Monday, December 22, 2014

Mt. Bachelor Ski Weekend December 2014

Since Mt. Hood has yet to get any snow this year and yet to officially open for the 2014-2015 ski season, I headed to Bend and Mt. Bachelor this weekend to satisfy my skiing fix. The 3+ hour drive was well worth it as the mountain received about a foot of new snow between Friday and Saturday, which made for some excellent powder skiing on the new Volkl One powder skis I bought this summer.

I'm looking forward to having a great ski season this year with a few more trips back to Bend along with weekly skiing at Mt. Hood Meadows, which will soon be getting a heavy dumping of snow and be open for the year.  Plus, there is the hookup deal at Whistler in January via Leonidas's wife along with a few other trips out of state to ski.

Skiing makes the grey and gloomy Oregon winters so much more enjoyable.  If it wasn't for being up on the mountain so much, there's no way in hell that I'd live here.  Well, maybe I would but it wouldn't be as enjoyable to me since I'd be stuck inside complaining about the rain.  Since rain in town usually means snow on the mountain, I cheer on big rain storms as much as possible since I can drive just over an hour and be on Mt. Hood.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wondering Why I Can't Recall A Leave It To Beaver College Experience At Oregon State

I just happened to be at a U-Haul place this morning getting a truck with my Dad and stumbled across an Oregon State alumni magazine on a chair in the lobby, so I picked it up and started reading some of the feature articles about distinguished alumni.   What caught my attention, just like every time I've read the Oregon Stater alumni magazine, is how Leave It To Beaver-esque the college years come across in print.

Seriously, the writers make it sound like these distinguished alumni had a college experience where everyone acted like Wally and The Beav and mischievous Eddy Haskell-characters never existed.

But for some reason, I cannot recall any point in my college experience at OSU where I ever got that, "Ah gee Wally, that sure is swell," kind of feeling.  Nor a classic Leave It To Beaver virtuous life lesson moment like this ever crossed my mind:

But when I read a feature about an OSU alumni who has done well in life (and donated a significant amount of money to the school), I get the feeling that they lived on the set with the fictional Cleavers where their college years were absolutely perfect.  Fraternity boys courted sorority girls, going steady all four years.  And after college, the sweethearts got married and raised above average children.  Sort of a 1950's television fantasy.  

Something tells me the writers for the Oregon State alumni publications won't ever print the most memorable stories that many of the most distinguished alumni created during their college years.  Things like keg stands, streaking down Greek Row, panty raids on Betty Childs, etc.   Instead we readers are stuck with recycled Leave It To Beaver-esque fables from a bygone era that probably never existed even back in the day.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Barry Bonds Still Pretty Damn Awesome At Hitting A Baseball

I saw this article this morning on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk about Barry Bonds putting on an awesome hitting display at San Francisco Giants' spring training camp and it brought back a lot of great memories for me as a baseball fan watching Barry Bonds over the years.

My first real appreciation of Bonds's great talents came my freshman year in high school in 1992, watching a CBS Saturday baseball game.  The Pirates were in Atlanta playing the Braves on a sunny afternoon facing either Charlie Liebrandt or maybe Kent Mercker.  

Bonds came up for the second or third time, choked up two inches on his bat, and launched a home run deep into the right field seats.  My JV baseball coach at the time emphasized two strike hitting, which meant he wanted us to choke up 1-2 inches on the bat with two strikes in order to put the ball in play as opposed to striking out.

When I saw Bonds hit a home run on a 1-1 count where he was already choked up two inches, I was fully convinced that it worked.  (There's a lot more that goes into hitting than just choking up.  If it were that easy, everyone would just choke up!).

Ever since then, I always loved watching Barry Bonds hit a baseball.  During my lifetime, nobody has done it better.  Yes, I know that there was the BALCO stuff that prolonged his greatness into his late thirties and early forties.  But, still, he dominated the game of baseball as the greatest offensive force since Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.  And I loved watching him wait patiently for that one pitch per game that he could drive. Some games he wouldn't get that pitch.  He just patiently waited for just that one pitch and he hardly ever missed it.  (I wish I could have found it on YouTube.  But this one below is a lot better)

So seeing Hardball Talk cover Barry's awesome BP display made me smile.  He's still got it.  I would have loved to be down there to see it.

Instead, the only athletic exploits of Barry Bonds we get to see nowadays are his cycling pics that show up on the internet from time to time.

