Late Night Olympics Open Thread: Dancing on Ice


As a devout animist, of course I was much interested in Yuzuru Hanyu’s Abe no Seimei themed performance. Found this Youtube fan short which might be enlightening for those of you who haven’t seen the movie he based it on…

(Theme is from Onmiyoji, which is entertaining in its own right.)

Olympics Open Thread: Keeping It Positive!


From NYMag, “That Shirtless Tonga Hunk Is Mighty Proud of His 114th-Place Olympic Finish”:

Pita Taufatofua, a taekwondo athlete who was propelled into the international spotlight at the 2016 Olympics thanks to his above-satisfactory chest region and flag-waving skills, made his valiant Olympiad return with the Winter Games. He earned a spot to compete for his home nation in the 15k cross-country ski race on Friday — despite never training for the sport, or laying eyes on snow, until a few months ago. In a pleasant surprise to everyone, including himself, Taufatofua managed not to finish dead last in the rigorous race, instead placing 114th out of the 119 total competitors. He ended about 22 minutes behind the race’s winner…

“Everyone was at the front racing to come first, we were racing not to come last, but we’ll have a good laugh over dinner,” Taufatofua joked after the race with his fellow stragglers. “I’d rather be finishing towards the end of the pack with all my friends than in the middle by myself. We fought together, we finished together.”…


Well, mostly positive…

Can’t resist!

(Mike Luckovich via

Olympics Open Thread: Watch Out for Those Vikings…


Nope, of course I am absolutely not qualified to discuss the actual sports, so please take over the comments and enjoy!

Meanwhile, like many of my fellow couch potatoes, I’ll revel in the sideshows. My Norwegian-born mother-in-law always assured me that the really dangerous Norwegians took their genes out of the Scandinavian pool some centuries back, but then again, per the Washington Post, “Every four years, they come from Norway to plunder your gold”

DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea — If you surmise that your Olympic nation is as strong or as cool as Norway, then you are suffering some sort of delusion. In your defense, it’s not like the Norwegians sit around up at the 59th parallel crowing about being the greatest. They just come to the harder, hardier version of Olympics, the Winter Games, bring along their majestic lungs and return home with medals by bushels.

They probably pay the odd baggage fee.

They have merely 5.3 million citizens yet a global all-time lead with 329 winter medals, making them a medals-per-capita Godzilla. In the first Winter Olympics, they led the medal table in Chamonix, France, in 1924, and in the most recent Winter Olympics, they finished third in medals and tied for first in golds in Sochi, Russia, in 2014. (And they might yet pull ahead in those latter charts, given they tied with doping-scandalized Russia.) Their past six Olympiads saw them finish first, second, third, sixth (in their big bummer of 2006 in Italy), fourth and third, with medal counts of 26, 25, 25, 19, 23 and 26.

This time, they’re talking, in calm, matter-of-fact tones, about outdoing themselves with 30…

But this year, I would submit, the Norwegian curling team has finally lost the Weird Fashion competition to… THE MEXICAN ALPINE SKI TEAM!

(Yes, that’s a Day of the Dead theme, designed by the guy on the right of the photo, Mexico’s ski-team emeritus Prince Hubertus von Hohenlohe.)

Olympics Open Thread: We’re Not Sending Our Best

That Fox News executive’s now-suppressed editorial had it exactly backwards. It’s not the “Darker, Gayer, Different” competitors who are embarrassing the rest of us Americans…

If “diplomatic dance” were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister would be favored to win gold.

With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea’s presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games…

Kim Yo Jong is believed to be the youngest of seven siblings that their father, Kim Jong Il, had with four women. Kim Jong Un and Kim Yo Jong have the same mother, Ko Yong Hui. Kim Yo Jong was always close to her father, and after returning from Switzerland, she was appointed to positions of responsibility in the government, according to Michael Madden, who runs the blog North Korea Leadership Watch.

“Kim Yo Jong’s power exists because of proximity to the leader himself. She is the person he trusts more than anyone else in the regime,” said Ken Gause, North Korean leadership expert.

