Bigger moment in world history: The Miami Heat’s 27-game winning streak or the Resurrection of Christ?

On Wednesday night, the Miami Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls in an NBA basketball game.

Normally, a basketball game on March 27, a few weeks prior to the postseason, would be an unextraordinary event. However, if you ask anybody who watches basketball, the game contained ramifications that could have changed the fate of the universe.

By losing the game, the Heat, led by LeBron James, ended their 27-game winning streak. Prior to last night, the Heat had played 27 consecutive games, and won every single one of them. Their previous loss occurred on February 1, which was 54 days ago.

Every person in the world, even if you just learned what basketball was this morning, should understand how awesome that is. Winning five games in a row is considered a great feat. Winning 10 games in a row — in any sport — is an extremely rare achievement. Winning 20 in a row is not quite unheard of, but a once-a-decade accomplishment.

Winning 27 in a row had only happened one other time in the history of major-team sports. I understand high school and college teams may have incredible stretches where they win upwards of 50 games in a row, and sometimes more. And not to downplay that accomplishment, but we are talking about the professional level here.

When you are competing against the best athletes that our entire planet has to offer, and you are gaining the upper hand for 27 consecutive games, that is simply remarkable.

Imagine being a fan of the team. When my favorite sports teams win one game, I am ecstatic. Just one game. But that feeling of euphoria disappears once they lose again. So for them to almost go two full calendar months without experiencing the sorrow of defeat — that’s just incomprehensible. And extremely unfair.

Okay. Now that I have outlined the significance of the winning streak, allow me to discuss how unbelievably thrilled I was for it to finally come to an end.

We live in a world of 24/7 sports coverage. Literally. ESPN, the predominant sports network, has a sister channel called ESPNews that never goes off the air. If breaking news occurs — even if it happens at 5 a.m. — they are on top of it. And while 24/7 sports coverage is obviously a huge benefit for sports fans, it also leads to a lot of redundancy.

Over the course of 24 hours, you’re going to hear the same things over and over again. And not only that, but when your job is to discuss sports around the clock, then you’re inevitably going to have to manufacture things to talk about. Additionally, when a significant and rare event happens in sports — like a 27-game winning streak — you can bet your bottom dollar that they are going to hyperbolize the living daylights out of it.

And boy did they ever hyperbolize. All sports analyst tried to do the past two weeks was to lay out a context for this winning streak. They would pick a major sporting accomplishment in history, and wonder if winning 27 straight games equaled or outmatched that accomplishment.

And every day it became more dramatic. First they were asking if 20+ straight wins was better than winning a championship. Then they asked if 20+ straight wins was more impressive than the year the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls went 72-10 in the regular season.

I feel like if the Heat kept winning, then they were going to step it up a notch — Is the Heat’s 27-game winning streak more impressive than the Allied powers winning World War II? Is the Heat’s winning streak a more difficult task than Moses parting the Red Sea?

Is the Heat’s winning streak more impressive than the evolution of our universe, starting 13.7 billion years ago from the Big Bang until present day?

It became ridiculous.

Whatever happened to letting history define itself? Why do we always have to determine the bigger picture in the present? And who cares what somebody’s legacy is going to be 20 or 20 years from now?

A 27-game winning streak speaks for itself. And yet, media analysts drove the topic to the ground day-in and day-out until the world could not bear it anymore. They didn’t just beat a dead horse, they kept the horse on the precipice of death, and tortured it Guantanamo-Bay style for weeks.

The Heat were six wins shy of tying the longest winning streak in major-sports history, and yet, I wanted it to end as soon as possible simply so I didn’t have to hear about it anymore.

Why even bother telling my grand kids one day about how amazing it was to watch the Heat’s 27-game winning streak, and how it stood up to anything else I have ever seen, when ESPN has already done it for me?

And for the love of god, bigger things are happening in the world right now. The fate of homosexuals having equal rights hangs in the balance of the Supreme Court as we speak. The last two times the words “equal rights” were relevant, it was for African-Americans to be considered people, and for women to gain the right to vote. But, nah, the Heat winning 27 games deserves more attention than that!

So for all of those reasons, I was thrilled to see the Heat lose last night. And so should the rest the of the world.

Because, god damn, there are bigger things in the world than a winning streak.

I’m all for solidarity and equality, but please don’t change your Facebook profile picture.

As long as you’re not one of those people who has more than 1,000 Facebook friends — and seriously, what is up with those people?! — then you are exposed to the same cast of characters who regularly post Facebook statuses.

Therefore, it’s extremely noticeable when people change their Facebook profile pictures. Not just because you receive an update about said change, but because you become used to their profile picture by virtue of constantly seeing it popping up on your Newsfeed every few hours.

Changing your Facebook profile picture is a lifestyle change. It’s the least significant lifestyle change there is, but it is a lifestyle change nonetheless. When we grow to be a little weary of our day-to-day lives, we make a change. Maybe we style our hair differently. Perhaps we purchase a new wardrobe. Changing your Facebook profile picture accomplishes the same goal, just on a smaller scale.

But lately, people have been changing their profile pictures for a different reason.

