Friday, November 30, 2007

Err.. what...

Two things that don't quite make sense when put together...

AP Story 1
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized atheism in a major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" ever known.

AP Story 2
KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and swords and beating drums, burned pictures of a British teacher Friday and demanded her execution for insulting Islam by letting her students name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Carson and Urs are here

Well, Carson and Ursula are here for the week-end and last night was fun. We went to a hockey game. Oh,I know what you think, but it was a kick.

The Rangers won. Ursula got accidentally spitteled on - during a screaming match between Ranger and Islander fans. Then the guy felt terrible so he got her another cocktail.

Okay, it sounds gross, but it was crazy ass fun. The crowd was a sterotype of what you would expect at a New York Rangers versus New York Islanders match.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Video of the Elephant and the Giraffe

(and no, I have no idea way there is no sound)

Here is the video of an Elephant trying to impress us.

Here is the video of the Giraffe walking. I think these are amazing animals (sorry the trees are in the way).

The Two Issues

So before I go on and on about how cool South Africa is, I had 2 areas of concern and I will answer them for you, less you have the same concerns.

How are the race relations? Better than almost anywhere I have been. Better than the US. Better than the UK. Better than Brazil. The whites get a lot of credit for giving up power relatively peacefully. The blacks get a lot of credit for being patient and not trashing the country for a quick gain. The races don’t mix a lot socially, but it is much more a wealth thing than a race thing. Wealthy blacks, whites, and Indians mix freely at dinners, restaurants shops, etc. In shopping centers and malls, everyone mixes freely. Even in the white Africanner Wine Region (the area where apartheid was most powerful) blacks work in the wine tasting areas along with whites. It was a very pleasant surprise.

We have all seen the slums on TV. Most of the slums are still there, but the government is trying to improve them. They have seen the result of Zimbabwe, and so they can’t spend more money than they have, but they are working in good incremental steps. For example, most township slums now have electricity delivered (many reinforced shacks have TV Satellite dishes). If there isn’t indoor plumbing yet, then there are public facilities spread all around the settlements. As they can, they pave the road in the townships, and rebuild the shacks along that road with small houses with bathrooms and real walls.

In short, South Africa is improving and, more AMAZINGLY, the people are patient about it. There is no storming off to seize the white’s houses or farms, like Zimbabwe. The government appears to know that the country has to continue to pull together in order to make improvements for everyone.

That said, they also do improvements in the cities (Johannesburg and Cape Town). I think they lived through white flight before and are trying to make sure everyone fells welcome.

It was eye popping and wonderful. I feared the worst.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Smithtown Penguins

The Smithtown Penguins (with Scott and Jane). V Cool

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving; Updated

Well, here we are in Mauritius. It is an amazing hotel and it is a beautiful trip so far. I'll probably post a little more since the hotel has wireless - and we have a little time every now and then.

The safari was GREAT. I can't wait to show pictures. It was really fun and we saw tons of animals. Ed has organized the pictures, so I am going to wait until he gives me a couple to post.

(Pic from Ed)

Anyway, we miss you all and the pup - but it is great. Tomorrow we go on a catamaran to an unihabited island for snorkeling, sunning and lunch.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

And so we say goodbye to cape town

Capetown was a kick. We had an amazing house that we shared with Jane. And what did we do the first day...

Saw the penquins.

It was the perfect start to the day and we will post our pictures as soon as possible (ie. not from an airport sign-in).

The city has GREAT food, really nice people and we stayed in a totally hip part of town. Eddie loved it, Jane loved it and I loved it. And it was a lot of fun to spent the week with Jane. (Lynnie - we did miss traveling with you... you would have loved it).

More soon.

Friday, November 09, 2007

And we're off..

Well all, we are off to Capetown tonight. Flying to London this PM and them London to CapeTown tomorrow. In First Class (Fancy - Schmancy; it was airmiles - we aren't that rich). Okay maybe I'll update if we have access - otherwise see you in 2 weeks.

Suggested by Lynnie

Well, my Lynnie asked the question, so I don't feel quite so shallow. Kenny Chesney won entertainer of the year at the Sountry Music Awards. He was a little dull on the show - but it is a slow song (Don't Blink) so that was expected. What wasn't expected is how he looked.

