Physical Culture— Why I Didn’t Make the Olympic Team

Our week at the Mar de Jade yoga retreat ended wonderfully, as all things do there.  We spent a morning watching whales head north, mothers and calves playing together.  In just a couple of hours out in a skiff we saw three different sets, and yes it was both exciting and peaceful.  I’m pleased to say that my yoga during the course of the week did improve and I was able to deepen my practice.  I was able to hone many of the poses I already know, working on form and style.  I also began to master some new, more esoteric poses that come only after years of practice, visits to the sweat lodge, and induced visions.  These include Tortured Warrior,  Locust Attack, and a new pose I invented called Beached Baby Beluga.  I’ll be unveiling this last pose at the upcoming Yoga Journal Convention.  Sadly we got on our Air Alaska flight out Puerto Vallerta (how incongruous is that?) and winged it back to rainy San Francisco making it through US Customs with a minimum of hassle (given the fact that we were using forged passports).   We picked up our batmobile and headed north deciding to stop in Marin for a bite to eat at the shopping center in Corte Madera.  While in line at the salad bar I found myself faced with one of the weirder menu choices I’ve had at a restaurant.

Thanks I’ll Skip the Fat-Tush and have the Detox

Only in Marin can you go to restaurant expecting to eat food and instead be offered a Detox (first column, last item).  Alternatively you can order the item above it, which I’m sure is some kind of delicious middle eastern treat but definitely should be called something else here in the US.

Anyway, we made it home late that night safely.

While away, much to our surprise, Russia decided to offer the world the Winter Olympics.  I knew something had been missing from life, but here it was, so I’ve decided to offer a few opinions.  Please don’t be put off by the fact that I don’t know how to ski or skate (in spite of the fact that the Fabulous Miss K and I first met during our stint in the Ice Capades).  I also don’t know how to build a proper snowman and in fact, I don’t even like iced tea.  That doesn’t mean I’m not an authority on this.

As everyone knows the winter olympics hasn’t been the same since Katrina Witt stopped doing her triple lutz while pretending she was Carmen. Image

Not since Sophia Loren had there been a Eurobabe who could melt the ice like Katrina.  She was enough to make you want to defect to East Germany!  I was also disappointed to learn that once again they had decided not to offer the reindeer chariot races which had been so popular ever since they did that Laplander version of Ben Hur.

Anyway let’s take a look at what they are offering starting with the appropriately-maligned sport of curling.  This is no doubt that this is the oddest sport humans participate in.  It is also the only sport I can think of that was designed to showcase the talents of people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. For those who don’t know the rules, it’s pretty simple.  Each team has three members.  The leader of the team (who is called the “mom”) slides big weights over the ice and tries to get the weight to land near the bullseye.  It’s kind of like shuffleboard that you play in the bar (like over at the Wagon Wheel Image

only there’s no sawdust on the ice.) The head guy on each team is called the mom because his job is to tell his two team-mates that they should pick up their brooms, clean up and sweep better and faster.  These two other team-mates are known as the “Mom’s Sweeper-Bitches.”  They have to do whatever he says and if they don’t do a good job they won’t get a medal and they can’t go out and play.  Here’s a scene from the last Olympics showing the intense interaction between a mom and the sweeper-bitches:

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Like in most events the Kings of Curling are the Norwegians.  When not talking on their Nokia phones, getting a great education, or eating fish-soaked-in-lye, these guys are usually found getting their curls done down at the local pond.  Nobody slides a stone like the guys from Oslo.  These guys are so cocky that this year they showed up in a team uniform that outdid even the French.  Clearly they had been over to ABBA’s going-out-of-business garage sale over in Sweden.

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These guys look almost as sharp as I did in my first blog entry.  Speaking of me, I want to confess at this time as to the reason I didn’t make the US curling team.  Athletic skill has little to do with being selected as a prime curler.  In order to be selected you have to show exceptional skill in cleaning up after yourself.  Although I was on the short list for the team when it came time for the “trials” they came over to my house to see if it was clean enough.  I had (I thought) prepared thoroughly and the place was looking pretty good.  But then one of the judges looked under my bed and found a big dust bunny-hairball left over from when our dog Scout was still alive.  Boom, they busted my broom and I was disqualified.  Speaking of brooms, most folks don’t know it but the best brooms are sold like baseball bats and bear the signatures and endorsements of famous custodians and janitors.  Little known however, is that this sport is somehow so compelling that His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave up his Tibetan citizenship and became a giant Norwegian team curling fan.

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But enough about curling.  Let’s take a look at another great winter sport.  The combined Nordic Biathalon.  This is a great deal in sporting events because you get two sports in one.  You don’t even need two tickets to see all the action.  It’s kind of like a mini sports-medley. In the biathalon athletes ski as fast they can.  Then they stop, PULL OUT A RIFLE, and shoot something.  Then they pack up their rifle and ski as fast as they can again until they shoot something else.  And they do it all in skintight clothing.  Check it out:

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Frankly, I think that combining shooting with other sports really has a lot of merit.  For example, how about combining riflery with football?  You do a run play, you do a pass play, and then you pull out a gun and shoot something.  How about riflery combined with ice hockey.  Nothing could go wrong there. I also think that combining golf and riflery would be a real winner.  What makes this a winner is that you keep score in both sports by counting your shots.  This guy has the idea:

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Unfortunately, this year one of the biathletes made a terrible mistake resulting in a tragic scene just short of the finish line.

