Earth to Dave! (E2D!)

Musings from a warped mind…

News Flash:
The Olympic Games are officially over.
An Earth to Dave! tribute to…
One unsung Olympic hero.

Filed under: Mindless Musings... — Earth to Dave! at 10:24 am on Monday, August 25, 2008

If you’re one of the millions of people, like me, who watched the 29th Olympic Games closing ceremonies last night, you’re probably feeling like you’re completely informed and up-to-date on the most notable of performances seen during these Summer Games. Sure, we know about Mark Phelps, the famous swimmer who won 10 Gold Medals. Yeah, yeah, so the U.S. men’s basketball team, led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, won silver. Okay, so Hussein Belt from Jamaica won three rowing competitions. Big Deal.

Only the savviest of Olympiad spectators, like myself, dug deep and found the true heartwarming stories of Olympic competitors who, despite all odds, persevered and did their very best. While they may not have been part of a “Dream Team” or won the umpteenth Gold medal for their country, their stories are nonetheless truly inspiring.

So in the spirit of the Olympic Games, I’d like to tell you about one such competitor: Paulette Hunt from the United States.

Paulette Hunt was born in Pekoopskie, Michigan, the daughter of hard-working blue-collar parents, Dear and Turkey. Growing up, Pauletta was often described as “slow” and was a bit clumsy. To add to her difficulties, her parents refused to change their names, resulting in Paulette being the object of much ridicule. Also, Paulette could never be honestly described as “attractive”. In fact, she was down right ugly. Many times she was mistaken for a boy! In an effort to help their daughter gain confidence, Dee and Turkey enrolled their daughter in gymnastics.

Initially, Paulette struggled with her gymnastics, often her routines being described as the “blue mat face plant”. Undeterred, Pauletta continued to practice day and night. Her “face plant” routines became not only routine, but somewhat entertaining. In short time and by word of mouth, Paulette became somewhat of a local celebrity. In an effort to be more credible as a competitor, she changed her name to Paulette Huntinova, because every good gymnast had a weird name that was hard to pronounce, she figured.

Soon Paulette was winning competitions across the country. She was, however, still mistaken by many, including commentators, as a male gymnast. Paulette, however, did not let this bother her. She was often quoted as saying “I are let my gymnastics do the talking, so me not worry”. At some events, where the judges and commentators could not fathom that she was a girl, she’d use the name “Paul Hunt”. It didn’t matter…as long as she could display her gymnastic prowess, that was all that mattered.

Paulette had found herself. She enjoyed thrilling audiences at gymnastic meets with her amazing ability to survive horrendous impacts with mats, poles, balance beams, bars, viewing stands, drinking fountains, other gymnasts and even the judges tables. She was a star! Deer and Turkey were quite proud.

There was only one thing alluding Paulette’s storied career: an Olympic medal…or, at least, an Olympic performance (Paulette learned to set realistic goals.)

After many years of competition and much blood, sweat and tears (mostly blood, actually), she made the Olympic Gymnastics team. Her dream would come true in Beijing.

While Paulette Hunt’s Olympic performances did not capture her a medal, she was able to demonstrate her unique abilities to the world. Her performances not only captivated the audience, they caused a few hearts to stop beating for a moment…Paulette’s performances were…well, a bit unusual.

As a service to the Olympics and my audience, I have a few video clips to share with you. These are the three events that Paulette participated in. Note that even the Olympic commentators, while obviously enjoying Paulette’s performance, still mistook her for a male gymnast.

Here’s Paulette’s performance on the balance beam, a very challenging event:

Now watch as Paulette demonstrates incredible use of the floor during her floor exercise:

And lastly, here is Paulette’s uneven bars routine…simply spectacular, with unusual use of the support structure for the bars—ingenious!

As you can see, Paulette’s athletic abilities speak for themselves. I bet you didn’t see that on the highlight reels, did you? Obviously you need to rely on trustworthy news and research organizations to find these things for you…like Earth to Dave! Don’t thank me. That’s what I’m here for.

As I’ve shown, it’s clear that you cannot adequately experience the Olympic Games by viewing a few highlights or watching the closing ceremonies. Yes, if you dig deep and beyond the headlines, you will find the truly heartwarming stories that more accurately portray the Olympic Spirit, without all the “flash” and “pizazz” of the “professional” athletes with all of their endorsements.

So next time you hear about Mark Phelps and his 6 Gold medals in fencing, or Michael Jordan’s part in the USA Basketball team’s capturing the bronze in Beijing, just remember there are true athletes, like Paulette Hunt, er…Huntinova, the unsung heroes of the Olympic Games.

It’s a hurricane!!
No, it’s a tropical storm, er…wait, it’s a wind!!
Never mind.

Filed under: Mindless Musings... — Earth to Dave! at 8:05 pm on Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Well, the batches were hattened down. Wait, no…the HATCHES were BATTENED down for “Hurricane Fay” to hit the west coast of Florida. Working for an airline, I saw first hand the preparations that were being made. The government weather forecasters were scrambling, using their “computer models” to predict the track of the “hurricane”.

Well, that’s not exactly the type of computer model I was referring to. I meant…nah, never mind.

Anyway, our company forecasters were doing the same—making their own predictions, often with different (and probably more precise) results. After careful analysis, everyone was confident of the path of the storm. “Preparations” had been made at certain cities for flights to be canceled and passengers to be rebooked on other flights.

Then, everyone waited.

