You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Now a Short Break from The World Cup...

...(sounds of birds tweeting in the background)

That's all. Thank you.

Too short a break? It's the World Cup people!! The WORLD Cup!!!! 2 billion people will tune in. That twice as many people as it takes to fill every sitting room in the People's Republic of China! That's almost 3 times as many people as it takes to crowd out every curry bar in India!!! That's almost half the people in the world who think that Tom Cruise is a raving lunatic!!! (Calyn, in Florida, that one was for you.)

World Cup fever now resumes. (WARNING - RESULTS BELOW) Please make sure your hands and feet are inside the stadium at all times. Please do not feed the Ronaldos. Please be aware that Wayne Rooney is not tame, no matter what his girlfriend says.

Or as Bruce Dickinson/Christopher Walken once said... "I've got a fever, and the only prescription is cowbell!" (Exchange "World Cup Football" for "cowbell.")

Oh, and England won today! Bloody brilliant!!! Becks strikes, with a little help from the Paraguayian captain, who is probably regreting saying earlier this week that England were perhaps only the 3rd best team in their group. You know, one moment you're gleefully denigrating the quality of your opponent's and the next the ball is grazing off your head and in to the back of your own net. Life's funny like that.

Congratulations to the Soca Warriors of Trinidad and Tobago as well, who managed a brave draw with Sweden, after being reduced to 10 men on what I thought was a questionable second yellow to A. John. (Sorry Freddie, but you and Henrik were class and flair for Sweden, as usual!) A shame about the Ivory Coast, but if your give Riquelme that kind of space he's going to burn you, even if he is almost as slow as me. Still, Cote d'Ivorie looks as though they will give everyone in that group absolute fits. Any other group and they'd be one of the favourites.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Ronaldinho's Jock-Strap??

...Just what is THAT supposed to mean, Stew?

Can we replace it with "Michael Owen's shinguards," "Landon Donovan's socks," or perhaps "Emmanuel Adebayor's headband?" If we have to use "jock-strap" let's at least make it David Beckham's. Metrosexual that he is, that's at least likely to have something more than the odour of bollocks sweat about it.

I shouldn't complain so much. At least someone regards me as a "celebrity."

Smells like teen spirit...and sardines.

KISS, the 70's original glam-rock and hair band, is going into the business of producing fragrances for men and women. Please hold your laughter, I'm not done yet. Apparently, the band has not yet offended our senses enough and now they wish to foist their brand of pungent toilet water on the trailer-entrenched masses. That's another way of saying their going to sell bad smelling perfume to trailer trash, but I wanted to flower it up a bit, pun intended. The article says that they will, "contain a heady blend of black cumin, white pepper, dark rum, cypress, moss and honeyed amber blend (pour homme) and crushed red peppercorns, wet fig leaves, wild red poppy, musky bare skin accord, shiny patent leather and vintage mahogany (pour femme). Is this a salad, potpourri, or just the horrible, fetid nightmare that most reasonable people would expect from the guys that subjected us to the stink-bomb KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.

Does anyone out there really in their heart of hearts want to smell like Gene Simmons or Ace Frehley? I won't even mention Peter Criss (whoops). I think I'll just stick to the unlimited supply of Stetson that Lukas sends me every Christmas, at least it has hints of cowhide, Jack Daniels, alfalfa, and tumbleweed. Since my mind is a is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives (thank you Hedley Lamarr), I'm of the opinion that other celebrities and noted individuals should try their hand at designer fragrances. Oh, where to begin.

