Unless you've been living in a cave for the last month, you don't need me to tell you that the Summer Olympics in Athens opened tonight.
Land of the free, indeed. Most viewers in this great nation covering the central part of the North American continent had the choice of watching the ceremony on, count them, 1 media outlet. So I listened to Costas and Couric yammer over the tape delayed program for four hours. Here are a few complaints.
Because of the large time zone difference between Greece and America, the event was on a tape delay. This had a few continuity issues. Because of the sheer number of participating athletes (or other reasons) the Parade of Nations had to be interrupted by quite a few commercial breaks. Now, the obvious way to do this would be to pause the tape during the breaks so you don't miss any of those former Soviet republics or Pacific island nations whose names you can't pronounce. But apparently NBC wants it to look live. Upon returning from each block of advertisements, they quickly ran through clips of the countries we "missed" during the break. Uh, hello? Why is this even necessary? Would someone mind telling me what they're high on?
Then there was Bjork.
The hosts were very fascinated with the Icelandic singer's 30,000 square foot dress bearing a gigantic blimp-readable print of a Robinson world map that was slowly being stretched over the heads of the sea of athletes (the "sea" covering the center of the arena through which a 9-year-old boy sailed his paper boat had been drained hours ago), and kept commenting on it throughout the entire song. But the music wasn't much to listen to either. Most of the video feeds from this segment came from cameras embedded among the 536 US athletes, which, for all NBC cared, might as well have been the only ones there.
What's someone without a C-band dish or proximity to the Canadian border who can't stand this crap to do? Last week /. carried an AP story about the new live internet broadcasts of this years games, drawing over 400 comments so far. We would like to watch the men's road race tomorrow morning, so I figured going through a proxy in the UK or something would be doable. Finding the proxy shouldn't be too hard, but I haven't located any inks to feeds so far.
As the athletes form Indonesia marched by, Katie Couric explained to us that there was not going to be any television coverage in that country, until a cable company stepped in and decided to broadcast it; however, few people there have cable. I guess nobody there has broadband internet access, so they didn't bother to mention the internet broadcasts. Or, they just want to keep this information out of Americans's heads.