Our week at the Mar de Jade yoga retreat ended wonderfully, as all things do there. We spent a morning watching whales head north, mothers and calves playing together. In just a couple of hours out in a skiff we saw three different sets, and yes it was both exciting and peaceful. I’m pleased to say that my yoga during the course of the week did improve and I was able to deepen my practice. I was able to hone many of the poses I already know, working on form and style. I also began to master some new, more esoteric poses that come only after years of practice, visits to the sweat lodge, and induced visions. These include Tortured Warrior, Locust Attack, and a new pose I invented called Beached Baby Beluga. I’ll be unveiling this last pose at the upcoming Yoga Journal Convention. Sadly we got on our Air Alaska flight out Puerto Vallerta (how incongruous is that?) and winged it back to rainy San Francisco making it through US Customs with a minimum of hassle (given the fact that we were using forged passports). We picked up our batmobile and headed north deciding to stop in Marin for a bite to eat at the shopping center in Corte Madera. While in line at the salad bar I found myself faced with one of the weirder menu choices I’ve had at a restaurant.
Only in Marin can you go to restaurant expecting to eat food and instead be offered a Detox (first column, last item). Alternatively you can order the item above it, which I’m sure is some kind of delicious middle eastern treat but definitely should be called something else here in the US.
Anyway, we made it home late that night safely.
While away, much to our surprise, Russia decided to offer the world the Winter Olympics. I knew something had been missing from life, but here it was, so I’ve decided to offer a few opinions. Please don’t be put off by the fact that I don’t know how to ski or skate (in spite of the fact that the Fabulous Miss K and I first met during our stint in the Ice Capades). I also don’t know how to build a proper snowman and in fact, I don’t even like iced tea. That doesn’t mean I’m not an authority on this.
Not since Sophia Loren had there been a Eurobabe who could melt the ice like Katrina. She was enough to make you want to defect to East Germany! I was also disappointed to learn that once again they had decided not to offer the reindeer chariot races which had been so popular ever since they did that Laplander version of Ben Hur.
Anyway let’s take a look at what they are offering starting with the appropriately-maligned sport of curling. This is no doubt that this is the oddest sport humans participate in. It is also the only sport I can think of that was designed to showcase the talents of people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. For those who don’t know the rules, it’s pretty simple. Each team has three members. The leader of the team (who is called the “mom”) slides big weights over the ice and tries to get the weight to land near the bullseye. It’s kind of like shuffleboard that you play in the bar (like over at the Wagon Wheel
only there’s no sawdust on the ice.) The head guy on each team is called the mom because his job is to tell his two team-mates that they should pick up their brooms, clean up and sweep better and faster. These two other team-mates are known as the “Mom’s Sweeper-Bitches.” They have to do whatever he says and if they don’t do a good job they won’t get a medal and they can’t go out and play. Here’s a scene from the last Olympics showing the intense interaction between a mom and the sweeper-bitches:
Like in most events the Kings of Curling are the Norwegians. When not talking on their Nokia phones, getting a great education, or eating fish-soaked-in-lye, these guys are usually found getting their curls done down at the local pond. Nobody slides a stone like the guys from Oslo. These guys are so cocky that this year they showed up in a team uniform that outdid even the French. Clearly they had been over to ABBA’s going-out-of-business garage sale over in Sweden.
These guys look almost as sharp as I did in my first blog entry. Speaking of me, I want to confess at this time as to the reason I didn’t make the US curling team. Athletic skill has little to do with being selected as a prime curler. In order to be selected you have to show exceptional skill in cleaning up after yourself. Although I was on the short list for the team when it came time for the “trials” they came over to my house to see if it was clean enough. I had (I thought) prepared thoroughly and the place was looking pretty good. But then one of the judges looked under my bed and found a big dust bunny-hairball left over from when our dog Scout was still alive. Boom, they busted my broom and I was disqualified. Speaking of brooms, most folks don’t know it but the best brooms are sold like baseball bats and bear the signatures and endorsements of famous custodians and janitors. Little known however, is that this sport is somehow so compelling that His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave up his Tibetan citizenship and became a giant Norwegian team curling fan.
But enough about curling. Let’s take a look at another great winter sport. The combined Nordic Biathalon. This is a great deal in sporting events because you get two sports in one. You don’t even need two tickets to see all the action. It’s kind of like a mini sports-medley. In the biathalon athletes ski as fast they can. Then they stop, PULL OUT A RIFLE, and shoot something. Then they pack up their rifle and ski as fast as they can again until they shoot something else. And they do it all in skintight clothing. Check it out:
Frankly, I think that combining shooting with other sports really has a lot of merit. For example, how about combining riflery with football? You do a run play, you do a pass play, and then you pull out a gun and shoot something. How about riflery combined with ice hockey. Nothing could go wrong there. I also think that combining golf and riflery would be a real winner. What makes this a winner is that you keep score in both sports by counting your shots. This guy has the idea:
Unfortunately, this year one of the biathletes made a terrible mistake resulting in a tragic scene just short of the finish line.
Most of the biathletes are recovering. Its amazing that the snow still managed to stay so white.
I’ll be watching closely to see what other surprises await us as this extravaganza continues.