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Oh my. Jun. 25th, 2010 @ 11:02 am
So, I was feeling kind of sad, and then Chas updated me on some World Cup developments, and I am less sad.

Because I was just reminded, before I go on to the actual discussion: I saw a weird commercial on SBS. It had a woman saying something like, "Soccer - or as we call it, football -" and I remain confused as hell, because not only was this on Australian TV, but she had an Australian accent.

There's a reason our team is called the Socceroos. We call it SOCCER. Football is... well, really it's a term that comes with an adjective, as a rule, because Australian Rules Football is the most defaultish, but that's usually called "footy", whereas football as a term is applied to all the forms of football - American football, rugby, Australian Rules, Gaelic, etc.

Association Football, however? Is soccer. We're not the Poms, here.

Heh, they just showed a funny clip from Santo Sam and Ed's Cup Fever: "Shocking miss on that goal. My mother could have scored that." Cut to: Proving this, with the assistance of Santo's mother. Who did, indeed, successfully kick the goal.

Oh, man, most adorable thing ever: Italian team singing along to their national anthem, one of the little South African kids who line up with them, while the rest look straight ahead like they're supposed to, looks up and gives a very "dude, wtf" expression to the Italian singing loudest and off-keyest.

Hee.

In case people are worried about spoilers for stuff. )

At some point: My rant on why I hate hate hate the vuvuzela. Cheap plastic monotonal crap is not the traditional musical culture of South Africa, dammit. The traditional musical culture of South Africa is rich and vibrant and beautiful.

(Okay, apparently that point is now.)

I can think of only one other nation in the world whose national identity is so intrinsically linked to music as it is for South Africa. That nation is Wales, the land of song. South Africa has so much music.

And with the vuvuzelas droning, you can't hear the singing.

And seriously, which would you rather hear? A monotone buzz like the stadium is filled with bees, or Shosholoza in multi-part harmony?

I know my preference. It starts: "Shosholoza, ku lezontaba..."

(Also, if you don't know the song Shosholoza, you need to. Link goes to YouTube upload of what the uploader merely calls "the best version"; I can tell you that the performers are Ladysmith Black Mombazo. And theirs *is* the best pre-recorded version, it's true. Ignore the comments and probably the pictures on the video as well.)

Because I forgot what I was actually going to post about Jun. 23rd, 2010 @ 03:57 pm
So, I picked up some new PS3 games yesterday For Cheap. One was a shooty game called Fracture (or possibly Frac/ture), which is awesome, except for the part where apparently whoever designed the sound did it REALLY BADLY, because the sound just broke and stopped working. Too many sounds, too many channels, it couldn't cope.

We'll see if it works better next time; in any case I need to dig up the receipt for my PS3, because it's ever-so-slightly borken. I say slightly because there is *one game* that worked previously and now doesn't; I took the game to Gametraders and they tested it on their PS3 and it worked fine, so it's my PS3 that's the problem.

Last night, we were watching the World Cup, and a commentator said something about it being a bad thing if a player looked like he was trying to fake getting hurt to draw a free kick. I made a sarcastic remark about it; Chas said, no, if the ref thinks you're diving, then any doubtful decisions will start going against you, because he'll assume you're trying to con him.

This makes no sense to me, because if this were true, I can't see why Italy would ever get a free kick again. Surely it hasn't somehow escaped the refs, alone of all the world, that Italy dive, fake pain, and fall over any time they feel the breeze caress their baby-soft skin?

If having a record for simulation actually made the refs trust you less, then Italy wouldn't get a penalty without personal confirmation by the Lord God Himself, to Whom all hearts are open.

Basically, Kavalee has a point.

The World Cup Jun. 13th, 2010 @ 11:18 am
So, I was having some vague ambivalence issues about which teams I wanted to do well this World Cup. I mean, the UK is in for a rough few years ahead, it looks like, and soccer matters so much to them, and England doing well would make the English people happy... but my British allegiances lie pretty strongly with Scotland, and, well. You know. Scotland likes Diego Maradona. Yes, he's a cheating little bastard, but he cheated against England, so.

Then there's South Africa - also a country going through a hard time for quite some time now, and a country of which I am, technically speaking, a citizen. But my dissatisfaction with the South African government has long robbed me of allegiance to South Africa except when represented by the Springboks. The amaSoccerBokke Bafana Bafana may be, but they aren't the Bokke.

Which brings us to Australia, a nation of which my citizenship is less a technicality. Last World Cup the Socceroos made it as far as the semifinals before being robbed by those cheating diving bastard Italians, but I just don't have a sense of real national allegiance in soccer, as opposed to, say, cricket.

However, I have, in fact, found a new favourite national soccer team.

And it's the USA.

Not just for hanging on for a plucky draw against England - I'm watching the game, and the USA team are remarkable, demonstrating a total lack of the things that irritate the hell out of me about professional soccer.

I've seen several US players receive some viciously dangerous tackles. They cry less about it than Italian players do when they haven't actually been touched. They pretty much go down, clearly in pain, then... get up again.

I haven't seen them dive at all, themselves.

US keeper Howard just watched Rooney fall over trying to make a header for a goal, and he gave him a sort of friendly pat on the shoulder as he went to retrieve the ball. That's nice.

I just... it's like the US soccer team are demonstrating all the best characteristics of American-ness and none of the bad ones, right now. John Oliver spent a couple of days with the team for the Daily Show, and on the Bugle he was talking about how - to his horror, as an England fan - he really liked them, because they were genuinely nice guys with no ego. It comes across on the field.

... A US player just got a yellow card, but his bad challenge was a little reckless, but not *nasty* - it was slightly careless, is all. And he didn't immediately bounce to his feet and try to pretend he totally didn't do that.

So basically, go Team America, you are the nicest soccer players I've ever seen.
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