Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Mouse is a pimp

At 1:39 into the clip, the dance begins. A beautiful woman is embraced by a tall, dark and handsome man.  He is behind her, with his head leaning in toward her face, which is accepting of this advance.  Their lips are mere inches apart.  He is wearing a dark suit, but no one is looking at what he is wearing.  She is the centerpiece.  The straps of her dress reveal softly rounded shoulders and a plunging neckline that accentuates her feminine curves.  It allows little, and yet much, to the imagination.

As the dance proceeds, the passion only intensifies.  Her back is left bare by her dress as the two twirl and glide along the floor with grace and beauty.  Her muscularly femine legs  are glimpsed with every lunging step, and every fanciful turn. They float across the floor until the dance comes to its climactic moment when he lifts her leg, places her foot on his shoulder, then twirls into the last pose.  She throws her head back in exhaustion.  He clutches her around the waist, keeping her close, lowering his face to her breast.

The beauty of the dance is certain.  It was a passionate dance, full of tension and emotion.  Their sexuality was at the forefront of every movement, but there is a disturbing twist.

The woman in the dance – the woman with the plunging neckline and sculpted legs…  The woman taken on this journey of passion, culminating in a climactic – even orgasmic – collapse of emotion…  The woman in this dance is 17 years old.

The woman, or should I say girl, in this video is Shawn Johnson.  She is an Olympic champion.  She is a beautiful girl.  She has spent much of her life training her body, gaining a superb mix of feminine grace and athleticism.  She is a role model for young women across the country  – someone to aspire to – someone to dream about being.  She, unlike so many females in the spotlight, is no waif.  She is a picture of health and fitness.  She has reached the pinnacle of her career, and shows no sign of slowing down.  There is no wonder that she is a front-runner on Season 8 of Dancing With the Stars.

I am disurbed however, by the way in which she is being sexualized.  After one of her dances, she was even told by the judge to be “more naughty.”  The host at least had the clear-mindedness to say, “she’s 17.”  But there is no wonder the judge got caught up in her sexuality, he is just a part of our culture that is doing more and more to sexualize young women.  One author calls it “The Lolita Effect.”

I had this discussion recently with some people.  One of the men said, “hasn’t this been happening for years?  Is this something new?  Wasn’t Brooke Shields sexualized when she was young, and Jodi Foster in “Taxi Driver”?”

My response was, “Yes, this has been happening for years.  The difference is, back then it was controversial.  Now it is being sold by Disney.”

The sexualization of young girls is big business, and it is mainstream big business.  Sex is being used to sell young girls and to sell to young girls.  Shawn Johnson is lifted up as the ideal American girl – so lets put her in a dress with a plunging neckline and have her simulate a passionate encounter with a man ten years her elder.  Miley Cyrus is idolized by millions of young girls, so let’s take off her clothes, drape her in a sheet and take pictures of her.

Some might argue, “Well, that wasn’t her doing that.  That was a manipulative photographer that tricked her into posing like that.”  Okay, even if I buy that (which I don’t).  Then how do you explain this:


In case you can’t tell from the picture, that is Mickey Mouse and Miley Cyrus’ breast about to fall out of her dress, and there are 16 candles on that cake – 16!

 Disney corporation pretends it stands for family values and presents its image as pure and ideal, but then gives us Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus and Shawn Johnson’s cleavage on DTWS.   A google search of Disney and sex reveals conspiracy theories about subliminal sexual messages embedded in Disney movies.

They are not subliminal.  The sexual images are right there in front of our faces – right there in front of the faces of our girls and boys.  There is nothing subliminal about Disney and sex. 

Why do we let them get away with it?  Why do we allow Disney to prostitute our young girls?  South Park has one theory.  And I tend to agree with them (but not completely).  Disney presents an image of purity and virginity while at the same time cramming sexual images down our throats.  

Disney is a corporation, and its purpose is to make money.  Does that make it evil? No.  It makes it a profitable business.  Disney exists to make money – nothing more.  The way that it makes money is to convince people that it stands for more than that.  I, as a consumer, can choose to consume their product or not.  My home is not a Disney-free zone.  But I assure you that when I do consume their product, I do so with my eyes wide open.

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Sweet 16 update

My mascots system has not been stellar.  I took big hit in the first round when my upset-special, West Virginia, went down in the first round.  In fact, the entire Midwest Region is a total loss.  In that region, there were only three wins – total, and none in the second round.

The mascot system has got me eight of the 16 teams into the third round.  Three of my elite eight teams are already gone.  Three of my final four teams are still alive, and I had West Virginia in the championship.  It is clear that this bracket is not going to shock the world. 

