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Archive for July, 2009

NBA Whiteout!

I’ve been laying on the self-righteous criticism of sex-tourists pretty thick lately, so I’m gonna take a break with another hoops post. If you’re not interested just scroll down, or click here for the previously posted part II of, Ukraine is not a brothel.

belinelli and stalloneIt looks like we can all breathe a sigh of relief that Devean George won’t see a minute of action for the Toronto Raptors this season as the Raps sent George to the GS Warriors in exchange for Italian combo guard Sylvester Stallone Marco Belinelli.

I’m not going to go on about stats, there are plenty of places for that, but rather a conversation I had with my dad on skype. After the Rasho signing he remarked that the Dinos are now the whitest team in the NBA. He didn’t sound excited about this. Now that Belinelli has joined the club, things would appear to be even whiter.

Today the Raps roster has 6 white players on board for the 09 season. They are also the only team that could trot out an all white starting lineup and still have a chance to win.

  • Calderon
  • Belinelli
  • Turkoglu
  • Bargnani
  • Nesterovic

bargs calderonIf you live in Indiana, you might want to raise an eyebrow or two. Indiana also has 6 white players under contract. There is some speculation that Larry Bird is revamping his roster with white guys in response to the Malice at the Palace, where three black players beat the snot out of a bunch of white fans in the stands in Detroit.

That brawl was probably the worst in North American sports and it’s effects have spread far and wide through the sports world. The NBA leaned hard on Youtube to remove all video evidence of the brawl, and replace the videos with NBA commissioner David hockeyfanfightStern’s response to the dust-up. In fact it’s now damn hard to find video evidence of the fight anywhere online. The Malice at the Palace is also the reason basketball fans can’t buy large beers at the Air Canada Centre, while hockey fans, who watch dudes knock each others teeth out all night, can.

Obviously any basketball fan understands that a player’s race has nothing to do with how successful they are. But what is interesting is that that perennially successful Pacers, 5871~White-Men-Can-t-Jump-Posterswhile white, did not have a single foreign born player on their roster. Neither did the ’08 championship Celtics, or the ’06 championship Heat. Even the core of the 2004 Pistons were American. All four teams were considered “intense” and “tough.”

The Raptors? All six white players on the roster were born outside the US. Is this something we should be concerned with? Do you have to be American-tough to win in the NBA? I used to think that foreign-born players just didn’t have that from the cradle desire to win an NBA championship. I thought that a world championship or  Olympic medal was the real prize. I took a closer look at championships of the past decade and winning rosters included names like, Parker, Gasol, Ginoblli, Okur, Oberto and Ukraine’s own Slava Medvedenko. Even the teams that lost in the finals featured guys like, Big Z, Dirk Nowitzki, Varajeo, Vujajic, Turkoglu, Gortat, Pietrus.

So really, I guess my conclusion is, if I’ve even made a point!?!. Is that the Euro-non Euro, white, non-white argument is pretty much a wash and if the Raps add Delfino, Kleiza, or Nachbar (check out his monster drunk over Elton Brand), let’s not freak out. After all, more Euro-white guys doesn’t hurt our chances at a championship and at the very least means more awesome commercials like this one:

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parage of beautyAs promised; here is the second installment of my completely anecdotal, one-dimensional, and shamefully self-righteous look at sex-tourism in Ukraine. For a less anecdotal look, check out the organization FEMEN.

As I mentioned before there is a third group of dudes who make their way to Ukraine in search of legendary Slavic women. These guys probably bother me most because generally they are the same age as me and have the same budget. Part of me dislikes them so much because they reflect all of my own basest thoughts and impulses towards the near-endless cavalcade the modelesque women here. The other part hates them because they are goddamned fucking misogynist sleazeballs who can’t control themselves.

The_gameGenerally these guys have probably read The Game one too many times, and have internalized all of its mechanical tips and tricks. They most often travel in pairs – for wingman purposes – and may not even like each other. They do however find each other useful as they both have one common goal they share and that’s to nail as many women as they can in as short a period of time as possible.

I wish I could say I’ve actually spoken with many of them, but for the most part they are reluctant to waste any conversation time on someone without a vagina. I have been out with a few of them and this is what I have observed.

A typical day for one of these guys goes something like this:

Wake up (alone) around noon well-hungover from the previous nights escapades. Depending on how far along into their international sex-tour they are, they’re grumpy and frustrated. The increasingly difficult daily trial of sobering up compounds with a hightened sexual frustration to create one sour-ass dude. Food is probably the first thought (actually getting out and seeing any sights is their last) and they venture out into the city for breakfast.

