Sunday, February 28, 2010

US Wins At Olympics

The Olympics are over and the United States has the most total medals than any other nations. We have 37 total (9 Gold, 15 Silver and 13 Bronze.) Canada - the host country - got 26 total medals while Germany got 30 medals. Russia, which went into the Olympics overly confident only got 15 medals - making this Olympics one of their worst. It will be interesting to see how Russia does at Sochi in 2014.
I wasn't impressed with the Opening Ceremony and so did not watch the Closing Ceremony. The Canadians tried to be overly politically correct and made the whole thing just plain boring.


This week's show was pretty funny watching all the people try to act as cowboys. The real cowboys did well (as was to be expected.) Jeff and Jordan kept messing up and even admitted they were pretty dumb and Jeff said they shouldn't ever have children. I have to say that they aren't doing as well as I thought they would.
I was glad that the lawyer moms were sent home. I don't like when the teams constantly say they are doing the Race to show that they are good even though they keep messing up on the challenges.
Next week I would like to see either the detectives or the female daters go home. Neither of the teams seem to be able to succeed and are getting pretty annoying to watch.

Disability At Disney

Many people have commented about my previous entries on my recent trip to Disney World and what I thought about the overall experience and how disability-friendly the Park is. I would say that in terms of the equipment needed (ramps, wheelchairs, etc) Disney gets a 90% (out of 100%.) In terms of Disney employees knowledge of how to help the disabled I would give them a 50%. Lastly, in terms of my overall experience (getting to and around the Park and on the rides with a wheelchair) I would give Disney a 70%.
There were incidents where the Disney employees did not even try to help in any way: the one Shades of Green bus driver that I filed an official complaint about for humiliating us in front of other passengers and the workers at the Norwegian Maelstrom ride. In a week at Disney these two incidents did not ruin the trip - mainly because we did not allow them to ruin our trip.
I have a big problem with all the fake disabled people who go to Disney (and other places.) I saw many people in rented wheelchairs or scooters who used them to cut through the line and then jumped off on to the ride. That is very disgusting. It gives those people who are really disabled a harder time to get the real help they need all because of a bunch of low-lives who abuse the system.
My one big concern was that the Disney employees seemed to want to help the disabled only after you let them know that you need the help - even if you are in a wheelchair. There were many times I had to go out of my way to let the Disney employee know that we needed ramps or extra time to get on/off buses and rides. People who are disabled and do not have a helper should not expect to have a great or fun time at Disney World, but with the helper you should be able to - as we were.

The Last Hundred Days Of The Soviet Union

This book was written by and is about the second to last Soviet Foreign Minister, Boris Pankin. While the USSR collapsed in December 1991 he was the Soviet Ambassador to the United Kingdom. One of the most interesting points of the book was when Pankin described how in one minute millions of people lost their country and many found themselves in different countries.
I had never really thought about that before. That a non-Russian working in an All-Union (Soviet) position were now not only unemployed, but also in another country. An example - not from the book - is Edvard Shevardnadze. He is an ethnic Georgian and was the last Soviet Foreign Minister. Overnight in December 1991, Shevardnadze found himself without a job (since there was no more USSR there was no need for a Soviet Foreign Minister)and in a foreign country (he was in Moscow, Russia and not in his native Georgia when the Soviet Union collapsed.)While Shevardnadze did well - he became President of Georgia - many ordinary former Soviets had a more difficult time loosing their country, their jobs and learning that everything they had once been taught and believed to be true was a lie.
I still can not believe that no one predicted that the Soviet Union would collapse in 1991 - especially after seeing how the Communist leadership throughout the Iron Curtain were collapsing. They may not have known exactly when it would happen (the month or year) or whether it would be violent or peaceful, but all the signs from the late 1980s onwards pointed to the Soviet Union collapsing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Whisperers

