• Why Being Picky Gets You Nowhere

    Some people like to flatter themselves.

    It could be that they simply don’t get enough flattery from others.

    Or it could be that self-delusion is the only way they can get through from dawn to porn.

    There’s one phrase that you hear self-flatterators use quite often: “I’m very picky.”

    This, they assume, shows them in a good light.

    They believe it expresses discernment. They believe it speaks of them like bow-tied experts, examining a myriad objets d’art and deciding that only one or two are worthy of note.

  • Subaru. Sanctimonious Or Sanctimonious?

    Disaster can come in twos.

    First, there was the sanctimonious Subaru commercial that covertly encourages you to buy one, drive recklessly and live forever.

    Of course, it doesn’t say that.

    Instead, you see several actors proclaim that after a nasty accident, though the Subaru still looked like a Subaru, only slightly uglier, the occupants “lived.”

    What sort of living state they were in isn’t made clear.

    But they didn’t die. So rejoice. And while you’re rejoicing, buy a Subaru. So you can live too.

    One can only imagine the reaction of a family whose loved ones died in, say, a Subaru.

  • 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.