Vicky Collins Online

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Dog Days at the Commonwealth Games

Stray dogs are one of my favorite sights in Delhi.  They are all mutts and they loaf around the city.  I have even seen them lying in the roadways oblivious to traffic whizzing by.  Delhi has cleared many of them away from the games and venues.  Today they were rounding them up at the field hockey venue. I hear they are in shelters and will be released when everyone goes home.  I have been assured that Indians will not harm them.  The dogs are sweet souls and today one of them stole the show at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium where the track and field events are being held.  Check this runner out!

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.

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Delhi’s Commonwealth Games Face

When I came to Delhi in 2008 I remember the palpable culture shock.  It was overwhelming even for a rather intrepid traveler.  I had been in Beijing and Uganda earlier in the year so I thought I would be prepared for anything, but nothing I had ever experienced set me up for India.  On the roadway from the airport cows roamed the street.  The traffic was indescribable and everyone honked their horns. There were thousands of stray dogs loafing in the sun, then at night they would roam in hungry packs and turn aggressive.  Squatters camped along the roadways and children would race up to your car when you were stopped at intersections to beg or perform little tricks in hopes of a handout.  It took me about 24 hours to adjust and I still am ashamed of my ugly American moment when I couldn’t get the hot water to work.

Two years later, I see a different city.  For all the international ridicule Delhi suffered as it ramped up to the Commonwealth Games, the Indian capitol definitely has on its game face now.  The cows and dogs have been relocated for the time being to shelters.  There are few squatters and I haven’t seen one beggar yet.  Traffic is moving well and things are clean and tidy.  It remains to be seen what it will be like in three months when the international spotlight turns away (I still wonder how Beijing transformed once the Olympics were over.)  Of course Delhi will be left with the emotional and financial hangover these huge international sporting events leave behind, but for the moment, it is a new day in Delhi.  The only thing that hasn’t changed is the warmth of the people.  That is the same as it was in 2008.  Warm smiles and namastes.  Great hospitality to cure the worst case of culture shock.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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K’Naan: Waving Flag’s Backstory

I love backstories. I love looking behind the scenes at inspirations and motivations that lead to great creativity. Here’s musician and artist K’Naan’s story in his own words on BBC Radio about what led to his epic song “Waving Flag,” which became a rallying cry for earthquake stricken Haiti, and then a joyous anthem for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2010/08/100811_knaan_nh_sl.shtml?s

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Benchwarmers Bails

Benchwarmers Tavern and Grill opened about a month ago in my Centennial, Colorado neighborhood then just yesterday the restaurant, which was an anchor of the retail complex at Arapahoe and Peoria, closed down.  Apparently they stiffed all their employees as they shut the door.  I heard about it on 9News.  It’s all very puzzling but I wonder if something I witnessed might have been part of the reason they ran out of money.  When the restaurant opened I took my 12 year old son to eat there.  Immediately I saw it was kind of a Hooters of sports bars.  The waitresses wore short shorts that climbed up their butts and tight referee tops that were cut low so you could see their red push up bras.  You understood right away what kind of a crowd they were going after.  What really offended me though was that I sat at an adjacent table while the 50 something male manager was doing a job interview.  A lovely young woman came in looking for a waitress job.  She apparently was being mistreated by the boss she was working for and was looking for something else.  The Benchwarmers manager spoke to her and the only thing they discussed (besides her woes at her job) was how she needed to go to see this group of women that would make her model the uniform and see how she looked in it.  Then if they approved of her she could get hired.  I mentioned that I overheard this to the manager.  He kind of shrugged it off then returned to the table a few minutes later to reassure me he talks to them more in depth when they return after their audition.  He also told me it was like he had 30 daughters.  I immediately decided that I did not want my money to flow through Benchwarmers and I would not be returning.  I am not a prude by any means but I felt the restaurant was exploiting women and was not appropriate for a family neighborhood.  I don’t think my high school aged son or husband agree but as a mom I found the place distasteful.  I wonder if other women had the same reaction and that is why Benchwarmers is failing.  My heart bleeds for the young women that were not only exploited but also screwed. Shame on you, Benchwarmers!

