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...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Riquelme's Goal

For those of you who didn't see it live -- what can I say, you need to. You really do.

And though they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, here I am, describing Riquelme's goal versus Brazil to you...

...just for the sheer emotion of recounting what I feel was THE
perfect goal scored versus Brazil in my lifetime. Manu Petit's goal
pales in comparison in impact, technique, and import. This was the

Let me set the stage for you:

It's minute 16:34 of the First-Half.

Seconds before, Crespo fell JUST as he was getting the ball, free and clear to do with Dida as he wished (again). He was offside, but the chances were mounting, and mounting for Argentina. Again.

Then...Roque Junior got the ball from Dida's boot up the field. He
slotted the ball up to Kaká, who triangulated the pass to Emerson,
neatly slicing the Argentinian midfield. "Ooh! This looks promising".

Emerson looked up and saw Adriano in an one-on-one with Ayala...always a favourable matchup.

So in a brisk pass, the ball arrived, but Adriano fell as if a redwood
cut down by an industrial power saw without a Birkenstock-wearing tree-hugger to protect him: it was a bad flop, people.

El Pato Abbondanzieri then pointed right (favouring that Saviola,
Lucho Gonzalez right-wing play which had been smoking-hot all night long), and the ball arrived in between Conejo Saviola, rebounding on Roberto Carlos' foot out of play -- the same Roberto Carlos who had been nutmegged pathetically at least twice so far by the very same Saviola, his fellow vertically-challenged colleague.

That's when this happened. It was minute 17:11.

Throw-in Lucho, to Coloccini with his Michael Bolton hair. Coloccini
to Mascherano, who returns the favour. Coloccini insists Mascherano take it, Juan presses, Coloccini receives the ball back and arcs it to Ayala over Juan. Ayala sees an opening in which Sorin is running into, and the ball passes midfield for the first time in the sequence, and that's when Riquelme gets the ball at last.

Sorin is everywhere, those luscious black curls of his flying, always
doing his best to stick to his old mates, the Brazilians.

And he knows how to play them, boy, he really does.

With his body squared to the exact centre, 30 yards away from goal, he sees Kily Gonzalez moving up the left wing. Without hesitating, he springs him open. Kily crosses the ball up-and-over Cafu, with that Cafu-like raised hands in front of him when he runs (like a poodle), watching the ball sail over him and most of the Brazil defence.

And yet, there it goes!

The ball might've landed on Crespo's head, if the latter had not yet AGAIN slipped and fallen just as it did -- prompting the GolTV Argentinian presenter to say, "otra vez se patina, que pasa Hernan, que pasa con los zapatos" (there he goes, skating again. What's the matter, Hernan -- what's up with dem footie boots?).

Roberto Carlos gets the leftovers, and without letting it drop to the pitch, he chests the ball, and tries to hoof it out. Anywhere. Just anywhere, but not to Riquelme, please...

...but since Roberto Carlos didn't let the ball even bounce in the
area (that pesky goleador Crespo was too close, and he had already scored a goal...better just boot it anywhere!), he mis-hits it, on the front of his boot.

Riquelme is there. Riquelme is everywhere. And from here on in, it's Riquelme's show.

He gets that poorly hoofed ball from Roberto Carlos, and again without it bouncing on the pitch (four plays, ball never touched the pitch once), volleys it backward with his heel, sidestepping Ronaldinho Gaucho as it loops over his Jherri-curls, unto Mascherano's foot.

GolTV: "Ay, que lujo, que lujo de Riquelme". What luxury...

It's minute 17:44.

And my mouth is hanging open at the audacity, the skill and the
self-confidence of doing what he just did, in a plain attacking mode for Argentina.

One miscue, one bad pass, and the sequence is over. Brazil get the ball back, maybe for a counter with Ronaldinho lurking near Riquelme -- those two brilliant men of La Liga at the height of their respective powers.

