My Last Moments With My Friend Ray

Nearly eight years ago, I wrote a message titled simply Goodbye, Old Friend. You may still be able to find the original elsewhere online, but I have also added it here, because I didn’t ever want to lose it, so I recreated it here just over three years later so that I would always have a copy.

The gist of the story was that I had to make the decision on whether it was the right time to put our dog to sleep. I grew up with Ruf-ce-Tuf, but I hadn’t lived with him for a number of years, so while it was a tough call, in retrospect it wasn’t as bad as it might have been in some other situations.

Recently, it was time to make that decision again with another friend – my buddy Ray. Some of you may remember Ray, as I’ve posted about him before, perhaps most memorably just over three years ago when he got a slick new haircut for the summer and looked like a puppy again. That was a good day. A really good day.

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Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz

The other night we decided to take in a show. Not just any show, mind you, but a musical. That alone should be a bit of a warning to you. It’s not every day that we go see something different, and it’s an even stranger occurrence that we check out a musical. The last show we saw was Mamma Mia! when it came to town last year (not reviewed, since we had seen it already), but before that it was likely Tryst nearly two years ago. That’s not to say that we don’t see shows – they just don’t bring ones to Charlotte that we’d like to see all that often.

So we decided that we’d see the touring production of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. Billed as What Happened Before Dorothy Arrived, that is only partly true – in fact, Dorothy arrives near the end of the show. So if you’re expecting a history lesson on Oz, you only get a sampling of that. In reality, you do get a bit of background, and it’s well-woven into the tapestry of the earlier tale (which actually takes place after this one), but it’s not like it took place years and years before this one. Just be prepared. Other than that, it’s not too bad, but make sure you see it at a good venue.

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Ben and Jerry's Free Cone Day

Today, April 29, 2008, marks the 30th anniversary of Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day. Started way back in 1979, this event offers – you got it – free ice cream. What could be better? Well, perhaps a free steak dinner or just giving you free money, but free ice cream isn’t bad. According to various sources, there are more than one million free cones given away each year, and many of the company’s Scoop Shops have charitable organizations present, which benefit from the extra crowds who gather to enjoy the free ice cream.

The staff at the shops also offer tickets for sale that will get you to the front of the line – these ticketes start for auction at low prices, such as $1, and then frenzied bidding (which is actually not terribly frenzied) ensues, depending on how long the line is. We saw one go for $5. Since the line isn’t usually very long, I’m surprised that they make much money in this manner at all. Whatever is raised goes to the charity that’s at the shop.

What is probably most disturbing is that a large percentage of the line is made up of repeat customers – people who simply go to the front of the line, get their free cone, then go back to the back of the line to eat their cone while waiting to get back to the front. I mean I get the whole concept of wanting free ice cream and all. But first, that makes people who are actually wanting to enjoy a free cone wait longer and second, it means that the company who is doing something to give back seem like they are stupid for doing so. Talk about taking advantage…

Do You Have a Sense of Security?

As I’m eating lunch yesterday, who should be on the television but the Pope! He’s just pulling into Yankee Stadium in his Popemobile – a modified Mercedes that just looks wacky, with an enclosure on the back where everyone can see him, and presumably he is safe from someone who might like to kill him. But just how safe is he?

While he’s being driven along, it looks like the enclosure is completely sealed. Until a corner shot shows that his hand is out one of the windows. So obviously it’s not totally closed, and one of the seventy thousand or so people in the stadium could try and get something in that opening. Nice.

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