Here is the updated Sweet 16:

Midwest Region: 

Wildcats def. Cardinals, Spartans def. Jayhawks.  In this region, the Michigan State Spartans would emerge in the Final Four. 

West Region:

Boilermakers def. Huskies, Tiger vs. Tiger is a draw, the higher seed are the Memphis Tigers.  I’ll go with Memphis into the Final Four

East Region:

Muskateers def. Panthers, Blue Devils def. Wildcats. The Duke Blue Devils emerge in the Final Four.

South Region:

Tar Heels def. Bulldogs, Sooners def. Orange.  The Tar Heels win the region.

Final Four:

Blue Devils def. Tar Heels, Spartans def. Tigers.  Blue Devils are the national champions.

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“Not in Illinois”

My favorite commercial of all time:

In case the link above doesn’t work, here is a description:

A policeman is writing a ticket to a car.  There are North Carolina bumper stickers on it.  Cut to the policeman getting back in the car.  A voice from the point-of-view camera asks, “What did you get him for?”

The policeman responds, “Doing 36 in a 35.”  A Champaign County patch is seen on his arm.

“36 in a 35?  That’s a little harsh.”

The policeman responds, with jaw clenched, “Not in Illinois.”

The video cuts to clips from the final few seconds of the NCAA championship game between Illinois and North Carolina in 2005. 

So, is giving someone a ticket for going 36 in a 35 too harsh?  Not in Illinois.

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Bracket Recap

So, looking at my bracket, which is based on which team’s nickname would in a fight, a few things pop out at me. The No. 1 seeds did not fair well. Only one made it to the Sweet 16, and two of them – The Pitt Panthers and the Louisville Cardinals were knocked out in the first round. Considering no 16 seed has EVER won a game, I’m thinking this is quite the long-shot.

I had to revise something earlier. In the West region I hit a problem with Bear vs. Tiger. I had to go with Tiger. To be honest, I’m not sure why. Then in the regional final there would be Tiger vs. Tiger. In my post I mistakenly called the Mizzou Tiger the higher seed, but realize that the Memphis Tiger is a 2-seed. Then in a controversial call I went with the Tiger over the Boilermaker even though the Boilermaker had already defeated a Cougar and a Panther. No real explanation, just my gut – a tiger seems bigger and meaner than a cougar or panther.



North Carolina

West Virginia 


-West Virginia is the only real odd pick out of that bunch, and the Blue Devils, named for a World War I fighting unit, would pull out the victory.  


I have entered this bracket into the ESPN contest.  When Pitt and Louisville go down early, you might see me on Sportscenter as the new bracketologist.

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2009 Mascot Bracket

So, for the last twenty years or so I have been filling out NCAA tournament brackets.  When I was about 13 I came within a last second shot of winning, but settled for fourth place.  That is the closest I have ever come to winning.  I stopped doing brackets for money about three years ago – but still enter into free contests, and still get my ass handed to me.  So instead of making predictions which have almost no credibility based on my track record, I decided to fill out this year’s bracket based on a system my brother and I came up with about 10 years ago.  Put simply, the concept is, Which mascot would win in a fight?

There are a few basic tennets of this system:

  1. Predatory animals defeat non-predatory animals – its the food chain, right?
  2. Predatory animals defeat humans without weapons.
  3. Humans with weapons defeat all animals.
  4. Humans with weapons defeat humans without weapons.
  5. In battles between two humans with weapons, most advanced weapons win, e.g. gunpowder defeats iron.
  6. Battles betwee two predatory animals, the bigger, meaner one wins.

These are basic rules.  It gets tricky when you start to consider the following:

  • Supernatural entities – These things will typically defeat any animal and most humans, but godly humans will win.
  • Weather systems – Depends on the severity.   A hurricane? pretty tough.  A green wave? not so much.
  • Colors (how do you defeat the Orange? With an eraser? How do you even fight the color orange to begin with?  New rule – Immobile inanimate objects lose to anything that moves.  There might not be knockout, but when you go to the scorecards, the moving object would get some points for trying).

