Now that the Olympics are nearly over and I can rest assured that my legions of followers and vast influence will not unduly influence athlete performance, inadvertently bias judges, or cause unintended mayhem, it’s time to award the much anticipated Olympic Snoots.

The Snooty scale recognizes best and most useless in various categories. Consulting the interactive periodic table of metals, I have selected Lithium to represent best (batteries and pharmaceuticals and 90% of the world’s Lithium supply is in Bolivia. Forget Krugerrands. My money is in Lithium). And of course, Bohrium to represent the most useless, mind-numbing and stupid of the 2 weeks because it has no known uses and the name just lends itself to the cause.

Category: Opening Ceremony

Lithium: Mr. Bean, clearly

Bohrium: Those weird face dresses that the country name bearers wore. I think that’s Meryl Streep’s likeness at the bottom right? Defies explanation.

Category: Sport-like

Lithium:  Kayaking

Even though it doesn’t qualify under my definition of sport, I was pleasantly surprised and entertained.

Bohrium: Beach Volleyball.

Enough already. Changing the format doesn’t qualify as a new sport. (I’m looking at you too, synchronized diving.) If it did, then we should move Dressage to the ice rink for a whole new angle to the sport (also not really a sport). It’s not even interesting to watch the first time around, and I have to sit through it again in a slow-mo replay of every point of the entire match, as I wait for the gymnastics and track and field. Outfits are stupid, and I don’t buy the argument that they have to wear the bikinis “to keep sand from going everywhere.” Hey! I know how to keep sand from going everywhere, put on some clothes and play real volleyball.

Category: Sport Rule

Lithium: Pole Vaulting

It appeals to my sense of expediency and snootiness that you can pass a jump until it’s at a height worthy of your attention.

Bohrium: Tie: Gymnastics & Table Tennis Ping Pong

But since it’s a tie, the gymnastics labyrinthine tiebreaker rules come into play and force a renaming to Ping Pong. Because that’s what it is, people. Ping pong has by far the dumbest rule, “you are allowed to towel off every 6 points in a match.” It’s just hard for me to get my head around sweating and requiring a knee wrap for Ping Pong.

Gymnastics deserves an honorable mention here for its bizzare tie-breaker rules, its limit on qualifications to 2 per country for the all-around and for the unseemly protest process involving a speed application and cash.

Category: Journalistic Hyperbole

Lithium: The Backstory

I admit, I love the backstory. I love the tales of hardscrabble youths overcoming abuse, neglect, poverty to live their dream. What’s even more amazing is those who have stared down adversity and risen to the top are invariably American!

Bohrium: Michael Phelps “Greatest Olympian”

Not greatest Olympian, but most decorated. I take issue with essentially the same 4 races played out in every possible permutation for a medal a pop. By that logic the decathlon winner should get 10 medals.

Category: Post-Win Commentary

Lithium: Cyclist Bradley Wiggins

“Well what a day, blind drunk at the minute and overwhelmed with all the messages. Thank you everyone it’s been emotional X.”

Also noteworthy, when asked if Missy Franklin was disappointed with her 4th place finish, she answered she thought that 4th place at the Olympics is pretty good and did we notice how stinking fast everyone is?

Bohrium: Every other athlete

We know you’ve “worked so hard,” “wanted this so much” and “it means the world to you.” Blah blah. That’s all assumed. Next time put some gold-medal effort into your victory speech.

All in all, an excellent show, London. Cheers!

Punch Drunk

Hello! Did you miss me? I took a few weeks off, and apparently not one of my 23 fans noticed. I’m Gen X, validation is my crack. It’s not as though I didn’t find anything snoot-worthy in the intervening weeks. I was just waiting for one of you to beg me to honor you with a blog. Anyway…

As you might know, I thrive on pretention (by the way, “pretention” is not a word, but in the spirit of Stephen Colbert, I’m making it one for purposes of this post), but if there’s one thing I can’t abide it’s false pretention–disguising our basest instincts with dignity and flair… taking a slithering mass of yuck and wrapping a snoot Snuggie around it.

I was busy watching my snark-crush, Stephen Colbert, last week on TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I make an exception for the snarkily-gifted. Since it was real-time, I got a glimpse into the American psyche…the commercial.

Miller Lite has a new product with an ingenious delivery system, a punch top can. What is the purpose of an additional hole, you ask? Well, as the dainty pinky-finger-extended academics in sweater vests and Bruno Magli loafers featured in the commercial will tell you, it’s for a “smoother pour with less glug.”