  • Eau de Oprah - with hints of Virginia Baked Ham, Herm├Ęs leather bags, Tom Cruise, and $100 dollar bills this is THE fragrance for the woman who knows what she wants and buys it.
  • Gates of Bill - Bill Gates new scent has the smell of microchips, soldering irons, burning wires, and oversized acrylic sweaters. Father's Day is not far off ladies.
  • Al Gore's: An Inconvenient Aroma - with whiffs of industrial smoke stack, retention ponds, diesel fumes, and greenhouse gases this is the fragrance for the liberal who wants to scourge himself daily.
  • Eau de Earl - with hints of football leather, newly made nylon, Ronaldinho's (pronounced Ronald-een-YO's) jockstrap, and turf, it's just what the doctor ordered for those days of World Cup action.
  • Jorge Carlito's Surprise - has the smell of carne asada, burned tortillas, prison guard, and license plate paint and comes in a Danny Devito shaped Egg sprayer.
  • Stench de Stew - top notes of burning hickory, athlete's foot fungus, and lark's vomit belie the true aromatic power of the burrito flatulence. Magnificent.
  • Shaq-tastic - the scent of sweat, Icey-Hot patches, spare-ribs, and Kazaam combine to tell a waiting public, "Here I am, don't be too offended."

Coming to a Wal-mart near you very soon.

World Cup Fever

I have it, a raging case of course, and will be watching as much of the Cup as is humanly possible. I taped all the first round games four years ago, but had an advantage as they were all at night or on in the early morning. Mrs. Fando, and the littlest Fando are preparing for the onslaught of requests to tape Ivory Coast vs. Holland, and Japan vs. Brasil. I dearly love the Beautiful Game and this is the quadrennial high point for every football (soccer) fan. The real, honest to goodness World Championship to end all World Championships.

As I've written before on these pages (posts, whatever) I am an American citizen, so I will be following the Americans rabidly through the Finals, chanting U-S-A as loudly as I did at their qualifier against Costa Rica in 2001 - which I and Mrs. Fando attended in person - and signing rousing choruses of "Over There" and "Yankee Doodle" if need be.

I will also be following the fortunes of a certain team from the British Isles, for obvious reasons, and have already gotten a huge psychological boost from the news that Wayne Rooney's broken foot is healed. Part of that boost was admittedly from knowing that somewhere, Sir Alex Ferguson was loudly grousing and complaining about his star striker being "rushed back" into play. Queen and Country first Sir Alex, right? (Well, after God, don't you know.)

The most enjoyable thing about rabidly following the World Cup in the U.S. is listening to all the sportswriters and talk radio neanderthals who simply don't get it. Some of them are good blokes who are just trying to cover for the fact that they don't know a single thing about soccer beyond that it's played with the feet, and that they're certain they will never understand the offsides rule. (Which, by the way, is simply that an offensive player be even with or have two defenders between him and the goal when the ball is played forward to them... That's it. No Calculus or Differential Equations reequired... Much simpler than, say the infield fly rule, which seems to rely on wind direction, bird migration patterns, and the capricious will of a large umpire.) You see, there's a reason that one of football's (soccer's) nicknames is "The Simplest Game."

I was listening to one such broadcaster, nice bloke but hopelessly ignorant about football (soccer), ramble on a bit about how, granted it was only a big deal in places like the Ivory Coast, and how he'd rather watch an interview with a dog than a minute of World Cup coverage. Such "brilliance" only calls attention to itself, of course. His co-partner, who is another nice bloke, went on to mangle the pronounciation of Ronaldinho's name, while pointing out that he was the most recognized athlete on the planet. If memory serves, he called him "Ronaldin-Do." Well, I'm fairly certain the 2 billion people who do watch will do a bit better with that.

With any other big sporting event these blokes would do a little research, find out a bit about the tactics and skills, and at least gain a grudging admiration for the sheer athleticism and endurance required to play the game effectively at a professional level. Soccer is one of, if not the most grueling sport to play on the planet, which is part of its great charm. I'd like to see a baseball player hit a fastball out of the air after running 4 miles at varying pace (with a mile to go, on average for most footballers).

So, ignorance is a major factor in the frustrations of these types. They don't know the game and think of it as foreign and alien, even though football (soccer) has been played in this country since before gridiron (American football) was invented, when a bunch of rugby players at university forgot the rules of that sport.

