Countdown

19 February, 2006

Do you recognize that sound you’re not hearing? It’s the collective sound of Americans not watching the Olympics. Who’s to blame? Is NBC’s coverage the problem? Or is it the 6-9 hour time difference between Italy and the US? Perhaps… Maybe it’s the fact that nobody cares. As the games go more X-Games, it becomes less interesting to Americans. As far as I’m concerned the only real sport in the Olympics is hockey. Honorable mention goes to curling.

When snowboarding takes center stage, we have gone too far. And what was going through the first skeleton rider’s mind? (is that what they are called?)

Being honest, the only Olympic coverage I have seen was part of the Canada/Russia women’s hockey game, most of the US/Germany women’s hockey. I listened to part of the US men play the Slovaks Saturday, so I really have no idea what kind of “special stories” are going on in this version of the games. I’ve heard the stories, Michelle Kwan’s injury, the snowboarder who blew her chance at a gold when she show-boated and fell.. and the Bode Miller saga, reminiscent of the challenge between Dan and what’s-his-name, the decathletes from the '92 games, both failed to medal. Lot’s of pre-games hype, with disappointment as the pay-off.

What could make the Olympics better? Many have suggested tape delaying are the downfall of the coverage, perhaps. But if NBC showed the games live, the coverage would be at 9am, who would see them besides housewives and retirees? Would you take work off to watch the biathlon? Not likely. Others have suggested consolidating events into one night. For example all figure-skating would be featured on Thursday. That works if you want to catch one event, but most people would then only tune in for the event’s that interested them.

I think that the games have run their course. There is little doubt that Americans are not interested in most of the ‘games’ of the winter Olympics. All the proof I need to confirm this is the fact that glorified karaoke is pulling better ratings then the games. I doubt many of us would miss the games if they went away and simply never came back. Maybe then, there wouldn’t be a 3 week hiatus of new Law and Order episodes.

08 February, 2006

A grave disservice was done.

It was a sad day when Dr. King’s widow passed last week. She received an honor that not even her late husband received, being laid in state in the Georgia Capitol building. In fact, no African-American let alone a woman African-American. But that’s not what this is about.

At her funeral, many dignitaries were present, and several spoke. Some used the occasion to spew biased left wing propaganda anti George W.

Former President Jimmy Carter (according to Homer Simpson, we elected the wrong Carter with a reference to Billy Beer) took pot-shots at the current Commander and Chief for a lack of rapid response in the wake of the devastating storm Katrina. His comments were inappropriate to say the least. Not that he doesn’t have the right have a different, (albeit misguided) opinion than the current President. This was hardly the place to voice such an opinion.

It gets worse.

The Reverend Joseph Lowery swung much lower. His comments included “We know there were no weapons of mass destruction, but we knew there were weapons of misdirection right here.”

It was a time to pay tribute to a civil rights crusader. To the memory of civil rights leaders of times past. A mark that was missed on multiple occasions, and an opportunity to do much good was tainted by misguided left wing whack jobs. It was hardly the time or place for such slander.
Another Superbowl has come and gone. With my apologies to the Steeler and Seahawk fans, but let’s be real, it wasn’t that exciting.

The game wasn’t that good either. A very uninspiring performance by just about all involved, separated by a few moderately entertaining commercials. The consensus for best commercial was Bud Light’s ‘Magic Fridge’, I can’t dispute it was a good commercial, (my mom almost choked on her snacks when she saw it. I would give honorable mention to the ‘Sheep Streaker’ (also a Bud Light offering), The Fed-Ex prehistoric saga, and the Sprint-Nextel locker room comparing phone capabilities.

As part of the pre-game, the NFL paraded out the MVP’s of the past 39 Superbowls, with 3 exceptions. There were 3 no-shows representing 6 games (San Francisco’s Joe Montana, XXIV, XIX, and XVI, Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw: XIV and XIII and Miami’s Jake Scott VI) according to a San Francisco paper, Scott was in Australia vacationing with his family and the other two were holding out for more money. The League reportedly covered travel expenses for those in attendance along with tickets to the game and $1000 cash for incidentals. Joe Montana was reportedly holding out for quite a bit more than that, saying he wouldn’t come for less than $100,000. He also told ESPN 2’s Cold Pizza that he would be attending his kid’s basketball game the day of the big game.

Should they have been there? Probably, will it tarnish their legacy? Probably not. What kind of obligations does the mantle of MVP of the Superbowl bring? Officially, I am not sure (having not been a Superbowl MVP myself) publicly, I think they should have made an effort to be there. Could Scott’s family have vacationed next week or last week? Probably, but who are we to say he should have? Bottom line, it would have been nice to see all of the past MVP’s, but it didn’t make that much of a difference to me. It didn’t effect the game at all. To be honest, I had to look up the dates of the 6 Superbowls that were not represented, the most recent one was 16 years ago, and as long as I can remember, Bradshaw was the obnoxious bald announcer. In the end, I guess it comes down to, how much of a difference does it make to us that these 3 former athletes found better things than go to the Superbowl? Not much. If they want to spend time with their families, and they have the means to do so, more power to them.
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