Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adventures in Education, Chapter 4

Today, Studies Center, 4:24pm

2nd Grader: Why is your writing slanted?
Me: I don't know. I guess I just write like that.
2nd Grader: Is it because your nose is slanted?

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Very Important Pronouncement

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are few certainties in life. The most dangerous minds in human history were not those who explored the slippery slopes inherent in grey areas, but rather those inflexible enough to see beyond the black and the white. In fact, I have always harbored a rather precautionary fear of those who hold extreme and unwavering opinions in pretty much any realm of politics or philosophy. Nevertheless, I feel that a particular duty has been thrust upon me, and I must make a clear, decisive, and formal pronouncement on something that I feel very strongly about.

Double Stuf should be the standard Oreo.

It's time. Please join me in petitioning Nabisco for a brighter future for our children. Standardize the double creme as the new Oreo for a new America. United we stand. Together we can. Sugar and Crisco.

God bless you all and good night.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles, & Hotel Lights @ MIT

Concert Review
Ben Folds / Sara Bareilles / Hotel Lights
MIT Spring Weekend, Cambridge MA
April 25, 2009

Last night I attended my fifth Ben Folds show. Having seen him three times in Boston and once at Providence College, this was also my first concert (for any artist) at another school's exclusive show. After a hilarious (?) walk around Cambridge, my party was hot, thirsty, and ready to get our faces rocked off.

The rocking would be put on hold, however. The warm-up music was a pleasant but mellow set from Hotel Lights, a band fronted by Darren Jessee (guitar/vocals), former drummer for Ben Folds Five. While I enjoy their music on my own, I was a little unsure how their introspective songs would hold up in a live setting. The applause after each song was enthusiastic, but the energy in the room was generally low. Their drummer's unexpected absence hurt the set tremendously, too. All told, it was a pretty and well-played (especially with personnel issues) set from a band that deserves exploration, albeit probably on a more personal and less social level.

Sara Bareilles and her band came onstage next and made the room come alive. Positively glowing, her enthusiasm was contagious and she easily won over the college-aged audience, even with songs that most of the crowd was unfamiliar with. It was the last night of her tour and the set was upbeat, polished, and fun. A well-received new number was featured, presumably from her forthcoming sophomore album. She joked with the crowd through her seven song main performance, and sang each number with spirit. Of course, "Love Song" was in the setlist (as the fifth song) but--her wry acknowledgement of its perceived overexposure aside--she managed to deliver a fresh sounding version, highlighting the better parts of a song that holds up better musically than most Top 40 today. "Many The Miles", an infectious gospel-styled number, was a standout on her debut CD and a highlight of the show. She wrapped up the main set with her band by switching to ukelele and delivering a cover of Rihanna's "Umbrella" (complete with a "Hotel California" interpolation) that managed to be both tongue-in-cheek and (surprisingly) very, very good. Her encore was an unaccompanied version of "Gravity" on piano. With a great band and fantastic energy on stage, her talents shone through. I might have a crush on her.

Newton South High School's own NewTones a cappella group performed during the intermission, singing their cover of Ben Folds Five's "Evaporated" which appears on the forthcoming collection Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (out this Tuesday).

After an unexplained delay, Ben Folds finally appeared with his band. Launching right into the out-of-left-field opener "Jesusland", Folds was (as always) in his element on stage. "Effington" and "Brainwascht" from Way To Normal followed, and led into the "fake" song "Bitch Went Nutz", which Folds considers superior to the real one. The audience was very receptive to all of the tunes, most of which spanned his three solo albums equally (at least four from each). Ben's band--including longtime bassist Jared Reynolds and drummer Sam Smith--has gotten even tighter while on the road, as much of his newest material sounded far more polished than it did in September. "Free Coffee", with its DIY, Altoids tin-propelled distortion, was a big hit with the MIT crowd and, on the other end of the intellectual spectrum, his rather infamous cover of a certain Dr. Dre song (which he had previously "retired") was dug up to offend the two people that hadn't heard it yet. "Hiroshima", "Zak and Sara", "Army", and "Not the Same" all amply demonstrated Folds' singular symbiotic relationship with his audience, as the give-and-take of energy between performer and fans was palpable.

