2008 Notebook: Weak XXXII
gratuitous image
7 August 2008
No. 3,769 (cartoon)
I want a cure for happiness.

That’s me!

8 August 2008
Notes from the Olympics, Day One
The 2008 Olympics opened with a fiasco; this bodes well for the rest of the games!

The Chinese trotted out a ridiculously cute nine-year-old girl to sing the Chinese national anthem, “Hymn to the Motherland.” Lin Miaoke, in a pretty red dress and pigtails, wowed the crowd with her unbelievable singing.

Unfortunately for everyone, Miaoke’s singing really was unbelievable. Another girl, seven-year-old Yang Peiyi, did the real singing; Miaoke faked it. A politburo executive ordered the talented younger singer with pedestrian features and crooked teeth replaced with the less talented but cuter girl.

What a great story, and a lesson for all the impressionable girls watching the spectacle: sexist pigdogs rule the world.

9 August 2008
Notes from the Olympics, Day Two
The 2008 Beijing Olympics game are looking more and more like the 1936 games in Nazi Germany.

The Chinese propagandists fed images of digitally-altered fireworks to foreign broadcasters. The irony of feigned fireworks by the Chinese—the people who brought the world gunpowder—was apparently lost on the apparatchiks who concocted the visual debacle.

From across the Pacific, Beijing would appear to be a Potemkin village.

10 August 2008
Notes from the Olympics, Day Three
It looks like digital fireworks are the only ones anyone will see over Beijing; the Chinese air force has banned its pilots from drinking alcohol on duty.

“The move aims to better govern the military according to the law and maintain a good image of the air force,” explained a Chinese air force drone.

I’m amazed that the Chinese official publicly lost face with such an admission. After all, American astronauts can fly drunk; why aren’t the Chinese pilots fit enough to drink and aviate? What kind of Olympic attitude is that?

11 August 2008
Notes from the Olympics, Day Four
I’m not the only person who finds sporting events boring. Chinese officials are organizing brigades of “fans” to occupy mostly-empty stadia.

I suppose one of the myriad benefits of running a country of a billion plus people as enlightened [sic] despots is there are always a few million people available for this, that, or the other thing. And thus, Olympics organizers have recruited enough “fans” to fill the empty seats. And since it wouldn’t be a truly Chinese solution unless it featured surreal and/or inscrutable elements, all the participants wear the same yellow shirts, wave air-filled cheering batons(?!), and, after days of training, applaud enthusiastically for both opposing sides.

Curiously, the Chinese approach to supporting athletes yields the same result as my strategy, which is to cheer for the team that’s ahead at any point during a contest. And so, both the coerced Chinese spectators and I always end up rooting for the winning side. My late father was born in Canton; I wonder if I might be just a bit Chinese?


12 August 2008
Notes from the Olympics, Day Five
I’ve watched a few broadcasts of the Olympics games, and I can’t figure out why there’s all the hubbub about this kerflooey.

From the few minutes of broadcasting I’ve seen, everything seems to be the same. The same athletes—ethnicity notwithstanding—doing the same amazing feat a small fraction of a second faster or slower than another. A sea of photographers crammed together in a media feed pen document the athletes’ performances with the same four-hundred to eight-hundred millimeter lenses.

The obvious subtext of the events is that the Chinese, like the rest of us, are alike. Except that the Chinese torture and jail more political prisoners than any other country except for the United States and a few other paragons of advanced countries.

Brilliant athletes and prison camps. Perhaps we are all the same—ethnicity notwithstanding—after all!

13 August 2008
Notes from the Olympics, Day Six
I decided to make six daily notes about the Olympic games, so this is the last of the six installments.

This afternoon, I enjoyed lunch in the park with Clarissa. Curiously, an army of ants marched toward my sandwich, then headed east a few centimeters from its logical destination. I don’t know why the ants behaved as they did; such entomological reasoning is even too simple for me.

There’s a reason I mentioned the ants’ beeline, or, more accurately, antline, and the reason is this: the insects’ improbable procession was far more interesting than any of the staged events in Beijing.

And that concludes my first—and almost certainly last—series of reports on the Olympic games.

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©2008 David Glenn Rinehart