Monday, February 27, 2006

My wish for the Oscars show

Wouldn't it be fun if Jon Stewart did some jokes about the nominated movies, illustrating them with LEGOs? Ah, but that would never happen...

What? You mean it's been done with Brokeback Mountain? Well, then! We're already a fifth of the way there!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Now life can get back to normal

The Olympics, wonderful though they are and as much as I love them, are over for the next two and a half years. Thank goodness. Now my life can get back to some semblance of normalcy...

But I am now getting very excited about the possibility of going up to Vancouver in four years to see something live and in person!

I Hate Clowns

So far I'm utterly unimpressed by the Olympic closing ceremonies. I hate clowns.

Bring on Vancouver!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I'm in love, Torino 2006 encore edition

I have always thought that Canadian cyclist/speedskater — yup, she's not only been to both the Summer and Winter Games, she's medalled in both as well — was one of the coolest athletes around, or at least in Canada. Maybe it's that gorgeous red hair. At any rate, congratulations on finally getting a gold medal, in the 5000 m.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Love the Olympics? Pay it forward!

Joey Cheek, the American speed skater, has donated his bonuses for his Olympic medals to Right to Play, an organization founded by the great Norwegian speed skater Johann Olav Koss that uses sports to raise hope and spirits in underdeveloped countries. And now, you can donate to them, too.

Now that's what I call... uh... Curling

A streaker interrupted play at the Bronze medal curling match. The Mercury News has the best headline, though: "With streaker, curling gets some extra exposure"

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ronald McDonald is This Olympic's Little Blue Cow

In the last Olympics, the Little Blue Cow participated in tons of events in ads. This year on the CBC, Ronald McDonald is participating in events in ads. At least there isn't any doubt as to Ronald's gender.

I'm in love, Torino 2006 edition, more honorable mentions

Shizuka Arakawa's face, when she saw how good her marks were in the free skate, and then again when she'd realized she'd won the gold medal.

Cindy Klassen, Canadian speedskater.

Deidra Dionne, Canadian aerial skier. (Hey, I've mostly been watching the CBC, so I get to see a lot of Canadian athletes.)

The Johnson sisters on the US women's curling team. And while I'm on the subject of curling, hearing the Swedish and Italian women's teams talking. Whoever thought to mike up curlers was really thinking.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm in love, Torino 2006 edition, honorable mentions

Sasha Cohen's eyes, especially when she smiles.

Irina Slutskaya's derrière. I hope more female skaters will take advantage of the new rules allowing pants.

Anja Paerson.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Our hearts go out to Australian aerial skier Lydia Ierodiaconou. On a very hard landing during qualifying, she reinjured her knee, which had undergone reconstructive surgery only a few months ago. The cries of pain were heart-wrenching, and now she has to go through the whole thing all over again, from scratch. Well, Vancouver is only four years away now...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

I'm in love, Torino 2006 edition

Not only is Tanith Belbin a terrific ice dancer, she's an extremely attractive young woman. And she sounds like Kristen Chenoweth.

Samsung Ads promote Theft and Blackmail

There are two very annoying Samsung ads I've seen a lot of during the Olympics. In one of them, a young employee blackmails his way up the corporate ladder. In another, a neighbor steals a TV. The tagline implies that both actions are acceptable. This has resulted in me never wanting to ever buy another Samsung product again.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Most telling moment of an Olympics commercial

Bell, the big phone and television service in Canada, has a couple of anthropormorphic slacker beavers doing Olympics-themed commercials. They're pretty amusing actually. But in one of them, one is watching the Olympics, and says something along the lines of, "Man, I've been watching so much of the Olympics, I'm sick of myself!"

Hee hee!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

More Olympics humor

Thanks to Tom Galloway, Dave Barry's Winter Olympics preview (but no, it doesn't look like he's writing his column on a regular basis again).

Thanks to David Letterman, Chad Hedrick's Top Ten Good Things About Winning an Olympic Gold Medal.

