Showing posts from February, 2010

This is Not the End of Olympic Commentary...

...for me! There may only be one day left, but I'm only up to 2/20 and so I will have more to say about this amazing two-week period! So for those of you who actually can make it through my painstakingly long posts and find any of it interesting... you are in luck!

(Probably no one reads all this, but that is not why I post it. In 2014, I'll remember all of this and re-read it to recall it and compare it to those Olympics! Hey, there is some method to the posting madness.)

Thanks and good night!

XXI Winter Olympics - Men's Freestyle, Compulsatory Dance, Skeleton, Etc...

I finally saw the Mens' Freestyle skating program and wow! Evan Lysacek was incredible! He did an amazing routine, did flawless jumps, great music, everything was perfect! And he knew it - when he finished, he was grinning and then was pumping his fists and looked delighted. It was wonderful to watch.

I saw all of the skaters: Evan, who skated to Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade; Daisuke Takahashi, who skated to Rota's La Strada and had to have been heart broken when he fell on the first jump; Johnny Weir, who skated to various artists' Fallen Angel (I know I heard some of the music from City of Angels, which will rip your heart out - that, combined with excellent skating with so much feeling, was great; and Yevgeny Plushenko, who's music was okay and his skating was god, but he flubbed a landing and then went on to express some comments that gave away what a poor loser he is - not that a silver medal is losing! I was really disappointed with his comments after the me…

WI-FI is Awesome!

I'm at my parents' house and I can actually connect to the Internet! That is cool.

I realise WI-FI is common but I had no idea my folks had a LAN, so I didn't know I could connect and blog from here, too. Neat. Not that I usually do much blogging or anything computer-related here, but this was a nice discovery. We checked out "Joy of Garlic" ( and discovered the ugly truth about companies committing rape with shipping. They have a 24oz container of garlic spread that is $9.99 and the "shipping" cost was $11.50. Are you serious?! When has the cost of shipping exceeded the cost of product?! It was offensive. So he's going to get some at Whole Foods in Montclair, N.J.

Good thing!

All the Best Thinking is Done in the Shower Part 4,891

Always... I should say my best thinking is done anywhere I can't write it down. The shower? That is easily the highest qualifier... At least when I'm driving I can call the house number and leave myself a message with bulletpoints of what I'd like to write.
So here I am, witting in front of the home computer, which underscores the fact that I need to purchase another new monitor, wrapped in a towel with wet legs, not getting ready to go visit my parents... But if I don't do this now, I won't remember later.
I should move some money around and buy another monitor... But I will instead wait for Luis to return from far-away Omaha (he'll be on the 1400 flight out of Omaha to Houston, then wait a bit for his next flight out of Houston to arrive in New Jersey around 2200). Then he can come with me to Staples to select a new monitor that won't be broken.
Back to what I was thinking about in the shower... I was shaving something, and thinking about the social graces i…

ARTICLE: Huge Quake Hits Chile (Magnitude 8.8)

TALCA, Chile – A devastating earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, toppling homes, collapsing bridges and plunging trucks into the fractured earth. A tsunami set off by the magnitude-8.8 quake threatened every nation around the Pacific Ocean — roughly a quarter of the globe.

Interior Minister Edmundo Perez Yoma said the most powerful quake to hit the country in a half-century killed at least 82 people, but the death toll was rising quickly. In the town of Talca, just 65 miles (105 kilometers) from the epicenter, Associated Press journalist Roberto Candia said it felt as if a giant had grabbed him and shaken him.

The town's historic center, filled with buildings of adobe mud and straw, largely collapsed, though most of those were businesses that were not inhabited during the 3:34 a.m. (1:34 a.m. EST, 0634 GMT) quake. Neighbors pulled at least five people from the rubble while emergency workers, themselves disoriented, asked for information from reporters. Many roads were destroyed,…

XXI Olympics - Catching Up Slowly

I'm up to Womens Downhill track with Stacy Cook flying down the mountain (recorded on Thursday, 18 February). This woman is not... um... well... I don't want to say unlucky, but I can't help but wonder if she is a monumental klutz (I am, so there is nothing wrong with that) or unlucky or just has issues that no one's guessed at.

She has suffered more than one serious fall skiing, which I would imagine is endemic of the sport, ut then she sliced her thumb open while trying to open a bottle of alcohol (I can't recall if it was wine or bubbly). I'm guessing there are more accidents or incidents. I don't know. I walk into things, trip over my own feet and hate ice. I know I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to locomotion. I'm not sure if this skier has hit upon this knowledge.

I'm wondering if she has the beginning signs of muscular dystrophy, or worse, multiple sclerosis... That may sound really harsh and I certainly don't wish either condition …

XXI Winter Olympics - Men's Doubles Luge

More madness. I guess I don't remember or I did not watch this last time (I used to prefer Summer Games) but I had no idea that there was a luge with two men on it. This is much more bizarre than the regular luge! I've no idea how this is aerodynamic! This looks more klutzy than the regular luge. On the other hand, when you watch them racing, you can't really see the bottom guy - he's buried under the top man.

