27 Feb 2006
OK, by the time they got to the closing ceremonies, I was too incapacitated to do a play-by-play. Here's my summary:
So very, very boring.
The fan-propelled skydivers were neat, but not very energetic. In fact, both ceremonies had energy and pacing problems. It's a huge stadium, of course, so human-sized movement is all but lost in it. And so everything is very slow. It took them so very long to walk the Olympic flag out. So long. And the sweet angels singing and singing and singing until my ears were bleeding. CTHONIC CHERUBIM THEY WERE!
There was a moment where a ne'er-do-well rushed the stage during a speech. He wanted to tell the world of some gambling web site which was apparently very important to him. In Italy, don't they "disappear" people that do things like that? Not anymore? Shame about that.
Anyway, they had those strange scary Italian clowns. Hundreds of them. Frolicking. Later, when they had singers or whatnot on the stage, they didn't let the athletes dance in front of the stage. No. Instead, the spooky clowns were there. Standing there malevolently NOT clowning. At any moment I expected a tsunami of vaguely humorous white death to rush out and start rending the other revelers limb from limb. It was most disturbing.
And then, Ricky Martin.
26 Feb 2006
7:20 - So, I tuned in tiny-bit late for the Olympics tonight. To my confusion, Tom Brokaw is narrating some documentary about the Buffalo Soldiers of WWII.
7:30 - I thought that maybe it was a locale-interest sort of thing for Italy, but it's focussed on a particular person, Vernon Baker.
7:33 - In HD, you can tell what B&W footage is faked because it's widescreen. File footage isn't.
7:41 - Man! The connection that allows them to conect this documentary to the Olympics is so very tenuous. I guess they figured that the ratings were so low for the Olympics...
NBC is broadcasting a special one-hour prime-time documentary about Baker on Feb. 26, just before the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games. Hosted by Tom Brokaw, Lasting Valor is the longest documentary the network has broadcast from the Olympics, NBC story editor Brian Brown said.
(This is not meant to be a jab to Baker, who is deservedly considered a hero.)
"In World War II, Torino and northern Italy were liberated, in part, by the brave efforts of the all-black 92nd Infantry Division," Brown said. "Lt. Vernon Baker -- who led a suicidal assault that resulted in the successful breaching of the Gothic Line -- stands as an example of the courage, fortitude and composure exhibited by the men of the 92nd during a war in which our black soldiers were fighting both Hitler and racism."
20 Feb 2006
15 Feb 2006
12 Feb 2006
10 Feb 2006
Watch the Opening Ceremonies of the XXth Winter Games in EXTREME definition with me...
9:00 - Cool giant anvil spouting flames. Gotta get one of those.
9:03 - Bob Costas has told me that this anvil is "Passion" or something.
9:04 - Why are these people in red spandex running around? Don't they know there's an opening ceremony underway?!
9:06 - In HD, you can see all these tiny legs spinning like crazy, but I still wonder why there are disembodied legs doing bicycles from the faux pond?
9:08 - So that's what "Sparks of Passion" look like! Dangerous speedskaters with their heads on fire!
9:11 - Some kind of tribute to the countries of the Alps. Apparently, the people of the alps wear cow-spotted tuxedos and dresses.
9:16 - I've noticed that everyone in the stands is wearing white. How'dthey contrive that?
9:18 - Brian Williams manages to quash any kind of feeling of worldwide peace we may have been cultivating by discussing Iraq.
9:20 - A puppet stolen from "it's a small world" sings the Italian national anthem
9:24 - Aerobics in yellow jumpsuits!
9:25 - Dos Equis means "two horses" to you and me! Oh. Twenty. Crazy romans.
9:27 - A bunch of people form a skier figure and actually animate it as it does a ski jump. Pretty cool.
9:29 - INSANE SPARKS OF PASSION! What keeps them from igniting their butts?
9:33 - A lot of vague cavorting around some rings... Huh, rings...
9:35 - Sudden an unsurprising formation of the olympic rings.
9:36 - And now begins the interminable parade of nations!
9:37 - Costas is just babbling an unending stream of patter. Don't listen to it, just let it flow over you.
9:39 - What the hell music are they playing? "Long Train Runnin'?"
9:40 - "I Will Survive?!"
