Sunday, February 21, 2010

A February Proposition

I propose that we do away with Black History Month.

Now before you go assuming that I am some radically honest neo-nazi racist, let me explain.

I don't really think that this country needs a month during which we study and honor the history of our black brothers and sisters. I think our school social studies classes do a great job of covering this. What our citizens lack is not an understanding of black history but rather a good handle on the present black culture. We need Black NOW Month!

Some TV network should take this cause up and do a 2 hour special to educate the rest of us. The broadcast should highlight things that the black community would like the rest of us to know as well as address inquiries posed by people like me. Like, what is up with black people's hair? Why are these women SO against getting it wet? How is it different from mine? Why is it okay for black women to wear their hair in a mullet fashion at times? I've been told that these aren't true mullets and that it is okay when the person is black but I'm still a little unclear.

Black NOW Month should be kicked off each February 1st with an announcement regarding which title is preferred for the year: "Black" or "African American". I keep getting mixed signals about this.

I will now take this opportunity to post one of my favorite pictures of our nation's leader, President Barack Obama. I'm no expert but it seems that he is becoming quite the (Black/African american) leader in this country.

Keep It Real!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Come on, Canada!

Before I get too far into this, the following should be remembered: I love the Olympics.

Having said that, I have to say that from what I've seen from Canada this time around, I'm not impressed. I will admit that my viewings have been limited. I was in Tucson for 4 days this past weekend helping my parents move out of their 900 sq foot apartment into their 1300 sq foot PAID FOR house! So wonderful! Anyway, I arrived in Tucson on Friday afternoon and eagerly watched the Opening Ceremonies. We then got the move underway on Saturday and the new house did not have cable until Monday morning when we left to return to NM. So I basically hadn't seen any competition until I got back home last night.

I've been rooting for Canada as we've led up to the 21st Winter Olympics. Canada is such an incredible nation and invaluable ally to the United States. We share so much more than a long border. Canada does not get the credit it deserves either from the American public or on the international level. I wanted things to go off without a hitch so they could impress the world with their planning and creativity. I also wanted them to compete well, especially since during the two previous times that they had hosted the Olympics, they had never won the gold on their own turf. However, in the few short days since it all got started, the following has occurred in Vancouver (in descending order of negative severity):
  • Poor Weather - I know I can't hold Canadians responsible for this but it certainly isn't contributing positively to my opinion
  • Torch Lighting Snafu - As magical as the Opening Ceremonies were on Friday night, I think everyone felt so bad for Canada when, during the culminating moments of the event, there was trouble with the highly anticipated torch lighting. The reason this snafu isn't further down on my list is that the four torch lighters (of which one was my predicted Wayne Gretzky!) did improvise and the torch did indeed get lit. That doesn't change the fact, however, that the torch apparatus did have some technical difficulties, quite the embarrassment with a global audience. Bummer.
  • Richmond Olympic Oval Ice Surface Delay - On Monday, the men's speedskating 500 meter event was to be held in this venue but experienced a significant delay, thus throwing off many schedules, when the ice was in an unsatisfactory condition (read: sloppy mess). Nevermind the fact that that Olympic ice should be perfect at the time of an event. It should be no problem to quickly resurface it with a zamboni, right? If you agree, you'd be right except for the fact that the zamboni broke down. No problem again! There's a backup! Wrong! The backup broke. Don't worry...there's a third. Crap. It's broken too. How a city could build a $178 million venue and not be able to guarantee at least one working zamboni out of three is beyond me. Thankfully, they worked it out somehow, just not before suffering the disapproving glares of the world....and me. - Feb 17 Update: This happened AGAIN today!
  • Poor Design of Downhill Ski Run - During the women's downhill event, including the finals, numerous athletes fell, some while coming around a particular turn and some while attempting to land some course jumps. Falls are falls and they happen. But when that many falls occur, to the best in the world, it means the course was not designed well. This is further proved by the fact that before the next events at that site, the planning committe shortened the course to reduce skiers' speeds and lowered the final jump that so many women had fallen on. Not too little but definitely too late! - Feb 19 update
  • The Death of Georgian Luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili - It's a possibility that all athletes, especially those of high speed sports, have to keep in mind. A serious accident can result in severe injuries and, in the case of this young competitor, even death. 21-year-old Nodar was participating in a training run the morning of the Opening Ceremony and lost control when coming around the last turn. He flew off his sled, over the the wall and collided with an exposed steel support beam. It should be stated that the emergency team responded with impressive swiftness and he received excellent care after the accident. That doesn't make up, however, for the fact that the incident was most likely preventable. This is, of course, being debated right now. For months, many had been saying that the track had been built to be very dangerous. Some athletes have even admitted to being afraid of it. The steel support beam should also have been padded due to its proximity of the course. Olympic officials have now raised the height of the wall that Nodar flew over and padded those support beams. All lugers will also start each run from the women's start which makes the track shorter and should help keep speeds down. I only wish that such forethought could have occurred before losing the life of a young man before he even got a chance to officially compete on an Olympic level, every athlete's dream.
There's good news for Canada: it's only Day 4 as I write this. There's plenty of time for partial redemption. Between what I saw at the Opening Ceremony and yesterday when the first every Canadian gold was won on home soil, Canadians are showing impressive spirit. Here's hoping that it continues and that the rest of the Games foster a fair and competitive spirit, national pride for all, opportunities for athletic excellence, and above all, safety.

Like I said before, I love the Olympics.

Rest in peace Nodar Kumaritashvili, Olympian.

