Monthly Archive for June, 2004

Bling Bling Forever

ringringring

Size doesn’t always matter. No massive rock, but fro:boy bought his lady love a pretty smashing ring Down Under in Sydney. He went for style over shear size, choosing a unique, suspended setting for a .7ct white, classic round-cut diamond. There are two small, but very rare pink diamonds on either side. Actually, they’re the world’s most rare diamond type. All are from the Argyle Diamond Mine in northwestern Australia – the largest diamond mine in the world. The metal is platinum and it has an Art Deco-like design, which is most evident in the profile view. Check out the photos from three different angles. My awesome, 4 mega pixel Nikon Coolpix camera is so amazing it shows every speck of dust (needed better light though).

Moore Lies

You just know Christopher Hitchens isn’t a conservative shill after his mean-spirited hatchet job on the late President Reagan. Even he sees the lies upon lies that stupid white man Michael Moore is spewing out. What makes it worse is that it’s disguised as documentary/expose filmmaking.

The liberal useful idiots and Eurotrash French eat up his stuff like it was gospel. Witness his Best Picture award at Cannes. What a mockery that was. And we’re supposed to forgive the French for turning their backs on us with regard to Iraq? Those polls that said over 30% of them actually wanted Saddam to win the war must not have been a fluke. Here’s a sample of the article, appropriately titled Unfairenheit 9/11, but you must read it all:

To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.

By all means, go see the movie, but read Hitchens’ article either before or after. Personally I will see it, but I’d never pay ten smackolas for that tripe. I’ll wait for it to be a bargain video or DVD rental at the shopette.

As for the French….the underdog Greek national football team just eliminated the mighty(is overrated spelled with one r or two?), defending champions from Euro 2004. They’re going nuts in Athens’ Omonia Square right now.

Woohoo! I bet the French team would like to crawl up and hide in Michael Moore’s neck fat right about now.

On a related sports note from yesterday: As if the gut-wrenching defeat to France in the opener wasn’t hard enough, the England team lost to the hosts, Portugal, on a phantom foul that robbed them of a game-winning goal with 2 minutes left. It will go down in history as one of the worst calls ever. The country’s mourning today, not even being able to gather up the energy to be hooligans. Now they know how the 2001 Raiders felt.

Flip Flops & Socks?

Am I totally missing something here or is the whole idea behind this flip flop socks site wrong? I mean, flip flops were made for warm weather, right?….So you don’t have to wear socks.

The company that designed the site and is providing the product is called Cloudy Reason and they definitely used some of that to come up with this whacky idea. I would say it’s doomed for failure, but then again if they put it on Abercrombie & Fitch models, all the mall kiddies will buy them up like the marketing tools that they are.

High and Dry

Around the D-Day Anniversary earlier this month, I caught a superb CNN Presents documentary on the Warsaw Uprising, called Warsaw Rising. I had heard of the underground resistance movement in Poland, but knew very little about it. Those were extremely courageous people and very few survived. The CNN special was riveting, sad, and made me angry. Those brave people were seemingly deserted by the western Allies. It seems that more could have been done, but complicated political dealings among the Allies left the resistance high and dry. At the end of 63 days of fighting, 200,000 Poles died and the city was in ruins. Nazi Heinrich Himmler had given instructions “that every inhabitant should be killed” and that Warsaw should “be razed to the ground” as an example to the rest of Europe under German occupation. Stalin’s Red Army stood by and watched, just across the river Vistula, while the Germans destroyed what was left of the resistance.

Why didn’t anyone help? Especially considering the fact that help was within sight and, literally, meters away?

The communists insisted that “a strong German assault east of Warsaw forced them to limit their operations to defensive”, but that is highly disputed by the facts. Additionally, there were Polish Home Army forces outside of Warsaw and when they attempted to enter Warsaw to assist the resistance, these units were intercepted by the Soviets on their way there, disarmed and interned. The Soviets also would not allow western allies to land behind their lines after completing drops of arms and aid to the Warsaw fighters. Instead, the few aid planes that were sent had to fly over 1200 miles of enemy territory and suffered heavy losses.

I guess it’s all about whether you believe a mass-murdering communist leader or not. One that was promised half of Poland after the war. Stalin continued to refuse Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s overtures. Some think they could have played a bigger stick with Stalin, but you have to remember that the Soviets had hundreds of thousands killed during the Nazis’ failed advance and the US and Britain needed their continued help to bring the War to an end.

So to summarize, not only did Stalin refuse all Soviet aid, when it could still have made all the difference in the outcome, but he also did not admit aid from other quarters. The Soviets did end up advancing on and capturing Warsaw after it was already in ruins. There were no forces left to oppose Soviet political domination in Poland and they wound up eradicating eastern Poland of all Polish culture.

The Nazis would’ve been proud.

Is Geographia a word?

Being a former cartographer, I had an interest in checking out The Map That Changed the World. That is, the map that the book was based on. It’s kept at the Royal Geographical Society in London, just outside the Royal Academy of Art (where I once had a Yoko Ono sighting at a Kandinsky exhibit). Only problem was, they have odd opening hours and I kept missing it. The last time we went down there, they were open, but the “map wasn’t available for viewing until October”. The RGS made the news here last week because they were opening their vast archives to the public for the first time, running through September. It’s said to hold one of the world’s largest collections of geographia. Pretty cool. I’ll have to check it out.

