December 5, 2013

10 of the World's Most Beautiful Ice Skating Rinks

This CNN article was posted among some of my Facebook friends listing 10 of the world's most beautiful ice rinks around the world.

Here's the quick rundown of their favorites -

Banff Lake Louise, Banff, Canada

Bondi Winter Festival Ice Rink, Sydney

Eiffel Tower Ice Rink, Paris

Evergreen Lake, Colorado

Red Square Rink, Moscow

Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa

Rockefeller Center, New York

Shichahai Lake, Beijing

Somerset House, London

Vienna Ice Dream, Vienna, Austria

But I think they have left out a few ...

Let's not forget the world's biggest ice rink in one of my favorite cities - Mexico City.

Maybe you would like to skate near a roller coaster or ferris wheel? Then Fuji-Q Highland Park in Japan is for you.

Or in the Netherlands there is this beauty ... a little hard to do your program, but great for stroking!

But I've got to say one of the most interesting to me is an ice rink in the Munich Airport. Yes, how many airports have an ice rink? Pretty cool if you have a looooong layover.

Are there any others I'm missing out on?

November 29, 2013

The Show Must Go On

... except when the school nurse says "no" or in our case "nein."

My daughter had a solo and small part in the school choir concert yesterday. She also woke up with a fever.

There have been days in the past when she felt sick in the morning and she was feeling normal by lunch time. I'm lucky that she is rarely sick, so I know she's not trying to get out of school. Yet. That's what the teenage years are for, right?

Now, the showgirl in me wanted my daughter to go to school anyway and tough it out. Fever be damned. And that's what I did. Kind of. Her fever went down and she went off to school for the afternoon and I was planning to see her performance at 6 pm.

The mother in me took a back seat and didn't want her skip the play to stay home and recover.

But the mother in me got called to get to school at 4 pm to take my daughter home immediately. The school nurse said she had to go. The school nurse also told the showgirl in the choir director my daughter could not stay. The showgirl in me knew not to argue with the school nurse.

Let me tell you, there are no school nurses in ice shows. There are paychecks to be collected and jobs to stay in, so showgirls skate and don't sit it out too much. I bet any of you performers out there would agree that your body tends to break down on your day off. That's when it can.

November 21, 2013

Today is the World Premiere for Holiday On Ice's 70th Anniversary show - Platinum!

hmmmm, can we talk to the publicity department about poster placement?

If you're reading this and excited about tracking the show, join the group Holiday On Ice 2013 on Facebook and you'll be in good company.

I've got my tickets for Hamburg, but it won't play here until February, so you'll have to wait for a review.

Here's wishing the cast and crew a wonderful Opening night and a great touring season of 2013-14!

Toi, toi, toi.

November 5, 2013

Whose Cell Would You Listen To?

Time for a quick question that was inspired by reading the German magazine - Bunte - while I was waiting for my EKG bike ride appointment.

They asked German celebrities whose cell phone they would want to listen in on. So I'm asking you ... which famous skater's cell phone would you like to listen in on? You know, going back to say 2002?

This doesn't necessarily coordinate with your favorite skater because some other skaters might have had juicier conversations. I always pick Brian Orser as "The One" but here it might have been more enlightening to listen to Yuna-Kim's conversations during that whole messy break-up. But I don't want to revisit that episode.

Toller Cranston - always has a unique perspective, not afraid to speak his mind, as well as interesting house guests, but he doesn't have a cell phone, so he would not be a good pick.

Johnny Weir - again, not afraid to speak his mind, great perspective, but after watching (one episode of) his documentary, I don't think you would get much more info from his phone calls.

So, I'm going with .... wait for it .... Michelle Kwan. Besides all of her skating, she's had an important mission with the US State Department, lots of invites to glamorous events and she was coached for a bit by the ever captivating Scott Williams starting around 2002!

So - play along now - whose cell phone?

October 22, 2013

Elvis Stojko in Land of Eternals

Finally, you won't get cold watching this ice show. There's no ice, just PIC®Skates. I've always thought this would be an excellent way to put together shows. You don't have the expense and you don't get the damage of flooding the stage with ice.

Are you listening rock stars - Madonna, Janet, Justin? Mix in skaters like this with your precious backup dancers and your show just got more exciting.

