When the Olympic Cheering Stops

The 2018 Winter Olympics are under way in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Glistening new venues greet the athletes, adoring crowds and gaggles of world media.

After the medals have been awarded and the athletes have all gone home until the next games, host cities are left with massive leftover stadiums and venues. It’s often hard to find a use for the facilities – stadiums, pools and courses.

Sometimes cities are able to successfully repurpose parts of their Olympic set-ups, but often these giant investments are razed or abandoned.

Sarajevo, Yugoslavia hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics less than a decade before the Bosnian War. The city was under siege, and though it has largely recovered in the years since the war ended, many Olympic sites have been left to the elements. Kosovo Stadium, where the opening ceremony was held, belongs to the dogs now. The bobsled course on Mount Trebevic is totally overgrown and covered in graffiti. Today Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yugoslavia no longer exists.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics were held. After the games, they demolished the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, where the Braves had played since 1966. The team moved to the newly built Centennial Olympic Stadium, which is now known as Turner Field. Centennial Olympic Park, the site of the infamous bombing that marred the ’96 games, is still in use today. The Fountain of Rings is a popular place for people to cool down and splash around.

Athens, Greece went almost $15 billion over its planned budget of $1.6 billion for the 2004 Summer Olympics. The Greek government had to pay for everything, and, sadly, there just wasn’t any use for most of the buildings, stadiums and courses after the games. The pool is full of fetid water and starting to fall apart. Nobody is playing baseball in Athens. The beach volleyball court is being consumed by weeds. These huge, abandoned investments seem especially painful in light of Greece’s ongoing financial crisis.

Beijing, China’s National Stadium was built for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Today it often has a hard time finding events that come close to filling its 80,000 seats. The kayaking facility isn’t getting much use. The rowing facility is largely ignored. Many venues, like the beach volleyball court, are simply closed to the public. Half of the Beijing National Aquatics Center was eventually remodeled and turned into a water park. Beijing will reuse the National Stadium for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which they’re hosting. It will be the first stadium to host both Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympics opening ceremonies.

LondonOlympicParkLondon, England hosted the Summer Olympics in 2012. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was fully opened to the public in 2014 after many renovations. The rings are one of the few visual cues reminding visitors about the park’s origins. The park and surrounding buildings have helped rejuvenate the city’s East End. The Olympic village, where the athletes stayed, has been turned into apartments. The Olympic Stadium was renovated, and became the new home of the West Ham United Football Club in 2016.

Sochi, Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in 2014. Sochi is Russia’s largest resort city. The 2014 Winter Olympics were the most expensive games in history, costing the Russian government $50 billion. The Fisht Stadium was originally a dome, but was converted to an open-air stadium for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil played host to the last Summer Olympics in 2016. In less than two years, venues like the aquatics stadium have become ghost towns. Maracana Stadium was renovated for the Olympics, but abandoned soon after. Vandals stole seats and TVs. Parts of the Olympic complex have become a health hazard after their destruction, like the Rio Media Center. The site remained untouched for months. Six months after the closing ceremony, trash from the games was still visible.

A Nostalgic Look at the Silent Generation

Those born in the 1930s and early 1940s have come to be known as the Silent Generation. They, of course, preceded the Post World War II baby boomers and have very different views from those who served in the war and the generations that followed.

The Silent Generation is comprised of the the smallest number of children born since the
early 1900s. In many ways the Silent Generation constitutes the last ones with their unique life experiences.

They are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of daily life for years.

They are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves. They saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans. They remember cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available. They were the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of grieving neighbors whose sons died in the war. They saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses.

They were the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, they imagined what they heard on the radio. With no TV, they spent their childhood “playing outside” and doing so on their own. There was no Little League. There was no city playground for kids. The lack of television in their early years meant, for most, that they had little real understanding of what the world was like.

On Saturday afternoons, the movies, gave them newsreels of the war sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons. Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines) and hung on the wall. Computers were called adding machines – they only added and were hand cranked. Calculating was done with a slide rule. Typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage and changing the ribbon. The internet and Google did not exist. Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on the radio in the evening.

As the Silent Generation grew up, the country was exploding with growth. The GI Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow. VA loans fanned a housing boom. Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work. New highways would bring jobs and mobility. The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.

Parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined. The kids weren’t neglected, but they weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus. Parents were glad the kids played by themselves until the street lights came on. The parents were busy discovering the post war world.

The Silent Generation entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where they were welcomed. They enjoyed the luxury of feeling secure in their future.

