Been & Going

[California Seething] The Very Best Part of a Very Crappy Year

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Look, who are we kidding? 2016 is a horrible fucking year to be an American. OK, well, to be more precise, it’s a horrible fucking year to be ANYONE. Seriously, 2016- what the fuck? One minute you’re cute little baby new year, the next you’re a moustache twirling black-clad villain tying our hopes and dreams down to the tracks so they can be run over by the freight train of despair. Fuck you, 2016. You want to know how we feel about you? Just take a look at this:


And, while every county in the world has experienced it’s own brand of crappiness- in the US we’ve had to endure the sickening dread brought on by this god-awful presidential election. I was really struck by this a couple of weeks ago when the fires from the Santa Clarita valley were raging out of control. There I was- going about my business, running errands while the sky was darkened with smoke and lit with an eerie orange glow from the flames and I thought- yup, that’s being an American in 2016- trying like everything’s normal while a toxic orange cloud hangs over our heads.Cal Seething- 082116- trump

Now, he may be a Crypto-Fascist Oompa Loompa (“what do you get when illegals come in/killing and raping and dealing in sin/let’s build a wall and let’s make it real tall/and Mexico will pay for it a-a-all/Oh yeah, you’d better bet they will/ Truma lumpa drumphidie drumph/do lies sound like truth when you shout them enough?/Tumpa drumpha and Mike Pensey, too/ Jesus would never vote for you-oo-oo/he’d so be a Bernie guy”) but he certainly does have the crowds eating out of the palms of his tiny hands. And oh, what, fun they seem to be having! Frothing at the mouth, screaming “Mexico”, taking incomprehensible loyalty oaths, shouting down protestors- why is it any wonder that leftists decided to create a crazy pants movement of their own?

And so, Bernie or Bust was born! Now, for those that don’t know, the Bernie or Bust movement consists of Bernie Sanders’ most passionate and devoted followers- followers so loyal that they will do absolutely anything Bernie tells them to, except, vote for Hillary which is literally the only thing he’s telling them to do. These folks don’t care if they Nader the election and allow the most progressive Democratic platform in 50 years to be defeated by a hate mongering lunatic- they’re having too much fun! Complaining about how no one listens to them at the DNC while booing Cal Seething- 082116- throwmoneyElizabeth Warren so no one can listen to her, sharing links from Fox News about Hillary’s email, throwing money at cars as they drive to a Democratic fundraiser at George Clooney’s house- cause nothing says “I deserve higher wages and debt relief” like throwing your fucking money in the streets.

And now there are some Bernie Busters who insist their gonna vote Third Party- cause that just went so well  in 2000! Thanks, guys! How did you ever get so much student loan debt and stay so fucking dumb?

So- yeah- 2016 has been a terrible, horrible no good year, but that’s OK because the Olympics are here and the Olympics make everything better! That’s right- the Olympics- that magical event that occurs once every four years when the world comes together to Cal Seething-082116-lafingercelebrate peace and brotherhood by kicking poor people out of their homes to build wasteful sports venues nobody needs. Which, again, is why LA would make the perfect host city- hell, we threw our poor people out of their homes to build wasteful sports venues YEARS ago. And if we need to build more- no problem- just say the word and the Boyle Heights Equestrian Center is DONE. And the Athlete’s Village- well shit, we can just give them any under occupied mixed use luxury mega complex in Downtown LA with more gastropubs than parking spots. I mean, no one can afford to live there- might as well give ito the Serbian handball team.

Still- I love the Olympics. It’s the only time I get to feel good about feeling good about being an American. Because most days, I just feel smug about how bad I feel about being an American (like when we’re bombing someone) or guilty about how Cal-Seething--082116--unclesecretly psyched I am to be an American (like when it’s not us getting bombed). But during the Olympics I’m as unabashedly happy to be an American as a NASCAR fan in Florida eating Chick-Fil-A and blasting Kenny Chesney in his F-150 on the way to the gun show before hitting the Trump rally and getting dinner at Golden Corral (but only cause it’s Jeff Foxworthy’s favorite) then pounding down an ice cold can of Belgian made America beer. And that’s because the Olympics is the only time America can beat the living shit out of other nations and nobody dies or joins ISIS. Hell, the only consequence of American victory is that we get to pose on a podium looking fierce in shiny new jewelry and mouthing the words to a familiar song. It’s how wars would be won if Ru Paul ran the world! Say what you will about the Iraq War- we all agree that the Middle East would be safer if Sadaam had been deposed using balance beam and floor exercise scores. Cause if point deductions could kill, they probably will in games without frontiers, war without tears.

