I am not a malaka. At least I hope I'm not.
China's Lin Dan, the world's top-ranked badminton player, most likely won't be showcased on American TV. But you probably can find him on several channels at the press center in Athens.
This is a word you want to avoid when in Greece. You're a malaka if you're the guy sprinting onto Yankee Stadium without any pants. A man who does not allow you to park your taxi in a taxi zone is a malaka.
Malaka can be an idiot, a sucker and usually much worse. So explained my cab driver Spiro this morning. Spiro was full of facts. He has a girlfriend named Hera of one year whom he plans to marry. He told me the secret to finding and keeping a nice woman and said this applies to all of life.
"You must find their button," he said. "The thing that makes them so."
Right now the only button I have is at the Main Press Center. It's a remote-control button, and in true Al Haig fashion, I've declared myself in charge of televison programming for SI's Olympic office.
The in-house CATV network has 60 channels; 37 of which feature the international broadcast of events with natural sound and no commentary. There are an additional 17 channels from commercial broadcasters around the globe, be it ET1 (Greek), CBC (Canada), RAI Uno (Italy) and CNBC. We do not get NBC here and I'm sure most are suffering Dan Hicks withdrawal.
Covering the Olympics from the press center is a viewing experience unlike anything you could imagine. It gives you a tutorial on sports and athletes you never see. Here's a sample flip of the channels: Cuba vs. Italy in women's beach volleyball; a table tennis battle between Germany's Torben Wosik and Trinko Keen of Netherlands; Germany and Pakistan in field hockey; a badminton singles match between Korea's Lee Hyun II and Stuart Brehaut of Australia; Hungary and Serbia-Montenegro in men's water polo; a fencing match between Laura Flessel-Colovic of France and Ildiko Mincza-Nebald of Hungary; Canada and Chinese Taipei in baseball; and men's badminton singles between Finland and Germany.
There's also a channel that shows the Olympic flame 24/7, a channel with a camera fixed on the Acropolis and one that shows only Syntagma Square. From what I can tell, the Olympic Flame channel has higher ratings than CNBC, at least in this office. ...
Dropped by SI's opening Olympic party last night. We'll blog big from the third or fourth party, but if you're looking for the visual, simply close your eyes and imagine Poseidon and Amphitrite hosting a bash on the Aegean Sea. Now open your eyes: There's Carl Lewis holding court with what looks like the Greek cast of The Bold and the Beautiful. There's decathlete Dan O'Brien grabbing some oysters on the half shell. There's Richard Jefferson and Emeka Okafor stopping by the night before showing Puerto Rico so much American hospitality. And there's The Today Show posse, led by Katie Couric, who danced the night away on the marble-looking dance floor.
Bacchanalia, anyone? Which, by the way, comes from both Latin, from Bacchus, god of wine, and the Greek Bakkhos. Better not forget the Greek, or risk being called a malaka by my buddy Spiro.