There are a lot of things happening at the same time right now, I can’t get them all straight. At least it seems like everything is happening at once.  Let me explain.

The Super Bowl was Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots. OK. check.

One week from today is Ash Wednesday. On February 14th. Yep, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentines Day this year. I don’t even want to think of the mixed messages of that.

“Will you be my Valentine?”

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

When I put ashes on your foreheads do I make little hearts instead of the sign of the cross? I don’t know. Just wondering.

And in the middle of all of this, guess what else is sneaking up? The Winter Olympics. Yes, the Winter Olympics from South Korea. Opening ceremonies are this Friday.

Now I enjoy all Olympics. Summer, Winter, I don’t care. I always find the Olympics fascinating. The Olympics are about amazing performances of so many, and watching the drama brings me joy. The Olympics take me to a happy place and the whole world seems a bit happier. Except in 1994. In Lillehammer. That’s in Norway.

Lillehammer had a problem. At least that’s what the people in charge of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway were worried about. They thought rest of the world wouldn’t realize the local people were glad everyone was there. Quite frankly, it had to do with body language.

You see the locals happened to be Norwegian. And incidentally, pretty much all of them were Lutheran.

Well why would that be a problem?

The Lillehammer Olympic committee thought it was a problem. They decided to buy smile machines to hand out to townspeople and Olympic workers. I am not kidding. A smile machine is an apparatus that you put on your head that can hide in your hat or hair and it has invisible line that stretches out to clear hooks at the end which you put in the corners of your mouth.  Instant smiles for tourists and photos. I am not making this up. The Olympic committee was so worried about the unfriendly visage of Norwegians that they shelled out, are you ready, $120,000. So, it may seem absurd, but it was $120,000 dollar absurd.

But, don’t ask me, I think Norwegian ancestry people are great.


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