Saturday, August 30, 2008

Say Goodbye to the Summer

I've been coasting here, visiting with my friends from Texas (origins near my own in MA), enjoying the end of summer and all that means (playoff push for the Sox, beating the Yankees on the last stand in NY, the US Open). And worrying about my buds on the Gulf Coast, glad I no long have to worry about hurricane anyname, but concerned for all of them.

But I'm getting pretty ticked at all the emails I've been seeing from friends' friends who are McCain supporters, waxing poetic on the virtues of his VP choice. All I can think to say is, worst match up since Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Having been the mother of a two at age 44, one age 10 and one age 7, I cannot imagine being the mother of 5 at the same time in my life, one with special needs, and having the time to be vice president of the PTA, never mind the USA. In fact, some of the PTA's I've been in were probably bigger than the town where Ms Palin was Mayor.

I supported Hillary Clinton because of her credentials and her smarts, not her gender. What on earth is McCain thinking? I'd support him because he chooses a female VP? I think not. Not even a nice try. How insulting. A man in his 7o's running for president chooses a total lightweight for his running mate. To try and get the female and conservative vote. He can't possibly have fully vetted this one. I'll bet there are more than a few GOP women wondering why they didn't get the call....Mac's got some 'splainin to do.

Sorry, John. You blew it. I can't wait for the VP debates. Have fun, Joe. I'll bring the popcorn.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

All Good in the Hood

I'm still here. Don't worry, I haven't forgotten how to sign on. It's been busy, with company, physical therapy for my pain in the neck, dealing with blackberries en masse, a lost filling that meant an extra trek to my local friendly dentist, and more company.

After a nice day of getting my filling repaired, a drive to Timberline Lodge with Jill, a relaxing few hours watching kiteboarders on the river, a bottle of fine Domaine Pierre Gewurtztraminer and shrimp with Trader Joe's thai green chili sauce, the Sox beat the Yankees tonight 7-3. Tampa Bay lost, so we're 3.5 back. Jill and I channeled our inner Papelbon for the last outs as we watched Gameday on the computer. Sox Rock!

And, BEST of all, Hillary gave a knock out speech to the Democratic National Convention. She's a class act, all the way. Too many cut aways to Bill and Michelle, though. Take notes, you two!
As James Brown sang...I feel good (na na na na na na na).

I'll rest well tonight. Did I tell you? Temps in the 40's! Yay covers!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Heart No. 8

My Red Sox Home Boy, Carl Yastrzemski (I did NOT have to look up the spelling), had triple by-pass surgery today. No one has played the left field wall like Yaz. He was in left from the time I was 9 until I was 31, the Fenway Fran Wonder Years. Get well soon!

Speaking of Red Sox, whatsup with Buchholz? His bats even spotted him 4 runs in the first couple of innings tonight, and he got clobbered. Wakefield's on the DL, Beckett's fingers are numb...we need our pitchers for the home stretch here! All I can say is: Thank God the Yankees are still on the skids...

The Primary Votes are IN

If you don't want to read political entries, skip this one. It's mild, really, but I know some people very close to me who don't like to talk politics. For inquisitive minds, read on!

THANK YOU to the 24% of the eligible voters who bothered to send in or drop off your ballots that EVERYONE had in their possession for several weeks. That means 3/4 of the people who COULD vote, didn't. Now it didn't make much difference in our little county, only one commissioner had a 3 way race that he had to get top 2 in (he did, go Jerry!). It sometimes seems like it's not worth bothering with a primary, but it's always a good thing to vote. When it's a mail in ballot, I see absolutely NO excuse for not voting. I really don't care who you vote for. I just like people to VOTE, dammit!

That said, we have an accounting of votes received. We can see who voted and who didn't in our county. All that info will be in Votebuilder soon. It's going to take a serious GOTV effort to make a difference this fall. So all of you in my precinct, be forewarned. If you didn't vote, I'm gonna hassle you this October until you do. As you sit and watch the Olympics, think of all those Chinese people who have no say in their government. It's a big deal.