Keep It Real!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Be Our Guest! Be Our Guest! Put Our Service to the Test!

We were recently blessed with the presence of my best friend of 9 years, Janelle, for a 5ish day visit!

It had been almost exactly a year since I last saw her so it was nice not only to connect but also to have her be the first of my friends to visit us at our new home in NM. Her visit included the following highlights:
  • Seeing the city of Los Alamos and learning about its unique history
  • Wandering the streets of historic Santa Fe
  • Hot tubbing
  • Wine tasting - we found one made specifically for Valentine's Day that had a chocolate finish. It was delicious!
  • A long hike in the canyon trails behind our house with my brother and sister-in-law and their dog, Dottie
You too could experience such an agenda! Let me know when to expect you! The photo above is of us on the hiking trails in the canyon.

Now that Janelle is gone and safely back in Charlottesville, VA (by the grace of God and no thanks to the snowy weather!), my focus is turning to my other love in life, the Olympics (see post below).

2 days until the Olympics begin!

Keep It Real!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To Boldly Go Where No Moore Has Gone Before

In case anyone is wondering what Leni and I do with our large amount of free time these days, here's a peek:

Still 10 days until the Olympics begin!

Keep It Real!

Let The Games Begin!

As you can probably tell from my last couple posts, I'm quite excited about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Olympics, no matter the season, are magical. I adore the idea of athletes from various nations setting aside cultural, political and military differences and just competing for the honor of representing their country.

We all know that the ancient Olympics trace back to Greece, several centuries before the birth of Christ. Back then it was just the summer games, of course. The modern Olympics took off in the late 1800's with the winter games joining the scene in 1924. It wasn't until the mid 1990's that the summer and winter games started being hosted on a staggered basis...before that, they were both held every 4 years and in the same year.

Which brings us to this year. Consider this your guide to the 21st Winter Olympics in Vancouver!

  • Opening Ceremony - can be long and drawn out. Tune in to the last 30 minutes to see the presentations which lead up to the lighting of the Olympic flame. Countries always try to out-do each other and I'm always interested to see what they come up with...just not willing to commit to the several hours that it takes!
  • Alpine Skiing - I love watching this because I like skiing, speed, and watching wipe outs. It's the perfect combination. But I won't be offended if it isn't flashy enough for you.
  • Biathlon - boring
  • Bobsled - love watching it on TV but couldn't imagine a sport that I'd least like to see in person. Especially if I was paying as much as people pay to see the Olympics!
  • Cross Country - slow and I don't watch it but have watched small races with friends competing before and it was very exciting then. Some sports are exciting in and of themselves but others are only exciting to me when someone you care about is competing. I guess this is one of those for me.
  • Curling - I've been reading up on this to see if it would become any more interesting once one was educated in it. Fact: It isn't! The only impressive thing I found in my 30 minutes of Wikipedia research is that if a participant breaks a rule, it is up to them to be an "athlete" of integrity and fess up to it. There are no referees. I like that.
  • Figure Skating - I LIVE for this. It is so impressive. I know there are those that scoff. Those that think it is for sissies. To the doubters out there, my challenge is to watch just one routine and if you can do a fraction of what they are capable of, then let the snootiness continue. I think you'll find that these people and what they can do is nothing short of miraculous.
  • Freestyle Skiing - these guys are CRAZY! So entertaining to watch but I find myself holding my breath for them more often than not. Not for the weak of heart!
  • Hockey - Like hockey but don't go out of my way to watch it during the Olympics because it is something I can see more regularly than most of the other sports. Sorry.
  • Luge - see "bobsled" above but insert more props for elevated danger
  • Nordic Combined - as the name suggests, this sport is a combination of cross country skiing and ski jumping, the events being held separately but in the same day of competition. See notes on "cross country" above but add a little more interest due to addition of ski jumping.
  • Short Track - this version of speed skating is becoming very cut throat and the U.S. is boasting some very hopeful prospects. Stay tuned!
  • Skeleton - I have to admit that I had to look into this one a bit. From what I can tell, it is the same as luge except that the athlete travels down the course head first and on their stomach which is the exact opposite from luge. Little known fact: this sport seems to be one of the most highly contested sports when it comes to race outcomes. Drama queens, enjoy!
  • Ski Jumping - these people amaze me. Even if I got the guts to put the skis on and hit the jump with any amount of speed, I'd lose all composure in the air. These people are flawless.
  • Snowboarding - as a skier, I hate these guys when I'm out on the slopes. Your amateur snowboarder tends to ride about 10 feet before joining his buddies in sitting in a long line across the run, thus blocking other people from safely descending the run. Skiers like me despise this. I was, however, pleased when snowboarding was recognized as an Olympic sport for the first time during the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan. This year's Games will only be the 4th chance that snowboarders have to compete on this level. Professionals are so much more pleasant than their amateur cohorts.
  • Speed Skating - doesn't excite me but I am impressed with their speed when it is the only thing on at the time!
  • Closing Ceremony - Does anyone really watch this? I never have but I like the basics of the tradition: 1) Athletes enter all together with no distinctions of nationality. 2) Three flags raised...the first representing the host of the games just concluded, the second of the next hosting city, and the third for Greece, the original ancient host.
There you have it. No need to do any research beyond this. Just tune into NBC whenever you can to check out all these cool events. And if you feel the emotional urge to cry each time they play the National Anthem when an American wins a gold medal, go ahead. It's really okay. And when it is all over, we'll have Jay Leno's controversial return to The Tonight Show to look forward. There's a topic for another day...

Without further ado:

10 days until the Olympics begin!

Keep It Real!