Sunday, July 26, 2009

English Soccer Commentary

English soccer commentary really pisses me off. I just watched the finals of the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central, and Carribbean Association Football) Gold Cup, between the United States and Mexico, and the only channel I get that covered the game was Univision... a Spanish channel. All English speaking soccer commentators should be forced to take lessons from the Univision guys, they were incredible.

I'll admit, my Spanish speaking skills are a bit rusty, I haven't studied it for a few years now, but I can still understand bits and pieces of conversation, I could pick out some of the commentary. But the most important thing was the emotion these guys showed... English commentary is just not anywhere close to as exciting as Spanish commentary.

I know, most Americans really don't care about soccer, or understand the finer points. Having played soccer growing up, I really do enjoy watching it, it is a great sport. If our commentators had the same exuberance as the Spanish speaking ones, I really think it could do wonders for soccer in the United States. There is just something about hearing GOOOOOOOOOLLLL shouted endlessly after every goal that makes the game immensely better.

And it is not just the Spanish ones who show such emotion. There is great commentary in Dutch, Chinese, Arabic, and god knows how many other languages... for some reason the people speaking English are just not as excitable.

Is English just a boring language in general? Or are our soccer commentators simply boring people. I really don't know, but something should be done. Because next time I have a choice of whether to watch a soccer game in English or Spanish... toss me the remote, I am flipping to Univision.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pay and Display Parking

Pay and display parking really pisses me off. Those stupid machines that are replacing old school parking meters in major cities around the world. These machines suck and I hate them.

First of all, the locations are generally a pain in the ass. Parking meters are always right at the parking spot, right next to your car. The pay and display machines are usually one or two to a block, you have to walk to the machine, and back to your car to display the ticket. This leaves enough time for a wily meter maid to give you a parking ticket while you are attempting to obey the law and pay for parking.

Secondly, you can not piggyback on somebody else when you use a pay and display machine. With traditional parking meters, there is always the hope that when you pull in to a spot, you find that the person who has parked there previously has left you with enough time that you do not need to pay any more. Someone pays for two hours, leaves after an hour, and you get that second hour for free... awesome! The city should not care... the spot is being paid for AND used for two hours, why does it matter if it is by two different people?

But with pay and display, if you pay for two hours and leave after an hour, game over. The next person still has to pay for the spot. If they do the same thing, pay for two hours and leave after an hour, the city is collecting four hours worth of parking fare for a spot that is only used for two hours!! That, my friends, is bullshit. That one factor on its own has doubled... DOUBLED the money taken in through parking fees in cities that have switched to pay and display. Twice the amount of money is now being taken from you and me.

I will admit, pay and display parking has one major advantage over parking meters... the ability to accept paper money and credit cards. It is nice not to worry about having enough quarters. But when we are paying with coins, and are limited in time by the number of coins we have, we are forced to act quickly, we have to get out of that parking spot soon! When we can pay with dollar bills or credit cards, it is much easier to overestimate how much time we need, and we end up spending more money.

Maybe it is just me, but I would prefer paying with quarters in an old fashioned parking meter. At the very least, even if you don't have enough spare change, you can always put a plastic shopping bag over the meter and park for free!

Here is a strategy to beat the pay and display machines. No comment on if it works or not...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coffee Mugs With Tiny Handles

Coffee mugs with tiny handles really piss me off. The whole point of a coffee mug is to hold a hot beverage, keeping it hot, without burning any part of your hand. That is why they have handles. But then there are those stupid coffee mugs with little tiny handles that you can only fit one finger through. The knuckle of that one finger ends up forced against the rest of the mug, where it gets burned. Meanwhile, you can not figure out what to do with the rest of your fingers and your entire hand... either it touches the mug and gets burned, or it stays away from the mug, leaving it off balance.

We are not a bunch of hoity-toity, stuck up, British people drinking tea with our pinkies sticking out. We are drinking coffee, and coffee needs to come in a real mug, with a real handle! You should be able to get at least three fingers, if not your whole damn hand, in there! (That's what she said? ...ok, maybe that was a little inappropriate, even by my standards.)

