Saturday, July 7, 2012

Crow's got game


Crow here. I must admit to feeling a bit ruffled after my last long flight. I'd just returned from an extended sojourn in the South Seas and had been hoping to spend some time continuing to dictate my memoirs to susan - she of the pen wielding skill. Then what should occur the very next morning as I was settling on to the perch in my library but an urgent message delivered by one of the local pigeons. It was a summons requiring my immediate presence in London to meet the Queen. No, not that Queen but the other - the older, wiser, and far more regal Queen of the Pigeons.

I had understood that many birds and other animals, including some well off humans, had been planning to leave London for the duration of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games that will begin at the end of the current month. What I hadn't been aware of is that London's pigeon community and far more humans have been given no choice but to leave the city they call home because of the games.

It is expected that there will be 900,000 Olympics-related visitors in London during the games, on top of the usual 1.5 million tourists that typically arrive in the capital every August. Private landlords are seeking to make a financial killing as there are only around 110,000 hotel rooms in the London area, with almost a third of those already allocated to Olympic personnel. Many hotel rooms have been booked for months and even for years. This means that landlords have been evicting renters at very short notice so they can charge visitors huge sums for short term accommodation in July and August. Even the Queen's Royal Roost at the summit of Big Ben has been commandeered for film crew use and she has had to relocate her court to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. It's a nice enough spot but she would have preferred a place closer to Trafalgar Square where she can keep her majestic eye on the rowdy young pigeons who like to steal sandwiches from unwary children.

Like clockwork every four years the Olympics take place in a different city somewhere in the world. Humans may not be able to fly unaided by technology, nor can the swiftest of you run like jaguars; I probably shouldn't even mention human strength is nowhere near that of an elephant, but overall physical competition is a good thing. What isn't beneficial is throwing poor people out of their homes simply because you need the property for a traveling circus. This seems to be something of a habit. When Beijing hosted the last summer Olympics thousands of people were relocated as neighborhoods were razed to make space for Olympic games venues and housing. Home owners were compensated but renters were simply displaced. Rio de Janeiro, scheduled to host the summer Olympics in 2016, is already undertaking the demolition of several favela communities in order to provide space in that city.


Now as I've mentioned before, I believe the games are great - it's wonderful to see people exercising rather than running around killing each other (or us) but what I can't help but wonder is why there can't be a permanent space where the summer Olympics are always held? The games date back to 776BC where they were always held in a little town in Greece called Olympia. As you can see from the picture there's lots of open building space there now and goodness knows the Greeks could use the money that would certainly pour into their economy. Why not?

I haven't talked at all about the winter games but I'm sure you might have some ideas about a country whose climate is permanently cold. Considering global warming, somewhere in Antarctica might be best for the near future at least.

Well, soon it came time for me to leave London and as I bid adieu to my Peerless Pigeonate, I was happy to reassure her that the rooftop missiles surrounding the London Olympics will not be aimed at her people but will merely serve to motivate the athletes.

30 comments:

  1. Aye, aye, Crow! I say we start a petition to find a permanent home for the Olympics. Think of all the money that will be saved not building new sites every few years, as well as saving homes! ( I suppose the hoteliers will not be too happy.) Do tell Susan she has done a wonderful portrait of you and the Queen in London!

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    1. Good evening, Marja-Leena. You might be interested in reading this 2010 article from the New York Times which gives more very good reasons why there should be a permanent Olympics site. While the original reasons for rotating cities may have been good, the whole thing has since gone off the rails.

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  2. My main route into London takes me through Straford so I am avoiding the centre at all costs. The way some landlords have evicted tenants to make huge profits disgusts me. That said I will be watching the games from the comfort of my home

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    1. For quite some time it's been impossible for average sports fans in the US to attend championship games because the seats have been sold to the rich. (Of course nowadays most families can't afford to attend any games, but that's beside the point.) I think it likely most Londoners will be watching from home.

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  3. "Never miss any opportunity to make money," the Landlord said. "Especially if you can make lots in a short time."

    And renters, welcome at some time, evicted when there a better possibility of earnings. Mere names and faces. Small potatoes in the circumstances of the world.

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    1. It's a very sad and disturbing situation. I hope Halifax never wins a competition for the games as susan would have to move to Nunavut.

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    2. Well, if not Nunavut, perhaps to Saskatoon. Or Hamilton. I would take Saskatoon before Hamilton, though. Still, it would happen in Hamilton, just as it did in Vancouver before the Winter Games there.

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  4. Again, common sense from Crow. A permanent Olympics in Greece would solve the financial dilemma of that country and in turn stabilize the Euro.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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    1. It appears that what we see as common sense is not what the members of the IOC are interested in. A permanent site in Greece would be perfect - perhaps it will happen some day.

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  5. i cannot even begin to imagine what all that must be like... to be a bird and fly overhead is always preferred to the two legged, walking variety without wings.

    the stats are staggering to say the least. and yes, this happens all the time, razing, pillaging, burning and complete abandon of anything sensible for the silly games. i am all for those who want to spend wads for their young lifetimes of their parents money so they might have a chance at this...after all, look at bruce jenner? but when it comes to people being thrown out on the streets for them, well, yes a permanent place like Greece makes so much more sense. and maybe Antarctica, if it's still cold there...pleasant travels, dapper crow. love that crown on pigeon queen's head ;) and where is yours? xoxoxo

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    1. Ahh, dear lady Linda, don't forget our old friend, Johnny Weissmuller, the best Tarzan ever and the winner of 5 Olympic Gold Medals in the 1920's. The Olympics have never been better and I was there.