He looked... He looked... Well, like a bad Doker's Ad. A cover my fat shirt and pleated in the front dress pants. Pleated in the front! He looked awful. Even the New York Times, not a big follower of Country Music, commented on it. They said he usually wore pantey-hose painted as jeans with pockets, and last night we wore his dad's bad dress pants. You can't see just how bad they are in this picture, but trust me.

That is not how my Kenny should look! Below are 2, much more appropriate, pics of Kenny. Mr. Chenesy, you are Kenny, baby; not Kenny G.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So, as per usual...

So, at Young Frankenstein ("The Mel Brooks Musical..") what do we see? Megan Mullaly, Sutton Foster and Roger Bart?

Well, yes, but that is not the inappropriate part.

No, I hear the words I hear to often (and at all the wrong times)... "Where in Wisconsin are you from?!?" And up goes the hand (your hand-y map of Wisconsin) as
Ed points out Steven's Creek. I hear only 1/2, but I do hear Ed say, "Sure! I know where Wakasha is..."

And so another perfectly high-brow evening becomes yet another chance for Ed and a stranger to comisserate that there are no good Bratwurst or Fish Frys here.

I am sure in two weeks I will tell you who met in CapeTown from Wisconsin.

I Must Say... I am a model of self-restraint

I am a model of self-restraint today. Pat Robertson, who blamed 9/11 on secularists, feminists and homosexuals, yesterday endorsed Rudy Guiliani for President. The titular head of the Christian Coalition has endrosed a thrice married, abortion rights supporting, self-admitted adulterer on both his first and second wives as President.

And neither the Christian Coalition, nor Rudy's campaign find anything wrong with that. In fact, it would appear rather fortuitous that 9/11 occurred on Rudy's watch so that he could be "America's Mayor" and stand up to the terrorists (which were brought on by the feminists, secularists and homosexuals (two male homosexuals, of which, that Rudy lived with after his second wife was dumped via news conference at which Rudy admitted to adultery)).

So, if I understand this... It appears that God, angered by secularists, feminists and homosexuals, smote the World Trade Center and killed 3,000 innocent people so that Rudy Guliani - mayor at the time - would be promoted on the world stage and be able to become President.

And neither Pat Robertson nor Rudy Guliani have an issue with this.

And I am not commenting on it. See how self-restrained I can be?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Passive Agreessive Amusement...

Just for fun, if you are bored one day, go to Passive Agressive . Com - here is a sample (ignore curse words) no small childern read this - John and Sue won't let them. Here is an example....

I Must Say....

So I must say, one of the things that worries, scares, bothers (pick an uncomfortable verb) me most about the possibility of Hillary being a Presidential nominee – or even President, is a continuation of politics that divide our country. I think as she runs, she will illicit polarizing attacks. And she will respond. Win or Lose (and I think she would win) the country will break even further into camps that shout and don’t listen to each other.

I don’t like the idea of my country ripping apartmore than it is.

I don’t know how it started - I am sure we could point to Bill Clinton or Bush 43 and have excellent points – or we could point to Regan and Carter and have excellent points. I don’t really care. I think it will get progressively worse unless we choose to stop it.

I wish, hope, dream that the current President could bend a little. He might be able to slow it down. The man is undeniably likeable and if he came on TV and wasn’t a smirking, smarmy, mean partisan – we would all listen again. I WANT him to reach out a little, really. I want to trust my President and my country. I wish his rhetoric wasn’t so mean, angry, defiant, stubborn. I wish the Hudson River was made of Onion Dip.

I think Hillary, without baggage, could bring the country together a little. But there is no Hillary without baggage. Hillary brings a history of partisanship that cannot be denied. She has been a great and fair Senator, and she is as middle of the road as you can be. She is Diane Feinstein and Chuck Hagel. If her last name wasn’t Clinton – she would be positively dull. It’s not fair, but it is true. Hillary, no matter what her actions, will always raise anger and will never be trusted by a huge percentage of the country.

Maybe Obama could bring people together. But I don’t think he has a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected. Let’s be honest; the Ad’s against him would make the race baiting ads that ran against Harold Ford in Tennessee look like love letters. The swift boat veterans smeared John Kerry – who served in Vietnam and got a purple heart – as an anti-patriot. The only person with enough guts to stand up to the vitriol is Hillary.

