FREE DAY SUNDAY

The last 20 or so minutes of the Beatles’ “Abby Road” was a medley of snippets of songs that the lads had started writing but never finished.  This post is sort of my “Abby Road” medley,  things I wanted to say, but really couldn’t find a way to make the idea flow with the original post I was writing, or just some random thoughts that really didn’t flesh out into a bigger post.

I think Paul should have sung “Her Majesty” at the Opening Ceremony.

During the Creative Live workshop viewers can submit their favorite quote by the presenter via Twitter and if selected there is a nice prize.  I submitted one on the first day.  It won!  However, they gave the prize to someone else who had submitted the same quote.  I figured that maybe it was a first come, first win on the submitted posts.  The last day of the workshop, I heard a real grabber and posted it right away, fingers flying over the keyboard like a deranged secretary trying to meet a deadline.  This quote was for a really big prize worth $2,000.  As the hosts read off the quote I recognized it as my quote.  My heart was all a flutter with the anticipation of hearing my name.  But my name sounds nothing like Alice Smith.  Bummer, man.  I pick two winning quotes but come away as empty as the Minnesota Vikings at Superbowl time.  Both winners were also women.  Both people picking the winners were women.  Not that I believe in conspiracy theories, but…

The winning quote, by the way, was “the shot may not be perfect, but the bride’s reaction was perfect.”

While taking one of my online classes, I was very disappointed to find out that Dick’s Sporting Goods does not qualify as a boutique.

I also learned from class that a way to help me determine how to “brand” my photography business is to check out my closet and look to see what kind of colors I have.  Great advice.  However, since I taught at Apollo High School for 24 years,my closet was pretty much full of clothes that were the school colors of navy and gold.  After 24 years those colors pretty much became my colors.

Joe Buissink says he doesn’t hand out business cards and gave a logical reason as to why.  It may be great advice, but since I just paid a bunch of money to get my cards designed and printed, I am going to be handing out those bad boys.

School starts for all my friends at Apollo this week.  The sad state of affairs is that instead of relaxing and getting mentally refreshed for the first day of school, my friends will be at school this weekend getting their classrooms ready.  They have been back since last Monday, but that time is all spent in meaningless meetings that could easily be covered by a memo.  When I started teaching we went in for 2 days.  One day had meetings and the other day was for room prep.  I never had to go in on a weekend.  Administrators, who rail against busy-work, are the worse at coming up with busy-work for their faculty.

The Olympics are wrapping up.  I will give my final report on my feelings about the Olympics in the next couple of days.  Today I will quickly review the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver.  When the Olympics are on, the primary focus in the house is figure skating, single and pairs, and ice dancing.  Therefore my strongest recollection is of Kim Yu-na from South Korea achieving the highest score ever and winning the gold in ladies singles.  I also recollect skiers Hank Bode and Lindsey Vonn.  Both of them sort of had comeback Olympics as they were less than successful in 2006.  The press didn’t care much for Bode, and Vonn won gold, but then crashed out or finished out of the medals in her other 4 races.  She still got  Wheaties box cover.  Snowboarding, moguls and such are only of interest to X-sports fans.  A Georgian Luger was killed in a practice run.  The video of his death went viral.  Max Jones became the youngest accredited journalist at the Olympics at the age of 13.   The weather was cold.

One of the best teachers I have ever known said this to me my first year of teaching, “The most important thing is to care about the kids.  Do that and everything else falls into place.”  I am taking that mantra into my wedding photography business.  Care about the bride and everything else will fall into place.

 

Today’s musical choice for inspiration was, of course, “Abby Road”

 

 

 

Y2K OLYMPICS

Reading some tweets about a workshop that was talking about what it takes to make an awesome website.  All this time I thought it would just b posting gorgeous pictures of me, but maybe it takes more than that.  How disappointing.

Y2K had everybody in a panic.  For those too young to remember, there was supposed to be some huge computer glitch when the year changed from 1999 to 2000. This would shut the world down.  People were stocking up on water and food and buying Y2K survival packs, even my dad.  Of course there were other alarmists who said that Y2K would actually happen in 2001 because the 2000 didn’t actually count as a year or some such nonsense.  To me, the experts were listening to too much Prince and watching too many Stanley Kubrick movies.  On New Years of 1999 I made homemade pizza, bought diet root beer, nonalcoholic champagne and an extra couple of bottles of water and hoped for the best.

January 1st came an went with no problems, so the 2000 Millenium Olympics went off as planned.  Local residents Gary Hall, a swimmer, and Nick Hysong, a pole vaulter, both won gold for the U.S.  When the Apollo track team was working out at Glendale Community College, because our track was being resurfaced, Nick Hysong would sometimes be at practice.  Nick’s dad is the pole vault coach at GCC.  Nick is a very nice young man and willing to help our kids out.  A funny story he told was about his skateboarding.  Seems he skateboards everywhere, and it does cause a bit of an uneven gait for him when he goes down the runway to vault.  Didn’t seem to hurt him too much.