Finally, in the tradition of "Rock This Bitch" (a series of improvised numbers that have become legendary amongst Folds fanboys), Ben made up a song on the spot ("I Loves Me A Gym") about the particular acoustic properties of the gym (actually a hockey rink) he was playing in. His ruminations on sound projection, standing waves, and other "technical intellectual shit" were an outrageous success with the obviously hip crowd. As Folds lampooned himself for going to UNC, his band jammed along with the changes in tempo and dynamics. Those curious can check out the fan video below:

Wrapping up with a fine-tuned "You Don't Know Me" and the audience-participatory three part harmony of "Not the Same", Folds' set was pushing the midnight mark. My fears of a short set were apparently unfounded. He returned with full band for a quick one-song encore before curfew, playing the fan favorite "Fair" from Whatever and Ever, Amen (a song I've wanted to hear live for some time now). Folds is a consummate performer and last night's show was no exception.

The full set list was:
Bitch Went Nutz
Annie Waits
Sentimental Guy
Free Coffee
Lovesick Diagnostician / Dr. Yang
Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)
Zak and Sara
Still Fighting It
You To Thank
Bitches Ain't Shit
Rock This Bitch (I Loves Me A Gym)
You Don't Know Me
Not the Same
Fair (encore)

photos courtesy of,, and Rolling Stone, respectively.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Adventures in Education, Chapter 3

The other day at work, while fetching something fetching to change into after a tragic arts-and-crafts accident, the (curiously all female) afternoon kindergarten class was walking by on their way to the playground and the following exchange went down, verbatim. Zero embellishments.

KG #1: Mister Dan!! Is that your car?
"Mr." Dan: Yeah, this is my car.
KG #2: But it's so small!
"Mr." Dan: Is it?
Miss Teacher: Well girls, Mister Dan doesn't have a wife and kids, so he doesn't need a big car.
KG #1 & 3, unison: That's sooo sad!!

Mister Dan is ready for the weekend, I think. He's going to go shower now because it was vacation week and he smells like pond.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh, I Guess Someone Fancies Themselves a Film Historian Now...

Actual, un-made-up conversation drifting down the hall:

My sixteen year old brother, B: Is this a Harold Lloyd film?
My dad: Yeah.
B: Huh, I thought he only did silent movies. I didn't realize he did talkies, too. Interesting.

Dude, whatever. You're not impressing anybody. If you need me, I'll be in my room reading James Fenimore Cooper and remembering that time you thought Led Zeppelin was the name of a country singer.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Screw Earth Day.

Up yours, Mother Nature.

Earth Day, huh? My first acquaintance with Earth Day was when Shaq wished me a happy Earth Day in the March 1995 issue of Disney Adventures. I distinctly remember an eight year old (eight and three quarters!) me scoffing at the dorkiness of the name, and I was a dork. In fact, some say I still got it.

Speaking of which, I can't believe I found this photo! Thank you, eBay.

Anyway, why should you get a special day, Nature? Seriously. You don't even call it Nature Day. Giving your crappy observance the "Earth" moniker is a complete misappropriation; Earth Day should be the worldwide international equivalent of, say, the 4th of July (America Day!). No, you don't fool us. Earth Day is really the Everybody Feel Bad That We're Not Really Taking Great Care Of Our Environment Day, even though it's mostly the big industries and transportation businesses that are screwing it up for us.

Also, the very idea of an "Earth Day" is insulting, Mama N. We have to put up with your shit every single day, all year round. The weather has straight up sucked everywhere I've gone for the better part of the last six months. Did you ever consider that if you didn't bring the Cold Crappy Winter of Death to New England every year, we might pollute less by taking less last-minute flights to Florida? Have you stopped to consider that many of our reasons for burning fossil fuels are related to how hot and cold we are all the time? Burning up oil seems kind of appropriate when you think about it that way.