Snowboard Cross

I gotta like it. It's like motocross... on snoboards. Awesome.

More on Curling: The Hammer and the House

The House is the target area made up of rings. In order to score in each end, you have to have stones in the house that are closer than any opponent stone to the center.

The Hammer is just the name for the last throw of an end. In each end, the team that has the hammer has the advantage, because the last throw can clear opponent stones and such. You have a better chance of scoring if you have the hammer. If you score in an end, you don't have the hammer in the next end, so you always try to get as many points as possible when you have the hammer. In some cases, if you are only going to get one point, you might clear the house and take no points so you'll have the hammer in the next end.

Each team throws eight stones per end, two per player. This means that the maximum score in an end is eight points.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Olympics Humor

David Letterman's Top Ten Signs You're at a Lame Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Andy Borowitz uncovers a shocking secret that caused an American skier to be expelled from the Games. Horrors, but nowhere near as scathing as what Dave Barry uncovered in 1996...

Way Cool

Joey Cheek wins Gold Medal, then Pays It Forward.
Monday at the Turin Olympics, Cheek fulfilled his dream of following in Koss's vaunted steps in more ways than one. The North Carolina native blistered the slow, sticky ice at the Lingotto Oval to win gold in the 500-meter speedskating event. Then, he held reporters' questions at bay at the start of his post-race news conference to announce that he was taking another cue from his idol and donating the $25,000 he would receive from the U.S. Olympic Committee for having won gold to the charitable organization Koss now oversees, Right to Play, which uses sports and games as a tool for helping children in the most needy corners of the world.

Cheek said his donation would be earmarked specifically for children of the Darfur region in Sudan, where roughly 60,000 youngsters have been displaced, and he called on corporate sponsors of the Olympic Games to match his contribution.
A salute to Joey Cheek, a real Olympian.


Brrreeeport! Scoble is playing a game. If you have a blog, join in! Brrreeeport!

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Study in Contrasts

When Shaun White won the Gold in the Snowboard half-pipe yesterday before he even got his second run, he decided to take it easy. He went down the half-pipe on his second run half-heartedly, and got a very low score from the judges for the second run.

When Hannah Teter won the Gold in the Snowboard half-pipe today before she even got her second run, she decided to have fun. She went down the pipe joyfully, and got an even higher score than her gold medal winning 44.6 points. Her second run got her 46.4 points.

Medal Count

Torino 2006 Medal Chart.

Scoring Curling

CNBC has been showing Curling. I don't understand Curling. Not really. So I decided to turn to Google.

The Anchorage Curling Club gave me a great overview of club scoreboards. But figuring out the simple bits of what actually constitutes a score was beyond me. Luckily, Wikipedia and the Potomac Curling Club had some more help.

So let's see if I can summarize.

Those target areas on each end? You are trying to get your stones closest to the center. At the end of each round of scooting the stones down the ice, the team that has stones closest to the center gets a point for each stone that is closer to the center than the closest opponent stone.

So if you get a stone really close to the center, but your opponent gets a stone right next to you, just a little farther away from center, you only get one point. If you can get a few stones in the target area and your opponent gets none, I presume you get points for all the stones.

Only one team scores each "end". So you want to have your stones closer to the center. Team with the most points after a set number of "ends" wins the game.

There's more to it than that, of course, like with any good game. But at the most basic, and what you need to know for watching, is that you want your stones close to the center with no opponent stones nearby. If you want the details, go read those links or visit a curling club.

Pairs Skating

I don't particularly like skating when it's not a pure race, but I had the TV on and saw the most incredible thing.

A Chinese pair, Zhang D/Zhang H, less than a minute into their program the female skater went down HARD with what really looked like a horrible injury. She got up, and the guy had to help her skate to the coaches. It looked like they were done. But she didn't want to leave the ice, and after taking a few test moves, with a look of agony on her face every time she set her foot down, they continued the program from where she fell. She missed a couple of landings, barely. They missed out on unison at times. But oh man, the mere fact that she continued after that fall made her a crowd favorite, and a favorite of mine, too. She was crying at the end, but able to keep it nearly hidden. The crowd gave her a standing ovation.

