How about those Olympics?

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How about those Olympics?

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:48 pm UTC

So maybe this is the wrong crowd, what with this being a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language, but what did everyone think of those Olympics?

In Canada, they're being hailed as a redefining moment for the country, with millions of Canadians taking to the streets last night to celebrate a really satisfactory end to the Olympics (for those who live in a cave, with Crosby's OT goal beating the US for hockey gold, which also makes Canada the record holder for most gold medals won at a winter Olympic games.) Polls show Canadians view the Games as more important to our collective identity than '72 summit, expo '67 and way higher up than the previous two Canadian Olympics

Dr. Rogge, IOC chief, and other long-time Olympics watchers were favourably impressed by the atmosphere and popular support, not to mention a rare truly swank athlete's village, saying it had to be one of the best winter games ever, ranking with Lillehammer for the top spot.

The U.K. press has come to the conclussion that all Canadians are vile, petty people, whose arrogance and peurility helped make this one of the worst games ever. Not to mention that we failed to make it snow properly. And it rained. Which is all our fault. Lord knows, it won't rain in London in 2012. Also there was a technical glitch in the opening ceremonies. And, as we all know, what makes or breaks an Olympics is the technical percision of the opening ceremonies.

The Russian paper Pravda ran an editorial by a Brit saying just that. The Russian President cancelled plans to travel to Vancouver for the closing. This, he claims, has nothing to do with one of Russia's worst showings ever, especially the limp hockey performance.

And there was the tragic death of the Georgian athlete on the ice-track, this blamed on Canadian ambition, rather than the demands from international luge and skeleton associations for a faster track every olympics, or the IOC types who requested and approved the track. Evidentally, it has something to do with Canada wanting to do well this time round. Somebody will someday explain this to me in a comprehensible manner. Maybe today?

So what do people here think?

Being a Canadian, and having followed the games like like star-struck fanboy, I'm a little biased. I thought they were brilliant. The performance by Joannie Rochette was magical, and the Canadian side in general put up a great fight. The American snowboard sensations were great to watch, and ski-cross and snowboard cross rock my world.

Not to mention two hockey golds on home ice, and the subsequent party.

Let's hear what people thought of Vancouver 2010.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby stevey_frac » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:15 pm UTC

I'm typing very quietly. Because i'm still hoarse from screaming 'YAAA' after Sid the Kid scored in OT.

Full disclosure, I'm also Canadian and therefore biased as well.

The brits are just grumpy because they only got a single medal. They are tied for last with such great nations as Estonia and Kazakhstan, and were beaten soundly by Slovakia, and Belarus.

Then you look at all the major former British colonies, like the US, Canada, Australia... they all killed the British medal wise. They're just being sore losers in my honest opinion.

For Canada, I think the Olympics were a rallying call. A place to show our patriotism. The celebrations more or less shut the country down last night. I've never been more proud to call myself Canadian.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:18 pm UTC

I really got into Curling.

This may not be the appropriate thread, but I by in large don't like the winter Olympics, given their emphasis on judged events. I think judged events should be removed from the Olympics entirely. Compounding this issue, I find the Bobsled, Luge, and skeleton to be pretty stupid.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby stevey_frac » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:32 pm UTC

Bobsled, skeleton, and luge are basically grown men and women playing with really fast toboggans.

That being said, piloting a bobsled down the hill through tight corners at 160km/hr takes talent.

The more I look into the subjective judges elements though, the more ordered it becomes. Those people aren't guessing. They can honestly tell who deserves what ranking.

For example, in the figure skating, a jump in the second half of the program is worth 10% more points because it's harder to perform a jump when your tired. Each jump has a certain ranked difficulty. The footwork is supposed to be clean, etc. Incidentally, the women are much better at the footwork then the men.

It is still somewhat subjective though.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:43 pm UTC

To clarify, I would never in a million years suggest that what those Olympians are doing is easy. Figure Skating is an incredibly impressive event.

I just don't think it should be Olympic, as it's judged, and therefor, highly subjective. Highly.

