This bugs me. Have you noticed the practice of television camera operators to focus too closely on faces? No one stands that close to another person. If anyone did, the other person would push him or her away. You can't do that with a television. You are forced to inspect every blemish on a person's face, the inside of a nose, or the interior of an ear.
This practice probably comes from boredom on the part of camera operators. They feel the need to do something, so they adjust the distance. Why can't they just sit there and read a book? They should focus the camera at a reasonable distance and let the bloody thing go.
Stop the presses.
Wire services are reporting that Prince William wants FIFA to postpone the vote for president, joining the call of the English Football Association. Of course, this is BIG news in the UK, but will be ignored elsewhere.
There have also been reports of “concern” voiced by sponsors, which the press takes as a sign of the imminent demise of FIFA. Sponsors will not abandon FIFA out of grave fear of a competitor jumping into the void. Words of concern are only that: words. Each is considering its own brand, not FIFA. All know that the game, where they receive exposure, has nothing to do with politics in Zurich.
I am amazed at how little the press understands the world of sport politics and sport sponsoring. FIFA is made up of more than 200 individual country federations, each with one vote. Each federation is run by a mini egomaniac, who rules his fiefdom with an iron hand similar in manner to the FIFA president. The English have one vote. Few, if any, will heed their call to abstain from voting, because many, if not most, dislike English arrogance (they claim to have invented the game and to being its true home), whining (about losing the 2018 bid), and demanding transparency (few federations want this).
The English press has dreams of Zurich turning into Cairo, with the dictator toppled from his throne by their urging. Sadly, they will have to pack up their gear and return home once Mr. Blatter is re-elected and their bubble is burst.
Fans don’t care about what goes on in Zurich. They look no further than places like Bernabao, San Siro, Stanford Bridge, or even a local park, where a ball is kicked on Sunday mornings.
Saying of the Day
It’s difficult to get a man to understand something,
when his salary depends on him not understanding it.
I am starting to hoard candles...
The German government announced that all nuclear power stations will be closed by 2022. The country currently uses nuclear energy for about one quarter of its annual needs. The plan is to build wind mills and cut consumption. I hope that someone has noticed that wind is fickle and that people are rarely thrifty. That's why I'm buying candles. I guess that I should also stock up on canned and dry goods, because the refrigerator may quit on a calm day...
I guess that politicians have decided to trade fear of nuclear power for higher unemployment. No one seems to have considered how they will power the world's leading industrial machine. I have heard the word hope in many comments on the news. Hope is not a plan.
Many seem to think that football (soccer to some less-enlightened) is the most significant human endeavor, which explains why stories about FIFA (football’s governing body...for the even less-enlightened) are dominating news media this week around the globe (except in the United States, of course). For those who live in a parallel universe, FIFA (or rather members of its executive committee and its president) have been accused (once again!) of bribery and corruption. The UK press have been leading the charge to expose the “rot” (their word) and unseat the leader (who they particularly hate and accuse of driving “the Game” into disrupt), partly because they feel miffed about England not being awarded the lucrative 2018 World Cup competition. They cannot understand how Russia could have beaten them: it has to be corruption and bribery. As always, it’s about money.
The chief villain is FIFA president Sepp Blatter, a 70+ Swiss lawyer, who has reigned supreme for 14 years. Before that, he was Secretary General, so he knows where he buried all the bodies for his “equally corrupt” predecessor. Many in the press accuse him of being an autocratic ruler, which does not play well in democracies (whose governments apply many of the same tactics). But, because the president is voted by a secret ballot of like-minded cronies, the press calls foul. Blanket press coverage is due to the fact that the presidential election is taking place this week...and there is only one candidate. There was one challenger, but he was accused...you guessed it...of corruption and bribery and been forced to withdraw.
Yesterday, poor Mr. Blatter was forced to face the hostile press and answer questions, which he is rarely required to do. He was clearly angry about having to even speak with people that are clearly beneath him in life’s peeking order. I can imagine that his heroes are people like Mobuto, Gaddafi, and Assad, who never have to endure a hostile press conference or answer unwanted questions. He surely prefers fawning sycophants, who bow, scrape, and ask no questions: men more interested in pleasing the boss than helping the sport.
But, that is not my point. I have dealt with many sport federation presidents and functionaries. Mr. Blatter is merely one example of the ilk. (I have met him and have friends that know him well. He is a nice man). I never felt that these men were corrupt or even greedy. Sure, they made money and lived well on other’s money, but they were driven by something else: ego. Many were short men (at the time, all were men), which explains their drive to dominate the circle in which they moved. They needed to have a huge ego massaged by holding an office and enjoying the trappings it provided. Of course, the larger federations have money (FIFA has the most), which these men control and use to stay in power. It is not unlike US politicians using pork to enhance and maintain their standing and hold onto office. They enjoy giving away other people’s money to benefit themselves. Money and power...
UK press moaning about “the Game” being dragged into disrupt is unfounded. Nothing will hurt the sport. Fans are interested only in what happens on the field. In between games, some might read an article about the politics, but only if there is nothing in the newspaper about players or a game. The media excitement this week is a tempest in a teapot, to use an English metaphor for an English media storm, which will die done once Mr. Blatter is unanimously re-elected by people that he has supported with generous FIFA “financial support”. Nothing will change, and stories will disappear from news media. He controls the money, so he can buy the votes. Once elected, he will return to doing what all sport federation presidents do best: maintaining his powerful position using funds generated by the sport.
Saying of the Day
The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience,
the stupid by necessity, and the brute by instinct.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Heroes and Villains
Once again, the idiotic and bloody Balkan War has raised its ugly head and tarnished news reports with horrible memories. There seems to be a never-ending parade of "finally arrested" villains from that dark period. I recall living less than 1000 kilometers from the war and feeling no impact, beyond confusion about its cause and sympathy for the enduring suffering of innocent people. Even reading the history of the Balkan region did not lead to complete understanding.
Now, some news reports remind me of my incomprehension. Since that time, I have acquired friends in Serbia and have met many friendly people in that country...which adds to my lack of understanding of what I see on television.
In that region of the world, it is painfully obvious that one man's villain is another man's hero...and vice versa. The moment one villain is arrested, after decades of living amongst the population of one country, opposing sides start praising the arrest or maligning authorities for making the arrest. Someone that treated other people so barbarically can still be honored by those that welcomed the butchering.
As I have repeatedly stated: man is a bad animal.
Since all good comedians reside on the left side of political spectrum (Republicans are not allowed to have a sense of humor), they must be wetting themselves in anticipation and joy at the bumper crop of comic fodder in the presidential race. The turkey from Alaska/Arizona provides enough material for the entire industry.
But, she is thick-skinned or oblivious. The increased attention merely boosts her earning potential, and personal wealth interests her more than political office, which entails work, having real responsibility, and limits earning/spending. The rest seem to be well-meaning, but equally fertile ground for the comic circuit.
Let the ribbing begin...
It's official. Americans that watch television have boring (or no) taste in music.
I have just run through the highlights of the American Idol, which is the first time that I have ever viewed this program.
The best performer did not win; the most boring one did. Others had better voices, more range, more versatility, and more personality. But, they had no chance, because Jesus helped the guy win.
So, we know that historical figure's taste in music. Boring...
Sunset of the Day
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.