Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The true Olympic flame

I usually just go for easy laughs here. But this morning I offer you smiling tears of heartbreaking joy.

Trust me. It's a great way to start the day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Classic headlines

Headlines are designed to grab our attention and compel us to read the entire story but in some cases there's just no point, anything that follows would just be anti-climactic.

Here are some of the best headlines ever::

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New Olympic sport: Water balloon tossing!

Not really, but it wouldn't be a shock.

We see some pretty silly competitions in Olympics events. Frankly, my hide would be chapped if I had booked a flight to London to learn that ping-pong was the only event I could get a ticket to see.

But it could be worse. Consider the list of some competitions that were actually Olympic sports at one time:

Tug-of-war was an event for eight-man teams at five Olympics, 1900, '04, '08, '12 and '20. A Vince McMahon-hosted international battle royal would probably be more to our liking today.

Poodle clipping. You can't make this stuff up. In the 1900 summer games some 6,000 spectators assembled at a park in western Paris to breathlessly watch 128 competitors race to trim the most poodles in a two hour period. The gold medalist was a French woman named Avril Lafoule, who snipped 17 dogs. Sadly, she wasn't invited back four years later because the event was, uh, cut.

Firefighting, another trial event in 1900, had both amateur and professional divisions. Details of the specifics are a bit fuzzy but you have to assume folks weren't as anal about air pollution back then. The event was flambéed thereafter.

Delivery van driving. This was a race through the streets of Paris. Yes, in delivery vans. I should mention that the 1900 games ran concurrently with the World Fair which was also going on in Paris at the time. It gave the unhappy customers who couldn't get a ticket to watch poodle clipping something else to do.

Roque. Okay. We know it now as croquet. This thrill-packed event was held only once, 1904 in St. Louis but Americans won all the medals! Possibly because no other country competed.

Motor boating first appeared in those wacky 1900 Parisian games but the thrill was gone after 1908. Apparently the big problem was that nobody but the contestants themselves could see what was going on. Oh, and nobody cared.

Swimming obstacle race. Say, how many events did they have in 1900? Did anybody run or jump? Anyway, this actually sounds pretty exciting. Contestants had to swim against the current of the Seine River, climb over some poles, scramble across the top of a row of boats and swim under another row of boats. Hey, wait a minute. That's the reality TV show called Wipe Out!

Live pigeon shooting. Yep. Paris, 1900 and never thereafter. Imagine the thrill for the children, watching clumps of bloodied feathers tumble from the sky! Still, it must have made for a plethora of inexpensive squab daily specials on Parisian restaurant menus that summer.

So, when you find yourself in front of the TV watching pretty girls bouncing around waving a ribbon or a bunch of guys in Spandex ® shooting bb-guns and you think, "This is stupid," remember the great stuff you missed.

© 2012, Dave Williams. All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Der fuhrer, laughing in Hell

Two items offered without comment from the original sources (linked.)  Condensed but not embellished.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s office responded to criticism Thursday after a photo of the mayor posing with white supremacist surfaced on the Internet. In the photo, which was posted on a blog called Anti-Racist Canada, Ford is seen standing next to Jon Latvis, who is dressed in a military uniform and is sporting a moustache.

A statement released by the Office of the Mayor said that this picture was one of up to 750 pictures taken with the mayor that day.

“At no time was the mayor aware of allegations that this individual had made racist, hateful or otherwise offensive comments/"

According to a band webpage, Latvis played lead guitar in a heavy metal group called Rahowa and has performed with another band called Aryan. The term Rahowa is a word used by white supremacists to describe a war against Jews and other races that they view as undesirable.

Source: CTV News, Toronto

A German teenager who can’t help making Nazi salutes because he suffers from Tourette’s syndrome was beaten unconscious by a black man who thought he was insulting him.

Gerrit Oeller, 16, tried to explain to the enraged man that the salute was not meant as an insult, and that he could not control his arm.

Gerrit said: 'He asked me if I thought it was funny and it made me nervous, which made me clench my teeth and he thought I was grinning at him. That was when he hit me. I went out like a light.'

By the time police arrived the man had gone.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the games begin!

How great is this?

Tonight in London the 2012 Summer Olympics begin, officially known as the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

XXX is right.

It's a little known fact that four years ago in Beijing the organizers of the games provided the world's greatest athletes everything they needed to survive and flourish for two weeks: modern, comfortable housing, abundant and nutritious meals...

...And one hundred thousand condoms.

And guess what? They ran out of rubbers.

The math is pretty simple. There are approximately ten thousand athletes attending the games and I suspect you can whittle that number down a bit if you take into consideration the athletes who prefer to stick to a strict training regimen, those who can't find a date, and those who can but simply have no need of condoms. (Work that one out yourself.)

So, when you come right down to it some large percentage of ten thousand athletes -- for the sake of discussion let's call it eight thousand -- found themselves in need of of prophylactic protection more than thirteen times in not quite fourteen days, which makes perfect sense if you deduct a day for jet lag.

This year the Brits are determined to uphold the proud traditions of Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Empire by surpassing the Chinese and stockpiling a 50% increase in the number of raincoats available at a moment's notice in the Olympic Village.

Hail, Britannia!

Let the games begin.

© 2012, Dave Williams, all rights reserved