Carrying on, let's not mince words. Recycling is a bitch. Hey readers, cut it out, you were all thinking it. Yeah, when you're a kid it's like free money, cause you didn't buy the 72 cans of Dr. Shaws and the seventeen bottles of Hawaiian Punch in the first place, but you offered to return the recyclables cause you could get enough money to play Pacman maybe like once or something. Now? Recycling is just annoying. We have to wash everything out before placing it in a seperate bin (because of ants, thanks Nature) and then cart it off to a usually seperate facility where they ask us to further sort it by size (wtf?) and type. Generally speaking, at least 30% of your cans and bottles will not be returnable because of a dent or something, and the machine will usually read "FULL" after two deposits, sending you scrambling for a customer service rep who doesn't exist.

Finally, if you (Mother Nature) resist everything else I've said, let this be my one sticking point: Live Earth was terrible. No one cared about any of the concerts or many of the artists. You couldn't even get U2 to come out for this one, and they protest everything. We had to suffer through hearing Fall Out Boy and Taking Back Sunday explain to us why carpooling is a great idea before flying to their next shows. You should've just had The Police play for three hours, Rosario Dawson tell a joke, and Petra Nemcova walk across the stage, and then call it a day at that.

So eat my shorts, Nature. I threw a beer can on the ground last week so I wouldn't get caught drinking in public, and I'm not sorry. How d'ya like them (pesticide-free) apples?
A "FOR SERIOUS" EARTH DAY TIP: Coffee grindings mixed with dirt makes for excellent potting soil. You're welcome.

Comeback of the Year Candidate #1

Occasion: April Vacation Station
Time: Wednesday, 1:02pm
Witnesses: 27 students, two co-workers

Me: "That's crazy talk. You're full of garbage."
Saucy 1st grader: "Your PANTS are full of garbage!"

[Exit stage left to a juvenile chorus of "ohhhh!'s]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rollin' in the Ca$h

Just a quick shoutout to the Feds for hooking me up with my $21 federal tax return today, yo. If you'd like to reach me, I'll be throwing 21 one dollar bills in the air like confetti while laughing maniacally.

This could either pay for enough beer to pregame for two weekend nights, or I could send it off to my financial aid rep as most of my 2009 FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (a whopping twenty seven bucks). But why bother with that crap when I could just make it rain at Dave and Buster's?

I'm seriously debating rolling out in my mom's minivan right the hell now and hitting up the town. The other posers in town keep spitting hate at my baller ways, but they just frontin'. No one on the corner got swagger like Dan. Ladies, you know how to reach me. Peace.

Monday, April 20, 2009

50¢ Iced Coffee Day Tomorrow!

If you've been reading this blog, you may have noticed that I love me some coffee.

I don't usually go for publicizing a private company's promotion, and I have no financial stake in Dunkin' Donuts (because I used up all my gift cards). That said, Dunkin' Donuts' 50¢ Iced Coffee Day is totally worth hollering about.

I think the event is getting less publicity than last year's Iced Coffee Day because the coffee is no longer free. Unlike last year, however, at least a portion of the proceeds (100% at my local shop) are going toward Homes For Our Troops, an organization dedicated to building accessible homes for returning wounded servicemen at no cost to them. You can see some of the great work the charity has been doing on their website. I think it's truly a cause that was needed and is well worth supporting.

In a year where the falling economy has caused charity donations to shrivel up, I think it's a great idea to contribute even part of the proceeds of something thousands of Americans are going to be buying anyway.

Do yourself a solid and grab a 50¢ iced coffee tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"What? Pirates? Yeah, shoot 'em in the face."

I really, really wanted to do a post ripping the pirates a new one (Somalian, not Pittsburgh), but as I feared, John Stewart did a much better job summing up the situation than I would have.

To that, I would like to add: USA! USA!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

TV Review: American Idol, Season 8

So okay, the other day I found the remote, dusted off the screen and turned on the television set. Apparently, there's this show called American Idol... anybody heard about this? It's like a talent show but with a huge audience. Must be a mandatory school assembly or something.

