Archive for June 2010

The sun never shines on closed doors.

June 28, 2010

I’m rather fond of that saying.  I have no idea where it comes from, and I’m too lazy to find it.  There’s a great Flogging Molly song called “The Son Never Shines (On Closed Doors)” about the death of a mother, but I refuse to believe the saying is that new.  Since I don’t know the origin of the saying, I also don’t know its context.  That leaves me free to misconstrue it in whichever way I see fit.  Ah, the sweet bliss of ignorance!

I like to think it’s a warning about opportunities.  Yes.  That’s right.  I said a warning.  Opportunity is generally considered a good thing.  Sure, you can have the “opportunity” to rob a bank or shoot the sheriff – just don’t shoot the deputy! – but it’s really about chances to do something good.  If you sit in the corner or keep your back to the crowd, you’ll never see your chance to have fun.  If you’re dismissive, you’ll miss great opportunities.  It may be a chance to try something new or you could be missing the best thing that ever happens to you by not being open and accepting.

There’s a theory that your life will be better if you always say “yes.”  Zooey Deschanel starred in a movie – okay, it had Jim Carrey in it, too – called Yes Man that took this to an extreme, in which Carrey believes he has to say “yes” to any anything he’s asked, no matter how insane.  It leads him on a crazy, but mostly good, journey.  Instead of saying yes to everything, it’s better to be slightly selective.  That is to say, if you have strong objections to something, say no.  However, if you are ambivalent or don’t care one way or the other, say yes.  Take the new experience.

I like this theory.  It leads to lots of new things.  Although some will be better than others, you’ll be out trying new things and meeting new people.  It will keep you from getting into ruts or break you out of the ones you are in.  It will add spice to life and leave you with great stories.  It will also surround you with a sense of mystery and excitement, even for the people who have known you for years.  Open the door to new opportunities or things both great and small, because the sun never shines on closed doors.

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World Cup 2010: Part 2

June 13, 2010

The excitement of the World Cup has started.  Okay.  In actuality, Americans for the most part just don’t care, and they won’t unless America makes it into the last few rounds.  At that point, Americans will care only as long as the US squad remains in the tournament.  For the rest of the world, World Cup fever has been burning for quite some time.  England has been looking forward to it since the end of Premier League play and probably longer.  It wasn’t until this week that the American ambassador in London got in on it though.  I think Dave Barry can explain those sentiments much more accurately and humorously than I can.  America’s uncaring attitude is probably the biggest obstacle there is to the World Cup being held in the United States in either 2018 or 2022.  (The US has bids in for both tournaments, and FIFA – Federation Internationale de Football Association – will announce its decision for both contests on December 2 of this year.)  Then again, the US hosted World Cup and Women’s World Cup of 1994 and 1995, respectively, set FIFA records for attendance and revenue, so America hosting the games again soon may not be out of the question.

I seem to have digressed severely from what I had intended to say, which is that the games have started in exhilarating fashion for the US team – namely, a 1-1 tie against England’s Three Lions.  Isn’t that a great nickname?  Three Lions.  Of course, they are so named because the crest of the national team is the crest of Richard I.  Some of the other great names of teams in the tournament are Australia’s Socceroos and Greece’s To Piratiko (The Pirate Ship).  Host South Africa’s team is called Bafana Bafana, meaning The Boys.  The US team’s last match in group play will be against Algeria’s Les Fennecs or The Desert Foxes.  And who will they be facing?  USA’s MNT.  That stands for Men’s National Team.  Granted, Germany’s team is known as National Mannschaft or National Team, so we aren’t the only ones with a bad nickname.  I suppose it could be worse though.  A British commentator referred to the team as The Minnows on ESPN this week.  There’s another argument that the US doesn’t have enough soccer history or commonality among its land and people to have a good nickname, which may well be true.  With any luck though, we’ll someday be known as the Lion Slayers.  In the mean time, I suppose we won’t be looking forward to a beer summit in London this year, but at least the British ambassador won’t be treated to his rare steak!

Game on!

