Monday, March 29, 2010

Plushenko's 2008 Sextravaganza Skate

Just for fun—hide the children—I had to share this. I'm never sure why some things sleep for years and then suddenly do the rounds on YouTube, but a friend shared this with me today. I had a good laugh, and I know so many people who need one right now that I figured this was a great place to put a copy. So here comes famed Russian champion ice skator Evgeny Plushenko, giving his February, 2008 performance.

He skated to the Tom Jones classic "Sex Bomb," and I'm not sure where Plushenko was, but it was some kind of gala. That's all the information YouTube gives. So clear the room and enjoy it. (Actually, there were children in the audience, so it's not too raunchy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Telling You Why I've Written Less

The last few weeks it's been very difficult for me to write in my blog very often because I don't want it to turn into a political blog. I do occasionally share my opinions and frustrations, or a bit of political humor, but I can't allow it to turn into a soap box. Unfortunately, the events of the last month have so overwhelmed my attention that it's just been very difficult to change pace and write a humorous blog, or put together something that deals with the quirks of my everyday life.

So with this nonverbal expletive, I'll sign off tonight with the resolve that tomorrow I will download my camera of the photos I've taken during my walks the last couple of weeks and see if I can't put together something a little more cheerful. But before I put this away, I have two things to add. Did you like the new ObamaCare Logo pictured above? And have you seen the latest music video released to try to get people to laugh while worrying and praying? I couldn't resist adding it below.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Books: Not Such Guilty Pleasures

Books are abundant. Even good books are so numerous I despair of reading them all. I'll admit I'm trying, but realize it's a hopeless task. One of the things that makes it so impossible is the number of new authors with talent. They seem to manage the editing process better than I have. {To me, editing is like deciding to have plastic surgery on your toddler's ears. Aren't they the way they were meant to be? Don't they fit his face the way they are?} Okay, so Im struggling with editing my own novel, but that's a totally separate topic. Today I want to discuss Gil.

Gil? I ran across Gil in PBS. Look to the left of your screen. You'll see the little PBS logo there. It's Paperback Book Swap, and I've written about it. It's amazing, and I've met some great people there as well as cutting my reading budget by about 90%. Now—back to Gil. He writes a book review blog that is my favorite new blog in months. I'm addicted. It's one of the fun blogs, because what he wrote this week is neither more nor less relevant than what you'll find in his posts from months ago. They're books. You can still find them.

Gil calls his blog "Gil T's Pleasures," and his writing is as clever as his blog title. It's got me hooked. I turned on a cooking show that usually holds my interest a few nights ago, and during the first commercial instead of fast forwarding I thought I'd glance back at some of Gil's old book reviews. Suddenly it was midnight. My DVR had ended the program, going on to something else, and I hadn't noticed. I was lost in a world of books with a new list of authors that I absolutely had to take out for a test drive—or invite for dinner.

I write for fun, and because I can't help it. I've always just written. It's part of who I am. I even write because I know some of my stories, the ones about my childhood and my children, will be important to my grandkids some day. But people like Gil write to serve us all and the authors who add so much to our lives.

Thanks, Gil.

A not quite Midnight addendum: I head from Gil tonight, and he let me know that he has older archives as well as parallel posts in another blog for anyone who wants to delve back. I had a look, and I'm delighted to find they go all the way to April, 2005. There's a little quote on top of the page you'll find of interest: "If it's reviews you want, I got 'em. Books, Movies & Music. I also hold contests (books, dvds, mp3 players, iTunes giftcards are just some of the things I've given away.)"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare Bill Homework

Like many Americans, I sat in front of the television and watched what I considered the debacle of the vote on the House Floor as Obamacare was shoved closer into law. It was handled with secrecy and back room deals, enough pork and promises to shame the country, and probably bankrupt us.

Here's your homework. Call your doctor. Ask if they plan or will be able to stay in business if this plan, as it appears to be moving forward, is enacted. Please don't stick your head in the sand on this one. You have a senator. They have a phone number and an email address. It hasn't passed the Senate yet. If we do nothing, it will be law by Tuesday.

If you didn't watch and listen, be warned. If you're on Medicare, it's being cut. If you're on Medicare Advantage, it's being eliminated completely. If this bill is passed, your health care will be overseen by the IRS. Yes, that's correct. They're going to have to hire something like 15,000 new IRS agents to oversee your healthcare. If you like how they handle your taxes, just think how wonderful it will be when they are in charge of deciding what tests your doctors can give you.

Do your homework. I'll be hoping for lots of comments. I feel sick and scared. I have great insurance, and we pay an awful lot for it. I don't like how much we must pay, but at least I know that when we're sick or injured, we can get the care we need. This bill ensures the rights of everyone to free healthcare, and that includes illegal aliens. That's right. Don't take my word for it. The bill is online.