This book is about ordinary Soviet life during Stalin's reign. It seemed pretty interesting and at the beginning it was, but it is 700+ pages of the same basic thing. The only difference is the name's of the places and people. It could have been half the pages and would have been much better. One thing that I did learn from the book is that the Nazis didn't believe in controlling your private life as long as you were Aryan and not anti-Nazis while the Soviets actively tried to control people's private lives (ie by forcing many families to live in the same apartment, etc.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


This week's show was alright. It wasn't dramatic or surprising. James continues to show his psycho-ness. Russel continues to act as though he is the best.Randy was sent home (he is just a bitter old man.)Coach still lives in his world of make-believe - where he sees himself as the only honest person.
Neither of the tribes are solid. They all have their issues. I would like to see the Heroes do better (except for James and TJ.) As of right now I would like to see Tom win. I hope that next week is much better than this one.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Woman In Berlin (2008)

I didn't realize that this was a German movie or that it was in German (well German and Russian.) Regardless, it was an alright movie. It showed what happened to ordinary Germans when the Soviets entered Berlin in April 1945. I have heard of what the Soviets did to Germans (especially women) from East Prussia to Berlin and even though it was war - a war that the Germans started - and in which 20+ million Soviets died I don't believe that they (the Red Army) acted correctly with the civilians they met. It seemed that it was official Soviet policy to allow their soldiers to do anything and everything to the Germans (whether Stalin called for it or not.)
I am all for the Allies punishing the adult Germans (men and women) for what happened during the war, but do not agree with some of the methods they used (especially the Soviets.) It seems there were the extremes. The Americans, French and British were too lenient with the Germans and really just gave them a "slap on the wrist" while the Soviets were too harsh. I don't know why France got their own sector since they collaborated with the Nazis during the war and only a handful of Free French fought them. I would have thought that the Allies would have had a better plan on what they were going to do when they got to Germany (especially since they had a few years to plan for it.)The Soviets form of denatification was to strip their part of Germany of all materials and men and send it to the Soviet Union while the British, French and Americans form was to take down street signs and Nazi symbols and give the former Nazis positions in their sectors of Germany.
What should have happened is that every sector should have combined their lists and every German (except for the children) should have to prove what they did during the war. Those that did nothing or where Nazi victims should have been given special care and extra rations. Those that were low level Nazis or Nazi supporters should have been re-educated and then released. Those that were mid or high level Nazis should have been either shot or kept in jail for the rest of their lives and never allowed to hold any position of power ever again. Instead many former Nazis were put in jail for a few years and then released (mostly by the German Government) and then allowed to live ordinary lives.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Disney Trip: Coming Home

Yesterday (Monday) the news said the day would be a wash-out, but at noon it was fine and so we went to Downtown Disney and had linner (lunch and dinner) at the Raglan Road Irish Pub. The lunch was just as good as the dinner we had there. We got back to the resort just as it started pouring.
Today we got up early, had breakfast and took our car service to the airport. Orlando had a lot of fog and New Hampshire was under a winter storm watch and supposed to get a foot of snow so we were concerned about having a delay. Since we were picking up the dogs right after we had to be there before 6 pm.
The Orlando TSA were good and we had no issues with them. We boarded with no problem. It was a full flight and so every seat was filled. A very large woman sat next to me. It was very uncomfortable for me because she could not stay on her own side. I thought that Southwest has a rule that if you can't put the hand rests down then you have to buy a second seat. This woman had to have a seat belt extension and still she was pushing against me. I do not consider being fat a disability and so have no problem with those that can't sit correctly in an airplane seat to have to buy a second seat and sit there. I paid for my seat and only got to use half of my space because of that woman (and airplane seats are small as it is.)
I was so glad when we landed and I could get away from that woman and her heavy breathing. A pilot (or maybe it was the co-pilot) was very nice and helped pushed our wheelchair up the ramp - something most people never do. They will help you onto the plane but forget about you when you land.
When we landed we got our bags and went to the car in the parking garage. There were only light flurries outside. We decided to stop by the grocery store by our house and get several meals (because we are still supposed to get around 15 inches of snow.) Then we got home, dropped off the suitcases and then headed the 5 minutes to the kennel to get our dogs. They were so happy to come home and looked really good since we got them groomed.
Now we are home and trying to unpack, do laundry and get back to our regular things. We are still supposed to get 15 inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, but at least we can just stay home if it is bad.
All in all I had a good time in Florida and at Disney World. It was mostly because of my mom whose idea it was to go. Hopefully we can take my dad down there next time as I'm sure he will enjoy going to some of the places we found (like the Irish Pub.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Disney Trip: Magic Kingdom

