A Cup of Russia

Obscure Blogger Breaks
Silence About World Cup

Many readers – ok, three – have asked about Colltales’ lack of World Cup coverage this year. Flattered that they even care to ask, I can only offer that I’m a lazy bone by nature. Deep down though I could come up with a corollary of excuses to justify my apathy.
Like, this team doesn’t make my heart beat faster (a lie); it doesn’t hold a candle to past Brazilian soccer players (that’s actually relative); their win will boost a terrible government (it always does). The reality, however, is that when they step on the pitch, I lose my mind.
I’m sorry that Germany is out, after what they did to the game, and to us, four years ago in Brazil. Their fine display of football had the rare quality of matching their generosity off the grass. The community that hosted them won’t forget their dignity, and donations, for long.
Also, despite my little faith, I’d hoped for a rematch of their 2014 7×1 thrashing of the home team. The upside for Brazilians, though, is that their premature exit represented a big relief: Brazil’s unmatched five-times world title record will remain unchallenged for another four years.
Apart from them, all teams expected to get this far, have made it into the round-robin stage. On its twisted way, the cup is a predictable affair. Past champions Argentina, England, France, Spain, and Uruguay are still pretty much alive, at least until next week. Can’t wait.

THE TEAMS, THE GAME & EVERYTHING
By far, everybody’s sentimental favorite seems to be Mexico, this time around – albeit there’s a place in my heart for Japan too. They’ve been playing with gusto, and Sweden aside, are hot for a first title. Plus, they play next, and are always reeling to beat, Brazil. You’re on.
Up to now, the best game was the early thriller Portugal 3×3 Spain. And Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo has the edge over Argentine Messi and Brazilian Neymar as MVP. That can change but it’s unlikely. It may not be feasible but a Portugal versus Mexico final would be great.
Speaking of coverage, the media has been predictably biased and disappointingly sparse. News organizations, which have spend lots of ink demonizing Russia, seem set on not showing the country’s so-called human side, as it’s customary in this sort of world class sports event.

THE MYSTIQUE OF THE YELLOW JERSEYS
Disgusting displays of hate and racism happened too, but none from host Russians. Scenes of ugly sex abuse of female fans and reporters, burning of country flags, and xenophobic celebrations went viral and caused the appropriate repulse around the world.
But I daydream, sort of. Despite FIFA’s ingrained corruption, referee mistakes, fake injuries, and some boring games, the cup always manages to thrill those, like me, helplessly hooked on its appeal. My, I even consider those world titles my own personal achievements.
I grew up with Pelé, Garrincha, Gerson, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Sócrates, Zico, Falcão, Renato Portalupi, Careca, Romário, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Kaká, – and now, the pickings become slim – Marcelo, Dani Alves, and, fine, Neymar, and Coutinho.
I can’t help it, I’m lucky that way and yes, you may hate me for it. So when friends say they’re rooting against Brazil, I tell them (more)
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Read Also:
* Grace Under Rain
* Out of This World (Cup)
* Cold Cups II Continue reading

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Empire of Only One

When You Build in Solitude
That Which Will Outlast You

No man is an island, wrote John Donne, in what’s now a big, fat cliché. Yet, there’s David Glasheen, living alone on a island for 23 years. And Jadav Payeng, who planted a whole forest on his own. Or Justo Gallego, who built a cathedral by hand.
Then, there’s a man who’s surely envious of the solitude all three find comfort on. Accused of bilking people of their money, his victims found a way of placing his face all over the world, as a casualty of various acts of terrorism, even as he wasn’t near any of them.
Undue exposure as an act of revenge is certainly a modern phenomenon, with social media, and news report manipulation, replacing the shame of standing naked in the public square of Donne‘s times. But each man plays an unwitting, and extreme, role in contemporary society’s drama.
While Glasheen has just about enough of all of us, Payeng has dedicated his life to leaving us a legacy. As Gallego was erecting his monument to devotion, others devised a devilish prank as the only alternative to denounce and get something back out of a con man.

