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Friday, June 23, 2006
 

Some Thoughts on the Super Bowl


I am a genetically mapped New York Giant football fan which pretty much makes me just like millions of other DNA doomed dummies who for some unexplainable reason innately pledge their allegiance to a set of colors, numbers and helmet symbols for eternity. Like Canadian geese, we partner with a team for life, through thick and thin, good times and bad, seasons ending in playoffs and seasons ending with top five choices. It is the football gene and if you have it, you understand. Alas, if only marriage could work the same.

The fact is it isn’t like marriage. It is not that we are “in love” with our teams and our teams “in love” with us. If that were true, it would be like a relationship, requiring everyone’s needs to be met, resulting in fans dropping the souring attraction of one team for the empty promises of another. Nope, love is not involved. It’s a pathetic, sad, lonely one way street that is determined at birth. You are what you are: a Steeler, a Charger, a Seahawk, a Bengal, a Buccaneer. Some of us taste sweet victories frequently, while others wallow in self pity perpetually. It is no different from some people being tall and some people being short. It is my hope that someday stem cell research will produce a treatment to help some of my suffering brothers; for example, change a Cardinal fan into a Cowboy fan, giving them some hope of enjoying a winning season before they die.

It is our game. We don’t particularly delight in watching our teams flounder amidst a room full of fence sitters, people without the gene. You’re either with us or against us. And when it is late October and all we can think about is replacing coaches, players and team ownership, our shoulders slump as we prepare to endure the inescapable long November and December weekends in silent lonesome agony.

It is a terrible, terrible existence; worse than that experienced by other sport fans because there is so much time for so few games. This imbalance gives the true football fan plenty of time to trick one’s mind to think with a few breaks here and a few calls there that a 1-7 start can miraculously turn into a 9-7 wild card berth, only to be soundly crushed eventually by the shear weight of the challenge.

But no matter how bad the season, we can all unite for that final game, the Super Bowl. We can all find a reason to like one team over another. Usually it is the result of some convoluted thinking that somehow our team is vindicated if the right team wins. For example, I was really pulling for the Seattle Seahawks in this last Super Bowl. Why? Because the NY Giants should have beaten the Seahawks. Everyone knows that. So if the Seahawks beat the Steelers, I could rest easier knowing we could have been there too. We could have been somebody.

Unfortunately, the Super Bowl has become tedious to watch for the genetically mapped fan. It seems as if the game is diced up and wedged into a five hour colossal commercial to the world of American self indulgence. The game is sixty minutes of play that normally takes two and a half to three hours to get through. The Super Bowl somehow shoehorns in two more hours from start to finish, thirty minutes right off the bat for scatting through what I think is the National Anthem, and then an additional ten minutes to flip the coin.

Every year it gets a bit more dramatic, a bit more long, a bit more embarrassing and a bit more intolerable. Just play the game! The players have worked so hard for this single game and the NFL pulls it out from under them with all the self serving promotion. For instance, this year they introduced a series of ten second clips throughout the game of despicable Super Bowl Trophy fondling, where key players from each team pose individually with the trophy—caressing it, kissing it, and worse. You can’t do that! Why it’s … it’s … it’s the epitome of putting on the whammy. They might just as well get the evil eye. Some of those guys are going to lose and when they do, they will have to live with the idea that they cursed the team with their ill-advised trophy antics. They’d have to hold a gun to my head for me to do that. If the Giants ever get to Super Sunday again, to a player they better never ever touch that trophy, let alone even set eyes on it, before it is duly earned. The whole thing made me sick! I couldn’t even eat another wing dripping in blue cheese sauce.

And what is going on with the half time extravaganza? Can we calm that thing down? Can we see more “x’s” and “o’s” and less screaming clueless teenagers making a grown man cry. The game has become the opening act for a concert, rather than the other way around. There seems to be more concern about costume malfunctions than referee malfunctions, which there were plenty of. I suppose I could put the extra time to good use, like paint the house, but I don’t want to. I want to stay involved in the moment of the battle. But these Vegas shows are killing my patience. And as bad as it is for the fan, it must be brutal keeping players focused in the locker rooms.