They don’t really care where they eat because as they’ll tell you, me, anyone in earshot, as loud as they can, “this place is so damned cheap!”

Next, they either pull out their netbook, laptop or plop themselves down at the hostel computer and begin their daily regime of trolling for, and harvesting, the contact information of local women. Their sites of choice are Slavic Brides, Couch Surfing, Facebook and Vkontakte. This is usually accompanied by pointing at photos and using phrases like, “man, I gotta hit that tonight.”

ukraine waitressOnce they have a few dates arranged, it’s off to a patio for some hair of the dog. A patio is the prefect place to flash their iPhone, rehash unverifiable past conquests and strategize for that night’s hunt. They pay their bill, marvel (out loud-as-possible) at how cheap things are here and gently slip some cash into the waitress’ hand. Y’know show her how much cash you have. No meal is complete without asking the waitress what she is up to that night.

Shower. Shave. Cologne. Dress. Ask receptionist what she is up to that night. Cab to club. Exclaim how cheap the cab is.

Generally, the more fancy clubs offer two options for clients. After paying the cover ($5-8) anyone can sidle-up to the bar, order a drink and get their groove on the dance floor. Bringing your drink onto the dance floor is seen as poor form and is even banned in some clubs.

bottle serviceThe second option is to pay a fee, maybe $3-6, and reserve a table in the VIP section. This comes with a bottle service where vodka, juice, smokes and beer are all delivered to your table. Guys hunting Ukrainian girls love this option. They get to do something that they could never afford in their home country: Act like a big deal.

With a table secured, they’ll take advantage of their wingman and one-at-a-time they’ll sortie out onto the dance floor and fish for women to come sit at their table with them. The other holds down the fort; protecting the iPhones, cellphones, digital cameras and drinks. Digital cameras? Yeah, I’ll be fair, I’ve only seen this once, but it was a man in his 50s, coke bottle glasses, leaning against the bar jamming hours of footage of young womens’ bottom halves into his camcorder. I’m not crusader, but I did kinda confront him about it, and politely asked him to put the camera away. He complied, then told me all about his beautiful wife and kids, while spraying spittle all over my face.

make_it_rain1A camcorder is a bit beyond the pale. Most guys engage women and eventually convince them to sit down and share a drink. This is where things usually go wrong. Their first mistake is declaring how cheap everything is, thus hoping to impress upon the women how much disposable income they have. Not for a second do they put themselves in the shoes of the women they’re talking to.

I suppose the goal is to get the woman (or girl) so drunk that obstacles like language, religion, boyfriends and any sense of decency go out the window. That said. I almost never, ever see women getting fall-down drunk here. Part and parcel with dressing well is an overall desire to remain proper. Perfect posture, manners and behavior are all essential to being a woman here. In a culture where recent calamities have routinely obliterated the male population significantly, women have had to be strong, and focused enough to take charge of families and businesses.

lonely manGetting pass-out drunk just isn’t an option. So while their plan is to reserve a table at a club and leverage their mighty purchasing power into a evening of endless bottle service and lowered inhibitions, they more often then not find themselves alone at the end of the night, sweaty, wasted and too fucked-up to even butcher the pronunciation of the name of the street they are staying at to the nearest cab driver. Once home they stumble into their creaky bed in a 12-person dorm and if they still have any sense left, resist the urge to stealthily ‘deal with’ their functionless erection.

That last paragraph was actually the first in another post I’m writing. Hey Romeo: 11 reasons why you’re not getting laid in Ukraine. I’ll post it on Friday. Next week sometime.

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Ukrainian Cribs

Sorry… I lied. I have a friend visiting from Warsaw and won’t finish my thoughts on sex tourists in Ukraine until Wednesday.

I do suggest that you check out this video. It’s Ukraine’s version of the popular MTV show Cribs, where famous people provide a glimpse into the fabulous homes their hard-earned celebrity has afforded them. In this episode they check out the crib of famous Ukrainian model Ioana Tatarsky. Trust me this is “ha ha” funny.

This past April while in a café in Moldova’s capital city Chişinău I caught that video out of the corner of my eye. At the time I thought it was either a horribly tasteless attempt at humor, or just a sign of how desensitized people in Moldova are to sex slavery, as that’s probably what the city is most famous for. Turns out this mock commercial for the MTV show Cribs is part of a campaign to fight sex trafficking. So it’s not actually funny at all. It is clever though.

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not a brothelI see them everywhere here in Lviv. Like hypnotized zombies they shamble around the city, half-drunk on $3 a litre vodka, head on a swivel, eyes darting from painted toenails to perfumed hair, mouth slightly ajar. They’re sex tourists. Here is a look into their world.