Anyhow, the US has been kicking ass at the Olympics and all the other countries are swimming pool green with envy. But even when the Americans aren’t demolishing much poorer nations, the Olympics are pretty great. Because the Olympics aren’t just a sporting event- they’re a two week orgy of non-stop Inspiration Porn. Just look at how fucking inspiring everything is! The historic accomplishments of Biles, Ledeckey and Phelps (BOOM! Named the women first. How ya like me now, Jezebel? (they don’t)); Simone Manuel shattering expectations and boundaries; Fiji winning their first medal- a gold in their beloved national sport of Rugby which was last played at the Olympics almost 50 years before Fiji’s independence.

And then there are the profound moments of inspiration which transcend competition- the Refugee Team marching proudly into the Cal Seething- 082116- selfieOpening Ceremonies, the South Korean & North Korean gymnast sharing a care free selfie, showing the world how easy it can be sometimes to do the impossible.  Yes, it seems the Olympics are a time when political differences are put aside and everyone is treated with dignity and respect, except of course for the Israeli team which is snubbed and insulted by athletes from Arab nations at every event they go and no one on the IOC says boo about it. But, hey- anti-Semitism is the only prejudice that the left and right can agree on- so the Jews are just bringing the world together!

Of course, the problem with all this inspiring crap is that it makes us dumb. Wait- no- maybe “dumb” is too harsh a word- let’s go with “generous of spirit”…..which, you know, means “dumb”. You see, for advertisers, selling us products on TV is like feeding a restless toddler- so they see Olympic competition is like moving a spoon through the air saying “look at the diver. Look at the pretty diver flying through the air!!! Now open up the swimming pool, cause here comes the diver” and then, Bam! We open up our minds and they shove in a big spoonful of University of Phoenix messaging all pureed up with a Maya Angelou poem. Speaking of diving, if you’re wondering why the Olympic diving pool turned green, it’s cause one of Rio’s finest pool technicians (sadly I’m not being sarcastic- he really was one of the best) dumped 160 gallons of Hydrogen Peroxide in to the pool which neutralized the chlorine and caused algae to grow. And if you’re wondering who the hell needs that much Peroxide at the Olympics- well, maybe take that up with the Shelly Fraser Pryce. Go on. I dare you.

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Anyhow, for companies like Sea World, it makes sense to exploit the feel-good spirit of the Olympics to improve their brand image. Cause if you’re watching the Olympics with your family, and thinking about where to go on vacation, you’re much more likely to consider SeaWorld if it’s “America’s foremost marine mammal rescue center and theme park” as opposed to “Auschwitz for Orcas”.

Of course, McDonald’s was one of the pioneers of using the Olympics to boost their brand image. Sure they’re plugging the white meat nuggets and Apple Dippers now- but as soon as Michelle’s gone, it’s Big Mac time, baby- cause Bubba’s back!

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So- sure, I get why some companies would advertise. Like Subway, which is still trying get out of Jared’s pants with their Cal Seething- 082116- subway#SearchforBackgroundChecks…I mean….#SearchforBetter campaign. But the real head scratchers are companies like Exxon which has spent millions of dollars on their “Energy Lives Here” campaign. These ads feature self-consciously diverse mix of their most bright-eyed, earnest and not-evil-at-all employees talking about all the humanitarian, beneficial and totally not-at-all-evil things they do like studying biodiversity or fighting Cal Seething- 082116- exxonmalaria…none of which makes a damn bit of difference to me when I’m deciding where to buy gas. After all, if I wanted to do what was best for the planet, I wouldn’t buy gas at all- but since I need it to feed my car’s addiction all I care about it who’s closest, who’s cheapest and who takes damn Ralph’s Rewards points. What they are doing to combat malaria never enters into it- it’s like choosing a meth dealer for his 401k plan. Come on, Exxon, you’re a scumbag oil company- just own it. Don’t get all needy and weird. It’s like JR Ewing standing outside my house playing In Your Eyes on a boombox- not a good look for you. You want my respect- keep it real. Show me bloated executives lighting $100 bills on fire after dipping them in gasoline and tag it with “Yeah, we’re Exxon. Fuck you gonna do about it?” Or, better yet, skip the advertising altogether and TAKE MY RALPH’S REWARDS POINTS.

