Blog Archives

Arjen Robben’s Final Finishing Touch

Arjen Robben, the 35-year-old Mr. Wembley himself, has officially retired from professional soccer that began in 2000 with Dutch club Groningen.

“I have decided to put an end to my career as a professional football player,” Robben said in a statement.

His statement included the following.

“It is without doubt the most difficult decision I have had to make in my career. A decision in which ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ collided.”

The former Bayern Munich #10 — as well as the #11 for the Netherlands National Team and Real Madrid, and various other numbers for Chelsea, PSV and Groningen — has chosen to end his esteemed professional playing career after 19 years. Mr. Robben’s exciting style, though painfully obvious, was painfully lethal for opponents. It didn’t matter if every defender and their grandmother knew he was going to cut inside for a deftly-placed shot or pass, Arjen Robben succeeded with beautiful, spectacular goals.

And that feat alone is remarkable. Think about it. Imagine knowing exactly what you have to do to stop something from happening, but being powerless to stop it from happening?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is another level of world-class talent.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is Arjen Robben.

This blog post is difficult for me as Arjen Robben is my favorite soccer player of all-time. And now the left-footed maestro is done.

It’s trying to put everything into words because I could go on and on and on…Instead, I’ll put just a few things into words as an initial reaction.

I’ve written many blog posts about him with Bayern Munich and the Netherlands throughout the years, including one in late May as a reaction to his final chapter with Bayern Munich.

Here’s an excerpt.

I actually got to see Arjen Robben play in the Allianz Arena for a Champions League game against Atlético Madrid back in late 2016. Bayern Munich won 1-nil on a Robert Lewandowski goal in, let’s say, chilly weather. I believe the thermometer read 20-degrees.

Regardless of having to wear a couple extra layers, which was no big deal at all for the awesome prize of seeing Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich battle (and defeat!) Atlético Madrid in a Champions League match inside the stunning Allianz Arena in Munich. The entire experience was amazingly unforgettable.

His wonderfully impressive tenure leading the Dutch National Team as part of the golden generation with Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie won’t soon be forgotten.

This golden generation for the Oranje played the beautiful game the right way. They deserved to win the World Cup, most especially the team from 2014. However, falling just short of ultimate soccer glory just seems to fit with the unfortunate fortune of the Dutch National Team: The best soccer nation to have never won the World Cup and the soccer nation other winners model their teams after in the same glorious pursuit.

With the aforementioned golden generation, the Dutch reached the semifinal of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, played in the 2010 FIFA World Cup final against Spain and reached the quarterfinals of the 2008 UEFA Euro tournament.

As posted on Bleacher Report’s Twitter account today:

Arjen Robben will be remembered as a legend at Bayern Munich, highlighted by his iconic cuts inside and laser-focused blasts that rattled many nets across Europe. His greatest moment with FC Hollywood was his unforgettable game-winning goal against Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final with an assist from his Robbery partner-in-crime Franck Henry Pierre Ribéry in the 89th minute in front of over 86,000 fans packed into London’s Wembley Stadium.

Arjen Robben will be remembered as a legend and an icon with the Netherlands. His lasting legacy will be as one of the — if not the greatest — wingers of all-time.

Thank you, Arjen Robben. You are an original, world-class footballer. 

Carolina Beaches, Seeing Lots of Great White Sharks, Can’t Afford a Hurricane

All it would take is for the theme song from ‘Jaws’ to pop in my head while swimming in the ocean for a split second and I’d haul my you-know-what back to shore like I was Michael Phelps in the Olympics.

And if I lived in the Carolinas right now, I’d probably just chill on the beach with a Corona and lime, according to a recent CBS This Morning report.

Terrifying up close yet majestic at a distance, the Great White Shark is one of nature’s most feared and admired predators. Look no further than the national fandom surrounding the Discovery Channel’s annual television installment of ‘Shark Week.’

And what’s wild about the news story above is that when a shark is brought onto a boat without water to move around, it provides the scientists and viewers remarkable insight up close and personal with a fish we’d never hope to be in open water with during our lifetime. Looking at a living and breathing shark at a close distance is a paralyzing feeling, even through a video clip.

