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Signs of the Games: Foot Massage Club



Good morning, and welcome to the first real day of Olympic smogging. As always, I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing, why I'm even here, or what is required to keep me from being fired as I rack up a multi-thousand dollar expense account while providing virtually nothing of substance, certainly nothing about BOCOG or the USOC or CREEP. But I can give you a vague idea of what to expect in this space over the next three weeks:

* Around 7:30 a.m. D.C. time, I'll post some sort of English language sign that strikes a 31-year-old uncultured sports blogger as humorous. In today's case, I choose poorly, because it turns out that blind masseurs and foot massage clubs are well-established traditions with hundred of thousand of Google hits to their names. Starting slow, in that regard. But when you go to a neighborhood filled with massage joints and sex shops in search of the Redskins game, you take when you can get. (More on that in a bit.)

* Several more posts will go up throughout the morning, although these posts will have been written during the Chinese afternoon. Like, I'm writing these words at exactly 2)01 p.m. Beijing time, which is 2:01 a.m. Sources tell me that our 2:01 a.m. EST audience is limited, so I'm playing to your work schedule, because my dearest goal is to help you avoid work this month. Many others will tell you this (I'm looking at you, Bob Costas), but I really mean it.

* Around noon D.C. time, Crowd Noise proprietor Lindsay "Bonita Appleblog" Applebaum will post an assortment of Olympic-related hijinks from around the Internets. These links will also appear on the Today's Top Five column off to the left.

* With luck, in the mid-afternoon, there will be some sort of moving-picture report from Beijing. In a pinch, this will feature images of Chinese men with their shirts bunched around their breasts and their bellies bared. I should note that there's a Washington Redskins IOC rule that forbids non-NBC journalists from taking video of, around, involving or hinting at the existence of any actual sporting venue, so these videos will NOT include athletics or athletes, unless I can convince any of them to go to Chris Cooley's mom's house with me.

* As in Turin, I will accumulate large numbers of impossibly dorky Olympic pins from this tribe of deranged mutants who will not stop pounding on our door and asking us if we'd like to exchange pins with them. I have no use for pins, myself, but some readers seem to get a kick out of 'em. If I can figure out a way to once again hand out a pin to a special reader once a day without destroying my e-mail box, I might do so. If there's interest in this, please indicate below. And if you want my first pin--featuring a boy, a laptop, and the word "lenovo--just holler.

* There will be Chinese cheese news. There will be news about cheese for reasons I can't even fathom. Oh, there will most definitely be Chinese cheese news.

* And in between all of this, expect updates on athlete hair styles, the Heineken House, drunk Europeans, drunk journalists, the tucked-into-shorts polo shirts of Tom Boswell and Bob Ryan, an Irish pub known as Durty Nellies, Icelandic Olympians, smog, heat, concessions, pineapple congee, rowdy Brazilian volleyball fans, and, occasionally, sports.

* As it turns out, the Official Washington Post Hotel of these games is within easy walking distance of the team handball venue, which means that all of my pre-Olympic threats to deliver copious on-site handball coverage are about to be realized. Apologies to the non-handball fans.

* Don't forget to sign up for my Twitter feed, if you're really interested in my life and times, or for the Twitter feed for my colleagues, if you're more into them and theirs.

* And please, please, please feel free to volunteer blog ideas about China, Beijing, the Olympics, pins, cheese, mohawks and anything else. All ideas are welcome. All invitations from Beijing residents or guests will be accepted. All comments--even of the "hello my name is Ruthy and I'm an hot white girl from Kansas wanna meet?" variety--will be praised. If I get enough traffic this month to justify a three-week trip to Vancouver in 2010, I wouldn't necessarily complain.


By Dan Steinberg  |  August 4, 2008; 7:10 AM ET
Categories:  Olympics  
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