Rio’s Opening Ceremony Spectacle
Hard to say what the highlight was of the evening’s festivities. Certainly Brazilian supermodel home girl Gisele Bundchen‘s mezmerizing catwalk appearance in Maracana Stadium to “The Girl From Ipanema” ranked WAY up there. Her bittersweet retirement finale, sashayed in a shimmering, body-hugging evening gown that had all the markings of a wardrobe malfunction, thrilled spectators and TV viewers worldwide alike. Betcha Victoria’s Secret sales went off the chart the next day…
Americans weren’t disappointed either after eight-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps lead Team USA as its official flag bearer. The athletes’ much-hyped uniform, designed by fashion icon Ralph Lauren, may have left a few underwhelmed, however. (Hey Ralph: Could you have made your Polo logo on the blazers any bigger? Nice that 2016’s line was made here in the U.S. instead of China–guess you got that message loud and clear after the 2012 Olympics uniform faux pas…)
Enough about fashion and on to what the Olympic Games are all about: sports! It’s still too early to tell which venue will have experienced the worst mishaps, but surely the brutal cycling road race course saw far too many casualties. While the men’s event was a far cry from last month’s epic Tour de France, congrats to Belgium cyclist Greg Van Avermaet who dashed out in the last kilometer to clock a winning time of six hours, ten minutes and five seconds to win Olympic Gold in Rio. On the women’s side it was Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten who, while leading the race with under 11 km to go, flipped her bike and landed on her head in a horrific looking crash. The official statement about her status at posting time was that she was conscious and able to communicate when taken to the hospital for examination. Whew!
But surely the unoffical first prize for worst accident happened Saturday, when French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered a broken leg while vaulting during the Artistic Gymnastics segment of the men’s team qualifications.
“It was the kind of injury that made spectators hurriedly look away and caused teammates to bury their heads”, said CNN Wire. Not surprisingly because the leg breaking made a sharp crack that could be heard throughout the venue…
French gymnastics officials tweeted that Said fractured his tibia and fibula and would undergo surgery as soon as possible. They added that he thanked his fans for their support and vowed he’d be back to win the Gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Here’s wishing him good luck for a full and speedy recovery.
Enjoy the rest of The 2016 Games in Rio, dear reader, and go Team USA! Unfortunately, sisters Serena and Venus Williams will not be bringing home any medals this time around after suffering a disappointing loss in the women’s doubles competition…
Serena Makes it 22 (and Counting…)
Brit Favorite Son Andy Murray Does His Country Proud, Again
Talk about making history!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or just aren’t a fan of tennis, you should know that Serena Williams’ women’s singles victory on Centre Court was cause celebre. “Best women’s tennis I’ve ever watched!”, exclaimed six-time Wimbledon winner/ESPN commentator Chris Evert afterward. With all due respect for the performance exhibited by Serena’s 26-year-old opponent, German player and Steffi Graf protégé, Angelique Kerber, the No. 4th seed simply didn’t stand a chance against the world’s top-ranked player who dominated their two-set stunner.
Now that Serena has achieved her quest of matching Graf’s record of 22 major finals wins in the Open era (since 1968), Margaret Smith Court still holds the record of 24. Not showing any signs of slowing down at the not-so-tender age of nearly 35, don’t count Serena out to reach or exceed Court’s all-time record, too. Serena is now being touted as the best female athlete EVER–an amazing feat at any age!
On the men’s side, there was second-seeded Andy Murray, famous for finally ending the 77-year drought in British men’s Wimbledon title winners back in 2013. Three years hence, Murray prevailed over No. 6-ranked Milos Raonic, the big-serving, 6 foot 5 inch, Canadian Adonis with an equally lethal forehand. It didn’t hurt that the crowds at the All England Club were clearly behind the mercurial Scot, known for his McEnroe-esque on-court tirades. Under the gaze of a packed royal box looking on during play, he mercifully kept his temper in check. Overcoming his emotional, tearful reaction to his commanding three-set win, Murray was gracious in his acceptance speech. One particular shout-out he directed toward attending, soon-to-retire, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, however, was roundly booed–the sting of the Brexit debacle obviously still very fresh on their minds. So much for British civility… (For more on Brexit’s wide-ranging impact, go to Eater.com for Whitney Filloon’s July 7 story: “Tracking the Brexit Effect on Food and Drink”. (Warning: if you’re are Scotch or Stilton cheese lover, you may want to start hoarding…)
And now for a little personal family tennis history…
Back in the day (1939, to be exact) WM’s father competed at Wimbledon. Here’s an excerpt from the article she wrote on the subject that appeared in the New York Times on Father’s Day, June 17, 1979:
Following his French victory, he went to England where he was defeated in the main Wimbledon competition by a left-handed Yugoslav with a big serve and forehand. [Sound familiar?] During that match on a rainy day at Centre Court, Dad slid from his service line, under the net into his opponent’s court. A first, he said. All was not lost, however, as he did manage to win the Wimbledon Cup (in competition played among the losers in the first and second rounds).
