Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No better place than here, no better time than now

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday, I (along with millions of others) stood outside in frigid temperatures, braving both crowds and weather to support you in your oath to serve and protect our country. It was hazardous to our physical well being, as feeling disappeared in our digits and we risked bruising from the growing urgency of the crowd trying make it in time to hear and see your historic speech. It was exhausting, confusing (thanks DC police, for eating chips in an overlooking building while thousands of people attempted to figure out the best route to take), and somewhat frustrating at times (see above -- seriously, where were the cops??), but as soon as you placed your hand on that Bible and started to speak, it was completely worth it. Just being part of that crowd, all there to support our new government and prepare for the change we so desperately need, brought the feeling back to my toes and my renewed love for the humanity that surrounded me.

What your speech meant to me, and hopefully to many, is that you understand that as of yesterday, your campaign means nothing. You have not yet proven yourself as our leader, but you will do the best you can with your strong belief in what is right. This is not unique to you, but you are the first in a long while who, with these beliefs, has convinced such a large group of people that with hard work, we will return to greatness. Thank you for inspiring my and other generations that service to others brings hope to everyone.

I teared up a few times, but was most moved when you implored leaders of foreign nations that "[their] people would judge [them] by what [they] build, not what [they] destroy." Many may think that I was moved most because I look at the World Trade Center site every day, constantly reminded that hate brings horrible destruction. This is partially true, but I also believe that you understand that this statement applies not only to foreign leaders, but ourselves. So, sir, please take your own advice and build us up. We need it now, more than ever.

More than anything, good luck. You have a big job ahead, and millions of people willing to brave the cold to stand behind you. Lead us well.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life justifies my previously unfounded fear of birds

I was apparently very wrong to question the severity of an airplane/bird collision. It is a terrifyingly dangerous situation indeed.

However, because all passengers had been safely rescued and because my job has made me somewhat of a "disaster seeker" (as my CEO calls it), I felt it necessary to spend an hour outside, in the freezing cold, taking pictures of a fireboat pulling an airplane into a harbor (how often in my life will I see this happen, really?). Besides, I am the Keeper of the Tribute Camera, so I feel as though this is my duty.

Low light, frigid temperatures, and police tape made this a more difficult job than usual. However, these are the fruits of my frostbitten labor:

The fireboat letting off all of the smoke is the one pulling the plane

This one is just me, trying to figure out how to work with my low light, no flash shutter speed. Hey, if you want a real photographer, leave that to Jacki

And finally, here is a picture of what I originally thought was the tail, but ended up (after looking at the picture on the Times website) being the wing of the plane

Now, one may ask why it is that I risk losing my fingers and toes to see something that I could see perfectly well on a television or computer screen? It's clearly not the Pulitzer prize winning pictures. Well, kids, sorry to disappoint, but I'm not quite sure either. But I promise that I'll let you know my thoughts on this issue when I am standing on the Mall this Tuesday morning, in my thermal underwear, hoping to get a glimpse of President Obama's limo-tank.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Pennsylvania politics are all about

I'm not crazy about the fact that the governor of my home state is waving an Eagles flag, but I do like that he spends most of his free time (you know, while governing) thinking up crazy schemes involving the Superbowl. An excerpt:

He [Rendell] said that he would continue the tradition of opposing governors’ placing a bet on the outcome of the game, and that he would bet against himself in the event of an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl. If the Eagles were to win, Pittsburgh would donate a shipment of sandwiches from Primanti Brothers to a senior citizen center and a homeless shelter in Philadelphia. If the Steelers were to win, Philadelphia would send Pat’s cheese steaks to a senior center and a shelter in Pittsburgh.

I post this for two reasons:
1) My spies in Philadelphia are reporting that the Metro indicates that Rendell has promised only cheesesteaks, not Primanti Bros, because of his Philly bias. Listen, let him cheer for the Eagles all he wants, but don't pretend that we don't have equally (if not more) awesome sandwiches.
And 2) I'm sure that Governor Rendell wants to believe that he is doing this out of the goodness of his heart, but those of us from Pennsylvania know that there is nothing more unhealthy/artery clogging than either a cheesesteak or a Primanti Brothers Sandwich (they are delicious, yes, but stuffed with french fries, for goodness sake!). Local hospitals should probably prepare for a large influx of both senior citizens and homeless people complaining of heart problems if this this bet actually goes through.

In conclusion -- keep up the good work, Ed. Everyone in PA knows that football is more important than passing laws of any kind...

