And now, for your intellectual betterment, a peek into my complex and highly rational decision-making process:
3:44p – As I put the girls down for their nap, my thoughts skip ahead to this evening when I’m scheduled to teach a one-on-one English course. My thoughts abruptly stop skipping and slump to the ground in passive aggressive gloom. For one thing, my special vacation-edition sinus infection rose from the grave only hours ago, scaring all forms of energy and intelligence into hiding. For another thing, I’ve worked every single evening this week and am progressing from the Denial stage of mother-guilt to the Weepy. Plus, my intuition is gently insistent about me needing a break.
3:45p – On the other hand, my brain chides, my paycheck this month could use a little fattening. It hardly makes sense to pinch pennies at the grocery store if I’m going to go around canceling work hours, and what if my student is really counting on this lesson? I can’t just avoid my job on a whim; freelancing doesn’t work if you’re not responsible enough to actually, you know, work.
3:46p – I fall back on the old standby:
3:49p – Things get a little heated:
3:52p – I fall on the other old standby: rocking in a corner with my thumb in my mouth until the need for responsible decision-making magically disappears.
3:53p – It doesn’t.
3:54p – I contemplate checking myself in to a mental institution to get help for my blossoming schizophrenia… but mostly to avoid deciding anything about this evening.
3:55p – Crickets chirp unhelpfully.
3:56p – My student calls and cancels our lesson.
3:57p – I dust off my hands with the satisfaction of a competent, professional adult and the reward of yet another decision well made.
Disclaimer #1: As much as it hurts the English major in me to do so, I have to admit that I like the Twilight books. True, they are the literary opposite of Hemingway, but sometimes a girl just wants to curl up and devour 500 delicious pages of sap. That said, the first two films convinced me that the entire cast had missed the bus to the World Poker Tour and was taking its collective lack of expression out on teenage girls everywhere.
Disclaimer #2: Nothing else terribly appealing was showing in the theater yesterday. Not that “Eclipse” was a strong contender, but I wasn’t in the mood for big explosions or family dramas. Process of elimination + expiring movie coupons + the girls at a babysitter’s + a too-filling lunch that precluded the possibility of a dinner date = me with red cheeks whispering into the ticket window that I would like two for the 8:00 showing please.
Disclaimer #3: Daniel and I brought a bag of M&Ms into the theater with us to turn the cinematic torture into a kind of drinking game: one M&M each time an actor said a line without any emotion whatsoever, two each time a girl in the audience squealed, three each time a glaring plot hole presented itself, and four each instance of gratuitous shirtlessness.
Disclaimer #4: I would like to apologize to my longsuffering husband, my remaining scraps of dignity, and teenage girls everywhere.
Disclaimer #5: This live blog is 100% organic and spoiler-free.
8:19p – The lights dim. The music starts. We ready our bag of candy.
8:23p – We realize our plan is shot. The lively inflection in the Italian dubbing raises the quality of acting so much that the movie is actually watchable.
10:15p – The movie ends. Daniel is disappointed that a certain lead female character wasn’t killed off, and I am disappointed that the hilarious awfulness in which I planned to revel failed to materialize.
10:16p – We go out to dinner after all.
Mario: “It’s-a party time!”
Luigi: “Awesome. Hey look, Goombas!”
Mario: “Uh… Luigi? You know Goombas are one of the unfriendlier species, right? I mean, you can keep trying to shake their hands if you want, but they will continue beating you to death.”
Luigi: “Yeah, yeah. It’s just—”
Mario: “Try jumping on their heads, like so.”
Mario: “Seriously, Luigi? This is my head. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Please get off now.”
Luigi: “Sorry, bro.”
Mario: “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.”
Luigi: “As long as I’m up here, feel free to direct all blame toward the woman holding the Wii remote.”
Mario: “Ah. There did seem to be higher-than-average levels of ineptitude, even for you.”
Luigi: “Thanks. Oh, see? You can have your precious head back while I go retrieve the coin in between those Piranha Plants up there.”
