Before We Let The Games Begin

Last night, my wife told me that Sochi had won the Winter Olympics. I did not know who Sochi was, and was fairly confident the Winter Olympics were not currently ongoing. So I chalked this up to delirium, related to her recent bout of food poisoning.

Turns out she wasn't crazy. The 2014 Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, a Russian resort town on the Black Sea. Pyeongchang, South Korea, finished a close second.

To celebrate the news, here are some Sochi tidbits:

"¢ Sochi is "the longest city" in Europe and "the most beautiful place to visit in Russia." It's also "basically considered a beach town." []

"¢ Before this, Russia (and the Soviet Union) had won 293 Winter Olympic medals, but had never hosted the Winter Games. Moscow was home to the 1980 Summer Games, which the U.S. boycotted due to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. [The New York Times]

"¢ Both Maria Sharapova and Yevgeny Kafelnikov are products of a local tennis school (only Kafelnikov is from Sochi). [Wikipedia]

"¢ Here are all the photos tagged "sochi" on Flickr. (Svetlota, kzeke and adm.benbow have some good ones. JKEvgen does, too, and he gets credit for the photo above.)

"¢ "Sochi can be found on the same latitude with Toronto, Nice and the Gobi desert. As its charming landscapes and scenery are so reminiscent of the Mediterranean, Sochi is often referred to as the 'Russian Riviera.'" []

"¢ According to the 2002 Census, Sochi has 328,809 residents. [Wikipedia]

"¢ "As Sochi is situated between the Caucasian Mountains and the Black Sea, it enjoys the most northern subtropical climate on earth. As a result, its Krasnaya Polyana mountains have great snow conditions and are largely protected from the wind. These unique conditions cannot be found anywhere else in Europe." []

"¢ Average summer temperatures range from 78 to 89. In January and February, the average temp is 44. [Wikipedia]

"¢ "There are no large industrial facilities in the Sochi area, so the air quality, especially in Sochi's Krasnaya Polyana area, is considered among the very best in the world." []

"¢ "Unfortunately the crime rate is extremely high in Sochi, and all yacht and boat owners are advised not to leave their boats unoccupied in the evenings." []

This is the official website of Sochi.

After my visit to Utah Olympic Park, I can't wait to get to Sochi. Though after my rambling trip recap, I doubt the proprietors of mental_floss will fund such an excursion.

Anyone ever been?

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Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead

Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]


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