I spent last night watching the Olympics opening ceremony on
NBC. Then I spent 15 minutes over coffee this morning reading
what the New York Times had to say about the death
of the Georgian luger and the opening
If I hadn’t watched the show, I wouldn’t have seen the music
and the dancing, but otherwise, I would have been at least as
well-informed about what had actually happened.
In fact, NBC apparently decided for reasons of taste or
something to not keep showing the video of the luge crash.
They spent 10 minutes at the beginning of their show, which I
missed because I was still eating dinner. But I watched it this
morning from the NY
Times link, and I’m just as glad I didn’t have to see it 6
times the way you always do when a football player gets
The NBC report did mention that the track was very fast and
other people have crashed. They didn’t mention that it had
already been controversial as too difficult for the
less-experienced lugers who can be expected at the Olympics, or
that the Canadians had been criticized for trying to up their
medal count by providing less access to the course for training
than has been traditional.
So I might go on watching coverage when I have the time, but if
I miss it because of another commitment, I won’t feel bad if I
have to watch the videos on my computer instead of seeing things
An advantage of the dog park being open again is that I get to
talk to people who do things I wouldn’t normally be involved in. A couple of nights ago,
the owner of a sprightly two-year-old terrier named Demon was
talking about all the good deals in used motorcycles you can get
this time of year.
Apparently, if you don’t have the space to store your
motorcycle for the winter, you sell it in the fall for very little money to
someone who does.
So my friend, who doesn’t personally have any more space than
anyone else who lives in a Cambridge apartment, was salivating
over the deals he’s been seeing in the used motorcycle market, and
wondering how many bikes he can convince his parents to store for him.
I’ve been watching Wimbledon instead of reading
newspapers and listening to radio news the last couple of weeks,
so I can’t tell you anything about either Michael Jackson’s death or the
situation in Honduras.
But I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the tennis:
- The women’s singles draw would have looked like less of a
vast wasteland populated only by the Williams sisters if they
had shown us some of Elena Dementieva’s matches in the early
rounds. American TV networks have trouble believing that people
want to see good tennis, rather than Americans playing tennis.
- I’ve always liked Tommy Haas, and I’m glad he managed to win
some difficult matches this year. He’s had a history of playing
better than his ranking but then losing in 5 sets when he plays
a higher-ranked player. But this year he won a 5-set match in
the third round against Marin Cilic and a 4-set match in the
quarter finals against Novak Djokovic, and played Roger Federer
almost even on serve for two sets in the semi-finals.
course, one hopes that this is because he has his head together
better and not because he’s changed his doping regime, but I
don’t think we should be cynical about that without some
evidence. This is of course what the tennis association hopes
we’ll think, and the point of the article is that they’re
refusing to test so that we won’t have any evidence to think
with. That is, they’re testing only during the big tournaments,
and apparently the doping that would be likely to help happens
- There are some good young American players coming up —
18-year old Melanie Oudin qualified and made it to the fourth
round, by beating sixth-seeded Jelena Jankovich in the third
round, and the Men’s junior tournament had 3 Americans in the
- They really have to look at the computer program that
determines the rankings. Nobody watching Dinara Safina (seeded first) play
this year would believe that she should have been ranked above
any of the next three seeds (Williams, Williams and
Dementieva). What happens is that if you play lots of
tournaments and get to the fourth round, it outranks playing
fewer tournaments and winning them. And the fact that the
Williams sisters (who play fewer tournaments) are still
there and most of the people who’ve been ranked above them for
the past 10 years aren’t should make them think about whether
the rankings should be giving points for playing too much.