Thursday, May 12, 2016

Delay or Move the Olympics?

The Harvard Public Health Review is calling for the Rio Olympics to be delayed or moved to a different city, and I'm not so sure that they're wrong.  The problem is the Zika virus.  Rio is right in the heart of the problem area.  As the review points out, not only is it a risk for the people traveling there, but when they leave, they will spread that risk to (literally) the entire world.
Which leads to a simple question: But for the Games, would anyone recommend sending an extra half a million visitors into Brazil right now?  Of course not: mass migration into the heart of an outbreak is a public health no-brainer.  And given the choice between accelerating a dangerous new disease or not—for it is impossible that Games will slow Zika down—the answer should be a no-brainer for the Olympic organizers too.  Putting sentimentality aside, clearly the Rio 2016 Games must not proceed.

So, what happens?  I don't believe that the IOC will cancel, delay or move the Olympics.  Moving them, at this late date would be a logistic nightmare.  Even London, which hosted the summer games four years ago, would be hard pressed to have the same venues open three months from now.  (Though a #Shakespeare400 themed Olympics would make me happy.)  There are no other locations that would be better prepared.
The Olympics have never been canceled before without a war to blame.  (Both WWI and WWII knocked off some of the games.)  Disease outbreak almost certainly won't do it.  Can you imagine the outrage from Brazil and the rest of Latin America if the first Olympics in South America is canceled due to disease concerns?  It will regularly be described as racism against brown people.  If the IOC has to choose between vague health concerns of a little understood disease and being called racist, it will be an easy choice.
Every Olympiad brings with it stories of a host city that isn't ready for the games.  Those stories have come especially hard and fast for Rio.  Usually those stories are overplayed and I hope that's the case here.  The 2016 Olympics will be starting in less than three months, in Rio, as scheduled.
Let's hope that they're prepared.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pandemonium, But In a Good Way

During the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in London, there was a sequence that I really enjoyed.  It was titled 'Pandemonium' and it was a kind of history of the Industrial Revolution.
The visuals were great, especially the rings at the end, but what really got me was the music.  I simply loved it.  But there was a problem.  I couldn't find it to buy, anywhere.  I quickly tracked down the artist, Underworld, and the name of the music, 'And I Will Kiss', but I couldn't buy it.  I couldn't find it as a stand alone single.  Couldn't find it on an Underworld album.  It just wasn't available.
Well, that's not completely true.  It was on the soundtrack for the Olympics, called 'Isles of Wonder', but iTunes didn't have that either.  Amazon didn't either.  I was stuck.  Until I happened to try a couple of weeks ago and found that Amazon had somehow let some used copies slip through the embargo.  Less than $5 later, I bought one, and now I have it.  (Plus, other music used during the ceremonies, including 'Chariots of Fire', which isn't a bad thing to own.)
I can't understand why this wasn't easier to buy.  Putting the material up to buy in America can't be that difficult.  And with downloadable music being everywhere, it's not like they would need to create physical copies to distribute.  Baffling.
I'm genuinely surprised at how hard it is to find certain movies and music.  The movie 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' never had a soundtrack, despite the wonderful and hard to get music all over it.  This should be an obvious 30th anniversary item, set for June of this year.  Who would object to having this out there?  The people that own the rights to the music?  They'd be turning down free money.

Anyway, in this strange and sometimes baffling age, I found something nice that I wanted.  If Rio wows me this summer, I hope the search for their music isn't as hard.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"My Senile Mother"

I had a wonderful call today.  The admin called, and after I confirmed her name, I asked for her phone number.  She started giving me a set of numbers and then stopped.  "Oh", she said, "I almost gave you my home number."  I laughed and said that the office one would probably be better.  She continued, "If you called my home number, you would have ended up speaking to my senile mother.  And you wouldn't want that."  I laughed again.  "And then I would have gotten home and she would have said [thick German accent] 'I had ze strangest call today...'".

Lady, you made my day.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Make Way for - Wha?

