Friday, August 29, 2008

The Birds

I was returning from a shopping trip when the old lady next door came out to talk to me. Usually, I avoid the old bird. Back when I first moved in, the Old Bird came out and introduced herself. At first, I thought it was a neighborly thing to do; and I was raised to be respectful of elders. So I smiled and tried some polite conversation. Only, it turned out to be a one sided conversation as the Old Bird decided to launch into her life story about selling her home because it was too big for her to keep up with it, and that moving into an apartment was the right choice. Of course, now her 37 year old son lived with her; he's never been married; he's trying for disability benefits. Then she talked about her diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, and almost every other disease known to old people. All I could do was nod and say 'uh huh' as she went on and on about her aches and pains. And that's when I decided to avoid her at all costs.

She likes to sit by her front window and call out to passersby, engaging them in tedious conversations about the weather...and how it's affecting her sciatica. I've learned to just do a quick wave and smile before dashing behind closed doors--be it the front door or car door. On some occasions I've wished her a happy whatever holiday it happened to be, but the minute she started to bring up her swollen ankles, I end the conversation quickly by excusing myself do some fake emergency task or urgent errand. And some days, I just take the long way around the building just so I don't pass by her window and end up talking to her.

I think she's lonely; she's a part time cat lady as well. She doesn't keep any cats, but twice a day, she puts out bowls of water and food for cats. Naturally, a lot of cats come by for meal time--strays and pets! She's given the cats names--even the ones that all ready have names on their collars. Some of these cats have decided to take up residence on my porch and windowsill. I don't really mind that much. The good news is, with all these strays, there's less bird crap on my car. The bad news is that some of these cats like to nap on my car, leaving paw prints and mud on my (especially newly washed) car!

So I had my car trunk open, wondering what she wanted to talk about. What could be so urgent that she actually left her perch by her front window to wait outside for me--or anyone else, I suppose--so she could talk?

She asked the most peculiar question, "Are you being targeted by Asian gangs?"

"Pardon?," I asked, not quite sure if I had heard her right.

She replied, "I was wondering if you were having any trouble with some Asian gangs."

Okay, no problem with my hearing; possible problem with her head. I wondered if she had maybe forgotten to take some pills today; or maybe she took too many. But I said, "No. No problems. I don't even know any Asian gangs," I paused, "Why do you ask?"

She said, "Oh, I found a dead bird on my doorstep this morning. And it's wings were spread."

"Oh," I said, "Maybe a cat did it. Cats like to bring their catches as gifts to their caretakers sometimes."

"That's what I thought at first," she replied, "but my son said it was a gang sign because the wings were open and it was laid by the door."

I grabbed my shopping bags, closed the trunk and waited for an explanation.

She continued, "My son said that it's sign that Asian gangs know as a warning. It means you're being targeted for justice."

Ah, I thought. Clearly, the son has watched too many Crow movies.

She asked, "Aren't you worried?"

"No," I replied, "Not really. I've never even heard of any Asian gangs in this part of the state."

I had the key in my door, signifying the end to the conversation when Old Bird declared, "Well, I've taken care of it. I've notified the management about it. They took away the dead bird, and I told them all about the Asian gang signs."

I imagined the management staffs' faces as Old Bird told them about the gang signs. It wouldn't be the first time she's come up with something peculiar. The week before, she swore the Chubacabra was clamoring on her porch for several nights. She called the emergency number for the manager one night, and the manager grabbed a flashlight and ventured to see what the ruckus was all about. It turned out to be a racoon feeding on the food Old Bird had left for the cats. The management informed Old Bird that it was a racoon, and that she should stop leaving out food at night so it won't attract any more critters. Still, Old Bird maintained that it was the Chubacabra that visited her porch earlier. And I doubt anyone could change her mind about the dead bird being a warning from Asian gangs.

I decided it was time to make my exit, "Well, I've got to put these up and head back out. Have a good day, Old Bird." And I smiled and went inside, promptly closing my door.

