Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tiny Bits of Nonsense: May 2015

Here is the May 2015 edition of "Tiny Bits of Nonsense," featuring 10 of my tweets for the month:
Other bits of nonsense:
"Back to the Future" Edition
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
Valentine's Day Edition
January 2015
December 2014
Holiday Season Edition
November 2014
Thanksgiving Edition
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014

April 2014
March 2014

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tiny Bits of Nonsense: "Back to the Future" Edition

It may be time to admit that I have an unhealthy obsession with the Back to the Future movies. Not only did I dedicate the first post in my "Problem With" series to the first movie in the trilogy, and then write a separate entry on the silly Back to the Future memes and rumors on the Internet, but I've also tweeted several jokes that make reference to the films.

I didn't realize how many Back to the Future-inspired tweets I'd published until I wrote one last night about Old Biff's meeting with his younger self that I thought was rather amusing. Of course, no one retweeted it or favorited it, but that's neither here nor there.

I figured I'd compile all of those tweets here, if for no other reason than to ensure that I don't recycle old jokes in the future. Because it's pretty clear that I'm going to be writing more tweets about the Back to the Future movies in the future. Enjoy!










Other bits of nonsense:
April 2015

March 2015
February 2015
Valentine's Day Edition
January 2015
December 2014
Holiday Season Edition
November 2014
Thanksgiving Edition
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014

April 2014
March 2014

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why Can't I Run The Bases?

I didn't realize I wanted to run the bases at a major league stadium until four weeks ago. April 18, to be exact. I was in Toronto, watching the Blue Jays play the Atlanta Braves at the Rogers Centre. The home team won the game on a walk-off home run in extra innings. Very exciting.

Afterward, the Blue Jays invited fans to line up in several sections around the ballpark for an opportunity to run the bases. I was really excited. I'd never run the bases on a major league diamond before. I'd never run the bases on any sort of baseball diamond before.

I did sprint across a Little League outfield once, when I was 14, but the groundskeeper yelled at me, and I was so scared that I hopped a fence and never returned. That experience crushed me; I believe I could've played baseball in the pros had I received a little more encouragement from that groundskeeper. He soured me on the game for a long time.

I was soured on the game again at the Rogers Centre, after I discovered that only fans ages 14 and under were permitted to run the bases. I was crestfallen. Have you ever had a dream that went unfulfilled because of unfair regulations set by a major league baseball team? If so, you understand how I felt at that moment. The Blue Jays ruined a dream I'd had for five long minutes. Maybe more.

The Blue Jays are not the only team that excludes adults from "run the bases" promotions. I Googled the phrase "run the bases" and the results contained the websites of numerous major league (and minor league) baseball teams that explicitly stated that only kids, typically between the ages of 4 and 12, can take part in these promotions. Even my beloved New York Mets won't let me participate in their "Dashes." After all of the losing seasons I've suffered through, the least they can do is let me dash on their infield dirt.

(You know, we cater to children far too much at sporting events. I'm amused when I listen to dads complain, "It costs too much to take the family to a game nowadays. Not only do I have to buy tickets for myself and my kids, but I have to get them food, programs, memorabilia." No you don't. You're not obligated to get them anything at the stadium. You are more than welcome to attend a game and not make any purchases while you're there. I've done it many times. Granted, I'm not a father, but if I were, I'd make sure my kids were well-fed before we left the house. I'd then ply them with Twix bars in the car, pick up free schedules for each of them as a souvenir, and treat them to more Twix on the ride home. Seems simple enough to me.)

Why do these teams refuse to allow me to run the bases? What is the reason? As a fan and as a customer, I have a right to know.

Are they afraid I might risk injury to myself? I will concede that that is a possibility. At the age of 34, I am past my prime in baseball years. And I haven't run, under any circumstance, since I took the physical fitness test in high school gym class. When the president of your country orders you to run a mile, you do it. Otherwise, I'm fine with walking.

Or maybe -- this is the real issue, I believe -- the teams are worried I would show up the kids by outrunning them on the basepaths. To that I'd say, of course I would. If I were to be given the chance to run the bases on a big league field, why would I not give maximum effort? I wouldn't take it slow; I'd want to move from base to base as quickly as possible. If I have to pass dozens of kids to do it, so be it. Would their feelings be hurt? Probably. But there's no crying in baseball.

