Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011



We here at the DUNER BLOG are dedicated to our slogan: 'Keeping You Informed of Important Stories You Might Have Missed.' So we are particularly proud of this week's subject: Sergio Ramos and the MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT IN SPORTS HISTORY.  It occurred in Madrid last week and received very little coverage in American media.  So...for those you who didn't hear about this ultimate faux-pas....we here at DUNER CORP headquarters will now tell you fine readers the WHOLE STORY!

Few Americans know much about the COPA DEL REY.  Since 1902, Spain's soccer teams have fought valiantly for the honor of owning this large silver trophy for one year.  (In Spanish: El Campeonato de España – La Copa de Su Majestad el Rey de Fútbol.  In English: Championship of Spain – His Majesty the King's Royal Football Cup).  Anyhow, in soccer circles this is really important, as FIFA has Spain currently ranked #1in the world.   Hence, last week's final between ROYAL MADRID and FC BARCELONA trailed only the SUPER BOWL as the most-watched-sporting-event of 2011, with estimated around half a billion people tuning in worldwide.  And...just like the SUPER BOWL...the event is much more than mere sport.  TV networks showed celebs in the stands as much as the players on the field.  We saw an anxious SHAKIRA watch her new boyfriend, Barcelona's hunky striker GERARD PIQUE.   Unfortunately, the pop star was weeping when her team lost, 0-1.  The lone goal was scored by Madrid's CRISTIANO RENALDO, who is perhaps more famous as an Ultimo underwear model than as an athlete.   (Ladies: Sorry for not including his photo!)

But the REAL STORY came the day after the victory in the stadium.  Also...just like in the Super Bowl...the winning team returns home to a raucous reception at the airport, followed by a victory parade down the most famed boulevard in town.  Rowdy fans line the sidewalks around PLAZA DE CIBELES as their heroes wave to them from the top of a Double-Decker bus.  All was going as planned when suddenly disaster struck! Madrid forward SERGIO RAMOS was hoisting the coveted COPA DEL REY trophy high in the air to the delight of the fans.  But...he leaned over the edge of the bus just a little bit too far... then WHAM!  The 35 -Pound silver trophy fell fifteen feet to the asphalt below.  An estimated 60,000 fans watched in horror as the stunned bus driver proceeded to run over it, unable to stop in time.  Spain's most prized possession was mushed into a twisted mess of metal.  Police tried in vain to pry it from the bus's chassis to no avail. Now that's embarrassing!

So what do you do the next day, if you're SERGIO RAMOS?  You wake up the next morning and know the whole world wants an explanation.  At first, Sergio ignored the 'Inbox: Full' display on his cellphone and tried to downplay the event.  He slyly told a reporter: "The cup? She fell...but she is okay.  No problems!"   Sorry...Sergio...the trophy isn't okay. According to MARIA VILLEGAS, a Real Madrid spokesperson: "The cup is not in good shape."  In fact, staff hurried to create a replacement cup to put on display in the Hall of Fame at SANTIAGO BERNABEU Stadium for the droves of people anxiously awaiting to worship it.  (As any true sports fan knows, one must view a trophy with their own eyes for good luck.)  His teammates have called him everything from 'butterfingers' to 'butthead.'  Poor Sergio!

Or perhaps not.  We did leave out one very important fact.  The Victory Parade through the plaza happened at 4:15 in the morning.  No wonder the darn trophy got banged up...those crazy Castilians party all night long!  And it's not like this was the first time the COPA DEL REY trophy has been smashed up.  Heck, the only person who really has a right to be mad is FEDERIRO ALEGE.  He is the jeweler in Madrid who has to fix the trophy.  When asked how he felt about the upcoming work, he replied: "I am not sad or even angry.  These things happen."  Even Sergio himself is now laughing about the incident.  He posted on Twitter that he didn't drop the trophy at all.  Rather it: "jumped out of my hands to be closer to the great fans at the Plaza de Cibeles!'  How's that for damage control?  Maybe after football, Sergio should work for FOX NEWS!  Olé!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011



OMG! KIM KARDASHIAN is in the news again! Which is always amazing, because: She can't act. She can't sing. She can't write. She certainly can't speak...like...ya know...very good. But somehow she always manages to grab headlines. However, this time it's different.  KIM is in the news for a good thing.  This time it doesn't involve a 'stud-pro-athlete boyfriend' or a 'late-night-all-babe catfight' or a 'super-hot-but-sleazy-sex-tape.' Nope, this time Kim is going political! And she: "really hopes that if I can bring awareness to the issue...then this is an accomplishment." You Go, KIM!!