About a dozen people on my Newsfeed have changed their profile picture to this image of an equal sign. Obviously you should all know that they are doing it to express their support for marriage equality as the Supreme Court is currently deciding whether same-sex marriages deserve the same federal benefits as “traditional marriages.” Which they obviously do. But that’s not the point here.

I enjoy that people are voicing their support, but can’t they do it in a less confusing way?

Whenever I log onto Facebook, I feel like how John Malkovich did in the movie Being John Malkovich when he goes into the portal and everyone in the world looks exactly like him.

I can’t tell anyone apart. I see somebody make a status with this profile picture, and then the first person who comments on it also has the same picture. It’s madness!

But just like how changing your profile picture is the lowest form of making a lifestyle change, changing your profile picture to this equal sign is the lowest form of showing your support for marriage equality.

I fully and wholeheartedly support marriage equality. I always have. I’ve actually attended a same-sex wedding, and I had an awesome time. It was arguably the most drunk I’ve gotten at any wedding I’ve ever been to. So why do I need to change my profile picture? So people know publicly that I support it? In my opinion, that’s just doing it for political reasons. And that’s a perception I don’t think I feel I need to give off.

In fact, I even checked the three known gay people who I am Facebook friends with, and neither of them have changed their picture to the equal sign. So I really don’t think that the gay and lesbian community is actually relying on the Facebook support to influence legislative change. I doubt that a single Supreme Court justice — who are responsible for making this decision on marriage equality — is even aware of this Facebook trend. Not one.

Maybe it’s just the fluorescent colors that are bugging me out. It’s throwing my eyes off-kilter. And that’s another good question — why does every artwork that is created to support homosexuality have to be in the most neon, luminous colors that completely clash one another? Don’t such designs only continue to perpetuate the negative stereotypes associated with homosexuals that are being protested against in the first place? Like, what’s wrong with black? Or navy blue?

My eyesight is physically being harmed by these Facebook profile pictures. I’m going to have cataracts when I’m 70, and it’s all because of these bright pink and purple equal signs.

I’m just looking to forward to when these equal signs go away, and that’s for two reasons — It’ll mean that marriage will ultimately and finally be equal for all.

And secondly, I will be able to peruse Facebook again without having to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes.

Actually I’ll still wear sunglasses, because I’m just that damn cool.

A comparison of two musical eras

In 1985, the song “We Are the World” was recorded. The song, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, was created to benefit Africa. All of the money the track brought in through sales and merchandise was given to our African brethren, a sum that came to total $63 million.

But I’m not here to talk about charity. I’m here to discuss the conglomeration of legendary musicians that took part in this song. Michael Jackson, who was at the height of his popularity during its recording, recruited an all-star cast to collaborate on the track.

The only way to encapsulate the sheer magnificence of this song is to listen and watch it for yourself. The song is about eight minutes long, and yeah, I know, that’s way too long of time for you to devote your attention towards. But, if you appreciate music at all — and I mean good music — then this video should be an absolute joy for you to watch.

In fact, if you’ve never seen it, then I think that you, as a human being, should be required to watch it. It’s extremely important for everybody to know how different the music industry was back then, and you can catch a pretty good glimpse of it simply by watching this video. So here we go. I’m going to go make a sandwich while you watch.

*Puts down his salami and cheese sandwich*

*Instantly regrets his decision to make a salami and cheese sandwich*

As I stated earlier, if you have any appreciation for good music, then watching this video should be absolutely captivating for you. I always have found it fascinating to see old pictures from back in the day — especially before I was born — that capture two legendary humans next to each other in the same room.

This video is the ultimate version of that. But not only are you seeing all these legendary people together, but you are seeing all these legendary people together doing the things that made them legendary in the first place.

The song opens with Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder, and from then on, each verse transitions seamlessly into the next musician, which comprises a laundry list of  classical musicians — Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Jackson, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis and Cyndi Lauper, before wrapping up with a couple guys named Bob Dylan and Ray Charles.

Every single one of those people should be household names to everybody. And it’s just amazing to know that just a mere 28 years ago, every single one of them was still young and right in the primes of their career. How can you register that fact and not be envious of people who grew up in the 60s and 70s?

Seeing Michael Jackson, singing the chorus by himself, gave the me the chills. Watching Bruce Springsteen sing so hard that it looks like his vocal cords are going to burst is refreshing. And seeing Lionel Richie give the thumbs up at the end — it’s perfect. And then you get to see them all sing together.

No musical collaboration, ever, in this world can top this video. None.

But, shamefully, the artists of our generation actually tried to do that.

25 years after this video was recorded, the “top artists” of today recorded their own version of this song, and donated all of its profits to Haiti. Let’s take a look.

*Throws up his salami sandwich.*

I was disgusted the moment the video started. But that disgust hit its peak when Miley Cyrus sang a solo. Are you freaking kidding me? Read the list of artists I posted a few paragraphs above in the 1985 video, and then look at who is involved in this newer version.

First of all, they chose Justin Bieber to open the song, transitioning into Nicole Scherzinger. The beginning is the most poignant and memorable part of the song, performed in the original by Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder, and they chose Justin Bieber and a Pussycat Doll to do it this time around? The song never had a chance after that.