Just so you know, I happen to love gridiron and have been a Dallas Cowboys fan from an early age (and can explain the illegal shift rule to a competent level).

Worse though are the self-proclaimed good-old boys, or "true American types" (their term, not mine) who lather on abuse at football (soccer) the way rabid dogs lather on foam and violent tics. These are the types who, not content to simply profess their mystification at the qualities of the game, must resort to outright distortions and affronts to the manhood of males who play and watch. While to some extent this is not completely unexpected in a country where the women's national team has had more success than the men's, a condition I suspect will change in the next two decades, it goes without saying that someone like 6'4", 215 lb. Oguchi Onyewu (or 6'3", 230 lb Marcus Hannemann, etc.) of the U.S. team might take offense at the weasely words of such moronic sports bigots and happily pund or kick such individuals into the ground on an actual pitch.

Also, such juvenile attempts to get the goats of football aficianados are themselves grounded in an ignorance that is profoundly ironic. Gridiron, again, comes from Rugby, which was one of two versions of football, the other being Association Football or "soccer." So American Football owes it's existence and even its name to "soccer." Baseball? Baseball is a sport derived not directly from Cricket, but from Rounders. Rounders is a sport in England played primarily by girls... Not that there's anything wrong with that. However, before you broadly go about questioning the manliness of blokes who run five miles, kick one another, shoulder-charge, and have the skill to control the ball in their sport with only their feet and heads, you might want to make sure that the sport you profess a deep faithful love for wasn't directly derived from a sport where all the participants wear dresses.

Again, that's nothing against baseball itself, which is a challenging and tradition filled game, and which, played at it's highest level requires a great deal of skill and power (and the all-important ability to know how to adjust one's crotch). Rather, what's so ironic and highly amusing is that the soccer-hating cretins who invoke baseball as the epitome of manliness, while denigrating the manliness of footballers haven't a clue as to their beloved game's origins. Like most bigots, their ignorance is kind of bliss that masks their own, as David Niven put it best, shortcomings.

Go U.S.A.!! Come on England!! It's time to play some football!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi Dead, Dead, Dead

Yes, we don't ever want to revel and dance in glee at the demise of any human being. My dancing is purely sober and reflective in nature. That "Woo-hoo!" I let out was merely a symbolic gesture of contempt for the violence of our age.

If people must die in wars, then let it be murderous, car-bomb plotting, women and children massacring, torturing, death-fetishist, scum-sucking, I-can't-fire-my-own-rifle-so-I'll-cut-off-your-frickin-head, narcissistic, lousy, evil bastards like Zarqawi.

Some say that people shouldn't speak ill of the dead. I say "nuts" to that. Zarqawi was as vicious and brutal as they come. Hopefully, he's sharing a car boot-sized cave with Hitler right now. Perhaps, at this moment, they are locked in a violent embrace, Zarqawi trying to find a machete, and Hitler looking for his Lugar. Well, Zarqawi was supposed to get virgins, so I suppose that's a start.

Zarqawi's "associates" in Al-Queda say that this is a great day and that Zarqawi was "martyred" and that Al-Queda leaders desire such a fate.

Well lads, line up then. I'm sure the coalition and Iraqi military will be happy to assist you. Osama, care to stick your head out of your rat hole? Smile for the camera mounted on the smart bomb?


We will not revel in the misfortune of others. OK, maybe just for a minute. Those who lived by the sword (literally in his case) will most certainly die by it.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, I'm gonna sue your ***

I read too much Yahoo! News sometimes, so I have to apologise for turning to their AP service again to relate to you the sordid tale of a matchmaker who did not find the match that her client was looking for. So the client promptly sued the matchmaker for failing to hook her up with monogamous millionaires. Here's the punch line: The jury gave the client, now plantiff, $2.1 million (US) in damages.