And GE is advertising a lot, which is really confusing because I never thought of them as especially evil…but now I’m starting to wonder what they’ve done! I mean, sure, there were all those kids who got stuck in discarded fridges back in the day, but that was when kids used to play outside and Apple solved that problem. And yet, still GE keeps running commercials to try and convince millennials that GE is a cool place to get a job while millennials are like, “dude- you had me at ‘job’.”

Frankly, I’m surprised Monsanto isn’t running commercials. They could show scientists working hard in labs inter-cut with gauzy, sunrise footage of Cal Seething- 082116- tomatofarmers in fields, happy kids around the world eating disturbingly oversized vegetables, then kids running in fields and city squares, then teenagers running on high school tracks, and finally adults running at the Olympics while a slowed-down, female-sung, acoustic version of “Feed the World” plays and a craggy American voice says “Get More Olympians with G.M.O’s”. Huh. That’s really satire. I swear.

But the most hateful ads during the Olympics are for NBC’s own programming. Look, you may think that the most powerful person in America is the President or the Chief Justice- but really it’s the NBC executive who can sit in a room full Cal Seething- 082116- kristenof otherwise intelligent people at the top of their field and say “hey- you know what we need- a snarky sitcom about the afterlife with Ted Danson and Kirsten Bell- where she plays a dead person who’s kind of a bitch and Heaven is just like the Grove!” and in the very long moments of dead silence that follows, not a single person in the room says “Are you out of your goddamn mind??? That’s the WORST FUCKING IDEA I’ve ever heard.” Instead they are all like  “I smell a hit!”, “Everyone loves Danson!”, “we can cram it down everyone’s throat during the Olympics!” Yeah- cause that strategy worked out soooo well for The New Normal. Remember The New Normal? No? OF COURSE YOU DON’T. NOBODY DOES. The only reason I do is that NBC spent two weeks trying to cram that ill conceived shit pile down my throat during the LAST OLYMPICS.

Then again, maybe the truly powerful person in this scenario is not the executive who greenlit the show, but the Svengali like producer who pitched it. I can just hear the pitch in TV-speak: “It’s like Cheers meets Touched by an Angel in a Samsung commercial” delivered in a peppy upbeat tone as if it’s not the most Cal Seething- 082116- pmbhorrifying combination of three things that the human mind has conceived since Puppy-Monkey-Baby. Just think of someone with these powers of persuasion could accomplish: bringing peace to the Middle East, reunifying North & South Korea, getting Republicans in Congress to do their damn jobs. And all of that miraculous potential wasted making terrible TV shows and earning lots and lots of money. I am horrified and disgusted and very, very jealous.

The other big show NBC is pushing is This Is Us- which appears to be a drama about people born in 1980 all turning Cal Seething- 082116- thisisus36 and finding themselves at a cross roads in their lives. And that means that….yes….wait for it…..millennials now have their own version of thirtysomething. As if Prince & David Bowie dying wasn’t bad enough, now we’ve got this little nugget to ponder when contemplating our mortality at 4 AM. Thanks, NBC for making 2016 even more depressing. I’d consider killing myself, but I’m terrified I’ll wind up in a Kristen Bell / Ted Danson vehicle.

Anyhow- I’m not sure why I’m acting so shocked that NBC’s programming is terrible. What more can I expect when everyone involved with the network who’s not named Wier, Lipinski or Questlove is hot garbage (as the kids say) (the “kids” are in their 30’s) (goddamn it) pretty much all of the time.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Olympics, NBC is the only game in town. Mind you- there are a lot of different channels showing the Olympics- there’s NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports…uhm…NBC Basketball, NBC Soccer, NBC Universo- all sorts of options we can choose from to give ourselves the illusion of choice- late capitalism at its finest!  And because they have us by the balls, NBC has an interesting relationship with their Olympic viewers- it’s not as much “entertainer” and “audience” or “business” and “valued customer” as it is “bank robber” and “hostage”. They know we’re not going anywhere, so they feed us just enough Olympic action to keep us docile while they collect their ransom money from advertisers. And then, just for fun, they sadistically torment us with human interest stories and the inane blather of Al Michaels, Mike Tirico and Ryan Seacrest- the Three Amigos of Announcing Awfulness. And I know some of you are saying- “Hey wait- I love Al Michaels” but that’s just the Stockholm Syndrome talking. Cal Seething- 082116- alcrisThe only way to love Al Michaels is the way Patty Hearst loved the SLA- just ask Cris Collinsworth, if they ever get him deprogrammed.

Of course, NBC executives would deny that they are deliberately torturing viewers and would insist that they are just giving viewers what they really want. And, if these executives actually believe that’s the case- well, I have even less respect for them than ever.

