Friday, March 30, 2007

* chants: 'little pakistani fingers, little pakistani fingers...'*

OH MY GOD PLEASE SURGICALLY DETACH ME FROM THIS COMMERCIAL. I'm watching it so often that it is impacting my social and professional life in a detrimental way.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

project objectify: the mid-level club that could

World Cup, what World Cup. Allow me, instead, to return to the cruelly neglected Project Objectify, this time to celebrate the overflow of hawtness from one of Italy's least annoying football clubs, the entire squad of ACF Fiorentina.

Florence is one of the birthplaces of football. We do know for certain that it is where the especial obsession of millions of Italians (and a few others) began. Your particular favourite brand of it, especially if you aren't Italian, is likely to spring from Turin, whose biggest contribution to world culture after FIAT is currently kicking around in Serie B, or Milan, which is - well, the less said the better, or Rome, where Lazio and Roma make for what is perhaps the most exciting, often disturbing, rift in football loyalties in Europe.

Fiorentina, in the meanwhile, are those big gormless dudes who never elbow in anywhere on the big prizes or the big controversies.

Of course, all of this changed over the last season. Poised on the brink of an entry into the Champions' League, the team also immediately balanced out all the good karma by earning itself a massive fifteen-point penalty in the rigging scandal that went on all through Italy's summer o' love at the World Cup. By the end of the scandals and muckracking, it was pretty much devastation. Everyone thought they would be lucky to escape relegation. Certainly they didn't seem to have much going for them when the season began. A massive, talented striker whose astounding goal record over the last season appeared to intimidate precisely no one, a moody, unpredictable strike partner who'd famously been thrown out of Chelsea for hitting the coke, and a bunch of good-looking youngsters with no experience.

Sad story?

Let's look at these ones instead. At the Italy-England U-21 game in the new Wembley, the unquestionable stars of the show were the dreadfully cute and dreadfully dangerous Riccardo Montolivo, whose entry into the Azzurri proper seems to be a matter of time (and very little time, if they know what's good for them) and Gianpaolo Pazzini, the tiny hat-trick scorer and funny face-maker who had all of Italy heave a sigh of relief at the sudden brightness of the national team's strike prospects. We could look at Sebastien Frey, possibly the best goalkeeper available to France today, not even excepting Gregory Coupet. We could look at Reginaldo, who has quietly been demolishing defences in Serie A while the Big Clubs fall over themselves looking for more famous and expensive Brazilians.


We could look at Adrian Mutu and Luca Toni, who get paid less than half of what Inter Milan pays its strikers and manage to perform almost every bit as well. Scowly, temperamental young Mutu, who at one point seemed to give up on his career every other month, is actually having a brilliant season. Luca Toni is football's most spectacular late bloomer, a man who once scored thirty-one goals in a league where netting fifteen is a huge accomplishment. Or Tomas Ujfalusi, who -- well, who recently got himself kicked off the Czech team for bringing in his birthday with beer and prostitutes. But as we were saying.


All super. All Fiorentina. All hanging rather spiffily together.

A sense of non-entitlement virtually unknown to every other big club in Italy must have something to do with it. (As must sensible salary caps.) Fiorentina have fought back from negative fifteen to sixth place, looking fitter and leaner than most clubs sitting ahead of them in the league table. Might they make it to a Champions' League spot again? I hope they do. I can't think of a worthier Medium-Size-But-Almost-There Club.

And they wear purple. Come on, how can you not love a team that goes out in bright shining violet jerseys and slices up the opposition anyhow? And they're coached by the super-smart Cesare Prandelli. He may not wear Armani as well as Jose Mourinho does, but he used to be able to get Alberto Gilardino to score. How's that for talent.


Spammistic adoration for an ex-cokehead and a man who almost left football to be a truck driver? Why, you must have my evil twin Crosswitha in mind.

ETA: Toni, Toni, Tonigoooooooooool. * massive grin *

current musix: amadou et mariam - senegal fast food. i <3 this song.

Friday, March 23, 2007

boo, bah, bindia

"No, silly billy, I'm just pretending."

If India lose against Sri Lanka today, what are the odds that these sportsmen would turn up for team practice at least as often as they do for Brylcreem photoshoots?

Given favourable odds on the above, might it be better for Indian cricket in the long run to hope that India lose today?

At a guess, what percentage of sensible Indians will wish they were Sri Lankan for a day?

Just how cruel is fate to do this to Sachin Tendulkar?

--

(Everyone who at one point of time asked me why I liked Italian football heard that it was for the drama. Calcio has nothing on Pakistani cricket, though. I give up on you, Luciano Moggi.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

300

Bitch, please.


'Come to the dark side. We have shiny.'



Perverse as it may be to spend a precious couple of free hours on a business trip in a foreign land before an iMax screen, surely to do this for '300' can only match the levels of insane contrariness assumed by, say, a bunch of buff dudes out to kill all the Persians in the world ever. NB: I am perverse. But oh my goodness, if I could manage to explain to you how very very bad 300 is, I might be proud of my descriptive abilities. I'm not. I can't. The words, they are lost.

What is awesome about this film? Nothing. What do you gain from two hours of watching a film that looks exactly like a CGI animation even though most of it is live action? Nothing. What in hell is up with all those leather speedos? See above.