Can we just say, right here at the start, that this may be a case where the jury turned out to be far more stupid than the actual participants in the trial? Yes, let's say that and be sure of it, because it's true. Astoundingly, mindbogglingly, pathetically stupid...which, given the facts of the case, is a remarkably high standard.

According to the AP:

"Anne Majerik, a 60-year-old social worker from Erie, Pa., claimed in a lawsuit that she paid Beverly Hills matchmaker Orly Hadida $125,000 to be introduced to men who wanted monogamous relationships, earned more than $1 million and had estates of up to $20 million."

Well of course! What sexually-faithful millionaire doesn't dream of marrying a ravishingly ordinary 60-year old social worker and settling down to nights of looking over your shoulder to make sure the woman who pledged her future to you isn't sneaking up behind you with the kitchen knives to suddenly collect the estate, or divorce papers to collect up to half of it, or perhaps file specious claims of abuse to her former co-workers at the local Human Services department, just for kicks? Now, I'm not suggesting that Ms. Majerik would actually stoop to such low, greedy, and awful tactics. After all, given that her tastes in men seems to run only to blokes who file in the top tax bracket on their U.S. 1040 forms, she may find such efforts unsubtle.

Yes, $125,000 is a fairly steep fee, and according to the story, the matchmaker is accused of not providing suitable men. One example was that an "international banker" turned out to be an "interpreter who worked in a bank." Personally, I think that's a bit of a quibble, as if the person were of foreign nationality, that would certainly make them an international, and as they work in a bank. Nonetheless, it would seem the real quibble Ms. Majerik had was that translators don't pull down 7 figures a year or have massive stock portfolios. After all, if the translator were Donald Trump working on a lark to improve his Spanish, she would have flown to Vegas before you could say, "Hadida!"

It is difficult to imagine a real romantic relationship beginning with a woman who doesn't see fireworks when you kiss her, but instead hears the familiar sound of cash registers. What would she write on the anniversary cards, "Dear Hubby, 'Ka-ching!' Love, Anne."

The matchmaker, Ms. Hadida (which sounds like the villian of a Henshin superhero show), claims that Ms. Majerik is a "serial matchmaker suer." This is a phrase that would fill me with tremendous outrage and disgust, if I could stop all the involutary giggling. Furthermore, Hadida claims Majerik became her client after she helped her win a lawsuit against another matchmaker, which is a bit like a plastic surgeon helping a person in a lawsuit and then offering to do that really expensive and risky reverse tummy-tuck afterwards.

However, again the grand prize for "wretched human excess" (Category number 27 at the Emmys) in this sordid and stupid little tale must be the jury. My key evidence is the following quote from the jury foreman, one Christine Troutt:

"We wanted to punish the defendant, but in the amount we wanted to punish the defendant, we didn't want to reward the plaintiff. They were both wrong."

So they gave the plantiff $2.1 million dollars. Brilliant. Well done, indeed. If I weren't happily married myself, I'd really start to wonder how many desperate, monogamous, and yet deeply wealthy women were out there and what matchmaker could fail to fix me up with them...but only if I can get Ms. Troutt's jury.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Paranoia: Is it more than just an oddly spelled word?

Sinister things are afoot. That may seem like a very strange way to begin a post but the more I come off the Haldol the more I think that some sinister force is out there controlling our actions. Take a look at this little beauty for instance:

What exactly are they saying here? Is it me that is powering Blogger, are they somehow draining energy from my body to run the site? I don't want to power Blogger, do I have a choice, or are they merely stealing my precious brainwave energy (no jokes Earl) to power their diabolical machinations and plans for world domination. Then, just when I'm about to put on my Star of David rotating helmet, I run my cursor (another odd word) over the little button and what does it tell me, "Powered by Blogger". Now I'm just getting confused, is it me powering Blogger or is Blogger powering my actions on the blog. Do they have some sort of psycho-kinetic energy that they are transferring to me through the "blog interface"? When the virtual fascade is ripped away will we find something akin to the Matrix, only looking more like the Wizard of Oz with the accompanying levers and large gears, controlling our actions?

