Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Snow

Janky quality* notwithstanding, 11 inches in October is a beautiful thing. It's a La Nina year and that usually means more storms for the Northwest.

*Scrappily rendered from Sun Valley's webcams via SnagIt video capture. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Post-Season Stressball

When the Phillies finally lost after an excruciating series playing the Giants version of fan-torturing small ball, I was at first filled with that peculiarly empty feeling of a sports fan who really wanted it and more or less gave up 3 hours of each day going back to April to watching and loving a team. When all of that caring amounts to nothing it's a really harsh comedown. The second step in the detox, after the emptiness, is a combination of self-loathing and feeling stupid for allowing yourself to care about something as unimportant as sports and giving it that much time and emotional energy.

But another strange thing happened when the Phillies finally lost. I started to feel better. Tonight for the first time since July I watched TV without a sense of obligation or the ulcerated pit in my stomach. It felt wonderful. I felt free.

Yarn Bomb!

Yarn Bombing: the horticultural equivalent of dog sweaters.
So this, apparently, is 'Yarn Bombing' as recently witnessed on 3rd Street in Old City. It appeared mysteriously overnight, perpetrated by unknown citizen hipsters, as if by elf magic, and I suppose is conceived as high-minded, viral, civicdo-goodism but it just looks like B-grade foolishness to me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Swiss Cows and Colds

Yesterday about 4pm a cold hit me like a rogue wave and by 630 I was in bed with sinus pressure, post-nasal drip and the whole sorry bit. This is the second time in my advanced age that a cold has pulled a fast one on me during waking hours. That I've noticed the onset of the illness is the strange part. I don't remember having that experience before. But you're sitting there one minute, alert, active and feeling good when an invisible pall settles down and mucus starts oozing in the unseen caverns in the face.

Good to get this out of the way early this season, I guess. By the time the mutations strengthen the bug and make it really nasty my body will have the right antibodies in the war chest and I should cruise through winter as healthy as an ox. (Oxes are supposedly really healthy.)

Or maybe I just have cows on the brain. I was in Switzerland in September and saw more ideal cows than I'd ever imagined existed though I probably could have connected the dots on the Swiss cheese thing. Anyway, I kept thinking of that line from Fight Club about 'calm as a Hindu cow,' which sounds calm, but I'd have to ask Tyler Durden if he's ever been to Switzerland. Those Swiss cows are seriously calm.

For comparisons sake, among other reasons having to do with Jill's crazy goal of running a marathon this year, I went for a 15 miler in the Amish Country outside Lancaster this weekend to get the read on American cows. We saw lots of cows. In fact it was a bit of an Old McDonald kind of experience out there, with horses, mules, turkeys, chickens, cats, and the wildest species of all, the Amish themselves, cruising around on modern roads with their old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages. 

Deep in the midst of a an exaggerated, low-down, short-shorted groin-stretch one such cart clip-clopped by with about 4 Amish children riding on a kind of shelf affixed to the back of the cart. They were looking otherworldly mature in their 3-piece suits, self-darkening glasses and woolly beards and we locked eyes like aliens from different planets encountering one another for the first strange time. 

Shaking it off, I noticed the specific wear the horse-drawn carts put in the roads and wondered if the Amish pay state or Federal taxes for this privilege. (They compensate my father-in-law with quilts for brain surgery services rendered, so I didn't really feel off-base or bigoted in this assumption.) Later on Google would confirm that they do and my ire cooled. 

But back to the cows, American cows, Amish cows. They're pretty calm too, eating and crapping and making dairy products in the green-beating heart of Pennsylvania. 

Towards the end of our run we came across a field freshly covered in manure that was just starting to reek in the mid-morning sun. The smell was literally over-powering and though you may doubt the science behind this, I'm convinced that somewhere in the noxious fumes I inhaled this bug I have now. 

Which brings me lastly, to Zicam, which is another awful thing I've put up my nose in the midst of my prolonged encounter with cows. Though the intake is something to endure, especially when your wife has to pin you down to administer the first dose, I'm coming around on the stuff. It can actually be inspiring if you surrender to its magic.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Witness David Beckham

Moments later the Union got bent like Beckham.
Thursday night I went down to PPL Park in Chester for the LA Galaxy vs. Philadelphia Union soccer match and got the treat of witnessing some world-famous soccer players at work. Especially Landon Donovan, but especially David Beckham.

Beckham's a bit of a sensation, if you haven't heard, and lived up to the billing Thursday night by acing the corner kick assist for the game's only goal. While setting up his kick the crowd heckling was at a roaring boil that quickly silenced by the score. Beckham seemed to relish the melodramatic role of the Spaghetti-Western villain and did a salty, backwards jig out of the corner to taunt the fans after the goal.

Meanwhile the ladies in the crowd went nuts at the end of the game when, predictably, Beckham tore of his sweat-soaked jersey, which he pitched into the crowd rockstar style, to conduct his post-game interviews shirtless.

This one here pretty much sums up the female reaction to the spectacle:
Notice the coy smirk on the blonde. She's a little embarrassed that she can't help feeling attracted to Beckham. Despite the high-minded approach she just can't suppress the animal instinct.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Munich AC/DC Taxi Cab

Hail this cab in Munich for to get rocked to the follicles!
Rain in Munich made the beer tents at Oktoberfest an impossibility (but also because you need table reservations a year in advance to get in to one of the mythical tents) so we set out in the early afternoon for a snack at the giant Pagoda in the middle of the English Garden and ended up downing several more liters of beer and a couple of those mondo pretzels for which Bavaria is also justly famous.

It started getting dark, windy and raining harder as we realized that we'd need to get back to central Munich by dinner time and the walk in had been longer than we'd hoped to repeat. So meandering through what looked like a nice neighborhood we tried in vain as literally dozens of cabs whizzed by with passengers.

Then this one screeched to a halt and we couldn't believe our luck. The driver was an aging German rocker, possibly a former roadie for Scorpions, in long hair and beat-up black leather jacket. He sat real laid back in the driver's seat, almost standoffish, with one hand casually draped over the steering wheel, and the other (in fingerless gloves) at the trigger of a massive, after-market Blaupunkt sound system with fluorescent light effects.

'AC/DC?' I asked, falling back on the language-barrier defying trope of the obvious, and he said 'Jawhol!' and pumped up the jams and put the pedal to the metal, actually peeling out, and it was wunderbar.

At ear-drum beating volume we rocked out to two obscure AC/DC songs: 'Can't Stand Still' and 'Caught With Your Pants Down' as we rocketed through the darkening streets of Munich towards our hotel on Karlsplatz.