A Picture of a True Imbecile

Here’s the story that tells the reason for his imbecility.

Brazilian Tomfoolery

No, I’m not talking about Luís Fabiano’s blatant double handball against Ivory Coast.

Speaking of Luís, he single-handedly almost derailed my rooting interest in the Verde-Amarela with his French-inspired antics but I digress.

No, the aforementioned tomfoolery involves actor Tom Cruise who was in Rio at the Brazilian premiere of his latest offering, Knight and Day.

It is well-documented that Maverick (at 5’7″) is considered short. I disagree, though that might have something to do with the fact that height is probably the only thing Mav and I have in common.

The generous people of Brazil gave Cruise a jersey, here’s the pic:

They even gave him the #10, reserved for the best player in a squad, but one wonders if the Last Samurai knows that Tomzinho means “Little Tom” in Portuguese.

Gotta love the Brazilians’ sense of humor.

Somebody Get The Queen A Lime!

That and a good bottle of Scotch to get over her well-compensated subjects’ shoddy performance at the World Cup.

Speaking of which, the Argentina v. Germany showdown looms large this Saturday. The verbal broadsides being taken by players on both sides (not to mention Maradona) guarantee that the contest will be an epic grudge match. Can’t wait.

Finally, Vlad Guerrero busted up his former team last night to the tune of 4-for-4 with a Grand Slam and a solo shot. You think the fact that they didn’t want to resign him last off season might have motivated the man?

In case you’re wondering about the post’s title, this should help.

Americans Haunted By A Phantom Call

Major, major props to Team USA for not succumbing to despair after falling behind 0-2 against a surprising Slovenian squad, that apparently holds Chuck Brown in no small amount of reverence. The fact that America’s team equalized in the second half is a testament to the grit and can-do attitude that fueled the establishment and growth of this great nation.

Of course, it was lackadaisical marking and a flaccid attack that put them in the early hole and to be sure that will surely be addressed by head coach Bob Bradley. Resiliency is a trademark of a team that can make a deep run in this, the greatest of all sporting events, and the American proved that they have just that.

The story of this match should have been that, a scrappy American squad falls behind early only to come roaring back in the second half to tie, then in the closing minutes to win on a Maurice Edu strike off a set piece. But nooooo…

Instead, the story of the match is head referee Koman Coulibaly from Mali who made an atrocious call that nullfied Edu’s potential game-winner. Coulibaly called Michael Bradley offside on the play despite not being in a position to make such a call. You see, that call typically goes to one of the linesmen who has a better angle on it. What makes this especially frustrating is that no one knew what the nullifying call was.

Even before making up this offside, this ref had shown a remarkable ability to make a buffoon of himself. He gave US forward Robbie Findley a yellow card for a handball. Fine and good, except that the ball hit Findley in the face. I don’t know maybe in Mali a hand is a face and a face is a hand, who knows?

I do know that this may sound condescending but what the hell is a man from Mali (FIFA Rank: 54) doing officiating a contest on this, the grandest of stages? What’s more, why is the Saudi ref (KSA’s FIFA Rank: 66) who clumsily presided over the México-France match also afforded the opportunity on this stage? Yes, I know that not all refs from low ranking FIFA members are laughably incompetent, but I’m beginning to sense a pattern and I’m not the only one.

In my opinion, the best football/fútbol is played in Europe and in Latin America so why not fill the World Cup referee pool overflowing with the best men from the leagues therein?

Mr. Coulibaly showed that he has no business presiding over a juice box-ridden and orange slice-infested FFPS lovefest much less a World Cup match.

All that said, here are some thoughts on what transpired:

Read more of this post

Move Over Lloyd Christmas

In that great cinematic work, Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) asked Mike Starr’s character, “Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?” And he proceeded to serenade him with what, at the time, was the most annoying sound in the world. Here’s the clip:

Well, suffice it to say, that sound plays second fiddle to the drone emanating from those ubiquitous South African “stadium horns”, vuvuzelas. That infernal noise was first heard by a worldwide audience during last year’s Confederations’ Cup. They were annoying then, and they are annoying now at the World Cup.

Opinion varies as to whether these horns are “annoying irritants” or “joyful expressions of African culture”, but at the risk of sounding dismissive of other cultures, they simply are annoying and irritating expressions of joyful African culture.

Whether it’s a South African, German or Mexican (below) providing the wind power, the noise produced is equally irritating. So much so that earplugs have become a hot item in South Africa. One might conclude that the vuvuzela was a clever scheme concocted by ear plug vendors, but I digress…

I took this pic after a México win at Reliant Stadium a couple of years ago, a match which proved to be my first exposure to the glorified funnels. As horrible as the noise is, it can’t take away from the beautiful game, especially at an event like the World Cup.

However, it would be a good if somehow Univision or ESPN found a way to filter out the vuvuzela noise, as the BBC is thinking of doing.