Friday, January 9, 2009

I know what my next job is going to be...

Due to a very late night at the office on Wednesday, I was allowed to leave to start my weekend early today, at 1pm. Now, I decided that I would be as productive as possible, so I went directly to the gym and got a few errands done.

While at the gym, I noticed one of the televisions had a commercial for "SlimQuick" that I didn't find particularly strange, but I had never seen before as it is obviously targeted towards those who watch soap operas during the day. I paid little mind at first, because I was so enthralled by listening to Britney while rocking out on the elliptical.

Upon returning home, I saw to my delight that Family Feud was on (I miss so many fantastic things working a 9-5!), so I eagerly settled in to watch what I have been deprived of for so long. After the initial shock of Mr. Peterman as the host (when did this happen?) I began to pay attention the advertisements of this show as well. The SlimQuick commercial came on again, and I watched it more closely this time, as I've always been a sucker for cartoons.

The commercial is pretty straightforward, showing an overweight woman cartoon next to an overweight man cartoon. The woman laments, "My husband and I are trying to lose weight by cutting out snacks. I only went down one size [woman shrinks slightly] and he's gone down 6! [man shrinks to a portion of his former size, pants drop]."

Now, I would like to say now that I have no problem with this portion of the commercial. I'm not a huge fan of dietary supplements, but the commercial is right -- men often do lose weight much more easily than women. No, my problem is in the rarely read small print at the end of the commercial. Which reads (and yes, I paused and rewound this out of shock):

Dramatization. Results may vary. Cartoons lose weight easily. Individuals require regular exercise and a reduced-calorie diet to lose weight.

Um. Wait. What? "Cartoons LOSE WEIGHT EASILY???" Is this for real? Did these writers feel it absolutely necessary to explain this, or are they just trying to subtly mess with people? And if it's the latter -- where do I sign up??

My mom is hilarious

An email correspondence between myself and my mother (two disenfranchised college football fans):

PS. Two more things: I can't stand Florida and I've learned to crochet. These two things are in no way related.

Mi Madre:
Ahh but they are- prison inmates( florida G football alumn) learn crocheting to pass the time-

Classic. I just hope that the sarcasm apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Adventures in flying and why the Steelers conquer all

So, this post is a bit late, but well worth noting the week the Steelers will embark on the quest for the Superbowl (Here we go!).

This story begins in the Greatest Airport of All Time, Pittsburgh International. It was a late December afternoon (I said this post was late!) and I was heading back to NYC after a relaxing week in my home town. As a side note here, it is not possible for me to travel without at least one, but most times several, weird things happening. What has two thumbs and has slept on a bench in the Montreal airport, gotten trapped on a train in England, and has never in the history of flying abroad arrived with luggage in tow? This guy. But I digress.

It all began when my plane was delayed because of electrical problems. Fine. You know what, I don't want to fly on a broken airplane, so take all the time in the world for this one. Apparently its bad enough that we need to commandeer the next plane. Again, fine, unless that plane happens to have hit a bird midflight (does this not happen often?) and needs to be fully inspected. This I don't understand, unless the plane has hit a pterodactyl, but again I am patient, as I have nowhere to be.

Now, if these things aren't odd enough, I look over at the steward announcing the delays and spot my college roommate Emily, who just happens to be on the same flight! Great, someone to talk to, delay away. Once we finally got on the plane (2 hours later), I notice a large, familiar looking man sitting down only three seats away from me. "Wait," I thought to myself, "it can't be, I'm sitting in coach on a tiny prop plane!" But yes, three seats away from me on my tiny prop plane in coach was The Bus, the great Jerome Bettis. This day can't get any weirder.

Until we are about 40 miles outside of New York, when the pilot announces that the plane is "too heavy to land" (what??) and we have to fly around aimlessly until we burn off fuel. At this point, I've given up on ever getting home and have resigned myself to remaining 3 seats away from one of the greatest Steelers of all time for the rest of my life.

Yet, obviously, we did finally land and Bettis caught me staring at him in the baggage claim. He winked and smiled, and despite playing it cool on the outside I was as giddy as a 5 year old girl.

So what did I learn from this experience? Mostly that the Steelers are the greatest team in the league because even one of their greatest players ever will rock coach from time to time. No wonder we got rid of Plaxico. Oh, and that the 9 hour train ride to NY is probably more equivelent to the one hour plane ride than originally thought.