I knew that it would only be a matter of time before they carted off Old Bird to a rest home. She was really old and with all her health conditions, it was inevitable. And as much as I try to avoid her, I couldn't help but think the neighborhood would be a much duller place without her.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lost and Found

One of the worst things about not living in a gated community is having all sorts of characters walk right into the neighborhood and knock on doors. I've had to deal with some of these filthy vermin--con men (people selling magazines), scam artists (Girl Scouts), and beggars (activists seeking signatures for petitions). But the worst of all are the religious nut sacks who somehow have made it their mission to litter the neighborhood with pamphlets of Jesus.

And today, I was looking for something to eat in the kitchen when someone knocked at the door. I looked in the peephole to see two elderly women. One was tall and wore glasses. The other was plump and short. Both wore their gray hair in a tight bun. They didn't look dangerous, so I opened the door slightly.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

The tall one with glasses spoke, "Do you accept Jesus as your personal savior?"

"Excuse me?" I asked.

Now the plump one answered, "Son, these are troubled times. There are signs of the apocalypse nearing. You need Jesus if you want to be saved."

Ah, religious nuts. Trying to be polite, I said, "Thanks, but not interested."

"Not interested?," the plump one spoke, "Are you not interested in going to heaven? Don't you want to live a better life?"

I was starting to get irritated, "Ma'am, my life is just fine. Try someone else."

"A life without Jesus is a life of sin. You'll find yourself in eternal damnation!," said the plump one.

"Lady, I don't need your lectures. I really don't want to talk to you any more. So, please be on your way and have a nice day," I said.

But as I tried to close the door, the tall one put her hand on the door, trying to push it open and proclaimed, "You need to find Jesus!"

And that's when I lost my patience, "I'm not looking for Jesus! If he's lost, try calling the police and put up some missing persons posters! But you best find some manners first! And get some hearing aids! When I said, I'm not interested, I meant I'm not interested! Now kindly remove yourself from my door and get the hell off my porch!"

They both stood there and stared at me, mouths open.

I reiterated, "I said, get!" They finally got the message and started to leave, but I couldn't resist calling out after them, "And don't be littering the neighborhood with your trash! Learn to use a trash can sisters! This a'int your home where you can toss litter willy nilly!"

That got them to stop for a moment and give me a dirty look, so I pressed on, "That's right! I'm talking about you! You litterbugs!" They turned away, held their heads up and kept on marching.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Miss Directions

I don't have a GPS, so it was quite a disconcerting experience for me to drive a car that had one. My friend Gidget had programmed her GPS to get us to this restaurant. I've been there before; she hadn't. While I was driving her car, I was surprised when a female voice said, "Your exit is coming up. Prepare to take the next exit!"

"Wow," I said, "that was something..."

"I know!," my friend, Gidget, replied, "I love this thing! I never have to worry about getting lost! You should get one!"

"Eh, I don't know. I do just fine," I said.

She laughed and said, "You still have a road atlas in your car! Get with the times, grandpa! Get a GPS." She was right. I still carried a road atlas; it was three years old, but it still worked well for me.

I smiled and said, "Hey, I don't have a problem with getting lost. And if I did, no big deal. I'll eventually find my way around."

She laughed and said, "Trust me, I never have to worry about getting lost with this baby."

Oh, but she spoke too soon.

I was going to keep going straight and ignore the GPS, when it stated, "Exit now. And make a left turn left under the overpass."

I told Gidget, "You know, I usually take another exit further down to get to the restaurant."

"Oh, just follow the GPS," said Gidget, "it knows the best way to get there."

As if it was agreeing to what Gidget said, the GPS announced, "You must exit now." And I did. But when we got to the overpass, the left side was blocked off for construction! Still, the GPS said, "Make a left turn under the overpass."

I looked at Gidget, one eyebrow raised and smirked, "Um, that way is blocked by construction, so we can't turn there."

Gidget looked at me, then looked at the closed off road. She sighed and said, "Well, now what?"