But no. Mascherano gets this ball, this ball placed on his foot as if
on a silver platter by Riquelme, shoots it up to the right-wing which Lucho Gonzalez has been owning all evening, and he doesn't hesitate. He gives the ball back to Riquelme. Por que no.

Riquelme has his back fully turned to goal. Roque Junior is so close, he can probably count the hairs on Riquelme's neck. He's so close, he feels he has read the play well, and all he needs is to touch the ball from behind Riquelme's legs, and poof, up goes the attacking chance in a puff of smoke.

Hey! I can see Ronaldinho, I'll get that ball to him. Nossa, I can feel that counter coming, you wait. You will see, Argentinos! Your shouts will be stifled once I make this quick play.

So Riquelme keeps his back to Roque Junior, and instead of turning to the right, inside-outs him to the left, as he just moves the ball a few inches in front, creating the smallest, the merest, the tiniest of spaces for him to swing around.

It's minute 17:46.

Roque Junior has been beaten worse than a rug on Marv Albert's head.

Those few inches of the Monumental pitch are all Riquelme needs. One step, two steps, three steps, look up, Dida not out all that much, shall I, will I, dare I...do this against Brazil in a World Cup qualifier...SI! LO HAGO!

It's minute 17:47.

Riquelme has just split open the Brazil defence, passed two Argentina forwards, and what seems like millimetres only of space, accommodates the ball with his left-less-powerful foot, and explodes a 20 yarder into goal...Dida on his knees as if in church.

"Lucho para Riquelme, Riquelme lo dejó en el camino a Roque Junior, lo va a pegar de zurda!, RiquelMEEE!, ah que golazo, GOLLLLLLLLLLLL............golAZOOOOOOO, Juan Roman Riquelme!!!"

And why not. Dida just saw a miraculous goal.

UPDATE: And proof is always in the pudding.

First, the goal GOLTV call.

And the video.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Fear Not

I will update the blog soon! Life just happened.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Happy 130th Birthday, Thomas Mann

If you were to ask me, "So, pretty lady, who is your favourite author of all time? By the way, lovely red Versace skirt, is that from Loehmann's?", I'd say without doubt,

Thomas Mann

Born 6 June 1875, in Lübeck, he was the son of a well-to-do German businessman and a sultry Brazilian lady, from whom he inherited his flights of fanciful reverie and guilty bourgeois conscience.

Were he alive today, still no doubt in his Pacific Palisades, California home where he moved in exile from Hitler's Germany, he would be the grand old age of 130 on Monday.

It's not easy to choose one predilect author, and obviously, even a little trite to do so, but I have no doubt that my writing style, mannerisms and content came alive after having read him as a child.

I still have the small paperback I bought in a rancid London bookstore, at the fateful age of 10, one of the very first books I ever bought with my saved pocket-money.

I have many books in my collection, many loved and well-thumbed books at that, but few which transport me back instantly to my childhood the moment I open it, as this stained paperback does.

If you wish to know which is my favourite work of his, I can point you in the direction of:

Wälsungenblut / The Blood of the Walsungs

(Not to be confused with Ottó Orbán's recent book of the same name)

For those of you who love opera who may be reading this blogpost, you cannot know what experiences await you until you read this novella. You literally will be shocked into the submission of recognition.

Thomas Mann is definitely an acquired taste, and his topics trouble more than one soul, but once you've peeled away what you perceive, and give yourself to what you read, you will never be the same again.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Relax The Back

Except for a deep-tissue massage, which just flat out hurts and leaves you more bruised than a bout versus Jim Braddock, the most self-indulgent pampering in life must be massages.

Massages which make your toes curl up and wiggle in utter pleasure, without the benefits of more intimate stimulus, are heavenly -- although I certainly wouldn't sneeze at both combined.

So it was my great joy this week to be able to enjoy the new workstation chair my parents got from Relax the Back.

Let me just say here and now that anything with the word "settings" gets my attention.

I am an unrepetant gadget-geek, never happier than when flicking switches, setting controls and gasping the word "Cool!", not just via inner monologue either, to the startled glances of my dog.