Now for the Poll Dance...
Who exactly does these polls? I never get called. Maybe because we have no landline. We use VOIP through our wireless provider. And our cell phones. They never ask me. Hal recently (8/16) had fun with a pollster. He also has an interesting take on polling (8/18). That Hal, he's a crack up. I wish I could think that quickly on my feet (or on the phone). I want to have fun with a pollster, now that Hal gave me the script. Pollsters, CALL ME!

Today's big news on CNN's website, OMG- the polls show a one point lead for Obama, down from 8. A HUGE decrease (not really). I have to say, the same polls showed bad info on the race between Obama and Clinton. I also took many years of statistics classes and manipulated data for a living for a while, so I'm a polling skeptic...To what do they attribute this dastardly decline? TO HILLARY, of course. You know that GOP, they are so STUPID they need to use Hillary's play book to defeat Obama. I think not. If you are a candidate with reasonable international exposure, running against a person with, um, not so much, then you would be a fool not to point this out. So now that McCain is the one running against the candidate with, um, not so much experience and is pointing it out, IT'S HILLARY'S FAULT. Oh my. Like they wouldn't have done that ANYWAY. Pshaw. Lighten up on Hillary. She just may be your VP.

I don't know who will be the VP candidate. Of the names floated, if it isn't Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, or (gasp, should I dare say it) Hillary, then Obama isn't as smart as I think he is. This election is his and the DNC's to lose. After the last 2 elections, I stopped sending the DNC any money. This is exactly why I focus on our local candidates, and work will work my tush off for them. I have come to believe I have no control over the higher level stuff. Except to plaster my car with bumpah stickahs, volunteer with my local pahty, and VOTE of course!

Major Deductions for NBC

I love the Olympics. Really. Every 2 years I settle in to watch the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. And depending on where the Olympics are and how they are covered, it can be either a victory type experience or an agonizing one. This year, I'd rate it more towards the agonizing.

It's not the venue. It's not the political issues surrounding the host country. It's the TV coverage. The website's pretty good. I'll give them that.

I had become complacent, I'll admit. I started out staying away from media sources so I could feel the thrill of the swimmers' races. I'll also admit to being partial to the swimming, having spent the last 10 years parenting USA swimmers. So I'd stay up every night until midnight to watch. I was a mess the next day, but hey, I don't have to get up at 5 am to take anyone to the pool anymore.

But it ticked me off that the west coast, which COULD have been showing the NBC coverage at the same time as the east coast (a 5 pm start would have been FINE with me), waited until 8 pm to start. Heck, even starting at Central Time would have been an improvement. As "LIVE" flashed in the corner, I knew that pronouncement was as phony as the lip synching little girl in the opening ceremonies and the footprints in the sky. It was NOT live, it was OVER. A long time before. And I had to sit through a constant barrage of terrible commercials to see what I wanted to see, at midnight.

I didn't know anyone had another option until I went to Seattle for a few days last week, where people could switch to the Canadian station, which WAS showing everything LIVE. Not only were they showing everything live, they were showing events even if a Canadian wasn't playing. Wow! Oh, Canada. I wish I could get you on my Dishnet.

Last night I really wanted to watch the finals of the gymnastics, but at 10:30, I'd had enough. Enough track prelims, enough lousy commercials, enough of Bob Costas. Does anyone else find that guy totally annoying? Anyway, I went to bed. I'll find the clips somewhere. A friend of my daughter's was swimming for the Phillippines in the 200 fly last week. We knew we'd never get to see it, he was in the second heat, and there were no US team members in that heat. She found it on YouTube, shortly after the race and sent me the link so I got to see JB win his heat. I'd link you to it, but it is 'no longer available due to copyright claim by a third party'. That probably would be NBC. Glad I got to see it before the copyright police did.

