Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Things I Would Like to See

 The Olympics are taking place right now and I have to say I've enjoyed watching many of the events. In particular, I like the newer events that debuted during these games and in the past 2006 Olympics.

Ski Cross and Snowboard Cross have provided the most excitement with spills, mid-air crashes and major upsets. It's motocross on snow with jumps, bumps, turns and lots of speed. I've seen competitors collide, wipe out and slide through not just one but two protective barriers and end up near the tree line with their equipment spread out like a yard sale. Yep, this is good stuff.

And then there's ice dancing. I mean, is that really a sport? Sure, it looks nice and there's some grace to it but it would really be a sport if there was some exhilaration around it - and not just some frilly costume on some shapely skater. Imagine if the skaters had to go through a half-pipe on the rink or a loop-to-loop, or even if there were giant pot holes on the ice that added to the danger, not like the nice flat, safe pussy rink that exists today.

Here are some more events that would also be spiced up if I were in charge:

Ski jumping would involve four competitors going down the ramp side-by-side. How cool would that be? A slight gust of wind from the side and who knows what could happen.

Freestyle aerialists, which I admit is impressive already, would have to not only fly off a jump, but fly over a giant parking lot. Now that would provide some incentive to go high.

The bobsled would be combined with the biatholon - four guys zipping down an iced chute each shooting at targets on the way down. Perhaps, you wouldn't want to be near that venue.

The luge track would not just be a single chute but multiple crisscrossing ones so many lugers could go at the same, but let's just hope one is faster than the other.

And curling, well what could you possibly add to that?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Kids

I actually have three, but two are boys and they are completely different. So much so, that I even decided to do a DNA test on one of them. I was convinced the father was actually one of my best friends.

After spending $26 on a home test kit that provided me with two Q-tips and an envelope, my (alleged) son and I swabbed our cheeks and sent in the specimens.

[BTW, this has been a running joke in our family since he was born. He looks completely different from me, and he's okay with this joke. In fact, sometimes he wishes he was someone else's son. My wife (who knows the truth) thinks we're both idiots.]

Long story short, a few weeks later and $140 more, we got the test results. [Yes, I spent that much money on the joke, but he did get to parlay this experience into extra credit in his biology class.] The results proved, without a doubt, that he is my son.  (I'm thinking about re-taking the test.)

Anyway, the point is my two sons are completely different, which is where I started. And what is more different is how my wife and I treat each son.

The oldest one (who was recently confirmed to be of the same DNA) is watched like a hawk to ensure that he stays on top of his school work. We're convinced if we don't do this, his B's will drop to C's and D's and he we will fail out, end up living with us forever and make our lives miserable.

His younger brother pulls straight A's, manages his high school curriculum on his own and quite deftly, and basically just shows us his stellar report card when the semester is over. While he appears to be the perfect child, he has also been in a serious relationship with a girl for almost 2 years. She's also a straight A student, athletic and everything you would think a parent would want.

There's just one problem - we don't even know her.

The girl is shy around us and whenever she does come to the house, she and my son just head down to the basement to watch TV - in the dark. My wife and I never leave the two of them alone in the house because their groping sessions may get out of hand. And it really bothers us that after all this time they've kept us at arms length around this relationship. We've spoken to our son about this and he says he's trying to work through the awkwardness of the situation. We also recognize you can't force these things or else you run into a Romeo and Juliet situation - and that one didn't end well. So we wait.

My other son has never had a girlfriend until just a few weeks ago. Prom is coming up and he and a girl from his class have decided to go together.  She's really cute, a cheerleader and maybe not the best academic student, but did I mention she was a cheerleader?

My son denies it is his girlfriend, even though we encourage him to say she is.  She has already been a more intimate part of our life. She came to a huge family and friends event we held recently where there were nearly 200 guests. She mingled well and was quite gracious to my wife and I (she even gave us a big hug at the end of the party). My other son didn't even invite his girlfriend.

This new girl has been to the house a few times in just the last couple of weeks, and even baked a cake in our kitchen for my son just for the heck of it. She says, "hi" and "bye" to us, and while we've only known her for several weeks, we love her and think she's a great asset for our son.

In fact, whenever she does come over, my wife suggests that the both of us should leave the house, and let them be alone. As my wife says, "Maybe he'll get lucky." And this is the kid we're afraid will end up on double-secret academic probation if he goes to college.

So we live in this predicament, a tale of two kids, wondering where we went wrong as parents, and hope our youngest child, a girl, never grows up, leaves us or dates any boys. Just another day in Hell.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just Can't Put My Foot On It

Is it me, or is there something really freakishly creepy about this Louis Vuitton ad? (Hint: Click on picture and scroll down.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nothing's Hidden

While generation gaps have always existed, it's been reported that we now face one of the biggest gaps ever.

This one has been exacerbated through technology. Sure, I'll say it - the Internet. But it's much more than that. It's all the stuff on the Internet, like Facebook, MySpace, email, IM, Twitter, etc. 

For most of us, these tools are just that - tools. New things to try out, figure out and eventually throw out. I know, I know, we're not going to give up email. But with all the new communication channels out there, email is already considered passe by the younger folks.

Since our generation is vastly more mature, we recognize that while these tools are useful, we still need to be careful on how we use them. We know that once our words and/or pictures enter the digital ether, they become permanently tattooed across the electronic universe. And unlike paper that can be destroyed physically, bits and bytes don't necessarily go away when we press delete.

We have been brought up to be careful with whom we share information, to be cautious with our personal feelings and to demure from exhibitionist activities like blurting out one's private thoughts on blog sites.


My point is that for those in their 20's and under, these social mechanisms are a way of life. This is how they communicate. They put it all out there for all to see. From pictures on Facebook to sexting over the cell phones, they don't seem to care. Every photograph, every voice message and text is fair game to be shared - and they don't really seem to worry about the possible ramifications of this loss of privacy.

And then I thought, maybe they have it right.

As that generation will become the future one day, they will be conditioned to believe that everything should be exposed on posts, tweets and texts 24 x 7. It will be full disclosure, or nothing. It's how they live now.

And, we, the current future, will be looked upon with suspicion because we don't share personal data with such enthusiasm. Those who hide behind aliases will be scorned. People who don't use their actual pictures for icons will be mocked. We will become the lepers of society, the outcasts. No one will be able to trust anyone over 40. It will be a living hell.