Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Figure Skating

The United States National Figure Championships were held this weekend and man were they a wild ride. Barely any of the top competitors were there (most were out for injuries) thereby leaving the door open for new people at the top and that is what happened, in all four of the categories.

America doesn't have any presence in pairs so its not even worth commenting on, as for dance, despite Belbin and Agosto not competing they were appointed to the World Team. Which I think is a genius move, remember, Beblin and Agosto were the Silver medalists in Italy, in 2006. They area top world team and denying them a spot on the American team because of an injury would be stupid. But the US dance title of number one did go to another team, so that was interesting.

For the men the shocker was that Johnny Weir, the only American last year to place in the top three at Worlds, did not make the team. He skated at Nationals but did so poorly he ended up in fourth place. It just goes to show that this sport is unforgiving and if you are not consistent and have a bad day, your whole season could be over (as it is for Weir who is not going to Worlds in March).

However, the most interesting competition was the ladies. It is true that in recent years the domaniance of American ladies has waned. Gone are the days of Kristi Yamguchi and Michelle Kwan. Now our American girls are highly unlikely to place in the top three and I think the best America can hope for is a top five or sixth position at the World Championships. I can go into a whole post about why America has lost its dominance in ladies figure skating but for now I will just say that this 2009 US Nationals competition was amazing! Finally the older lady (older meaning 19) with the artistry won over the younger girls who are jumping beans but not very artistic (meaning 16). The picture above is of Alissa Czisny, the girl who won the title.

Her story is completely one of those inspirational movies. Last year she was counted out, considered a has-been who had potential but was always inconsistent and flaky (hell I thought the same thing, even going so far as to shout at the tv for her to retire), last year I think she came in 12th place. But instead of leaving the sport, she went back, trained harder with additional coaches, including Brian Boitano and this year she came out looking amazing, better artistry and making those jumps! Happily this turn-around story ends with her becoming the 2009 US National Ladies Champion.

ps - Thanks to everyone for their birthday wishes, you all make me feel so loved, as they say in Denmark, tusind tak!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday

Midnight - it is officially my birthday, January 24th. Don't even ask how old I am - a lady never revels such things!

I will be spending the day in the car, on a family road trip to Connecticut, for a family friend's wedding. Not exactly the most fun day but what are you going to do? Last year I was in Denmark and didn't want to tell anyone, since I was older than most of the kids there and was afraid people would ask, "how old are you turning?" (Age is a bit of a sensitive issue for me as I am still unmarried and even by Western standards, I am getting to spinsterhood).

At least my family agreed that since it is my birthday I get to pick out all the places we eat on the way; so that will at least be fun.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration and stuff

Urgh - midnight, Tuesday January 20th. Barack Obama, the guy I campaigned for, will be sworn in as America's 44th president in less than 12 hours. Washington DC, right up the street from me, is mad crazy and I still have not decided if I am going to go into the nation's capital to take part in this historic event. I am leaning now towards going.....or at least trying.

Also, on a sidenote, I start my official big people's job next week. I will be working as an accreditation specialist for this non-profit educational association - helping post secondary cosmotology schools with meeting their Department of Education standards. The best part of the gig is that I will be traveling at least once a month, which I love! Since this is my last week before starting the job I plan on spending the week doing one of my favorite actitivies, chiling at home with the space heater on full blast and reading romance novels (I got a bagful of them at the recent library book sale, all for $3, yay!).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Just More Killing in Gaza

  1. Over 1,000 Palestinians dead - today Israel hit a UN food warehouse in Gaza. Israel claims Hamas was launching rockets from there.
  2. A few days ago a Palestinian hospital was hit in Gaza. Israel claims Hamas was launching rockets from there.
  3. A week ago, a UN school for children was hit in Gaza. Israel claims Hamas was launching rockets from there.

My God, with the amount of rockets being launched by Hamas that is just forcing those poor, poor, defenseless Israeli's to mercilessly bomb the people of Gaza, this must surely be an-all out assault on Israeli, I mean the people of Israel must be really suffering!

  1. Paul Young is coming to Israel and eager to check out some Israeli cuisine.
  2. A brilliant group of dancers and an inquisitive choreographer offer an intriguing work that explodes with energy.
  3. Israel's only shoemaking school, nestled in the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, celebrates a successful year.

These are the sub-headlines in the Jerusalem Post Arts & Culture section. Must be nice to even have an Arts & Culture section, the people of Gaza don't have water, food or electricity, let alone a newspaper!

