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!

Steve Sharam

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I loved your column. I think

I loved your column. I think I'll use "Move to Vancouver or I'll kill you" with my boyfriend. I looks like a really nice place to live, with glass gondolas and stuff.


That's a good all around approach to dealing with boyfriends. Take me dancing or I'll kill you. Buy me chocolate or I'll kill you. It just has a lot of impact that. But seriously I think a lot of people will move here after they see the city on the Olympics, because it is insanely nice. Weird, but nice:)

Steve Sharam

variants on a theme

i always use the "sleep on the couch" approach when dealing with kender, rather than the "i'll kill you" one. It's kinder and keeps him around, which is something i like.

i have friends who knit and they use the "wielding sharp and pointy sticks" tactic. that also seems to work rather well.


sharp and pointy objects

One of my favorite stories to hear from my grandma involved sharp and pointy objects. It appears that my grandfather had quite a reputation as a fast fella in his younger days. On their first several dates, my grandma kept a hat pin handy to keep him in line. Apparently that worked to shape him up and make him worth keeping.



By the sounds of it, I'm getting off easy. There're a lot of tough ladies out there!

Steve Sharam

dim sum chicken feet and tripe

Steves, enjoying your column as usual. Coincidently, I also went out for dim sum. I'm not down with feet of any kind!
Duc Ly

Dim sum rules

but don't give me no feet. Feet are not food, thank you:P

Steve Sharam

Haven't you heard of pickled

Haven't you heard of pickled pigs' feet? They're a staple in the southern US. They're carried by all the supermarkets, and labeled by Hormel (a major brand of prepared meat products). And pigs' feet are in the meat cases for preparation at home, too. My dad loved them.

Not that I'd touch them for anything! I think they were more popular with the older generations.

Yeah, I've heard of those

I wouldn't eat those for love or money. Blech!

Steve Sharam

Hey there.... watch it..

They used to be big in the north too although they were carried more in bars than in supermarkets. As someone born and raised just south of Montreal on the southern side of the border (hmmmm.... does that count as the "south"?) I remember many pigs' feet in my youth. And no, I don't consider myself in an older generation although my dd14 thinks I'm ancient. Pigs' feet, pickled eggs, those red spicy sausages in jars of vinegar..... it was all good. No chicken feet though, now that's just gross.

How far "just South?"

I was born in Plattsburgh - do tell!


Me too!!!

I was born in Plattsburgh too! I lived at various times in Keeseville, AuSable Forks, Essex (I went to high school at Willsboro Central), Ellenburg Depot (where most of my extended family still resides; farmers, you can't get them to leave the land), and Potsdam (where I did my underdraduate work). I go back about once a year and still have a family home in the Depot. I usually try to aim for that short break in the middle of July/August between the late spring (i.e., June) snow and the early fall (i.e., September) snow. So, now for you. Were you raised there, or just born there and escaped to civilization at an early age?


Born there. My father is from Silver Lake - about 20 min from "the Forks". He was a Clarkson frat boy and my mom a Potsdam sorority girl! I grew up down in Rochester but went back to SUNY Plattsburgh - my father's cousin is Dean of Students there. I loved it there - if only I could have found a job... I get up in July/August for a couple of long weekends but haven't been back in winter in years.

I've got family in Plattsburgh, AuSable, Black Brook, Saranac... A good North Country family dontcha know. :) Small world indeed!

A very small world indeed.

We're probably cousins and just don't know it.

Don't ask, don't tell!



pickle + feet = bad combo

Pig knuckle is good in a rich brown sauce but I detest pickle of all kinds and feet pickled is worse of them all.
Duc Ly

Reminds me of the old novelty song...

Great green gobs of greasy, grimy gopher guts,
Mutilated monkey meat
Dirty little birdies' feet.

Wikipedia Link
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)


That's a classic:)

Steve Sharam

And then there is...

"Eating the Peach" from James and the Giant Peach

Mr. Centepede:
I've eaten many strange and scrumpous dishes in my time
Like chillied bugs, and curied slugs and ear wigs cooked in slime
And mice with rice is very nice when they're roasted in their prime
But don't forget to sprinkle them with just a pinch of grime

I'm crazy bout' mosquitos on a piece of buttered toast
And pickled spines and porcupines and then a great big roast!
And dragon's flesh quite old not fresh it costs a bucket mouse

Mrs. Lightening Bug:
Does it come with gravy?

Mr. Centepede:
It comes to you in barrel's if you order it by post!


It comes to you in barrel's if you order it by post!

Mr. Grasshopper:
For dinner on my birthday shall I tell you what I chose?
Port noodles made of goodles on the slice of garden hose
And a rather smelly jelly made of armadillo's toes
The jelly is delicious but you have to hold your nose

Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach

Mrs. Ladybug
I crave for tasty tentacles of octopi for tea
I love hotdogs but I love hot frogs and surely you'll agree
A plate of soil with engine oil's a super recipe

Centepede and James:

Mrs. Ladybug
I hardly need to mention that it's practically free!

Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
We hardly need to mention that it's practically free!

Mr. Centepede:
Now comes my fellow travelers the burdon of my speech
(Miss Spider: show off) Centepede: These foods are rare beyond compare and some right out of reach
(Miss Spider: Nice aim Comadour) Centepede: But there's no doubt I'd go without a million plates of each
(Miss Spider: Out of my face.) Centepede: For one small mite (All: one small mite)
One tiny bite (All: tiny bite)
All: Of this fantastic Peach!!!!!!
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Peach peach peach peach
Of this fantastic peach!

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Peaches for me:)


Get Presidents Of The United States Of America Ringtones!

Movin to the country,
Gonna eat a lot of peaches
Movin to the country,
Gonna eat me a lot of peaches
Movin to the country,
Gonna eat a lot of peaches
Movin to the country,
Gonna eat a lot of peaches

Peaches come from a can,
They were put there by a man
In a factory downtown
If I had my little way,
Id eat peaches every day
Sun-soakin bulges in the shade

Take a little naps where the roots all twist
Squished a rotten peach in my fist
And dreamed about you, woman,
I poked my finger down inside
Make a little room for it to hide
Natures candy in my hand or can or a pie

Millions of peaches, peaches for me
Millions of peaches, peaches for free

"Peaches", Presidents Of The United States Of America