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Miss Iowa to the Big Leagues

Never underestimate a beauty queen. Washington Nationals pitcher Miguel Batista found that out when he didn’t choose his words well.  The two meet on the mound tonight.


http://qctimes.com/news/local/article_770612c6-9b8c-11df-a2fb-001cc4c002e0.html

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com


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Kampala World Cup Massacre

I had hardly stopped fist pumping in the air over Spain’s victory in the World Cup when I heard the news about the simultaneous bombings in Kampala, Uganda.  What caught my eye immediately, besides the death toll in the senseless attack, was that one of the locations of carnage was the Ethiopian Village restaurant in Kabalagala.  When we were in Uganda in June we stayed on the hill right above this district and would walk down to Kabalagala to eat and use the internet.  The Ethiopian Village had an enormous TV in the main room and people would crowd in to watch the World Cup.  We were in Uganda when African teams were still in the hunt so people would spill onto the street.  You would often see enthusiastic fans packed 100 deep on the street looking into some bar with a tiny TV just to get a glimpse of the action.

When I heard about the bombings, I immediately worried about my friend, Matt Anderson.  He’s a student from the University of Colorado, on his first trip to Africa, who is helping BeadforLife with its inventory this summer.  He was staying in the same guest house where we were and it would have been completely logical for him to have walked down the street to the Ethiopian Village for a Nile Special and the finals between Spain and the Netherlands.  Ethiopian Village has great food and my colleague, Paul, and I took Matt there one night after we all were done surfing the net across the street at The Lion’s Den.  My instincts were right.  Matt was in the bombing.  I received an email shortly after the attack from Devin Hibbard, our host and one of the founders of BeadforLife, that yes, Matt had been there but he was alright.  Thank God.  This morning I received this email:

Vicky,

I’m OK.  I was at the Ethiopian Village when the bomb went off.  Thankfully, I was in a side room watching a smaller TV, not the large projector screen, so there was a wall between me and the blast.  I wasn’t hurt at all by the blast but helped some Americans who got shrapnel in their legs – everyone’s instinct was to rush out as fast as possible but these people were on the ground and couldn’t move, I had to do something.  Eventually, people kicked me out saying it wasn’t safe even though these Americans were still inside and injured.  I didn’t know what to do until someone yelled at me to call my embassy.  Thankfully I had the number in the Uganda phone Devin gave me.  I called the embassy and shortly afterward greeted an agent who arrived on the scene.  This is all very scary and unfortunately put a damper on the whole trip.  I don’t know how much longer I will be staying but friends at BeadforLife say that there will be political unrest for a while… we’ll see.  Thanks for the email.  I’ll keep you posted.  Matt

A Somali group called Al-Shabab, which has ties to Al-Qaeda, is taking credit for this massacre.  A leader for the militants said “Whatever makes Uganda cry, makes us happy.”  The group has a beef with Uganda because they have peacekeepers in Somalia and have ties to Ethiopia.  There are worries that there will continue to be instability leading up to next year’s Presidential election.  According to news accounts, the bombings at the Ethiopian Village and at the Rugby Club killed at least 74 people.  This is unthinkable.  This is so senseless.  During my visits there I have always been amazed by how safe I feel in Kampala.  It is such a shame that radicals would disrupt and disorganize the place like this.  And it is such a shame that my friend Matt, who was so overjoyed by the opportunity to do good in Uganda, had to witness such evil.  I hope he doesn’t lose heart.  Please pray for the people of Uganda and most of all please pray for peace.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.





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We are the World (Cup)

Sad to see the United States go down to Ghana in the 2010 FIFA World Cup but also glad to see Africa still in the game. The energy in the streets of Kampala was amazing while we were there. People would crowd outside of bars and stare through the windows of stores to watch the tiny televisions tuned in to the games. I’m sure they’re proud to have a team still in the hunt. This song was playing during every commercial break in Uganda’s World Cup coverage. It featured a little animated African boy drinking Coca-Cola. I like the full length celebration mix. A rousing anthem to keep me in the spirit even if the trophy is not for America (this year.) Love how the world can put aside its differences and come together for soccer. Thanks K’Naan for the rousing anthem.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Toy Story 3: A Mom Reflects