She’s been known to act as an advance-team leader, inspecting sites before official visits and taking on administrative duties, analysts said…

Experts say her visit for the Winter Games is calculated to answer the expected presence of Ivanka Trump at the closing ceremonies.

“Kim Yo Jong is the perfect counterpart to this,” Hwang said. “And it also is a signal that North Korea is not this crazy, weird former Cold War state — but it too has young women that are capable and are the future leadership.”…

Friday Evening Open Thread: Hey, How ‘Bout Them Olympics?

I considered putting up a livestream for the Opening Ceremonies this morning, but then I remembered the last time I tried that it temporarily shorted out the whole blog. So I went to bed instead (I keep vampire hours, going to bed around dawn and getting up in the afternoon.)

If you also missed the ceremony, NBC will be rebroadcasting it at 8pm EST. SB Nation has some nice how-to-watch information here.

If you’re not avoiding “spoilers”, NYMag‘s Vulture sublog has gifs of “10 Moments You Missed at the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony”.


Who’s planning on watching which events, tonight or over the next week?

One public-relations save already…

Monday Morning Open Thread: Branding — That’ll Leave A Scar


Is “I only watch it for the ads” still a thing?

Apart from post-game recovery, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?

Leftovers Open Thread — Superb Owl Edition

David Roth, in the Baffler“Downward Spiral”:

The NFL is financially healthy and also pretty luridly out of its mind, increasingly given to grandiose delusion and stubborn denial and spasms of executive sadism. And lately, it’s declining—in ways that are obvious for even casual viewers and evident during an average Sunday’s slate of games and in ways that the league might not fully feel for generations.

It’s America’s game all right, and if the NFL is sick, if it is even perhaps dying, it is for the most American of reasons—because it is increasingly ragged and rotten with corruption, and because it can’t quite come up with any other way that it would rather be…

Rich television deals ensure that profitability is locked in for the foreseeable future, and ratings are only slightly off their old Olympian standard. But the NFL currently feels very much like a league in decline—the league seems in a real way to have lost interest in football, or in trying to stop the league’s broader skid. There are and will always be bad teams, but the NFL in 2017 is remarkable for the number of teams that appear not even to be trying to compete. This includes not just teams embarking on variously forward-thinking tank schemes to gain advantageous position in upcoming drafts, or the roughly equal number of teams that are plainly institutionally incompetent. The ones that stand out most dramatically are those that are plainly not trying to do anything but bump along the bottoms of their divisions and collect their share of the $39.6 billion in television revenues that the league’s thirty-two teams will divide between 2014 and 2022.

Fans will put up with a lot, but such overt and unapologetic indifference is an insult that’s hard to ignore. The NFL has always prioritized the profits of the men who own the league’s teams above any other end and has only rarely bothered to conceal that fact. In its simultaneously sincere and delirious self-performance, the NFL rhymes perfectly both with our Trump-y moment and the man himself, from its valorizing of not just money but greed, its blank devotion to bigness, its endless capacity to take offense at every outrage against itself, by “anti-football” doctors revealing the damage the game does to the people who play it, to the kneeling Kaepernick. It makes sense that Trump once owned a football team of his own, the New Jersey Generals of the short-lived USFL; it’s a nice Trumpian touch that the USFL only realized a modest financial return when Trump and his fellow team owners negotiated a buyout at the expense of their far richer NFL counterparts. That the same NFL owners who donated more than any other sports executives to Trump’s inauguration celebration, according to FEC filings, recoil righteously from Kaepernick vulgarly “politicizing” their American Sunday tradition is, mostly, unsurprising. That Trump, in a characteristically beefy ad-lib at a late-September rally for Alabama Senator Luther Strange, said he would “love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired,’” was, in retrospect, probably inevitable. That he kept mashing away at that (popular) sentiment whenever his poll numbers turned down in the months afterward spoke not just to Trump’s well-documented animal shamelessness but also to the risks of the NFL’s long, strange campaign against its players.
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