Walking bores me. Needing diversion last night as I walked home, I adjusted the length of my stride so that I stepped on nearly every crack in the sidewalk. Yeah, I know the old saying…sorry Mom, nothing personal!
On February 10th a worker at a local landfill was scraping some mud out of the tracks of a piece of earthmoving equipment. In the mud he found what appeared to be a severed human left foot. Subsequent examination showed that it was not a human foot but appeared to be a foot from some branch of the ape family. We even had people who believe that Big Foot or Sasquatch lives in Virginia and that this might have been from such a critter. Google search on "foot landfill Virginia" and you can find a multitude of stories about our big adventure here. What follows is my twisted take on the whole fiasco:
It's a bear's foot...thank heavens they have identified it! The mystery
has been solved before those dweebs on Mythbusters zeroed in on our big
If you're traveling in the next few days or weeks and you live in Spotsylvania County , you might want to avoid mentioning where you are from. Now that the great foot mystery has been solved one might expect things to calm down a bit but a check on Google this AM yielded nearly 100 hits on sites mentioning "landfill, foot and Virginia" from places as far away as California and Washington State. There are even some people in Arkansas and Utah who know about it. I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would go to Arkansas unless they were being extradited there from Virginia but there may be some skiers headed out towards Salt Lake City.
After the "human/not human", "ape/not ape", "Bigfoot/what have you been smoking" controversies have been discussed in so many towns which never get to enjoy events this exciting we must have a pretty high profile in our search for fame. OK, maybe not so much but we at least have our foot in the door. (Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know that sucked...so sue me...it will be tossed out of court...you won't have a leg to stand on.) As you bask in the glory of notoriety in your travels remember that this kind of glory can be a two edged sword. This means that we are also associated with a group the wing nuts who believe that Big Foot lives in Virginia. Nobody I know has ever publicly claimed to have seen Sasquatch waiting in a slug line or in a line at Carl's but I have seen a couple of guys on Redskins broadcasts that might have been related.
My first thought after seeing that lovely picture run here and in the paper was that it might be that hairy caveman guy from that insurance commercial.
My favorite comment on this whole fiasco was from Laura Moyer last week during the snow/ice/wintery mix event. I won't quote her here but you can see that on her blog. Scroll down a bit, it's there under the title "Snow and Sleet".
I'm still trying to track down a rumor about the National Park Service trying to acquire the landfill site and a 5,000 yard visual buffer because of its historical significance. Maybe Fredericksburg area soccer fans will support that effort.
Do you think there is any chance that City Council will decide that next year's First Night observance should be the dropping of a bear's foot. Guess it's better than bear droppings....that would be a tough headline to write. "COUNCIL DECIDES ON BEAR DROPPINGS FOR NEW YEARS!"
a Myers-Briggs personality type or is it? I used to say that in a joking way, sort of a reactionary, Larry the Cable Guy type line. When guys sit around in the morning over coffee and discuss, even argue about some pro golfer's club selection on the sudden death holes in last weekend's "You Gotta Wear Depends Under Your Knickers" Open at the Ancient & Royal Golf Club in Bumsmash England I have to wonder if the world hasn't changed in some fundamental and tragic way. How does this stuff get on TV to begin with?
If you can stand it, watch a few minutes of golf on TV. You'll quickly see that it doesn't even need a live TV camera to depict the drama. They could do it with still photographs. If I could stand it I would get a stop watch and graph the action time of a golf tournament. I'll bet I would find that total to be almost nothing compared to the time the camera spends trying to show a nearly invisible egg size white sphere allegedly flying through the air.
If the fact that television covers it isn't sufficiently bizarre for you, consider the people who actually want to see this live and I use the word live cautiously. They pay pretty big bucks for a tournament ticket then shuffle along with rest of the golf herd out to the something-teenth fairway to take up their positions, maybe 100 yards from the tee. There they stand 10 people deep in an undulating mob, perhaps holding a cardboard periscope, to see over the anxious heads between them and the grass where Tiger Woods will walk by in hopes of getting a 15 second glimpse of His Tigerness on his way out to his ball which is probably another 100 yards down the fairway. Be still my heart, this is even better than watching Jello set up. Suddenly we have a context for understanding those people who find curling to be high drama.
The topic is rife with opportunities for more comments but I Tivo'd the World Series of Darts last night and I want to go and watch it to see how the Guiness Stout team captain did in the last round. It's just his second year on the tour but the word is that he is a shoo in to be named to darts Hall of Fame.