Yesterday we went to our last park, Magic Kingdom. We took the shuttle to the Monorail. The Monorail wasn't working right and we had to wait a while both before boarding and while on-board. When we got to the Park we went to Guest Relations.
The Park was very crowded. We did a lot of walking and went into the "Hall of Presidents" - it was a little too childish for me. We took the Liberty Street Riverboat - it was nice. We went on "It's a Small World." The employee helping us on the ride was very nice, but the one who was there to get us off wasn't so helpful. We had reservations at the Liberty Tree Tavern and so went there for lunch. Before leaving the Park we ate funnel cake.
Today it is supposed to thunderstorm so we are staying at the resort. Then we head to the airport and back home tomorrow morning.

Disney Trip: Downtown Disney/Hollywood Studios

We took the shuttle bus to Downtown Disney (had no issues this time with the driver.) We walked around the whole place. It was pretty crowded, but we had dinner reservations for the Raglan Road Irish Pub (we ate there several years ago.) Our reservations were for 6 pm, but we got there earlier and they could seat us. We had a good waiter. His name was Vinnie D. (I remember his name because he said "Hi, I'm Vinnie D. I know that's a very Irish name.") Our food and service was really great. Even when the waiter had several other tables to handle at once he kept up with all of us. It was a really nice meal. Afterwards we went back to the resort.
The next day we went to Hollywood Studios. We had no issues with the driver and went to Guest Relations to get the Disability Guide. Those guides are good, but they should have the information online so you can plan before entering the park.
We saw the "Indiana Jones Show" - which was pretty good. We rode on "Star Tours" (it was exactly like I remembered it from when I was last on it in 1991.) We went on the "Great Movie Ride" which I thought was pretty boring. We ate lunch at the 50's Prime Time Dinner. We had to wait for a table, but once there the food and waitress were good. Afterwards we just walked around the park until we got tired and went back to the resort.

Disney Trip: Epcot

We have been to Disney World many times before and usually just go to Epcot and no where else. This time we decided to see a little more of the other Parks. We started with Epcot. We took the shuttle from our resort to the Disney Transportation Center (where you get the Monorail to Epcot.) We were told the shuttles can all hold 2 wheelchairs and that we would have no issues. Leaving the resort the driver asked me if the wheelchair could be folded and when I said it couldn't - since someone would be sitting in it. He made a sigh and then lowered the ramp and hooked the chair to the bus. I didn't think much about it until later.
We got to the Monorail Station where we were helped by a Disney employee to get the ramp to the car and back off again when we got to Epcot. There was a good amount of people at security and the ticket entrance. We then went to Guest Relations where we got a "Guide for Guests with Disabilities" which shows who can ride each attraction. First we rode "Spaceship Earth." The employees were helpful there and it was fun. Then we went on "Ellen's Energy Adventure" - again with no problems. After that we decided to go into the World Showcase. We ate lunch in Germany at the Biergarten - it was good, but not the best we have had there. After we ate we went into Norway to ride the "Maelstrom." The Norwegian employees there were not helpful at all. They barely slowed the ride down for us to get on and I had to search around for the wheelchair afterwards.
The rest of the time we walked around the Park. We had some very messy funnel cakes and when we got tired we headed back to the Monorail and then to the shuttle bus. We got to the bus stop while the bus was there waiting. The bus driver (the same one from the morning) said he was too crowded and I looked in the bus and said he wasn't. He then started making comments to the other passengers about us and the wheelchair. He was very unprofessional, made us feel humiliated and didn't even hook the chair up right to the bus and it was moving the whole ride back. When we got to the resort I went right to Guest Relations and complained about the driver. The woman took down my information and said her boss would call me back. When she did call back she was making lots of excuses and even tried saying that maybe the driver was joking with us. I told her that if he was joking it was at our expense and wasn't professional. I told her that I expect this to never happen again and that if it did I would bring it to the proper authorities. She said she would talk to his company.