Sadly, it only gets worse. Not only were the likes of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers invited to participate, but the song actually features T-Pain singing with AutoTune. In the original, you have some of the most authentic and pure voices involved, and 25 years later, you desecrate the song with manufactured digital sound. And yet, it still gets worse from there.

At the 3:15 mark, it sounds like a wasp enters the throat of Wyclef Jean the minute he opens his mouth to sing. And unbelievably, it still gets worse from there.

At six minutes in, it turns into a rap song. So, somehow, if you haven’t lost faith in humanity up to that point in the song — you will after that. It’s just heinous.

Michael Jackson died a year before this video was recorded, and I can’t even imagine how much he must have rolled over in his grave while listening to this. If a gravedigger ever wanted to dig up Michael Jackson’s corpse for whatever odd reason, they better aim about 25-miles east, because that’s how far he rolled during the eight-minute entirety of the song.

But the bigger picture here is that this song makes you really take a long, hard look at the state of the current music industry. A collaboration was attempted, by compiling the highest-profile artists that exist in our world today, and this is what they came up with. It’s a stark and depressing contrast to 25 years earlier, and that should make everybody sad.

Okay, it’s not that they were all terrible. There were some musicians in the 2010 version that could feasibly stand in the same room as the 1985 group, and those people include Josh Groban, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Janet Jackson, Barba Streisand, Celine Dion, and hell, I’d even lump Pink into that mix, because she’s got a killer voice. But that’s it. The other 20+ musicians can get the hell out of here, as far as I am concerned.

I know it was all for a good cause, but if I’m Haitian, I don’t even want any of the money that resulted from this catastrophe. I’d rather starve to death.

*Eats the rest of his salami and cheese sandwich, realizes the irony considering what he just said.*

Filling out March Madness brackets only causes pain and humiliation

The March Madness NCAA college basketball tournament is a sporting event that transcends sports. What I mean by this is that it’s an event that is so big that it enters the national consciousness of all people, whether they like sports or not.

A lot of people don’t watch sports because they don’t feel any compulsion to support professional athletes. And you can’t really blame them. Once athletes enter sports on a professional level, they begin playing for their career. They are still representing a city and a fan base, but at the end of the day, the first and foremost matter of importance is the bottom line. And that can make them unlikable and unrelatable at times.

But like every human, athletes want to make the most money possible while performing your craft. It’s the nature of life.

But that’s not the case for collegiate athletes. About 99.9% of them won’t go pro, and for them, college ball is the end of the line. Therefore, they’re aren’t playing for money. Because there is no money. Instead, they are playing for their pride, their dignity, their university and for their love of the game. How can anybody not to relate to that?

When they lose a big game, you see one of them break down in tears, and put their jerseys over their heads in utter disappointment. And that’s when you remember that these are 20 and 21-year-old kids that you’re watching perform.

When LeBron James loses a Game 7 of an NBA playoff game — if he ever does again — then he’ll go him to his multi-million dollar mansion and come back next year.

But when the nearly all seniors lose in March Madness, it’s over. You’ve just watched their sporting career come to an end. And those tears are real.

How can you not love the authenticity? The passion and the will to win shows in every minute of every March Madness game, and that’s what makes it a tournament like no other.

And that is the good thing about March Madness. Now for the bad.

Filling out a bracket.

I said earlier that March Madness is one of the rare sporting events that transcends sports. Another reason for that is the betting that comes with it. March Madness and the Superbowl are probably the two events that evoke the most betting, even from people who have no idea what they hell they are doing.

That includes most people — including myself. I am a sports fiend. I watch all major sports religiously, most other sports moderately, and even shitty sports lightly. There’s not a sport in the world that I lack interest in. Except Cricket. That sport sucks.

And yet, as big of a sports fan that I am, I think I’ve met three people in my entire life who actually closely follow college basketball. That’s it. And even those three people will be the first to tell you that trying to accurately pick a 68-team bracket is a near impossibility.

And that’s why you find that the winner of every annual bracket tournament you participate in is your friend’s girlfriend who based her Final Four on what team’s mascots she liked the best.

There are just too many things to consider when it comes to March Madness. First of all, there’s just too many teams. It’s not possible to know enough about every single one to evaluate each one properly. Secondly, everyone gets psyched out by the seedings. They figure they need to pick a certain amount of upsets, that they need to have a certain amount of #1 seeds advance far in the tournament, and so on. That’s why the more knowledgeable you are, the more likely you are to out-think yourself.

It’s extremely frustrating because you can have a flawless bracket through 75 percent of the tournament, but if your selected champion goes down too early, then you’re done. Nothing else matters. Like that Metallica song.

In the end, by filling out a bracket, you’ve only brought anger, disappointment, anxiety, shame and fury into your life. And yet, we do it every year. I hadn’t even filled out a bracket until one hour before the tournament started this year. I was trying to avoid it, and at the last second, I decided that I needed the added drama in my life. March just wouldn’t be the same without it.

And then look what happens. A team like Florida Gulf Coast — who no one had ever heard of — advances to the Sweet 16. A number-one seed in Gonzaga goes down in the 2nd-round. You pick North Carolina State to win your entire bracket, thinking that they are actually the North Carolina Tar Heels. Only in a March Madness pool can we make such radical errors in judgment.

