Saturday, August 30, 2008

UCLA Opens on Monday with 3rd string QB


Well, here you go, another UCLA opening. I say nothing bad about them this year as it is Rocket Rick Nueheisel's first year. Made more difficult by the Quarterback situation. Yes, our two starters from last year (Cowen and Olsen) got injured on back to back days in Spring practice. That can't be an easy way to start.
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Instead we will start a JC transfer for the first time since Mark Harmon in 1972. (Yes, the same Mark Harmon from NCSI). At least on the positive side our starter, Kevin Craft, won the JC title game for Mount Sac (Mt. San Antionio College, affectionately known locally as Mount Sac).
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Also, as you can see below, he is a Mark Harmon fake blond Bruin. So even if this poor guy is hammered by Tennessee on Monday, he will look good. Who says Bruin's are superficial?


About the top....



So this picture was taken in Shanghai at the City Buddhist Temple. These red hangings are small prayer / memento scrolls where the monk will write a message for you and it you make an offering. The offering isn't so much to god (they don't believe in a single god, per say) but a help in focusing your thoughts.
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At least that is as much as I understood, but the red hangings were beautiful. So if I offended a Buddhist or anything with this - my apologies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Jet Laggiest

So, the 12 hour time difference is hell on the old body. Even with Ambian and trying to use the sun and lights, I wake up wrong and get a sudden overwhelming sleep attack.
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The body wasn't made for jets.

Julie's Favorite Mascot Made Good...


So Andreas Thorkildsen was Julie's favorite mascot (and yes, he is a cutie). Well, he did great in the Olympics. The Norwegian Javelin thrower threw 90+ meters (about a football field) for a new Olympic record.
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He won the Gold Medal and he was a total kick to watch.
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He did have a weird little habit. The red jersey in the picture above must be his "lucky" jersey. Because he wore the Norwegian Jersey for his throws and then changed into his red lucky jersey between throws.
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It was odd. The picture below is used only to demonstrate this odd habit. Really. (FYI, number 1689 is Teitro Pitken who won the Bronze.)

It was also a crack up to watch him; right after he won the medal, he totally "messed up" his hair so he was cutier when running around with his flag.
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Humpy, blond, a little vain and an exobitionist. And (wait for it) straight! Amazing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How did the Bruins do?

They won 17 medals (4 gold, 9 silver, 4 bronze).  Details here.

How The Chinese Look


I don't know what I expected the Chinese to dress like. I did not expect the very very normal clothes they wore. I suppose, since they make our clothes, they know what is reasonably fashionable. Regardless of the clothes, Suzanne and I managed to stand out... somehow :-).


Monday, August 25, 2008

Scott's Home: Wrap Up

Well, I am home in New York now. Eddie and Suzanne watched the closing as well as the finals of Basketball while I was flying.
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My last day we watched the 4 x 400 finals, Men and Women's and the women had to fly the last few meters to win! It was crazy.
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Also Andreas Thorskilden (we all remember the Javelin Mascot) won the Gold Medal while we were there.
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It was so so cool.
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Iceland won the Silver in the Handball, equalling it's best Olympics ever :-).
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China was wild crazy fun. And, it was so so so much more Western than I thought it would be. It is more western than Japan.
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It strikes me as very Singapore-ian. It is a relatively well off group of people (towering above India at least in Shanghai and Beijing - and I have been to good Indian cities) and an authoritarian government that isn't overly concerned about what people do day to day - as long as they don't bitch about the government. I am not saying that is right or condoning it, but it was a surprise.
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I expected a more "iron fist" mentality, but I didn't see it. I saw a lot of people following the basic rules and wondering what all the fuss was about (again - very much like Singapore).
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In any event, the people were great to us. Not just around the Olympic sites, but throughout the city and on the subways and in Shanghai. Very different than I expected. And the dress... People looked like a typical day at the mall. Really.
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I will post a picture guide for anyone later, but I wanted to say I was back and it is over. I had an amazing time that I will remember always.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Even Competing.. Pale


