Strange Haps for a Friday

For any day, really, but today is Friday. President Bush is in town. The opening ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics is currently on… granted they were recorded nearly 12 hours ago, but I still like to watch them. Been a full day.

Actually, not only is President Bush in WA, but he’s in my town. As I was turned away from a Route 520 entrance ramp this afternoon, I drove on an overpass – as I did, I drove over the President’s motorcade. I had heard that he would be on the Eastside – Medina to be exact – but I didn’t realize that he’d be tooling around Redmond. Tonight, as I rode on my bike around downtown, I found out that he’s staying in Redmond… next to a hotel that I stayed in during my second interview at Microsoft. Small world.

I get soppy around the Olympics. At least in the beginning. After two weeks of it, I’m usually a bit bored with them, but since it’s just starting, I’m soppy over it. World spirit, national pride and all that shit. I’ve always liked the fact that Greece is prominent in the games – I really thing they should have had the 1996 games – and wondered what they would do about the “Greece first, host country last” bit… they sent the Greek flag in first; the athletes will come in last, making for a neat compromise.

Also, seeing as it’s in Greece, I find that the order of the nations is pretty funny: they’re using the Greek alphabet, so things aren’t quite in the order most people are used to. The nice thing about that is that the US should be coming through fairly early on in the pecking order, if I remember the Greek alphabet correctly. And many thanks to you, NBC, for the “the current nation + the next three in the queue” ticker thingy that you have going on. And even more thanks for your high definition feed – I mean, for the first time, with a live broadcast, I feel like I’m looking into window rather than a TV. Remarkable.

One thing that I am a bit put off about are the number of athletes we send to the games every year. I mean, it’s a great thing that so many Home Depot employees are that talented and if they can afford to get over there, I think they should go… but jeez. For the first time, I can empathize with what other baseball fans must feel when they look at the Yankees. Ah well… There’s no athlete-per-nation limit in the Olympics, the same way there’s no salary cap in baseball, so I guess everyone else suck it.

I do recall the US/Soviet medal races that dominated the mid to late 1900’s and that always confused me in a way… I guess it was the safest way to wage the cold war, but I never could figure out why either side cared. The only thing that is more confusing than that is China’s behavior in the more recent games… they seem to be filling the role of Ivan Drago’s “I must break you [capitalists]” since Russia isn’t as rabid about it anymore – I guess they didn’t get the memo that the fad has passed!

I also like the fact that Afghanistan got a warm reception (see what having women athletes can do for popularity?) and that Korean is marching under a united group, albeit with two flags… and yes, I remember when Germany united under one flag, and when the Soviet Bloc united under the Olympic flag, since the Bloc was no more yet the individual counties couldn’t mobilize that quickly. I told ya… soppy.

The only downside is having to listen to French during everything, but the IOC picked it up as an official language… my God, the women from Brazil are hot. I think I’ll go back to watching some TV now. I am curious to see how Badminton is played, at this level… I can hold my own in regular games but if it’s played like ping-pong is – oi. They should call that “super pong” or something – it’s not the same game that’s played in basements.


4 thoughts on “Strange Haps for a Friday”

  1. I forgot to mention… before I left Redmond Town Center, I was politely [no sarcasm – he was nice about it] asked by a Secret Service agent to “keep moving”… he asked this of a bunch of us that were hanging out in front of Cold Stone, on the offbeat change that Dubba wandered into the area, but obviously they didn’t want people camped out for any length of time. It’s not every day that one gets yelled at by the Secret Service – at least I don’t :)

  2. Have you checked out the Olympic coverage on the CBC network? Their commentators are interesting and not blow-dried telegenic- and the coverage is closer to real time than NBC etc. Makes a nice supplement.

  3. CBC? I hadn’t even heard o’it, but I will have to check it out… the NBC ppl are giving me gout. I listened to them for a full hour during a football match btwn Brazil and USA – about how Brazil was kickin the crap out of the Americans, outplaying them, etc. for the entire first half. The only benefit of the match, aside from the women, was the fact that the USA won, making the NBC comentators look exceptionally stupid.

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