Friday, July 14, 2006

1. I know the fuss has more or less died down now that Zidane apologized publicly about the headbutt incident and identified Materazzi's taunts in vague terms of insults to his mom and sister. But the following segment from an article my friend Sepideh forwarded to me contains some noteworthy information about the team Materazzi will be playing for this year (assuming, of course, that the Italian soccer leagues survive the corruption scandals that are hitting several teams)

Materazzi on the other hand, will be playing this year for the Italian team Lazio, where his father was the former coach. Lazio's fan club, The Ultras, are notorious for their Fascist-friendly politics. Lazio's hardcore Ultras, known as the "Irriducibili," have members in Italy's extra-parliamentary far right and try to use the club to recruit. The group has frequently used racist and anti-Semitic banners, one time hanging a 50-foot banner that said their opponents were a "team of niggers."

2. Meanwhile, FIFA has summoned both Materazzi and Zidane, and they've also hinted that they may strip Zidane of the Golden Ball award.

Great, first they cheat Cristiano Ronaldo out of the best young player award, and now they are threatening to take away Zidane's well-deserved designation as best player.

(Can someone explain to me how C. Ronaldo was leading in the polls as the best young player until the very end and suddenly FIFA inexplicably decides to go against the people's vote and give the award to Podolski. I mean I voted for our own lucky Number 13, Hossein Kaabi, in a moment of nationalist support for his valiant efforts, but Criastono Ronaldo was clearly the best young player, and one of the best players overall. I don't get why there is so much hostility towards the poor boy)

3. Alright, enough of that, this will be my last soccer-related post (of course i am not promising anything, but i'll make a good honest-to-god effort to stop yapping about soccer).

So, in the spirit of moving away from all things FIFA, may I interest you in watching this live performance of Jolene by the one and only Dolly Parton. Make sure you listen to the charming and self-effacing introduction she provides for her london audience.