Today Suzanne and I watched some of the Decathlon at the National Stadium (Bird's Nest). There were a lot of competitors from all over, and a US lad, Clay, was in the lead.
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However, for a change of pace, I post a picture for our British friends. He is a good-looking boy. But I gotta say, even when they compete in outdoor events, they are one pale nationality.
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It was a fun morning.
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Dumplings tonight.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kayaking Today (in the Rain)



Well, today was Kayaking day (plus shopping with Suzanne a little).
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Eddie probably will post better picture later, but this was fun. Boat 3 is the Canook boat. We love the Canadians (they bought us beer). It was fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

This is how Scott’s brain works…

So when I flew from Beijing to Shanghai, it was a late flight and I was alone. I get in the taxi line and I notice that it is mainly single 20 – 30 men, probably working in one city or the other. And I think, they must be lonely doing this all the time.
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Then I notice that in the taxi line, very very often one man gets a light from his cigarette from another guy. Most people would dismiss this trivia, but – as I have time on my hands waiting for the taxi – other thoughts race through my head.
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Perhaps it is a way of reaching out to one another in these stiflingly large and impersonal cities. Maybe just the simple human act of offering and accepting a light gives them a touch of humanity – a common bond here far from home.
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And I see this action as touching, as a men reaching for human contact way out here. I think, me and myself, how cool it is to witness this.
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Then..
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I remember that at the airport they confiscated all the lighters and matches. D’oh! And now I just want my own damn taxi to come.

Today and Updates




So last night we went to gymnastic finals for certain events. We saw Shawn Johnson on the beam. Here are some pictures from the women's events.
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I also have connected to Eddie's pictures of the Great Wall. We were all impressed there! It is amazing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some fun fun pics

So today we went to the Great Wall. Now, of course, I shouldn't be taking pictures of celebs, but it was funny that on the Great Wall we walked into the Today Show folks.


We meet Meridith and then they all walked by - with Al Roker bringing up the rear. FYI, I was huffing and puffing myself at the end. I thought I was going to pass out.


Ed and Susanne watch them all walk by.


Above was part of the Table Tennis Team Finals. China smoked Germany and it was a lot of fun to see. Look at the bottom of the table, how fancy!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Handball (The Iceland Match Finally Happens!)


Apparently I could have been clearer in an earlier post. I am back in Beijing after the week-end in Shanghai. A friend (Suzanne) joined me there and is now in Beijing with Ed and I.
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In fact, Suzanne went with me, first to the handball game. It was really fun. It is a wicked fast paced game. It is hard to describe, but really easy to catch on to as you watch. The key thing is the attackers can't put a foot in the yellow area before they throw.
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Iceland was down at the very end, pulled their goalie and ended up tying 30-30. Iceland (last in) will make the finals!
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We also went to the Lama Temple and the Confucius Temple Grounds. Neither Suzanne or I read everything (who has time?), but we read different things! So she could tell me that there is a boy and a girl mythical guard dog/lion. The one with the ball is the boy.

We had a proper little Chinese Tea in a garden tea house and it was very traditional, right down to the tea leaves floating in the tea.
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Well, Eddie has a work dinner tonight, but he procured tickets for Suzanne and I to see the finals of doubles ping pong (Table Tennis as the sport is known here!). It is a giant deal in China.
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fun.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Friday's News You Can Use...

Well, I am off to Shanghai tonight, so Eddie will (or will not) be updating everyone. As for the news:
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Olympic News:
Yesterday we watched Michael Phelps win 2 gold medals! We saw my first swimming events ever. I had been in the water cube before (for diving) but the venue is so impressive. We sat about 5 rows above Jeff Zucker (head of NBC) plus Brian Williams and Matt Lauer. Cool huh?


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Tourist News:

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I went to the “Military Museum” yesterday. It should just be titled “Museum of Old Propaganda We Don’t Have Any Other Place to Store.”

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I LOVED it! I love all that Social Realism Art (now that the commies aren't all that scary).

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It is full of big art pieces, war planes, tanks and a missle! Quite the display of “don’t mess with us!”







