Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Olympics: Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremonies in London were a mixed bag, kind of messy and complicated with various "storylines," but enjoyable for various highlights involving celebrities/notables.  Queen Elizabeth's participation in a film with Daniel Craig (playing James Bond) was a definite highlight.  Amazing how long her reign has been, just a few years' short of Queen Victoria, therefore to-date currently the second longest reign of a British monarch.  Mr. Bean was a distraction but I still liked his bit (it totally, however, took away from the performance of "Chariots of Fire").  Kenneth Branagh was cheery as "Isambard Kingdom Brunel" (apparently Americans [on Twitter] thought he was playing Abraham Lincoln, and wondered why: my guess is they were being wise-asses and didn't really think he was playing Lincoln). I always love the Parade of Nations, particularly when the commentators inform the audience of the nations participating that have never medaled in the history of the Olympics! One of the best trivia pieces offered by commentators, was about tiny group island nation Tuvalu's sale of their .tv web domain, see NYT article here and wikipedia page here (unfortunately, Tuvalu is one of those South Pacific island nations that's in danger of being under water one day due to climate change).   Just before getting to the Zs, Bob Costas summed up how I feel about the Parade of Nations at the Olympics: "Regardless of the political tensions and differences-- the world hot spots-- the smiles on the faces of these Olympians are so genuine.  They're all, each in their own way, so happy to be here."   I must say that during the speeches by the officials, the clunky term "your Royal Highnessess" sure sounded like "your Royal Highn-asses" to me.  As always, the lighting of the Olympic cauldron was a natural high point, with the numerous torches coming together this time to create it a novel approach.  Paul McCartney delivered a nice finale, and was the perfect choice.  All in all, enough "spectacle" and water cooler-talk worthy highlights to say the '12 opening ceremonies succeeded, but they probably won't go down as one of the better ones.

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