So far it doesn't seem to be a very auspicious start for Vancouver's Olympic Games. The lack of snow is the over-riding element and has already played havoc with the scheduled events, but it is not the only problem.
Was Vancouver a mistake in the first place?
The death of Georgian luge athlete Nodal Kumaritashvili was tragic and sad, but paradoxically actually heightened interest in the Games, just as a good car crash brings out our ghoulish instincts.
Of course, no west coast event would be complete without an anarchist demonstration, bent on destroying property and generally adding a healthy dose of mayhem to the festivities. It's hard to understand exactly what they are protesting and I'm not sure that they know themselves.
Some complain that the games are being staged on Native land, but it seems that the Indians have been pretty happy about their role that they've been assigned at the Games.
Others protested that the money spent on the Olympics should have gone to social programs. From the looks of the demonstrators, I am sure the money could have been well spent on more safe injection sites. Perhaps the Olympics should have considered making one into an official venue.
That being said the opening ceremonies did not go off cleanly, with the failure of machinery to hoist some of the pillars that were to be lit with the Olympic torch.
While Montrealer Nikki Yanofsky gave a talented and jazzy performance of O Canada, it seems that it didn't sit well with about half the country, who were outraged at the liberties she took.
The lack of French throughout the ceremony was so pervasive that it was embarrassing to all Quebeckers, including we Anglos. Subtitles are just not acceptable in a bilingual country, VANOC seemed completely oblivious to that fact that Canada is almost one quarter French. Bobby Orr was a good choice to to be a flag bearer and Wayne Gretzky an excellent choice for flame lighter, but geez, what about Guy Lafleur?
The entertainment was an English only affair with just one performance in French. The fiddle number which featured Ashley McIsaac included performers from all over Canada, except Quebec, which has an excellent fiddle reputation. For me, that was the most insulting slight.
As for the controversy over Miss Yanofsky's rendition of O Canada, I never realized how picky Canadians can be.
I even read a post where a gentleman was outraged that the Canadian flag hoisted in the stadium was not regulation and had a distorted vertical element.
Sounds pretty petty, but he was right.
For those of you interested in what a bad representation of the Canadian flag is, here's a sample;
Don't see anything wrong with it? Neither did I, until it was pointed out to me that the following is the correct and official version of the Canadian flag;
Can you see the difference? Apparently VANOC can't either!
Let's hope things get better.