But really? The summer Olympics had a Trampoline event. Trampoline. I've been told to get off Trampolines because I'm too old.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby The Utilitarian » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:26 pm UTC

While I don't have a problem with the Olympics in theory, I have to say, living in the vancouver area they were kind of a pain for me. Personal inconveniences aside, I'm also a little dissapointed in the petty politics that went along with the games in many areas. While the luger (or skeletoner?) death was tragic, I find it truely ridiculous to blame anyone for injury in such an obviously dangerous sport. The track was inspected and approved, to the extent that you can approve an incredibly dangerous sport's track to be 'safe'.

I was also miffed at the "shock" regarding the celebration of the woman's hockey team. So what if, after winning what is most likely the most important game of their entire lives, they returned to the ice after the stadium was empty to celebrate. It's the same celebration they would have been doing in their dressing room. And yes, ONE girl was something like a month away from being 19. Oh no! The sensationalizing of it has really bothered me. Cut them some slack!
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby psychosomaticism » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:44 pm UTC

As a Canadian that can almost see Vancouver across the water (in the literal sense, not the Palin-Russia sense), I couldn't be bothered with any of it, and while it's said to have been a success, I can't help but think that the protesting was worth nothing in terms of getting attention to homelessness, drug problems, cost of living, etc, in BC and particularly Vancouver, namely the lower east side (I'm sure there's some info on this floating about).

That being said, I also didn't protest, and had no plans to do so, because I believed in the efficacy of that as much as I did the supposed profit that the games will bring here. As well, I don't think the games have any bearing on the social problems, and I doubt it'd hurt business in the area to have an influx of people to buy stuff.

I'm just glad it's all over and I don't have to watch an Olympics commercial every other minute.

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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby poxic » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:20 am UTC

Yeah, the protests were more or less what screwed up my feet this time around. I was trying to get out of downtown after work, before the opening ceremony thingy by the clock on the Art Gallery lawn, and the protesters were clogging up all the streets around there. No buses could get through, no cabs would come near the place. I ended up walking almost to the other side of downtown to flag a cab. I've been on crutches for a couple of weeks as a result. (Walking = good, when feet are healthy. Forced walking = bad when they're damaged and tender. :( )

That said, I was surprised by much I didn't mind the event. Yes, transportation was a giant hassle -- I simply gave up trying to get a seat on the bus in the mornings and just cabbed to work every day, and cabbed home half the time too. Our company got into things a bit, holding a competition for which floor showed the most spirit or something. We have enough Canadian flags on our floor alone to stock a medium-sized embassy. The downtown noontime horn went off every time a Canadian won a medal. (Now I keep thinking I hear the damn thing all the time.) There were an unholy number of people meandering around downtown, taking pictures of their friends in front of everything that didn't move and some that did. Lots of people wearing flags as capes, painting their faces, and generally having goofy fun. It was kind of nice, even if the crowds were annoying.

On the downside, I'm afraid the city (and province, to a lesser extent) will be broke for some years. Sure, some people made a lot of money these two weeks or so, but for a multi-billion-dollar investment, I'm not sure there will be a comparable return. A lot of developers made a lot of money in the run-up to the games (one subcontractor made $8 million profit from the new Waterfront convention centre/media centre alone), and most of that came from public funds. There were some genuinely useful things that will stay behind, like the new highway to Whistler and whatever they say they'll do with the Olympic Village after the Paralympic Games are over (they're next, until March 15 or so). The rest of it, I'm not so sure.

After Expo '86, Vancouver exploded in population, and in property value. (I have a 623-square-foot condo, one bedroom and a small den, and I pay about a thousand a year in city property taxes on an assessed value around $350k.) If this last round of media exposure leads to the same sort of migration, oh lordy will I be happy I managed to get into the real estate market when I did...

/random rants off
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Low Caliber » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:27 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Polls show Canadians view the Games as more important to our collective identity than '72 summit, expo '67 and way higher up than the previous two Canadian Olympics


No way this was more important then the summit series, I don't care what poll you look at.

Secondly, I really don't like all the congratulations going to Crosby, he didn't do much for most of the series then gets super hero treatment for the last goal, I mean don't get me wrong, it was a nice goal, but Iginla was good throughout the whole series and didn't get much and Nash was heroic.

Not at all sure whether it was worth it given all the money that could have been used elsewhere.

