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Archive for November, 2007

Travel Day

I’m waiting for a cab to take me to that airport for this.

If any of y’all are going to be stopping by, please let me know!

A Tip For Ya

The NPR story has been amended with the following, which I’m reproducing here, as well as linking to in-context.

Editor’s Note: Since this story aired, Hillary Clinton’s campaign contacted NPR to say that the campaign paid Maid-Rite a bill for $157 the day of Clinton’s visit and left $100 in tip money. NPR contacted Maid-Rite manager Brad Crawford, who confirmed that a bill was paid and tip money was left. Crawford, who was not in the restaurant at the time, said that he believes a campaign staffer left the money with one of his employees, but “where Hillary was sitting, there was no tip left.” Neither Anita Esterday nor the manager on duty that day were available for comment as of noon Thursday.

I am relieved and somewhat gratified to hear this, and having just hollered so loud, feel that I needs must holler just as loud about the clarification.

Stupid STUPID STUPID!!!

Two “political” posts in one morning, I gotta stop before I descend fully into madness.

But I heard this story on NPR as I was driving the Girl to school, and it just about made me spit.

My heart goes out to Ms. Geri Punteney, and I am glad that, for her, the connection with Senator Obama was a worthwhile and rewarding one, even if the Senator himself (or more precisely, his handlers on the campaign) utterly dropped the ball.

But Hillary, the Clinton campaign…I’m actually ticked-off, honestly, and it’s such a small thing, but it reveals so very much.

You leave a tip.

You’re running for President of the United States, you leave a goddamn tip!

When you have over 90 million in your war chest, you leave a goddamn tip!

And when you don’t leave a tip, whether it’s simply gross negligence on the part of your handlers or because you’re too busy or because you’re running from Point A to Point B and you forgot, whatever the reason, and the story hits the news, you damn well better make it right.

Talk about doing everything you can to shoot yourself in the foot.

I’m trying to remember if it was How to Eat Fried Worms or Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing or some other book I read as a child where the main character and his friends leave tips for a waitress in pennies, dropping them in the bottom of their milkshake glasses, etc. And the waitress finally loses it on them, explaining that for her, this is how she can afford to buy bread.

I’ve waited tables. The only reason you don’t leave a tip is if the service was crap.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

On another note entirely…Amazon.com just sent me a reminder about the CMA awards. I do not know why they sent me this reminder.

But I cannot help but notice that the CMA award bears a striking resemblance to this.

Starting the Day with some White Hot Hate

It’s not news to say that Ann Coulter is a vile piece of work.

It’s good to laugh. Or, at the least, smirk.

Better Living Through Insane Obstacle Courses

G4 has been running this show, Ninja Warrior, or “Sasuke,” depending on how you grok kanji. We – the family – stumbled upon it late this summer by accident. We enjoyed it. It went from a guilty pleasure to a constant delight for all of us. Except for the Boy.

No, for the Boy, it’s now religion. The Boy, it should be remarked upon, is 7 years old. The Boy is in second grade. The Boy now spends every recess working on the monkey bars so much that his hands have turned, I shit you not, to a mass of blisters, and still he keeps going in the way that only an obsessed 7-year old can. At home, he literally – literally – spider-climbs up and down the walls. He uses our front hall to practice his body prop moves. He turns any thin, elevated surface he can find into a balance beam, and then tries to sprint across it, to the everlasting terror of his parents. He’s taken to doing sit-ups and push-ups when we tell him the walls need a break.

I keep thinking this would be a bad thing if I was telling him he had to do these things, but the fact is, all of this is of his own initiative, of his own accord, and he’s loving it. And every couple of days he asks if I’ll take him to Japan to compete when he’s old enough.

To which I’ve said, “Hell yeah!”

Thing about the show, if you’ve never seen it, is that somehow, someway, it crossed the line from Japanese-Game-Show-About-Humiliating-Competitors to something much more inspiring. There’s still the crew who shows up to compete in cosplay costumes and the like, but there has emerged, over the years (I believe the show is now in its 18th or 19th season), a core group of competitors, or “all stars.” Predominantly, they’re males in their 30s, Japanese, and the camaraderie between them is a tangible, wonderful thing. Instead of rooting for one another to fail, they obviously and visibly root for one another to succeed. They train together. They have clearly bonded.

About it being predominantly males – the root “Sasuke” course is not kind to women, though if this is honestly because there just aren’t that many women making serious attempts at it, or because of actual, honest, physiological differences of upper body strength, etc, yada yada, I can’t say. What I will say is that the show has spun-off into a “Kid’s Ninja Warrior” as well as “Kunoichi” or “Women’s Ninja Warrior,” and the women that I’ve seen complete that course are just as seriously bad-ass as any of the men. As far as that goes, the Girl, four years old, has little interest in the men’s competition, but when women run the course, or, better, when “Kunoichi” is broadcast, she’s riveted.

If anyone had ever told me that letting my kids watch a Japanese gameshow was going to be a great, inspiring, teaching device, I’d have laughed them out of my house and into the street to be run down by the #8 bus. Seriously.

Which brings me to Makoto Nagano, who is Like Unto A God.

So this past Friday, that was a big deal, you see, because after 17 competitions (though I understand they’re now up to 19) only one other person had completed the whole damn course, all four stages. Seriously. Out of some 1700 attempts, only two of them ever made it.

Nagano is the second to do it, and in our home, this brought Great Joy. Makoto Nagano moves, there is no other way to say this, like poetry. The man floats with grace. If the definition of true fitness and power is the ability to move one’s own body with precision, the way one wishes to, when one wishes to (something that’s been a minor thesis in the last two Kodiak novels), he is the walking, talking, definition of this ability. Batman moves this way. Elektra moves this way.

See for yourself:

Makoto Nagano needs his own damn comic book, and failing that, an action figure.

Just a Thought

My father sent me this quote today:

“Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine and hounds.”
~John Adams, 1774

Liked it so much, just had to share.