This is a GOOD one!!!!


Led into alcoholic temptation . . . by his daughter


February 24, 2010

Chris Erskine

This may have been his best Olympic column yet!

A view across False Creek shows the Olympic Village in downtown Vancouver.

If you never hear from me again, here’s what happened:

My older daughter storms into town to mooch off me at the Olympics, immediately unplugs the clock/radio and announces: "From now on, we’re not concerned about time."

Now, I’ve never been all that time-oriented to begin with, so the next thing I know we’re at some beery pavilion overlooking this glimmering, sensational city.

The pavilion is run by the Germans — the folks from Saxony, to be precise.

As you may have sensed, I frown on drinking of any sort — even water — yet I find this little bordello of beer and brats on the edge of Stanley Park very compelling.

They are packed like pickles here tonight. I’m no surgeon general, but these are exactly the sort of steamy, troopship conditions that can lead to pandemics or true love — pick your poison.

On stage, a band from Saxony orders the crowd of all ages to join arms and push back and forth, back and forth. This, I’m pretty sure, is how several world wars broke out.

We make a quick break for the door, the kid and I. More pavilions await.

There are dozens of these promotional pavilions around town, set up by nations, regions and companies. Glorified tents, most of them. Some, you can get in to. Some not.

Frankly, I wouldn’t want to visit any pavilion that would have me as a member, but the Irish House is irresistible, given my leprechaun ancestry.

As you might expect, it’s a lively, jovial, sudsy crowd here at the Irish House. I notice for the first time that people — you, me, everybody — seem to be stupider in groups than as individuals. It’s like we turn into one enormous screaming idiot. It’s probably the thing I like best about big groups.

And let me just say that to be in one of these enormous venues at the moment Canada wins something is just crazy. When Tessa Virtue (played by Emily Blunt) and Scott Moir (Matthew Broderick) snag the gold, it’s a little like being swept into Bette Midler’s mouth at Thanksgiving. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s turbulent, and for a while you don’t know which way is north. My advice: Cover your head.

Speaking of food, what’s with these little bouquets of broccoli they keep handing out to the medal winners? Green is my favorite color — there are no others — but a bouquet of broccoli?

Congratulations: You’re the best in the world. Here, have some broccoli.

Canada has a whole bunch of provinces, of which Americans can name only about four — Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and the Toronto Blue Jays.

In fairness, Toronto is not an actual province. It’s more like Paris (a large city in France, which is a country in — I’m almost positive — Europe).

Admittedly, geography is like tequila to me. I can only guzzle so much and my brain folds over onto itself.

Anyway, to become more fluent about our host country, we hit a bunch of the pavilions along False Creek, a little river that dead-ends in the middle of Vancouver, no one really knows why.

At Saskatchewan House, let me warn you, they serve a tiny thimble of wine and call it a glass. I guess they were all out of eyedroppers.

They also serve a bison burger here, which I don’t order. Whenever I eat bison, I always feel like I am taking food from the Indians. It’s crazy, I know, but that’s just me. Back when I was a kid, they’d just plop me in front of a TV and turn on "Gunsmoke."

Next, we head to the Ontario Pavilion, the most striking of all the promotional tents. It has bungee cords running north to south, like suspenders, presumably holding its britches up.

We soon discover that the Ontario Pavilion is a more polished place. It features a band you will likely never hear of again, "The Junction."

"I like this music better," my daughter says.

See, I told you they were no good.

We also stopped at the nearby Sochi Pavilion, the Russian promotion for the site of the next Winter Games. It is being held in a giant disco ball that is usually the site of the city’s Science Center.

Out front, we are met by Stalinist forces. Usually, the Stalinists don’t scare me, but these dudes look like they just ate the Czech Republic.

"Sorry, private party," some ex-Politburo member says, rolling the r. Prrrrrrrrrivate party. Like that.

So that’s the extent of our experience at Sochi House. For a good time, don’t call.

Oh, by the way, I just got word that the German Pavilion has invaded the French Pavilion.

This is mixed news for the French: The food got worse but the music is really much better.


Which somehow reminds me..

‘Heaven and Hell’

Heaven is where …

The police are British, the cooks are French, the auto mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and it’s all put together by the Swiss.

Hell is where …

The police are German, the cooks are British, the auto mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss and it’s all put together by the Italians.

Have I pretty much insulted everyone??  Sorry!!!  Hah!!


Today’s Pics:

Mixed resuls for women’s bobsled


Flying high!!! 

USA gets Silver in Nordic Combined

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir of Canada win gold in ice dancing



Sad…. Bad lane change cost him the world record

Sadder…  Lost her Mom on Sunday


Well, the Olympics end this weekend.  I hope you have enjoyed my posts.  I will continue until the end.  I have two dead computers and the third held together with electrical tape, so it’s been an ordeal.  Having a hard time commenting to all of you but that will end soon.  New computer due to arrive on March 9th.  She’s a beauty!!!  I’ll try to comment later tonight.

Take care, my friends,



PS:  USA beat the Swiss 2 to 0 today in Hockey.  On to the semifinals!!


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8 Responses to This is a GOOD one!!!!

  1. Sandra says:

    Yes, this was pretty good. Like the pictures. i actually the women did better then the men. I thought they went faster. Thanx.

  2. Grandma's says:

    LOL….you are absolutely right…this is an awesome column. Huge Disco Ball….he has a point there….I will always think of that when I take the kids down to Science World (which is housed in that huge Disco Ball). Looks like Team Canada and Team USA might just meet up for the final game…..*fingers crossed*……we slaughtered the Germans, are now working on doing the same to the Russians.I felt so bad for the poor guy and his lane change…not his fault at all.I don’t normally root for any country in particular….but I sure hope the young lady (a French Canadian) that lost her mom brings home a medal in honor of her mom. Takes a lot of guts for her to carry on after such a devastating loss.Considering you have two dead computers and one held together by electrical tape….you are doing an awesome job keeping on top of the Olympics. On behalf of all your Windows Live Fans….we award you a Golden Mouse.

  3. Sandra says:

    I agree with everything Grama’s says. The girl who lost her mother, it does take aiot of guts….And the golden mouse goes to…

  4. Joe says:

    I’m offended because you didn’t single something out for me to be offended LOL! I was really touched by that girl’s performance…I noticed even the announcer cracked…who wouldn’t? It was a truly Olypic moment.

  5. Technogran says:

    I laughed all the way through this post! Visualizing you touring around all those pavilions…. hope the computer holds together.

  6. -Grumps- says:

    Electrical tape??? Come on now Bob!!! That’s the problem right there dude. Two words … Duct Tape!!!! *hmmmm … * Duck Tape??? *quvack quvack quvack … * I’m sure you’ll be in seventh heaven once ya gets the new machine up ‘n runnin. Gots ta say Bob, with the weight of her mother’s passing only days prior, I was with a mixed bag of emotions that Joanie had the courage, commitment, and concentration to perform such an graceful routine. Here’s hoping USA, and Canada will get the chance to meet on the ice one more time. Ciao Fer Now …

  7. Sue says:

    Saw that Hockey game! Stupendous! Love your post—that author is too much. I haven’t had as much time to spend with the Olympics as I’d like (since my family isn’t into that sort of thing!), but have caught a little time with Curling and Ice Dancing and snowboarding—some skiing too, but only in bits and pieces. Love the winter games because anything can happen and usually does! Happy viewing while you can!!!

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