the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Olympics Opening Ceremony


Yoko Ono and Peter Gabriel bring John Lennon’s message of peace to the world:

Imagine there’s no countries,
It isn’t hard to do.


USA! USA! USA!  We’re number one!

Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can.


McDonald’s, an official sponsor of the Olympics. 

Samsung, an official sponsor of the Olympics. 

Kodak, an official sponsor of the Olympics.

You may say I’m a dreamer…


  1. anne

    Cynical and disillusioned, much?

  2. Tatyana

    what are you, 12?

  3. Wendy

    But did you watch?

  4. He's Dead, Jim!

    Please, the entire world is sponsored by somebody. Remember when it used to just be the “Rose Bowl” or the “Fiesta Bowl?”

    Those were the days.

  5. deb

    I was so overwhelmed with relief/gratefulness when Ono didn’t sing, I forgot to be offended by the rest of it.

  6. Bre

    I agree with Deb! I was terrified she’d sing… not that Peter Gabriel wasn’t initially creepy.

    I on the other hand, watched every minute of the opening ceremony with sick fascination!

  7. Melissa

    I had no idea this was starting. I’m living under a rock.

  8. Dave2

    Reality is such a bitch! 🙂

  9. Nance

    I’ve never gotten over the initial feeling that there’s just something more than creepily Stepfordian about the First Lady. Ick. (I mean, besides the obvious association with…never mind.)

  10. Bill

    Are you officially sanctioned by the IOC to use the word O*********? If not, you may be swept away in your sleep never to be heard from again. Only authorized persons are allowed to use the word O*********.

    Must protect the brand you know. (I think there may actually be some money to be made in selling sponsorships of sponsors. You know, “Coke, official sponsor of McDonalds, the official sponsor of the 2006 O*********!”)

  11. annie

    You have perfectly captured why I didn’t watch.

  12. cruisin-mom

    and, who do those “Italians” think they are, anyway, having all “Italians” run with and light the final torch.

  13. Won't tell

    Whoah…what happened to the Burger King king? He doesn’t just play football, you know.

  14. Student Nurse

    And you called me cynical the other day?!


  15. He's Dead, Jim!

    Those BK commercials and that Burger King “king” character are w-a-a-a-a-y trippy! There was some serious smoking going on when they came up with him. Either that or they were using LSD.

  16. better safe than sorry

    your usa womens team looks like it is from canada, roots should have put more blue into their uniforms.

  17. modigli

    Oh, the irony. You’ve always been good at pointing out the ridiculous, Neil. I love it!

    Still – I would have liked to have seen Yoko and Peter Gabriel. I don’t care what anyone says – Yoko rocks, even though most ppl just don’t get her.

  18. LisaBinDaCity

    I see your point. But to play devil’s advocate there is NO WAY individual countries can pay for the Olympics without corporate sponsorship. Between security, and getting all their venues ready, etc, etc, etc, the Olympics cost a freaking fortune…

    But it WOULD be nice if the sponsors would dial it down a notch.

  19. Neil

    Lisa – I thought the opening ceremony was fantastic. Very creative. It was just amusing to me that the Olympic organizers used one of my favorite songs, “Imagine,” without believing a word of it.

    Why do the Olympics by country at all? Why not just do it by individuals? That would be a step closer to a “world without countries.”

    “Imagine no possessions.” I was watching the ceremony with a group of people and all anyone could talk about was the red Ferrari, athlete endorsement fees, how much the tickets must have cost, and Susan Sarandon’s plastic surgery.

    I won’t even go into “and no religion, too” part of the song — with the Vatican such an important part of Italian history.

    Go Irina Slutskaya!

  20. Elisabeth

    Oh, God, I forgot to watch it. I watched that godawful French movie Rois et Reines (Kings and Queens.) I fell asleep, and should have known better, because I had absolutely hated director Arnaud Desplechin’s My Sex Life or How I Got into an Argumen. The cast was top-notch, though.

    Those USA Team hats are butt-ugly, BTW.