Anyway the point of American Idol, as I gleaned from the lead-ins to commercial breaks, is to be the next American Idol. This is what the short man with the hair gel told me. Singers from around the country apparently wait all day at multiple casting calls for their approximate 1 in 1000 chance to be judged on national television while presenting what they feel is their best work. The best singers are told they're "going to Hollywood woooooo!" and the worst of the worst are also strung along and given false hope so they can be trotted out and mocked by an international audience.

Those who make it stay on the show to sing songs that were already adequately performed and recorded by professionals. It's sort of like karaoke, except people apparently listen and also most songs are not "Before He Cheats".

After their histrionic ballad or a sterilized rock song, they are reviewed on-the-spot by the panel, made up of four celebrity judges. The first is Randy Jackson, who played bass for bands without good bassists (like Journey) and who produced the hottest ticket in town, Randy Jackson's Music Club, Volume 1. He is there cause everyone likes to be called "dawg". Paula Abdul is there because she knows what it takes to make a hit, and for twenty years she has straight up foregone her own hit-making tips so as to selflessly leave more room on the charts for others. A fellow named Simon Cowell, whom you'll recognize as the producer of legendary recordings by Ultimate Kaos, Zig and Zag, WWF, and the Teletubbies, is there to tell us what is "dreadful". With a resume like his, you have to think he knows what he's talking about. Finally there is singer-songwriter Kara DioGuiardi, who is famous for being a judge on American Idol.

Rather than highlighting the best and praising the most dedicated and talented performers, American Idol takes the novel approach of focusing each episode on the "Bottom Three", where the host announces which three performers did the crappiest job this week. As the season rolls along, the show democratically allows the viewers to vote on who should stay, while each judge is aware that they can override what the stupid public thinks by saving a performer they like. The American Idol, I am led to believe, is the last singer standing on the show, and they are rewarded with a record contract. Folks who do not win can only aspire to be as successful as the likes of Jennifer Hudson, Katherine MacPhee, and Elliot Yamin.

At any rate, I hope the Celtics win tonight so I'll have something to talk about tomorrow.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grammar Police, Case 1!!!!


"Yeah, I'm talking to you! Listen up, losers. Officer John Q. Getyerheadouttayerass-Jones here, and I'm from the Grammar Police! To serve and correct, and wooin' the ladies on the side. Get ready to get punched in the face. WITH KNOWLEDGE!!!!!!

"Today I'd like to talk to you about using the word 'anyways'. Specifically because that word is not a word at all!

"You stupid yokel-faced hicks bastardize the English language every time you utter this filth. There's no such word as 'anyways'! The word is 'anyway', doofus! Have you ever heard anyone say, 'Hey, he went that ways'? You damn right that sounds funny.

"Do you recall that amazing #1 hit from the Backstreet Boys, 'I Want It That Ways'? Yeah, neither do I. The Backwater Boys, maybe.

"And don't give me that BS about how 'anyways' is a colloquialism and is generally becoming an accepted part of the American dialect and yadda yadda yadda cause Officer G. doesn't take your crap. That's how I roll.

"So get this nugget of wisdom through your applesauce filled heads: 'Anyways' is not, I repeat, NOT a word. It's 'anyway'. Next week, I'll be back to teach you that a preposition is not a correct part of speech to end a sentence with.

"It's juice-box time. CLASS DISMISSED!!!!"

09/09/09 - The Biggest Day Ever?

September 9, 2009, will be one of the most important days in Beatles history. It's fitting that the date will so accurately reflect John Lennon's fascination with the number nine. On this date, two very important releases will be coming out.

1) The Beatles' Rock Band video game
2) The Beatles' entire remastered catalogue

The first release is something many of you are aware of, no doubt. Harmonix and MTV Games and EMI and anyone else who could get a hand in the cookie jar have been plugging this one since last October. While the Beatles' song canon is deep and varied, I still am having a difficult time coming up with songs that lend themselves well to the video game format (but more on that in a different post).

