Drove to Phoenix Thursday for my daughter’s birthday. When I got out of the car was blasted by 115° heat. They’ve issued a heat advisory, recommending that children not be outdoors. My granddaughter is in a year-round school (first grade) and the kids are not going outside for recess; they’re being kept inside in A/C watching movies.
My daughter’s electrical bill for July was almost $300 even though they keep the house (2,000 sf) at 81° (84° if she is working all day and the kids are in school and daycare). Way too warm for me. I turned it down to 78° when I babysat Friday morning for the boys.
Tucson’s highs have “only” been 106°. Advantage of high heat: if you hang your sheets outside to dry they’re dry in 20 minutes. Disadvantage: everything else.
Ice Angel with LED Wings
Here’s something to make you think cold, if only for a few minutes. (Watch the video, it’s fun):
Interactive artist Dominic Harris, together with Cinimod Studio, have created modern day snow angels with digital manipulations. This playful interactive installation, ‘Ice Angel’, allows the participant to become both the performer and the portrait subject. As the user moves their arms a new wing shape appears, unfurling from the shoulders, moving and displacing virtual snow. http://inspir3d.net/2012/08/09/ice-angel-with-led-wings/
One present I got my daughter (should have gotten a photo of the look on her face when she opened the package), was KUSA Grass Flip Flops.
Love the feeling of bare feet on freshly mowed grass? Why not have that feeling anywhere, anytime. KUSA flip flops give you the opportunity to do just that.1
Finding that photo led me to this interesting photo of a path of grass. Get onto the web site for a string of photos of the path.
The Never-Ending Grass Pathway in France
In celebration of the 10th year anniversary of French village Jaujac’s art and nature trail programs, visual artist Gaëlle Villedary created a seemingly never-ending green carpet that connects the village to is natural settings. Using 3.5 tons of natural material, the installation ‘Tapis Rouge’ (Red Carpet) is a 1377 foot long grass pathway that not only goes over slopes and stairs, but also under the split roots of a tree.2
As my friends and I had done in San Diego (more about that trip in the next blog) every night from 8am until midnight, at my daughter’s we watched the Olympics in the evening. Mentioned the tattoos (my daughter is replete), the swimmers and divers and gymnasts having few, more on the volleyball players, and she said that the orange stripes on the lower back of the Chinese diver and swimmer that I thought were weird tattoos are kinesio (or just ‘k’) tape.3
America seems to have pulled out (at least for today) not only in the total medal count, but in the gold too, finally overtaking China.
The home court advantage is working. Even though England was also fourth in medal count in 2008, they now have more total medals than they did in China (59 v. 47) and more golds (26 v. 19).
I watched the London Opening Ceremonies and especially liked the scene when James Bond retrieved the Queen, they got into a helicopter, flew to the arena and made a parachute jump to the arena. Of course, it wasn’t really Daniel Crag and Her Majesty, but it was fun.
I have seen Michael Phelps become the most decorated Olympian, with 22 medals, and Missy Franklin win three golds in swimming, but decide against millions in endorsements so that she can swim on her college team. (Phelps collects an estimated five to seven million dollars each year in endorsements.)
Gabby Douglas, who started off so brilliantly, is another who shall do well with endorsements.
Douglas, a 16-year-old from Virginia Beach, Va., who did not come from a life of privilege but from a background in which her single mother has struggled to pay the mortgage on a condominium, will leave London not only with her medals but with the opportunity to become a millionaire. Thanks to those golds. And that smile.
Though Douglas failed to win a medal in her final event Tuesday, finishing seventh on the balance beam, she is still the first American to win team and all-around gold in the same Olympics.
…she should make between $2 million and $4 million in endorsement revenue per yearfor the next four years.”4
Some countries (especially communist ones) put lots of money into training their athletes. During the Cold War it was East Germany and the Soviet Union. Today it’s China, of course, Germany, Russia, South Korea, and surprisingly, Australia.5
The United States does not invest in our Olympic athletes, just our football stadiums. Some companies help out: Nike has poured money into distance running. (Notices all of those swooshes?) Rich kids can train, but those less fortunate might go under – Ryan Lochte’s parents had their home foreclosed, gymnast Gabby Douglas’s mother declared bankruptcy, and John Orozco got a job to help his parents pay the mortgage. (Read about Orozco’s travails here:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/olympics/2012/07/29/john-orozco-us-mens-gymnastics-2012-olympics/index.html) But if the athlete wins, then they reap the endorsement profits.