Don't get me wrong, I'm no black helicopter, conspiracy theory believing wacko sitting around wearing a tinfoil hat. Mine's made of thin-plate aluminum backed by a special ceramic that I have made out of tree resin and melted plastic Army men. But I digress. Yet, we must wonder what is going wrong in a world where Lindsey Lohan and Adam Sandler are free to star in multiple films per year and where Brett Ratner is allowed to direct them. A world where David Copperfield is allowed to impregnate women on-stage, or at all for that matter. A world where Madonna claims to have "gotten religion" and where an actor is governor of California. OK, so that last one isn't such a leap but you get my point.

Oh, and this just in: Jerry Lewis is planning on producing a musical based on "The Nutty Professor". Now, where's that helmet, I know I set it down here somewhere.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Secret Language of Referees

As many of you are no doubt aware of and thrilled about, the World Cup is about to start. As part of our continuing to efforts (well, mine at least) to provide the latest in international football/soccer news and information, I wanted to pass along to you the following alarming information: World Cup referees will be using secret signs to communicate to each other.

According to Associated Press, via Red Chinese lapdogs Yahoo, the referees officating football's biggest and the world's largest sporting event will be communicating with each other through the discreetuse of hand and body signals, as opposed to the way in which actual footballers communicate with each other, through numerous F-bombs, elbows with murderous intent, and groin-shattering miskicks. I'm leaving out the play-acting dives by some footballers, as they don't amount so much to communication as to a symbolic and very public self-emasculation.

Anyway, the article states that referees will receive subtle communications from their line judges for situations such as throw-ins, penalties, and offsides. Apparently, if the linesman can't get the referee's attention, there is even a button in the bottom of the linesman's flag that will activate a buzzer the referee is wearing. The buzzer sounds exactly like the one on Family Feud when the contestants would get a wrong answer, and the scoreboard will flash a giant red "X", just in case the ref didn't catch the sound. Also, the linesman can adjust the frequency of the buzzer slightly to order fish and chips, bratwurst, and copious amounts of German lager - disguised as bottled water and Coca-Cola.

The signals themselves are quite complex and almost form a language of their own, one that is strangely similar to signed-Esperanto. The AP article only lists a few of the more ordinary signals, but I've managed to procure a top secret FIFA document that expounds upon this system in great detail. Some excerpts:

  • Right hand on top of head - I'm going to give a yellow card to that player if he fouls someone again.
  • Left hand on top of head - Ouch! Did you see who just slapped me on the back of my noggin?
  • Hands on hips, tapping foot - Stop ordering fish and chips, bratwurst, and copious amounts of German lager and pay attention to the Argentinians! They're offsides again! Plus, that buzzer is killing my nerves!
  • Right hand over eyes, smiling - I can barely see with all the glare coming off of Ronaldinho's teeth.
  • Left hand over eyes, frowning - Somebody tell Ronaldo to hike up his shorts! It's like a plumber's convention out here!
  • Both hands over eyes, legs crossed - Someone needs to adjust their shorts, right now! Mind the gap!
  • Hand on chin, eyebrow raised - I'm anything but gay, but that David Beckham is a stunning lad! (Apologies to Dennis Miller.)
  • Hand on chin, eyebrow raised, other hand on extended hip - Version of pervious signal for gay referees.
  • Right hand making windmill motion while left hand held at shoulder height - Are you going to see the Who concert after the match? (An older signal apparently).
  • Hand parallel to ground, held at chin height - Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley are taller than I thought they were.
  • Bent over, hands over mouth - Send out the medicos! My hangover is catching up with me.
  • Bent over, shorts pulled down to knees - I've got your dissent right here, Jurgen Klinsmann!!
  • Both hands make a parallel wavy motion from shoulders to bottom of hips - Did you see the Dutch bird in the orange bikini? Dat hief zeker mijn vlag op!
  • Hands on cheeks, look of surprise - I can't believe it! Gary Neville scored for England!!


