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Archive for June, 2010

(As told to this writer by Kuma, the wiener dog, of his chances after submitting two photos to the Capitol Hill Rag’s 2010 Pet Photo Contest.)

“I have the lion’s share of awesome. And by lion’s share, I mean I don’t share. In my clenched jaw, I hold all of the awesome available. Ever. You have none.

You could be wondering why I bring this up, as it is often de-motivating to discover someone is not awesome. Not awesome even in the slightest. Well, I can’t help myself. I have all the awesome and everyone will simply have to cry themselves to sleep each night with that knowledge.

I am telling you and your readers this so you can stop striving for awesome. Simply be. Simply exist. Don’t hurt yourself trying to rise to a level that is too far above you. Don’t be that person or dog that spends all his/her time trying to grab something just out of reach. You will never have it. It is mine and it is awesomeness.

You might think there is enough awesome for all who seek it. Not so. I have already obtained all awesomeness ever in the course of my being awesome. It is simply not possible for anyone else to even get a sliver. Or a splinter. Or a drop.

You may be speculating on how someone might snatch the awesome away. Or how to steal it when I’m not looking. Or how to kill me and pry my cold, dead jaws apart and take the awesome for themselves. Well, let me tell you. Don’t even try it. Earlier I misbarked. I don’t hold the awesomeness. I am the awesomeness. So when I die, all awesome dies with me. You can’t take it from me, without me going right along with it.

You could be wondering if this will be over soon. No. It won’t. Not until everyone acknowledges their inability to obtain any possible speck of awesome. Since people are likely speechless from shock and sadness, I’ll let it slide this once.

Just remember the lion. He did not get even a simple lick of awesome…it is all mine.

Awesome.”

(Editor’s note: Kuma finished 3rd in the ‘Funniest’ category. Photo available below. His anger is immense. Currently, Kuma is reviewing his revenge options: a) rampage through the Hill Rag offices – implementing maximum carnage, b) poop on the patio of all those that voted for the other non-awesome dogs or c) look at the voters with his big, sad eyes until they concede and reprint July’s Hill Rag with him on the cover.) 

Funniest Category: Show (3rd Place)

The other photo…

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What’s the best way to enjoy Medellín, Colombia? A few ideas…

El Bueno (The Good)

Go to a wedding: What could make a lengthy Catholic wedding service completely in Spanish better? Maybe a 25 year bottle of Dom Perignon saved for just such an occasion.

La Familia

Listen to a mariachi band: First cram 11 mariachi band members into a small living room, squeeze together all cozy and sardine like, make a few requests and enjoy.

Full service Mariachi band

Jaunt about Parque Lleras: Have a mojito or three at Wako, grab a bite at Orleans, or sip some brew at the Medellin Beer House, or grab a taco at El Loco Carnal, then continue bar hopping through the neighborhood designed to go out and be seen.

Eat a national dish: You can get bandeja paisa almost everywhere and believe me, I had my share. With generous helpings of chicharrón, arepas, beans, eggs, plantains, ground meat, rice, sliced avocado, chorizo, black pudding, and the kitchen sink; devouring this will not lead you astray.

Take it slow…

Make beautiful music: First things first. Don’t give a gringo a güiro (a long metal tube with ridges that one rhythmically rubs a rod over). Second, if you still insist on doing that, ensure plenty of Aquila beer and aguardiente are on hand so as to make the melodies that unfold less bracing. Or you can completely mask the gutteral sound of the güiro by accompanying it with maracas and a cantante that also plays the guitar.

Güiros, maracas, y guitarras

Stroll around Piedras Blancas Parque: Try the zip line over a lake (P.S. do pull the stop cord at the end…the side of the mountain is not your friend), hike on the numerous trails, go into the steamy butterfly habitat (and watch them flit from one sweet flower to the next), visit the nearby 4 star hotel with a stunning view, and drink a Club Colombia beer. Or not, but then why else did you go to this park?

