What chance do England have if they can’t even beat the Yanks?

Simon says: what in the bloody hell was that?

Only asking the question everyone is thinking. The English team is full of superstars like Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole, Terry etc. yet can’t beat the USA?Thankfully my precious Stevie G was there to score a goal.

I’m rooting for you, England, I really am but I thought this match was a foregone conclusion. Is it the goalkeeper? True, most EPL goalies are foreign so we’re left with the scraps.

Anyway, get it together!

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Filed under Le Foot, On a serious note...

Ten reasons to watch the 2010 World Cup

Is it just me or are there an inordinate amount of ridiculously good-looking football players out there? Like 95% at least.  So  this observation came because the World Cup begins in, ooh, about 2 hours and there’s never been a better reason to watch it. In fact, I’m prepared to say right now that this is the best-looking  coupe du monde teams ever (even though Poland and the luscious Artur Boruc didn’t make the cut). Behold! Ten reasons to watch this year’s World Cup (in no particular order).

1. A good chunk of the Italian national football team.

(L-R) Italy's Antonio di Natale, Federico Marchetti, Domenico Criscito, Vincenzo Iaquinta and Claudio Marchisio.

2. Dios mio!

Paraguay's Roque Santa Cruz

3. The Polish blood would explain the hotness.

Germany's Lukas Podolski

4. He IS American but I can overlook that, or at least can’t see past his adorableness to care.

The USA's Carlos Bocanegra

5. Leader of the pack in the French team in more ways than one. Too bad Chamakh plays for Morocco instead of his native France or else he may have been a contender.

France's Yoann Gourcuff

6. Lushest goalkeeper, second only to the aforementioned Artur Boruc.

Spain's Victor Valdes

7. He’s a devout, Bible passage-citing Christian and was a virgin until he got married which seems against the laws of nature.

Brazil's Kaka

8.  As cute as a puppy. One of the few blondies as well.

Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner

9. Not usually a freckle fan but Nando does it perfectly.

Spain's Fernando Torres

10. No list is complete without the King of Metro.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

  • The Netherlands’ Robin van Persie and Ibrahim Afellay
  • Portugal’s Miguel Veloso
  • Slovenia’s Bojan Jokic and Nejc Pečnik
  • Spain’s Gerard Pique
  • France’s Cedric Carrasso and Andre-Pierre Gignac
  • Australia’s Nikita Rukavytsya, Carl Valeri, Harry Kewell, and Tim Cahill.
  • USA’s Benny Feilhaber
  • Germany’s Manuel Neuer

GO THE SOCCEROOS!!

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Filed under Le Foot, Up-and-comers

Countdown to Japan

Whoever created this flag was just plain lazy

I leave for Japan in TWO WEEKS! Now being a self-confessed control freak in all areas of life – including travel – something shocking has transpired in the organisation of this trip. I’ve planned almost nothing. Usually I’d have everything booked and paid for, from the bus leaving the airport to the hostel/hotel to each day trip along the way. What I’ve done this time is what I’ve always wanted to do but was too afraid – throw out the rule book entirely. Well not entirely as I did book the airfare and the first week in Tokyo but apart from that, it’s an open book. Come the 30th of June, we’ll be heading to Kyoto and then a whole lot of *insert various unplanned activities here* and back to Tokyo to leave on our flight on the 14th of July. Having (almost) nothing book is incredibly freeing and exciting. It’s inevitable to want to alter your plans  after meeting other travellers or getting a tip about an upcoming festival somewhere and if you have a rigid schedule, there’s no flexibility to make that happen.  I’ll have three weeks to see the country which is a good chunk of time, however having $1200 to my name is going to make budgeting interesting.

This marks the first trip with my brother abroad (we went to Melbourne together in 2007 but nothing international) which is probably what I’m most nervous about. He’s very chilled out and infinitely generous which are two of the best traits in a travelling companion, however having been overseas for the past year, we haven’t talked much recently so it will certainly be a bonding experience. His first, and last, trip overseas was a family holiday to Hawaii in 2008, whereas I’ve been to five continents in the last year alone so I’d been given the task of organising the Japanese excursion. Really dropped the ball on that one!