The Williams sisters began their dominance of Olympic Tennis that year.  File the next story under “these are the Olympics, what were you thinking?’  In women’s gymnastics vault competition girl after girl were missing their vaults, some even getting injured.  Finally, in the middle of the second round, a lightbulb appeared over someone’s head and they went to check on the vaulting horse.  The vault was set 5cm too low, which threw everyone off.  They fixed it, but by then the injuries and miscues had already taken place.

Marion Jones became the first track Olympian to win 5 medals in track.  Too bad she was using banned substances to enhance her performance.  Sadly she was stripped of all her medals and awards and spent some jail time for her indiscretions.

Summer Olympics 2004-2008.  The 2004 Olympics went back in time to hold the games in Athens, Greece.  Athens started the Olympic career of Michael Phelps, who took home 6 golds and 2 bronze.  The marathon was ran over the same course that the original marathon was run.  Remember, at the end of that run the original guy died.  Thankfully the athletes are in much better shape today.  And in a huge upset, the Dream Team suffered a nightmare and finished 3rd in Athens.

The 2008 Olympics were awarded to China.  These Olympics were the most watched Olympics. The Opening Ceremony is considered to be the best of all time by many.  Michael Phelps got a record number of gold medals in swimming.  U.S. Basketball coined itself the “Redeem Team” and won the gold.  Jamaican sprinters dominated track and field.  The Chinese dominated women’s gymnastics, only later to be accused of using underage girls. Misty Mae-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won their second Olympic gold in beach volleyball having not lost a set in two Olympic appearances.

Winter Olympics were held on 2002 in Salt Lake and 2006 in Turin, Italy.  Salt Lake is special as it was so close to 9-11 and there was even talk of moving them or cancelling them all together.  They went ahead as planned.  The 1980 U.S. Hockey Team lit the Olympic Flame.  It was the first Olympics to be opened by a sitting United States President.  The American Flag that flew at Ground Zero in New York was present at the games, as well as an NYPD officer singing “God”Bless America” and honor guards from NYPD and FDNY.  The flag of the ill-fated Challenger shuttle was also brought into the stadium.  Filed under “would you believe these two groups performed at the same venue at the same time”, the Closing Ceremony featured Kiss and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The 2008 games were held in Turin, Italy.  The majority of the American medals were won in Snowboarding.  Apolo Ohno became a household name in short track speed skating, in spite of the misspelling of both his first and last name.  He currently is the most decorated American winter sport athlete.  He is also seen in Subway commercials. I have come to the conclusion that if a person is a short track speed skater and working out all the time,  that person can eat 2 or 3 $5.00 Subway footlongs at a time.  I eat at Subway, I just get fat.

As I have been recalling what I remember of these various Olympics, I find that the events of the more recent Olympics are not as memorable to me as the events of much earlier Olympics.  I think much of it is due to network overkill.  The announcers in the ’70’s and ’80’s were inclined to let the athletes and events speak for themself.  The drama was in the competition, not in the droning on of the talking heads.  Today, all the announcers want to prove they are the smartest person in the room so they talk incessantly.  They also tend to try to tell us what the athlete is thinking.  They have no idea what an athlete is thinking.  Mind reading does not exist as far as I know.  All these announcers are doing is projecting their OWN feelings and thoughts onto the athletes.  Many years ago NBC, as an experiment, broadcast an entire NFL game with no play-by-play or color announcers.  It was a beautiful thing.  They only tried it once.  I think it dawned on them that if they did away with announcers, there would be no high paying jobs for ex-jocks.

The 2012 Olympics have been an interesting Olympics.  I will wait until they are over to blog about them.  Which on the downside means I will have to think of topics to write about the next few days.  Maybe I will come up with some ideas about what makes an awesome blog.  In the meantime, I shall post pretty picture of me.

 

Welcome to the 21st Century. Me, rocking the SNAG (sensitive new age guy) pony tail.

Tonight’s inspirational soundtrack: the Geico commercials featuring Maxwell the Pig.  Wheeeeeeeee!  Wheeeeeee!   Wheeeee!

 

 

THE DREAM TEAM AND NIGHTMARES

Since I am behind today it seems only logical to create 2 posts to get back on track to write one post a day for 31 days.

The Olympics changed in the 1990’s.   This change pretty much started in 1989 when Communism started to collapse, the Soviet Union broke up, and the Cold War essentially came to an end.  One thing this meant is no more boycotts.  Yay! This break-up led to many new countries getting into the Olympics and Germany would now compete as one country. The Olympics also decided to let professional athletes compete in the Olympics.  Finally,  the Winter Games and Summer Games split from each other so they were no longer held on the same year.

The ’92 Winter Olympics were held in Albertville, France.  I won’t even pretend that I remember anything about these games.  I know I semi-watched them.  The wife will not miss a minute of figure skating which means I don’t miss a minute of figure skating.  Kristi Yamaguchi of the United States and Midori Ito of Japan won gold and silver respectively.  These ladies were the first figure skaters of Asian decent to win Olympic medals.  Midori was also the first female to land a triple axle in the history of the Olympics.  She apologized to Japan for not winning first place.  Midori was given the honor of lighting the Olympic flame for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.  Kristi Yamaguchi turned pro after the Olympics touring with Stars on Ice.  More recently she made news by winning the 6th season of Dancing with the Stars and for endorsing Mitt Romney.