Scooter News:
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Well, after leaving the National Gymnasium Venue today, there was a refreshing little rain on the walk home. After getting 1/3 across the Olympic “Green” (by which we mean wide open concrete place)the refreshing little rain turned into a very refreshing monsoon. You think they look at the big blond giant funny in the supermarket normally, you should have seen them stare at the big blond sopping wet giant today on my way back to the hotel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So Eddie has posted some fun pics on Ofoto



Only if you are bored and have time.
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Eddie has posted some of the pictures from Men's Gymnastics Team All Around Finals and you can look.




He has also posted some from the Synchronized Diving Competition that are very cool. You should look if you want.




And of course from the Opening Ceremonies.




And I got some from the Arts District.

Greetings from China

I have had a little extra time, so I have been able to visit from Temples with Eddie. This is from the Temple of Heaven.
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So the games have been fabulous. We watched the Men’s Gymnastics Team finals today, it was great! I leave it to Ed to commentate (from a letter to Jane)…
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Hello Jane!!
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Glad you have made it out and about a bit. It sounds like you are mending according to plan.

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As for Trevor, we gave him key to the place, and told him to take the doormen for a walk on occasion.    Actually, our friend Randy is house sitting. Trev loves Randy, so I'm sure he's fine. When Scott was still home I insisted on talking to Trevor on the phone, but it apparently was just confusing for him, so I've stopped.
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Soooo today we went and saw the men's gymnastic team finals. The US team has two alternates on it now, so the hopes for a medal were slim. It was incredibly exciting!! Our boys did very well until the end, and without the benefit of a commentator (or a calculator), both Scott and I thought that they had lost out on a medal to Germany. In the end they got the bronze, and it was a ton of fun. The Chinese gymnasts were awesome. They blew everyone else away for the gold.

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Then, in another surreal moment, I got to meet the entire US team with medals around their necks, as they came to our studios to do an interview. I played it very cool, and merely went for the congratulatory handshake rather than the "group hug" photo. (note: probably good that Scooter wasn't there :-)


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feel better
Ed..

The Chinese have been very nice to everyone - and it is awfully hot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

News Not From Beijing



Here is the charming young Sean, Ed's nephew. Sean is, as you can see, driving now. He drove to Ed's mother's house. Which is funny, because that same house is where I first met Sean, when he was in a high chair!!!
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Now is helping to drive to down to Mankato. Time has an evil sense of humor.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Day of Wandering



For the first time Eddie and I got a little while to wander around today. We went to an Arts District and The Temple of Heaven. I think it was Ed's first day partially off (although he was cell phoned a few times and e-mailed a lot for work) in nearly 15 days. It was great.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Flames of Opening


The Opening Ceremonies were the coolest I have ever been to.  Of course this was the first Opening Ceremonies I have ever been too, but it was still really really cool.  These pictures are of the flame being lit and then burning. 

So much fun.

We are fine

FYI - If you hear anything, we are fine. It was a crazy man.

Friday, August 08, 2008

8.8.08!!!

Finally!! This has been a long haul. I've been doing this job for a year and a half with the bulls-eye on this date the whole time. It is hard to believe that it is finally here.

This is pretty exciting stuff. It is 1:30pm and the Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics start at 8pm. Right now, I am feeling a bit like an 8 year old at Christmas... having to wait to open the presents.

Odds are good that I won't be getting Tube Socks, Bear Claw slippers, or a plaid dress shirt for this Christmas, when it comes time to open them :-) (inside family joke)

I just watched the opening "tease" that will air at the beginning of the broadcast....I guarantee that Patti will cry. There are a lot of brilliant people that have worked crazy hours and spent months and years preparing to bring you a magical show.

Sit back and enjoy it. I know I will.

Peace-
Ed

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Post without Pictures




Why a post all the way from China without pictures. Why else, I left my camera in the taxi. Why, not on purpose.. I was on a conference call and then we got out to have dinner with Julia and I just forgot my phone on the seat.
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I went to the Lama Temple (stock picture above). It is the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in the world, and still quite actively prayed at. It was interesting because right after this I went to the Imperial College and Confucius' Temple. No one prays there. They still think of Confucius as a brilliant man, but not to be prayed at when at his temple.
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The Lama Temple was gorgeous, you just went through temple after temple and in the final one (pictured) there was a 85 foot tall Buddha carved out of 1 piece of Sandalwood.