If we made our important life decisions in life in the same ways that we selected our March Madness bracket, our lives would all be completely miserable.

That being said, we can’t live without it. We love the prospect of winning our friends’ money. We love the thrill of finishing in first. We also love the uncertainty. And we certainly love the drama. It’s what makes March Madness so special.

As for me, as long as I finish ahead of all the girls in my bracket pool, then I’m good.

But that will never happen.

Fucking mascots.

I might be the only person in the world who doesn’t love dogs

I’m a cat person.

Let’s just get that out of the way. The reason being that for basically as long as I’ve been alive, my family has always owned a cat. We got our first one when I was about five or six years old, and ever since then, we’ve owned five different cats. Three have since passed away, and right now we have two.

One of the most polarizing questions you can ask a human being is whether they prefer cats or dogs. Because cat lovers will defend cats to their death, and dog lovers will do the same. There are some people who do indeed own and equally love both. Both those are pretty rare. Usually it is one or the other, and if you prefer one, then you usually will tend to badmouth the other.

“I love cats because of so-and-so, and dogs, meanwhile…”

And vice versa.

In my opinion, there really is no inherent nature within humans that would make them lean one way or the other. It’s not like people
possess qualities that would help them relate more to cats or dogs. I think the answer lies in what animal they’ve been exposed to at a young age.

I say this because dogs and cats — while different — serve the same purpose as pets. Humans adopt them so they can serve as our companions. So that even if we are feeling lonely and abandoned, we can still come home to a furry face who will never tire of seeing us. Cats and dogs alike have a devoted affection towards their owners, and that connection will remain until the tragic day that they die.

So that’s why I think that if, as an infant, your family owned a dog, then you’ll grow up to be a dog person. If your family owned a cat, then you’ll grow up to be a cat person. You grow accustomed to one at a young age, you accept its behavior and tendencies, and you grow to love it.

Here is where I believe they differ — cats are more independent. They don’t need human attention all of the time. And when they do desire it, they’re mostly content with just lying on top of you or next to you while you pet them. For hours.

But they also like to lay by themselves at times, and, except when they’re kittens, they really don’t need to be played with.

Dogs, meanwhile, pretty much require constant attention. Not because they’re needy, but because if they had it their way, they would engage in a nonstop, infinite game of fetch. They don’t enjoy being left alone, and if they don’t get the attention they desire, they’ll bark until they get it.

So if you grew up with dogs, then you get used to that. You get used to the barking. You get used to the slobbering, and their compulsion to jump on you whenever they want to play.

And if you grew up with cats, then you’re used to cozying up on the couch with your furry friend laying on top of you, purring away, and then leaving and going off on its own when it want to take a long snooze.

So that’s why, if you’ve only ever owned one of them, you can easily become repulsed by the opposite animal.

As someone who has never owned a dog, I can honestly — and embarrasingly — say that dogs just don’t do it for me. I think they’re cute, and I like them, but I just don’t ever want to own one. Whenever I step into somebody’s house who has a dog, the moment I walk in I am accosted by the creature, and it just won’t leave me alone. I’ll sit down on the couch, and then it’ll jump on top of me and headbutt me. I just can’t deal with that.

And the barking. Oh god, the barking. It’s amazing that something that makes that much noise is a popular pet.

I love the notion of how so many males who own dogs think that it’s “feminine” for people to own cats. They consider owning a dog a more “masculine” trait. To me, a male making that argument is just their own way of compensating for something else.

Cats are certainly more delicate. More fragile. More dainty. But that should not be any commentary towards what type of gender they represent. If people who own cats are considered “womanly,” than what does that make somebody who owns a hamster? Or a fish?

But like I said, I absolutely see the merit of both. They don’t call dogs “Man’s best friend” for no reason. But, as a pet who lives in the same house as me, I just happen to appreciate the behavior of cats more than I do the behavior of dogs.

Of course, I don’t voice aloud my lukewarm attitude towards dogs. That would be like telling people about how I don’t really like ice cream. There is absolutely no single benefit of telling people you don’t particularly care for dogs. Not a single person would ever hear that and say, “Oh my God, that’s so cool! I like you so much better now!”

Instead, when I see a dog, I just smile and pretend that I think it’s the cutest thing alive — like everyone else. And then I walk away and forget that I ever saw it.

Although, there are benefits to owning a dog. I swear to God, nothing draws moths to a flame (besides… moths to a flame) more than exposing a group of girls to a dog. In the past I’ve actually witnessed half-a-dozen girls go down to the floor at once so they can all simultaneously start petting a dog.

So if I were to ever own a dog, it would be for that reason.

Because I clearly need help in that department. Lately, me and women go together like… like… (ready for it?)

Cats and dogs.

Apparently we’ve reached a point in civilization where making a YouTube video is all you need to do to succeed in life

Does anybody remember that there was actually a day and age where people had to work and grind relentlessly day-in and day-out just to have any chance of succeeding? Where the only ingredient to achieving positive results was motivation and dedication?

Or a day and age where people didn’t become famous at the age of 15 because of social media?

