How a Group of American-Led Billionaires Tried to Kill the World’s Greatest Sport

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

I’ve always looked askance at U.S. involvement with football (what is called soccer in the United States). I’ve always feared that U.S. involvement with a sport that belongs to the rest of the world would be ill-fated. How could it not be? The United States has never played much part in the legacy of football. It is for that reason ill-disposed to honor the game as is, preferring instead to “disrupt” it. U.S. culture, inseparable from business culture, loves to sever the relations people have with each…


Where “culture and commerce collide”

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

The other day, while watching a video on the online architecture and design journal Dezeen, I heard buildings referred to as “spaces of possibility and spaces of convergence.” The video played as part of a promotion focusing on the Bradbury, Los Angeles’s oldest landmarked building. I have visited the Bradbury many times through the years, for no reason other than to admire it. Though the exterior doesn’t look like much, the interior, a vertical world of wood, cast iron, and marble, is nothing short of extraordinary. From the central atrium, the eyes lead inevitably upward, over ornate balconies, stairwells, and…


There are two ways to play chess: plan ahead to achieve an outcome or look at the situation on the board and simply come up with the next best move. The second method is how computers play chess. Each move is the beginning of a new game. Long-term planning doesn’t enter into it. Instead the computer uses a “brute force” approach that abstains from trying to mimic any creative human thought.

I wonder if exceptional soccer players don’t have something of this same ability: to understand, or read, the situation on the field as it unfolds in a flickering sequence…


From the sea to the mountains — two memorable evenings in Sardinia.

Photo by author.

Our trip to Sardinia is more than a month behind us already, enough time for random experiences to have been shaped into “memories,” some of which are currently bouncing around in my skull like brightly colored helium balloons in an otherwise sad and empty room. Here are a couple:

We’re seated in a restaurant somewhere in the dense warren of narrow streets that make up the Marina district of Cagliari. We’re the only non-Italians in the restaurant. It’s serving a set menu — a seafood sampler that includes…


What the anti-mafia film ‘Sicilian Ghost Story’ teaches about Donald Trump

Photo courtesy of Strand Releasing

Sicilian Ghost Story tells the story of Luna and Giuseppe, two shy teenagers whose deep connection is headed for first love. That things will not go well is revealed early in the film when the young classmates take a detour through a nearby forest. No sooner have they looked into each other’s eyes than the arrival of a snarling dog, its appetite cut sharp by a recent rabbit kill, announces the end of their brief idyll. …


Photo by Stephane Yaich on Unsplash

I’m no aficionado, far from it, but I’ve seen enough bullfights to appreciate the corrida as a spectacle, one that is both atavistically satisfying and morallIy reprehensible. In other words, there’s a lot of blood

I’ve also learned the bullfight is a performance in which the only power that is not simulated lies with the bull, a colossally sized beast who barrels into the arena intent on charging at and goring anything that moves. …


My son:

Your name — the same now. . . how many years? Your mummy and I decided to name and feed you as we pleased. Little did we know. Now you have become as you are, and I have decided to write, so as to let you know a little bit about yourself.

You were born:

Beastly Soup, we wanted a refund. A nickel, boy. That is what we would have taken — a nickel for your carcass. You were worth no more than that of what makes babies cute and astonishing. For you slept with your eyes open…

roger mensink

frondeur / father of none / lifelong optimist

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