Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

I am vacation this week and as it is hard to get off my night time schedule, I have been fortunate enough to see a good bit of the Olympic coverage. It is thrilling to rally around a favorite team or just marvel and the strength and abilities of each world class athlete.

I have just one bone to pick. It’s not the synchronized swimming nose plugs, or the beach volleyball bikini butt slings or even that guy that licked himself before the race, no I have an issue with the Japanese men’s gymnastics team.

In a sport that is all about clean lines and perfection of form, the Japanese men’s hair is a little jarring and I’m not talking about their tousled moptops. I’m talking about the stark, black shock of underarm hair that flashes out with each arm raise. Even Danell Leyva, who has a 5 o’clock shadow at 10 in the morning has less hair than these guys. Seriously.

Call me picky or overly Americanized, but it’s very disconcerting for me to watch those guys running down the mat, muscles at the ready and then up goes that arm and then all I can see is a forest of dark hair shimmering against an otherwise clean body. My brain is filled with thoughts of sheep shearing and Marine buzz cuts.

I’m not saying that all athletes need to be as shaven as the swimmers, but dang guys, someone give the Japanese gymnasts a pair of trimmers.

Photo by Gregory Bull / AP

The Games Begin and It’s Not About Food Deprivation

Let the games begin or so we thought. I’m sorry London, but the opening night’s ceremony was disjointed, overly long and kinda creepy. The opening film was much like the beginning clip in the movies when you are optically strapped in a roller coaster and told where the waste receptacles are located.  Kenneth Branagh strutting about surrounded by six or seven Abraham Lincolns doing a very strange version of the cabbage patch dance was just plain odd. It took forever for those dang smoke stacks to rise and what was with the giant baby?

Each host country has its own issues with the ceremonies. Canada is still living down its giant beavers and Atlanta hangs its head over that embarrassing walking blue sperm, but last night? As one of Bashert friend’s said, one needed a PhD in British history to understand what was going on.

We didn’t make it to the torch lighting ceremony or to hear Sir Paul sing. With all the commercial interruptions made by NBC, what was probably two hours in person was stretched to something like four over here. The announcers kept making the comment that the march of athletes was moving at a record pace; sure couldn’t tell it as a home viewer in the USA. Two countries, three commercials, three countries, four commercials…

It wasn’t all bad. The bit with the Queen was cute. Who knew she had such a sense of humor to play along in public? Our biggest attention grabber came from Rowan Atkinson. Call us lowbrow, but his slapstick was funny. I will never look at “Chariot of Fire” in the same light again. The firework rings were pretty cool too.

NBC’s coverage hasn’t improved greatly. I mean, we are five hours behind the action, why in the world are they stuffing the program with inane material? Ryan Seacrest reviewing the number of tweets the Queen received was by far one of the most most frustrating pieces I’ve seen in a long time. I understand having to pay for the programming, but really? Seacrest? Can we vote him off?

What the next two weeks, plus will bring no one knows? Phelps defeated! USA number one in qualifying for gymnastics? China and Australia winning gold medals in swimming? So many possibilities, so much talent. Good luck, good health and good sportsmanship to all the contestants. Make the Olympic Gods proud! Maybe they will be pleased enough to send down a lightning bolt to take out Seacrest.