Of course, I don’t have a hard-working bone in my body so I don’t remember those days. I also grew up just before the social media boom, but I was still spoiled by computers and America Online, so that’s another reason I can’t attest for the days that I am alluding to. But they obviously did exist. They existed for 99.999999% of our universe; today’s generation just doesn’t know that.

But now, forget the years of hard work. Forget the need for experience. All you have to do is create a popular YouTube video and you can achieve anything!

Anything as in… taking Kate Upton to the prom.

I sweat for six consecutive months during my senior year of high school worrying about the prom. It was a half-a-dozen-months-long anxiety attack. Just the mere thought of uttering the words “Will you go to prom with me,” still, almost 10 years later, gives me the shivers. It was arguably one of the most stressful periods of my life.

And yet, this loser named Jake Davidson — and I can call him that because in the video he’s playing off the schtick that he is a loser — made a one-minute and forty-second long YouTube video, and now he may be taking the most desirable woman on the planet to his senior prom.

When Jake Davidson overhears his school’s football quarterback bragging about how he is taking the head cheerleader to the prom, he can step in, hold his oddly-shaped head high and remark, “Yeah, that’s nice. I’m going with Kate Upton.”

I’m aware that it’s far from official that he will in fact be taking Kate Upton to the prom. However, she did respond to the video with a promising Tweet.


Come on.

Come the f#%& on.

At this point, the pressure is on. The world knows that Kate acknowledged the video, and now she really has no choice but to go with him to the prom. Or at the very least, she has to do something that involves making this guy’s life much, much, much better than it is right now.

But I can’t help but think back to my 17-year-old self, who was chubby and a bit overweight, who had a little more acne than one might prefer, and who hyperventilated at the thought of the senior prom and the fear of trying to get a girl to accompany him to it.

And yet, this guy, who under normal circumstances probably would have had equal difficulty as me finding a date, may be arm-in-arm with Kate Upton simply because he is computer-savvy.

I’m not saying I hate him. In fact, I think he’s brilliant. If you watch the video, it’s perfect. He doesn’t try too hard to be funny. Instead, he brilliantly mocks his own unremarkable lifestyle. Just look at him — he’s completely mediocre in every aspect of life. He has absolutely no build, no muscles, no stand-out facial features, a completely unoriginal haircut, and even his voice is monotone and mundane. He’s arguably the most forgettable person to ever exist.

Even his name — Jake Davidson — sounds fake. It sounds like one of those names that the computer makes up when you need a random-computerized opponent in a game of Hearts.

But the best part is that he gets that. He has no false illusions of his physical appearance. He’s obviously a smart dude, so he made a video that catered perfectly to his average-ness. And it worked. The bastard.

The entire point that needs to be reinforced here, though, is that YouTube has completely canceled out hundreds of years of blue-collar-American-hard-working attitude. Movies like 1954’s On The Waterfront by Elia Kazan depicted the great Marlon Brando standing in line trying to get a day’s worth of wages on the docks just so he could afford dinner. Those are no longer the days.

Instead, when you’re down and out, with nowhere else to turn, you load up the old webcam and film a video.

“I coulda been a contender” has turned into “I coulda went viral.”

YouTube videos spread like wildfire these days. If you’ve made something good, it’ll be viewed by eyes across the world in a matter of minutes. Had I known eight years ago that, in the future, you could YouTube yourself to the big time, I wouldn’t have even went to college. Instead I would have spent four years living in the wilderness, experiencing the real adventure our world has to offer. I would have had a pet badger named Yodi.

Viral videos have long changed everything. But now their influence has reached bounds nobody could have foreseen. Some lucky schmuck, in dire need of a prom date, may have landed Kate Upton as his dance partner because he had the foresight to take advantage of the world’s current infatuation with social media.

But you know what? Maybe it was a good thing that I had such a trying prom experience during my youth. It built character. It made me stronger. It led me to the man I am today. With every failure comes —

Eh, fuck that. Where’s my webcam at.

It confounds me how many people are incapable of coughing or sneezing like normal human beings

One of the many, many downsides to human beings is that our bodies produce sounds. It’s part of the evolutionary process. Every living specimen must function in a way so its bodily fluids do what they have to do to keep them going. Humans are no exception.

As a result, we sneeze, we fart, we cough, we burp, we snore, we wheeze and our stomachs growl. It sounds awful when you list them all out like that, and even I wasn’t expecting to be able to name so many.

Of course we try our hardest to not do these things in public. In fact, we actually harm ourselves just to avoid having one person overhear us do any of these things. I have been known to hold in gas for hours at a time just to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

Yet some of these things we cannot even control. Like snoring. I distinctly remember the first time I “spent the night at girl’s place,” and the next morning, while she was making coffee, I just had to ask her — “Did I snore?” I swear to God there was a pronounced pause in her movement the moment the words left my mouth. The entire world stood still for a moment before she told me that I did. That seemingly everlasting pause told me that what she wanted to say is, “Yeah dickface, you did snore and you kept me up all goddamn night, you bastard.” But, nevertheless — as I said yesterday — there’s still this.

But that’s neither here nor there. In fact I only really said that just so I could go out of my way to point out that I did in fact have sex at one point in my life.