Let me put on my false-snark detecting goggles and break that down for you. The extra hole lets the doughy Nascar fans, bedecked in flannel and steel toes, shotgun a beer with less air intake. Because if it’s one thing that turns off the Hooters girls, it’s not the queso caked on your shirt, your naughty Tinkerbell tattoo, or the black goo lodged under your fingernails…it’s your gassiness. Let’s be clear, you’re not pouring Miller Lite into anything other than your face as fast as possible. Note, in the ad, they never show the receptacle for the “smooth pour”. I think we can safely assume it’s not the Waterford Pilsner set.

I suppose it does, in the very least, illustrate a principle of physics and fluid dynamics. So let’s say you want to take full advantage of this engineering marvel and punch the top. How would you go about such a procedure? The ad goes on to show you a wide range of implements you can use to accomplish your “smooth pour” (read: imminent stupefied state): a house key, drumstick, fishing lure, screwdriver, and softball trophy (not making this up).

But why stop there now that you have tetanus…why not a prosthetic hook hand, a hooker’s stiletto, your field dressing kit, or that piece of copper that you’ve just stripped from an electrical wire? The possibilities are endless. It may unleash your creativity so much, you end up punching multiple holes and have a geyser of fermented goodness.

By the way, I had to look up what exactly is in a field dressing kit to make sure there was something that would puncture aluminum. All in the name of journalistic integrity, friends.

Here is what you get included in a field dressing/disposing of criminal evidence kit…elbow length plastic gloves, tarp and apron. Delightful. Siri can give you suggestions on where to dump the body. But she won’t punch a hole in your Miller Lite. She’ll berate you loudly in the presence of your friends, tell you to get clean up, buy a shirt with buttons, and give you directions to a store that carries nice imported German beers that start in a glass and end in a second glass. Prost!

Ah, Greek Out!

I am sure you are riveted, just as I am, to the latest in the unfolding European Debt Crisis. Greece is in trouble. Greeks don’t want austerity, but they want a return to the Drachma even less. Germans aren’t keen on funding the Greeks’ early retirement, however. And the economy is foundering.

I think it’s time to think on a micro level–where everyone does his part to help out someone in need. Think of it as a Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser, except in this case it’s gyros. In order to help their economy, we need to boost exports. Let’s think of where the Greeks have a competitive advantage.

1. Ouzo. No that won’t work. It’s nasty. In fact, the Turks had to rename it, it was so awful. I suppose we could pay a small fee to ask them to stop making it. While we are on the subject of the Turks, I’m sure they would pay a hefty sum for the promise to leave Cyprus alone.

2. The Greek Alphabet. A surcharge on all fraternities, sororities, and math professors for overuse of the Greek Alphabet.

3. Islands, lots of them. Maybe each German citizen could get a timeshare in sunny Naxos in exchange for a bail-out.

4. Yogurt. Greek yogurt is delicious. I say we hand over the patent to whatever straining technology there is, and all Greek yogurt is now made in and exported from Greece.

5. Democracy. If every democratic nation could pitch in, say, 10 million dollars for the use of the system of government the Greeks invented, that would go a long way. Maybe there could be a sliding scale for how long you’ve been using it. America’s bill would be relatively cheap.

6. National treasures. Maybe instead of demanding London return pilfered antiquities, the Greeks could broker a deal to lease them. Admittedly they aren’t in much of a bargaining position here.

7. Grease. All royalties and rights to the movie and musical franchise. Just thinking out of the box here. Remember, shared sacrifice. I’m sure Stockard Channing would go for it.

8. Marathons. Judging by the number of 26.2 bumper stickers in my zip code alone, imagine what you could collect with a toll booth at every mile.

9. I remember from my honeymoon in Greece, that they have an abundance of cats. The market for cute cat YouTube videos has got to be able to be monetized somehow. Zuckerberg, get on that would you?

Hmmm. Other things Greece is famous for…

Celebrity cruise with Zach Galifianakis and Constantin Maroulis aboard a Greek cargo ship with captain Nia Vardalos and all the feta, baklava, and dolmades you can eat. Who’s in?

Anglo File

Beyonce has Sasha Fierce; Bruce Banner, The Hulk. I have Ermintrude Devonsby-McKibbinsworth. I have a deep-seated desire to be British, probably stemming from a steady childhood diet of Benny Hill, Monty Python, and Masterpiece Theater that played in heavy rotation in my household.

