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Another Week Already 

Deliverance From Our Anguish

* The most important, momentous issue of our time was settled last week when Canadian figure skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were awarded gold medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Controversy and tension had mutated to gargantuan proportions after judges initially awarded the gold to error-prone Soviet skaters Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, launching a media frenzy not seen since the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan crisis. Accusations of political deals and the pressuring of an emotionally fragile French judge brought back memories of past Cold War Olympics. Villainy and injustice reared their ugly heads, while Americans wailed and wept and tore their clothes. The world held its breath, praying on its knees and crying to the heavens for justice for the two wretched, oppressed victims of gold-denial. Finally, the International Olympic Committee, responding to the heroic worldwide outcry for simple fairness, determined that just this once, two gold medals would be awarded: one to the resurrected Canadians and one to the evil Russians.

* That madcap crew in city government managed to reach new levels of both incompetence and spinelessness in the same week. And yes, the Hornets were involved. While approving the city's official cave-in on the arena question, city council included a proviso stating that the arena was contingent on the Hornets having new owners. When NBA honchos got all pissy about it, local "leaders," realizing they had accidentally gone against the wishes of a corporate bigshot (any corporate bigshot will do), backpedaled so rapidly, they created a whirlwind that caused numerous car crashes in the downtown area and blew the crosses off a few church steeples. "Gee, I hope their feelings weren't hurt," said councilwoman Lynn Wheeler. "I'd hate for them to think I'd vote against anyone with lots of money. I was just distracted by that terrible gold medal tragedy at the Olympics."

* Something rotten in Georgia. . . People gasped and made "ooh, gross" faces at the news that a crematorium in north Georgia had been storing or throwing away corpses for years rather than burning them. Relatives of the deceased had received urns with ashes made of burned wood chips and dirt. Tri-State Crematory operator Ray Marsh, speaking from jail, reacted by saying, "What's the big deal? It's not like I denied them a gold medal or anything."

Quote of the Week: "All we want is a level paying field." According to the New York Times, this classic Freudian slip was uttered by a very tired Republican congressman near the end of the debate preceding the passage of a ban on soft money in political campaigns.

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