Mario: “Are you sure? Isn’t that a little risk—”
Luigi: “Man, those head-devouring flowers pack a sting! Take two.”
Mario: “Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but are you sure a single coin is worth risking your life over? I mean, one coin gets us, like, half a lick of a mushroom… if the Toad in charge is not PMS-ing for once.”
Luigi: “Take three, wheee!”
Mario: “You might want to try jumping over the plant next time.”
Luigi: “Right on. Take four!”
Luigi: “I’m sensing some repressed rage over there. Wanna take it out on that angel over there?”
Mario: “You mean the flying turtle? Sometimes I’m pretty confident Mom dropped you on your head a time or two.”
Mario: “Or two thousand.”
Luigi: “Hey angel! Yeah, you, punk! You wanna piece of me? Well check out this move—”
Mario: “Have you considered not-dying as a viable option for this game? You seem to be having fun and all, but Bowser’s up ahead waiting to cream us and I could use some help.”
Luigi: “Oh yeah, of course. Hey look, a shortcut!”
Mario: “Wait! That’s quicksan—”
Mario: “On second thought, maybe I don’t need the help.”
Bethany: “Hey, where did Luigi go?”
Daniel: “You ran him into the quicksand with only one life left.”
Daniel: “He died.”
Mario: “I’m screwed.”
Daniel: “Yeah, pretty much.”
Bethany: “Who wants to play again?”
As we ate our dinner in a huddle next to our ferociously windy Dublin campsite last night, a neighbor came over to talk to us.
“So you’re going to Limerick tomorrow, are you?” he asked. “Just make sure you arrive early enough to watch the hurling match.”
“Ah yes,” we said. “Thanks for reminding us,” we said. “Just one little thing, though… What is hurling?”
“Why, it’s the island’s favorite sport!” he answered. “You’ll be wanting to see it, though beware of taking the little ones outside if Limerick loses.”
We took his advice to heart, watching the televised match from the safety of our hotel room this afternoon. And just because you’ve always wanted to know about the ancient Gaelic sport of hurling (as seen by an athletically-challenged American who hadn’t even heard the word 24 hours ago), I’ve taken the liberty of narrating the match for you. Grab a room temperature Guinness, and we’ll begin.
3:29p – A girl leads the crowd in a patriotic song, while the crowd cheers and beats wooden drums. The camera keeps filming close-ups of the players’ backsides in their very short shorts.
3:30p – Exactly half an hour late, the game begins. The sport looks like something that Happy Gilmore would have invented, had he been comfortable in very short shorts—a cross between baseball, field hockey, and fight club. Players in green (Limerick) are whacking with hurleys (bats) at the sliotar (ball)… but mostly whacking the players in blue (Tipperary) who are trying to kick, throw, catch, and possibly bite the ball.
3:33p – My attempts to understand the announcer are 94% useless, even though I’m fairly sure we speak the same language.
3:35p – Natalie about the Limerick player in control of the ball: “I think he is trying to not win.” Lo and behold, she is right, as Tipperary scores.
3:38p – Someone has scored something by hitting the ball somewhere, and it counts as points rather than as a goal, and are you confused yet?
3:39p – Natalie is also having trouble understanding the announcer: “Does the TV have the hiccups?”
3:40p – Limerick just scored a point (remember, different from a goal) by passing the ball through the posts above the goal. Or possibly by whacking the other players across the seat of their very short shorts enough times.
3:44p – Several of the players seem to have the ball confused with other players’ heads.
3:45p – Tipperary scores its second goal! Limerick’s keeper (goalie) looks mildly displeased.
3:47p – Tipperary scores its third goal! The blue part of the crowd surges in cheers, and I realize one can clearly spot the players’ underwear in slow-motion.
3:50p – Two opposing players attempt to decapitate the other, which I suspect is against the rules. (Natalie to the TV: “You are not obeying, actually.”)
3:53p – A player shoves the referee, “letting his feelings be known” as the announcer genially remarks. The referee, however, is not so open-minded and issues the first yellow card of the game.
