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Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

Snow and Skiing


picture of satellite view of NE USA

The picture above is a satellite view of the Washington D.C. area earlier this week from NASA. Look at all that snow-covered ground! And that part of the country is supposed to be getting even more snow. It's neat to see the Appalachians highlighted by the snow. I bet some people in D.C., Philly, and NYC are hoping that whoever upset Al Gore will apologize to him so that he'll give them back their global warming. As the Lord dumps tons of snow on some of the hotbeds of the global warming hoax, He is proving that He has a delightful sense of humor. Fill-in-the-blank test item: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became ___."

How much snow is too much? Growing up in NW Ohio and living for about a decade in the Detroit area, my wife and I came to regard heavy snows and months of dirty snow and ice as just a normal part of life. Now that we've lived in South Carolina for over a quarter of a century, we love the idea of normalcy here — little to no snow, year after year, with the occasional French-toast-comfort-food scares where everyone empties the grocery stores of milk, bread, and eggs. (BTW, our crocuses are blooming here today.)

Did you know that snowmen can find too much snow depressing? Below is a picture a friend sent me yesterday to prove it:
Click here to continue reading this post ⇒


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(Non-)Olympic Moments?


You would have to have your head totally in the sand not to know that the Olympics are going on. We've followed the first week and a half far more than we thought we would, but the remaining events really aren't our faves.

Undoubtedly the dominant name has been Michael Phelps. The mainstream media has proclaimed him "the greatest athlete of all time" and the debate will rage on until the next "greatest athete of all time" comes along. Michael has definitely achieved wonderful feats in a very tough sport and seems himself to have a good attitude of humility, but there are still many who are asking, "Well, what about __ (fill in the name of their favorite sports figure)?! Is Michael really a greater athlete than __?!"

I found a terrific comic online this morning that I want to share:

Michael Phelps' dominance

For today's iv, I'm sharing two stories - one funny and one thought-provoking - about some runners, Olympic or not.

divider

Two gas company servicemen, a senior training supervisor and a young trainee, were out checking meters in a suburban neighborhood. They parked their truck at the end of the alley and worked their way to the other end. At the last house an older woman was looking out her kitchen window, watching the two men as they checked her gas meter.

Finishing the meter check, the senior supervisor challenged his younger coworker to a foot race down the alley back to the truck to prove that an older guy could outrun a younger one.

As they came running up to the truck, they realized the lady from that last house was huffing and puffing right behind them. They stopped and asked her what was wrong.

Gasping for breath, she replied, "When I saw two gas men running as hard as you two were, I figured I'd better run too!"

divider

In the late 1990s at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with determination to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry, slowed down, and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down's Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, "This will make it better." Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. More important than winning for ourselves in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

divider

A friend told me that, upon reading my last post about becoming empty-nesters, he thought it sounded like I was saying, "Well, life's all over ... now we can die." I laughed and told him, "Far from it! Let me tell you about Friday of last week...." My wife and I decided to take the day off and "head for the hills" for the day to do some of our favorite things - a last hurrah before my teacherly duties began this week. We headed to Flat Rock, NC, to a shop called The Wrinkled Egg. That day we weren't interested in the shop as much as in the new barbecue place right behind it. It's called Hubba Hubba, and let me tell you - HUBBA! HUBBA! We definitely found a new favorite - or as my wife Becka put it, "yet another reason to go to Flat Rock!" We picked up a cranberry-apricot scone at the bakery in the back of the Wrinkled Egg for dessert/mid-afternoon snack and headed for Carl Sandburg's house. We didn't want to tour the house on this trip - we just wanted to see how this year's baby goats were doing. We took the hike to where the goats are kept and enjoyed petting them. Here's a picture of Connemara (the Sandburg's house) and a picture of Becka with several of the kids.

pic of Connemara

Becka and three baby goats

After that we headed to a quilting shop Becka really likes in Hendersonville. What a nice place - they have an area with rocking chairs and magazines for husbands! I had actually brought along my own entertainment a Sudoku book to pass the time pleasantly, warding off dementia while Becka touched every bit of fabric in the place (of which there is a lot!) After that we went to Lyda farms to get some produce and some early apples. From there we headed off to the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC, to go to Sliding Rock. It was really crowded, and so I had to wait in line for about a half hour before I could slide down the rock into the 55 degree water in the pool at the bottom. Below is a 10 second video clip of Sliding Rock (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers).

Here's a picture of me ready to begin my trip down the rock...

Rob on Sliding Rock

The line was even longer by that time and we had some other things we wanted to do, so I changed into warm, dry clothes, and away we went!

On the way back to Brevard, we stopped at the ranger station across the road from the Davidson River Campground. They have done a lot of renovation on the ranger station, and there's a lot for children to enjoy inside. One thing we enjoyed outside the ranger station was watching hummingbirds visit their two feeders. After that, we went shopping at four different stores in Brevard (and bought something in each) before having dinner at the Pisgah Fish Camp. While eating dinner we decided to drive back to the ranger station to take some pictures of the hummingbirds - something we hadn't thought to do earlier.

There were even more hummingbirds when we went back than there had been earlier. And the hummingbirds actually flew right up close to us to check us out! Here's a little video footage of their activity (viewable on the blog itself, not in e-mail or blog readers). Sorry for the talking in the background - Becka's on the phone with one of our daughters telling her all about it.