And want doesn't it have it it? Tort reform, interstate commerce to enable people to get a better deal, breaking up the insurance companies ability to overcharge within their own little world. There's so much that needed to be fixed with this, the world's best health care system. How long have I been worried? Look back at my old blogs. I started with humor. I tried music. I try to keep my blog lighthearted, but tonight I just don't feel lighthearted. I'm discouraged and I'm disgusted.

Shame on you, Congress.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Recommending Another Blog

Have I ever recommended someone else's blog? I don't think I have, and perhaps that's a mistake. I read several that are very good. I'm going to highlight two this week that are particularly wonderful for people who love to read. Sounds like me. I'll begin with the one I found first, and let you enjoy that for a couple of days before pointing you toward the next one. They're very different, and each has its own strong points.

Thoughts in Progress is a reader's blog I should have mentioned months ago. Mason Canyon is the blogger's pen name, and while she's giving writing tips and holding great contests and give-aways on books and audio books, she's also hosting guest authors. They talk about their latest books, writing methods, inspirations and more. It's a very inventive way to learn about what's happening in a broad spectrum of the publishing world.

I realized a long time ago that no one was going to just let me read all day, and that even if it were possible, there are simply too many great authors for me to be up to date on all the really worthy ones. My tastes are too eclectic to keep up with all the genre fiction I love as well as all the great literature that is being written in so many styles. Besides, if all I did was read, when would I write?

Give Mason's blog some time. Enter her contests. I've won books or audio books twice now, so I know it can be done. It's really exciting, too, to get that email in your inbox telling you your name was drawn. I'll admit, though, that even if I was never one of the book winners, this is still a site I would go to regularly to see who is writing what that I might want to put on my reading wish list.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Haircuts and a New Chinese Proverb

Many people make up statistics. I tend to make up Chinese proverbs. It's far more fun. Tonight I was discussing my friend Ambrosia with her sister. I've met her sister, but just in passing. Unfortunately, Ambrosia, who does my hair, hasn't joined the technology generation. She doesn't own a computer, and although she belongs to Facebook and has an email address, she never logs on.

I leave her messages she doesn't get. We laugh about it when I finally catch up with her. It doesn't change anything, but I tease her about it all the same. Tonight I went to her Facebook page and noticed that her sister was listed as a friend. Since I'd met her, I went to her page, figuring I'd send her a message asking her to rattle Ambrosia's cage for me. What followed was about an hour of back and forth messages—more fun than I've had online in quite a while.

The summary conclusion her sister made was that Ambrosia was underpaid at her present salon, and that she should leave for a better place where she would get more money. (Perhaps she was thinking that Ambrosia would buy herself a computer then?)

I wrote on her message board, "If she leaves, I go with her. She knows that. I was one of her first customers. I belong to her now. It's a Chinese proverb, you know. If you save someone's hair, they belong to you for life."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You Tell Him, Simon Cowell

Just a few after words, following up on last night's post... In tonight's American Idol elimination show, Simon Cowell actually used two words to describe what Ryan Seacrest did last night. He really hit the right tone, saying first that Seacrest had been aggressive, which is correct. He was. Then he said he made everyone uncomfortable, which is just how my reader Pat described her reaction in the comment section.

It's always nice to feel like I'm on the cutting edge of something beside's my husband's dinner.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Mosh Pit Is Back—And Other Idol Complaints

Every year I think the producers of American Idol are going to start actually reading the blogs and posts online and get rid of the mosh pit. Don't know what a mosh pit is? It's the annoying group of people standing at the edge of the stage waving their arms in front of the camera. They have no sense of rhythm, and do nothing productive. Their sole purpose seems to be irritating viewers. Well, they're absolutely successful at that.

At least this year we're not hearing the annual phrase, "This is the best group of singers we've ever had on American Idol." They seem to say it each year, and I've often wondered how it makes past contestants feel. Yeah, you won, but you wouldn't have this year. Or you made it last year, but wouldn't even have been on the show this year. Thanks a lot.

I have to ask. What is up with the host? Ryan Seacrest has gotten so pushy and rude, especially to Simon. That's not his place. There's an air of egotism that clings to him, and I can't see beyond it. He's rather like a rash—not quite painful, but you just can't seem to get rid of it. He's one of the reasons I'm so glad I have a DVR with a fast forward button. I let the program get a half hour ahead of me and fast forward through most of his blathering. I've just really gotten to resent his attitude and his air time.

Go ahead and tell me to stop watching the show. Simon and I will quit together. In case you're wondering, though... this year I'll continue to watch as long as Crystal Bowersox continues to be so unexpected. I don't like her hair. I'm not crazy about the way she dresses, either. But when she sings, it makes me feel good.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Political Correctness

I'd like to thank my sister-in-law, Betty, for the following information. It was too good not to share.