It is apparently clear to everyone in the world but the United States that what Israel is doing now is not defense but genocide. They are killing off the Palestinian people and those they don't kill with their bombs, they kill by denying aid. And you know the best part, as the BBC says, "Israel has refused to allow international journalists to enter Gaza," (More Than 1,000 Killed in Gaza, January 15, 2009, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7828884.stm). If you are not doing anything wrong, if you are defending your country, as Israel claims, from the big bad Hamas (which was democratically elected btw) than why not allow foreign journalists onto the other side, see the supposed, "bad guys?" Why are you denying aid or bombing aid workers, if what you are doing is right?

I am disgusted.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Give a Guy a Break

Britain's Prince Harry apologizes for offensive language

This was in my email in-box (I have a CNN customized alert for any articles on Prince William and Prince Harry, yes I am a geek).

Here is the article link - http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/01/10/prince.harry.videos/index.html

Read all about it, but the gist is that Prince Harry used some derogatory terms for Pakistani's. Now everyone is up in arms but really I don't think its all that bad (the first one, "Paki" I've heard Pakistani's use all the time, so I don't know where people are saying that is bad?? What exactly is bad about it?).

I say give the kid a break - he did this while working as a serviceman, where it is understood sometimes the language gets salty. Hey at least he didn't torture people like the guys at Abu Ghrab. In the end, I think his good deeds outweigh his bad (he works diligently to promote and help AIDS orphans in Africa).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

God Rest His Soul

A beloved blog friend, the wonderful and so warmhearted Mommantor, lost her husband on December 31st. Despite him never actually appearing on the blog, reading Mommantor's humorous and good stories about him (love for a yard sale, finally getting his PhD), I felt like I knew him. He will definitely be missed.

Please say a prayer for Mommantor and her family - God bless them.

1928 West-Running Brook
The Last Mowing
by Robert Frost

There's a place called Far-away Meadow
We never shall mow in again,
Or such is the talk at the farmhouse:
The meadow is finished with men.
Then now is the chance for the flowers
That can't stand mowers and plowers.
It must be now, through, in season
Before the not mowing brings trees on,
Before trees, seeing the opening,
March into a shadowy claim.
The trees are all I'm afraid of,
That flowers can't bloom in the shade of;
It's no more men I'm afraid of;
The meadow is done with the tame.
The place for the moment is ours
For you, oh tumultuous flowers,
To go to waste and go wild in,
All shapes and colors of flowers,

I needn't call you by name.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A new year....more human tragedy

Imagine you had a next door neighbor. His kid started and continues to lob rocks into your window. It is massively annoying and dangerous.

But to be fair, you hate the kid, a brat in your opinion, you are not really fond of his family either. You've blocked off their entire house, won't allow that family to drive on the road, not really allow them to work or go to school on a regular basis, so the kid's household has got a lot of unemployed uneducated loiterers around, oh and you continue to encroach and expand your house into this kid's yard. But damn, how dare this kid continue to throw rocks at you?! What is the obvious solution to this problem...well duh, firebomb the hell out of that kid's house!

If you should kill the kid's baby sister or his mom, well just apologize, what could you do, I mean really, this stupid brat was throwing rocks....and you know what, the HOA (homeowner's association) gives its blessings, it agrees, rock throwing deserves air strikes not only on this kid's house, but the school where the kid goes too, perhaps a hospital or two, oh and a house of worship during prayer time, you know, just in case the kid or his friends hid out there, again, if you kill some innocent people, just apologize. oh and the final piece, only allow a trickle of humanitarian aid to enter into that part of the neighborhood - because you have to starve out that kid, and if that means others suffer so be it. Hey, they fostered that kid, this will show them to change their mind about that kid; those people will equate all their suffering to this kid and not to you, who are denying them everything, food, water, band-aids, medicine.

If this story sounds familiar (and it should, since it was VERY thinly veiled), it is the current situation in Gaza, the bratty kid is Hamas, you are Israel. The HOA is America. The rest of the world is the surrounding neighborhood, which see's the true situation and injustice of the plight of Gazan's, watching you pummel the daylights out this bratty kid's house; it is a massacre and I can only pray that it will stop (since America will not change its policy of allowing Israel to do whatever the hell it wants to Palestine and Palestinians and America weilds the biggest stick in the world). Great way to start 2009, sigh.