Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the beautiful, sunny rather chilled island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this 8th day of February, 2014, an early Saturday to be sure, as the sun just rose above Nantucket Sound, with many in the country enjoying the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia right about now. Twenty years ago, this humble reporter was in Lillehammer, Norway for the same games. I took a month off from being ‘an insurance executive’ in Boston, flew to Sweden, via Amsterdam, stayed in Stockholm for a spell and then my buddy and I took the train to Oslo, never forget it, arriving just in time for the opening ceremonies… The beauty of those opening ceremonies was beyond the word beautiful. When we arrived in the little hamlet of Lillehammer, there was a palpable electricity in the air–filled not with fear, but with LOVE. Love of the games–the skiing, the skating, the soaring, the scoring; the scene itself was one I don’t believe any other Olympic host city will ever duplicate…perhaps it was the fact it was in happy Norway? Be that as it may, I have also been to Russia, although back in 1984 it was called the U.S.S.R., the Soviet Union! Brrrrrrrr!! Indeed, it was a cold, communistic country back then and apparently not a whole lot has changed… Only the style of Czar, clothing and car has changed, not the concentration of POWER–the fact it went from that communistic state to one of ‘capitalism’, a capitalism that spiraled out of control in the 1990’s as the old Soviet Union fell apart and the wolves got all the spoils. The country could be considered a dictatorship, or at best a quasi democratic compilation of bureaucrats who spent 50 billion dollars on these games, compared to less than three billion in Lillehammer. There are over 70,000 soldiers/police roaming the streets of the Olympic village as well as the mountains where the Alpine and Nordic events take place. There are roaming stray dogs that I pray are humanely taken care of by this host nation, so as not to add any more bad Carma to their already rather medieval stance and actions regarding LGBT real live people. A little something the world is watching quite closely right about now, as the opening ceremonies took place roughly 24 hours ago, rebroadcasted on NBC last night. The rest of the games will be televised on NBC for the next two weeks, enjoy! (check out MSNBC as well). When I was in Norway, surrounded by the flags of 88 countries and the people to go along with them, I felt like I was in Heaven. I was all tan and smiling in the sun, walking up the mountain side packed with tons of snow, four feet of fresh powder all around…watching humans literally fly in the air, whispering past the towering Norwegian pines and throngs of people, only to land safely with a giant roar from the crowd as they place a ribbon of gold around their collective necks–the Norwegians won 15 Gold Medals in 1994, singing, “We are the Champions” over and over again in the many bars scattered about Lillehammer… Goldshlager anyone? If one were to sum up the experience of those games in a word, it would have to be MAGICAL. Sochi, according to many reports from the media that are covering it thus far…not so much. Problems with hotels, like cameras in showers? and spartan digs seem to be the most common complaint journalists have, but if there are no terror attacks then it will be a success, right? Many are calling these “Putin’s Games” and why not? Vlad has earned this and seems to be genuinely proud of his country as he reintroduces the world to Russian history–a history I am well familiar with, a sometimes dark tale that has a very rich and rough edge indeed. When I was in Moscow and then Leningrad, now Saint Petersberg again, there were no McDonald’s or really any evidence of western capitalism anywhere. Being a college student, visiting for a week, we found the black market and sold American Levis and “OP” shirts to our new found friends in say Leningrad for a couple of Rubles…Rubles we spent in Moscow on Champagne and the best caviar I have ever had in my life… So here’s to Russia! May they have a good Olympic experience, perhaps allowing their collective hearts to open up just a bit, considering the changing views of the world towards our gay brothers and sisters, who certainly don’t need any more violence to go their way…now do they Vlad? The SPIRIT of the Olympics is what it is all about and when you catch that, despite all of the bad news coming from the world media outlets, you will transcend the garbage that is going on in certain places globally, rise above it and immerse yourself in the beauty of the mountains, of the athletes, of the dreams and of the competition that make US all better as humans beings! Go for the Gold USA!–especially Mikaela Shiffrin (hailing from the great state of Colorado) of the U.S. Ski Team, heck fire, all the athletes competing from 88 countries around this great big wonderful world of OURS–you make us all proud! Have a great week end folks and please enjoy these XXII Winter Games, only on NBC/MSNBC! (not a paid Ad), it’s a nice break from politics! PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M
February 8, 2014
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.