Don't think it's exciting? Click here to see the video trailer from Land of Eternals.

Unfortunately, the performances are over, but let's hope there's another show in the works.

October 18, 2013

I'm Back

Normally I put up some cheesy vacation photo and explain I won't be blogging for a few weeks. But this time, I had no time.

that's not an IPod in my pocket

At the end of September I made a trip to the emergency room of our local hospital and stayed for 12 days. I have an ICD (like a pacemaker only it's a defibrillator) installed below my left clavicle. It was a long time to be in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, tethered to the EKG machine like a dog on a leash, but I received such great medical care, I have no complaints.

The card I now have to carry in my wallet says I survived CSD. Cardiac Sudden Death.


It wasn't something I wanted on my bucket list, but I'm grateful I'm here to write about. Hmmmm, maybe I should start up a bucket list. I'm getting better day by day. And tomorrow I'll go back to writing about obscure ice shows and who's wearing what costume.

Until then ...

September 20, 2013

Happy 70th Birthday Holiday On Ice!

And you don't look a day over 59!

pssst ...

hey HOI, that girl in the silver costume, she's not a skater. A skater wouldn't stand with her free leg like that. There are dozens and dozens of beautiful figure skaters - why didn't you use one of them? They'd probably do it for free, (they had to in the past) so why hire models? Just sayin.

But Happy Birthday ... since 1943, Holiday On Ice has had over 325 million audience members, 99 different shows and 54,400 performances. Not bad. As I like to say, every year millions of people journey to see an ice show somewhere in the world. And some even wanted to go.

But, all kidding aside. Those aren't bad numbers. Let's hear it for 70!

And on November 21, 2013 Holiday On Ice will premier it's latest show, Platinum. They're enlisting a famous German designer Harald Glööckler for some of the costumes.

I'm sure those gowns will be so bedazzled they'll look fabulous, but I feel sorry for the gals who will have to skate in them.

And I also have word the fabulous Rohene Ward will be back to skate.

He was the soloist from HOI's production of Speed and one of the best show skaters I'd seen in decades. He alone is worth the price of a ticket.

So this show is going to be good, me thinks.

September 12, 2013

5 Songs To Use for the Sochi Figure Skating Exhibition Programs

In the previous post rant, I mentioned the athletes shouldn't be concerned about staging their own protests. Hopefully the fans and the media will take up that cause.

But if any of the skaters did want to make some kind of a statement ... maybe in their exhibition program ... (meaning they've already won a medal and are quite a big deal now and are a day away from flying home)... well, how great would that be?

So here are some possibilities for Sochi exhibition programs I'd like to see.

In order from most to least subtle:

#5 Any song by Ricky Martin, George Michael or Elton John. Many will not make the connection that these gentlemen came out at some point in their musical careers.

#4 "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls - definitely not as subtle and really only works if a male skates to this one. But I suppose a pair could do it. No matter what, it's a catchy tune.

#3 "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross - the unofficial Gay-Pride anthem. This may not work for any of the skaters unless they really do have something to announce.

#2 "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga - Again, may only work for the right skater. A more contemporary song than #3 with a similar message. Another catchy tune.

and the #1 "Same Love" by Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert - personal bias here. This was one of my favorite songs this year. Even just the opening piano chords leading into another song would make a statement.

You know my other favorite song? Thrift Shop.

Both are written by these guys. I think they're geniuses. And if a skater wanted to skate to "Thrift Shop" instead? Well as the song says, "this is fucking awesome!"

September 6, 2013

On the Road to Sochi 2014 ... #3

There's been lots of talk about the upcoming Olympics and Russia's stand on gays. A good place for you to start would be The Skating Lessons: 9/1 This and That post. Very, very insightful. Jenny Kirk and Dave Lease call on the USFS to put out a statement so their skaters know what to say. I would second that.

Another must read is the article in Slate magazine written by Marc Naimark and Charley Sullivan - Sochi Isn’t a Host, and Olympic Athletes Aren’t Guests, So Stop Talking About Hospitality which just illustrates why the USFS really needs to put out a statement. They pile on Jeremy Abbott's statement stating it's a lousy analogy. I don't want to read that skaters are lousy at anything.

