A Unified Korea; If Only For One Night
February 12, 2018

The Olympics are known for drama. The luge can be decided by thousands of a second. A one-point deduction in figure skating might mean whether you get to stand atop the podium at the end. The Olympics teach young athletes to “go for it”. The host governments are doing the same, at least for now.

Make no mistake that this is at least in some part a political ploy, but North Koreans are at the South Korean games—the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. They are even fielding a joint women's hockey team. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister was sitting right near American Vice President Mike Pence. Just a week ago, this was more unlikely than a Nigerian bobsled team (there is one).

Is this a good thing? Of course it is. Will it last? Maybe not. North Korea is only 60 miles from Pyeongchang, but it might as well be a million. Even when the North Korean hockey players joined their southern counterparts, there was a language barrier. South Korea is one of the most technologically advanced nations on earth. The North is in the dark ages.

It's become a cliché that sports can do things that politics can't. It's a cliché because it's true, of course, but there are also politics in sports (just ask Chinese Taipei why they can't be called Taiwan). Still, there is supposedly an invitation for a South Korea-North Korea lunch between the two leaders. Don't expect Kim Jong Un to agree to disband his nuclear program over some kimchi, but at least it's a start. The Olympics have taught us that you have to start before there can be a fantastic finish.

Broadcasting bits: Most of NBC's coverage will be live, which is quite a change from Olympics past. The thing is, when it's prime time in the USA, it's in the middle of the afternoon (the next day) in Korea. Good thing for the network that they are starting figure skating at 10am... The Opening Ceremonies were at night in Korea, so they were tape-delayed here. NBC has proven in the past that they know how to package the Olympics, but they also failed to tell us some things. They mentioned that some guy had broken through security, not once, but twice, but didn't show it. Any slow parts were edited it out, but that's also how they got the thing in in three hours. Maybe they could have scheduled three and a half hours and shown us everything... On the West Coast, NBC is showing the Olympics like they do the Golden Globe Awards—essentially live from 5 to 8pm, and then rerunning it in prime time. Because they are showing events live, they can go long. Remember that when programming the DVR. I missed the pairs long program because of it.

Goofs, Blunders, and Glitches: NBC was so busy hyping men's figure skater Nathan Chen Thursday night, that right before his skate, they chose not to show the skater from Israel, and instead show a nicely produced piece about Chen when he was eight years old, growing up in Salt Lake City. Chen fell during his skate, and the Israeli (supposedly) had a great program. We didn't get to see it, but he finished in second place... Twice—once during the afternoon and once during prime time, NBC mentioned that the first medals of the games went in cross country skiing, with Sweden getting the gold, Norway earning the silver, and the USA finishing fifth. Neither time did they mention who won the bronze... When the final program of the team skating event began, the medals had already been decided. NBC eluded to it, but didn't explain it. Canada and the Olympic Athletes from Russia already had gold and silver, and Team USA could do no worse than tie for bronze. The Americans would have had to finish last, and Italy first for that to happen.

It was one year ago that myself and about 180-thousand of my neighbors were told that we couldn't stay in our homes because a spillway might break. Fortunately, that didn't happen, but we were evacuated for two nights (I actually came back in after one, but wasn't really supposed to). It was nothing compared to anyone who had to leave because of fire, but it was scary enough. Maybe droughts aren't so bad after all.

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