Austria took the gold on this. There was one accident - sort of - with the other two guys from Austria. They did not come off the sled but they were WAY too high on Turn 16 and crashed into the side of track coming out of it. And I don't know how the bottom guy felt, but his face shield popped off and the bigger guy was bouncing around on top of him! He was quite shaky when he got up off the sled.

It was interesting to watch the mens' doubles. Both are on the sled and while it looks like the bottom rider is behind the front man, once they are actively going…

Smoking in Today's Culture

I'm rereading John Grisham's The Runaway Jury and enjoying it immensely.

The main focus is the jury that has been selected for a Big Tobacco trial and what the two sides of the case are trying to do to see the outcome they'd like. Personally, I have no trouble believing the bad things I hear about the tobacco industry. Including:

'The 1998 legal settlement between the states and the tobacco companies prohibited the tobacco companies from taking "any action, directly or indirectly, to target youth... in the advertising, promotion or marketing of tobacco products." However, since the settlement, the tobacco companies have increased their cigarette marketing expenditures by 125 percent to a record $15.1 billion a year, or $41.5 million a day, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Much of this marketing is still targeted at kids. One of the tobacco industry's most outrageous new tactics is the introduction of candy-flavored cigarettes and smokeles…

Bullies in Schools

Granted that People Magazine has its interest in sleaze, it also has its interest in public issues and affairs (outside of the famous people and their affairs) and one subject that has been getting more and more notice is school bullying.

When I lived in Wallington, NJ, I didn't love school, but it was okay. It was an onerous task with boring teachers and some wretched kids but it was just there. I prayed for snow days but in those ancient days (I sound the grandparents of any age, at 42) we had to go to school even when there were measurable inches of snow. But as much as I wasn't crazy about it, I usually had a couple of friends and did poorly in subjects I wasn't interested in and flew through the few that I was.

Teachers loved to say I wasn't attentive and this and that, but I have discovered that adults lie as much as children and when put to the wall, even more.

When we moved from Wallington to Wayne in 1981, I discovered what every kid dreaded - moving to a new tow…

Scary Weather

The wind is roaring, the snow is still coming down, the slush on the roads has turned to glare ice. And thanks to the wind, the snow is drifting...

The stairs were clear of snow this afternoon but the whipping wind has now dumped a lot of snow on the top two steps. The road has some bare spots that are slippery, and some spots with more than a foot of snow. There's been a lot of police chatter with lines down, a tree on someone's house, a lot of crazy things going on.

Most of the time I don't mind being home alone; but with the scary weather, I'd feel better if Luis was here. However, he was supposed to fly home this morning. I had called him yesterday and told him it was extremely unlikely that he'd be coming home. He wasn't sure, either. Well, I called him around 1000 and he answered his phone, something that would he wouldn't have done had he boarded his 0700 flight. He's still in Omaha, Nebraska and at first he wasn't coming home until Sunday morn…

7-Day Forecast for Latitude 40.87°N and Longitude 74.39°W

XXI Winter Olympics: Pleshenko's Round the Bend, Korea Blew It & What is Up with Japan?!

It seems that the modern world has forgotten the purpose and soul of the Olympic Games.

I had commented in my last post, "Round Three of the XXI Winter Olympics" ( that Yevgeny was in the top place, with Evan Lysacek behind for silver. That night had been the Mens' Short Program and it was wonderful. It was a good show all around. Many skaters were brand-new to the Olympic skating experience and fell or flubbed landings but still did a good job - I should think them worthy of applause just to get up and continue their routines after such a fall. And the senior skaters even had their issues, but let's look at the bigger/biggest picture - they are all in the OLYMPICS! The highest standard of Olympic sportsmanship ever to grace the world!

Yevgeny Plushenko did a techinically adept performance but was not emotionally there for this short program. Any robot could have done this and been marked we…

Round Three of XXI Olympic Madness!

I love the more... hardcore sports. The speed skating is my favourite for the skate-related events. The luge is total madness and fun to watch. I'm trying to patiently wait for the skeleton (luge on steroids, if you can believe it.

On the other hand, the ice skating still has its appeal. However, and this sounds awful, I am seeing that the mens' ice skating isn't, uh, well... The skaters are so effeminate. I'm watching the other athletes and there is no mistaking the men from the women. Not so with the ice skaters. The pair skaters are a bit more delicate than your regular event men, but the single skaters are practically indistinguishable from the women. That is a little weird.

The top male skater was Yevgeny Pleshenko. Nice skater, technically very adept and good, but kind of uninspired; not feeling it. He was kind of flat to me. Luis saw it, too. But the Japanese guy, Daisuki Takahashi, was incredible! Very strong technically but put his heart and soul into the number…

More Olympics!

Unfortunately, it is late and I need to go to bed! I've been staying up waaaay past my bedtime to watch the incredible prowess that is the XXI Winter Olympics!

The Start of the XXI Winter Olympic Games

I did not actually see the opening of the Olympics, but I'd heard about the luger from Georgia (not the state) who died, Nodar Kumaritashvili. It took a little hunting to find a video of the crash, but I did. I found it quite disturbing. These accidents happen very fast, but this seemed even faster than I imagined. The CLANG! of the helmet hitting the unpadded pole was appalling. The accident was quite horrible.