You see, NBC’s research team discovered that more women watch the Olympics than men- and NBC wasn’t really sure what to do with this information. So they turned it over to their cracker jack team of all male team executives who brilliantly deduced that women who watch the Olympics aren’t actually interested in “watching the Olympics”. No- what they’re really interested in is the human drama- who the athletes are, where they come from, how much their moms had to sacrifice for their success, the extent to which having babies has changed their perspective on sports (but only if they’re women, natch- boys don’t change when they have babies, silly), the vital role played by their husbands/fiances in their success (also- only if they’re women or Tom Daley). Female viewers don’t actually want to watch “sporting events”- no! For those gals, the Olympics is just one big reality show, like The Bachelor with medals or the Real Athletes of Rio, so it’s important to cram the broadcast as full as possible of human interest stories, interviews and extended shots of swimmers between events sitting in the ready room – cause there’s nothing more exciting than watching the best athletes in the world at the Cal Seething- 082116- readyroompeak of their abilities sitting in folding chairs listening to Coldplay- can’t you just feel the drama?? “She’s sitting in a chair….She’s glowering straight ahead…wait…yes… she might be….YES…she put on her earbuds! She’s listening to music!!! She’s listening to COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLD play.” And it doesn’t matter if they air events long after they end and the whole world knows the score. Everyone knows women don’t care about scores- why all those big scary numbers just boggle their scatterbrained little heads!


And what’s really impressive about these NBC executives is that they were able to gain such insight into the minds of female viewers without talking to any actual females. I’m not sure what, exactly, their stringent research protocol was to gain such a scientific understanding of the female mind- but I can only assume it had something to do with sitting in the parking lot of a gas n’ sip drinking beer on a Friday night saying “Bitches, man” (when asked why they didn’t consult any female viewers- they responded “by choice, man. Personal choice”.)Cal Seething- 082116- final5

Ironically, the real story of these games is that women- and particularly US women have been kicking huge amounts of ass which I’m sure NBC would notice if they weren’t so focused on their marriage proposals. I’m sure every young girl in America who watched the US Gymnastics team was totally inspired to follow her dreams and achieve greatness– that is, assuming her parents let her watch gymnastics at midnight- which a questionable timeslot for family inspirational togetherness viewing but a great one for lonely guys on the couch eating Pringles in their underwear and wondering when Beach Volleyball is coming on already.

Look, NBC- the Olympics don’t need you to make them great any more than American needs Tumpa-Lumpa. Trust me on this- I’ve been holed up in Palm Springs watching 12-14 hours of Olympic action each day subsisting on a strict Cal Seething- 082116- drinkregimen of breakfast cocktails and blender drinks (the Lochte diet.) And the daytime programming is way better because the focus is on the sports not inane blather, human interest schmaltz and inspirational advertising. I guess the evil corporations of the world figure that if you’re watching team table tennis in your underwear at 11 AM drinking pina coladas, then a lack of inspiration isn’t really as pressing a problem for you as, say, updating your LinkedIn profile or getting the hell out of Rio before the cops come for your passport.

But I think they’re just jealous- I proudly watched the Team Table Tennis finals and they were fantastic even though I had no idea which country was which or what gender they were or how many points were in a game or how many games in a set or how many sets in a match or why they kept switching between Singles and Doubles or how they would possibly know who won and when they won and how much they won by or how the hell Ping Pong ended up in the Olympics when the far superior games of Air Hockey and Skee-Ball still languish on the sidelines. And the announcer was no help- he just kept explaining the format by saying, “you know, it’s just like Davis Cup!’ – which is like giving directions to East Bumfuck by saying “you know, it’s just east of Bumfuck!” All I know is that it was crazy and fast moving and for that moment in time in that one place in the universe there was absolutely nothing more important than who came out on top. And as much as I love theatre- if I could produce or even see just one play that meant this much the people watching it or involved, then I could walk away happy except then I would have to get a real job and seriously, fuck that.

And it’s not even like I’m some huge table tennis fan. I much prefer Rugby 7’s – where, as my wife said, the whole game is like the last five Cal Seething- 082116- hockeyseconds of a football game when the whole thing just devolves into a crazy series of laterals – and who doesn’t want 14 straight minutes of the Music City Miracle (Bills fans excluded). And then there’s field hockey- where the field is as blue as the diving pool should be; and handball, invented by an alcoholic Yugolslavian gym teacher in the dead of winter who was running out of ideas for what to do inside and clearly getting desperate. Years later on his death bed, he was heard to mutter repeatedly “Goddamn it, Dodge Ball!! I forgot about Dodge Ball!!” And then there’s soccer, basketball, volleyball and all the running, jumping, twisting, turning, throwing, thrusting, stabbing, slashing, splashing, paddling, peddling, punching, rassling, riding, rowing, ribbon tossing, gun shooting and, I guess, whatever, golf. All of which has made of a terrific distraction from the floods, fires and fuckwads which have fouled up 2016.

