Saturday, February 22, 2014

Easy on the sparkles

Now that I have time -- no evening program to attend and no more figure skating on TV -- it was time to go back and watch the hour of Olympic Opening Ceremonies I missed when my VCR machine stopped working. My friend and debate partner thankfully gave me one that he isn't using anymore. I used it to tape-delay a couple of the figure skating programs, such as the ladies free skate.

First I tried to liberate Opening Ceremonies tape from the old machine. I did remove a few covers to peer into the guts. But I couldn't get to the tape itself or figure out how to release it so it would eject. I didn't bother reassembling (and have surely forgotten which screw goes into what hole by now). Next summer when there is an electronic waste collection…

Then I tried to find the video online. The 3 hour video I saw almost two weeks ago isn't there anymore or is well hidden. YouTube lists lots of videos saying Opening Ceremonies "full" but the video length is 2 to 15 minutes, so it isn't much of the complete show. I did start one that was almost 2 hours, but it was a series of talking heads, not the actual ceremonies. I went to the NBC site, which has some videos, but each segment was only 2-3 minutes with 15 seconds of commercial at the start of each one. I watched two, which were cool, but there was no commentary to understand the story. So, I'm done with the Opening Ceremony. I guess I won't see it.

As for viewing the men's figure skating that happened when my cable box messed up, I'm not even going to try.

I suppose I should comment on a Newsweek article about gays in figure skating before the Olympics are over with. Yes, the article was published before the games started and I'm behind in both reading and commenting. The article can be summed up this way: If a guy says he does figure skating lots of people assume he is gay. And there is a good chance the assumption is correct. But a "gay sport" doesn't play so well to audiences, supporters, and sponsors. So it doesn't sit so well with judges. That means there is a lot of pressure for male skaters to "man up" (trousers, not tights, easy on the sparkles). And female skaters are ladies and not women (skirts, not trousers). And please don't even think of coming out until you're done competing.

When I visited Russia back in 1991 I was able to get sets of the wooden nesting dolls as gifts. I don't remember the themes of the sets I gave away. The one I kept for myself has the theme of the Gulf War (Kuwait Liberation War?). The dolls are the world leaders of the time: Bush I, Helmut Kohl, Francois Mitterrand, Gorbachev, with Saddam Hussein as the smallest of the set.

In protest of Russia's anti-gay propaganda law there is now a set in rainbow colors. Alas, they don't feature Russian gay icons, but (strange for a Toronto artist) American: Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and Jason Collins among them. I understand the hazards of putting gay Russians on the dolls, so I suppose it is good they weren't used. Then again, they could have used dead gay icons, like Tchaikovsky and Nijinsky.

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