So Ice Charades is about to open her mouth and hope that a skate boot doesn't land in there.

Are you ready for more or have you had enough? Because I want to broaden the discussion, twist it on its side a bit. Here we go ...

Congratulations Gays, it's not you ... well, not just you.

Russia - and not just the government - is xenophobic and homophobic, and it's been that way for a while. Of course not everyone feels this way, but it seems only now the anti-gay behavior is getting scrutiny.

Speaking of my own experience, back in the late 90s, I worked as a contractor for the US State Department and the official cables warned not to send African or Asian American employees/contractors to Russia. They faced random harassment and violence in the street. My boss sent all of us anyway. Sure enough in one outing in Moscow, there were five of us co-workers, all white Americans except for one of Vietnamese ancestry and he was the one stopped by the police and asked for his papers. Luckily another co-worker spoke fluent Russian and talked the police out of sending a US Embassy contractor to jail. On other visits, my African-American co-workers were beaten up walking back to their hotel.

So it didn't surprise me to read more recently that a fan group for the St. Petersburg soccer club Zenit sent a letter stating the team include no black or gay players. Gotta love any letter that states - we are not racist - because that usually means ...

Now racism in soccer isn't only in Russia. This is a growing problem in much of Europe. But the Olympics are going to be in Russia, so lets bring the discussion back to them. And let's not let them say the "gay propoganda" enforcement is for the protection of children. No, it's intolerance. Let's call them out on that.

So what to do? No boycotts. That doesn't help anyone. And I don't want athletes to feel they have the burden of protesting ... they need to concentrate on their sport. Hopefully we fans will take up the cause.

August 29, 2013

The Skating Lesson Learns It Can't Go

... to the upcoming Figure Skating Classic. The dynamic duo that is The Skating Lesson, Jenny Kirk and Dave Lease, were denied press credentials by the USFS to cover this year's US International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City.

It shouldn't surprise us that the 1. highly entertaining, 2. highly opinionated and 3. highly informed "TSL" got dissed. I think it comes down to the big ol' number 2 from the USFS.

Figure skating's popularity is very low right now and the USFS in particular should embrace coverage of the sport. "TSL" has a big following. So when you can get people to watch, talk and hopefully promote the sport, it's all good.

Give them the credentials.

If you feel the same way, follow the directions that "TSL" posted on Facebook:

Yesterday, TSL was denied a media credential by U.S. Figure Skating to the upcoming U.S. International Figure Skating Classic in Salt Lake City, Utah. We are not the first organization to have this experience. In today's special edition of 'This and That,' we discuss the perception that USFS attempts to silence, intimidate and control its athletes and the media. We are hoping to start a conversation with those who love the sport by asking: Does USFS have the best interests of its athletes and the growth of the sport at heart? We invite Pat St. Peter, the president of U.S. Figure Skating, to come on to discuss this. Please invite Pat on TSL via and cc Together, we hope we can grow our sport and keep this conversation going.

August 26, 2013

Two Upcoming Ice Shows - Two Continents

Can you make it to one of these?

I hope your summer is going well. Perhaps you still have until September to chill out.

First up, an ice show in St. Paul that I would love to see. One of the featured soloists, Rohene Ward, is my favorite new show skater. He was fantastic in HOI's Speed, so I bet the other skaters are awesome as well. If you live in the Twin Cities, GO SEE IT! Friday, Sept 6 at 7:30.

This ice show I know nothing about except for what you see in the poster (this was taken in Venice ... too bad the ice show isn't playing there.) But Verona, Italy ought to be a beautiful setting as well. Even though the title is in English, this is geared toward the Italians, showcasing Carolina Kostner. They'll be there in full force to cheer her on, I think.

July 8, 2013

Going On Vacation

... will be back in a while.


Hope you all have a great summer.

July 1, 2013

Kurt Browning Needed This

... a Rain Room on ice.

If you haven't seen Kurt Browning's rendition of Singing in the Rain ... you should. Click here.

Amazing, yes? Props to whoever built that set too. Although it is tough to choose his best work, to me this is one of them.

Now imagine if it had the Rain Room that's currently installed at the MoMA in New York City. He would have stayed dry. Much better on the skates. They really shouldn't get too wet or that leather breaks down.