3:55p – Another Limerick player lets his feelings be known, and the referee in turn lets his feelings be known in the form of a second yellow card. There are many, many feelings bashing around the stadium now.
4:00p – Tipperary now has 3 goals and 8 points as opposed to Limerick’s 0 goals and 3 points, a solid and confusing lead that makes me wish I had paid more attention to Quidditch rules.
4:01p – The contrast between Irish and Italian athletes becomes clear. When an Italian player falls during a soccer match, he writhes and rolls on the ground for no less than two minutes or until the referee notices his plight. When an Irish player falls during hurling, he leaps up before the opposing team can finish trampling him, brandishes his hurley, and joins the fray until the referee calls half-time and his broken bones can be properly inspected.
4:08p – During half-time, a panel of sports commenters discusses how Limerick has an excellent chance to win the match if it only goes back in time and does less terribly during the first half. Way to strategize, guys.
4:23p – The match is back and resembling a frat house initiation ritual more every minute.
4:25p – A Tipperary player’s leg was beat out from under him, but twenty seconds with the doctor and a sip of water (or was it beer?) seem to have fixed it. Remind me never to pick a fight with an Irishman.
4:27p – Before a player bats the ball onto the field, he must plant his feet and swish his very short shorts side to side several times. I fail to see how this helps, but it certainly is amusing.
4:31p – One player has just had his hand mistaken for the ball, but it’s unlikely to happen again as his hand is now the color of a ripe pomegranate. It must hurt horrifically, as the player is actually grimacing.
4:34p – The referee is consulting on a decision with the umpires, who are wearing lab coats for no apparent reason. They rule in favor of Limerick, who promptly scores its first goal of the game. “The fans now have a new lease on life!” cheers the announcer.
4:37p – We finally find out that a goal is worth 3 points—a fact that would be good to point out to the Limerick players who have gone wide 15 successive times now.
4:41p – Three Tipperary players in a row lift up their legs in exactly the right way to let the ball through, and Limerick scores again. Something tells me that the announcer is a Limerick fan; perhaps the new octave his voice just reached?
4:44p – After respectfully giving Limerick a few minutes to celebrate, Tipperary nonchalantly scores its fourth goal.
4:47p – And then its fifth.
4:48p – Observation: Very short shorts appear greatly shorter when their wearers are lunging.
4:49p – Observation: Very short shorts appear very greatly shorter when their wearers are lying on the ground doing hamstring stretches. (Daniel, who had mentioned buying a uniform as a souvenir: “Maybe I won’t get the shorts.” Me: “Thank you.”)
4:51p – Limerick fans are trailing out of the stadium like a line of green-clad Charlie Browns. “Disappointment and heartbreak,” summarizes the announcer with a little crack in his Irish brogue.
4:54p – Tipperary scores for the sixth time, and one Limerick player lies down on the ground to mourn. “This is becoming embarrassing for Limerick,” says the announcer. “Maybe we should avoid going out tonight,” say I.
4:56p – The game is starting to get violent. I mean, more violent. The hurlers are hurling for all they’re worth, and the result could potentially fill a hospital ward.
4:59p – Ten seconds before the end of overtime, a Limerick player falls down and puts on a rather Italian performance. He is given control of the ball, but time runs out and his writhing was for naught. Note to player: That only works when you have an Italian ref.
5:00p – The game is over. Tipperary has soundly whooped Limerick with a score of 6-19 to 2-07. The players have turned back into the neighbors and friends that they are and have taken off their jerseys to exchange; the amount of skin on the field is half a shade away from blinding, and this more than any other part of the match makes me happy.
And that, folks, is what hurling’s all about. Well, that and very short shorts.
3: 49p – Coerce 3-year-old into going potty. Change 1-year-old’s diaper. Tuck both girls into bed with their favorite stuffed animals and a kiss. Resist the urge to shout “I’M FREE!!!” as you close their bedroom door.
