February 27, 2006

Forget Salzburg

Salzburg, Austria is considered the leading candidate to land the 2014 Winter Olympics.

There is a much better alternative.

is bidding for the games.

Now, you might think that a ice planet in a galaxy far, far away might pose some problems for the games, but is Hoth any more out-of-the way as Lillehammer was? There will be some special challenges that accompany selecting Hoth. Facilities will need to be built. Echo Base will need to be converted to the athlete's village. There will be wampa issues. But this is too perfect.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:35 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

It started with Yoko and ended with Avril

What that means about our culture I’ll leave up to you.

The Olympics are one of those rare moments when the Missus and I enjoy a sporting event together. She’ll watch baseball and football with me, but she certainly doesn’t enjoy it as much as I. The Olympics are different. She’s a sucker for the stories and I love the competition. The Winter games especially. Had I the chance to participate in any sporting event at any level, be it the Super Bowl or World Series or the Masters, I would always choose to ski an Olympic downhill.

So why didn’t I give a damn about these games? It should be obvious. During the Summer games in Athens I posted several times about the games themselves, or how much I enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy) watching them.

This year? Nothing…

I still watched every night. I made it through the bizarre world opening ceremonies, complete with flaming rollerbladers and dancing trees. I watched despite my loathing of NBC and it’s presentation. I don’t so much hate the tape-delay. I don’t like it, but NBC didn’t pay half a billion to televise these things during the early mornings. I do have serious problems with how they tape delay. Everything is so canned, so obviously faked. The nonsensical cuts between speed skating and skiing and figure skating and back to speed skating. It’s like they can’t decide if they’re faking an actual news event or not.

Still, I watch.

I watched several of the US team’s brightest act like total dinks. Bode is, as Slate’s Dana Stevens put it, a douche-bag. Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis were basically twelve-year-olds on stage, and Hedrick seemed to challenge Bode for overall douche-bagitude. Did the US men’s hockey team even show up? Did the Canadians?

Still, I watch.

And I enjoyed it too. The Missus and I plan on attending some events in Vancouver. Maybe getting away from Bob Costas will help. The VANoc really needs to work on this stuff though. The presentation at tonight’s closing was… well, it was lame.

I do wonder about a nation that has given us Leonard Cohen and Neil Young serving up Avril and what looked to be Yahoo Serious.

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February 23, 2006

The NBA Trade deadline is very little fun

Past the inexplicable Steve Francis deal, the NBA trading deadline was pretty dull. The floundering Sonics finally pulled the trigger on the Earl Watson deal, sending... well, it ended up a 4-team deal so the details are pretty confusing. The Supes end up with Watson -overpaid but needed- veteran swingman Byron Russell (I had no idea he was still in the NBA) and a future second-round pick from Denver. They lose Vitaly Potapenko and Reggie Evans. They also sent Flip Murray to Cleveland for somebody named Mike Wilks.

This season is still a disaster for the Sonics, but the team is better than it was last week. Watson replaces much of Antonio Daniels' grit and defense from the point, and swapping the disgruntled Vlade Radmanovic for Chris Wilcox could be a steal.

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February 21, 2006

Isiah Thomas' Demented Experiment

According to SI, the New York Knicks and their borderline lunatic GM are about to acquire Steve Francis from Orlando. Once known as Stevie Franchise (does anybody call him that anymore?), Francis might be responsible for the ultimate destruction of the Vancouver Grizzlies, as he refused to even report after being drafted. Francis demanded a trade to a southern city, which has astounded me to this day. Why anyone wouldn’t want to earn millions living in the prettiest city in North America, a city with –are you paying attention NBAers – shall we say lax views on marijuana laws has confounded me to this day.

That’s in the past though, and this is the future. Francis, who has turned out to be a supremely selfish shooting guard in an undersized point guard’s body, will be playing with Stephon Marbury, a supremely selfish shooting guard who plays point, and Jalen Rose, a supremely selfish swingman. This makes the NBA’s most dysfunctional franchise even more so. As soon as this trade goes though, betting lines will be available as to whom Larry Brown kills first: himself, Isiah, or any of the three.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2006

As the temperature soars into the low-40’s…

Beautiful sunny days in Seattle don’t happen all that often from October until about May, so those in the Pacific Northwest take advantage. During this awful cold snap we’re going through, it has been clear. One of the reasons it’s so damned cold. Expected high in Tacoma tonight? How about 18? That’s just not right. So, with a blue-sky day, even at 41 degrees, the Missus and I voyaged outside. We headed up I-90 into downtown Seattle.

After an early coffee, we hit Maximilien, a French restaurant hidden in Pike Place Market. We were so inspired we decided to hunt through the market for some gourmet bread and cheese for a light dinner tonight. We also made sure to spend far too much money on some equally gourmet puppy treats. We left the market and hiked up Union to Gelatiamo for the best gelato in Seattle, then drove through Belltown, Queen Anne and Capitol Hill to check on houses that we can in no way currently afford.

Thank God we also stopped at my favorite comic book shop, or this whole day would be so yuppified even I would hate me.