Hello DearXXXXX,

Thank you for the letter. I enjoyed the time we spent with you, it was nice and we had fun. I felt myself very cozy. I am flatted you think there is no need to continue your search. It really flatters me a lot.

I have thought a lot about future. I am a serious lady and my intentions are serious and I do not want to fool somebody and waste mine and other people’s time. I didn’t feel chemistry between us and lacking this I do not think something beautiful will grow between us. I am sorry to tell you this but I am sincere with you.

Warmly,
XXXXX

mailorderbride bagThis is the email response from a young women to a man I met while staying in a youth hostel owned by my roommate. I occasionally stop in there to do my laundry, or chat with the friendly staff. As a result I meet my fair share of men passing through his doors on a quest to find the woman of their dreams. I know it’s a bit shameless to publish that email, but I thought it was the best way to illustrate what actually happens here with men looking for “slavic brides.”

The suitor referenced in this email was a 40-something guy from Chicago. He was decent looking I guess, but he had one glaring obstacle to finding a wife.

When I first met him he didn’t say much, he just hunched over his keyboard at the common room table reading The Onion, and answering emails. Every once in a while he would react to something he was reading – loudly — thus startling Ukraine Poland and Berlin 1024everyone in the room. At first nobody knew he was hearing impaired and they just thought he was nuts. A few people asked him about himself, but quickly stopped their line of questioning when he answered in a voice loud enough to hear himself. I wouldn’t say he was shouting, but it was surely loud enough to be jarring.

One day, without any prompting he just started shouting out his life story. Due to a work accident he was 80% hearing impaired. He’d taken all of the proceeds from a work injury settlement, sold his house, all of his possessions and was traveling through Ukraine and Russia looking for a wife.

“I TAUGHT ENGLISH IN KOREA. MY BOSS WAS A GODDAMNED FOX. I’M RETIRED NOW. I HAVE NO HOME. I TRAVEL INDEFINITELY. I MADE A LOT OF MONEY BUT I SPENT IT ON SHIT. LIKE FISH TANKS. I HAD A RARE FOSSIL COLLECTION. I JUST SAID FUCK IT. I GAVE IT ALL AWAY. I HAD TWO COBRAS IN A JAR. I’M HERE LOOKING FOR A WIFE. I HAVEN’T HAD ANY LUCK.”

not a brothel2That was pretty much all he said before burying his head back in his laptop. I know he didn’t mind that we were all laughing. I think he found it pretty funny too, he was reading the Onion after all.

I did feel kind of bad though. Can you just picture hims and his date? They’re sitting in a fancy restaurant, the caviar is out, the champagne is chilled and he’s shouting to the translator at the top of his lungs about owning two cobras in a jar. I just don’t think he’s going to have much luck.

I wish I could say I don’t understand why he was making such an effort to find a Ukrainian wife, but I do.

First off the women here are drop dead gorgeous. I fall in love once or twice every time I leave my house. The girls here are stylish, sophisticated, multilingual, funny, intelligent, charismatic and friendly. They take pride in how they look, and beyond everything they radiate a confidence that rarely borders on arrogance. It’s just really hard to believe. They’re like a force of nature you just can’t ignore. They are forces in politics, they call the shots in most houses, they are focused on their careers (generally) and when many of the men are out getting drunk, they are holding the family fort down.

Ukraine USEven gaff-prone , US Vice President Joe Biden couldn’t help but comment on the ladies here.

“I cannot believe that a Frenchman visiting Kiev went back home and told his colleagues he discovered something and didn’t say he discovered the most beautiful women in the world; that’s my observation…. It’s certain you have so many beautiful women.”

Joe said this to a group of Ukrainian politicos who included President Viktor Yushchenko (you probably best know Yushchenko as the candidate who, in 2004, fell victim to the curiously 12th century political tactic of poisoning). The Frenchman he was referring to was Three Musketeer author Alexander Dumas who was a big fan of Ukraine.

ukraine girlsThe media is labeling these latest comments as yet another gaff, but I really have to disagree. For one, I think someone has to be offended for a comment to be considered a gaff. Secondly, again, it’s absolutely true! If Joe had said this in, say, England, people would have labeled him sleazy and lecherous non? But saying this in Ukraine is like saying, you have lovely churches and you certainly breathe oxygen, nitrogen and assorted gasses. It’s a fact of life. In the few conversations I’ve had with elderly babushkas here, the beauty of the women here is one of the first things they mention.

