You really don't want to send a few thousand reporters anywhere without having anything for them to report upon. Yet this is what happens just before every Olympiad.
Rivers of reporters show up and walk around looking desperately for things to write about. With most people too busy to talk, they gravitate to people with time on their hands — complainers.
So the newly arrived reporters in London began working the rope line of people waiting to complain, like the first person they ran into, their taxi driver.
The hackney operators predicted gridlock and, perhaps, the collapse of the entire transit system when the games began.
Then there were the inconvenienced neighbors, like the people complaining how the area around the games had become so militarized. One man with a mobile missile battery atop his apartment building complained how it made him a target for a terrorist attack.
No stiff upper lip for that chap. Winston Churchill would no doubt box his ears.
But when there weren't complaints of too much security there were complaints of too little. Soldiers were brought in to take the places of security guards who didn't show up.
Even presidential candidate Mitt Romney jumped into the fray, no less on his first day in London.
The media's considered conclusion: OMG! The Brits have bollixed the games!
That all lasted about as long as it took to fire the first starting gun and run the first race. From there, it was all beauty, triumph, tears, hugs and national anthems.
After an opening ceremony that was, well, a little quirky, the British produced what appeared to be a flawless show.
You would think we would catch on by now. Remember when Bejing wasn't ready? When Athens wasn't ready? Heck, the first Greek organizers were probably judged unready in 776 BC.
We can safely predict that Sochi won't be ready in 18 months nor Rio de Janerio 30 months after that.
The Olympics are, in many ways, like a theater production. The show isn't ready, it isn't ready and it isn't ready until suddenly... the curtain goes up and it is.
Fortunately, the naysayers were very wrong. Again.
The NRA gets it:
fear equals profit
If there was any remaining doubt that the National Rifle Association is essentially the marketing arm of the U.S. gun and ammunition manufacturing industry, let us erase it now.
Three days after a mentally ill man shot 12 people dead in a suburban Denver movie theater, the NRA sent out a letter.
Not of condolence, as you might suspect. No, it was asking members for money.
"The future of your Second Amendment rights will be at sake," the letter said. "And nothing less than the future of our country and our freedom will be at stake."
Is the NRA's rhetoric beginning to sound as paranoid as some of the sick people who commit these acts of mass mayhem?
In response to this ginned up fear, thousands of people flooded Colorado gun stores to buy guns and ammunition before that totally baseless prediction came true.
Cha-ching! The gun industry understands one simple thing: fear sells guns.
The NRA's job? To continually fan the flame beneath America's roiling pot of anxiety.