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Archive for July 2012

2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremonies

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The 30th Olympiad Games opened with one of my favorite songs, “Jerusalem”. I’ve loved this song since I first heard Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s version on their album, Brain Salad Surgery. My brother had cool taste in music.

A beautiful pastoral setting showcasing England’s Agricultural Age segued beautifully into the mechanics and hard work of the Industrial Age. Thousands of volunteers in costume literally tore the “stage” apart to take us from one era to the other. The Industrial Age ended with the forging of the five Olympic rings joined overhead in a shower of sparks and glowing metal. It was a beautiful first act.

Next, James Bond (Daniel Craig) arrived at Buckingham Palace to escort Queen Elizabeth II to the games. A whimsical helicopter journey over England ended with both the Queen and James Bond jumping from the helicopter into Olympic Stadium. The Queen is a good sport and you can tell she is very beloved by the British citizenry. Well, the majority of them.

It was very strange to hear the theme music of “The Exorcist” being played until I saw Mike Oldfield and then the children’s dream sequence unfolding. Some of Britain’s greatest villains in children’s literature were represented, including the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Ville and a 100-foot tall Lord Voldemort. All was safe when Mary Poppins floated to earth using her umbrella to save the day!

“Chariots of Fire” was performed next by the London Symphony Orchestra with a little “help” from Rowan Atkinson aka Mr. Bean. That movie was and still is very motivational to me as I’m pounding out the miles during my runs.

The final act in this play was The Information Age. A cute little love story about a boy and girl living in London was told through musical highlights from the 1960’s through today. Quite a few of the hits from the British Invasion were included. The set ended with an appreciative wave from Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web. Thanks, Tim!

Next up was the March of the Athletes. 204 countries are participating in the Olympics this year with somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,500 athletes competing. As protocol dictates, Greece was the first country walking into the stadium. Each country’s flag was placed on the hill that was used during the opening segment. I admit to fast-forwarding through this part of the ceremony. I can only watch people marching, smiling and waving for so long.

British track and field hero Sebastian Coe gave the opening speech followed by a speech by the IOC President, Jacques Rogge. Queen Elizabeth II declared the Games officially open before the Olympic flag was carried through the stadium, passing by Muhammad Ali. Who can forget the 1996 Atlanta games where a shaking but extremely proud Ali lit the Olympic Cauldron?

The Olympic flame entered the stadium carried by Steve Redgrave, a British rower who won Gold medals in five consecutive Olympic games who then passed the torch to a group of seven young athletes representing the future of the Olympic games.

The group of seven each lit one of 204 copper leaves brought into the stadium by each country. The remaining leaves lit in turn and then the “stems” holding the leaves raised up to form the Olympic cauldron.

Paul McCartney concluded the evening with a few of his hits and another Olympic Opening Ceremony was in the books. Personally, I can’t recall each of the previous ceremonies but they are all beautifully planned and performed and London should be very proud of Saturday night’s show.

So now all that’s left are the athletic performances. Whether an athlete reaches the peak of his or her athleticism and earns a medal is really secondary to just making the team. Hopefully we can have two weeks of amazing, awesome, incredible human achievements and allow the camaraderie and sportsmanship of the athletes give us hope for peace and unity in the world.

At least it would be a start.

Go USA!

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Written by David A. Ufer

July 30, 2012 at 6:52 am

Posted in Olympics, Sports

Word Rant Number One – “Accident”

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I love the English language, both the true English version and the bastardized variation we Americans speak. However, there are far too many errors or misuses of the language in everyday conversation. This blog is the first in a continuing series of word usage that annoys me.

Far too many errors and/or mistakes are being blamed on “accidents”.

“Oh, I got into a traffic accident.” or “Oh, my parents said I was an accident.”

BUZZ!!!! Wrong! Both incidents could have been prevented by someone paying more attention to what they were doing and taking proper precautions.

People refuse to take blame for their actions and the consequences thereof and very handily pass it off as an “accident”.

Remember, speaking well is no accident!

* the author of this blog in no way claims to be an expert in the English language.

Written by David A. Ufer

July 23, 2012 at 6:31 am

Posted in Language, Me

Busy Busy Busy

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I’ve had a busy week this past week. Ran a 5K last Sunday and managed a fairly respectable time. Now I can take my time and actually train for the next race in August.

Work has been extremely busy for a couple of weeks now; hopefully there will be a light at the end of the tunnel soon.

And as I type this blog, some much welcome rain has just started falling. The skies have been threatening most of the day and they finally came through with their promise.

Hopefully everyone has had a great week and I’ll be able to post a more meaty blog next Monday! As usual, here is a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon to fill the void.

Written by David A. Ufer

July 16, 2012 at 6:37 am

Posted in Cartoons, Me

Why Is No One Happy?

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I talk to a lot of people about a lot of different things and one thing becomes pretty clear, pretty quickly. There are a lot of unhappy people in the world and their unhappiness usually revolves around relationships or lack thereof.

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on finding someone, being with someone, trying to keep someone or knowing when to let someone go. I can certainly understand those issues but one thing is more important than all else; being happy with yourself.

One will never truly be happy unless they can be happy with themselves first. You can find happiness being with another person but that person can not make you happy. Happiness comes from within.

So to all my friends who are not so happy right now, know that you are wonderful, beautiful, awesome people and your time will come!

So smile, darn you, smile!

Written by David A. Ufer

July 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Superheroes?

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Copyright http://www.rsquaredcomicz.com

Most of us have grown up either reading comic books or watching the superhero cartoons and movies and we all have our favorites. Spider-Man was always my favorite and until I saw the bastardized version in coming attractions for the new movie, he still was. Why Hollywood had to mess with the storyline is beyond me but that’s a whole different blog perhaps.

Most superheros came about due to some physical or mental alteration; Superman came from another planet and gets his power from the sun, Spider-Man got bitten by a radioactive spider, The Hulk received a massive dose of gamma radiation, etc….. There are very few superheros who just rely on their brains and God-given prowess.

Batman is one of those select few heroes. He uses his endless supply of money and Wayne Enterprises to create all kinds of awesome “toys” to use against his one man fight against evil; although in doing so he has skated a thin line between good and evil himself. The point is though, he has no extraordinary super power; it’s just his body and his brain.

That makes him closer to the common man than any of his physically altered brethren. And the common man doing heroic deeds is what this world needs right now.

But I would love to get my hands on a spider suit!

Written by David A. Ufer

July 2, 2012 at 6:24 am

Posted in Cartoons