Thursday, March 25, 2004

Sweet Sixteen

I remember from days long ago when sweet sixteen held a completely different meaning for me. But those days are long past and my only glimpse of that nolstalgic age now is through watching my own teenagers pass that milestone.

These days when I think of sweet sixteen it doesn't come packaged with curls, curves, and bubblegum flavored lipgloss. Granted, I don't know the lipgloss preferences of the NCAA but I'm thinking they were prefer something orange with a leather & sweat flavor. As Dick Vitale... who by the way grates on my wife's nerves about as much as Dr. Phil grates on mine... would put it, "W'ere talking basketball baby."

It's the last great adrenaline rush for sports fans before succombing to the Oh my God is it still baseball season? hell that smothers Spring, Summer & everything good about them. Don't get me wrong, I like baseball okay. It's just that after about 300 games the innings start morphing together into a huge kaleidoscope. It's like smoking pot for a long time. After awhile you just don't care anymore... about anything. At least not until October.

Enough about baseball. Today kicks off the NCAA tournament's round of sixteen teams playing for a spot in the Final Four. Being here in Winston-Salem we are of course proud of our Wake Forest Demon Deacons being lead by freshman sensation Chris Paul. Georgia Tech and the continuing dynasty of Duke University round out the ACC representation.

Duke, who fell asleep during the ACC tournament with a, "Hey we're Duke we can't lose" attitude that got them bounced by Maryland has come alive in the NCAA tournament. I suspect the verbal onslaughts Krzyzewski delivers on the court are tame compared to the locker room so it's no surprise to me Duke woke up. They will be tough to keep away from a Final Four date.

Wake Forest is going to have to get past St Johns who are playing the Rodney Dangerfield we don't get any respect card to the hilt. They seem to be determined to make believers out of those who didn't believe their 29-1 record was worthy of a number one seed. So far no one is eating crow but the critics. Don't count Wake Forest out though. The backcourt seems to have finally accepted Chris Paul for the true star he is which makes all of them better. If Big E can stay in the game and off the bench with foul trouble and this happens to be a night when Danelius shows up to play the Deacons could be trouble for St Johns. Wake has shown already this year they can beat the best.

Georgia Tech travels to St. Louis to play this years Cinderella team, Nevada who has been nothing short of impressive in this years tournament. Nevada doesn't look ready to go home yet and I'm not convinced Paul Hewitt can motivate his team past them. Regardless of the outcome, it should be a great game to watch.

Sweet sixteen... what a feeling. Why, if I were 25 years younger I'd be thinking about...

Who am I kidding? It's March madness baby! I'd be thinking about basketball.

In a perfect world men would have lots of cold beer and munchies, get laid at halftime, & make it back just in time to polish off their sixpack watching their favorite team win.

Until next time...

Mike Gowen © 2004

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Get Passionate

I went with some family members this past weekend to view The Passion of the Christ. I feel compelled to throw my two-cents in to ferment with the many other opinions before me. Personally, I can't say I enjoyed the film. I find it difficult for anyone to say that.

I loved the film. It was powerful. Even though I have witnessed violence in movies so often I hardly blink anymore, it was difficult to watch at times. I believe Mel Gibson tried to portray to the smallest detail, the events as they unfolded. It wasn't pretty but as Pope John Paul II said after viewing it, "It is as it was."

I walked out of the theatre feeling emotionally spent. I can't equate any other time where a film had such an impact on a viewing audience. The packed theatre emptied in silence when the film ended. I did not believe the film to be anti-Semitic. Simply put there are times in history when we would rather not relate ourselves to the people involved. Whether you're discussing slavery, apartheid, the Jewish Holocaust with Hitler and his Nazi regime, Saddam Hussein's execution of Kurds... History is filled with people who did bad things. The telling of the sacrifice Christ made through crucifixion is no different.

I think this is a historical film that people from all walks of life are lining up to see, whether they believe in Christ and the crucifixion or not. I do not believe it is a film for everyone, particularly young children, although I know many of you God-fearing parents are taking your children to see it. I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish? Frighten them into being good boys and girls? Tell them the next time they misbehave... "Don't you remember how Jesus was beaten? Aren't you ashamed of yourself?"

