Saturday, August 19, 2006

Goalkeeping breed...still crazy after all these years

Goalkeeping breed…still crazy after all these years
Beware of goalkeepers. I’ve noticed throughout my days that they tend to be weird people. Why? Firstly, they are a one-off. Think about it. Compared with everyone else in the team, they have their own rules. So in that respect they are a bit like the spoilt kid who gets singled out by the rest of the class for special treatment.

But I think the way you become a ‘keeper plays a part, too. Let’s be honest, most goalkeepers end up between the sticks because they are rubbish everywhere else on the pitch, and they ‘end up’ there says it all. Who starts off actually wanting to be a goalkeeper? Most kids dream of being strikers- I certainly started up front.

There is definitely a particular kind of mindset required to do the job of a ‘keeper and that’s certainly a contributing factor to the weirdness. For starters, you basically have to be prepared to stick your head where everyone puts their feet and for that you have either to be pretty brave or completely mental. Then there is the pressure. If a striker doesn’t do his job properly and misses an open goal, it soon gets forgotten. But the equivalent mistake for a goalkeeper means he’s conceded and the whole world’s on his back. Goalkeepers can’t get away with mistakes like anyone else can.

But it would be wrong to say that they are all the same because there are different kinds of weirdness among the goalkeeping ranks of this world. Sometimes they can be the clowns of the dressing-room, the ones always getting into trouble and responsible for all pranks. Then you get the more mysterious ones who are harder to judge. These kind aren’t usually very outgoing and don’t say much. Then something goes in their heads and they suddenly have an outburst and go a bit crazy.

In the next category are the ones who like to see themselves as super-stars. Rene Higuita is a great example- the guy with the mullet who played for Columbia in the 1990s and did that ridiculous overhead kick/save thing against England. Bruce Grobbelaar with all of his dribbling antics is another example. A special mention must be given to Jorge Campos, the Mexican custodian. He is famous for all those psychedelic and vile kits. However, he had the last laugh as he made his team mates wear his custom made pink kits for his farewell match.

Then you have got the hard men, the ones who constantly want to show everyone how fearsome they are, and this is where Jens Lehmann comes into play. On the subject of German hard-men ‘keepers, they can also claim responsibility for Harald Schumacher. Now there is a nutcase. He should been charge with attempted murder for that challenge on Patrick Battison, of France, in the ’82 World Cup semi-final. And having put himself on the map with that little episode, he then brought on a book after he retired, talking about things such as the importance of sex for players during big international tournaments. Only a goalkeeper… 

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Abolishing Poverty

We live in a world that abounds in economic and natural resources and in an age of unprecedented wealth and technical prowess. And yet today, 1.2 billion people live in abject, dehumanizing environments. Over 400 million people over the age of 65 dwell in impoverished conditions. Tens of millions of the world’s urban population are actually homeless, sleeping in unsafe public places, on pavements, in construction sites, or graveyards. Many low-income countries have child mortality rates as high as 100 to 200 per 1,000 live births. Worldwide, over 8 million children die every year from diseases caused by dirty water or poisoned air. And it is a known fact that these figures underestimate the situation.

In response to this sobering, unacceptable picture, the world community in the year 2000 has resolved to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day. This laudable target has been chosen on the basis of definitions made by international financial institutions, who reckon that a person is poor who lives on less than $1.25 per day. From the outset, this definition is conceptually flawed. To consider that someone living on $1.50 or $2.00 per day is not poor is to ignore, unacceptably, the impoverished existence of millions of inhabitants of this planet. Furthermore, the reality of poverty is much broader than what can be defined through income. Poverty is not a question of income; it is an issue of the poor being denied their basic rights. It encompasses powerlessness, a sense of humiliation, violation of dignity, social isolation, and deprivation. Poverty is both the cause and consequence of a denial of human rights.

The condition of poverty is neither inevitable nor immutable. It is a constructed social and economic reality. The poor are nor poor because they are physiologically or mentally inferior to others living in better conditions. Nor are they poor because they have a different set of values. On the contrary, poor people care about many of the things that other people care about: happiness, family, children, livelihood, peace, and security. Their poverty is often a direct or indirect consequence of society’s failure to establish its social and economic relations on the basis of equity and fairness.

Numerous factors contribute to poverty, and they exist at every level from the most local to the international. At the national level, two factors are amongst the most complex and politically controversial. The first is the distribution of power, authority, and resources among different levels of the Government; second is the equality of “governance” in terms of responsiveness, accountability, transparency, and the quality of its engagement with civil society. But what can be done to make governments and developing countries more accountable toward the poor?

At the 1993 World conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna, poverty was deemed to be a human rights violation. Now that it is acknowledged that this is the case, the international community has a responsibility to strive to abolish poverty in the same way it is responsible for ridding the planet of slavery, torture, and more recently, apartheid. All human beings stem from the precept that fundamental principles should be respected in the treatment of all human beings. States owe a duty to protect the life, liberty, and security of their citizens. They must create the conditions to meet the basic human need to live in peace with dignity.
Poverty dehumanizes half of the world’s inhabitants, leaving the other half totally indifferent. That such massive and systematic daily violations do not shake the conscience of millions is certainly one of the most important moral issues in this century. On the one hand, equality in the attribution of rights is proclaimed, while on the other, inequality is the distribution of goods persists, maintained by unjust political and social policies at national and global levels. 

Treating poverty as a human rights violation implies realizing the concept of international justice. This subjects relations between states and nations and their citizens to one structure of global justice, governing relations among human beings. All people would be equal, regardless of race, religion, creed, gender, or age. All people would live in a global society and benefit from absolute and indivisible rights- like the right to life, guaranteed by the international community. These rights are entitlements, and individual nations are the guarantors or duty bearers. But a moral obligation weighs on us all- particularly in the case of failed or impoverished nations- to help eradicate poverty. The principle of global justice, therefore, means establishing the conditions for a more equitable distribution of resources among the world’s inhabitants so as to satisfy certain absolute rights.

