5 Thizzles You Ought To Know for Friday – 3.23.07

1. March Madness – Just like the mighty Mississippi, the basketball madness just keeps rolling along. And anyone with a pulse would have to admit it, these games do not disappoint. KU guts out a gritty win against SIU to make it to the Elite 8. Breezing past Niagara and Kentucky in Round 1 was the easy part, now boys – Let’s take the hill! Memphis pulls in another big win against Texas A&M and makes school history. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT BACK-TO-BACK Elite 8s for the TIGERS – Go Tigers Go. As you might guess I’m only a smidge happy to be able to keep Rock Chalking along this weekend!

2. Mr. Smith Goes to Minnesota – I woke up this morning to news that Tubby was leaving Kentucky for colder pastures. I feel really bad for the next person to enter Rupp Arena as head coach for the wildcats. They expect perfection every year during tourney time, while the pretty people sit back, watch the game and down another mint julep. And Tubby’s winning style and dedication to his players should please the Golden Gopher faithful. It’s the little touches that make Tubby Smith a stellar college coach and all around good guy.

3. Britney’s out of Rehab – The bald beauty is back on the mean streets after "successfully completing" a stint in rehab. I for one will be sleeping easier, knowing Britney is back in the public eye. And I’m just curious about what she will do next. I’ll admit it – she’s like a train wreck, you don’t really want to watch, but you just can’t seem to turn your head away.

4. Pet Food Recall - It was revealed that Rat Poison was the containment in many major brands of pet food. It's very scary to think the food you purchase could possibly cause kidney failure of your favorite four-legged friend. My condolences to those out there who lost their pets during this incident. I'm just lucky I choose to feed the Parkster hippie, organic dog food made in California. But that still doesn't stop him from the occasional lasagna he finds at Shelby Farms or the massive amounts of chicken he consumes as mid-day snack from my step-dad.

5. Movies - Why are there so many mediocre flicks out in the theater right now? Seriously, it's downright depressing the lack of visual or thought-provoking stimulation provided so far this year by the movie industry. I guess it's a good thing there is a lot of engaging action in March Madness.

Well that's the 5 Thizzles You Ought To Know for the week. Check back soon and TGIF!


Rallying Behind Yet Another Polar Bear

This proves one thing – I’m a sucker for those cute, white polar bears! Yes, I’m quite aware that some of these animals grow up to be vicious carnivores, but when they are small they just seem so DARN CUTE! And as they get larger they still look pretty DARN CUTE. They seem like such wonderful creatures to visit and observe.

This week however has been a very controversial time for the Berlin Zoo. They’ve been keeping a baby polar bear (Knut) alive by feeding and caring for it after it’s mother rejected the young cub and his brother (who didn’t make it). Normally zoos in Germany let these animals live by the law of nature (and do nothing), but not in this case. The Berlin keeper sleeps, feeds and even strummed him some Elvis Presley tunes (yep there is always a Memphis connection). "Cute Knut" as he was dubbed by the press earlier this week has really become somewhat of a celebrity polar bear. He's even had a photo session with famous entertainment photographer Annie Leibovitz. So what’s not to love about our new furry pal…


2008 Presidential Predictions

Got to love Chris Rock's 2008 Presidential predictions he viewed on SNL on Saturday night. Definitely had me in stitches, but check it out for yourself:


Rachiley Bloggy Blog – What Thizzles Should I Know?

To increase my posting percentage for 2007, I was thinking about adding the following weekly or bi-monthly post to my blog. It would be sort of a way to capture either top stories/current happenings in my life or around the world that I may wish to share with ya’ll. Post in the comments and let me know if you think this item should stay or go?!?

5 Thizzles You Ought To Know for Friday –3.16.07

1. Daily Light Savings Time – I hate losing that hour of sleep in the beginning, but I love the extra hour to play outside after work in spring/summer. Does the extra hours of sun help decrease our energy costs? I’m not so sure. Does it increase my level of happiness? Definitely!

2. March Madness – Basketball at it’s finest and lots of it! People of all ages and even those who normally don’t even get into sports become basketball experts in March. Picks are made, money is bet and families are divided. Then everyone sits back to watch drama unfold and brackets bust. Not a bad idea Mr. Phog Allen (of KU), not a bad idea at all. My only wish for this March is a little Rock Chalk Happiness!

3. Edmund Ford & MLGW – SHAME ON YOU EDMUND for not paying either of your Light, Gas & Water bills which equate to roughly $13,300. Do you think your special? Newsflash your NOT! I’ll bring you by a candle and a box of saltines if you’re running that low on cash. Or better yet, why don’t you borrow from another Ford family member.