Still, it was an exceptionally nice day. One that I would probably have every Saturday, if the weather cooperated. And we lived in Seattle. We may have to.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Is William Donald Schaefer Senile?

Oh. My. God.

It's a shame that the Miss America Pageant left Atlantic City, because that's where Schaefer belongs... on the boardwalk with the leering old men shouting "Show your shoes!" as the contestants parade by.

Willie Don's a funny guy and I respect what he did for Maryland, but, seriously: What the hell is wrong with him?

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 11:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Four Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

Pitchers and Catchers Report

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February 14, 2006

Happy Thoughts For Us Singles on Valentine's Day

I know some people feel that marriage as an institution is dying out, but I disagree. The point was driven home to me rather forcefully not long ago by a letter I received which said: "Darling, I love you and I cannot live without you. Marry me, or I will kill myself." Well, I was a little disturbed at that, until I took another look at the envelope and saw that it was addressed to "Occupant."

-Tom Lehrer

This post is for all of you out in readerland who are alone today. To all of you who are married or in a committed relationship: Hooray, good for you, happy day, blah blah blah. But this isn't for you. Besides, you should all be out searching for the perfect diamond earrings or box of chocolate or confirming your reservations for tonight at L'Auberge Chez Francois, like the good little capitalist romantics our society wants you to be.

Sorry, that came off bitter. And the whole point of this post is to avoid the bitterness. See, American culture seems to have two default attitudes toward Valentine's Day. If you're in a relationship, you're supposed to be sweet and lovey-dovey and taking out a second mortgage to bury your sweetheart neck-deep in manufactured tokens of your affection. If you're not in a relationship, you're supposed to adopt that whole down-with-love mentality and whoop it up at some "Glad I'm Still Single" party, downing drinks and mocking all the happy loving couples you know.

But what if you don't want to do either? Just because you're not seeing someone, that doesn't mean you have to believe that love and romance is a giant fraud. Love, American style, may be in a confused and somewhat troubled state these days -- what with the rampant commercialism, the commodification of affection, the high divorce rate, the sex-besotted popular culture, and the morass that is online dating -- but that doesn't mean you have to throw up your hands and forget the whole thing. No, despite what you may have heard or seen, not all men are jerks, and not all women are crazy. No, not all the good ones are married or gay. And yes, there are still people out there who believe in old-fashioned love and romance, and not all of them are with somebody on this day.

When economists calculate the unemployment rate, they make an effort to factor our "discouraged workers." Discouraged workers are defined as those who have been out of work for so long and believe their prospects to be so bleak that they've stopped looking for work. Now surely, among the population of singles, there's a share of "discouraged lovers." For them, maybe those Down-With-Love parties are just the ticket. But for those of us in the romantic labor force who are unattached but not discouraged, bitterness won't do. It doesn't become us. We can do better.

(Incidentally, for those of you wondering why I'm not in a relationship, the above analogy should answer your question. Believe me, chicks dig a guy who makes analogies between love and economics.)

So this year, in an effort to combat the negativity among the single set on Valentine's Day, I've composed a list of 10 (mostly) positive reasons why it's okay to be single today. If a little bitterness creeps in around the edges, please forgive me; old habits die hard. I'm attempting to channel the spirit of this article:

I'm 35 and still single, I spend my days writing about dating, sometimes writing about writing about dating, and this year I realized I'm tired of The Rant. I don't feel angry at the holiday. Instead, I'm angry at the people who are angry at the holiday.

I remember in my junior high school in Oklahoma, you could have carnations delivered to your valentines—white for friends, pink for people you had a crush on, red for the person you made out with at recess. We didn't overthink the carnation system. Back then we didn't even know carnations were bad flowers...

We all have people we love, or at least people we'd like to send a white carnation … why not celebrate them? Do the expected. That can be romantic, too.

So, for all you women whose friends say, "I don't know why you're not doing better," even though "better" seems like a mirage as a parade of cold fish, playboys, emotional trainwrecks and freaks passes in and out of your love life, read on. For all you men who wish you could be this guy, but in reality are more like this guy, or this guy, this is for you.

10 Happy Thoughts for Valentine's Day

1. You're not dating any of the people quoted in this article. This, in and of itself, is reason enough to find the single life appealing.

2. You don't have to worry about whether that necklace will match her color scheme, or whether he'll think that tie is ugly or unoriginal, or whether she'll hate that box of chocolates because she's trying to lose weight, or whether he's going to spend more on your gift that you will on his, and what all of the above says about the state of your relationship. Remember, plenty of people who are in perfectly happy relationships regard Valentine's Day as a minefield.

3. On Valentine's Day, all the good restaurants are overcrowded with overdressed people trying too hard to make everything perfect. Today's a great day to hit your favorite greasy-spoon, or order in some Chinese, or make up a mess of pasta and crash on the couch. And as a singleton, you can do that with no guilt trips and no one complaining that you're not romantic enough.

4. Love gone wrong makes for much better art than love gone right. Ask Dante, or Emily Dickinson. Broken romance gave us "I Wish It Would Rain" and "If I Wanted To"; happy romance gave us "Sugar Sugar".