In 2006 I had only posted twice about the Olympics, surprisingly enough. But I did mention that guys sledding on a tiny fiber glass sled that barely fits the racer's body is just a little insane. It is more than just a little insane, really. And Ray remembered that I had said that I would have loved to be an EMT at the Winter Games - the accidents that could happen on luge or skeleton races would be really something. So he told me about the luge accident. Apparently it was aired at some point, because he heard and saw the clang... and there was no mistaking what had hap…

Snow, Snow, Snow!

Everything is shut down, the roads are all but impassable, there are wind gusts and some drifting of the perfect white snow falling.

We are not even in the thick of it yet...

It began snowing last night around 2000, but they were little tiny glittering particles, not the kind of snow that would pile up into staggering amounts of snow. I found myself thinking that once again they've botched the job and we were going to get nothing again, but at some point during the night the quality of the snow changed.

And then the phone rang... at 0530, an hour I never want to hear the phone ring. Fortunately I'd gotten the heads up that I'd be getting the wee-hours call should the snow get out of hand. So I didn't answer the phone with, "Who's dead?"

Instead, I groaned, "It's still dark outside."

At least the voice on the other end laughed. Good man, good sense of humour, definitely a great combination. Always need to laugh at these things. We both had a good …

Crystal Balls Everywhere

That's my big thing right now, and has always been a thing, as I brought home many, many crystal balls from Ren Faire and other shows. Now I get them on e-bay, the most wonderful and evil of sites but what quality!

I just got a lovely clear quartz. In the sun, it sparkles and shines and is stunning... and out of the sun... it sparkles and shines and is stunning. Rainbows, sparkling planes, bits of golden flashes. I find these pieces to be so beautiful. I don't do anything with them. I don't proclaim any special properties about them. I just find it staggering that something this incredible comes out of the earth.

Amazing. If I were to believe in god the way others do, it would be for this. No mere mortal can do this.

I'm Sick... AGAIN

Everyone else might think I'm weak or useless or whatever, but in one year - from the first of January until now - I have been sick FOUR TIMES.

Week one - 1 through 6 January - I had the flu. Not swine or avian flu, just the flu, one of the 40% not covered by the shot. I was sick for the entire first week. Had I not gotten the flu shots (regular seasonal and the H1N1 shots) I would have been sick even longer.

Week three - 13 - 19 January - I had a sinus infection. Not enough to kill me outright, but immediately following the flu, much harder to kick. Not very enjoyable.

Week four - 23 - 27 January - I got a headcold. Regular, joe-headcold. Not fun, either. I blew my nose forever and a day. I had a raging headache. I tried keeping a distance but still missed nothing.

Week one in February - now - laryngitis and the colds/flu/sinus infection is in my chest. I'm bringing up all kinds of phlegm, which is normal, and watching the colour, also normal. I'm tired and still have no voic…

Thinking About History & Things People Say

I'm watching a charming British movie, Kinky Shoes. I find these movies and they sound good. This one certainly did not look like anything else I've seen, but then, neither are Blow Dry, The Full Monty, Bridget Jones' Diary, and Calendar Girls. These are all wonderful movies and not so predictable as are American movies. (I will note that Bridget Jones' Diary appears to be an American made movie, but it is not. It did make a splash here, with American actress Renee Zelleweger, who did an excellent job in this movie and reprised the roll in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.)

The shoe company, which originally made mens shoes, was founded in 1895. Must have been a good year. I was in the loo, reading about the making of t-shirts, and there was a reference to James Dean wearing a skin-tight tee in Rebel Without a Cause, and I was thinking that I had a thing for James Dean many years ago. And people would say to me, "Oh, James Dean was before your time." So was M…

The Buck Stops Here

From the book Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into the Presidency:

"Guess who's the highest paid president. You might be surprised.

Congress has been given the president a raise only five times in history, but some presidents have made a lot more than others--thanks to inflation. We've done the math to find out what their yearly salaries would be worth, on average, in twenty-first century dollars. Here's the list of the well paid and the not-so-well paid presidents.


President Salary in His Day What's It Worth Now?
1. William Taft $75,000 $1,445,454
2. William McKinley $50,000 $1,106,719
3. Richard Nixon $200,000 $1,084,831

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Probably the only animated movie I don't want to buy.

We got it from NetFlix and I managed to sit through it but this was not my kind of movie. It started out sort of okay and went (surprisingly) downhill from a rather inauspicious beginning. It got dopier. I normally love animated movies but this one was more for kids than adults.

Shrek was brilliant - kids could sit through it but this was definitely great for adults, too. The snide commentary fit in and wasn't obvious to children but allowed all age groups to find it entertaining. Certainly Monsters, Inc. and The Incredibles and Cars fit into this category. In fact, most animated movies are geared to be appealing to all ages.

This movie did not make it into this category, at least not for me.

Bolt started out kind of boring, but once he arrived in New York City and met up with Mittens, the smart-ass street cat, it improved considerably and I will at some point own it. I will never own Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. It was …