Having said all that, we know that most of the added time is due to the commercials. Ah, the commercials. It is all about the commercials. How can they extend the game to make a few more bucks on commercials? Why don’t they give each coach ten time outs? Why don’t they have two minute warnings every minute? Pretty soon, they’ll have to start the game noon Saturday and have it end midnight Sunday. And the commercials aren’t even that entertaining anymore. It’s killing me. The madness has to stop.

So here are some ideas to get the game that the real fans support so tirelessly back on track. First, eliminate the extra week prior to the game and shift the season so that the Super Bowl is played on Presidents Day weekend. Second, fix the refereeing by employing full time referee teams. Third, use the half time to honor the latest Hall of Fame inductees, or our troops, or Super Bowl MVPs of years past—make it about the game or something noble, not about pop icons. If you want to have concerts, have them before the game starts. Finally, rein in the commercials.

What the NFL executives have allowed the Super Bowl to become is what is so unappealing about America to people who have no other lens. Everything is bigger than life. Everything is glitzy. Everything is so self important. It’s a bad, media contrived face to the world. Please bring our simple, humble game back. Please let the players play the game they earned to play. Please stop the insanity.

I’m beggin’ ya … please!

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Thursday, June 22, 2006
 

Scooby Doo, Where Are You?


Use this famous motto from the television cartoon at your Scooby Doo theme party. Someone was always asking the questions, so you can too! Make your first game a find the Scooby stuffed animal. Whoever finds him gets a prize!

To get guests to your Scooby party, send out Scooby or bone shaped invitations from the party store. They will also carry treat bags, wall decorations and party favors to give away for the games. Balloons, crepe paper, plates and cups are also made to match any Scooby motif you choose to follow.

All great Scooby Doo parties, whether they are birthday or not, need a Scooby shaped cake. Party supply stores have specialty cake pans in the shape of your favorite character. Matching candles, frosting and sprinkles can be found to adorn the cake or cupcakes for your party. Other foods to serve and follow your theme can be bone shaped sandwiches, “puppy chow,” or any food with a dog name.

Other games to play can be pin the Scooby snack in Scooby’s mouth. A Scooby piñata filled with all of your favorite candy is a fun way to celebrate too. If the guests attending are old enough and can read, create a “Scooby style” mystery and let them solve it. Using saran wrap and construction paper, have them make a magnifying glass to find clues to solve their mystery. Winner gets a whole box of Scooby snacks!

For quiet entertainment, watch a Scooby movie or television show. Find a giant stuffed or inflatable Scooby Doo character and take every guests picture with it. Send a copy with the thank you note or print it from the computer that day. Each guests will have a way to remember the great Scooby theme party they attended at your house. Save time to open the presents and eat cake too.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006
 

The Need for Modules


It happens to every successful business: you installed a shiny new Avaya Partner Systems network and it worked beautifully. A little too beautifully. Business became so productive and so efficient that more and more employees had to be hired. Soon, there weren’t any available lines or extensions. Chaos reigned. Employees had to share phones, 5 people to a phone. You had to disconnect from the internet so you could plug in your fax machine.

Company heads spent countless hours in meetings, sending memo after memo filled with cries for help. Buying another network was suggested by a lower ranking executive, but he was fired for offering silly, wasteful ideas.

There is an answer though, a solution, a way out from the despair and misery caused by a fundamental lack of lines and extensions. Modules.

Modules are Quick and Easy

Modules are the key that unlocks the door to providing a phone for every employee, a port for every computer and fax machine. So expand quickly and with ease. Sleep soundly knowing you’re picking an efficient, cost effective trunking option.

The T1 module has two benefits: it adds 16 lines of fractional T1 service and better utilization of T1 functionality. But why stop at a single module; more employees equals more lines, and one module only gives you 16 extras.