5. No Valentine's letdown. Remember when you were a kid and Christmas was around the corner (if you observed it), and you would count down the days and work yourself into a frenzied ball of excitement daydreaming about the wonder of it all? And remember how around New Year's, after Christmas was over and you always got more socks and less candy than you really wanted and you got bored with or broke most of your new toys and it was time to go back to school, that bummed-out feeling hit you? Well, once you're grown, the same thing happens all over again when you really wanted flowers and he got you a microwave, or you really wanted an iPod and she got you a new wallet. Unless you're single, in which case there's no risk.

6. If you're one of those "discouraged lovers" I referenced in that oh-so-romantic analogy above, here's some worthwhile advice:

If it's been long enough, you may have just stopped thinking of yourself as someone who goes on dates. There's a certain temptation, however painful, to just call it quits. Time to lose that attitude. No one else can rule you out of the game—only you can do that to yourself. And guess what? There's someone out there who has been wondering where you are and is going to be head-over-heels happy when you decide to emerge from your shell. Isn't it time you found each other?

7. Even if you don't have that significant other in your life, you're not alone in this world. Maybe you have a child, or parents, or grandparents, or aunts and uncles, or cousins, or longtime friends, that you love with all your heart and would do anything for. In the end, they matter just as much, as not more, as the person you might otherwise be splitting a shrimp cocktail with today. So what if this day has been set aside by marketers to celebrate romantic love? Love in all forms is still love, and it's always worth celebrating.

8. To that end, why not take a tip from the article I quoted above and send a white carnation to somebody special that you love, even if not romantically? I guarantee it will make that person's day, and it might even make yours. At least give a call, or pay a visit.

9. In the past, you might well have dated someone who was a mistake, someone who always put you down, someone who was controlling or manipulative, someone who didn't respect your privacy, maybe even someone who yelled at you or even hit you. You're not in that relationship any more, and that speaks well of you. It takes a lot of strength to leave a nasty or abusive relationship, and it takes a lot of strength to decide that being single is better than being in a relationship with someone who doesn't love you right. Take today to celebrate yourself and your strength. You deserve it.

10. If all of the above doesn't prove helpful, if you can't think of a good poem or song to write and you can't think of a friend or family member you love and you can't think of a bad relationship you escaped... well, I'll be your Valentine. I may not know you, or ever have met you, but I believe there's a lot of good in you, and I want the best for you, and at some level, isn't that what love is about?

Hope this helps. Remember, my single friends, you're better than the bitterness. A white carnation to all of you. Happy Valentine's Day.

This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And ride that highway in the sky

This is for all the single people

Thinking that love has left them dry

Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup

You never know until you try


Posted by Mediocre Fred at 09:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

America's Olympic Sweetheart

With the demise of Michelle Kwan and the brittleness of Sasha Cohen, America needs an Olympian to love. Apparently Shaun White is the guy. I have no problem with this. He seems fairly normal, he has likable stoner outlook on life, and he's really, really good at what he does. I did have to point out this qoute, seen at ESPN's Sports Guy page:

"I think it's better to buy real estate than say, a yellow and purple Corvette or an elephant that can speak sign language. My parents help me out a lot with that stuff. They don't want to see me when I'm 30, dead broke, selling bootleg tapes of my snowboard movies on the side of the freeway." -- Olympic gold medalist Shaun White on how he spends his endorsement money

Kid, if you can find an elephant that speaks sign language and you have the oppurtunity to buy it, please do so.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Be vewwwy, vewwy qwuiet….

I’m not going to comment much on the utterly ridiculous story of Vice-President Cheney accidentally shooting one of his fellow quail hunters. The liberal blogs are having a field day (and rightly so), and the cons are trying to spin this as no big deal.

My issue with this isn’t what happened, or the delay on reporting the accident (check out the exchange between David Gregory and White House Spokescreature McClelland from The Plank). My amusement comes from where this placed on the day’s news. Because the Missus and I are Olympic obsessive, we didn’t watch anything but NBC from 7-11:30. The local NBC affiliate KING 5, does a news trailer and mentioning –in this order- a hacker attack on a local website, the blizzard on the east coast, and the VP shooting somebody.

To which the Missus and I reacted thusly: What the fuck!?! Seriously, what the fucking fuck? How in the name of Aaron Burr is this the third-most important story of the day? How often does a sitting vice-president shoot anybody, accident or not? I understand that it was an accident, and the victim should be okay, but still…

I should also mention the “hacktivism” that lead the broadcast. It seems that a local women-only scooter club wasn’t doing enough to combat the plague of cartoons that has beset the Islamic world. Or maybe Allah doesn’t approve of middle-aged Seattleites on Vespas. Either way their website was hacked into and taken over by some numbskull and turned into a nice little Islamofacist fun.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 09, 2006

The Last Seahawk Post

…for the time being anyway. Free Agency starts on March 3 and the Hawks have some choices to make. This is how I think it will shake down.

