Friday, August 29, 2008

Michael Jackson turns 50

Earlier this year we had the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest albums of all time: "Thriller." And today is the 50th anniversary of the birth of Michael Jackson, which, although it may be hard to tell now, took place on Earth with the involvement of human parents.

Whatever you think of Jackson, "Thriller" was pretty extraordinary. "Billie Jean" remains one of my favorite songs of all time, and I still like hearing "Beat It." Certainly beats some of the other songs of that year, such as "Maniac" by Michael Sembello and "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. (OK, I admit that I liked that second song back in '83, but I was 11 years old. And it's been played so many times now that I'm sick of it.)

So back to MJ. His album was amazing, but I never really did like the song "Thriller." I don't know why, but it never did anything for me. I think maybe it's because I had to sit through the "Making of the Thriller Video" three or four times in elementary school.

Either I had lazy teachers or this was considered to be very instrumental in our education. I just thought Michael Jackson looked a little weird with all the makeup on. Of course, compared to his look now, he looked unbelievably normal. Even human.

So Happy Birthday MJ. I can't believe you're 50. At least parts of you, anyway.

Are you Abercrombie & Fitch hot?

The Dallas Morning News had a story this week on the "hierarchy of hotness" at Abercrombie & Fitch stores. Sounds like a fun place to work. From the story:
A weekly "secret shopper" evaluation posted in the back room also focuses on appearance. Employees receive one point for a "yes" to the questions, "Was the person in the women's front room attractive?" and "Was the cashier attractive?"
That's life in our shallow times, where it's just impossible to achieve Abercrombie's "sexy, effortless style" unless you are like, a total hottie.

"There's no real problem to discriminate against 'ugly' people," a lawyer said in the story.

No, it happens all the time in our society. Abercrombie has just made it a part of corporate policy.

"It just seems so superficial and kind of stupid," a former employee said.

I think that pretty well describes the "sexy, effortless style" of Abercrombie. I think it's funny when I walk by the front of the store at the mall and see the bored-looking teenage guy hired to stand there not wearing a shirt. You know, it's all about the clothes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fortune cookie? What's a fortune cookie?

You probably get fortune cookies with your Chinese food, but clearly the cookies are not a Chinese invention. In this blog post, a writer talks about going around China and handing out fortune cookies.
Often times, they would put the cookies in their mouth, and then be surprised when they found a piece of paper either in their mouth or in a cookie.
Here is some video from it:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First day of kindergarten

I dropped my son off for his first day of kindergarten today. Actually, it wasn't just me. My wife and our 3-year-old and 7-month-old were also there for the milestone event.

For this first day, parents were allowed to walk into the school with their kids. So we all walked in, Ryan with his Spider-Man backpack on his back, gripping his mom's hand, and me in charge of the other two boys.

We went into the cafeteria, where the teachers and principal had the kids sitting in rows by signs for their teachers. There was a little presentation, a song for the kids, and then it was time for the parents to say goodbye.

As we walked out, I could see both excitement and anxiety on Ryan's face. We blew kisses to each other and waved. As other parents blocked Ryan's view of us, I could see him moving his head so he could keep seeing us as we left. He kept on waving and blowing kisses. I waved one last time and blew one last kiss to him and walked out of the cafeteria.

He'll be fine, I'm sure. All morning he was talking about the excitement of the first day of school and that he couldn't wait to ride the bus home. But it's hard seeing that concerned look on your child's face.

You want to protect your kids forever. Keep them small and innocent. But time moves on. Before my wife and I know it, our 3-year-old will be starting school, and then our littlest will be in school.

And, although it's hard to believe, someday we'll be sending Ryan off to college. We'll say goodbye to the boy who just weeks ago was celebrating how he could tie his shoes in double knots.

When that day comes, I know my head will be filled with lots of thoughts. And one image:

Ryan waving and blowing kisses to me on his first day of kindergarten.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olympic news NBC missed

NBC had a record amount of Olympic coverage during the last two weeks, including the most coverage ever of a swimmer's mother cheering in the stands.

But lost in all the coverage:

A semi-naked man was detained by police as he tried to disrupt the Olympic show jumping competition wearing a tutu and women's underwear.

The complete story is here, including how the man, "described as a portly middle-aged foreigner," ran into the equestrian arena and began to prance around like a horse.

Outrageous. But it still wasn't as offensive to the Olympic ideal as this.

And hey, maybe that guy's tutu outfit could be the prototype for the new table tennis outfits.