Tina Turner

Problems.  We all have them, and each time one pops up, it feels like the toughest one we’ve ever faced.  And it makes sense, because the problem we have right now is the only problem we’ve ever had that hasn’t been solved.  The pain we feel now is the only pain we’ve not overcome.  While it’s simple and logical to say that everything just needs to be put into perspective, it’s a lot tougher to minimize the feelings that go along with it.

Today is just tomorrow’s yesterday

some will die for you, some will lie to you
there’s all kinds of people in this world

(All Kinds of People, Tina Turner)
 
When you’re having a bad day, I mean, a really bad day, just remember that today is almost over: that tomorrow is a new day.  Remember that there are both good and bad people in this world.  You just have to find those who are good for you.
Tina Turner, of all people, has experienced this pain. Having an abusive father, mother who ran away when she was 11, and high school sweetheart who she broke up with after learning he was already married, her younger years were not exactly easy,  By age 23, she was married to her violent husband/musical partner of 16 years, Ike Turner.
After surviving all of that, she went on to have an extremely successful solo career.  For the next few decades, Tina’s accomplishments amassed, with top 10 hits, movies, and a net worth of $350 million.  In 2013, she got remarried, and moved to Zurich, Switzerland, where she loves it so much that she gained citizenship, and relinquished her US citizenship.  Good for you, Tina!  I am glad you found happiness!
Besides being the new home of Ms. Turner, Zurich is also where this guy lives:
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This is Cooly, the mascot for the 2014 European Championships, and while he has a crappy name, he is super cute and super athletic.  Is he gonna clear that hurdle?
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Yeah, I think the hurdle went well.  But crowd surfing- not so good…
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It’s okay Cooly!  We love you!!!!

Rubix Mascot

Italy has a lot going for it, and that makes me proud to be a Palermo (yup, it’s Italian, for real.).  They claim some of the yummiest foods that we eat too much of- pasta, pizza, calzone, tiramisu, yummy! They are home to some of the most beautiful architecture- Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Colosseum, The Pantheon.  While technically a separate city-state, it is basically home to the religious mecca of The Vatican.  Sounds like there’s nothing it can’t do!!… Except for mascots.

In 1990, Italy hosted the World Cup and watched their team finish third overall, losing to Argentina and West Germany (the Berlin Wall didn’t come down until 1991!).  This World Cup was known for defensive play, with few goals scored, and dependency on shootouts.  There were also a record number of red cards awarded to those who don’t care to follow the rules.  But the real red card should have gone to whoever created this mascot:
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It’s pretty much half of a busted Rubix Cube with a soccer ball balancing on top.  How was this the best that they could do?  The icing on the cake?  It is named Ciao.  Ciao= hello, and therefore shows a cutting-edge level of uninspired.

Thankfully, nobody was forced to dress up as a multi-coloured box mannequin , but there was a sculpture for the event.  That soccer ball head better be regulation!
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Stereotypes Are Okay?

In the United States, society teaches us from a young age that it’s bad to stereotype; that stereotypes are wrong.  Stereotypes are mean, incorrect, de-individualizing assumptions.  This is especially true when paired with race/nationality – NEVER stereotype about a those!  Which is why it is mind blowing to even consider that Mexico did this back in 1986:

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As the host country for the World Cup, Mexico was given the task of creating a mascot for the biggest sporting event in the world.  Their decision making method?  Putting together every single stereotype of Mexico, and shoving it into character form.  So Pique, a picante pepper, grew out his mustache, put on his airy, brightly coloured v-neck, woven shoes, and sombrero and cheered with the best of ’em.
Yes, there was a physical mascot too, but unfortunately not a costumed one.

Pique, the official mascot for the 1986 Mexico World Cup.

Some nations were not very happy with the stereotype approach, and refused to endorse the event if this was the image.  So the official image was this:
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Even though this idea would have been much better (though less informative):
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Cute Aminals!

Yes, I’ve been MIA for a few days, taking care of the absolute awesomest, cutest, most troublesome baby ever!  She also has the best stuffed animals, which only made it that much better- look at this bunny!!!

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So today I tried to find a mascot that was equally as cute, but let’s face it… that’s not possible.  But the elephant I chose is pretty great anyway, and shouldn’t be compared to something so perfect.
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Stumpy was the mascot for the 2011 cricket world cup in South Asia.  Born in Sri Lanka, he is said to be 10 years old during the event, and chosen due to his fun, energetic, enthusiastic, and upbeat personality.
By the way, he’s got mad skills on the field:
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I guess he has delicate knees and shins.  Safety, children!
One of the coolest things about Stumpy is the statue they made and decorated to look as traditional and realistic as possible.
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Once again, cricket is way cooler than I even expected.  Good work, international sports!

Copper, Powder, and Coal

If your weather is anything like mine, congratulations!  It’s officially deathly-hot summer.  With a high of 100 all week, I questions both my sanity and reasoning skills.  I mean, I am choosing to live in a place with the tagline “surprisingly hot.”  That’s not a good idea.