Friday, March 7, 2014

My First Google+1 Recommendation From A Doozy Of a Post

This morning I logged into my Gmail account and saw that "IAM Woods +1'd your post" from an entertaining video clip I posted with interviews of Romney supporters in the Midwest that ended with the guy pictured below telling Chase Whiteside that, "Buddhists are coming into America and taking away our freedom of religion."  I guess if ever there was a clip to get my first Google +'d, this would be the one.

Beyond the comic relief of the Buddhist comment, it got me to re-watch the video clip and something occurred to me:  The political media entrepreneurs and media personalities on the right are amazing at their job and deserve all the fame, fortune, and accolades they receive from their loyal fans who consume their product several hours a day, buy their books, attend their rallies, and donate to their SuperPACs.

They've done their homework and spent a lot of time and money identifying who their most profitable ideal client is.  What they've discovered is their biggest fears, problems, worries, what keeps them up at night, what they believe spiritually and religiously, who they admire, their income level, their retirement savings, etc.  They know this person down to the most trivial detail and have set out to serve the needs of this person.

And they're absolutely kicking ass at shaping the opinions of millions of people, even when to some of those with differing viewpoints like myself, the simple narrative doesn't always check out.  (We independents don't see any difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama except that Obama is a more polished speaker).  

It pains me to say this, but that former governor of Alaska is one helluva an effective salesperson whose message, despite being hard to tell what it is in most interviews, is what a lot of people want to consume...Just watch the clip - these people sound just like her, reciting her soundbites over and over, including Doc Brown's sister pictured below:  

The video hits home again that we are inherently intellectually lazy by nature.  We like to have the answers to the world packaged by a pretty face or respectable man of authority in a quick 30 second sound bite that is repeated so often that after a while it becomes accepted as fact.  They knew this back in the days of Richard Nixon as John Cook of Gawker wrote about in June 2011 after looking through recently released papers from the Nixon years

Kudos to these entrepreneurs for going out and building a business to serve their loyal customers.  They are bringing joy, happiness, and peace of mind to millions of people by addressing their biggest fears or by telling them what their biggest fears should be.  Things like:  

And there's only one way to survive this which is packaged into a simple narrative that will solve all these problems, which is to fully support the right political party (and buy gold to survive the end times, support our troops stationed in 156 of the world's 198 countries protecting American corporate interestsdismiss the impact a warming climate will have as an evil hoax, etc) which can be delivered to you 24/7 via these same brilliant entrepreneurs and media personalities, who deserve the millions of dollars they earn each year for continually keeping the customer satisfied.   

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gifts From The Snow Gods On Mt. Hood This February

The big storms of the past few weeks have brought an abundance of powdery gifts from the Snow Gods in the form of 5-6 feet of new snow in February up on Mt. Hood.  And being that I'm finally starting to get my powder legs and mogul skiing abilities back after essentially taking two decades off from skiing, I couldn't resist heading up to Mt. Hood Meadows last Friday for the first sunny day we've had in two weeks.

Here's some photos that were taken of me from Four Bowl on Friday morning by Grant Mydral Photography:

I'll admit that when I'm skiing solo, I tend to stick with runs that I'm familiar with rather than venturing off into something entirely new.  Four Bowl tends to be the redheaded stepchild of Bowls 1-5 off the Blue & Express chairlifts as there always seems to be a section of untracked powder on the far left side as I'm heading down the run.  But I'm not complaining.  I'm completely happy with other people overlooking this little patch of heaven that I keep dropping into on big powder days.

Hopefully the Snow Gods continue bestowing gifts upon the believers with a late winter snowfall well into Spring this year.  I want to get the most of my Season Pass and have a lot more deep powder days to play in and get a chance to experience Heather Canyon in the Spring.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Free Speech Is Great Except When You Repeatedly Say Stupid Shit On TV For Fun And Profit

I am pretty skeptical of religion and the silly stuff that comes out of the mouth of Christianity's more extreme public figures.

You know, stuff like the multiple predictions in 2011 of The Rapture(s), the End Times always being just about here where only true believers will ascend to heaven, gay marriage causing global warming, every hurricane over the past three decades of my life being the result of God punishing humans for abortions and gay rights, the 1994 Northridge earthquake was God punishing the pornographers in the San Fernando Valley, or God only talks to men who pass the message down to their subordinate wife and children, and all the other entertaining things (at least to me) that people say.  And it's men who mostly say these things.

