Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Most Beautiful


A few months ago, People Magazine named Gwyneth Paltrow the most beautiful woman in the world. I didn't know publications could just do that. You know, technically this blog is a publication. Can I make hegemonic, wide-sweeping declarations too? I declare I can. Here are some declarations from The Kids Are Aight:

  • Girls Scout Cookies are now a food group. They replaced dairy on the food pyramid. Sorry rest of the world, I know you'll miss your milk, but I'm lactose intolerant. Recommended servings are two Tagalongs, three Samoas, and a good turn daily.
  • Ke$ha is now Kesha. No more dollar sign for you -- we're in the middle of a recession.
  • No more obscure U.S. capitals. Sorry Albany, Sacramento, and Austin; you've been replaced by New York City, Los Angeles, and Dallas. You're welcome 4th grade Geography students.
  • The designated hitter is no more. Sorry American League, now you're gonna have to play real baseball.
  • No more paying for vowels on Wheel of Fortune -- they're free -- we're in the middle of a recession.
  • No new Adam Sandler movies. Sorry Adam -- maybe I'll let you make Billy Madison 2 if you promise to be funny again.
  • Gas is $1.00. Not sorry, OPEC.

Sadly, this blog is not People Magazine. I lack whatever power they possess that turns subjectivity into objectivity. I actually don't mind the whole People's Most Beautiful thing, but I do have one inquiry: why does the "Most Beautful Woman" change every year? Last year it was Beyonce. I could understand the switch to Gwyneth Paltrow this year if Beyonce had died or become horribly disfigured or something, but she looks pretty much the same. How did Gwyneth pass Beyonce in the rankings? Did Coldplay get better critical reviews than Jay-Z last year? Did Shakespeare in Love's Academy Award get shinier? Is Beyonce's body too bootylicious for ya, babe People Magazine? Whatever their methods, they're still better than the BCS -- talk about meaningless titles and subjectivity.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shut Up and Play the Hits

It's inevitable. A band puts out a few successful records and it thinks it has the right, nay, the obligation to turn the stage into a political soapbox. I don't mind musicians speaking out about what they believe in, but sometimes it's hard to take certain artists seriously. For instance:

Advocate for social change, popping tags
Macklemore - I saw Macklemore (and Ryan Lewis... poor guy, he gets no cred) at a free show in Atlanta in the spring. He spent a good five minutes lecturing the crowd on marriage equality. That's all good and well, but people don't exactly line up to get political lessons from a dude who raps about zebra jammies, velcro shoes, and R. Kelly's urine. Seems as though Mr. Macklemore had an agenda in his pocket to go along with that $20.

Green Day - The band dedicated an entire album to the Election back in 2004 and have made a habit of political grandstanding throughout their careers. Whether you agree with Billie Joe and Co. or not, you've gotta admit that it's tough to heed political advice from a band named after marijuana with a propensity to name their albums after feces.

Incubus - Back in college, Incubus was one of the biggest rock bands in the world and boy did they hate George W. Bush. They even released a single called Megalomaniac that compared him to Hitler. Now, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but it's difficult to take their criticism of the former president seriously knowing that their band is named after a demon who has intercourse with women in their sleep.

The Dixie Chicks - Regardless of whether or not they're ready to make nice, I can't in good conscience take their political message to heart knowing that they murdered that poor Earl fellow. With black eyed peas nonetheless! I'm still unsure if they actually poisoned a can of black eyed peas or if they killed Earl by making him listen to the band of the same name. Both are lethal.

Toby Keith - It's hard enough to trust a man with two first names, but it's exceptionally difficult to take his uber-patriotic message seriously knowing that he gives beer to his horses. And what's with the entire song dedicated to a red solo cup? That's not very environmentally friendly. (If you're thinking I threw in a Conservative here at the end in an attempt to even things out a little bit... you're right.)