Sorry, we got ahead of ourselves. We forgot to tell you what issue Ms. Kim is trying to raise awareness about. You might not know, but her dad Robert is Armenian. KARDASHIAN (Քարտաշեան in Armenian) means "son of a stone-mason."  Armenians dislike the Turks so much that in Armenia, every April is the official "We Hate Turkey Month." So when the Turkish edition of COSMOPOLITAN magazine ran a photo of gorgeous (but Armenian) Kim on their April cover, all hell broke loose in Asia Minor.  Armenian activist ARAM HAMPARIAN called it "rubbing salt in the wounds of Armenians everywhere."

As Kim explains it, she did photo shoot for various editions of Cosmo magazine worldwide and wasn't explicitly told any shots would appear on the Turkish cover. Had she known, she never would have agreed to such an insulting notion. Why?  Because of the past.  From 1500-1915, the Ottoman Turks ruled over an immense empire, stretching from the Balkans in Europe to North Africa, not to mention the entire Middle East.  Included in this massive nation were a few Christian groups like the Armenians.   Called Gavours (infidels) they were allowed freedom of worship, but little else.  The Turks gave Armenians the worst jobs, and then overtaxed their paltry salaries.  Armenians couldn't carry weapons nor could they "ride atop a horse."  When they tried to complain, they were told Armenian testimony is inadmissible in Turkish courts.

Life went on like this for centuries until Turkey joined Germany and Austria in the First World War.  They hoped to rejuvenate their limping empire.  The opposite happened.  British forces, led by LAWRENCE OF ARABIA liberated the Middle East of Ottoman rule. Russian armies stormed into the Caucasus Mountains.  Sensing their inevitable defeat, Turkish generals decided to turn their frustrations on the defenseless Armenians.  They demanded an 'instant draft' of 50,000 men for their army, thus slowing down the Russian army and killing a bunch of Armenians at the same time.  When local leaders refused on APRIL 24, 1915, horrific events quickly ensued.  With international attention squarely placed on the battlefields of France, Turkish forces committed horrific acts against their already marginalized minority, murdering over a million men, women and children in cold blood.

For nearly a century, Armenians like the KARDASHIANS have complained that the world turned a blind eye to the genocide. This was aided by unfortunate circumstances: The Russian army finally made it to Eastern Turkey in 1917 and were the first to discover the hideous atrocities.  They reported seeing "schools with dead children piled up out front."  Horrified, the Russians became enraged and proceeded to slaughter the responsible Turkish troops.  This actually helped the Ottoman army.  After the war, there were few surviving military leaders for the international courts to prosecute.  No trials meant no publicity.  The surviving Armenian population would be split up into the Soviet Union and the new nation of Turkey...two nations not exactly known for freedom of the press.

That is until KIM KARDASHIAN spoke up! Today, the world needs to congratulate the famed socialite for keeping us informed of an important issue.  (Did I really just say that?)  And please remember the Armenians THIS SUNDAY with a moment of silence.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011



If you’re wondering why the cover of this week’s TIME MAGAZINE has ABE LINCOLN on it, it’s because today (April 12, 2011) marks 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. At four in the morning, all those years ago, the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina and our nation’s most deadliest war began. It’s also our nation’s most confusing conflict. Debate still rages about its causes and results.

WAIT! Before you all LOG OUT of blogger.com, let me reassure you: We will not be discussing SLAVERY. Instead, we'll talk about the issue that never gets enough attention: STATES RIGHTS.

Let's start at the beginning. If you look at important dates in US History, you'll notice a gaping hole between July 4, 1776 (The signing of the Declaration of Independence) and April 30, 1789 (Washington inaugurated as First US President). What happened in those forgotten fourteen years? Well, first off, it took us about five years to finally kick the British out. The Battle of Yorktown saw the last redcoats leave. Later, in 1781, George Washington shocked all of European royalty when he announced he was retiring from the colonial military and government. Everyone thought FOR SURE he was gonna be the start of new American monarchy. (Guess he wasn't a liar after all!)