I smiled and said, "Don't worry, I know another way there. We'll just take a side street up ahead. It'll only be another ten minutes to our drive."

But as I started to go straight, the GPS announced, "You are going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

I ignored the voice and kept going straight. But the GPS kept saying, "You are going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

I asked Gidget, "Is there anyway to turn this thing off?"

Gidget said,"Yeah sure." But as she fidgeted with the controls, the GPS kept saying, "You are going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

It was getting annoying, and I swear, I thought I heard the GPS starting to sound angry as it repeated, "You're going the wrong way. Turn around immediately."

I couldn't help but think, good gawd! The machines are taking over! Any second now, it's going to say 'Resistance is futile! You will comply!' And then it's going to assimilate my friend and me.

Luckily, Gidget turned it off, and we laughed about it at the restaurant afterward. But still, the whole experience was mildly disturbing. It's one thing to have back seat drivers tell you where to drive. It's totally another matter when it's the car telling you where to go. I think I'll stick to my atlases for now. I don't have to worry about them telling me to drive and crash into construction.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Closing Ceremonies Review

Well, the Beijing Olympics finally came to a close Sunday night. On a whole, it was a good show. But I can't help but be bothered by some of the small parts of the show that really bugged the hell out of me. I thought the Opening Ceremonies was much better, but I wonder if it's because the Closing Ceremonies is just depressing because it means it's all over.

But let's talk about the stuff that was really impressive. Once again, the Chinese put on a great performance! What about those huge cheese wheels in the skies?

And how about that human torch!

No, not that human torch,

This human torch! All those people running up and down and flailing and dancing, making intricate patterns! What a masterpiece!

I totally dug how they ran up those large lengths of cloths to make a beautiful flower! And how awesome were those athletes when they all took to the fields to mingle and celebrate together! They looked like they were having so much fun. What a colorful and spectacular ending to the games!

And now, let's talk about the few things that irked the hell out of me...

First of all, who the hell decided to put Leona Lewis and that guitarist in the show, and thought it was a great idea? Because, really, they could've just cut them out and the show would've been so much better. The song just didn't fit the atmosphere, and the whole guitar playing thing was just, eh, not all that great.

What was the point of having David Beckham? Really? They couldn't find another Olympic athlete from Great Britain to represent them at the Closing Ceremonies? I mean, does Bekcham still play for the UK? Last I heard, he was playing for L.A., but apparently, the L.A. soccer team still sucks. Still, I don't recall Great Britain sending over a soccer team for the Beijing Olympics...then again, if they did, I sure didn't hear about Beckham playing on it.

And what the hell was Leona Lewis wearing? Which drag queen did she steal that outfit from? And more importantly, why wasn't it burned in the Olympic cauldron?

Speaking of drag queens, apparently, Placido Domingo likes to sing with them. No sane woman would wear that Xmas wrapping crap with the sci fi collar!

It's like the top entertainers dropped the baton in the heats, and these losers were left to compete in the finals! But the most disturbing thing of all had to be those damned interpretive dancers! For gawd's sake, who the hell hired these people? Who thought it was a great idea? And why weren't the Chinese police beating them down like Tibetan protesters?

Listen up, London (and Vancouver), there should be no interpretive dancers at the ceremonies! Unless they're being shot out of a canon, interpretive dancers should be banned from all Olympic ceremonies. God knows they're not as entertaining or attractive as the rhythmic gymnasts or synchronized swimmers. For gawd's sake, those dancers are a terrible distraction and look stupid writhing around the stage, making everyone else feel uncomfortable. If I were a volunteer at the Beijing Olympics, I'd've pelted those interpretive dancers with bottled water til they fell off the bus and had to be stretchered out of the stadium!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Showdown

With the Olympics winding down, it's been a great show. Let's talk about a few exciting events that took place earlier.