So anyway, where was I? Right. We all make noises. Every one of us. Even Kate Upton’s stomach growls loudly on occasion.

As I said, though, we rarely hear it from others because we all do our best to control ourselves in public.

However, that can’t be said in all instances, such as the workplace. If you work in an office — as I do — then you are spending the better part of nine hours with the same exact coworkers every day. In that time frame, you are going to hear a lot of things.

Nobody goes 365 consecutive days without acquiring a stomach virus, or becoming phlegmy, or having a slight head cold, etc. So there are going to be days when you know you are going to be an inconvenience to others.

When those days do occur, it only stands to reason that you will try your very hardest to avoid distracting others, right? If you have to blow your nose, you’ll step into the bathroom. If you have to clear your throat, you’ll do so as quietly as possible. If you have to sneeze, you’ll do it into a tissue to drown out the noise.

This all should be obvious. It should be second nature.

And yet, there’s always going to be those one or two people who are just physically incapable of doing that. I swear, you’d think for a moment you’re seeing a Broadway show, because I’ve seen people make a dramatic performance out of their sneezes. It’s like they’re trying to win a Tony in sneezing.

Never in my life have I sneezed loud enough so that somebody more than 10 yards away would ever become alarmed by it. And yet, I’ve found myself jumping out of my seat in fright at some people’s sneezes. It’s like they’re trying to set the Guinness World Record for loudest decibels reached during a sneeze.

And don’t even get me started with coughing. I honestly couldn’t even annoy people solely by coughing even if I tried. I could choke to death on a chicken wing and still do it pleasantly. And yet, I have heard hacking coughs that are so horrid that I feel the need to shower simply after listening to them.

The only comparison I can make is the aliens in Men in Black when they transform from human to extra-terrestrial. During the transformation, they begin convulsing and gyrating and while making odd noises as their bodies practically turn inside out.

I can hear the unhealthiness inside of their body whenever these hacking coughs are occurring. I’m no M.D., and I don’t aspire to be one, but I can still inform you that you have bodily issues that probably will be your demise. And sooner than later.

These sounds are the complete and utter antithesis of the white noise you listen to help you fall asleep — the gentle flow of a stream, the subtle howl of the wind, a patter of raindrops on the windowsill. Instead, a hacking and gurgling cough is the noise you listen to if you want to kill yourself.

It annoys me to no end because I imagine it’s not difficult to control. If you feel the need to cough or sneeze, just take a moment to compose yourself. Also, try to be aware of the fact that there are dozens of people around you who would prefer to not listen to your disgusting bodily reverberations.

But I must say that it is the ultimate motivator — hearing someone’s impending doom via an unsettling and hacking cough is a clear reminder of how I never wish to end up. So at least there’s that.

I prefer to live in a civilized atmosphere, where people cough and sneeze with dignity. In fact, a really solid rule of thumb is to always behave as if your are standing next to Kate Upton. Would you ever want Kate to hear your disgusting phlegmy cough? Or your over-the-top sneeze?

Although, if she ever does hear you snore, then that means you did good work, son.

Should girls with boyfriends accept drinks from guys at bars?

For us men, we’ll take any victory when we can get. We’re not like girls. We can’t just decide, “Okay, I think I’ll hook up tonight,” and then do it. We have to say, “Okay, I think I’ll hook up tonight. I hope the stars align.” And occasionally, they do.

There’s age-old cliché that goes something like, “You may have won the battle, but you’ll lose the war.”

I’ll take any goddamn battle I could get. For guys, the battle is the war. All we need is that one little small hook-up to instill some self-confidence, and then our dating life can come crashing down all around us right after that. That’s fine. We could lose the war even worse than Germany lost both World Wars combined, but if we had that one small victory along the way, then that alone is worth a Purple Heart.

It’s like the song, “I Just Had Sex” by the Lonely Island. Actually, it’s exactly like that. All you have to do is be smooth and charming enough for one night to convince to a girl to sleep with you, and then who cares what happens after that?

You did it. It’s over. You’ve won.

So when I’m out at bar, laying my sweet lyrical game, and I feel like a girl is receptive, it’s a nice feeling. I feel like a warrior, slashing down my foes by sword, slowly making my way to the castle to rescue the distressed princess.

There’s small things we strive for to make our way towards that metaphorical castle. Eye contact. Smiling. Extended conversation. Subtle touching. If you get three of those things, you move on to the next step.

That next step of course being to buy her a drink.

You know that part in war movies when the hero has to defeat the second-mightiest enemy? As in, the one who’s slightly bigger and more intimidating than the other generic bad guys, but yet, still very wimpy looking compared to the ultimate villain? Well offering to buy a drink is equivalent to taking on that second-mightiest enemy.

By offering, you are making your intentions extremely clear. No girl is naive enough to think you’re buying it for her to be nice. They know you want something in return. And let me give you a hint — it’s not another round.

And it’s not necessarily the fact that she accepts, but how she accepts. If you sense a momentary internal struggle prior to her response — even if she says yes — then it’s fair to wonder if she’s actually taken. But if there’s no hesitation, and you receive a smile, and she says “Sure,” then you’ve defeated that second enemy like a boss. You’re like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings beheading the orc king.