  21. Neil

    Like in any big television event, the best part is judging the clothes, just like at the Oscars. And it’s always some small Eastern European country that has the coolest uniform and most colorful ethnic hat. C’mon Team USA — you can win the slalom, but you can’t come up with a decent hat? And what’s with the Canadian company making our outfits? Soon, we’re going to be importing our hockey team from there! (oops, I think we already are)

  22. Bill

    It’s interesting to note that the Canadian uniforms are made by The Bay, which was recently bought by an American. So while a Canadian company may be dressing your athletes,an American company is dressing ours.

    Thank God for corporate involvement.

  23. Bill

    Oh … on the matter of hats? At least your not wearing this.

  24. Just Lil Ole Daisy Mae

    What’s that rumbly sound I hear? Oh, that’s John rolling over in his grave.

    This comment is brought to you by the fine folks at Coca Cola and McDonalds.

  25. anne arkham

    You mean the athletes don’t really eat McDonald’s?

  26. Brooke

    I just bought a new 17″ Samsung monitor. I adore it. We are going to be very happy together.

  27. Bre

    I’m not going to lie… that Ronald McDonald picture freaks me out!!

  28. Neil

    Brooke, I have a Samsung monitor, too! We’re like twins.

  29. ChickyBabe

    Do athletes eat big Macs???

  30. Kitten

    I’m still recovering from the Super Bowl, and those horrible, awful, nightmare-inducing dancing girls in that BK commercial where they heap themselves together to form a Whopper. Eeeewww.

  31. He's Dead, Jim!

    those new BK ads are scary in general. I’d think that King character would give kids nightmares. They’re targetting a different population with that guy.

  32. TWM

    The Olympics ceased being interesting when the Soviet Bloc fell. Those were the good old days.

  33. Neil

    NBC certainly presents the Olympics in a weird manner. Sophia is a big figure-skating fan. But NBC cuts back and forth between figure skating – luge – and mogul all night, forcing you to watch everything (unless you Tivo it). Why not show each separately, so you can watch what you’re interested in?

    Soon, they’re going to have Primetime Night, where they’re going to show ten minutes of “The Office”, ten minutes of “ER” and ten minutes of “The Apprentice” — then cut back and forth between them.

  34. Nance

    I think “The Office” should do an homage to Olympic figure skating. Tell me that’s not an Emmy winning ep. waiting to happen!

  35. ms. sizzle

    that’s perfect neil. perfect!

  36. New York Moments

    I have to be honest…the olympics makes me want to hurl.

  37. Rabbit

    Whoa, I didn’t know that Ronald McDonald was on our figure skating team!
    I totally thought he was a bobsled kinda clown.

  38. cherchezlafemme

    Maybe they were going for irony. Nah! I really find this hysterical. It just underscores the great divide even more.. Oh and those hats or caps or whatever they are. Good grief! I do like the Olympics though. Maybe it’s the competitive side of me.

  39. kris

    I’m pretty sure that some brand of bum tape sponsors the games as well. You know, the stuff skaters wear to keep their tushes in their costumes?

    I’m not sure why I just won’t type ass. There, I did it.

  40. Neil

    Kris — I see what part of the Olympics you enjoy the most.

  41. Lynn

    I hate clowns. And television.

  42. Fitèna

    Sounding désabusé my dear Neil! But what to say, C’est la Vie!


    PS: Listening to VOA yesterday night I realised I never watched “Something New”. Your picture misled me! Nah, actually, I watched the French version of the movie which you posted a snap from and had no idea what the english title was!

  43. bella

    Didn’t know McDonald was part of the figure skating team.

  44. Julie_Gong

    I am still confused as to what was happening during the opening ceremonies. I think drugs needed to be involved to fully understand it.

  45. Lance

    T R A D I T I O N !!! Peter Gabriel only delivered an excellent version of the late John Lennon’s ” imagine”. I just wish that he had participated in the closing ceremonies than Rikki Martian.

  46. sammy

    Be productive and help me find a video clip of Gabriels awesome performance.

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