Day 15, Aug 23 (China) had quite some spectacular showdowns

Thank goodness the American men and women on the 4x400 meters relay teams won their races. It salvaged America's track reputation. The American men set a new Olympic record, while the Bahamians take silver, the Russians, bronze. Did anyone notice how the Brits didn't medal in the event? Part of me is kind of glad because they got cocky in the qualifying heats...when that one Brit guy, Martyn Rooney, was teasing Bahamas and Jamaica to catch up. That was just stupid. You don't celebrate and show off winning heat; you celebrate when you win. And in this case, they lost; the Bahama team he teased won second place. Craig Pickering showed much more class when he took the blame for Great Britain not making the 4x100m sprint relay earlier this week.

But it wasn't all smooth on the running tracks. Belgium was a medal contender until the last part of the relay when the anchor, Cedric van Branteghem, fell and was almost trampled over by the other runners.

Out of my bitch! They're giving away Hannah Montana tickets!

The American women had the most sensational relay of the evening. They started off with a great lead, but by the time it got to anchor Sanya Richards, they were behind Russia. In the last 50 meters of the race, Sanya Richards kicks it into overdrive and overtakes Anastasia Kapachinskaya to win the gold. The Russian women take the silver, and Jamaica settles for the bronze. Still, the showdown that should've happened never quite materialized. It would appear Sanya Richards takes one medal over her rival, Britain's Christine Ohuruogu, who got careless in the qualifing heats earlier and almost cost Great Britain a spot in final relay. Great Britain, which was suppose to challenge the Americans, placed fifth.

China man bends over for Australian thunder from down under!

Speaking of challenge, how about that Aussie sensation, Matthew Mitcham! The Australian sensation beats Chinese favorite to gold in the 10m platform diving. China's Liang Huo ends up with silver, breaking a Chinese medal sweep in diving! Up until the last dive, Liang Huo was first for the gold, but his last dive was sloppy; he bent his knees during his entry, leaving himself wide open for Mathew Mitcham to slip right through! With a near perfect dive earning four perfect 10s and the highest score in Olympics diving history, he tops the Chinese favorite in an unbelievable showdown! But the diving drama doesn't end there! Russia's Gleb Galperin beats off another Chinese diver to win bronze! The Chinese diving conquest has suffered a setback.

I won gold, mofo! And I didn't even have to shave my underarms like those other bitches!

But it's not just diving that had an incredible upset. Let's take a look at the some of the hottest athletes on the field, the women of the high jump. Long, limber legs that exude power take to the skies and jump over a bar that's set higher and higher til only one is able to clear it.

The heavily favored (tall and thin) Croatian Blanka Vlasic is the world champion. And she had a great performance that almost guaranteed the gold. But she got careless and couldn't clear the last height.

And it was Tia Hellebaut of Belgium who seizes the opportunity and wins the gold! The gorgeous girl in glasses blew away expectations and proved that she was the best!

Anna Chicherova of Russian jumps her way to bronze.

But there were several other hot ladies competing. Let's talk about those synchronized swimmers!

The team event was dramatic!

Japanese tuna fleet on the move.

One of the Japanese swimmers hyperventilated and had be helped out of the pool for medical assistance. Who says this isn't a sport?

David Hasselhoff and unidentified Baywatch lifeguard help distressed swimmer.

The Russians took gold,

the Spaniards took silver,

and the Chinese earned the bronze.

Another group of fine ladies competed as well. The rhythmic gymnastics, the sport of the hotter looking gymnasts took place. No underaged, manly shouldered munchkins in this sport!

And Russia's Evgeniya Kanaeva jumps to gold.

Inna Zhukova of Belarus gets the silver.

And Anna Bessonova of Ukraine hula hoops her way to bronze.

UPDATE 24 Aug 03:30 a.m.: US basketball team wins the gold in final game with Spain. The 'Redeem Team' restores America's reputation in basketball since it's poor standings in the previous Olympics and World Championships. This time, they get it right. It's not just talent; it's also about teamwork. The Spaniards put up a great fight right down to the wire, but in the end, they lost 118-107.