The point I'm trying to make here (in a very roundabout way) is not that we shouldn't trust musicians for political advice (though you shouldn't), but that we as individuals should think about our baggage when we take up a cause. For instance, if I were to take up a cause on Facebook, I need to realize that the same people who read my posts on said cause are also probably going to find the link to this silly blog. Just as I'm prone not to embrace political advice from Macklemore thanks to his song "Thrift Shop," others probably wouldn't take my views seriously because I named the Kool-Aid guy a Black History Month hero. And that's fine. In the same vein, before you change your profile picture to this or this or, Lord help me, rant about Trayvon, it's probably a good idea to make sure you (and everything you post) make you a decent representative for your causes and viewpoints. It's a good thing, even a noble thing, to fight for what you believe in and there are a lot of extremely worthy causes out there, but are we as people (especially young people) so arrogant as to assume that we're doing the cause a favor simply by attaching our name to it? Sometimes the best way to further your cause is to not be a visible part of it.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

TV Crushes

I read an article on the AV Club not too long ago where the whole staff wrote a paragraph about their first crush on a character of a TV show. They were funny, sweet, charming, and endearing -- so I asked some of my funny, sweet, charming, and endearing friends to write a few words about one of their first TV crushes -- the result is funny sweet, charming, and endearing. Also, I wrote one:

Peyton Sawyer - One Tree Hill
   ~ David Hammock

I know what you're thinking; One Tree Hill is a show for teenage girls. Well that's true, but what you should be thinking is SHUT UP. My little sister was a big One Tree Hill fan when she was younger and I would occasionally watch it with her and I ended up getting hooked on all the wonderfully angsty drama. In addition to said drama, OTH (don't call it that) offered two pretty great things: a surprisingly legit indie soundtrack and a cute, indie cheerleader named Peyton Sawyer. Good looks and good taste in music -- move over Hannah Montana, P. Sawyer represents the best of both worlds. She was the perfect balance of smart, witty, playful, and broody... and all her music was on vinyl. I almost went with Veronica Mars instead of Peyton, but it's been a long time since was into that show and, well, you know, I don't want to be anything other than what I've been trying to be lately.

Kimberly Hart - Power Rangers
   ~ Ryan Nichols

While the pterodactyl is far from my favorite dinosaur, it definitely represents the hottest of the Power Rangers. Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) was a fearsome fighter and a worthy gymnast, but most importantly, she was always nice to the not-so-formidable blue ranger, who was my favorite. Of course, she was VERY nice to the green ranger, but I think she was only interested in his "dragon-dagger." My love for Kimberly was so strong that I even followed Amy Jo Johnson's post-power ranger career. She starred in Susie Q as a prom-obsessed socialite and then... I gave up on her. I wanted to remember Amy Jo at her best -- as the charming, happy-go-lucky, flexible, pink martial artist on Power Rangers.

Diane Chambers - Cheers
   ~ T.S. Oldman

Since I'm in my 20s and watch an inordinate amount of television, I should probably say someone like Aubrey Plaza's April from Parks & Rec or Zooey Deschanel playing a version of herself on New Girl, but I can't. My heart will always belong to Diane Chambers and her five wonderful seasons on the best sitcom in the history of televsion, Cheers. (Seinfeld is only an acceptable answer if you are heartless person who prefers the quotable nihlism of Jerry's "No hugs, no learning" mantra to Cheers' heartfelt, live-audience fun). Shelley Long's Diane was a  professional student who studied art, literature, and sociology, yet, couldn't fathom why anyone would care about baseball, hockey, or basketball. Brilliant but naive. More than anything else, Diane's sharp wit and facial ticks always made me laugh. Having never watched the show growing up (toddlers aren't so great at following dialogue), I plowed through the first five seasons last year on Netflix. And despite knowing that Diane wasn't coming back for a sixth season, I still teared up while watching her last scene. Not my strongest moment, but that's what crushes ultimately do: leave you little bit happy, a little bit sad, and your eyes a little bit wet.

Sydney Bristow - Alias
   ~ Tom Kimsey

Five minutes into the JJ Abrams spy series and I was smitten. Yes, with JJ Abrams, but I'll save that obsession for another day. Sydney Bristow is the perfect balance for any guy - capable, sexy spy and lovable girl-next-door. Not to mention single (thank you colorblind assassin), though maybe not so much available (Bradley Cooper, sexiest man of the year, called dibs before I had a chance). Through five seasons my love never waned, even though she forgot about me and every other guy who had a chance with her in that awesome season two cliffhanger. Syd, no matter how long it takes to get in your dad's good graces; through all the missions, the convoluted plots, and the changing code names (you'll always be my Mountaineer); I'll be here for you.

