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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: One Point

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women are still unclear how much these preseason games mean. They brought very little food to watch the first game but for the second they had more enthusiasm. Beating the Chiefs like a drum will be fun.

They are happy to see the defense work a little better and found a new sweetie in Jimmy Graham: cute and 6'7”. Graham and their Russell Wilson, showed a real connection for the few passes they completed.

The old women watched Graham and an old favorite, Luke Willson, at 6'5” talk on the sidelines. They laughed that they were among the few Hawks who could nearly see eye to eye. Watching handsome young men who are tall and have those great long legs again sidetracked the old women off into another conversation involving plays not found on a football field.

One old woman invited her Granddaughter to watch the game in the rec room. This prompted the old women to at least attempt to tidy up their language a bit. Though the girl was eighteen, the old women worked to show a little bad language restraint. As the game went on, however, that effort became too much and when their boys just were not going to win, epithets learned over a long life offered whole new lessons in obscenities with no apologies to the Granddaughter.

The lone old man keeps proving he has what it takes to stay in the rec room with the old women for nearly the whole game. They know he's there for the free food. Since he knew how to work the remote to mute the commercials, the old woman with the remote control duty relinquished it to him. He was reminded to keep the volume up to hear the conversations going around the room and the game plays.

The Chiefs showed a good defensive line and pressured the Seahawks' QBs Russell and Archer to scramble. The Chiefs' QB Alex Smith proved he was ready for their season to start for real.

At least this time the front line protected Russell and Archer better and no one got hurt. Watching DT Brandon Mebane do his belly roll and LB Bobby Wagner with DE Michael Bennett throwing Chiefs aside was all part of the fun. 

Being together is fun.

After the loss, the old women went back to their little apartments. Those that can will come back next Saturday to watch their boys unplug the Chargers.

This time the old women will again designate someone to keep track of Hawk penalties. They were called for 11 against the Chiefs. The ever adorable coach Pete Carroll didn't think all the calls were warranted. Hawks had 16 one game last season. They believe that if you get called on 13 but make 15 you're still ahead. Carroll did say the team had to get better. The old women say not always getting caught is better. They have learned fair play works best when you're winning.

For the Charger game the old women are sure the Hawks will win. They would like that. Maybe the snack table will have more than just a few days-old cookies.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Bronco Bucked

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women and one old man weren't sure what they were supposed to see in a 'preseason' Seattle Seahawks game. They came to the rec room at the home only knowing that what they wanted to see was their boys just pounding the “Manning-less” Broncos into the soggy Seattle turf. That didn't happen.

Some of the old women were not even sure who was going to play. One nerdy old woman had a roster list and was trying to mark off the names of the players as she read them off their uniform backs. Not a precise method, but a little helpful. They knew Russell Wilson got his money. So did Bobby Wagner. Marshawn Lynch was happy. But they did not understand why a favorite, Kam Chancellor, wasn't going to play. And why were other favorites on the sidelines was an often asked question. They agreed that it was a chance to let the adorable rookies get their feet wet.

It is all very confusing and the numbers mentioned for contract signing seemed unreal. These old women, living off Social Security with just enough to pay the subsidized rent and buy some groceries, had trouble imagining just what a player's millions of dollars would buy.

Their Russell did not look like the star he is supposed to be. And then QB back-up Tavaris Jackson got carted off the field with an injury and that left the new kid, third in line, RJ Archer to face the daunting Bronco front line. The Hawk defense did not do well at all. Big and mean and fast is just what the old women like. That description started another inappropriate conversation related to physical size that had little to do with football.

The old women did rediscover their Seahawk screaming and walker rattling cheering section when the rookie Tyler Lockett took off with a kick return of 103 yards in his debut game. The buzz in the room did not settle down until a little dizziness set in for some of them.

A trip to the sparse snack table helped some of the old women and the lone old man to refocus.

