Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm On the Job

Poor Nance.  Poor Amster.  They have no cable.  Without rabbit ears, NBC and the Olympics are a mere whisper in the ether.... a packet of pixels without a resting spot in their abodes.  And so, for them, faithful denizens of the Burrow that they are, I continue my Olympic prattling.

I was feeling somewhat unfair to Canada in yesterday's post, so I didn't include this tidbit.  But here it is on the little yellow legal pad which sat by my side during the Opening Ceremony

and here is that random post picture... and it all will soon make sense

so I suppose it's meant to be told. 

I did like the notion of referring to aboriginal peoples as the First Nations.  It conveys an aura of respect and a recognition of the history which surrounds any event of this magnitude.  Also, every Olympic Games has an identity.  Torino.... Sarajevo....  Nagano... each evokes a specific set of images, though each hosted the Winter Games.  So an homage to the original (as far as we know, anyhow) settlers of the land is appropriate.  Totems are totemic (sorry, I couldn't resist) and certainly obvious as symbols.  But did they have to look like ice penises with hands?  From any angle?  And they never went away.  

I stand by my my original thought - It's creepy!

I'm struck by the fluency with language exhibited by the non-American skaters.  Simon AmmannAlex Bilodeau.... when they were excited, their grammar suffered.  But once they were in street clothes, their interviews were idiomatic and personable.   It's humiliating to wonder how our American athletes sound when interviewed by French-Canadian or Swiss tv.
Watching the pre-game history of speed skating in Holland brought me right to Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates.  I was 5 and G'ma was reading it to me and I was 10 and found it and read it to my little sister and I was home from college and found it moldering on the basement bookshelf and the picture of those skates on the canals was with me for hours.   I'm not sure that Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale is really as wonderful as I remember it, but I can say with absolute certainty that his depictions of traveling across the ice on runners is permanently etched in my fantasy-life.  Daddooooo had racing skates, and gliding around the ice rink created on the frozen tennis courts at the high school, holding his arms and feeling totally and completely secure and sleek and fast and cool... well, you know how I feel, don't you?
TBG had a big smile on his face when Monday night's Olympic presentation began with the men's downhill, his all time favorite.  There are blue lines painted onto the snow showing the fall line  and while I am sure that they make it safer for the skiers and yes, they do give us as the viewer a sense of speed and depth, I don't like them.  I like to sway in my chair as they flow down the mountain, imagining myself on the slopes.... and my slopes don't have blue lines.

There's Bode Miller, former balls-out-hell-bent-for-leather-skier now proud father of a 2 year old daughter (no pictures or mention of a female parent during the obligatory on-screen-in-home interview... I really have to get my nails done and catch up on my celebrity gossip...) having a great run but I can't really enjoy his glee, or feel sad when the Norwegian Svindal beats him by 2 seconds on the very next run because the radio and the scrolling words on ESPN have already told me that Didier Defago wins the first Swiss gold in this event since 1988.

The pairs free skate is 4 minutes and 30 seconds of twisting, turning, lifting, throwing, landing, holding her up above his head with one hand while going backwards, on one foot..... fast.  The guys may wear sparkly, feathery outfits and the girls may wear way too much eye make-up but these kids are tough.
Final Random Thoughts:

I have 4 degrees of separation from the moguls medalist/announcer Jonny Moseley, and that's as close as I get to a personal connection to these games.

The lounge chairs upon which the top racers on the mogul course recline as they finish their runs are exceptionally wonderful. Think of it.... cushy sofas right there when you're totally exhausted...... heaven.

I didn't know that lugers are called sliders.  I'm going to write about that very sad piece of the Games after a while.  I need to let it sit for a while.

My favorite quote of the Games so far?  An announcer describing the athletes as having a stunningly freakish comfort with high speeds.  That about says it all.


  1. Boy, I'm grateful for this post already! I can now say with real conviction that I have "stunningly freakish discomfort with the high speeds" out here on the San Diego freeways; I don't have to feel at a loss for words at those moments any longer! Your penis totems remind me of the ones in South Korea. I suppose every aboriginal culture had them at one point or another...and those little busty Bubbie statuettes to represent the Sacred Feminine. We're all just pagans under the skin, tra-la!

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