A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

23 August 2008

Olympic Musings

First off - an excuse...I've been dealing with a stabbing ice-pick headache for the last few days...so if this makes no sense and I find out later and you find out before me...I apologize. But considering this idea's been sitting in the back burner of my mind since the second day of the Olympics and the time is waning...I'm going to jump while the iron in that burner's still hot.

I LOVE the Olympics (Summer and Winter)...I have since the 1968 games. When they grace my screen, I stay glued to it watching everything and anything they throw at me...from those "gotta see" events like gymnastics, swimming (how about that Phelps!) and ice skating to the ones that make you go "hmmmm" - like Men's Synchronized Diving and Women's Synchronized Swimming...to the "Ski a Bit...Shoot a Bit" competition I only have a vague idea of the name (Biathlon - "thank you", Google)...to Curling, which has GOT to be the oddest of all Olympic "sports" out there. Somehow I think boredom and booze were involved coming up with that one. But, last Winter Olympics - I watched Curling...and it seemed to get its 15 minutes of fame and glory - at least everyone was talking about it...due to the actual airing of the event. That "leftover '
Whatizit' element" - probably artfully tied in somehow during their commentary when they did their backstories. Eh...probably not. Let's move on...

And for my money (not that I'm buying anything NBC's advertising)...other than the late great Jim McKay, you just can't beat Bob Costas as a host. He's informative, intelligent, silly enough to seem like's actually being genuine while being silly, and darnit, he's still pleasant on the eyes (even with the darker hair). But first and foremost the show and his sporadic interviews with various athletes is not about him - it's about them and he is an unpretentious sort and not an opportunistic attention grabber like that irritating weasel, Pat O'Brien was when he covered the Olympics. I cringed each time he showed up because it was going to be HIS interview - no matter the subject matter...it always segued into "the show about him".

But there are some things which always stay the same...and things that always make me go "hmmmm" - so since I am now watching platform diving...I thought I'd take the platform myself and share some of my own personal Olympic meanderings and musings...

First off, the sideline comments:

There are rule books the judges use, the officials use, the participants use...but there should be one the reporters and commentators also use. One that deals with cliches and just plain dumb verbiage. In other words - sporting vernacular they always fall back on which makes everyone else cringe or go "NO...REALLY?? It also begs the question, "Do they even bother to know how silly it's going to sound before they say it?"

Oh, I'm not saying I could do any better...altho I think I'd jot down some "pre-event" comments before I went on the air and then tried to work them in instead of the others. You'd think a big network would say..."Could you possibly refrain from using the following utterances? (Hands list to them.) Please?"

Keep in mind these are things which highly paid people say during the Olympic broadcast (and have for years) and, just because it's my blogumn, some of my comments after...

"Oooh, that's gonna cost him."

"I don't think he meant to do that."

"He really didn't want to do that during this competition."

"What's going through their mind right now?" (Before, during, and after winning or losing any event.)

"She hasn't been able to do this all week..." Promptly followed by either "...but she managed to do it this time" or "...and she still didn't". It's witty banter like this which secures their place in the annals of broadcasting history, right up there with the "oh the humanity" guy.

And I don't know about you, but if I hear one more reporter say "He really wants to win this thing"... Noooooo, really?? I thought he was trying for fifth, ya moron. And then there's the "geez, ya think??" factor for the ever popular "Oooooh, he's going to regret doing that the rest of his life".

And now...some random Olympic thoughts:

The guy who lifts the guy up at the high bar in men's gymnastics...just what does he shout to the guy who's doing the routine? "Yes...that's it - now swing around again...and again...okay, that's good...don't forget to grab the bar...now go around again...now get ready to let go...but only when I tell ya." I mean, you'd figure the gymnast already knows his routine...and it's not like he's relaying key information like "Hurry up...the guy swimming next to you is catching up!" or anything. I'm kinda curious as to what they say.