But all things must end, except NBC’s contract with the Olympics. Just two weeks ago, the Olympics began with a festive tribute to slavery using a human hamster wheel and an earnest segment about how the earth is getting hotter because of the actions of man. Specifically this man:

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Holy crap! What’s Tongalese for “hubba hubba”? I hope you’re watching Exxon- Cause THAT’s an ad for oil!

In all seriousness, though, sustainability is an important theme of the Olympics which is why the medal winners are getting little Cal Seething- 082116- riostatueplastic statues of the Olympic logo instead of flowers. After all, flowers are wasteful cause they die and decompose but these plastic statues will last forever in a landfill! Oh well- at least the Olympic venues are sustainable since as soon as the games are over, they’ll be recycled into homeless encampments.

And that’s going to be pretty soon- because the games are just about over. The Closing Ceremonies are upon us, and Simone Biles will be carrying the flag for the US (Ryan Lochte was invited to do it but the invite came from the Rio police.) And the team she leads out reflects not only what is great about the Olympics- with their athletic prowess, sheer determination and mostly non-douchey behavior- but what’s actually great about America. Because it is a team that reflects the population of our country- and that in turn is a reflection of the entire world. And all of you that are composing angry messages to me in your heads about how that’s a load of crap because the team is still WAY TOO WHITE and all the power is in the hands of WHITE MEN and we still have a WHOLE LOT OF WORK TO DO- well- you guys also make America great since, like Subway, you’re always #StrivingforBetter and I totally mean that in the least patronizing way possible, no matter what Jezebel says about me.

And that gives us something to shoot for in 2020- or better yet, 2024 in LA! Just picture it- President Clinton enjoying the games as her second term winds down- and why shouldn’t she? She’s done a great job and once her granddaughter taught her Snapchat her presidency was scandal free. And she can be confident knowing that her legacy will be secure- after all Michelle is kicking ass in the polls- and while that may not be great news for McDonalds- it sure is great for America (not the beer, the country. You DO NOT want to hear Michelle’s opinion of beer).

And where will I be for the 2024 LA Olympics? Where do you think? In Palm Springs, of course, watching NBC and complaining about it (a Ted Danson / Elle Fanning sitcom about the Rapture? Are you kidding me????) with a pitcher of pina coladas and a mimosa.

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Oh yeah. That sounds pretty great to me.








[California Seething] – Suck it, Sochi!