How does one stay dry? The Rain Room is "a 300 ft² room is rigged to create a constant downpour, but motion-detecting cameras stop the rain anywhere a person is present. The effect is one of being cloaked in dryness, which follows you wherever you go."

There are a lot of other Rain songs that one could do - some iconic songs would be: I Wish it Would Rain Down on Me, by Phil Collins, Rain by Madonna, Purple Rain by Prince, Here Comes the Rain Again by the Eurythmics and Fire and Rain by James Taylor.

Hey, that's half an ice show right there! What other Rain songs would you like to see skated to?

June 24, 2013

Summer's Here

... and that means somewhere there's an amusement park with an ice show.

And probably groupies. Love the groupies. In Japan they gave us packs of gum or bags of potato chips, but that's another story.

Most of the amusement parks with ice shows are in the US, but there are two in Germany. That's my turf for now.

So, I'm excited about seeing an ice show and what do I discover? They're Doing It Again ... again. I railed on the (lack of) advertising of ice shows in amusement parks in June 2008 and then again in August 2010, so I think it's time to tell you the PR Department still hasn't gotten the memo.

Excuse me, Miss Ice Charades, but what are you mumbling about this time?

I'm glad you asked.

Why is it the ice shows in amusement parks or on cruise ships never get the advertising they deserve? This time I'm talking (ranting) about Phantasialand, in Germany. If you went to their website, you'd never know they have an ice show. If you clicked into the country within the park where it's playing (Mexico), you still wouldn't know there's an ice show unless you scroll down and click over the small pictures.

How do I know then? By reading the most awesome new skating blog Is That A Skate Guard In Your Pocket Or Are You Happy To See Me?, by Ryan Stevens, that's how. In my last post I raved about Ryan's blog with the interview of Anita Hartshorn on June 1. FYI, that was about twelve posts ago ... just skip to "older posts" and hunt from there.

Really, you should leave this post now and start reading his if you haven't checked it out yet.

I'll wait.

Thanks for coming back, I'm almost done with the rant.

But it's so infuriating because the ice show is usually one of the most, if not THE most popular live show in the park. And in Phantasialand, based on reviews from Trip Advisor, this ice show is no different. Yes, I went trolling through Trip Advisor to read about the ice show. 99% rave reviews. But that's a lot of work.

So thank you Ryan. If you hadn't posted the interview I wouldn't have known about the show and now I've put it on my schedule for August.

June 6, 2013

Is That A Skate Guard In Your Pocket

... or is it one of the best figure skating blogs ever?

YES! and YES!

Is That A Skate Guard In Your Pocket Or Are You Happy To See Me?
by Ryan Stevens has got to be bookmarked by every skating fan out there.

It's like if Axels, Loops and Spins, Aunt Joyce's Ice Cream Stand, and Randy's The Rink all got together and had a baby. Auntie Ice Charades is standing by the boards in awe.

My bestest skating friend sent me the link to his blog two days ago and now I have some catching up to do. He started his blog in February, so there are five months of amazing blog posts to dig into. And, like Aaron did, he pastes the videos right into the posts, so they are at your fingertips.

What's the blog about? You name it. If you're looking for skating documentaries - he's found them. If you're looking for interviews with top-notch skaters - he did them. If you're looking for opinions on judging and the judged - he's got them. And there's so much more.

And we need this.

It's no secret that most of our beloved skating blogs have died (I bet you can't, for the life of you, understand why this blog has dragged on and on) but Is That A Skate Guard In Your Pocket Or Are You Happy To See Me? has come to save the day.

Thank you Ryan!

May 21, 2013

On the road to Sochi 2014... #2

Yes, the Sochi Olympics don't start for 262 days, but I thought this was funny enough to mention now. And I don't mean funny - haha, I mean funny - hmmmm.

When I was looking up the names of the adorable (freaky-evil if you ask me) mascots for the Sochi Olympics, I learned on Wikipedia that these furry little critters don't have names AND they were surrounded in a controversy of suspicious judging.

Wait a minute, Ice Charades, are you suggesting that there was something funny in the judging? In the Olympics?

Why, yes, yes I am. It's funny - hmmm.