So at what point is it time to reign in some of this stuff when it's continually being broadcast on cable TV when it's just so ridiculous?

I caught this story online yesterday and it caused me to smile because it's just another totally ridiculous claim aimed at widows living on meager survivor's pension who were raised on this fire and brimstone style of gospel.  

I'm guessing that most of his viewers know that he's prone to bouts of sensationalism for effect, chalking it up to just being part of show business, like PT Barnum or snake oil salesman of the 19th century.  Or, they actually believe it hook, line and sinker and faintly say, "Amen" through their breathing tubes.  

Free speech is the greatest law we have, in my opinion.  It allows me to write this blog and say stupid things if I feel like it.  Nobody can take away each citizen's right to show their ignorance, stupidity, intelligence, or brilliance.    

In this case, even though I don't agree with this outlandish comment that was probably said for effect, all part of a bigger strategic campaign, I have to live with it.  We're all entitled to saying stupid shit from time to time.  But this guy.  Holy shit!  He takes it to an entirely new level and maybe it's time someone shows sits him down to have the, "Pat, I think it's time for you to retire" conversation.

Until then, hes going to keep saying more and more ridiculous shit on his ridiculous TV show from a bygone era. 

Lowering The Bar: People Can't Really Believe This Stuff Can They?

I've made only one New Year's Resolution this year to pay only passing notice to the silly-to-ridiculous stuff spewed by TV personalities who are employed by the partisan outrage profit machines on the right and left.  But I had to make an exception today as I received a funny email from a friend who caught wind of the "Wussification of men" or "War on men" interview on Fox and Friends.

WARNING:  Just know that if you watch this clip in this link from Salon, you won't ever get these precious moments of your life back.

The Fox and Friends interview is nearly four minutes of stupidity with this Australian author dude who wrote some book about angry and overly masculine feminists taking all the macho bravado chutzpah out of male masculinity in "Merica.  And of course, this alleged feminine transformation of our society is a potential threat to our national security, like everything on a network that acts as part-time PR firm to the defense industry.  

There were a few typical undertones I picked up on in the interview:
  • 2016 presidential election implications:
    Hillary Clinton is the presumptive leader for the Democrats and she's a strong woman who will make our men feminine.
  • Threat to our national security:
    Benghazi happened when Hilary was Secretary of State.  She's a woman.  She'll feminize these men. Make our military leaders weak.  Americans wont' be safe with an angry feminist Commander In Chief cutting the balls off the men of this country.  See - you can't be safe with this woman as president.
    ***We won't mention "America's Secret Wars in 134 Countries" that may pose a threat to future national security, aka: "blowback".  No, it's the neutering of men by strong women.
  • Ike's prophecy of the military industrial complex has come true:
    Defense contractors own the politicians, especially those in the GOP.  But the national defense stuff was just another subliminal message to the viewers that it's patriotic and essential to pour money into military, confiscating sovereign oil fields under the guise of terrorism or democracy or some other misdirection.  (Sorry - slight tangent there).
  • This book is just another version of the many "War On Christmas" kind of books:
    Trying to scare gullible people who've ceased using their Bullshit-O-Meter and introducing them to this book that they will receive in the mail upon making a $50 contribution to their favorite patriotically named Super PAC that writes laws for Congressmen who'll cut the safety net that more and more of these same people will rely on and in turn redirects that money into the coffers of the most powerful US-based multinational corporations, including pharmaceutical, oil, energy, financial services, and defense companies.
  • "The left and politically correct are attacking men."
    Appealing to the Deer Hunting With Jesus target audience who have been losing the class war thanks to a many decades long bipartisan effort to offshore millions of American manufacturing jobs overseas, supporting the needs of the multi-nation corporatacracy over the citizenry.  Blaming liberals and democrats puts a recognizable face on the problem rather than telling the God-fearing crowd that they elected into office a guy (not a woman, of course) who followed through on a large campaign contribution that led to a factory in town shuttered and production shifted overseas to a near slave-labor sweatshop in Southeast Asia.  
Thankfully Katie McDonough of Salon had a humorous synopsis of this silly clip:
"Real men, according to Adams, shoot guns, for example. So when he argues that authentic masculinity is under attack, he must be referring to all of those laws that prevent men from obtaining and shooting guns in the United States. Oh wait, America actually has dangerously few laws in place to regulate gun possession, so that can’t be what he means! Well, real men also watch football, he notes. So he must be upset by the outright ban on professional sports in this country. Oh wait, that’s not a real thing! Real men know how to lead, of course, so Adams must be very troubled by the overrepresentation of women — particularly feminist women with progressive policy agendas — in politics. Oh wait, that’s not real, either!"
When I occasionally break my New Year's Resolution and watch silly stuff like this, I just can't help thinking of the Honey Boo Boo episode of South Park, "Raising The Bar".  Here's Token, letting Stan in on the reality of what happens when the bar is lowered:

As Stan said, "When the bar gets lowered Token, we pay the price."   

