Archive for April, 2011

Congratulations William & Kate

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Sending good vibes from Cali to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge)))))))

What a spectacularly beautiful day of British pageantry and romantic tradition. 

I have to also thank you for setting a good example by driving a car that runs on something other than petrol. Here’s hoping there’s a plug-in electric vehicle in the future of the Royal fleet.


“The car was a 21st birthday present to Prince Charles from his mother in 1969 and, like many middle-aged men’s sports cars, it spends most of its life these days in the garage, used only occasionally for jaunts around the country lanes of Gloucestershire and doing only a couple of hundred miles a year.

It has, however, impeccably green credentials in contrast to most 1960 sports cars, having been converted to run on bioethanol fuel – and not just any old bioethanol but converted from surplus British wine. So it runs on plonk – all part of Charles’s green initiatives: his other cars, Jaguars, an Audi and a Range Rover have all been converted to run on used cooking fat.”

Love those Range Rovers and Jaguars running on biofuel, but Rolls-Royce makes a plug-in electric version now. Just add solar-electric panels on the roof of the castle (or a photovoltaic ground-mount) in order to charge the horseless carriages with the CO2-free power of the Sun.



April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Barcelona beat Madrid, at Madrid! Lionel Messi scored twice!

The Catalans play at home against the Merengues next week. Most goals goes to Wembley!


When sport transcends to the point of Art, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”©

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EXCERPT from The New York Times:

“To score once in the Bernabeu was a joy, to do it twice beyond expectation — even for Messi. But Messi, a diminutive Argentine with gargantuan talents, danced his way through a startled, exhausted Real once more before the final whistle.

Real had six defenders between Messi and the net when he received the ball from a crafty, nonchalant flick from Xavi Hernández. What followed was pure Messi, pure genius. The first opponent to him, Lassana Diarra, attempted to block him with a body check. Messi felt the contact but wriggled away.

The next challenger, Álvaro Arbeloa, failed to make contact with Messi or the ball. And the next, the Brazilian fullback Marcelo, was simply outpaced as Messi rushed past him, the ball a magnet to Messi’s feet. Then, the coup de grâce, Messi pulled goalkeeper Iker Casillas toward him and stroked the ball along the ground inside the far post.

Two magic moments, from a magician in soccer shoes. Everyone by now knows what Messi is capable of doing, but knowing it and preventing it are poles apart.”


“Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal match was supposed to be FC Barcelona taking on Real Madrid. Instead, it turned into the Lionel Messi show.”

EXCERPTS from The Telegraph:

“Arsène Wenger, who has suffered at the Argentine’s balletic feet more than most, yesterday joined the throng who think Messi may ultimately be recognised as the greatest ever. ‘Yes, he is that good,’ conceded the Arsenal manager after this time having the opportunity to enjoy Messi’s freakish dismantling of a Real Madrid team set up specifically to suffocate him….

As Wenger yesterday noted of Messi: ‘He has mental qualities: humility, desire to play, happiness to help the team, always desire, you never see any bad reaction despite all the kicks he gets.

‘When you look at the numbers, you have to kneel down and say they are fantastic. When a guy scores 52 and has 25 assists in a season, when it is so difficult to score a goal in modern football, you just have to say it is absolutely exceptional.’”

EXCERPT from The Sun:

“The only highlight was Lionel Messi’s second goal. A terrific strike from the best player in the world.”

– Harry Redknapp, manager (coach) of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in London, England.

EXCERPT from the UK Guardian:

“6 Lionel Messi will do something completely different. What is it with Messi? He still looks like a man who has wandered into all this corporate footballing homogeneity from a supercharged version of the 1970s. Looking at his standard-issue scurrying gait, his shrugging, mousey demeanour, and then witnessing the preternatural skittering electricity in those feet, you wonder why there hasn’t ever been one of these before, or even hundreds of them. This is not an otherworldly, unimaginable state of genius. He is just normal – but normal times a million.”

EXCERPT from The Sydney Morning Herald

“[Lionel Messi’s second goal] redefined what is possible in the modern game, a slaloming run that belongs only on FIFA 11 or at the feet of a true genius.”


CORRECTION: A previous version of this post cited Lionel’s nickname as “Lio,” as pronounced in his native language of Spanish. Mr. Messi has “Leo” embossed on his fire-orange football boots, and uses the nickname – with English pronunciation – on his official website.