As they waited for the judging, she got her left leg iced up. Then the scores were announced... despite the horrific fall, they won the Silver Medal.

Ski Crashes

I've seen two nasty crashes in Women's downhill this morning. The American crash was enough to make me gasp in horror. The Canadian apparently tore an ACL and won't be competing for a year, minimum. Ouch. And there was another crash that the CBC didn't show while I was watching.

On another note... I watched the biathlon and love it. It's the sport that thrills me most in the Winter Games.

Ouch... Luge crashes.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Canadian National Anthem

During the Olympics in Greece, the arrangement of the Canadian National Anthem that was played was absolutely AWFUL. I mean, if I were a Canadian in the audience, I would have been offended.

The Torino Games have a really good arrangement of the Anthem. I like hearing it.

March of Dimes

My friend and co-worker Amberkiah is doing the March of Dimes. She has a very modest goal of $200. I've donated $20, and I hope somebody who reads this will feel generous and give her another $5 or $10 to help her toward her goal.

In the meantime: GO AMBERKIAH! I'm proud of you.

Turin or Torino?

If someone were to come to Seattle and call it "Settle" or "Seat" or something, I'd be mildly irritated. Thus, whenever possible, I prefer to use the native name for a place instead of the anglicized version. Thus, the Olympics this year are definitely being held in Torino, not in Turin.

Georg Hackl is the Georg Hackl of Luge

Today, Georg Hackle of Germany wrapped up his spectacular Olympic luge career. This was his sixth Olympics, and won medals in five of them. So NBC called him the Babe Ruth of luge. The CBC, however, called him the Gordie Howe of luge. Just goes to show that the United States and Canada really are two different countries...

Do you think he'd be called the Pele of luge in South American coverage?

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hockey - Canada vs Italy Women

Two goals within moments after the game started. Italy is totally outclassed. An Italian player is injured with the second goal when she runs into the goal with her neck and head just after the puck goes in. OUCH.

Best Ads So Far

Best ads so far on CBC during the Olympics...

Drink Milk ad that has a caveman running from dinosaurs. Cute animation, nice point, though you kind of wonder how the caveman got the junk food.

Coffee commercial with the stern father who used to tell his son not to play hockey, but comes to see his grandson's game.

Update: Also the "Thank You" ad from Canadian athletes to people of Canada. The reaction of the chef just cracks me up.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bone Marrow Donor Needed

Read this post. If you happen to be or to know someone who is Filipino and between the ages of 18 and 61, PLEASE let them know that they could possibly save a life. Let's put this internet thing to good use, ok? Pass this one along, with the link to the original post.


Having a Ferrari peel out at the Opening Ceremonies is a wonderful Italian thing to do. Some of the rest of the stuff has been pure bizarre. But the peel outs were great.

March of the Athletes

A nice 30 minute program, filled with action. Best use of the Olympic rings I've seen, personally, in an opening ceremony. I liked this one a lot, despite the awful 70s disco music they over-used.

Now, this is the CBC, and if the pattern holds true, once the Canadians come in we won't get anything but Canadians with only glimpses of other countries walking in after that. We'll get interviews with Canadian athletes, and such... but the march itself will mostly be ignored until near the end.

But still, excellent overall. I'm sure I'll see the whole thing again tonight when Eric gets home.

Update: I swear, it's got to be completely bizarre for the English-speaking athletes to walk into the stadium with that disco music going. I find it freaky and I'm just watching. It must be surreal for the athletes.

Update: They're doing a split-screen. Canadians in the upper right, and the commentators mostly talking about Canadians. The rest of the march down in the lower left. Heh. At least they are showing it. I wonder how the NBC coverage will compare?