I guess it was inevitable. Andy in “Toy Story” would grow up just like little Jackie Paper in “Puff, The Magic Dragon.” To this day I cry when I hear Peter, Paul and Mary sing the song so I wasn’t surprised that I got sentimental when I saw “Toy Story 3” last night. What I wasn’t prepared for was the complete welling of emotion. I had been warned by a friend on Facebook that this was a tearjerker but I didn’t see it coming through Woody’s antics and Buzz Lightyear’s Spanish speaking tango romp. Then I became a blubbering mess. My 12 year old said I was crying louder than anyone else in the theatre. You see, in two years I’ll have my own kid heading off to college and I’m already filling with nostalgia. My baby, the one who was photographed in his diapers and cowboy boots, the one who poured flour all over himself, who cried in the closet when he missed the ball that could have won the game, then years later played on the team that won the championship, will head to college too. And like Andy’s mom in “Toy Story 3” I’m not prepared to let him go and be left standing alone in a cleared out room.

This sophomore year has been a difficult one and there have been many times I’ve wished he would grow up, but when I actually stop to consider it, like I did last night, I realize how I’m dreading this rite of passage. It occurs to me that it probably hit my parents like a load of bricks too. I was the only one in our family to go to college. My dad only completed 8th grade, my mother dropped out of nursing school to get married, and my sisters chose not to go. My father was immensely proud to have a college student but I know when he wrote the check that guaranteed my spot at the University of Colorado he had a difficult time signing his name. Everything he dreamed of and dreaded would come to pass with the misty eyed stroke of a pen. My mom took it hard too when she brought me to Boulder and I couldn’t wait to run out with my new found friends. Now as my son hurtles towards adulthood (he’s 16, has a license, a truck and his first job) and passes through the house for food and showers, I can’t help but wish I had hung on to his playthings. I wish I hadn’t been in such a rush to send them to Goodwill. They’re gone, and soon he will be too, and I’ll be missing him in a room without toys and my boy.

Kyle Ewalt

Kyle Ewalt at 22 months old

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Masters Morality Play

Watching the Masters with a bunch of teenage boys, I was struck by how they admired Tiger Woods for his “bad ass” ways.  They didn’t seem to hold him accountable for his cheating heart.  All they wanted was to see him win so they could cash in on their bets.  I, on the other hand, was disappointed in him, not wanting all to be forgiven with a win at Augusta.  It seems redemption should be harder to come by than a triumph in golf.  I realize it is none of my business what happened between Tiger and Elin but I find it difficult to care about this guy anymore.  I want to watch a good man not just a good golfer.  Is this a gender thing?  Are men more willing to let bygones be bygones?  Do women hold Tiger to a higher standard?  Please tell me it doesn’t break down this way.  For months I heard that all it would take to put this scandal, this implosion, behind Tiger was a win at the Masters.  Sure everyone wanted to see how the story would play out, but isn’t it karma that a great guy like Phil Mickelson, who has stayed loyal to his wife during her tough year with cancer, came out on top.  What a joy to see him tearfully embrace his beautiful wife, Amy, at the end of the tournament and really mean it.  My son and his friends cheer for Tiger Woods because he is a brilliant golfer, because when he plays, the televised game of golf is more interesting, and now also because he has a string of mistresses which elevates him to a new level of naughtiness.  It’s not that I can’t ever forgive Tiger Woods but my respect is harder to earn.  It takes more than a green jacket to make him a champion in my eyes or, I would surmise, in Elin’s (who is the only one who really matters at the moment anyway.)    The 2010 Masters ended as a morality play and, for a change, the good guy did finish first.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Baseball with Dad

A warm sunny day in April gets you in the mood for baseball.  Dave Revsine’s New York Times article “Rhymes and Reasons For Father-Daughter Bonding” reflects on a shared passion for the game with his 8 year old Meredith.  It took me back to days with my dad watching the Hawaii Islanders at the old Honolulu Stadium.  My dad taught me to love America’s pastime and all its nuances.  The daddy daughter bonding over baseball is one of my fondest memories of my childhood.  It’s spring.  Play ball!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/sports/baseball/04cheer.html

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.