Tonight, I read to Leo.  We read 'Make Way for Ducklings'.  This book has made a reappearance at our house as it has been in storage for some time.  I have not read it with Leo before and I wasn't sure if he had read it all.  He assured me that he has, in fact, read it with mama.
Fair enough.
We got to this page:
And I said, "Doesn't he look nice?"
Leo said he did not.  Again, I asked him if he had read this before.  The policeman (who is named Michael) is awfully nice.  Later on in the book he stops traffic for the ducks and even calls in a car from Central to help direct traffic for them.  This is a nice policeman.
When I asked him if had read it before, he assured me that he had.  So I asked him what happens later on.  He pointed to the night stick and said, 'he takes that and stabs the ducks'.  Whaaaat?  I told him that isn't quite how I remember it.
We read on.  Sure enough, there is no stabbing.  The police are very nice and the ducks are finally settled in to there new surroundings.  We finished up and I closed the book.  Very quickly, Leo told me that someone had ripped out the page where the stabbing takes place.  I told him I didn't think so. Quite honestly, there is very little stabbing in the books that we read to him.  There is some stabbing in the books that Felix reads.  Maybe some in Relia's too.  But none for Leo.  I don't know where he gets it.  Does every three year old sound like a budding killer, or did we just get lucky?

We also looked at the front cover.  The book was a Caldecott winner and they have the medal imprinted on the cover.  He looked at that and told me that the circle was from the 'first' cover but someone remade it so it would have ducks on it.
Leo has a very different concept of 'Make Way for Ducklings' than almost anyone else in the world.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Historical Fiction booklist

I almost always enjoy my visits to historical fiction but I don't go there often enough.  This list from Hugh Hewitt looks like a very good one.  He emphasizes a kind of reverse chronology approach, which probably compels the reader to keep asking 'what caused that?'.  He also emphasizes series by authors who really know what they're doing.  Looks like good stuff.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

From July 2013

Is there a city with better detective stories than LA? Only London comes close.

We've discovered the trick to getting the kids to fall asleep while reading to them. Read from Kipling.

Civil war in Egypt. The beneficiary is the player with the most unit points left in storage. (Civilization board game joke.)

Sarah is going away for three days, so it's just me and the kids. I promised her that I would not take the kids to McDonalds more than six times while she's gone.

Felix just pointed at the words on his shirt (which reads 'Mama's Boy') and told me that it says 'Dragon-Fire'.

Kids are in bed and I'm having a drink.

Relia is upset that a children's show is showing tortoises and sea turtles together as if they're both turtles. How dare they!

Kids are in bed and day three of single parenting is done. For the record, we only had fast food once.

Looking at titles on Netflix and saw one called 'Why Ships Sink'. I asked Relia why she thinks they sink and she said "because they're *way* heavy!".
I bet she's right.

For my fellow travel agents: Does The Queen hold a passport?

A. As a British passport is issued in the name of Her Majesty, it is unnecessary for The Queen to possess one. All other members of the Royal Family, including The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales, have passports.

(From the FP Gal) I sent my not quite 6 year-old to her room. She slammed the door and is now blaring her lullaby music. smile emoticon Peder thinks we need to tell her to "turn down that music!" just to complete the picture.

Watching Dumbo and Felix just asked 'who delivers the baby storks?'.

Lessons from watching the guy ahead of me at SA this afternoon: 1) you can't buy beer with a non-US passport at an SA. 2) If you call the woman at the counter crazy, she will call you crazy too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

From June 2013

Back when I was young, June was a warm month.

What is the ratio of Superman origin movies to overall Superman movies? 1 to 2?

Saw 'Midnight in Paris'. Why in the world do people keep casting Rachel McAdams? She's no longer believable as a person.

If aliens ever show up and need to take some representatives back to their home planet, I'd like to nominate the entire extended Kardashian family. It won't show the human race in the best light, but we'll finally be rid of them.

Overheard while potty training continues:
Felix: Can someone please put pants on me?
Oh, we are indeed living the dream.

Felix about cousin Michael, "He's my special friend. I'm going to kiss him right in the face!"

Sarah is going to build a wall today. Every time she mentions it, Pink Floyd goes through my head.