Depression poverty was deep rooted. Polio was still a crippler. The Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for Air-Raid training. Russia lowered the “Iron Curtain” and China became Red China. President Eisenhower sent the first ‘advisers’ to Vietnam. Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power in the Soviet Union.

This was the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland.
They came of age in the 40s and 50s. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, “global warming” and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.

Only this generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty. They have lived through both. They grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better. not worse.

More than 99% of the Silent Generation now is either retired or deceased.

The 70s Return in Home Decor

Folks everywhere are adding splashes of 1970s style in updated, modern ways.

From dip dyed wall hangings to simple plant hangers, macrame is returning in a big way. Whether you buy these items ready more or learn to make them yourself, macrame offers an easy way to add texture and an artistic touch to your home.

The blazing orange walls of the ‘70s may not be returning, but home owners are using more dynamic colors to define the interiors of their homes. Paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams has designated a bold, jewel-toned blue-green color, Oceanside SW 6496, as its 2018 color of the year. Sue Williams of Sherwin-Williams says “this trendy color is perfect for a ‘70s palette.” She suggests using it along with brighter pops or orange or gren for accents like throw pillows.

Remember the shag carpet you raked? Well, shagadelic is a resurgent design trend. Home owners often buy these rugs for children’s areas.

Wicker, that staple of sun porch furniture for generations, is making a big comeback. From chairs and headboards to mirror frames, wicker is available in a wide array of colors. It can be used to create the perfect centerpiece in a bedroom, living room or even on the sun porch.

It wasn’t easy to avoid greenery in the ‘70s as it seemed every home was overflowing with plants. The love of indoor greenery is back. Everything from large potted plants in the corner to hanging basket plants is in vogue right now.

Accent With Container Gardens

Had enough of winter? Think spring!

containergardenYes, it’s a way off, but warmer weather lies ahead and you can at least dream of how nice it will be.

To help get in the mood, think about a simple container garden that will brighten up your home and bring a smile to your face when spring does arrive.

Container gardens are an easy way to enhance a small space. Matching containers placed on each side of a stairway or doorway can create a bookend look. Grouping a small cluster of different sizes of containers also provides a pleasing effect.

Select plants that complement or contrast with the color of your front door. For example, with a red door, choose red geraniums, salvia or petunias. For a high-contrast look with a blue door, try planting easy-care golds and yellows, such as zinnias, marigolds or celosia.

If floor space is at a premium, try a hanging basket or two.

Wise Winter Weather Yard Tips

When Old Man Winter comes calling, home owners need to keep everyone in the family – pets included – safe. Here are some timely tips to do just that!

Bring Pets Inside – Dogs and cats should be kept indoors during cold weather. Wipe their paws and bellies after they have been outside.

Ventilate Portable Generators – If using a generator, place it outdoors away from windows and doors to keep carbon monoxide out.

Pick Up Debris – Remove debris and household items from your yard before it snows. Such items can hide under the snow and cause harm to people, pets & equipment.

Clear a Path – Clear your driveway, sidewalks, patio and deck. This also helps give pets a path to their bathroom area.

Trim Trees Carefully – Put your weight on both feet when using a chainsaw. Hold the saw with both hands and adjust your stance so you are angled away from the blade..

Watch Where You Throw – Keep kids and pets away from snowblowers. Never put your hand in the chute or auger to clear a blockage. Turn the machine off and always use a clean-out tool.

When Insults Had Class

You may hve seen the quotes below since they have been traveling around the Internet for a while. But they are worth a read. These glorious insults are from an era that valued cleverness with words; an era when the leaders of society didn’t talk about size, use profanity or their middle finger to make their point. Enjoy!

Sir Winston Churchill vs. Lady Astor:
Lady Astor: “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”
Sir Winston: “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

A member of Parliament to Disraeli:
Member: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows, or of some unspeakable disease.”
Disraeli: “That depends, Sir, upon whether I embrace your policies, or your mistress.”

“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

“A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” – Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow

William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway): “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”
Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner): “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde

George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill: “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…if you have one.”
Winston Churchill, in response: “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second…if there is one.”

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb

“He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

“He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

“There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard

“He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” – Robert Redford

“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed

“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts…for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

“He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

The History of New Year’s Resolutions

Today, resolving to change and improve yourself and your life is an almost unavoidable part of the transition to a new year. Though it’s a pretty well documented fact that most New Year’s resolutions fail, we keep making them. The custom of making New Year’s resolutions is most common in the West, but it happens all over the world. Here’s a look back at when and why the New Year’s resolution tradition got started, and how it’s changed over the course of history.

The ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year’s resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to hold recorded celebrations in honor of the new year – though for them the year began not in January but in mid-March, when the crops were planted. During a massive 12-day religious festival known as Akitu, the Babylonians crowned a new king or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning king. They also made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. These promises could be considered the forerunners of our New Year’s resolutions. If the Babylonians kept to their word, their gods would bestow favor on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor.

A similar practice occurred in ancient Rome, after the reform-minded emperor Julius Caesar tinkered with the calendar and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year circa 46 B.C. Named for Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, January had special significance for the Romans. Believing that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, the Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.

For early Christians, the first day of the new year became the traditional occasion for thinking about one’s past mistakes and resolving to do and be better in the future. In 1740, the English clergyman John Wesley, founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, most commonly held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Also known as known as watch night services, they included readings from Scriptures and hymn singing and served as a spiritual alternative to the raucous celebrations normally held to celebrate the coming of the new year. Now popular within evangelical Protestant churches, especially African-American denominations and congregations, watch night services held on New Year’s Eve are often spent praying and making resolutions for the coming year.

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today are a mostly secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people make resolutions only to themselves, and focus purely on self-improvement. Recent research finds that while as many as 45 percent of Americans say they usually make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent are successful in achieving their goals. But that dismal record probably won’t stop people from making resolutions anytime soon – after all, we’ve had about 4,000 years of practice.

Peek at the Future of Hotels

Turn down service and the nightly chocolate on your pillow at hotel rooms across the globe may soon be a thing of the past.

Five-star hotels around the world have a variety of changes in store for 2018, according to Bloomberg, which recently gathered predictions for the coming year from a panel of industry experts.

Among the panel members who provided insights were executives from Marriott International Inc., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Deloitte LLP’s travel, hospitality and services group. A professor from NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism also weighed in on what can be expected next year.

Here are some of the top changes travelers will begin to see.

No More Turn Down Service – Cost savings and privacy are the driving force behind the movement to scale-back turn-down service in hotels. “We go through cycles when people are more private and more open, and right now people are feeling more private about their personal space. Some people don’t like their toiletries straightened up,” Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, told Bloomberg.

In-Room Technology Improvements – With technology being top of mind nearly everywhere these days, Marriott is experiment with an “Internet of Things” room that is being created with the help of Samsung and Legrand SA. The room includes showers that remember a guest’s preferred temperature, digital wall art that can be replaced with family photos and mirrors with embedded displays that can play such things as on-demand yoga videos, according to Bloomberg. These futuristic rooms are scheduled for a soft-launch in 2008, with the W hotels being the likely first place to offer them.

Hilton has also recently announced teched-out rooms. Their version includes a mobile app that controls the television, lighting, thermostat and digital art. “2018 is going to be the year that the rubber hits the road with technology,” Deloitte’s Marcello Gasdia told Bloomberg. “It took a while for this technology to mature, but now personalization can happen in real time.”

Front Desk Makeovers – It seems 2018 may be the year that luxury brands follow the hipster brands and do away with the traditional front desk completely. Hanson, from NYU, predicts the check-in desk will slowly fade into oblivion. The change is a reflection of traveler’s desire for intimacy rather than formality. The front desk space of year’s past will be replaced with living room-like check-in areas.

“Fifty years ago, people didn’t have credit cards and bad guys would come jump the desk and steal the cash,” said Hanson. “But that’s not the case anymore, and hotels no longer need that type of tall, wide barrier.”

An Emphasis on Wellness – Wellness is where it’s at, and hotels are increasingly realizing that fact. “Wellness is going to be the next trillion-dollar industry,” Guy Langford, also of Deloitte, told Bloomberg. “Everyone wants to capitalize on the huge swell, but every brand is making a different play. Nobody has figured it out yet.” Examples of hotels incorporating wellness offerings include JW Marriott partnering with the Joffrey Ballet for on-demand barre classes and Four Seasons developing wellness rooms with de-chlorinating showers and Deepak Chopra meditation videos.

Going, Going, Maybe Obsolete by 2020

Devices that have only one use like calculators, alarm clocks and digital cameras are being replaced by smartphones. Phone chargers and headphones with cords are also fading out in favor of wireless models.
Paper is going digital, from magazines to maps to regular paperwork.

Technology develops at a staggeringly quick pace in today’s world – even watching movies from a few years ago can provide opportunities to snicker at characters’ outdated cell phones.

Here are some things that will probably be obsolete by 2020:

Alarm clocks – Most phones have an alarm clock, stopwatch and timer built in, too.

