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Friday, August 31, 2012

What a Summer!

You may have noticed this has been a slow year. We're not sure why, other than the many myriad ways in which the flowing and ever-changing tendrils of life have intervened to distract us from the passion that is this blog.

This is of course a slightly clever way of saying we were too lazy to get around to posting.

Nonetheless, we have been keeping an eye on things. For instance, it was a fascinating summer:

My Vacations

Orlando was steamier than a Turkish sauna. Universal and Disney were fun, although crowded. Alas, Mrs. Fando injured her foot as we left The Magic Kingdom.  You'd think Mickey would show up with a magic wand to heal that right up, but Disney did provide a wheelchair and a cut to the front of the monorail line. We spent the next two days in the hotel, but did visit Universal again on the last day. We also managed to eat pub food no fewer than three times, so it was a gastronomic success.

Just to answer the question on all your minds, yes, we did try Butterbeer, and I'm still coming off the sugar high. We also rode the Harry Potter Experience (which, contrary to urban legend does not contain candid footage from Dan Radcliffe's performance in Equus, thank heavens). It was alternately magically inventive and nauseatingly dizzying. I can't blame the Butterbeer on that as I didn't have it until after the ride, and only to stop the spinning.

The Littlest Fando loved the ride, of course, but she also rode every single roller coaster.

The worst ride was the 20+ hours bus travel we had both ways, a total of over 40 hours, or just a few hours shy of the time we spent in the Universal and Disney ride lines.

I was in New Orleans for conference in July, which was nice. I had some Cajun food, a shrimp PoBoy sandwich, and sushi, just to show it can be done. I didn't get to the French Quarter except for the airport shuttle ride back. However, I did come back with plenty of beads! (No, not really.)

Late July saw the Fando clan in Panama City, FL. We toured Ripley's Believe It or Not, which is like Jersey Shore with brains. We rode go-karts and also went into a haunted house that seemed to consist of one guy whose heavy breathing was the result of running from one room to another to stay ahead of us. Mostly, it was just dark.

But enough about me...

The U.S. Presidential Primaries

  • Mitt Romney sewed up the GOP nomination by finally assimilating Rick Santorum at a small diner, just outside of Piddleton, Montana. Santorum didn't go down without a fight though, leaving Romney with an additional seven gray hairs and a small tattoo of Pope Paul VI on the nape of his neck.
  • Barack Obama was unchallenged for the Democratic nomination, except for several brief rebellions by Vice President Biden's mouth. The Vice President's campaign staff announce that the mouth is being disciplined by being forced to eat at Taco Bueno for six weeks.
  • In the Libertarian and Green parties, a couple of guys who nobody will remember won resounding triumphs.

The London Olympics

Oh, how I wanted to cover this in person, but alas, I was jet packing in just as Queen Elizabeth II was jet packing her way over to the Olympic Stadium. MI5 intercepted me just before HRH and I had a fender bender over the Tower Bridge. The Queen was very gracious about it, giving me a friendly royal wave with her most regal finger.

Meanwhile, some highlights of the Games themselves:
  • There was a major scandal during the badminton competition, which made every pay attention to badminton for all of 30 seconds. 
  • Ryan Lochte claimed before the Games that he was looking forward to life in the Olympic Village, where 90% of the athletes would be hooking up. Afterwards though Lochte was most commonly seen, chatting up a bowl of lukewarm fish noodles at the Wagamama's off Leicester Square.
  • British runner Mo Farah thrilled the home crowd by running away with the men's 10,000 and 5,000 meters races. In fact, he's still running away.
  • Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, and not just because Sir Elton John kept glitter-bombing him between races. However, the  International Association of Athletics Federations, which govern track and field, have announced that in future Olympics they will add variations of their races, where runners run backwards, crawl, and do some sort of equivalent to the breaststroke. The IAAF are already looking into some innovative ways in which to sponsor the women's edition of the latter race.
  • Mexico won the Olympic men's soccer tournament, beating a Brazilian team that was favored to not only win the tournament, but also several local dancing competitions in the process. 
  • The U.S. women won the gold in soccer, avenging their loss in last year's World Cup final to Japan. The Japanese settled for the silver medal and several invitations to Wagamama's from a mysterious Mr. R.Y. Loch T.
  • Brit Bradley Wiggins added to his tour de force Tour de France win by claiming the men's cycling time trial gold medal. He'll claim the medal after he finishes the seven month post-race drug testing regimen.

There's still plenty going on, with the English Premier League underway, college and pro football starting up, and the U.S. Presidential  Conventions are full swing, with the GOP convention ending and the Democratic one next week. Clint Eastwood brought his own chair!