Crazy Sports Bets and Nutty Things Political Leaders Give Each Other

As Seahawk Nation knows, the mayors of Seattle and San Francisco threw down the proverbial gauntlet yesterday and made a smiley wager on who will win Sunday’s epic battle at The Link.

Mayor Edwin Lee is so convinced the 49ers will advance to their seventh Super Bowl that he’s promised to send Mayor Ed Murray some Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Poco Dolce Chocolates and Lefty O’Doul’s original 1958 Bloody Mary mix if by some miracle the Hawks emerge victorious.

As to the Bloody Mary mix, Lee explained, “Well, the 12th Man up there will need some headache removal after the game so we’re going to offer that Bloody Mary mix.” To which Murray, who inexplicably offered ear plugs for 49ers players (Shouldn’t that be 15 yards for taunting?), countered, “Thank you. They’ll need it after the celebration.”

If the Hawks lose, Murray says he’ll send the SF mayor Molly Moon’s Ice Cream and Theo Chocolate.

The Murray-Lee football bet is illustrative of the time immemorial penchant political leaders have for giving each other odd, and at times inexplicable keepsakes.

NPR today is out with a fanciful little story on this very subject, reporting, for example, how U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry proudly presented his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with two Idaho potatoes at a meeting in Paris on Monday.

In Columbia, President Obama once got a “silver figure representing oversized coffee bean,” given by Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos that now percolates in the National Archives and Records Administration.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is the proud recipient of Buffy, a Bulgarian shepherd, given to him in 2010 by then Bulgarian leader Boyko Borisov.

And nothing says welcome to my country like a gory animal abuse video. As Donald Rumsfeld revealed in his 2011 memoirs that during a 1983 visit to Iraq as the United States’ special envoy to the Middle East, Saddam Hussein welcomed him with a present of a three-minute video, which, Hussein claimed, was proof of the barbarity of his then enemy, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. The footage, as NPR reports, purports to show young Syrian recruits biting the heads off snakes and stabbing puppies to death, all under the approving eye of Assad himself.

Writes NPR, “Why people feel the need to keep giving stuff to one of the richest women alive is beyond us, but it seems Queen Elizabeth II can’t step out of Buckingham Palace without being showered with ill-advised gifts. Every time she visits Fiji, for example, the South Pacific island’s chiefs present her with a tabua, or sperm whale’s tooth, traditionally their society’s highest prized treasure. The Queen has at least three of them — not to mention the shark’s tooth sword she picked up in nearby Kiribati.”

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