Update: Whoa! They've already gone back to the full screen for the main march. Amazing. I'm very pleased. I don't think we missed any country at all. And no commercial breaks so far, knock on wood. I wonder what "United States" is in Italian? I'm sure I'll learn soon.

Update: Nothing negative when Denmark came in, but the athletes they showed didn't look very happy. Hrm. Ah, they've split the screen again to show more Canadians. They're going back and forth from split-screen to regular.

Update: BIG cheers for France. Commentators telling us that the athletes are going into the "mosh pit" to watch Pavorotti, Yoko Ono, and Peter Gabriel. Germany is walking in. Their outfits are TRULY HIDEOUS.

Update: Giappone. I didn't guess that it was Japan.

Update: The crowd went nuts for the Kenyan athlete. For a moment I thought the Italians must be coming in.

Update: Showing the Canadian athletes, all of them are either on their cell phones or taping the action with a camcorder.

Update: Madagascar's first Winter Games. And the music is slowly getting more modern. Eurythmics now. Ooooh, and now "Video Killed the Radio Star". The Mongolian flag-bearer has an awesome outfit.

Update: The Canadian Commentator just said they aren't going to cut away to commercial break until the parade of nations is over. They plan to show the whole thing uninterrupted. Except by split-screen shots of excited Canadians on their cell phones.

Update: "YMCA" is playing while Slovakia comes in. Totally surreal.

Update: United States comes in. Surprisingly loud cheer from the crowd.

Update: Now they're playing Van Halen "Jump" as the Swiss come in. This is by far the strangest background music I've ever heard in an Olympic's Opening Ceremony.

Update: The "mosh pit" is nearly full. The march is nearly over.

Update: The crowd is getting more and more excited as the Italians are about to come in. Venezuala got big cheers... They crowd is drowning out the music now as Italy comes in. The CBC's sound equipment is being overcome. The music is Italian now.

That's it for live-blogging. Unless something more exciting happens.

Flaming Ice Skaters!!!

Best Opening Ceremony Ever!

Awesome Start!

A guy pounding on a flaming anvil. Lots of fire in this one.

The Olympics Are Starting

Thank goodness we get the CBC. They are showing the Opening Ceremonies live.

Update: Ok, so the first hour of CBC coverage is of people coming into the stadium... the Opening Ceremonies still aren't for another hour. Right now, the Canadians are discussing the Danish Cartoon Controversy in the context of the Olympic truce. And they just showed part of the torch relay, too. Eh, it's all good.

The Olympics

The Winter Olympics start in about three hours. While the Olympics are on, this blog will pretty much be devoted to them, and ignore the political stuff.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

White Guys on Black Opinions

Steve Gilliard has something to say about a white cartoonist who has created a conservative black character for his strip.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Just Go Away Quietly

The Heretik gives us some words on the funeral of Coretta Scott King. via.

Bush Government Believes it has License to Kill

Reason: Hit and Run has a fascinating little link to a Newsweek article in which the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (say that five times fast) says that the President has the right to order a terror suspect on American soil summarily killed. In other words, if Bush thinks you are a terrorist, he can have you killed without a trial.


Good-bye, Constitution. Good-bye, United States of America. Hello, Neocon Fascism.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NFL: The No Fair League

Laura's tired of talking about football, and how the Seahawks were robbed in the Super Bowl. So I'll take this one!

Actually, the best commentary about the lousy officiating I've seen so far is this one from KOMO's Ken Schram. Since he's also one of the few folks who saw through the baloney the school board was dealing out during the Marysville School Strike a few years ago, I have a great deal of respect for his opinions. So, go take a look if you haven't already. He not only nails it on the head, he also comes up with a great solution to at least part of the aftermath.

As If He Didn't Have Enough Pain

The Army wants a soldier to pay for body armor he "lost" when he was injured in Iraq.

It's All About The Warrants

C'mon folks, this isn't hard to understand.

Bush cronies eavesdropping on potential terrorists with warrants = good.

