June 20th, 2005

krazy koati

Mad dogs and Englishmen

In a couple weeks the International Olympic Committee will announce which city they've chosen to host the 2012 Olympics. If you are like me in your interest in the future-Olympic-City selection process this knowledge fills you with mild indifference and a willingness to accept this claim without discussion. Why do I mention it? Because the announcement will be made from Singapore.

This announcement, which you'd think could be made by newsletter, is expected to attract several thousand journalists and cameramen and hangers-on, and the country plans to show off its tourist value. I do not understand the logic of assuming there are many people who will suddenly say, ``The host city for the 2012 Olympic Games was announced in Singapore! Let's go there for the holiday,'' but I don't understand advertising other than free samples anyway.

The candidate host cities are using this announcement to hawk their cities, as if the site selection were made on a basis other than the bribes paid the International Olympic Committee. Officially the promotions are advertising the cities as tourist sites for Singaporeans, which makes the entire thing sound like a pyramid scheme. New York City supposedly sent a couple thousand gift baskets to be given out at Suntec City; I hope they send bagels, which the city desperately needs.

On Orchard Road, London sent people to give away T-shirts, chances for a free vacation to London, and even spruced things up by getting some unfortunate people to swelter in the equatorial afternoon dressed as the Queen's Guard. I got a t-shirt, which is appealing enough, including some iconography of London attractions on the back, and on the front a sort of shaggy, irregular Union Jack. It's kind of the thing you get when chartered accountants try to be mod. If I get any more free stuff I'll post notes.

Trivia: Roger Corman commissioned the movie ``War of the Satellites'' in response to the launch of Sputnik, in October 1957. It was released to theaters before the launch of Explorer 1, in January 1958. Source: The Films of Roger Corman, Alan Frank.

Currently Reading: The Zimmermann Telegram, Barbara W Tuchman.