      The number of people displaced and the huge amounts of money wasted to build facilities that are often never used again is truly shocking. There are many who believe a good part of the reason Greece is in financial trouble now is directly attributable to the 2004 games. The cost of training potential Olympic level athletes is another scandal.

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  6. i just went to the missile link wondering if that meant fireworks.... i actually thought it MUST MEAN FIREWORKS!!

    imagine if they wanted to put rockets on the roof of your building and then publish it in the newspaper..? "Sitting missiles on housing estates makes people feel a lot less secure." yes, i bet..

    now i KNOW it doesn't all make sense... and i thought fireworks...wherever have i been...mumbling to myself.

    maybe it's me but i think i am just too old to adjust to some of this new crazy. xxxxx

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    1. Yes, dear lady, it's true they really do have missile emplacements of the tops of people's houses and all sorts of other security arrangements too - some publicized and others not. The police have determined to arrest anyone who looks the least bit suspicious (which is part of the reason I returned to Nova Scotia).

      I do not believe we should be required to adjust to such blatant insanity and paranoia.

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    2. truthfully I am not into the O's(on iPad) although husband started last week with the trials........sighs.....bless the headphones! tho they are making him deaf! he likes them probably because hi IS deaf, tho naturally will never admit it!

      no, I will not be doing any adjusting. things have always been a tad crazy in my inner world so I avoid the nuttiness of the outside one. HGTV, Bravo, etc. are as far as my channels get me! good thing too. after reading that BBC news link for an hour and bookmarking it for easy returns, I guess I shall be a bit more clued in to the insane goings on, tho the science, health and entertainment were, well, entertaining!! ;)

      have a good day! shoulder is much better thus I am painting more again...the profile painting I use on G? you should see it now! it's on 300lb. rough paper and now has so much acrylic paint on it, it weighs about 3lbs. more! I will share it with you!;)xxx

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    3. As I recall it the last time I paid much attention to the the Olympic games was the winter of 1980 when susan was laid up with pneumonia. We both sipped brandy laced hot toddies, nibbled on fruitcake, and watched Team USA win a first Gold Medal in the sport against their powerful Russian foes.

      The BBC still has a considerably more broad based view of the goings-on in the world at large than most American channels these days. I'm delighted to have introduced you to their website.

      It's with relief I hear the news that your shoulder is much improved today. I shall tender the news to susan who will be delighted to know you've been painting again.

      Keep well, dear lady.

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  7. That wasn't a missile, just the starting gun, though you might want to run faster.

    Stuff like that, and this makes one realize that the sports they dig haven't been pure since before little league.

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    1. In a worst case scenario it appears that only the long distance runners will have much chance of escape.

      Yes, when was the last time we saw a sand lot game played without the encumbrance of adults? Sports as commodity is poor practice.

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  8. US $ 2 for every child, woman and man on the planet (14 billion) is what the London games are estimated to cost. Better certainly that it be spent on this rather than weapons. But how much of it is really necessary?

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    1. Your figure goes far too prove my point. Most of it is certainly unnecessary.

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  9. i'd love to have been a fly on the bridge during the conversation between Crow and Her Madge. Despite being a driven soul with workaholic tendencies, i've never enjoyed competition of any kind... particularly sports.... just twisted, I guess. modern 'amateur' sports have reached a level of decadence and commercialism that I suspect would embarrass the original Olympians. .... but what credibility does a self-confessed cynic have on the subject?

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    1. It's not difficult to see the origins of competition among humans, but like so many things people do it's gone far beyond anything rational. In some ways the requisite training could be called child abuse.

      I see your cynicism and raise you by a doubtful eyebrow, my friend.

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  10. I feel sorry for the mess, the noise, and all the drama that the animals and the birds have to put up with. Humans really are batty aren't they? :)

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    1. No insult to the bats of course! :D

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    2. It's strange how so few can bring such discomfort to so many.

      I'm sure the bats offer you forbearance in kind.
      :-)

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  11. By gosh, Crow, you have hit upon a topic I have thought of many times in the last decades, that of holding the Games in one spot. Even before this latest (and obviously growing) trend of ousting people from their homes I questioned the idea of so much construction that will most likely not be used after the Games it was built for and so, most likely, will be razed. It is a huge waste of natural resources. And also if held in one city it seems the Games could be made permanently secure from attack, as that would be an ongoing effort.

    I love your drawing of the visit with the pigeon Queen. It just seems right to be done in blue and black w/white, thus giving it the appearance of drawings on collector's plates. Perhaps your travels could be produced on a set of collector's plates.....yes?!!

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    1. Crow, who tittled off to visit one of his many far away friends, asked me to let you know he's not the least bit surprised you agree with his views about this matter. You're entirely correct in your assessment about everything being much easier to arrange once a permanent site is established.

      Collectors plates sound like a wonderful idea!

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  12. I'm becoming increasingly troubled by how those with money are trampling those without. I guess I'm simply more aware of it. I don't think anything has really changed all that much.

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    1. It's not so much that things have changed but the fact they've gone into overdrive really can't be ignored. Like you, sometimes I wish I just could.

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  13. I think we need to bring something like these back, you know, for the masses and all...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotswold_Olimpick_Games

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  14. Bog Snorkelling is looking like a pretty good alternative to me.

    The more I read about the big event the more I dislike it.

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