Saturday, August 29, 2009

Liveblog Ted Kennedy's funeral

I am very, very sad about the passing of Uncle Teddy.  I'm one of those people for whom he seemed a family member.  But as I watch his funeral, I have a lot of irrelevant, irreverant thoughts, which I am capturing here in a liveblog.

I am obsessed with the variety of umbrellas.  I see that they have a bit of an umbrella brigade, remarkably well done.  The spin and lift of the umbrella bearer as he reaches the door and turns to get another escortee.  But the umbrellas don't match: some have vents, some do not; they have different handle lengths; I even see a few logos.  An umbrella brigade without matching umbrellas?  

(Obsession with umbrellas is not new to me.  In my time as an academic, I considered doing a research project on the image of umbrellas in India.

Looks like a fire hazard.

I like how Catilin trailed her hand from the podium, trailed her hand on Ted's casket as she went back to her seat.  

Ruddy red face of the priest behind him.

As they begin the service, the white drape over Teddy's casket is not lying straight.  It is annoying.  I imagine that Vicki is desperate to go straighten it.  Go for it, Vicki.  No one but you would be able to do it.

The camera is not showing the casket from the angle with the irregular cover over it.  That's good.  For those not in the cathedral, it's the TV images we will remember.  Oh, look, someone fixed it!

Is this priest speaking with a Rhode Island accent?  It's the kind where you understand, and then he veers off into some pronunciation that makes no sense.  I can tell RI accents because they never fail to make me laugh.  "Prepared" is the word that veered off.  Just googled his bio.  New Bedford.  It doesn't get much closer.

I guess there is a part of the Catholic mass where everyone starts hugging each other?

Communion time.  I don't actually know what is happening or what I am seeing.  They showed glowing red bricks and the underside of the curtain fringe.  It's probably that it would be disrespectful to broadcast something as holy and personal as communion.  Operationally, though, I'm curious: are they giving communion to 1500 people right now?  Ted Kennedy Junior.  Great job.  And then they clap?  Whoa, Jews don't clap.

Patrick Kennedy: Welcomed his brothers and sisters.  How delightful that the steps count.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shopping adventure a la Pretty Woman

I took a much-needed day off of work today and went into SF to find a dress for my brother's wedding.  It felt like a scene from "Pretty Woman."

My mother had offered to pay for the dress and gave me what I thought was a very generous budget. When I entered Saks in my Target skirt and t-shirt, everyone who worked there looked away. And there are a lot of people working at Saks! It looked like they worked in pairs. As I walked through the fragrance/cosmetics/jewelry floor, there were no customers except for me. Something like 20 employees, and none looked at me.

As I wandered through the designer section, I continued not to get much attention despite the fact that I was never out of view of one of their workers. Finally I picked a dress off a rack. A woman came up to me with a big smile and said, "Would you like to try that on?" I asked her what size it was, since the sizing was Hungarian or something, and she paused and said, "Oh, that won't fit you."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Talkin' baseball

I am still not really watching baseball.  This year, I've missed two rare events, the kinds of things I'd gleefully call everyone to say I'd seen:
  • An unassisted triple play (15th in major league baseball history)
  • A perfect game -- by one of my favorite pitchers, Mark Buerhle.  Eighteenth in MLB history.  Every year, I dream of seeing a perfect game.  I missed this one.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Southwest's compass bearing

I seem to have a new puzzle interest that has been sparked by Southwest Airlines. Flying last weekend, trying to kill time during takeoff, I flipped through the magazine to see the puzzles in the back. I love sudoku, so I did those. The next page had something called shinro. It took me a while to figure out how to do these puzzles, and then I fell for them. I ripped the page out of the magazine so I could remember the name of this game.

On my flight back, it had become August. I got on the plane and grabbed the Southwest magazine, eager to get new Shinro puzzles. Alas, they had a whole different set of puzzles.  No Shinro.

So here I am with a crumpled piece of paper pulled from the Southwest magazine, googling "shinro."  And I found this:

  • I came across a new kind of puzzle called shinro that can be found in Southwest Airline magazines. According to the magazine, shinro is Japanese for “compass bearing.” The puzzle involves finding holes in a square grid. Like battleship puzzles, the number of holes in each row and column are indicated. In addition, there are a number of arrows in the grid that point to at least one hole.
  • waa hoo! i found myself looking up shinro after flying southwest airlines, as well! thanks for the link. great puzzle!
  • Yeah! I was just on Southwest last night and solved 4 shinro puzzles. Thanks for the info
  • Me too! Southwest flight! landed, thirsty for more.
  • I also flew on Southwest Airlines and was hooked!!! I Love IT!!!!
  • Just discovered the Shinro puzzles on a flight on Southwest and am hooked.
Google has just four references to the paper-based game shinro on its first page of results, and all mention Southwest.  (After that, it references either shinro iPhone apps -- yay! -- or Shinro Ohtake the artist.)  My favorite is this:
If you're visiting this site, we probably have something in common... Most likely, you recently flew on Southwest Airlines and passed some of the time by working on the Shinro puzzles in an issue of Spirit Magazine. Like me, you later searched the internet looking for additional puzzles to work on and found little or nothing in the way of Shinro puzzles.
That person is creating the puzzles, so he or she is my new hero.

Who knew that something in an inflight magazine could inspire such passion?