PS – MLGW, you in particular disgust me for allowing this to even occure. Pardon my french, but WHAT THE F*%$! If I didn’t pay my bill for months you would be leaving me in the dark for at least a week. Then make ME patiently wait between a window of 7am-10pm for your arrival to reconnect my utilities as I pay in cash from now until eternity.

Seriously dude, pay you’re freaking bill and MLGW, stop this type of madness because I’m tired of it being the top story of every newscast.

4. October Road – Am I sucker or what for new television shows? The dialogue was extra cheesy - “I think you forgot what side of October Road you belong!” And the plot is super predictable, but who doesn’t like a little brainless filler now and then.

5. Wikipedia Revives Sinbad – like Rodney Dangerfield some comedians can’t get any respect, not even in cyberspace. Here’s hoping you can extend this publicity into at least a made for TV movie or a few more comedy shows.

Ok, that's all folks...Remember post your comments and let me know if you think this should be a keeper. TGIF!


Day Filled with Fun - Part Duex

The second 1/2 of my day started off with the hustle and bustle of lunch downtown. One of my most favorite things I miss about working downtown is going to Calgary’s Waffle Shop during lent. Even though I don’t share the same religion, I appreciate the spiritual uplifting they bring to downtown year after year with their preaching series and lunches.

The waffle shop raises money to support their outreach ministry program. What a great way to celebrate with community by providing spiritual and substantial nourishment. Although there wasn’t a lunchtime speaker on Wednesday, Sarah and I definitely enjoyed chatting with the folks at our table about religion, weather and the delicious food being served. What could be better then fresh homemade waffles and sausages?

After we bid farewell to our new friends from church, we headed back toward the car with every intention to head back out east to the spa. But as we walked down the street we noticed the Memphis Fire Museum on the next block. Immediately we both became distracted/intrigued by the prospect of seeing a fire truck.

The museum did not disappoint. We spent at least an hour touring the museum and learning about fire safety. I think the highlight of the tour for me was either “Billy” the talking old firehouse horse or the “Fire Room.” We were told before the start of the demonstration that this exhibit was not for the faint of heart.

The “Fire Room” simulated in a safe environment what it’s like to be in a real fire. It included very, very dark room, heat, a movie covering a whole wall, smoke behind a glass and orange strobe lighting. We were also lucky to experience this room with 15 screaming kids from Fireside Temple Daycare of Memphis.

Lessons learned from the fire museum:
1. Stop, Drop & Roll!
2. Don’t play with matches or lighters!
3. Rethink visiting the “Fire Room” with small children

Finally we rounded out our day with an afternoon of beauty. Sarah selected a Facial, Scalp Treatment and a Swedish Massage. I went with a Facial and Hot Stone Massage. I believe in the future I can live without the facial, but what I wouldn’t give to have a Hot Stone Masseuse at my beck and call. Seriously the combination of heat + massage= one loose goose!

The day ended with an impromptu happy hour at YaYa’s and a fleeting rainstorm. What a marvelous way to spend the day! Now it's time to keep my head back in the game for the rest of the week.


Plan to Free Cran/Day Filled with Fun

Today started out unlike any other Wednesday – I took the DAY OFF! I know surprise, surprise I ventured out of the norm to relax and have fun. My plan actually started small and simple with a request for a day off.

Then I decided to ask my friend Sarah to join me since she was off all week from student teaching. Our sole plan was to try to utilize some spa gift certificates we both had received over the holidays (ya know way back in December 06).

But then during a planning phase earlier this week Sarah presented the zoo option (of course I was only interested if weather permitted) at first. This simple act turned me onto the discovery of Cranbeary’s (the polar bear) injuries, which made the trip a “must do activity” for our Wednesday outing.

To be honest I wasn’t sure the weather would hold, but I got up bright and early ready to head to the zoo – rain or shine. I so wanted to spring Cran from zoo hospital.

When we got there I decided to actually buy a membership. I figured why not – I live pretty close, you get such a pleasant walk and I can visit all my favorite animals now whenever I wanted. As an added bonus - it’s tax deductible :-) Only problem after I paid for the membership Sarah noticed a sign that revealed the Polar Bears would not be out in their habitat today. I was sad, but with the weather clearing we decided to spend the morning tooling around the zoo anyway.

