Monday, June 26, 2006

World Cup Mayhem

I just felt the need to comment on the current mayem assaulting Europe.
Nevermind that Hungary isn't in the World Cup ("Worldmaster", as it's called
here), almost nothing has been happening in this town or across this country
but people sitting in front of TV screens the size of drive-in movies in
squares and in parks and beer gardens or in front of smaller viewing portals
at pubs and cafes, typically at tables and chairs set up on the sidewalks in
front of the particular venues. There they sit, drinking beer, smoking
cigarettes and making smalltalk, occasionally exploding into a roar of
excitement, while a constant drone sounding something like the waves of an
ocean plays in the background with a stadium somewhere in Germany as its
source. And on those rare instances when a goal is actually scored, a
thunderous yell shakes the entire town. You can hear it everywhere. The
weekend before last I was in Stockholm where it was exactly the same.

Unlike the US, when on the night of the superbowl you can still find plenty
of alternative joints where the clientele don't even know it's gameday,
everybody from both sexes and all walks of life is watching this stuff over
here. At my favorite beer garden in town, the Sarkkert, a comfortably
shabby bohemian plot on Margaret Island, an island somewhat larger than
Central Park in NY of beautiful park land in the Danube River in the center
of town, a concert by a visiting band from California was delayed by popular
demand so the crowd could watch some game (or "match"). I was out walking
the other evening and approached an art film theatre in my neighborhood that
also holds a very bohemian artsy cafe, the regulars of which I would never
expect to be interested in anything but the most mind-torturing Russian or
French cinema.

"Bet it's pretty empty tonight," I thought.

But no! The place was packed. The front doors and windows were wide-open
and a crowd of ponytailed men with grey beards and girls with blue hair and
leather bikini tops was assembled around a widescreen. People on their feet
hooting and howling at a missed penalty kick or some other ohso relevant
aspect of Argentina vs. Mexico.

As I descended the ramp from the Margaret bridge to Margaret Island I began
to hear a roaring crowd and noticed the lights of the athletic field were
ablaze. The idea that an actual football stadium was in use for viewers of
the world cup shouldn't have come as a surprise. But as I got closer I
noticed there were players on the field and they were wearing pads and
helmets and there were cheerleaders on the sidelines. And at each end of
the field: goalposts! It must have been the only group of people in the
country who weren't watching soccer. An American football game between the
Budapest Wolves and the Wiener Blitz (or something like that.) It was
surreal. I stood and watched on a hill overlooking the stadium and was soon
joined by fellow Rochesterian Steven Spinder, an RIT-educated photographer
who was equally dumbfounded.

"Whaht the hull's goin' aahn?"

We wound up at the Sarkkert where the crowd was split in its loyalties to
Argentina and Mexico. After a third pint of Pilsner I actually started
getting into the game.

Please tell me, is this happening back home? Or was it at all before the US
lost to Ghana?

Friday, June 02, 2006

250 million+ Americans to be deported

What started with a review of the status of one million or so Mexican migrants has ballooned to crisis of global proportions. Upon review of binding international agreements, the US Supreme Court concluded today that the vast majority of US residents either entered the country illegally or descend from individuals that did.

"Starting with the Mayflower Pilgrims, legions of illegal immigrants have infiltrated the central region of North America today known as the United States," said Justice Clarence Thomas, reading from the majority decision, "now all illegals as well as their descendants must go back where they came from or face criminal prosecution and deportation."

Justice Thomas explained that in accord with the spirit of international conventions signed by the US, only Native Americans can legitamately be called citizens and it is they who shall decide the fate of American soil and who walks on it. But because the ancestors of most African-Americans were brought to this country against their will, Thomas added, today's Black US residents have the option to remain on US soil as do all Jewish-Americans who came to the US fleeing persecution.

"Legal Immigrants to the original thirteen colonies were not in fact legal," Thomas continued, "those colonies were the product of British imperialism and we all know how illegal imperialism is. As for the American Revolution, its legality alone is questionable, and with regard to the United States it spawned, each state has its roots in an illegal colony - ergo a nation of illegals, minus the exceptions already noted."

Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, herself a Jew, spoke with regard to the legitimacy of Jewish-Americans' claims to live in the US.

"Jews came to America to get away from the Inquisition, the Kossacks, Hitler, the Grand Mufti and whole lot of other Traif. What's more, we didn't have a country of our own in those days and the one we've got now is so mischug, you wonder sometimes what sort of promise they were talking about. My family and friends will stay here, thank you."

Europe meanwhile stands beside itself facing the prospect of absorbing millions of American castoffs. Ireland alone may have to reclaim as many as 34 million Irish-Americans; this in a country that currently holds less than 5 million of its own. Germany, Italy, France, China and a number of other nations face similar predicaments.