Why would someone possibly decide that a little tiny finger hole would make a good handle for a mug? Were they intentionally being cruel to people with big fingers, trying to make sure our circulation gets cut off in our fingertips while we drink our coffee?

Come on... we are drinking our coffee early in the morning, we have just gotten out of bed, we are disorganized, disoriented, and discombobulated. It is a huge pain when you are trying to read the morning paper, and you have to reach for that little tiny handle while not looking at it, you want to continue reading your article. It is very easy to miss the mug, the odds are pretty likely that the coffee will end up on your paper or in your lap... either way it will not deliver you the caffeine you so desperately need. The bigger the handle, the more likely it is that you are going to get a solid grip.

By all means, continue serving tea in saucers and tea cups with little tiny finger holes. But when I drink my coffee, a real drink, I want a real handle for my mug.

Watch how much good a real coffee mug can do!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Throw Pillows

Throw pillows really piss me off. Those small, decorative, stupid pillows that you find piled up on beds and couches... god I hate them. Who decided a pillow was a good decoration?

There are only two things pillows should be used for—cushioning your head or beating up your siblings. Needless to say, fancy
shmancy throw pillows, with all sorts of frills and fringes and decorative features, suck at both of those functions.

The absolute worst is when you are a guest at
somebody's house and the bed or couch that you want to use is completely covered in decorative pillows. What the hell are you supposed to do? Yeah, you need one pillow to sleep with (maybe two if you like a ton of neck support). But those are going to be the normal, plain white rectangular pillows in pillow cases.

What to do with the rest of the decorative pillows? Throw them on the floor? That seems rather rude, they are nice decorations. Put all of them under your head? You'll be sleeping at a ninety degree angle! Spoon with them? I guess you could, but that is going to lead to some weird questions if somebody comes in to wake you up the next morning... (what are you, a pillophile?)

They are just the worst things!! Always arranged so
meticulously... you feel bad about moving them around to make yourself comfortable. Just like you would not move a decorative painting on the wall, you feel guilty about moving a decorative pillow on the couch. Too fancy to use, too nice to throw on the floor, there is nothing you can do. And if you do move them, it does not matter how hard you try, you are not going to be able to arrange them the right way when you leave, again making you feel guilty.

Couches and beds and pillows and all those comfortable objects are meant to be just that... comfortable. Sure, you want them to look good, but appearances are secondary to

We need a one pillow per person rule... every couch or bed can have one pillow for each person who can use it at one time. Any pillows beyond that are unnecessary, annoying, and should be eliminated. The
stereotypical dog tearing up a pillow is doing you a favor... clearing off space, making room for people to enjoy the couch guilt free.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Full List

Here is the list of everything that has pissed me off so far.

Being Unemployed

Mark Sanford

Thermoformed Plastic Packaging

Bottled Water / (Bottled Water Update)

Celebrity Baby Names

Commercials That Are Louder Than TV Shows

Throw Pillows

Coffee Mugs With Tiny Handles

Pay and Display Parking

English Soccer Commentary

Commercials That Are Louder Than TV Shows

Commercials that are louder than the TV shows they are aired during really piss me off. Very few things are as annoying as when you are sitting around watching whatever, and all of a sudden it cuts to a commercial, and some absurdly abrasive voice is screaming at you to buy some useless product, and in all likelihood blowing out your eardrums.

How can the companies get away with this? Shouldn't somebody do something about it... at least put in some sort of regulations? A little research and my question was answered. As it turns out, there are regulations put in place by the FCC, and advertisers get to use a nifty little loophole to make their obnoxious commercials.

There are rules about the maximum volume of television broadcasts. And the commercials can be as loud as the loudest part of the show they are broadcast during. So... if the show you are watching has one, extremely brief, gunshot or explosion, advertisers can make a commercial with 30 seconds of the same ear-splitting volume. And while the gunshot or explosion will probably have the desired effect of shock or excitement, the most likely effects of the commercial will be deafness and ruptured eardrums.

