Olympics Finishing Up

Well the 2008 Summer Olympics is done with and the medal counts are in. The US leads the overall count with 110 medals but China leads the Gold count with over 50.

It’s been an interesting show, Michael Phelps blew away the mens swimming competitions with a whopping eight gold medals, setting the bar pretty high with several new personal, US, Olympic and World records. The people competing in 2012 are going to have their work cut out for them.

Speaking of bars, parallel bars that is, the Chinese did a heck of a job in the gymnastics although I have to say that some of those girls looked WAY younger than the sixteen years old that they’re supposed to be. I am not a hamster, most of ’em didn’t even look old enough to need acne treatment.

Then there’s the Basketball final which the US won the gold, and the last of the track & field where the American teams again won the gold with some spectacular victories. It’s amazing how they make it look so easy when I know they’ve got to be running their guts out. The guy who ran anchor on the mens 4 x 400 relay looked like he was just casually cruising across the finish line like it was a casual jog instead of an Olympic final.

Now I’m looking forward to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I’ve been looking forward to the Curling competitions since the 2006 winter games ended.

[Tags]sports, olympics, gold medals, records, michael phelps, curling, winter olympics, vancouver[/tags]

China And The Olympics

With the Olympics being in China this time around there’s more attention finally being given to China and some of the ways they’re doing things are getting a little more press than usual. It’s long overdue and still not enough.

Y’see, back when China was granted the shot at hosting the Olympic games they made a bunch of promises to improve things in the area of human rights. In a nutshell, they’ve blown it on most, if not all, of those promises. I am not a hamster, I think it’s time for spectators, athletes and governments that believe in basic freedoms and rights for all people everywhere to give serious consideration to deciding that it’s a better idea to NOT rush to pack their new Johnston and Murphy luggage and go rushing off to Bejing.

To go ahead with this only serves to tell China that they’re not obligated to keep promises that it made.

It’s telling them that it’s okay with us if they imprison and execute thousands of people a year for “crimes” that don’t warrant such penalties.

It tells them that we’re just fine with massive censorship of the media and internet to block efforts of Chinese citizens to learn the truth about all kinds of things going on in the world that don’t agree with the governments communist point of view.

Well, China needs to get the message that these things are most definitely NOT ok. They need to get the message that we’re not going to give approval by participating in something that makes a mockery of what the Olympics are supposed to symbolize.

Too bad most of the countries, businesses and even a large number of athletes are more concerned with the money that stands to be made either directly or indirectly from participation in the Bejing games.

For more about China’s human rights violations, check out Amnesty International’s site

[Tags]china, olympics, bejing, human rights, rights violations, amnesty international, freedom of the press, censorship, internet censorship[/tags]

Papa John’s Gets Free Publicity

How you ask? After Basketball star Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers complained about hard fouls (whatever that is, sounds like a really tough bird to me) and Washington Wizards center Brendan Haywood called him a crybaby.

Papa John’s decided to take advantage of the situation. They had a bunch of T-shirts made up with LeBron James’ number over the word “crybaby”. The shirts showed up at Cavaliers / Wizards games and Cavaliers fans were taunting James.

I am not a hamster, I know a promotional gimmick when I see one. First they get a lot of notice (and brand name recognition) by not only doing the t-shirt thing, but making certain that people know WHO did it. Second, once that’s played out as far as it needs to go, they make a big deal about apologizing for the stunt, following it with a deal where they’re going to sell pizza’s for 23 cents on Thursday and donate $10,000 to the Cavaliers Youth Fund.

All of this adds up to a bunch of free publicity. Obviously James is no baby, I doubt he even needs acne wash much anymore and I doubt that this taunting t-shirt thing was any kind of a serious problem for him. Papa John’s may have been out the cost of some pizzas and ten grand for the youth fund but in the long run I’m sure they figured it was worth it. It’s not the kind of stunt you can pull very often but if you do it right and I think maybe they might have, you can get a lot of benefit.. increased name recognition as well as ‘good guy’ credit for donating to a worthy cause

Clearly Not At All

I think perhaps one of the most annoying things about the news, television news in particular, is the infuriating tendency to mis-pronounce things. One of my favorite things to hate hearing them say is “Blytheville”. Even though the correct pronunciation is “Blythe Ville” with two clear and distinct syllables, most of the on air personalities on kait, (our local tv station) consistently pronounce it “Blahvul” with the syllables jammed together. Every time I hear it I want to get out something like a plasma cutter and demonstrate that a word or name with multiple syllables needs to be pronounced correctly by separating the syllables.

Before anyone decides that I’m just picking at a nit, I am not a hamster, that was just ONE example. Anyone who watches kait for a few days will hear an amazing number of ways in which the English language and the pronunciation of it is mangled into near unrecognizable condition.

I understand that they’re just people and are not going to be perfect. I’m not either. Yet I think that with a job such as News Anchor, clear and precise pronunciation would be important. It’s all a part of delivering the news. What good is it if we can’t understand the ones delivering it?

Not much.

Arkansas State Changing Mascots

This is ridiculous. A while back somebody decided to raise a big stink over the fact that the Arkansas State University sports teams were called the “Indians”. Now, some years later they’re having to change the mascot because some ninny decided to take offense.

Thing is, I’m not a big sports person but I have seen an Indians game or three over the years and I’ve had occasion to see the mascot. The Indian mascot was portrayed with dignity from what I’ve seen. For that matter I’ve learned recently that some of the people assuming the role over the years have been “Native Americans” and THEY didn’t consider it to be offensive or defamatory in the least. Now I am not a hamster but if Native Americans don’t consider “Indians” to be an offensive or derogatory mascot then what the hell is anyone else taking offense for?

I think that more people need to RE-learn what their mothers taught them long ago. “Mind Your Own Business!”