Keep Calm and Carry On: Liveblogging the Olympic Opening Ceremonies

I’m a big fan of liveblogging. (The snarks need exercise from time to time) And since there’s a little sporting event taking place in London the next few weeks, I plan to take advantage of the opportunity.

For those not interested in Olympics or liveblogging commentary, feel free to skip this one, but if you’d like to see the snarks at play….click away and find more below the fold.

7:42 PST: 15 minutes in, and we’ve got nothing but conversation. They’re not letting people bring umbrellas into London stadium for “security reasons.” In London. Where the likelihood of rain is only … well, 100%.

“We’re not going to spoil anything for you…but watch for Paul McCartney.” … Then again, I suppose the inclusion of Paul McCartney in the London Opening Ceremonies is hardly a “spoilable surprise.”

7:54 PST: Good call having Bradley Wiggins open the games. I like his spirit. But it was probably also a good call not letting him talk…

8:05 PST: Agrarian era gives way to the Industrial Revolution – love the theme of the ceremonies – the passing of history, celebration of different eras. Lovely choice, particularly for games in Great Britain.

I also love the giant towers/smokestacks coming up out of the ground. Fantastic effect.

8:12 PST: Forging “one ring” – Tesla says “To Rule them All”

8:24: And who better to escort the Queen than 007…. !!! The Queen of England just jumped out of a helicopter?! Stunt double, anyone? Still, made me laugh.

8:29: At the risk of spoiling an otherwise lovely moment…”Chaos” is an interesting naming choice for a choir composed of deaf children.

8:38: And here’s J.K. Rowling, reading from Peter Pan. Apparently she’s nervous to do something like this – and yet, she’s probably one of the most-beloved and best-known authors anywhere, a perfect choice to lead the Olympics into the section on fantasy.

8:41: And it’s not Harry Potter who comes to vanquish Voldemort….but if the Olympics are to be believed, all Harry needed was an umbrella (and maybe a spoonful of sugar!)

8:48: Mr. Bean texting while tapping his keyboard is hysterical. Uh-oh…now he needs a kleenex…which he’s thrown into the piano next to him. Awesome.

9:10: I can see this phone call. “Mom, they picked me to be in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies! I get to make out with a guy in the middle of the stage….”

9:13: The digital revolution goes full circle, as the creator of the WorldWideWeb types “This is for Everyone,” and I (and doubtless others) respond using that very Internet. Nicely done.

9:14: David Beckham in a motorboat. Your argument is invalid.

9:25: Parade of Nations! 81 of the competing nations have never won a medal – Albania is one of them. Amazing, but also awesome – one of the things I love most about the Olympics is the way it allows people from all nations to compete, and that they do so even when they know victory is likely to go to someone else.

Andorra: brought a 61-year old marksman. Not everyone’s career is over at 20…

Big cheers for the Australian delegation – all 400+ of them. Always interesting to see the disparity in delegation sizes , from 1 or 2 to hundreds.

Did the announcer really just say of Djibouti, “some countries, their names just make you smile”? #FirstWorldFail

And…when the announcers mention that baseball is no longer an Olympic sport, a conversation breaks out in my living room.

Husband: “They cancelled it because only three countries were competitive and we won everything so it was boring.”

Tesla and me: “It was boring anyway.”

Madagascar marches in. Tesla looks at the screen and yells “Quit closing the ports!” (I think someone’s been playing a little too much Plague, Inc.)

Enter Samoa. Tesla: “They have good cookies.”

And Togo…”good sandwiches!”

And Tonga….”toy trucks, right?”

And THAT wins my family the insensitivity trifecta.

We won’t even start with Turkey.

11:33 PST: David Beckham is back, this time with the Olympic torch. Your argument remains invalid.

11:45: A group of young athletes, ages 16 to 19, light the Olympic torch – and what a beautiful torch it is.

Overall, London has done an amazing job of offering up an Opening Ceremony that emphasizes what I hope will be a central theme of these games: “this is for all of us.”

Well played, London. Well played.