Bush cronies eavesdropping on who-knows-who without warrants = bad.

It has NOTHING to do with national security and everything to do with following the law. If Bush and his cronies have broken the law, they need to be removed from office and punished. Otherwise, the laws of the land mean nothing. So why on earth is congress allowing Bush cronies to testify without going under oath? This is serious stuff, why is our government piddling around with it? Put everyone under oath, get to the bottom of the story, and then take the appropriate action. If someone refuses to testify under oath, they lose their job.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Fiscal Cost of War

Iraq war is costing $100,000 per minute.

Conquering by Stealth and Deception

Katherine Yurica tells us how the Neocons have succeeded in their ongoing quest to dominate and destroy America:
1) Falsehoods are not only acceptable, they are a necessity. The corollary is: The masses will accept any lie if it is spoken with vigor, energy and dedication.

2) It is necessary to be cast under the cloak of "goodness" whereas all opponents and their ideas must be cast as "evil."

3) Complete destruction of every opponent must be accomplished through unrelenting personal attacks.

4) The creation of the appearance of overwhelming power and brutality is necessary in order to destroy the will of opponents to launch opposition of any kind.
Funny how all of this has happened, and funny how so many people have fallen for it. I resent the takeover of my country by these scum. They couldn't have done it without the help and consent of the corporate news media, whcih has become their willing propaganda machine. Most people aren't even aware of just how scummy the Neocons are... if there were any real news outlets left in the US most of the Neocons would already be in prison where they belong.

British Media

A Channel 4 news report (video link) tells of a January 2003 White House meeting in which Bush tells Tony Blair that the war in Iraq is going to happen even if the UN doesn't approve. The BBC News also reports on it. This is the news that will probably bring Blair down for good. It's a shame it can't bring down both "leaders" at the meeting.

Bush lied us into a quagmire of a war, one that's killed thousands of American soldiers and who knows how many innocent civilians. He failed to protect the nation on 9/11, he never bothered to finish the job in Afghanistan, he lied us into war in Iraq, and now he's illegally spying on American citizens. The man should be impeached then thrown in prison for the rest of his life. I say he deserves a year in prison for each American soldier who died because of his lies.

Oh, and just to be fair, I have no problem with Bill Clinton serving a year in prison for every American soldier who died as a result of him lying about sex in the White House.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bush Lies Again

According to Knight Ridder Newspapers, just one day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally.”

The man can't tell the truth to save his life.

Vote Fraud By Republicans

House Republicans vote for Majority Leader. They can't even do honest elections when it's internal? Maybe it was just a mistake. Of course, Republicans scream and yell at anyone else's mistakes, so it's fair to laugh at them whether they tried to cheat or they made a mistake.

Republicans Hate Lawbreaking, Too

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) has said Bush's spying program is illegal. Ok, Hagel, if you really believe that the president broke the law, what's the next step?

Anti-Abortion, Pro-Choice

William Saletan on abortion.

Look, I hate abortion. I consider it an immoral act when used as birth control. I would be very happy if there were no more abortions ever again. However, the US tried banning it, and it didn't stop abortions... it only caused intense pain and suffering.

I favor education. If the so-called "pro-life" people spent as much time and energy working to eliminate poverty, educate youth, and reduce the need for abortions, the problem would have a huge dent in it. But instead they make hit lists and kill doctors. There's nothing "pro-life" about their actions. And banning abortions again, without addressing the underlying problems, will do no good and much harm.

Instead of constantly legislating morality, why don't people try teaching it?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Police Apologize to Sheehan and Young

The police apologized to Cindy Sheehan and Beverly Young, and dropped charges against Sheehan. I tend to agree with Representative Young, that the capitol police need sensitivity training. They also need to no longer be under the thumbs of paranoid neocons, but that's another problem altogether.

Sheehan Arrested

In Cindy Sheehan's own words and according to CNN. If Sheehan's account is true, then we truly have lost our freedom. And, from the picture on CNN, her account is true.