Mineirazo

Mineirazo

Brazil’s road to the semi-finals in this World Cup had begun to remind me a lot of France in 1998. The team appeared to be riding an increasing wave of public emotion and getting results, sometimes luckily and without ever convincing. Tonight’s emphatic result in Belo Horizonte brought that comparison to an abrupt end and exposed the psychological fragility of this Brazilian side. After conceding the killer blow that was the second German goal the Seleçao stopped playing for the next five minutes. Unfortunately that was all the time their opponents needed to score another three. Like a modern-day “Maracanazo”,…

Got a feeling I’ve been here before…

Got a feeling I’ve been here before…

In 1973, when Donald Fagen snarled disparagingly of “Show Biz Kids” in their “Steely Dan t-shirts”, he couldn’t have expected that forty years later he’d be embarking on epic cross-country tours, singing the same line night after night to thousands of fans dressed in over-priced garb emblazoned with the name of his very same band. The irony is not lost on Fagen nor his Steely Dan co-founder Walter Becker. Having given up touring in the mid-seventies, retreating to the studio to focus on the pursuit of jazz-rock perfection, the duo reformed a live band in the early nineties and have…

Where everybody knows your name?

A couple of years ago I wrote about what I had perceived as a growing trend in Hollywood for inserting the name of a movie’s main character into its title. While this tendency has not subsided completely, lately I’ve begun to notice other naming devices used by film and television producers (especially within the comedy genre) that do little to dispel perceptions that the industry’s creative well hath run dry. I no longer consider myself an avid viewer of network television, nor a frequent movie-goer (which I’d like to think says more about the deteriorating quality of both media than…

Mary Help of Christians

Mary Help of Christians

This is the Mary Help of Christians on East 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A. It was built on the site of the old St. Patrick’s Cathedral, took six years to build and was completed in 1917. Modeled on the Basilica di Maria Ausiliatrice in Turin, the new church immediately became the spiritual home for a multitude of immigrant families in the then largely Italian community, and has grown as a place of social and cultural significance in the East Village for almost a century. In 1953 it was the venue for the wedding of FDR’s daughter, Sara…

Verpiana Memories

Verpiana Memories

When I was a boy my best friend was another boy named Joe. We must have met when we were about four or five, and from that point on spent what seemed like most weekends together. Thanks to this near inseparable friendship, Joe’s parents quickly became close friends with mine. Both were artists — his father a sculptor and his mother a ceramicist — and both were pretty successful in their respective fields. My family and his would often go to the cinema or have dinner together at the weekends, and then one of us would sleep over at the…

Football without borders

Football without borders

As you will not need reminding, next week’s Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will be the first such game to involve two teams from Germany. The emphatic nature of both clubs’ semi-final victories has caused the media to focus on the fact, although it is already the fourth time teams from a single country have disputed the final of Europe’s most prestigious cup competition. Spain, Italy and England had each achieved the same distinction prior to this weekend’s upcoming Battle of the Bundesliga. In 2000 Real Madrid beat Valencia in Paris, in 2003 Milan overcame Juventus…

The Eternity of a Moment

The Eternity of a Moment

I’ve never been much of a planner. I know what I like, and I usually know what I want, but rarely do I have any idea how to go about getting either. And yet life happens irrespectively. So from time to time I am inclined to ask myself, Well, how did I get here? It’s a timeless and universal question that invariably pops into the mind of every adult when they realize that their life is moving more quickly than they can comprehend. Yet as the past begins to stretch away behind me, the easier it becomes to recognize and…

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