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La Coupe du Monde ne sera jamais trop riche en traditions

(“The World Cup Will Never Be Too Full of Tradition”)

Get excited because the 2019 Women’s World Cup kicks off today with host country France vs. South Korea at 3 p.m. The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) are certainly one of the favorites in this tournament, having won the ultimate trophy in women’s soccer three times. As a matter of fact, the women in red, white and blue are the defending champions.

The USWNT’s tournament begins Tuesday for its first group game against Thailand at 3 p.m., which is when coverage will start on Jimmy’s Daily Planet.

For now, it’s impossible for the mind not to wander to the future involving the next men’s World Cup and the soccer stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosted by Qatar. Why? Because at this year’s World Cup — hosted by France with its long, distinguished tradition — there’s a clear soccer identity for soccer fans and casual soccer/sports fans to associate with for this world-class tournament that only occurs every four years. French stadiums, ranging in 10,000 – 80,000 seat capacities, have character and history that transports fans to other times and eras of yesteryear. We’ll see this in the next month, even if only through the TV.

The same cannot be said for the next men’s World Cup in 2022 that will take place in the desert (yet crazy rich) country of Qatar.

Being built from the sand up, Qatar will be the center of the soccer universe in just a few years in November and December. The date change from the normal summer months reservation is, coupled with the sheer fact that brand new stadiums and air conditioning apparatuses are being constructed, evidence enough that Qatar can pay for anything it wants except tradition. If it wanted to host the World Cup so badly, it should have clearly established the country’s true love of soccer like every other soccer nation on Earth: Through housing world-class talent, interweaving the sport into the culture and, yes, history and time.

Like sand through the hourglass…

Soccer and tradition go together like America and apple pie. Or France and soccer.

For now, here’s a visual update on the progress being made in Qatar for the biggest stage for the world’s game.

Having visited Qatar and fully enjoyed this unique experience with family, this middle eastern country will, like the fictional John Hammond, spare no expense. And as a non-traditional country for the world’s biggest soccer tournament, Qatar and FIFA are banking on those famous words heard in that Iowa cornfield, “If you build it, he will come.” Change the “he” to “they” and that’s what will ultimately define the success of the 2022 World Cup concerning regional and global attendance.

FIFA gambled with Qatar. Moreover, this forthcoming World Cup seems like it’s being built for FIFA rather than the sport of soccer and its fans, coaches, and players. And there needs to be a real concern that all of the soccer stadiums being built for 2022, though impressive to a certain degree, will be empty in the years that follow. In other words, the post-Olympic downturn could very likely occur. In China, some of the world-class facilities from the 2008 summer Olympics fell to ruin in the subsequent years.

By contrast, the 2006 World Cup in Germany — which I was fortunate to attend with my parents and see some amazing games, stadiums, cities, hotels, players and fellow Quinnipiac soccer teammates — was incredibly unforgettable. And soccer in Germany, it seems, is even bigger now today following the World Cup due to increased global demand and interest in the Bundesliga, the German national team (2014 World Cup champions) and its rich soccer/football culture.

Will Qatar in 2022 evolve into aforementioned Germany circa 2006 or China circa 2008?

That’s a legitimate question, ladies and gentlemen. And one that should have been considered more closely by FIFA when selecting the host country for its biggest competition, specifically following disgraced former FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s resignation in recent years.

At this point, watch and enjoy the many talented teams and players in the 2019 World Cup in France. And while doing so, contemplate whether that special energy on the pitch and off the pitch with teams and fans from around the world will seamlessly translate to a non-soccer nation/Qatar in three years. Will it be the same?

While the new soccer stadiums being built in Qatar may be eye-opening through the lenses of modern design and sustainability, tradition cannot be bought.

Although, FIFA proved winning a bid to host a World Cup can, so there’s that I $uppo$e.

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Makin’ it Rain in Da Desert

“Make it rain” is slang for throwing money into the air to demonstrate one’s unrestrained wealth.

On a related note, it appears the UAE (United Arab Emirates) will be “making it rain” by throwing a few of their endless money piles into the air in order to literally make it rain.

“The scientific reasoning behind the scheme is that an artificial mountain forces air to rise, cool, condense and form clouds, resulting in rainfall. The process is known as cloud-seeding, but can sometimes have undesirable outcomes. In March, cloud-seeding caused havoc in the region when over 11 inches of rainfall poured down in under 24 hours.”
–Elisabeth Perlman, Newsweek

The details are not rock solid yet, but the UAE’s proposed use of capital for designing and building a mountain should surprise exactly nobody. Dubai (well, new Dubai) is a builder’s paradise with ultra-modern and jaw-dropping skyscrapers, malls, hotels and islands. No idea is too crazy nor too expensive, at least thus far. Motivated by the movie adage, “build it and they will come,” the UAE has apparently modified its branding to the world beyond attracting tourists and residents by envisioning a potentially groundbreaking artificial simulation of Mother Nature herself.

