Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Spirit of the Games

Everybody who actually makes the journey to Russia gets there with the intent to sit bundled up in their colors and waving a flag to cheer and yell, ” We Won!”

Olympic Opening

Olympic Opening

The truth is……….the athletes win, not the spectators nor the family nor the coaches nor the ones who came in 4th place or worse.  The Winners are adorned with a huge gold medallion which is valued around $10,000 (taxable) AND the TV networks and advertisers and the travel industry and the “hospitality” services around this Black Sea resort town in southern Russia.  For a city about the size of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti combined (with a population of 250,000 with its environs) it has become the oddest venue in recorded modern times since the torch was carried on a chariot.

sochi-incomplete-3No matter that this has been in the works since before Obama was President.  Sochi was awarded the Winter Olympics in 2007.

Sochi Incomplete

Sochi Incomplete

Somebody finally realized they were running out of time about a year ago and the largest arena was barely marked out in the dirt with a stadium shovel.  Work and more work was everywhere to be had and this became a hornets nest to get close to finished.  And it is still not really done as was planned.  Oh sure – it was over budget (planned) and supplies were delivered (planned) but the general management and project were sorely lacking.

Sochi-Construction-1-2

But back to the original premise:  The Spirit of the Games.  The welcoming crowds (not) and the throngs of well-wishers (not) and the fairness and convenience of home (not) that we all expect in an international spectacle. Some of the athletes were “inadvertently” locked in their bathrooms – the security planning worked – and the travel options were stressing an already bad situation to begin with.  (cue the chariot again)

You’ll have to convince me a lot harder that this whole experience was worth the outlay of discretionary funding (sung to the tune of a 1 year old used car) and additional glee of airline screening and customs checks and having to read the morning Glubnok looking for word on the local rebels plans to disrupt the proceedings with a terrorist attack.
I wonder if Nyquil can handle it?

The Joy of Competition

Ashley Wagner expresses joy at the Sochi Olympics

Grand Rapids Midtown Planned Paczki Day Crawl Threatened by Snow Accumulation

This coming March 4th – Many sidewalks may fail to allow passage on Michigan Street, several others in Midtown Area

snowywalks

Hold onto those ideas about Fat Tuesday.  Or Fat Thursday if you are Polish.

The Paczki Day Crawl may not become a reality this year due to the extreme snow accumulations we have experienced in Grand Rapids so far this Winter.

M-Live Reports:  “The heavy January snowfall led to a crush of <City> complaints, with reports tripling from 293 in December to 941 in January.  Some of the properties had not been cleared at all this winter and were packed heavily with snow and ice.”,  Sidewalk Supervisor John Hayes said.

“You take that for granted that you can trudge through that (snow-covered sidewalk), but a person with physical challenges, children, we certainly don’t want those folks in the road,” First Ward City Commissioner Walt Gutowski said. “We want them to be able to walk on the sidewalks.”

Those “extra calories” you get from a heavily laden fried and cream filled doughnut may not be enough to allow you to walk successfully through the crawl.  We’ll keep you posted.

Comments?  Suggestions?  Please comment on this report below.

Dave Barry Deserves A Raise – Or at Least a Bowl of Kale

Generally you would not have any trouble whatsoever finding somebody that appreciates the humorous writings of the well-known syndicated Pulitzer prize winning Dave Barry.

Dave Barry dave-barry-website
Whether it’s smashing toilets or pumpkins you’ll find Dave there……………..
Actually, Dave Barry retired in 2005 from the daily grind (like myself – only with money) but he still writes an occasional column for the Miami Herald (A Knight Newspaper – my first employer) and somehow has not skipped a beat as it comes to making a ridiculous point out of the ridiculous.  Dave needs to get a raise in my opinion.  He is going to become my mentor whether he likes it or not.

Dave discusses “trends” that highlighted the year 2013 in a recent column:

“Were there any new trends in 2013? Yes, but they were not good. Kale, for example. Suddenly this year restaurants started putting kale into everything, even though it is an unappetizing form of plant life that until recently was used primarily for insulation. Even goats will not eat it. Goats, when presented with kale, are like, “No thanks, we’ll just chew on used seat cushions.””
Now that was not so snarky, was it?
Why can’t we write or talk or eschew the wondrous laments about our political opponents like that – with an obvious flair for the comedy but still grasping onto the tartar like a piece of dental floss – and not become so aggressive as to produce acid reflux and eventual ulcerations of the eyeballs??  Huh?
But I regress.  This subject wanders into the arena of the EGO and we all know what that means if we don’t agree 110% – somebody is going to get pissed off.