It makes me sad. And every step my President makes that tears us, as Americans, apart makes me sadder.

It is different here than it is in most countries. We are Americans because we choose to be. You can move to France, but you can't “become” French. You are born German or Dutch or Mexican. You choose to be American (and Canadian and Australian). What happens to a country like that when two sides constantly choose against each other?

No Big Deal...

From the Boston Globe:
The Bush administration managed to get around the statutory requirement that no more than four members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights be members of any one political party when two sitting Republican members changed their party affiliations to "independent" just before the president appointed two more Republicans to the panel in 2004.

And yes, it is a first any Administration. He is, by the way, in charge of upholding the laws of the country. He is also making a mockery of upholding the laws of the country - which apparently offends no Republican (and yes, plenty of Democrats actually did complain loud and long about Bill). But I guess it is just another precendent that Hillary can follow with glee.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Well, I liked it a lot.

I liked it a lot. Eddie thought it was a little too long and a little too slavish to the movie. I think it suffers from super high expectations.

However, can I say that Megan Mullaly, Roger Bart, Andrea Martin and whoever played Igor were a-mazing!! Sutter Foster (who played Inga) was very good, but she didn't have a very big part. Anyways, I loved it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Dora's First Halloween

This is what happens when neice Dora has Halloween, but doesn't know that candy is involved yet. Before the Trick or Treating starts, it is just another day mom and dad put you in a goofy outfit.

Leaf Viewing

This week-end Eddie and I hung out with a bunch of friends on Friday night (including Randy, Paul, Chuck, Dan and Schaligi) and had a great time! It was a lot of stupid fun.

The on Saturday morning we poured five of us (Randy, Paul, Ed, Scott and Trevor) and went upstate to New Paltz - not all the great. Then we went to the Vanderbuilt Mansion and FDR's home. It was fun.

And they are, in fact, leaves.

Friday, November 02, 2007

And Thus, Frankenstein is wrapped up....

You may not know it, but both Young Frankenstein (the funny one) and Frankenstein (the real one) have musicals opening this month.

The review of Frankenstien was in the NY Times Today. It strives to remain close to the original in content and form - even as being told by Dr. Frankenstein to the Artic Sea captain who rescues him. The last few lines kind of tell you all you need to know....

The musical's other major character is, of course, the Creature. For all their talk of fidelity to the original text, the show's authors have departed radically from it in this piece of casting. In the novel the Creature's looks inspire instant horror. Here he is defiantly unseamed and devoid of the chunky neck jewelery that Boris Karloff wore in the famous movie. With hairless pecs and a buss cut, the Creature would probably be a man-magnet on Saturday night in Chelsea.

Of course, hunks can suffer too,and while his singing is uneven Mr. Blanchard makes a strenuous attempt to embody the tormented soul of his character, drawn to the humanity but repulsive to it. Roaming the stage in something between a swagger and a stagger, he twists himself into contorted poses meant to convey both physical and spiritual anguish. But I'm afraid it looked more to me like the Creature was fighting through a fearsome case of constipation.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mascots of the Month: Big Bang Boys (Updated)

The Big Bang? Actually the name of the show is The Big Bang Theory, and you haven't seen it you are missing something funny. Of course, I know that saying that is the kiss of death, but I like the show. The two leads, show below in their Halloween costumes as Frodo and The Doppler Effect, are hee-lair-i-ass.

They are played by Johnny Galecki (from Rosanna) and Jim Parsons (from I don't know what). They play hyper-intelligent guys, who cannot function in society. Super nerds, if you will. But they don't just fall into the sterotypes - they relish in them.

As you would expect, trouble comes in the form of a pretty young lady. In this case who moves in next door. They also have 2 other nerds "drop by friends", again brilliant minds. In this case a little more sterotypical. In the costumes below, Robin Hood / Peter Pan thinks he is a lathario (typical line yesterday: "I think I have some pixie dust with your name on it.") - and an Indian dressed as Thor who cannot utter a sound in front of women.

Anyway, it is really funny and I like it.

Update: FYI I was asked who the young ladywas. She is Kaley Cuoco (what kind of weird ass name is that anyway?) She has been in a lot of US television.