One more bone to pick while I'm being cranky (must be the lack of sleep). Is there ANY good reason for covering an ENTIRE marathon???? Puh-leez. How about the start, somewhere in the middle, and the end. Then fill in with the stuff you would have shown at midnight. Don't try to snow me with aerial shots of Beijing like you're a travel show. If I want to see the sights, there are other options, like the too few travel spots during lulls in the coverage (much better than commercials).

How can we make this better? I was wondering, why does one network get to cover the whole show and mess it up like this? Maybe they could share the wealth and bid on blocks of events to cover. Mix popular with lesser known sports events, and sell them as packages to the networks. Then everyone can get in on the coverage, we consumers have more choice of what to watch when. Just a thought. Probably lots of good reasons why not, but I can dream, can't I? All in all, a tough year for the media, wouldn't you say?

Bottom line, though, is kudos to all the athletes who have given their lives to their sport. I know from experience how many kids it takes in the pool to produce one Michael Phelps, or one QUALIFIER, for that matter. What .01 second means to a swimmer. What the field looks like at trials when only the top 2 get to go on. How many kids felt lucky to even MAKE the trials, and are home watching just like me. I feel lucky one of my swimmers got to a level high enough that she got to swim early heats in the same meet as some of the athletes in Beijing today. A Michael Phelps, with such talent, sportsmanship and an appreciation of TEAM, comes along once in a lifetime, and he deserves every one of those gold medals! Congrats to all of the athletes, to their coaches, and their parents.

Now, can anyone tell me how to get "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" out of my mind??????

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Procrastinators Not So Anonymous

Okay people. Listen up.

I know there's a lot going on. I'm busy. You're busy. We're all busy.

That's why we should be HAPPY that Washington State has a mail in ballot. Black or Blue in your boxes, put it in the pink envelope, sign the yellow envelope, put the pink one inside. Seal. Then either put a lousy stamp on it and walk it to your mailbox, or stop by the local drop box.

Is it that hard???? I know it's 'just' a primary. But it all starts with primaries. And the State has decided that the top two regardless of party get to go to the big game in November. So no whining about the two party system. I personally don't like it, but it's the rule now, so I'm voting so I can live with myself. Please do same.

Our local Dems got the report on votes in so far. Our county return is PATHETIC. Only 11 people have returned their ballots out of over 400 who voted in our county caucus. Heck, we had 88 people who cared enough to be DELEGATES. Where are you all?

Now I confess, I'm not one of the 11. I'm a charter member of Procrastinators Anonymous. But this morning I took 3 family ballots down to the local drop box. So now we have at least 14 in. Big whoop. This is embarrassing. There are people around the world who would give anything to be able to vote so easily.

I don't care who you vote for. Just vote. Do it NOW.

This has been a public service announcement.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Religion, Plumbers and Chocolate Mary

Looks like Susan and Granny Geek are having a holy war this week. Susan's been taking pictures around town with blatant religious advertising for very mundane things and services, from car lots to tire companies to yesterday's plumber van. Granny Geek is great with a camera, and has thrown down the gauntlet with her plumbing company photo. I never did understand people who feel the need to advertise their religion. Seems like that should be a personal thing. You know, between you and God. It's all rather amusing, so I guess I'll have to dig out the photo I've been saving in reserve.

Background: MLK Weekend we were at my sister Mary's house. We had a great dinner, then it came time for dessert. Mary brought out these wonderful individual cheesecake thingys that she made. But there was one we just couldn't eat. Matt wanted to, but we wouldn't let him.

We call her 'Chocolate Madonna'. Mary put her back into the freezer, in case we had the news media breaking down the door someday, especially if there are any other sightings in Yamhill County. That, and you never know when you might need the help of the Virgin Mary. I know it's not as funny as a plumber with direct links to the big guy, but it is pretty cool. I'd almost forgotten about her.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Dear Daddy

Saturday was Dad's 82nd Birthday. Wow. I thought about how lucky I've been the last couple of years to be there for his birthday. I was there for 80, when my sisters and I all played ukuleles for him, as he has for us since we were kids. We'd all met at Mary's and my hotel room to practice the night before. Five ukes, five out of six crazy sisters (Janet was missing) and probably five bottles of wine. We were great at our 'open mike' debut. Really.

