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Aug 10, 2012

Oh, I'm frustrated. I haven't seen the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. I've been searching on the internet, but all I can find are a few highlights(1). NBC, here in the U.S. refused to show a live stream (2) of the event. They had their reasons. They said that, because of the time difference, not many people would watch it, plus they would make more money if they waited until prime time(3) the next day. Because they paid $1.3 billion for the rights to show the games, the National Broadcasting Company wanted to show the opening ceremony at a time when they would make the most money from advertizing. Unfortunately, the television network  made the mistake of cutting out  a lot of the event, and switching to studio commentary. I've heard many disappointed, and even angry comments about this. Danny Boyle, the film director who created and organized  the ceremony, did so as a continuous production, like a play that needs to be watched completely, unlike a Superbowl intermission (4) when you can leave the room and get popcorn, or cut your toenails. When so much time has gone into a work of art, it deserves attention and recognition. Many, many television viewers here in the U.S were deprived of the live showing, and that's just not on (5). So what could have happened? What would you or I have done? Nobody wants to lose huge sums of money, even for historical art, and global traditions. Could NBC have had a live showing of at least part of the ceremony, and then said,"For the whole ceremony, join us again tomorrow at such and such (6) a time,"? Perhaps they could have explained as well that the time difference was the main problem. Perhaps a link on their website with the whole opening ceremony could have solved the problem. Who knows? I have, actually,  been enjoying the sporting events very much, and recording them, but I'm still not a happy camper (7). I found  the commentaries by the NBC commentators, as the teams came out, to be very negative, and not in the spirit of the games. They were even derrogatory about the team from Greece, immediately talking about the country's financial problems, and saying that they were "lucky" to be at the Olympics. How condescending! The past 4 Olympics that I have seen here have been the same; the U.S commentators tend to be patronizing to other countries. Surely NBC must realize that commentators of an international event have a tremendous responsibility to educate the public, and to be a good example of their country's best values. It's not just about sports; it's about being globally minded. And,what is the spirit of the games? Several things:  friendship, excellence, respect, and peace. It would be so refreshing to hear more informed and impartial comments. I understand that each country has its perspective, its sense of patriotism, and its pride. We all have it. But commentators of international events surely should be intelligent and sensitive, and very carefully chosen, otherwise they do their own public a disservice(8). Well, I have vented, but I don't think that I've been unjust. I look forward to the day, perhaps at the next Olympics in Brazil, when I can hear the U.S commentators really reflect the spirit of the games.

1. 'Highlights' is a word that has several meanings. In this context it refers to the most important parts of an event. Highlights are also a lighter, random hair coloring. The verb 'to highlight' is often used in place of 'to emphasize' or 'underline with a pen'.

a. Later tonight, I will watch the Olympic highlights to see who won what.

b. Just for a change, I had highlights put in my dark hair.

c. A good way to study history is to highlight the important dates, names, and other details.

2. 'A live stream' means a showing of something on television (or computer) that is taking place right now.

a. There was a live stream of the royal wedding, so the whole world could see it as it happened.

3.  'Prime time' is the hour or two when the most people watch television. The word 'prime' means 'best'.

a. That obscure film won't be on prime time; most people won't want to watch it at 7pm.

4. 'Intermission' is basically a break, a time during a film, a show, or some performance, when you can get a drink, stretch your legs, or use the bathroom.

a. It's a good job that there's an intermission because this play is two hours long.

5. 'It's not on', 'That's just not on' is a term that is used (mainly in England) to say that something isn't right, fair, or appropriate.

a. He volunteered his time, and nobody even thanked him. That's just not on.

b. Taxes are going up for businesses again.           Well, that's not on.      I know. It's not on at all.

6. 'Such and such' is a very common phrase used when giving examples or hypothesis, butwhen you're not wanting to be specific. It is often used instead of a specific person, place, or time.

a. Angie could tell him, "Come back later, at such and such a time".   Here a person is suggesting that Angie could tell a man to come back later, but the time is not specified.

b. "Let's pretend the party has started, and the guests are arriving. You need to say,"Good evening Mr. and Mrs such and such, please take a seat. The waiter will be with you shortly.'"

 7. 'A happy camper' just means a happy person. It's a playful phrase used in England.

a.  I got a free watch when I bought my laptop, so I was a happy camper.

b. He was thrown out of the theatre before the play started. He was not a happy camper.

8. 'Disservice' is a lack of service, or bad service. The phrase is 'to do someone a disservice'.


Hossein
eight and a half years ago

Hi Anna

I found your blog so useful and appropriate to me. Actually I am a gradute student in MSc and planning on continue my education in an english-language country. Now I am learning english to pass TOEFL exam, so I found your blog very helpful to me and I have learnt many things since I've became acquaintance with it, especially the final part of each podcast, where you describe the idioms and grammar notes in such an interesting way that I had not experienced before. I should express that your blog title, "a cup of english", is so fascinating and indeed it was the first thing that attracted me to visit it.

Thank you so much for your good and informative podcasts. I am willingly waiting for the next ones.

Hossein
eight and a half years ago

Hi Anna

I am Hossein from Iran. I found your blog so useful and appropriate to me. Actually I am a gradute student in MSc and planning on continue my education in an english-language country. Now I am learning english to pass TOEFL exam, so I found your blog very helpful to me and I have taught many things since I've became acquaintance with it, especially from the final part of each podcast, where you describe the idioms and grammar notes in such interesting way that I had not experienced before. I should express that your blog title, "a cup of english", is so fascinating and indeed it was the first thing that attracted me to visit it.

Thank you so much for your good and informative podcasts. I am willingly waiting for the next ones.

Marcelo
eight and a half years ago

Very nice podcast. I have some doubts though.
When you said: I have vented, but I don't think that I've been unjust.
What does the expression "I have vented" mean?

Thanx
Marcelo

Juana Mari
eight and a half years ago

Thanks. I'm learning English and I find your podcasts quite interesting and useful.