World Cup 2010

June 8, 2010

Steve Jobs ran into some problems trying to present the new iPhone 4.  It seems when he tried to connect to the WiFi network in the presentation hall, his iPhone wouldn’t connect.  He then asked the blogging reporters to disconnect from the network so he could get on it.  That only met with laughter.  Jobs’ next course of action was to connect the AT&T’s 3G network, except he couldn’t get signal for that either.  –  I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who’s had problems with AT&T’s wireless network lately! – Jobs finally gave up and showed screen shots he had saved for the presentation.  Don’t feel bad Steve.  The WiFi reception on my iTouch sucks, too.  Maybe if they made an Android MP3 player, that would solve my problem.

In other news of un-success, New Zealand’s All Whites football (soccer) team was eager to hit their practice field immediately after stepping off the plane in South Africa.  The smog on the field was so bad that the team had difficulty even seeing the corner flags.  Two of the players only lasted minutes before having to use inhalers to relieve their asthma.  The locals could not understand why the practice session was brought to an early conclusion.

The World Cup is now just days away.  Nike has had out its epic World Cup commercial for weeks.  It features Wayne Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo, and Didier Drogba, who broke his arm last week but had surgery and is still probable to make an appearance by the end of the tournament  should the Ivory Coast manage to win without him for a few games – I thought hockey players were touch! – as well as cameos by Kobe Bryant, Homer Simpson and Roger Federer.  Drogba’s injury is only the latest in a rash of recent injuries among the elite of the sport.  The most notable of the players missing the World Cup is LA Galaxy and AC Milan midfielder David Beckham, who required surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon.  Other major contributers missing from the field will include German captain Michael Ballack and goalkeeper Rene Adler,  Michael Essein of Ghana and England’s Rio Ferdinand.  Brazil’s Julio Cesar could see limited action in goal during the tournament.  While some of these injuries, like Drogba’s, are a risk of playing the game, most are wear-and-tear injuries, coming after many of these players have gone over two years without an off-season, due to club play and World Cup qualifiers.

Players aren’t the only ones getting injured.  FIFA gave away thousands of free tickets to a friendly between North Korea and Nigeria on Sunday.  There was a stampede to get into the match, and at least 20 people were injured after being trampled.  FIFA took no responsibility for the security at the match, but it ensures matches will be safe once the tournament starts.

That’s what I am really excited about.  The US plays England on Saturday afternoon.  Hopefully, I’ll be home to watch it, because I might not be able to keep updated if I can’t find a WiFi network on my iTouch.

Mighty Nimrod

June 4, 2010

Over the past week, we’ve been having a problem with some sort of pest eating our strawberries before we could.  I thought it was a rabbit.  Dad was sure it was a squirrel.  We even joked about leaving the dogs out all night to catch what it was.  I wouldn’t have put it past one of them either.

Munchkin looks like a black lab, is just slightly larger than a cocker spaniel, and is terrified of loud noises and anything unexpected.  She’d be an awful guard dog because she’d run in the opposite direction of anybody breaking in, but she’s a mighty nimrod.  I don’t mean that in a Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd sort of way, either.  She’s caught rabbits, a squirrel, a turtle – okay that one couldn’t have been that hard – and even two two birds while being confined to our yard.  Those are just the critters that she’s left us all or portions of as presents.  She’s even run the deer out of the yard so many times that they now just stop at the property line and look or cross the street to get to the neighbor’s yard.

Scruffy on the other hand is a beagle mix, who is ferocious when it comes to defending the family and property, but I have seen on a few occasions is frightened by even kittens.  She decided that she liked lying under the bushes in front of the house until a couple of days ago when some other creature, probably the same one that was eating the strawberries, had taken to the same spot.

Around 10 last night, Munchkin found that creature.  Munchkin went outside and I went downstairs.  A few minutes later, there was a lot of barking.  A LOT of barking.  When it died down, Dad came downstairs and went out the garage.  I went upstairs and saw Munchkin standing at the door wanting to go back out, and I found out shortly afterward that she had left a dead opossum on the walkway.  Dad disposed of it, and Munchkin looked quite dejected for the rest of the evening since her kill had disappeared.  Maybe now we’ll get some strawberries again though!