Purchase multiple modules, and you can create the perfect network, capable of supporting all your employees. Depending on how you configure them, the modules can either add up to 19 lines and 44 extensions, or 31 lines and 8 extensions. It’s your choice, based on your needs.

Modules Have Features

Modules have another benefit: they have features. The features are icing on the network expanding cake. The cake is rich and moist; the flavor is perfectly balanced without being too heavy. On its own, the cake would be just fine. But the icing adds a whole new dimension to the cake. A new characteristic that enhances the overall flavor of the cake. It’s the same way with the modules and features.

They come with advanced telephony capabilities that help increase the productivity and efficiency: caller ID, send all calls, and 5 party conference call. The features also boost mobility; Cell Phone Connect and Remote Call Forwarding work in conjunction allowing you to receive business calls anywhere you go.

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Monday, June 19, 2006
 

A Brief History of Pilates


Joseph Pilates, creator of the Pilates group of Exercises was sickly as a child. He suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. At age 14, he remedied his health status by engaging in exercise and body building, and in doing so, became the model for anatomical drawings.

With determination and dedication to his exercise, Pilates became skilled in sports like skiing, diving and gymnastics. In 1912 he worked as a self defense instructor for Scotland Yard, in England. When World War I came, Pilates, a German national, was named an “enemy alien” like most other German nationals at the time. During his capture, he started perfecting the methods of the Pilates exercise, and started teaching it to the other interns. He would make use of springs attached to hospital beds to enable bedridden patients to do exercise, with resistance. Pilates was first designed as a reconstructive form of exercise, mostly for those injured and unable to move freely, or else confined in a bed or a chair. The crude “exercise machines” was the basis for his later designs.

In 1918, an Influenza epidemic struck England, but none of his trainees were among the thousands killed, this strengthened his claim for the exercise’s efficiency.

After being cleared of accusations, and his release, Pilates returned to Germany to perfect his method. The dance community, through Rudolf Van Laban, highly regarded Pilates’ techniques and adapted his exercises. In 1926, Pilates immigrated to the United States, after being asked to teach his techniques in the German Army. This is where he met his wife Clara, and with her, he opened a studio in New York, with the New York City Ballet.

In the 1960’s most of Pilets’ students are New York Dancers. One of which, George Ballanchine, also had Pilates teach the ballerinas at the New York City Ballet. As time passed, his method became popular, not only in New York, but also everywhere in the United States.

Two of Pilates’ Students, Carola Trier, and Bob Seed, on the other hand, opened their own studio, demonstrating the methods and techniques, taught them by Pilates himself. Carola Trier, found solace in fleeing to the united Sattes, whe she escaped a Nazi Holding Camp, and found Pilates in 1940. Having pertinent dance background and the techniques under her belt, she became a contortionist, only stopping when getting injured in 1940. Due to this, Pilates helped TRier to open her own studio in 1950.

Bob Seed, aformer Hockey player, and an avid student of Pilates opened a studio across form Joseph’s and tried to make a competition out of it by opening early in the morning. Some people say that Pilates threatened Seed one day, and told him to leave town, and indeed he left.

When Pilates died, he left no instruction as to how to continue the line of Pilates work, nevertheless, his wife Clara, continued with the Studio, already known as the Pilates studio. Romana Kryzanowska, a student who studied with Joe and Clara aroung the 1940’s continued their work and became director of the studio in 1970.

Also in 1970, A man named Ron Fletcher, a Martha Graham dancer, opened his own studio in Los angeles. He attracted many Hollywood stars, and this so impressed Clara, that she gave him permission to cary on the pilates name. Fletcher however, brought on improvements to the regiment

In 1967, two other students, Kathy Grant and Lolita San Miguel were awarded degrees by the State university of New York, to teach Pilates, they were the only practitioners ever to certified by Pialtes officially. Grant tooko over the Bendel’s Studio in 1972, whilst San Miguel went to Puerto Rico to teach Pilates at the Ballet Concerto de Puerto Rica.

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