What is the world coming to? It has been a crazy couple of weeks in the world, with some stunning sports developments, hideous murders, new wars and more. Not all of the news has been bad, but when it has, it hasn’t been crazy.
The Olympics kicked off on Friday in stunning fashion, with a spectacular opening ceremony by the Chinese. We all knew they were not to be outdone, and it may be some time before we see something as grandious as the $300-million production that featured countless fireworks, amazing video screens that seemed to come out of everywhere, artistic performances that would be unimaginable in any other part of the world (how many performers were there in the ceremonies, altogether?), and so on and so forth. I absolutely love the Olympics, and am happy they are here. It’s the only time I watch so many diverse sports and actually get into them all – I’m watching USA vs. Japan women’s volleyball, and the Japanese are looking good (against a supposedly better U.S. team). I’m actually looking forward to basketball (go Redeem Team!) despite my lack of general interest in the sport, as well as gymnastics and a variety of others. There are going to be hours of lost productivity over the next couple of weeks.
I try to watch the Olympics on CBC, the Canadian channel, rather than NBC, where they seem more content to bring up politics and conflict in a passive aggressive kind of way toward any country they choose to ridicule. Not too mention that they show less sports (on the main channel) and more commercials. Of course, it was classic seeing President Bush glance at his watch halfway through the opening ceremonies. seemingly bored out of his mind.
Of course, the Olympics have been scarred by a series of events, not exactly the seamless launch China was so desperately hoping for. In the days preceding, China was attacked by a small rebel force – a rarity for the country. Beyond that, though, they had little control over a seemingly deranged man stabbing the parents of a former U.S. Olympian just miles from the Games, killing one and seriously injuring the other before jumping to his death, or the suddenly profound Russian vs. Georgia war, where thousands have already died. So much for an Olympic truce, and the timing seems more like convenience than coincidental, as the Games have attracted so many heads of state to Beijing.
Beyond war, reporters have been busy the last few weeks, especially in North America. It was announced to day that Bernie Mac has died – while I was never a big fan of the comedian, it was definitely a bit of a shocker. While both Pineapple Express and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 beat out The Dark Knight on Wednesday, it looks like the Batman movie will once again conquer the weekend box office. More importantly, we’ve seen the mysterious Anthrax case that, in its outset, caused paranoia throughout the United States, to come to a close with the suicide of the FBI’s only suspect. Questions remain, but unless we’re looking at a major government cover up, the late scientist seems like he was a troubled man. Beyond that, Canada and the U.S. has been captivated by the absolutely disturbing stabbing/decapitation/cannibalizing of an innocent, random victim on a bus, by a man who no one – even his wife – would have predicted.
As I’ve said, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks in the world, and there were several other stories not mentioned here.