And waited.

And the “hurricane” was suddenly being referred to as a “tropical storm”, without much adieu.

And then the first photos surfaced. The damage to the southern tip of Florida was extensive:

As you can see, the weather forecasters were right on…er, not.

Various computer “models” predicted the path of the storm to pass over Florida, while others predicted it would sweep slightly west and impact the state of Oregon. It is a very complicated science, and one that we could not possibly understand. Our job is to “prepare”.

What does it mean to adequately “prepare” for these violent acts of Mother Nature?

Simple. Buy lots of gas, drive to the store and buy every last bottle of water you can find, then go home and use scrap plywood, kitchen tables, plastic or your neighbor’s hammock to cover the windows. Then you need to grab approximately 14 yards of aluminum foil, tightly wrap it around your head and make a curley-cue twisty top approximately four feed above your head, making you look somewhat like a Hershey’s kiss. Next, get a flashlight and sit in the bathtub. You, my friend, are now “prepared”. He he he. Your neighbors are CLUELESS. If only they had your, uh…”preparedness”. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

From the above photo we are able to determine that the owner of the home did NOT prepare adequately. ANYONE knows you DO NOT leave cans of soda on your deck! Why? Because they can become projectiles which can impregnate themselves in your next door neighbor’s automobile, which has no wheels and sits on blocks. And ANYONE knows that this can be a problem.  Why? Because it can knock the vehicle off of the blocks and ANYONE knows that a vehicle with no wheels that has been knocked off of it’s blocks will NEVER be moved. Thus, any hope you had that the owner of said vehicle will walk out in his bathrobe, survey the “damage”, shrug and begin to smoke while sitting on the pile of scrap metal placed next to said vehicle. Yes sir, you had better get used to that wheel-less vehicle. THAT’S why you don’t leave soda cans sitting out on your porch when storms approach.  DUH!

Other people “prepare” for storms in different ways. Some see the approaching storms as some kind of weird “challenge” to their intellect. We often refer to these type of people as “Einstein” or “Rocket Scientists”. I have no idea why, however, as generally when one is referred to as “Einstein” or a “Rocket Scientist”, it is in a derogatory sense. This often makes me feel bad for Einstein’s relatives, or those whose husbands, fathers, aunts, uncles, or children are Rocket Scientists (not cousins, though. I draw the line there).  If your Dad was a Rocket Scientist, how would YOU like it if you overheard someone say “Oh great job you friggin’ rocket scientist!!” and stomped off? If it were me, I’d run home and get my Dad’s Eloodian Q-36 Modulator and let ’em have it! Yeah, that’s right. You heard me. I’d really let ’em HAVE IT! Man, I feel better already.

And what about Adelphius Einstein, Albert’s great-great-great-second-cousin’s-nephew’s-uncle?  He no doubt takes it VERY personally when someone says “Way to go EINSTEIN!!” to some guy after he accidentally pushes a piano out of a twentieth story window onto a crowd of people below.  Imagine how HE feels.  Yeah, maybe you’ll think about Adelphius next time YOU are tempted to say something like that.  Sheesh, stop and think about him, would ya?

But as I have mentioned, these “Einsteins” and “Rocket Scientists” decide to do moronic things out in the weather when they SHOULD be gathering hammocks, scrap plywood, aluminum foil and flashlights (after discarding all soda cans located on the front porch, of course). Recently, one of these Rocket Scientists decided that the approaching storm, and gale force winds associated with it, would be the perfect opportunity to…go “kite boarding”. This activity entails standing on a surf board type of apparatus and, with the aid of a large, uncontrollable kite, zipping across shark-infested waters and, with the simple tug of the kite, smoothly sailing above the water when the shark attempts to eat your lower extremities. It’s all very exciting. The wind, however, is generally…well, not “hurricane force” during standard kite-boarding outings. Said “hurricane force” winds can take your kite and make it “loosey goosey”. This is official Kite Boarder jargon for “completely uncontrollable” and “potentially deadly” and can result in “dain bramage”.

As a case in point, here is one Rocket Scientist who was “preparing” in his own way:

As you can see, he got a little “loosey goosey”.

A little known fact is that even if you are in an area that is NOT forcasted to be in the path of an approaching storm, you should immediately “prepare”. If, however, you live in an area that is forcasted to be in the path of an approaching storm, my advice is to simply take it easy. Chances are, nothing will happen anyway. Much like my wife waits for a loud buzzer and shock treatment to be applied through her driver’s seat when the engine oil is near zero (despite the flashing red light), if it’s really a serious storm, you’ll probably hear sirens, screams and wind sounds that are often compared to the sound of an approaching freight train. At that point, it might be advisable to stroll into the house, don the aluminum foil hats and begin “preparations”. If, after spending a few minutes in the bathtub, you look up and do not see the sky, consider yourself safe.

So as the weather forecasters use their lame-o “computer models”, you can rest easy. You’ll have plenty of time to “prepare”. The airlines “prepare”. The government agencies “prepare”. Your neighbor might even “prepare” by actually tying his bath robe around his waist in case a breeze suddenly stirs up (we don’t want to think about what’s under the robe). You can just sit on the porch in your rocking chair, sipping on your soda, waiting for the sirens, screams and freight train. You can rest easy knowing you were “prepared”.

No sir, nobody is going to call YOU Einstein!

Hey, what’s that noise? It sounds like a train, doesn’t it? Nah, it’s probably nothing.

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