The events have been great, and yes, I loved Usain Bolt and his antics as he effortlessly became the first man to successfully defend both 100 and 200 sprint titles in the Olympics, and I was impressed that Bolt and his Jamaican teammates are the first Non-Americans to complete a clean sweep of the 200 meters.
I enjoyed watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in their tiny bikinis win a third consecutive gold medal in beach volleyball. (How can two people cover and entire side it usually takes 6 people to cover?) Missed the tennis as my friends didn’t subscribe to that cable channel.
But I also like to follow the unusual competitors. There’s the South African woman who underwent lots of testing to prove that she wasn’t a man:
South African runner Caster Semenya took second place in her Olympic debut Wednesday, three years after a gender controversy sidelined her career and overshadowed her victory in the world championships.
I also watched for the runner from South Africa with prosthetic legs. (See my blog with him at the end.6)
Oscar Pistorius rocked back and forth near the start line Saturday as the public-address announcer introduced him as the Blade Runner. An Olympic Stadium camera cooperated by panning to the pair of carbon-fiber prosthetics that he wore with his track suit.
The IOC this year successfully pressed Saudi Arabia and fellow Muslim nations Qatar and Brunei, the last three countries to refuse to send women to the Olympics, to end their bans.
Saudi Arabia sent a female judo fighter, 16 year old Wojdan Shaherkani, and a racer, Sarah Attar, a dual Saudi and American citizen, the first Saudi Arabian women ever to compete in the Olympics. (Attar was born and raised in the United States.) Neither woman won, but theirs were Symbolic Victories.
The slowest runner in the last women’s 800-meter heat brought the Olympic crowd to its feet Wednesday morning for a sustained ovation. As Sarah Attar sprinted toward the finish nearly 45 seconds behind the winner, the cheers were recognition for the first Saudi Arabian woman to run track at the Games.
…Saudi Arabia, governed by Islamic law, prohibits women from driving and requires women to receive permission from a male guardian to work, travel, study, marry, and access certain medical care.7
Four women competed from Qatar for the first time.
An historic run for Qatar’s first female Olympic track athlete, Noor Al-Malki, was ended by injury.
The 17-year-old failed to finish her 100m heat after appearing to pull a hamstring as she came out of the blocks at London’s Olympic stadium.
Al-Malki, dressed in a maroon running suit and cap, limped off the track with the help of officials after bursting into tears.
Other Qatar athletes were Bahya Mansour Al Hamad, Shooting, and Aia Mohamed, Table Tennis, suitably covered for Muslim women. Qatar swimmer Nada Mohammed W S Arakji, however, wore a normal bathing suit.8
Brunei’s first woman Olympian is runner Maziah Mahusin, who also who carried the flag for the small Asian nation in last week’s opening ceremony in London. (Here she had her photo taken with one of her idols, our – Jamaican, but moved to the US at age 12 – gold medalist, Sanya Richards Ross.)
There’s one woman from Afghanistan, Tahmina Kohistani, a runner.
…at home in Afghanistan, her daily training sessions are conducted to a soundtrack of catcalls from hundreds of abusive men. Whenever the sprinter trains for the 100 metres at Kabul Stadium, crowds soon appear to jeer and hurl insults at her and question why a woman would even think of taking to the track.9
Iran allows a few inches of skin to show, as well as a bit of hair, as seen in this photo.
Iran sent 54 athletes to the London Games, including eight women competing in table tennis, hammer throwing, kayaking, rowing, archery, taekwondo and the women’s 10m air rifle.
Unfortunately, our 323-pound weightlifter, Holley Mangold, (whose brother is Jets center Nick Mangold) was hampered by a wrist injury and failed to medal, but she’s only 21, so look for her in 2016.10
Now I’m back home with no working TV.