By the way, it goes without saying that you do not want to mention any of this analogy while you’re talking to the girl. That… would be bad.

So when she very happily accepts the drink, it should be smooth sailing from there, right?

Unfortunately, something I’ve learned in my experiences is that this is not always the case. Many girls who do have boyfriends still will accept that drink some of the time. It’s both a frustrating and upsetting part of the bar-mingling experience.

When she drops the “B” word, the very first thought that filters into the guy’s mind is. “Okay, so I’m not getting lucky tonight, and now I’m out eight bucks. Cool.” And the second-mightiest villain just came back to life and shoved his sword in your gullet.

Which leads to the ultimate question here — should girls who are in relationships accept drink offers from guys at bars?

I spent some time thinking about it recently. And I concluded that context is paramount when trying to answer this question. For example, if a girl is entwined in relationship, and happens to be out one night, and is approached a complete stranger who offers to purchase a drink — then in my utmost opinion, that girl has an obligation to say no. If she says yes, then that boyfriend is going to learn a lot about his girlfriend in the worst way in the very near future. Accepting that drink — again, in my opinion — is one notch below cheating on her boyfriend. Instead, she should respectfully decline.

But what about when a girl is given the offer by a guy who is in her current “group,” and by that I mean the circle of people she’s hanging out with. Most likely it’s a friend-of-a-friend who she only met that night, and thus he is ignorant to her relationship status.

And honestly, in this scenario, I really don’t blame the girl for accepting. Obviously, in an ideal world, she’d express her gratitude with the offer, and say, “I’m actually seeing somebody, but I would still love to have a drink with you,” and then even offer to pay. A decent fellow — myself included — would appreciate the candor and buy her the drink anyway. And then cry themselves to sleep later that night.

However, I can also understand why a girl wouldn’t do that. Maybe she’s uncomfortable being so open and honest. Maybe she is genuinely enjoying the gentleman’s company and doesn’t want to scare him off. Perhaps she’s just having a good time, feels a little tipsy, and wants a goddamn drink. All three are understandable. Although, the boyfriend wouldn’t be too thrilled with any of those. The dick.

Unfortunately, though, in all three of those scenarios, the loser is the guy. The poor, accursed guy. They’re the ones who actually do go home and watch The Return of the King on DVD. And the deluxe edition, at that.

But damn those movies are so good.

St. Patrick’s Day — the Valentine’s Day for alcoholics

You know, I was thinking today — In all of my near-26 years of existence, I never really understood Valentine’s Day. I just didn’t get why girls are so anticipatory of that day, and why they cherish it so much.

As a guy, it’s just something I’ll never understand. I try to think about it — I try to put myself in a woman’s shoes, and imagine why Feb. 14 is so special. Because I don’t care under what circumstances in life I find myself in, I will never, ever anticipate Valentine’s Day. Never.

But then I realized — I think I do get it. I think I can finally understand the emotion that females’ experience in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

The way I realized it is, because, all of the feelings emotions and excitement that a girl harbors for Valentine’s Day — that is exactly how I feel for St. Patrick’s Day.

Right now it is three days until St. Patrick’s — but really two days until the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, which is all that really matters — and I feel like a 7-year-old does on Christmas Eve.

I can’t wait to wear a green shirt like every other douchebag, plan to drink at 2 p.m. like every other douchebag, wear some type of shamrock necklace like every other douchebag, and drink so much that I am a loud, obnoxious drunkard in public like every other douchebag.

I honestly own one green shirt. One. And yet, I’m saving that bad boy for the big day.

In the past I have been very critical of this day. And while there’s still plenty of things that I do not like about it, I’ve decided to shelve all that aside and just embrace it. It’s a day where every one in the world, regardless of skin color, gender, ethnicity and sexuality, joins together under one common cause — to drink beer. And not only to drink beer, but to do it recklessly, unhealthily and irresponsibly. It’s something that we can all finally agree on.

A girl may be reading this and wonder why I can be this excited. It’s the reverse effect of Valentine’s Day, where guys wonder why girls care so much about that holiday. While I know there are plenty of girls who enjoy St. Patrick’s Day also, it’s not like how we do. It’s not.

Guys don’t plan anything. Ever. It’s embedded in our nature. We are just physically, mentally and emotionally incapable of planning things.

Except on St. Patrick’s Day. We’ll even make plans months before March 17 for this day. In fact, how much do I love this day? I am actually intending (key word is intending) to abstain from going out and drinking on Friday, just so I can be ready to go first thing on Saturday. I am that committed. 

That being said people, be smart. Don’t follow your stupid friends whose plan is to simply “go into New York City” and then just take it from there. Plan ahead. Scout out an area that you know is off the beaten path, and where you won’t be bombarded by hundreds upon hundreds of bar-hopping-green-shirted fiends.

Also, stay away from the places that try to take advantage of people on St. Patty’s, and overcharge for their beer, or demand a ludicrous cover charge. Go to a bar that you trust, and that you know would not do such things.

When you hit your mid-twenties, you’ve reached a point in your life where you know how important beer is to you. Everyone drinks in college. But a lot people either stop or temper their drinking habits after that. Some do it voluntarily. Some do it out of necessity.