Categories: Literature & Art Tags: ,

At Madrid…FC Barcelona v. Real Madrid

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Today is the Champions League Semi-Finals, first leg (the second leg is next week in Barcelona).

Approximate time of kick-off: 11:30 am PST/2:30 pm EST
* Most goals over two legs goes to the Final in London, England, at Wembley Stadium.
source:,28804,2066367_2066369_2066498,00.html #ixzz1KhVwkhz5

“Lionel Messi

God of the Field

By Thierry Henry Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011 

The thing we forget about Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is that for all he’s accomplished — he’s a two-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, soccer’s top individual prize — he’s still a kid, just 23. He’s a little guy and looks as if he could never hurt you. But give him the ball and you’re in trouble.

It’s not normal, what he does. I know the expectation that builds up around top players, but it doesn’t bother Messi. He’s a competitor: he doesn’t want to lose, not even in training. He reminds me of Diego Maradona, the way he dribbles past people, the way you can kick him and he’ll just bounce up and carry on running with the ball, then score a goal — it’s ridiculous. I played with him for three years, and it was just a joy.

Henry, formerly of Arsenal and FC Barcelona, now plays for the New York Red Bulls

I was lucky enough to be at the perfect seat to see Henry pass to Messi for a goal at Camp Nou in 2007…which is captured on this youtube clip at minute 1:53 and minute 2:21.


When sport transcends to the point of Art, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”©


Categories: Literature & Art Tags: ,

“Corporations have too much power over our lawmakers”

April 23, 2011 Leave a comment



“Corporations have too much power over our lawmakers. An overwhelming percentage of real people, not corporate ‘people,’ want the EPA to regulate GHG emissions.

It’s no accident that the same Koch brothers who are the major funders of climate denial were a driving force behind the Citizens United lawsuit that removed virtually all restrictions on corporations as political actors. The Nation reported yesterday that Koch Industries provided its employees with a voters’ guide last November, encouraging votes for climate denying candidates.

But if large-scale citizen protests can depose the most entrenched despots of the Middle East (whose reigns are also made possible by our reliance on oil), couldn’t 20 million people occupying Washington, D.C., bring some sanity to the federal approach to climate change? Corporate power won’t be the biggest monkey on Congress’s back if they can’t get to work in the morning because the streets are filled with protesters.

Sure, there are some signs of hope as everyone is eager to point out today — China has every reason to get serious about climate change, EPA head Lisa Jackson is a rock star, and support for sustainable agriculture is going mainstream — but all of these won’t amount to much unless the United States stops gumming up the works and starts cleaning up its energy supply.”



“So the joke begins like this: An economist, a lawyer and a professor of marketing walk into a room. What’s the punch line? They were three of the five ‘expert witnesses’ Republicans called for last week’s Congressional hearing on climate science.

But the joke actually ended up being on the Republicans, when one of the two actual scientists they invited to testify went off script.

Prof. Richard Muller of Berkeley, a physicist who has gotten into the climate skeptic game, has been leading the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, an effort partially financed by none other than the Koch foundation. And climate deniers — who claim that researchers at NASA and other groups analyzing climate trends have massaged and distorted the data — had been hoping that the Berkeley project would conclude that global warming is a myth.

Instead, however, Professor Muller reported that his group’s preliminary results find a global warming trend ‘very similar to that reported by the prior groups’….

The ringers (i.e., nonscientists) at last week’s hearing weren’t of quite the same caliber, but their prepared testimony still had some memorable moments. One was the lawyer’s declaration that the E.P.A. can’t declare that greenhouse gas emissions are a health threat, because these emissions have been rising for a century, but public health has improved over the same period. I am not making this up.

Oh, and the marketing professor, in providing a list of past cases of ‘analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming’ — presumably intended to show why we should ignore the worriers — included problems such as acid rain and the ozone hole that have been contained precisely thanks to environmental regulation.

But back to Professor Muller. His climate-skeptic credentials are pretty strong: he has denounced both Al Gore and my colleague Tom Friedman as ‘exaggerators,’ and he has participated in a number of attacks on climate research, including the witch hunt over innocuous e-mails from British climate researchers. Not surprisingly, then, climate deniers had high hopes that his new project would support their case.

