Sunday, January 30, 2011

Two Olympics

I was watching gymnastics the other day and thinking about how little those people are. It's not really fair to anyone over 5'4. There has to be someone out there that is a great gymnast who can't compete because they are 6 feet tall. One the other hand, there has to be some 5 foot tall guy who is a great basketball player, but he compete with the 6'7 guys.

So here is a solution - hold two Olympics: One for big people, and one for little people. The tall Olympics would be for anyone over 5'5. The short Olympics would be for anyone under 5'5 or shorter. Than everyone could compete in whatever event they wanted and it would be a fair shake for everyone. Then once all the medals were awarded, the winners of the short Olympics could play the winners of the big Olympics. Of course, this would be just a pure freak show, but sometimes we might be surprised, a short guy could beat a tall guy or the other way around.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Bunyip

The bunyip is a legendary spirit or creature of the Australian Aborigine. Bunyips haunt river, swamps and creeks. Their main goal in life is to cause nocturnal terror by eating people or animals in their vicinity. They are renowned for their terrifying bellowing cries in the night an have been know to frighten Aborigines to the point where they would not approach any water source where a bunyip might be waiting to devour them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How Long Before We Resort To Cannibalism?

This week's snow storm makes me think about how fast it would take humans to step over the line to cannibalism. In the following blog, the author discusses cannibalism and WWII:

He deducts that it would take months before we went to cannibalism.

I don't agree with that assessment. In certain areas of the country, it could be a matter of days. It wouldn't be widespread at first, but if all McDonald's suddenly closed down and the public couldn't buy any meat, certain people would dig in. Now of course, this all depends on the type of emergency we have. If it was some tragedy that rendered many people dead, but their bodies were not polluted by some kind of toxin, not only would people start to dig in, they would start collecting bodies and refrigerating them. Only a few would do this in the beginning. But as word spread that a few enterprising Hannibal Lectors are "just trying to survive," it would be the craze. So in my estimation it would only be days for cannibalism to take hold of the few entrepreneurs; it would be widespread in a couple of weeks. People would see it as "survival." Now of course this is true. You must feed to survive. But the "entrepreneurial spirit" would justify it not only as a survivalist tool, but a way to get ahead and stay strong EVEN THOUGH they still had plenty of food.

In a matter of months, with no McDonald's and no meat available, the real enterprising Americans would start killing those that are weak for their meat. The rationale being that "they are going to die anyway, why not feed those of us who will live on." By this time, ironically, if you had not been eating human flesh and had no other food, you would be the weak. So isn't it only right that you die so that those who are stronger can carry on?

In WWII in the Ukraine I read somewhere that mothers would not let their children out of the house because they would be killed and eaten. I suppose the moral question I have about this is how hungry do you have to be before it is morally acceptable to become a entrepreneur? If you are on the verge of dying, is it OK to kill and eat a weaker human? Isn't that the "enterprising spirit"? Isn't that "pulling yourself up by the bootstraps"? Isn't that not "depending on a handout"?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Night of the Snow Zombies

Yesterday, a snowstorm slammed the D.C. area. It started around 3:30PM and snowed in some places at a rate of 2 inches per hour. This storm collided with the millions of commuters who where just trying to get home to see American Idol. My husband, Steve, left Alexandria at 5:30PM and sat on the beltway for 6 hours. As he got close to the ramp that winds up to Route 66, a woman stopped her car right in front of him, got out and walked down 495 to talk to the police. She just stopped, turned off her car, and left it. No hazard lights, no concern if some miracle happened and people could actually move. In her mind, she was the only one that mattered on 495.

Steve finally got off the beltway and sat at Tysons Corner for several hours. Abandoned cars littered the roadways. People had run of gas, got stuck in the snow, had to go to the bathroom, or had just had enough. They walked along Route 123 like zombies even though there was no where for them to go. Once they were out of sight, Steve never saw them again. He heard stories about men and women going to the bathroom on the side of the road. One person posted on his Facebook page, "You better make your peace with God, because the night women are pissed on the side of 495 is the night of the Apocalypse."

Everyone completely lost their shit last night. Even though everybody heard a storm was coming, nobody was prepared. This all makes me ponder what would happen if we had a real emergency. What if we had some attack from some terrorists? What if they had a suitcase bomb and blew up part of D.C.? What if they poisoned the water? Hell, what if they just cut the electricity? I'm convinced that the people of D.C., Virginia, and Maryland would resort to cannibalism before the Jon Stewart Show comes on at 11:30PM. We are so soft. So unprepared for anything real.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stink Bugs

My house is full of stink bugs. I don't know what these things are really called. They look prehistoric; they have a brown shell exterior and a pointy head. They are not very big, but it you kill one it releases this FOUL odor. A couple of times they have flown around my head and I've swatted at them, and they have sprayed me with this crap. It is so bad that when it happens I have to change clothes, take a shower and wash my hair.

