Last fall, 73-year-old Ken Mink was the toast of the town. Instead of retiring to a life of non-contact sports like shuffleboard and lawn darts Boca Raton, he strapped on some knee pads and short shorts and hit the gym.
He eventually made the basketball team at Roane State Community College, in tiny Harriman, Tenn., 50 miles west of Knoxville, and even scored two points in a game earlier this season. Then, earlier this week, he was ruled academically ineligible because in lieu of a Spanish class he was "having trouble in," he enrolled in a online course in the always reputable, never-fail Strayer University. Well, that credit didn't transfer, and now his team's screwed: they have to forfeit their last game.
And all this could have been avoided, keeping the feel-good story complete, if Mink had done just one thing:cheated.
Kenny. C'mon. You're 73, do you think anyone's going to rat you out for looking over their shoulder during un pequeno examen? And even if you didn't have the (albeit probably shriveled) cojones to pull that off, just get someone to write your essays for you! You're a college athlete: start acting like one!
So, a lesson for all of you senior citizens out there reading this (Hey Grandfather! Uncle Cal! Maybe?), whenever you find yourself staring down an NCAA rules infraction or even one of those pesky drug tests (Centrum Silver is one of those legal gray areas I think), do the simple thing: get someone else to take your tests for you.
Watching the last episode of Late Night with Conan O’Brien was kind of like saying goodbye to a friend you know you’ll see again, but they just started dating a new person (who you know will change them), and you have this deep suspicion that the next time you see them they aren’t going to be quite as awesome as they used to be.
Maybe it’s easier to put it like this (this is totally fictional): I have a best friend, he moves away from our town, meets lame people, then comes back a few months later wearing a fanny pack and shaving regularly.
In his last episode Friday, Conan explained how New York, and its people, were as much a part of the show as the jokes or skits. Just as New York had come to define Letterman before him, Conan allowed a city's creativity and imagination guide the show, instead of just wandering into the alleys of Los Angeles for obligatory “man on the street” sketches (ahem, Jay Leno).
Maybe part of the reason I connected so much with Conan’s show was because it was shot in New York, but I think it goes much deeper than that.
Freshman year of college, my roommate and I would sit up, no matter what night of the week, and watch Conan’s monologue. It didn’t matter if we had a test or a paper due, we would sit in our tiny two-person room (with three roommates!) and watch as an overzealous, over-coiffed, and over-caffeinated 6’4” leprechaun bounded around the stage making fun of George Bush, Chuck Norris and Britney Spears.
We would cry of laughter when he put on a fake moustache and played olde tyme baseball, and when Andy Richter reappeared we would howl for more. Conan O’Brien made everything better and it was because he was just like us: quirky, misunderstood, and over-caffeinated.
Here’s hoping he stays that way.
FANCY NEW FEATURE ALERT: (Almost)every time you see a highlighted word or phrase, scroll over it to expose a video, sound clip, or Wikipedia entry that illustrates (much better than I can) what that person, place or thing is all about. Try it with the Andy Richter link above! It's fun! Seriously!
Also, I didn't include the lame caption under the video.
This one might be a little more difficult to defend, but I’m going to try.
I actually enjoy Taylor Swift’s music. Her songwriting ability is unparalleled for someone her age (19), she sounds decent through headphones (live…different story according to TV appearances and YouTube clips. If I were a parent the last person I’d want to see at a Taylor Swift concert is a creepy 24-year-old in a sea of tween girls, so I haven’t actually seen her in concert.), and, for a 19-year-old girl, she isn’t terrible at playing guitar.
But I think the thing I love most about her is just that: she’s a flawed teenager (Stop smirking). Unlike Miley Cyrus or a steady stream of other Tiger Beat stars, Swift writes her own songs, juvenile as they may be. She sings about heartbreak, boys and growing up, but in a way that people can relate to, because the songs aren’t perfect.
There was almost something apropos in the way she stumbled flatly through “Fifteen” during the Grammys, trying to find her way like the song.
So yeah, I like Taylor Swift. That being said, if you ever see Facebook pictures of me at one of her shows, smack me in the face.
After wowing us in "Walk the Line," helping us through his brother's death, and teaching us how to pronounce his name, Joaquin Phoenix seems to have hit a new low.
I think the lesson to be learned isn't "Don't do drugs," it's "Don't chew gum on Letterman."
This is his appearance on Letterman last night.
Kudos to Mike A. for pointing this clip out.
UPDATE: My friend Charlie S. found Joaquin actually rapping. It's like listening to a bad Bloodhound Gang impersonation. Yes, it's that bad.
Note: The following things could also qualify as the best things from Portland since Sally Struthers: Elliott Smith, those fried habaneros that guy on the Travel Channel ate, Gus Van Sant, and the day in 1989 when Portland Trail Blazer Clyde Drexler dunked on an 11'1' rim.
This June, a few comrades and I will be hitting Eisenhower's fine Interstate Highway System for a seven city, whistle-stop tour of the eastern United States.
Why should you care? Because we need your help. I'll be chronically the trip on this very Web site, so to make it the very best trip it can possibly be, we'll be taking reader suggestions for places to eat, drink, and not get arrested.
So, if you know anything about Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Atlanta, or Charlotte, leave it in the comments section.
On a more serious, fiscal note, we are also looking for places to sleep. If you know anyone (or you are anyone) who wouldn't mind three attractive mid-20s men on your couch for a night, let me know. As long as it's not one of those pit dungeons like in Silence of the Lambs.