Must Keep
LG Steve Hutchinson
The number one priority for this off-season. The Seahawks may franchise him.
FB Mack Strong
At 34, still at his peak. It won’t be for many years, but Mack’s deal will be done quickly.
QB Seneca Wallace (Restricted)
The Seahawks have a lot invested in him. They might sign a more experienced backup and play Wallace at WR more.
K Josh Reed (Restricted)
Like a lot of Seahawks, he had rough Super Bowl. He's a good kicker nonetheless.

Love to Keep, Probably Can’t
WR Joe Jurevicius
An accomplished pro who would fit as a starter in many places. Look for New England and Carolina to make a play.
DT Rocky Bernard
Career year or coming-out party? The Sugar Bear will be hard to keep.

Who Knows?
RB Shaun Alexander
Lately the conventional wisdom is that he’ll stay. But if Seattle was so hot to resign him, howcome they haven’t already? Will he take a ton of money and stay in the perfect situation or take even more money and end up in a bad one like Cleveland or Arizona?
RB Maurice Morris
If Shaun stays, Mo probably goes to a team willing to give him more of shot. If Shaun goes, he becomes the starter and the Seahawks find a second back through the draft or maybe free agency.
S Marquand Manuel
If Ken Hamlin is healthy enough to play next year, Manuel might want to leave and start full-time. A former UFA who was an important player for the Seahawks even before Hamlin’s injuries.
WR Peter Warrick
Another injury-prone year for this former #1 pick. He may stay if no one offers him a starting job.

Should Keep
TE Ryan Hannam
A fine year as the blocking tight end. His future might depend on Itula Mili’s comeback.
CB Jimmy Williams
Lost his job as punt returner, but played more in the secondary as the year went on. The team could do much worse as 4th or 5th CB.
DE Rodney Bailey
Versitile enough to move inside or out on the line. A nice piece to keep around
LB Kevin Bentley
Nickle linebacker who did a very nice job helping contain Steve Smith. If he plays better against the run he could displace DD Lewis as the starter
DE Joe Tafoya
Not as versatile as Bailey, but a nice fit as a fourth DE. Made some plays

P Tom Rouen
An okay year ruined by an awful Super Bowl. Shoulda never cut Chris Kluwe
OT Wayne Hunter (Restricted)
Still raw and probably superfluous with Ray Willis and Pork Chop Womack around.
S John Howell
Missed most of the season with injuries. Might stick if Manuel bolts, but probably replaced in the draft

Posted by Frinklin at 07:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 08, 2006

Can Anyone Help?

Anyone know where I can get one of the jerseys the Mexican team wore in the 2005 Caribbean Series?



I'm not from Mexico or anything, but I'm a fan of the Caribbean series and I really love those jerseys. Any tips from out in reader-land?

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 11:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2006

Yeah, I’m still alive

I’m proud to say that I have scored as many rushing touchdowns in the Super Bowl as Ben Roethlisberger has.

That would be none.

Yesterday might have been the single most frustrating day I’ve ever had as a sports fan. Since I follow the Seahawks, Mariners and Sonics, along with a university that practically patented the late-season collapse (Coug It!)…

Well, let just say I’ve been around the block.

I’m not going to delve into the officiating. I’m not going to spell out any elaborate conspiracy. Yes, some calls were, shall we say, questionable. The ticky-tack offensive pass interference call against D-Jack, the non-TD by Big Ben, the holding call against Locklear that quite frankly didn’t exist, the horse collar by Porter on Alexander (apparently you have to see ligaments popping - or be Roy Williams - to get that called), the fact that Marvell Smith was six yards down the freakin’ field when Rothlisberger threw to Ward at the 2, the inexplicable call against Hasselbeck on the interception return….

I could go on. I don’t have to though, since Slate, Football Outsiders, Jason Whitlock, Michael Wilbon, Michael Smith and Skip Bayless (of all people) have done it for me.

But it doesn’t matter anyway. The difficult truth is this: the Seahawks should have won this damned game despite all that. You hold the opposing QB to a rating under 25, you win the turnover battle 3-1, your offensive line just owns players like von Oelhoffen and Aaron Smith and rip the vaunted Steeler defense for 400 yards… this is a game a champion wins. The Seahawks weren’t that champion. In fact, this game was like a nightmare. Call it the Ghost of Seahawk Past.

This was 2004. This was a team of dropped passes, blown assignments, lousy clock management. This was the team that never met a lead it couldn’t win. This is the team that lost to mediocre Ram team three times in one year. This is the team I thought was dead. It came back to life. The key to this game wasn’t so much the refs as it was Marquand Manuel. Manuel, backup safety who started after the injuries to Ken Hamlin, was lost in the first half. This forced Etric Pruitt into a game, and he quickly proved to be the single worst safety in the history of the Super Bowl. He took a bad angle on the Parker 75-yard run and he bit so hard on the reverse to Randle El he nearly fell down. Hamlin or Manuel makes that play and Parker gets 15 instead of 75.