Kate Austen - Lost
   ~ Stephan Rabbitt

I never had cable growing up so I was limited to about eight channels for the first 18 years of my life. Of those eight channels, many came in quite fuzzy with our rabbit ear antenna. The only programming I regularly watched was Braves baseball, so I draw from a somewhat limited pool of shows. First, I thought about going with Kelly Kapowski. But, let's be honest, who didn't have a crush on Kelly Kapowski? After that, I thought about Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. This one was mostly ruled out because I have an awful memory and couldn't tell you a thing about her other than that she shipwrecked on a 3-hour tour, a 3-hour tour...and that her and the professor were left out of theme song for a while. Instead, I went with a more recent deserted (or is it) island vixen... Kate Austen. She has the distinct advantage of being on one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Also, we have tons in common. She worked in the hatch to save-the-world by typing numbers in a computer. I save the world doing the same thing every day at work, one taxpayer at a time. Clearly, we would get along great. I could teach her some Excel tricks:

Rabbitt: You know, Kate - I bet I can record a macro to enter these numbers in so you don't have to manually input every 108 minutes.
Austen: Wow, that would be great. You are my favorite! We can use that extra time to talk and learn more about each other's past.
Rabbitt: ...Actually, let's stick with the manual input.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Go Ahead, Drink the Haterade

Haterade isn't a real product. You can't buy it in stores or even purchase it online. As much as the word Haterade is thrown around these days, it's a surprise and a shame that it's not an actual drink. You would think some eccentric person with money to blow would take a chance on this gimmick and start mass producing some delicious Haterade for the world to enjoy -- or maybe to hate. Maybe it's just that no one has thought up a solid assortment of Haterade flavors. That's where I come in. Here are some of my ideas for Haterade flavors:

Sour Grape
Passion-Aggressive Fruit
All Lemon, No Lime
Orange Crushed Spirit
Pink Gripefruit
On Mountain Blast
Fruit Punch (some things don't change)

That's a good start, but what sports drink is complete without famous athlete endorsements? Gatorade boasts well-liked athletes like Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning to advertise their products. Haterade should go in the opposite direction -- special flavors endorsed by the most hated athletes in all of sports:

Lance Armstrong's Blood Orange Transfusion
Ray Lewis' I'm a Changed Mango
Metta World Peach
Brett Favre's Trouser Dragonfruit
OJ Simpson's Guilt-Tea
Alex Rodriguez's Lifetime Banana
Tiger Woods' Apricot With Your Pants Down
Mike Tyson's Tropical Punch
Manti Te'o's Lemon Lie
Kobe Bryant's Alleged Grape

I wonder which of those flavors would sell the best. Certainly not Brett Favre's Trouser Dragonfruit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Humble, Young Man, Humble

By far my least favorite part of pick-up basketball games are the rare times when I'm a captain and have to pick my own team. It's hard to judge the talent and athletic ability of guys you've never played with before. With little to go on, you would think I'd simply pick the tall guys or the muscular guys or, let's face it, the black guys; but really it's a crap shoot as to what you get. Sometimes the tall guys can't shoot. Sometimes the muscular guys are slow. Sometimes the black guys can barely dunk from the free throw line. You really just don't know what you're gonna get. That's why I only have one rule when picking a basketball team... or any kind of sports team for that matter: don't pick the guy wearing the braggy Nike shirt.

You know what I'm talking about. Those shirts emblazoned with the big, bold font that reads something obnoxious like, "YOU'VE BEEN SERVED" or "I GOT GAME" or heaven help me, "BEASTMODE." It's not that I hate the shirts -- well, I kinda hate the shirts -- it's that without fail, the guy wearing the shirt is never any good. In fact, the more boastful the shirt, the less "GAME" he got. Trust me, if you're ever picking a basketball team at your local gym, don't pick the dude in the "BEASTMODE" shirt. You'll be down by ten points wondering if his three bricks, seven turnovers, and five Gatorade breaks are part of "BEASTMODE" or if he's waiting for just the right time to start playing some gosh dang defense.

Aside from my dislike of the slogan shirts within the context of a pick-up basketball game, I just don't like the idea of self-aggrandizement. It's a no-win situation. If you can't back up your own crowing, you look bad, and even if you are as good as you say, you still come off looking like a jerk. That's why I propose Nike should produce a new line of slogan shirts; tees with meek, self-effacing slogans such as:


Leastmode. Now that's a shirt I could wear. If I stink up the gym, well, at least I warned you. If I score a few buckets, hey, everyone's impressed. Either way, I don't look bad. I doubt Nike would get behind an idea like this. Cockiness sells, humility doesn't. In the end, I guess there are worse things in the world than a few guys at the gym wearing unsubstantiated t-shirts. Still, I think the sports world could use a little less Nike -- and a little more Just Do It.