After learning that Greece is dotted with Applebee's restaurants, our boss issued an edict: You are forbidden to eat at Applebee's in Greece. Period.

So I went to Applebee's yesterday for lunch on my way to work at the Main Press Center, where the best cuisine -- by far -- is McDonald's. I am a regular Applebee's diner back in Virginia; I have my own table, my usual order, and the onion peels are already bubbling by the time I sit down to visit with my waitress.

At 11:30 a.m. I presented myself at the door, expecting the usual perky greeting. Instead, there was a sullen man smoking and drinking coffee in a booth. In fact, I believe all Greek restaurants are required to have one sullen man smoking and drinking coffee 24 hours a day. This may be a government job in Greece for all I know.

Eventually a very nice gentleman emerged from the kitchen to tell me, regretfully, that they wouldn't be open until 1 p.m. I imagined myself making conversation with the smoking sullen man for 90 minutes and decided it was another McNuggets-and-fries day.

I could really taste those onion peels.

If Anna and John at the Applebee's in Fair Lakes are reading this: Save my table. Be home soon. And there's nothing the boss can do about it.

-- Tracee Hamilton

Young Gun

Collyn Loper, who barely missed a bronze medal in trap shooting on Monday, spoke last week about "playing with a shotgun at 9." Huh?

"I know. Nine years old. Shotgun. It doesn't actually go together," said Loper, 17. "My dad handed it to me because I couldn't do a lot of other sports as a kid. I think it was 20-gauge, my mom's bird gun. I know people are against guns, but nothing is bad until people make it bad."

Welcome to shooting, the Olympics' most politically incorrect sport -- after Beach Volleyball Ogling. Loper grew up in Birmingham and, like many of the team's shooting members, belongs to the National Rifle Association.

"Yes, I am a member of the NRA," said Major Mike Anti after pausing long and hard to answer the question. "I have been since 14 years old."

Anti is also a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanhip Team, along with Bret Erickson. They go around the country competing and recruiting. They both nodded in the negative when facetiously asked if they watch Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," the award-winning gun-violence documentary, before big shooting events.

"I'm sure as hell not going to watch it anytime soon," Erickson said. "One hundred percent of America thinking guns are bad is media-driven. They keep doing stories on kids finding their parents' guns and killing each other. That's the problem, people are hiding guns from their kids. And what's a kid going to do when you hide a Christmas present? He'll find it. It's the curiosity factor.

"There's guns all over my house. I take that curiosity factor away."

-- Mike Wise

Harris Cursed

After China's Liu Wei yelled expletives at his own bench, Coach Del Harris, a Dallas Mavericks assistant, said, "He doesn't even have to apologize. I love him. He's a great kid. You know one of the top three players I've ever coached, Moses Malone, once said to me something really bad during a game, and I said, 'Look Moses, we'll talk about sex after the game. Now I want you to rebound.' "

-- Mike Wise