Friday, March 05, 2010

The Week in Review - Olympics Closing Ceremony to Chilean Earthquake to Health Care to Hollywood


Last Sunday I was sitting and watching my television as the Olympic Closing Ceremony was just getting started in Vancouver, Canada. After a pretty decent presentation by Russia on the next Olympics, we returned to a cornball Canadian Series of mini documentaries with the most bizarre themes, speeches, strange creatures and three legged Olympic flames.

Think about it. Two weeks earlier one of the highlights of the opening ceremony was when one leg of the flame platform jammed in the floor and refused to rise, leaving the torch carriers, crowd, and zillions of TV watchers around the world waiting on baited breath to see how in the world the Canadians were going to get out of this mess. People held their breath while NBC and the Canadian Olympic people seemed to be doing nothing.

Seconds before the torches held by NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and others went out, and long after the millions viewing had started breathing again, someone decided to light the three legs that did show up and hope no one noticed the drama around the missing fourth leg and torch bearer with no torch to light.

That was two weeks earlier. Now as I sat watching the flying moose and massive beavers show up and listened to what those Canadians were saying and doing on the boob tube, I was certain I went through a time warp and was back in the crazy '60's. There was Star Treks' Mr. Priceline while you were going Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox of Family Ties.

Thank God Neil Young was there, all alone, just Neil and his guitar, and he played a wonderful version of Long May You Run and showed all those Olympic kids what real music and stories sound like. They loved him and it was the last recognizable thing I saw during the abbreviated closing ceremonies.

The time machine kicked into high gear and the stage or rink or whatever became an assemblage with the weirdest conglomeration of characters, reminding me a little of an afternoon with Timothy Leary. As we watched there seemed to be a Canadian cultural collision showing all the different aspects of Canadian settlers and civilizations and Hollywood actors while interruptions from NBC anchors and reporters further distracted me from figuring out what the Hell the Canadians were doing on that screen.

Then quite unexpectedly anchor Bob Costas pops on the screen, quite awkwardly I noted, saying that the closing ceremonies would be back. First there would be an hour of a new weekly TV series called The Ref, a quite stupid show I thought, and then local news. If you survived that show and news the Olympics Late Show would then broadcast a taped version of the closing that you were just watching.

What was this?

I wait four years to see this event and NBC pre-empts it with another mindless program about the flaws of Americans. Didn't NBC pay $800 million for the right to broadcast the Olympics then cut off the closing ceremonies just as it was getting interesting? This was just the beginning of the week.

So then came wave after wave of strange stories like follow up on the Chile earthquake that hit the night before the Olympic Closing debacle. Obama was talking about health care yet again. Hasn't Congress been trying to figure out what to do about health care for over a year? Don't tell me the president just noticed we had a problem with health care. Funny he still ignored the number one worry of the people, the economy and our national debt. Congress and the media seemed clueless as well.

During the week the Democrats were trying to figure out how to ignore the people and circumvent the legislative process on health care. There was the day long, great, Pacific tsunami watch which started after the tsunami had already hit Chile and wiped out villages killing hundreds. The multi-network watch ended when no one could tell the tsunami hit them beyond Chile. Hawaii reported a two foot rise in the water lever. Big deal. We get more than two feet change twice a day from the tides, every day, and we are just in the tributary backwaters of the Atlantic.

Then came the scandals, reality news instead of the old political innuendoes. A governor, congressman and another congressman from New York all got sucked into abuse of powers scandals, tax evasion, even alleged sexual misconduct. Those Democrats sure do know how to have fun, at our expense. Okay, Greece was collapsing, Toyota was in the midst of the worst recall in history, Ford was selling cars like mad. No one could figure out what Chrysler was doing. We did know Congress was still doing nothing. Kentucky men lost a second basketball game and Bebraska women remained unbeaten.

Three more people told me they now know how to play curling and asked me where was the nearest curling alley. I never knew they existed. There are 131 curling clubs in the USA but do they all have their own curling alleys? If there are 131 curling alleys then there is one curling alley for every 62 Wal-Mart stores in America. Good luck finding a curling alley to go shove a 46 pound rock they call a stone down some ice with two broom-carrying people sweeping up a storm as the rock slides down along it's way.

I have Scottish blood and curling was invented by the Scottish in the 1500's but I prefer to remember the scotch whiskey and those long haired cattle of Scotland. Besides, if you want your own curling game it costs $32,000 for just the 16 stones you need. That is for just two people in one game. I mean in America you can find a ball, bag and bowling shoes for about a hundred dollars.

I'm just glad this week ends with the most glorified awards ceremony of the year, the Academy Awards, to help us forget what we just lived through. There is nothing so soothing to a nation sinking in debt as statues of gold, glitz and glamour. I hope you had an interesting week as well and I share your concerns that given the climate in Washington, we hope next week can continue to divert our attention away from our nation's capitol, leaders and news media.


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