4:01p – Turn on your favorite Christmas movie of all time, “Love Actually,” and instantly glow from the loveliness it exudes. Retrieve secret cookie recipes from vault and begin to whisk ingredients while watching Colin Firth. Feel sure Mrs. Claus never had it so good.
4:11p – Hear suspicious noise from girls’ room. Pause movie.
4:12p – Discover 1-year-old has managed to turn on the bedroom lights and is sitting in the Lego bin. Put her back to bed. Stuffed animals, kisses, etc.
4:15p – Restart movie and whip butter as light and fluffy as your heart currently feels. Think jolly thoughts. Occasionally swipe a
handful teensy taste of cookie dough.
4:26p – Hear suspicious noise from girls’ room. Turn off mixer. Pause movie.
4:27p – Discover 1-year-old sitting in a pile of books, rapturously tearing out pages. Put her back to bed with stuffed animals and admonishments. Pretend not to notice her springing up as you shut the door.
4:30p – Restart movie. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, roll cookies, and deposit in the oven. Sit down to start on secret sparkly elf tasks.
4:39p – Hear suspicious noise from girls’ room. Pause movie. Think bad words.
4:40p – Discover 1-year-old halfway up the ladder to her sister’s bunk bed. (Sister is giggling uncontrollably and egging her on.) Tuck her back in bed with mild threats.
4:43p – Restart movie. Have a hard time concentrating on elfin responsibilities with all the crashes and shouts of glee coming from the girls’ room. Remove first of 400 batches of Christmas cookies from the oven.
4:51p – Can no longer ignore the sounds of merriment issuing from the girls’ room. Pause movie. Say bad words.
4:52p – Discover 3-year-old hanging off the top bunk and 1-year-old dancing a jig on top of her toy dumptruck. Notice a decidedly un-festive odor surrounding her. Escort 3-year-old to the potty and change 1-year-old’s diaper. Identify with the Grinch. Strongly.
4:58p – Duct-tape 1-year-old into bed. Agree to let 3-year-old, who says she is not tired, not at all tired, in fact she has never been less tired, can’t she stay up, pleeeeeeaaaase? play quietly on the living room floor amidst the remnants of your Christmas spirit.
5:01p – Eject movie. Retrieve sense of humor. Turn on holly-jolly dancing tunes and bake the remaining 399 batches of cookies with the sweetest (and most talkative!) 3-year-old helper this side of the North Pole. Dream up Christmas goodies for favorite husband and daughters and know with certainty that Mrs. Claus never had it so good.
I was sludging through the dishes tonight when a game show, “Ciao Darwin: The Missing Link,” came on. And even though I so wanted to finish the dishes, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to live-blog a real Italian game show for you. It is an experience not to be missed. [Warning: If you are offended by cleavage, bothered by cleavage, insecure in your own cleavage, or adverse in any way to the topic of cleavage, you might want to stop here.]
So. By way of comparison, Italian game shows are very similar to nothing else on earth. Okay, maybe a violent sneeze draped in wet paint superimposed over a train wreck of french-fried cleavage.
Tonight’s theme was Micro vs. Macro. Contestants were chosen from a group of short/small people and a group with larger features—height, width, and in one man’s case, a Santa Clause handlebar beard stretching like whiskery wings past his shoulders. When I started watching, the Micro contestant was a mid-pubescent boy and his rival was a woman whose chestal region provided her Macro status.
10:16p – The contestants are led to a stage full of showgirls dancing in tie-dye bikinis, mini-skirts, bell-bottoms, and leather headbands. Half of the world’s total cleavage is present and being zoomed in upon by the cameras. Disco music is blazing, and the contestants must guess the decade being depicted.
Micro: “Uh…” (He may be unclear as to the term “decade,” being born in such a recent one.) “60s?”
The host, a boisterous middle-aged man already having a great time: “NO! MACRO!”
Macro: (Adjusting her cleavage) “90s?”
The host: “NO! MICRO!”
Micro: “Uh, 80s?”
The host: “NO!” He is thoroughly enjoying himself. “MACRO!”