You can read the wikipedia entry for the Sochi Olympic Mascots here. Then scroll down to the Controversy section to read this:
Despite the success of the mascot selection process, some accusations have been brought against the mascots. The possibility of telephone vote rigging was brought up when the mascot that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had said was his favorite, the snow leopard, polled the most votes in the voting process after a sharp climb in the number of votes.

... a sharp climb in the number of votes.

Well, let's just be glad that they haven't opened up the figure skating competition in Sochi to telephone voting.

May 3, 2013

Introducing Randy Gardner's The Rink!

It's a new website from Randy Gardner of the famous American pair team Tai and Randy and the website is all-things skating. He's all over the skating world, from competition to shows, choreography to commentating, so there will be a lot of content in this site.

Check it out! Like it on Facebook here.

April 24, 2013

From the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival 2013

Guess which movie was really popular?


Word is the movie got a standing ovation. It's also playing again on Thursday, May 2 at the St. Anthony on Main Theater for the "Best of Fest."

April 17, 2013

Sasha Cohen: Rite of Spring on

When you are as amazing as she was and is ... her words make sense.


Please check it out ... only takes a few minutes.

April 8, 2013

World Premiere of "The Fabulous Ice Age"

... wish I could be there. If you're in the neighborhood, you should go.

To learn more about the documentary - click here.

March 24, 2013

On the way to Sochi 2014

work by Russian street artist Nomerz

Hello ladies and gentlemen - I give you the first of a new segment I'll be building on as the Olympics gets closer and closer. It's all things Russian - not necessarily Sochi - but Russian.

I saw this via The Dish, by Andrew Sullivan, and thought it was pretty cool. Check out all twenty slides posted on Environmental Grafitti.

I'll be on a little vacation, so I'll be back blogging in a few weeks. Happy Spring!

March 18, 2013

How To Choose Your Olympic Program, a la Kim Yu-Na and Les Miz

First of all, let me just say, WOW. She was amazing. She skated both programs like a robot. A graceful, fine-tuned, technically perfect robot. I still prefer her Vancouver programs to these two, but they were incredible.

I also enjoyed her choice of music for the long program, Les Misérables. Beautiful dress, beautiful choreography. She probably could have won wearing a potato sack dress, though. She was that good.

But the choice of skating to Les Misérables, got me thinking. Perhaps if you were bombarded with Les Miz movie music and hype, maybe you were sick of the music already. But I was not. I saw a fresh take on an older musical that came with a few freshly-minted Oscars as well. Good timing.

I think it is important to skate to music the audience already knows. Why? I have a theory about this ....

I've said it before and I'll say it again - when you skate to something familiar, the crowd doesn't have spend time wondering if they a) like the music and b) whether the choreography goes with the music, so instead the mind is able to relax and focus on the skating.

Uh, excuse me Miss Ice Charades, aren't the judges supposed to be able to concentrate on the skating and know how to score appropriately whether they know the music or not?

Yes, they should. But ... I would still want to make it one step easier for the judges, wouldn't you?

Now, one needs to be careful not to pick some music that everyone is tired of ... as in Carmen. No more Carmen, please. Maybe we should retire Charlie Chaplin for a while, although I loved Javier Fernández's program. But let's pass on future Charlie's for now. I also wouldn't do Bolero. Caroline Kostner did have some nice choreography, but I wouldn't touch it. After Torville and Dean, I wouldn't touch it.

I also would like to see a ban on any flamenco or tango short programs for about ten years. An outright ban. Come on, there are many other countries, especially Latin ones, with unique music, dance and costumes that we could see for a change. Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, even Panama. Email me if you need some music.

With all of that in mind, what to skate to for next year's biggie competition? The Olympics. It would be good to ride the wave with something like Les Miz.

So, here's what you do ... go to IMDB and look for movie releases for next year, say, December. That's when the Oscar hopefuls come out. Looking under 2013 December releases, we've got some choices: the sequel to the Hobbit, Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas or Anchorman: The Legend Continues. Nope, nope and nope.

But here's one - remember this title: Saving Mr. Banks. It's a drama and I'm not sure what the movie score will be like (you need IMDBPro for that!) but the plot of the movie is: author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen.

