Thursday, February 25, 2010

Clara Hughes: Red, white, and bronze (or gold)

I don't know what it is about sports that can get people caught up in the fervor and excitement of cheering for a team or an individual. Cheering for teams is like cheering for laundry, said Jerry Seinfeld. So how come a large event like the Olympics can come around and all of a sudden people care about sports they only hear of once every four years? Biathlon, speed-skating, bobsleigh... these are not sports with followings that compare in size to the fan base for soccer, football, baseball, and the other heavy hitters. Players in big leagues are professionals instead of amateurs like a lot of other Olympians. So where does the interest come from? National pride? A fascinating individual? An underdog story?

There are about four days left in the 2010 Olympics, and there have been some great moments so far, but my favourite moment will be tough to beat--even if the Canadian men's hockey team wins gold. (Mind you, losing would be the biggest disappointment.) And yet, it's not a golden moment as far as the medals were concerned. I'm talking about the last race by Clara Hughes. It was an incredible race, good enough for bronze when all was said and done. I didn't even see the race! I was stuck in traffic, so I listened to it on the radio. The volume was cranked, and I heard everyone screaming and cheering at the oval in Vancouver, and I heard the announcer shout to the point where throat lozenges were on standby.

Again, there was no gold involved. This was purely a case of caring because of the individual. Even a quick look at her Wikipedia entry will tell you that Hughes is the only person ever to win multiple medals in both the Summer and Winter games, winning two in cycling and four in speedskating. And then there's her story of being a problem child who became a problem teen; out of school and into drugs. Then in the winter of '88 she caught speedskating while channel-surfing on TV and decided she wanted to be an Olympian. Six medals later, her Olympic career is over at age 37.

I'll remember watching Hughes take two bronze medals for cycling in Atlanta when I was only 12, watching my first Games in '96. I'll remember her winning gold in Turin four years ago. I'll remember being so thrilled when she was picked at the flag-bearer for the Canadian team this year. And I think I'll have to remember wiping my leaky eyes in the middle of traffic after her last race, surrounded by other cars honking their horns.

To close, I can't really write anything better than these words from Hughes's journal, her final post before leaving for Vancouver a few weeks ago:

Thank you, everyone, for your support. Thank you for being excited about the Olympics and thank you for caring. When I am carrying the Canadian Flag into BC Place on the 12th of February, I am representing each and every Canadian. When I am racing, I am no longer just myself. I am something bigger, faster, stronger and far more beautiful: I am Canada. I just can’t wait to do this one more time. I will not lose sight of this gift of opportunity.

This is it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

George RR Martin/Dance With Dragons

Back from a long weekend of quiet but eventful happenings. I'm not ready to post a big post just yet, but here is a fake ad that made me laugh:

And here is the article that included it: George RR Martin Has Written 1,200 Pages of Dance with Dragons; Fans Are Impatient. To which I say: Yes We Are!

(Just a reminder: I do not think GRRM is my bitch.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weirdness in food and drink

According to this article, people outside of Ontario (and maybe Quebec and the Maritimes) don't drink milk out of bags. I know some people buy milk in cartons, and others buy it in jugs (although I only know one person who uses a jug), but I thought the bag option was available everywhere. I thought wrong. And people outside of these provinces are getting in a huff about it. Over milk containers? Really? Watch the video that started the kerfuffle:

Meanwhile, in the food world, here's one more thing to make me want to be a vegetarian again:

"The great American hamburger, we are told, is made with "Premium Black Angus patties." The New York Times reported this week that a significant quantity of this meat actually comes from Beef Products, Inc., which sweeps up the scraps from the killing floor, the bits and pieces of the mutant cattle that is being fed anti-biotics and "feed." Until it was banned by the Feds in 1997 because of mad cow disease, "feed" often included chicken feces, poultry feathers, cow blood, horse parts mixed in with soy, peanuts, and cottonseed. But the FDA didn't go far enough and today cattle sold for food can be fed pig and horse blood as well as tallow. The problem with cattle who eat feed rather than the grass nature intended them to eat is that they get sick and so are fed massive doses of antibiotics; but even that isn't enough to stop E.coli infection, so the scraps that end up in hamburgers are treated with ammonia. To quote the Times: "With the U.S.D.A.'s stamp of approval, the company's processed beef has become a mainstay in America's hamburgers. McDonald's, Burger King, and other fast-food giants use it as a component in ground beef, as do grocery chains. The federal school lunch program used an estimated 5.5 million pounds of the processed beef last year alone." Even after all that Mad Cow business they are still trying to turn cattle into carnivores because its cheaper and they get fat sooner, and the poisoned garbage from slaughterhouse floors is being swept up, cooked with ammonia, and sent to school kids. Mmmm. "Quality you can taste." Then you wash it down with a gallon or so of "soda" in a recyclable plastic container made with "high-fructose corn syrup" (because it's cheaper than sugar and has a longer shelf-life.) Oops, now they've found that those soda bottles contain BPA and even aluminum soda cans are lined with it, and oops, the human body thinks that BPA is estrogen. Maybe that's why all those boys have such big boobs, that and the soy milk. Meanwhile Mayor Bloomberg is trying to ban salt! Watch the film Food, Inc. And then lets all move to Sicily."

Yummy. Did you like that? Deeeelicious. (By the way, is it against some law to be quoting so much of an article? I'm a little hazy on the rules.)

And just like that, it's almost lunchtime. What do you say? Burgers and milk?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...