Macro: (Giggling) “40s?”
The host: “NO! MICRO!”
The host: “NO!”
10:17p – Clearly, the contestants are screwed now, as all the possible decades in all the annals of history have already been guessed. The host seems prepared for this possibility and gives them hints until someone finally shouts “70s!!” To celebrate the triumph of reason, showgirls dance.
10:18p – On to the next task! The contestants race to get into a sack with a hippie (get it?) and then bob for apples. Macro’s cleavage keeps getting in the way, so she just cheats. Micro wins anyway.
10:19p – The camera zooms in on several prominent instances of cleavage.
10:20p – Now, the contestants must identify the band shown in a black-and-white clip playing “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Micro guesses “The Rolling Stones.” Macro is slightly closer: “The Beachies?”
10:21p – Once they have narrowed the band down to the Beatles, the contestants must list the band members. Oh boy.
Micro: (Voice cracking from excitement) “John Lennon!”
The crowd goes wild, but their enthusiasm is short-lived as both contestants have already given up on the rest.
The host, always helpful: “Paul…”
Macro: “Paul Cruise!”
The host, helpfully cracking up: “Or maybe you’ve heard of Ringo…”
Macro: “Ringo Rosto!”
The host: “Or what about George…”
Micro: “George… Clooney!”
The host, composing himself: “No, not Clooney, no. Here’s a hint: Harrison Ford.”
Macro: “OH! George Ford!”
10:22p – Cleavage!
10:23p – They begin to play a hippie hybrid of musical chairs and hot potato: when the music stops, they have to drink a beer that has been shaken with great vigor (and detailed camera angles) by the busty showgirls. Macro steals Micro’s beer, but he gets the point anyway.
10:26p – Micro, resplendent in a 4-foot-high afro wig, sings the worst rendeition of “Yesterday” that has ever been butchered by an adolescent male. Half of the audience sustains internal injuries from laughing.
10:27p – A group of cleavage and its owners prance to Macro’s version of “Yellow Submarine,” which greatly resembles the call of a horny sea lion.
10:29p – The camera zooms up under multiple mini-skirts as the showgirls dance Saturday Night Fever style; for the moment, cleavage is forgotten.
10:30p – That moment is past. Viva la cleavage!
10:31p – The contestants have to bounce across the stage on those giant rubber balls that people occasionally buy when suffering from delusions of fitness. Macro’s pops immediately under the weight of her cleavage.
10:32p – Cleavage!
10:33p – Cleavage!
10:33p and 20 seconds – Cleavage!
10:34p – Macro’s rubber ball pops. AGAIN. The host remarks, “I wouldn’t want to be the guy under you!”
10:35p – The contestants must guess the title of a certain song which goes like this: “Chi sarà? Chi sarà? Chi sarà? Chi sarà?” Micro correctly guesses: “Chi sarà?”
10:36p – The contestants are now racing on razor scooters while holding guitars. Macro’s cleavage seems to be steering.
10:37p – The host: “I’m getting really tired; I need someplace to lean.” That someplace is Macro’s cleavage. Yes, seriously.
10:38p – Commercial! A couple is making out with each other and with jumbo shrimp, which is incidentally also hanging out in the wife’s cleavage. Possibly groping. If you learn anything after a year here, it’s that Italian food commercials have a lot in common with porn.
10:40p – 12:29a – I start to zone out and only catch bits and pieces of the rest of the show, which involves:
- An air band performing Earth, Wind & Fire songs
- Showgirls dancing to Earth, Wind & Fire songs in glittery fringed miniskirts
- The host showing off his pet snake (I do mean that literally)
- Showgirls dancing in lingerie, some of which includes gold sequined nursing pads
- Female contestants in their underwear escaping from tanks of hungry eels
- A tall/short fashion show. Of underwear.