Mary Poppins - it works for singles, Ladies or Mens (think Julie Andrews or Dick Van Dyke) or Dance teams. Get your Chimney Sweep costume out.

And here's the Buzz, according to IMDB,
"...what has to be one of the most bankable releases of the year - a bona fide return to movie stardom for Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. Ditto Emma Thompson and, well, pretty much everyone else in the cast."

Sounds like it will be a good movie and Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson nominated for Oscars would keep the movie buzz going through to February, which is right in time for the Olympics. So, if I were the choreographer, I would be cutting the music right now: Chim Chim Cher-ee, A Spoonful of Sugar and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

We'll see.

March 8, 2013

This aint your father's "Whack Heard Round The World"

I don't know if many news organizations are going to go there .... but I will.

The Bolshoi Acid Attack -

Hello - Tonya/Nancy?

Yesterday's club-wielding thug is today's acid-throwing villain. There are a lot of similarities. And if it plays out like "the Whack" did, it will be give ballet a bump for the next ten years or so. Like the USA Today article written by Christine Brennan observes, "Tonya-Nancy was the perfect media story because it built to something —
... that night of skating will remain No. 6 on television's all-time list until the end of time, or ESPN, whichever comes first.

That is an amazing statistic. Thankfully, Nancy Kerrigan recovered quickly enough to skate in the Olympics and her beautiful face was never touched.

But acid ... acid ... that's nasty stuff. That's not fooling around.

It doesn't look good for the Bolshoi Ballet's cast of criminals, but here's hoping the Artistic Director Sergei Filin will recover in the long run.

Yes, the Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and the Tonya Harding of the ballet world, admitted to arranging an attack and claims he didn't know acid would be used. According to an article by Ellen Barry in the New York Times, "Mr. Dmitrichenko said he had agreed that an ex-convict acquaintance would “knock him around,” but that he was unaware that the man planned to douse Mr. Filin’s face with sulfuric acid, jeopardizing his eyesight."

I'm not sure if that's true, I won't judge, I hope a court will do that. But it came out in the Harding trial four years after the attack, she not only knew of the attack but helped plan it.

But wait a minute Ice Charades, don't jump to conclusions yet.

According to the New York Times article, " ... Many in the ballet company are said to have greeted Mr. Dmitrichenko’s arrest with skepticism, and Andrei Bolotin, a soloist at the company who attended Thursday’s court session, suggested that the dancer might have been pressured into confessing on videotape.

“The way he looked when he gave that confession, it was one-quarter of the Pavel we know, and it’s horrifying to think of what he had to go through,” Mr. Bolotin said.

After news of the confession broke on Wednesday, “all, from the wardrobe assistants to coat checkers, said that something isn’t right,” said Alexandra Durseneva, a soloist at the Bolshoi’s opera company."

It's true he didn't look good in the video. But that could just be his latest diet. Who knows.

This story isn't over.

March 1, 2013

Some Cool Things

... in no particular order

Wind-Powered Land Mine Destroyer

You can donate money to this incredible project that is both art and lifesaver - how cool is that?

Next up, another fundraiser for a cause that's close to my heart - The Young Artist Showcase

Anyone who knew Brian Wright knows what a great program this is. The link will give you the info for the upcoming competition.

And finally, if you haven't seen these before, I bet you'll chuckle a little. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the annual Washington Post Peeps Competition. It's where those little gummy bunnies of sugary marshmallow get to put on a show. The winner is announced right around Easter, so stay tuned for that.

February 26, 2013

Holiday On Ice Platinum Reunion May 14 -16, 2013

in Vegas, baby. Vegas. Wow, I didn't know about this earlier ... I hope people can attend.

Go to the Showbiz Friends website here, for a closer look.

This is honoring the US production of Holiday, not the same as the show that is still (barely) strutting around Europe. But I don't think anyone would turn a skater away - we're a friendly bunch, right?

February 8, 2013

On Vacation

Lucky to have a little vacation right now. Will post when I get back.

February 4, 2013

Tara Lipinski gets a Shout-Out

... from the NRA.

Always glad to let you know whenever a figure skater makes the news! Did you hear?

Tara Lipinski is noted, among others, in a list the NRA (National Rifle Association not the National Restaurant Association) has posted on their website of "National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies."