It's the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year...666. That sound was my stomach turning.

Doesn't look like a good day, does it? While I am a Christian believer though, I suspect that today won't be directly related to events in the Book of Revelation. That would be too easy, too simple.

Of course, there was that footage of Katie Couric's head spinning around, but I'm sure they just got her a really neat swivel chair at CBS. Also, I recall seeing footage of Martha Stewart and Donald Trump merging together into some freakish two-headed monster demon, but I'm sure I'm just remembering old adverts for The Apprentice.

Still, I'm a bit more alert today, that's for sure. Stew, Nuffy, Jorge, Zimpter...everything all right out there?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Jumping for Nothing

According to the Associated Press, a 52-year old Ohio man named Lester Clancy was just awarded a patent for a cordless jump-rope. That's right, the "jump-rope" has two handles and no rope. The AP report did not state whether Mr. Clancy's brain damage was permanent or temporary. The Patent Office's brain damage is most definitely permanent.

Apparently the "rope" handles have moving weights inside them, to simulate the actual weight and feel of a jump-rope. Clancy claims this will allow clumsy people to jump-rope without any of the inherent hazards involved, such as falling, tripping, or having small, highly-coordinated children point and laugh at you. I might add that this is also a perfect invention for people who are too stupid to jump rope. How does one know whether they are too stupid to jump rope? You invented, granted a patent to, or own a cordless jump-rope.

Still, I'm not above cashing in on a fad or two at the expense of people who gain enormous pleasure from owning useless junk that slightly boosts their rock-bottom self-esteem. So, here are a few ideas I'm rushing to the Patent Office right away, if some clever huckster...I mean inventor, hasn't beaten me to them.

  • The Wheel-less Unicycle - Always wanted to ride a unicycle like circus clowns or high-wire daredevils, but you're too clumsy to even manage to stay up on a bicycle long enough to say, "Look honey, no hands?" This is perfect for an uncoordinated goof like you. This unicycle's wheel has been replaced by a 500 Kg flat base that is guaranteed to keep you upright, even in gale force winds! Pedal away and get enormous amounts of calorie-burning exercise, while living your dream to be a freakish circus star! Not responsible for wear and tear to buttocks or groin, or verbal abuse from family, friends, strangers, and members of our company.
  • The Blade-less Axe - Always wanted to chop wood like Paul Bunyan or those lumberjacks on Wide World of Sports, but you're so clumsy a real axe would only split your clavicle? Our axe doesn't have a blade at all! Instead, it comes with a weighted, but heavily padded oval head that couldn't cut it's way through your webbed-toes! The head contains a special playback device that loudly simulates the sound of a split log any time you swing it. So you can fool the neighbours into thinking all that shop-bought wood was personally split by you from behind your privacy fence. Comes with a large bag of wood splinters and chips that you can throw in the air for greater realism.
  • The Key-Less Keyboard - Sure, regular musical keyboards have built in songs that you can pretend to play along with, but what if you're so clumsy that you accidentally hit the real keys and mess up the whole tune, you blithering idiot? This keyboard has no keys at all, so the only way you could spoil the performance is to knock the keyboard over with your ungainly and spasmodic dancing, or accidentally strangle yourself with the cord whilst plugging it in. (We are not legally responsible for either of these, by the way. It says so right on the packaging in big, blue letters.)
  • The Bullet-less Revolver - Always wanted a gun for home defence but you're too afraid of accidents because you can't figure out the trigger lock? This is the gun for you! This gun won't even hold bullets!! Instead, every time you pull the trigger, a carefully modulated gunshot will sound off at over 100 decibels. Simply fire a few "warning shots" in the air, and most trespassers will head for the hills. Not recommended for actual defence against an armed opponent, such as gangsters, gang-members, or anyone else with guns containing actual bullets.