Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Nine Days and Counting

National Geographic most recent issue has a good deal devoted to the upcoming World Cup. There are several short articles/essays and two longer ones. Notably one of the essays comes from Nick Hornby. Hornby wrote About a Boy and Fever Pitch. Fever Pitch is fantastic and it's actually a soccer book and was originally a movie about soccer and not some garbage Red Sox flick with the unfunny Jimmy Fallon and the unattractive Drew Barrymore.
The OMI is seriously gearing up for Germany '06 especially since its beginning coincides with school's end. Want to learn more? Here are some web sites that we're glued to:
Road to the World Cup Blog (Washington Post)
Soccernet.com (ESPN)
Nation by nation breakdowns from That's on Point:
Angola-Brazil Cote D'Ivoire-England France-South Korea Germany-Serbia Trinidad & Tobago Tunisia Ukraine

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A World Without Romania

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bird Flu Update

Bucharest residents and Romanians in general are awaiting test results to see if the H5N1 bird flu has now come to Bucharest's livestock. Officials say that the bird flu is of the H5 variety, but they're not sure about the N1 bit. Apparently the N1 is what makes the flu deadly to people. This is in addition to the discovery of the H5N1 in Brasov county last week. When it's all said and done, up to 1 million birds might be killed in order to contain the virus.
Bucharest's infected birds came from Sector 4 and the Agricultural Minister is considering a ban on breeding of domestic fowl in large cities. The OMI thinks this is the time to bring your attention to the fact that in Romania breeding of domestic fowl occurs in large cities.
So far, no cases of humans getting the bird flu have been reported, but with the bird flu now in big cities, the chances of this happening are much higher. If people start getting bird flu, you might be seeing the OMI stateside a bit earlier than expected.
In related bird flu news, seven family members have died from the bird flu in Indonesia. A World Health Organization rep said, "This is the most significant development so far in terms of public health." He added, "We have never had a cluster as large as this. We have not had in the past what we have here, which is no explanation as to how these people became infected." That there aren't any sick animals in the community is the reason why the WHO has no explanation for the outbreak, a fact that points to human-to-human transmission. On the other hand, the genetic code of the virus has not changed so it's not as bad as feared. Regardless, the Invasion is starting a countdown to a global pandemic. Our guess is that the shit hits the fan within a year. Have a nice day.

this man has a death wish

Eurovision Song Contest

Last weekend the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Greece. Eurovision is kinda like American Idol except each European country has a representative perform an original song. Hosted by some Greek guy (think of some really Greek name and that'll do) and the lovely Maria Menounos, this year's contest produced a stunning upset. The champions were Lordi from Finland for their performance of "Hard Rock Hallelujah." This was the first hard rock song to have ever won the contest and Finland's first ever victory. Oh yeah, Lordi kinda look like Gwar or a mutated KISS (for anymore info on KISS head to IrvingLongface) and during the performance Lordi's lead singer sprouted giant wings. After Lordi won the right to represent Finland, a national uproar followed with most Finns guessing, correctly, that Lordi would be a national embarressment. To put it simply, the Eurovision Song Contest is a haven for camp and crappy Europop (past winners = ABBA, Celine Dion who represented Switzerland somehow) and while Lordi aren't Europop, their victory continues to prove that Europeans have poor taste in music. Brits are said to view the Eurovision as comedic which excuses them from this judgement. Then again, Matthew Witham is British (allegedly) and he loves Phil Collins more than his mother, so Brits are still suspect. The OMI could go on forever about the Eurovision contest (national rivalries/friendships influence voting, the winners aren't really heard from again, etc), but we're too busy for that. We kindly suggest that you read the Wikipedia article.

