My friend Michael called mid-week to wonder if I’d be free for some cross-country skiing Sunday. Sure. The temperature rose to 38 that day, and continued balmy through yesterday, so we melted down to a walk through Elmwood Cemetery. It’s the oldest in the city. We were on the lookout for the titans — Coleman Young, Russell Alger, Sonic Smith. We found only Alger, but it was a lovely day and we weren’t really looking that hard. We did see the liquor king:
And the beer king:
There’s a group site for firefighters:
I didn’t know firemen would seek common burial, but I suppose these were the men without families, or maybe the ones who thought no one could understand them like the guys. The emblem was a mystery to me, but Michael’s dad was a firefighter. He said they’re bugles, which were the “get out of the way” alarm, blown by the crews in the days before sirens. Learn something new every day.
I’ll come back on my bike in the spring. This is a place to spend a morning.
The balminess ended today:
Who wants to go skiing?
OK, then. Speaking of skiing, I gather there was a hockey game last night, which “we” won, and as a result I am supposed to be exultant. Reader, I am not. I am wearying of the every-other-year we-fest that is the Olympic games. Excuse me: the (kettle drums go bum-bum-bum-bum; cue trumpets DAAAH DAAAH DA DA DA DA DA, etc.) games of the 23rd Olympiad, or whatever. I want some grumpier color commentators; I am sick of being told how proud I am of “Team USA.” I want someone to ask, “Why do the snowboarders look like they put on all the clothes in the hamper? Snowcross? What’s next? Demolition derby?” This event always seems to go on four days too long. I know it’s coming when the voice of Morgan Freeman makes me want to throw things.
On the other hand, what else is there to do? It’s February. Anyway, Alessandra Stanley looks at the jingoism angle today:
Even the calm, professional Bob Costas, who is the great exception to the NBC rule of smarminess, felt he had to explain himself on Saturday night for enthusing about the unexpected victory — and infectious joy — of Mark Tuitert, a 29-year-old Dutch speed skater who surprised everyone, including himself, by beating the American Shani Davis in the 1,500-meter race.
“And this is to take nothing away from the interest in the States about Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick,” Mr. Costas said apologetically, “but what this means in the Netherlands, I mean, this is their national pastime, this is so huge there.” As Mr. Costas spoke about the new Dutch hero, the screen behind him carried a huge portrait of Mr. Davis, who took the silver medal.
Bloomberg follows Rachel Maddow on the great underreported story: Republicans who thundered against the stimulus who now say, dude, where’s my stimulus? (Quietly.)
And with that, I’m away. Monday waits for no one, even with five inches of snow in the forecast.