The height of my father’s tennis career came during the [then] Nationals in September, 1940 with the upset victory over defending champion Bobby Riggs. The win cost Riggs a lucrative pro contract that year. But, as fate would have it, World War II curtailed my father’s playing career significantly. His last important victory came in 1950, defeating Frank Kovaleski in the National Indoor competition. Later, in 1952, married with a family to support, my father entered the Nationals at Forest Hills on a whim. After an upset defeat of a top-seeded Australian, and making it to the third round, he was finally put out by [tennis legend] Billy Talbert.
That WM’s story and she’s stickin’ to it. Tennis anyone?
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer in the America. But let us not forget the REAL reason the last Monday in May is celebrated: To honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation’s freedom.
Regardless of whether you might have personally known someone who lost their life in the line of service to their country, WM would like to suggest observing a moment of silence before chowing down at the backyard barbeque this holiday.
Or maybe cheering on a hometown parade might be more your thing. If you’re lucky, it’ll be an event that includes a marching band half as good as the multi-award winning Citizens Hose Company Band. For years, I used to follow them along their annual Memorial Day parade route through the streets of the historic district of Smyrna, Delaware. This dedicated 87-member band is the 35-time winner of the coveted Governor’s Cup award for Best Appearing Fire Company with Music, part of the State’s annual volunteer Firefighter’s competition, held in Dover. Ah, what sweet memories of bygone times where WM raised her family!
Perhaps you’ll decide to visit a veterans cemetery to pay respects to our fallen heroes. If you are in need of inspiration as to how you can “rightfully remember” a veteran by adopting a grave, go online (link below) for the CBS Nightly News video of Steve Hartman’s May 27 On the Road segment. The heartfelt story of how Army Airborne soldier John Colone, who had been shot four times during battle, taken to the morgue in a body bag, tagged “DOA”, was miraculously saved from the dead. Thanks to the plantar reflex testing efforts of the morgue officer on duty at the time, Colone survived. He lives on to this day honoring the members of his battalion who lost their lives back in 1968 by faithfully tending to their graves and 160+ other vets every Memorial Day. What a hero!
$7 Million Raised in Time to Save KPLU–WOOOOHOO!
As a devoted jazz fan, WM is deliriously happy to report that her favorite “Jazz, Blues and NPR News” station–88.5 FM–has met its goal to raise the $7,000,000 necessary to save the station’s broadcast license from the clutches of UW/KUOW. This major feat was accomplished more than a month before the July 30 deadline, proving beyond a doubt that KPLU listeners are a loyal lot and are not afraid to put their money where their ears are!
But, here’s the thing. While the suits are crossing their “t”s and dotting their “i”s on finalizing the sale to the Friends of KPLU, the station’s future operating budget will still be in need of funding.
Now for the plug: If you haven’t already contributed to the Friends of KPLU’s cause (and you know who you are…), it isn’t too late!
Do the right thing and go to https://savekplu.org/, and click on DONATE NOW
Have a memorable Memorial Day
P.S. A surprisingly good read during this hyper-inflated election year season is the May 30 Seattle Times’ Opinion column entitled: “Why political rallies should be held at national cemeteries”. Here’s an excerpt from Father Joshua J. Whitfield’s special to The Dallas Morning News:
What if, for example, all political campaigns, every rally and every debate, were held within the confines of our military cemeteries, amid the visible memory of so many of our hallowed dead? Perhaps we’d sober up, cut out the nonsense and lies. Perhaps we’d have better politicians. And perhaps we’d have a better country, too.
The quintessential southern libation: the Mint Julep. Not too shabby for serving moms on Mothers Day! (See recipe below)
With all the never-ending blather about who’s in, who’s out of the upcoming POTUS race, WM thought it might be refreshing to take a complete departure for this edition of Seattle Outsider Musings, devoid (mostly) of politics…
And what better way to do that than talk about horse races and what folks who will be attending this weekend’s 142nd Kentucky Derby might imbibe in other than mint juleps before, during and possibly after (if they’re still standing) “the greatest two minutes in sports”.
