The 2018 Word Cup

Like millions of fans all over the world, I have been watching many of the football World Cup (soccer)  matches that are currently taking place all over Russia.
According to my sources, “a total of 79 national teams have entered the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”

Watching the competing teams fighting it out, I have been marveling at the synergy displayed by all the nations involved.

It seems that for a brief moment in time, all countries associated with the World Cup have agreed to stop bickering and abide by FIFA’s rules. Wouldn’t be nice if this sort of gentleman’s agreement persisted throughout the years?

Countries with different languages, customs, and religious affiliations agreed to a truce ( not including vicious tackles) and to shake hands with their mortal enemies.

As a matter of fact, I have been wondering what language all parties are using. I would think that English (due to its facility) would be the first choice and I turned out to be correct.

“FIFA referees take English courses to learn the basics of what they need to know to communicate on the field.”

This does not mean that they are no misunderstandings. They do happen, but during a match, right or wrong, a referee’s decision is law.

They also use colored cards that are universally understood to enforce their decisions. A yellow card shown by the referee indicates that a player has been officially cautioned. A red card means that a player must be sent off.

In America (except for the First Nations) we are all immigrants, and even if you have been living in this country for 40 or 50 years, when it comes to soccer you are still rooting for your birth country.

As of today, France (presently in the quarterfinals) is still in the running, and with a little bit of luck (a good sprinkling of luck actually) the Grenouilles could take the Cup home.

The current champion is Germany, and the most successful nation in the competition is Brazil, who has won the Cup five times.

If…

If the French succeed though (they made in 1998, 20 years ago), I will naturally take a good part of the credit… and glory. Be ready for that.

Allez les Bleus!  🇫🇷

Alain

Erratum:

Jean-Michel Poulnot reminded me that 209 countries (not 79) entered the FIFA qualifications. Thank you Jean-Michel!

Yoga

“A Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.”

With age comes wisdom (?)… Invariably accompanied by stiffness, its loyal sidekick. When you reach a certain age it becomes increasingly difficult to tie your shoes or paint your toenails. I find this frustrating… the shoes I meant. Picking up a coin on the ground also becomes a highly optional activity.

I will be able to do this soon… in a while… next year.

After a complex back surgery, it becomes even more difficult to perform these elementary tasks. Seeking to comfort me and alleviate my predicament, my resident nurse recommended yoga. She practices it regularly and it seems to do her good.

“Your body can do it.  It’s your mind you need to convince.”

Precisely. My mind is stuck in an old familiar groove and it is difficult to pull it out of its rut. It takes a lot of determination to convince your body to move and bend in unusual positions.
Hey, it says, what are you trying to do? Attempting to become a contortionist? Don’t rock the boat buddy… I do as well as I can.

So, this is the first problem: Getting body and mind (like members of Congress) to work together. An almost impossible assignment. But I know that I should do this and overrule the objections of my body.

Well, first you have to lower yourself to the ground, which is not a natural position for a grownup. Infants do it all the time but what the hell do they know? Then you have to go through a series of uncommon, unfamiliar, peculiar moves to unclench your reluctant body.

Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.– Bob Harper

But who wants to be young? And unworldly? I just want to be able to keep up with our grandson. This little guy is made of rubber and can bend in a thousand unnatural different ways. Life is not fair, I know.

Sigh..

So yoga it has to be. Pray for me. I might bust a gut trying to keep up with a toddler (and my wife) but I will give it the old college try.

Om Namah Shivaaya, Namah Shivaaya, Nama Shiva ♬

Alain

Social media

“Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests (love life) and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.”

You are not on social media? What’s wrong with you? How the hell are you keeping track of your exes? Boyfriends, girlfriends, and all significant others? Aren’t you curious to see how they fare without your beneficent patronage?
Are they as miserable as you or did they already “hook up” with some insignificant nobody? And did they change their status? Already? Bitches… assholes!

Because that’s what social media are for… To keep track of friends… or that miserable jackass/bitch you were so fond of…

With Facebook, for instance, you don’t have to keep calling your ex and humiliate yourself anymore. Any social medium will tell you the story; with color pictures to emphasize how well these losers are doing without you. And if you don’t see what you are looking for in Facebook, turn to another medium. They are now a dime a dozen.

But everything about social media is not negative. They allow you to keep in touch with friends or relatives living or traveling abroad. I recently discovered that some of my friends were vacationing in Japan, Sweden, Peru, Israel, Argentina…

Now that postcards and letters are “passé”, how would you know that your dentist is gallivanting in Patagonia?

Besides love matters, you can also give free rein to your political views… But don’t do it immediately after breaking up with a wanton woman or an insensitive jackass.

You could go overboard… And political analysts (or worse) will duly record it. Just be glad that you are not living in a totalitarian state where speaking up could be hazardous to your health.

“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
Erin Bury, Sprouter community manager

You can also use social media to advance your career. Well-crafted resumes could do wonders for you.

So social media are not really that bad. You just need to learn how to navigate them. And use paddles and safety jackets. Do not provide too many details about your private life or your habits; you could be stalked.

Social media are here to stay. For a while. Until a bright whippersnapper comes up with a new brilliant idea. Then social media will disappear as quickly as flip phones or answering machines did.

In the meantime, enjoy it and stop stalking your good-for-nothing, two-timing, miserable, slutty EX-girlfriend.

Alain