The bigger news for me (if you know me personally you'll recall me having mentioned this as long ago as 2001; I even did a post on this a few months back) is the remastering of the Beatles catalogue. Quick primer: The Beatles' music was committed to tape in the 1960s (duh) and transferred to the CD format in 1987. No actual improvements or error corrections were made at that time; instead, the music was simply copied over and released without taking advantage of the improvements the CD format could offer. This was the eighties, after all, and we were taping stuff off the radio then (radio? what's that? taping?), so no one noticed.

[Spoiler Alert: Incredibly nerdy section coming]

Since then, the CD format has become the primary means of distributing music, and is now already being supplanted by digital music sales online. During the last two plus decades, audio technology has come so far that today's better CDs are almost indistinguishable from the studio tapes. Some CDs even sound as good as live. Remastering technologies have allowed the murkiest recordings from the past to be heard in newly-clarified sound, such as The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. The improvements in dynamics and fidelity from old tapes can be revelatory. Yet the Beatles have been noticably absent from artists receiving this restoration.

In 1999, the Yellow Submarine movie was re-released (I think), and they took the opportunity to update the Yellow Submarine album from 1968, which has always been the lamest of Beatles albums (three great cuts, two previously released cuts, one startlingly mediocre piece of filler, and six unrelated orchestral pieces). The remastered mixes of those six Beatles songs, plus the other nine excellent ones in the movie, were decent improvements sonically. 1, which arrived in 2000, is still the biggest selling CD of this decade (about 30 million sold), but the mastering was mostly noted for simply making everything louder. Overcompression and the "loudness war", as it is known in music circles, have been a main concern of remastering projects for a time now (interesting animation on the Wikipedia page). 2003's Let It Be... Naked was a vast sonic improvement over Phil Spector's production in 1970's Let It Be, and 2007's Cirque de Soleil soundscape LOVE was, on the other hand, amazing. The sonic clarity and crispness of the instruments on each managed to make even the most overplayed of songs ("Let It Be", "Yesterday") sound fresh and relevant. Pieces of songs that I had never heard before suddenly came to the forefront, such as the plucked violins on "Something". They'd been there the whole time, they were just muddled in the mix.

[End nerdy section]
[Commence dorky section.]

If you're still reading this, I'm stunned.

To make a very, very long story a little bit shorter, this remastering has been far too long in the ordering. There are a host of problems with the Beatles CD mastering, including material recorded in mono and artificially split into stereo as an afterthought, choppy editing, and the occasional lousy mix of all vocals on the right and all instruments on the left. I've only heard half of the Beatles albums on vinyl, and none recently, but the sound presented was often warmer and a more cohesive whole. In particular, Ringo's drums and George's harmonies, where applicable, often get shortchanged in the CD mixes. For a band that put so much creativity into their craft, these second-rate recordings are unfortunate.

Now comes news that the end of a four-year project is in sight and, much to my approval, Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin and co-producer of the excellent LOVE) is in charge of the proceedings. His work on LOVE was not only creative and imaginary, but remarkably faithful to The Beatles and their music. He managed to greatly improve the mixes, creating a cleaner sound. It is not easy to make material that was often shoddily recorded five decades ago sound as if it was performed yesterday, but he accomplished it. I can think of no better person for the job, unless Donald Fagen and Walter Becker were co-producing as well (Steely Dan's studio mastering is damn good).

Does this mean I'll have to shell out for the box set? It will no doubt cost an exorbitant amount, but this is my favorite band. My concern is spending all that dough to find out that the songs are just more compressed and louder than they are on 1. On the flip side, buying just a few isn't going to cut it.

Santa Claus?

Weekend Greetings

While I'm working on my next entry, I wanted to take a moment to wish a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover to all those celebrating.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Make Way For Victorious Avengers!

We did it!

Photo courtesy of MyFoxBoston
Pack is back! Mere hours after last night's post--threatening a pretty serious beatdown for the perpetrator who swiped the seventh of eight ducklings--the cowardly quacknapper abandoned his loot on a nearby street corner and fled in terror. This allowed a couple intrepid young adults to find Pack unharmed and return him to Parks & Recreation this morning.

