I have to admit I've been pretty much glued to the television coverage of the London Summer Olympics.
I've been buying print copies of newspapers— something I admit to have basically stopped doing, as embarrassing as that is, given my profession— and I've been surfing the Internet in search of the quirky, the obtuse, the fun, the satirical and the funky of Olympic coverage.
And there's plenty of it out there.
Want to see a gallery of the tattoos of Olympians? Here you go.
Pundits have offered up their casting choices should the life of Michael Phelps ever make it to the big screen (though I think Ellen Burstyn is way too old to play Debbie Phelps and I can't see Ed Harris in the role of Bob Bowman, as suggested).
I've learned that the IRS expects a slice of the pie from U.S. Olympic medalists on two different levels.
The United States Olympic Committee gives cash bonuses to medalists — $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.
The IRS expects Olympians to declare those bonuses as income and pay the approriate taxes.
Based on a 35 percent tax bracket, a gold medalist could expect an IRS bill of about $8,750 for each top prize earned, according to Americans for Tax Reform. American Olympians would owe about $5,250 on each silver medal won and $3,500 for each bronze.
According to those figures, Phelps will owe $45,500 for the bonuses on his four gold and two silver medals.
I can understand the government expecting taxes to be paid on the cash bonuses, though I also think one could argue the token amounts are just small efforts to reimburse the out-of-pocket expenses families have paid over the years to procure top-notch coaching, to travel to competitions and to feed world-class athletes (have you ever thought of what Phelps' grocery bill is?).
Since the bonuses aren't salary for hours worked, and the atheletes don't ask for the payment, one could also argue the payments are unsolicited gifts, all or some of which would be tax-exempt, depending on the amount given.
But here's the IRS demand I don't get. The tax-collecting agency has apparently placed a monetary value on the medals themselves, and expects those to be declared as well.
A gold medal is worth $650, according to CNN, and could cost an athlete about $236 in taxes. Bronze medalists will be happy to learn that they will owe only $2 in taxes on the prizes valued at just $5.
Who knew bronze medalists would be the real winners?
In my Internet travels, I've also learned that live pigeon shooting was a sport in the 1900 Paris Games.
Three hundred pigeons were harmed in that Olympiad, according to the WBAL-TV report, and clay pigeons were used in all subsequent Olympics.
Croquet was also a sport in the Paris Games, although only one paying spectator showed up to watch the "competition."
Over the years, sports have come and gone. Recently, baseball and softball were removed from the roster and golf , which was last featured in the Olympics in 1904, will return to the 2012 Olympiad in Rio de Janiero.
Bowlers are lobbying to get their sport added to the Olympic lineup.
I say if curling can be an Olympic sport, so can bowling.
But here's hoping the shooting of live creatures never makes a comeback!