Australian Open, 1.26.09

January 26th, 2009

One of my favorite tennis tournaments is the Australian Open.  Its late-night action is perfect for a night owl like myself and its hard courts are my favorite surface.  There is something soothing about tennis, where the play moves quickly and in a nice rhythm (golf and soccer can also by hypnotic in the same sense).

As a college student, and now a mildly employed adult, I am expert at taking a nice nap while listening to a mid-afternoon soccer or tennis match.  These naps remind me of my dad, who was always falling asleep to golf on Sunday afternoons.  As I have grown older, distance, both physical and emotional, has separated us.  Yet when we are talking about sports, I feel together again.

I think this is my favorite part of sport, the ability to bring people together (maybe not this year).  The democracy of sports, fans courtside cheer for the same players as those in the rafters, is what makes me love them so much.

Candy Saturday

January 25th, 2009

When I was younger, Saturday was a good day.  Twice a month, my dad would take me and my siblings, with our allowance clutched in our dirty little fists, to the convenient store to spend our money on as much candy as we could get for a dollar (or two, if we had been saving properly).

In that vein, this weekly Saturday post is going to focus on a type of delicious candy that is available for less than a dollar.  Candy is unique, because it is still relatively cheap (perhaps it has even lost value from the ‘dime-store’ era: according to my trusty inflation calcuator, $.10 in 1930 is $1.23 today).  We can only hope that it will remain cheap forever.

Look for tasty treats like Skor bars or Cowtails or Now-and-Laters in the coming weeks.  Suggestions are always welcome in the comments, just limit them to items that are available for less than $1 at most convenient stores.

Louis L’Amour

January 21st, 2009

The first posts on Art Wednesday (any creative ideas for a different, more exciting name can be submitted through the comments) are going to deal with some of my favorite authors of ‘dime-store’ fiction.  My favorites dime-store genres are mystery, science fiction, spy and western (bonus points to people who can guess an upcoming author, use the comments).  Today, I will start with Louis L’Amour.

If someone totaled up all of the time I have spent reading, Louis L’Amour’s books would easily be at the top of the list (as long as you did not count the internets, then it would be  I have been reading Louis L’Amour since I was no taller than the wheels on a buckboard (hmmm, considering my late growth spurt, that is not a very definite time span. let us go with since first grade).  If you think it is an indictment  of L’Amour’s writing that I have been reading and understanding it since I was a wee first-grader, know first, that I was a precocious youngster and second, these are dime-store westerns here, not literature.

My dad put me on the track to reading Louis L’Amour, just like he was introduced to him by his father.  We used to comb the flea-markets in South Carolina for another battered copy of Sackett’s Land, for only a quarter.  Ever since, I have loved to read his simple stories about the West.  As my brother and I have often joked, his ‘frontier stories’ seem to use a formula, albeit a good one (perhaps on par with the Pythagorean Theorum?).  I can burn through one of Louis’s books in a night, and I often have.

Most of Louis’s books deal with life in the West.  One of his favorite lines was that it was a place where men went to find themselves.  I have always felt that his stories are like a perfect daydream for a little kid who wants to be a cowboy.  As many of you know, I fancy myself a cowboy, a pansy cowboys, but a cowboy nonetheless.

Another sweet feature of a ‘Louis,’ as I affectionately call them, is that many of his short stories have been dramatized.  These cassettes were constant companions on many Thomas family roadies. From our trip from California to North Carolina or our summer ventures to Colorado, nearly every trip featured classics like ‘Rain on the Mountain Fork,’ ‘McQueen of the Tumbling K,’ and ‘Bowdrie Follows a Cold Trail.’  Look for more detailed Art Wednesdays that focus on specific ‘Louis’ in the future.

MLK Day, 1.19.09

January 19th, 2009

Snow is in the forecast for the Triangle.  Hopefully, it will come because there are few things more disappointing than the promise of a snow day unfulfilled.  This week also holds the inauguration of President Obama.   Obama offers a new hope to everyone.  Perhaps, Obama and the new administration are the snowstorm that everyone is hoping for (at least in the South).

If Obama delivers on his potential, there is no doubt that there will be a change for the better, just like a meager six inches of snow will deliver incredible amounts of fun for me (and kids throughout North Carolina).  Yet, if Obama fails to deliver, the hope he has raised will in part create the disappointment that comes.

I cannot say what will happen; in fact, anyone who claims to know is lying.  Still, I am waiting with intense interest for the coming storm.


January 19th, 2009

Here follows the weekly calendar for dime.oftheweek:

Monday – Current events, perhaps the dime store thoughts from the site’s tagline.

Wednesday – Dime store novels, movies or music.

Saturday – Candy Saturday, a throwback to my childhood.