As EATER’s Ashlie Stevens advised in her May 3 story, “Where to Drink in Louisville During the Kentucky Derby”, there is more to drink there than the Churchill* Downs track’s typical mint julep concoction. Indeed, over the last few years, the city’s craft cocktail scene has exploded, with it’s urban wineries and breweries gaining national attention, with more variety in the types of bars open across different neighborhoods–from the well-established to the up-and-coming. Stevens suggests 12 places to celebrate wins (or recover from losses). Go to: http://www.eater.com/maps/louisville-cocktail-bars-kentucky-derby-mint-juleps for the inside scoop.
Meantime, here’s the recipe for Mint Juleps, with thanks to Alton Brown of the Food Network:
- 10 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
- 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- Seltzer water
- Crushed ice
- 2 1/2 ounces Kentucky bourbon whiskey
- Place the mint leaves in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and top with the sugar. Muddle these together until the leaves begin to break down. Add a splash of seltzer water, fill the glass 3/4 full with crushed ice, and add the bourbon. Top with another splash of seltzer, stir, and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
① No relation to that other Churchill, for whom President Obama recently took some serious heat from the Brits for moving the famous PM’s portrait from the Oval Office… (When are they gonna get over it–we’re not a colony anymore!)
Good News/Bad New on the Local Sports Front
First, the good news: The Mariners are not only alive, but doing astonishingly well early in the season! Perhaps the recently-announced majority ownership of the team by Seattle’s own ex-telecom CEO billionaire John Stanton, whose stated goal is to lead the Mariners to MLB victory, has given the heretofore beleaguered team some much-needed umpf.
Now for the “bad” news… “Staggering blow to Sodo arena” read the front page headlines in the May 3 edition of The Seattle Times. All we can say is we hope Chris Hansen can find another, more suitable, place other than an already over-burdened downtown Seattle site for his proposed NBA & NHL arena. Go to his SonicsArena.com website for more details on this continuing saga.
Say “Cheese”, please!
In the Did You Know? department, the U.S. has more cheese than it knows what to do with, in what amounts to a massive cheese surplus thanks to cheap prices for European dairy and record U.S. diary production.
Bloomberg reports the U.S. is sitting on it’s largest stockpile of cheese in more than 30 years, with the country being the current number one importer of certain European dairy products, rising 17% last year.
So, get your grilled ham & cheese game on and DO expect to see some trendy-cheese-filled items to hit menus everywhere!
And Speaking of Food
How about that Renee Erickson, of The Whale Wins for receiving the JBF Award for Best Chef – Northwest! She sure has done Seattle proud, once again. Congrats to Chef Renee for a job well done (or maybe done rare), pun intended…
Last, But Far From Least!
Congratulations to WM’s all-time favorite radio station, KPLU/88.5–“Jazz, Blues and NPR News”–for raising a record-breaking $1,000,000+ in the Seattle Foundation’s one-day Give Big campaign for non-profits. June 30th is the date for the public radio station to meet the deadline to come up with the $7,000,000 it needs to buys it’s independence. At its current $5,500,000 donation level, success of meeting its goal is within reach. (Readers may go to KPLU.org for further information on how to help save the station).
Update: 2016 Leap Year Edition’s
Per the last edition of Seattle Outsider Musings, here’s the latest on the 2016 James Beard Awards for regional Restaurant & Chef finalists…
Despite pending doubt at the time of our most recent posting as to whether three Seattle-based semi-finalists in the Best Chef – Northwest category had a fair chance of becoming finalists, husband and wife team Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule made the cut! The prestigious national JBA gala will be held this coming May 2 at the Lyric Opera in Chicago. (The not-so-good news is the other nominated Best Chef – Northwest semi-finalist, chef Dustin Ronspies of Seattle’s Art of the Table, didn’t make the short list. No word what, if any, impact JBA’s voting mistake had on the result…)
Yang and Chirchi’s humble Facebook reaction was: “Wow! Despite the ballot controversy, we made the list! We are truly honored!!! Congrats to [other JBA Seattle finalists] Canlis, The Whale Wins, Il Corvo Pasta, and Allecia Vermillion, Seattle Met Magazine.”
3506 Stone Way N.
Seattle, WA 98103
Joule, the first restaurant from celebrated husband and wife cooking team Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, is re-located in October, 2012 to the innovative, newly developed the Fremont Collective in Seattle’s Wallingford/Fremont neighborhood. From its original opening in 2007, Joule has cultivated a loyal dining fan base and captured the attention of an admiring local and national media captivated by the couple’s unique, modern perspective on Korean cuisine. Joule, the mature sibling to Yang and Chirchi’s restaurant, Revel, highlights Korea’s love of beef featuring unconventional cuts accompanied by distinctive and shareable side dishes.
Until next time,