I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I Ate the Meatballs...

...and they were good!

Waiting for baby can make you do strange things. Today the fam went on a field trip to IKEA. Now, Boy in the Bands has from time to time mentioned to me the magical goodness of its furniture selection, its prices, and, yes, its Swedish Meatballs. Others had forewarned me that the air-terminal sized establishment was...well... somewhat unusual. Still, I thought myself prepared. I have been to Jordan's Furniture in Framingham and seen its "Bourbon Street" show. I was wrong! Nothing in my sheltered existence had prepared me for the IKEA experience. Jordan's now seems a mere sidewalk stand to me. It was, truly, an amazing display of consumption and vaguely scandanavian design.

We were there looking for certain items for the baby-room and, of course, to sample the famous meatballs, but we gained so much more. For starters, my housewares spirit was lifted in a way it hasn't been since the demise of the DANSK Factory Outlet in Freeport, Maine. The cafeteria even had (albeit cheaply made) forks with three prongs! I used to work at Dansk and, some days, still miss it. Also, the music was total '80's. I know I will be old when IKEA stops playing Wham!!

I had so much fun, in fact, that had I eaten the meatballs yesterday, maybe I would have pulled for Sweden instead of Canada in the Women's Hockey finals...

...and speaking of the Olympics, has anyone noticed how angry some people are getting at Bryant Gumbel? Gumbel, whose sports show is the only reason I ever watch HBO, in a recent editorial had some rather strong words about the Winter Olympics.

Finally, tonight, the Winter Games. Count me among those who don’t like them and won’t watch them ... Because they’re so trying, maybe over the next three weeks we should all try too. Like, try not to be incredulous when someone attempts to link these games to those of the ancient Greeks who never heard of skating or skiing. So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something’s not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what’s called a kiss-and-cry area, while some panel of subjective judges decides who won ... So if only to hasten the arrival of the day they’re done, when we can move on to March Madness — for God’s sake, let the games begin.

Now, I will leave it up to Bryant to explain what he meant here. However, I have to say that, as a person who tried--really tried--to watch this year, I am ready to have this over. My favorite moments included the Croatian Woman (Janica Kostelic) who skied with the flu, the Slovak men's hockey team, and the US Bobsled team (why is it Bobsleigh now?). My least favorite moment was when a comentator said that the Canadian women's gold medal was a "hollow victory" because they didn't play the Americans (they seemed happy enough to me).

The fact is, I do not ski. I do not play hockey. I went to a private high school (and then, briefly, Bates College, Gumbel's alma mater) in Maine where, frankly (and with a couple major exceptions), the kids who skied and played hockey weren't my favorite people. Some of them seemed to be a lot like Bode Miller (I do feel sorry for him), clueless and popular.

I was briefly impressed by the snowboarding, with its rebellious, non-conformist roots but, it seems that these roots are pretty much forgotten now. This is why we saw Lindsey Jacobellis put down for "showboating". Yeah, it was silly, but I am sure that her VISA contract will help console her. I did enjoy reading about Shani Davis, the first African-American man to win an individual gold at the winter games. But now, I am done.

Please, Bryant Gumbel, minor deity of sport, give me a call and we can talk about the NFL Combine, OK? I am ready, too...