I was there for 81, when Alina and I had just finished our drive from Houston to Boston. But I missed this year, since graduation didn't coincide with the August festivities. So I tuned up my uke, called before we left for Portland, and sang the Happy Birthday song for Dad. My crazy sister Janet (you can hear her laugh) caught him on her cell phone, singing and playing along with me over the wires. So, without further adieu, Here's Larry!

Salvage Company

I was simply trying to plan ahead. I knew that at least 6 people would be coming to visit on Tuesday afternoon, staying for dinner, and some if not all of them spending the night. Monday I had a gallon of freshly picked blackberries to deal with. And no room in the freezer, which is full of cherries, blackberries, and the 5 lb of blueberries I bought on sale Sunday. Hey, I need my antioxidants! So I made jam, six and a half pints of seedless spiced blackberry. That doo-hicky I bought last fall for the Kitchen Aid Mixer (when I had a ton of apples to deal with) worked great for deseeding blackberries.

I took the last 2 cups of blackberries aside and made what sounded like a great blackberry coffee cake. I was going to be so prepared for Wednesday morning, when everyone was planning to go rafting. As I was removing my masterpiece from the pan, it broke into several pieces. Okay, more than several. Alot. With crumbs. That's what I get for multi-tasking. I resisted the urge to toss it in the trash, and just gave the lumps a glare and a good old fashioned F u. I finished making the jam and considered my options.

All those years of hanging around with Brits paid off. A trifle, obviously, is what we should become, said the lumps of cake and blackberries. All my best dishes, serving and tableware are still in storage. So I didn't have anything close to resembling a trifle bowl. Tupperware to the rescue, a nice deep square semitransparent container, so you could kind of see the layers.

A layer of cake chunks, a sprinkle of amaretto, a layer of fruit (peaches, blueberries, and leftover blackberries that had been mixed with a little sugar, cinnamon and finely chopped pecans for the cake filling), a layer of vanilla pudding, a layer of whipped cream (mixed with low cal cool whip, since I was feeling slightly guilty...I'd used real butter in the cake), repeat once more, then chill.

I did not take a picture, though I should have with that striking Tupperware presentation.

It was SO GOOD, I think I'll add 'drop cake as you are removing it from pan' to the recipe, if I ever make one again.

So what about breakfast? Well, only 3 stayed the night, one got up 5 minutes before departure time and grabbed a clif bar, and 2 ate strawberry frosted mini wheats with me (my mom told me to try some...if you haven't yet, DO IT!). Who needs blackberry coffee cake for breakfast?

And how was the rafting? Well, Lloyd and the gang had too much fun. Eat your hearts out, Rob, Linda and Brendan. Sorry you had that darn flight home to that godforsaken place, Golden CO.

The rafts are going over Husum Falls again, as of last week. I caught them going over here:

And then ran around to Rattlesnake Rapids and caught them here:

And riding the bucking bronco here:

The rafting company pictures make it look even scarier, with the closeups. And you can see the look of terror on everyone's faces. I'll post those next, uploads a little slow right now.

Baywatch and Babewatch

OK, I admit it, I'm having fun checking in on the Red Sox every morning to see how things are going with the new guy in town. This morning I was treated to an awesome video clip. You have to see it to believe it! So go here, read about this crazy play, and watch the film clip. You won't be disappointed.

And then read Hal's entry on Paris Hilton, complete with video ad.

