Olympics Coverage: Monday, 8 August 2016

Forget Gisele. What everyone watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony wants to know is: Who was the Tongan guy?

Did you see the US Swim team take the gold in the Relay?

Who was the Tongan guy? What was that on his body making his skin shine? Some extra-special high-gloss coconut oil?

Who was the Tongan guy? Close-ups, please!

He’s competing in Tae-kwon-do. When’s that event? Are they going to televise it? What time?

Who was the Tongan guy?

All over the morning news shows, dear blog readers.


Stay tuned.

These Mentions (A Post Inspired by This Week’s WordPress Daily Post But Containing NO Photography)

What is the history of the term ‘Manila Envelope’?

Why is it always about Imelda’s shoes?

Who was that fiction writer who had a character think (in a novel):  At least no one expects me to wake up and be Corazon Aquino today!

What was that novel about Read the rest of this entry »

Final Selfies (Probably): WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

First Olympic Headline of the Day:


Self happened to catch figure skater Michael Christian Martinez, 17, the lone athlete from the Philippines, in the men’s free skate.  It was early, not even 8 a.m.

He had a fabulous costume, sort of “Disney Prince,” and very thick hair.  He did well.  According to commentator Tara Lipinski, he learned figure skating by watching TV.  Only recently was he able to get himself some professional training.

He closed his eyes briefly as he was waiting for the signal to start.  Oh man, self could hardly watch, she was so tense.

But he completed!  And did well enough!  YAY!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Reading the Sochi Olympics I: Bode Miller

Yesterday, self read an interesting article about Bode Miller in the Los Angeles Times.  Seems he came up medal-short (8th place) in the men’s downhill.  He’d done spectacularly in the training runs, but there was a 15-minute delay while he was up in the slot, due to a malfunctioning gondola.  And this 15-minute difference, the Times seemed to imply, was enough to melt the hard snow a little more, and make it less than optimum for Miller’s type of skiing.

In addition, the Times article was the first self had heard of Rosa Khutor, the name of the particular mountain on which the downhills were run.

Today, self is reading the on-line magazine Grantland.  She isn’t quite sure yet what it is.  It seems to have articles on movies, sports, and everything in between.  So it’s like the Village Voice?  Or The Brooklyn Rail?  Anyhoo, self bookmarked the site last week.  This is only the third time she’s perused it.

Rhosa Khutor, says the Grantland writer (Louisa Thomas), “is a hungry God.  Ten of the 55 skiers who participated in the final training run on Saturday didn’t complete the course.  One of them, Rok Perko of Slovenia, smashed his face and left blood on the snow.  ‘If you’re not paying attention,’ said Bode Miller, ‘this course will kill you.’ ”

On training runs, Miller was superb:  he clocked first on two of the three training runs.  He was supposed to medal, dammit!

In other words, if you want to see the best performance ever by a man described by Thomas as “the best American skier of his generation,” you’d have to view Miller’s training runs.  Which don’t count for anything.

Ah, but note how Miller did not have a clean sweep of the training runs.  One of the three runs was won by a 23-year-old named Matthias Mayer, and this was the man who eventually won the gold.

Oh, the Olympics.  So much fun to watch, so many stories to tell.

Self could go on and on about how writers are similar to athletes, how writers have to write every day, how dailiness is as essential to the writer’s craft as training runs are to downhill skiers.  Etc.  But she will not inflict such thoughts on dear blog readers today, not when she herself is so bleary-eyed and hasn’t written much of anything (yet) today.

Stay tuned.


Self is very cognizant of the fact that she is in a weird place called California.

She is very cognizant of this fact because:

  1. It is HOT.  As in HAWWTTT!  As in, melt-your- Read the rest of this entry »

Still More World Poems on the London Underground

Here are two more from World Poems on the Underground, a free publication distributed to coincide with the London 2012 Summer Festival, which takes place during the Olympics.  The poems have all been displayed on the London Underground.


by Fleur Adcock (New Zealand)

November ’63, eight months in London.
I pause on the low bridge to watch the


they float swanlike, arching their white


over only slightly ruffled bundles of wings,
burying awkward beaks in the lake’s water.

I clench cold fists in my Marks and

    Spencer’s jacket

and secretly test my accent once again:
St. James Park; St. James Park; St. James Park.

*     *     *     *

Should You Die First

by Annabelle Despard (Norway)

Let me at least collect your smells
as specimens: your armpits, woollen


fingers yellow from smoke. I’d need
to take an imprint of your foot
and make recordings of your laugh.

These archives I shall carry into exile;
my body a St. Helena where ships no

longer dock,

a rock in the ocean, an outpost where the

      wind howls
    And polar bears beat down the door.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

More World Poems on the London Underground

The London cabbies self talked to were generally glum about the Olympics.  Self gleaned that they were rather morose about the traffic and how much more time it would take to negotiate the streets (“One fare might take up half a day,” remarked one cabbie).  Self gathered that athletes were already starting to arrive when she left.  Good luck, oh London cabbies!  Hope the Olympics aren’t too stressful for you!  And hope you all make lots and lots of money!