So, in mascot news Sasha Artemev is now on the team. If you haven't heard, Morgan Hamm is out with a twisted ankle, so Sasha has joined Raj as alternates that are on the team. I was speaking with Al Trautwig (REALLY, AL AND I WERE SHOOTING THE SHIT!!!!!) and he thinks it will be tough for them to pull this off. Al said that once you didn't make the team, you probably stop working out quite as hard. Raj has had like 2 weeks to get ready. Sasha has 1 day!
*ps - Al Trautwig is the lead NBC announcer for Gymnastics. Eddie can NEVER leave this job as long as they have the Olympics.
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Opening Ceremonies tonight. One word, atwitter.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Here in Beijing now.

I (Scott) got here yesterday to join Eddie. It is great to be here. The city is all exicted.

Also, altough you won't believe this, Eddie is a big deal here. I mean, he doesn't mind tooting his own horn, but here he is the grand pooba (which was what I wanted to be at Xerox when I had to fill in all those 5 and 10 year plans that I KNEW no one ever read).

The guy with the money always gets the hello's and Eddie really does. It's very cool and I am proud of him. The hotel here is where all NBC's on air talent is too, so all the commentators and all stay here.

I took the subway today to Tienamen Square and it was pretty fun. Had I not traveled so much in Asia, the sidelong stares would freak me out, but I am used to being the Big Blond American Giant in crowds or on the subway.

Well more late (ie post nap)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Table 9's short end of the stick

For the intern dinner...the adults at the tables...

Table 2 - Karch Kiraly
Table 7 - Rowdy Gaines
Table 1 - Lester Holt
Table 6 - Bela Karolyi
Table 11 - Tim Daggett
Table 9 - Ed Neppl

We had the most fun though, and cheated in the raffle.

The Eagle has Landed

Scooter has arrived. He is sleepy and I have a dinner tonight with 150 interns, so he will sleep and I will have another big group dinner. Yeah!!

More when he awakens.
Ed

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Cluster Map Coolness


So Eddie and I love maps. On the bottom left of this page, there is an icon called "Cluster Maps". If you click it it will bring up a big map that shows where people are that view this page. It's kind of cool. I have no idea who some people are (it's a semi-private blog; just meaning it isn't listed publicly), clearly I write this just for fun and keeping our friends and family up to date on what we are doing.
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I do know that the South African ones are from the friends we meant down there on vacation, and that Eddie is showing up in Hong Kong (that is where his Internet connection goes through).
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I have no idea who looks from Vienna unless it happens to be Keith and Peter being routed oddly.
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So, just so you know what it is.

How Did Our Mascots Do?

I am leaving tomorrow so there is a lot of catchingup before I leave.
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And so, I will abscond to the Olympics on Monday Morning. Continental Airlines was quite nice in allowing me to change my flight – and for having a web site that couldn’t figure out how to charge me a change fee! So I am off early.
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I feel it is time to see how our past Mascots of the Month who were trying to get to the games did.

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July: Dara Torres
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Well, you have no doubt heard she made it in 50 M Freestyle swimming. At 41 she is representing not just Americans, or mothers but also 40 year olds. God Speed Good Woman!!! (Ps – she will do this alone as the other 50 M Swimming was bounced for doping – and appealed it so late that the US didn’t have enough time to replace her. Young punks!
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June: Adam van Koeverden
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Our Canoe / Kayak boy not only made it but will be the Canookian Porte-Drapeau (Flagbear!).
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And yes, Eddie and I actually have tickets to the semi's of Flatwater Canoe and Kayak. I acutally purchased them before I even heard of Van Kayak! It will be cool.

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May: Pascal Hens
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The reigning King of Handball is set to play for Germany in less than 1 week’s time. However, as you may remember, now that Iceland is going, they have my heart for now. FYI – Many TV people are picking this as a great sport to watch. It will be on MSNBC all day on August 10th .
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April: Brett Ormsby

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Sadly, Brett did not make the US Olympic team this year. He will be replaced by two other Water Polo Bruins : Adam Wright

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and Brandon Brooks

near left.

