Two quick starting points on today's Olympics before we get to any of the on ice/ snow activities.
First, if you read no other story about the Olympics and North Korea's involvement in the PyeongChang Games, read this one https://www.wsj.com/articles/north-koreas-weapons-of-mass-distraction-1518444526 called "North Korea's Weapons of Mass Distraction."
It details the surreal details around the 229-person North Korean band of cheerleaders, who among other things are sent to try to curry favor and appeal around the world for their country and promote the idea of "national cooperation."
And speaking of cooperation, these ladies — mostly comprised of daughters of elite North Korean families — must be taller than 5-foot-3, be attractive and understand that Rule 1 of NK Cheerleading Club is we never talk about NK Cheerleading Club. (And yes, Rule 2 of NK Cheerleading Club is we never talk about NK Cheerleading Club.)
There were 21 of the NK Cheerleading Club jailed in prison camps for discussing what they saw in South Korea during the 2002 Busan Asian Games. Which is a harsh reminder of what kind of dictator Kim Jong Un really is, no matter how charming CNN thinks his sister may be.
Secondly, and this story is the latest exclamation point on a long and painful sentence that is being punctuated seemingly every two years during Olympic competitions.
Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor and longtime Olympics hater, says South Korea could be facing a $10 billion loss for hosting these Games. Yes, Billion with a B.
Among the crazy expensive decisions made to get PyeongChang — a town of roughly 45,000 people — ready to host the world, here's a list of financial crunches:
* They spent nine figures to build a 50,000-seat stadium for the Opening Ceremonies. Moving forward, for that stadium to be sold-out, they would have to have 111 percent of the city come out. Math, it is your friend;
* The South Korea organizers only sold roughly 60 percent of the tickets to these events;
* There was a high-speed rail built connecting PyeongChang and Seoul, the country's capital that cost billions;
* There was more than a billion spent clearing out almost 60,000 trees from a sacred forest to construct the Alpine courses;
The hope is that tourism would increase because of these Games, but that seems like a stretch to bring back $10 billion.
On the bright side, at least the South Korean organizers are way ahead of the $51 billion lost by the hosts of the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
What planet are we on?
We vowed several months ago to try to be an agent of change. Blessed with multiple platforms — this daily conversations with you good people, three columns a week on A2 of the Times Free Press, 15 hours of radio gasbaggery with David Paschal on Press Row — just bemoaning the negative around us all too easy.
The world is filled with piles of manure, and the choice is pretty simple: Either complain how bad it smells or try to pass out shovels and handle the issue.
Some times, answers are not easily available. Some times just pointing out the issue and raising discussion — especially when that discussion can result in change — is enough.
Maybe that's enough in this case, and while there may be more pressing issues around us, can we discuss the assault on an American institution: The school-aged dance.
First, there was the news last week that a "Daddy-Daughter Dance" hosted by an elementary school was postponed because the "Daddy-Daughter" connection was sexist and stereotypical.
"Gender-based activities are rooted in old-fashioned gender stereotypes," Lenora Lapidus, director of the ACLU Women's Rights Project, previously told Yahoo Lifestyle. "For example, father-daughter dances exclude children raised by single moms, lesbian couples, a grandmother, or who otherwise don't have male figures in their lives."
Oy vey. Yes, you read that correctly. We are headed down a path of including everyone or else that we are going to never be able to do anything.
And then there's news that the era of eternal inclusion now jumps the other direction. In Utah, there has been a longstanding tradition at a traditional sixth-grade dance that girls are not allowed to say no to a dance request.
OK, first, with a daughter, any message that can be even remotely taken as a girl not being able to say no to a boy is dreadfully and dangerously short-sighted. Especially in this time.
Secondly, why are adults everywhere so overwhelmed and worried about some sort of dejection, rejection or set back in the lives of our children.
Learning how to handle negatives, be it losses in sports, a girl saying "Thanks but no thanks," experiencing a bad grade because you didn't study or any of the rest allow you to be better adjusted for the inevitable speedbumps in this life.
Isn't being unable to handle setbacks later in life is way worse — when teenagers, young adults or adults have less support mind you — than any rite of passage of adolescence?
That issue should be considered too, otherwise there will never be enough shovels to spread all this crap around.