1) All those impossibly beautiful pictures of London. It is a place I just love; there are few things just plain more pleasant than walking the Thames (I prefer walking the South Bank but YMMV). So many of my favorite memories are long walks in London.
2) The fascination of seeing sports I want honestly to watch only once every four years every fourth year; many of them I cannot figure out at all. For me this Olympics I enjoyed particularly the women's field-hockey shootout, unlike any of the other sport shoot-outs I can recall.
3) Brian Williams dressing down Lisa LaFlamme twice, once during opening ceremonies, and once just a few minutes ago at the end of LaFlamme's 'brilliant' report on women at London 2012. My father used to joke that the test of whether feminism has met its goals was not whether competent women got high positions, but rather whether incompetent women got them. I can say that I think CTV has proven feminism a success.
BTW Williams may not be done; there are still the closing ceremonies.
4) All those kids (yeah even Ian Millar, older than I but more of a kid) who invest so much in such arbitrary ventures. Their rewards are so uncertain, and I tend to think their dreams are pretty silly, but so many make something of it. Moreover, however arbitrary the momentary goals, all have built the sort of skills a modern society needs from its very important generalists. There is a decent human capital story here, however weirdly indirect.
5) For all the bumps (and there were many) the smooth operation overall of these games, and the fact nobody got blown up. This is not guaranteed in the UK; my guess is a lot of work went into not having anyone blown up.
6) Inane reporting. It makes me laugh.
What will I not miss:
1) Inane reporting. This is inevitable; this is a big operation and must feature a whole bunch of idiots along the way out in public. (See "LaFlamme, L" above for my opinion. ) There are many others I view as guilty. And where the hell was Dave Moorcroft during the men's marathon this morning? It was painful.
2) Reporters asking athletes how they feel. (OK a subset of 1) above.)
3) That song, whether by some number of tenors or a Ms. Yanofsky.
4) The daily morning wake-up excuse not to go exercise. I am a morning person and my standard exercise time has been displaced.
I suspect there will be one more post like this.
Thanks UK For hosting; apologies for some of my skepticism. This has been a really enjoyable two weeks.
And I hate to say it, no matter that I think you are bottom-feeding scum-sucking slime, thanks to the IOC.
Well actually also, thanks I think to Mark Tewksbury, who appears, entirely unexpected by me, to have been a pretty good chef de mission.
And Diana Matheson - thanks for telling Schmidt to send you the ball.
I find it easy to laugh at the notion that we Canadians should be proud when Canadians win medals at the Olympics; when this happens it is almost entirely becase of funding to athletes that I utterly oppose. I see NO value to me from having Canadians do well at the Olympics; that seems to me their individual problem or opportunity, and I see no reason I should be engaged in any way.
But when one of my own steps up to admit that he violated a rule and caused what some idiots in this country consider some sort of embarrassment, well then I feel on his side. And I am!
He seemed one of the smartest runners the years in the late '70s I had close contacts in England.
It has been great to have him come back as a color commentator in track events in Canadian Olympic coverage (originally CBC, and smartly now CTV).
But what fun it was to watch him cover the 5000! He has always been enthusiastic, and always energetic, but he really was more than himself tonight covering Mo Farah's wonderful 5000 win.
This was Moorcroft's main event as an athlete (though apparently he still holds the UK 3000 record, and was very versatile), and does he EVER know it. For this event he had techincal and emotional details way beyond his other coverage in this Olympics.
CBC - for 2016 negotiate that contract again! He made the 5000 live in a way it never could have with Michael Smith (who is good on stuff he knows but really limited outside his domain). Moorcroft, having been a major administrator for the sport in the UK, knows SO much more.
I really did wonder what direction Romney would take in the choice of a vice-presidential candidate.
For a long time I was a Paul Ryan guy for no reason other than that Ryan would polarize the race and force Romney to do more than just campaign on the utter uselessness of Obama's presidency so far (which, while demonstrable, is not always a reason to toss the scoundrel out).
I first saw Ryan in a confrontation with Obama over healthcare; it was clear that relatively Ryan was a wonk and knew the numbers and that Obama barely cares.
Well, we can see the numbers matter. And it will get worse.
Ryan's first intrusion into the world in this campaign:
This Olympics has delightfully featured profiles of Canadian wrestler Carol Huynh, who I think is fairly described as one of the many Vietnamese boat people. It's a great story, as communities across Canada worked to sponsor Vietnamese refugees. The profile tells how one not very wealthy BC Community supported her wrestling training.
What I find odd is the rather vague description of the circumstances under which the boat people left VietNam. As I recall the profile, there is a rather confusing description of chaos, making it almost seem as if this refugee situation arose as the US abandoned South Vietnam to the North, the Communists.