Disney Trip: Shades Of Green Resort

We are staying at the Shades of Green resort on Disney World. It is only for the military (my mom has an id card.) It looks nice from the outside with fountains and golf courses. The inside is nice too with very large rooms. The only complaints I have are that the two heated, outside pools are not heated (and it was in the 50s during the day and 30s at night for most of the time we were here.) Also the Housekeeping starts at the same end everyday to clean and doesn't get to our room until around 4-5 pm when we are already coming back from the Parks. I had an issue with one of the shuttle drivers going to Epcot (but will talk about that later.) Lastly, the food here isn't all that good. They say they have 4 restaurants when in reality they have 1 buffet restaurant, 1 Italian restaurant, 1 ice cream shop, 1 Express Cafe and 1 Starbucks cart. We ate at the Italian restaurant and didn't care for the slow service or the food. Then we ate at the dinner buffet once which was alright. We ate at the breakfast buffet once and it was good. We also ate at the sit-down part of the breakfast buffet once and the service was very slow and the food so-so. We ordered Room Service twice and it was both very slow and not that good and had hot dogs and ice cream one night at the Ice Cream Shop - that was good.
There is also a AFFES store, a place to buy discounted Disney tickets and Guest Relations.
The Resort is very spread out and it is a long way to walk with a wheelchair from our room to the lobby, the shuttle buses and the food. Like I said above the Resort looks nice, but there are things that need to be worked on. I would like to see the place broken up into different sections. A section for families with kids, a section for singles and a section for the retired. That way not everyone is just randomly put together.
We still have one more day here so we will see how that goes.
The first day we took a taxi (that the Guest Relations lady booked for us) to another resort and ate at Shula's Steakhouse. The steak was really good, but the atmosphere was odd - it was trying to be a very fancy place with NFL stuff on the walls. Coming back we took a regular taxi and the taxi woman did nothing to help with the wheelchair (unlike the taxi guy did going to dinner.) The she looked at the tip I gave her and wasn't pleased. I only believe in giving good tips for good service.