Every time I look in the mirror and see that there’s still no propeller on
my nose and only two landing gear, my belief that God did not intend us to fly
is re-enforced. Although I can’t recall
when I decided riding in airplanes was a gratuitous flirtation with a fiery
demise, I can recall at least one image from my first trip by air. When I was
in elementary school I flew from
My negative outlook on air travel may have started in college. Our Air Force
ROTC unit took a weekend trip to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in
Last year I went out to
On a cloudy morning in June, at an absolutely heathen hour, I somehow found my way to the long term parking lot at BWI Airport After standing in the rain for about twenty minutes a shuttle bus came by and carried me off to what I considered to be the gates of Hell itself. Check in was deceptively easy but I think that was just the airplane gods trying to lull me into a false sense of security. I’m an air travel wimp but a wimp with attitude. Only in the last couple of years have I begun to accept that God, while not intending for us to fly really doesn’t mind if we do. Because of this reactionary point of view I find myself assuming a peculiar mindset when traveling by air. I think it is equal parts fear, humor and anticipation against a background of deeply ingrained annoyance, all hopefully hidden behind a façade of being an experienced traveler.
I do not fly well. It's not just 360 minutes of forced immobility inside a germ laden flying Petri dish with 90 of my closest friends, traveling six miles above the earth at barely sub-sonic speeds in air cold enough to cryogenically preserve Ted Williams head. It's not even the prospect of surviving for 6 hours on a small bag of dime sized pretzels left over from the Cretaceous era and a sawed off plastic cup of diet Coke. It's all the rest of the dumb stuff that goes with the experience. We don't even have to be in the air for me to get pissed off.
It starts with the boarding experience. Everyone gathers around at the gate, poised in their starting blocks for the mad dash to the boarding ramp. Up front, of course, are the people in Boarding Group 5, oblivious to the order and discipline imposed by their boarding passes. Behind them are the lame, the halt and the blind along with those "boarding with small children." I saw one family on this trip with 3 small children; they should have just given them the plane for crying out loud.
Now, I assume that all this regimentation of the boarding process is intended to either speed things up or at least define the pecking order that will prevail once we are airborne and our miserable destiny is in the hands of Carol, Tiffany, Gina and Captain Somebody. If speeding up the boarding is the intent, what happens is quite the opposite. Once on the plane I find a line of people looking first at their boarding passes and then up at every bloody row number while struggling with the concept that rows are numbered in rational sequence, not at random. If you are at row five and your assigned row is seventeen, move the hell on! You are perfectly safe not looking at the numbers again for at least a few rows. You’ll get a hint when you're in the area; it's called row sixteen.
There is also a mysterious process that goes on during boarding. The person in the window seat always gets to their seat after the aisle and middle seats are occupied. If anyone knows why this happens please let me know.
Finally on the subject of boarding, to the folks at Southwest Airlines, God invented seat rows for a reason! Lose the colored cards and use row numbers. An airplane with a center aisle the width of Lance Armstrong’s bicycle seat is not the place to use "general admission" seating.
Airlines have rules about carry on luggage that supposedly limit us to one personal style item and a small bag which will fit in the overhead. They even have a little box thing at the boarding gate as a kind of a template for carry-on bags, the airline equivalent of the "you must be this tall" bar at an amusement park. The bar at the "Tilt-N-Hurl" ride seems to work because you almost never get puked on by a toddler there. The baggage box is a totally different story; it's there for no apparent reason other than perhaps intimidation.
Look at the bags people drag down that aisle; I've seen smaller apartments. The bigger the bag the smaller the person dragging it. Instead of that luggage box at the gate, they should have a person who makes sure that passengers can bench press at least twice the weight of their bag. That would put a stop to anorexic waifs dragging bags so heavy they come equipped with dual rear axles and radial tires and then wait helplessly for some chivalrous soul to hoist all their earthly possessions into the already overstuffed overhead.
By the way, when you land the flight attendant always warns you to be careful when opening the overhead compartment doors because "stored items can shift during the flight." Yeah, right! By the time everyone is aboard any plane I have ever ridden, those compartments are so full, sand couldn't shift up there. They will also remind you that anything not stored above must fit underneath the seat in front of you. Dust was the only thing that would have fit under the seat in front of me.
