Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010



Psst...Wanna know a secret? While the rest of the planet is glued to their TVs and I-PHONES watching WORLD CUP SOCCER, a select group of insanely wealthy and highly influential men and women are meeting in Toronto. They spend their days plotting their evil plans of financial domination of the world. They spend their nights negotiating treacherous alliances. Once sworn enemies now dine and dance together. All while the rest of the world is watching the world cup! Wake up, people! This isn't a JAMES BOND MOVIE...this is real!

Exaggeration? Hardly! Let's take a look at the 'combined fortunes' of the G-20 nations. Financially, they account for a whopping 85% of the world's Gross National Product (GNP). Physically, they have an enormous work force...an astounding 70% of the world's population live in G-20 nations. OK, but are this group really as sneaky as SPECTRE was in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME? Well, the G-20 does have no permanent chairperson. Nor any permanent staff. Host nations rotate around the world, with CANADA getting the nod this year. And just think of the pedigree around that table in Toronto! Not only is Obama, Medvedev, Berlusconi and Jintao there, but also their finance ministers, cabinet members, central bank governors and federal reserve chairman Ben Benacke as well.

And while no one is comparing a G-20 summit to historical events like the TREATY OF VERSAILLES or the CONGRESS OF VIENNA, some people around the world think we should. The finance minister of Norway, JONAS STORE, calls it "one of the greatest setbacks since World War II." While the UN was inclusive of all nations, the G-20 leaves out 169 other, smaller countries. Norway, not part of the European Currency Zone, is one such nation. Although Norway helps bankroll development programs for the WORLD BANK, it gets no say in the major discussions that take place at the G-20 summits. Instead, the self-appointed 'masters of the world' take care of everything for us.

But don't worry, the G-20 isn't completely evil. They do pick and chose which countries get to come and which ones don't. And despite the fact that IRAN has the world's 17th largest GNP, it doesn't get to come to the party. (Not yet, at least!) Anyhow, since this is the DUNER BLOG, here's the list of the twenty members in terms of national GNP:

1. USA
7. U.K.
12. S. KOREA

Wednesday, June 23, 2010



It was without doubt the most exciting moment of soccer I have ever witnessed. With only a handful of seconds left in a scoreless tie, it seemed the US team would once again be coming home early. With them would come the dream. The dream that someday, average American sports fans, like myself, would come to love the sport, thereby uniting the world in a TV commercial endorsement nirvana. But at the moment, it was Nil to Nil. I was watching a defensive quagmire until LANDON DONOVAN made US soccer history by scoring the winning goal!

Let's face it: The US may rule the world militarily, but in soccer we stink. This is only the eighth time the US has made it to the world cup. Our best finish (third place) was in the inaugural World Cup, way back in 1930. (So that doesn't count!) The next appearance, in 1950, featured the "Miracle on Grass" when the Yanks upset England 1-0. But we still didn't make the knockout round. Forty years would pass before another US World Cup appearance. And since 1990, the Americans haven't missed the tournament. Unfortunately, we've only mustered a miserable 4-12-2 record in six cups, reaching the quarterfinals only once. In summary, the US is a third-world soccer power. Yet that is all about to change. With Donovan's goal, the US WON Group C and now faces puny GHANA on Saturday. The US is the 2010 World Cup's 'Cinderella Story.'

Meanwhile, the 2010 World Cup's most pathetic team is...without question...FRANCE. Les Blues were a penalty kick away from the last championship, and did the ultimate in 1998 by winning the title AND hosting the tournament in the same year. But in 2010, the team didn't just lose, they crashed and burned. Not only did they lose to both Mexico and South Africa, but they experienced a barrage of negative in-fighting as both coach and players vented to a tabloid-hungry media. Striker Nicolas Anelfa was sent home, players refused to practice and the coach Raymond Domenech got fired. All within a week!

How is Paris handling this? Not well. France winger Florent Malouda apologized to his nation. "It's a complete disaster that we chose to express ourselves like this," he said. "We're really sorry for the French population and the French fans. That's not what we want to show." Star striker Thierry Henry will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday to discuss the debacle. The sport-themed newspaper L'Equipe summed it up best, calling it "THE END OF THE WORLD." Que horrible! Stay tuned, readers, we've got plenty more WORLD CUP blogs ahead!