9:42 - Costas promises that we won't miss any nations when we go to commericals. Imagine my relief!
9:45 - Brain "Bringer of Joy" Williams again feeling the need to remind us of how Sarajevo is now a smoking hole. "Freak Out" indeed.
9:46 - Canada's coats are ugly.
9:47 - Infographics: the current nation being shown has their name, map, and flag shown-- nothing special there. They also show the names of the next five countries coming up, which is nice for timing ones trip to the loo.
9:50 - The dresses worn by the women who are carrying out each nation's name are neat. The skirt portion is made to look like snowy mountains.
9:52 - North and South Korea came in together as "Korea" (though NBC showed it as "Koreas", in the stadium it wasn't pluralized)
9:55 - Killjoy Williams compelled to take up the entire time Denmark is shown discussing the Muslim cartoon flap and the great divisions it shows are present, etc. etc.
10:02 - Bee Gees.
10:03 - Doomsayer Williams remembers the day Great Britain won the 2012 Olympics bid because of the tragic terrorist bus attack. Someone gag him. Please.
10:08 - Williams: Iran is evil.
10:09 - Iceland's population is 297,000.
10:13 - We almost escape any DOOM comments about Lebanon. But we don't.
10:17 - "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"
10:19 - Mongolian athletes have sweet hats.
10:19 - "Video Killed the Radio Star?!" I keep mentioning the songs even after I promise myself not to because each one is more surprising than the next.
10:20 - Willaims on Poland: "Poland comes off a year of mourning..."
10:22 - Costas finally mentions the crazy music choices. He brings no insight.
10:24 - Williams on Russia: "Their homes were behind some sort of curtain, or so we were taught"
10:29 - "YMCA"
10:30 - Slovenian athletes very natty in their white coats and green scarves.
10:33 - USA Athletes wearing Roots; aren't they a Canadian company?
10:41 - Now they're cramming the commercials in...
10:44 - "Disco Inferno"
10:46 - Italy (the host country) comes out last in silvered parkas to great applause. Mmmmm. Jiffy Pop.
10:53 - Flag waving (literal) and throwing. Fun!
10:54 - Re-enactment of Bottacelli's Venus. They have brought Mary Carillo in to talk as well. She single-handedly destroyed the Summer Ceremonies if my memory serves.
10:58 - Trapeze! The giant sun and moon are cool too.
10:59 - MUTE
11:00 - The fire jets are awesome. Such perfect control.
11:01 - Strange floats of camoflagued dancers glide out.
11:02 - A Ferrari F1 pit stop?!
11:03 - WHOA! And the F1 lights up the tires and spins and spins... Mmmmmm. Nothing like burnt rubber!
11:03 - And then spirals of roman candles around the outer edge of the stadium. Sweet.
11:07 - UNMUTE.
11:07 - Speeches
11:09 - "Passion lives here!"
11:12 - The games are offically opened.
11:13 - First DaVinci Code trailer I've seen with actual footage from the movie. Looks bland :-(
11:15 - Olympic flag.
11:16 - Sophia Loren helps carry the flag. She's 72?!
11:18 - All the flag bearers are women: peace prize winner, olympic medalists
11:21 - Olympic flag raised.
11:23 - Very slowly.
11:26 - The orchestra and choir are behind some kind of 5 story high fence. Reminds me of the Blue Brothers.
11:27 - Olympic oath taken
11:28 - More hanging, spinning acrobats. They're climbing on the fence.
11:30 - Cool, they made a dove figure.
11:31 - Yoko Ono (!)
11:32 - Peter Gabriel (!!) Sings (almost) a strangely haunting Imagine. Interesting choice by the Olympic committee.
11:35 - All the athletes are swaying together. Rather touching, actually.
11:38 - Torchsign!
11:42 - FWOOOSH! In a flurry of sparks, the Olympic flame is lit.
11:43 - Costas promises us a final surprise! I better go pee now so I don't miss it!
11:45 - I haven't heard Mary since I unmuted. Maybe they gagged her.
11:49 - The surprise is... wait for it... OPERA!
11:50 - Pavorati, looking a bit disinterred and vampiric in his cape, belts it out.
11:52 - Fireworks!! 4 teh win.
6 Feb 2006