First we checked out Cat Country. Then we encountered a “spring break camp” that was learning about Hippos – what they eat and dung wars (I kid you not, this was discussed in the same sentence. e-mail me for more details). Then we watched the keeper feed both Julie and Splash. Here is a picture of splash enjoying some fresh cantaloupe:

Next we walked over to see the giant pandas. They are so darn cute! And today was extra special because Le Le was OUTSIDE. I’ve come to the zoo maybe 8 or 9 times since the pandas arrived, but NEVER have I seen them out of their glass enclosures. Of course all Le Le was doing was eating, but she was outside and now I have proof.

Finally, even though I knew Payton & Haley would not be on display we headed to the Northwest Passage exhibit. I went to sit and mope in front of the polar bear display while Sarah checked out the gift shop. When she found me on the bench, she mentioned that the polar bears would be in their habitat for feeding @ 1pm. Next thing I know I looked up and I saw a large white bear walking around. I said it out loud and started pointing like a 5-year old. A lady in front of me said, “Sugar, the polar bears aren’t coming out today.” I looked her square in the face and said, “Well then what is that?!?” She turned to look and next thing I knew she was hollering for all her kids to come join her to watch Payton.

It got really crowded, really quick so we walked out. Sarah drifted over to chat/flirt with a zookeeper. I joined her a minute later after looking at Payton from another angle. Turns out that keeper works with Cranbeary. He gave us a full update and probably TO MUCH INFORMATION, because by the end of my visit/interrogation I had a pretty good idea of where Cranbeary was located within the zoo property. But he did also give me earful about how Payton was getting a raw deal in this story.

Upon hearing the dialogue from the keeper I decided it would probably be best to let Cranbeary heal without my help. She’s already got Smith & Nephew plates and screws now holding her together. The keeper did mention the bear is putting weight on her hind leg, which is a good sign. Plus now as a member I could come visit whenever I get the urge.

Our time at zoo came to a rapid close when Sarah and I both realized it was time to grab a bit lunch. And let’s face it, eating at the zoo with wafting smell was just not an option. Stay tuned for tomorrow to recap the second 1/2 of the day.


Dedicated to the one I love...

Ok, not really the one I love, love but actually something I love - Cranbeary the 5-year old Polar Bear living at the Memphis Zoo. Our paths first crossed last spring when I took the day off from work and headed out to the zoo. I was drawn to the Northwest Passage exhibit at zoo and I immediately feel in love with Cranbeary & The Polar Pals. The polar bears playful swam, tussled or slept on the rocks while I observed with the rest of the crowd. Her massive paw touched the glass where my hand laid, almost as if she was giving me a high-five*. I wanted to take Cranbeary home, but I was told “no, no time to see the rest of the animals.”

I saw dear Cranbeary featured a few times on local billboards or in the newspaper, but didn’t have a chance to revisit in person. Apparently though she had a pushed beyond the edge courtship in February 2007. So now she’s under lock & key recovering from surgery in a private suite.

I guess prepping stuff 24/7 for work in February really left me in the dark. So now I’d like to send a speedy recovery to my friend Cranbeary with a heart felt Ipod Shuffle Mix below. Or you can send her a get-well greeting too.

Cranbeary’s Speedy Recovery, I will Not Hold It Against You Payton Mix:

1. Summer Daze – Luscious Jackson
2. Splendid Isolation – Pete Yorn
3. Qu’avons-nous fair – Autour De Lucie
4. Your Eyes Open – Keane
5. So I Can Love You – The Emotions
6. Juarez – Tori Amos
7. Need You Tonight – INXS
8. Take What You Take – Lilly Allen
9. Island In The Sun – Weezer
10. Girlfriend In A Coma – The Smiths
11. Cool Jerk – The Go-Go’s
12. Simon Says – The Central Standards
13. All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
14. Circle – Sarah McLachlan
15. She Don’t Use Jelly – The Flaming Lips

*A bit of creative licensing with may have been taken in recollecting my first Cranbeary encounter from last year.


Bracketology '07

The thrill of March Madness has just begun. The weekend was filled with a prelude of NCAA tournament action, which starts this Thursday. I watched in anticipation as my beloved KU took on OU and K-State before reaching the Big 12 finals against Texas.

The Texas rematch looked well…UGLY in the beginning. Everything that could go wrong was going wrong for the Jayhawks in the first half. The shots didn’t seem to fall and Durant looked impermeable. All of a sudden KU was down by 22 points. I sat stunned into silence, hoping someone, ANYONE on the KU squad would take the game into their hands. Of course no one did, instead the KU played as a team. They showcased their tough defense, unselfishly passed the rock and kept taking shots. The hard work paid off as KU began to slowly chip away at the Texas lead.