This just in: Algerian player slaps female reporter in the face after match:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010



As you know, I have been anxiously awaiting the start of the WORLD CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT for months. For me, it began last Friday at 8:30 am (Pacific Daylight Time), when I got into my car to drive to work. I tuned in the radio to get an update on the first game between MEXICO and host nation SOUTH AFRICA. Unfortunately, it seemed there was some odd static on AM1050, a local sports radio station. I tried to adjust the knob, only to realize it was digitally locked on. No matter how I tried, I couldn't seem to get rid of that odd buzzing sound. The next day, when I turned on the TV to catch the USA / ENGLAND match, there it was again! What could it be?

Like the other TWO BILLION people tuning into catch the BEST SPORTING EVENT EVER, my ears were being subject to the sound of the VUVUZELA horn. It's about three feet long, made of plastic, and emits only one note: B-flat. The word is Zulu for "making a vu-vu noise." For decades, it has been a favorite of South African fans, who have apparently purchased 99% of stadium seats. While THEY may be used to the monotonous instrument, the rest of the world is not. Visiting announcers are the most enraged. A WASHINGTON POST reporter called the sound a "deafening swarm of locusts" while the LONDON TIMES thought it sounded like "a goat on its way to slaughter."

But the VUVUZELA is proving to be more than an inconvenience. Players complain that the constant noise interferes with their ability to communicate with the coach and teammates. Portugal's CRISTIANO RONALDO (Google his photo, ladies. He's...like...fine!) said this and French striker PATRICE EVRA blamed the VUVUZELA for his team's poor performance. Worse yet, many feel the horns are a public safety issue. Organizers worry the 127 decibel noise (ten decibels louder than a referee's whistle) emitted by the horns would make it impossible for spectators to hear emergency announcements in the event of an evacuation.

The international soccer body, FIFA, heard the complaints and made a stand on the controversy. Spokesperson Sepp Blatter defended the VUVUZELA stating: "I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound. I don't see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country. Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?" So it looks like the VUVUZELA is here to stay. It just seems sad that such a historic event won't be remembered as a 'bridging of cultures' in a 'mis-understood continent.' Nope, it'll be remembered by a very annoying BBBBBBBUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Oh...by the way...there is a new GIRL GROUP called 'Las Vuvuzelas.' Google their photo, guys. They're...like...totally hot!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010



Many of us have heard "The Duner Rant" about sports team nicknames. So, for those you fortunate enough NOT to have heard this, here's a quick summary. Group A is for teams with horribly simply nicknames. Basic colors: THE CINCINNATI REDS or CLEVELAND BROWNS or archaic slang: NEW YORK YANKEES or PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. Group B contains fierce animals or people. This includes the DETROIT LIONS or GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS. Group C is the most creative. It involves something unique about the place the team represents. For example, the SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS give tribute to gold miners. The PITTSBURGH STEELERS are named after the city's steel industry. (NOTE: Group C teams have trouble changing cities. For example, when the Jazz moved from New Orleans to Utah. Is there really any 'Jazz' in Salt Lake. Or how many lakes are there in Los Angeles vs. Minnesota?)

Anyhow, back to the blog's main subject: the WORLD CUP. With the games about to start, I began to wonder: Do the teams of NATIONS have nicknames as well? Of course they do! So let's see how well they fit into my categories: First up: Group A. Seems many teams go for colors to identify themselves. In South America, sky blue is popular. Argentina is Albiecelestes (white & sky blue) and Uruguay is La Celeste (heavenly blue). Nearby Chile is called La Roja (red), France is Les Blues , the Netherlands are Oranje and Italy is Azzurri (blues). Mexico is called El Tri (the three) which refers to the three colors on their flag. Finally, New Zealand is All Whites...don't confuse them with All Blacks...the rugby team! Then, there are those old terms. The US team is The Yanks and Germany is creatively called Der Manshaft (the team.)

Next, let's move on to Group B. These are fierce animals or people. Lions are always popular. Cameroon is The Indomitable Lions and England is The Three Lions. Eagles are another favorite. Nigeria boasts The Super Eagles while Serbia has Beli Orlovi (the white eagles). Not surprisingly, the Ivory Coast is Les Elephants, while three-time champions Brazil are the cute Canarinihos (the little canaries!) Algeria attacks with Les Fennecs (the desert foxes). Also, beware of South Korea's Taeguk Warriors and Slovenia's Zajceki Dragons. Finally, my personal favorite comes from everyone's favorite pariah nation, North Korea. Their nickname is The Chollima, a mythical winged horse that can fly a thousand miles!