After that, we drove back to Greenville. Now does that sound like two people whose lives are all done and are now ready to die?! 😀

I can't figure out a way to work up a poll question to get at the following - have you decided to and actually gone ahead and tried out any of the activities and/or places that I've written about in the past several years on my blog? If so, which one/s? Since it's impossible to structure as a multiple choice poll question, please just tell about it in the comments to this post.

quotation...

"What you live for and base your decisions on has the greatest effect on your children." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat have become really good friends.


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English Must Be Difficult!


If you grew up speaking English, be glad you did! The English language has so many subtle shades of meaning and idiomatic expressions, that people learning English as a second language have a really tough task. When we anglophones learn a foreign language we get a glimpse into how hard it is to master the intricacies of another language. When we anglophones try to teach our language to non-English speakers, we find many aspects of our language difficult, if not impossible, to explain.

I have made some horrible mistakes in French, German, and Chinese which usually resulted in laughter followed by an explanation. Such experiences are humbling, to say the least, but they have provided great opportunities to laugh at myself and to empathize with my students as they struggle to make themselves understood and as they make funny mistakes themselves. I'm sure that, as people from all over the world converge in Beijing for the Olympics and as they try to use Chinese phrases they've been memorizing, they will make some great mistakes. One of my best mistakes was when I was trying to tell someone I was from America (Mei Guo - roughly pronounced may-gwa) which in Chinese means literally "Beautiful Country." (Keep in mind that Chinese is a tonal language, that is, a change in tone often changes the meaning of the word.) When I pronounced it, though, I got the wrong tone on the second part of the word and said I was from "beautiful melon." I really think that some Chinese people just don't like my tone of voice.

That said, I am posting today some great examples of English mistakes or oddities from other countries. No one country or language is alone in finding English difficult!

English Must Be Difficult...

In a Tokyo Hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

Instructions in a Belgrade elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

A sign in a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

Sign in a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 am daily.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across the street from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make
Limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger
Roasted duck let loose
Beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

From the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 150,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest methodists.

In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today - no ice cream.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

How a sewage treatment plant was marked on a Tokyo map:
Dirty water punishment place

In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

In the office of a doctor in Rome:
Specialist in women and other diseases

From a story in an East African newspaper:
A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

In the window of a Swedish furrier:
Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

Sign in a Vienna hotel:
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

Sign in a Hong Kong supermarket:
For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

In a Tokyo shop:
Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and heates - if you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Detour sign in Japan:
Stop. Drive sideways.

Sign in an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

An Italian hotel brochure:
This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

Menu at an Athens hotel:
Chopped-up cow with wire through it (shish kebab)

A Polish tourist brochure:
As for the tripe served you at the Hotel Monopol, you will be singing its praises to your grandchildren as you lie on your deathbed.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
- English well speaking
- Here speeching American

4-star toilet

fall carefully please

please die elsewhere

practice dog etiquette

dont fall down

monkeys in the forest

offer your seat to the needy

Chinese Olymepic Cmmittee

begin with me

no stuff only

very suspicious market

wealth dream

And here's one that we've been told about and have suspected was true all along...

hot dog

Have you seen any examples of English obviously written by a foreigner?

By the way, this Friday is an Ultimate Bonza Bottler Day - 8-8-08!

quotation...

"If it's big enough to make me worry, it's big enough to take to God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Did ancient Roman paramedics refer to IV's as "fours"?


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Is Beijing Ready?


logo of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing

With the opening of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing a week away, I thought I'd share some pictures of the landscaping that's been going on around China in preparation for visitors from all around the world. Some articles that I've read have called this "greenwashing" - an attempt to purify the image of wide-spread pollution that many have in mind when they think of China. In any case, the results are spectacular and impressive, and the Chinese have shown great ingenuity and creativity in many of the preparations.

Here's the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium...

2008 Olympic stadium

Now on to some of the gardens...

a tribute to the Greek origins

flowers highlighting several sporting events

a floral abacus

playful creatures

a butterfly

dolphin fountains

a hand with a waterfall

Chinese men talking

dragons

Whatever you want to say

At the end of our time of teaching two years ago, we went to Beijing for a long weekend before returning to the USA. You can read about it by going to http://blog.ivman.com/our-final-days-in-beijing At that time we seriously wondered if Beijing was going to be ready for the Olympics, and we weren't thinking about the landscaping! Those three days, we ate only in American chain restaurants - restaurants in which we seldom, if ever, eat here at home - McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut. Our reasons were not because we craved Western food; it was because we could not read Chinese and could not order without assistance in a Chinese restaurant where no one speaks English. What astounded us was that, even in the American restaurants, no workers could speak English! We pointed at pictures on a menu to place our orders! I'm eager to hear how things go this summer when thousands of tourists arrive, unable to speak or read Chinese.

The question is not only if Beijing is ready for the tourists, but also if the tourists are ready for Beijing. If they want some adventures, they could try some Chinese fast food sold by street vendors (not always the safest option available, from what we heard.) Too bad the food won't be labeled as it is in the pictures.

street vendors selling their wares

fried starfish

various bugs

dog brain soup

seafood and more

goat lungs and red peppers

dog livers and veggies

sea horses

sea snake

grilled snake and silkworms

We ate some interesting stuff in China, but I assure you we ate none of the above - and definitely not from sidewalk vendors! Are any of you game to try any of those delights?

quotation...

"God's small group discipleship program is the family." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Taste makes waist.


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