And the US water polo men win silver--the number 9 ranked team lost to number 1 ranked Hungary. Still, it's quite an achievement for the athletes, as the last time the Americans medaled in the event was 20 years ago!

And the American men's volleyball team wins gold against Brazil! It was a wonderful ending for a team who's Olympic quest started off with the tragic attack on the New Zealand born coach's wife and in laws. The father in law died but his wife and mother in law survived the attack. And it was his mother in law that encouraged Hugh McCutcheon to return to Beijing and finish his team's quest for gold. And with a long hard battle, the Americans beat the Brazilians on the volleyball court. The American women take the silver as the Brazilians win gold. Still, the Americans have all ready dominanted the beach volleyball courts as well earlier in the week.

What an incredible end to the games. The only thing left now is the Closing Ceremonies. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Chinese will end these games, and I wonder what London'll do in 2012 to top it off!

Olympic Feat

Day 14 of the Beijing Olympics, 23 Aug in China (22 in N. America) brought more fantastic feats of the world's best athletes.

Speaking feat, the Jamaican men not only win gold, but set a new world record for the 4x100m relay, breaking the previous world record set by the Americans 15 years ago. The American favorites and the British, who won the gold in Athens, had been disqualified in the heats. The Americans dropped the baton while Britain passed the baton outside the hand off box. Thus, Jamaica had no competition in winning the gold, while Trinidad and Tobago wins silver, Japan, the bronze.

A lot has been said about the International Olympic Committee chairman saying how he didn't think Usain Bolt's running around celebrating was sportsmanlike. But I don't see what the big problem is. He deserves to celebrate his accomplishment. And it's not like he's putting anyone down or making disparaging remarks about other athletes. He's just showing his joy at his wins. Just because he expresses his joy in a different way compared to what the IOC chairman likes doesn't mean it's bad sportsmanship. Besides, the IOC is full of crap and double standards. They pander to the host countries and have a serious history of taking bribes. If the IOC wants to be taken seriously, they need to get their act together and start making fair and hard choices, regardless of which country is hosting the Olympics.

Anyway, back on track. The shock of the night, had to be the Jamaican women, who had a clear shot at winning the gold with the American women disqualified for dropping the baton in the 4x100m relay. But France, Trinidad and Tobago, and Ukraine also were disqualified in the heats, leaving no other serious threats to Jamaica's gold quest. And when it came to the showdown, the Jamaicans were leading by a large margin when they dropped the baton! Even worse, Jamaica's clumsy baton hand off interfered with Great Britain, who were then unable to complete their baton hand off! And with that, both top teams are out of the race! Russia, Belgium, and Nigeria skip their way to win gold, silver, bronze.

While the American men swept the 400m individual race, overall, it's been more failures than success on the track. Now, it's up to the American men and women left in the 4x400m relays to salvage America's track and field reputation.

Aussie Hooker jumps pole for gold!

Australian Steve Hooker wins the pole vault and sets a new Olympic record of 5.96m. Russia's Evgeny Lukyanenko wins silver. Ukraine's Denys Yurchenko injured himself, and was laying on the sidelines, groaning and moaning, unable to compete further; but his jump had earned him a bronze.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia wins the women's 5,000m gold.

Madonna and Angelia Jolie immediately try to adopt her.

I kid! I kid! With this win, she adds another gold to her 10,000m gold win from last week. Elvan Abeylegesse, another Ethiopian but married a Turkish man and representing Turkey, came in second. The bronze winner, Meseret Defar, is another Ethiopian.

My favorite Olympic feat of the day has to be Brian Clay's performance in the decathlon. Brian Clay wins the decathlon, and becomes the best all around athlete in track and field. If there is one sport that defines the greatest athlete at the Olympics, the decathlon would be that sport. In two days, the events consist of a 100-meters sprint, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400-meters race, 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500-meters run. And through the pouring rain and the alternating heat waves, an exhausted Brian Clay finished the 1500m race, his least favorite event, second to the last. But he had all ready won the gold with such a commanding lead in the other events. While other athletes jumped up and ran around the track to celebrate victories, Brian Clay, like all decathletes, was just too exhausted to do any of those things. Instead, he was congratulated by his peers, then walked over to kiss his wife.