We Can Agree to Disagree Without Losing Any More Hair Jokes

A man was getting a haircut prior to a trip to Rome. He mentioned the trip to the barber who responded, “Rome? Why would anyone want to go there?”

“It’s crowded & dirty and full of Italians. You’re crazy to go to Rome.”

So, how are you getting there?”

“We’re taking TWA,” was the reply. “We got a great rate!”

“TWA?” exclaimed the barber. “That’s a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they’re always late.  So, where are you staying in Rome?”

“We’ll be at the downtown International Marriott.”

“That dump! That’s the worst hotel in the city. The rooms are small, the service is surly and they’re overpriced. So, whatcha doing when you get there?”

“We’re going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope.”

“That’s rich,” laughed the barber. “You and a million other people trying to see him. He’ll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You’re going to need it.”

A month later, the man again came in for his regular haircut. The barber asked him about his trip to Rome.

“It was wonderful,” explained the man, “not only were we on time in one of TWA’s brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a beautiful 28 year old stewardess who waited on me hand and foot.

And the hotel-it was great! They’d just finished a $25 million remodeling job and now it’s the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us the presidential suite at no extra charge!”

“Well,” muttered the barber, “I know you didn’t get to see the pope.”

“Actually, we were quite lucky, for as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the pope likes to personally meet some of the visitors, and if I’d be so kind as to step into his private room and wait the pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later the pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down as he spoke a few words to me.”

“Really?” asked the Barber. “What’d he say?”

He said, “Where’d you get the lousy haircut?

See? You can be cute and funny and not hurt anybody’s feelings.

What the Groundhog Does Not Tell You

It May Seem Silly But It Could be Religious – Or Just Sex

Puxatawney Phil

“Nice view from here!” ~ Phil

Marmot is the real name for large squirrels (of which there are 15 varieties) that include the species better known as groundhog.  Marmots mainly eat greens and many types of grasses, berries, lichens, mosses, roots, and flowers.  (Jolly Olde England, eh?)   That may explain why much of the following is extracted from The National Geographic (see link below) and references mainly Great Britain and the Isles off coast.  However, the Murmeltier is widely known across mainland Europe and is celebrated in Germany and all mountainous and rocky regions as well.

Groundhog Day (Feb. 2nd) marks approximately halfway through Winter.  It also marks 40 days past Christmas – those celebrating a male birth – as well as an observance for the Purification of the Virgin and the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  This year it is a coincidence that it is on a Sunday, which coincides with other things like, say…….the Super Bowl.  It is also the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple as well as the Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.  It’s a holiday for many reasons (or excuses) to celebrate.

**The reported origins of Groundhog Day are various, but the concept is thought to be linked to the Germanic tradition of Candlemas Day. In Europe, however, the animal used was generally a hedgehog or a badger. How it wound up being the groundhog’s responsibility in the United States may have been a bit of a fluke.

“When the Europeans came over here, they didn’t have any hedgehogs or badgers to lay the blame on, so I think the groundhog got it by being here and being a good size,” speculates the Smithsonian’s Thorington. “He became the one to prophesize whether winter would come or not.”

Groundhogs have to know just when to emerge from hibernation to mate so that their offspring will have the best chance of survival.

“Most matings happen in a ten-day period in early March,” says Zervanos. “If [the offspring] are born too late, they can’t get enough weight for winter, and if they’re born too early, the female doesn’t have enough food to feed them.”  In other words, the window of opportunity is very small and the wily woodchuck has to get it just right.

**Source:  Stefan Serucek – National Geographic

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee Hints Seinfeld Reunion

George Costanza appears on Sony Web Show

Jason Alexander and Jerry seinfeld

Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld visited Tom’s Restaurant in NYC to make a SB promo.  <Courtesy: Twitter>

During the Super Bowl: Jerry Seinfeld and his former co-star Jason Alexander (George Costanza) were featured in a vignette bickering in their old coffee shop in New York. Turns out it was a promotion for a six-minute episode of Crackle’s hit Comedians in Cars featuring Jerry and George taking a drive, in character.

UPDATE

The whole promo was just that – a promo.  The stunt was as much about promoting a stunt as the stunt itself.  Enjoy!

No Super Bowl This Year??

PUPPY BOWL X

puppybowl

There is always the Puppy Bowl if you don’t care to watch the most viewed television spectacle in the world.  This year marks the 10th Edition of The Puppy Bowl which airs on Animal Planet this Sunday at 3pm EST.  They are several times more fun to watch than cats, who are pretty much self-centered snots.