07/29/2012 12:04 EDT | Updated 09/27/2012 05:12 EDT

The Week That Was: I Admit I'm Not Watching the Olympics


Does this make me a bad person? I was sitting in the HuffPost newsroom on Friday afternoon when the noise of the overhead televisions -- and the funny, running commentary of the news team -- drew me over. I watched as the surreal montage of industrial smokestacks, dancing chimney sweeps, the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine," nationalized health care, Voldemort, top-hatted marching men, etc., etc. exploded over multiple screens.

"Who do we have to blame for this?" I asked one of the news editors.


Yes, well, there's much to blame on China -- but that's another editorial. For now I'll be the one Olympian curmudgeon (gold medallist in this category FYI, according to my children) to admit I'm not glued to my television following the ups and downs of our competing teams. That's not to say I don't appreciate the extraordinary training, talent, and dedication that our athletes bring to the Olympics. I love that the games "bring us all together" as a nation -- in a way not seen since there were only three television channels and one nightly news broadcast. I'm a sucker for all the heroic stories of the people-who-didn't-expect-to-make-it-and-yet-overcame-huge-personal-hurdles-to-do-so. But to my children's -- and admittedly, my parents' -- consternation, I don't watch them. Politics is my team sport, especially during a U.S. presidential election. And so I was especially gripped by Mitt Romney's bad showing in the early trials of the foreign relations championships -- causing so great an athlete as Carl Lewis to suggest that there are some Americans "who shouldn't leave the country." Ouch. And David Frum explains here why Canadians should not be offended that Mittens did not include Canada on his whirlwind world tour.

So it's a good thing my HuffPost colleagues don't feel the same way that I do, and are going for the gold in Olympic coverage. The aforementioned news team will keep our readers satisfied in up-to-the-minute coverage and commentary -- and over in blogs, we have multiple former Olympians and other top commentators who have joined our "HuffPost Team Canada" to bring you the most interesting insights into the actions taking place before you on your screen.

For those of you not currently glued to those screens, I'd love to bring your attention to other happenings in HuffPost Town. First, we've had a couple of truly stellar -- dare I say gold-level? -- features roll out.

First, our newsroom was honoured on Thursday by the presence of Lord Black of Crossharbour, a.k.a. Conrad Black, as guest of honour at our monthly editorial luncheon. Black, who returned to Canada on May 4 after serving nearly four years in prison, candidly answered questions on a range of topics, from his personal experiences in prison to his determination to fight to keep his Order of Canada, from his recent libel lawsuit against Random House to his future media plans (yes, he may have them!). Black appeared unruffled by any of the subjects raised by the HuffPost editorial team; throughout the luncheon he courteously and expansively discussed his recent travails, and at times became impassioned in his answers -- about the need for prison reform, about those who have sought to defame his reputation, and about the future of politics and political discourse in Western democracies. At the end of the luncheon, when asked what he thinks is the public's greatest misperception of him, Black replied that it was the belief that he was "pompous." Further coverage of the luncheon will be posted this coming week. Lord Black literally had so much to say of interest that we have had to break it down into multiple features.

Also this week, a newsroom argument led to this hilarious "Change My Mind" blog, in which two young single men, HuffPost bloggers Daniel Portoraro and JD Halperin debated the statement, "The modern woman is too picky." Last check-in showed that Daniel was leading in his dissent, by 18 per cent -- but both make wise, true -- and hilarious -- cases for their mutual sides.

Third (or bronze, as it may be, in order here but not in level of bestness), we launched Adopt a HuffPet -- a feature that will bring attention to our neediest rescue pets who need homes, from across the country. This effort is spearheaded by the fabulous N. Michelle Nadon, who runs C4P Animal Rescue, and has kindly agreed to bring some of the neediest adoption cases to our readers. I'm truly proud to say that with her first blog, two cats were quickly adopted. If you adopt one of our HuffPets, please let us know -- and keep us posted as to their progress.

Also, we will be launching a new section on Tuesday -- HuffPost Impact Canada. Truly, there is nothing else like this in Canada. It will be a site devoted to those individuals and organizations who seek to make real change in this society; our core areas of focus will include homelessness and poverty, immigration and citizenship, and aboriginal communities. If you know of a worthy cause or individual you'd like to see highlighted in this section, please email me:

Now I must return to following the election [cough] Olympics.