Catskills Corner: Weekend In Review
1) MOVERS AND SHAKES
Kudos to the 8th Graders at Onteora Middle School for their excellent Movers and Shakers presentation last Thursday afternoon March 19. (Yes, we have an 8th grader in our household.) Each student had to choose a prominent “mover and shaker” from history, study that person’s life and achievements, put together a biographical leaflet and then become that person for the day of presentation. Some of the “movers and shakers” made presentations on the school stage: e.g. Jimi Hendrix (playing the Woodstock festival version of the “Star Spangled Banner”), Janis Joplin and Maya Angelou. And then all of them gathered in the cafeteria to gather parent signatures establishing that they had been able to present themselves and answer questions about their chosen Mover and Shaker. Our Campbell chose someone I’d never previously heard of: Ralph Baer, a pioneer of video games and holder of almost 50 patents. You might know him from the “Simon” toy that some of us played back in the 1970s, or Odyssey, one of the first video games. Baer is 86 years old, and still working away. His web site is here.
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2) THIRD TIME’S A CHARM!
I thought long and hard about entering the Pine Hill Arms Triathlon this year. My first time in the ski-bike-run race around Belleayre Mountain, two years ago, had been painful: I shouldn’t have entered due to a leg injury, and the road bike I borrowed was literally too good for me. My second time I also came undone on the bike, literally so when the chain came off twice; adding insult to injury, my laces then came undone on the run, and I caught a stitch that allowed someone to beat me in the last few yards. But in the middle of last week, figuring that I’m on a good roll right now, I decided to enter after all, and I’m so glad I did. The weather was absolute pristine: cloudless blue skies, with temps in the mid-40s. The ski section was fast and furious and, thanks to borrowing my wife’s proper hybrid bike (and putting toe clips on it in the meantime), I was able to endure the cycling section without too much pain – and without stopping, having to run with the bike, or suffering a broken chain. (I met a few people afterwards who went through one or all of these setbacks; the cycling sections involves endless hills, including some alarming downward gradients on dusty terrain that I took very carefully after a nasty fall in training.) And with the running, though I felt a stitch threaten to come on after crouching on the skis and bike for so long, I was able to breathe it out and win a friendly race to the finish line with someone who’d overtake me on the cycling section. (See the picture below, just after we finished.) Not only did I finish 11th overall (9th among men, 5th out of 22 in my age group) but I took five minutes off my time from last year, to net a solid 1hr:04:20. Yes, you can tell I’m happy for myself; when you meet or even exceed your goals, it makes sense to bask in your own contentment a little, even to spread the love on your web site.
The awards dinner was, as ever, hearty and happy, and after an alcohol-free week to store up energy, that first pint of Keegan’s Olde Capital Lager was an absolute winner. Guess I’ll be back next year.
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3) PHOENICIA ARTS
We got out of the Pine Hill Arms awards dinner in time to make it to the two simultaneous arts openings in our neighboring village of Phoenicia. Andrea Cabane’s Studio focuses on photography over the other fine arts and has some beautiful prints on display at its new “Pins Ups” show, including, not surprisingly, some familiar sights – most notably the former Drive-In Theater up at Jewett, a few yards up the road from where we lived after immediately leaving the City, and the Ashokan Reservoir with Reservoir Road in the middle of the shot, a little like (but much better than) the picture I put in I Witness several weeks back. Further down Main Street, the Arts Upstairs’ show this month is entitled Madness, and paintings and sculptures and multi-media art pieces were duly assembled askew. There is so much great art on show it’s almost embarrassing; even better is knowing that most of it comes from local artists and that, for those for whom the economy is not proving a complete and total killjoy, at highly affordable prices. The Arts Upstairs show changes every month, so try and catch Madness over the next three and a half weeks; the date of its next opening, April 18, Cabane’s studio will throw a “closing” reception for its current paintings and photos. Both galleries are open during the weekends. They form a significant part of what makes Phoenicia such a special little place.