Beijing Watchlists Collegiate Golfer at Olympics Even Though Golf Isn’t an Olympic Sport

Somewhere in Tuscaloosa, Ala., a senior on the Alabama women’s golf team is waking up and finding out that the Chinese government had her on a watchlist for potential troublemakers during the Olympics, according to USA Today.

Which is especially confusing because golf isn’t an Olympic sport. And because Lexus Nexus and Internet searches turn up no evidence that she ever went to Beijing.

The athlete in question is Laura Goodwin — that’s her, at right — and she’s from Birmingham, Ala. Her official Alabama bio makes no mention of a trip to the Olympics. A search of Sports Reference’s Olympics page shows that no athletes with the last name Goodwin participated in the 2008 games, so she wasn’t there to support a family member (or at least one with the same last name). Unless she was supporting a Tide alumnus in Beijing, I’d guess that the Chinese government just made a clerical error when placing Goodwin’s name on their list. The fact that no one over there speaks English probably had something to do with it.

I’d also like to point out the closing line from the initial USA Today article: “Calls to the Chinese Embassy on Wednesday went unanswered.” I feel your pain.

Well, That’s a Mild Understatement

At left, there’s today’s Columbia Missourian with a late-entry for “obvious subhead of the year.”

In related news: yes, the town really is excited for the Senator’s visit. Well, except for a for a few guys at the local barber shop this afternoon.

“You think he’s really coming? What’s his name? Bo-ama?” one asked me, even as several copies of local papers confirming the visit littered the floor. I didn’t wonder aloud why he was unable to pronounce the Senator’s name, and instead asked the barber why he didn’t believe the news reports .

“Well, they said the same thing about McCain,” he said. “And he just got barbecue and left.”

I tried to assure them that, yes, Obama was really giving a speech in town, not just grabbing a pulled pork sandwich. “Should be a football sized crowd,” I said.

“I guess we’ll be getting the hell out of here, then,” one said.

Reverse Telemarking

This New York Times profile of Joel Levinson — perennial viral video contest award-winner — features one astoundingly brilliant paragraph:

Mr. Levinson’s gregariousness is an asset in the user-generated content world, as many of these contests are determined by voting. Mr. Levinson has a Facebook group entitled “Yes, Joel, I’ll vote for your newest stupid contest” and he uses Twitter, blogs, e-mail and text messages, asking acquaintances to vote. He even calls 24-hour customer service lines at night, when he thinks the representatives are bored, and asks them to vote for him.

Telemarketing to those who make calls for a living? Genius.