Tuesday, May 31, 2016


When I put DF to bed, he asks me questions before we turn on his music.  Tonight, his last question went like this:

DF: What does a cowboy wedding look like.
Me: ...uh, I don't know.
DF: (thinking) Would the pinata be shaped like a horse?
Me: ...
DF: Maybe with a crown on it.  (pause)  And a cape?
Me: I have no idea.

I love the way his mind works, but I won't pretend that I understand it.

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.