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Old 02-27-2010, 12:26 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 15,486
Default Olympics-Lightfoot

Asylum request: Could you be a little less friendly?

Los Angeles Times

Published: Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Friday, Feb. 26, 2010 - 11:14 pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- I'm here to please. Well, mostly I'm here to eat and drink. But if I can please the occasional Canadian while I'm here, all the better. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter.

It's no secret that I adore this town, but Friday I took it a step further by seeking political asylum here in Canada, citing governmental persecution back home and an inability to make or keep friends.

To prove how serious I am, I burned my U.S. passport in the bathtub one morning while yodeling "O, Canada." The housekeeping staff got all excited and thought Canada had won another curling medal. Within seconds, everybody was doing the polka and singing "O, Canada" in the hallway of my hotel. I simply congratulated them and worked my way toward the elevator.

My only reservation about seeking political asylum in Canada is that it is almost too friendly. Everywhere you go, all you hear is Americans gushing about the kindness of the locals.

It gets annoying fast.

The bartender at The Calling, at the corner of Davie and Denman, remembers my name four days later. Annoying.

The traffic cop says "thank you, sir" when you heed his request to stay within the crosswalk. Annoying.

On the bus, a young couple ask for directions to a restaurant, and are followed off by 10 strangers insisting on personally walking them to the door. How annoying is that?

This place is like one never-ending Garrison Keillor skit. These people need to show some restraint or idiots like me are never going to leave. And there goes your friendly, moose-scented little paradise.

For a week now, I've been eyeing some property in Stanley Park, a grossly underdeveloped chunk of land near downtown. The particular lot I like is right on the point, overlooking . . . what is that big lake called again? Oh, the Pacific.

It would be a perfect life. I am one of those people prone to standing on windy bluffs, staring longingly out to sea with a glass of wine tilted the wrong way and pouring down my pants.

Yes, it would be almost perfect. Eventually, my family would track me down. But it would be a blissful few hours.

To like and not to like

A fan of: Figure skates, the ultimate stiletto heel.

Not a fan of: Those flesh-colored pantyhose - or whatever they're called - that come down over the figure skaters' laces, like lumpy sausage.

A fan of: Nanaimo bars, a Canadian dessert treat, a better and more-evolved brownie.

Not a fan of: Reports that Noriki Tamura, owner of the sensational local hot dog place known as the Japadog, is considering opening an outlet in New York rather than L.A. or Chicago.

A fan of: The Richmond Olympic Oval, a speed-skating venue with a distinctive Wheat Chex wood ceiling.

Not a fan of: BC Place, Vancouver's mega-arena, which looks like a diseased mushroom.

A fan of: Hockey jerseys.

Not a fan of: Men in Spandex.

These Olympic Games are winding down, but not before a blowout weekend featuring lots of good hockey and what promises to be an amazing number of hangovers - probably an Olympic record.

If the opening was any indication, Sunday's closing ceremony will be something to watch. There is no parade of teams at the closing ceremony, which tends to speed things along. Look for Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot to perform. He won't, but look for him anyway.

Somehow, the greatest voice of our generation - the "Canadian Sinatra" - has been overlooked. If there is a snafu that will dog this country for decades, it is the failure to include Gordon Lightfoot in this global celebration. Seriously, with a last name like Lightfoot, couldn't they have sneaked him into one of those First Nations tributes?

So these Olympics are a long way from over. Among the stories I'm chasing is a report that women curlers made a pinup calendar. Steady yourselves, boys. The Vancougar (Cheryl Bernard) was not among them. She insists that only her husband and her doctor will ever see her topless. No comment from the rest of them.

This is what passes for scandal these days at the Winter Olympics, a bunch of pasty-skinned women wearing mostly goose bumps. I like goose bumps. In L.A., you hardly ever see them, except on geese. And geese rarely do calendars.

The good news is that the adults-only calendar was done for a worthy cause: To raise money for curling. Not sure yet whether it's a pro- or anti-curling crusade.

Because, honestly, if we can wipe out curling, we can cure almost anything.
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