That's right, ya tall bitches! I won!

Born in Texas but raised in Hawaii, Brian Clay was the product of a broken home. He grew up listening to his parents fighting. Eventually, his mother got a divorce and restraining order against his father. His mother needed food stamps for them to survive. Still, he remembers his father secretly visiting him and his younger brother at grade school, talking to them through a chain linked fence. He recalls mostly bad memories of his childhood. As he got older, he was involved in drugs, gangs, and vandalism. But it was in track and field in high school that he found direction and an outlet for his turbulent emotions. By the time he left Hawaii for a sports scholarship to California, he had the makings of a champion. He won silver in Athens, surprising a lot of people in the sport. He's established a foundation to offer scholarships to academic and athletic pursuits as well as equipment for school sports. He wants to provide talented youth an opportunity for success that they may not have due to economic or geographical barriers. It's such a great story of how one can overcome hardship and with hard work, can achieve great things. And in Beijing, he achieves his goal and his gold.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Thunder

Day 13 of the Beijing Olympics, 22 Aug in China (21 in North America), brought about some more incredible performances from the world's top athletes. A lot of noise was made about the winners, but when it came to the showdown, there were some unexpected surprises!

Oh my gawd! So many favorite teams disqualified from the relays!

The American men and women dropped the baton! The French women also dropped the baton. The British men failed to pass the baton before leaving the crossover box! What an embarrassment for American track, who has long dominated the sprint events! The Jamaicans have become the new powerhouse of track, having claimed more golds in track than all other nations at the Beijing Olympics, and they're not done running yet!

The weather has been terrible in China. But the rains didn't stop some of these great athletes from shining.

How about that 20km walk for women? The brief lull in the rain only made the fit women even hotter (looking). But even with all that humidity and rain, it was a like a runway show! Except there was no running allowed. In fact, several ladies were kicked out for running. One of them was in third place during the race when the officials booted her jogging ass out!

It was quite entertaining when Ryta Turava of Belarus was second in the race, til she realized she had drank too much fluids. She tried several times to stick her finger down her throat. She was hoping to throw up all that fluid that slowed her down (with all that added weight). But when she stopped to try and throw up, two other race walkers passed her fluid overload ass to win silver and bronze! And like some of the athletes after crossing the finish line, Ryta Turava collapsed on the track. Russian Tatiana Sibileva offered a helping hand.

Get your fat, water retaining ass off the track!

Norway's Kjersti Tysse Platzer stretched her long legs to win the silver, leaving Italy's Elisa Rigaudo the bronze.

And it was Olga Kaniskina of Russia who sashays to gold!
Sashay! Chante! Chante! Chante! Chante!

Top this, Tyra Banks! I get gold for my strut!

Another event that caught my eye was the men's 10km marathon swim.

These aren't your pool swimmers in straight lanes. Nope. These are the tough fellas of open water swimming. Apparently, fights often break out when people start elbowing each other during the swim. But if the officials see you starting a fight, they'll give you a warning. Keep making trouble, and they'll disqualify you. And that's what happened to a Russian favorite. He started making fights, and he got ejected from the race.

But the funniest thing was that as the swimmers made their laps, they had to pass by this area where they were offered drinks and food!

Here fishy, fishy, fishy!

Britain's David Davies led most of the race; it's a lot of work to lead the race, but he preferred being ahead of the race than being in the middle of the group. In the center, the idiots like to bump each other and fight.

But the winner of the race was Netherlands' Maarten van der Weijden. Maarten van der Weijden is a leukemia survivor. He was diagnosed in 2001, but stem cell transplants helped him overcome the disease and return to swimming. He now spends his time talking about leukemia and supporting cancer research. When he won the race, he was congratulated by David Davies.