There is an annual contest at Texas A&M University, she tells me, calling for the most appropriate new definition of a contemporary term. 2009's winning term was Political Correctness, which was defined as follows:

"Political correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

The first time I butted heads with political correctness, my oldest son was somewhere around the third grade. He's 36 now, so it's been around awhile. We got a letter from his teacher regarding library privileges. I had the family in stitches by reading it aloud at the table, word for word. I wish I had saved it. It was hysterical. I'll paraphrase.

"If your son/daughter fails to bring his/her library book back to school during the day that he/she has library period, resulting in his/her library book being overdue, he/she will no longer be allowed to check out library books when his/her class makes their weekly trip to the the library. He/she will still accompany his/her class to the library, but must read ..."

You get the point. Suddenly the male pronoun, which all of my life we had been taught was for either male or unknown gender was suddenly not good enough. Then we no longer had a mailman. Or a chairman. Suddenly men were afraid to hold open a door for me. Well, if you see me coming, go ahead and hold the door. I don't particularly want to be equal. I'm not as strong physically. I have other talents. We don't need to be the same. I don't plan to be politically correct. I'd rather be appreciated for who I am and what I think. I won't pretend for you. Please don't pretend for me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hypnosis and Smoking

Every single time I've quit smoking, even when it lasted over six years, which I considered quite successful for me, rarely would a day go by that the craving didn't sneak in on me a time or two. It might be caused by stress or worry, excitement or boredom. Someone might yell at me and I'll feel the need. Something bad happens in the family or our country...

I'd heard on television that hypnosis can make all the difference in the world, as long as you really don't want to be a smoker. Hypnosis, of course, can't make you do anything you don't want to do. Therefore, they can't make you stop something you don't want to stop, like smoking. But I figured if I'm already not smoking, and I just want to make it easier to stay that way, this should be a great way to make the unconscious stop nagging me to fail. It's not the nicotine. It's not the habit. It's the emotional binding that's never been cut.

The clinic I went to has a 90% success rate, and that's with people who walk in the door still smoking. They're so sure they're going to change this habit for you that if you go back to smoking, they'll give you a second session free of charge. Well, I'm still not smoking, but it's no easier than it was the day I walked in there.

So what does that tell me? Other than I had a very bad day today and I feel like complaining to the world. I feel like failing. I feel like smoking. It's a good thing, right now, that I live way up here in the foothills where I'm a long way from a convenience store.

I'll admit one thing about hypnosis, though. Because of the expense (and don't ask—I'm not going to admit how much I spent) I'm too cheap to fail now. So maybe it'll work in a round-about fashion. Over-all, though? I'm not impressed. I was looking for a magic bullet to make me stop wanting. My will power is fine. It's the won't power that lets me down.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Missing the Olympics

I remember having skates just like the ones shown above. I sat like a little snowball in my parka, strapping them on my shoes and then shuffled off onto the ice. I was about four years old, and very proud of myself. It was my turn on the ice. I wasn't good enough to play with the real hockey players, but we had our own plastic pucks and sticks and we sure thought we were playing. The fact that our skates had four blades on the bottom didn't bother me a bit. In fact, I believe I was in third grade before I actually got my first pair of real figure skates.

Watching hockey during the Olympics this year, I realized how much things have changed. Aging has certainly changed me. My eyesight has probably been the most obvious change, other than size. Now I can actually follow the puck better when I watch the game on the radio. Think about it. The radio announcers know how much you can see on the airwaves. The television commentators assume you can see just fine. If given a choice between being given back my high school figure or my high school eyesight, I'd be throwing away my glasses. (Could we toss in that sharp hearing, too, please? No? I didn't think so...)

I got used to staying up late, watching the Olympics. I'd sit here and think, "I can do my dreams." Of course, I can also fly in my dreams. I've been doing that since I was tiny. I always figured that most people have flying dreams. Maybe you don't. I always have. To me, it's more like swimming through air than what a bird does. I don't flap my arms or anything. I glide. People below me don't know I'm there. I'm fast. I'm silent. I hear things. Keep an eye on your ceilings. I'm not sure it's not actually happening. It's not an Olympic event, though.

But the skating. I always knew it took somebody a whole lot more coordinated than I've ever been to manage what they do. By the time they're done with their three or four minute programs, I'm practically hyperventilating. And I rarely agree with the judges. Was there anyone who thought that the Phantom of the Opera skate routine wasn't going to win? Just me? Well, maybe that's why they didn't ask me to judge this year. I'm available for 2014.

So I sit here, four hours after John went to bed, wondering why I didn't save some of the Olympics to watch later. Even with as bad a job as NBC did televising them (sometimes an hour between skaters, which was really a sad way to run things) I still enjoyed watching them. Too bad they didn't organize them better for the viewer. Why did I have to watch them all during the two weeks they were on? I could have just left them on the DVR and watched them slowly over a month, made them last.

Maybe in two years, when the Summer Olympics are on, I'll try that, because almost any book I own is better than almost anything else that's on television...