Disney Trip: Flight Down

We were supposed to drop our dogs off at the kennel on Tuesday morning and then head right to the airport, but the news said we could get 8 inches or more of snow and so we quickly changed our plans and dropped the dogs off Monday night and then reserved a room at the Holiday Inn by the airport. When we got down there around 9 pm we went to the Common Man Diner right there at the hotel. We have eaten there before. This time we just got dessert and the waitress was very slow.
Then we went over to our hotel. It was alright except for the fact that our room door didn't lock and we had to keep going downstairs in order to smoke. I told the staff about the door and they said the only thing they could do was change our room (at 11 pm) and so we kept it. It seems from their expression that they knew about the door beforehand and just didn't want to do anything about it.
The next morning we checked-out of the hotel (there were only light flurries and not the inches the news had said) and went to have breakfast at the Common Man Diner. This time the service was beyond ridiculous. The silverware was covered in syrup and there was no one around to tell so I got up and got them from another table along with some ketchup. When the waitress finally did come around and asked how everything was I told her and she just said "Well, I didn't see that" and walked away. Then the manager came by and I told him and he said that our meal would be free. I went up to him and said I didn't feel right about getting the meal for free and offered to pay for half of it - since the food was alright. He said it was no problem and that the meal would be free. I believe in paying for what you get and don't expect anything for free, but I tried to pay and was told not to worry about it. So we left a $10 on the table and left.
We parked in the Airport Parking Garage and went into the Terminal. At the Southwest ticket counter we were told that we couldn't check our bags in because it was over 4 hours before the flight. I have never heard of that rule before and have flown Southwest and other airlines many, many times. Finally they checked our bags in. We had no issue at Security (I don't think we ever had at Manchester Airport.) Then we had 4 hours to wait for the flight. Luckily, Manchester is not one of the airports that discriminates against smokers and has a Smoking Lounge both before Security and after Security.
Around lunchtime we ate at a restaurant by our gate only to hear that the flight was going to be 30 minutes late because it was coming from Philadelphia and they were having a lot of snow - we were having off-on snow showers. When we were pre-boarding some of the other pre-boarders (we could walk) got annoyed because we were brought down first - in a wheelchair. The rest of the flight was fine even though the plane was crowded. We landed in Orlando and took the shuttle to the main Terminal where we met the driver we had hired. We got our bags and drove to the resort. I was very impressed with the car service we hired. Unlike the one we hired to take us to Boston's Logan Airport last month when we flew to Colorado this one was very professional, met us in the Terminal, helped us with the bags and knew where they were going (they were also half of the cost of the Boston one who didn't help us or know where they were going.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I managed to watch this week's episode (even though I am very tired from all the Disney Parks we have gone to in the last few days.) The week was decent - nothing too exciting. I had a feeling that the grandmother and granddaughter team would go home -and they did. I think it's still funny that the 2 blondes (Jordan and Caite) have no real clue what is going on and say the dumbest things. The cowboys think they are the smartest, but I think it is just them having good luck and not brains. The rest of the teams are just there and haven't distinguished themselves one way or the other yet (except for the detectives and they are just not that smart or fast.) Hopefully, next week they will leave Chile and go someplace more exciting.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I was able to watch this week's show even though I am on vacation. First I think James is just a big looser. He "attacks" Stephanie when the majority of the team didn't work together and doesn't have the intelligence to understand or remember what he says. He tried to say "Ya'll" didn't mean he was talking about Stephanie. No, James it is when you said "Stephanie" when Jeff asked you who you were talking about. I really respect Tom (and to a lesser extent, Colby) for standing up to James when he clearly was in the wrong. Hopefully Tom will be able to stay and that his friendship with Stephanie won't come back to hurt him. I think that JT and James will keep their tribe down and hope they get kicked off soon. James thinks he is so smart yet he was voted off his last season when he had 2 idols in his pocket - doesn't seem smart to me. I also don't think Rupert is of any help to his team. All he does is complain about his foot (when Boston Rob fainted and still managed to bring his team to a win.) Rupert is just a creepy guy who looks like he should be hiding behind the bushes and not on this season.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Going To Florida!

I am going down to Florida and will write about everything when I get back in a week.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


The new season of "The Amazing Race" started today. As I thought the beauty pageant team (Brent and Caite) were just as dumb on this show as Caite was before with her maps. I really liked when she said "Danke" to the man in Chile and when her and her teammate didn't take the funicular. The lawyer team were the typical ultra-religious moms (Monique and Shawne) and I don't see them going far. The same for the dating women (Carol and Brandy.) I thought it was funny that the cowboys(Jet and Cord) thought they used Brazilian Reals in Chile. Even if you don't know the name of the currency you should get a clue by the word "Brazilian." I thought is was so funny when the father/daughter team (Steve and Allie) went into someone's house and just started painting. Even though the undercover detectives (Louie and Michael) think they are so good and would "Get first place each time" I don't see any of that. The married couple (Joe and Heidi)seem ok. The brothers (Dan and Jordan) seem like the ones from last season except this time only one of them is gay. Then there's the token old person - the grandmom and granddaughter team (Jody and Shannon.) They came in second to last so unless they change I don't think they will do well. In the end the high school sweethearts (Dana and Adrian) were sent home because the guy couldn't walk the tight-rope.
The team I think will do well are the ones from "Big Brother" (Jeff and Jordan) - but only because of Jeff. Jordan went to the ticket counter at the airport and asked for a ticket to China (instead of Chile.)
All in all I looked the first show and hope the rest are just as good if not better.