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I have a bone to pick with Johnny Weir (Phrasing!) Thanks to his fabulous fashions, surprisingly thoughtful commentary and GBFCal Seething- 022414-weir (Gay Best Friend) chemistry with Tara Lipinsky (as described brilliantly by Madame HR) I can no longer tolerate regular figure skating commentators. It’s like coffee- there was a time when I could swig back anything – diner coffee, deli coffee, office coffee that’s made from pre-measured packets ordered in bulk from Staples which sits in the carafe getting hot and crusty all day like cholent on Shabbos – and has roughly the same impact on my colon, I didn’t care, I didn’t even taste it. Then Starbucks came along and all of a sudden, coffee was like this beverage with flavor that I was actually supposed to enjoy and not just some toxic sugary spew I choked down my throat ten times a day to keep myself from falling into a permanent vegetative state during my data entry job (you laugh- but I had to sign a DNR before I took that job. When the guy before me dropped, they went through his pockets for change and sold his shoes. Yeay Non Profit sector!) I was ruined! I haven’t been able to drink office coffee since. Hell, now I don’t even drink Starbucks. It’s a single-origin, shade-grown, fair-trade, home-roasted, fresh-ground, filtered-water, manual-drip mug of perfection at just the right temperature or nothing. And if you think typing all those hyphens was hard- try making the coffee- it takes me like nine fucking hours to make one cup- it’s literally the only thing in my life I’m remotely a perfectionist about. I can sit in a pile of used tissues, with my shirt buttoned wrong, my beard out of control like a superstitious hockey player on a deep playoff run, and so much cream cheese on my pants it’s like I dry-humped my bagel instead of eating it- but if the roast on my goddamn Ethiopia Sidamo is wrong I just freak the fuck out like Johnny Weir with a broken Bedazzler.  And it’s the same thing with figure skating – I used to just ignore the commentary, but after a couple mornings of sparkling wit and sparkling tiaras with Weir and Lipiniski, the prime time commentators seem like Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in comparison and I DO NOT mean that as a compliment. I’m like a shark who’s developed a taste for human blood and now there’s no way I can go back to seals, especially when one of the seals is Sandra Bezic and she’s sitting next to Scott Hamilton spewing syrupy banalities like “she’s like a Cal Seething- 022414- primetimefigurine of a figure skater in a jewelry box but she’s so strong.” So….is that a good thing? Or a bad thing? Or….are you just super duper extra proud of the fact that you still have the exact same jewelry box that you did when you were a little girl with a Dorothy Hamil fixation and you’ve picked this particular moment to fucking humblebrag about it. And, sure, Scott Hamilton’s OK- like a 2nd favorite uncle that everyone knows is gay but no one’s allowed to say anything during those awkward moments at Thanksgiving when Nana says “So, Scotty, when are you give me some grandchildren?” which happen more and more frequently every year thanks to her creeping dementia and chronic alcoholism. And while Tom Hammond is doing remarkably well for a man who’s been completely drained of blood, all he ever does is tell us how long it’s been since random stuff happened in a really serious voice as though that’s supposed to add some fucking gravitas to the proceedings. “No Italian has won a medal in figure skating since 2002”, “This is the first time that US women have gone without a figure skating medal in consecutive Olympics since 1948”, “No American woman has touched the clammy, dead skin of my face without recoiling in horror and fleeing the room since 1986. Sigh. Hey, you guys want to hang out after the Ladies’ Final tonight? No? Oh. You got plans. That’s cool. No one has wanted to associate with me because of my unbearable personality and disturbing pallor since 2002. It gets so lonely. Sniff.”  Seriously dude, it’s like 80 degrees there- go to the ski slope and get a tan. You’re like one of those fish that lives its whole life in a cave and never sees the sun except those fish might have something interesting to say about ice skating.

Of course, Weir and Lipinski weren’t the only fabulous American pair on the ice – there were a couple of halfway decent Americans who were actually competing in the games. I’m speaking, of course, of ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Now, usually, weCal Seething- 022414-daviswhite don’t get to see much ice dancing at the Olympics – but this year, by some totally crazy coincidence, NBC decided to show a lot more of it right when we had a couple of Americans competing for the gold. Weird, right? It’s like they were all “Fuck it. Ice Dancing. Why not? Wait- what we’ve got Americans that are good at this??? Reeeeaaaally? ! had no idea! What a coinkerdinker.” Not that I mind. I’d always rather watch something Americans are good at then watch Bjorn Olafson and Bjorn Erickson bjorning it out with each other over a 50,000 mile cross country race for the honor of blond people and a lifetime supply of reindeer meat. I’m actually proud of America for sucking at Cross Country. All that grim determination and grueling exertion- fuck that shit. That’s not the American way to win medals. No- the American way is to keep making up new crazy-ass flippy-flip snowboarding events that nobody else in the world knows how to do yet- and then, when other countries figure out how to do these events better than us, because they actually work hard and practice, we just come up with something newer and cooler and it’s like “Oh, you guys is Switzerland are still into halfpipe? That’s, like, soooo 1998. We’re all totally doing Slopestyle now.” And, you know what- that’s awesome! I mean, sure, we may not have the best conditioned athletes in the world,  and we steal all our winter sports ideas from Gleaming the Cube– but, hey- if you give a big pile of snow to a bunch of Americans, Cal Seething- 022414- gleamingwe’ll get stoned as shit and figure out how many times we can flip around in the air and we’ll call it a YOLO McTwist 420. Give snow to a bunch of Norwegians- and they’ll go very slowly in a straight line until they die. Which country would you rather be from? Now wait- don’t base your answer on quality of life, education, culture, economic stability or healthcare- just stick to winter sports coolness.

So, yeah- it’s fine to suck at Cross Country- but- I do have to admit I was a little disappointed by our Biathalon results. I mean- we’re the gun craziest country on earth- how can we be so bad at shooting? Is it just that Americans aren’t used to this type of target shooting? Would we do better if they put little hoodies on the targets? Or – maybe instead of a rifle range, we could do our shooting in a school cafeteria?

The Russians, on the other hand, are great at Biathalon, but that’s cause skiing and shooting is how they hunt gays.