Where I have a bit of a problem is when guys come here with either, bad intentions, or the belief that women here are subservient, desperate and only interested in money. Admittedly everyone has their own unique agenda, but in the roughest sense I’ve narrowed these sex tourists into three categories. I won’t pretend to understand the mindset of the the women involved because my life experience just can’t compare to theirs. Also, they are women, and no matter where they are from I have a hard time understanding them.

Read on for the three types of sex-tourists I’ve encountered.

(more…)

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Communist Par-tay

lays_caviarI’m grumpy today. I spent about two hours wandering the streets of Lviv with a bag packed with bottled water, caviar flavoured potato chips and a book about Cossacks. My plan was to do some reading, writing and relaxing in the biggest park in the city. Somehow I just couldn’t find it, all four acres of it. Humiliating.swastika

What I did find was some asshole British guy wearing a shirt that said: The Nazi Party. It had Hitler, Goebbels and Goering drunk, toasting and sporting lampshades on their heads. I’m not sure what’s so funny about a regime that murdered millions of people. Do you find it funny?

Actually, I’m lying. I saw some asshole British guy wearing a T-shirt that said The Communist Party. 150 million dead. Some fucking party.

communist-party-teesCan we please stop fetishizing the hammer and sickle? Before I left Canada my grandmother told me the story of how her father died. It was 1929 and my grandmother was a six-year-old girl living in southern Ukraine. One day her father, an engineering student was arrested by the Soviet authorities and taken to a near-by jail. The police had intercepted a letter from his brother studying in Poland, asking if he and his family were okay, and were suspicious of this mysterious brother. That was enough to land him in a jail that certainly had that symbol on the wall.

For weeks my great grandmother went to the prison and pleaded that there had been some kind of mistake. One day she arrived for her usual visit but was turned away. She was told not to think about her husband anymore. It turns out the night before, he, and 80 other men, were taken into the forest and shot because the prison was running out of space. I guess it wasn’t personal; it was just a space problem.doosh_bagagge

I’m not telling this story because it’s extraordinary, I’m telling you because it’s not. So please, find another symbol people, this one makes you look ignorant.

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devean_georgeIn all of the off-season craziness of the past few weeks, one man has been conspicuously ignored. It’s not that Devean George really deserves much attention, but I have a feeling he’ll get a bit of it this season, and it won’t be pretty. Why? Because I actually think he might actually get some burn.

Looking at the Raptors first unit you’ll see there is a ridiculous amount of scoring, yet precious little defence and rebounding. With Iavaroni now in the fold as an assistant coach who “specializes in defence” and couldn’t keep the respect of young players, there should be minutes for a veteran off the bench. Especially when players start going down with injuries.

Honestly, I have no idea if George can even play D, but he’s a 23rd overall draft pick who has never averaged more than 7.4 points and 4 boards a game. He was the 8th man on those earlyaughties Lakers title teams. He also averaged 16 minutes a game on the 50-win Mavs last year. So if he’s not scoring or cleaning the glass he has to be defending right? Right???

In trying to find out more about George, I came across this article by a Mavs fan. This guy really hates Devean George. Some nuggs:george

“if I had to assign a dollar amount that I would have paid out of my own pocket to banish Devean George to the Island of Irksome Role Players, the ballpark figure would have been around $7500.”

“In case this hasn’t clanked you over the head like an errant Devean George jump shot, allow me to make myself Crystal Taylor clear: I hate Devean George. A lot.”

“I certainly can’t be blamed for him unleashing his trademark defense, which involved pushing, pulling, grabbing, shoving, and sometimes punching opposing players in ways that I didn’t think were legal in at least a dozen states, let alone the basketball court.”

As a fan of the squeaky clean Raptors, doesn’t that last line intrigue you at least a little bit? At least he’s a cheater.

Another reason I think George will surely draw the ire of message board denizens, is that George is 31 and is in a contract year. This guy is an NBA survivor, and in 2008 he proved that he cares about his career enough to refuse being included as cap fodder in the Jason Kidd trade, a move that would have cost him is “Bird rights,” and a chance to make more cash as a free agent. Though he caught a lot of flack for it, I liked that George stood up for himself. That said, he didn’t get the money and actually saw is salary pretty much cut in half anyway.

giorgiosIf George gets another contract after this year, it’ll surely be his last. My guess is he’s going to play just hard enough to get another look from some team next year. He’s going to put up bad shots, he’s going to try and play defence, and he’s going to infuriate Raps fans who would rather see “an upside guy,” get those minutes. My guess is we’ll be hearing the name Giorgios Printezis a lot.

Welcome to Toronto Devean, where Hatred Happens.