To try to stay half-sane, picture you’re somewhere else.  Somewhere nice, cool, and fun.  Like hanging out with the mascots in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
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First of all, do their names not seem a little, loaded?  What message are they trying to get across to us?
These three are based on traditional stories of Native Americans that have been told for generations.  Story has it that at one point the sun was burning up the earth, so the hare ran to the top of the highest mountain, shot the sun with a bow and arrow, and the sun dropped to where it would no longer burn the earth.
The earth at one point turned dark and frozen, so a coyote stole fire, climbed to the highest mountain, and warmed the earth again.  A bear is the only animal brave and strong enough to outlast the hunters who tried to track him down.  These three animals represented being swifter, higher, and stronger, respectively, and were seen as a great fit for the olympic games.
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And while it’s a decent thing to base them off of, and the pictures are super cute, I’m not sure I’m sold on the actual mascots.  They’re a little spooky.
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But this guy likes them, so who am I to say otherwise?
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Political HOO HOO

Ahhh, FIFA, where do I begin with you?!  All of the bribery involved in becoming a host city has been quite a scandal.  But why?  Sure, your country gets mad props, and it helps businesses, but at what cost?  South Africa reportedly spent $4-$5 billion on preparations to host, when really they only made about $500 million.  I don’t get it.  As an economist, this is not a feasible scandal.

But let’s remember the good part of soccer, which is of course the mascot.  The 2015 FIFA World Cup is upon us, and while I have NO idea what is going on, I know that this beauty is involved:
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This is Shueme, which means owl in French, because the host country Canada wants to remind you that they are not the same as the United States, and one of their official languages is French!
Sponsored by the Museum of Nature in Ottawa, she is a representation of the sport’s elegance, strength, peace, and fairness.  But she also wants to be friendly and welcoming.  But also seem athletic, precise, and agile.  And stylish.  Man, she’s expected to do it all.. sounds like maybe there is a feminist argument hidden in here somewhere.  Oh liberal Canada… but I don’t do politics… I just do mascots. Scheme, I gotta say, you’re well drawn- very detailed and accurate, and you got nice legs!
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Beijing Cuties

Nature vs. nurture is a commonly debated topic in biology class.  Is it my fault I like burning ants with a magnifying glass?  Does that signal a serial killer?

Well, today I give 1 point to nature.  Particularly, the Chinese side, because they take mascots as seriously as I do.
In 2008, Beijing hosted the summer olympics, which of course takes quite a bit of planning.  But usually that means for arenas, hotels, water supply.  Not so much for mascots.  China feels differently, though.  To choose a mascot, China elected The National Society of Classic Literature Studies to choose a mascot and reveal it exactly 1,000 days before the opening ceremony.
After drawing more than 1,000 variants of Fuwas, or good luck dolls, they decided on this awesome team of 5.

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 These cuties taught me that Beijing goes big or goes home.  They made statues of these guys:
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Of course some cute athletic drawings:
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Costumed mascots, who can run pretty fast:
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And the photo that sucked me into doing this post:

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Lil baseball panda!  So freaking cute!  Oh my gosh!!

90’s Kid Happies

Today’s mascot is from the childhood of many of us.  Maybe you’re embarrassed to admit it, but back in the day, you collected a lot of this stuff.  You still have some lying around somewhere.  Your parents spent half of their retirement fund on these things.  For others, you are the parent, and possibly wish you didn’t succumb to your child’s wants.

At this point, you should have it narrowed down to a few things- Beanie Babies, Pokemon Cards, American Girl Dolls.
For the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Japan brought one of those back as their mascot.  Pikachu, the adorable favourite from Pokemon, now owned by Nintendo, came back as their mascot.  Since Nintendo was their biggest sponsor, it seemed only fitting that they would choose one of the well-known characters as the team’s mascot.  And who better than the cutie who is from one of the most popular shows and games in the nation.
May I say, he was very good at it.
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The show’s makers even put all of the characters together as a soccer team!!

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The kids loved him a lot.  He is of course extremely successful in Japan.

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 And he’s extremely successful in the United States, too!  Ya know this one, small tradition we have called the Macy’s Thanksgiving DayParade?  He has his own float, no big deal!
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Colourful Gum

Continuing on with the streak of unpredictability, today’s mascot brings us back to cricket.
Did you know that cricket has a world cup?  Since 1975, 20 teams get together every 4 years to battle it out.  I had never heard of this, so this possibly incorrect fact (sponsored by Wikipedia) surprised me:
“The tournament is the world’s third largest with only the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics exceeding it.  The 2011 Cricket World Cup final was televised in over 200 countries to over 2.2 billion television viewers”  That means 1/3 of people on earth were watching cricket.  That’s pretty cool!
But of course, these emails are never written for the sport or the information.  They’re for the mascots!
In 2003, the genius country that is South Africa decided this big event needs a mascot.  So they made Dazzle, the zebra.

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A zebra is pretty unique which is why he caught my eye right away.  I also was sucked in when I saw this photo:
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Is he a mascot/doctor/tourist?  The outfit is not working so much.  Especially because it covers him head to toe, so we can’t see him rocking his stripes!

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Is this making anyone think of childhood memories?  Bright colours, soccer ball, I think someone stole from somewhere.
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OUCH!

Is anyone else having a sleepy Monday?  Because this has been one of the worst in awhile.  Since the human body can only tolerate so much coffee, I often times end up pinching myself to stay awake at work.  But what would really help is being stabbed, maybe by some thistle.

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This stabby, evil plant should never be celebrated.
Yet it was, for the host country of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Scotland,  and the 71 countries who attended.  The story has it that Captain Bristle took pots of thistles to travel to each of the 71 nations in the Commonwealth, and unloaded them with the cargo that was being delivered.  I guess when he made this trip and returned back to Glasgow, Scotland, he had 1 thistle left, which he planted, and it turns out it grew to be larger than ever thought possible.
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I have issues with this story.  Who would want a thistle to grow this large?  A huge, stabby weed?  Ouch.
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He’s buff!
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Commonwealths promote violence?
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