The excitement of the 1992 summer games was dominated by one main event.  The rules now allowed for professional basketball players to participate in the Olympic games.  The United States dominated Olympic basketball.  However, in 1988, the team finished in 3rd place.  Now the United States had the chance to put its best professionals together and take back our game.  They were dubbed the Dream Team.  Chuck Daly of the Pistons was the coach. The co-captains were Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.  Also on the team were Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phoenix favorite Charles Barkley.  Sir Charles had been traded to the Suns that summer.  He, Jordan and Pippen would later play against each other in the NBA finals that season.  The Dream Team went on to win by an average of 40 plus points a game.  They were usually posing for pictures before the game with their opponents, which regarded members of the Dream Team as their heroes.  I recommend reading the new book out called “Dream Team”.

In 1994 one of the more bizarre incidents occurred in that most violent of Olympic sports – figure skating.  Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were the two of the top US figure skaters in ’94.  During practice for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Nancy Kerrigan was attacked and struck in the leg by a police baton.  The blow was intended to break her knee, but only bruised the thigh.  It was discovered that Tonya Harding’s ex-husband hired the thug that attacked Nancy.  The ex implicated Tonya Harding as being involved in the attack.  Both women went to the Olympics that year.  Harding finished 7th.   Nancy Kerrigan won silver.  Kerrigan retired from competition and has kept involved figure skating and charity work in various ways.  She had a tiny part in “Blades of Glory”.   In an effort to somehow connect this post to the world of weddings, Nancy’s Olympic final outfit was designed by famous fashion and wedding dress designer Vera Wang.  Tonya Harding pleaded guilty to hindering the prosecution of the attackers.  She was stripped of all her skating titles and banned for life from competing in skating.  Because of her involvement in the attack, the professional skating circuit shunned her.  Tonya gained a little more notoriety by releasing a sex tape of her honeymoon.  She later dabbled in ladies’ boxing, finishing her short career 3-3.  She still claims she is innocent of any involvement in the assault on Kerrigan.

Atlanta was the site of the 1998 Summer Games.  Of note at these games was the lighting of the Olympic flame by Muhammad Ali.  Michael Johnson won the 200 and 400 meter races.  The U.S. women’s soccer team won Olympic gold.  My favorite moment ot the U.S. team,  and the favorite moment of many other people as well, would not occur until the World Cup finals in 1999.  Keri Strug won the hearts of the nation and world when she vaulted with torn ligaments in her leg.  She stuck the landing on one leg and then collapsed unable to walk.  This gutsy effort of hers helped the U.S. to win the Olympic team gold in gymnastics for the first time.

The nightmare of these Olympics occurred when a bomb went off in Century Olympic Park, killing 1 and injuring over 100.  Richard Jewell, a security guard at the park, found a suspicious backpack, called the proper authorities and helped evacuate the area while they awaited the arrival of the bomb squad.  Richard Jewell was hailed as somewhat of a hero and is actions had helped to save lives.  But then the nightmare began for Richard Jewell.  Three days after the bombing, the Atlanta Journal and Constitutional wrote an article which said the FBI considered Jewell to be a “person of interest” in the bombing, based on some “lone bomber” profile.  While the FBI investigated Jewell, the press went into full “guilty until proven innocent” mode.  The press investigated every aspect of his life, camped outside his house 24/7 and pretty much had Richard Jewell convicted of this crime.  His motive was, according the press, the “failed police officer syndrome.”  They figured Jewell had set this all up so he could be a hero.   Jewell was sued by some of the victims, even though he was never charged with the crime.  After he passed a polygraph, the FBI took Jewell off the suspect list.  After this, Jewell filed several lawsuits against various media outlets for slander and libel.  All but one was settled out of court.  Jewell was finally and completely cleared of any involvement in the bombing when the real bomber confessed in 2005. Richard Jewell went on to work in various law enforcement jobs.  He died of natural causes in 2005 at the age of 44.

The decade finished with the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Nagano, Japan.  Compared with the last two Olympics, this was a nice, peaceful time.  Of note, women’s ice hockey made its Olympic debut with the U.S. team winning the gold.  Snowboarding also made its debut as an Olympic sport.  A Canadian won the gold, although he had earlier been removed from the competition because he was found to have marijuana in his system.   Go figure.

In a cute current Olympic moment, I can hear my wife yelling at the tv for Michael Phelps to hurry, even though she already knows he won.  I guess that’s just human nature.

Coming up next: the 21st century games and a special post about the 2012 games.

Musical inspiration: The sound of the Olympics on television.  The performances are inspiring, the talk and the hype and the look how smart we are NBC announcers only inspire me to put the tv on mute.

Apollo Track and Field 1998.  I do not play golf.  I do not know why I have that hat.