The old women wanted more from their boys. They wanted the Broncos to lose. Waiting 6 months for a chance to watch the Hawks win again mattered. It is a hard thing for old women to brush off the disappointment of that last few minutes of the 2015 Superbowl. They really didn't like the tampering of game balls brought in by the Patriots to use as an excuse to explain away the loss. Their boys just should have won. One more loss in lives full of them doesn't get any easier. This year will be better. The old women are good at hope.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Preseason Edition

Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women will again come to the rec room. It won't be the same this year. They have lost some friends. When hearing of the loss of one of the old men, one old women said, "Now who's going to buy our fried chicken?" Grief is expressed in many ways.

One really loud old woman and one too talkative old woman moved away. All though no one said “good riddance”, the old women thought it was for the good.

The old women have had 8 months to shake their disappointment at losing the biggest game of the year. Their boys not winning the Super Bowl still remains an unsolvable puzzle: if Russell had only handed the ball off to Marshawn at the 1 yard line...

This new season will be for many of them even more confusing. Some old women are waiting for the final word on who actually will play for the Seattle Seahawks. Some of their favorite boys have been traded. But the old women are ready to watch Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor, Steve Haushka and Richard Sherman. Finding out what the 'Hawks will pay to keep Russell Wilson past next year is of interest.

Management at the home say the whole building is to be remodeled. This was to start this January. It hasn't.

The old women at the home meeting, where this was announced, threatened to bolt the rec room door from the inside if even one construction worker interfered with a 'Hawk game. You can push around old women just so far.

A new couch would be good so the old women who need the front row for the TV wouldn't sink into the existing one up to their shoulders and need help getting out of it.

The preseason games start in Seattle in August with the Broncos and the regular games begin with the Rams in September. Someone has already put the 2015-2016 game schedule up on the cork board. Maybe some of the old women will watch preseason, maybe not. At their age, everything has to count.

A couple of old women want to start a pizza fund. It is a rare treat but all together they may be able to afford it once in a while.

Some old women say they have added new Seahawk things to wear. Large, dangly earrings seem to be the fashion statement so far.

The clothing and food comparisons and competition will begin in earnest with the Ram game.

The old women hope for a Super Bowl winning season for their 'Hawks. One commented that coach (Surfer Boy) Carroll was even more adorable than last season. That brought a few chuckles and inappropriate wishes that only experienced old women would say.

Being together again in the rec room is important and looked forward to. The old women see each other in the halls and elevator once in a while, but laughing, screaming, cheering and jeering together matters. They are looking forward to watching their Seahawks play once more... their boys.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Blah Blah Blah: Niko's Preschool Talent Show

At the end of my son's preschool year, he had a talent show. "What do you want to do?" we asked him.

He's a smart kid and good at many things, but not singing, dancing or typical talent show stuff. I suggested doing a song from one of the Czech fairy tales his mom loves. Who else is going to sing "Svítí Slunce and Hlavou" at the show?

We thought it was a great idea, but he was undecided. Then one night a week later when I was at work, he told his mom: "I want to do the Blah Blah Blah song."

"Blah Blah Blah" is a song by KRS-One and Just-Ice that I've played in the car for him and his little brother. It's fun and clean. I need those two suburban white kids to know what hip-hop is. I just never expected Niko to pick it for the talent show.

Yet I was stoked that he did. The lyrics are about the excessive amount of much blah-blah in the world. Some of it is more related to the music industry, so I decided to rewrite it to be more preschool relevant.

I gave him some pointers on how to memorize the piece. Performing spoken word has made me better at it than I ever expected. I read it aloud repeatedly and bit-by-bit stop looking at the page until I don't need to. You need to start early, keep the text in your pocket and live with the words until they stick.

I never expected him to step up without text in hand, but with a week to go he had it nailed. That's my boy.

I hoped to find an instrumental version of the song, but never did. The beat is a bit too quick anyway. He did it a cappella instead. We never planned any choreography. I'm not sure what he's doing with his knees.