Texas literally looked worn out and tired in the second half. Durant seemed winded and sometimes confused. And KU just kept just played it cool as a team, even when every hard foul and every possession seemed like a dire straight just to get back ti even. Finally KU took a brief lead with under 10 minutes left only to watch the lead evaporate to a back and forth game until the final minute. In the final 30 seconds it looked as if Texas might pull out the victory, but again KU stayed calm. After a Texas couldn’t capitalize on both free throws to seal the game, KU went down the court and tied it all up with a 3 that was nothing but net.

You could have called the game then and there. You could feel the excitement in the air - THIS IS MARCH MADNESS! We had Texas on the ropes, they were running on fumes and overtime would surely be the final nail in the coffin.

KU emerged at the end of OT victorious. Big 12 Regular Season Champs, Big 12 Tournament Champs and minutes later the #1 seed in the West of NCAA Road to the Final 4 Tournament.
Officially I’d consider myself just a passive Bracketologist in March/April, but I would have to warn all those in the path of KU right.

Get ready to be rock chalked!

I’m predicting that a phog will be rolling into a city near you. It’s hard for me not to predict seeing KU in Atlanta in April. KU is intact, hungry and ready to continue rolling over the competition.


Conspiracy of Happiness

Sometimes you can feel so alive by the people and things that surround you. Then there are the occasions where you run into people or see things that make you feel as if you’re trapped inside a conspiracy of happiness.

In my case the last few weeks have definitely been a rough & tumble time of trying to comprehend/digest the balance of my true self vs. what is being perceived upon me. I was out and about last night when I heard the Duncan Sheik song “On A High” that was on a really old mix cd I made for some friends. It really did spark a correlation to some of the emotions I have been feeling as of late.

Maybe I should start off my day like Stuart Smalley or Duncan in his "On a High" music video!


Why Don't You Get Lost In Amsterdam

It's hard to believe that 6 months ago today I was getting lost in AMSTEREDAM. Ahh, good times, very good times! Here is a little Guster to get the memories flowing. Although I was without my Ipod during the trip, this song was definitely running on a constant loop in my mind and occasionally seeping out of my mouth as I wandered around the city.


1 Dot, 2 Bam, 3 Crack...Challah MAHJONG!

I I don't want to start off this blog with something that sounds like an ethnic joke, but it might seem to sound that way. What one thing do Chinese people and Jewish Women of all ages take passion and pride in?

No, no it's not the food, but I'm thinking that would actually come in a close second. I know you might be thinking since we tend to share Christmas Day with Chinese folks, we are like kindred spirits. And I believe we are, but not with a food feeding frenzy (sorry J, I know how much you live for your daily Asian food intake).

I believe our true passion and kinship is connected through a little game, centuries old, called - Mahjong!

1 Dot, 2 Bam, 3 Crack...Challah MAHJONG!

Honestly I’ve known about the game since I was a little tyke. My mom has always had a regular Mahjong night, even if that did mean it changed from Monday to Thursday, before settling back on Wednesday night. The cast of players became revolving door of people joining the group, quitting the group and eventually rejoining.

And all along I became this mostly silent observer of a weekly ritual that looked more like a opportunity/excuse to gossip, get away from the kids, husbands and the rest of the world for a couple of hours. I even attempt in elementary school or jr. high to learn the game so I could be “a seat filler” when folks took a break. My reasoning was to do the following:

  1. stay up maybe an hour later then I was supposed to
  2. eat some delicious snacks that were prepared or bought when my mom hosted the games
  3. listen to what I thought was adult conversation (needless to say looking back it was never anything I cared about anyway)

So I learned to play Mahjong and did for a year or so, even getting my own player card. Before promptly realizing I had better things to do with my adolescent time.

And that’s where I left the game of Mahjong for many, many years. It was that game that, “My Mom plays every Wednesday night.”

That was until last night, where I gave it another go. I sat down with Jewish women across the age range, learning to play their game of choice. I struggled with the first two hands as I tried to focus and equate it to Gin Rummy, which provided disastrous results.

Finally I got that epiphany of what game everyone else was playing. I started to follow along and actually started enjoying myself – Go figure. I guess that point was driven home when I woke from a deep sleep dreaming of Mahjong patterns. Who knows if I will be addicted to the game as much as the Chinese, my mom or some of the other Jewish women that surround me, but I’m not going to lie – my curiosity has been stirred.