Tennis Elbow, or How Uncle Sam Bought Us a Nintendo Wii

          Good evening. You are now traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wonderous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. You are moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Bear Team.

            Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. You know, I’ve had your attention for all this time, and I haven’t gotten to the WTF moment of the week yet. Here you go: While walking along the Mission Beach boardwalk the other day, we encountered a couple who were walking a pit bull dog. Nothing unusual in that, right? No, except for the fact that the couple’s young son, who was also along for the walk, was wearing a Michael Vick jersey! WTF!!!!!

            Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, on to the funniest thing I saw this week. While in line at a store a few days ago, I witnessed the following exchange between clerk and customer:

            Clerk: “Can I help you?”

            Customer: “I need to make an exchange.”

            Clerk: “Okay, I can help you with that. How are you doing today?”

            Customer: “Well, I’m returning this,” he said, holding up a box of condomns, “and buying this,” he continued, holding up a box of tampons. ”How do you think I’m doing?”

            Absolutely priceless!

            Speaking of frustrating situations, this past Friday night the Bear Team had dinner at Pomegranate, http://www.pomegranatesd.com/menu.pdf, a Russian-Georgian restaurant in our neighborhood. Things started out okay, as we were seated and promptly served water and bread. The atmosphere was eclectic and unique, with customer-written messages all over the walls. It was a bit loud inside, but not uncomfortably so.

            We ordered our meals, and began to wait. And wait. And wait. Apparently there is no word for “speed” in the general Russian vocabulary, as more than forty minutes passed before our food arrived. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) there was entertainment in the form of a man who looked like Popeye the Sailor’s weather-beaten grandpa. This undiscovered musical wizard proceeded to bang away on the piano, playing the following all-time favorites: “ The Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful,” “O Canada,” and, I swear, the theme from the television show “The A-Team.” Don’t remember the A-Team song? I didn’t think I did either. Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrK0rZj6pes

            At long last, our food arrived. The dish I ordered, golubtsi, was basically cabbage rolls stuffed with a beef and herb mixure and topped with a rich sauce. It was pretty good, though I found myself eating more of the side dishes, rice and a baked potato, than I did the main entrée. Dena ordered shashlik, skewered chunks of meat roasted over charcoal, which bore more than a passing resemblance to barbequed chicken. This dish was okay, but, for sixteen dollars, left something to be desired.

            *A tip for anyone eating similar food for dinner: Russian food is not good after being re-heated the next day.

            Later that night, we settled in to watch the movie “Flight,” which tells the story of an alcoholic, drug addicted airline pilot whose miraculous landing of a damaged plane brings his demons to light. This movie stars Denzel Washington, one of my personal favorite actors, and is more than worth your time. Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnVNNR6CEOE.

Can I get in a moment of self-congratulation over my correct prediction that Lousville would win the men’s NCAA basketball championship? Of course I can. Whose blog is this anyway? Of course almost all of my other predictions were incorrect, but that’s beside the point. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

The next day was Saturday, and what better way to spend a day off than to go spend some money! We’d just gotten our income tax refund, and decided unload this heavy burden on a Nintendo Wii. We brought our purchase home, and I had it set up in no time; provided your definition of “no time” is three hours. When I finally had the device up and running, I decided to try out the sports game that came with the Wii. Displaying my usual wisdom and great restraint, I then proceeded to play tennis and baseball for the next six hours. Tennis elbow, anyone?

            When I wasn’t causing irreparable damage to various parts of my anatomy during the past week, I was reading. Most recently I’ve been reading 20th Century Ghosts, a collection by Joe Hill http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Hill_(writer). Hill is the son of Stephen King, and has really come into his own as a horror/suspense writer. My favorite story from the collection: “Best New Horror,” which puts the editor of a yearly horror anthology squarely in the middle of the type of story he is used to including in his books.

            On to the top ten list. This week’s topic: favorite movies staring Denzel Washington. As I mentioned earlier, Washington is one of my favorite actors. Very few people can bring a charcter to life the way he can. Other than the previously reviewed “Flight,”  here are my personal favorites, in no particular order:

  1. Training Day
  2. Remember the Titans
  3. The Seige
  4. Glory
  5. Crimson Tide
  6. American Gangster
  7. Unstoppable
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Man on Fire
  10.  Fallen

          There you have it; some of my favorite films. You can find links to all of these movies here http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000243/. You probably noticed that “Malcolm X” is missing from my list. Well, that’s because I haven’t seen it, and I’ll thank you hardcore fans not to storm my home with torches and pitchforks. Perhaps one day I’ll find the time to watch it. I’m sure I’ll get tired of the Wii eventually.

      The time has come to say goodbye for now. But don’t worry (or worry, depending on your point of view) we will be back for another installment in the endless tapestry of The Bear Team soon. As always, thanks for reading. And should you feel down between now and the next time we meet, always remember these words of wisdom: If at first you don’t succeed, you should probably give up. Good night, and God speed!

 

           

 

 

 

            

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