If that guy knew what was good for him, he is most likely hiding out in the Yukon Territory, and it's all thanks to Internet Tough Guys like you and me, flexing our cybermuscles and talking smack from behind a screen. Of course, this isn't the first victory for my blog community. Longtime Dan Fans will recall February's incident where we publically called out the Globe on a pressing human dignity issue... and the pictures in question were removed within hours. It just goes to show what a few well placed words from a slightly below-average-height blogger can do.

Well done readers. Crack open an adult beverage and take the rest of the week off.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Make Way For Jerkbag Loserfaces

Today's Globe is reporting a crime so heinous, so sickening, just talking about it nauseates me.

Some ignoramus douchebag numbnuts has committed a grave injustice by looking childhood nostalgia in the face and slapping it.

Someone stole one of the ducklings in Boston Public Garden.

I didn't really read the article because I was too busy going through a Rocky-style training montage, preparing physically and mentally to administer some hard justice to this snot-nosed, pimple-breathed punk. How dare you desecrate one of the finest pieces of public art in Boston? How dare you spit on the internationally famous incarnation of one of the world's most beloved pieces of children's literature? How dare you repeat a wicked lame theft that has already occured four other times?

I mean this isn't even original. If you have to do something, there are totally other sculptures to prank. Put a French beret on George Washington. Put a Lakers jersey on Red Auerbach. Turn one of the seal tanks at the New England Aquarium into a pool of Jell-O. But you leave the ducks the hell alone, you butt nugget.

This is Nancy Schon. She sculpted each one of those ducks individually, and her work has brought joy to children, parents, and even the occassional illustration afficionado since 1987. Guess what? As soon as I'm done, she's gonna kick your ass too.

I hope you get viciously attacked by a group of twenty ravenous, hungry, and runny-nosed preschoolers, you poor excuse of a human. You make me sick. Go die in a fire. No one will miss you.

Radiohead + USC Marching Band

This clip is from over a month ago, but I was watching it again and I am still just blown away by it. Radiohead agreed for the first time in their career to perform at (or even show up to) the Grammy Awards, and delivered a live performance of "15 Step" from In Rainbows with the help of the USC Trojan Marching Band. The rehearsals and hard work that must have gone into this from the college students pays off brilliantly, and you can see the excitement in their faces. Not only is this a brilliant song, it's a creative and imaginative performance that, phenomenally, works as well as the original.

"15 Step" is in 5/4 time, which means it has five beats per measure and the quarter note is eqaul to one of those beats. If that doesn't make sense, you can count it out from the intro as "1 2 3 4 5, 2 2 3 4 5, 3 2 3 4 5, 4 2 3 4 5". Additionally, the brass section functions as the bass, a technique that actually has roots in classical and very early jazz music, before the string bass became prominent outside of orchestras. If this post makes me a dork, well that's nothing new. I think this is genius.

Enjoy and comment below if you like this performance half as much as I do.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rules Don't Apply To Me

Friday while I was driving south on Route 95, I noticed an incredibly intelligent individual in a white Supra crossing three lanes of traffic in the pouring rain. He did all this without using his turn signal, or even any sort of indication that he was about to veer 20 feet to the right in the span of one second. It was quite a daring move.

I generally expect every other driver around me to do the dumbest thing possible at any given moment, and I am not afflicted with easily triggered road rage. Nevertheless, the brash recklessness on display on any given commute never fails to astound me. First off, driving like that is dangerous anyway; I'm pretty sure natural selection should have already taken care of these genetically-deficient rebels in souped-up lemons. Even more than that, though, what thought process would lead these miscreants to think that crossing three lanes without signaling or looking (rain or shine) would ever be okay?

We see this everywhere. Ordinary folks with the misguided idea that "oh, that rule doesn't apply to me". Sometimes it's incredibly obvious and brash (have a seat, Ron Blagojevich) and other times it's relatively harmless (13 items in the 12 items or less lane). In either scenario, don't you find it fascinating how people must internally rationalize their behavior to the point that certain rules and guidelines can be blatantly violated, and all the while the guilty party sees nothing wrong with their actions?