I watched Lost in Translation last night to get me into the mood and had forgotten: a) how funny it is; and  b) what a bleak portrait it paints of Tokyo. I know it’s about people who are completely isolated, not only in this strange city but also in their own relationships, but it left me wondering if perhaps I would feel that same loneliness. I hope not.

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Filed under The Travellator

Twilight Book Review

Twilight.

Rotten to the core: Twilight.

Twatlight Twilight fans, cover your eyes! For the following may leave you wanting to suck your stick-on fangs into my neck (and not in the good way).

First a little backstory. I, for some inexplicable reason, felt compelled to buy all the Twilight novels for my trip back to Australia from the UK in July. Not smart since my luggage was already more than 20kg over the allowance. I came to a point at Heathrow Airport where I had to chuck a few books out. I stupidly had accumulated 20 or so books in the 7 months I was over there. So I stood there with few precious minutes to choose which 2 or 3 books to throw out and had come down after rationalising each savior to Twilight et al (newly acquired and begging to be read), Crime and Punishment (a worn but muchly adored copy) and The Secret History (which had been the single most relevant book I had read in that space of time but one that I did want to replace with a prettier copy for this was a plain Penguin issue). So out went Twilight’s two sequels – the third of which had yet to be released – Twilight itself I decided to keep. Having read it just recently can I say with all the confidence in the world that if the first book is any indication throwing out those sequels was the BEST decision I could have possibly made.

I approached the novel quite naively. I had not heard of the Stephenie Meyer-scribed books which seems ridiculous now what with all the hoopla the movie has induced but at the time was more understandable. I don’t think I am a book snob in the least, but the level of writing appears to be aimed at a ten year-old and flaws me that anyone can be so engrossed in such a dull, dull novel. And I use the term “novel” loosely. It’s pulp on pretty paper. The reason why everyone loves these books, in my mind at least, can only be because of the perfect caricature that is Edward Cullen (vampiric love interest). He says all the right things, he’s brooding like only a man can be, he really is perfect. Y’know apart from the whole “I vant to suck your blood” shtick. You can go one of two ways with all his beautifully lyrics phrases – fall madly in love with him or cringe internally. I was oscillating between both for much of the novel.

It was honestly one of the hardest books to finish (and I’ve read some epic neverending novels), maybe because in this kind of teen fantasy genre I’m accustomed to the inviting nature of J.K. Rowlings’ writing style and was expecting similar talent. While it may have some dreamy quality, it lacks imagination in buckets.

This is at it’s core a sexless version of Mills and Boon (which seems like an oxymoron I know). Having read the first and had this kind of reaction to it, I can’t see myself investing in the second, third or God help us, fourth book in this series. I hope some child picked up those books I laid in the airport that day and gleaned more enjoyment from them than I could.

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Terry Wogan quits Eurovision

Two Irishmen walk into a bar...

Two Irishmen walk into a bar...

Terry Wogan has quit his Eurovision commentating role after over 30 years. Wogan, who was knighted in 2005, has long split viewers with his biting sarcasm but I personally was always a big fan of his straight-talking demeanor. His replacement for the 2009 Eurovision (to be held in Moscow) will be fellow Irishman Graham Norton who, although nowhere in the league of Wogan, is  probably as best a replacement as they’re going to get. I didn’t think Eurovison could get any camper but with Norton’s appointment everyone’s favourite talentless contest has proven me wrong once again.

Apparently the main reason why Sir Terry chose to leave was the lack of talent from the UK entrants as of late (“United Kingdom” and “nul point” practically go hand-in-hand as far as the competition is concerned) so wouldn’t it be funny if they pulled through and took out the 2009 title? He’d just about kill himself. It does actually have half a chance next year what with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s involvement in the production of the ditty. I shan’t hold my breath though. As Dr. Phil would say “the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.” Words of wisdom.