- A man in the audience scoping out the thong action with binoculars
- Showgirls dancing in a conga line around the room draped in feathers
- A ménage à trois dance routing featuring—what else? cleavage
- Contestants locked in giant tanks which fill with water when they answer questions wrong
- A thongskirt
- Me falling asleep because the show was supposed to end half an hour ago
The 2008 Summer Olympics are continuing to hurtle ahead at full speed, but only the infuriating sports are on Italian TV today—indoor cycling, fencing, the news. In an attempt to alleviate my own frustration AND shock you with my lack of sports expertise, I bring you my very first Olympic Live-Blog. You’re welcome.
12:25p – The Russian Federation and Italy are duking it out on the fencing stage, and I am feeling ready to stab someone myself. Their costumes look like they haven’t been washed since Medieval times, and their helmets keep buzzing with neon lights like a cheap honky-tonk. I know absolutely nothing about fencing except that the word “foil” is used occasionally and the points are determined by a space chimp suffering from ADHD, so maybe this will be a good learning experience for me. Positivity!
12:26p – What I’ve learned: Fencing is basically a violent form of “Hokey-Pokey”: You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in and STAB STAB STAB.
12:26p and 10 seconds – The players (fighters? rabid astronauts?) fly away from each other as if magnetically charged. Each of them seems to think he has won.
12:26p and 15 seconds – The match stops again on account of them both thinking they’ve scored.
12:26p and 21 seconds – Oy, this is getting old.
12:28p – I should really change my name to the Bethian Federation.
12:34p – Italy is upset. Seems that the new technological improvement of slow-motion replays is “subjective” and “unfair” and “tainting the beautiful art of fencing.” I suspect this is because it allowed the referee to see Italy losing. In slow-motion.
12:36p – The players are having their wires adjusted. I have a hard time seeing the problem with steroid use or transvestites when there are bionic athletes running around in dirty space suits stabbing each other.
12:39p – Something exciting has happened! Looks like the Italian contestant tried to tackle the Russian one but immediately jumped away with his hands up à la EVERY SOCCER PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY as if to declare his innocence. Unfortunately for him, the ref has slow-motion replay at his disposal and is not fooled. Side note: Fencing should be a full-contact sport; it would be vastly more interesting.
12:43p – One of the players is hitting himself in the head. In slow motion.
12:44p – This match seems to have degenerated into ballet. There are immoderate amounts of leaping, and I think the Italian has actually performed a pirouette. (Next up: Swan Lake, with machetes!)
12:47p – The stadium has just exploded. Italy has won the
gold bronze in a final score turnaround of 45 to 44. The Italian player is alternately being tackled by ecstatic coaches and made out with by an ecstatic girlfriend. Better yet, as a result of all this excitement, the television commentator has finally raised his tone from comatose to audible!! I, personally, am just happy that the fencing is finally over. I’m ready to see glittery costumes and backwards somersaults and ponder the mystery that is rosin.
12:56p – The morning-sickness commercial is playing. It is for a ritzy brand of olive oil, which a pregnant woman is slathering onto her belly, then slopping up with a spongey bit of mozzarella. Excuse me while I go throw up forever.
1:00p – Oh happy day! Daniel has just discovered an online channel that shows actual gymnastics—the first I’ve seen yet these Olympics. (Nastia who?) The Swiss contestant’s leotard is an enormous butterfly, and I think that fact alone has solidified gymnastics as a career choice for Natalie.
1:03p – The gymnast is running and glittering in her butterfly glory and jumping, and all is right with the world again—
1:03p and 5 seconds – Fencing. They switched back to fencing. IN THE MIDDLE OF HER JUMP. I can’t take any more of this.
I caught snatches of Olympic coverage over the following hour, like the newswoman staring blankly into the camera for several minutes and Daniel choking as the 100 meter hurdles winner was referred to as “one quarter redskin!” (The next winner was “black like ebony, very, very black!” Oh political correctness, wherefore art thou?) It’s a little disappointing to watch the Olympics in a country that doesn’t worship Michael Phelps or provide coverage during prime time or EVER SHOW GYMNASTICS or feature those endearing vignettes about athletes’ difficult childhoods (“Her dreams of fencing began to crumble when she was diagnosed with chronic good sense, but she refused to let that stop her…”). But you know? I’d take this over Bob Costas any day.