So, here it goes:


Play-in game: Morehead State EAGLES def. Alabama State HORNETS
16 EAGLES def. 1 Louisville CARDINALS (This is the first time in history that a No. 1 seed has gone down. I haven’t looked yet, but I’m not confident about the TAR HEELS either).
9. Siena SAINTS (depicted by a Saint Bernard) def. 8. Ohio State BUCKEYES
5. Utah UTES def. Arizona WILDCATS (see rule #3 – humans with weapons vs. animals)
13. Cleveland State VIKINGS def. Wake Forest DEAMON DEACONS (this is a tough call, because a deacon could presumably get a weapon, but there is nothing about a deacon that is inherently armed.)
15. Robert Morris COLONIALS def. 2. Michigan State SPARTANS (see rule #5 If you have seen the movie 300, you might disagree, but COLONIALS would have more firepower.)
10. USC TROJANS def. 7. Boston College EAGLES
3. Kansas JAYHAWKS def. 14. North Dakota State BISON (see rule #1. Very tough call, it is hard to imagine a hawk pecking a bison to death, there’d probably be no knockout, but Hawks would win on the cards).
6. West Virginia MOUNTAINEERS def. 11. Dayton FLYERS (see rule #4)
SECOND ROUND:Saints def. Eagles – similar to Jayhawk vs. Bison, but if the dog could get one good bite, it would be curtains for the Eagle)
Utes def. Vikings – rule #5
Colonials def. Trojans – rule #5
Mountaineer def. Jayhawk – rule #3
Utes defeat Saints – rule #3
Mountaineer def. Colonial – rule #5
Mountaineers def. Utes


16. East Tennessee State BUCCANEERS def. 1. Pittsburgh PANTHERS (A historical second No. 1 seed goes down)
8. Oklahoma State COWBOYS def. 9. Tennesee VOLUNTEERS – rule #5 (this took some research. It turns out the name Volunteers comes from the War of 1812, when Andrew Jackson got a bunch of volunteers to fight the British. Cowboys though, lasted well into the 1800’s, and presumably would have better weapons).
5. Florida State SEMINOLES def. 12. Wisconsin BADGERS – rule #3
4. Xavier MUSKATEERS def. 13 Portland State VIKINGS – rule #5
2. Duke BLUE DEVILS def. 15. Binghamton BEARCATS – miscellaneous rule. Duke used to be called the Methodists, which is kind of cool, but not very tough. Some think it could actually refer back to a French military unit from World War I, back when the French actually were tough.
7. Texas LONG HORNS def. 10. Minnesota GOLDEN GOPHERS – Neither are predatory, but if forced to fight, there is a clear favorite.
3. Villanova WILDCATS def. American U. EAGLES – rule #6
6. UCLA BRUINS def. Virginia Commonwealth RAMS – rule #6
Cowboys def. Buccaneers – rule #5
Muskateers def. Seminoles – rule #5
Blue Devils def. Long Horns
Bruins def. Wildcats – rule #6
Cowboys def. Muskateers
Blue Devils def. Bruins
Blue Devils def. Cowboys


1. North Carolina TAR HEELS def. 16. Radord HIGHLANDERS – rule #5 (A highlander is a Scottish warrior from the middle ages. The term Tar Heel came from soldiers in the Civil War, who presumably had something more deadly than a Claymore).
8. LSU TIGERS def. 9. Butler BULLDOGS – rule #6
5. Illinois FIGHTING ILLINI def. Western Kentucky HILLTOPPERS – rule #4 (the Illini were native Americans that presumably had weapons. The Hilltoppers are just a bunch of guys that moved the school up to the top of a hill).
4. Gonzaga BULLDOGS def. Akron ZIPS. – (This will be the Zips vs. the Zags, but Gonzaga’s official nickname is the Bulldogs. The Zips are actually named after the zipper, which was invented in Akron, OH. The mascot is a kangaroo, which would probably crush a Bulldog, but we’re going with nicknames – and a zipper would not defeat anything, unless a school became known as the Ben Stiller’s Franks and Beans)
2. Oklahoma SOONERS def. 15. Morgan State BEARS – A Sooner would have a shotgun.
7. Clemson TIGERS def. 10. Michigan WOLVERINES – This would be an awesome fight, but I’ll take the Tiger.
14. Stephen F. Austin LUMBERJACKS def. Syracuse ORANGE – anything beats a color, except maybe a zipper.
6. Arizona State SUN DEVILS def. 11. Temple OWLS – ASU might be tough to beat.
Tar Heels def. Tigers
Fighting Illini def. Bulldogs
Sooners def. Tigers
Sun Devils def. Lumberjacks
Tar Heels def. Fighting Illini
Sun Devils def. Sooners
Tar Heels def. Sun Devils (this is not exact science, but the Sun Devil looks like a guy with a douchy mustache in a Noid costume, carrying a pitchfork. A Tar Heel would shoot him).