Here are a couple of observations from yesterday and today’s action:

  • The Germans have looked the best out of all the teams that have played so far. So effortless do the Krauts look, so crisp and pinpoint their passes are, are they not? They seem to have mastered the troublesome Jabulani (the official match ball), could it be because most of their squad plays in the Bundesliga, which used the Jabulani as its match ball last season?  Things that make you go hmmm…
  • Speaking of ze Germans…  How ’bout that rousing advertisement for globalization that their squad is?  The German National Team, dubbed Die Mannschaft (insert joke here), boasts a naturalized Brazilian, a son of Turkish immigrants, a guy named Gomez (born in Germany, has a Spanish father), 2 naturalized Poles (seems to be a running gag), another guy whose father is Tunisian.  Ol’ Adolf must be turning over in his grave…
  • What is it with Italy allowing headers from Latin American teams at the World Cup?  In ’02 it was México’s Jared Borghetti and today it was Paraguay’s Antolín Alcaraz who did the honors. Like in ’02 against El Tri Italy tied with Paraguay 1-1.
  • ESPN, I know that you learned from the last World Cup and hired good announcers to man your booth but you are still lagging behind Univision’s varsity, Pablo Ramirez and Jésus “El Profe” Bracamontes.  After Italy equalized today, Ramirez sung in Italian.  That is how you do it ESPN.  When a goal is scored don’t call it like it’s a throw-in, call it “with feelin'” as Jon Bon Jovi crooned.

Finally, on a totally unrelated not, you are very welcome Baylor.

Steve Jobs for President

Comedian Bill Maher and I are poles apart insofar as worldviews are concerned. He scoffs at the possibility of there being a Creator, I have been born again.

That does not mean that we have to disagree on everything. Showing that he’s not a shill for the current administration he has declared that Apple CEO Steve Jobs (below, after being Shepard Fairey’d) might be better suited to run America than President Obama.

I’m not an Apple fanboy though I do own an iPod and it is a great product.  What kind of platform would Jobs run on? MacOS, perhaps?

Not sure about Jobs’ politics but based on this email exchange with a blogger, “freedom” seems to be a dominant motif in his philosophy. The blogger asked Jobs if Bob Dylan was a 20-year-old at the present time, would he think that the iPad (insert joke here) had the “faintest thing to do with revolution?” The blogger then ends with “Revolutions are about freedom”.

Jobs’ response reveals his commitment to liberate the masses from various things,

Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.

Freedom from porn?!?! Judging by the fact that Americans drop more of their hard-earned money on porn than on pro-football, baseball and basketball combined, if Jobs ran, he wouldn’t make it out of the primaries.

If Pres. Obama said that he wanted to liberate people from porn, he’d lose his base and people on the right would even find fault with this noble endeavor. Possibly muttering something about this being another example of how socialist the man is. Lest we forget, the Soviet Union and China was and is, respectively, anti-porn so POTUS wanting people to be free from porn only shows how much of a Marxist-Leninist, not to mention Maoist he really is.

Politics…

Today in Houston…

The Mexican National Soccer Team (FIFA ranking: 17), will square off against Angola’s team (FIFA ranking:85) at Reliant Stadium. It’s a friendly match which means that

  • It doesn’t count for anything except extracting my countrymen’s hard earned lawn-mowing money
  • No Barkleyesque elbows will be flung in the direction of Angolan athletes.

Because it is my beloved Tri that is playing, expect to see this in the stands,


[Photo credit: Me. Took it during a México v. Belize match at Reliant Stadium]

The festivities will em, kick off later today.  No news if the wonderful folks at the so-called Minuteman Project will stage a whinefest.

That’s today in H-town, yesterday there was a protest led by none other than “local activist”, one might say “community organizer”, Quanell X.

As one might have guessed the protest had to do with racism, perceived or otherwise. Recently, a Bellaire officer, Jeffrey Cotton was acquitted of aggravated assault on Robbie Tolan, a Bellaire youth. Sgt. Cotton shot Tolan while the latter was in his front yard. By all accounts it was a misunderstanding, since Cotton believed that Tolan had stolen a car (the officer punched in the wrong tag number).

A confrontation ensued with the boy’s mother and the officer believed Tolan was reaching for a weapon and opened fire, wounding the young man. Personally, I believe the situation could have been avoided if Tolan had simply followed orders and waited for the misunderstanding to get cleared up.

Maybe it’s just me but if a cop tells me to do something, I’m going to do it and not put up any resistance. Remember folks, there are more of them than there are of you and they carry radios (not to mention guns). Besides, if you’re free of wrongdoing then that will come out in the wash, why aggravate the situation?