Just an incredible project by Ocearch.

Random Thought: What is a shark thinking when it’s brought onto a boat by people, like those on the Ocearch team.

Anyways, I recall watching a documentary about the 1975 summer blockbuster ‘Jaws’ in which director Steven Spielberg explains why he won’t go swimming in the ocean as he’s standing with Richard Dreyfuss (Matt Hooper) on the edge of a beach.

“They know I made this movie.”

And I’d like to think Mr. Spielberg has saved countless lives because he made his summer blockbuster more than four decades ago.

13 Minutes in the Abyss

Incredible. Terrifying. Breathtaking.

Allow yourself to escape for just 13 minutes to watch freediver Guillaume Néry escape underwater into parts of various oceans most of us consider to be unknown territory in his short film ‘One Breath Around the World.’ If for nothing else, witness what fearful serenity looks like in this brand new project in concert with National Geographic that, once again, affirms its reputation of visually capturing the limits of what’s possible in new and daring ways.

In some circles, the belief is that perception can be more real than reality. A valid point. Does ‘One Breath Around the World’ challenge that notion?

If Guillaume Néry’s adventurous freediving into the various depths of the world’s oceans doesn’t get your heart racing with adrenaline and imagination for how you can apply his underwater explorations to your life, then I don’t know what will.

One thing I do know is that Mr. Néry may soon be receiving an offer to join Jason Momoa in the ‘Aquaman’ sequel.

Toto’s “Africa” Sun Set Is a Timeless Encore

Weezer’s cover is great, but Namibian-German multimedia artist Max Siedentopf took it to an entirely new level.

More on him in a minute.

Toto’s 1982 smash hit “Africa” continues to reign supreme well into the second decade of the 21st century as a defining, shining example of ’80s music nostalgia. How can someone not like this song? It’s relaxing yet an undeniably powerful anthem for many things, depending on the listener/car or shower singer. One listen to the popular song and it’s easy to discern why we–and by “we” I mean the world–still love this song from back in the pre-Internet era.

So why should the song ever stop playing?

Here’s where the aforementioned multimedia artist Max Siedentopf comes into play.

You’ll see what I did there in another minute.

Max Siedentopf–a fellow “Africa” and Toto fan–visualized the ultimate tribute to this glorious song. In an undisclosed part of the Namib Desert, which is located in southern Africa (the continent, not the song), Mr. Siedentopf installed an art installation of sorts. Similar to the genius simplicity of Randy’s Donuts in Los Angeles, there are six normal looking desktop speakers placed on six white boxes. In the middle is a taller white box with a digital music player that is connected to all six speakers via wires (like the ’80s).

The genius part of multimedia artist Max Siedentopf–aside from the clever idea–is that it’s all powered by solar energy with extreme weather elements in place for technology in a relentlessly sunny desert. So that means, you’ve got that right, Toto’s “Africa” will supposedly play on repeat in this mysterious location in Africa FOREVER.

This is Toto’s “Africa” in 2019:

Max Siedentopf said that this spectacular tribute to Toto is located where “…only the most loyal of Toto fans can find.”

This is damn near brilliant. It’s creatively fitting (except for the Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, and rain parts) with literal staying power for generations and hopefully lifetimes. The grand mystery as to where it’s located, serving as a veritable treasure hunt, mostly makes up for these ommissions.

If you think about it, this tribute to Toto’s “Africa” is a living time capsule. And if you think more about it, this mysteriously placed speaker system proves the power of music as the soundtrack to our lives and our surroundings sans introverted cocooning via technology.

Perhaps part of the purpose of this art installation is asking us to take off our headphones–or introverted nature–and engage with the world again in a more openly joyful, extroverted way like 1980s-something?

Hey, we’ve seen stranger things these days inspired by the 1980s.

P.S. 

This is Toto’s “Africa” music video from 1982. 

And this is Toto’s “Africa” performed by Weezer (with a special guest) in 2018. 

Are you tired of listening to Toto’s “Africa”? Of course not! Thank you for this all-time musical masterpiece, Toto.