Yes, I know that I am supposed to signal and check my blind spots, then proceed one lane at a time, but it's cool. I'm good. What do you mean you won't take my paper/application/submission three days after the deadline? I don't think you appreciate how much I worked on this. Yeah, I'm supposed to wash my hands before returning to work, but they feel clean. And what do you mean I can't use my cell phone when visiting my child's school? Seriously? I know about the many problems that it poses to the staff and students, but this is an important call.

When I worked at a children's museum, which incidentally was the sweetest work-study job you could hope to get, there was a section of the museum specifically devoted to infants and babies called "Littlewoods". At the gate, there was one rule. It was written on the wall in bright colors and purposely placed at eye level: "Littlewoods is for our visitors aged four and under and their caregivers./Littlewoods esta para los infantes hace cuatro anos y sus cuidadores." I was continually subjected to parents who would read the rule, and then bring their five and six year olds over to ask me if they could come in. If my shift took me to this part of the museum, it was my job to be the bouncer. This actually happened:

Me: Hi, welcome to Littlewoods. How old are you?
Gap Kids model: I'm five, but my mom said to tell you that I'm four.
Gap Kids model's mom: Oh, she just loves making up stories! Too funny! She can go in anyway, right?
Me: No. Please stop by our gift shop on your way out.

While pondering all of this, it immediately occured to me how many "No Food or Drinks" signs I have violated in the past week. The answer, I think, is three. I felt above that rule because I am always in those places and have personally contributed to their associated communities, so I apparently believe I am entitled to keeping my iced coffee. Those signs might as well have read "No hypocrites beyond this point", the way I was moving right past them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On Second Thought, Michael Phelps Isn't Sorry

In news that I am both surprised by and wildly amused to hear, CBS is reporting that in their just-announced upcoming segment with Michael Phelps on 60 Minutes (Sunday night, or Monday morning for you special people with TiVo), the Olympic champion has "no regrets" about his recent incident involving his face, a bong, and the reefer. Well, hey now.

Apparently in the past month or two Phelps has done nearly a complete 180 (insert witty diving joke here) and is now speaking candidly about the much-publicized incident for the first time since his public apology with Matt Lauer a few weeks ago.

The swimming champion reportedly holds that his drug use was "no big deal".

"I find it somewhat hypocritical that so many parents consider me such a bad role model, when the radio is constantly spinning Britney [Spears]'s new song [If You Seek Amy] and that girl from High School Musical [Vanessa Hudgens] took all those naked photos," Phelps reportedly tells Leslie Stahl in the interview. "Very few of today's celebrities contribute much to our American community and, you know,... I feel cheated now that many consider my accomplishments in Beijing secondary to my recent indiscretion."

"Apparently, in this country, simply working hard for years to compete at the world's top level, achieving your dreams and bringing glory to your country, you know... all that goes out the window if you aren't Mother Teresa for the rest of your life. Everyone makes mistakes. It's no big deal."

The interview is apparently starting to make waves around the internet, as Stahl's line of questioning eventually leads Phelps to become quite agitated and lash out at the media.

"I tried apologizing and coming clean, but few media outlets focused their stories on my accountability. I was instead made out to be, like, a villian by people from Kelloggs and FOX [News] and others. I always thought that admitting you did something wrong and asking for forgiveness were admirable traits, you know?"

CBS is, for the moment, withholding commentary on the provocative interview, but Stahl was quoted by an unnamed source as saying she was "shocked" and "invigorated" by her discussion with the swimmer. "It really opened my eyes to the other side of the story, of which my previous understanding was a bit hazy. I think you'll be enlightened."

"I made an immature mistake. It was poor judgment, and frankly pressure from those around me, that clouded my judgment and led me to apologize to the world for smoking pot. I regret that now. It was a rather childish thing to do, and hopefully next time something like this comes up, I'll tell the media to call me when they've won fourteen damn golds."

Phelps elaborated further on his video blog early this morning.

"Lighten up people, everybody does it. Chill out. It was good [expletive]. No regrets man, I'm hittin' that again tonight."