Monday, November 25, 2013

Viva La Difference: French Football's Naked Ambition

A Nation is Happy To Sing Les Bleus

Even if you don't follow world soccer (the real "football"), you have to applaud the after-effects of the French national team's dramatic qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals last Tuesday, following an improbable come from behind, two-leg playoff win against Ukraine, 3-2 on aggregate (0-2, 3-0). Apparently the libido of the nation was riding on the (soon-to-be) climatic outcome of the dramatic victory. Following are the titillating updates from the online edition of my favorite footy mag, World Soccer.

French weather woman does indeed strip naked
(World Soccer Daily, 21/11/2013)

Doira Tillier stays abreast of Les Bleus fortunes

Doira Tillier, a weather girl on Canal+’s Le Grand Journal programme, who made a promise on Tuesday’s show that if France beat the Ukraine to reach the World Cup she would read her weather report on Wednesday in the nude, has come good on the pledge – although perhaps not in the way that her myriad admirers would have chosen. Running around a field sporting nothing but a pair of boots, Ms. Tillier did her report without any clothes on, although viewers, even those who freezed the footage frame-by-frame, were unable to make out any detail.

Watch Doria Tillier's Naked Forecast.

French fans celebrate with free porn
(World Soccer Daily, 21/11/2013)

A French porn producer was left red-faced after France defied the odds to qualify for the World Cup finals on Tuesday.  

Marc Dorcel offered football fans free access to his X-rated website if the national team turned around a 2-0 first leg deficit and defeated Ukraine in the World Cup play-off. After a 3-0 win for France fans were clicking on expecting to celebrate the win in some style.

However, such was the demand that Dorcel’s server crashed under the weight of traffic. And that was before French duo Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema had logged on to peruse the barely legal section.

But, frustrated French fans will get a second chance to take advantage of Dorcel’s offer with the producer promising to keep his pledge when the site was up and running again.

He tweeted ‘ exploded on the whistle. Mail your details to to receive your film tomorrow.’

Naked weather forecasters, porn on demand, it would seem that the libido of the entire French nation was riding on the outcome of Tuesday’s game.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Kitty Kultists

My girlfriend Amy and I are still unpacking boxes from our September move into a new house. We packed a lot of junk, of course, that we are having second thoughts about holding onto in our new, smaller digs. But there are also some legitimate treasures buried in all those Home Depot and Extra Space Storage boxes. Like Amy's 1984 diary/journal in which she saved a City Paper clipping that mentioned her and her former husband, the late musical legend Mark Harp (1957-2004), as "Kitty kultists" talking about their Hello Kitty collections.

Amy was very excited to find this clipping, pasted in between her exemplary cursive handwritting (a beautiful thing to observe, if you're a Cursive Cultist!).

Amy is vaclempt after finding her name published in the "City Paper."

"Wow," I said, scratching my head. "That sounds like something I would have written up back in my days at the City Paper. I remember I did a story on Hello Kitty back in the '80s."

Amy pulled out her journal, and lo and behold, it was written by me! I recall I went down to the big East Coast Sanrio outlet in Tysons Corner, Va., to research the story and I have a vague memory of  visiting Mark and Amy's Charles Village apartment at some point (it may have been during a party) and being impressed by their Sanrio collection. Amy doesn't remember that, but then again this was almost 30 years ago and we are now AARP members with sometimes faulty memories. (Like, we've been together eight years, but we only vaguely knew each other back in the day as acquaintances because we were part of the same Punk-New Wave social scene that frequented clubs like the Marble Bar and Galaxy Ballroom. Then we didn't see each other for decades until we ran into each other at a musical tribute-wake for Mark Harp in January 2005.)

It may seem trite today to see a story about the Hello Kitty phenomenon - after all Sanrio products are seemingly available everywhere one looks and for every imaginable use (from stickers and pens to TVs and even vibrators) -  but the first Sanrio shop in America didn't open until 1976 (and that was in San Francisco), so Kitty curios were still a relatively new thing in 1984.

The full article, called "Hello, Good Buy: Pet Peeves," appears below. (Naturally there were factual errors, which fact-checking proofreader extraordinaire Amy clarifed in her cursive script comments; to wit, she was asked how old her kids were at a Highlandtown store selling Hello Kitty items, not in Tysons Corner. Geeze, everyone's a critic! Did I mention I was a hack writer, Ames?)

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