But Huynh's family did not leave VietNam during that critical changeover. They left a few years later, when the delightful constructive nature of the Communists (warning for lefties - sarcasm!) became evident and sensible enterprising VietNamese took desperate measures to get anywhere else. And that has made a lot of us a lot wealthier and happier; many came and settled in Canada and have contributed enormously to this country. (And, as in China, the VietNamese communists have finally concluded they need to cultivate private enterprise to provide their people any hope of a decent future.)
All of which connects nicely to Ron Radosh's review of Peter Dreier's "The 100 Greatest Americans ...". Dreier sounds to me like a left-wing academic hack, and Radosh's review does much to suggest as much (note that Dreier is at Obama's undergraduate college). And the connection to the Huynh profile is that you don't really have to leave much out of a story to give the narrative spin you prefer, as Dreier apparently ostentatiously does.
Radosh picks a few examples of lies at least of omission. To my mind the most egregious is the discussion of Bayard Rustin. This one paragraph tells me so much about the kind of lying by omission endemic, apparently from this review, to this work.
Dreier writes that Rustin “continued organizing within the civil rights, peace, and labor movements.” Nowhere in his entire profile does he mention that Rustin was the chairman of the social-democratic organization Social Democrats U.S.A., the wing of the old Socialist Party that broke with Michael Harrington and Irving Howe. Nor does he mention that Rustin opposed the Sandinistas and the Soviet Union, and worked alongside Ronald Reagan on behalf of Solidarity in Poland and in conjunction with Lane Kirkland, head of the AFL-CIO, whom the Left attacked as a CIA agent.
The left once had some principles but parts of it can still not accept that the implicit support of Stalinism and Russian communism after that was a mistake, and clear moral failure. That a large part of it has now signed up with Islamism shows the level of judgment that comes with no ability to really reflect on gross errors. Dreier is very uncomfortable with anti-communism. I find this baffling, given how obviously communism managed to discredit itself last century. Did he miss that? Was he on another planet?
What is most sinister is that this gross error gets elided so easily in even a private broadcaster's profile of a top Canadian athlete and her life story. Of course those profiles are put together by people who have often been to journalism schools, and really don't get some fine distinctions like those between communists and enterprising people who want some freedom. That's a tough distinction when you don't value freedom and love telling other people how to live.
I was born into it and it was not like this back then! But this is just SO great!
A little while ago CTV made the very odd decision to cut away from the 4x100 qualifying races to show some obscure wrestling match (OK obscure to me, not to wrestlers), but on BOTH the main channels they had largely done a great job of splitting among competing Olympic events.
A little research showed me that in fact one of CTV's perhaps lesser-known channels was showing the track and field in Punjabi! So I switched. And I got to see what I hoped. And at the moment I have NO wish to switch back to their main channles.
The Punjabis, with no apparent Sikh in the running, are persistently showing the track. And live, as far as I can tell. Unlike the main network channels.
Damn I love this country! Like this is just totally amazing! Because we have a Sikh audience in Canada, a fanatic track and field addict like me can get served by this (BTW private) network, where its major broadcast outlets were an utter fuckup.
The very sad news is that the CBC have won back the contract for the next couple of Olympics. So I expect a LOT less. They do not have the number of channel outlets to satisfy all the various interests. Nor any real motivation to do so so long as financed by a government (hear me, Harper?!).
OTOH it might well be the case that we are all by then watching mostly on-line. And then I would ask the CBC to do that broadcast roughly in real-time; for some reason I do not understand, CTV CONSISTENTLY ran on-line broadcasts WELL behind real-time. This is REALLY annoying. I sort of get the point but you canot keep that shit up for long.
But CTV - I salute you for creative use of your franchises. And for not sucking away my tax dollars. This was by far the best Olympics coverage specialized sports fans have had and I am sorry you could not outbid the government-financed asshole juggernaut for the next few.
I confess that though I often do not get too very nationalistic about the Olympics, I was rather delighted by our women's soccer team beating France to get a bronze medal in their sport, apparently the first time Canada has won a team sport medal in the summer Olympics since the Nazi incarnation.
I was also pleased to see on replays that the winning goal (France probably should have scored five goals by then, but did not manage to) was far less accidental than it seemed on first watching; replays show Matheson signaling Schmidt as she enters the penalty area. I am now very impressed (not like McKayla).
Canada had a nice early run in women's soccer way back when, being one of those women's equality countries before the good football countries encouraged women to play as well, and we probably got a bit spoiled. But many many years in futility clearly caused someone to think something must be changed, and clearly something was. The 2011 World Cup experience was embarrassing.