Doesn’t matter in the end though. The question now becomes what next. They have to make a decision on Alexander and guard Steve Hutchinson. I doubt the team can keep both, and Hutchinson is the more important. With Alexander the Seahawks should make every attempt to keep him, but not for insane money. Arizona and Minnesota are the main suitors. Hutchinson they can Franchise if need be. Other free agents are Rocky Bernard (probably too expensive at this point) Joe Jurevicius (ditto) and Mack Strong. Strong will be lifetime Seahawk, bet on that one. They will also need to find out if Hamlin can play again, and find some speed for both wideout and kick returner. Detroit’s Eddie Drummond would be nice.

The Vegas bookmakers have already pegged Seahawks as 5-1 favorites to make Super Bowl XLI, along with Pittsburgh, Indy and New England. The record of Super Bowl losers is not good, but the Hawks will break that streak.

Can’t wait until September.

Now I guess I’ll have to point this blog back to something other than football huh? I actually feel a bit guilty over pushing down Fred’s post about… well; I’ll just say I’m glad I’m not single anymore.

Posted by Frinklin at 07:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Maybe Dying Alone Is Underrated

It gets a little lonely, folks, you know what I mean

I'm looking for a woman with low self-esteem

To lay me out and ease my worried mind

-Warren Zevon

This morning, the Washington Post produced the latest article in its ongoing series, "Hey, Fred! This Will Really Piss You Off":

It comes down to the deterrent power of a Phil Collins CD in a woman's car. Or, a guy who habitually sticks his tongue out while eating, like a lapping dog. His girlfriend returns him to his cage, permanently.

Centuries from now, scientists may point to this as the moment in time when the pickiness gene became dominant. In the end, it will come down to one really old, lonely guy and his list.

"She must have blue eyes. She should like animals, but not in a weird way. No thin lips. No lawyers," he'll be writing, just before he keels over and the human race comes to an end.

The article goes on to profile several people who have kicked their boyfriends or girlfriends to the curb for deep, meaningful reasons such as these:

"Some people are mayonnaise people, I completely understand it. But I. Hate. Mayonnaise," Peters says. He thinks it's a texture thing. "I just find it to be the most repulsive thing in the world. And she's just going on and on about how great mayonnaise is and how you can eat all these things and my stomach is just curdling."

There was one more incident. They went to grab a quick bite and she got a roast beef and brie sandwich, heated up. The brie was "oozing."

"I mean, when it's hot and running all over, it looked terrible, and in light of the taquito and mayonnaise stories, I was just like, I can't take it anymore," Peters says.

He stopped calling her. He knows this sounds really bad.

"Feel free to put in there what a shallow [bleep] I am," he says.

Others interviewed for the story include a man who breaks up with women who order salads for dinner, a woman who dumped her boyfriend because he didn't know what paella was, and a woman who walked out on her boyfriend at a restaurant because he didn't like the shoes she was wearing.

If that wasn't enough, check out this laundry list:

Dates with bad grammar. Yankees fans. Actors. Indecisive dates. ("Where do you want to go?" "I dunno, you?") A man who wears a backpack, or socks with his sandals. A woman who can't give good directions to her house. A man who likes pink drinks. A woman who drives a black Pontiac Grand Am with gold rims. A man who kisses you and says, "Yummy!" A woman who wears a tight leopard-print top.

Whew. As if I didn't have enough reasons to feel bad about my romantic future, I am now introduced to the possibility that the minutest quirk of my personality, no matter how picayune, might be cause for a break-up. Happy hunting, young lovers! (Where are Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice when I need them?)

If asked, all the picky people will claim that their seemingly absurd dumping grounds are in fact rooted in something more meaningful. The woman who walked out over her shoes claims that the shoes she was wearing "exemplify everything that I am. . . . They're so, like, fun and they're kinda dangerous." The man who won't date women who order salads for dinner says that such a woman is "very self-conscious about either how she looks or eating in front of other people." The man who didn't know what paella was wasn't cultured enough for the woman who dumped him. Even Taquito Boy, who admits to being a selfish [bleep], says that his date's bad food choices reflected the fact that she was too "small-town" and "old-fashioned and motherlike".

The writer of the article, Libby Copeland, does a good job encapsulating what this increasing pickiness says about our society (and encapsulating why I want to hit these people hard with a shovel):

There is something peculiarly modern about this phenomenon, something aligned with our dark privilege of too much, this consumeriffic culture in which jeans and houses and breasts and ring tones are customizable. Consider it all: geographical dislocation, cities filled with singles, extended childhoods and postponed childbearing, speed-dating, the growing sense that the dating pool is as vast as the 454 men-seeking-women between the ages of 29 and 31 within five miles of your Zip code on Yahoo Personals.

In a world of infinite possibilities, the notion of falling in love, of finding The One, seems itself like the taquito girl, small-town and old-fashioned. Once upon a time, The One would've lived in your village or another one like it. Now, she could be this sweet girl across from you at the dinner table, but she could also be someone you haven't yet met. What if there's another woman somewhere in the world, like this girl, but better? Someone who will snowboard with you, and doesn't do that strange throat-clearing thing?