Lucky you! I’m live-blogging the Italy/Netherlands soccer match, though I don’t even know which cup it is. Is it a cup? I don’t know. Also, I know only a smidgen more than nothing about soccer, but my husband is out in his blue team jersey watching the game with a group of hardcore Italian buddies, and I’m hoping to impress him upon his return. So.
8:44 – The Italian team is singing the national anthem, which has exactly 472 stanzas. Every player knows every word, and most of them are singing with their eyes closed.
8:46 – The Netherlands team is not singing its national anthem. In fact, the players look extraordinarily bored, but at least the song is over in eleven seconds.
8:48 – Kick off! Do they say kick off in soccer? I don’t know.
8:49 – The commenter has RAISED HIS VOICE. SOMETHING EXCITING IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN, AND IT IS THIS: A SWEATY ITALIAN GUY IS ABOUT TO KICK THE BALL. WILL HE MAKE A GOAL?
8:49 and 30 sec. – No, he will not.
8:54 – Some Italian players just trampled a Dutch player. The crowd goes wild.
8:55 – Another Dutch player tramples himself, looks around for sympathy.
8:56 – Penalty kick for the Netherlands. The studly Italian goalie, who is the only player whose name I know, is shouting. Though I cannot hear him, there are wisps of obscenity-laced smoke spewing from his ears; I assume he is pissed. His name is Buffon (pronounced boo-PHONE), which I find funny because it looks so much like buffoon. Of course, other Italian players have names like “mattresses” and “shrimp,” so I’m sure he’s not complaining.
8:56 and 30 sec. – The Dutch player kicks, but Buffon catches the ball and tries to look cool like it was no effort at all. I understand. If I were a soccer player, my athletic ability would also be holding the ball in one hand and tossing back my long, sweaty hair in ease.
8:57 – An Italian player throws himself in the air to block a goal shot by the Netherlands and lands with his knees on two different sides of the field. This, my friends, is why my husband has a biomechanics job here.
8:58 – A Dutch player takes out an Italian one and runs away clapping. The Italian player bounces twice, contorts in agony unto death, and once he realizes no one is paying attention, jumps up to play again.
9:02 – Dutch player nearly scores, but Buffon runs out and trips him.
9:03 – Another Dutch player nearly scores.
9:04 – The Netherlands try (tries?) to score again, but kick (kicks?) the ball clear over the goal. No obscenities from the goalie this time, though if you ask me, the Dutch have been playing 400% better tonight. Maybe because they didn’t waste their strength singing the world’s longest national anthem.
9:07 – I stopped paying attention for a while, and now Italy has a penalty kick, which has turned into a mosh pit of sweat and unbridled hatred.
9:11 – The Netherlands tries several more times to score and SUCCEEDS after a beautiful team play! Buffon was too busy tackling one of his own teammates to block the ball.
9:14 – An Italian player and a Dutch player are chasing the ball while clawing each other’s chests off. There WILL be blood. Hehe.
9:16 – The Netherlands scores again. They really are playing fabulously. I wonder how many bad words my husband is hearing right now?
9:18 – Italy tries to score, but the Dutch goalie catches the ball and immediately throws his body over it as if to protect it from the shrapnel of Italian obscenities.
9:22 – People are kicking the ball and so forth. I go to make myself a salad for dinner.
9:27 – I am back in time to see The Netherlands almost score again, but Buffon blocks the ball with his chest. Do they make bullet-proof vests for goalies?
9:29 – Four or possibly fourteen Italian players gang up on a Dutch player who makes it through the gauntlet still standing. I know which team I would root for if it didn’t mean getting beat up by EVERYONE IN THIS COUNTRY.
9:31 – The camera zooms in on an Italian player whose head is literally gushing sweat. He reminds me of Freaky Walt in the second season of “Lost” when he keeps whispering gibberish and impersonating waterfalls to scare people. And folks? European soccer players scare me even more.