(There you go again, self, losing yourself in digression.  Wasn’t this post supposed to be about those poems festooning the London Underground in honor of the Olympics???)

Here’s a poem from Kurdistan, written by Choman Hardi (in English):

My Children

I can hear them talking, my children
fluent English and broken Kurdish.

And whenever I disagree with them
they will comfort each other by saying:
Don’t worry about mum, she’s Kurdish.

Will I be the foreigner in my own

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Poems From the London Underground

Because of the upcoming London Olympics, there is a veritable extravaganza of art and cultural events happening all over the United Kingdom this summer.

Because this is Britain, a lot of the activities revolve around literary themes.  Such as the collection, World Poems on the Underground, free copies of which are everywhere:  libraries, bookstores, what-have-you.

The poems are written by poets from “forty-four different countries,” many of whom “settled in London, drawn by its long tradition of welcoming the wider diaspora from every country of the world.”  The poems “have all been displayed on the London Underground.”  (Wow, can you imagine such a thing happening in New York???  That would be sooo fab!)

Here’s a poem, “Almost without Noticing,” written by the Finnish poet Eira Stenberg and translated by Herbert Lomas:

Almost without Noticing

Almost without noticing,
without thinking, it seems,
you’ve arrived where you see far.
Thirty years back, more, the path vanishes,
thirty years ahead, more, the path vanishes:
you’re forced to sit down in the shade
and think.
mother of truth and myth,
tell how the terrain divided the stream.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

The Olympic Torch Went Through Lasswade Yesterday, 9:30 a.m.

Apologies, self wasn’t quick enough to catch the runner with the torch.

She did see him, though, wending down the hill, preceded by a whole lot of vans and trucks and policemen.

It was a gorgeous morning.

There were throngs of people, and little kids hoisted on their dads’ shoulders, and several dogs Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on Watching the Olympics Biathlon Competition

It is Valentine’s Day, and self is already ruing the humongous breakfast of huevos rancheros and menudo she and hubby shared in La Azteca, because now, nothing she was thinking of wearing to her reading in The Writer’s Center seems to fit.  But, really amusing to listen to the restaurant chit-chat:  everyone was discussing the Olympics!  Yes, over the burritos and enchiladas!  And it was early in the morning!

Last night, hubby lured self into watching Peter Jackson’s muy under-rated “King Kong,” with Naomi Watts, and on the flat-screen HDTV Naomi’s eyes are just so blue, so heartbreakingly enormous, and the scene on the rooftop, where Adrian Brody finally reaches her, is still one of self’s favorites, even though Kong is lying on the street below, having endured being shot through with machine gun bullets (not to mention mighty fall from —  at the time? —   World’s Tallest Building!).  From up on the roof, it seems to be twilight  —  at least, the clouds have a rosy tint.  But down there, on the street, where Jack Black pushes his way through a crowd to gaze on the giant’s body, it seems to be noon, for the light is clear and hard-bright.

Now, at almost 3 pm, self is finally able to persuade hubby to tune into the Olympics.  She did it by telling him she saw on the internet that an American had pulled an upset in one of the skiing events.  So we turn to NBC, and  —  holy Cow! —  the weather is atrocious, big flakes of snow coming down on the race participants, and right now the Norwegians or the French are aiming at a target (Skiing and shooting?  Self knows not the reasoning behind such an event  —  perhaps this dates from the days when sniper armies had to wend through Norwegian forests?) and the announcer goes, “Miss!  Miss!  And another miss!”  And, really, how can anyone expect to hit a target when the snow is falling so thickly?  Self thinks it’s a miracle that any of the shots don’t go wildly off the mark!

But self persists in watching, for she knows that an American won a medal in this event (the combined), thereby upsetting the Norwegians, who according to the commentator have long dominated this sport.  And J. R. Celski —  not to take anything away from Apolo “Dreamboat” Ohno, but Celski had to overcome a rather bad injury in order to skate today in the 1500 short track, and he got a bronze!  And self found out from one of the blogs listed on the PAWA website (PAWA=Philippine American Writers and Artists) that his mum is pinay.  So self went searching all over the internet to find a picture where Celski isn’t wearing his face mask, and —  Wow!  He does look Filipino!  So, here’s his website, for edification of dear blog readers.

His back-story is pretty exciting (not to mention, the picture at the top of his home page is pretty FAB!), and also the account of the race itself, which had Ohno fourth, going into the final seconds, boxed in by two South Koreans.  Read all about it elsewhere, dear blog readers, but take self’s word for it:  it was an amazing race.  Maybe they will show highlights on tonight’s news?  Self sincerely hopes so!

Stay tuned.

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