The More The Merrier (1943)

I just finished watching this movie. I didn't really want to see it, but there was nothing else on. It turned out to be a really good, funny movie. It is a comedy about wartime Washington DC and how a woman, an old man and a young soldier room together. Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea were really funny working together - which is good in a comedy. Even though there are slight war references it is just a funny, non-thinking movie (non-thinking meaning you can just sit back and enjoy without much debate.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Olympic Opening

I watched the Opening Ceremony last night as I usually do when the Olympics are on. I'll start with the Canadian National Anthem being song. "O Canada" was song by a 16 year girl from Montreal and was sung in both English and French (even though according to the Canadian Government there is only an official English version and an official French version, but there is no official bi-lingual version.)When she was singing it was hard to make out the words - English or French. It wasn't like when the American National Anthem is sung and every word is crisp and clear.
After that the First Nations came out and "welcomed" everyone. At first it was interesting and then it just kept going and going. Towards the end it felt like I was watching "Pocahontas" on Disney On Ice. I am all for representing all the different groups in Canada (the First Nations, Anglophones and the Francophones) but sometimes things go on too long to the point of being boring.
Then the Parade of Nations started. Greece was first since the Olympics started there and then the rest of the nations walked out according to the International Olympic Committee's country list (where the United Kingdom is Great Britain and Taiwan is Chinese Taiwan.) When Georgia came out they received a standing ovation in honor of Nodar Kumaritashvili who died that day while practicing. There were also mentions of him and a moment of silence throughout the ceremony. The US team got more noise from the audience when they came out then the Canadian team did.
Then they had a bunch of odd performances that were supposed to show the different regions of Canada - I didn't really care for any of them. Nelly Furtado and Bryan Adams also sang, but I could barely hear or understand what they were singing. A poet read about what it means to be Canadian - it was interesting to hear how they see themselves. Some speeches were made and the K.D. Lang sang "Hallelujah." That was one of the worst performances of that song I have ever heard. I like that song, but didn't care for the singer or how she sang it.
Then the lighting of the torch took place. Four "well-known" Canadians came out (one of them was Wayne Gretzky) and then after a very akward time of waiting 3 large metal things came out of the ground (there were supposed to have been 4) and the four people lit the torch. It would have been a very cool ending had everything worked right, but instead it was a flop.
All-in-all I didn't really care for the Opening Ceremony. I have to say that it is one of the worse and most boring I have seen in a long time. While many things may have looked good on paper they did not translate well in live-action. It seems that this year's Olympics is cursed from the start (the death of the Georgian luge athelite and the poor performance at the Opening Ceremony.) Hopefully, the actual events will go off without any issues.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow In All 50 States?

From USA Today:
"Storm could mean snow on ground in all 50 states"

I read the article and looked at the maps of snowfall, but did not see Hawaii anywhere. It would make sense that Alaska would have snow, but that doesn't mean Hawaii would. If every US State is supposed to have snow on the ground then that has to include ALL the states.

Germany Honors Its Dead Soldiers

From Deutsche Welle:
"Germany gets its first monument for fallen soldiers since WWII"

While I don't personally care where the monument is placed in Berlin I did want to say that I agree that Germany deserves to honor those that fought and died from 1955 onwards (with the exception of those from the former East Germany.),,4650663,00.html

Germany Allows Neo-Nazis

From Deutsche Welle:
"Neo-Nazis allowed to march in commemoration of Dresden bombing"

