August 2008

From Futility Closet:

“Spike Milligan was wearing traditional Scottish garb when a curious onlooker asked, ‘So, is there anything worn under the kilt?’

“‘No’, he answered, ‘it’s all in perfect working order.'”


While watching the opening ceremonies and then various sporting events, I got to pondering about the shear mass that China is.  According to Wikipedia, China has approximately 1.3 billion people compared to the United State’s 300 million.  China has us beat by a mere billion people.  That is astounding.

Now with that in mind, it is no wonder that China is the powerhouse it is in the Olympics.  But then I got to thinking even more.  With all that man-power and resources and with that huge population, China ought to be getting gold in every Olympic event.  There really is no excuse for China to lose to any country in medal count.  They should be blowing us and every other country out of the water.

If I did my math correctly (I sorted by country and then “all” sports and counted the number of athletes), Yahoo sports lists 24 pages of 25 athletes with 1 page listing 20 athletes … that’s a total of 620 Olympic athletes for China.  The US of A has 25 pages of 25 athletes each with 1 page listing 24 athletes for a total of 649 athletes.

Now to the ratios … there are 2.1 million people for every Olympic athlete in China.

There are just under 470,000 people for every American athlete.

My conclusions … despite all the torture and coercion, the Chinese still haven’t figured out how to win at the Olympics.  Or, the United States is so superior and its methods (free-market) are way better, that despite how small a country we are (relative to China) we still do pretty darn good at the Olympics.

I will never go into my workplace’s bathroom afterhours alone ever again.

Our bathrooms are rigged with a timed, motion sensor light.  So when no one enters the bathroom for over 30 minutes, the lights turn off.  Unfortunately, while the lights are out, all the cockroaches begin to party.  And these are not the little finger-size roaches … these bad boys are slightly smaller than that ugly mo-fo on Men in Black.

Last night I opened the door, the lights flickered on and I walked to the line of stalls.  When I opened the door, I saw one sitting on the toilet reading a newspaper and munching on a Coke can.  I said, “sorry”, excused myself and shut the door to go to another stall.  But barf-face jumped out at me and pounced on me like a cat on a mouse.

His breath was foul and I could see the germs crawling on him.  I knew I would need to detoxify myself after this encounter.  I managed to kick him in the leg while I yelled at the top of my lungs.  Luckily for me, someone came dashing in with a can of Raid and began spraying the stuff in his eyes.  He leaped off and dove into the drain hole.

Now whenever I use the workplace restroom, I take a can of Roach Killer.

Yesterday I read an article entitled Trading Places which dicusses the demographic inversion of the American city.  Or in other words how white people are moving back to urban and city areas and non-white people are moving to the suburbs.

Then today I read Half Sigma’s post discussing a NY Time article regarding the Section 8 federal housing voucher program.

These articles remind me of the Law and Order episode (#398 ) that discussed this whole issue of white rich people moving back into the city and how they confront black urban families who feel threatened with this white encroachment.  The tension seems to be happening in both the cities and suburbia.

Growing up in Oregon, I knew of one “black” kid.  And he wasn’t even 100% black.  I think he was half latino.  After we moved to the Southwest, we noticed the stark contrast of the white northwest to the diversified South-Southwest.

Just last year, our 2nd grade daughter was the only white girl in her class.  My wife was really anxious about that.  Her anxiety comes from an idea that Half Sigma points out … that some lower-class students don’t share our middle-class values (read this post).

In former days the circus had freak shows.

Today, we have So You Think You Can Dance.

We have a GI-Office-Joe here.

I don’t have to add any flourish to his description to make it funny.

His office has two toy muscly military men that stand guard on his desk.

Today he wore combat boots, combat pants and an Under Armor shirt – the kind that shows every ripple, curve or protrusion on your body.  He wore just the Under Armor shirt … tucked into his combat pants.

He shaves his head … presumably with a Bic razor or something like it.

He wears sun-glasses … inside … all the time.

There is a 5-foot tall American flag hanging in his office.  There’s nothing wrong with having the Flag in an office.  In fact almost everyone has a little American flag stand on their desk.  He just happens to also have a 5-foot tall flag.

The ironic characteristic about him is he almost always talks in a falsetto voice.  His voice sounds like someone who’s had his gonads whacked with an aluminum bat by Barry Bonds.

Unfortunately, he demands that everyone around him maintain the same standards as he does.  If you go to his office, before you speak to him, you have to drop and produce 10 push ups.

When you do speak to him, you must attach a vice-grip to your nuts to raise your voice to falsetto level.  Ladies have an easier time talking to him.

You never know if he is looking at you because of his sunglasses.  You can’t joke around him … he might see you and order you to do 35 sit-ups.  So we are always on alert mode when he comes around.

Yes, our GI-Office-Joe is quite the nut job.

While perusing the Oregon newslines, I found a sports commentary in which the writer admits that Oregonians have limited capacity and enthusiasm for local sports … which is why they have the Trailblazers and nothing else (except for 2nd rate Pac-10 teams).

Here’s how he spins Oregonians’ narrow support.

When it comes to sports, Oregonians specialize. They care very deeply and passionately about their teams. They hang one flag outside the house. They have one battle cry. They’re monomaniacal with their support and devotion.

They live it, and love it, and own it.

They hang one flag outside their house because they only sell one flag in Oregon and Oregon sports fans lack the brain capacity to cheer on more than one team … which is why they have one and only one team.

On the other hand, I’m sure 8 of 10 Oregon sports fans can name the lumber-jack champion from the past five years.