If we were to abolish poverty on the grounds that it is a systematic and continuous violation of human rights, the condition of poverty would have a new status. Instead of being a deplorable consequence or accepted status quo, it would become an injustice. With this shift in perception, the poor would become entitlement to claim compensation on the grounds that their impoverished conditions are a denial of all or part of their civil, cultural, economic, social and political rights.

This shift, however, requires creating public awareness of the concept of universal justice, a goal that is within our reach. Galvanizing public opinion, to make all citizens concerned with the prevalence of poverty as an affront to universal justice, is one step.

There is also a need to harness political will at the international and national levels. International justice must include a foundation of legislative measures that will hold perpetrators responsible. Such a legal framework would provide the poor with the right to gain compensation for their status.

It is true; we are all different. True, cultural diversity is a fact like biodiversity. True, we are all unique- the world is peopled by 6 billion unique individuals. And this is what makes our humanity. It is moral, ethical, and legal imperative to abolish poverty worldwide so as to secure long-lasting peace and prosperity on this planet. And this goal must be embedded in the conscience of all.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Let The Games Be Grim

These days, the biggest money-making TV sports are on Pay-Per-View! Bloody boxing matches, bone crunching wrestling spectaculars and organ-rupturing Ultimate Fighting Championships! Every time one is broadcast they rake in millions! But what about boring sports like tennis, golf and others? They're all snoozefests no one in their right mind would ever plop down a fortune to see! So how can these bland sports start raking in those big Pay-Per-View bucks? By simply..

For truly exciting, dangerous and audience-grabbing tennis, nothing beats the mined court. Players are encouraged to memorize the locations of these unmarked mines, but when running for the ball in a heated volley, they might just forget! Also, a well placed shot can set off a mine and send an opponent flying! Doubles matches are particularly entertaining!

An unfortunate victim of Mine Tennis

Few sports are as dull to watch as professional golf. But when a hornet's nest is suspended just a few feet above the ball, the game demands an absolutely flawless swing on the part of the golfer and the excitement soars! This handicap adds a new challenge to the game that will attract more even more violence and tragedy-loving fans to televised golf.

Roller Derby
A popular game in the 1950's, roller derby can once again attract millions of fans by staging matches atop tall buildings..without guardrails. The fickle laws of centrifugal force will become more important to the game than ever, and higher the building, the higher the number of paying viewers!

Ski Jumping
Even a somewhat exciting sport like ski jumping can become boring and repititious, skier after skier. Answer : a solid brick barrier. The participants must now perform expertly clearing it- or else! To insure that the viewers will pay to see this sport, the area around the wall isn't cleaned up until the competition has finished.

A sport that consists of jumping up and down and smashing unreturnable shots makes volleyball a big "so what?" But with the simple addition of a barbed wire, viewers will be on their seats waiting to see a simple foul turn really foul. Pay-per-view promoter's accounts will become green as the sand at these matches becomes red!

Downhill Ski Slalom
Currently, professional skiers lazily wind their way down a course, bumping and bending trail markers as they go. But simply chaining hungry grizzly bear to each flag returns pinpoint precision to the sport! Skiers will consistently break records trying to get off the course as quickly as possible, and viewers will pony up big bucks to watch it!

Inadvertantly lifting one's head or arm during a luge costs an athlete a nanosecond on the timeclock. Who cares? But the addition of a razor-sharp wire strung across the course will cost an athelete much more, all viewed by a bloodthirsty home audience, eagerly waiting for an athelete to inadvertantly lift his head or arm!

Friday, February 24, 2006

The A TO DISHUM of bollywood blockbusters

The Bollywood blockbuster has caught the imagination of the entire planet. Efforts are on to fully understand the highly educative world of these crazy capers.

Take those spectacular sound effects. They are, some say, to aid the untrained ear in differentiating a comedy scene from, say, an emotional scene. Hence the TWWAAIING after the hero has delivered a funny dialogue. Or the lamentable screeching of violins beseeching us to cry at the supposed tear jerker of a dialogue. Or that reverberating DHISHKIAOON with a gun shot. Even if the gun has a three foot silencer attached to it.

While we are still on sound and music, let me reveal the commotion our movies cause abroad. The ease with which Bollywood stars slide their hands over the guitar, (twisted faces, wide-open mouths, agonizing over creating music) has put the likes of Santana and Slash into a tizzy.

Moving on from the lyrical horror to a twenty leagues under the ground horror flick. A complete guide to life after death, it will convince you to use only ketchups and jams for make-up once you become a ghost. And to hysterically Ha ha! Hoo hoo! Hee hee! every soul that came your way. Or, if you're a woman, to carry a candle in the night, wearing the whitest of white saris.

And let not those famous action sequences escape our notice. Dare-devilled to put a commando to shame, they have inspired many armies around the world to study the legendary bullet dodging techniques of the Bollywood hero. the best way to make bollocks out of bullets, it has been observed, is to sway wildly, let out a tarzan like cry and run towards your enemy(preferably in slow motion). When hit, increase the swaying and the decibels of the cry.

There's just one little thing left to mention. The millions of questions in the eager young minds of the country. For instance, when the villain points the gun at the hero, why does he wait till the hero gives him a solid punch or listen to the hero burying him in a flurry of meaningless statistics? How come the twenty goons wait eagerly for their thrashing. One at a time.

Doesn't take a genius to realize that yeah..its rubbish after all and hey..if at all you plan to go for a Bollywood flick, make sure you pluck your brains out of your skull and leave them at home!