It's a double feature today!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Coney Island of the Northwest

We discovered a hidden gem this weekend when we went to a wedding reception at the Oaks Park Dance Pavilion. Oaks Park in Portland was built in 1905 by Oregon Water Power and Navigation along the Willamette River to increase street car ridership from Portland to Gresham, Estacada and Oregon City. When it opened on May 30, people arrived on the trolleys, on foot, horseback and in boats. The street cars are long gone, but the amusement park is still there, including the oldest roller skating rink (with pipe organ) west of the Mississippi. Apparently there was even a roller skating elephant on The Midway back in the day. Very cool place for a wedding reception, and while there are no more skating elephants rolling around, we will certify that the dance floor at the pavilion is in excellent shape!

It reminded me of Norumbega Park (1897-1963), another of the 'Trolley Parks' of the era. My parents took us there when we were kids. It was right on the Charles River, in the area where now the Mass Pike meets Rt 128/I95. It had a classic old carousel, kiddie rides, a train, paddle boats, and even bears! There were rides for 'big kids' too, like the caterpillar, which had cars that went in a big loop, and an awning cover would come over it during the ride. My parents told us about taking the trolley or bus out to Auburndale from their homes in the Brighton and Allston neighborhoods of Boston to dance the night away at the Totem Pole Ballroom, the dance pavilion at Norumbega. I was 11 when it closed down. It was a sad day for kids in our area. The Newton Marriott has been on the site for years. We sure hated that hotel in our little kid minds! I don't think our parents were really happy about it either. But that was progress.

Anyway, it was very cool to see a park of the same era, with the same origins (promoting public transportation). And we had a great time, even though the only people we knew were the parents of the bride! You know me, we knew plenty of people by the time the band packed up!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Oh Oh, It's August!

Welcome to our new number 44!

And Thank You, Mike Savio, poet laureate of the Savio household, for this good bye poem. I couldn't have done better myself!

T’was the night before August and all through the Nation
the fans on their feet in a standing ovation
Ramirez -- the baby -- is off to L.A.
So who is this guy they call Jason Bay?

He bats from the right and throws that way too
And produces the home runs; he has 22
Will he ever be Manny? “Not a chance” might be true
But when he hits his first homah, we’ll all say “Manny who?”

He’ll protect our Big Papi and with Mike at his back
He’ll make up for what with Ramirez we lack:
Good defense in left field, base-running skill too
And he’ll run out the grounders unlike you-know-who

If you look at the stats, Bay’s a star on the rise
While Manny – his stature – is shrinking in size
Just look at the stats. Can you guess who is who?
Player 1: .282 22 64 .375 .519
Player 2: .299 20 68 .398 .529
(I’ll give you a hint: Good-Bye Player 2!)

With the A’s due in town, get the offense on track!
But will Papi and Bay will be a formidable attack?
At the end of the day brings an unnerving truth:
Yes, Papi and Manny were like Gehrig/Ruth

So here’s some advice from a local Sox fan
Please try to get it right if you can:
Say “Wall”; not “Green Monster”
Pronounce “Pahk” with no “R”
Produce like you’ve been doing and you’ll be a star.

The “bleachers” are in right field
Pesky’s Pole’s “down the line”
Say “I hate the Yankees” and you’ll fit in just fine.

By the way Red Sox Nation, raise your glass in a toast
Pay homage to an old friend who’s on the West Coast
He’s a friend of the Nation and a really good sport:
Thank you, thank you, oh thank you dear old friend Frank McCourt

So we hope for the best as the day turns to night
I’ll just finish my poem and turn out the light
But as I try to sleep, I turn and I toss
Jason Bay for Ramirez, Hansen, and Moss?

Did we make the right choice? Did we give up too much?
Will Jason Bay ever hit in the clutch?
I find I can’t sleep and I sit up in fright
I know Manny was wrong; God I hope Theo’s right.

But what about Manny? How hard will he play
Now playing with Nomar and Lowe in L.A?
I promise you this, there’s more to his story
As you head off to bed, say a prayer for Joe Torre!

Go Sox!!!