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.

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James Cameron to Ask Eywa About Oil Spill

In light of the immensity of the Charlie-Fox that is the Gulf oil spill, with nowhere/no one else to turn to the Feds have asked notable movie director, James Cameron for advice on the best way to um, terminate this titanic mess.

I lost all respect for Herr Cameron after reluctantly watching Titanic. When it came out and people around me were going to the theaters in droves, I steadfastly held out. This stubborn refusal to line Cameron’s pockets lasted for an entire year until one lazy Saturday afternoon when Cinemax ran it and I plopped down in front of the telly and watched.

Needless to say, the movie was everything I thought it would be: a sappy and trite “love” story not worthy of 3 seconds of my life, not to mention the 3 hours or so of it.  For a hilarious take on the Titanic character “Rose” (nauseously played by Kate Winslet) go all the way down the page in the following Camille Paglia op-ed:

Bow-ow-ow: Obama’s painful missteps

So when Cameron’s pantheistic Smurfest, Avatar, came out, I didn’t flock to the IMAX despite entreaties from several people. While I have watched the movie, albeit blasphemously, on DVD and on a non-flatscreen TV (the horror!), I remain one of the Luddites who has not had the life-changing 3D experience. Bah! Humbug!

To me “Pandora” will always be the 80s Mexican pop group (below) and not some idyllic living world which doesn’t take sides but does,

[Photo credit: Salva Vinilos’ Photostream]

While, I fervently hope that Cameron can provide a solution to widening mess in the Gulf, short of him having a queue which links him up to Zonama Sekot Gaia/Eywa, AND he gets her to take sides (like Jake Sully did) I don’t see the director na’vigating the feds, BP or Gulf Coast fisherman out of this mess.

Houston Makes History

The voters of H-town have spoken and their voice has been heard. Annise Parker has emerged victorious from the mayoral runoff election despite the fact that 11-year-old sources were the fulcrums of her TV ads, but I digress. Historical events trump stale cheap shots and differences in spellings.

After Ms. Parker’s triumph, the city of Houston will have a mayor named after a spice. Hey San Fran, Austin and Seattle, what spice are your mayors named after? Ya might wanna take a gander at the… scoreboard. In fact you’ve never had a mayor named Dill Weed, Coriander or Paprika. How regressive of you…

Given H-town voter tendencies, these 5 ladies will own the city of Houston should they ever decide to embark on political careers here in the Spice, er Space City.


Still collecting royalty checks

In more serious news, President Obama was robbed tonight at the Downtown Athletic Club. Mark Ingram? Really, Heisman voters? How many “Beer Summits” has he presided over?

Public Enemy had it wrong, 911 isn’t a joke, Heisman voting is.

Chris Tomlin coming to you from Tim Tebow’s iPod

Gene Menez of SI.com interviewed Heisman Trophy candidate Tim Tebow.

“Talkin’ with Tebow”

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or could care less about college football or sports in general, Tebow is the versatile quarterback of the University of Florida Gators.

tebow-scores.jpgAP

Tebow scores against Ohio State in last year’s National Title game.

Versatile because he is the first player in college football history to throw for 20 touchdowns and run for 20 touchdowns.

He truly is an outstanding player and given the fact that Tebow is a devout Christian and my penchant to root for so-called running quarterbacks I’m a big fan.

If he wins the Heisman I wonder if he’ll be the first Heisman trophy winner to be homeschooled?

Here is a couple of questions I found interesting,

SI.com: Do you still read the Bible every day?

Tebow: Yes

……

SI.com: What do you want for Christmas?

Tebow: You know, I’ve never been someone to be picky or want anything. The best thing about Christmas for me is having all my siblings come home and spend time and hang out with them. That’s the big thing for me for Christmas. Oh, my mom has to cook ice cream Rice Krispie Treat pie when I go home. That’s what I want for Christmas.

………

SI.com: (Laughs) OK. Thanks. What’s getting the most play in your iPod right now?

Tebow: Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t get asked that question. Let me see. Hmm. I’m trying to think. I like George Strait. He gets played on there a lot. Kenny [Chesney] gets played on there a lot. I’m a big country fan, so a lot of country stuff. Chris Tomlin gets played on there a lot. No. 1, though? You know what? I’d have to go with Don’t Blink by Kenny Chesney.

I wonder how many Tebow fans know who Chris Tomlin is? (Ironically enough, Chris Tomlin’s “Give us Clean Hands” started playing in my iPod as I was finishing this post up)

Elderly Women in front of a Counter in a Small Town

During the winter break of my first year of college I worked as a cashier at a now defunct truck stop in a small town.

The memories I have from said time are lively to say the least. Two incidents are still vivid in my mind after “all these” years.

If you hung around this blog long enough you know that I am Mexican. No, not of Mexican descent only (that is Mexican-American) but actually born in México.

Personally I can’t recall being discriminated against because of that, at least directly. I know there are people who think Mexicans inferior and all that but I haven’t directly been the target of such ignorance.

To be fair, I probably don’t fit the image most people might have of Mexicans for I’m not dark-skinned or swarthy or perhaps even wear a sombrero (If that is your impression of us, well you haven’t been exposed to very many of us). The accent I did have when I first started speaking English on a daily basis, is by all accounts gone.

The 2 incidents which I recall are in this vein. The first involved an elderly inhabitant of the aforementioned small town. The woman, she couldn’t have been younger than 70, and her sister came to buy something or other and as they were paying me they laid out their cash on the counter to count it (after all isn’t that what a counter is for?).

Now the women were Anglo and probably grew up during a time in this country were racism was not only extant but acceptable. As they finished coming up with the cash to cover their purchases one of the women turned to the other and dropped this line,

Put your money away before a Mexican comes and steals it

Now I found this amusing though I didn’t react visibly. My initial thought was, “This woman doesn’t know I’m Mexican or if she does she doesn’t care”.

I know such an incident might send some of my compatriots (real or pretend) scrambling for the nearest phone so they can call some civil rights group and demand so-called justice.

At the end of it I dismissed it as the ignorance of a woman who grew up at a time when such ignorance was believed and perhaps even encouraged. What question did arise in my mind was the following,

Were (are) Mexicans really viewed as thieves? Just waiting to part a fool from his/her money?

The other incident involved a couple of elderly Mexican women. Sometimes I would have to work the graveyard shift (Midnight-8am) and the middle of the night would bring bus after bus of gamblers (the vast majority Hispanic) going to or from the casinos in Louisiana (gambling is not legal in Texas).

One night a bus disembarked and sure enough it was a bunch of elderly Hispanics. Understand that working this shift is hard for it is somewhat unnatural to be awake during these hours. I probably didn’t look as awake as I could have been.

So these 2 Mexican women roll up to the counter to pay for whatever it is they bought and one of them tells the other one in Spanish,

This guy doesn’t even look like he’s awake

Of course she was referring to me and I let her know (in Spanish) that I was quite awake. The reaction was priceless as they always are when one commits such a faux pas. The woman was understandably embarrassed (unfortunately, I’ve been in her shoes and believe me it’s embarrassing) yet didn’t offer an apology.

She merely said, “Well you do look half-asleep”.

I know Pearl Jam sing about an “elderly woman behind a counter in a small town” but as for me the ones in front of a counter have proven more entertaining.