Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm Sticking With Listerine, Thanks

On Tuesday, my gym gave out free samples of Crest Pro-Health Rinse. This is a new alcohol free mouthwash that is touted to "Kill germs that cause: Bad Breath, Plaque and Gingivitis" without the "burning" of other mouthwashes. Sounds good, no?

Unfortunately, there are three major problems with the Crest Pro-Health Rinse:
1) It tastes like butt.
2) The taste of butt never leaves your mouth.
3) It tastes like butt.

Sure, there's no "burning" sensation when you swish. That "burning" sensation is replaced by a "tastes like butt" sensation. I'll take burning any day - at least I feel like it's working. My mouth feels clean after rinsing with Listerine. My mouth feels like butt after rinsing with Crest Pro-Health Rinse. Also note that the flavor listed on the bottle is "Refreshing Clean Mint." I did not mistakenly grab "Nasty Ass Butt" flavor. However, it appears that Crest has confused the two and I paid dearly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Random Thoughts

Seeing four naked men in the locker room huddle around an iPod nano really speaks to the power of gagetry over the male mind.

Handjobs are underrated.

The clock is ticking. You'll be dead sooner than you think.

I'm pretty sure I fart a lot more than the average human. I may even be setting some kind of farting record that I'm unaware of.

Waiting is the hardest part. Especially at amusement parks.

If you call my phone and I don't answer, it's because I hate you.

The hardest part of being in a relationship is buying gifts.

What you are doing right now will probably give you cancer.

TiVo has made me realize that my roommate watches a lot of crap TV.

Iron Chef, however, is delightful.

Ignorance is a powerful tool.

Can I get a clear wristband that reads, "WRISTBAND"?

Water is both refreshing and deadly.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Weekend Football Thoughts

I couldn't be more excited about this football season. Yesterday was the first full Sunday of NFL games, and Saturday was the second week of what is already an exciting college football season. You see, I love football. It's the one thing I think about almost as much as sex. Needless to say, the fall is my favorite time of year. This year, there are two developments that have made this football season even more exciting.

1) NFL Sunday Ticket and TiVo
2) Notre Dame's new football coach, Charlie Weis

Last season, I grew tired of not being able to watch every Colts game - or even most of them. I live in Chicago and if the Bears and Colts played at the same time, the networks would only show the Bears game. There are very few things worse than being forced to watch a Bears game when you are not a fan of the team (even if you are a fan, sometimes). This led me to drop my cable provider, switch to DirecTV and order NFL Sunday Ticket. This guarantees that I will be able to see every Colts game this season regardless of what the networks air. I also opted for TiVo so that I can be sure to see every play of every game (I often have rehearsals on Sunday afternoons). All of this ensures that I will be able to watch every little step of the Colts' journey towards the Super Bowl.

Charlie Weis, former offensive coordinator of the three-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, is now the head coach of Notre Dame, my alma mater. He's already done one heck of a job. The Notre Dame offense looks much better than it has in about five years and the Irish already have two wins against top-25 teams, Pitt (23) and Michigan (3). The defense is solid and this fast start is very promising. Most importantly, the Irish look like they believe they will win. Confidence is underrated in this game.

On to my thoughts on this weekend's football action:

1) GO IRISH! Big win in the Big House. The defense saved this game for the Irish. I'm concerned about how sloppy the offense looked in the second half. I need to see this offense play well for a whole game before I start talking BCS.

2) I couldn't be happier that Ohio State lost. They really deserve as many heartbreaking losses as possible.

3) The Citadel put a scare into Florida St. in the first half. FSU may be the most overrated team in the top 25.

4) Anything can happen in a rivalry game. Iowa isn't that bad.

5) Brady looked really sharp against the Raiders. Analysts are talking about how they saw a ton of red flags for the Pats in this game. I think it was pretty much standard Patriots fare. They do exactly what they need to win the game and not much more.

6) Jets fans, remember that it's week one. Anyone can have a game like Pennington. The Jets aren't that bad. The Chiefs aren't that good.

7) Let's not all jump on Nick Saban's cock just yet. Remember, Jake Plummer is Denver's quarterback. I can't say that enough.

8) I really hope that the Saints win on Sunday brought some much-needed joy to the folks of New Orleans.

9) The Bills should wear their throwbacks every week.

10) Chris Berman needs to stop. Please, please stop. You are neither funny nor clever. Sure, you did a lot to bring a unique style to ESPN but there are about 20 people that do it better now. Including Mike Hall.

11) San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona are all in the same division. This division will not be won, it will be not lost.

12) The Colts defense kept them in the game last night for the first time since before Peyton took a snap. This is encouraging.

13) One word for the Packers: Ouch.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Week In the Woods

The t-shirts read, “Birch Camp: It’s more than just a week in the woods.” The t-shirts are right. Last week, I spent a week in Putnam Valley, NY volunteering at Birch Camp – a camp for families and kids with HIV/AIDS. I spent my time there as a Sports Counselor and I stayed in a cabin with the 7-10 year-old boys. That means that during the day, I played sports with all of the different age groups and at night I helped wrangle the 7-10 year-old boys and get them into bed. No small task.

We had eight boys in our cabin and they were all rambunctious – some more than others. Rarely did we get them to bed “on time.” Mostly we were just satisfied with getting them into their beds doing something other than shouting or fighting.

During the daylight hours, my job as Sports Counselor was to try to make the kids as tired as possible while also showing them a good time. Therefore, we spent a lot of time playing soccer (with an oversized ball – about 3 feet in diameter), ultimate Frisbee and a game unique to Birch Camp called Ga-Ga. Most of the kids really enjoy these games, but what they really look forward to is the waterslide that we set up for the last two days of camp. We roll out a 25-30 foot plastic tarp, wet it down and coat it with baby shampoo then we dunk the kids in a very cold, very large bucket of water and send them down the hill. They love it – and so do the counselors. Everyone gets wet and muddy because everyone always ends up sliding past the end of the slide and creating a big mud pit at the bottom.

There are myriad other activities such as arts and crafts, fishing, boating, swimming, etc. Also, there are plenty of campfires and goofy camp songs just like at any summer camp. However, none of these things is what makes Birch Camp great. It’s the people, the freedom, the hugs and the emotion that make Birch Camp the kind of place that can change your life.

The families that come to Birch Camp are all from New York City – most often some of the worst parts of New York City. Birch Camp gives these families a chance to forget about their problems at home and just escape for a week of fun in the woods with a bunch of strangers that will soon become some of their closest friends.

You spend every day getting to know some wonderful kids and parents and as the week passes by you share touching moments and many, many hugs. It’s amazing how quickly you become attached to the kids and how quickly they become attached to you. The end of the week culminates in an event called “Reflections” where each age group gets to do a little skit about their week at camp. The parents always go last and usually sing/hum a song in the background while they each take turns talking about how much they love their children. Within seconds, the entire room is in tears. This final “skit” slowly becomes a big love fest with children and parents and counselors exchanging hugs and thank yous for a great week at camp. You’ll even see the toughest of kids with tears in their eyes giving people hugs who they’ve given nothing but gruff all week.

In the end, you walk away from camp with a profound sadness because you miss the kids you were so close to all week, but you can’t help but feel spiritually refreshed and filled with hope because you spent an entire week seeing some of the best of humanity.

I can’t do Birch Camp justice with my words. It has to be experienced to be understood.