The problem is the relative volume. TV shows need to be nuanced and subtle, the differences in volume levels really can make or break a show. Commercials want to be anything but subtle, they want to be loud and get your attention. So TV shows will generally be well below the maximum allowable volume, using the peak volume for dramatic effect. Commercials use 30 seconds straight of the peak volume to make their product memorable. When the TV is transitioning from, say, a quiet, dramatic courtroom scene, to, say, a commercial for "Discount Eddie's Fourth of July Used Car Blowout Spectacular," you are most certainly going to notice the difference.

So next time you see a ridiculously loud commercial, it is not any sort of mistake. Nobody in the control room pressed the wrong button. The advertisers know exactly what they are doing. And if you ever happen to witness an abrasively loud commercial for hearing aids, well, know they really are doing their best to deafen you.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bottled Water: An Update

Good news regarding my war against bottled water. According to Associated Press, Bundanoon, a small rural town in New South Wales, Australia, 100 miles south of Sydney, has officially banned the sale of bottled water. This coming on the same day that the state government of New South Wales banned the purchase of bottled water by any state departments or agencies, calling it a waste of money and natural resources. "I have never seen 350 Australians in the same room agree on something," said one of the leaders of the campaign in Bundanoon. "It's time for people to realize they're being conned by the bottled water industry."

It would appear many of our friends down under have their heads on straighter than many Americans. So allow me to say, in true Aussie form, good on ya New South Wales. Keep up the good work, and hopefully more cities, states, and countries will soon follow suit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Celebrity Baby Names

Celebrity baby names really piss me off. Okay, not all celebrity baby names... just the really, really weird ones. You know, the ones that ensure the children will be picked on during their entire childhoods, and will lead to a lifetime of being made fun of by, well, by people like me.

Seriously, I know celebrities in general assume they are better than the rest of us, but what the hell gives them the audacity to name their kids after fruits, countries, or simply bizarre made up words? Like Apple, daughter of Coldplay's Chris Martin and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Although... Apple Martin is very similar to Apple Martini, which means she could have the nickname Appletini, which is actually really sweet.

Or how about Frank Zappa, who had the brilliant idea of naming his four children Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Or Ireland, daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. Dear lord, celebrity baby names get as bizarre as Rocket, Sage Moonblood, Blue Angel, Camera, or Jaz (not a typo... it is Jaz with one 'Z').

My personal favorite, however, would have to be the ten children of boxer George Foreman. They start off relatively normal, with four daughters Natalie, Michi, Leona, and Freeda. Next comes five boys... George Edward Foreman Junior, followed by George Edward Foreman III-VI. Last is his youngest daughter... Georgetta. Maybe this is what happens when you take too many knocks to the head, you lose your ability to be creative and end up naming all your kids after yourself.

There as many George Foremans as Rockys! If only we could organize a team boxing match... George Foreman I-VI vs. Rocky I-VI. How awesome would that be! I wonder who would win.

In all honesty... this is beyond ridiculous. There needs to be a law against giving your kids ludicrous names. People may say that first amendment rights to freedom of speech protect the right to name your kids whatever you want. I say eighth amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment should ban the same thing. If anybody, celebrity or not, ever decides that it is a good idea to name their son Pilot Inspektor... a judge needs to step in, tell the parents they are idiots, and name the kid Steve. End of story.

For more obscenely cruel names, check out this list of the ten worst (by worst, I mean funniest) names given to former and current professional athletes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bottled Water

Bottled water really pisses me off. There really are few things in the world that piss me off more. It is bad for the environment, economically absurd, and no better for you or better tasting than regular tap water. In fact, most bottled water is nothing more than tap water put into a plastic bottle in a bottling facility... it is the exact same water that comes out of your sink.

A 20 ounce bottle of water usually will cost you about a buck. That breaks down to five cents an ounce, or a whopping $6.40 a gallon. For the same water that comes out of a sink. Compare that to, say, gasoline, which starts out as oil, gets shipped halfway around the world, refined into gasoline, and still manages to cost NOT EVEN HALF AS MUCH AS BOTTLED WATER!!!

I know, people say bottled water is safer than tap water... it must not occur to them that the EPA has incredibly strict standards regulating tap water, while the FDA is very loose about bottled water. Tests have shown tons of contaminants, like arsenic (a very deadly poison), coliform (a type of bacteria that includes E. Coli), and toulene (used in paint thinner), in bottled water. Yummy. Then, the environmental part. You know, the 1.5 million tons of plastic used yearly in the production of bottled water in the United States alone, or the 1.5 million barrels of oil yearly in the bottle production process.

