When the Olympics began, I wrote a Grouchy Old Man column dumping on the games: they’re full of obscure, boring events, they’re a big waste of money, and they promote jingoism instead of understanding.
While I season my crow for eating, enjoy this video of NASA engineers getting the news that Curiosity had landed safely on Mars – how many moments in your life have you felt that kind of sheer, giddy joy?
Now to business. When the Olympics began, I wrote a Grouchy Old Man column dumping on the games: they’re full of obscure, boring events, they’re a big waste of money, and they promote jingoism instead of understanding.
I meant it only half-seriously, but plenty of readers were not amused.
Of course what I forgot when I wrote that is that those weird events we only see every four years are actually amazing when world class athletes perform them.
So yes, I admit it – they’re pretty cool – the volley ball, the long jump, trampoline, even the damn dressage.
And yes, it’s all too expensive and commercialized, but so is everything these days.
And finally, the nationalism – I still hate the U-S-A chant and the medal count, but as Aaron Cook pointed out in a comment on my original post, compare the behavior you see in stands at the Olympics to Philadelphia sports fans and, well, not much argument there.
So there, I got it wrong.
On a substantive matter closer to home I recommend the Philadelphia Daily News’ John Baer’s column today on the controversy surrounding Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. Among other things, he notes that other states took up to two years to implement voter ID requirements, while it appears Pennsylvania is rushing into this.
And for more, check out Baer’s blog post for surprising facts about the judge who will rule on the Pennsylvania law.