With such bad air travel attitude, you might think I would be somewhat of a rebel once on board the plane. Quite to the contrary, I become peculiarly submissive; I grovel in fact. The flight attendants are the "alpha wolves" and I am but a mewling, freshly whelped cub. My theory on this compliant attitude is that somewhere up there, behind the clouds there are airplane spirits and I do not want to annoy them. If I’m a good airplane citizen, my good manners will somehow magically insure that my particular plane will have an equal number of take-offs and landings and I think we'll all agree that is a good thing.
Furthermore I wouldn't think of leaving my seatback in anything other than its full upright position when landing and taking off. It's unclear to me why that's required but if the flight attendant says do it then consider it done. Likewise with my table, it's fully in the up position and locked just the way they tell me. Seat belts? Forget about me because I have that puppy cinched down so tight my knees turn blue. I can drink two venti coffees from Starbucks and still cross the continent without needing to use the bathroom. Without the seat belt of course, Mother Nature would have her way and the phrase “holding pattern” would take on a whole new meaning. I really hate it when my coffee finishes its trip before I do.
Moreover, that seat belt stays cinched down not just until the plane comes to a stop at the gate but until the ground crew has washed out the holding tanks and all the empty toasted almond bags have been dug out of the nooks and crannies underneath the seats. Then and only then will I arise from the seat, drag my belongings (ever so carefully of course) from the overhead compartments and lurch up the passenger way into the terminal, chanting my post-flight mantra, "Aaaah, cheated death again!!!"
The flight itself was comfortable but the view from my window seat
was pretty tedious. Two hours in the air had put us over one of those
really flat states; the ones this Easterner can never seem to keep sorted
After a while even my wide-eyed wonderment began to fade. They showed a movie but I passed on America West's kind offer of a headset for the paltry sum of $5 so I could hear the sound on a movie I had already seen. They wanted to sell me something they called a 'SkyBox' as well, a little cardboard treasure chest intended to fend off starvation. This time I saved $2.00 and so between the head set and the 'SkyBox', the unspent $7.00 offset the cost of the “Sandwich From Hell” which I had bought in the terminal to bring with me. Aren't I clever…that's a rhetorical question, OK?
I had to change planes in
Traffic at the
Once inside the terminal I had only about 20 minutes until my flight began boarding. That left just enough time to grab a fifty cent drink for which I was charged three times that. By the time I got to the gate the flight was already boarding and I had just enough time to discover that I would have been better off checking my sandwich through so maybe the airline would have had the opportunity to lose it for me.
Other than the 30 yard stroll through the pizza oven they called a passenger
walkway to the commuter plane and the fact that the seats on the commuter plane
were padded with a single layer of 'Charmin' the next to last leg of my trip
was uneventful. We landed at
A short luggage lug across the street to the Enterprise Car Rental office where
my reservation was actually in their computer at the correct price and I was on
my way. The final leg would be my introduction to driving in
A note here about
I had been given many ominous predictions about
So as I rocketed down "The 15" or "The Whatever" I found myself beginning to relax a bit. I had made it through a couple of fairly risky multi-lane changes without becoming a statistic and the miles were ticking off on "The whatever-the-hell-road-number" I was on. I was seeing the same town and exit names on succeeding signs with shorter and shorter distances to the points they marked. That was a good thing it seemed and so I let my mind wander a bit and began to ponder why Californians refer to the state and interstate highways as "The ###"…The 15 or The 415.
Back East we refer to Interstates 95 and 64 as "95" and
"64". Adding that extra word, "The" changes it somehow,
elevating the status of highways to a sort of imperial level akin in a way to
the royal "we". We don't revere them here like they do on the
By the time I headed back to Virginia I was prefacing every highway number with “the” but I got over that as soon as I pulled on to Interstate 95 on my way home from the airport. I also left behind my speed demon alter-ego and became once again, a good citizen of the highways. I drove home at a reasonable enough rate that a couple of passing cars even gestured to me that they thought I was the #1 citizen of the highways…that is what they meant, right
After 90 minutes in my very small cobalt blue rented Mitsubishi Something LE (AKA 'my foster car')on California highways, I finally pulled into Alain's driveway, convinced that perhaps there was something worse than flying. At last I was out of the plane and off the road…”laissez les bon temps roullez!” I had cheated death yet again.
... That's Renarded fame has a new posting this morning that had me snorting coffee all over my keyboard. While you are there enjoying her writing, please note that she has moved her blog so you will need to set a new bookmark. It's easy to do, just get a Sharpie pen and circle the address on your screen. Then when you want to go back to it, just double click on the circle.
(Dear God, please tell that no one who reads blogs is Renarded enough to actually do that!)
