Friday, July 30, 2010

Another Quick Update

I am off to cat-sitting job number two, spending a couple of days looking after Benny, about whom I have blogged before. Benny seems fine - he is now a mostly full-time indoor cat, which spares him from the malicious attentions of the magpies outside, among other things.

In the meantime, here's the Noisettes doing a cover of a very early Buzzcocks song (the Buzzcocks are, I think, one of the great overlooked early punk bands). I gather that the cover version was recorded to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martens boots. So, a worthy cause then. Original version of the song is here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

House-Sitting Once Again

I am currently on that gig once more, hence the lack of much blogging in the last week or so. This time I have three furry ones to take care of, although they're pretty good at taking care of themselves (particularly the eldest of the three, who is prone to holding the other two down and giving them tongue baths.

More later!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Short Post!

I've got a couple of posts that I'm poking away at, but in lieu of actually sitting down and finishing one, here's a movie of a deer washing a cat.

All together now: "Awwwwwwwww!"

Monday, July 12, 2010

World Cup Toasts!

In no particular order:

To the Netherlands, for being this close, again.

To Jules Rimet, for coming up with the whole idea in the first place.

To the Diegos: Uruguay's Forlán, for being justly chosen the best player at the World Cup, and Argentina's Maradona, for somehow making himself into a genuine feel-good story.

To Andres Iniesta, for honouring Dani Jarque (see picture in post below).

To New Zealand, who went unbeaten(!!!!!!!!).

To Slovakia and Serbia, who were there, technically, for the first time.

To Müller, Villa, Sneijder, and Forlán, who scored 5 apiece for their countries.

To Algeria and Honduras, who failed to score at all.

To Ireland, who should have been there.

To Laurent Blanc, half of one of the greatest pre-game rituals ever, who now has the job of putting the French team back together.

To Cesare Prandelli, who'll have the same task with Italy.

To the young, skillful, and entertaining German team, from whom more will be heard in the future.

To England and Portugal, who didn't get to play their traditional quarter-final thriller this time around.

To Robert Green, may the leather-lunged ruffians on the terraces be kind to him.

To Gattuso, and Cannavaro, and maybe Buffon, and the other Azzurri that we won't see in that shirt again.

To Canada. One day, one day...

To Iker Casillas, for embarassing his girlfriend while she was at work. And for being the best 'keeper on the planet.

To Ghana, who deserved better.

To the United States, who served notice.

To Tim Howard, who joined Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller, and possibly others, on the list of strong, classy, American goalkeepers, and did so while suffering from Tourette's Syndrome.

To the dreaded penalty shoot-out, which claimed only two victims this time around (Japan and Ghana, in case you're wondering).

To Uruguay. Who'd have thought they'd be the last South American team standing?

To the refs. Out of 64 games, we had about 4 which involved any kind of serious officiating controversy. Not bad at all.

To the host country, which did a spectacular job, vuvuzelas and all.

To Brazil, now on the clock.

And finally, to Spain, who deserved it in the end.

More, perhaps, as/if I think of them - feel free to add your own in the comments! In the meantime, it was a good World Cup.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Congratulations, Spain!

Photo by Martin Meissner, AP

Disappointed for the Dutch, but if we're being honest about it, Spain were pretty much the better team on the day. And so congratulations to them!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How Did That Get There?

A quick vignette from the Bookstore:

We have doing some fairly hard-core cleaning and reorganization of the textbook section lately, and this has led to the discovery of some interesting cultural artefacts. My favourite one so far, discovered slipped down inside one of the shelves in the Health Education section, has been...

...wait for it...

... a copy of the Dragonheart Picture Storybook. You may remember Dragonheart as being the movie that managed to suck despite having Sean Connery playing a dragon.

The things people leave behind...

Friday, July 9, 2010

World Cuppity Thoughts: Just Two Games Left

And that's an all-of-a-sudden sort of thing, isn't it? Weren't we just tuning in to see South Africa play Mexico yesterday?

  • Do make a point, if you can, of catching the third-place game. It may be a mere consolation prize for the losing semi-finalists, but for that very reason it often produces spectacular soccer, as nobody worries too much about making mistakes. The third-place game can also yield remarkable "moments," like the touching joint celebrations after the 2002 match between South Korea and Turkey (see photo above, and note that that is a Turkish player carrying the South Korean flag). Definitely worth watching!

  • And then, on Sunday, we will see a country win the World Cup for the first time. We will also see a European country win the Cup outside that continent for the first time. And, we will see the first ever World Cup final not to feature at least one of Italy, Germany (inc. West Germany), Brazil, and Argentina.

  • Sunday's game is to be refereed by Howard Webb, a policeman from Yorkshire. So, either FIFA has changed the rules, mentioned in the last World-Cuppity post, about the geographical origins of its refs, or they feel that Webb is one hell of an official. Collina seems to like him, in any case.

  • While we're on the subject of officials, one of the linesmen ("referee's assistants," in modern parlance) for the third-place match on Saturday will be Hector Vergara of Winnipeg, working his final international game. Another reason for Canadian fans to watch!

  • Finally, nothing at all against Spain (I'll be genuinely pleased for them if they win on Sunday), but we here in the warrens will be pulling for the Netherlands. Hup, Hup! etc.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Some Sort of Musical-Interlude-Like Thing

Been a while since we did one of this just for its own sake, and a longer while since I've listened to this band, so...

* cranks up phonograph, moves dog *'s Tilt:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And Still More World Cuppity Thoughts!

And we're down to the final four! As expected, South American giants Brazil and Argentina have progressed, untroubled, to... um... the... ah... wait, what?

  • Yes, this was really looking like it was going to be South America's tournament. All five teams from the region made the round of 16, and, furthermore, no team from Europe has ever won the World Cup outside its home continent. In fact, FIFA had even taken the step of sending home most of the South American referees, since there were obviously so few games left that would not involve South American teams. And now, all of a very sudden, we're down to one South American team. Brazil were undone by nerves and poor discipline, not to mention a Netherlands side that was more than equipped to take advantage of both those defects. Argentina were simply run over. And now, barring some kind of miraculous performance from Uruguay(!), it's Europe's tournament.

  • Just to clarify on the referees: No World Cup Finals referee can officiate a match involving a team from his continent. An exception to this rule was made in 2002, for the final between Germany and Brazil, to allow the man pictured above to take charge, since he was clearly the best referee in the world at that time. For those of you unacquainted with him, his name is Pierluigi Collina, he's Italian, and he is now sadly retired from refereeing.

  • Last word on referees: The refereeing in this tournament hasn't been that bad. Of course, hideous blunders have made headlines, as usual, but most of the games have been professionally and competently handled. If I'm selecting the ref for the final match right now, it's Yuichi Nishimura of Japan. When I've seen him, he's been calm, dignified, decisive, and fair-minded without being pushed around. In particular, I thought he did a fine job with the Brazil-Netherlands game.

  • From the department of over=reacting: Nigeria's president has suspended its men's national team for two years, for the purposes of reorganization, and the French government has launched a formal probe of their own team's debacle. This is fairly heavy duty; Fifa takes a very dim view of government interference with the various national soccer associations, and both France and Nigeria could end up suspended from all international play (including women's and youth tournaments). In my experience, however, these things do tend to get resolved before the more drastic steps are taken.

More Later!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Best. "O Canada". Ever.