We are all paying the price for the misinformation being spewed by the outrage machines of both parties via their for-profit PR firms that call themselves news networks.  So when we hear a silly story that men are being "wussified" by angry feminists, we're really being pre-conditioned to the idea that a strong woman like Hilary Clinton as president will cause men to become subservient to women and the world will go to hell in a hand basket.  You know, kinda like how the world was supposed to end with Obama as president, except that he's been more George W. Bush than George W. Bush, presiding over 330 drone strikes to Bush's 51.

If the African American anti-war candidate of "hope" and "change" has only ratcheted up NEOCON dream scenarios of military activities in 134 countries and spreading corporate imperialism, er democracy, why in the hell would anyone fear that a woman like Hilary Clinton would do anything different or make a course correction?

I'm actually looking forward to paying passing attention to this nonsense as it comes and goes and the gullible viewers who play into hands (and profits) of the outrage machines (including myself who watched the ridiculous clip and spent 25 minutes writing a blog post about how stupid it is).  The outrage machine will once again get the last laugh as more and more people stay glued to their TV, lazily accepting silly statements made by attractive and educated TV personalities delivering the well-crafted message that the once rough and tumble American man has become wimpy all because angry feminists neutered him and if a woman becomes president, America may never be the same again.

Friday, January 24, 2014

That Part In Anchorman 2 About Just Giving People Stupid Stuff For The News Really Is True

As evidenced here by MSNBC cutting over to a breaking story about Justin Bieber getting arrested in Miami for drag racing, as shown here on Youtube: 

Seriously, we have entered a period where dumbed down entertainment crap about 20 year old singers smoking pot, drinking, and drag racing is more important than an interview about the president's half-hearted speech about cutting back on domestic spying on American citizens.  No, cable news has sunk to a new low which isn't good.   

Ron Burgundy fictitiously pioneered this concept in Anchorman 2 by dumbing down the news when he went live to a low-speed police chase in Milwaukee, as Ron speculated that the man could be tall, skinny, high on drugs, and a career criminal.  Instead, it was a senile old man.  (Yes, I know it's fiction, but Anchorman 2 mocked how news had started to shift from real news to fluff news in the 1980s). 

As for  Beiber.  I could care less what a 20 year kid with millions of dollars does with his life.  It doesn't impact me (except for it caused me to write this post).   The kid has talent, as evidenced by his brilliant performance on "Between Two Ferns" with Zach Galifinakais: 

Before we know it, MSNBC, will start airing the Real Housewives shows or something Khardashians in their quest to gain ground in the ratings to Fox News.  Until then, we're going to be relegated to breaking celebrity news stories, which obviously appeal much more to audiences than the ongoing story of how far domestic spying has come and how much further it will be going.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Powder Day At Mt. Hood Meadows A Gift From The Snow Gods

Yesterday I took the day off and went to Mt. Hood Meadows with my friends Dave, who bears a striking resemblance to Leonidas from 300, and Jeff Cohen, who is looking more and more like a very dignified professor from Oregon State with his trimmed beard, reading glasses, and an Audi Allroad Quattro.

After last week's dumping of two feet of snow on Mt. Hood, the bowls off Blue and Express along with the Face under the chair lift had about 10 inches of soft fresh powder.  The snow kept falling all through the morning, making visibility a little tough from time-to-time but the forgiving powder made up for the lack of visibility.

Bowls One through Four off Ridge Run were pretty awesome yesterday, even when visibility was limited.  The first time we dropped into Four Bowl we were laughing like little kids because the powder was so soft and forgiving.

In the early afternoon, the sun broke through and the blue sky appeared.  Despite our burning thighs, we stayed out on the slopes until 3:15.  I'm definitely paying it for today!

The forecast calls for warm weather for the next ten days.  That's fine by me.  When the next storm shows up, I plan on heading back up to the mountain with Leonidas and Jeff Cohen for some big powder skiing.