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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Scraps Before Christmas

Green-Haired Blondes, Cannibals on
Dutch TV & the Tyson From Ipanema

In Rio de Janeiro’s gang jargon, file burning has nothing to do with making CD copies. It means to execute potential crime witnesses. We agree, it’s a cheap shot to attract your attention.
But in the spirit of the season, here are three stories that are just like your favorite holiday cocktails: they’re fancy, they’re weird and, in a few weeks, you won’t remember a thing about them.
So, grab your eggnog and take a break from whatever you’re doing, which shouldn’t be much anyway. We have three countries to go and a couple of TV shows to watch, but we’re not in a hurry. Ready?
BLONDES HAVE ALL THE FUN
This one probably started with an early morning scream: “My hair!” Too bad Alfred Hitchcock is no longer here to appreciate the story and come up with an idea for a new thriller, featuring one of his icy blond heroines.
In Anderslov, Sweden, a number of residents went into a minor, Continue reading

Baby, It’s Cold

Outside

What looks like the Ice Queen’s castle, or an art sculpture or a monument to, well, something, is just the Cleveland Harbor West Pierhead Lighthouse, photographed last week. Built in 1911 by Lake Eire, this automated lighthouse is very much active and it must’ve been enveloped in ice like that before, but it’s still out there beautiful.

And Inside Too

This Tron-inspired hotel suite is built entirely from ice and snow. It’s called the Legacy of the River room, one of a handful of artistic installations in this year’s Icehotel, a seasonal project near the arctic circle in the Swedish town of Jukkasjärvi.

Formally Known As

Students Practice on
Body of Late Teacher

You probably know at least one middle-school kid for whom this is a heartwarming, payback tale. But to the shaken pre-med students involved, it was nothing short of a rude awakening to their chosen profession.
A class at a top medical school in Sweden, (in case you’re wondering, no, we have no idea why Swedish news have been this bad lately) was about to perform its first autopsy ever when someone read the toe tag.
Laying on the table, was the body of their late teacher. It was a shocking and unusual situation, but it didn’t deter those brave souls. They went ahead and got the job done.
Afterwards, in typical Nordic fashion, head of department Tina Dalianis all but dismissed the impact of the bone-chilling incident on the students. “It’s part of the education, sometimes,” she concluded.
One can almost hear that Scandinavian middle-schooler shrieking, “wicked.”