I hope the nation recognizes how violated France must feel, but really they were violated only by the dimensions of the goal. Canada entered this match violated, I think rightly, by some phenomenally bad officiating; I don't even mean the calls that let Wombat Wambach tie the score at 3-3, though that seems the focus of much of the national hand-wringing of the last many days. By then, I thought I had seen an enormous accumulation of small bad calls, all favoring the US. I do hope FIFA's 'investigation' (it is such a corrupt organization that such a concept seems utterly ridiculous) does not stop at the Canadian whining after our loss (yes it was whining) but also extends to whether there was substance to the complaint. Personally I think there was. Count this as the opinion of someone baffled by a lot of the tackle calls during the match, but who does not really understand the rules.
And I should add that I think the real problem in the US match was that Canada simply did a bad job of maintaining possession; the number of times the ball was simply given up to the US for no good reason seemed insane to me (and I speak as someone who has no idea what a good reason is).
And Wombat Wambach (I mean no disrespect to her - only to the apparently unilingual brioadcasters who cannot properly pronounce 'ch') observed that in the US match Canada 'closed' pretty much all their goal-scoring opportunities, while the US struggled to close so many more that they had. I think she is right. And that is the story of the bronze-medal match; France had maybe even double-digit opportunities and failed to close any of them; as far as I could see Canada had one and closed it.
And so go sports. One reason I love them!
And I SO look forward to the gold match tonight. The US will be loaded for bear after the World Cup final, which I confess was one of the best nights I can recall watching any sports event (Dublin, Smithwicks, strangers!).
I am pretty sure in this case I can let the progress of the match determine my allegiance; I love the light-touch Japanese style of play, but can one not really be impressed by Rapinoe, Morgan and Wombat Wambach and all the others (yes I am embarrassed that I cannot name Japanese players but I hardly ever watch women's soccer and it is usually Canada-US)?
I know for sure I have at last a couple of hours of real enjoyment ahead!
By far my favorite - the Mad Men one. I expect there to be hundreds oof others soon. As someone who stayed up for the Curiosity landing I find those funny too. Well they are all funny. I feel only slightly sorry for that grumpy entitled little girl.
I remain confused about what bilthering idiots put the London2012 site up but that they did it with no way to navigate through the list of athletes engaged and get past the first page of listed athletes listed with a specific surname starting with a given letter somehow seems perfect. My father had a Morris Minor and its vice was a passenger window that cleared in no time in winter but stayed fogged on the driver's side. No need really to worry about the driver's side in Canada.
So what I encountered was what I expected of Brit execution. I now note, over a week after I pointed out to them the gap on the website, that they have fixed it. It is still impossible to navigate efficiently to an athlete's name but at least you can get past the first page.
And I filed two complaints through different channels and never got other than the pro forma response from the machines.
So was it Coe's nephew or Johnson's brother who got the contract for the website, or so it would seem to me. Of course I am being mischievous but the lack of professionalism stands out by comparison with previous Olympics. They had respectable websites designed carefully. This year's is a disaster in so many other ways.
I have long loved this song, though I learned it from a guy covering it whose cover is not on YouTube. So let's give it to the author.
Why do I love the song? Well, the subject line above is a great line and it is exactly how I feel; when I start hearing those suckers at Ashbridge's Bay every year, I know spring is back.
And as Francey is a transplanted Scot, I suspect he was very impressed by how flat-out brassy those birds are for their size. As he writes, "Safe as Moses in the rushes," but that is not how the male red-wing behaves. (You might never notice a female if you do not look for her, but the male is utterly out there, and not hiding in any rushes.) I am not sure of Euro-birds that brassy with that size disadvantage to a hawk, but I have seen none! And we have the red-wings and the cardinals too! (And these red-wings will attack a six-foot tall human who merely strays into what they consider their turf; I know.)
1) First to the UK for being willing to host this monstrous gathering, and apparently accept all the disruptions, and apparently even at the cost of basic freedoms. If that's how you choose to do it, thanks anyway.
2) For all the athletes, who really do not need thanks, who are there for their own reasons, but I am delighted to watch them, once every four years, in sports nobody wants to watch other than parents. But I love being reminded these sports exist and a few people care about them. Devotion, whatever its motivations, is an interesting thing.
3) To Brazil for taking this on in 2016. I hope I am around to watch, though my expectations are pretty low, even compared to my expectations of the Brits.
4) Oh and to Sochi for the winter! I tend to forget about that. That should be funny.
5) Track and field has yet to start. That is when my devotion will get rolling.