The Sochi Olympics began with an Opening Ceremonies like you’d only find in Russia, and I’m not sure what part of it was more memorable:
The stage production pantomiming the arrest of dissidents protesting the country’s anti-gay law; the 200-foot Vladimir Putin balloon; the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Circassian genocide; the pack of stray dogs chasing terrified Iraqi figure skaters during the parade of nations; the musical entertainment by Pussy Riot; or the recitation of the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
The Winter Olympics are not as popular as the Summer Games, and I think it’s because too many winter sports have bizarre names. Here is a list I’m looking at, and what they mean to me:
Curling (which involves a broom): Activity taking place in a women’s hair salon.
Slopestyle: Plastic surgeon jargon for a nose job technique.
Halfpipe: “Local police have arrested 16 men in a narcotics sting, confiscating halfpipes and other drug paraphernalia.”
Nordic Combined: With what? And why?
Moguls: A downhill slalom race between Donald Trump and Bill Gates.
Certain other events are not Winter Olympics sports yet but should be. These include synchronized ice fishing, yodeling, avalanche surfing and rhythmic shivering.
I have been told there is one actual sport, biathlon, that involves both cross-country skiing and shooting guns.
That happens to be a very popular sport in Miami, but without the cross-country skiing part.
• Dennis Hickey has been the Dolphins’ general manager almost two weeks now, and still no Super Bowl.
• The Dolphins are now offering perks and discounts to season-ticket holders. Hey, how about this for a totally unexpected perk that fans might enjoy: A BLEEPIN’ PLAYOFF TEAM!
• The NFL is considering a league-wide player code of conduct in the wake of the Dolphins’ Bullygate mess. Here is how I would write the code: “Do not get arrested and do not behave in the locker room like a bunch of towel-snapping middle schoolers.”
• Tony Dungy interviewed Richie Incognito and seemed to imply some Bullygate blame rested with Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, leading Philbin to directly phone Dungy. Does that sound like the most amicable heated exchange ever or what?
• People took to Twitter, outraged that NBC is tape-delaying much of the Sochi Olympics and airing it hours later, including Friday’s Opening Ceremonies — reminding us yet again that people who take to Twitter, outraged, generally lead charmed lives and are desperate for silly things to gripe about.
• The Marlins get going next weekend as players start reporting for spring training. Miami is rated 25th of 30 MLB teams in an ESPN pre-spring ranking, countering the notion that hope springs eternal.
• The NHL is on its Olympic break until Feb. 27. Based on the standings and playoff race, is there any point in the Panthers bothering to even resume play?
• It was announced this week Miami again would host the Aug. 4 final of soccer’s International Champions Cup, an event featuring world powers such as Manchester United and Real Madrid. Once again, you won’t even recognize Dolphins stadium, meaning it will be full.
• So-so basketball year for the UM men, but No. 3 Florida had won 14 in a row entering Saturday and was dreaming of reprising its 2006-07 national titles. (Aside to Billy Donovan: Smart move staying at UF after coaching the Orlando Magic for about a minute and a half in June 2007.)
• Morgan Shepherd, 72, is attempting to become the oldest NASCAR driver to race in the Daytona 500. Shepherd stood out in early qualifying. His was the only car that constantly had its turn signal on.
• Donald Trump held a media event at Trump National Doral to announce he had surprised even himself by doing such a fabulous job remaking the Blue Monster. Headline: Trumpeting Trump trumps Trump.
• Peyton Manning was offended someone dared ask if he was “embarrassed” by last week’s Super Bowl. Peyton, you lost 43-8. You were just too embarrassed to admit you were embarrassed.
• Former counter-culture hero Bob Dylan pimped Chryslers in a Super Bowl ad. How perfect that it was to the tune of a song of his called Things Have Changed.
• Former Giants backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen is now playing, at 320 pounds, for the Northern Kentucky River Monsters of the Continental indoor league. He is not having a great season but does lead the league in snacks.
• Great Britain beat the United States in the Davis Cup, verifying that American men’s tennis stinks right now.
• The state high school cheerleading championships were held. Do those teams have cheerleaders?
• Parting thought: A baseball Babe Ruth autographed in 1926 sold at auction for $250,000. In retrospect, I guess I probably should stop using it as a fetch toy for my dog.
Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote and also on Instagram, Vine and Facebook.