• Why Thomas Mueller Should Be Banned From The World Cup

    'Hullo. Nice to see you.'

    ‘Hullo. Nice to see you.’

    In many arguments, there are two protagonists.

    There’s one who cheats and the other who gets angry.

    As experience in politics, business and even love will teach you, cheats tend to prosper more than the angry.

    Cheats are underhand, the angry are overt. Cheats maintain control, the angry lose theirs.

    So in countless sporting events, it’s just as it was when you were seven years old, thumping the living daylights out of your older brother who’d just stolen your favorite toy.

  • The Strangest Thing About The World Cup So Far

    Robin Van Persie can't quite believe it either.

    Robin Van Persie can’t quite believe it either.

    It’s as if your mother got divorced, took tango lessons and took up with a Swedish artist.

    It’s as if your local vicar stood in the pulpit and railed against “that damned God person who’s raining disaster and misery on us all.”

    It’s as if Hillary Clinton actually said what she really meant.

    The first few days of the World Cup have thrown up something so strange, so painfully bizarre that they might drive the average soccer fan to (additional) drink.

    All these teams are actually trying to win.

  • Nishimura: When A Referee Becomes A Spectacle

    Neymar scored. But not for the right reasons.

    Neymar scored. But not for the right reasons.

    Referees are like goalkeepers.

    Make one mistake and the whole world comes down upon you.

    In the goalkeeper’s case, you can retrieve your error with a later save, or even a headed goal in the last minute.

    In the referee’s case, the only real way is to make another error favoring the team whom you’ve unjustly punished.

    You’d think, therefore, that a referee’s chances of redeeming themselves would be greater.

    I gave an unjust penalty? Oh, that’s OK, I’ll give another one for the other team a bit later and we’ll all be fine.

  • The Stupidity Of Living Life To The Fullest

    You’ll see it in dating profiles and works of self-help.

    Well, I suppose dating profiles are works of self-help.

    You’ll see it in hagiographic profiles of those who have overcome adversity or merely succeeded beyond normal people’s wildest dreams.

    You’ll even see it in some modern religions, desperate to be relevant, as well as to take money from your spirit.

    At heart, it’s a warning and a prescription: Live Life To The Fullest.

    Implied is, of course, that your life is empty.

  • One Man’s Insane Love For House Hunters International

    They come from all over the place.

    They behave as if they’re all over the place.

    Especially some of the Americans, who arrive in Europe and are overcome with a patronizing nausea that European fridges are the size of wine fridges in North Carolina.

    Those particular Americans know exactly what they want and they’re damn well gonna get it.

    In the end, they don’t.

    But they shriek a lot along the way, as if to register their resistance.

  • No, You Are Not Sensitive

    I want to talk about my feelings.

    Actually, they’re so twisted that even shrinks don’t want to talk about them, so let’s talk about yours.

    There’s a phrase I’ve heard over and over again — often when meeting people for the first time.

    I’m a really sensitive person.”

    The minute this is said, my stomach tends to turn toward one of the poles and makes a troubled journey.

    Several possibilities follow the bile juices on their jagged route.

    First: This person may be easily hurt.

    Second: This person may have a vast ego.

  • Excitement And Depression: The Twin American Obsessions

    I came to America because I wanted to watch live football, basketball and baseball.

    It’s shallow, I know.

    But I thought America was the home of shallow, so that kind of sentiment would be appreciated.

    I wasn’t ready, though, for the nuances of American vocabulary.

    And two words came at me again and again, with such regularity that I haven’t stopped thinking about them in the 14 years I’ve been here.

    Every time something pissed me off, caused me to pout even momentarily or even have a slight moody for the rest of the day, someone would utter these words: “Are you depressed?”

  • Why You Should Never Have Goals

    You’re not an American, and you’re especially not Hillary Clinton, if you don’t have goals.

    Americans are told very early on that life is about setting goals and then bulging every sinew to reach them.

    This seems simple, linear even.

    That’s the problem.

    Life’s path is as linear as that of a snake after ten Becks, two whiskey chasers and a large rat pie.

    It draws you here, entices you there and slaps you constantly from every direction in every part of your being.

    Yet, if you’re goal-oriented, you’re supposed to ignore all that.

  • Why Taylor Swift Knows More About Relationships Than You Do

    In times of distress, stress or psychological regression, many people turn to Taylor Swift.

    It’s understandable.

    She has appeared to navigate the stormy waters of love by, well, making lots of money out of them.

    Her ark of triumphant retribution seems to float through the torrents that might drown lesser beings and sails happily onto the dry land of the next awards show stage.

    She has admitted to limiting herself to relationships that inspire songs.

  • Chris Christie And Baseball Writers In Never-Never-Knew-Land

    “I don’t recall,” is always the best one.

    How can anyone prove what you remember and what you don’t?

    The funniest part of this line — used by people as similar as Ronald Reagan and Piers Morgan — is that there’s always the allowance for this further quote: “The minute I walk out of here, I just might remember. Life’s funny like that.”

    A close second to “I don’t recall” is “I didn’t know.”

    It’s classically political.

    “I’ll let you do this, but if it anyone ever asks me, I’ll say I didn’t know.”