As usual, modernity sucks the big one. Our affluent, trivial, atomized and self-serving culture has, if nothing else, produced the great glimmering myth: You can have everything exactly the way you want it. You can live in your spacious McMansion with a big lawn surrounded by other people who share your socioeconomic status and think, look and talk like you. You can flip through 700 TV channels until you find the one that's perfectly tailored to your narrow interests and worldviews. If the TV bores you, hop onto the Internet and
surf until you find that Web site or message board that's devoted to people who like what you like (or, at least as likely if not more so, hate what you hate). Go to the grocery store and browse through 600 varieties of olive oil until you find the one that's exactly suited to the dish you're cooking.

Choices, choices, everywhere we look there are choices. And since our capitalist culture has encouraged us to think of everything as a consumer good, why not love? And if we can get our TV channels, Internet sites, houses, cars, neighborhoods, and olive oils tailored to our specific preferences, why not look for the same in a mate?

Online dating sites only encourage this fantasy. I don't like online dating because it feels too much like a shopping list. When it comes to qualities I look for in a girlfriend, things such as a bright and active mind, caring warmth, buoyant optimism, an ability to roll with life's punches, and a willingness to explore new interest and ideas matter much more than hair color, height, occupation, or preferred number of theoretical future children. Unfortunately, none of the things I'm looking for come across in an online profile (not even in the 200-words-or-less "in your own words" featurette). Apart from enabling me to weed out the bad spellers, online profiles tell me nothing useful.

(And for all the potential varieties, there's a depressing sameness after a while. If I read of one more woman who is desperately seeking "an honest man who loves life and is funny but knows when to be serious," I may strangle someone.)

The point here is that online dating sites are the ultimate consumer's wet dream: Enter in your list of desired attributes, and bammo! here's a list of 1,000 people of your desired gender and sexual preference who meet your criteria, or most of them, anyway.

When faced with such a plethora of choices, the natural tendency is to find ways to pare down the list. Rather than looking for commonalities, you start looking for differences, excuses to knock people off the list.

And so, enter Taquito Boy. Obviously, he's convinced that he can afford to be picky and reject women on the basis of mayonnaise love. And, in a world of The Golf Channel, iPods and cosmetic surgery on demand, why wouldn't he think so? Every impulse in our popular culture encourages him to believe it. Just ask the author of the charmingly-titled Hook-Up Handbook quoted in this article about dating in your 20s: "At this point, dating is more about you than it is about the other person." Fantastic.

If the consumer culture hasn't destroyed love, then the hazy definition of the role of love and marriage in our society has. It's increasingly unclear in America what marriage is for. Women don't need men to support them economically or for child-bearing (since they can do both on their own), and while men might well benefit from a woman's help around the house (my apartment could serve as Exhibit 1 of this point), they don't need to be married either.

Since the functions of marriage are (theoretically) no longer a requirement for survival in society, young people are left adrift in the romantic universe with no clear guideposts. If they haven't seen their parents divorce (maybe more than once), they've seen their friends' parents divorce, and a once-bitten-twice-shy mentality has taken root. With no clear idea what marriage is supposed to do for them, young people shrug their shoulders at the whole thing. They delay it as long as possible -- because sleeping around with no strings is more fun, dammit -- and then, if it's not everything they hoped it would be, they don't hesitate to return the old model to the store for an exchange.

While I don't share the cultural conservatives' desire to turn marriage into a celebration of heterosexuality, I understand their anxiousness about the institution. Not only are people conditioned to believe that they can treat relationships with fellow human beings as a flip through the old Sears Wishbook, it's possible that our society is so selfish and narrowcasted that we can't deal with people with different viewpoints and life experiences. (It defies understanding how a society so well-educated can be so narrow-minded, but so be it.)

Perhaps this is the price of affluence: When we're awash in goods, we lose the bonds of common humanity. Isn't it revealing that the woman above equates her shoes with herself? We've learned to embrace our possessions so tightly that we've forgotten how to embrace each other. Now that we believe we don't need each other, we can't stand each other.

(On a related subject, I highly recommend this article from Sunday's Post Magazine. It's about evolution, but it gets at the same idea: Does modernity [in this case, belief in evolution] tear away the bonds that hold society together?)

In the meantime, I suppose all a Luddite like me can do is steer clear of the people quoted in the article and hope that somewhere, someone who still believes in our common humanity is out there, searching, and some day we'll run into each other in a nice taquito-free setting and have a nice old-timey happily ever after. Maybe. Or maybe I should shrug my shoulders and prepare for a life as the male equivalent of a crazy cat lady. I don't know.

P.S. Valentine's Day is coming up. There's still time to buy that special someone chocolates, flowers, or diamonds. Something that will prove you really care. Have a good time.

So God bless the goods we was given

And God bless the U.S. of A.

And God bless our standard of living

Let's keep it that way

And we'll all have a good time

- Paul Simon

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 12:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 05, 2006


Just Damn.


I know I should have more, and I might tomorrow... just not tonight.

Posted by Frinklin at 10:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 04, 2006

No. Just No.

