Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Facial Follow-Up

Over the past few days we've gotten much disgusting detail on Ariel Sharon's surgeries and his every movement. It's got me thinking that being a celebrity largely stinks. After all, the more anonymous you are, the less likely the New York Times is going to be interested in your hemmorhoid surgery, right?

But, it seems, none of us mind *looking* like celebrities. We like to say, "Some people think I look like this person," in hopes that someone else will say, "Yes, I agree! You look like a cross between George Clooney and Russell Crowe!" For all I know, maybe that was the subconscious reason for my previous blog entry.

I was certainly rewarded with the anonymous stunner, "I seriously think that you look like Kiefer Sutherland. I have always thought so." That one really made my day.

But... Just in case you thought that my subliminal motivation was pride, I felt the need for a follow-up. One which would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing but humility left in my construct.

One of the comments to my last blog entry was submitted by an anonymous woman. She wrote, "Since the mid-80's til today I've been told I look like Princess Sarah Ferguson (a.k.a. Fergie)." She also bears a resemblance to Gillian Anderson and Sharon Tate. Truly, she must be a strikingly beautiful person.

But for a man to be compared to any of these women might be less impressive, wouldn't you say?

So, it's pride-killing confession time. Long before anyone ever compared me to Kiefer, I had hair that was, shall we say, "Voluminous." And the only celebrity I was ever compared to in those days (and believe me, it was a VERY frequent comparison) was...

You guessed it...


Thank you, anonymous submitter, for dredging up such a humbling memory. I can only hope that your current womanly beauty outshines my own from 1989.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Face The Facts

Over the years, I've noticed people really like to hear that they resemble celebrities. When I was a kid in the 70's, telling a girl that she looked just like Farrah Fawcett-Majors was a sure-fire way to evoke a proud smile - maybe even a kiss.

There are now celebrity look-a-like TV shows cropping up all over. Why somebody would want to announce to the world that they look like Willie Nelson or Keith Richards is beyond me, but I figure it's probably the only reward they'll ever receive for years of hard drinking and chain smoking. Let 'em live it up.

The simple fact is when someone says you remind them of somebody famous, you never forget it. In my case, the opinion of the multitudes (okay, like four people in 12 years, but still a measurable number) seems to be that I resemble the star of the now-in-its-fifth-season-hit-TV-series '24', Kiefer Sutherland.

Being a humble guy, I haven't really bought into this.

(Okay, before you point out how un-humble it is to say that you're humble, don't forget Moses' own words in the book of Numbers:

"Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth." - Numbers 12:3

Now, back to my own humility...)

On a good self-esteem day, I can look in the mirror and think, "Okay, I probably won't sicken anyone." But most often, the reflection staring back at me can only be described as being reminiscent of Danny Partridge... but without the fame, fortune, or my own reality-TV show.

But - as doubtful as the mixture of humility and reality causes me to be - it is a nice little pick-me-up when somebody says, "Hey, I think you look sort of like that guy who some people think is sort of good looking."

Imagine my excitement the other day when I read that facial recognition software had become mainstream and was now available on the internet!

To be frank, I really could care less that they're banking on its ability to identify terrorists in airports. For that matter, I have no interest in the fact that they're using it to demonstrate genetic similarity among family members.

No, my excitement had to do with vindication. The very idea that I could have an independent judge... An unbiased computer which would use complex algorithms to prove to me scientifically that the quartet of speculators from the last dozen years had been correct! That this prime-time star and I might in fact be so alike in appearance that I might be mistaken for him while traversing a major airport or shopping in an affluent city's mall!

Surfing over to, my excitement was somewhat quenched when I discovered one must create an account. Although it's free, I always resent having to give corporations my e-mail address.

But the drive to discover was greater than my disdain for such things, and so I pressed on. I uploaded a recent photograph of myself, and waited several seconds for the scanning process.

Incredibly, the software quickly analyzed the 2,400 celebrities in their database, and found ten matches, listed in order of similarity!

First on the list was Kevin Bacon.

Hmm. While it was admittedly a strange coincidence (considering my recent blog entry regarding the six degrees of separation), I think that Kevin Bacon looks more like a cross between George Thorogood and Jim Carrey than me.

I believe that more people have compared me to actual bacon than Kevin Bacon.

But certainly, I thought, Keifer would be the number two match.

He was not.

I tried to comfort myself with the thought that maybe he wasn't in the database at all. (This was theory was later proven wrong by entering a photo of Mr. Sutherland, and discovering that he looks 48% like himself.)

I had undertaken this task in hopes of redemption, or at least a little self-esteem boost. But clicking through the list in descending order demonstrated that not only was Keifer not in the running, but the software had determined I had a 44% similarity to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore. I was not boosted a bit.

The only lift I got from the whole experience was the thought that the facial recognition software might be faulty. There was a slight hint at this in the results. Number four on the list, with a 49% similarity to me was the following:

Yes, that's right... Olympic Gold medalist Wilma Randolph. People at the gym are ALWAYS telling me how much I look like her!

By the way, if you want to try this for yourself, here's the link. Feel free to let me know two things: 1) What celebrity you think you most resemble, and 2) What the computer decided.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I Am Resolute

Only three days into the new year, and I'm hoping that whatever New Year's resolutions you've made haven't failed yet. Or at least haven't been completely abandoned!

I didn't make a lot of them, and tried to be realistic about the ones I chose. Essentially, there's just three:

1) After spending most of November and all of December eating terribly, skipping lots of workouts, and gaining some lost weight back, I recommitted to following my Body for Life routine. (In case you ever wondered but were afraid to ask, that's how I went from 285lbs to 220lbs in the last couple years.) That means six days a week of up at 5:00am, alternate days of cardio and weightlifting, eating right, and lots of water. It doesn't sound fun (and often isn't), but it's far better than feeling like a lethargic, fat, sleepy slug, which is how I've felt for the last month and a half (and how I used to feel all the time).

2) Another very realistic goal is reading through the Bible in 2006. This might not sound like a big deal since I've taught verse-by-verse through most of it now, and read it through lots of times in the last 18 years. But I've never really followed a program. If you want to do this with me, I made a web page with the daily readings here. It'd be nice to know that we're all on the same page - literally!

3) But the resolution I'm most concerned about is an overall time-management plan I've been developing for myself. I made an hour-by-hour outline of my weeks with new daily routines that allow me lots of study time, but also include an hour a day of guitar, prayer, reading, etc. It seems completely realistic on paper, but will definitely take some discipline to implement. If this works, it's gonna be a great year in lots of ways!

I really would like 2006 to be productive for me spiritually, mentally, musically, and physically. What about for you? Have you given any thought to a New Year's resolutions? If so, I'd like to hear what your goals are. Post anonymously if you want, but sometimes just the act of writing them out in a public forum can be the best kind of motivation and accountability.

Honestly, that's the only reason I posted this today.