Saturday, October 14, 2006

Et A Kit

For those who are unaware, there are strict rules of bathroom etiquette that we men must follow. I suppose most of those who are unfamiliar with these rules are women, though in my experience there are enough men who also fail to grasp the importance of proper bathroom behavior. And frankly, that just makes those of us following the rules feel incredibly awkward. Let's face it: there aren't many places worse than the bathroom for feeling awkward. Maybe the bedroom... But next to that, you definitely don't want to feel uncomfortable on the crapper.

Thus, for the education and edification of those for whom these rules are unknown, (and to help avoid horrible horrible blushing at the urinal) I present the following:

The Rules of Mens' Bathroom Behavior:

1. Dialogue
(A) There shall be no talking in the bathroom, regardless of how many men are present and irrespective of any potential waiting period,

(I) except in the following limited circumstances:
(a) when two or more men who have been engaged in conversation immediately preceding their entrance into the restroom enter said restroom simultaneously, with the aforementioned conversation ongoing, provided that (i) a termination or abeyance of the conversation could not have been reasonably reached prior to the restroom entrance and (ii) a cessation of conversation be reached in an expedient fashion.

(b) when two or more men who have entered the restroom engaged in prior conversation have engaged in a temporary abeyance, as per the rules of etiquette, they may restart their communications provided that both have (i) finished their respective goings-on in either the stall or urinal areas and (ii) are standing at a sink or towel area away from the various goings-on of others who may be frequenting that restroom. At no time shall a man wait inside the bathroom for his companions, despite a desire to resume an abeyed conversation. If the men finish their goings on at markedly different times such that they do not reach the sink or towel area in relatively synchronized fashion the man(men) finishing first must exit the restroom in an orderly fashion and wait until their companion exits before resuming their discussion.

(c) while at a social engagement with closed attendance set (e.g. a wedding) any two men are permitted a brief exchange provided that (i) it occurs in passing, while one man is finishing his goings-on or washing and the other is beginning, (ii) the two men have some otherwise established relationship (e.g. family members, close friends), and (iii) there has been limited opportunity for significant conversation between the two prior to this occasion.

(B) If a man violates these rules the non-offending hearer shall,

(I)If he is the person to whom the conversation is directed, either
(a) ignore the speaker, if they be unknown to the hearer, or (b) respond succinctly, using the shortest and quietest combination of monosyllabic words (e.g. "yup"), simple gestures (e.g. a knowing half-smile with a nod), and guttural tones (e.g. "hmph").

(II)If he is a bystander, and not the person to whom the conversation is directed
(a) ignore the speaker entirely, and (b) pray silently to himself that he finish quickly and without becoming a target of the offending speaker's conversation.


2. Peeking.
(A) At no time shall a man peek.

3. Urinal Selection.
(A) The selection of urinals shall follow strict rules of priority, the sequence of which is established in subpart (I) below:

(I)
(a) If possible, the man will always leave at least one empty urinal between himself and others.
(b) If possible, so long as it is consistent with part 3(A)(I)(a), the man shall select a urinal at either end of the row.
(c) If it is entirely impossible to satisfy part 3(A)(I)(a), but possible to otherwise comply with 3(A)(I)(b), the man shall so comply with 3(A)(I)(b) and select an end urinal.
(d) If it is entirely impossible to satisfy part 3(A)(I)(a), selection shall be based on the appearance of the pre-arriving urinators. The man shall select the urinal nearest to the urinator who appears to be closest to finishing. If one is unable to determine who is nearest to completion he shall then take into account the prior order of arrival at the urinals, if it be known to him. If he is still unable to determine which is the most suitable urinal he shall select the open urinal nearest to an end of a row.
(e) Only if all urinals are occupied shall a man use a stall for urination.
(f) If there is a line for access to the urinals and stall a man shall wait patiently and quietly before selecting the first available urinal or stall, (i) provided that at all times at least one stall is designated for those men who need defecate. (ii) Only one such defecation stall need be designated at any one time, regardless of occupancy.
(g) If, instead of a row of urinals, a large trough has been provided all of the above rules shall be followed using "wide-urinal" estimates. (i) A "wide-urinal" estimate is established by considering the approximate width of a typical urinal and the space on both sides of that urinal, until the next urinal, in the typical men's restroom. (ii) Each trough-urinator shall apply the "wide-urinal" rule, in effect creating double the space between urination locations.

4. Urinal, Stall, and Sink Behavior
(A) At all times while urinating a man shall look straight ahead or forward with a slight downward angle, such that his point of focus is no lower than the top of the urinal's porcelain structure. (I)He shall not turn his head from side to side. (II) He shall not look up. (III) He shall not look lower than the top of the urinal's porcelain structure,

(a) Unless:
(i) He is aiming his stream, or (ii) He is having certain complications with zippers, belts, buttons, undergarments, or equipment.
(b) once any or all of the exceptions so listed in 4(A)(III)(a) has been eliminated, he shall return his focus to the preferred location described in 4(A).