Get a life. I don't think any child under double digits in age should see this film and young teens only on a individual case by case basis depending on parental involvement. If you really want your kids to see it... Buy the video or DVD when it comes out next year and show it to them when they are older.

The acting in the film was superb. If the academy shuns the film, well, I have watched my last Oscars, Billy Crystal or not. It's hard to deny a film that will likely finish among the top 10 films of all time. Jim Caviezel was very believable as Jesus although I thought Maia Morgenstern as Mary, Jesus's mother, tore at the hearts of the audience with her performance. There was such pain and anguish shown through her eyes. Another character who gave a riveting performance was Rosalinda Celentano, as Satan. You could just feel the hair on your arms rise as she fixated her eyes on you.

Rather than get all caught up in the hype of what people are writing or saying, go see the film and decide for yourself. You can learn more about the film at the website, The Passion of the Christ

Regardless of your faith or lack of, there can be no denying the story of ultimate love and sacrifice being told.

In a world of such uncertainty, the timing couldn't be more perfect.

Mike Gowen © 2004

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Hey, They're Gay and They're Married!

So much is being written these days about gay marriage I feel compelled to throw my proverbial two-cents in. Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it disgusting? Blah, Blah, Blah. My response?

Who Cares?

Call me queer in my thinking but it seems to me the people the most upset over the possibility of homosexuals marrying are the same ones who could give a rip about marriage anyway. From the cheap seats this group seems to include most heterosexuals.

I'm not sure when it happened but somewhere in the post-Vietnam era the sanctity of marriage became a joke that is still running today. To quote Benny Hill, "Take my wife... please."

It's no longer, who are you married to? It's... Who are you married to right now?

Marriages between two bodies, one of whom is capable of spitting seeds and the other capable of catching them are happening at the drop of a Vegas Elvis tune and ending just as fast. Besides, as many couples are learning, the advantages to not tying the knot far outweigh the advantages to tying the knot.

The very government that wants you to marry makes it far more attractive to stay single and live in sin.

Let's say you're a single mother. There are government programs that will provide food, healthcare, assistance with living expenses, and money for college. Why would you want to marry and screw that up? Marry and any chance you have of furthering your education might go out the window along with the other government perks.

Besides, few marriages stand the test of time anymore. It would be almost refreshing to see some gay couples break this trend. Unfortunately, I suspect that within a few years they'll be just like their heterosexual counterparts. There will be a new crop of lawyers specializing in gay divorces. Hmm, I wonder if gay divorce will get as dirty as heterosexual? Maybe they'll be nicer.

"You take the house."
"NO, you take the house."

The majority of people who stay married these days do so because of children, debt, abuse... Or they're just too damn lazy to do otherwise. There are a few of us breaking that trend but even in my case it took three tries. Everyday we stay together I figure we're beating the odds.

I guess if you love someone and they love you, the marriage certificate is little more than a piece of paper with both your names on it. If you really need that piece of paper to fill accepted by society as a couple it makes little difference to me what your sex is.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Better than Sex

Got your attention, huh?

People will read this blog just to see what the wonderful elixer is that provides such a good feeling! Okay, maybe better than sex is stretching the truth a bit. It's a dang good feeling though.

I haven't felt well the last couple of weeks. Nothing life threatening going on... I've just been fighting a cold. I came down with it as Winter is fighting tooth and nail to keep Spring in it's shadow. Seventy degrees one day, thirty degrees the next. The kind of weather that flu and colds absolutely love.

I digress. This week we are experiencing some warmer than normal days. Today it's expected to reach as high as seventy-six degrees. In other words...

Riding weather.

That's right. Time to check the oil, kick the tires, and gas up the Harley for a wind in your face adventure. I have a Sportster and there is little else on this earth that will recharge my batteries improving my outlook on life than riding through the countryside on my bike. It's a feeling that motorcyclists crave more than addicts crave cocaine and non-riders never understand.

It's freedom at it's best.

According to the extended forecasts this glimpse of Spring will be shortlived. My Harley will be spending a few more days in the garage waiting for another opportunity to escape... as will I.

But today I'm riding. Today, ladyluck is at my back and the wind is in my face. With the mighty rumble every cubic inch delivers I soar down the highway.

Better than sex might be a stretch but it's a damn good substitute.