On ESPN's NFL Primetime this afternoon, Trey Wingo called this "Super Bowl X-to-the-L".

Don't you ever do that again.

Posted by Frinklin at 03:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hall of Fame 2006

He only played two seasons as a Seahawk, but Warren Moon has always been considered one of our own. A Washington Husky, and now the radio color man for the Seahawks, congratulations to Warren Moon on making the Hall of Fame. He becomes the first modern-day black quarterback elected.


Moon is joined by Troy Aikman, Reggie White, Harry Carson, John Madden and Rayfield Wright.

Posted by Frinklin at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Red and Seahawk Blue? I dunno...

It was a seriously weird day at work. This was National Wear Red Day, and as a health care company, we took that to heart. It was also Go Hawks Day in Seattle and many (including me) wore Seahawk paraphernalia to work. There were a couple of people who did both. Let me tell you those Seahawk jerseys and red undershirts are not a working combination.

Posted by Frinklin at 12:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Frinklin Super Bowl Preview

Man, this is hard. My team is in in the Super Bowl. The team I grew up with. When I was a kid I had a Dave Krieg jersey (you KNOW I was that cool) that wore so much I had holes in it. Since before this year, I’ve always had to pick a team to root for. I went with Green Bay and St. Louis and Cincinnnati and whomever. The past few years have been tough, as choosing between the Pats, Eagles, Panthers, Raiders and Bucs has been close to impossible. That does make it easier to prognosticate though. I knew the Pats would win the past couple years; I knew the Bucs would wax the Raiders. I did get the New England –St. Louis game wrong.

This year…oy. I’ve been following the nonsense from Detroit all week, and I actually care about it. I’m actually interested in what Terrell Davis has to say, or attempt to say. I pay attention when people realize that Walter Jones has the Biggest Head Known to Man. I’ve been following the utterly ridiculous Jerramy Stevens – Joey Porter brouhaha. First, it’s the most dispiritingly manufactured feud I’ve ever seen, but the more important is what Porter uses to rant. Wrestling and vampires? Interesting choices Joey.

Before the NFC Championship I told myself that that game was the one that mattered. That getting to the Super Bowl was the big deal and once there, well… let the chips fall.

That was wrong. This is it. This is for all the marbles. Win this and that unfunny asshat Rick Reilly never runs the Loser City column again. Win this and people in San Diego might actually recognize what a Seahawk baseball cap looks like. Win this and people in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh!) can’t rag on us any longer. Win this because Seattle has a real quarterback after years of Jon Kitna, John Friesz, Stan Gelbaugh and Rick Mirer. Seriously, this team started Stan Gelbaugh once upon a time. Win this for Jack Patera and Chuck Knox and Dave Krieg and Cortez Kennedy and anybody who wore that goofy bird on the side of their helmet.

So, exactly how does Seattle go about that? Like the Carolina game, they have to win the matchups.

QB Matt Hasselbeck versus “Blitzburgh”
After the Steeler defense ripped through Peyton Manning and Jake Plummer (Kitna don’t count) and the Seahawk offense struggled against the best 3-4 they faced this year, which was Dallas. They did torch the bad 3-4 teams (Houston and San Francisco) this year, but that doesn’t count either. Why is Hasselbeck going to be able to throw against these guys? Two reasons: He has a better line than Peyton (and he knows when to stop audiblizing and just play), and the Cowboys have much better corners (and are willing to play more man-to-man) than do the Steelers. Pittsburgh corners Ike Taylor and DeShae Townsend are a weakness.

OT Walter Jones versus OLB Joey Porter
The best tackle in football against the best pass-rushing linebacker in football. Should be fun to watch when it happens. The Steelers will move Porter all over the place, and try to stay out of this matchup as much as possible.

WR Bobby Engram and WR Joe Jurevicius versus S Troy Polamalu, S Chris Hope and OLB Clark Haggans
The Seahawks run the majority of their offense out of the three-wide set, and Steeler coordinator Dick LeBeau, despite having more depth than actual quality at corner, likes to stay with his base defense. If this continues, the Seahawks should have some mismatches with Engram and Jurevicius sharing slot duties against Hope, a hit-first-ask-questions-later safety and Haggans, Porter’s running mate at outside linebacker. Using a third, and possibly a fourth receiver could also force Polamalu into coverage and take away some of his blitzing and free-lanceing. The third-year safety is the best player in this game, and the Seahawks will try to keep him as busy as possible.

RB Shaun Alexander versus ILB James Farrior and ILB Larry Foote
Alexander will have a tough time. That much is a given. The Steelers defense is too stout against the run for Shaun to go off, plus the odds are that LeBeau will scheme to stop the run. The 3-4 is predicated on the defensive lineman taking on blockers and allowing the linebackers to make the majority of plays. Farrior and Foote are first and third on the team in tackles. If Alexander can get past them and into the secondary, it could be a long day for Pittsburgh.