The worst part about the Biathalon is that, if you screw up at shooting, you have to ski a penalty lap. That’s how much Cross Country sucks- the worst way they could think of to punish bad shooters was to make them do more Cross Country skiing. That would never work with Half Pipe- snowboarders would be missing shots on purpose. “Ooops, 0 for 5. Oh, shuckey-darn. I guess it’s 5 more runs for meeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!” But Cross Country- that’s how Norwegian parents make their kids eat their vegetables “Finish all your Brussels sprouts, Bjorn, or it’s an extra 10,000 meters before bedtime.”

Anyhow, like I was saying about Meryl Davis and Charlie White….at some point earlier today I’m sure, they dominated the Ice Dancing competition and, in the process, they reminded all of us Americans that we are so are so pathetically desperate to soak up Olympic glory that we’re even willing to learn what a “twizzle” is and why we should give a fuck what a good one looks like. We’re the ones making the real sacrifices here. Also, and I’m not ashamed to admit this, I have a total hair crush on Charlie White. The downy Wonder Bread cloud of golden curls softly flouncing about, a little bit shaggy and totally loveable like an adorable, welCal Seething- 022414- whitel           groomed sheepdog- that’s exactly what I had in mind when I grew my hair out for the first time at 15 into a pumpernickel black, unwieldy, steel wool Jew-Fro like a crackhead’s poodle.  And that would be the best my hair would get. By the time I was in my mid-20’s my hairline had already entered the Great Recession and the time had come to give up and cut it short for good. So, for me, the American Ice Dancing triumph was about more than patriotism or athletic achievement- it was about basking vicariously in the Gold Medal glow of Charlie White’s golden locks and remembering the shadows of my own Olympic caliber fantasies of fabulous hair. Because, you see, for those of us that are follicularly challenged- there are no Paralympics- so we must watch as Charlie White lives the dream for us all in Sochi, and think of what might have been….

While White and Davis fulfilled their Olympic dreams, many of the highly vaunted American athletes did not. There was Shaun White who failed to medal much to the smirking delight of every single snowboarder because they naturally hate him for all the attention, funding and opportunities he brought to their sport and also because he’s this enormous douche. Lindsey Jacobellis did a masterful impression of Llewyn Davis when she totally sabotaged her chances for success by falling in the semi-finals with a clearCal Seething- 022414-womenhockey lead for the third Olympics in a row. The U.S. Men’s Hockey team beat Russia in an early round game and gave Al Michaels a throbbing 1980 Cold War Nostalgia erection that lasted right up until they lost to Canada in the semi’s and were Finnish-ed off in the Bronze medal game. And the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team lost to Canada in heart-breaking fashion and wept so copiously as they received the Silver Medal that their coach seriously regretted joking “hey, you lose this one, you’re staying in Sochi”.

But of course, the biggest US failure was the Speed Skating Team which medaled in only one of the bazillion events they competed in. The real surprise, to me, though isn’t that we suck at Speed Skating- it’s that we were supposed to be good in the first place. I mean, I always figured that Speed Skating was one of those crazy-freaky things that’s super-important in the rest of the world but is just kind of a weird novelty here like soccer or hazelnut spread or learning science and math. It turns out we were actually coming into the Olympics favored to win a bunch of medals and ended up totally humiliating ourselves. U-S-A! Most people blamed the new Under Armour suits that the skaters wore during the Games- though they kept on losing when they switched back to their old suits….which were also made by Under Armour….so….maybe they sucked, too. In response to these Cal Seething- 022414- speedskateconcerns, the US Speedskating Association took immediate and decisive action and renewed their sponsorship contract with Under Armour for another eight years. That’ll learn ‘em! 2026 is gonna be our year! Never underestimate the power of greed to triumph over the Olympic spirit. For those that don’t get why this big contract seems foolish- just substitute “Jerry Jones” for “U.S. Speedskating Association” and “Tony Romo” for “Under Armour”. And if you still aren’t sure what I’m talking about, just think about how you felt in 2004 when we re-elected George Bush and you’ll know exactly what our Speedskaters are going through. And, yes- I am getting all worked up about Speed Skating – you got a problem with that? Winter sports to me are like Judaism and politics- I fast on Yom Kippur, vote in Presidential Elections and give a fuck about Speed Skating during the Winter Olympics. So long, Speedsuckers! Have fun with your Loser Suits. See you in 2018 in South Korea. I hope President Clinton can come to the Games!

