Viewing The Winter Olympics in 30-Second Glimpses

February 14, 2010

If Lindsey Vonn wasn’t blond and pretty, would she get any coverage at all?  Really, NBC would have us believe she’s the second coming and is trying to set us up for a Lake Placid-like Miracle on Ice.

Half the figure skaters don’t look old enough to drive.  The speed skaters’ outfits are so form-fitting they leave little to the imagination.

NBC and CNBC are covering different events.  Yay!  Too bad they are both being produced by NBC.

Bob Costas shouldn’t dye his hair; or maybe he just needs a better rug on top.

Canadian coverage (CTV) puts NBC’s coverage to shame.  If only CTV was high-def.

The altitude in Mexico City; the heat in Atlanta; and now, the rain in Vancouver.  Aren’t there metrics that the Olympic site selection committee should use to eliminate venues not conducive to the sports being run?

Oh yeah.  Olympic athletes are amazing.


Danielle in Nicaragua

July 3, 2009

Danielle is a family friend.  She’s in Nicaragua.  In a really rural, poor-as-dirt part of Nicaragua.  Danielle is in the Peace Corps.

Danielle graduated from college recently, and she could be doing just about anything a normal twenty-something would want to do.  She’s smart, extremely athletic, musically inclined, has a great personality and is vastly more beautiful than I could ever have been handsome.  She was one of New Hampshire’s top track athletes in high school, highly motivated and successful.  Yet all the things she’s been gifted with left her wanting for something else.

So she did what few of us would ever be willing to do; she left home and for the next two years is going to teach and farm in the lower-class region of a third-world country.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I write about Danielle because I want others to read about her.  She does not have it easy.   This is a huge transition and a greater learning experience for her than it is for those she is trying to help; and worse, she’s gone to a part of the world where the spiders are, like, the size of your hand.  She hates spiders.

She started a blog.  It’s called (surprise) Danielle in Nicaragua.  Her writing skills are not necessarily perfect but grammatically and phonetically close enough to get the point across.  What’s neat about her blog is its endearing nature.  It’s a quirky and fun read.  She only gets a chance to write maybe once a week at most – I believe she has to travel to some larger town that has a wi-fi connection – but her letters weave a story vastly different than the stuff we usually read and write about in the world we live in.  Her stories are about how most people on Earth live, not how we live.

Danielle in Nicaragua is worth a visit.  The embedded video above and the one below (which includes musical references to The Godfather and Radiohead) were taken and produced by one of her fellow Peace Corps volunteers; they are funny and educational.  Notice what they do with the few tools and materials they have to work with.

So read her blog and leave an encouragement or two in the comments section.  She’ll appreciate it.


African Stagnation

January 11, 2009

africa-life-expectancy

This post is from BuzzFeed, showing that in 45 years there has been almost no change to life expectancies in sub-Saharan Africa.  Nowhere else in the world have health conditions remained unimproved for so long.

gapminder

GapMinder has a stunning graph that plays life expectancies by country.  Select almost any sub-Saharan country, hit the Play button and watch how these countries have stagnated or worse, regressed.  My favorite degenerate African country, Zimbabwe, has a life expectancy that plunged from 62 to under 45 coinciding with the reign of President Robert Mugabe.

I suppose that there will always be some segment of the world at the bottom of the pecking order; I just wonder if this part of Africa is destined to remain there forever.  Certainly during these rough global economic times their future looks even more uncertain.


Meanwhile in a Third-World Country…

December 3, 2008

wheelbarrowofmoneyIn what looks to be the next African crisis (not that they don’t have enough already)…

The official Zimbabwean super-ultra-hyperinflation rate is now 231 million percent – about a price doubling every other week.  Unofficially prices are doubling almost daily.  That would put the inflation rate upwards of a really, really huge number (something like 400 quintillion percent since October 1st).  It looks like 84-year-old Robert Mugabe wants to take to the grave as many Zimbabweans as he can.

Indeed, easily-treatable cholera is starting to claim many lives and the epidemic will only get worse as the government does…nothing.  Whenever I want to put our own government’s dysfunction into the proper perspective I only need to think of Zimbabwe to see what the integration of real corruption, greed and weapons in the hands a few can wreak.


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