The Week That Was — August 2-9

Last week went by faster than Usain Bolt’s hundred-meter dash. With the potpourri of events swirling around, some of us were left bedazzled, and need to catch our breath. I am still pondering on the following points, engaged as I am, in other activities:

The Olympics Opening Ceremony was described only in superlatives and have left quite a few speechless. Some are relieved Steven Spielberg backed out of the planning, for maybe the production would have projected more of the tinsel and timbre of Hollywood, instead of the grandeur of the ancient civilization, credited with gunpowder and fireworks, among countless other inventions

Executed with needlepoint precision, the ceremony was not only the overture for the symphony of light, sound and movement that characterizes the games, but it showcased the sheer might and power that can be harnessed from the human potential, working together as one. Impressive were the 2008 drummers, really soldiers in drag, who were asked to smile more, in order to not intimidate the audience. Many of the 15,000 participants in the ceremony went without fluids for over twenty four hours to stave off the inconvenience of having to eliminate fluids during the event, reports said. This show of force and focus (did you just whisper “forced focus”?) has instilled more awe than would have one entire Chinese regiment, goose-stepping in a marchpast, with a flyover of the latest technology in bombers.

The Jamaican team lik shat as usual, the island spirit evident as they bounded into the stadium.

How will London out-dazzle Beijing in four years?

 

The Jamaica Festival Grand Gala I hear was stupendous. The spirit of “ole time” Jamaica prevailed, and even the guns kept their silence during the period. I’ve always heard that gunmen respect holidays, sports and tourists, so now we may have a welcome respite over the next few days.

Then we heard about Russia’s blitzkieg-style attack on Georgia, which left over a thousand dead. Kommissar Vladimir Putin tells the US to stay out of this conflict (as Russia did out of the US/Iraqi conflict); seems as though what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Didn’t Bush see this coming when he looked deep within Putin’s eyes and saw his soul and a kindred spirit? There you have it. The Georgians have our sympathy, as do those innocents in Iraq.

Speaking of Russia, we learned that the legendary Russian novelist, historian and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who would have been 90 in December, passed away after long illness. He it was who opened the eyes of the world to the conditions in the gulag under Soviet rule and paid for his dissidence with his exile in 1974, returning to his homeland twenty years later. He has already secured his place among the greats in the pantheon of world literature.

Also in passing is Isaac “Black Moses” Hayes at 65. Three-time Grammy award winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hayes was the first African-American to be awarded an Academy Award for a role outside of acting, his soul- and funk-styled arrangement for the theme from the movie “Shaft” now a thirty-six year-old classic. Hayes will be remembered for his extended monologues in that deep sensual rumble of the double bass that preceded his actual singing, quite often creating a track over ten minutes long. God help you if you were dancing with the wrong partner to “I Stand Accused”!

And gone too soon, is comedian and actor Bernie Mac at a youthful age 50.

Somewhere out there in the ether, a grand reunion is taking place. What a week!

 

     

Mark Lee

About Mark Lee

Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.

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