Everything sounds so much more dignified when you speak the Queen’s. If I’m peckish, I’ll enjoy pint and perhaps a dish with rocket. If I’m knackered, I’ll have a bit of a lie-in. Even near-disaster is adorable, I’m almost chuffed to come a-cropper. Hugh Grant isn’t a pervert, he’s a just a prat.

I’d prefer to go to the loo or sit on my bum; chivvy along eating crisps. If I think an idea is crap, I just say, “Hmmm” or “Interesting.” I can ring your mobile and go for a nosh up at the pub for a few quid.

I can whinge instead of whine, ban the letter zed, consider words like “data” and “team” to be plural nouns, not the collective singular; develop an abiding love of all things clotted, and take my holiday–a fortnight at the sea.

I have a few things going for me already: I love the Beautiful Game, and I find the British version of “The Office” far funnier than the American version.I’ll just revert back to Barbara for a few things: dentistry and the Frito Pie.



Unnecessary Evils

You may have noticed I’m prone to strong opinions. There are many things in this world that are unbearable, disgusting, and traumatizing, but many of them are also useful or essential, like colonoscopies. But this is a list I think we can do without, in a segment I like to call JPU, or Just Plain Unnecessary.

1. Watermelons. Stop trying to convince me to like them by saying, “but they are mostly water!” I don’t like nasty flavored water, either.

2. Nasty flavored water. I don’t need my water to come in Black Cherry Dragon Fruit, Peach Mint, or “Skinny” Water varieties. Isn’t water already skinny? Just the H, the 2, and the O please. Crystal Yuck. It was equally as vile when it was Tang.

3. Ikea. It’s like a Chinese finger puzzle. The harder you strain to escape, the tighter it grips you. I imagine it’s a giant arena in which the masters are watching us scurry and try to break free.

4. Styrofoam. I don’t like the way it clings to me. I think it’s trying to colonize. I can’t stand the sound it makes when rubbing against a cardboard box. It freaks me out and is toxic to humans and the environment.

5. Celery. Again, I don’t see the point. This one is just stringy water.

6. Sweatpants. There’s just really no need, especially for the ones that advertise the contents within as “Juicy.”

7. Hummers. Embarrassing! I bet you don’t even own a kayak.

8. Egg Yolks. Especially the runny kind that people like to dip their toast in and ruin a perfectly good piece of toast. Super gross and happy food poisoning. (Note: I’m starting to make a connection to the origin of my oldest’s food issues.)

9. Moist. The word. I don’t like it. I avoid it. I’ll pass up the cake mix that advertises it’s the moistest. In the superlative, it’s even worse.

10. Word Finder Puzzles. I use the word “puzzles” loosely here.

Nut Elegy

I ask you: Has anyone fallen so far as Mr. Peanut?

Going from foppish man-about-town to Public Enemy #1 faster than you can say “Hold my Monocle”? He’s got about as much public sympathy as a boozed-up Mel Gibson with an opinion. He’s banned from schools and restaurants and has entire websites and blogs dedicated to his eradication. Only Joseph Kony enjoys more notoriety at the moment.

I feel like the lowly peanut deserves a break. His pariah status is cramping my style. It would be so nice to send a peanut butter sandwich to school at least one of the 132 days I have to pack a lunch. Surely the turkeys could use a break too. Couldn’t we establish March 28th as Peanuts In Da House day?

But it isn’t really his fault, after all. He seems to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time when we stripped our immunity systems of any useful job to do. Sort of like the victim of a hate crime. Thuggish antibodies sitting around with time on their hands and nothing to do. Who wouldn’t take a baseball bat to a nut in spats and a top hat? Something satisfying in the crack of the shell and the heaving lump of butter left behind.

In my extensive research (read: cursory Google Search) there is no organization dedicated to saving the peanut. Even the Peanut Board’s sheepish mission is to “provide peanut growers with a receptive and growing market.” Nothing about restoring the peanut to its former grandeur, elevating it to the king of nuts, going X-treme protein.

I guess the peanut never stood a chance, suffering first the indignity of the moniker “the goober pea”, the wholly unnecessary foam rubber confection known as the Circus Peanut and then becoming slang for pocket change. Not even an adorable cartoon, which as far as I can determine had nothing to do with nuts or nut products, could save it. How long before the verse becomes “Buy me an Energy Drink and Cracker Jacks”?

Somewhere George Washington Carver weeps.

Gender Bender

I am sort of perplexed about the recent uproar over the so-called “War on Women.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there isn’t one, I’m saying it has been going on for millennia, ladies. Case in point: ratio of women’s bathrooms to men’s. Rise up, sisters.