Maarten: Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise.
David: I promise.
Maarten: Never let go.
David: I'll never let go. I'll never let go, Jack.
(Cue Celine Dion: Near, far, where ever you are, I believe that the heart does go on...)

I kid! I kid! Germany's Thomas Lurz of Germany claims bronze. David Davies wins silver.

Carry me to my silver medal, bitches! I just got done swimming over 6 miles in the freaking rain! Can Michael Phelps do that? I don't think so!

Heymans broke between two Chinese teens, penetrating into tight territory.

Emilie Heymans wins silver in 10m platform diving, repeating fellow Canadian diver Alex Despatie's feat of coming between two Chinese divers on the podium. Chen Ruolin wins gold and Wang Xin settles for bronze.

Update 22 Aug 2008, 00:01 a.m. : Day 14, 23 Aug in China

How about that exciting men's beach volleyball match between Americans Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers vs Brazilians Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz for the gold medal! It was an epic battle! There were missed serves and missed blocks that kept the match tight. The first set alone went up to 23-21 for the Americans. But the Brazilians fought back and won the second set 17-21, threatening the Americans dominance. Things looked bad for the Americans, Dalhausser was missing blocks and Rogers kept hitting the ball out of bounds. But the Americans regrouped in the third set and showed the world why they were number 1. With block after block by Daulhausser and strikes from Rogers, the Americans beat the Brazilians 15-4 in the third set and win the gold. For the first time in Olympics history, a single country wins both the mens and womens beach volleyball gold!

Breaking News: It appears the International Olympic Committee has asked the International Gymnastics Federation to investigate the allegations that the Chinese women's gymnastic team may have broken the rules by having underage members on their team. New evidence has surfaced that 3 of the members of the Chinese team are under 15 years of age. The rules made by the Federation (Gymnastics, not Star Trek) specifically state that the gymnasts must turn 16 by end of the Olympic year. He Kexin, the Chinese gymnast who tied Nastia Liukin but was given the gold on the uneven bars, is one of these alleged underage gymnasts! Her passport said she was born in January of 1992, but her birth certificate has surfaced stating she was born in 1994, making her only 14! Even better, the state run news Xinhua News Agency listed He Kexin as 13 years old in a November 2007 report! And the news agency refuses to issue a correction, saying that the information was correct when it was printed! Now, I'm sure even if they use the Chinese Calendar, it still doesn't add up to a 2 year jump from 13 in 2007 to 15 in 2008! Oh, the drama from the Olympics continues, and it appears the gymnastics competition still goes on! If the Chinese are proved to have falsified the ages of their team, they not only lose their team gold, but their other medals, too! The Americans would then be elevated to team gold and Nastia Liukin gets the gold she was denied in the uneven bars! The storms of controversy are still thundering in Beijing!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Strike

Day 12 of the Beijing Olympics, Aug 21 in China (20 in North America) brought many striking performances.

Let's talk about the most fashionable and dazzling sport of the summer games: Synchronized Swimming!

What Are You Looking At?

Strike a pose.
Strike a pose.

Vogue, vogue, vogue
Vogue, vogue, vogue

Vogue, [Vogue] Beauty's where you find it [move to the music]

Vogue, [Vogue]
Beauty's where you find it [go with the flow]

And what an amazing competition in the duet event. Earlier this week, there was controversy over the Spanish team's suits. The Spaniards had incorporated waterproof flashing lights in their suits to dazzle the crowd, but the officials said no! And it wasn't because the new swimsuits were obscene. The officials didn't like the idea of twinkling lights on the suits, but apparently, they've no problems with sequins. I would've let the Spaniards wear their Xmas lights swimsuits so they could blink and twinkle in the pool.

Of course, I can understand the officials reactions. What if the suits malfunctioned and they got electrocuted? The headlines would be horrific!

Spicy Spanish Tuna Fillet Fried in Beijing!

