In Old Turin
Lilly is more interested in the winter Olympics than the rest of us. She’s watched some of it every evening since it started. Sometimes I stop by to watch, and as usual it makes me wonder about a few things.
Torino? I don’t care about NBC and IOC usage. I'm sticking with Turin. The “Shroud of Torino” just doesn't have that ring to it. I understand that the city fathers of Turin lobbied for the Italian usage, and I’m sure they had their reasons, but it’s an example of non-English speakers butting into something that isn't their business – place names in English. Should we refer now to the ’72 München games and that recent Spielberg movie, München? Should we use Greek letters for Athens and Hangul for Seoul and Chinese characters for Beijing, since Pinyin isn’t close enough to the original? Different languages often have different place names than what a native would use, but I think grownups can understand that and live with it.
Speaking of spellings, where did Apolo Ohno get that first name? Ohno is of course a transliteration of his father’s Japanese name, sometimes rendered Ono, as in Yoko. But it seems like an ‘l’ went missing out of his first name. In any case, because he’s half Japanese, he’s popular in this house.
Watched some of the men’s half-pipe snowboarding the other day. How is it possible? People are doing it, but it doesn’t seem like physics would allow human beings to move that like, and live. This just means that I don’t understand physics. But even so, how does anyone learn to move like that without breaking his neck? I wonder the same about some of the gymnastics during the summer games.
The mascots of this year’s winter games, Neve, a female ball of snow, and Gliz, a male block of ice, are as underwhelming as Olympic mascots usually are. I suppose this comes of being created by committee, and the end result usually looks like something from a mediocre children’s book. I’ve read that most popular “Olympic” mascot was in fact Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat around the time of the Sydney games in 2000, a completely unofficial mascot. But maybe there’s hope for the Beijing games in terms of mascots. One of them is supposed to be Yingying, a Tibetan antelope. No doubt he’ll be fitted with an appropriate Chinese yoke.