Archives for category: Political Interference

ImageThat title may seem a little strong, but I was floored to learn that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) voted today, in a closed session using secret ballots, to remove Wrestling from the core sports of the Olympic Games in 2020.

If you asked me last week which of the following three things would happen, I would have picked #3 as the most likely:

1) Pope Benedict would resign his papacy

2) The IOC would remove Wrestling from the summer Olympics

3) The Air Force would adopt a credible warrior training regimen out of shame

This year has been full of surprises already, many of them disturbing, but seriously, I would have bet on #1 above as a sure thing (the pope hasn’t resigned for centuries) compared to #2.

Clearly, the IOC is without three very important things; shame, common sense, and a basic understanding of the what comprises an athletic competition.  I’m at a loss for words. I can argue a fine point for hours, bending facts around my position as needed, and making nuanced and convincing arguments.

But this is a brutally blunt point, and I am at a loss to find ways to describe just how sacreligious and insane it is to destroy Olympic Wrestling. It’s like trying to explain why it is a bad idea to hit someone in the shin with a 15 pound sledgehammer; it is pretty obviously a bad idea on the surface.

Let me draw on my love of history to help me here, just in case you don’t care or agree with me.

First, the modern Olympics, started in 1896, was based on the ancient Greek Olympics which started in the 8th century BCE. The first events were running, mostly sprints, but later a distance race was added, and finally a sprint in full combat load.

Other sports were added soon, to include boxing, wrestling and pankration (think MMA/UFC). Wrestling was also the final, and decisive, event in the ancient pentathlon. Other events came, mostly track and field, with some equestrian events, but these were the mainstays.

So why did this group of 15 IOC officials get rid of the purest form of athletic competition? This ultimate personal test of strength, skill and will? Ratings, mostly, although they admit personal proclivity and emotional judgement had an impact on their decision.

What qualifies these 15 to decide? Many of them are “athletes”, and some are even athletes. Here is a respective breakdown of the sports in which they competed on the international stage: Yachting, Fencing (foil), hurdles, badminton, NONE, NONE, NONE, basketball(kind of), Hockey (club), Judo, Fencing (epee), NONE, pole vault, baseball(not MLB), and NONE.

I don’t think I’m taking anything out of context by pointing out that yachting, badminton, fencing, and judo weren’t even on the chopping block. Not that I think fencing should be cut, but yachting?

The IOC could have shaved some of these core sports down a little and kept wrestling. Hell, they could have lost dressage, synchronized swimming, rythmic gymnastics team and individual (ribbon twirling), handball, and badminton and had plenty of room to not only keep wrestling but to expand it by adding mixed martial arts in the form of pankration. Hell, if they are so focused on having a limited amount of core sports they could have made one of those “Martial Arts” and lumped in wrestling, judo, boxing, and taekwondo.

I am so angry I could spit, and mostly there’s nothing I can do about it. Being powerless in the face of oppressive ignorance is a horrible feeling. Wait, there is something I can do about it.

I can mail those #+&#$%S a crap sandwich. The next time I take Karlos out for a walk I’ll bring a bag to collect deer crap, and then slap it in a nice baguette and mail it those bastards. I saw on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods that they eat droppings in some parts of the world, so it’s not like I’m doing anything illegal.

In fact, if their judgement about food is as effed up as it is about what actual Olympic competition entails, I might be doing them a favor.

I’ll follow up with an address if you want to send them a $#!+ sandwich too, or maybe just hate mail.

Update 1

The Russian Olympic Committee is formally protesting the IOC’s moronic decision. If you want to encourage the US Olympic Committee to do the same you can reach them here:

1 Olympic Plz Colorado Springs, CO 80909 (719) 632-5551

I will be calling and writing today to register my complaint and encourage action. I think a strike is in order, and no, not a drone strike (not yet) but a labor strike.

*Note: I try to invest humor into everything I write. That doesn’t mean I think less of the subject.*

The Bishop!

I wish I had a direct line like this.

Every week at mass I am moved in some way or another. This Sunday was no exception.

I face-planted on my crutches going up the curb from the parking lot, so in addition to bringing my crutches with me, I brought grass stains, a bloody knee and helpful advice from my eldest (“Next time use the ramp, Dad”) into church with me. So you could say I was moved to humility before I even walked in the door.

Luckily, there was an open pew near the side door for us, and we managed to get seated without the thunking of my crutches amusing the entire port-side transept of our church. You could say this moved me to gratitude.

Next, the usher came and told me he would have the Eucharistic Minister bring me the host. I agreed without thinking. This moved me to shame. If Jesus could carry his cross to Golgotha, I could carry my lame butt up to get communion.