This woman just left our office who was wearing a bright yello jacket that advertised M & M's...you know, like melting in your mouth, not in your hand. Nikki told me that there was an M & M sponsored car on the NASCAR circuit but it looked an awful lot like a straight ad to me. Is there no product that people will not wear ad apparel for?
So far there's nothing out there that I have seen that touts the wonders of any particular brands of condoms, feminine hygiene products or personal pleasure devices but I have a feeling that a line of t-shirts or ball caps may may not be too far in the future.
Jeans companies seem to have been in the forefront on the adver-parel...Jordache, that Klein guy and so forth but Old Navy has a death grip on the gold medal. The whole bloody store is little more than a poster factory for itself...everytime someone walks out of there with a t-shirt or sweatshirt they proclaim where it was purchased and that they were dumb enough to pay ON for the privilege of advertising for them.
We're not even going to talk about the clothing items that have the label sewn on the outside. Do you think it happened because Label Sewer # 39 came in hung over one morning and accidentally started sewing labels in clothes that were right side out? She probably got canned for bad performance and is now sitting around in a trailer somewhere trying to figure out how to get a cut of the profits from companies who decided her mistake was a good promotional idea.
My personal idea would have been a set of t-shirts with velcro attachable displays that announce what brand of cereal the wearer had for breakfast but then no one would walk around with a sign across their back proclaiming that had started their day by consuming a bowl of something called "mueslix"...would they?
This is really a weird time we live in I think....
...come to those who deserve them then Nikki, who I nudged into blogging, must be the most deserving person in the blogosphere. Why, oh why don't I get to see things like what she wrote about today at Blind Wanderings . I'm not at all sure that my style would have done it justice but what a great description she gives of a very funny scene.
You almost have to know her to imagine the full spectrum of that snorting laugh she describes and when I told her I had just read the posting she immediately went into snort mode.... Go there and have a chuckle.
That's my story and I'm stickin' to it....
OK, it's a given that I know zip about art but just to annoy all of you readers who do, I'll add that I know what I like. Saturday morning found me shuffling through several rooms at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, trying earnestly to be impressed with the Cezanne exhibit there. I failed...miserably. I feel so inadequate. All those DC folk sitting in rapt attention, worshipfully looking at 5 paintings, side by side, all apparently of the same rocks or trees or some other feature of the French countryside. I'm looking too but I'm just not seeing the charm of all those repetitive images...a total of over a hundred paintings in the show and for me, four or five would have given the same impressions and I could have been out of that part of the gallery and seeing some variety in other parts of the museum.
There is good news though...the water colors were really nice, the exhibit was free and closer examination showed that he stayed pretty much inside the lines and had covered all the numbers as he filled in the pictures....
Kudos to MSNBC for pre-empting Imus In The Morning yet again today. Yesterday was only a snooze of a re-hash of Olympic backgrounders but they hit the programming jackpot today...live coverage of an epic ice hockey battle between Sweden and Kazakhstan...I'm sure you were all on the edges of your respective seats watching this 7-2 battle.
This thriller displaced the coverage of the second of three demostration sports this year...bungee luge. That's where bungee cords are attached to the sled and the scoring is based on the total time from the start to the time the luger is dragged back up through the starting gate by the stretched bungee cords. The major moment of excitement in this event of course is usually watching the atheletes trying to actually stay on the sled through the reversal of direction at the bottom when the cords have reached S-2 (Insider's lingo for "those suckers have stretched about as far as they are going to). Rumor has it that the American team should medal in bungee luge since we are the first country to use duct tape as a sled retention device.
Ice Scrabble ( a derivative of curling ) being one of the new demonstration sports has also become the focus of a heated debate. In Ice Scrabble, letters of the alphabet are painted on curling stones and the teams try to form words inside that circle. They get double points if they can bump their opponents stones into new positions that spell out a profanity of some sort.
This event has been fraught with controversy from the beginning. First, the Canadian team, the early favorites, almost pulled out when the IOC rules committee ruled the “eh” was not a legal word. Then Target Department Stores filed a trademark infringement suit, claiming that the concentric circles that define the scoring area are their intellectual property.
Just as it appeared those controversies had been resolved, a joint protest has been lodged by the Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Russian teams claimed that the stones should be multilingual. IOC officials have rejected the appeal, ruling that including all those characters on a stone would require an increase in the size and consequently the weight of the stones that would make them all but unmanageable to anyone except perhaps the Russian women’s team.