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Filed under Random rantings and ravings, TeeVee

Up and Comers: The Boy Who Trapped the Sun

Chair by the Sea

The album: Chair by the Sea

When I first saw The Boy Who Trapped the Sun, a solo singer/songwriter from the Isle of Lewis, I was nothing short of gobsmacked. He was the first act of the night at popular music haunt Maggie May’s in Glasgow and the audience was less-than-packed. I had low expectations, especially when The Boy stumbles on stage apparently inebriated. But the moment he opened his mouth, I and my friends hung on ever silkily sung word. Of course every band subsequent to his set paled dismally in comparison.

Dreaming Like a Fool is my favourite – a deliciously melodic anti-love song of sorts documenting the dysfunctionality of a past relationship. But with lyrics like ” but you could never be an actress/I know the knife’s under the mattress” it’s not as predictable as the title suggests. Despite newly recorded versions on his myspace page, I have to say I prefer the simpler arrangements of his acoustic sessions.

He has only uploaded 1 video onto youtube so slim pickings but here’s I’d Smoke All Day If It Wouldn’t Kill Me:

For more songs: http://www.myspace.com/theboywhotrappedthesun

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Filed under Music, Uncategorized, Up-and-comers

Gimme Five: Action Men

Action Man to the rescue!

Action Man to the rescue!

Gimme five is branching out this week to profile some of our favourite action men of times past. Bruce Willis was omitted only because he doesn’t need the publicity and it still relatively successful. As with Stallone (come on  Rocky  Balboa wasn’t THAT bad). However this may be the only mention of Dolph Lundgren he gets all year. So behold! Five action men worth fighting for:

  • Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude’s signature  leg splits made an appearance in almost all of his movies – from Streetfighter to Time Cop.  Nicknamed “The Muscles from Brussels” in reference to is sexiciously cut body and Belgian heritage, van Damme proved he was (van) damme in scores of movies in the 80s and 90s. Then he had to get all creepy. Currently planning his comeback in new movie JCVD (yeah I know) – it should be at a video store’s bargain bin in no time!

The old bench split

The old bench split

  • Steven Seagal

Zen master and martial arts 7th level black belt Seagal is perhaps most famed for his role in the Under Siege movies. After releasing a slew of straight-to-video movies, some of which he also directed suggesting why they bypassed cinemas, he moved to Louisiana and became a deputy sheriff in his local town. News is that he’s about to make a comeback with A&E signing up for a season of a Seagal-fronted documentary series based on his work as a deputy sheriff. Goodbye Dog, hello Seagull!

I dont know...that panda looks a underage to me. Somebody better check that out.

I don't know...that panda looks a underage to me. Somebody better check that out.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger

No action man compilation would be complete without our man Arnie. The Austrian hulk first became prominent after being featured in the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron which detailed his Mr Olympia win before shooting to fame in the Terminator films. His career took an unexpected turn when he decided to run for Governor of California, a position he won defeating such tough competition as porn star Mary Carey. Schwarzenegger went on to be re-elected while Carey won herself a place in the Celebrity Rehab clinic.

  • Dolph Lundgren

A human Ken Doll if there ever was one, Dolph actually graduated with a Chemical Engineering degree. I have some slightly disturbing news. In the research for this article I discovered something that truly made my stomach sink. They are making a third Universal Soldier film. Anyone who knows anything about my most hated movies, they know that Universal Soldier 2 is beaten out only by Dickie Robert Former Child Star. I guess the roles after 2004′s underrated Fat Slags (note the sarcasm) weren’t exactly bringing in the moolah despite reaching the coveted #2 spot on IMDB’s 100 Worst Movies list.

In those days, they wore their bike pants HIGH

In those days, they wore their bike pants HIGH

  • Chuck Norris

Chuck needs no introduction. Popular as the titular Walker: Texas Ranger, Norris again became a household name via Conan O’Brien’s famous “lever” where he would pull said lever to distribute hilarious video clips of  Walker flooring bullies in bar brawls or comforting children with communicable diseases. His notoriety has also spawned a rather successful religion named in his honour. All hail your God – Chuck Norris!

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Filed under Gimme Five