Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Somewhere South of Mount Olympus

This time next week athletes from all over the world shall gather in the quaint little hamlet of Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics.  It has been hard to miss news of the upcoming Olympic Games - even for those of us who are not among the four dozen or so people who actually watch any of the networks of NBC - although you have been as likely to come across it in any other section of your daily paper as you are to see it on the sports page.  And that, in and of itself, seems to me as if it should be meriting more conversation than it has. 

It was just last week that the United States Navy announced its plan to station a ship or two in the Black Sea as part of the United States' "Extraction Plan" for our athletes and our citizens attending the Games.  Nothing says Olympic Spirit quite as much as a well-formulated extraction plan.  Help me Bob Costas, because I tend to have a hard time keeping such things straight - is it the third or fourth Olympic ring that symbolizes the extraction plan? 

The United States Olympic Committee has also formally advised our athletes that while in Sochi they would be well-advised not to wear anything identifying them as members of the United States team outside of the relative security of the Olympic Village.  Remind me again how it is that Sochi won the bid to host these Games?  Oh that is right - there is an abject lack of quality hotel accommodations in Kabul, Afghanistan and it is not possible to get a direct flight to Hell's Seventh Circle during the wintertime. 

And the warm, fuzzy feeling that everyone participating in and/or attending these Olympics is getting from the somewhat elastic definition Mr. Putin's folks assign to the concept of security is multiplied one thousand fold by the welcome embrace that any homosexual competitor or attendee is hoping is not awaiting his or her arrival.  For in Russia, while being a surly douchebag with a bad comb-over can get you elected President (well those things plus owning the folks who tabulate the ballots), being homosexual can get you in a lot of trouble.  So much so that V Put's hand-picked lackey (Damn You Autocorrect - I meant to write Mayor of Sochi) Antoly Pakhomov decreed just this past weekend that Sochi is a city entirely uninhabited by a single gay person.  Not a one.

It appears as if the good people of Sochi, Russia are a hard-working, industrious and resourceful bunch, driven to succeed in spite of the road apple sitting atop their municipal pecking order.  Otherwise one wonders how a city whose populace includes not a single gay person could be the home to several gay bars and clubs.

I wonder as well - for the sake of Mayor Pakhomov - just how often V Put has seen his friend Antoly's last name spelled out in English.  Methinks that whenever he is up next for re-election the Mayor is not likely to pass out flyers reminding his constituents, "You cannot spell the name Pakhomov without the letters "H-O- M-O!"

It just occurred to me that when the Olympic Torch arrived in Russia, it must have scared the shit out of everyone on V Put's team from Captain Comb-over himself on down.  A traveling flame. 

Putin's worst nightmare.  


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