The Japanese team of Saho Harada and Emiko Suzuki jazz hands their way to bronze. But the day belonged to the two Anastasias. Russians, Anastasia Davydova and Anastasia Ermakova win gold, just like in Athens. Spain's Andrea Fuentes and Gemma Mengual happily claim silver without their Xmas lights suits.

Even Spain's Queen Sofia was happy with that silver.

In your face, Liz! See ya in 2012 when I bring it!

And the synchronized team event takes place in a few days! I'm looking forward to all those legs scissoring in the pool. Aren't you?

In track and field, Usain Bolt strikes again, winning gold and setting a new world record of 19.3s in the 200m dash. He's all ready set the new world record in the 100m dash at 9.69s. He becomes the first double sprint winner since Carl Lewis in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Amazingly enough, the 2nd place and 3rd place winners were disqualified for running out of their lanes! In track, if you step on the white line, you're disqualified for moving out of the lane. American Wallace Spearmon was 3rd and Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles was 2nd. Spearmon and Martina were running around the track, waving flags until someone finally told them, 'Hey, Cheaters, y'all got disqualified! Losers!' The disqualifications led to Americans Shawn Crawford getting the silver and Walter Dix's 2nd bronze on track. When they congratulated Walter Dix, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, I still lost."

Jamaica's Melanie Walker wins the 400m hurdles, with American Sheena Tosta second, and Britain's Tasha Danvers earns bronze. The Jamaican women have all ready swept the 100m dash, and with this win, Jamaica continues to strike Olympic gold. The showdown with the Americans who've long dominated the track isn't over yet! The relays and the distance runs take place in a few days.

The most exciting sport of the day has to be beach volleyball! The weather was terrible, and there was a chance of lightning. But the only strikes today were found on the volleyball sand. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh battle China's Jia Tian and Jie Wang for gold! It was an incredible match. It was raining hard and the ball was slippery; the sand, hard. The Chinese crowd was rooting for their favorites.

Several times during the match, the Chinese made bad serves that hit the net, but still went over the court to count as a point. But, the Americans fought back. There were so many ties and dives for the ball. At one point in the second set, Tian called a medical time out because she claimed her left arm was hurting. Funny, how she did the same thing when she played against the other Chinese team. That Chinese team was winning, but Tian started holding her side, complaining of injury. Several international players have commented that Tian does this injury call whenever her side starts to lose. She does this to try and break up the other team's momentum. Unfortunately for her, it didn't work with the Americans who kicked their asses! And when they won, the crowd cheered loudly for them.

With this win, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh become the first team to win gold in back to back Olympics. Gold in Athens, and gold in Beijing. And they keep an undefeated record of winning 108 straight sets! In keeping with her Athens tradition, Misty May-Treanor spreads her mother's ashes in the sands of the Beijing beach volleyball court. In 2000, her mother had cancer and was in the middle of chemotherapy when she went to see Misty place 5th at the Sydney Olympics. She would not live to see her daughter win gold at the Athens Olympics. Misty and her father took her mother's ashes to Athens so in some way, her mother could still be a part of Misty's Olympic experience. And tonight in Beijing, her mother again becomes a part of Misty's Olympic gold experience.

As you know by now, I tend to include sob stories in my posts. If Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh have the most thrilling win of the day, then Matthias Steiner has the most moving. On Day 11, 19 Aug, German weightlifter Matthias Steiner wins the gold in the 105+ kg wt class. In July of last year, the 25 year old's wife lay dying in the hospital after a car accident. She had saved for over a year so her husband could follow his Olympic dream. Before she died, Matthias Steiner promised his wife that he would win the gold for her. By lifting 461kg, he kept his promise, winning the gold and becoming the strongest man in the world by setting that record. He was so excited about his win that he jumped up; he fell down; he cried; he smacked the floor; he punched the air; he ripped shirt; and he screamed and laughed at his unbelievable win. When he was on the podium to receive his gold medal, he held up a picture of his wife, Susann and dedicated his victory to her. He had kept his promise and said she had always believed in him; she was always with him; and that day, she shared the gold medal with him.