Posts Tagged ‘russia’

Slip Sliding Away − The 2014 Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics never disappoint me because I don't watch them.

The Winter Olympics never disappoint me because I don’t watch them.

The Winter Olympics are to the Summer Olympics as Arena Football is to the NFL. And while I hope everyone enjoys the Winter Olympics, I’m going to pay about as much attention to them as I do to the San Jose SaberCats. The XXII Winter Olympics are being held in a place called Sochi. Sochi is a popular Russian resort town (pop. 343,000) on the Black Sea. But to me Sochi will always be the cute little nickname I used to call my first girlfriend. It’s remarkable to me there’s such interest in the Winter Olympics considering the entire wintry spectacle is based on nothing more than sliding. Sliding around on some kind of frozen water.  

In actuality there are really just two events – sliding on skis and sliding on skates. And if you think about it, there’s really just one event because skates are just very small skis used for sliding. And somehow from this singular principle of controlled sliding the Olympic Committee has concocted 88 distinct events all involving sliding around on solid H2O. And they’re even awarding medals depending on how fast, accurately or artistically you can control your sliding. Countries take this very seriously and spend a lot of money sending their best sliders to the Games.   Read the rest of this entry »

Back in the USSR: Ruminations on the Cold War

Russian Birthmark

I always had a strange fascination with the old Soviet Empire. Being born into the Cold War era, I just accepted its’ peril as something burned into my existence. It was always there operating in the background of my early life like Bonanza or Spaghetti O’s. Even though I was only 7, I was mystified on how something as dispiriting and toxic as Communism could take root in the bosom of Mother Russia. And as a disbelieving adolescent I followed Soviet events with prodigious avidity – not an easy thing for a 7 year old to do. Their culture seemed so poisonous; like being on chemotherapy all the time, but with nothing to cure. Things were so bleak in the Soviet Union that Russian children didn’t wish they were Oscar-Mayer wieners. Even the Soviet Keebler Elves were banished to a Siberian Gulag for putting too much sand in one of Stalin’s Pecan Sandies.  Read the rest of this entry »