Biathalon wipeout

Most of the biathletes are recovering.  Its amazing that the snow still managed to stay so white.

I’ll be watching closely to see what other surprises await us as this extravaganza continues.

Another New Leaf

So it’s been virtually a month since I’ve written much of anything. January was really spent settling into the life of a pensioner. Thanks to Susan Carpenter for giving the term pensioner. The only real advantage to being called a pensioner rather than a retired dude is that pensioners can begin having their evening drink at four o’clock instead of the traditional five o’clock start. Undoubtedly this is so we can make it to the early bird special over at Denny’s.

It is a very cool thing to go to bed each night and not have to worry about what I’ll have to do tomorrow. It is very different from the previous 40+ years. The only real project I’ve been involved in is planning for the remodeling of our two bathrooms. The remodel was sorely needed for many years but now we have the time and energy to deal with it. So Karen and I picked out a contractor we think we can work in and then searched the internet and found a mere 723,000 pictures of bathrooms, ranging from palatial (apparently some people live in their bathroom) to more modest like ours. We were able to narrow it down to 125,000 that we liked and thought we could live with. We viewed about 600 sinks, 425 bathtubs, and 300 toilets. There’s something definitely weird about going to the store and talking to salespeople about what’s the right kind of toilet for you. There’s an art to talking discreetly about its use and slowly I’m catching on to using the right lingo and talking about my toilet preferences (which I never even knew before that I had any). I flunked my first encounter when I walked up to the salesperson at the local kitchen and bath store and said, “I need something to make a doody in. What do you suggest?” The Fabulous Miss K was not amused. We immediately left and went to the second toilet store. You know sometimes my background in early childhood education serves me well and I guess sometimes it doesn’t.

Anyway we’re going through our checklist of all the decisions and purchases involved and construction will begin in a couple of weeks. I doubt if I’ll keep the readers informed unless something interesting happens (although living in a construction zone is sure to provoke something interesting).

That said, life as a pensioner can get a little slow. To fill up my time the Fabulous Miss K enrolled me in a new community education called “How to Load the Dishwasher the Right Way.” That took up a Saturday.

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Given all of this I decided to make a couple of changes. First off I’m going to straighten out my diet. As noted before my job turned into a LOT of desk work the last couple of years and I didn’t always get the movement and exercise I should have. So I’ve decided to cutback on some foods and add others that I’m told are better for me. First off I’m giving up the Fruit Loops and Vodka Diet touted by the Keith Richards Center for Health and Wellness.

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I have found that its really not that effective.
Second I’ve started eating more of those ancient grains that are supposed to give you plenty of amino acids, anti-oxidants, pro-biotics, antihistamines, anti-coagulants, and proteins. These aren’t just foods, they’re superfoods. So I have now doubled down on amaranth. I’ve been told that this ancient grain was the secret to the Inca’s success. Of course no one mentions that the Incas just aren’t around anymore. Most people blame Pizarro. but after a couple of helpings of amaranth I think I know what killed them. I’ve also tried quinoa. This is a grain that was invented when they were giving out vowels apparently. In addition to its enormous nutritional value it is officially listed as the world’s smallest food. It’s actually a great thing to eat when you’re really hungry and want to eat about 5,000 of something.

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Third, its time for my annual Yoga Retreat at my most favorite place in the whole world Mar De Jade, the holistic lifestyle resort. I’m here along with other rehabbits eating right, and doing two two-hour yoga sessions daily. At the begin of each yoga session you’re supposed to set an “intention for yourself”. I’m not proud, my intention is to survive. Actually this place is how you always dream of a Mexican vacation. The setting is stunning on a half-mile long cove about two hours north of Puerto Vallarta. There’s a small fishing village at one end and our Casa de Twister at the other end. The meals are delicious. Today we had “vegetarian loaf” for lunch. I admit I panicked a bit until they assured me that they didn’t actually put vegetarians into the loaf, primarily because it would no longer be a vegetarian dish then. Boy this gets confusing for a deep thinker. So I’ve been just been told it finally rained today in California. Too bad because it’s eighty-two degrees here and the ocean is the same temperature. . I’m sipping an organic piña colada and prepping for my next downward perro.

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I must confess though that even after doing yoga somewhat regularly for 44 years now I am still confused by the language used by yoga instructors. They are constantly telling you do things to parts of your body that I didn’t know I had, and have only a vague idea of where they are located. The other day I was told to engage the “belly of your hamstring.” Really? Another mystic place is my “pelvic floor.” I am told that all women know exactly where this is, but I’m baffled.

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Well, at least I have another week to figure this out.