And some never stop. Maybe they will later in life, but if you’re still going strong into your mid-to-late 20s, then odds say you’ll probably continue consuming alcohol for a long time. So to have a holiday that celebrates beer, and embraces it, then that’s a win.

It’s even more significant this year, because Irish people have a lot to celebrate. According to Wikipedia, 73% of Ireland’s population is Roman Catholic. So in a span of five days, they received a new pope and now they get to celebrate their biggest holiday of the year.

Of course, I am not Irish. There is a reason why this blog is called Weinblog and not O’Malleyblog.

But most importantly: everybody, enjoy yourselves and make irresponsible decisions in a safe and controlled manner. As for me, I am going to get out my iron and ready up the one green shirt that I own.

That’s right, I use irons in the days before St. Patrick’s, too.

Choosing a new pope is not as different from the movie Eurotrip as I thought it would be

At around 2 p.m. Eastern time today, the world became captivated by the introduction of the new pope. It’s not something that happens very often. Pope Benedict XVI was introduced in 2005. Before that, Pope John Paul II was introduced in 1978, and held the papacy until his death, when Benedict took over.

So for those of us who are under 30 years old, we really have only seen this one time before. Granted it was eight years ago, but I was 18 at the time. I was more worried about acquiring a fake I.D. for college than who the new pope was going to be.

To be perfectly honest — and I have no shame whatsoever by admitting this — everything that I knew about the introduction of a new pope is from what I learned in the 2004 movie Eurotrip.

If you’re anywhere in your 20s, then you’ve seen that movie. It’s one of those rare movies that compiles ridiculous over-the-top scenes one after the other, but it works, because it’s genuinely funny and has really likable characters. It’s one of my favorite movies of its genre.

Anyway, one of those over-the-top scenes involves the main character, Scotty — portrayed by actor Scott Mechlowicz (whose career unfortunately hasn’t evolved much since) — inside the Vatican during a tour. He’s with his friend Cooper, and the two somehow end up in the pope’s chambers. Obviously they accidentally start a fire, which of course sends white smoke through the chimney, and results in a large crowd forming in St. Peter’s Square.

Then, Scotty trips into the curtains, which drape around him like a robe, and he wanders out onto the balcony, and everybody thinks he’s the new pope.

In fact, you can watch the scene yourself.

The film is obviously a comedy, so it wasn’t trying to present a realistic portrayal of how a new pope is elected and introduced to the world. It’s parodying the situation, evidenced by how easy it was to draw thousands upon thousands of people towards Vatican Palace simply because of the smoke. The people then become ready to cheer and embrace the first person who steps onto the balcony, which humorously happens to be Scotty. The movie also shows newscasters who eat up the situation, and people glued to their televisions while watching the events at home.

Well, I watched the live events on the New York Times website today, and, well, what happened in Eurotrip is pretty much exactly what happened in real life.

First, white smoke emitted from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel.

After that, you had millions of people all over the world actually spending time talking about smoke. Coworkers approached coworkers, friends approached friends, and family approached family, asking — “Did you see it? It’s white smoke! The smoke is white!”

Never before in the history of the universe has smoke evoked so much conversation. Except that time Justin Bieber was caught smoking weed.

But the smoke blazed, and just like that, thousands of people flocked to St. Peter’s Square like they were zombies in the Walking Dead who sensed live flesh.

And then, they waited.

People were transfixed with that balcony, just waiting for somebody, anybody, to show up. Deadmau5 could have shown up in his Mickey Mouse hat and people would have went crazy.

The Vatican custodian could have accidentally wandered out there with his mop and people would have started crying with joy.

But instead, it wasn’t Deadmau5, it wasn’t the custodian — it wasn’t even Scotty from Eurotrip — it was the new pope.

Can you just imagine that feeling? Standing atop a balcony overlooking thousands of people, while every single one of them is staring at you with tears in their eyes?

I feel like everybody should get to experience a few things in their lives. They should get to participate in a champagne celebration like athletes do after they win a sports championship, they should get the chance to stand in a courtroom with a furious demeanor and yell “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” and finally, they should get to stand on the Vatican balcony, and watch people shower them with love.

I’ll take just one of those.

But seriously, it must have been a surreal moment for Pope Francis I, who goes by the real name Jorge Bergoglio. And it’s comforting to know that he had to wait 77 years of his life to experience it.

It just goes to show that some people peak late. If you haven’t accomplished anything by age 75 — there’s still time. Thanks Jorge.

And of course, there was the extravagant news coverage and attention that Eurotrip foresaw nine years ago. Although, as Twitter so often exposes, there were also those people who had absolutely no idea what a pope was. That link is both shocking, revealing and sad.

But unfortunately, even for those of us who do know — we’re talking about the pope, and not Kate Upton, so nobody will care tomorrow.

Actually, I kind of like the white smoke idea. I think that whenever I write a new blog post, I am going to light a fire and make sure smoke blasts from my chimney, so everybody knows I wrote a new blog. And I actually do a have a balcony on the side of my house, so maybe I’ll stand out there, and embrace all the people who were anxiously anticipating my next post.

All… one of you. Even if the only living thing waiting for me is a squirrel on a nearby tree.

That would be pretty nutty.