Organizing The Olympics
Good day all, Steve here, bringing you my weekly Friday column...on Monday. Give me a break! My girlfriend dragged me out for dim sum, Chinese brunch, and she was, like, "Let's get some chicken feet," and I'm, like, "No way, that's nasty," and she's all, like, "No, let's branch out. Get some feet." As it is turns out, chicken feet are considered to be quite a desirable appetizer among the Chinese community, though personally it gives me the willies, but I'm kind of squeamish about new foods. I'm not trying to be culturally insensitive, I'm just not down with feet, ya know? Anyway, all this indecision about the chicken feet left me a bit dragged out, so I had to take a nap, but now I'm here to bring this week's column, which is about the Olympics.
But first a word about my last column. My last post on DIYPlanner was about how the U.S. election process is fundamentally flawed and silly. Well, some people are just sensitive I guess, because there was a strong negative reaction against the main thesis of my column, namely the flawed silliness. I'd just like to say that I wasn't trying to offend anyone. And with that, onto this week's column about religion.
No, wait, this week's column is about the Olympics. The next Winter Olympics is happening in Vancouver, the city where I am currently living and that's no coincidence. My girlfriend Meghan was quite insistent that we move here so that we could become involved with the Olympics. "Move to Vancouver or I'll kill you," were her exact words. She's a strong supporter of amateur sport. Whatever, the point is that she wanted to help out. And she is getting involved, with the volunteer side of the games and it's through her involvement that I've become aware that the Olympic games are a huge logistical and organizational challenge, not only testing the resources of the local and federal governments and calling on the participation of the citizenry, but also providing semi-appropriate material for a post on this website.
First, some historical background. The original Olympic games were held in Ancient Greece and consisted of contests of martial skills and general athleticism, and interestingly the athletes competed nude. The games were so popular and considered so sacred that wars were actually halted for the duration of the games, so that people could come from far and wide to observe the proceedings and give encouragement to the athletes
"Hey dude! Get some pants!", they'd say. Oh those nutty Greeks.
But the Olympics have been revived in this century and also expanded to both a Summer and a Winter competition. The Greeks held only Summer competitions, Greece being hotter than the inside of a goat and the modern Winter Olympics have taken on a decidedly different quality than the Summer games. The Summer Olympics to this day concentrate mainly on sports derived from ancient martial skills, such as running, wrestling, javelin, shot put and so on. In contrast, the Winter Olympics are composed mostly of sports originally designed as aggressive experimental therapy for mental patients.
Now let me be clear, I'm not getting down on the Winter Olympics or the athletes. I have nothing but respect for the the training and dedication required to pursue these sports at the Olympic level. I'm just saying, not to put to fine a point on it, anyone who's going to go face-first down a bobsled run is likely a few miles short of an oil change.
And I for one applaud this organized insanity, for one very simple reason: it makes better television. I'd much rather see four lunatics race down the same downhill course on ice skates than tune in to see how far some guy can jump. I'm just saying.
But the Vancouver Olympics are going to be even stranger than the normal Winter Olympics. Vancouver is known for having a unique "West Coast" perspective on things, due to geographical isolation from Central Canada, a multi-cultural atmosphere (pass the chicken feet!), and a certain, shall we say, imaginative spirit, caused both by the can-do attitude of a multi-ethnic city full of immigrants and émigrés and by the dynamite weed they grow out here. When the city serves as the base for the Marijuana Party, you know it's going to be interesting.
This entrepreneurial spirit can be seen in the character of Vancouver Olympic games. Not content to simply duplicate what other cities have done, Vancouver is incorporating the following West Coast improvements for the games, all of which I swear I'm not making up. Our Olympic mascot is a Sasquatch, a mythical half-man, half-ape creature which people sometimes claim to see in the Vancouver area, but once again, people do smoke up a lot here. People also claim to see ninjas on camels in church, but thankfully that particular symbol was rejected by the organizing committee.
Also, they are building a glass-bottomed gondola between the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Which are 10,000 feet up. They're building a gondola. Between the peaks. 10,000 feet up. And the floor will be made of glass. Glass! It will be the only one of it's kind in the world, if you can believe it. They're building it specifically for the games, evidently because they perceived that Olympic visitors would have a pressing need to experience the blithering heebie-jeebies way the hell up in the air. Fair enough.
And, finally, a group of extremely thoughtful female entrepreneurs is planning to open an official brothel just to accommodate Olympic visitors, athletes and officials. Notice the extra organizational effort being put forth here folks. Vancouver: A warm, friendly, dynamic multi-cultural city, full of crazy people.
And speaking of the Olympics, bravo to Steven Spielberg for refusing to participate in the Beijing Olympics because of the Chinese government's failure to use their political and economic clout to force an end to the civil war in the Sudan. Go Steven!
So, until next time, keep your pen on the page, and your hands off my chicken feet!