I could go on. I could try and nail all the mind-bogglingly racist, sexist and ablist underpinnings - if something so frothy could be said to have those at all - of it. I could try and type up a statement about art imitating art, or about why it's immensely cheesing off to have to be dragged through yet another film about ancient Greece that so thoroughly fails to recognize that it was a different civilisation from the one that we live in, and that whatever common qualities have defined humanity since the dawn of time, humanism is not one of them (write it 300 times in your notebook and get it signed by teacher in the morning). This would just break the pointlessness scale. Let me just say that I have never laughed THIS HARD at a film in my life. Really, for the first time ever someone had to turn around and hush us up. "My heart is filled with hate." "...okay!"

Like cholera, it is a shame to think that 300 exists in a world that could so easily have prevented it.

(Caveat: I have no clue about this Frank Miller guy. But Thermopylae is one of the only stories of macho do-or-die heroics from the classical era that I can stand. well, not for a while yet, now.)

--

America very large. Tap water safe to drink. Wish you were here. Bai, R.

Friday, March 09, 2007

when i get nervous i blog too much

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Misquotation isn't a bother as long as it doesn't detract from the charm of the original. 'Make me pure'? 'Make me pure'? How is this a funnier quote than the accepted translation of 'chaste and continent'?

You fail, automated Google quotes. Pull it from somewhere with a bit more cred next time.

Make me chaste and continent, but not yet. Heh.

Okay. Okay. Off now to go and prepare for international travel. Chaste and intercontinent. Stressed, who's stressed? People who forgot to give their jackets to dry clean a week ago need to be stressed, that's who. Not me.

Here, have some poetry.

--


And as she laid the moonlit armour on the sand
It chimed;
And the sound that came from it
Followed the light that came from it
Like sighing
Saying:
Made in Heaven.

And those who had the neck to watch Achilles weep
Could not look now.
Nobody looked. They were afraid.

Except Achilles: looked,
Lifted a piece of it between his hands;
Turned it; tested the weight of it; and then
Spun the holy tungsten like a star between his knees,
Slitting his eyes against the flare, some said,
But others thought the hatred shuttered by his lids
Made him protect the metal.

His eyes like furnace doors ajar.

When he had got its weight
And let its industry console his grief a bit:
"I'll fight,"
He said. Simple as that. "I'll fight."

And so Troy fell.

- from "War Music," Christopher Logue's adaptation of the Iliad. One of the defining forces of my teenage life.


current musix: faudel, cheb khaled, rachid taha - abdel kader.
the depth of my love for rachid taha's voice is beginning to disturb me.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

il giorno delle donne



I wasn't planning on blogging today, but just as the day was about to wind down, my favourite football club, that I love enough to receive 'notifications of special offers' from, sent me an email offering, on the occasion on International Women's Day, a discount on ... women's Milan wear. There is a dinky range of women's size tees, and other items of feminine comfort, such as duvets, sheets, and jewellery.

All this from a club whose president famously opened up his country to international conglomerates by saying, 'after all, we have the most beautiful secretaries!' Who, let it be known, spoke of negotiations with a politician of the female gender by describing to journalists how he turned on his 'Playboy' tricks and English-speaking charm.

The charm, it spreadeth.

But those who can separate il Presidente from his team - which, amorally enough, I succeed in doing enough to root for them at all times - are welcome to go and buy themselves red-and-black striped duvets! After all, one of the gender myths that we attempt to break every living day is the famous "women's touch" that behooves us to purchase tasteful colours and designs. Go ahead, break out the big fat rossoneri stripes. Let no one say your womanliness prevents you from indulging in the ugly.

And remember Carolina Morace, the first woman ever to coach a professional men's football team in Italy (and possibly, although I am far from certain of it, in Europe). Carolina, a gifted footballer and captain of a smashing Italian women's team in her day, was invited to coach the Serie C1 side Viterbese, and resigned after only three games due to mounting media pressure and an insane club president (One begins to imagine that insane club presidents are rather a type, in il bel paese) . Today, Carolina is a TV pundit, one of the few women respected in Italian football. But not enough. Not yet.

And don't, as you roll your jeans up and break out the coffee for the upcoming World Cup, forget Mithali Raj, Jaya Sharma and Karu Jain.

ETA: While on footer, Champions League blogging is on!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

a genuine question

Dear chaps, I am clueless as to how one goes about selecting a digital camera for oneself. Any suggestions/comments/ideas are welcome.

Can I get one for under 10K? Under 12, perhaps?



Gratuitous pic of the day:

"Don't be silly, Frankie. 19-year-old Spaniards don't eat vegetables."

Monday, March 05, 2007

"you can have the afternoon off when you die."



SWITZERLAND ACCIDENTALLY ATTACKS LICHTENSTEIN.

A headline worthy of that master of cunning genius, Blackadder. I have lingered amidst the words of the great and good to try and find an expression for the utter absurdity of the human condition for the last few days, but here is a case of journalism coming up trumps over literature. Or, if you prefer, of sitcoms.

Percy: I must say, Edmund, it was jolly nice of you to ask me to share your breakfast before the rigours of the day begin.
Blackadder: Well, it is said, Percy, that civilised man seeks out good and intelligent company, so that, through learned discourse, he may rise above the savage and closer to God.
Percy: Yes, I've heard that.
Blackadder: Personally, however, I like to start the day with a total dickhead to remind me I'm best.


current musix: a perfect circle - the fiddle and the drum.

Wow. I've never been as big a fan of this band as some other people, but they manage to nail covers. This is almost better than their dark, gloomy refashioning of 'Imagine.'