I have lived in Germany and was always told that German law bans any Neo-Nazi group on German soil. I guess what I was taught and believed was wrong because now the Germans are allowing Neo-Nazis to openly march in Dresden. This makes no sense - especially given all the hard-work Germany has done since the end of the war to distance itself from the Nazis. It seems to me that the Germans are just trying to make a statement about the bombing of Dresden (on its 65 anniversary) and is allowing the Neo-Nazis to march to bring their statement to the world. If what I believe is right than this is a big mistake. All the work Germany has done over the past 65 years will be overshadowed by them openly allowing Neo-Nazis to march. If this is allowed to go forth than who knows where the German Government will stop - maybe Neo-Nazis will be allowed to run for office and then Germany could be in the same spot it was in 1933 and we all know what happened after that.
I know Neo-Nazi groups (or the KKK, etc) are not banned in the US, but I firmly believe they should be. Any group that openly calls for violence against others should be banned.,,5243217,00.html

Fatwa Over Body Scanners

From USA Today:
"'Fatwa' forbids Muslims going through full-body scanners"

While the US does not require people to go through the body scanners if they do not want to (they can be screened by hand)many foreign airports - especially on flights going to the US - require passengers to go through the body scanners or not fly. If someone in this last situation decides not to go through the body scanners for religious reasons than that is fine with me - they will just not be allowed on the flight.

Eurozone Slipping

From Yahoo News:
"Euro currency union showing strains"

I have written about this before. I think the EU has allowed its enlargement too quickly. It seems the EU just wanted to get as many countries it could to join with no consideration of each country (both member and would-be member.) Along those same lines the Eurozone countries were set-up too quickly. Now the EU as a whole (along with the Eurozone) as a big problem with certain member countries (like Greece, Portugal, etc) on spending/budget policies and has decided to do nothing to help bail-out the countries in question. You would think that allowing an EU and a Eurozone country to falter would cause all the other member-states equal problems. The Euro is slipping in value (which is good for the US Dollar.);_ylt=Alrt7cNj.i9fBU

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Tonight was the 2 hour premiere of the 20th season. The two teams consisted of people who were previously on different seasons and put into the "Heroes" and the "Villains." I was not very happy to see Russel, Tyson or Coach back. It was cool to see Boston Rob, Tom and Amanda.
Sugar was sent home mainly because she annoyed Colby. While that may be true I think that either Rubert or Cirie should have been sent home instead. Rupert not only broke his toe, but he also couldn't make a fire with a flint (all of them should be able to do that by now.) I never saw the season that Rupert was in but he seems very creepy (like he could snap at any minute.) I guess "Survivor" is "so easy a caveman can do it." Cirie just doesn't do anything either around camp or in the challenges and yet manages to make it far.
Right now I would like to see Tom win, but that's a long ways away.

Enemy At The Door (1978)

I watched the last part of this mini-series and have to say that it wasn't as good as "Island At War." Both are about the German occupation of the British Channel Islands during World War 2. "Enemy At The Door" was made in the 1970s while "Island At War" was made in the 2000s.
It just seems that "Island At War" was more realistic. That you were watching real people who were living during the war while "Enemy At The Door" felt like you were watching a play and knew that these were just actors/actresses. Also the German characters in "Enemy At The Door" were more British than the Islanders while in "Island At War" they seemed very Germanic.

Monday, February 8, 2010

VA Snow

So much for global warming. Our house in Virginia got 2 1/2 to 3 feet of snow in the last few days while here in New Hampshire we haven't had any. Since we moved it seems that Virginia is getting all the bad weather. It has received more snow this winter than it did all 3 years I lived down there. I'm not complaining at all. I hated living in Virginia and am so glad I got out. I just wish we could see the house down there and be done with it completely.
Here in New Hampshire we have had some snow, but mostly just cold, Arctic air and wind.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In Front Of The Class (2008)

This was just on the TV and even though I have seen it before I have to say that it is a really good movie. The actors (Jimmy Wolk, Treat Williams, etc) all seem to portray their characters in a realistic manner - which is good because the story and their characters are based on a real people. Not only does the movie show how people (even so-called educated people) continue to treat people with disabilities badly, even in the 21st Century, but it shows how others embrace the differences. Not only can people with disabilities succeed, but they can become leading members in society - teachers. We need to take a closer look at these hard-working people (who not only have to overcome personal issues, but also society's treatment of them)and still manage to lead a "normal" life.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Citizenship Is Not A Right!