Of course, many people argue that bottled water tastes better than tap water. I don't know if these people are just giving into the ridiculous fad that is bottled water, or really do think it tastes better, or what. But I do know that numerous blind taste tests have been done, by agencies such as ABC News, where the municipal tap water routinely wins the best tasting (Evian routinely loses, it is the worst tasting water, so if you are an Evian fan it might really be time to rethink).

The fact that this has become a multi-billion dollar per year industry quite frankly is insulting to the entire human race, it is an absolute joke. So do yourself, and the world, a favor... Go buy yourself a nalgene and next time you are thirsty, fill it up from your sink.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thermoformed Plastic Packaging

Thermoformed plastic packaging really pisses me off. That ridiculous hard plastic that many small electronics and other consumer goods come in—you know what I am talking about. You end up with a package that takes up at least twelve times as much space as the product itself.

And opening the damn thing... it is impossible! Scissors, knives, pliers, nothing can get through! You pull, push, twist, bend, but the package just will not break. My personal hell would be an eternity of opening this crap. And when you finally do get through, you realize that you have, in fact, broken the product, shredded the instructions, and destroyed too much of the packaging to even dream of returning it. On top of that, the sharp edges of the plastic packaging have left you with cuts on at least three of your fingers, which probably will get infected and send you to the hospital. It is proof that god either does not exist or has a sick, twisted sense of humor.

Now there are even products designed for the sole purpose of opening these evil packages! It must be a full on conspiracy; the companies sell products that are impossible to open, forcing us to buy another product to open them. These people really are evil geniuses. They probably wrap the openers in impossible to open plastic, the bastards.

I am reminded of the scene in Star Wars where Han Solo is encased in frozen carbonite by the evil Jabba the Hutt. Imagine if instead, Han had been encased in thermoformed plastic packaging. This would be a far more diabolical plan. The attempts by Han's friends to open the plastic and rescue him would take hours, and inevitably would end up with numerous large cuts on the friends, and presumably the accidental severing of at least one of Han Solo's limbs...

Now watch these guys try to open their own products wrapped in thermoformed plastic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mark Sanford

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford really pisses me off. And yet, he makes me laugh at the same time. Seriously... ten years ago the man was calling on President Clinton to resign for getting a BJ in the oval office. Now, it turns out the man has been cheating on his own wife for months. Ahhh the hypocrisy... how wonderful. Sanford is completely against gay marriage, he considers himself an ardent supporter of "the sanctity of marriage." And how does he show it? By flying to Argentina and cheating on his wife with ANOTHER married woman. And he admitted that this was not his only extramarital affiar. So two dudes getting married is wrong... but a dude marrying one woman, then having an affair with another woman, who is married to another man, is right? Hmmmm...

Oh but it gets worse. Governor Sanford has claimed that his Argentinean lover is, in fact, his soul mate. Meanwhile, he claims that he is still trying to fix his relationship with his wife. Dear LORD what a sleazebag. I really do feel terrible for Jenny Sullivan Sanford (his wife) and his two kids, who have been dragged into this awful situation by the uber-douche of a governor. For the good of the rest of the family, I hope Jenny and the kids get the hell out of there and leave Sanford to bask in his own miserable existence.

Now enjoy this clip of humiliations Mr. Sanford deserves—and reasons I am glad I do not live in Japan...

Being Unemployed

Being unemployed really pisses me off. Seriously, this sucks. I am home for the summer with an unpaid internship (that I do from home). There is no money coming in. Of course, I am also not spending any money, because I am cooped up in the house all day not doing anything. I have enough free time on my hands that I decided to start this blog... that tells you everything you need to know. I am stuck watching daytime TV all day, which basically means that I have seen every episode of Law & Order ever made... twice. Thank god for TNT.

I've decided that for every time I post about something that pisses me off, I will also post something quick and fun to help cancel it out. I guess it will be the stuff that does not piss me off. Anyway... check this out, have a laugh.