Then, the readings. First was Acts 3:13-19 and then 1 John 2:1-5a. These are uplifting. Even though we are sinners; even though every day we fail in some small way to live up to our legacy, we have an incredible legal team armed with a sure-fire defense. I was moved to rejoicing.

I had been trying to flag down the usher ever since I had agreed to take the Host in my pew. Before the Gospel reading, one of his compatriots walked by and I had him deliver the message that I wanted to go up for communion. I felt relief.

Next the Gospel. It was Luke 24:35-48, Christ reunited with the Apostles. This is it. This is where we, as Christians, all shout Bingo. The moment. Well at least as far as I’m concerned. I have innate Catholic guilt, amplified by my own close personal relationship with my failings, so I was moved to relief heavily tinged with guilt.

The Homily. The priest, not an eloquent speaker, led off with a layered question which really put me in a good mood.  I will paraphrase.

“What would you say if by listening to my homily you would learn all the cheat codes for your video games?”

Nice! That was the rhetorical high point, as he really has trouble with public speaking (I respect him all the more for getting up there every Sunday!) but it was a good message nonetheless. He reiterated that this week’s reading DEFINED our salvation. Until the last sentence of the sermon, I felt an underlying sense of comfort. Then he ended with this (again I paraphrase):

“On your way out of mass, please sign the Knights of Columbus’ petition to encourage laws to restrict marriage to one man and one woman.”

I felt sadness, anger and disappointment. The pivotal message of our faith. The climax of the event that defines our salvation. Ruined by a call for political action. Whatever happened to render unto Caesar. What do we care about the laws of man in church? If they make our faith illegal, it would be a boon!

I don’t remember anything else until I went up for communion. I wasn’t feeling one with Christ and the church. As I crutched up there, I could only think of that last line of the homily. (I fundamentally disagree with my Church on the issue of secular marriage of gays and lesbians). I thought I had better skip on communion. Then I looked up at the crucifix. If you are a protestant (or other religion) you may just think of a blank cross. We catholics don’t. On our cross is an embodiment of Christ at the height of human suffering. We usually include the spear wound, too, although this is out of place, as Jesus’ human form was past suffering when the legionary stabbed him.

Any pride in limping up to take communion evaporated. As did any feelings of anger, sadness or disappointment. My rules for my religion are simple. I try to live by Rule #1, and when someone, particularly a co-religionist, does something that makes me want to break Rule #1, or does something that seems to be at odds with that Rule, I move onto Rule #2 (essentially “If something contradicts Rule #1, See Rule#1).

So I only felt awe at this point. I was in communion with Christ.

As we left church, I limped past the table the K of C had set up to collect signatures. It was being manned by an usher I knew pretty well. He is a truly kind person, and exceedingly friendly to me, personally. I said hi and smiled. He gave me a genuine smile and waved as I passed.

I felt at peace.

I am reaffirmed in my faith that most people only want to do what they feel is best. Best for whatever reason, but mostly, best in that it will have the best, most moral outcome for everyone involved. This issue of gay marriage is killing me. I won’t always have the direct, physical example of supreme suffering to help me get my heart in the right place, either.

So, like my muse on religion, Tertullian, let me advise the bishops. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Treat the issue of gay marriage like you do that of re-married divorcees who work in your non-church institutions. Give them benefits and respect their civil rights as granted by our secular Constitution and the laws of the land. If entering the secular world to aid your fellow man means having to play by the rules, weigh that and do so. If the law of the land becomes too onerus, either break the law and rejoice in the consequences or retreat from those things that are irreconcilable.

This Marine’s advice to the bishops? Focus on your primary mission of proclaiming the salvation of Christ. That which meddles with Caesar’s laws only serves to obscure the message.

 

When I count down from 10 you will be in a trance. You will not carry any political baggage. You will just read this article and appreciate that this bike riding vegetarian’s retirement is a shame. You will wish that climate science could be debated by tweedish types in a politics free atmosphere. Unfortunately, I use the Parris Island method of counting down, so your trancelike state may be incomplete. Oh well.

10, 9, 4, 2, 1

What follows is an interview with George Taylor who is one of the following: A minion of satan, A shining beacon of righteousness, or a well-trained professor with scientific curiosity.

George Taylor, larger than life!

He essentially presented some real questions about the importance of carbon emssions in the range of factors that impact climate change, and has been either demonized or deified accordingly. Since you are in a trance, you will read the following article without any preconceived notions.

The internationally reknowned Lake Oswego Review’s interview with George Taylor

Revolutionary! Thoughts, anyone? Remember, I’m leaving you in that trance thingy, so make them informed by your own knowledge, not whatever external thought-machines you happen to use.