In surfing their site, I found that they have an excellent page on Everest, called Imaging Everest. Great photos and historical information on the nine expeditions taken between 1921 to 1953. I caught an item on the TV news here where someone(the RGS archives?) had Sir Edmund Hillary’s oxygen tank on display. That thing was massive! Hard to believe he made it up with that strapped on his back. Anyway, if you’re interested in Everest, check that site out.

R-Dub, RIP

Much more shocking than a stupid England football loss is when a young, very talented man passes unexpectedly. I’ve linked to articles written by the great sportswriter Ralph Wiley numerous times, including just the other day. I have many yellowing Oakland Tribune articles he wrote back in the late 70s and early 80s pasted in my Raider scrapbooks. Ralph wrote a lot about the A’s during those amazing Billy Martin years as well, and coined the phrase, Billy Ball. I always looked forward to reading him. I was surprised to learn that he was even as old as he was (52). He wrote ‘young’ and, to use a cliche, had his hand on the culture’s pulse. When I read the headline about his death, I thought….must’ve had cancer or something and kept it out of the public. But no, it was heart failure. Makes ya think….when is it your time? Happened to Len Bias – happened to Ralph Wiley. Ralph worked out and was fit. Len Bias was a monster athlete and just 23.

I’m sure Ralph was looking forward to seeing those funk soul brothers in Detroit beat LA when he sat down to watch Game 4. He’ll be watching the rest of the series in a much better place than here. I’ll miss his writing and I pray for his family.

Who better to eulogize Ralph than the people who worked with him. This is from Mike Lupica…

He had a wonderful mind. His voice was his own. His opinions were his own. His passion was real. You didn’t have to scroll back to the top of the page to know who you were reading.

And here are the Ralph Wiley ESPN Archives. They’re all vintage, but read the column he wrote the day after 9-11.

C-H-O-K-E

You can’t spell it any other way, no matter how heartbreaking England’s defeat was. What made it so much worse was that it was to the frogs. The ESPN article stated it well: snatching disastrous defeat from the jaws of victory. Besides the questionable non-ejection of the player that fouled Rooney on his break away(in which pretty boy Beckham missed the penalty shot that would have iced the game at 2-0) and Heskey’s stupid penalty, I think the coach made a mistake with the substitutions late in the game (Heskey was one that came on). It’s early and they’re not out of it yet, but it will be hard to recover from this blow mentally more than physically. I’m rooting for them though.

Yeia Sou, Hellas

Greek Football(aka Soccer) just won their biggest ever international match 2-1. The opponents lone goal was merely a consolation as it came at 3 minutes of a 4 minute added period for penalty time. The game was the opener of Euro 2004 against the heavily favored host team, Portugal. Greece is something like 80-1 underdogs to win it all. Euro 2004, to those stateside, is a hugely respected 16-nation tournament to determine the best national football team in Europe. It’s second only to the World Cup. The Greek team played their hearts out and deserved the win, but as usual, all the talk is about how the Portuguese didn’t play well and up to their standards. That irks me and I’m sure a lot of the Greek fans. At some point, you have to give the victors credit. They earlier had defeated the very strong Spanish team just to qualify for the tournament. Looks like they’re on a roll, but Greeks tend to get a little cocky and overconfident, so here’s hoping their headstrong German coach keeps them focused.

OJ is still guilty

It’s been 10 years since the ridiculous, outrageous OJ verdict. ESPN’s Sports Guy has a great article looking back on it.

If the trial happened in 2004 instead of 1995, Simpson and his gravity-defying noggin probably would be rotting away in prison right now. He couldn’t have survived the overwhelming DNA evidence. The science is the same, but thanks to the startling popularity of “CSI” and “CSI: Miami,” forensics doesn’t seem nearly as complicated today as it did in the mid-’90s…

…Keep in mind: Blood was found at the crime scene, dripping on the left side of the footprints leaving the area (and yes, O.J. had an unexplained cut on his left hand). There was a 1-in-57 billion chance that the blood did not belong to O.J. There was blood in the Bronco, blood on the rear gate, blood on O.J.’s socks (found in his bedroom at home), blood on the gloves (one left at the crime scene, the other dropped behind Kato’s guest house at the Rockingham estate). In each case, the odds were in the millions and billions that the aforementioned blood didn’t belong to Simpson, his ex-wife or Ron Goldman. This would have been the most boring episode of “CSI” ever; Gil Grissom might have sent O.J. packing in 10 minutes.

Good point and I think he’s exactly right. Last week, I saw bits of an interview with OJ and he had the unmitigated gall to say that he’s “mad at Nicole”.

The photo further down on the ESPN page displays a telling photo of the racial divide that this trial caused, or maybe it just reflected what was already there. Disheartening stuff, but I’d like to think that things are better now and as SG says, history wouldn’t repeat were the trial to happen today.

Ralph Wiley also writes on the subject, most excellently as usual, though his article centers on an HBO documentary on race relations throughout Simpson’s life.

It’s the Summer of Christos

The American Express Superman & Seinfeld commercials are freakin hilarious. I haven’t seen any of the TV teasers here in the UK and I assume the longer pieces are internet only. They’re directed by Barry Levinson, who was responsible for one of my all-time favorites, Diner(that’s where I got the excellent idea of the Raider quiz for any potential lady of mine). The ads are great marketing by Amex. Besides being amusing, they do give some information about the card, e.g. I’ve had my green card since college and didn’t know they offered free roadside assistance. And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that “Puddy” as the voice of Superman?
(I do believe that you need Flash to view the ads)