The team is made up of 1 USC Trojan, 2 Pepperdine Waves, 2 UCLA Bruins, 3 UC-Irvine Anteaters (ZOT!) and 5 Stanford Trees.

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March: Sasha Artemev

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Alexi / Sasha was a lock to make the team as the US Gymnastics Team desperately needed a Pommel Expert and he was World Champions Bronze Medalist in the Pommel Horse. In the course of 2 US qualification tournaments, he fell off the Pommel all 4 times (get your head in the game Sasha!). He is going, but only as an alternate.

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February: Pascal Behrenbruch
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Pascal is going and peaking at the right time. But he looks hard pressed to medal in the Decathlon, as there are some amazing competitors. We have tickets to the Decathlon.
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January: Breaux Greer
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Well, good news and bad. I will take it from the NBCOlympics web site: In winning the bronze medal at the World Championships in Osaka, Greer injured his right throwing shoulder. The injury did not heal properly during 2008 and prevented Greer from throwing at all leading up to the Olympic Trials, where he finished 17th and did not qualify for the final. However, as one of only three throwers with Olympic A qualifying standard, Greer was placed on the team by USA Track & Field.

So that was our Olympic Mascot of the Month Parade…
..however...
there were some old Mascots that made it to the games too:

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January 08: Tero Pitkamaki
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Mentioned and pictured in the Breaux Greer and the Andreas Thorkildsen posts, Tero is competing in Javelin for Finland.
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It will be interesting to see Javelin (and yes we have tickets for the finals) with Breaux, Tero and our next Mascot....

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September 2006: Andreas Thorkildsen
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Ahhhh… the beginning of the beautiful Javelin throwers. There will always be a place in my heart for Anders. He will be in Beijing (and I will be looking for him!)
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Now I know this isn't a great picture of Andreas. He looks much better when that horrible helmet of hair is flopping as he throws. I know see why Breaux goes with the Breaux-hawk.
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Feruary 2005: Lleyton Hewitt
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Ley –ley gets the nod from the Aussie Olympic committee to compete again in Beijing.
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Let's be honest, Lleyton probably won't do well in Beijing, Lleyton's prime is past (prime of tennis). Furthermore, he is about to dad for the first time.
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But at least he, unlike Mark Phillapopus, isn't do bad US Reality TV (remember the Cougers vs. the Bimbos show - that was the Aussies' other tennis sensation.
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I only electronic records easily available to June of 2004 (when the design changed), but ladies and germs, the very first Mascot of the Month Raj Bhavsar is finally going to the Olympics. After spening Athens sitting as an alternate – and being selected an alternate this year – he was just put on the team as Paul Hamm pulled out.
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I didn't put the old himbo picture of Raj up, but I took this picture earlier this year at the Tyson cup!

I laughed!!!!!

From Today's NY Times "Play" Magazine
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Tryouts and Errors
BY JACK HANDEY
Published: August 3, 2008


