Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gera's Squad Robbed by Poor Officiating

Ok, I know this blog isn't for sports lovers, but I must say the fair inhabitants of Burnapest's home country, Hungary, were subjected to one of the most humiliating defeats since Trianon. The national football team, which had enjoyed a recent inspirational surge thanks to a younger team, were forced to accept yet another defeat, this time from a FIFA referee.

The team's captain, and perhaps the best player, Zoltan Gera, was thrown out of the game for being a human tackling dummy for Turkish Linebacker, I mean keeper, Hakan Arikan. Gera was deliberately tackled after he poked the ball to the aggressive keeper's left. The keeper took out Gera like he should have ,yet instead of the referee, Stuart Dougall, awarding the well deserved penalty kick, he decided to send Gera off for a dive (keep in mind that the Turkish player, Belozoglu Emre, dealt a concussion to Hungarian keeper, Marton Fulop, just minutes earlier with no call). Gera had already accumulated a yellow card in the match.

First of all how many players are sent off for diving? Italians, French and even Turks may be famous for this... but the Hungarians? It was one of the worst calls ever made, and nobody will ever care because it involves a team that has no chance, that nobody cares about, a country that was passed up to host the very European championship that they were trying to qualify for.

The real test begins now. With a youthful team of talent and passionate leadership, i.e. ex-alcoholic Zoltan Gera, there should be no excuse. It's not like the great thinkers, sportsmen and philosophers of our time ever let a little bit of adversity get to them. Carry on, and continue to improve Magyars!

By the way, as soon as the video is up on the Web, you'll see it here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

It's Official, the Brown Shirts are Back

Unfortunately, the biggest news coming out of Hungary is dark, very dark. Bloomberg wrote this article about the swearing in of the Hungarian Guard, a militia that smacks of pre-World War II fascism.

While a majority of Hungarians are disgusted by the xenophobic ramblings of the far-right Jobbik party, there has been little in the way of public protest against it. The group has gathered a small yet vocal following by holding bullhorn rallies in public squares throughout the country. The main gripe: the country is being destroyed by "bloodsuckers" who feed on the country's socialist handouts. Who are these evil and malevolent bloodsuckers? The militia suggests Jews, homosexuals, immigrants and gypsies, to name a few. Sound familiar?

In reality, there are problems with Hungary's tax system. Many pay only a fraction of their obligation, which has strained the country's once great health care system. But to say these people are to blame, that these people take jobs away -- Hungary enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU -- is just plain scary.

The only solution, organize a counter protest. It's a worthy cause and the Hungarians are capable of it -- Budapest staged one of the largest Critical Mass rides in the world. Austrians pulled together years ago when Jorg Heider brought back Nazi ideology, so too can Hungarians. It's time to stand together, Burnapest is with you.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Premature Burn

It's very possible that burning the man early is a cause for alarm. It's very possible that sticking a knife in the collective backs of tens of thousands of people is the very death knell that so many have sought after. It's possible that this man with face paint may be the anarchist that burns commercialism in this world of distraction and escapism.

What can we do except balance the darker aspects of Burning Man with open minds and love. That's philosophy the whole world can benefit from.

Every difference in opinion, every disputed discussion and almost all citizens of intelligence and consequence feel that burning desire every day. It's what I call Burnapest.

For more on the premature burn, check out this Laughing Squid article.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Moon Bright over Budapest

The moon over Burnapest is glowing with life tonight. It looks like that bright retina burn you get after staring at the sun and closing your eyes. The Petofi and Szabadsag bridges curl across your vision like glowing veins and if you squeeze tight enough you catch a glimpse of pure energy.

In just over 16 hours, somewhere in the Nevada desert, early arrivals at Burning Man will be watching the same moon with the exception that it will be completely obscured by the earth's shadow. Barring a dust storm, they're in for a rare morning.

For those of us surviving in a less hostile physical environment, albeit a harsh cultural clime, the only consolation is that the Burning Man site might crank up that web cam.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Alas, Hungary's largest gathering of musicians, artists and French hippies has come to an end. The Sziget Festival was eight days of muddy hedonism with some of the world's greatest rock bands showing up. The Killers, Madness, Nine Inch Nails, the Chemical Brothers and Manu Chao all played the main stage with at least 40,000 people corralled into the center of the festival.

Many of the smaller acts along the outer banks of Obudai Island in the middle of the Danube were enjoyable as well -- not to mention more accessible. Gogol Bordello and Mau Mau proved that in order to rock a side tent at any festival these days, you MUST incorporate an accordion player into the band.

Sziget becomes a temporary community as backpackers descend on Budapest in droves. There is shopping, great food, dance parties that never stop, and an international crowd that camps around the island. The festival also gives artists a chance to exhibit their interactive wares.

A New York-Hungarian collaboration called Flux Factory merged Budapest and New York in one trippy installation.

And near the medusa tent there was a plethora of soul-seeking and labyrinthine projects...

Sziget was such a massive event that you would think that would finally put an end to the festival season. Whew! It's finally over. Or is it?...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Kert Craze

So I guess Burnapest's secret is getting out, although it may be leaking towards the east rather than west. Check out Shabby is the Chic Thing at Budapest's "Ruin Pubs" from Reuters India.

Garden bars in dilapidated old buildings are the city's coolest venues. Live entertainment is common and the crowd is young and fresh. In fact, the other day I saw TV crews at West Balkan filming mojito preparation. Sorry bartenders...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Speed Bump

Hungarians don't consider a bump in the road just an obstacle, they actually refer to a speed bump as a cop in the ground.

Fekvő rendőr means a lying policeman. It's how Hungarians say speed bump. It sounds a bit like, "Fuck you rendőr," the type of language that Burnapest does not condone in any way.