Russian Police Officers Are Trying to “Get Lucky”

Like many people, I was interested to watch the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The opening ceremony for the winter Olympics is usually not as grand as the one for the summer Olympics, but Russia really wanted to try and outdo its buddy, China. I think they put on a high-quality performance, which highlighted Russia’s contribution to dance, literature, and music. It was strange at times, but I think, overall, it stayed pretty classy with the ballet and the opera. However, they didn’t show one very, um, interesting performance on television here in the US. There was a choir of Russian police officers who sang Daft Punk featuring Pharrell’s hit from the summer “Get Lucky”. Not only is the performance very awkward, but the song choice is very awkward, in my opinion. And as an ESL teacher, I have a theory on it. They chose an upbeat song to try and show Russia’s fun, carefree side. However, they really have no idea what the song is about! Most non-native English speakers know the word “lucky”. In fact, luck is often talked more about in countries outside the US, because people strongly believe in luck.So, perhaps the Russians were thinking this was a fun song about luck. Maybe they thought this song would bring luck to their Olympic athletes. Here are the lyrics to the chorus of the song:

We’re up all night ’til the sun
We’re up all night to get some
We’re up all night for good fun
We’re up all night to get lucky

This song is talking about a hook-up, about sex! I am almost completely sure that the Russians don’t realize this. They don’t know that “getting some” and “getting lucky” are synonymous with casual sex. How could you know these idioms unless you’ve learned them before? I highly doubt that the Russians would want their country to be known for police officers singing about having sex as they present themselves to the world during the opening ceremony. It also surprised me because the Russians are so conservative about many things, sex and homosexuality being just a few of them. Maybe this is something only an ESL teacher would think of; I don’t know.

Here is the video:

It’s strange to watch. Some members of the choir look like they were forced at gunpoint to sing this song. And there are some parts that I can’t quite understand what they’re saying. What are your thoughts on the performance? Are you a non-native English speaker who didn’t know what “get lucky” or “get some” really meant? If you’re an ESL teacher, do you think your students would know?I don’t think most of mine would. Oh well, I hope those police officers get lucky from being so famous for their performance! Share this post with those who you’d like to see this fun performance!

Gettin’ Money!

Last night I watched the Olympics for 4 straight hours. That’s a long time to sit in front of the tv, but I  just couldn’t help myself!  I was watching Usain Bolt win the gold in the 100 meter dash, the sure-thing McKayla Maroney lose the gold in vaulting to a Romanian, and the South African Oscar Pistorius, born without legs,  magnificently run against able-bodied runners. Embarrassingly, I found myself clapping in my living room. By myself.  But hey, it happens to us all during the Olympics, right?

Usain Bolt Yohan Blake compete for Jamaica

Photo by Paul Gilham

Oscar Pistorius in 400-Meter Dash

Photo by Paul Gilham

2012 London Olympics

Photo by Brian Snyder

I have found out about some interesting money issues while being obsessed with the Olympics lately. While Olympians earn most of their money from endorsements following the Olympics, many of the athletes are paid for medals by their country’s Olympic committee. In the US, our athletes get paid $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for a silver, and $10,000 for a bronze medal. Not too shabby! However, Italy pays out the most to their athletes at $182,400 for a gold medal! So far, they’ve had to pay out 7 times in London for gold medals. Russia pays the second highest at $135,000 for gold. It’s been rumored that Kazakhstan will give $250,000 to each gold medalist, but I don’t think it’s actually true.  You wouldn’t think that would be an issue, but Kazakhstan is actually 7th in the gold medal count right now! Many other countries promise new cars or apartment keys to their medalists. I don’t think I ever realized that being an Olympic medalist could be such a money maker!

If you want to know the answers to some questions you’ve had about the Olympics, I suggest this article on the BBC website:

It will teach you about Ryan Lochte’s grill, why French is the official language of the Olympics, what that weird colorful tape is that the athletes have been wearing, and why winners bite their medals.

What has been your favorite moment of the Olympics so far? The strangest?

Girls Rule and Boys Drool and Other Olympic Epiphanies

Like over 1 billion other humans, I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night, and I found quite a few things interesting. I love all things cultural and international, so the Olympics are enjoyable for me to watch, especially the opening ceremony and the parade of nations. And so far with the 2012 London Olympics, I’m learning a great deal too!

This is  quite the year for women in the Olympics! This was the first Olympics that every country has women competing. Brunei, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have never permitted women to participate before 2012. Qatar even had a women carry the flag in the march of nations. In Atlanta, just 16 years ago, 26 countries didn’t have women competing. This is the first year that the US has more women competing than men (269 women and 261 men). In fact, 45% of the athletes in the games this year are women. Women’s boxing is having its first run at this year’s Olympics.  To quote the wise words of my younger sister, “Hey, women have just as much right to punch each other in the face as men do.” I agree.

There are also some skirmishes involving the different nations. As I recently witnessed myself, there are so many hard feelings and issues still between North and South Korea. Apparently, when the women’s soccer team for North Korea was announced for their first match, a South Korean flag was shown. In protest, the women left the field for an hour until the issue could be fixed.

Taiwan has issues. No one knows who they are. For many sporting events they are separate from China and are referred to as Chinese Taipei. It’s a whole separate issue as to whether Taiwan is part of China or if it is its own country, but the issue here is recognition. On some newscasts, such as in South Korea or Japan, the announcers will just say Taiwan instead of the official Chinese Taipei, so people will know who is being talked about. In London, on Regent Street, a Taiwanese flag was hanging with the flags of other nations, but at the “request” of the Chinese embassy, it was removed and replaced by the Chinese Taipei Olympic flag causing an uproar by some Taiwanese.

Now,  to the opening ceremony. It was very theatrical, and I know people have mixed feeling about it. But I was only concerned about one thing.  Was I the only one that was surprised when the children’s choir sang “God Save the Queen”, the national anthem of the UK, and it had the same tune as “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”? We all learn this song as  children, and it was the unofficial national anthem of the US before “The Star Spangled Banner”, and an American didn’t even write the music to it? Woe is me! I also discovered that the Star Spangled Banner sounds eerily similar to an old British drinking song called “The Anacreontic Song”. My faith in patriotic song writing  is fizzling out.

I also learned from the opening ceremony that some musicians are British that I had no idea about, such as Eric Clapton and Freddy Mercury. Singers are tricky, because they don’t sing with an accent, and if you never hear them speak, you have no reason to know. Thank you London Olympics for teaching me this important information.

Well folks, this is what I have gleaned from the 2012 London Olympics thus far. What have you learned that you didn’t know or what have you found the most interesting?