Well, this chair is like a triple-score in Scrabble, AND hitting Yahtzee. Way cool. Mondo cool. Coolissimo even.

Look at her. Ain't she pretty? They call her "cashew".

You shall go to the ball!

And yes, what. I call all my furniture "she".

You try getting a mind-altering massage from a "he" without strings attached.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Fur Flying

(My poor, neglected blog has been updated, the milling throngs who read it will be happy to know. 2 June-Deep Throat, 1 June-German Fashion Faux-Pas, 31 May-Arepas, 30 May-Baseball Book, 29 May-Porn Domains, and finally, 28 May-Spelling Bee Geeks. That should keep you bored, I mean! busy for a while)

At a forum I frequent, there is raging a debate on fur wearers and the spitting consequences that should befall them.

And when I say raging debate, I mean, mild annoying limpid discussion which is going no where.

When faced with moral outrage from guilty white activist-wannabes, I have this way of fighting fire with humour, so after the Miami Heat win last night, I decided to rummage through my mother's closet for some of her furs (she has actually more than 3, all of them over 30 years old, and yet semi-new since who would wear furs in SoFla but eccentric me?).

I put them on, layered on her equally extensive jewelry collection (her hobby is jewelry design, and some of her pieces would not be sniffed at by habitués of Oscar red carpets), tried to look for a cigarette holder, but chucked that idea when I realised that was a LITTLE over the top.

So, of course I then grabbed my sweet little chihuahua (replete with wee faux mink coat), and went riding around South Beach, with the air-conditioning at the highest setting. Whew. Talk about Heat.

Whilst this little exercise in laughing at dialectical pomposity is my way of thumbing my nose at such toadish hollowly ill-humoured types, I actually had an emotional moment just before heading out, which made this childish lark worthwhile.

I told my mother of my stunt, and she laughingly told me, sure, take your grandmother's coat. The black mink.

So I went to her bursting closets, and found it in a sealed bag, were it has hung for almost 10 years, undisturbed.

As I lowered the zipper, I received a jolt of recognition. Oh Mary, it still bore my grandmother's personal odour.

Each of us, even if we're unaware of it, has a personal odour, and hers was a combination of oranges and honey, "so holt, und schön, und rein" as Heine put it...

...as I closed my eyes, and inhaled deeply, breathing a scent I thought long since gone (she died in 1992), suddenly floods of memories came back to me, and I had to check my emotions lest I start to cry.

My maternal grandmother was a creature of her time and world, with their foibles and their ideas of appropriateness, but a more self-sacrificing, gentle woman never existed. I swear to you.

And to think that she might've been spat upon by self-righteous thugs today for wearing her mink, this woman who tried to make all people and creatures around her happy every day of her life, makes me sick to my stomach.

I closed that zipper slowly. Breathing her odour one last time.

So that I never forget what really stands for kindness and decency and mercy in this world.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Aww, you mean it wasn't Diane Sawyer?

I really wanted Deep Throat to be the woman who comes to work in PJs every day.

Mind you, Chief Justice William Rehnquist received a boost in the Deep Throat stakes when it was revealed former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee had already written DT's obituary, since he was poorly. Turns out, we all had the wrong chain-smoker.

Mark Felt, ex-G-man, is Deep Throat.

His throat doesn't look so deep

Now there is only one question to be answered: will Woodward and Bernstein (which I still contend sounds like a Georgetown ice-cream eatery) share their many millions made off of Mark Felt's back, erm throat?

It's only fair.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Don't Dress Like a German Tourist


I have no earthly idea why German males like to wear white socks with Birkenstock sandals, but as I was strolling in Downtown today, I heard a pack of German tourists approaching.

Hawaiian shirts, bad haircuts, worse general grooming, and each man wearing white socklets with old Birkenstocks on their feet.


Maybe Wolfgang Joop was right when he said that German men have that "mommy dressed me look".

Oh, and that goes double for all you non-German males who wear tube socks with dress shoes. You know who you are.


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