I asked the exterminator that comes to our house a few times a year about these stink bugs and he said they only spray when you kill them: FALSE. He also said they are attracted to light colored houses. Our house is yellow. I never thought about bugs seeing colors. Their little faces and eyes seem too small to see anything. I guess I always assumed they had some kind of radar or something, like bats.

I wonder how intelligent bugs are? If the bug is larger, is it smarter? It seems a praying mantis or grasshopper would be smarter, than say, a mosquito. Everybody goes on about how dolphins have brains as big humans, or bigger. I know they are smart, but is it just because they have a big brain? Or is their something else? Birds are smart but they don't have big skulls. What about crocodiles? They are huge, but you don't hear about them being that smart.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fancy Bread

I have been thinking about all the language misunderstandings I have had. One of the greatest of my lifetime even involved a life-long search: In the 1970's Willy Wonka, Willy Wonka says, "Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the head?" I thought he meant bread, not bred. So I concluded everyone had this magic loaf of fancy bread in themselves. Some people have their fancy bread in the heart, some in their head. Now I took this to mean that those who had it in the head were more intellectual and the ones with fancy bread in their hearts were more emotional. I thought this was a serious philosophical question posed by Willy Wonka that one needed to sort out. I thought about it for years and decided my fancy bread existed in my head.
I then decided that maybe there was a real type of bread called "Fancy Bread" that the quote was based on. I looked for it in bakeries, but had no luck. Then I decided it most be a European thing. So every county we visited, I tried to make a point of going into bakeries to find it. I imagined Fancy Bread being something that I would most likely find in Greece or Eastern Europe. I thought it would have the braids across the top and be very large and golden. I even thought that Fancy Bread most be some pedestrian name for it and that is why I couldn't find it. It was only a few years ago that I figured out what he meant, or that I allowed myself to come back to earth with the phrase.

Another misunderstanding I had my whole childhood and into my adult years was the Christmas Carol, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." The line, "Now bring us a figgy pudding..." I always thought was, "Now bring us a piggy pudding." Again, I attributed this to some strange European dish. I really thought it must be a British thing. Once again, I keep an eye out for Piggy Pudding when we traveled in England. I imaged it would be a horrible jello-like pig blood thing. It would be ruby red, round, and served on a huge silver tray with little greens all around it. Of course, I never found such a thing. It was only when I was singing the song once within earshot of my husband and he gleefully corrected me.

The word "ilk" I thought was "elk." So for example someone would say, "Religious right politicians and others of their ilk..." It made sense for the word to be elk. I thought it meant others of the same type herd.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Great Movie of All Time!

Our friends gave us Apple TV for Christmas and we have been burning our films as fast as we can. I am finding movies I completely forgot about. Yesterday I burned the Serbian "Underground." It is magic realist Odyssey about Yugoslavia starting in WWII and going through the the 90s. It is heartbreaking and hilarious.
I believe it is my favorite movie, and I dont' say that lightly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Helmet Worthy

I don't understand helmets. People make kids wear helmets when they ride bikes and roller skate. HMMMM. Why don't kids have to wear helmets while riding in a car? That seems a lot more dangerous. I was in a bad car accident a couple of years back and I cracked the window with my head. A helmet would have helped. Of course, if would have really helped if I'd been wearing a seat belt.

Anyway, I don't get the whole idea of what we as a society consider "helmet worthy." For example, if you are jumping out of a plane, you have to wear a helmet. Shit! If your parachute didn't open, do you really think a helmet would help? One the other hand, you never seen anyone wearing a helmet when they are jumping on a trampoline. Seems to me that that IS a situation where a helmet might make sense.

There are sports where you are not required to wear helmets, but I think wearing a helmet would be a good idea, like ice skating. It seems like you could get a bad head injury hitting the ice with your head. (remember the movie Ice Castles where the girl skid into the patio furniture and went blind?) Gymnastics. They should wear helmets. It is a good idea to wear a helmet horseback riding (like jockeys and fox hunting), but they wear those goofy light little things. They should wear a motorcycle helmet. Cowboys don't wear helmets and they ride bulls.

I have almost slipped and fallen in my kitchen lots of times. Should I wear a helmet in the house? For that matter, I wonder how many people roll out of bed every year and bust open their heads. So we should wear a sleeping helmet. Is the answer that we should all wear helmets all the time??????

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Flu Shot?

I'm debating on whether to get a flu shot. I'm suspicious of those things. It seems so gross that they are going to inject you with flu. It is bad enough that they are going to inject you with anything somebody cooked up in a lab. I have never had a flu shot, and I don't think I have gotten sicker than anyone else. In fact, I haven't had a full on puking flu in years. Maybe that's why I'm considering the shot. I guess I'm due a bad flu. Is it better to let them inject you with this manufactured crap, or is it better to get the flu and ride it out?

I hate needles too. I once had a dream that the word VACCINATION appeared in varicose veins on my thigh.