Analog watches – Smart watches may not be ready to overtake smartphones yet, but it’s looking like they’re going to replace analog watches.

Buttons on phones – The iPhone X, released on November 3, 2017, was the first iPhone to ditch the home button, and some Android models have already gotten rid of them.

Calculators – Most phones have a calculator built in, reducing the need for this clunky device that only does one job.

Car keys – BMW already has an app that allows car owners to unlock their doors without using a key, and they announced in September that they’re considering completely replacing car keys with mobile phone apps.

CDs – People rarely buy music anymore, much less in any physical form. Streaming services are the way of the future.

Charger cables – Chargers are also going wireless with charging pads entering the scene.

Checkbooks – With innovations like online banking and Apple Pay, writing out checks is already a chore. The future of finances is definitely digital.

Delivery workers – In 2016, the White House predicted that nearly 3.1 million drivers in the workforce could have their jobs automated. Already, Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service is bringing packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

Digital cameras – Now that phone cameras can shoot pictures and video in HD (there are even iPhone photography awards), clunky digital cameras will fade out of style.

DVD and Blu-ray players – Movie streaming services like Netflix are turning DVD and Blu-ray players into dust-collecting devices.

Fax machines – Let’s face it – fax machines should have disappeared long ago. Once paperwork goes, these dinosaurs are going, too.

Getting bills in the mail – Getting bills in the mail is already becoming a thing of the past with online payment methods and apps. Soon, you’ll be able to pay all of your bills through a few clicks on a computer or taps on your phone.

Hard drives – Soon, everyone will keep their information in “the cloud” and there will be no need for physical storage devices.

Headphones with cords – From Apple’s AirPods to Bluetooth headphones, the headphone jack’s days are numbered.

Landlines – 2016 was the first year that a majority of American homes did not have a landline, according to the Center for Disease Control, and more than 70% of all adults aged 25-34 were living in wireless-only households. Home phone numbers are on their way out.

Newspapers – Print newspapers will likely meet the same fate as magazines.

Paper maps – With step-by-step directions on Google Maps, paper maps are hardly necessary anymore.

Paper receipts – CVS receipts are so long they’ve become a meme. But even they have begun offering digital receipts. Many vendors already send receipts via email, so it won’t be long until it’s the new standard.

Paperwork – With Google Docs and digital signatures becoming the norm, contracts, medical forms and other documents will cease to exist in paper form.

Parking meters – Parking meters are being turned into art since paying for parking can be done via app in many places.

Passwords – Apple debuted FaceID this year, while Microsoft’s Windows Hello facial recognition system has been in place since 2015. Forget letters, numbers, and special characters – biometric passwords will be the norm.

Pay phones – AT&T announced that it was leaving the pay phone market back in 2007. Everyone has cell phones these days anyhow.

Reference books – With the internet at our fingertips at all times, dictionaries and encyclopedias are no longer necessary.

Remote controls – You won’t have to search for the remote or replace its batteries when voice commands and smartphone controls become widespread ways to operate your devices.

Standalone GPS devices – Same goes for GPS devices. Your phone can perform all the same functions, plus text someone that you’ve arrived.

Textbooks – Paper textbooks are expensive and heavy, not to mention they often become obsolete after a few years when new discoveries require updated editions. According to Scholastic, higher education has already begun to pivot to e-textbooks.

Thumb drives – Thumb drives may be a convenient way to carry data around in your pocket, but thanks to cloud computing you won’t have to carry anything at all.

Travel agencies – There were 124,000 full-time travel agents in the US in 2000. In 2014, that number went down to 74,000. While a human touch definitely makes booking travel less of a headache, the convenience of the internet is narrowing the field.

Words of Wisdom, Source Unknown

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, died a billionaire at the age of 56 in 2011. Four years later, the essay below began circulating on the internet with the claim that it represented Jobs’ deathbed speech.

There is no verification that Jobs ever spoke or wrote the words in this essay. In fact his sister says his final words were “Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow.”

But whoever did pen the essay below, gave all of us plenty of food for thought.

Here’s the essay:

I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success.

However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.

At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death.

In the darkness, I look at the green lights from the life supporting machines and hear the humming mechanical sounds, I can feel the breath of god of death drawing closer.

Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth.

Should be something that is more important. – Perhaps relationships, perhaps art, perhaps a dream from younger days

Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me.

God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth.

The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love.

That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on.

Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach. It is all in your heart and in your hands.

What is the most expensive bed in the world? – Sick bed.

You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear the sickness for you.

Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost — Life.

When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading — Book of Healthy Life.

Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.

Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends.

Treat yourself well. Cherish others.