And why don't they have balance beam spotters? Do you only get a spotter when there's a bar involved? The men's high bar has one and the women's uneven bars does...why not a rings spotter? And doesn't this "back seat driver of the bar" get on the gymnast's nerves? Each time they do any move - the "bar guy" inches up a foot and then retreats...inches up again...flinches...puts his arms up...down again...then steps back. You'd think it would be like the guy yelling just when the golfer's going to make his putt. Plus I've never seen them stop anyone from falling. When the gymnast misses...they end up splatting on the ground...not really like the "bar guys" are that much help if you ask me.

Can they call a time out in order to get the sand out of their bottoms during Beach Volleyball? And if so...just what does the hand signal for that look like? (Oh...trust me, I made one up...it's pretty good.)

Shouldn't there be Olympic "do-overs"? When someone trips you from another team...say, hypothetically...when you are Great Britain and Jamaica comes into your lane and bumps into you when they're passing their baton. That really isn't good. By that adage...they could possibly team up like in NASCAR. Get two teams in the finals - have one smash into the one who poses the biggest threat...so you can run off with the gold. Seems plausible. Not that I'm saying they do it - but I have seen missteps in quite a few Olympics...from the Zola Budd/Mary Decker incident...to, well, this one tonight. It's never fair - and I think they should have "do-overs". At least let the "wronged" people do it over...I'm not saying everyone has to start over - but sheesh...let them have their shot.

If some athletes like to take banned drugs and swipe the glory away from the true-deserving competitors (sometimes years after the fact) - why don't they just have a "Steroid Olympics"? Heck, I'd watch that for sure. Just think of the arms being pulled off during weightlifting and the records being broken and how itty bitty the men's Speedos could be with all the ...oh, c'mon you DO know the side effects of taking steroids, right?

And can we please only compete in the country in which you were raised for the majority of your life? Not "oh I didn't qualify for Berlique...so I'll go to Upper Slobovia...they have no one...I'll be a shoe-in to make the cut."

Yeah...I know - that last one probably already got me some hate mail...but can we just give the games back to the people who didn't turn pro yet? I mean a cereal box here and again to fund the house your parents mortgaged three years ago so you could afford moving to a place where an Olympic coach trains - is one thing. But when you've been pro for X years and you can now (technically) represent your country in the games just to win a medal that you (ultimately) take away from someone else who isn't pro who'd also like the possibility of a medal...well, that's still unfair and unsporting if you ask me. Yeah...medals are nice - but opportunities are, too. Give the opportunity to a non-pro athlete - there are probably plenty of them out there who'd love to represent their country and could do a darn fine job in the process.

Lastly, since I'm getting hate mail from the last two...might as well go for three. Mark Spitz still ruled and always will in my book. Yes, I know, Michael Phelps is phenomenal. I agree. I really do. But Spitz was magical back in my day...and like one of the commentators said after Phelps won...(and I'm paraphrasing) "Spitz was from 'our generation'" referring to us older viewers who lament Spitz' record being broken. His "our generation" is also MY generation and it is the one of my glory days of my youth - and that youth comprised of Olga Korbut, Mark Spitz, Bruce Jenner, Dorothy Hamill, Franz Klammer (anyone else remember him?) and the incredibly great Toller Cranston (who got cheated out of a gold if you ask me). It always will. It's a bittersweet moment to see it...I knew Phelps was capable...but, secretly I'll admit - I wanted him to tie it. I knew he wouldn't - but to see Spitz "dethroned" considering he didn't swim eight races...seemed - wrong. (And some people were just so incredibly disrespectful if you ask me about the whole ordeal.) Yes, I know...Spitz only swam two strokes and Phelps swam four...but a part of me...again, a part of my youth I wanted so desperately to hang on to...was relinquished. I'm just glad it was by someone who wasn't an arrogant twit. Phelps is so very nice...and no one (in their wrong or right mind) can possibly argue he can't out-swim anyone and everyone...but...I'm still a tad curious just how much slower he might have been had he donned a Speedo and a moustache. ;)

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