I've been calling him NIK-Zero.

The audio is crappy. Here are the lyrics to help you understand. Many of the words are mine, but some are bitten directly from KRS-One's first verse.

Hey, hey, hey
Yo, what these cats saying, man?
Man, to me...

All I hear is blah-bitty-blah-blah
People always talking that blah-bitty-blah-blah
The news is blah-blah-blah
Who's the new blah-blah?
She's the new blah-blah
Hanging out with blah-blah
Now blah-blah
Read about the latest blah-blah
Some blah-blah
Just bought another blah-blah
Blah-blah-blah on 500 channels
Nothing to watch but blah-blah and wild animals
Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah is in the video
Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah is on the radio
Blah-blah all day
And blah-blah all night
Nothing but blah-blah
Means something's not right

I keep away from the blah-blah-blah
On the TV, the tablet and computah
So give me a ball, a paint brush, a pen
I'll go down the slide and I'll go down again
Give me a book and a good place to read
Fresh air and sunshine are all that I need
I'd rather sing a song or stare at the stars
Than soften my head with blah-blah-blah-blah...

N-I-K-O doesn't need blah-blah
I'd rather cheer rah-rah-rah
Or sing tra-la-la
Or dance cha-cha-cha
While my sister says gah-gah-gah
And my brother laughs hah-hah-hah
Then spend the whole summer doing blah-blah-blah
Go to school in the fall saying dah-dah-dah
Brains are muscles
They need exercise
Feed brains good things
And they'll become wise
So when school is done at LLCA
Keep using your brain or it'll go away
Or fill your head with pudding and tar

By surrounding yourself with blah-blah-blah-blah...

For the next two months you'll see me promoting our local National Drive Electric Week event with gusto. September 19 in Liberty Lake, Washington. I may be building a page dedicated to electric cars and solar power. Still in love with my Leaf.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Inland Northwest EV/PV Group Showing Off its Cars at Felts Field

Stay current. Go solar. Drive electric.

The Inland Northwest EV/PV Group, which works to bring awareness to electric vehicles (EV) and photovoltaic solar power (PV), is holding a photoshoot Wednesday, July 1. The event will be at Pemberton & Sons Aviation at Felts Field at 6:30 PM. The media and curious drivers are encouraged to attend.

The group is led by Jorgen Rasmussen, engineer for Frencken America in Liberty Lake. He knows that the best transportation for the environment is an electric car charged with solar power. Many people have misconceptions about electric vehicles. They have not yet learned EVs are powerful, easy to maintain, smooth and clean with plenty of range for most drivers. As the charging infrastructure improves, owning an EV will become even easier.

The automotive industry responds to its customers. It designs and builds vehicles it knows will sell. When the public demands cleaner vehicles, the industry will deliver the products. Automakers do not currently perceive a strong demand. The Inland Northwest EV/PV Group aims to create that desire by enlightening the public.

An electric car is only as clean as the power charging it. Electricity sourced from coal-burning plants results in a polluting electric car. An EV charged by solar or hydroelectric produces no emissions. Adding solar power to a home is not complex. Home owners can even see their meters run backwards and their bills turn into checks.

March 16, the group held a photoshoot at Avista's Upper Falls Dam on the Spokane River. With the group's help, Avista is showing the public what it's doing to make a cleaner power grid. In addition to hydroelectric power, Avista has built a solar farm in Spokane Valley with 1512 panels. The Community Solar project will allow Avista customers to lease a panel for $1400 each then receive approximately $1800 in bill credits over five years.

The EV/PV group is gearing up for National Drive Electric Week in September. On Saturday the 19th, they will host an education event at The Cork House in Liberty Lake from 9 AM to 1 PM. EVs from Tesla, BMW, Nissan, Chevy, Think Global and Spokane's own Commuter Cars will be available for test drives.

To stay on top of Inland Northwest EV/PV events, especially National Drive Electric Week, join the Facebook group and register with National Drive Electric Week.