Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sports Overseas

Since this is one of the biggest sports weekends in the US, it seems like a fine time to talk about how Prague has changed the way I enjoy sports. The answer: not so much.

Following US sports from overseas is probably easier than it has ever been with the new technology out there. For example, my absolute favorite TV show in the US was Pardon The Interruption (PTI). I haven't missed an episode in 3 years. Kornheiser is my hero. Anyway, for obvious reasons, you can't find PTI anywhere on Czech TV. Trust me - I have tried. But, every morning before I go to work I download the PTI podcast onto my iPod. The show is exactly 25 minutes long and my walk to work is exactly 25 minutes. It couldn't be more perfect. Once I actually get to work, there are a plethora of web sites that show me exactly how horrible my favorite teams did the night before.

For the recent NCAA Tournament games, I've been able to go to the local American sports bar to watch the action. They have a satellite dish that gets the Armed Forces Network (AFN) and they illegally show the biggest US games. I was able to watch the early games on both Thursday and Friday.

But, even more enjoyable than the games is the Armed Forces Network itself. As the same suggests, this is a channel owned and operated by the US Armed Forces to broadcast American programming to troops overseas. They don't accept any advertising, so all of the commercials are made by the Armed forces. One out of every three commercials is broadcasting the Army's suicide hotline number. That should give you a pretty good understanding of the state of our troops right now. Other classic commercials I have seen are "How to organize your desk", "5 great things about the state of Delaware" and another ad that is supposed to be anti-drunk driving.

The drunk driving ad shows two military buddies going out for drinks after work. One of the guys gets lucky and starts talking to a girl while the other guy sits by himself and drinks the whole time. Just as the guy is about to walk out of the bar with the girl he stops, contemplates, then goes back and gets his buddy. All 3 leave together. Now, the first 5 times I saw this ad it was with the sound turned off. I could have sworn this was classic pro-Orgy propaganda. Something along the lines of "Since their are significantly more men than women serving overseas right now, you may have to engage in multiple partners to keep America's blood line pure". Once I found out it was an anti drunk driving ad, it wasn't nearly as funny or enjoyable. I'm sure the number of Suicide hotline ads would go down if they started showing more pro-Orgy ads. Something to think about.

I was also able to watch the Super Bowl on the Armed Forces Network a few months back. Since this was such a big game, the AFN decided to use their own announcers instead of relying on the American networks. Who did they get? None other than Don Johnson and Cecil Martin. Yes, the same Don Johnson that used to be on 'Miami Vice'. Yes, the same Cecil Martin that once rushed for 77 yards in a season for the Eagles. Since they clearly weren't going for journalistic credibility, they should have at least sold out completely and gone for 100% comedy. You can't tell me that Philip Michael Thomas was busy with another gig. Who would you rather listen to for the big game that you don't really care about: Madden & Michaels or Crockett and Tubbs? Case closed.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Life is back to normal

I haven't posted in awhile and I guess that is because life is starting to get back to normal. I've been here for 6 weeks now and I no longer feel like I'm on a vacation every day. I'm starting to get into a routine and - for the most part - life is not that much different than it was in New York. It's been over 40 days since I've had the luxury of a home cooked meal, but I feel that will change in the very near future as well.

My "honeymoon" period at the new job is coming to an end and I actually have to start doing some real work soon. R has also been busy working this week. She hasn't had much of a vacation at all and has been working 8 hour days since Tuesday. Bauer is adjusting to Prague fine and is the same pain in the ass he always was.

The only bad news to report is that I've had some tough luck with health over the course of the last 2-3 moths. It started in early November when I had a slight tear in my rotator cuff. It's mostly healed now, but still a bit weak. Then, In mid January I developed a stress fracture in my right leg. It doesn't hurt at all to walk but kills as soon as I try to run. Nothing to do but rest. I also have developed some allergies in my eyes. I always had some trouble with my eyes in New York, but it seems to be worse in Prague due to the change in climate. If that wasn't enough, I'm sick as a dog right now with a cold. R was kind enough to bring her cold from New York over here and now I got it.

It's just a run of bad luck that I'm sure will end soon, but I haven't been able to work out consistently in months. The cheap beer, 45 straight days of eating out and very little exercise have done wonders for my physique. At least I'm still bathing and brushing my teeth on a frequent basis. That alone puts me in some rare company around these parts.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Gangs All Here

R and B finally landed in Prague early yesterday morning. The flight went well and Bauer was able to pass through customs without any major problems.

B was a little groggy coming off the plane, but he seems to be adjusting well. He's been on a couple of walks and he already has more friends in Prague than I do. Apparently people in Prague don't believe in neutering, so Bauer spends an inordinate amount of time sniffing testicles. It was something he didn't have much opportunity to do in the states but he obviously enjoys it.

I'm also happy to report that I am one of the few people in Prague who actually clean up after their dog. I made the mistake of walking Bauer on the grass in the park last night and ... let's just say that I had to leave my shoes in the hallway over night.

R is doing fine as well. She has a one day vacation before she starts working again tomorrow. We're going to the super market right now - I haven't had a home cooked meal in a month and half and I'm quite looking forward to it.