A view to a lake

Relax at a finka: A finka (farm/vacation house far from the city); with hammocks, an orchid (with six kinds of mango trees, coconut trees, and sundry other fruit trees), a garden, a swimming pool, a sappo, a BBQ pit, a fountain, and around 20 beds for your whole entourage; is where you should plan to go to relax. Activities include; watching an epic storm front thunder past, playing a mean game of sappo (throw disks into holes for points – get it in the frog’s (sappo) mouth for 5000 points), card games, eating ridiculous amounts of mangoes, hammock naps, pool parties, eating ridiculous amounts of grilled meat, stuff like that.

Finka

Into the sappo’s mouth

Hammock of the dogs

Climb El Peñol:  644 steps up. 644 steps down. And a view to a kill at the tippy top.

The Rock (minus Nicolas Cage)

 

Ride the metrocable:  As you slide effortlessly up in a swinging box over the slums of the city, peer down at the ebb and flow of daily life. Once at the top, you can visit the freshly minted library (to improve this area) or you can take in the grandeur of the hilly city with warts and all.

 

Snack on obleas con arequipe: Tasty!

Explore a small colonial town: If you have no desire to remain in the comfort of your air-conditioned car, and believe a skip about the weekend market in a small town’s central square is more suited to your tastes…at least try some of the local tamarindo juice. Refreshing on a hot, muggy day. I suggest waiting until after your walk.

  

El Malo (The Bad)

Drive during pico y placa: There are solutions for mitigating traffic congestion in a city and then there are solutions. Pico y placa deserves its spot among the latter. This brilliant plan says you cannot drive during certain hours of certain days. So maybe 2 days a week, you won’t be allowed to drive during rush hour, or risk getting slapped with a fat ticket at one of the checkpoints. So what do you do to get to work or home during those times? Learn to be creative. Take risks.

Get sucked into the election fallout: I know little about Colombian politics, but I do know that when one tries to buy alcohol on the last weekend they are in country, one would hope that it would be that simple. Yet during the elections, the whole country shuts down its alcoholic options. They won’t sell it in the stores, they won’t sell in the restaurants, and even many bars just decide to close (what else you going to do there? Play sappo?). So it was with great chagrin that the last weekend turned out a wee dry.

 

El Feo (The Ugly)

Do a photo shoot at Plaza de Botaro: Fernado Botaro does sculptures. Some that are decidedly strange. Indeed, many can be found all over the world. We walked around and ‘admired’ the numerous statues in the downtown plaza dedicated to his work. And by ‘admired’ I mean ‘thoroughly enjoyed’. And by ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ I intend sarcasm. And by sarcasm I intend you to stop reading now.

Squat Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace

 

 

Stop poking around

The end. Give a hand!

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None of which I will write about here.

Instead, let’s talk soccer…World Cup style. After 11 days of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, what are some of the high and lowlights?

Highs

It’s good to be the underdog – with a Serbia 1-0 win over Germany, a New Zealand 1-1 tie against Italy, a Switzerland 1-0 win over Spain, an Algeria 0-0 tie against England, and a few more stunning upsets, suddenly the countries no one gave a chance or a crap about are putting on a display. They probably won’t win it all, but they are making this tournament very interesting.

USA – a tie against England (good) and a tie against Slovenia (okay, but a good comeback), the US is poised to advance with a victory over Algeria. Go USA!

Western Hemisphere teams – the 8 countries in the Western Hemisphere are playing at a 9-2-5 pace (with Honduras as the only team to lose so far). There is an excellent chance that 7 of the 8 countries will advance to the knock out stage.

Vuvuzelas – the noise may be obnoxious and persistently annoying,  but good on the fans for being passionate enough about their countries to blow on a ridiculous horn for 90 minutes.

Lows

France meltdown – What the heck? A tie to Uruguay and a loss to Mexico and suddenly players and coaches are quitting? Well, I guess its one less team for the US to have to worry about. Maybe South Africa has a chance to win a game if France doesn’t care.

Referees are a distraction – missed goals, stupid fouls, poor officiating, not explaining calls, it just proves that some of these refs need an ass-kicking.

Flopping – stop! Most of the footballers that are intentionally landing on their butts and faces to solicit sympathy from the refs for a free kick are not good enough actors. Plus everybody has a rewind button, so just play the game and stop pretending.

African teams – the 6 African countries are performing at a lowly 1-7-4 and are just not going to matter at all in the knock-out stage. Only Ghana has a realistic chance to advance. So much for home field advantage.

Viva soccer!

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