Friday, January 13, 2006

Who are the proof readers?

The BBC radio broadcast the other day in the "teaser" of headlines at the top of the hour said, "And we'll take a look at why the bird flu is spreading so fast through Turkey."

Read the quote aloud to yourself and see what comes to mind.

My first reaction was, "Of course the bird flu is spreading fast through turkey; they're birds!" Then it dawned on me that they were speaking of turkey with a capital "t". Ah, the beauty of the spoken word.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Sport By Any Other Name

In 2012, the Olymipics will be held in London (Whopee!!!). Since I live in one of the last remaining territories of the severely diminished empire that is the United Kingdom I have to endure all the hoopla that has been growing steadily since London narrowly beat Paris to get the nod and host the games (leave it to the French to hold a transport worker's strike on the day of the IOC's visit).

There is some debate going on over whether or not darts should be included as a sport in the 2012 Games. Reading the arguements for and against reminded me of similar Absurd Men discussions and promted me to write this piece.

What makes a sport a sport? A question we have spent many hours debating. Most would agree there must be a certain amount of physical exertion involved. This would be my biggest gripe with darts: it's just not physical enough. Dart players argue that they have to train everyday to compete on the professional cicuit. That's no different than saying that musicians have to practice everyday to perform for people. I should stop to clarify something here. I think they were getting the word "train" confused with the word "practice". Jugglers, bongo players and dart throwers practice. Footballers, runners and sumo wrestlers train.

To be in the Olympics a sport must have an internationally recognised governing body as well. This point is a bit trite, but here too darts falls short. Unfortunately, there are only nationally recognised dart organisations, none that are international. This technicality alone is enough to keep it out of the Olympics.

The biggest strike that darts has against it being included is that it is, to my knowledge, the only "sport" that you can drink and play at the same time. I can think of plenty of sports that you can, and often do, have a beer after play has ended but in darts you can drink before, during and after the match. This also raises the question as to whether or not this constitutes a proformance enhancing/diminshing drug?

Darts needs an image makeover. To start with the equipment needs to be larger and more physically demanding to use. Observe the fat, bearded guy in the pub throwing a dart smaller than his palm at a board a few feet away; absurd. Back him up 20 meters, put a javelin-esque spear in his hand and have him hurl it at an enlarged target; he is now an athlete. Hell, make the targets movable and have him wrestle his competitor for possession of the javelin-dart (the jart?) before he can throw it; he is now an extreme athlete, bound for Olympic glory.

Folks, in the same amount of time that it would have taken me to complete an average bowel movement I've just invented a new and exciting sport; a variation on the theme that will do wonders for the sporting world. Why should we bicker about getting the IOCs rules and regulations changed when we can just invent a new sport that complies? People have been doing it for years. Don't like skiing? Let's snowboard! Cycling not exciting enough for you? Try mountainbiking! Surfing lost it magic? Harness your and your wake board to a 10x5 super-kite and feel the power of the wind!

Hey dart-boy, you want my opinion? Abandon your darts and start fashioning some jarts before someone else does.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Look Back

I turned back the pages of history and looked at what Absurd Men Speak has evolved into from its early days back in 1990. I took a glance at our first posting from January of 1990 when we started this web log to chronicle our skewed look at the world around us.

If you have the time why not go back through the many archives and see just how far we've come. Man I can't believe some of the wild things we used to think.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More Solutions to Modern Problems

With winter here in the Northern Hemisphere Absurd Men Speak has taken a moment to discuss the weather, or more to the point fighting the weather. For most of you who live in areas where the snow falls heavy every year you know that clearing roads for drivers can be a hot topic (pun unintended, any resemblance of a pun is strictly coincidental). For most communities salting the roads has been, for decades, the cheapest and most effective way to keep your car on the road. Yet, many people would rather forgo the salt because of the damage it does to their automobile. Others note what excess salt does to the water table and the environment. Absurd Men Speak presents its best alternative solutions to winter salt:

1)Icy road ways are a problem around the world and ice and snow removal pose a problem for everyone. The Autobahn in Germany have heated roadways in various trouble spots throughout their country. Some towns in Western New York sport a melt truck that can melt and remove moisture from the roads at 1 mile per hour. While both systems work they do not do the job as efficiently or cheaply as needed. I suggest that the United States implement a flame system on its road ways to keep our streets clean and safe.

A series of gas grills can be added to our roads, each hooked to a series of Propane tanks and lit aflame during storms. The clean burning gas fires should evaporate moisture before it even hits the ground, thus keeping the streets clear. Of course motion detectors will have to be set up throughout this system in order to shut of the flame while a car passes by, and the tanks will need to be constantly filled but these are service issues that should spark our economy while keeping our automobiles from salt damage while saving our lives. Of course if this system seems too costly we could always affix large Propane flamethrowers to the fronts of our cars and encourage our citizens to drive around town to melt the snow. Either way presents its own incentives. --- Dave

2) We need to turn in our cars for winter. Road salt was never an issue until people were able to drive where ever and when ever they wanted (which is something we really needn't be able to do). We do still need to move about in the winter so I propose we bring back horses and sleighs. It worked for our anscestors. Why wouldn't it work for us? Yes, a horse and sleigh can still slide on an ice covered road, but trust me if conditions were that bad you wouldn't want to be out traveling. Remember the only heat in a sleigh is a blanket and hot water bottle.

If we went back to horses and sleighs winter would be like living in one big theme park. Wouldn't it be wonderful?! -- Erasmus

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Role of Smoking in Society

My dear friends, tobacco smoking has a role to play in our society. Recently and in an increasingly alarming way smoking is being attacked by so called civilized governments throughout the world (the Province of Quebec is going smoke free in 2006 and the BBC reported that Turkey is implementing non-smoking laws). I propose that smoking must be maintained for the good of society.

Smoking helps people from loitering. If you find yourself waiting for a bus, a train, or a friend to arrive what can one do to pass the time? It only seems logical to light a cigarette or a pipe. Now you are doing something and not just standing idly around. If people see a person just standing around they may think that he or she is planning to perpetrate a crime. If the same person is smoking they will simply think, "Oh, they are enjoying a smoke. I am not in any danger."

Smoking is a reason to take needed breaks from work or study. The urge for nicotine is really not an addiction, but rather it is the way the body tells us that we need to stop what we are doing and take a break. If I was not a smoker I would never have had the time to "digest" what I was studying as a student. The seven minutes it took to smoke a cigarette became a time to think over what I had just read and helped me to refocus my thoughts. Perhaps the reason that students are no longer doing well on standardized tests is that they are not smoking as often as they once did. The BBC reported that taxi drivers in Turkey will no longer be allowed to smoke in their taxi cabs. I have never ridden in a Turkish cab, but something tells me that I would rather have the driver smoking and relaxed than have him on edge from not smoking, but still driving.

Smoking helps one make dramatic pauses when in conversation. You are visiting with a friend over dinner. The friend makes an interesting comment. Before you respond you stop to think, take out a cigarette, light it, and inhale. Now you are ready to respond. Yes, it is dramatic, it helps you to formulate an answer, and gives and air of sophistication to the whole evening. All this is robbed from us now that smoking is not permitted in so many establishments

I hope that in this short entry you see that smoking really does have a place in a civilized world, and with every new non-smoking law that is passed a little of that civility is slipping away.