AF&Opourri

Some random thoughts (also known as my less than two cents)…

Long live Queen Kwan: Though her withdrawal from the Torino Olympic Games due to injury is sad, when it comes down to it, I really don’t care that US figure skater Michelle Kwan likely will never have Olympic gold. She is, in my book, the greatest skating champion this nation will ever see. Unlike Fleming, Button, Hamill, Hamilton or Boitano, she doesn’t have Olympic gold, but she did win a silver medal and a bronze. In addition, she won nine nationals and five world championships. No American skater has been so richly decorated. Even more importantly, she has always been a great role model. During this most trying time for her, Kwan proved herself a true champion and an extraordinarily gracious and graceful human being. As 2002 gold medalist Sarah Hughes told USA Today, “I’ve always had the utmost respect for Michelle not only as a skater but also as a person … She has brought so much prestige to our sport. I always thought I was on the ice with a legend. Whenever they talk about the history of skating, they will talk about her.” Indeed.

Freedom of Expression: I am so sick of the cartoon brouhaha… Yes, I’m referring to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed that appeared in Denmark’s Jylland-Posten. They indeed are awful — I’ve seen the drawings and though I am not Muslim, they offended me terribly. Wow: I expressed my disapproval of the cartoons that, though vile and disrespectful, the paper had every right to print. No bombings. No shootings. No fires. No violence. Imagine that.

The situation leaves me with a few questions. 1.) Why do we see angry, violent protests now when the cartoon depicting Muhammed wearing a bomb-shaped turban was printed last September? 2.) Should Israel start burning down edifices and the like when Islamic papers print anti-Semitic cartoons? (I’ll answer that one directly: No.) 3.) In return, some Islamic publications suggest printing cartoons that deny the Holocaust. What in heck does that have to do with what was printed in a Danish newspaper? That’s like experiencing a 9/11 and, in retaliation, invading a country not responsible for the attacks.

My heart bleeds for the majority of Muslims who would never involve themselves in the sort of behavior practiced by the violent minority — that bad bunch shames all humans.

Cheney Takes One Down: OK, it was an accident, and a fairly common one at that. I am no fan of the vice-terrorist-in-chief’s work and stated beliefs, but anyone who tries to make political hay of an unforutnate and private incident ought to be ashamed. Let’s just be happy that the man Cheney shot is doing OK.

Grammy Goodies: How cool is it that U2 and Green Day scored big on “music’s biggest night?” To me, Grammies are less than meaningless, but I must say that this year’s show was pretty darned good. Mariah Carey gave a powerhouse performance; John Legend lived up to his name; the mashup featuring Jay-Z, Linkin Park and Paul McCartney electrified; and I decided that I do like Keith Urban and Kelly Clarkson. And what of poor Sly Stone? I loved the mohawk he was rockin’, but… Here’s hoping Sly is all right.

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