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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Plasma Man » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:04 pm UTC

Well, the polls are going to be skewed by the Olympics being happening at the time. People are going to be thinking about them more, so they'll appear more important.
I'm very surprised at the comments about the British press viewing the games negatively, I got the impression that it had been a major success. I was blown away by the snowboard and ski-cross, and any time I could I watched what was on. My main complaint would actually be about the coverage by the BBC: Obviously nothing can be done about the time difference, leading to the need for a highlights programme, I'm just very disappointed that a lot of the events seemed to get ignored.
From what I did see, I think that these winter Olympics might be the standard against which future games are measured.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby ianf » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:51 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:The U.K. press has come to the conclussion that all Canadians are vile, petty people, whose arrogance and peurility helped make this one of the worst games ever. Not to mention that we failed to make it snow properly. And it rained. Which is all our fault. Lord knows, it won't rain in London in 2012. Also there was a technical glitch in the opening ceremonies. And, as we all know, what makes or breaks an Olympics is the technical percision of the opening ceremonies.


Don't worry, I'm sure that the UK press will be just as critical (probably more so) about the 2012 games. That's just their nature - they're already trying to undermine the English football team in the run up to the World Cup!

stevey_frac wrote:The brits are just grumpy because they only got a single medal. They are tied for last with such great nations as Estonia and Kazakhstan, and were beaten soundly by Slovakia, and Belarus.

Then you look at all the major former British colonies, like the US, Canada, Australia... they all killed the British medal wise. They're just being sore losers in my honest opinion.


I don't really think it's that at all. My impression is that there's no real interest here in the UK in winter sports, so the newspapers are looking desparately for something to write about. Since there's no understanding of the sports here, they can't really write "proper" sports articles, so they are reduced to "novelty" stories (like the Ghanaian skier) and articles about the event itself. And since the press only publish bad news, any articles about the event itself are negative.

Izawwlgood wrote:This may not be the appropriate thread, but I by in large don't like the winter Olympics, given their emphasis on judged events. I think judged events should be removed from the Olympics entirely.


What about boxing and judo?

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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Ixtellor » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

I agree about judged events. I would prefer that they quantify everything. I think that snowboarding leaves very little room for speculation, particularly if they figured out points for everything. .1 point holding the board -- .3 points per/ft of elevation on the jump -- etc.

The only part I enjoy about the iceskating is the emotional aspect of watching these people work their whole lives and achieve their dream. The canadian bronze medal winner who was skating for her deceased mother was pretty cool.

However, I would prefer that figure skating just be a series of jumps. That seems to be the only challenge to it. Have all the skaters take turns doing a triple lutz, then the next jump and so on.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby duckshirt » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:44 pm UTC

The UK seems to have a decent interest in winter sports... Not as much as Norway, Canada, Russia, etc, but if you look at participation they're probably up there with other with other northern countries with similar climates...

I still rooted for the USA in hockey but I'm happy for the Canadians' overall performance, especially with their weak start to these Olympics (which almost looked like it'd be another 'embarrassment' like the other times they've hosted). I unfortunately didn't get to watch much of them (and they aren't broadcast online here), and there were a lot of good skiing races (the best kind of Olympic sport, in my opinion, mass start races, I don't really even care what sport).
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Le1bn1z » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

I don't know about blocking judged events. I watched the womens' figure skating (for Rochette) and the Ice Dancing (woot Virtue and Moir!) and my impression was that they were pretty darn fair in the judging.

In the womens' the winner, Kim Yu Na, was very clearly the winner in a technical spectacul that smashed what people thought was possible for a woman to do on ice (the triple axle didn't hurt: a first for womens' figure skating).

Several changes were made to make judging more honest and accountable, especially after the Russia-France conspiracy to rob Salle and Pelletier of Canada in 2002.

1.) The technical aspects were more exactly broken down, so judges had to point out precisely where and how points were made, like in ski jumping or half-pipe.

2.) video replay is now allowed to more closely scrutinize technique.

3.) Appeals are permitted.

Esentially, the ice dancing sports are now judged along similar lines to successful sports like half pipe, wrestling or ski jump. When you think about it, a lot of the best sports in winter are judged. Even hockey is, to an extent, when it comes to penalties.

Before you trash the ice-dancing marking, I suggest watching it for yourselves, familiarising yourself with the rubrics, and then judging whether or not you agree with the outcomes.

It would be a shame to lose these sports. They are physically extrordinarily demanding (more so, even, than downhill or hockey), and great to watch.

@ Low Caliber,

Yeah, I dunno if it beats '72. Nobody shut down the schools and businesses for a week to watch the games.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby duckshirt » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:17 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:It would be a shame to lose these sports. They are physically extrordinarily demanding (more so, even, than downhill or hockey)
Well, I'm not sure how you make the comparison to hockey, or other sports, to determine which is more 'demanding'...

Still, those are some good points, especially about how hockey is technically judged too. When I'm reading distance running forums, people seem to think they should get rid of the downhill sports because they don't have to provide their own force. And then there are the people don't think running is a sport, because it obviously isn't a sport if there isn't a ball to kick around or something! And, of course, to xkcdians it's a sport as long as it's quantified... I don't really like the judged sports either, but they're all right...
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:47 pm UTC

There's a difference between judged events and refereed events. I've little to no issue with refereed events, but judged events are both highly subjective and highly inconsistent (a judge seeing the same triple axle mcflurry the 10th time isn't going to be judging it the same way, IMO). In the spirit of the competition that is an Olympic event, I wish it was pared down to strictly refereed events that resulted in a CLEAR demarcation between contestants.

Do you remember the summer Olympics where Phelps touched the plate second but activated it first? That that much gray area can exist in something as straightforward as activating a stopwatch I think speaks volumes about how shady judged, subjective decisions are in these games.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:57 pm UTC

The "You Think It's Easy?" segments were my favorite part of the non-game coverage, definitely.

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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby duckshirt » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Do you remember the summer Olympics where Phelps touched the plate second but activated it first?

I don't think it's conclusive he touched second... It looks to me like he touched first, and if the officials hadn't thought so, I think they could have overturned it.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:20 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:Do you remember the summer Olympics where Phelps touched the plate second but activated it first?

I don't think it's conclusive he touched second... It looks to me like he touched first, and if the officials hadn't thought so, I think they could have overturned it.

You're just proving my point that gray area exists here... Which is why I don't think what should be in the Olympics, now, for five points of reading comprehension!
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby duckshirt » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:22 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:now, for five points of reading comprehension!

I do follow what you're saying and more or less agree, it was just kind of a tangent that I didn't feel like ignoring...
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Game_boy » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:05 pm UTC

Our Olympics (2012) cannot fail to be worse. Our country is incapable of organising any state project within 10x the original budget and time predictions or delivering what was expected.

It will rain. Our stadiums will look dated from the moment cameras turn on them. Our opening ceremony will be weak and full of "art" and "symbolism" that means nothing to anyone not on the development committee (see our 5-minute piece at the Chinese closing ceremony). Our fireworks will be obscured by smoke, much like our London New Years' ones. We'll hold many events in parks and streets that have just been cordoned off for the day. Our public transport will be congested and delayed. Our TV coverage will be amateur and selective. Our nation has done nothing to empower under-16s to achieve at the Olympics, so our medal count will be low and will consist of the same few people who win for us every year, rather than new talent. Audiences will be unenthusastic; few here care about more than rugby and football.

We will look very badly run. Which we are.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby duckshirt » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:16 pm UTC

Hopefully the real sports fans won't politicize it too much and still enjoy the sports... I know London can put on a good marathon, at least, which is the highlight of the Olympics IMO.

Golf and rugby are coming to the Olympics (yay golf!), but unfortunately not until 2016... I think England would do a great job with those, especially golf.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:38 pm UTC

Game_boy wrote:Our Olympics (2012) cannot fail to be worse. Our country is incapable of organising any state project within 10x the original budget and time predictions or delivering what was expected.

It will rain. Our stadiums will look dated from the moment cameras turn on them. Our opening ceremony will be weak and full of "art" and "symbolism" that means nothing to anyone not on the development committee (see our 5-minute piece at the Chinese closing ceremony). Our fireworks will be obscured by smoke, much like our London New Years' ones. We'll hold many events in parks and streets that have just been cordoned off for the day. Our public transport will be congested and delayed. Our TV coverage will be amateur and selective. Our nation has done nothing to empower under-16s to achieve at the Olympics, so our medal count will be low and will consist of the same few people who win for us every year, rather than new talent. Audiences will be unenthusastic; few here care about more than rugby and football.