When I was a kid, I went to the worst doctor in the world. I got sick the last day of school in the third grade. I had a raging ear infection, bad fever, headache, puking. So I got taken to the doctor. I was already flipping out that I might have to have a shot. So after this doctor (who by the way looked like a big white jack rabbit, and his creepy old badger of a nurse) looked me over, they came back in with a huge needle full of penicillin. I was sitting on the table, and I swear to God that guy gave me the shot in the inside of my thigh about half way up my leg! It hurt so bad. I didn't move but started crying. I remember him saying, clear as day, "Now if you act stupid, I'll stick you again." When he pulled the needle out, my skin moved up with the motion of the needle. Blood spurted out, and as if this wasn't enough, the creepy old badger nurse came at me with this clear curvy, twisty plastic straw. She sucked the blood from the injection spot. I remember MY blood moving through that straw like it was yesterday. She had already taken blood from me by sticking me with the huge silver thing that she jabbed into my finger. So I don't know what the point was of sucking the blood from my thigh like a freak.

I had a friend who had cut her head and needed a couple of stitches. She SWEARS the jack rabbit doctor gave her a shot to numb her head IN HER TOE, then stitched her head with nothing to else the pain.

We had the best medicine in the Appalachians. Dame good thing we didn't have any of this socialized medicine nonsense.

So I'm no closer to making a decision on this shot question...but I think I'm leaning against it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Like The Price Is Right

I like the Price Is Right. It is a throwback to an older era in TV. A game show. Audience participation. A big shiny wheel to spin. Prizes. No carnivals come around any more. At least not the carnivals with real carnies. Every carnival I have seen in recent years seems to have more "respectable" people there. They have local people selling the food usually. Someone that owns a food trailer and just goes to local events. I actually don't mind that part. I figure the food is safer.

But I miss the real carnival people. The last time I saw REAL carnival people was at the Manassas Fair in the early 90s. They didn't have real freak shows, but they had some damn strange things: there was a tent you went into and it was supposed to show the evils of drugs. It was a guy strapped in a chair with IVs coming out his arms. He would shake his hands and head and drool. As you passed him, he would look you right in the eyes. It smelled horrible cause the guy was sweating in the thick heat of Northern VA. It disturbed me. People were taking their little kids in there gleefully to show them the results of drug use. The thing gave me nightmares. I can't imagine how a 5 year old would react in the middle of the night.

When the carnivals used to come to my hometown, they would get local kids to help them set up. They always seem to choose the pot smokers. I went by there to see my friend once and he told me not to ride anything because the carnival guys were stoned, he was stoned and he was sure something was going to fall apart or fly off into the night.

I really wish authentic carnivals could come back, but I'm sure they would so offend the current delicate American sensibility, they would never be allowed. But I feel deep down we Americans need some carnival like entertainment. That is why we go to amusement parks in droves. Of course, it's not the same, but there are still elements of those old carnivals: you can still win those hugs stuffed animals, still ride rides (that hopefully won't break down), still get carnival food. Then of course there are the lights. Lights on the rides, lights line the edges of the game booths and food carts. Lights, lights, lights.....There is that thrill of unexpectedly coming upon a carnival at night. Spinning blinking lights in the middle of a field that is usually vacant.

We were in Martha's Vineyard this summer and at Oak Bluff, they have a beautiful old merry-go-round that has been restored. It is inside, sort of. You can see it from the street. You just have to walk in a few steps to get the full effect. The animals on the merry-go-round are not shiny and fancy like the ones you see in contemporary parks and there weren't as many lights. But this merry-go-round was special, very old fashioned. The horses had real hair for manes and tails. There was some game where the kids would try to grab something as they went by and a barker with a mike would announce a winner. I think the winner got to ride again for free. The breeze created by the merry-go-round was gentle and smelled of old stores that sold pickles in barrels. There was the charming sound of wood creaking. And people being unusually nice as we all crowded in and watched the wooden animals spin round and round. It was such a nice diversion in this high tech, no attention span world.

This reminds me of Krack the Dragon. In Krakow Poland, there is a magnificent castle on the hill. When you have seen all you want to see of the buildings, you can exit through the "dragon's cave." You enter into a turret and walk down lots of very narrow, uneven steps. The stairs are so narrow that there is no way you can turn back to pass someone. You have to go on. This thought occurred to me because I'm very claustrophobic. You pass little windows that you couldn't shove a cat through and then the windows disappear and it gets darker as you descend further and further underground. Finally you come into a cave that is extremely slippery and poorly lit. Seems there were white arrows pointing the way out. Once out, you meet an enormous, gorgeous dragon statue on the edge of the river. It's really beautiful. Krack the Dragon is up on his back feet with his head up in the air. About every 30 seconds, fire shoots out of his mouth. We all stand around excited waiting for him to breath fire again. When he does, there is a happy murmur that moves through the crowd. It doesn't matter for the moment we that we all speak different languages.

I don't think Krack breaths fire on Mondays so be warned if you go looking for him.