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Divine Physics

“Religion is the opium of the people.” Karl Marx “How much is opium for the people?” Ostap Bender in Ilf's & Petrov's The Twelve Chairs  “You non-Orthodox motherf….er,” a young teenager shouted at a Fijian rugby player during the Georgia versus Fiji match in Tbilisi on 24 November. Hearing swearing at a stadium, especially a Georgian one, is nothing out of the ordinary, but the use of the word “non-Orthodox” sounded very strange, especially coming from a schoolchild – and an Orthodox...

Coming Out of the Woods

Once in a summer cottage near Tbilisi, parents scolded their four-year-old daughter. The rebuked girl felt very unhappy and quickly left the house. Everyone there assumed she was sitting quietly in her room and were completely unaware that she had gone. Eventually, relatives started looking for the missing girl, first inside the house and then outside in the yard. Not finding her anywhere, they became increasingly panicked as day began to turn into night. After a long search, far from the...

Open Up! People are outside

GLOSSARY OF TERMS: STADIUM: A venue where various sports and musical events – sometimes even protest rallies – are held. FAN: A person who has a ticket and, accordingly, the desire and full right to attend a stadium event. TICKET: An official pass for which a fan pays money and becomes the legitimate holder of a specified seat for a number of hours (except for that unique occurrence in world sports history when unnumbered tickets are issued for open seating at a rugby match against Russia...

Star Trek Voyage with Gloves

Years ago, a strange rumor circulated around the National Basketball Association (NBA). As the story goes, professionals (as we in Georgia call NBA players) embarked on an experiment to test their scoring proficiency under challenging conditions: They turned the lights off in an American sports hall, put on phosphorescent gloves, smeared a basketball with...

In Jeeps, Fasting, Defeated

Ionce witnessed the following scene in Amsterdam: Several people clad in identical religious attire were chanting in the Red Light District, near a coffee shop, with the sound of bells ringing in the background when a nude working girl popped her head out of her display window to enjoy the religious song. A tourist used his mobile phone camera to take a photo of the working girl (a prohibited act), which provoked her to step out of her working space and to begin quarrelling with the “...

No Bucks? No Glory!

 Georgian clubs bid their traditional farewell to Europe this summer. This time, however, parting was not exactly the same sweet sorrow. When the European Basketball Championship kicked off in late August, the Georgian national team actually managed to advance to the qualifying round. How they managed that does not really matter. What matters is that our team was ranked among the top twelve national teams and even had a shot at making it into the quarterfinals. Had the Georgian national team...

Brain of Limited Liability

“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.” Winnie the Pooh The brain is a complex mechanism. It is so complex that man lacks enough brains to decipher it fully. But, as time passes, the brain develops (albeit slowly) along with mankind. The more developed the collective brain, the more advanced the civilization – and vice versa. The brain is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Or, to put it colloquially, it needs to be stirred. Without use, the brain and its owner...

Forget May the Thirteenth

The Georgian football team Dinamo Tbilisi was one of the most prominent clubs in Soviet football. Its main claim to European fame was its 2-1 victory in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup on 13 May 1981, beating FC Carl Zeiss Jena of East Germany in the final in Düsseldorf. In early-May 2011, the Georgian Football Federation disclosed the content of a UEFA letter, which requested that the Federation investigate three of the country's first-division league games for suspected match-fixing bets. Shortly...

Tbilisi - Dakar

In Tbilisi streets, as in the jungle, one must always beware of danger – in the jungle, from natural animals; in Tbilisi, from mechanical beasts. Danger can pounce from any direction at any time in the jungle. The same is true in Tbilisi, our ancient capital city with its indescribable modern chaos. It’s true that we have gotten used to obeying traffic signals and stopping at flashing red traffic lights. We have even learned to fasten seatbelts. BUT… most of the drivers – some 80 percent –...

Placido Domingo’s Music, Football and Love

 To a standard question - How are you doing? - I repeatedly received non-standard answers – I am happy. An old man sitting next to me shed tears of happiness several times during the concert. Everything turned out perfect that day: the weather that was cloudy in the morning threatening rain changed midday to sunny and hot in Batumi; the stage for the gala concert was arranged with great taste and fit perfectly in the well-decorated Piazza Square to create a gorgeous scene; the performance of...

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