Finally, there are Group C nicknames which pay tribute to an aspect of a nation's culture. Japan loves The Blue Samurai and Portugal's national crest dons the chests of the Seleccao das Guinas the 'team of five shields.' Denmark's Olsen's Eleven pays tribute to it's greatest head coach, Morten Olsen. Honduras is called Los Catrachos which is apparently what the rest of Central America calls people from Honduras! Paraguay's nickname is Los Guarani, or 'the people from the forest.' And...ready for this...Australia's national team is called The Soccer-oos! Crikey! That's silly!

So when, you sit down to watch the games, be sure to root on with the proper nickname! If you're rooting on the Host Nation, remember the South African team is Bafana Bafana (The Boys.) Good luck to all thirty-two teams!

AND...since my son David helped me write this blog, he suggested some INTER-ACTIVE fun. Here are two nicknames we couldn't categorize. Ghana's 'Black Stars' and Greece's 'Pirate Ships.' What do YOU think??

Friday, June 4, 2010


Okay, first things first. The CEO of Duner-Corp, Duner, apologizes PROFUSELY for the recent absence of blogs. Duner-Corp's main technology station experienced something called a "FATAL HARD DRIVE COLLAPSE." Anyhow, we've corrected the problem and are proud to announce resumption of blogs. We would also like to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone who has been offended by White Sox manager OZZIE GUILLEN as well. And now back to the blog...


Well, the I-PHONE isn't exactly mankind's greatest achievement, but it is close. It's the EIGHTH most important invention to be exact. This is according to a very reliable survey released last week in Britain. The company TESCO MOBILE (Yes, they do sell cell-phones) conducted a survey of 4,000 adults aged 18-65 and asked them to rank humankind's best achievements. I turns out we feel the I-PHONE isn't as important as the wheel, airplanes and the light bulb, but way more valuable than a flushing toilet, which came in ninth place. If he were still alive, Thomas Crapper would be livid.

One person is very proud of the results. Lance Batchelor, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco Mobile, is beaming. Mostly because the I-PHONE has sold 42 million units worldwide and his company is one of the UK's largest suppliers. He boldly stated that: "All of the inventions included in this list have changed the world forever." He clearly is a man of vision. After all, can you imagine a world without invention #88, the CHEESE GRATER? And can you imagine how boring life would be without invention #77, the PUSH-UP BRA?

I, for one, don't like using outhouses. Therefore, I would definitely rank the flushing toilet as more important than a cell phone. But I am perhaps in the minority. We all know too many people who would gladly pee on a tree if it meant they could still access their apps, play scrabble, and text around the world. Maybe I'll even get one!

Here's the list of all 100 inventions:
1. Wheel
2. Aeroplane
3. Light bulb
4. Internet
5. PCs
6. Telephone
7. Penicillin
8. iPhone
9. Flushing toilet
10. Combustion engine

11. Contraceptive pill
12. Washing machine
13. Central heating
14. Fridge
15. Painkillers
16. Steam engine
17. Freezer
18. Camera
19. Cars
20. Spectacles

21. Mobile phones
22. Toilet paper
23. Hoover
24. Trains
25. Google
26. Microwave
27. Email
28. The pen
29. Hot water
30. Shoe

31. Compass
32. Ibuprofen
33. Toothbrush
34. Hair straighteners
35. Laptops
36. Knife and fork
37. Scissors
38. Paper
39. Space travel
40. Kettle

41. Calculator
42. Bed
43. Remote control
44. Roof
45. Air conditioning
47. Wi-Fi
48. Cats-eyes
49. Matches
50. Power steering

51. Tumble dryer
52. Bicycle
53. Sky+
54. Tea bags
55. Umbrella
56. iPod
57. Taps
58. Crash helmet
59. Wristwatch
60. eBay

61. DVD player
62. Nappies
63. Ladder
64. Sun tan lotion
65. Lawnmower
66. Make-up
67. Chairs
68. Sunglasses
69. The game of football
70. Sliced bread

71. Sofa
72. Razor blades
73. Screwdriver
74. Motorways
75. Head/ear phones
76. Towels
77. Push-up bra
78. Binoculars
79. WD40
80. Mascara

81. Hair dryer
82. Facebook
83. Escalator
84. Hair dye
85. Wellington boots
86. Spell check
87. Calendars
88. Cheese grater
89. Buses
90. Post-it notes

91. Gloves
92. Satellite dish
93. Pedestrian crossing
94. Baby's dummy
95. Curtains
96. Bottle opener
97. Food blender
98. Dustpan and brush
99. Desks
100. Clothes peg