Europe's finest

Monday, May 22, 2006

Philadelphia Footie

Philadelphia...A city of champions almost winners, heartbreakers and outright losers. When fans of Philadelphia sports stop reflecting on the Sixers' incompetence and Flyers' inept playoff performances, they have the Eagles' slide from the elite to add to the hopelessness. The Phillies are on a roll this year, but the good times are bound to end for the soon to be Team of 10000 Losses. Apparently the powers at be think that there should be no end to the suffering of Philly's fans because MLS Comissioner Don Garber has said that it's not a matter of if but a matter of when the City of Brotherly Love gets an MLS franchise. It looks like the team will play in Glassboro, NJ at Rowan University in a new stadium built on campus.
Recently, the newest franchise, Toronto FC, was unveiled and will begin play in 2007. Philly looks to be on the list for a club to start play in 2009 and the debate regarding the club's name and colors is already heating up. We like Philadelphia Athletic or Philadelphia SC, but we're not all that crazy about either. You have any ideas?
The One Man Invasion says it's about time the MLS came to Philadelphia and when it does, you can bet your bottom dollar that the OMI staff will pick up some gear to rep the home team. We just hope that the colors and team name aren't gay too trendy. As for the action on the pitch, our guess is that the team will quickly achieve glory and then spend the next 50 years tormenting fans by sucking for decades and occasionally flirting with success (only to ulimately fail).
The OMI has several (thousand) contacts in the Philadelphia soccer community and the word is that the club plans to hire the great employees of Philadelphia sports' history to ensure that this team started on the right foot. Head Coach will be Rich Kotite and running the front office will be Ed Wade along with Billy King and Bobby Clarke. The owner will be either Norman Braman or Terrell Owens. With a crew like this, success is guaranteed.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Plus Ca Change...

In the late 80s when Romania rid itself of its communist dictatorship, the most striking images to reach the outside world were that of the abused and neglected orphans that were suffering in Romanian orphanages.
Back in communist times, birth control was outlawed so as to create more workers (more kids = more future workers). The commies went so far as to subject all women who weren't conceiving to gynaecological exams to see why they weren't having kids. Unfortunately families could not care for all these kids and many were given up to the care of the state.
While great improvements were made with the influx of aid money, ABC News, acting on a scathing report from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI), recently visited some orphanages in Braila and were shocked at what they saw. The OMI heard through its contacts that a segment on World News Tonight and Nightline was shownlast night (it isn't up on YouTube yet).
Also reporting on the orphanages is the New York Times which minces no words either. From Craig S. Smith's article: "[MDRI] found bed ridden teenagers 'so emaciated that they looked like they were 3 or 4 years old,' their limbs atrophied and contorted from disuse. Instead of giving the children attention, the report states, the hospital staff tied them down."
Again from Smith's article: "In an adult psychiatric hospital, investigators found some children wrapped head to toe in sheets used as full-body restraints. When the staff agreed to remove the sheet on a 17-year-old girl, the report states, 'her skin came off with the sheet, leaving a raw open wound beneath it.'"
But, according to the MDRI report, about 9,000 babies are deserted in Romania every year, one of the highest rates in Europe. The country's foster care and adoption programs strain to keep up with the number of children who need help. The Invasion has a colleague working in a foster care center and lots of the kids there have parents who still live in the city. The parents just don't have the means to take care of the kids so they just hand them over to the state. He told the Invasion of a story where a girl that they have only has half of both of her thumbs because at her previous orphanage they tied her thumbs to her forefingers too tightly in an effort to stop her from sucking her thumbs. The thumbs lost circulation and that combined with the neglect of the staff resulted in a portion of both thumbs basically dying.
The MDRI released their report in hopes that the EU will put some serious pressure on the government to address these problems before allowing them in. This is all over the Romanian news and it doesn't look like it's going to go away. More updates as things develop.
The more things change...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Same Old Shearer, Always Scoring

English soccer legend Alan Shearer has retired after a glorious career of scoring goals. The English Premiership's all-time leading scorer, Shearer scored tons of goals including 130 for Blackburn, 30 goals for England, 43 for Southampton, and a club-record 206 for Newcastle. Shearer battled through injuries and played on some lousy teams, but he could always be counted on to bag goals. Also he provided inspiration for one of the greatest screennames of all (AShearer98). So while you're out this weekend, order a Newcastle Brown Ale and toast #9, captain, Alan Shearer.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Buddy List - Blog Roundup

Spring has finally come to Romania. The snow has melted and the sun kinda shines! A man only slightly smarter than the OMI once said "What potent blood hath modest May." Running with that theme, the One Man Invasion presents some pretty modest, yet potent, blogs you shouldn't miss out on. Enjoy...