Quanell the Tenth decided to stick his nose in all this because Tolan is black and Cotton is white. At the protest, Mr. Tenth said,

This cop is a criminal, this cop should be in jail. If you shoot one more black man in Bellaire in cold blood, then your damn city will go up in flames.

I find his tone very interesting. Yes, it is possible that Cotton’s demeanor was influenced by the fact that Tolan is a young black man. Young black men and the police don’t seem to get along very well. I don’t find it outside the realm of possibility that the officer might not have been so trigger-happy if Tolan was white.

That said, Quanell the Tenth just made it more difficult for young black men in Bellaire. His passionate and extremely careless threat just paints a very negative image of blacks in the minds of Bellaire residents. In their minds, he’s painting an image (if not reinforcing) of black men as being violent, hot-tempered and not too hesitant to making threats. That’s a disservice to the very people he claims to represent.

To me, it’s very similar to when Muslims get their knickers in a twist when anyone suggests that some professing Muslims have violent tendencies.

As I’ve said before,

If someone says that you have a tendency to get out of control, and you don’t like it, then probably it’d be better if you didn’t get out control with your reaction…

The Spirit of Phil Hartman Lives on at Florida Tea Party

Yesterday was “Tax Day”, the day in which millions of people scramble like decapitated fowl to get their tax forms to their nearest post office.

Not coincidentally, various “Tea Party” groups chose “Tax Day” to express their discontent with our Federal government. I’ll leave the haranguing over the demographics to others.

While perusing through a gallery of shots taken at various nationwide demonstrations, here’s one of them:


[Photo Credit: Joe Cavaretta / AP]

Some may look at this and see an old man (possibly ex-military) telling some young punk that his slipper-wearing generation would have lost WWII, others might see this as an example of the uncivilized confrontations endemic to this kind of event.

Me? This pic took me back to the days when SNL was a must-see event. Remember the skit in which Frank Sinatra (Phil Hartman) slapped down an irreverent Billy Idol (Sting) with the epic line,

I’ve got chunks of guys like you in my stool!

Here’s the vid, the exchange begins at the 5:27 mark. Even a pro like Phil almost loses it after dropping the line.

Somewhere, Tim LaHaye Raises an O’Doul’s

In the company of John Hagee no doubt.

The following headline merely states what these 2 prophecy savants have been pitching, for great profit (insert joke here), to evangelicals for decades,

Chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says Devil is in the Vatican

Look, if Father Gabe says the Devil is not in the details but rather in the Holy See so be it. He’s an exorcist so he MUST know. What exorcism has to do with how Jesus or some of His apostles cast out demons in the New Testament I do not know.

One thing is clear, the current Pope… well, just take a look:

On a related note, this week’s great moments in theology brought to you by Hugo Chavez,

Chavez trusts God and nature in power crisis

Vladimir Putin: the Answer to Russia’s Olympic Woes

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics just concluded yesterday and once again my fatherland turned in a dazzling performance… NOT. México’s Winter Olympic team consisted of one man, Hubertus von Hohenlohe, a slalom skier.

El Beto (who is of German descent) managed to come in 46th and 78th in the slalom and giant slalom respectively. I bring this up not to puff up my nationalistic sensitivites (as if) but to accentuate the contrast in expectations.

The Russian delegation, relative to México’s one man wrecking crew, performed gloriously. By gloriously, I mean they managed to not only win a medal but eleven of them, three of them gold! México has never sniffed a medal in a Winter Olympics.

Yet for all this, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev came out and lambasted his nation’s performance in Vancouver,

Medvedev calls for resignations after Russia flops at Winter Olympics

Dima made some apparently helpful suggestions,

We need to think about how we change our training methods. The new training system should focus on athletes who should be put at its cornerstone, not sports federations and their executives — and not even the trainers, with all our great respect to them. Athletes are those who bring victories, and they should become the focus of our attention.

We can’t even blame Russia’s “poor performance” on the fact that the Soviet Union is a thing of the past. The combined medal won by all former Soviet republics is 22, which would have put the USSR in 5th place right behind Norway.

I’m sure Medvedev is going to summon experts to come up with better methods to increase his nation’s medal hauls at the Summer Games in London (2012) and the next Winter Games in Sochi (2014). I, however, have more helpful advice and it’ll probably cost less rubles.

Unleash your one man wrecking crew, Prime Minister Putin. He would be a lock for gold in the following events:

Badminton

Equestrian

Judo

Shooting Sports

President Medvedev, in your pal, Mr. Putin, you have a national treasure but more importantly, an athletic and versatile golden goose.

If you don’t want him, surely I can petition the Mexican government to grant him honorary citizenship so at least we can hold our heads high at the next Olympic Games.

I can see it now in Sochi, El Putin and El Beto wiping the floor with the field in the 2-man luge and the cheers ringing out from El Zócalo to Cabo San Lucas: ¡Putin! ¡Putin! ¡Putin!