From Deutsche Welle:
"France to deny citizenship to man who requires wife to wear burqa"

This is a step in the right direction and should be continued in other countries. Every country has certain beliefs and traditions that need to be agreed upon before a person from another country can become a new citizen. In this case the person needs to speak French, know French history/traditions and agree with the basic human rights that the French Constitution assures its citizens. The man in question believes his wife is inferior to him because that is what is teachings of Islam has taught him. That may be well and good in other countries (especially in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia) but since France sees this as discrimination (as well it should) they did the right thing in denying him French citizenship. France is only doing what other countries around the world are doing. If I ever wanted to become a citizen of Saudi Arabia, for instance, I would expect to learn Arabic, learn Saudi history and accept the fact that women in Saudi Arabia can be beaten and punished by the religious police. Of course I do not agree with the practices of making women second-class citizens and so would never become a citizen of such a country. I only wish that the US would do the same (as France) and only let people who are willing to speak English, know American history/traditions and abide by our values to become new citizens.,,5209174,00.html

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heimat 1 (1984)

The full title is: Homeland: A German Chronicle ("Heimat – Eine deutsche Chronik.")I just finished watching all 6 DVDs in this mini-series and have to say I didn't really care for it, but wanted to watch it all the way through just to see if it got better (it didn't.)
It was called the "Roots" version for Germans, but I don't see how this mini-series can be compared to the other. If I was German I would be annoyed that this movie was supposed to show what ordinary Germans went through from 1919-1987. In an American sense it would be like showing the people in a small town in the Ozarks and saying it was about all Americans. There was one scene where an older guy was making-out with a younger woman and then he stopped and said: "You know... My mother is your grandmother." Talk about incest at it's best.
For one thing it doesn't show anything major (like the hyper-inflation, World War 2, the Cold War, etc.) If they are mentioned it is only in passing. While the rise of the Nazis is shown briefly it does show that the very low, unintelligent and the outcasts (ie former prostitutes) were welcomed with open arms and even gained high-level ranks and became part of the SS. There were the ones to prosper and thrive during the war. One thing that I didn't understand is that the one guy, Otto, claims his mother is Jewish which makes him half Jewish in the eyes of the Nazis and yet he was allowed into the German Army instead of being sent to a camp. When the war is over no one seems to care that former SS and others are still living openly.
The whole mini-series was just off-putting. I didn't care for it being mostly in black-and-white and only a few scenes in color. I also didn't like that the so-called Americans (ie the American soldiers, the driver and the assistant) all had thick German accents when speaking in English. They all said "zee" instead of "the." You would think that in West Germany in the 1980s when this was made they could find someone who could actually speak English. Also, it only showed life in one small town in West Germany (since if it was in East Germany the brothers would not have been allowed to open their own factories or businesses) thus leaving one whole section of the German public out. I guess that since it was made during the Cold War it would have been hard to portray life in East Germany, but they could at least have mentioned that Germany was divided.
While the basic characters can be found in almost any town in the world (the village idiot, those that just want to get out, etc) the way their stories intertwine didn't really mesh well. The story lines could have been much better and then the mini-series would have been really good. I do not know how much of what happened is based on facts and how much was made-up, but if it was all true than I would never want to live in that town.

35 States And Counting

From Yahoo News:
"States seeking to ban mandatory health insurance"

It seems that States are trying to work hard to protect their own citizens (something Obama doesn't seem to care about.)35 States are involved in this and I hope it goes to all 50. If the Federal Government is going to require every American to have health insurance than it needs to pay for it themselves. Those that can afford health insurance already have it and those that can't pay don't. I think it is very stupid to force everyone who can't pay to have health insurance and then give fines out to them. It is time Obama realizes that he hasn't a clue what he is doing and hopefully the 35 States will succeed in showing him that he may enact laws, but that the States don't always have to enforce them.