To help you get to know George a little better, here is a youtube mix of all of his on-court glory. I didn’t know you could make a mix, out of open court layups, deflected passes and one half court buzzer-beater. Actually there are some decent plays, but the guy has been in the league for ten years. Enjoy.

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When I read this article I was mad. So please bear with me as I book a flight off the nearest handle.

bruno 1

I’m sure the news that Sacha Baron-Cohen’s movie Bruno has been banned in Ukraine has trickled into your consciousness. Not because anyone is paying attention to Ukraine, (thanks for reading ya’ll!) but because the movie is so hot right now. Or is it? My first guess is that the “news” rolled across a ticker on some 24-hour news channel without explanation. But that would be naïve, I’m sure it was the top story for most entertainment sections and segments. Go News!

It certainly was a top story at the San Francisco Bay Area’s finest cost-cutting, benefit slashing, staff-demoralizing, anti-trust violating rag, The Contra Costa Times. Thankfully they dispatched their most trusted ink and pixel stained scribe, Tony Hicks, to get the scoop. Eight minutes and at least two google searches later he crafted this sparkling gem of reportage:

Ukraine to ‘Bruno’ — we don’t screen your kind here

Ukraine is the new Kazakhstan.

Great headline and lede T! Молодец!

A week before it was scheduled to open in the former Soviet nation, “Bruno” has been formally banned by Ukraine from playing within its borders, after the country’s Culture Ministry branded the film “immoral” and called its language and sexual imagery “obscene and improper.”

“former Soviet nation.” Do you see what I mean? It’s been nearly 20 years since communism!!!

Guess we won’t be spending next spring break in Ukraine after all.

usa drunkNo, you’ll be spending it at the bastion of tolerance and virtue known as Panama Beach USA with herds of drunken date-rapists unironically calling each other “faggot.”

Apparently, frontal male nudity, depictions of S&M swingers’ parties and simulated sex acts with a ghost aren’t what pass for entertainment in the Ukraine. The decision to ban Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest tour de force came after a 14-member commission appointed by the ministry deemed the film unfit for public viewing, as it could potentially “cause damage to public morals.”

Whew … for a second there we thought we were going to see CNN broadcasting images of lawless Ukrainian orgies in the streets.

“Apparently” I want to make fun of that “joke” but I don’t understand it. Seriously, can someone explain it to me? Don’t sweat it T. You’re halfway done!

tony hicksThe group concluded that the film featured an “artistically unjustified exhibition of sexual organs and sexual relations, homosexual acts in a blatantly graphic form, obscene language, sadism, and antisocial behavior which could damage the moral upbringing of our citizens.”

Of course, the panel had to watch the movie 14 times to reach that conclusion.

I have a feeling Mr. Hicks forgot what he wrote five minutes earlier here. I know T., Google can be tiring. Was it a 14 member panel, or 14 viewings? Or did the 14 member panel watch the film 14 times? Too bad the Contra Costa Times laid-off their copy editors.prop 8

Or maybe it was a panel of seven. Like the seven California Supreme Court Justices who just can’t seem to legalize gay marriage in that progressive state.

Back in 2006, Ukraine, along with Kazakhstan and Russia, banned Cohen’s “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” on similar grounds. Plus by the time one said the whole title, the movie was over. The film still made $261.6 million.

First off, can you blame Kazakhstan for banning Borat? Or blame its neighbours for joining them. Sure it was hilarious. I saw it twice. But upon further inspection it was insulting backhanded jab at people from this part of the world. If pruett_grapesBorat had been cracking jokes wearing the bekishe and sporting payot while running around being cheap, would you blame The America or The Canada for banning the film? — You know, like how California banned and burned The Grapes of Wrath for making Californians look backwards and stupid.

Here is the real story behind the ban.

Thankfully the Guardian UK wrote a decent piece on the Bruno ban. The most insightful nugget of info comes in the explanation that the ban, along with the ban on pornography, stems from Ukraine’s pro-Western, pro-NATO government courting the Babushka vote. Seriously. Babushkas and religiously conservative people hold major sway in most households here, and their support is crucial to the current government if they hope to win the upcoming election and steer the country towards the EU.

Another factor is Ukraine‘s presidential election: the country’s president, Viktor Yushchenko, is staging an uphill struggle for re-election in January. In 2004, he received the support san-andreas-fault-mapof Ukraine‘s powerful Catholic church. His officials may calculate that the anti-Brüno factor could just revive his flagging appeal among elderly voters.

So there you go Tony. Sorry I was so hard on you. Hope you learned something. Enjoy your fault line asshole. … and if you are curious about Ukraine, which you obviously aren’t, here is my neighbourhood. It’s extra beautiful in spring.old_lviv

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