Hey, everybody! It's time once again for "Free-association February," that magical month when newspaper columnists write about whatever pops into their twisted, opinionated, feeble little minds. (This, of course, is not to be confused with similar journalistic celebrations, like "Shiny-object September," or even "Squirrelanuary.")
So without further ado, a little free association:
And the first thing on my mind right now is Barbie. Yes, the doll.
Seriously, is anybody else creeped out by this whole idea of Barbie posing in the current Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? Frankly, I simply don't care how clever or kitschy the magazine's designers think they are -- making a mockery of the revered annual issue by including a child's doll is just a bit too disturbing.
I'm secure enough in my own manhood to admit it: I played with my share of Barbie dolls when I was a kid. But in the words of H.I. McDunnough: "Now y'all without sin can cast the first stone."
Look, I was a skinny, shy kid who grew up in the sixties in a household with no brothers, and three sisters who played a LOT of Barbies. And remember, this was long before video games, or Blu-Ray discs, or even cable television.
So, on the occasional Saturday that none of my friends were home and I was bored out of my mind, what was I supposed to do when my only options were either playing with my sisters (which, more often than not would somehow involve Barbies) or -- yawn -- reading a book?
Doing doughnuts in the pink Barbie convertible it is.
However, lest anyone think me some sort of sicko, you should know I was always sufficiently repulsed by an undressed Barbie doll, what with her freakishly proportioned -- and segmented -- body. Sorta like a mud wasp with breasts.
Barbie in the swimsuit issue? Weird on so many levels.
KSL strikes again
Speaking of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, apparently KSL found the recent "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit: 50 Years of Beautiful" too racy for its Utah viewers, so it promptly pre-empted the television special. And what did KSL show in place of supermodels lounging in the sand? "Charly," the story of a young woman who converts to Mormonism and promptly dies of cancer.
Look, I get it. Every once in awhile, somebody at KSL decides women in skimpy bathing suits crosses a line. But with the potential for a lot of male viewers expecting to see beautiful women in swimsuits, couldn't they at least have aired some outdoorsy hunting or fishing show? ("Hey, wait a minute? Where are the hot babes in bikinis? ... Oh well, I guess watching this guy gut a fish is the next best thing ...")
Instead, we get the sensitive story of a woman whose dying wish is to ride the Ferris wheel.
I don't know, sometimes it feels like KSL isn't even trying.
And while we're on the subject of KSL, how about those Winter Olympics? It would appear that these young athletes are in Sochi, Russia, for more than just medals, after it was reported in the media that 100,000 condoms were sent to Sochi for the games. One hundred thousand. And apparently, this year the athletes are also using something called Tinder, a location-based dating app, to hook up with one another in record numbers.
Citius, Altius, Fortius.
Which brings us, speaking of hanky-panky, to the Utah Legislature. And specifically, this year's penchant for instigating standing ovations. Seems like you can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting lawmakers roundly cheering someone for something.
Ogden Republican Sen. Stuart Reid, who is not seeking re-election, received an ovation from colleagues this session after giving a farewell address of sorts. And before that, a group of fourth-graders got the standing O on a bill replacing Utah's state tree, of all things.
Gee, remember the good old days, when standing ovations were limited to naked lawmakers in hot tubs?
Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/mark.saal.