1. UConn HUSKIES def UT Chattanooga MOCS (I am still not sure what a Moc is, but from the logo, it looks like a bird. Some logos show a bird driving a train, which is just weird.
8. BYU COUGARS def. 9. Texas A&M AGGIES – An Aggie is a farmer, which is not intrinsically armed. A cougar would maul an unarmed farmer.
5. Purdue BOILERMAKERS def. 12. Northern Iowa PANTHERS – This is a close call, but the Boilermaker has a huge hammer, and could connect on one good swing.
4. Washington HUSKIES def. Mississippi State BULLDOG – Another close one, but a huskie is a little bigger and more agile.
2. Memphis TIGERS def. 15. Cal State Northridge MATADORS – A Matador is a human with a weapon, but he is used to fighting impaled bulls, not full strength Tigers. Think Siegfried and Roy. Tigers win.
7. California BEARS def. Maryland TERRAPINS – A Bear would have a hard time getting the knockout, but he would win on the scorecards.
3. Missouri TIGERS def. Cornell BIG RED – Again, colors always lose.
6. Marquette GOLDEN EAGLES def. Utah St. AGGIES – Again, unarmed farmer is defeated by predatory animal.
Cougars def. Huskies
Boilermakers def. Huskies
A classic battle pits Tiger vs. Bear. I really do not know who would win.
Tiger def. Golden Eagle
Boilermaker def. Cougar (if he beat a Panther, he could beat a Cougar)
Tiger vs. Tiger or Bear (this is a real conundrum)
Boilermaker would be defeated by either a Tiger or a Bear, the hammer would not be enough. But which? I’ll go with the highest seed, and take the Mizzou Tiger.

West Virginia Mountaineers defeat Missouri Tigers
Duke Blue Devils defeat North Carolina Tar Heels

Duke defeats West Virginia.


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Sorry Albert, I don’t believe you

My new Sports Illustrated came in the mail today.  On the cover is Albert Pujols, slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals.  The headline reads, “Albert Pujols has a message: ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Believe in Me'”

Albert Pujols on SI

Sorry Albert, I have nothing against you personally.  I might actually believe that you are clean – but I’m not giving you the benefit of the doubt.  I want to believe you are clean – you are an amazing player.  I lived in St. Louis for three years and marveled in your greatness.  You are the only player I have ever watched that actually surprises me when you make an out.  You are so good that I actually expect a hit every time.

There are no signs that you are, or ever were, on steroids.  Yet you did sort of come out of nowhere.  You have always been a huge man, yet you do sort of look smaller on the cover of this issue.  Maybe you are clean – and I hope you are, but I still don’t believe you.  And you have no one to blame but yourself – and your union.

I assume you’ve heard the saying, “Once bitten, twice shy.”  Well, I was bitten when I believed Mark McGwire say that bottle of chemicals in his locker was just a supplement, and I was bitten over and over again each time I drove by the sign that read Mark McGwire Expressway just north of Busch Stadium.  I was bitten when I believed that the reason for the increased home runs in the late 90’s was because of “hard balls.”  I was bitten again when owners called Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco embittered liars.  I was bitten (how many times is that now?) when Rafeal Palmeiro wagged his finger and angrily declared “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”  And I was bitten when Alex Rodriguez made himself out to be the great anti-Barry with Katie Couric.  So I guess after all the times I have been bitten by the owners, media and especially by members of your union, I’m more than twice shy.

You might be clean, but you are not blameless.  Where was this indignation when Barry Bonds’ hat size went from melon to globe? Where were you when your former teammate, he of the cartoon-like forearms that were built on something more than spinach, was declaring, “I don’t want to talk about the past”?

There is plenty of blame to spread around in this whole steroid mess.  The owners probably turned a blind eye to it as Sammy and Mark rescued the game from the despair of labor disputes and a cancelled World Series.  The media droped the ball as they gawked at the home runs while ignoring the signs.  But the players – the clean ones – are as much to blame as anyone.  They were the ones that really, undeniably, knew what was going on.  They were the ones that were most directly being negatively effected by the cheaters.

So now you clean players want to say, “It wasn’t me – He did it.”  Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.  As far as I’m concerned – you’re all guilty.  The whole era is tainted – not just Barry’s numbers, but yours too, Albert.  Because it was you, Albert, that had the power to prevent the steroid era from happening.  If the union cared about the clean players, then it would have acted to make testing happen to protect their integrity.  Yet, the union continues to drag its feet.

You want me to believe you?  Then demand that your union leadership be fired – now.  Demand that Bud Selig is fired – now.  Demand random blood testing – now.  Demand full season suspensions for first offenses – now.  Do that, and maybe I’ll believe you.  Until then, you, and no member of your union, deserves the benefit of the doubt.


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