WR Hines Ward, WR Antwaan Randle El and WR Cedrick Wilson versus CB Marcus Trufant, CB Andre Dyson and CB Kelly Herndon
The Seahawks secondary has played better than expected against Washington and Carolina, teams with superstar receivers and little else. Can they do it against a team with more? The Seahawks have been vunerable to the long pass all year, and even in the blowout win against Carolina the long ball was available for Jake Delhomme and Drew Carter. Trufant is the Seahawks best coverman while Dyson and Herndon have had erratic and injury-filled years. Randle El will be involved in a trick play or two.

DT Rocky Bernard and DT Chartric Darby versus C Jeff Hartings, G Kendall Simmons and G Alan Faneca
Bernard is the Seahawks best pass rusher, a quick and light tackle who can swing outside. He and Darby, along with backups Marcus Tubbs and Craig Terrill will have to disrupt the interior of the Steelers line. It won’t be easy. Faneca is an All-Pro and nearly the equal of Seahawk Steve Hutchinson. Hartings is a gritty and tough center.

TE Heath Miller versus S Michael Boulware and S Marquand Manuel
The Seahawks have been ripped apart by quality tight ends this season. The Cowboys Jason Witten, Giant Jeremy Shockey and the Titan’s Ben Troupe all went over 100 yards against a soft middle of the defense. Boulware is still transitioning from college linebacker. He’s much more comfortable against the run than the pass. Manuel is a backup forced to start due to Ken Hamlin’s injuries. He’s okay, but can be exposed. The Seahawks may have to drop MLB Lofa Tatupu to compensate.

RB Willie Parker and RB Jerome Bettis versus OLB D.D. Lewis, OLB LeRoy Hill and Tatupu
The Steelers have thrown a curveball this postseason. Pittsburgh is known primarily as a grind it out running team. That’s still true, but they have been unleashing Ben Roethlisberger early in games, using the pass to set up the run and then grinding down the clock. The Steelers would still prefer to run though, and the Seawhawks young linebackers have to stop the bullet-quick Parker and the lumbering Bettis. Bettis will be primarily a short-yardage back, and probably won’t touch the ball more than 10-15 times. Parker is what scares the Seahawks. Seattle’s linebackers, and the defense overall, is very quick but undersized.

Mike Holmgren versus Bill Cowher
Both head coaches have something to prove. Holmgren can become the first coach to win Super Bowls with two different teams and cement his place in the Hall of Fame. Cowher can get rid of his reputation as a mediocre big-game coach for good.

Like the Panther game, if the Seahawks win these matchups I think they win the game. Am I nervous? Of course, almost ridiculously so. Does it freak me out that the Steelers, from Roethlisberger’s play on Nick Harper and Champ Bailey’s blown interception for touchdown, seem like a team of destiny? Do I worry that the Seahawks seemed too laid back at media day? Yes and Yes.

But there is something about this team. I think it stems from Hasselbeck and his devil-may-care attitude. Or maybe it’s the quiet professionalism that vets like Jurevicius, Darby and Robbie Tobeck bring. Maybe it’s Holmgren and his insistence that the team stays in the moment and enjoy being in the Super Bowl. It might be that everybody and his brother is both predicting and pulling for Pittsburgh. It’s all these things. But most of all, I just believe in this team.

Sometimes that’s enough.

The Pick: Seattle 27, Pittsburgh 24

Posted by Frinklin at 12:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 02, 2006

People Are Dumb, Volume DCCLXXXVII

This actually happened today at work. Only the names have been changed, to protect the phenomenally stupid.

I got a soda from the office vending machine, and among my change was the new Kansas quarter:


I found this quarter to be deeply disturbing because, as you'll notice, those are sunflowers on the left side there. In my experience, sunflowers are several feet tall. And yet, the sunflowers on the Kansas quarter are dwarfed by the buffalo. Clearly, there are gigantic mutant bison roaming the Great Plains, and if left unchecked, they could very well wreak untold havoc on our country. Action must be taken.

Like any right-thinking, patriotic American, I immediately attempted to enlist the support of my coworkers in the battle against the giant buffalo. Unfortunately, my first move was to approach "Bill," one of my coworkers who is perhaps not the sharpest knife in the drawer. We proceeded to have the following conversation:

MEDIOCRE FRED: Look at this! Our American way of life is at stake!
BILL: (looks at coin) Is this the new buffalo nickel?
MF: Nickel-? Dude, it's a quarter!
BILL: A quarter?
MF: Yeah. Can't you tell the difference between a nickel and a quarter?
BILL: Oh, okay. It's a coin from 1861. So what?
MF: From 1861?
BILL: Yeah, it says so right there. (points at date)
MF: No. Idiot. That's the year the state of Kansas was founded. That is not the year the coin was made.
BILL: Really?
MF: Yeah, I pulled a 150-year-old coin in mint condition out of the vending machine.
BILL: So what?
MF: You know what? Forget I said anything. If the future of our civilization depends on you, we're doomed. Give it back.
BILL: Give what back?
MF: My quarter! You know, the buffalo nickel from 1861.

This really happened. Really. I fear for our country.

Posted by Mediocre Fred at 02:18 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack