Olympics and Keziah

There’s nothing like the Olympics to stir up good ol’ feelings of nationalism. It’s entertaining how my friends and I, who normally consider ourselves more humanists than nationalists, run to opposing corners during the Olympics. Americans talk about how much they hate the French swimmers and the French think that Michael Phelps is on drugs.

photo from a UPI colleague
Watching the games outside of the US really magnifies the effect. I experienced this is Australia in 1992 and have noticed the same thing this year. The MOST painful thing about watching the Olympics here is that just when Kobe Bryant is about to do a helicopter dunk over some poor Angolan, the French TV coverage cuts away to watch a Frenchman go for that ever-elusive bronze medal in windsurfing or fencing. It’s understandable but painful nonetheless. On the other hand, the best part is hearing what a different style the French commentators use compared to American commentators. Sure the American commentators focus on American athletes but the French commentators shriek, cry and completely lose it in support of their athletes … as if they were family members.

My favorite moment of the Olympics so far came yesterday when a French boxer was beating a Chinese boxer but with about 10 seconds left in the match, the Chinese boxer landed a couple of clean, scoring punches. When after the match, the referee raised the hand of the Chinese boxer indicating that he had won, the French commentator yelled out “MERDE!” (shit in French). I couldn’t believe my ears. Imagine Bob Costas or one of those guys yelling out SHIT! after the announcement of some result going against an American.

This is a good opportunity to relive one of my all-time favorite Olympic moments from the 2000 Games in Sydney. Check out the video below of NBA star Vince Carter and keep in mind that the French guy in the video is 7 feet 2 inches tall (2.19 metres):

A very talented guitarist/musician named Keziah Jones played a free concert at the closing night of the Paris Plages. The “beach” was completely jam-packed with people and now I understand why.


Jones, originally from Nigeria, is very talented and plays a unique style of guitar. Can any of you tell me if he’s known in the US? He seems to be quite known here. Check out this video from French television to see what I mean about his guitar-playing style:

And finally, a few photos of the week:

Keziah working hard

“Chic” phone booth

Typical workspace

My nomination for car dashboard of the year

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