You can guess what happened when those hopes were dashed.

Just a few weeks ago Anthony Watts, who runs a prominent climate denialist Web site, praised the Berkeley project and piously declared himself ‘prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.’ But never mind: once he knew that Professor Muller was going to present those preliminary results, Mr. Watts dismissed the hearing as ‘post normal science political theater.’ And one of the regular contributors on his site dismissed Professor Muller as ‘a man driven by a very serious agenda.’

Of course, it’s actually the climate deniers who have the agenda, and nobody who’s been following this discussion believed for a moment that they would accept a result confirming global warming. But it’s worth stepping back for a moment and thinking not just about the science here, but about the morality.

For years now, large numbers of prominent scientists have been warning, with increasing urgency, that if we continue with business as usual, the results will be very bad, perhaps catastrophic. They could be wrong. But if you’re going to assert that they are in fact wrong, you have a moral responsibility to approach the topic with high seriousness and an open mind. After all, if the scientists are right, you’ll be doing a great deal of damage.

But what we had, instead of high seriousness, was a farce: a supposedly crucial hearing stacked with people who had no business being there and instant ostracism for a climate skeptic who was actually willing to change his mind in the face of evidence. As I said, no surprise: as Upton Sinclair pointed out long ago, it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

But it’s terrifying to realize that this kind of cynical careerism — for that’s what it is — has probably ensured that we won’t do anything about climate change until catastrophe is already upon us.

So on second thought, I was wrong when I said that the joke was on the G.O.P.; actually, the joke is on the human race.”


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April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Damn, maybe T.S. Eliot knew a little something about expectations unfilled: the April sunshine that retreats back into the clouds just as soon as it appears.

Real Madrid won the 2011 Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) by beating Barcelona with a clinical down-the-line, lead pass from Marcelo to di Maria, who crossed the ball spectacularly for Ronaldo to rise up and re-direct it penetratingly past Pinto, Barcelona’s goal keeper, and into the back of the net for the winning score…in the 103rd minute, first over-time period.

The winning play began with Messi giving away the ball (after a Casillas kick from the other goal-mouth cleared 75% of the field). Marcelo and Xabi Alonso closed in on Messi, who just received the ball from a Xavi/Iniesta give-and-go moments before. Marcelo poked the ball away from Messi, and Alonso fed the ball to Pepe, who gave it right back to Marcelo. Counter-attack: Marcelo made a give-and-go with di Maria, and then Marcelo maneuvered to make his lead pass for di Maria, which culminated in 1-0…Ronaldo.

Dani Alves got beat on the sideline by di Maria. Alves had played inspiringly prior to that interlude on the field. Then Ronaldo outjumped a turned-around Adriano. Perhaps Eric Abidal is missed for that assignment, if not for his overall courageous exhibition of skill on defense whenever he plays. May he heal completely. On that line of thought, heroes missing the action today, perhaps Victor Valdes would have done differently against Ronaldo’s header.

We will see on April 27 and May 3 during the Champions League showdown…first game in Madrid, second game in Barcelona. Most goals goes to Wembley!

This was a hard-fought Copa del Rey Final, though. The Merengues defended the Blaugrana so closely I’m surprised there wasn’t white, like powdered sugar, all over the blue and deep-red stripes of the Catalans’ uniforms.

Brilliant playing from Los Blancos! The All-Whites were the better team today.  


* I back Barcelona over Real Madrid, but I recognize The Beautiful Game when I see it.

When sport transcends to the point of Art, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”©


1-1…Messi, Ronaldo

April 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The draw (1 point for each team) in Madrid means that FC Barcelona will almost undoubtedly win the Spanish League title, because the Blaugrana beat the Merengues at Camp Nou 5-0 (3 points for Barcelona). If it came down to a head-to-head points total, Barça would pull ahead because of the mighty win at their home field versus yesterday’s tie game. 

Next up: Copa del Rey.

Real Madrid will have to do better than their first two match-ups with the Catalans if they want to take the King’s Cup back to the capital. My money is on the students of La Masia to collect another adornment for the trophy case back home by the Mediterranean Sea.


When sport transcends to the point of Art, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”©

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Ronaldinho’s Standing-O…A Classic Moment

April 16, 2011 Leave a comment

When sport transcends to the point of Art, it is called “The Beautiful Game.”©

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