100-METER DASH — Couldn’t finish; too far.
LONG JUMP — Couldn’t reach landing pit; twisted ankle.
SHOT-PUT — Refused to pick up ant-covered shot; disqualified.
ROWING — Whipped teammates with belt to make them row faster; disqualified.
10-METER DIVING — Platform too high.
SWIMMING — Starting block too high.
FENCING — Threw handful of dirt in opponent’s eyes; disqualified.
BADMINTON — Bit off opponent’s ear; disqualified.
400-METER DASH — Joined race for last 10 meters. Spit ear across finish line at last second to win; disqualified.
MARATHON — Got lost.
DISCUS — Not sure what to do with it.
TENNIS — Expelled for so-called skimpy shorts.
BOXING — Knocked out; knocked out; knocked out. Put boxing gloves back up on shelf; they fell off and knocked me out.
HIGH JUMP — Optical illusion made it look like I jumped under the bar.
VICTORY LAP — Apparently no such event.
SOME OTHER RACE — Inadvertently won a different race while doing victory lap; disqualified.
ARCHERY — Unable to string bow.
JAVELIN — O mighty javelin, greatest and most beautiful of spears! Thy sharp├Ęd point saved Thebes and scattered thine enemies like grebes! Hail to thee, O javelin! (Overslept; missed tryout.)
MYSTERY SPORT — Not exactly sure what this sport was, but I was awarded 22 “unprovoked tries,” whatever they are. Or maybe I was penalized 22 unprovoked tries. Not sure.
TABLE TENNIS — Not allowed to wear my protective mask, chest protector or cup; quit in protest.
CYCLING — Not very good at this, so I thought maybe I could make team by coming out on a really small “joke” bicycle. Really, if you saw this thing, how tiny it is, you’d say, “Come on, we gotta put him on the team.” (Never heard back.)
UNEVEN BARS — Not sure how to get onto upper bar.
BALANCE BEAM — I have no idea what this is.
RINGS — No, French fries! (No response from judges.)
WEIGHT LIFTING — This has to be the dumbest sport ever. No one could lift those weights! They’re too heavy! You’d have to be a muscleman or something.
SAILING — Unable to locate ocean.
HURDLES — Isn’t it actually harder to run around the hurdles, weaving in and out, than over them? This is the point I was trying to make.
EQUESTRIAN — Should be made clear, beforehand, that a horse is required for this.
TRYOUT FOR JOB AS OLYMPIC OFFICIAL — Couldn’t figure out how to work timing clock; gave winner in 100 meters a time of 10 “guess” seconds; not hired.
TRYOUT FOR JOB AS COTTON-CANDY MAKER — Cotton candy came out “molten”; not hired.
TRYOUT FOR SPECTATOR — Apparently I have a loud, constant cough that sounds like a starting pistol; barred from stands.
DON-BAITING — Reminded my friend Don how great his ex-wife was; made him cry!

A day in the life


My hotel is very close to the Olympic Green and the Birds nest. I'm sitting in my room now, and facing the birds nest actually. My typical day starts by taking an Olympic transit bus at 8am from the hotel. I go through a "mag and bag" screening here at the hotel, so the bus doesn't have to stop on the way in to Olympic Green area, and it drops me at the International Broadcasting Center. A huge building that will become their new convention hall after the games. I don't really leave there much, but have gotten out to see some venues and our production compounds. NBC is by far the largest Broadcaster and we have about 80,000 square feet built out into a temporary broadcasting facility. Lunch is at a commissary within our NBC area. My day at the IBC ends around 6 or 7pm, and then I have taken to walking back to the hotel, which is about a 25 or 30 minute walk through the Olympic area. On the way, I walk past the Gymnastics Arena, the Watercube, and then the Birds Nest. Right now the area is empty and it is a very magical feeling to stand among these architectural masterpieces. Dinner has been either out at a nice restaurant or at the hotel depending on my mood.
At 9pm here, it is 9am in NY and the calls and emails with the people back in NY begins. It has been much quieter on the weekend, but one night this week I shut everything down around 3am. I know that I have to reign that in or I'll get sick, so I'll be trying to force some of the New York business to happen at 9pm there instead.
More Later. Glad Scooter is coming. These Olympics are going to be off the charts on many levels!
Updated: I added a picture of Eddie in front of the Bird's Nest.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Mummy 3

So I went with Randy to see The Mummy 3 (blah blah Curse of Chinese Razzem Frassem blah). It was exactly what one would think it was big. A big loud fun movie, with some horrible acting and great special effects.
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But one thing was surprising. I think it was suppose to be kind of a "hand off" to Luke Ford (as Brenden's kid) as the Mummy chaser. For once, The New York Times was right on the money as they described him as "... a charisma free zone." He was horrible.
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I mean, of course, they are horrible lines - it's a Mummy movie - but he can't even deliver them. As for himbo factor. He is not nearly as cute as Brenden. In fact, I kid you not, they nude up Brenden once (healing some stomach wound, which we knew as the camera lingered down his nakid shoulders and chest). Luke the-chubster Ford, thankful kept fully clothed through the entire movie.
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I say no hand off soon.
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ps - Better than Indiana Jones 4: Return of Geritol in Convenient Gel Pack