So, yeah, the Olympics were kind of a bust for the American team- but not all hope is lost. On March 7, the Paralympics begin and, thanks to Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. has loads of great new Paralympians just itching to work off their PTSD on the slopes and rinks of Sochi and not on their long suffering loved ones.  Thanks, George Bush! U-S-A! U-S-A!

And that brings us to the Closing Ceremonies. The theme of the Closing Ceremonies was “a buncha people making stupid shapes on the ground and shit” Cal Seething- 022414- shapeswhich was also the same as the Opening Ceremony and the last Opening Ceremony and every Ceremony at every Olympics since they figured out how to film stuff from above (fuck you, too Busby Berkeley.) Seriously- I get it- volunteer slave labor making circles. Whoopidie-doo. But according to the organizers, the Closing Ceremonies were a tribute to Russian art, culture & literature. I meant to come up with all sorts of witty things to say about the Ceremonies, but I fell asleep, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the best way to pay tribute to Russian art, culture and literature. I did notice that many of the writers who were honored during the Ceremonies had been persecuted during their lifetimes and this got me super-psyched for the Pussy Riot Tribute Concert at the 2042 St. Petersburg Games.

As if Russian art, culture and literature weren’t bad enough- Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were brought in to comment on the proceedings. It’s like NBC was saying “Hey loyal viewers- we want to thank for sticking with us all the way to the end of the crazy Cal Seething- 022414-almikeOlympic ride. So as a very special treat, why don’t you all go fuck yourselves?” I mean, seriously, NBC- why you gotta play me like that? Didn’t I stick with you through all of those goddamn Cadillac commercials with the asshole who talks about how Americans are sooooo great because we don’t take enough vacation time (like that’s really our fucking choice) and how we’re the ONLY ones going back up to the moon- even though we can’t afford the gas money to go there on a  Russian rocket? And didn’t I stick with you when you showed that fucking documentary about that Russian orphan swimmer girl with no legs who was adopted by a loving American family in the Baltimore suburbs and came back to Russia to meet her biological family only to realize just how UNBELIEVABLY FUCKING AMAZING LIVING IN THE SUBURBS OF BALTIMORE ACTUALLY IS? And didn’t I stick with you when you kept trying over and over and over and over again to convince me that Living with Fisher would be funny because it’s about a blind guy- when we all know that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet and an enormous hunk of shit about a blind guy is still just AN ENORMOUS HUNK OF SHIT . Well, didn’t I???? And after 18 grueling emotional days together through ups and downs, triumph and defeat, good times and bad, Costas and Lauer- you give me the Michaels and Collinsworth on the final night??? Laurel and Hardly?? Tweedledee and Tweedeldipshit? I mean, I get it – I know all the good commentators got the hell out of Sochi just as fast as their little legs could carry them, and so you were totally relieved when you found Al Michaels still in Sochi, lying face down on the ice of the hockey rink in a pool of Stoli vomit and half-digested Qualuudes wearing nothing but a dickey yelling “I DON’T BELIEVE IN MIRACLES” with Cris Collinsworth sitting on the ice smiling brainlessly next to him saying “Yes, It sure has been one heck of an Olympics, Al.” so you dragged them over to the Fisht Stadium (Wait, are we not even saying “Phrasing” any more?) sat them down with Vladimir Posner who dropped such bon mots as “every country is special in its own way” which is also what he tells his autistic son when he takes all the other kids to Disneyland and subjected your loyal viewers to three hours of misery, boredom, suffering and torture. And it that doesn’t say “ a tribute Russian art, culture and literature”- I don’t know what does? Well done, NBC!

Oh yeah, there was also that enormous bear that blew out the cauldron before shedding a single tear just like Russian orphans do Cal Seething-022414-bearon their birthday when they make a wish to go to America- only much much more disturbing that that. More disturbing even than the no legged swimmer girl.

So, here I am. The Olympics are over. After two glorious weeks of avoiding reality with high flying Olympic competition, it’s time to come back down to earth and avoid reality using regular television – which is not nearly as fun. I’m watching Speed for God’s sake- which is like Gravity on the bus. And, sure, it’s the best movie ever made about the perils of public transport in Los Angeles that wasn’t produced by concerned parents in Beverly Hills (if you haven’t seen this-watch it now) but it can’t compare to the glorious bubble of unreality that can only be experienced by obsessively watching a long running athletic tournament at all hours of the day and night. Between Kiev, Venezuela and Arizona (Jan Brewer only vetoed that bill because there’s no religious objection to serving Mexicans) all I can say is- MARCH MADNESS IS ONLY THREE WEEKS AWAY! Thank fucking God. I was this close to knowing what’s going on in the world. Phew!