Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Let the Games begin

The Athens Olympics kinda snuck up on me, and I have to admit, I'm not as into the games as I once was. A lot of it has to do with the network overkill: Bob Costas yammering on endlessly about Michael Phelps' favorite toothbrush, the heavily edited coverage airing hours after I already read the results on the Internet, and the jingoistic fervor that pervades every commercial. Not to mention the fact that I prefer the Winter Olympics, anyway. But a few days in, I find myself watching it from time to time, not constantly, but checking in. I'm rooting for the Canadian baseball team to win a medal, and I'll check out some of the track and field events, soccer, and other stuff. It definitely seems as though the Games have lost their luster, though. When I was a kid, you watched whatever event was happening, even if you couldn't stand it. Gymnastics? Sure. Synchronized swimming? You bet. But now? Forget it.

It seems like an idiot has to do this at every major sporting event. Has anybody actually gone to that web site?

Hurricane Charley may have kicked the crap out of Florida, but by the time he got up here, he was more like Uncle Charley from "My Three Sons," a cranky old buzzard: "Dammit, Ernie, can't you kids see I'm busy baking a cake?" We got a lot of rain Sunday morning, and me and my buddy Matt ran 12 miles in it on the hilly course of the Around the Cape race (15.5 miles) in Gloucester and Rockport. We were encouraged that despite the punishing nature of the course, we felt pretty good afterwards. Of course, it was a comfortable 65 Sunday; let's see how when the temps are in the 80s or 90s. The race is only a few weeks away. Deb has been doing well in her training for the B.A.A. Half Marathon; she ran eight miles this morning.

Near brush with near greatness: A good friend of mine dated the uberhot Blanchard Ryan when we were all attending UNH in the late '80s; she was a model then and went by her real name, Sue. Now she's starring in the "'Jaws' meets 'Blair Witch'" indie flick "Open Water." I only met her a few times, and to be honest, I hardly remember her (dude, it was a looooong time ago). I do remember that we were all amazed that my friend landed such a babe; I think they dated for a few years. She was on Conan O'Brien last Friday and still looks great. She hasn't had a lot of roles, but she might start getting some with all the attention she's getting for this movie. Meanwhile, my buddy is married and has a kid and is way too gentlemanly to ever discuss it, but he's the envy of those of us who know that he dated someone who is now semi-famous. Of course, we envied him back then, too.

Brush with greatness: Also when I was back at UNH, working as news editor of The New Hampshire, I had an encounter with another individual who went on to fame and fortune. There I was, just minding my own business at the news desk, when in walks some dorky looking dude with long hair, glasses and a beard. He had a flyer for his band's upcoming concert in the area and asked me if I could get it in the paper. I said sure and took it from him, but I guess I wasn't enthusiastic enough because he kept pestering me about it. Finally, I told him to get lost because he was getting on my nerves. I figured he was just another loser in a band going nowhere. That, my friends, was Trey Anastasio, lead singer and guitarist of Phish, which played its farewell show on Sunday in Vermont. Hey, what did I know?

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