Sunday, August 10, 2008

Odds 'n' Ends

So we took a couple days and went to the coast in the camper. It's not that far, and with gasoline being what it is, a cheap trip -- relatively speaking. Stayed at an RV place in Garabaldi, a little fishing town between Tillamook (where the cheese comes from) and Bar View. There's a nice maritime museum in the town, a labor of love for a retired couple who live there in the summer, and give tours in period costume. Learned a lot about Captain Gray, the first white man to sail up, and who named the Columbia River -- after his ship, it turns out. Gray sailed from Boston, 'round the Horn, up to Vancouver, to Hawaii, to China, then repeated the trip. Took a couple years a pop. Ah, the good old days.

Saturday, a camper pulled in next to us, couple guys, dressed to fish, who went off the to docks and stayed gone all day. Could have been brothers or fishing buddies, but the name of the front of their camper was amusing (see the photo above.)

While there, we were able to hook into a TV cable and catch the opening of the Olympics. Not so impressive on a thirteen-inch TV as it would be on widescreen, perhaps, but pretty impressive nonetheless. Two thousand tai chi players moving as one? The movable type?

Nothing before came close. Probably nothing else in the future will.

It's interesting what you can do when you have three hundred million bucks to spend -- we could do that, but we wouldn't. It's the attention to detail that's so amazing.

Watching the Chinese men's gymnastic team is every bit as impressive as the opening. China came out of the woods and into the future in a big hurry. Twenty years ago, everybody rode bicycles. Now, they put a thousand news cars on the road every day. In 1988 they struggled to field competitive athletes. This time, there's a good chance they'll surpass the U.S. in total medals.

Bob Costas interviewed the Chinese movie producer who put the opening show together. Mentioned how incredible it was that they had fourteen thousand performers, none of whom repeated, more than the athletes come to compete. Zhang Yimou the producer smiled, and said, "We've got the people ..."

Recall what Geena Davis said to the woman that Jeff Goldblum picked up at a bar in the remake of The Fly?

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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