TO WALK OUT OF IT ALL
Not that many would’ve noticed, or cared about it, but when the stock market crashed, on October of 1987, the world lost a few millionaires. Most got quickly back in the saddle, as financiers are won to do. Australian businessman Glasheen took the hint to drop out, and instead, moved to a desert island.
But his is no epic tale, all heart-warming quotes of inspiration and non-conformism. For starters, like most hermits, he’s not very fond of the likes of us. Which is a feeling that comes in handy if  (more)
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Read Also:
* Off the Grid
* Hot Water
* Going Under
Continue reading

In Their Own Rites

Brides, Babies, the
Dead & Your Ex-Lovers

And now for something completely different: need to cry a lot at your wedding? Check. Thought about giving the bones of your deceased relatives a brush? Check. What about dropping your baby off a balcony? Check that too. Aren’t we dizzy yet? Wait, the best is always last.
Ever thought of introducing your lover to your former partners? There’s a whole fair for that. Not to worry, though; each of these rituals is confined to a different culture; few partake of more than one of them. Besides, most of the population, of course, simply skip them all.
It’s not that we’re about to go all NatGeo on you, after the week we all just had. But this being Friday, reading about what people do around the world to give their lives meaning may feel just like putting out our own skin to dry: we have no choice but to be ‘us’ most of the time, but no one says we can’t get out of ourselves and enjoy the pasture.
Or something, we’re not sure. The only thing that may be undeniable about all these, though, is that none of this community rites you’re about to read below are harmful to those who enjoy participating in them. On the contrary, they’re are important cultural signposts that bring everyone together, and boy, don’t we need more examples like that?
So let’s get to it without bias, shall we? After all, heaven knows we all have our share of strange and mostly hardly logical rites and little Continue reading

Last of the Apaches

Geronimo, a Feared Warrior
Whose Skull May Be Missing

A century and three days ago today, the chief native American known as Geronimo passed away of pneumonia at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He died a prisoner, having surrendered to the U.S. in 1886. But revisions about the conquest of the West, the circumstances of his life and even his name had already started way before his death.
Even among other distinguished tribal chiefs, the man born in 1829 as Goyathlay occupies his own place in the origins of this nation. And as such, personifies the ambivalence, misconception and extreme brutality that marked its unification.
Geronimo fought both Mexican and U.S. armies and became know for his bravery and rebellious spirit. But as ‘Indians’ were considered then devoid of soul or natural rights, and as European descendants began to outnumber the native tribes of North America, their fate was already sealed even before the first clash between them started.
In his long and storied life, which outlasted some of his many wives and children, he went from feared leader in combat to the tamed, most valuable captive prize of the American army at that time. He managed to dictate his memories in the end and became a sort of a minor celebrity. But he was never to set foot again on the land of his birth, in Gila River, Bedonkoheland.
UNFULFILLED REVENGE
To many, the genesis of his rebelliousness, against what was perceived by native Americans as the occupation forces of European descendants, can be traced back to a bloody attack by a company of Mexican soldiers Continue reading

No Cry Wolves

Scientists May Have Found
Cure for Excessive Hairiness

It’s a fact of the human condition that one is never satisfied with what nature gave him or her. Bald people miss terribly the days when their flocks would fly in the wind and the bathroom sink would clog up with their hair. Short, or rather, vertically-challenged citizens would love to add a few inches to their stature. And they often do, with the help of discreet high heels.
But you won’t hear a single complaint from Supatra “Nat” Sasuphan, a smiling 11-year old from Thailand, who has “hypertrichosis,” which causes excessive hairiness and is sometimes referred to as werewolf syndrome. And Mexico-born Larry Gomez, well, if he once disliked his own hairiness, he got over it and today makes a living out of it: he’s Continue reading

Vanishing Words

Last Keepers of Lost Tongue
Will Not Speak to Each Other

If verbal expression is the most crucial distinction between human beings and animals, then when a language disappears, a fundamental part of what define us as species is also lost.
The path of technological development, current evolutionary patterns, even the so called globalization, all contribute to the depletion of the languages spoken nowadays, estimated to be between 6,000 to 7,000.
It’s virtually impossible to assess the damage caused to our civilization by the extinction of languages. But anthropologists agree that its pace is accelerating along with the disappearance of tribes and cultures.
In Mexico, for example, Ayapaneco, a language that has been spoken for centuries, is in serious risk of extinction. In fact, there are only two known people fluent in this ancient tongue and they are not speaking to each other.
No one knows why, but Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez who live 500 meters apart Continue reading

Unrequited Love

Sorry, Estibalis, But They
Are Just Not That Into You

Someone is asking to be invited to the next wedding at Buckingham Palace, of one Prince William and Kate Middleton, and she’s neither taking a no nor a cake for an answer.
Let’s say, you have this friend from England, who’s either visiting or lives in the U.S. for a while. Nice chap, good to be around, fun do to things with. Oh, and don’t get him started into politics: he’s not just engaged in current affairs; he’s perfectly Continue reading