(B) At all times a man shall keep his hands at or below the level of his navel, (I) never placing more than one hand on his equipment at all times, (II) though general proximity of a second hand will be acceptable provided the hand is serving a purpose in that location, such as keeping garments out of the stream. (III) For the exception to the rule, see 4(C).

(C) You shall flush.

(D) If, by fault or not, the toilet was not effectively flushed, a man shall not return to flush it a second time. (I) Instead he shall proceed to the sink, acting as if the toilet was properly flushed, despite the obvious reality, and regardless of whether his urinal use is immediately followed or not. (II) If the improper flush occurred in a stall, the man shall remain to flush the toilet a second time. If that flush is also ineffective, he shall proceed to the sink, taking care to close the stall door.

(E) Usage of the sink is strongly preferred. (I) However, if the man has little cause for use of the sink, that cause be located solely in touching his equipment and flushing the toilet, he shall quickly rinse his hands with only water, in any unoccupied sink, and proceed to dry-off using no more than 2 paper towels or no-more-than 5 full seconds underneath a blow-dryer. (II) If the man has good cause for use of the sink, he shall select a sink on the same basis as urinal selection, and proceed to wash heartily, using both soap and water. He will then be afforded as many paper towels, or as much time under the blow-dryer, as he needs to completely remove any wetness from his hands.

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Ok, that's what I've got for rules. Men out there: if I've missed something or you think this needs an amendment or if you think something should be struck from the rules, let me know, and I'll take it under advisement.

Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Quick Baseball Musings

Well, the Twins are down 1 game. I'm not too worried yet, though a bit bummed out. It was frustrating to watch our offense be over-aggressive and shoot themselves in the foot. And there were obviously some serious playoff jitters for a few players (Bartlett, Cuddyer).

It's kind of strange to think that the Twins have been in the playoffs four of the last five years, because that fact really belies what is a very real dearth of experience on our roster. We've got Bonser - a rookie - as our game 2 starter. We've got Bartlett and Mauer - two key up-the-middle defenders - getting their first post-season experience. Morneau, Cuddyer, Punto and the bullpen all have limited experience. Heck, even Phil Nevin, a ten-year veteran, played in his first post-season game today!

Which means, in my mind at least, that regardless of how this turns out, it bodes well for next year. We've got a wonderful young group of players who should keep fighting, year after year, for playoff spots. And after this year, they'll have a heck of a lot more experience when they get to that post-season.

I guess the real point here is that this is an exciting time to be a Twins fan. Even if we get swept by the A's (which I don't expect (but still fear)) we've got a bright future ahead of us.

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One of the fascinating things about this Twins/Athletics match-up is that both are small-market teams who have had a tremendous run of success. The A's are playing in their 5th post-season of the past 7. The Twins are in number 4 out 5. Both teams work hard at developing players in the minor leagues, make smart trades, and try to use players that other teams seem to toss away. What's remarkable is that, despite their similarities the two teams are viewed by some as being two completely different models. The A's are the Moneyball team, who use stats stats stats to determine which players will get on base and hit the ball out of the park. The Twins, on the other hand, are seen as strong in the scouting world, where they get a feel for which players fit by watching and recording, and relying less on the stats. Of course, both teams use both approaches, and it's silly to split them into two camps, but there are differences in their approaches too.

Back in 2002, when the Twins made the post-season for the first time since '91, they matched up with the A's in the first round. That time the underdog Twins won in 5 games. What I find really interesting is that, at the time, both teams had some major strengths and major flaws. The A's were a strong hitting team, who could draw a lot of walks and hit the ball a long way, but they weren't strong defensively. The Twins were a small-ball team, who played great defense, but suffered with the bats because they didn't have enough plate discipline and no serious power threats.

In the 4 years since that time both teams have moved closer towards each other. The Twins have developed players like Morneau and Mauer, with great plate discipline and a bit of power. The A's have gotten much quicker defensively, and actually are one of the best fielding teams in the American League.

Despite these changes, both teams are still perceived largely as they were 4 years ago. I think this is really interesting because, having watched these teams develop over that time, what I think we've seen is a real building strategy. Both GMs - Terry Ryan and Billy Beane - started with a foundation that they felt was most important. For Ryan it was defense, pitching, and team chemistry. For Beane it was On Base Percentage, pitching, and slugging. With the foundations in place, both teams were able to focus on other aspects, to develop players who could bring something more to the table, but would still fit within that earlier framework.

The end result has been the best two teams in baseball over the past half season, and an incredibly evenly matched playoff series. It'll be fun watching the next few games, and either way, I'm rooting for the winner of this division series to go all the way.

Throw a coin in a fountain of dust