We will look very badly run. Which we are.


I dunno. The U.K. can pull of an impressive stunt when it doesn't put its mind to it, too much. I think the key will be to have a couple of smarties at the top with the power and know-how to tell the gov't and spec interest committees to bugger off.

Though, I do have to say, I'm drawing together an amalgam of the stupidest things I'd seen in the U.K. during my year-long too long stay there, and have compiled what I'd say would be the 10 most likely embuggerments of 2012:

1.) Event venues renamed in Punjabi or Urdu, to be more culturally sensitive, like some schools.
2.) Funding from government will be tied to fundraising successes of the athletes themselves. Thus, if they wish to spend time training, rather than working, they'll need to spend more time working, rather than training, to make that possible, like with U.K. universities.
3.) British cafaterias. Enough said.
4.) The hosts will doubtlessly attempt to drink. Those who survive will not likely remember anything from the event.
5.) The tube will continue to be unairconditioned in the middle of the summer with the heaviest passenger load ever. Brilliant. Athletes are required to arrive at some events by same unairconditioned tube cars. DoublePlusBrilliant.
6.) People from abroad will be arrested for trying to watch events they cannot attend online via legal sites, and be arrested for watching TV without a liscense. Britain will be mocked for requiring liscences to watch TV.
7.) Gordon Brown will predict the end of uneven Olympic results, "the boom and bust medal count," with steady improvement continuing indefinately. Half of all athletes or teams will either declare bankruptcy or cease to exist.
8.) Someone will say that the Olympics are an absolute failure for failing to provide equal time to Welsh language events during the Opening ceremonies, as this sort of thing is evidently important to the Brit Press.
9.) Someone will think it is a good idea to let Brit tabloid press run stories of international athletes, for example, the Korean Tae-Kwon-Do team, with their normal taste and class. The team shall be arrested, but no one will ever find the bodies.
10.) The Brits mocked Vancouver for its rainy weather. This is beyond tempting fate. Forget the umbrella, bring a giant iron shield with a chin strap.

On the plus side, I have to say that the U.K. does really, really well at some things.

The tube workers and police were always really, really friendly to me. I suspect that people will be taken aback by the friendly and quality service from these front-line types. Just so long as they never have to reach a government type by phone.....
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Any people capable of organising travel through London will find an Olympics a breeze.
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Soralin » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:48 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:You're just proving my point that gray area exists here... Which is why I don't think what should be in the Olympics, now, for five points of reading comprehension!

Clearing up gray area in this case just needs the right camera. :)
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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby kozzoz » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:22 am UTC

The British media isn't reflective of the British public, I think you'll find that there are quite a number of them who were as entranced by the games as people back in Canada.

I'm in Australia, and found the games wonderful apart from the insipid Channel 9 coverage including Eddie 'Everywhere' MacGuire, who managed to get Cypress Mountain (a very large piece of landscape in Canada) mixed up with Cypress Hill (a moderately successful rap group). What I really wanted to watch was some of the freakin AWESOME stuff like guys jumping 100m on skis or racing down side of a mountain doing 90kmph on skis, not watch fifty replays of Torah Bright's overly-gummed, overly-bleached teeth gaining commercial viability, or to hear Eddie talking about old True Blue Aussie Dale Begg-Smith and how he got gypped out of gold by a biased judging panel who instead gave the gold to a home-town favourite. Dale Begg-Smith, who was born in Canada, was raised to the age of 16 in Canada, lives and trains in Canada during winter, is trained by Canadians, and speaks with a Canadian accent. Yep. As Aussie as maple syrup.

But aside from the local coverage, which was shit, it was brilliant. Admittedly I didn't understand the cultural importance of parts of the opening ceremony; as in many cases there's the extra overlay of meaning for locals and - understandably - a lot of the enjoyment the locals got out of it was actually being able to show off, legitimately. I got the sense that Canada's been patiently waiting in the background for the chance to be able to demonstrate just how awesome the country is, and did so with exuberance, perhaps out of character for the rather unassuming facade usually put forward.

I thought it was a great event all up.

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Re: How about those Olympics?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:40 am UTC

Which is which? To me, it looks like dude on the left has touched hard enough to bend his fingers, and dude on the right has touched with his fingertips.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.


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