Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Ask"- 8/10/08

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "Ask". I came up with this:

Every four years the world comes together to determine which countries have developed the most undetectable performance enhancing drugs. They call this event, the summer Olympics. As the 2008 version is underway, I feel the need to ask a few questions.

In 1980, in my opinion the most spineless president the United States has ever known, Jimmy Carter, boycotted the Moscow Olympics. The reason was that the Russians invaded Afghanistan and even though they were getting their butts kicked, our allies (we had more then) and us wanted them out. Several other nations joined us in the boycott. In retaliation, the Warsaw Pact returned the favor in 1984.

So why are we embracing the Chinese, whose human rights record is one of the worst in history? They torture and kill their dissidents. Could it be that we are overlooking China’s malevolence because they are the largest emerging consumer market and it is to everyone’s best interest to promote their economy, which the Olympics surely does? The Chinese bought the Olympics, just as the Mormons in Salt Lake City did in the winter of 2002.

A lot of us Americans, who have enjoyed freedoms and excesses that most of the world only dreams of, don’t really consider what the loss of them would mean. It is very popular to criticize the government, particularly the President of the United States. I do it myself. What if I wrote in this blog, “George Bush is a shitty president” and my door was knocked down minutes later, my computer seized, and I was incarcerated for the rest of my life? That is the situation in China.

I saw where Iraq was banned from these Olympics. They have only won one bronze medal in their history and that was in 1960. Why bother to ban them? No one notices whether they are there or not. I see they have since removed the ban. I am sure the world is trembling now that this Olympic powerhouse is back in competition. If there was an event that included dodging land mines or detecting car bombs, Iraq would win gold. But I don't think their way of life is conducive to training for saber fencing.

While I am on the subject of the Olympics, why do women’s volleyball teams wear normal athletic attire but the beach volleyball players wear an outfit that would get them arrested at many American beaches? Does a wedgie make one more aerodynamic? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching this event, but I have no idea how or when they score or which team wins. Nor do I care.

I also love women’s gymnastics, but it is the only time in my life I feel a bit like a pedophile. Again, I do not track the scoring. While on the subject of women's gymnastics, I have to ask: why is Mary Lou Retten held in such high esteem? She won gold when 11 of the top 12 women gymnasts were busy boycotting the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. She essentially beat nobody. Yet, her name comes up and her commentary is solicited each time women are competing. She was even featured on a Wheaties box. Talk about right place at the right time. This is just like Byron Nelson winning 11 consecutive PGA tournament events in 1945, when all the other golfers were fighting in World War II. Not impressive.

I used to watch track and field but like my beloved baseball, I can no longer be certain whether I am watching a great athlete or a great chemist. Marion Jones and Barry Bonds among many others have ruined these sports for me. If in a few years we find that Michael Phelps was anabolically enhanced, I will be greatly saddened, but unfortunately, not surprised.

Why are sports like synchronized swimming (which should be featured on “So You Think You Can Dance”) and table tennis Olympic sports? Then why not NASCAR and Texas Hold-em?

I have to stop now; there are groups of Chinese men, synchronized swimmers, and Jimmy Carter beating at my door.


Songwraith said...

Absolutely awesome post!--had me in stitches--even so, I somehow had the feeling you were just getting warmed up! Brightened my day!

Inland Empire Girl said...

good questions.... I am still trying to figure out how beach volleyball became an Olympic sport... now don't get me started.

forgetfulone said...

Excellent post. I think Texas Hold 'em should be an Olympic sport!

DJPare said...

All good points! Good post!

And I do appreciate my freedom of speech, but the fact that no one is going to knock down my front door, does make Bush any less shitty of a President...

myrtle beached whale said...

One of the beautiful things about our freedom of speech is that our thoughts don't even have to be coherent.

Go Figure said...

Come on Whale, why don't you write something that you are passionate about? HA! Nice blog.

Oh, but just what Freedom of Speech are you speaking about? In Idaho, Freedom of Speech is not public policy and a person can be fired for going to a public meeting sponsored by the state. If you don't believe it read Edmondson v. Shearer Lumber. Ha, Freedom of Speech. It is Fear of Speach and that is the law of the day.

Oh, did I just hear your doorbell ring?

Anonymous said...

An interesting post...I like the ones like this that leave me with more questions unanswered, than answered.

In our US/UK household right now, the only question being asked is 'Why don't the Brits win as many medals as the Americans?!'

Please don't get me started....


myrtle beached whale said...


I think Britain has roughly one fifth of the population of the US. So, if they win 20% as many medals as we do, they are right on schedule. As I write this you are above that pace. Don't feel bad. Michael Phelps will win more medals than most countries. Certainly more gold.

Vicki G. said...

Fantastic post! I just got finished watching the Men's 4x100 Relay - that was awesome!! I always wonder why the athletes don't sing the National Anthem though. I'd be belting it out as loudly as possible.

I can't imagine NASCAR as an Olympic sport, but I would love to see the fans trying to figure out how to get their RVs overseas. :)

Granny Smith said...

Good questions and a few good answers.

Anonymous said...

Well said! I agree with everything you say here. Oh, and thanks for the pic of the Brazillian beach volleyball babe - made my evening!It's our turn here in London next time round - I'm booking myself a holiday to a place where TV does not yet exist.

Nevis said...

I don't agree with most things you said, but it was well written.

And I ferverently do not believe Michael Phelps is on steroids.

myrtle beached whale said...


I sincerely hope we are right about Phelps. That would be a devastating thing to find out. But, unfortunately, with the "track" record of today's athlete, all great performances are viewed with a jaundiced eye.

Kim Williams said...

you are living in my home town, so i find this an interesting place to visit. i hope you will post again soon.

i was down your way last week. i spent a week conducting a training at Litchfield Plantation and visiting my folks in Murrells Inlet.


Rebecca said...

Great post, fantastic photos (all over the site, I mean) and love the pooch.

Our whole family agrees with you about the beach Can you call them that?

Synchronized swimming -- have to disagree. That sport amazes me!

Whether I agree completely with every statement or not, I still enjoyed the read.

I do, however, completely agree that we Americans often lose sight of the fact that we enjoy immense freedoms in our country. Sure there are bummers -- taxes and seatbelts, for instance -- but I wouldn't have any other country as my "country of citizenship".

Have a great Sunday!!!