Tag Archives: soviet

Olympic time shifting

I have to confess; I am an Olympic junkie. All this week, I have been staying up way past my bedtime to catch the latest swimming final or gymnastics triumph/tragedy.

There have been some side-questions that have received a lot of discussion. One involves “Olympic spoilers.”  Some people are upset because they want to watch the tape-delayed prime time telecasts as if they were live. That is, without knowing the outcome of the competition.  These days they have trouble doing so because the results are reported everywhere, even on their smart phones.

This isn’t a new issue. It happens every time there is an Olympics overseas.

Actually, one of the hottest time-delayed Olympic telecast controversies involved an event that was held right here in the Eastern Time Zone. In February 1980, the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid, New York. The famous “Miracle on Ice” USA upset of the Soviet hockey team was played during prime time. But for some reason, ABC decided the game was not worthy of a live telecast, so they tape-delayed it until 11:30 pm. For non-ABC television stations, the decision was easy – you announce the results. Heck, you break into network programming to announce the results. It was that big of a deal.

But if you are an ABC station, what do you do? Announce the news, or pretend it didn’t happen? News or entertainment? I was a news manager for an ABC station at the time, but frankly, I don’t remember what we did. .My opinion? (You know you were going to get it.) You announce the results as soon as you know them. You’re in the news business, so you report the news.  Don’t worry too much about those viewers who want to be kept in the dark. That’s not your job. People will whine, but you can’t please everyone.

Great stories from Sweden

I haven’t posted recently, because, among other reasons, I’ve been reading. I just finished Steig Larsson’s  “Millenium Trilogy” (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.)

I have to tell you, I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure I was going to, especially after starting The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It takes a long time for Larsson to get down to the “good stuff” in the first novel. Once he gets the main plot rolling, it’s great, but it just takes him awhile to get there.

As I wrote in an earlier post, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is basically a murder mystery involving a family with many dark secrets. The main protagonists are Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and Lizbeth Salander, a socially odd girl-genius with a mysterious past.

Book two, The Girl Who Played with Fire, involves the same main characters, including Blomkvist and Salander. It focuses much more on the compelling Lizbeth Salander;  her mysterious past; her evil, Soviet defector father; and the acts and plots by the secret police that explain a lot of why Lizbeth is who she is. It grabbed me from the first chapter and didn’t let go.

And if you like The Girl Who Played With Fire, the third book in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is nearly a seamless sequel. The same plot and characters just continue to the third book without missing a beat.

In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Lizbeth is hospitalized from injuries she sustained in the climax of the previous book and is charged with a number of crimes. The story revolves around Mikael’s and others’ efforts to free her and uncover the conspirators who are trying to get her recommitted to a mental hospital.

The entire series is great. The plots and the characters are fairly complex, but that is part of the attraction of the stories.

Two suggestions…

1.) Don’t worry too much about the Swedish geography. I guess it would be nice to know where all the various locations actually are, but not knowing does not diminish your appreciation of the stories.

2.) ­­It wouldn’t hurt to stick a note card or sheet of paper in the book you are reading and jotting down the names of some of the main characters. There are a bunch of them, and they all have Swedish names that tend to look and sound a lot alike to this American eye and ear. It might help keep track of the good guys and the bad guys.

There are a few scenes in the trilogy that are fairly graphic. Just beware.

Bottom line – It’s a great three-book series. It will keep you up at night because you won’t want to put it down. I recommend it strongly.