Each Day is a Lifetime, 8.15.08
Let's set it off with a piece of short non-fiction from Shoals:
Wednesday afternoon, my better half and I went to get Vietnamese food around 5PM. We were both kind of groggy, hungry, and glazed-over, and our waitress immediately decided that we'd worn ourselves out watching the Olympics (we need a better name for them. The Games?):
Waitress: You look tired. Been up watching the Olympics, huh?
Us: Actually, we have been watching them non-stop.
Waitress: Me too. Who are you rooting for?
(Slightly awkward silence all around. I start looking around for some evidence that this is one of those Asian restaurants where the food doesn't match the owners, to see if maybe she was secretly Chinese or something. At this point, I should remind readers that I look like every ethnic group in the world at once, and my girl is half-Cuban, which doesn't exactly "look like" anything but seems a relevant fact there.)
Us (mumbling): You know, lots of different countries. It depends on the event.
Waitress: Yeah, it's complicated. But hey, we just all like watching the best athletes and rooting for them, right?
Us: Right. So many different athletes are fun to watch.
Never had I thought that Liberated Fandom could save me from such a potentially weird situation, especially when it comes to the Olympics—the ultimate in traditional fandom.
-Desmond Mason going back to Oklahoma. Am I going to have to stop acting like the Oklahoma City (Thunder) don't exist? The Oklahoma Okies have seriously turned into the amalgam of the past 20 years of the NBA. White guys, Africans, Euros, prodigal sons (Durant), wiley veterans (Joe Smith) three-point specialists (Donyell Marshall), and now a dunk specialist. (Dr. LIC)
-How come everything involving Van Exel is automatically hilarious? Especially if it's striving for normalcy and grandeur. (BS)
-I don't know what's more dope about this Adrian W. column: Kidd robustly pointing out the double standard applied to the NBA, or Gasol's "it was all the in spirit of the Olympics." This is spot on: Plenty of people are just waiting for them to pull a Barkley and get ignorant, and thus absolutely demand we field a team of Reddicks in the future. Gasol, on the other hand, seems to feel that making fun of others is part of mingling with them on the world stage; mockery, even with a little bit of poor taste, spices up the already fraught competition. Is this being comfortable in one's cosmpolitan skin, or a rarified version of playground trash talk? Old World playfulness or vulgar NBA influence? Maybe there's no difference, aside the cluster of associations each carries with them. And how they're judged accordingly. (BS)
-New Portraits in Patriotism this morning. I'll let you in on a secret: I try and put myself in the mindset of McCain or Bush when I write these, and feel half-crazy by the end. (BS)
-Predicting the existence of YouTube
-Really good primer on gigantism, which has affected Sun Ming Ming, Gheorghe Muresan, and Andre the Giant among others. The pituitary gland apparently turns your body into its own personal Barry Bonds training regiment. Scary. (Dr. LIC)
-Best part of this Sarunas screed: Stephen Jackson's so loyal, to everyone, it's like codependent. (BS)
-Former NBA journeyman Vincent Askew (who is 43) was arrested this week for having sex with a 16-year old girl in Miami, and I have to admit I was surprised that was a crime, since the age of consent is 16 in most states. Turns out it's a felony in Florida whenever "a person 24 years of age or older...engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age." With such a bright line between college-dude-pulling-high-school-trim and creepy-old-predator, I was struck by the wishy-washy language of "16 or 17 years of age."
UPDATE: There is a separate statute in Florida that deals with people between the ages of 12 and 16. The statute I cited above does deal only with 16 and 17 year olds, so the language makes sense. I hereby apologize to all Floridians for my baseless speculation about their ability to comprehend the English language. It is I whose reading was not up to snuff. As penance, I will spend the weekend reading Eskridge's Legislation and Statutory Interpretation. (BR)
-Special Endorsement from Dr. LIC:
Your dude is back.
I just saw Tropic Thunder last night, with uncertain expectations, and holy sh*t--this film is a modern classic. For those worried that Stiller went soft with Night at the Museum, the Meet the Parents franchise, and Heartbreak Kid-type exploits, have your hopes restored. Social commentary/skewering of "Hollywood's excess" aside, this movie simply has more jokes than anything I've seen in recent years. With a 10-minute opening segment that is the comedy equivalent of "R O S E B U D"/Connie Corleone's wedding, the movie maintains its funniness for its duration. And Downey, Jr. should seriously be nominated for an Oscar. See it.