I'd like an explanation from major league teams regarding why I can't run the bases. And I'd also like the NFL to tell me why it won't allow fans my age to try out for the Punt, Pass & Kick competition.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Standing At Concerts: Why I Can't Stand It

I attended a Noel Gallagher concert last week. It was the eighth time I'd seen him live, both as the lead guitarist for Oasis and as a solo artist.

He is my favorite musician, and since he's from England, it's a rare treat when he comes across the pond and puts on a show here. He tours the U.S., on average, once every three or four years. He hasn't spoiled me as a fan, and I like that. By comparison, Dave Matthews Band announces a summer tour once every two or three weeks. They will circle the country six times this summer alone. I'm sorry...seven times. More dates were just released.

My latest Noel Gallagher concert was staged in a general admission venue, with a capacity of 1,500. In one respect it enhanced the experience because it was intimate, and I was able to maneuver myself relatively close to the stage. On the other hand, I had to stand for a total of three hours, and I couldn't stand it.

I arrived to the venue at 7:30 p.m., a half-hour before the doors opened, and stood in line. The concert was scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. By 8:53 p.m., my lower back was throbbing. It was an unfair reminder that, at the age of 34, my peak years of standing amid a sea of excitable music fans are long behind me. I was fantasizing about the curb outside the venue, and all of the wonderful ways I could sit on it, by the time Noel took the stage.

Once he started playing his guitar, I was able to mentally block the pain I was feeling. I was really entertained by the opening song and was dancing in that awkward "I can't dance so I'll bop my head, tap my foot and slap my hand against my thigh" sort of way. But the fans in front of me were moving to the music as well, and they started shifting their position and, as a result, obscuring my view of Noel. I'm 5'6" so I had to constantly stretch my neck to the left, to the right, in whichever direction necessary in order to best peer through the crowd in front of me and see the musician I paid to see. 

For those of you who are taller than I am, let me take a moment to explain to you how difficult it can be to be my height. Those around me are not really sensitive to the fact that I'm smaller than average, and they are not very accommodating to me. In fact, I usually have to accommodate them.

An example: when I'm with friends, and we want to take a group photo. This is rarely handled in a diplomatic manner. "Hey Shane, you're short, can you stand in the front, please? You're such a tiny person, and we don't want you to be hidden in the back behind all of us, your friends, who tower over you. That's great, thank you. Wait a second...can you kneel down toward the ground? It's just a precautionary measure. Again, you're short, but we can't run the risk of your head blocking someone's neck or chin. Thanks, buddy."

If I have to stand in front for a group photo because I'm short, it stands to reason that I should stand in the front for a general admission concert. That's just my two cents.

What really bothers me is when fans stand up at a seated venue during a concert. There's no need for that. You paid for the seat; use it. Get your money's worth out of it. The music will sound exactly the same whether you're sitting or standing. I'm certain of it.

Boy, was I irritated when I attended a festival in Central Park last fall. There were no seats, but everyone, including myself, was very comfortable sitting or lying on the grass. I was able to enjoy the music of fun. and Carrie Underwood while sprawled out on my blanket. I was really having fun (no pun intended). Then No Doubt walked onto the stage, and everyone stood up. I couldn't believe it. Here we were, relaxing on a lawn -- a Great Lawn -- and it was all ruined because tens of thousands of people felt the need to get on their feet for No Doubt's infectious brand of ska-pop. And they remained standing for a headlining set by Jay Z. That's more than two hours of standing for no logical reason. That night, I had 99 problems and searing leg pain was one.

Back to the Noel Gallagher concert: I had discomfort in my back from standing, and I had discomfort in my neck from stretching. Physically, I was falling apart. Fortunately, Noel had the cure halfway through his set: a semi-acoustic performance of "Champagne Supernova," which served as a cue for several fans around me to light up a joint. "Where were you while we were getting high?" indeed.

I'm certain the marijuana was for medicinal purposes, because they had to have been in as much agony as I was. I don't think I inhaled the smoke, but I did suddenly feel a whole lot better about myself, though I developed an intense craving for Doritos.

I don't mean to complain. It was an awesome concert, one of my personal favorites. I'm actually seeing Noel Gallagher again next month. In a seated venue. While I'm looking forward to the show, you better believe I will be sitting down for every minute of it.