "Save the Michael Vick dogs" cause. I don't fucking care. Please go away.


Reconnecting with distant family and friends... just too cool for words.

Don't Like:
I feel rude for doing this, but if I don't know you, I'm not accepting your friend request. I know
it's a social network, and regular rules might not apply, but I can't help being paranoid any more than I can help the fact that my hair is black. If I've never met you, please go away.

Comments / Tags:

In case you couldn't tell, I love a snarky comment, especially when I'm the one firing away. Adding
snide, derisive remarks to friends' photos or status updates is one of life's greatest joys. The photo tagging gimmick is also terrific -- I've been tagged as a bathroom sink (I'm a compulsive hand-washer) and as a congregation of worms (still trying to figure that one out). Good times!

Don't Like:
Surprisingly, not too many objections here. I may not reply to every comment, or comment on every
item, but, thankfully, none of my cronies are needy, so no worries or recriminations here.

Status / What Are You Doing Now?:

I like quick updates along the lines of "Going on vacation" or "Just got engaged!" I also
like fun / goofy takes on this. Months ago, a few of us were on a crazy Austrian Death Machine trip, and status updates along the lines of "DD is a war machine" or "JNA just came up with a sweet song title" just added to the hi-jinks.

Don't Like:
People using this forum for über-creepy public overshares. "Friend Z is swearing off men forever. I met a great guy at the club last night, and we exchanged numbers, but when I tried to call him, the number was out of service. What is it about me that draws me to these cruel betrayers? I can't take it any more. Aren't there any good guys out there? And to my guy friends, why do you guys act like this? I'm so sick of you all! J/K! But for real, I am pledging a life of celibacy until I find a good guy, and if, in the meantime, my vajeen dries up like a pile of sawdust in the Sahara, then so be it. LOL!" Yikes.

All in all, Facebook has turned out to be a pretty pleasant surprise. Now, if I could just stop people from trying to drag me into other social networks...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A scatological anniversary

Today (June 11) marks the anniversary of France's greatest contribution to humankind. No, I'm not talking about the constitutional separation of religion and government, nor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, nor France's myriad philosophical, artistic, gastronomical, nor sartorial gifts to the world. On this day in 1857, Joseph Pujol, aka "Le Pétomane" (translated as fart maniac or "fartiste"), was born in Marseille. This gent was a baker by profession, but he had the remarkable talent of being able to fart at will. He actually developed a stage routine where he played a type of flute with his anus ("La Marseilleise" was, of course, a show-stopper), farted to blow out candles stationed several yards away, and even re-created animal sounds and other assorted noises with his "gift." His act was successful enough to warrant a two-year run at the famous Moulin Rouge, and allowed him to eventually found his own traveling show. He eventually retired to his bakery, but not before establishing a legacy that lives on to this glorious day.

Happy birthday, Monsieur "Poo-hole" !!!!!!