9:32 – Commercial break!
9:35 – My favorite commercial is on, a black and white drama starring George Clooney. He is walking the red carpet and looking so smooth and pouring himself a martini, but wait! The ice bucket is empty! Whatever will he do?
9:36 – Don’t worry. A sexy woman draws her sword and lops the balls off an ice sculpture dog to cool his drink. And now he is saying “Magnifico!” and sipping his testiculini with a smile. I love Italian commercials.
9:39 – Commentators are arguing about the first round of the game. Do they call them rounds in soccer? I don’t know.
9:42 – More commercials!
9:45 – The Catholic church is running a commercial for itself. Why haven’t other religions thought of this?
9:46 – The game is back. Apparently, it is called Euro2008 and thus not a cup at all. I’ve learned something!
9:47 – An Italian player slugs a Dutch one and then puts his hands up like, “See? My hands are up here, way up in the air! There’s no way I could have slugged that guy writhing on the ground beside me!” The ref doesn’t buy it.
9:50 – A Dutch player is down. The five Italians standing right next to him are completely innocent. See their hands?
9:52 – A yellow card is being given to Gattuso. I think he’s the one with a goatee. I didn’t see what happened, but I assume he didn’t get his hands in the air quickly enough.
9:55 – Another Dutch player is down, slammed in the head by an Italian player’s armpit. Pits of steel!
10:00 – A Dutch player just got a yellow card, but his teammates don’t seem bothered. They are passing the ball down the entire field using their heads, and I am distracted because each of their last names has at least nine vowels. How does one pronounce Ooijer?
10:03 – A sweaty Italian player just gave the ref a hug and a wink. Do they have a little something-something going on there? I am intrigued.
10:05 – Del Piero is now on the field. I remember him scoring an amazing goal in the last soccer game I watched, so I like him despite the fact that he is 105 in soccer years.
10:07 – The coach is extremely well dressed. Such a nice suit, and is his shirt silk? He’s being very sedate so as not to wrinkle his clothes. Something tells me that my noticing this about the game will fail to impress my husband.
10:11 – Del Piero runs and kicks and almost scores, and the commentators are practically orgasming with delight. Just imagine what would happen if he HAD scored!
10:14 – DEL PIERO IS RUNNING! TOWARD THE BALL! SO EXCITING!
10:16 – The Italian players have stepped up their game, but no one is scoring. The crowd briefly began to sing, but that dwindled off. I am now recalling that the middle half of all soccer games are boring, so I’m going to work on something else. Back later.
10:20 – I looked up in just in time to see the Netherlands score again, but wow! Buffon blocked the ball with his FACE and then ran back to guard the goal. Unfortunately, one of his own teammates accidentally kicked the ball in, but I’m still impressed by Buffon’s complete disregard for his own safety, well-being or nasal structure.
10:25 – All the orange-dressed fans are singing. Could someone please explain why the Netherlands’ team color is orange even though its flag is red, white, and blue? Or why the Italian team color is blue even though its flag is red, white, and green? And why are the goalies dressed in black and green, respectively? And who was allowed to d
ecide that white shorts were a good idea?
10:30 – The well-dressed coach has moved his hands to his hips and—whoa! He almost jumped all the way off the ground! The game is now exciting enough to endanger his suit.
10:31 – The commentators keep saying “Del Piero.” Just like that, an entire sentence: “Del Piero.” They are smitten.
10:35 – We have arrived at “Full Time.” Is that like half-time? Or is the game over? I don’t know.
10:36 – The Italian players have given their jerseys to the Dutch players, so I guess it’s over. The Dutch players are shaking hands with the ref, but alas, there is no winking. Del Piero and Buffon look sad, and my husband’s friends are probably crying right now. But the Dutch goalie is hugging his daughter, and it’s all very precious and happy and ORANGE, and they really did play the best tonight, so there you have it.
Will Daniel be impressed? Stay tuned.