Instead, American power was entrusted to the words of the ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION. This document, written the day after the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE spelled out how the new nation was to be governed after the war. Not only did it not involve a King, but it also called for no taxes, no courts, no police...pretty much no government at all. For the next ten years, US states acted independently of each other. Each state had its own governing body. Maryland had an assembly, Virginia had a commonwealth. Each state had its own foreign policy. New York sent envoys to Paris and London while Georgia eyed annexing Florida from Spain. However, this 'loose organization' came to an end in 1789, when the CONSTITUTION was ratified and George Washington was lured out of retirement to become the first president.

But the ideals Articles of Confederation never disappeared. As always, a solid portion of Americans hated a large, bossy federal government. Over the years, a group took its name from this original document in hopes of returning a league of states. The CONFEDERACY reminded all Americans that Article One of the Articles clearly states that: "each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence" from the Federal Government. Conventions across the South were held to un-ratify the US Constitution. After decades of debate, a group in South Carolina decided words had failed and hurled the nation into internal conflict. The rest of the world watched in sheer horror as the largest army on the planet (533,000 men) unleashed an abhorrent amount of death and destruction never the likes of which had never been seen before.

Today is a good day to ask the question: What if Lincoln had allowed the South to secede? Sure, the current Union would be modified, but...for the most part...life still would have gone along just fine with a couple less stars on the flag. Maybe, just maybe, life would have been better. Take for example Czechoslovakia. After being liberated from the Soviets, the Slovaks wanted to be liberated from the Czechs. President Vaclav Havel (a favorite of the DUNER-BLOG) agreed to honor the results of a nation-wide vote. Turns out both countries have done great since the split, with standards of living rising on both sides of the peaceful border. How do we handle secession? Americans had to kill 620,000 of our own people...and we still can't figure out why!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011



We here at the DUNER BLOG have a slogan. It's in the upper banner on the homepage, adjacent to the star in light blue letters. Anyhow...for those of you who missed it...our official motto is: "The Duner Blog: Keeping You Informed on Important News Stories You Might Have Missed." And...boy...do we have an obscure news item this week. So unless you live on the REMOTEST island in the world you probably DIDN'T hear about the tragic shipwreck earlier this week, did you?

Just where is the REMOTEST INHABITED ISLAND IN THE WORLD anyhow? If you were like me, you probably guessed the South Pacific. Wrong! It's actually in the South Atlantic Ocean. The island of Tristan Da Cunha gets this noble distinction because the 264 people who live here are the 'most separated town from any other human settlements on earth.' In fact, the closest human settlement to Tristan Da Cunha Island is the city of Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa, some 1,750 miles away. The next closest inhabited land mass is a village in southeastern Brazil. That's 2, 500 miles away. We're talking remote, folks!

As expected, not much happens in the Tristan Da Cunha archipelago. Every once in a while, an occasional AIR SOUTH AFRICA international jet might fly overhead, on the not-very-popular Johannesburg to Rio de Janiero route. And, every once in a while, you'd see would see the M.S. Olivia, an ocean tanker, sail by. It carries soybeans from Brazil around the Cape of Good Hope to the soybean demanding nation of Singapore. And, poor isolated little Tristan Da Cunha would have remained unknown...BUT...last week this ocean freighter crashed smack dab into the center of the island!

The M.S. Olivia is one immense ship. It split in half and unleashed 800 tons of fuel oil into the sea. The poor islands are now drenched in a horrible petroleum-based sludge. (But don't worry, all 22 IDIOT crew members were rescued unharmed!) Now, aside from the 264 British citizens who live in the island chain, there are some very rare animals that are only found here...because it's so darn far away from everything else. Meet the 20,000 endangered ROCK-HOPPER PENGUINS, Tristan Da Cunha's most famous residents. They live farther north than other penguins and as a result live on rocks and not ice. Well, now they're living on oil-soaked rocks and they are dying in droves because it took THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE BIRDS eighteen hours to fly to the distant archipelago!

Residents of the remote island (who, by the way, have only 8 surnames) are of course, furious at the negligence of the ocean freighter. Interestingly enough, it's not the just the penguins they're mad about. Also on board the freighter, along with the 800 tons of fuel oil, the 66,000 tons of soybeans are an untold number of rats. Rodent infestations are rampant on these immense freighters and no one really cares. And of course, there were no rats on the remote island chain prior to the disaster. Residents know their fragile ecosystem would be devastated by rats, who would bring untold disease and destruction to their paradise. But...until the world gets serious about letting ocean liners register in tiny countries like Malta (home of the M.S. Olivia) to escape stricter laws, we will continue to have our oceans full of rat-infested ships with drunk drivers crashing into endangered habitats!