Le Blog de Mofo - the wiffleball league and its peerless commentator
Awkardtoad - starving actor gnaws on fat of America's underbelly
Irvinglongface - Southern Gentlemen speaks on all things
King Dingus - royalty wading in raw sewage and orange soda

She Cries, "More, More, More"

The stars of the music world keep rolling into Romania, albeit 20 years after the fact. After Europe brought the "Final Countdown" to Brasov and Boy George brought his djing to Bucharest, it was only a matter of time before Billy Idol unleashed the rebel yell on Romania. Idol will bring his trademark snarl to Arenele Romane on July 10 as a part of his European Tour. Accompanying Idol will be guitarist Steve Steavens who may or may not be related to alleged guitar fraud Vinnie Vincent. Tickets go on sale today and for those of you following Idol around Europe, the Invasion will gladly pick up your tix for you.
Idol was once spotted at a party on Cleveland Ave by the Invasion and colleague Sack Storm and their lives have never been the same.
Who will come to Romania next? Smart money is on Cyndi Lauper, Chris de Burgh or Vinnie Vincent.

"It's a nice day to...START AGAIN!!"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

World Cup Update

The World Cup is only a little more than a month away and yesterday USMNT Coach Bruce Arena named his 23-man roster for the trip to Germany. Notably absent is Taylor Twellman who has been a scoring machine the past few seasons for MLS' New England Revolution and was named last season's MVP. The Roster is below.

Goalkeepers: Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Tim Howard (Manchester United), Marcus Hahnemann (Reading)
Defenders: Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Eddie Lewis (Leeds), Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege), Cory Gibbs (Den Haag), Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards)
Midfielders: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), DaMarcus Beasley (PSV Eindhoven), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Claudio Reyna (Manchester City), Bobby Convey (Reading), John O'Brien (Chivas USA), Ben Olsen (DC United)
Forwards: Brian McBride (Fulham), Josh Wolff (Kansas City Wizards), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City Wizards), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo)

Paging Reuven Malter and Danny Saunders

For those of you living outside New York City, news about Hasidic Jews is a rare thing. For those of you living on planet Earth, caring about news about Hasidic Jews is even rarer, that is until now.
The Satmar Hasidic movement has recently become embroiled in a row concerning who will succeed Late Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum. Rabbi Teitelbaum's sons Aarom and Zalman have been feuding over who will become the next grand rabbi. The Satmar movement is the world's largest Hasidic dynasty with its center in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
The Satmar movement originated in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and managed to escape the Holocaust before things got really ugly. The movement originated in and derives its name from Satu Mare, Romania. While the Satmar are not Romanian (more ethnic Hungarian) and were exterminated have left Romania, they do share the Romanian love for beer with the Beer Mayim Chaim being one of the most studied texts of Satmar education.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Best In Show

More than a hundred cats will be admired and analyzed by the august members of a World Cat Federation jury in the 2006 Cat-Show Bucharest. The exhibition will be hosted by the Romanian Feline Association (RFA) on May 7.
The exhibition will include a fashion show for cats, similar to previous shows organized in Japan (of course), the United States (ugh) and France. Also present at Cat-Show Bucharest will be a 16-year-old cat weighing 16 kilograms (35 lbs). The One Man Invasion's source inside the RFA says that they have yet to receive confirmation from keynote speaker and renowned cat-lover Jake Czerwin on whether or not he will attend.

"pretty kitty!"