While I object that she is listed as a mere "Former Olympian" - show some respect people - how about Gold Medalist? - I will say she is in good company. She's only one person away from Rob Lowe!

Come on Ice Charades, you're just jealous you're not on that list. True, very true. I'm neither famous nor notable, so I would never make it.

January 31, 2013

Ice Charades Speaks Up

I want to add one comment to the dialogue that came up in Tai Babalonia's interview (part 6 specifically) with Jenny Kirk. (I have it linked in the post below if you want to hear it.) This isn't easy for me to write, but it just may be worth mentioning.

The subject of the interview in that section is eating disorders for skaters and the hope the the USFS will be more proactive in helping to combat a common problem in the sport. I, too, wish that were done going forward.

But in my own experience and my own battle with eating disorders, it wasn't skating that caused the problem nor made it worse. That is to say that it was a part of my personality and my warped way of dealing with stress and anxiety of life in your late teens and early twenties. It didn't matter on the ice or off the ice. While having "weigh-ins" and fines as a part of life in an ice show is not great for a fragile mind dealing with body issues, I would argue it was often worse for me when I was in college. I felt more out of my comfort zone in the world of academia and more stress and/or boredom.

Hey kids, don't underestimate boredom and the destruction it can do.

So, I would hope that when/if the USFS is going to tackle the subject for young skaters, they remember the root of the problem may have as much or more to do with the personality type than the factors that skating may play.

What do you think?

January 15, 2013

Women Speaking Up!

And speaking so profoundly I add. Two incredible ladies in two very different sports.

First up, Tai Babalonia, has been making the rounds on FB if you are a friend. You can go here to the You Tube page with all parts of the nine part interview. Or go The Skating Lesson page on Facebook and check out the podcasts there.

She has a lot to say and it is well worth a listen.

Part 6 of the interview has caused a bit of a stir with the USFS concerning eating disorders. The response can be found on The Skating Lesson FB page here.

Hey, excuse me, Ice Charades, but what does the US Forest Service care about eating disorders in young figure skaters?

Why thanks for asking... You see! That's why they never should have changed from the USFSA. We're always getting those two mixed up.

Curiously, I can't find that response on the USFS page. And I'm not on the Forest Services' page either. I want to see the forest for the trees here, so if someone can find it please let me know. Have they pulled the response? Hmmm.

I think it's a worthy topic for the USFS that's all too common for young skaters. [Hey, Xan, we can do this too!] I think for Tai, as a pair skater, this was an added burden to bare. She and Randy Gardner were/are one of the few elite pair teams that were so close in height. That made for even more pressure to stay thin, on top of all the pressure to win.

So I say three cheers for Tai for speaking up, along with Jennifer Kirk. By doing so, I believe they'll make a difference for younger skaters.

Next up: Nicole Cook

A champion cyclist who announced her retirement today. She did so much more than win races. And she won a lot. She knocked down the barriers against women in that sport. You can read her entire announcement on the UK Guardian here. Wow, just wow.

This is a timely issue because it comes as another famous cyclist is also talking to the press.

If you've followed Ice Charades for a long time, you know I was a big fan of the Tour de France. And I was a big fan during the Lance years. Not only because of Lance, but he was a part of the excitement of it.

It is just so sad for the cyclists to have competed in the era of doping. To dope or not to dope. Anyone wanting to compete at the elite level was confronted with this. Well Nicole is no dope.

So I want to give her the last word on Lance: “When Lance cries on Oprah later this week, and she passes him the tissue, spare a thought for all those genuine people who walked away with no rewards — just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances.”

January 4, 2013

SFGate - Frozen in time: Eight decades Bay Area ice shows

This article was posted in the SFGate.

Okay, technically it's shows that played the Bay Area while on tour.

And specifically, Ice Charades is very jealous of Peter Hartlaub's writing, it's very very funny.

Click here to see all of the pictures - just takes two minutes - and get a laugh for the day. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Yeah, those cats are kind of creepy.

January 1, 2013

Going Off The Cliff

... I went off the fitness cliff a while ago. Haven't exercised in weeks. What's so scary about that?

Anyway - Happy New Year to all of you!