Having visited the UAE and seeing and experiencing the outrageous projects they were undertaking in person, which included chilling in the sky bar at 5-star Burj Al Arab hotel, standing in snow in the indoor ski slope at Ski Dubai, looking down at the Palm in its early stages from the top of a skyscraper and eating the best buffet ever at the luxurious Emirates Palace, there is no doubting their capabilities.

Constructing a customized mountain with special powers like a kid playing with LEGO’s?

Sounds about right for the UAE.

However, is attempting to manipulate natural weather patterns a good idea?

Money can buy, solve and influence many things, but actively injecting oneself into the ambiguities of the weather and nature can increase the risks of unpredictable and, therefore, uncontrollable problems arising.

Remember Jurassic Park?

You may say that re-engineering dinosaurs will never happen. And it probably won’t. But there’s an indoor ski slope in one of the hottest places on the planet. Who would’ve believed that?

There was a lot of rain in Jurassic Park, if you recall.

Just saying that when it rains, it pours with a bite.

Extreme Makeover: Knowledge Edition

Upon first glance at today’s cover page on bing.com, I was baffled. As is protocol with viewing Bing’s daily front page, I scrolled over the image to navigate to one of the four informational boxes. The link took me to a collection of pictures of the University of Zurich Library.

Stunning.

The big, dramatic curves guide your eyes within its grandiose space. This description is hardly ever used to characterize a library. Most of us know libraries to be very quiet, calm and non-exciting. The need for such fancy, eye-catching exterior and interior designs is considered nonsense when referring to a place to read, write and study.

Maybe this is the problem.

Books, periodicals, research journals, magazines, movies and so forth remain popular commodities with the public for various reasons. Despite the demand and ample supply on the shelves, libraries are rarely packed from wall-to-wall, unless it’s mid-term or finals season. As a solution, I suggest more libraries search out for private investment collaborations. Specifically, imaginative minds, inventors and architects who would jump at the opportunity to make his or her mark. Living in the age of information (ie- digital technologies), libraries offer an outstanding and nearly unlimited resource for people to invest their time and energies to further their education and personal enlightenment.

Think of it as “the knowledge renaissance.”

It’s time to view libraries as not just a building filled with old books and shushing librarians, but instead a destination of learning. In other words, it’s time to follow the lead of some around the United States and the world in their recent and historic efforts to boldly brand libraries as, generally speaking, “a cool place to be.” The silence must be upheld, along with the other proper rules and norms for any library. Learning and expanding one’s mind still need to be the predominant objectives. The primary difference is making the trip to the library an experience for people of all ages with dynamic and innovative educational value, attraction and content.

To better illustrate my point, below is a small collection of some creative takes on the library:

zurichuniversity~s400x400(Keystone/Gaetan Bally)
The University of Zurich Library

tumblr_ldvnwyOsrF1qfx0suo1_500(STUA on Tumblr)
Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

QU Library at night
(princetonreview.com)
Arnold Bernhard Library at Quinnipiac University

cover_geisel_libraryThe Library at the University of California at San Diego

greathall_standard

mainreadingroom_standard(myloc.gov)
The Library of Congress

Above are only a few examples of how architects throughout history have defined libraries as spaces intended for learning whilst being surrounded by magnificent inspiration. Hopefully, the future will feature creative minds who expand on past and present designs (there really is something truly special about those old world libraries and the history they speak to its visitors…). Architects could also innovate these themes with entertaining and engaging technologies with the aspiration of uniting communities and people all around the world towards the journey of abundant knowledge and unparalleled perspective.

How does that phrase go, “if you build it, he will come.”

With all the technological advancements and varying mediums for sharing and presenting information, the grand opportunity to innovate, reinvigorate and redirect the public to the library in masses is undeniably present. Could this mean holographic shows with famous historical figures? Perhaps. There are seemingly countless possibilities. The key is finding and connecting with eager and imaginative men and women (like Ted Mosby, formerly of Mosbius Designs) to collaborate with to build these kingdoms of knowledge.

Kingdoms of knowledge…sounds like an adventure already.

Top of the Seventh

“As a celebration of the magic of movies involving baseball, at least one scene from a different film will be posted each day for the next nine days…”
—From “Top of the First” March 28th

As noted earlier regarding the absence of a third inning, the bottom of the sixth has also turned out to be rather monotonous. Onward we continue to the top of the seventh.

There is an “it” factor with Kevin Costner. People are instantly drawn to him on the silver screen and are naturally curious about the characters he plays. Costner is convincing whether portraying an ex-Secret Service agent who was assigned to protect the President of the United States or a farmer in the cornfields of Iowa. Speaking of the latter, be sure to go see, “Man of Steel” on June 14th as Costner portrays Jonathan Kent. One of the first trailers released even featured a voice-over by Mr. Kent, in which he gives a few words of wisdom to his super son.

Click below and experience the pure power of the now famous, albeit perplexing, seven words that forever changed Ray Kinsella’s life. A “Field of Dreams” indeed!

James Earl Jones added his timber with a grand speech of his own.